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Bell Gardens, California
The City of Bell Gardens is located in southeastern Los Angeles County. Bell Gardens is considered one of the “Gateway Cities,” as they serve as the “gateway” between Los Angeles County and neighboring Orange County. The City of Bell Gardens was incorporated in 1961 and has a population of over 40,000 residents and an area of 2.5 square miles. The city is situated between the western bank of the Rio Hondo Channel and the Los Angeles River. Beyond the northern border of Bell Gardens are the cities of Commerce and Montebello. To the west of Bell Gardens are the cities of Bell and Cudahy. The city’s southern and eastern neighbors are Downey and South Gate. Bell Gardens is named after James George Bell, who is considered the founder of the neighboring City of Bell. The reference to “gardens” in the City of Bell Gardens’ name refers to the numerous gardens established by Japanese in decades past on what was some of the most fertile soil in Los Angeles County. Veterans Memorial Park, covering 15.73 acres, and John Anson Ford Park, are the largest parks in the City of Bell Gardens.Jobs and the Economy Gaming Proposition 13
Passed by voters in 1978, Proposition 13 was an amendment to the California Constitution. Proposition 13 limited property taxes as it valued real property at its 1975 fair market value with annual increases limited to the inflation rate. The real property is reassessed when a change of ownership or new construction occurs. A consequence of Proposition 13, which probably was not foreseen by most voters, was that property tax revenue from commercial properties in particular began to decline significantly, straining the budgets of some municipalities.Gaming Ordinance
In 1981, Bell Gardens passed an ordinance permitting gambling to help increase City revenue. Along with its northern neighbor, the City of Commerce, Bell Gardens is one of a few cities in Los Angeles county with legal gaming establishments.Bicycle Casino
Adjacent Interstate 710, the Parkwest Bicycle Casino, also known as “The Bike,” is Bell Gardens’ sole legal gaming establishment. It includes a 99-room seven-story hotel tower, restaurants, and a 100,000 square-foot card (or table) room that offers poker and other card games. While the Parkwest Bicycle Casino may look like a Las Vegas style casino, it is in fact vastly different from the type of gambling establishment you find on the Las Vegas strip. California law prohibits commercial casino-style gaming. However, in California, a distinction is made between cardrooms and full-fledged casinos. Cardrooms differ from full-fledged casinos in that they do not offer slot machines and gamblers play games against each other as opposed to the house. The California constitution allows cities to elect to permit casino-style gambling for “games of skill” but not for “games of luck.” California cardrooms generate revenue through fees on each hand played. The cardroom industry supports over 13,000 jobs and has an economic effect of over $2 billion annually in Los Angeles County. The Parkwest Bicycle Casino (Bicycle Club Casino) first opened in 1984 and was initially the largest poker club in the world. The casino underwent a major expansion in 2015. The Parkwest Bicycle Casino is a significant source of City General Fund revenue. Casino revenue has comprised as much as 45% of the City’s revenue.Oversight of the Gaming Industry
California law requires owners of gambling establishments to obtain and maintain a valid state gambling license from the California Gambling Control Commission. The Bureau of Gambling Control, a division of the California Office of the Attorney General, works cooperatively with the California Gambling Control Commission pursuant to the Gambling Control Act (California Business and Professions Code section 19800 et seq.) Every person employed by a gambling establishment in a supervisory position or who has the authority to make discretionary decisions that regulate the gambling operation must apply for a license as a key employee. Persons employed by gambling establishments whose employment duties require access to restricted gambling establishment areas (or have authorized access to restricted gambling establishment areas), including dealers, money handlers, food servers, and those involved in security or maintenance must obtain a work permit. The work permit will be authorized either by the local jurisdiction or the California Gambling Control Commission. Every cardroom employee in the City of Bell Gardens must undergo a law enforcement background check and submit photographs and a set of fingerprints to the Bell Gardens Police Department.
Pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, cardrooms must install and maintain a surveillance system.History
Henry Tifft Gage, a resident of what is now the City of Bell Gardens, was a Republican Governor of California from 1899-1903. Henry Tifft Gage was later appointed a minister to Portugal. Henry Tifft Gage became the owner and occupant of the Lugo Mansion. In 1795, construction began on the land’s original adobe dwelling. The dwelling would become known as Casa de Rancho San Antonio, the Lugo Mansion, and later, the Henry Gage Mansion, undergoing an expansion over the course of the 19th Century. This is the oldest house in Los Angeles County. It has been designated as State Historical Monument No. 984. Henry Tifft Gage lived in the house until his death in 1924. Now the mansion is located in a mobile home park.
The area’s first school, the San Antonio School, was built in what is now Bell Gardens in 1867.Government
The City of Bell Gardens is governed the Mayor and City Council. A City Manager acts as the City’s chief executive officer and directs and manages the daily administration and all departments of the City of Bell Gardens. Bell Gardens has six elementary schools, two intermediate schools, one high school, and two adult schools. Public schools in Bell Gardens are part of the Montebello Unified School District. The Bell Gardens Police Department has more than 80 employees. The County of Los Angeles Fire Department provides fire protection and life safety services for the City of Bell Gardens.Contact Us
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