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San Pablo City Council candidate Kathy Chao Rothberg is photographed at a candidate meet and greet at Maple Hall in San Pablo, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. (Jane Tyska/Staff)

San Pablo is a city that lives or dies financially by the health of legalized gambling. Casino San Pablo provides roughly 70 percent of municipal revenues and has helped the city weather the Great Recession.

That, a half-cent sales tax hike voters approved in June and full pension contributions by employees allow San Pablo to continue providing most city services that were available five years ago.

To its credit, the city has also paid a significant portion of its pension debt, and has fully funded its retiree health plan. It's a wise strategy for a city that relies so heavily on one potentially volatile revenue stream.

For their cautious approach, the three incumbents in the Nov. 6 election -- Leonard McNeil, Cecilia Valdez and Kathy Chao Rothberg -- deserve re-election.

However, we caution them: This golden egg could easily crack if other casinos open in the region. The city must diversify its economy. The three incumbents say they recognize this. But, if re-elected, they must also walk the talk by keeping large reserves and looking for new businesses to broaden the city's income stream.



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