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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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Apparently Governor Doug Ducey has no problem throwing the City of Glendale under the bus. Recently he offered a settlement to the Tohono O’odham. Here is a link to Howard Fischer’s Capitol Times story: http://tucson.com/news/local/tohono-o-odham-say-proposed-casino-deal-not-likely-acceptable/article_da14a03a-e2b5-5fde-aa95-87519314c89c.html . In return for the state’s recognition of the Glendale casino as well as the state’s allowance of full Class III gaming at the Glendale casino the Governor wants the tribe in essence to promise not to build any other casinos in the metropolitan areas of  Phoenix and to limit gaming to the TO tribal land that existed in 2003. Gee, as a Glendale resident, I want to say, “Thank you, Governor.” The deal, in order to obtain buy-in from the other tribes, gives the tribes an increase gaming operations which means increased revenue for them.

The Tohono O’odham (TO) is reluctant to agree. They are betting that Judge Campbell, who is scheduled to hear arguments in mid-December on the TO’s lawsuit to compel the state to grant it Class III gaming, will rule in their favor. The TO assumes it will win this lawsuit and get Class III gaming in Glendale. The TO’s anticipated win of this current law suit allows them to retain the legal option to open casinos elsewhere in the Phoenix metro area.

A little refresher on history is needed. In 2002, the voters of the state approved a Gaming Compact between all tribes and the state for the purpose of gaming regulation at tribal casinos. The 2002 deal gave the tribes the exclusive right to conduct casino gaming in Arizona and was sold to voters on the promise that gambling would be restricted to existing reservations and that there would be no new casinos in the Phoenix area.

In the meantime, the TO, while actively encouraging voters to support the 2002 gaming compact, were already planning on breaching it. Prior to 2002 they were secretly and actively seeking land for the purpose of planting a casino in Maricopa County. Their original consideration was to purchase land in or around Buckeye. Buckeye dodged the bullet when the TO’s consultant opined that the site was too distant from the major urban centers of Phoenix. They settled on a county island in Glendale, close to city’s newly announced (in 2002) Westgate site as an entertainment district. They bought the land under a shell company and for seven years they kept it secret while Glendale invested millions of dollars into the development of Westgate. On the day in 2009, when they made their public announcement of their intent to build a casino in Glendale, they marched into city hall and in essence told the city they were coming and there was not a darned thing it could do about it.

For years, Glendale and the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa tribe and the Gila River tribe brought lawsuits against the Tohono O’odham. It has only been lately that Glendale’s city council dropped its opposition to the TO casino in return for 30 pieces of silver.

Here is the Arizona Republic’s latest editorial on the issue: http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2016/11/30/tribal-gaming-settlement/94698276/ .

Everyone , to this day, believes the TO’s West Valley casino was a breach of the spirit of the 2002 agreement with voters that created the plan for limited tribal gaming. The tribes believe the TO breached their trust. Over the past 8 years the TO has created controversy, innumerable legal battles, enormous cost and a great deal of distrust regarding its word to its sister tribes and the voters of the state.

The TO’s response has been to say that it wants to consider all proposals using the Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA). Here’s the rub. The Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community resigned from the AIGA in May, 2016, saying, “actions of the Tohono O’odham Nation to secretly develop a casino in direct opposition to the promises made by AIGA and other tribes has destroyed AIGA’s unity and undermined the principles of the organization.” Obviously the TO’s suggestion is not going to happen but it certainly provides the TO with convenient cover.

What to make of this latest volley? It is clear that no one on this planet trusts the Tohono O’odham’s word.  The only reason the state is willing to grant the long-coveted Class III gambling license is because Governor Ducey wants a signed, legal document  (promise) from the TO that they will not build any more casinos in the greater Phoenix metro area. The TO’s word is worth nothing and their signature on a contract may not be worth much more (do you see future law suits?).

In the meantime the TO wants its cake and to eat it too. They are cocky. They’ve won nearly every law suit. They have convinced themselves they will win this latest one. If they do, they will get their Class III gaming without having to promise anyone that they will not build more casinos in Maricopa County. Uh, oh, watch out Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, et. al. A Tohono O’odham casino planted in your town may be in your future! Can anyone say, “Las Vegas?”

© Joyce Clark, 2016        

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It has been 17 years and 301 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Once again the Glendale Star’s bias is showing. An October 23, 2015 story by Carolyn Dryer, editor, bemoans the fact that it looks like House Resolution 308, the Keep the Promise Act introduced by Representative Trent Franks, will soon come up for a successful vote in the Congressional House of Representatives. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_9a937bea-79d8-11e5-b35d-6b9c5634463d.html .

The House has essentially passed the same bill two times previously with bipartisan support.  It is said, “the third time’s a charm.” Let’s hope so. Once the House passes the bill it moves to the Senate. A Republican majority provides a strong chance that it will pass there as well.

One should note that the Glendale Star was obviously provided a copy of a letter by Representative Raul Grijalva, an opponent of the bill, sent to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Grijalva’s letter is quoted extensively as he requests procedures designed to delay or kill the bill.

The Star also attempted to gain an interview with the House Majority Leader and is quoted as saying, “I realize we are not a national network probing for the truth, but we are a media outlet that is trying to educate our readers.” Unfortunately, there are two glaring errors in their statement. The Star appears to be a long, long way from “probing for the truth.” Oh wait, it’s probably their version of the truth. They also represent themselves as “trying to educate our readers.” That, too, appears to be fudging. If there really was a genuine attempt to educate the reader, the article would have been more balanced with statements from casino opponents as well as proponents. Instead it’s just another vehicle of support for the Tohono O’odham.

Don’t you find it interesting that the Star wrote a blistering editorial condemning Councilmember Sherwood’s actions flaunting the law yet seems to look the other way when it comes to the Tohono O’odham’s flaunting of the law and their casino?

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

PLEASE NOTE: YOU WILL NOTE THAT I HAVE NOT PUBLISHED MANY BLOGS LATELY. I HAVE BEEN CONSUMED WITH A PERSONAL FAMILY ISSUE WITH MANY, MANY DOCUMENTS TO READ AND ABSORB. THE ISSUE SHOULD RESOLVE ITSELF BY THE END OF OCTOBER.

It has been 17 years and 281 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

It would appear so. Like a fall bonfire’s smoke, there is the smell of desperation in the air. His recall election is fast approaching and early ballots for Sahuaro district voters go out on Wednesday, October 7th. His campaign has been placing robo calls (one can assume the fire union is footing the bill) to voters in his district. In them, Sherwood apparently calls on voters not to believe all the lies being told about him and that they have been created by interests outside of Glendale. No one is buying his rhetoric. The “lies” Sherwood refers to are of his own making. He didn’t need help from interests outside of Glendale.

He had a district meeting (a rare event) on October 1, 2015. Isn’t it amazing that it was scheduled just before early ballots are mailed? There is something to be said for the power of an incumbent.  I know that when I ran for council there was a prohibition for councilmembers from using city resources for (if I remember correctly, for at least 60 days…it could have been longer). He has tried to explain away his lousy driving record with its array of suspensions and warrant for his arrest. His rationale? All those court documents he was receiving were just junk mail.

Sherwood’s history as the Sahuaro district councilmember is not a record of pride:

  • From the start of representation he has been arrogant about and dismissive of his constituents’ voices
  • He was frequently heard on the 4th floor of city hall crowing that he was the “real” mayor of Glendale
  • He followed his own agenda rather than that of his constituency
  • His extraordinary meeting with former City Manager Brenda Fischer and his advocacy for her hiring
  • His apparent alliance with Fischer and her inner circle, Frisoni, Tindall and Burdick leading to their favoritism and advocacy for his positions on issues such as the Coyotes deal
  • His rationalization for support for the casino seems to change on any given day but many continue to believe that he traded his vote of support for the casino with Councilmember Chavira’s vote of support for the Coyotes
  • His stance on Foothills Library closure and advocacy for Becker billboards was in direct opposition to the majority of his district residents’ wishes
  • As Vice Chair of the Valley Metro transit board he has, before hearing or considering the wishes of the people of Glendale, staked out a position not only in support of light rail in Glendale but that the route should be through its downtown
  • Lastly and perhaps most troubling, is his flaunting of the law. The most serious of which was his out-of-town car rental while his drivers license was suspended and he paid for the vehicle rental with a city ProCard. If there had been any kind of accident he would have subjected the city to tremendous liability. There is also the outstanding matter of Glendale taxpayers footing the bill for his illegal behavior

Unfortunately Sherwood has not lived up to his campaign billing, past, present and future. Sherwood’s and the fire union’s desperation are palpable. Apparently their polling is showing that Sherwood will lose his recall election by a vote of 3 to 1. So, they’ve put up campaign signs with every imaginable endorsement they can scrape up. For instance, now “education” supports Sherwood. Who in “education?” Do Sherwood and the fire union think voters are so dumb that they do not know that the city has no influence or control over local school districts? The city does not fund education in any way, shape or form. This is the same ploy both Chavira and Aldama used in their campaigns when they said they supported and were supported by “education.” It’s meaningless. Another favorite is Sherwood’s endorsement by “paramedics.” Which ones? Of course the firefighter paramedics are predominately union members and the fire union is underwriting the cost of Sherwood’s campaign.

Many voters in the Sahuaro district recognize that Sherwood has not been on their side. It seems he has supported powerful outside interests in return for future financial campaign reelection support. For that reason alone it appears that his constituency is prepared to reject him and to elect and “outsider.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? We see the same sentiment on a national level with voters prepared to vote for “outsiders” on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle.

Voters in the Sahuaro district do have a choice. Ray Malnar is running against Sherwood in his recall election. In the past day or two, the following message from Ray Malnar was forwarded to me and I am sharing it with you, the Sahuaro district voters:

Dear friends,

Early Ballots began going out in the Sahuaro District yesterday. At the same time, messages are being distributed by my opponent and his supporters which do not address the issues. I want to continue to stay truthful and honorable. In this, the eleventh hour of the election cycle, I am asking that you help share the facts about my experience, ethics and position on key issues with people you know, especially those who live in the Sahuaro District.

Here’s a link to the  Ray Malnar for a Better Glendale website which will clarify who I am, what I stand for and why we are in this Recall Election. Please type in : https://www.raymalnar.com/   Please send this link out to everyone you know who might have a connection in Glendale.

Thank you,

 Ray Malnar, Candidate

Glendale City Council, Sahuaro District

602-869-1160

ray.malnar@cox.net

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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It has been 17 years and 271 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

NOTE: You may have noted that I haven’t posted blogs lately. More trips to California on personal business interfered. In addition, on one of my usual forays into the koi pond to trim pond plants I fell not once, but twice. It was the second fall that put me out of commission for I broke my fall into the water with a hand. Luckily, due to the strong bones I inherited, I didn’t break anything but I did do damage to my wrist and arm. It was just enough damage to incapacitate me for a few more days…sigh. My invincibility gene was malfunctioning that day.

Recently Judge Campbell, tasked with making local judicial decisions on all things Tohono O’odham casino related, issued another decision. The Tohono O’odham (TO) filed a motion to compel the state to issue it a Class III gaming license. Currently the TO have the right to install Class II (bingo type) gaming equipment but to use Class III equipment it needs state approval. It is generally believed that Class II gaming is not as lucrative as Class III.

Judge Campbell noted the court “has never held, as the (tribe) argues, that the State’s allegations of fraud… lack merit.” This may be the crux of the entire legal situation. Ned Norris, Jr., previous Chairman of the Tohono O’odham, has never once denied or refuted the charges of deception leveled against he and his Tribe allegedly committed against the State of Arizona, the Governor and the voters. Fraud and misrepresentation appeared to be woven into every decision made by the Tohono O’odham. They bought land in Glendale on a county island and kept it secret for 7 years. They funded and actively participated in the campaign to convince Arizona voters to approve the State Compact. They betrayed their sister tribes and the people of the state of Arizona. They had a plan which they shared with no one while advocating for the state gaming compact.

Many who oppose the casino believe as Judge Campbell noted that there is merit to the state’s allegations of fraud. During the campaign to convince voters to approve the State Gaming Compact in 2002:

  • Not once did the TO reveal that they had been secretly land shopping for a new casino site in Maricopa County and even considered a land purchase in Buckeye.
  • Not once did the TO reveal that they had secretly acquired land in Glendale for a casino using a shell company.
  • Not once did the TO reveal that they secretly held land for a new casino for 7 years.
  • Not once did the TO reveal that they planned to violate the promise to voters to limit the number of casinos in Maricopa County.
  • Not once did the TO reveal to its sister tribes its plans for a new casino in Maricopa County.

In 2009 the Tohono O’odham publicly announced its plans and shock waves rippled throughout the state. Their action, if ultimately successful, will blow the state gaming compact apart as  new precedent is set. If and when the compact is finally trampled on by the TO, the specter of new casinos (Indian and non-Indian) on other county islands looms large. Is it any wonder that other Valley Metro cities are concerned and have voiced their disapproval of the TO’s actions? They don’t want a casino in their neighborhoods any more than the people of west Glendale want a casino in their neighborhood.

Judge Campbell has demonstrated that the Tohono O’odham can’t win ‘em all. Allegations of fraud and misrepresentation may be the undoing of the TO and may turn out to be the most important point of law still untested.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 17 years and 132 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

According to the Maricopa County Elections Department the Stop Councilman Sherwood Committee (www.stopsherwood.com) has successfully submitted enough valid petition signatures to force a recall election of Councilmember Gary Sherwood of Glendale’s Sahuaro district. Look for the recall election to occur on or about November 3, 2015.

According to a story in the Arizona Republic by Peter Corbett (here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2015/05/12/glendale-councilman-sherwood-face-recall-election/27216077/ ) Sherwood said, “This is being funded by Gila River. This is a casino thing but they threw some other issues in there to try to make it legitimate.” Who do you think will be throwing money Sherwood’s way as he tries to beat back this recall effort? Just look at his campaign filings (here is the link: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/2014PoliticalCommitteeCampaignFinanceReports.cfm . Scroll down this page to “Friends of Gary Sherwood.” You can view all of his submitted campaign finance reports.)

Don’t be surprised to see the Tohono O’odham, Mark Becker of Becker Billboards and the Rose Law Group (Becker’s attorney of record) contributing to his campaign or making independent expenditures. Expect the Glendale Fire Union to call on their brother chapters to contribute money, time and manpower to prop Sherwood up. Remember, theoretically the local Glendale union must not be involved because of the Federal Hatch Act…wink, wink.

Sherwood misreads his constituency if he truly believes that it is simply the Gila River tribe’s attempt to get rid of him. People in his district are not very happy with him these days. He appears to them as arrogant and dismissive of not just their concerns but their positions on issues that are important to them. He has been publicly derisive of their comments at city council meetings. He continues to advocate for Becker billboards and has even tried a few billboard issue maneuvers at council meetings. Apparently his constituents’ opposition to the billboards may not be as important to him as pushing for the billboards. His motive may be payback for previous financial campaign support and anticipated support this time around.

He failed to inform his constituency of the possible sale of the Foothills Library. The perception was that he purposely dragged his feet on publicizing the issue because he supported the idea of a sale. After the library issue died he proudly announced that he was having a luncheon meeting with Midwestern University President Kathleen Goeppinger to offer Glendale’s support of other possible MU initiatives.

Then there’s the casino issue. Sherwood ran on a platform of opposition to the casino and then at the eleventh hour, flip-flopped and became its most ardent supporter. Many people, to this day, believe that Sherwood became pro-casino in return for Councilmember Chavira’s support for the Coyote deal with IceArizona. Each man was the deciding vote to create majority support for each issue.

Sherwood originally claimed that the reason he changed his position was that Councilmember Chavira brought new information to his attention but he has never said what that “new information” was. Now he says the reason he changed his position is, “he changed his mind about it once it was clear that Glendale could not stop the Tohono O’odham Nation project.”  Which is it, Mr. Sherwood? New information from Chavira or you were powerless to stop the TO? If Sherwood had adhered to his campaign promise and stayed the course with Councilmembers Martinez, Knaack and Mayor Weiers, those four would have constituted a majority keeping an anti-casino position.

Then there is Sherwood’s position on the temporary sales tax increase…excuse me…make that a permanent increase. With a proverbial wringing of hands, Sherwood supported making the temporary sales tax permanent while agreeing that it would be revisited in future council budget workshops with the intent to gradually reduce the tax.  During this council budget workshop cycle did you hear Sherwood fighting to gradually reduce the tax?

Sherwood has two options. He can as he puts it “stand by his record and intend to run in the election (2015).” That sets up an interesting scenario. He would have to defend himself this November in a recall election and then turn around and do the whole thing all over again in November of 2016 when his seat comes up for its regular, every four year council district election. Or he could resign and run for mayor against Weiers in the November election of 2016. By resigning he would instantly remove a lot of the current negativity from voters in his district. For now, the issue of his recall is relatively isolated within his district. Hmmm….

As an FYI: Mayor Weiers may face yet another challenge for his seat in 2016. Rumors are floating that even though Councilmember Jamie Aldama is a newbie he wants to run for mayor in 2016. Aldama and his supporters seem to think that the Hispanic vote can win the election for him. Sadly they fail to recognize that the Hispanic vote is concentrated in south Glendale (Ocotillo, Cactus and Yucca districts) and that historically north Glendale (Cholla, Sahuaro and Barrel districts) outvote south Glendale at a nearly 2 to 1 ratio. While Aldama feels that he may prevail in south Glendale his visibility and support in north Glendale is practically nil.

It may become a contest to see who has the greater chutzpah in vying for Mayor Weiers’ seat…Councilmember Sherwood or Councilmember Aldama. It will be interesting to see who wins this match up…Sherwood or Aldama.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Recently a blog reader sent me the following study produced for Fort Wayne, Indiana as it considered allowing casinos in 2009. Here is the link: http://www.ipfw.edu/dotAsset/174199.pdf . He said he believed the study to be reasonable and objective. It was commissioned by the City of Fort Wayne and written by the Community Research Institute of Indiana University/Purdue University. Apparently the 38 pages of information produced did not deter the officials in Fort Wayne and two non tribal casinos are now in operation: the Fraternal Order of Eagles 3512 casino and the Canterbury casino. There are several major differences between Fort Wayne’s casinos and the proposed Glendale casino. No reservation land was created as these are not tribal casinos; local, county and state taxes are paid and revenue sharing deals were implemented. Here are a few highlights of the study.

  • “When fiscal costs were included as well a multiplier effects, most of the options which were calculated results in costs exceeding benefits.”
  • “However, the averages wages are less for casino employees compared to the overall average wage.”
  • “For 5-10 miles, there was an average loss of $195 for all industries…businesses located 10-30 miles away lost $243.”
  • “…casino ‘undercut’ local bars, restaurants, and lodging by subsidizing their on-site casino facilities.”
  • “In 2007, gambling industries (the majority of which are casino employment) had an average wage of $28,148 while the average national wage was $44,458.”
  • “Wichita State (2007) states that 50 percent of new jobs will come through substitution of existing jobs.”
  • “…one negative would be more traffic, more accidents, and more DUI arrests.”
  • “Rose (1998) identifies sewer and road maintenance as a drain on communities, as well as costs of increased crime and crime prevention.”
  • “…approximately 41 percent of the patrons lived within 20 miles, approximately 27% within 20-60 miles, and approximately 32 percent traveled more than 60 miles.”
  • From Wichita State (2007) annual spending per person living 0-10 miles from a casino is $528; 10-25 miles from a casino is $234; and 25-50 miles away is $115.”
  • “Research shows that proximity to a casino increases the likelihood of problem gambling…and most pathological and problem gamblers lives within 50 miles of a casino.”
  • “Strong evidence is produced that there is a correlation between crime and casinos…It has been suggested that after time, the pathological and problem gamblers may resort to crime to cover gambling related debts (bad check, check forgery, theft from employers, tax evasion, tax fraud, loan fraud, embezzlement, larceny, bookmaking, hustling, fencing stolen goods, confidence games, pimping, prostitution, selling drugs, and others.)”
  • “In a 2004 study done b the Department of Justice pathological or problem gamblers were arrested a rate 3-5 times higher than that of the general population.”
  • “Different studies have found ranges which are substantially higher for problem gambling in adolescents.”
  • “Substance abusers appear to be particularly vulnerable to gambling problems.”
  • “Studies indicate that casino employees may also be at higher risk for pathological gambling.”

The Community Research Institute made clear that it had no dog in the fight and was merely compiling research from a vast amount of available material. Their bibliography is extensive. Even an seemingly non-biased study such as this one raises red flags about the long term effects of casinos – tribal or non tribal.

Two of the major reasons supporters advocate for the Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale are: 1. historically we have treated Indians poorly, subjugating and placing them on reservations and therefore we, the United States, owe them; and 2. Glendale will benefit financially from a casino in its community. Questions arise. How far back does this nation have to recall history in paying for past sins? 50 years? 100 years? 150 years? The U.S. government has acknowledged its historical ill treatment of indigenous Indian people and has paid and continues to pay vast amounts of money in reparation.

 Glendale, despite the monies being offered by the Tohono O’odham, will suffer financially. It will be tasked with installing new and upgraded infrastructure to serve the casino and its associated development. It will strain an already strained public safety system and the casino will remove sales tax dollars from nearby businesses through unfair, untaxed, subsidized competition.

The action taken by the Glendale city council to bend over on the casino issue will, in the future, be just as detrimental financially to the city as the infamous arena management deal and the Camelback Ranch Spring Training Facility. It will become just another sink hole draining dollars that could be used to provide amenities that enhance the quality of life of Glendale’s residents.

There is still hope that the casino can be defeated. The General Election of November 4, 2014 produced a Republican majority in the Senate. I suspect that now it may be far easier to get a bill passed that stops the Tohono O’odham in their tracks. Perhaps that is why, even though they had a major ground breaking event a month or so ago, not one shovel full of dirt has moved on the TO site. This may signal the most prudent decision they have made to date. Actually starting a multimillion dollar development while congressional legislation remains a threat would be fool hardy indeed.

I never have and do not now bear any ill will to the people of the Tohono O’odham Nation. The Tohono O’odham people have suffered financially for many years. Where do the annual millions of dollars earned by the Tohono O’odham’s three current casinos go? Apparently not to the people of the Nation. However, I do believe that the actions of Ned Norris, Jr. and the Tohono O’odham Legislative council with respect to violating the State Gaming Compact and attempting to plant a casino in Glendale have been incredibly imprudent, greedy, selfish and self-serving. I do not wish them well in this endeavor.

 © Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Sadly, real life should not be played like a Monopoly game although it often is, especially in politics. Horse trading deals seem to be a way of life for many politicians.  Councilmember Gary Sherwood penned a My Turn article entitled, Barrett is wrong, Franks is right: Casino means trouble for the Arizona Republic on April 20, 2013. Eighteen months ago he said:

    •  “Tohono O’odham’s massive casino is too close to residences and schools.”
    • “It denies tens of million (sic) of dollars of future development, construction and sales-tax revenues to our state and local community.”
    • “The casino will have a massive impact on Glendale’s already overwhelmed infrastructure – our police and fire departments and our roads — forever.”
    • “Crime is already up. Does anyone believe that putting a mega-casino in a neighborhood will improve the situation?”
    • “Franks is doing the right thing, and he is not alone.”
    • “The tribe has disregarded our city’s well-being and wishes for years. Now we should simply trust them?”
    • “Sadly, the Tohono O’odham Nation deliberately misled the public and even other tribal nations about this project and their casino-expansion plans for years. What kind of community leaders would willingly welcome such an unwelcome kind of neighbor?”                           

What caused Sherwood to do his flip-flop? Eighteen months ago Gary Sherwood was opposed to the Tohono O’odham casino. Sherwood has been asked repeatedly why he changed from anti-casino to pro-casino. His answers have been all over the place from, I was misinformed by others to Glendale staffers didn’t do their homework.

On September 17, 2014 Gary Sherwood testified at the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In his testimony he said, “I was stunned to learn that the prior Glendale administration had failed to make any effort to learn more about this proposal before it rushed to oppose it.” When questioned further by Senator McCain on his change of stance he said, “Umm, when I campaigned I had campaigned against this proposed based on information I had and I had read deal…quite a bit of information on it. Umm, the thing that was distressing to me though, that in the very beginning there was a half hour conversation when the city first found out about it in April of 2009 and that was the only conversation the previous administration had and I was, was always quite upset by the fact that we didn’t have the dialogue.” His reasons for changing his position are not only weak but mainly fantasy.

The city first learned of the casino project in January of 2009 when the TO simultaneously issued a press release and appeared at City Hall to reveal their plans. City staffers tried mightily at several subsequent meetings to get meaningful information from the Tohono O’odham about their plans. The TO repeatedly offered their conceptual plans but offered no concrete facts about their proposed project.  They were arrogant and their position was that they were coming and there was nothing the city could do. If Sherwood couldn’t get the date correct about Glendale’s learning of the TO’s plans, how many other statements of his that day played fast and loose with the facts?

His reasons for doing a 180 on his casino position should not be considered as satisfactory. Sherwood’s position remained opposed until the fall of 2013 when at several city council workshops he suddenly supported Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira in their call for “dialogue” with the Tohono O’odham. What other dynamic could have occurred?

Gary Sherwood and Sammy Chavira took office as councilmembers in January of 2013. Sammy ran on his opposition to the casino deals that had been presented to the city prior to his taking office. He said in an October, 2013 campaign mailing, ““Too many sweetheart arena deals for out-of-state corporations have left us deeply in debt.” Sammy outdid himself in supporting not just an out-of-state corporation sweetheart arena deal but out-of-country owners (mostly Canadian) sweetheart deal. He was opposed to any proposed casino deal. He went on to say publicly and repeatedly, “The city needs to be a tough negotiator, making smart planning decisions that preserve Glendale’s future.” Sammy, while running, was in no mood to accept any Coyotes deal. Inexplicably, after 6 months in office he becomes the 4th (and majority) vote to accept the IceArizona deal. Sherwood becomes the 4th councilmember (a majority) to support a dialogue with the TO after 8 months into his term. Coincidence? You must decide for yourselves. Did these councilmembers play a game of Monopoly?

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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On September 9, 2014 at its regular council meeting the Glendale City Council approved a new name for its arena. It will now be known as the Gila River Arena. The following day there was a press conference to announce the name change. Anthony LeBlanc, one of the Coyotes’ owners was there; Gregory Mendoza, Governor of the Tribe was there; Jan Brewer, our state Governor was there; and Jerry Weiers, Mayor of Glendale was there.  Guess who wasn’t there? Our infamous “gang of four,” Councilmembers Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira. It’s perfectly understandable. After all, their allegiance is to the Tohono O’odham Nation. Alvarez was also the lone negative vote on the name change to Gila River. Instead she stubbornly questioned staff on the necessity of bringing the name change before council for ratification.  It appeared as if she questioned the action long enough and hard enough she could make the need for a council vote disappear. Didn’t happen. Apparently Norma’s love for minorities does not extend to the Gila River Community.

However, it’s not so strange a move. Gila River has been a long time partner of the Arizona Coyotes hosting the Gila River Club within the arena proper. If I were the Gila River I would be secretly smug and taking enormous satisfaction in the fact that their name will be prominently displayed across the street from their duplicitous sister tribe, the Tohono O’odham’s new casino.

Here’s a reminder that today, Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM Eastern time, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will have a legislative hearing on Senate bill 2670, Keep the Promise Act of 2014, introduced by Senators McCain and Flake. It can be viewed online live.  Panel One of the hearing will have Governor Mendoza of the Gila River Indian Community, Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood. It should prove interesting as 2 champions of the casino face off against 2 opponents of the casino. Hopefully, the bill will move out of committee paving the way for a full senate vote.

Considering the fact that Glendale did not recoup its $14,002,055 (not a full fiscal year, prorated for 11 months) paid for the management fee and capital improvement fund and that you can add another $12 million for the arena construction debt, you would think Alvarez would welcome the new Gila River name and the 20% of the fee paid by Gila River to IceArizona. It will offset the approximately $20 million in arena costs, not by much, but every penny is welcome. A lot of Glendale’s residents are anxiously awaiting the audit of IceArizona’s budget and hope it is made public and put on the city’s website. If not, don’t be surprised if there are a lot of FOIA requests for a copy of the audit.

There was no council workshop on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 because there was not a quorum. How many of Glendale’s council is attending the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs legislative hearing today? I guess we’ll find out.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

photo aOn September 12, 2014 two political action committees, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Respect the Promise turned in approximately 15,000 petition signatures collected in 28 days for each of two referendum petitions. These petitions seek to overturn the city council votes of August 12, 2014 approving a settlement agreement with the Tohono O’odham and supporting the TO’s reservation status by requesting an election.

The approximately 15,000 petition signatures turned in is greater than the 10,914 Glendale citizens who exercised their right to vote in the recent Primary Election. That’s disconcerting. You would think that the number of petition signatures collected would send a strong message to this city council that Glendale residents want to weigh in on this issue by virtue of an election.

The Glendale City Clerk has 20 business days to do something, anything with the petitions before she turns them over to the Secretary of State. She is not an independent agent. She will be told what to do. Now it gets interesting. Wanna-be mayor, Councilmember Gary Sherwood was in attendance for the delivery of the petitions to the City Clerk. He could be heard muttering, the council votes of August 12th are not referable and these petitions are no more than toilet paper. You can be sure the “gang of four” (Sherwood, Alvarez, Hugh and Chavira) as the majority on council will give direction to the City Manager and City Attorney to reject these petitions. The City Attorney and his minions are burning the midnight oil to find Arizona case law that supports the city’s act of rejection. What does “not referable” mean? The city will take the position that the council votes were not legislation per se. Therefore the petitions which seek to refer those council actions to Glendale residents are not valid and thereby rejected by the city. Their position will be that those council votes were not legislative action and only legislation can be referred to the voters.

Make no mistake. Both groups, No More Bad Deals for Glendale and Respect the Promise are prepared to go to the legal mat on this issue of referability. If and when the city rejects the petitions on those grounds expect both groups to file suit. Isn’t it ironic that Alvarez and her merry band of pro casino councilmembers have complained bitterly about the money spent by the city on legal action when its position was in opposition to the casino and reservation? Will they decide not to spend money to defend the city’s position of petition rejection now that the city supports the casino and reservation? I guess the spending of taxpayer money on legal action depends on whose ox is being gored.

Alvarez, nearly every time she casts a “no” vote on a major city issue, can be heard pontificating that it is an issue upon which Glendale residents should vote. This time she has been amazingly silent in advocating that view when it comes to the casino and reservation. What, Norma, when it’s an issue you personally do not like it merits a vote of the people but when it is an issue that you do like, forget the people?

For those of you following this saga, this Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM, Eastern time (11:30 AM in Arizona) the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a legislative hearing on Senate Bill 2670, Keep the Promise Act of 2014, introduced by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. Here is the link to the site where it can be viewed live, online:  http://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/legislative-hearing-s-2670-keep-promise-act-2014 . If this link doesn’t work please copy and paste the link into your browser.

It appears that the bill could be marked up and passed out of committee for a full Senate vote. If that is the case and the bill is approved in the Senate there would be a House and Senate Conference Committee meeting to make sure the House version and Senate version of the bill are in agreement. It would then go to the President to sign or veto. If the bill were to be successful the Tohono O’odham, despite their ground breaking, would not be able to build a casino in Glendale or any other portion of the Phoenix Metro area.

On another note, to date the Attorney General’s Office is still investigating the alleged Open Meeting Law violation by Councilmembers Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira. If the complaint had no merit we would have received that opinion by now. The fact that it is taking so long would lead one to assume that there is merit to the allegations. If that turns out to be the case, look for some kind of major sanction against Councilmember Sherwood and perhaps a minor sanction for the three others. I wouldn’t be surprised if the AG’s Office required another vote on the original IceArizona/City of Glendale Management Agreement. This, too, could prove interesting dependent upon which candidates win council seats at the General Election in November.

It looks like Councilmember Hugh has met with Lauren Tomachoff and Bart Turner. Tolmachoff is a candidate for the Cholla district seat and Turner is a candidate for the Barrel district seat. It seems Councilmember Hugh is busy trying to build his own coalition. It appears that he fancies a run against current Mayor Jerry Weiers. Hey, Jerry, watch out! It looks like they are starting to line up for a run against you…Sherwood and now, Ian Hugh. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see Councilmember Knaack (retiring in January, 2015) decide on a run for mayor. Being part of a clearly dysfunctional council is no fun but perhaps becoming mayor is.

A lot is riding on this Attorney General Office’s investigation. It could kill any mayoral ambitions of both Sherwood and Knaack. It’s rather difficult to win the support of the Glendale electorate if you have been found to have violated the law. Just when you thought Glendale’s problems were cooling down, they’ve heated up again. As President Truman once said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I wonder if the Glendale city council loves the kitchen heat now.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

NOMOREBADDEALS-talkingpoints_Page_1Today, Friday, September 12, 2014 at 1 PM two Political Action Committees (PACs), NO MORE BAD DEALS FOR GLENDALE and RESPECT THE PROMISE, chaired by local resident Gary Hirsch, will turn in to the Glendale City Clerk approximately 15,000 signatures in opposition to the Glendale City Council’s recent votes regarding the Tohono O’odham (TO) casino. The minimum number of signatures required by law on each measure is 6,956 and the PACs have far surpassed that number by almost double. Expect the city to fight them with every fiber of its being by declaring the council votes to be “administrative actions” not subject to referral to the voters. Expect after that to see the issue wind up in the courts. On August 12, 2014 at its regular city council meeting the council approved two actions related to the Tohono O’odham.  Agenda item 36 by council’s majority vote (Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira) approved a settlement (read contract) with the TO. The settlement terms are embarrassing. The deal is so bad it’s as if the council had accepted a dollar from the TO and called it good. One of the petitions being submitted this afternoon is for the purpose of bringing the settlement before Glendale voters to accept or reject. In agenda item 37 the city council voted in the affirmative to support the creation of an Indian reservation. This action is the cherry on top of the cake for the TO. They need Glendale’s support desperately to show the Feds that the host city within which the reservation is located is in favor of their action. The second petition seeks to bring before the Glendale voters the majority vote of council (Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira) that supports a reservation within Glendale’s boundaries. All of these council votes are for the benefit of a Tribe that:

  • Violated a 2000 agreement signed by 16 state Tribal leaders, including the Tohono O’odham, vowing “to strive for a good-faith cooperative relationship between and among themselves.”
  • Created a corporation  in 2000 chartered by the TO actively seeking land in the Phoenix Metro area for the “possibility of doing a casino” prior to the 2002 statewide vote on the Gaming Compact.
  • Looked it sister Tribal leaders in the face and lied to them.
  • Actively promoted and financially contributed to the campaign in support of Proposition 202, the Tribal Gaming Compact, promising voters that there would be no new casinos in the Phoenix Metro area.
  • Actively participated in the election campaigns of sitting councilmembers who voted for these agenda items through the TO’s independent expenditures for campaign mailers in support of these council persons. Expect them to do the same in this election cycle. These four elected officials owe the TO and they know it.

These majority council votes by Alvarez, Sherwood, Hugh and Chavira stink to high heaven. Were these four elected officials acting in the best interests of Glendale? You can decide for yourselves but I think not. If and when these council votes come before you, the voter, you will have an opportunity to reject these council votes and send a strong message to these councilmembers that “back door” deals will not be tolerated. There are still actions that have not been settled…legal decisions not yet rendered and legislation introduced by Senators McCain and Flake awaiting a full Senate vote up or down. The Tohono O’odham are making a million dollar bet that nothing will stop them. They could end up losing that bet. Remember, it’s not over until the fat lady sings and she hasn’t sung…yet. © Joyce Clark, 2014 FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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