MR. REINER: Madam Chair and members of the commission. My name is Gerald Reiner and I'm an employee at the Del Mar race track where I work as carpenter foreman.

You've heard a lot of testimony today concerning the economic impact of horse racing, employment at farms and tracks and the contribution we make to our local and regional communities. I ask for the opportunity to speak to you today to put a human face on that testimony and to stress to you the importance of racing facilities like Del Mar to those of us who make a living there.

I'm a member of Local 547 of the southern California Conference of Carpenters and I began working at Del Mar as a seasonal employee in 1978. In 1980 I began working full time on a year round basis and today as I speak I am one of over 1,000 collective bargaining employees and 400 non-union seasonal employees on the payroll at Del Mar.

The various employees at the track are represented by 13 collective bargaining units and include various construction trades, Teamsters and Service employees International.

Del Mar is more than just a gambling environment. It is a way of life not only for it's employees but for the thousands of horse owners, trainers, grooms, hard-walkers, and fans who call it home for seven weeks every summer. It is a major benefactor of local hotels and restaurants in San Diego's north county and a significant contributor to local and national charities.

As I'm sure you well know, California went through a serious economic recession in early 1990's and new home and commercial construction projects were seriously and adversely affected. Despite this recession the challenges faced by the racing industry in recent years, racing has still provided a steady source of employment and well paying jobs.

It has permitted many people like me to raise my family in a great community. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of this business and particularly proud of the contribution all of us here at Del Mar make to that community.

Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak.

CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you. I'd like to thank each of our public comment speakers. I promised you a big round of applause at the end.




CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you very much. I want you to know that your views are very important to this Commission and we recognize and appreciate that many of you took time away from your work and your families to be here. For those of you who are disappointed that you did not have an opportunity to give public comment, I would remind you that it is a fair and open process and that it's first come, first serve, that's the American way. So you have to get up early.

You are indeed important to this process and we do thank you.

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