Last week our unemployed party-boy living in the penthouse of Emeryville's ginormous thirty-story Pacific Park Plaza was adamantly denying taking "porno pictures" in his top-floor crib. This week he's facing charges of pimping and, to paraphrase the cops, maintaining a penthouse of ill repute.
A quick fluffer for Feeders whose memories have become flaccid as to the contents of last week's column: Bottom Feeder turned the tables on a mudslinger peddling dirt on an Emeryville City Council candidate. The tipster, Tony DeBartolo, turned out to be caught up in his own battle with the Plaza's homeowners' association over whether he was running a dirty-picture biz in his rented penthouse. DeBartolo insisted he was merely a photo hobbyist who did "tasteful fine art."
By sheer coincidence -- and was it ever sheer -- just as last week's paper hit the streets, Emeryville police culminated a two-month investigation of DeBartolo with a prostitution sting that resulted in his arrest. A Plaza resident said building security had tipped off the cops. A young woman also was popped in the sting, but police refused to give her name or cup size. The evening of the arrest, Emeryville police searched the penthouse and confiscated DeBartolo's computers. The tech-challenged locals have called in the FBI to help them make sense of the data.
E-ville police, according to Sergeant LaJuan Collier, had been monitoring sexy Internet postings they suspect are DeBartolo-related on sites such as Craigslist.org.
The sarge confirmed that said posts offered things like "sensual massage." Feeder had to ask, since it had spotted one such Craigslisting for "Gia, the Aztec Princess," who offered "EXTREME FBSM"-- that's fetish bondage sadomasochism, for all you prudes -- for $145. The post featured a photo of a topless "Berkeley student" with DeBartolo's "Erosic" insignia on it. "I enjoy performing sensual massage while being totally naked," Gia wrote. "My simulation of lovemaking will leave you breathless."
Simulation? For $145? Now that's a crime!
The Indian casinos are coming, the Indian casinos are coming! You know what that means, dontcha? That's right: lots of godawful, annoying gambling metaphors. It also means that one of these tribes wagering to create the first Vegas-style casino in the Bay Area is gonna hit the jackpot. Seriously, Feeders, it's a safe bet that Indian gaming will arrive here soon. The stakes are just too high for the tribes to fold 'em.
At least four federally recognized, yet landless, Indian tribes -- including three bands of the Pomo variety, whose ancestral homelands stretch from Mendocino County to San Francisco -- are shopping around these parts for a reservation with plenty of room for parking. (And you'll be shopping for a hotel reservation, high roller!) Hardly a month goes by that a new location doesn't get floated: Oakland, Richmond, San Pablo, Hercules, Vallejo, Rohnert Park, Antioch -- all of these are potential casino homelands the tribes have considered over the past two years.
Now there's yet another player at the table: The sleepy little hicklet of Byron, an unincorporated town in rural eastern Contra Costa County with fewer than a thousand residents. Though word has just started trickling out among locals, Byron Hot Springs property owner David Fowler has been powwowing with various tribal leaders for about a year now.
Fowler wants to restore his historic century-old resort, and the way he figures it, hooking up with the Natives might be a good way to do it -- bathers can take a soak in the spa and then get soaked in the casino afterward. And Fowler is opening his arms to the tribes like Bob Barker: "Come onnnn down!"
His pitch? Byron, the hot-springer says, offers a unique setting for discerning tribes who've sought to open a casino in spendy urban centers, but have run headdress-first into a guv who didn't want Indian gaming in the big cities. Byron is about 75 minutes from Oakland by car -- a month on foot -- hardly convenient, but a helluvalot closer than Tahoe. Plus, the hot springs are next to the Byron airport, which the county wants to expand anyway, so Fowler figures the Indians shouldn't cause too much extra trouble.
Two months ago, Fowler says, Scotts Valley Pomo chair Don Arnold told the area's municipal advisory committee of his tribe's interest in the hot springs. In contrast to Antioch, where city leaders chased away the Guidiville Pomos last month, tiny Byron's big dogs seemed to like the idea. "I can see a lot of real positive things" from a casino, says Kathy Leighton, a local who sits on the committee.
Fowler has been talking with several bands, but Casinos and Indians is a quirky game, and the Scotts Valley Band of Pomos appear to have already moved to the next table. Read on ...
Betting on Richtown
Reservation-shopping tribes don't scout just one or two properties before they drive a neon stake into the ground. The Scotts Valley Pomos looked not only at Byron Hot Springs, but seventeen or eighteen different properties, according to Richmond City Councilman Richard Griffin.
Griff should know. His town hoped to cut a deal with the Pomo band to turn Terminal 3 of the city's port into a gambling haven. That idea went bust earlier this year, but Richmond's pit bosses, Griff included, vowed to change their luck. Now the Scotts Valley Pomos are again close to buying a Richtown property -- but one outside city limits, meaning the city of pride and prejudice won't be in any position to ask for comps.
The tribe's real-estate broker, John Troughton of Cushman & Wakefield, tells Bottom Feeder that 177 Parr Boulevard is in escrow right now. The parcel of land is nestled in an unincorporated, county-controlled pocket of North Richmond, a crime-ridden area where the over-under for average life expectancy is about 27. Troughton says the Pomos could close escrow by early next year, but cautions that nothing is a sure thing.
Even if the Indians land the land, they still have to get the feds to place it in trust. That can take years. "What we're really doing here," Troughton observes, "is finding a new country."
Both Guidiville and Scotts Valley Pomo bands have hired a consultant to grease the wheels: That'd be Kevin Gover, a Pawnee tribe member who served as the Interior Department's assistant secretary of Indian affairs under Bill Clinton. If Gover can cut the government red tape, the SV Pomos may soon have their own sovereign nation, meaning they'll no longer be prone to the White Man's traditional weapons: zoning, taxes, and smallpox.
Wanna-be headline writers like to champion the tiny spaces between tiles in public bathrooms to scribble silly puns about the very medium they're scribbling on - grout. Here are a few from the men's room at Triple Rock Brewery.
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