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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 18 years and 19 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

You might have noticed that I have not written any blogs for a month…over this holiday season. It seems that preparing a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas got in the way. By the way, I love Amazon. This year, for the first time, I was able to do all of my Christmas shopping online. It is also a time of year when everyone, even governmental agencies, seems to go on hiatus. Everything seems to take a backseat to celebrating the season. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and may it be all that you hope for.

One noteworthy event occurred on December 20, 2015 when the Tohono O’odham (TO) celebrated the grand opening of its Desert Diamond casino in Glendale. The day it opened I happened to be at the Target/Kohl’s shopping center in Peoria directly north of the casino. As I was approaching one of the stores I overheard a conversation between several women. The first pair of women asked the second pair if they had gone to the new casino. The second pair answered with, “Yes, we did. It’s a rip off. We won’t be going there again.” I wanted to ask the second pair some follow up questions but I didn’t want to intrude on what appeared to be a private conversation albeit able to be heard by passersby.

It’s a good time to note that there are still outstanding issues with the casino. First and foremost, although the effort to fast track a vote on the Keeping the Promise Act in Congress failed, it is not a dead issue and will, in the future, come up for that all important vote before Congress.

In the meantime the TO and the State of Arizona (namely the Department of Gaming which regulates the voter approved Gaming Compact of 2002) are still in court. To date the state has not granted a liquor license for the TO facility and it appears that the TO are not likely to obtain one in the near future. In addition the TO have only bingo slot machines (Class II) on site as the state has not approved Class III gaming at the facility. If you are looking for table games such as poker you will be sorely disappointed. Until these issues are resolved legally what you see at the facility is what you get. It’s not very impressive.

Another negative is the attractiveness of the facility itself. It was planned and built as a warehouse but is being used as the site of the temporary casino. It cannot be described as a first class facility and looks as if it were built for its intended purpose, a warehouse. It’s certainly no Talking Stick and the site surrounding the casino has not been landscaped. So if you like looking at dirt, there’s plenty to see.

I, and many others, still remain hopeful a successful congressional vote or a successful legal decision in favor of the state will put the final nail in this casino coffin. For all of those who are waiting for dollars to roll into governmental coffers…forget it. The TO, as with all other tribal gaming facilities, are not required to pay any federal, state, regional or local taxes. It is also important to be mindful that if a traffic accident or any other unsavory event befalls you on the TO’s reservation you are subject to their law and their interpretation of such.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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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 109 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

In the Arizona Republic of April 17, 2015 Peter Corbett has reported in a story entitled State vows to block casino in W. Valley, the state is prepared to block the Tohono O’odham casino from opening in Glendale this fall. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2015/04/16/arizona-gaming-agency-will-block-valley-casino-opening/25915541/ .

Arizona’s Department of Gaming director, Daniel Bergin, recently sent a letter to the Tohono O’odham (TO) in which he claimed “fraud perpetrated by (the tribe) upon the state, Arizona gaming tribes and the state’s voters.” On that basis he could not allow the casino to open.  He went on to say, “…the (gaming agency) would exceed its authority if it were to proceed with certification…” The agency’s position is supported by Governor Doug Ducey. Ducey in a letter to the agency directed it to deny a gaming license and said that the TO was forcing the issue by construction of the temporary casino now.

I, and many, many Glendale residents, especially those within the Yucca district, site of the temporary casino, applaud the actions of the state Gaming Director and the Governor. The only reasons Glendale succumbed to the siren song of the TO, is that Councilmember Gary Sherwood flip flopped on his anti casino election stance and then 4 members of council took the TO’s thirty pieces of silver. A majority of this council changed the course of an entire city. It’s fair to expect that the TO will challenge the state’s action in court in a process guaranteed to go on for months if not another year. That is sure to guarantee that the temporary casino cannot and will not open this fall. Chairman of the TO, Ned Norris Jr., as expected declared his outrage at what he called the state’s “untenable position.”

Don’t forget that more action waits in the wings. The Keep the Promise Act of 2015 introduced by Senators McCain and Flake will see a vote up or down this year. The general assumption is the legislation will pass through Congress and stop the casino for once and for all.

It’s time to shut the doors on a Tohono O’odham casino, temporary or otherwise, in Glendale. It is ironic that a tribe that promotes gambling, itself gambled. It looks like the house will win and they will lose.

© 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.

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