As the mayor of Compton, I am proud of the many contributions our local cardroom makes to our city’s economy. The money generated from this local business directly impacts vital city services like addressing homelessness, senior services and implementing green energy initiatives.
However, Compton is facing a threat from Proposition 26 that could impact our ability to provide these vital services. That’s due to a poison pill in Prop 26 that gives its sponsors an unfair advantage against their competition. It proposes changing the State Constitution to give private lawyers the power of the Attorney General to shut down table games at our local cardroom through frivolous lawsuits – an inequitable ploy Prop 26’s sponsors have attempted for years.
To better understand the history driving Prop 26, it’s important to know that its sponsors have unsuccessfully filed multiple lawsuits to stop these games from being played at licensed cardrooms. Four courts of appeals have ruled against Prop 26’s sponsors, including a recent lawsuit they filed against the State of California. After losing in the courts, Prop 26 proponents introduced this initiative that contains a clause allowing them to sue cardrooms for offering games they think compete with their casinos. Ultimately, this would guarantee them a near monopoly on all gaming in California. Meanwhile, cardrooms would face frivolous lawsuits that force them out of business and adversely impact communities that rely on cardroom revenue for vital city services—jeopardizing thousands of quality jobs and significant city tax dollars.
The harm caused by Prop 26 is especially detrimental to Black and Hispanic communities in our city. Specifically, Compton cardrooms generate a total economic impact of more than $100 million and bring 562 jobs that pay $24 million in wages. These jobs and revenue are essential for improving the quality of life for people living in Compton who often lack the economic opportunities afforded to other communities. What’s worse, Los Angeles County will lose over 13,000 jobs and face a $2.29 billion hit in total economic impact. Statewide, we’re facing a loss of more than 32,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in wages, and $5.5 billion in total economic impact at-risk — meaning fewer funds for public health, homelessness services and senior centers.
This is why I’ve joined the diverse coalition opposing Prop 26, including the California Contract Cities Association—which represents over 70 cities–Gateway Cities Council of Governments, Disabled American Veterans, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Business Federation, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) International just to name a few.
In fact, Prop 26 is so egregious that it doesn’t even have the support of either of our state’s two major political parties.
As a city leader for Compton, my vision for our future involves moving forward in a positive way – renovating our city’s parks, building more green spaces, and continuing with city clean-ups. It is my duty to advocate for my constituents and ensure that they maintain their quality of life and can support their families. Yet if Prop 26 were to become law, our community would be deprived of revenue for vital services. We would not be alone, which is why I’m asking voters to “vote no” on Prop 26 this November to protect the City of Compton and cities in the Los Angeles region that rely on revenue from California cardrooms to survive and thrive.
Emma Sharif was elected Mayor for the City of Compton in 2021 and she celebrated her one-year anniversary in this position in July of 2022. She has been a resident of Compton for many years, proudly raising her children and working in the community for over 20 years.