On August 14, 2014 two referendum petition packets were taken out for the purpose of obtaining Glendale residents’ signatures. If successful, the two actions taken by the Glendale City Council at its meeting on August 12, 2014 will be decided in an election by the people…as it should be. Glendale’s City Attorney, Michael Bailey, said publicly that neither council vote is referable. In other words, no one can take out a petition to try to overturn the council votes. The Tribal attorneys believe it is referable. When the signed petitions are turned in expect Glendale to reject them. Expect a law suit resulting in yet another judicial decision about Glendale’s ultimate fate.
Here is the text of the first referendum action. It seeks to overturn the council’s vote welcoming a reservation and casino within Glendale: “The Tohono O’Odham casino, targeted for a Glendale neighborhood near homes, schools, daycares and houses of worship, will destroy neighborhoods and create severe budget stress for the nearly bankrupt City, overburdening Glendale’s public safety, street and infrastructure. This petition seeks to refer the August 12, 2014 Glendale City Council vote to agree to the creation of a 121-acre Indian reservation at 91st and Northern avenues. A “no” vote on this referral will overturn the Council’s decision to support a reservation and a casino and respect the NO casino promise, protecting City residents and the Glendale’s budget and core services.”
The second referendum petition seeks to overturn the council approved agreement between the City of Glendale and the Tohono O’odham: “The Tohono O’Odham casino, targeted for a Glendale neighborhood near homes, schools, daycares and house of worship, will destroy neighborhoods and create severe budget stress for the nearly bankrupt City, overburdening Glendale’s public safety, streets and infrastructure. This petition seeks to refer the August 12, 2014 Glendale City Council vote to sign a settlement agreement with the Tohono O’odham Nation in support of the Tribe’s neighborhood casino. A “no” vote on this referral will overturn the Council’s pro-casino decision and respect the NO casino promise, protecting City residents and the Glendale’s budget and core services.”
The pro casino people have already begun their campaign of ridicule and denigration of the referendum petition effort saying, “it’s all about money…the other Tribes do not want the competition of another casino.” Of course it’s about the money. Everyone has their hand in the money pot…the Tohono O’odham, the City of Glendale and the other Tribes.
To accept that their referendum effort is ONLY about “the money” is simplistic, self-serving and makes for great PR but misses the mark. There is a greater imperative for the Gila River Indian Community, the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and all of the Tribes across the state supporting efforts of these two lead Tribes.
As President of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Diane Enos, said, “They looked us in the face and lied.” She is referring to the Tohono O’odham, a member of the coalition of Tribes that negotiated the gaming compact with the state. The TO actively and publicly worked to get voters of the state to approve the compact while deliberately keeping from its Sister Tribes its ultimate plan to put a casino in the Phoenix Metro Area. In fact, it contributed a great deal of money to publicize and to advance the compact with the state’s voters.
The Tohono O’odham lied to its Sister Tribes. It betrayed them. Why? For the money. The Tohono O’odham lied to the State and to every voter who approved the gaming compact. Why? For the money. But somehow for the pro casino supporters that’s supposed to be OK?
Why is the TO’s action simply ignored by the pro casino supporters? For the money. For all of the Tribes throughout Arizona it is a matter of honor, respect and trust…all of which the TO deliberately chose to betray. That is the real reason the Tribes are driven to oppose the Tohono O’odham’s plans.
If an opportunity to vote on the Tohono O’odham’s casino plans do make it to a Glendale ballot that is what the voters of Glendale should remember. “They looked us in the face and lied.”
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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