Debra J. Saunders

Oh, and there's another wrinkle. Yolo doesn't plan on using county money to buy the property. Later this year, a jury will set the value of the ranch. The owners purchased the ranch for a reported $60 million, but it may be worth much more. So who pays for it?

The Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians will put up the front money. The Yolo supes call this a "handshake deal" -- with no quid-pro-quo for the tribe. I should note that the Rumsey tribe owns Cache Creek Casino.

It all comes does to: Whom do you trust? The developer owners, who at this point can't build on any of the land but might be able to build on small portions in the future, if Yolo politics change?

Or the county, with McGowan's word that "we have not made any concessions with the tribe"? McGowan argues that while the Conaway Conservation Group may act as good stewards now, the minute conservation is not profitable, the owners will try to build where they can. (Not that I think that's necessarily a bad thing, but McGowan thinks it is bad.)

Giezentanner argues that voters would be foolish to believe this land grab is a "stringless deal." While the casino grows as a political force in the county, it will be able to build on some of the land -- and this is a hot location, not far from the airport and easy access to I-5. That is, not a bad spot for another casino.

Debra J. Saunders

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