Council to Discuss Card Room Crime

San Jose’s casinos increasingly require more police attention, according to an annual audit of the two permitted card rooms going before the City Council.

To curb crime at Bay 101 and Garden City game rooms, the city plans to come up with something it calls the Responsible Gaming Program, the details of which are still being hashed out between police and community groups like the Chinese Health Coalition and Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI).

Bay 101 saw a 24-percent jump in calls for police service and a 42-percent increase in reported incidents—meaning those ending in a report, citation or arrest—between 2009 and 2012. Garden City’s calls rose 14 percent and reported incidents increased 21 percent during that same time, according to the review going before the council Tuesday.

In actual numbers, that’s 19 arrests at Bay 101 between 2011 and 2012 and 328 received calls for service. Garden City clocked eight arrests and 276 service calls, 80 of which were for expired car registration violations. The bulk of calls and reports involved fraud, forgery, public drunkenness, battery, theft and welfare checks, the stats show.

Gamblers at one establishment seemed to exercise a little more self-control than the other’s patrons: Bay 101 kicked 36 people to the curb for gambling more than 20 hours, which is against the city’s Regulation 3 (Observed Patron Monitoring Requirements). Meanwhile, Garden City ejected just one patron. The regulation results from a legal dispute the city won, forcing an agreement that gamblers take a four-hour “cooling off” break after gambling for 20 hours. Then they’re allowed to go back into either card room. Each casino notifies the other and the city if someone reaches that limit.

Though the city collects nearly $15 million gaming tax revenue from its gambling hotspots, it estimates annual costs for police work monitor in the range of a couple million. Bay 101 accounted for most of the tax revenue, indicative of higher patronage. But since Garden City transferred its gaming tables to the newly opened Casino M8trix, the balance has shifted and is expected to push the city past its target of $15.3 million in gaming tax revenue this year.

The voting public could have added to that revenue last election, but a ballot measure that would have allowed an increase in card tables failed.

Other items worth noting on the San Jose City Council agenda for February 5, 2013:

• As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for hearings on the constitutionality of California’s gay marriage ban, San Jose considers formally stepping up in support of same-sex union.

The highest court in the land will conduct hearings Mar. 26 and 27 on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies benefits to married gay and lesbian couples.

“It goes without saying that these are landmark civil rights issues of both local and national concern,” reads the memo signed by council members Ash Kalra, Xavier Campos, Kansen Chu and Don Rocha. “As the 10th largest city in the nation, and as the largest city in the Bay Area, it is of critical and historic importance that San Jose’s voice be heard in this matter.”

It will be interesting to see if Mayor Chuck Reed warms to the idea of supporting gay marriage this time.

Instead of dedicating staff time to draft its own brief, the city plans to join San Francisco, which already drafted an amicus brief to file at the end of the month. Council will move the consideration to next week’s meeting for final approval.

• The Berryessa neighborhood gets a new park this year. The city is poised to grant a $2.1 million contract to Suarez & Munoz Construction Inc. to build the 3.3-acre Commodore Park, which comes with two playgrounds, an adult fitness section, a lawn and a parking lot. Construction on the site at Commodore Drive and Jackson Avenue should start in March and end in December.

• City Attorney Richard Doyle will update the council on the status of litigation involving Measure B, the voter-approved pension reform plan that requires city workers to contribute of their own pay toward their retirement fund.

• The council will hear an annual performance audit of Team San Jose, which manages the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose Civic Auditorium, Parkside Hall, South Hall, Center for the Performing Arts, California Theater and Montgomery Theater for the city. 

Team San Jose drew about a million visitors to events at the convention center and other facilities, resulting in about 240,000 hotel bookings, according to the audit. Also, the company achieved its customer service targets but not its theater performance goals. Though it surpassed its target by generating $19.4 million gross revenue, Team San Jose still ended the 2011-12 year with a $3.5 million operating loss.

• Right now, construction and demolition debris—heaps of chopped-up drywall from your kitchen remodel, for example—aren’t covered under the city’s recycling waste programs. The council will consider entering into contracts with AWR Dumpsters and Bernardini Enterprises to haul away the debris, rock, concrete, asphalt and dirt for recycling instead of having it dumped in landfills. The city won’t profit from this agreement, because it waives waste collection fees for recyclable materials.

WHAT: San Jose City Council meeting
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Council Cambers, City Hall, 222 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260 or [email protected]

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

5 Comments

  1. Hey Jen ,

    Dont get it twisted , City Employees already contribute to their retiremant . Anywhere from 10% to 16%  . if the Mayor has his way with Measure B Employees contributions will jump to 40% +  . Most employees with 15 -20 yrs working for the city will be making less than they Did when they got hired . BUT Measure B will be overturned in the Courts simply because it is Illegal.  By Law , if you adjust an individuals pension , they must recieve something of equal or greater value . Wages & Pensions cannot be decreased . if one goes down the other must go up . so good luck with the wasted millions in court

  2. They will be spending it on Chuck’s lawyer buddies who are making bank trying to implement Measure B *you know the measure that is making workers pay into their retirement. Just like it says above LOL Oh wait they already pay 21.9% before taxes*

  3. And how much crime do you think occurs that is covered up or overlooked by security?
    It does not benefit the card clubs to generate police activity. The only reason they report the hundreds of counterfeit and fraud cases is to offset their revenue with some deductions and to offer up some paltry reports as evidence that they’re interested in suppressing crime at their business.

    Casino business 101. Hide the salacious crimes of loan sharking, pimping, extortion, and major narcotics, and sacrifice the low hanging fruit of con artists to authorities.

  4. Jenn,

    I suggest all calls at casinos are given low priority status so that real citizens get a better response calls from police.  Let casinos hire more private security.  They can make a citizens arrest and then wait hours like the rest of us for the police to respond.

    What is the city doing with the 15 million they make from casino taxes?

  5. Re Clubs: Why are Chinese Health Coalition and Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) involved in decisions making?  They can lobby the media and politicians like other sham activist groups(De-Bug & ALA) but they shouldn’t be involved in making policy.

    Re Berryessa Park:  There are many other parks and Community Centers languishing already, why build more?

    Re Measure B: Rick Doyle, “It will cost taxpayers a lot, and we’ll lose.”

    Re Team San Jose:  “We lost a lot of taxpayer money!  But not as much as in years’ past…”

    Re Recycling:  San Jose politicians have already screwed up too many garbage and recycling contracts (and billing).

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