Council approves talks for new agreement
by Bob Brownne
Nov 09, 2012 | 7616 views | 33 33 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Spirit of California developer at meeting
Los Gatos developer James Rogers address the city council about his Spirit of California project during the council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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For the past year, Los Gatos developer James Rogers has been selling his Spirit of California project to investors and residents in Tracy.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, he had to convince the Tracy City Council to accept the project.

Taking over the plans to build the park 13 months ago, Rogers bought out the original developer, Jeff Macey, who had proposed that the park be named Tracy’s California Blast.

Rogers has put that development entity behind him in favor of the much bigger Spirit of California, which would also include a hotel and casino, marina, golf course, amusement park and other entertainment venues. It could cover the better part of 1,500 acres just north of town, including 628 acres that the city now owns.

“The only way the project is going to happen is if the city is behind us and the citizens are behind us, and the Spirit of California is working with both of them,” Rogers said. “The talent is there, the money is there.”

But Andrew Malik, director of city development and engineering services director, told council members that a revised agreement from April 2011 had been in default since February of this year.

An amendment to that contract gave Rogers until Sept. 20 to provide initial development applications and enough information on the project’s investors to show that he had the financial ability to get through the initial planning process.

While Rogers met that deadline, Malik said that he did not turn in detailed information that the city wanted, such as investors’ tax returns.

Malik said the city’s consultant, National Development Council, reviewed about $2.4 million worth of investment from nine investors. About $1.5 million worth of investment was verified as readily available cash, Malik said.

“What our consultant came up with was there was credible expression of interest from investors,” Malik said. “There was no legally binding commitment, however, and there’s where we get into some of the default.”

Rogers said Wednesday that investors have committed about $100 million to support the project, but he needs a new contract with the city in order to formalize those pledges.

After an hour-long discussion the council unanimously agreed to allow the agreement with the old development entity, Tracy’s California Blast, to stay in effect, while Rogers and the city’s planning staff hammer out a new agreement naming Spirit of California as the development entity.

It’s a process that could take a couple weeks, by Rogers’ estimation, or a couple months, according to City Attorney Dan Sodergren.

Rogers filled the council chamber with dozens of supporters on Wednesday, and they urged the council to endorse the project as an economic development engine that would make Tracy a destination for worldwide travelers. He hopes to drum up more support during a presentation from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at West Valley Mall.

First he has to overcome the city’s skepticism.

Councilman Michael Maciel said that his support of the project hinges on the financial information that the exclusive negotiating rights agreement required.

“To me the big question is, how are we going to pay for this? That has yet to be answered,” Maciel said.

“We need a much clearer indication from the applicant how this is going to be viable,” he added. “My duty is to approach this with a healthy skepticism, but an open mind. If you show this can happen I think you’ll see support for it.”

Malik and Sodergren recommended that the council terminate the existing agreement, and Rogers would be able to negotiate for a new agreement. The council was prepared to endorse that option, provided Rogers reimburse the city for the staff time needed to draw up the new contract.

Rogers said that would leave his project in limbo, with a gap between the old agreement with Tracy’s California Blast and new one with Spirit of California. That, he told the council, could discourage his investors from making solid commitments. Rogers urged the council to let the existing contract stay in place because he needs the city’s support to convince investors that the project is set to become reality..

“I can’t have investors jump into a corporation that I’m abandoning for a new one,” he said.

He added later that details like tax returns from investors shouldn’t be required as they wouldn’t show how much money is available.

“I’ll give them exactly what they need without massive amounts of paperwork that validate nothing,” Rogers said. “What I plan to do is simply show them the cash.”

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or brownne@tracypress.com.

Comments
(33)
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radiatesolar
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December 06, 2012
Henry/Deb why do you oppose this?

Imagine what people reading this are thinking. You do not articulate your position clearly and sometimes appear rude or not knowing.

I am trying to look at both sides to see. Do you have somebody else that can speak for you? Someone who can clearly articulate your talking points without all the distractions?

Henry_Sugar
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December 06, 2012
I can't speak for debbdaves, but I personally support this project. What I oppose is the incoherent ramblings and blatant trolling of "ornley_gumfudgen."

By the way, Dave, this new "radiatesolar" moniker is much better than your "ornley_gumfudgen" one, and I can actually understand what you're saying now.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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December 06, 2012
Henry

Guess again, radiatesolar ain't me. But nice try anyway. Instead of you an citizensheep wastin yer time on tryin ta shut me up, why don't ya spend some of that energy inta workin in th community ta make thangs better by discussin th topics in th comment sections rather than individual commentators?

Fer instance, what's th latest, not a month ago, information on this project? Whare is it an what are th problems with it?

While rather flatterin worryin about me, what I say an how I say it ain't really accomplishin anythang. But it is a rather childish style of entertainment fer minds that can't thank of anything better ta say than denigrate people.

Thought th Tracy Press was gonna stop that kind of activity but can now see it's not much more than a lie as it still continues.

Well you two have yer fun I won't be commentin ta ya directly any more cus it's pointless an frankly I've got better thangs ta waste my time on.
Henry_Sugar
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December 06, 2012
Instead of you an citizensheep wastin yer time on tryin ta shut me up, why don't ya spend some of that energy inta workin in th community ta make thangs better by discussin th topics in th comment sections rather than individual commentators?
Henry_Sugar
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December 06, 2012


"Instead of you an citizensheep wastin yer time on tryin ta shut me up, why don't ya spend some of that energy inta workin in th community ta make thangs better by discussin th topics in th comment sections rather than individual commentators?"

Again, Dave, the pot calling the kettle black.

"... what I say an how I say it ain't really accomplishin anythang. But it is a rather childish style of entertainment ..."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

"Thought th Tracy Press was gonna stop that kind of activity but can now see it's not much more than a lie as it still continues."

If you really want to make it stop, Dave, simply stop doing it.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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December 06, 2012
"... what I say an how I say it ain't really accomplishin anythang. But it is a rather childish style of entertainment ..."

Th ole paraphrase taken out of context ta say somethang that wasn't said. In other words, how ta fabricate a lie by retellin partial elements of truth.

Taken in context, th original statement was, "While rather flatterin worryin about me, what I say an how I say it ain't really accomplishin anythang. But it is a rather childish style of entertainment fer minds that can't thank of anything better ta say than denigrate people."

Hopefully TP will put a stop ta these types of shenanigans but I am of th opinion at this point th cowards doin this type of thang work fer th press so they probably won't.

No different than th Tommybahama character that use ta grace th comment sections with his negative remarks directed tawards anyone that had a different perspective than his.

Not really a problem fer me but it does sorta destroy th credibility of a newspaper strugglin ta survive.

So, no one has anythang ta add ta th article? Apparently not. Well I suppose it's time ta let th article die, along with th notion of doin somethang that benefits th city.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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December 05, 2012


Citizensheep said 33 Minutes Ago to comments made almost a month ago.

' "Ornley, I am sick and tired of your ramblings in what you think is a "cute" style. Enough already!"

If it makes ya so sick an tired then don't read em! '

"If you post more than two sentences...I don't. Neither do a lot of folk."

What does it say fer a person that trolls old posts in order ta say somethang inflammatory about someone else an attempts ta limit thair right ta free speech?

An debbdavis continuously does th same thing along with denegratin anythang an everyone that disagrees with her.

What does it say fer Tracy Press Comment moderators who claim they will monitor this an ban posts an commentators who continually exhibit this type of antisocial behavior an yet do virtually nothin when it happens?

Kind of makes ya loose faith in th Tracy Press's stated intentions don't it?

Henry_Sugar
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December 05, 2012
Go home, Dave. You're drunk.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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December 05, 2012
See what I mean with th comment frum Henry_Sugar?

Can't comment on th article but easily comes ta th comment sections fer th sole purpose of insultin an denegratin those they don't agree with along with fishin fer commentator identities; how adult.

An TP is complicit in that it won't do anythang about it becus now it's pretty much mod-us-operandi fer th Tracy Press taday. Empty words an empty promises. What a way ta run a newspaper.

BTW, I don't drink. Can't say if Dave, who ever he is does or does not. Besides, if he does an don't involve anyone else, that's his business an has nothin ta do with th article ain't it?
Henry_Sugar
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December 05, 2012
"Can't comment on th article but easily comes ta th comment sections fer th sole purpose of insultin an denegratin those they don't agree with...."

Pot calling the kettle black.

Call your nurse, Dave. It appears you've lost your mind again.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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December 05, 2012
TP

Just on th off chance yer gonna actually do what ya promised yer readers ya would do, an because I know ya have th ability ta track these comments ta thair source, here is a list of some troublemakers who frequently violate yer "rules." I suspect thair all just one or possibly two people but it probably don't make any difference because it's obvious, frum yer own historical actions, yer not gonna do much about it.

debbdaves, Henry_Sugar, Citizensheep, dd95376 an me-here. An th Tracy Press seriously wonders why thair havin trouble with thair newspaper?

Now I suspect th agenda fer th person/people identified above is ta have this entire comment section purged frum yer server as that is exactly what has happened in th past when this sorta muckrakin an mudslingin has gotten outa hand in th past.

So, who is runnin yer comment sections TP, yer commentators or yer management?
Henry_Sugar
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December 05, 2012
TP- Just give Dave his own column. That's all he wants.

Since he can't be an official Tracy Press town crier, he comes to the comment section and cries.
Citizensheep
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December 06, 2012
Ornley, learn how the internet works. Things get "bumped" and become current for various reasons. No trolling there. Didn't read the rest of your hallucinations.
debbdaves
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November 27, 2012
OG and dcose you sound like birds of a feather clucking together, tie the beaks!
ciscokid52
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November 11, 2012
Even with the opposition against this plan, it could very well still happen. In San Jose, which is NOT on tribal land, it opened up the Matrix Casino a couple months back. It took the casino roughly 2-3 years to actually get developed because the city made them walk through so much red tape.

And, since it wouldn't be on tribal land, there is a betting ante that must be submitted for each play (i.e. every game of blackjack you wish to draw cards for) which would probably be around $1/hand.

Any entertainment around here would be welcomed for sure by me. I have to pay tons in taxes the way it is, what's another $0.20 per payroll check?
108MW
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November 10, 2012
A casino would really spruce up this place.
leticia_romero80@yahoo.com
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December 05, 2012
I agree with the Casino, but looking at the bigger picture The jobs this project will create! For the whole site! For those negative people have some hope for our small Town of Tracy This is big, You and many struggling families have some positive thinking sign the petition on the Spirit California Website. It's for our children and grand children's future

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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November 10, 2012


Question, an I honestly don't know.

Have th laws consarnin Casinos been relaxed so other than Indian tribes an own em? Thought all Casinos owned an operated in California were owned by th tribes? Has that changed an if not, how would a Casino be legally built an operated in Tracy?
C3TJ
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November 10, 2012
No they haven't. They need to be approved by the Department of the Interior, legislature and governor. The problem with the proposed North Fork and Enterprise casinos (and why they're likely to be tied up in court for a long time) is that they are not on Indian land (sound familiar?) Every other existing casino is crying foul because they feel they followed the rules by building casinos on their land yet they're being leap-frogged by the newcomers hoping to get closer to the large cities.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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November 27, 2012
dcose

Of course ya know that since we both have commented here on this that TP will probably remove these postins.

Seems ta be th standard response these days judgin frum recent history.

Back on topic; it seems its gonna be a long haul ta get much of anythang accomplished in developin a use fer th old Holly Sugar property th city owns.

It's also interestin ta see how some minds have apparently been changed as five or so years ago Mr. Arnando (probably spelled it wrong an I'm sorry fer that) didn't seem ta mind a race track when I talked ta him about that possibility while standin on th asphalt beet pulp dryin areas Holly Sugar use ta use.

He was leasin th City owned old Holly Sugar property ta grow alfalfa an storin his equipment on th asphalt beet pulp dryin fields at th time. Well, everyone has a right ta change thair mind.
dcose
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November 27, 2012
so much for cutting off the rest of the comments.

me-here, find some relevance in your life.
dcose
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November 27, 2012
Ornley, I am sick and tired of your ramblings in what you think is a "cute" style...
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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November 27, 2012
me-here wrote 33 Minutes Ago

"Ornley, I am sick and tired of your ramblings in what you think is a "cute" style. Enough already!"

If it makes ya so sick an tired then don't read em!

I am now of th opinion yer rather a slow reader since my postins were made on November 10th an 11th an yer just now complainin about em.

me-here
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November 27, 2012
Ornley, I am sick and tired of your ramblings in what you think is a "cute" style. Enough already!
behonestguys
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November 11, 2012
If the City wants to consider a casino, then as part of its due diligence, it would probably be a good idea for our City fathers and staff to talk to other cities/counties in Northern California to see what kind of impact (good, bad or indifferent) a a casino has had on the community in question, not just in terms of tax $$$ generated, but other issues such as crime, traffic, the type of clientele attracted by a casino, the adverse impacts gambling can have on a community,the quality of jobs created (minimum wage vs. higher paying jobs),etc. That way, any decision made is based on the City having done its homework in a complete, thorough and independent fashion.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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November 11, 2012


Thanks fer th info. As I recall thair was a similar arrangement with a tribe in th Petaluma area whair thair was quite a bit of trouble consarnin a casino not bein built on tribal land but land th tribe purchased ta build it. As I recall th neighborin tribe had a problem with it. Don't really know what th outcome of that was.

Well if this goes through and I really have nothin against casinos, I suppose th illegal fireworks issue will quickly become a moot point as that is how a lot of illegal fireworks are brought inta a community. At least that seems ta be a problem with every Indian owned casino I have ever been around. But tobacco an gasoline sales should give em a healthy profit in as much as thair are no taxes on it. Would probably have a slight negative impact on th local restaurants as well when ya thank on th cheap meals they will probably offer in thair buffet.

Hey, build it if ya wanna I don't really care one way or th other. Just don't go inta it with blinders on an look at th other Indian run casinos in th country ta see how they impact thair local economies.
C3TJ
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November 10, 2012
Missed part of your question - to legally be operated in Tracy, there needs to be a tribe involved (which he purports to have) and after all of the approvals (and lawsuits,) the feds take the land into trust where the casino is to be operated.
Citizensheep
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December 05, 2012
' "Ornley, I am sick and tired of your ramblings in what you think is a "cute" style. Enough already!"

If it makes ya so sick an tired then don't read em! '

If you post more than two sentences...I don't. Neither do a lot of folk.

jd1872
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November 10, 2012
I agree with walkingtall, it will never happen in this area. Unfortunately, nothing will ever happen in this area it seems.
walkingtall
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November 10, 2012
This is all smoke and mirrors. Simple put, this will never happen. A waste of the cities breath. Even if this got close, the lawsuits from various groups would be enough to send it down the pasture!!!
Chuck007
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November 11, 2012
Do you oppose this? I'm not sure that the threat of frivolous lawsuits should stop a project that could bring jobs and revenue to Tracy. If the people support it, if they want jobs, growth and opportunities, then they will support it.
C3TJ
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November 10, 2012
$1.5 million of the $1.2 billion? Given Mr. Rogers' past track record of his business ventures, I hope the city of Tracy has a decent legal team on retainer.
Chuck007
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November 11, 2012
What is Mr. Rogers' past track record of business ventures?


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