Locals fight Hollywood Casino over liquor license

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RANCHO SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Hundreds of people attended a public hearing Thursday to protest the Hollywood Casino's application for a liquor license.

“Most of the community did not want this casino. The alcohol is what really adds to it -- makes it even more dangerous,” said Denise Tanner, a Jamul resident.

The $400 million casino on Jamul Indian Village property opened a little more than a month ago amid controversy over added traffic on state Route 94.

Marcia Spurgeon, a community activist, believes the road is more dangerous because of casino guests driving under the influence.

“We’ve seen erratic driving -- I've seen people making U-turns in the middle of 94. I’ve seen a lot more reckless driving than we’ve had in the past," said Spurgeon.

The casino already has a temporary alcohol permit.

General Manager Richard St. Jean says, since the opening, there have been no serious problems.

“There have been no incidents associated with the casino relative to accidents, DUI or anything else," said St. Jean.

Many locals want road safety enhancements before the casino gets a liquor license.

“We’d like to see the roads mitigated, which was promised to us from Caltrans and the tribe – an agreement in 2009 that they would not open until the roads were mitigated – that’s not happened," said Spurgeon.

According to St. Jean, the tribe will commit more than $20 million for road improvements.

The hearing is expected to continue after the new year.