The $360 million Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego is slated to open on the tribe’s federally recognized reservation in East County, San Diego before the summer’s end, but if the Jamul Action Committee (JAC) gets its way, the venue will open without a liquor license.
Formerly known as Jamulians Against the Casino, the JAC has an appeal pending with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and they’re also looking to have the casino’s liquor license rescinded, at least until such time as the road improvements suggested by the residents are made by Caltrans. The new casino on Campo Road in Jamul is located on a rural, winding, two-lane stretch of state Route 94, which residents say is a death trap. Anticipating a substantial increase in traffic, as well as impaired drivers, they say an already bad situation will become worse when the casino opens. Glenn Revell, the president of the JAC says that the situation is a matter of public safety.
Letters have been written to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, as well as Caltrans, by County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who is also a resident of Jamul, urging them to take action. On Friday, at a news conference at her residence, Jacob referred to the casino as “the Hollywood Horror Show,” and said that since 2014, there have been nearly 50 collisions on the rural stretch of highway near the casino. She said that “hundreds (have been) injured and 23 to date have been killed,” according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Jacob went on to say that at least 9,000 trips are expected to be added to the estimated 17,000 cars and trucks which make the daily commute on the highway, which starts near Steele Canyon Road and ends at the Mexican border. Jacob said it’s a disaster in the making.
In April, with Jacob dissenting, the Board of Supervisors approved a formal agreement between the Jamul Indian Village and the county. While the casino is located on tribal land, a majority of the property surrounding it, as well as some of the access to the reservation, belongs to the county, and Caltrans governs the highway. Jacob said that state officials are failing to protect the public safety, and that “Caltrans is allowing this casino to open without all the needed traffic safety improvements in place, including new turn lanes, retaining walls and signals at critical highway intersections, including the fire station, ” according to the news agency.
Meanwhile, Caltrans issued a statement assuring that it will continue its efforts to review the improvements proposed by the Jamul Indian Village for the “safe and efficient movement of traffic on State Route 94.” The Jamul Indian Village issued a statement of its own assuring that it is “wholeheartedly devoted to community safety,” and as such has “committed approximately $20 million toward roadway improvements identified by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and $3.7 million toward roadway improvements identified in our Memorandum of Understanding with the County of San Diego,” as reported by CBS 8 San Diego.