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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 18 years and 60 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The general assumption is soon Councilmember Sammy Chavira of the Yucca district in Glendale will be running for his council seat. There are all kinds of theories floating out there as to why he hasn’t pulled a nomination packet already. One is that is he stalling to make his campaign season as short as possible. That leaves less time for voters to take a critical look at his record or lack thereof. The other is that he is going through the hiring process to obtain a lucrative paying job at the new Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale. Hmm…this could prove problematical for him. Remember his ouster from the National Hispanic Firefighters Association (NHFA)? One of the urban legends is that Sammy and his buddies drove around in a golf cart during the event collecting all of the event revenues for themselves. It is known that NHFA made no money on the event and had to cover event expenses in excess of $12,000.

It’s a good time to look at his campaign pledges and his record of delivery. Sammy ran on 4 central campaign promises revealed in an October, 2012 campaign mailer:

  • “Too many sweetheart arena deals for out-of-state corporations have left us deeply in debt. Sam will prioritize public safety, education and public libraries and isn’t afraid to say no to special interests.” 

Sammy was the deciding yes vote on the $15 million dollar a year arena management agreement with IceArizona. The irony is that yes, IceArizona is an out-of-state corporation but many of its owners are Canadian. In addition on June 11, 2015 Sammy and recalled Councilmember Sherwood were the only two votes against voiding the costly $15 million dollar arena management contract with IceArizona. It appears Sammy’s agenda was to support his good buddy Sherwood and IceArizona. It seems as if Sammy wasn’t afraid to say no to special interests but rather he supported them wholeheartedly.

  • “Sam understands that good jobs and good schools go hand in hand. He will fight to fully fund Head Start, support education tax credits for our local schools, and make after school programs more curriculum based.” 

This is the biggest lie of the century. Local city councils have no control over local education. That is the job of local school boards. The council can be supportive of local schools but it cannot create policy for any local school. So why did Sammy use this? Many voters, but not all, are unsophisticated. They are busy with their lives and don’t follow school or city issues unless it directly affects them and their families. Did he fight to “fully fund Head Start,” a federal program? No. Did he support “education tax credits for our local schools,” either state or federal? No. Did he “make after school programs more curriculum based?” No.

  • “Sam will go to the city council to represent the people, not a particular ideology, because he knows that results are what’s important.”

Has Sam represented you? Unless you are a political junkie you couldn’t pick him out of a line up. He’s had one…just one… district meeting back in 2013. The only other scheduled district meeting was cancelled at the last minute. Have you ever met him? Talked to him about issues that concern you? I think not. If he knows that “results are what’s important,” why hasn’t he delivered any to the people of his district?

  • “No more sweetheart deals. The city needs to be a tough negotiator, making smart planning decisions that preserve Glendale’s future.”

Sammy’s entire term of service seem to be based on sweetheart deals. Apparent deals with recalled Councilmember Sherwood; apparent deals with the Tohono O’odham, supporters of his campaign in return for his support of the casino; apparent deals with the fire union, supporters of his campaign in return for his support of their agenda. Deals in support of his constituency…not so much.

Sammy Chavira made a lot of promises to the voters of the Yucca district. He didn’t deliver. He made a lot of promises to special interests. He did deliver. He made a lot of campaign promises to the voters of the district and he broke them all.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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 ‘fair use’ of any such material. 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.

It has been 18 years and 42 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

In reviewing documents related to the casino I came across an issue about which I had previously not paid much attention. In the transcript of the December 7, 2015 oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of State of Arizona vs. Tohono O’odham Nation the judge asked both sides a series of questions. Here is the link:  http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/media/2015/12/07/13-16517 .

At issue is the ability of the Tohono O’odham Nation (TON) to place all of its permitted casinos on unincorporated land (county islands) in Maricopa County. Pratik Shah, attorney for the Gila River Indian Community, said on page 4, “under their (TON) reading, they could simply move all four casinos to Phoenix because Phoenix is 50 miles outside of Tucson.”

On page 8 of the transcript Seth Waxman, attorney for the Tohono O’odham Nation (TON) stated, “Mr. Shah is quite correct that in general what the compact says is, the nation may game on any of its Indian lands including lands covered by Section 2719.”

Further evidence of the TO’s very likely intent to locate all of its casinos in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area can be found in the March 16, 2012 deposition of Daniel Quigley, a TON attorney who has represented either the TON or its entity, the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise, almost continuously since 1993. His deposition was taken with regard to one of the numerous lawsuits. In this case, it was the State of Arizona vs. Tohono O’odham Nation.

A small tutorial on lawsuits is in order. Attorneys for either side can file motions asking that something be included or excluded or for a continuance. Prior to the actual trial there is a discovery phase. Each side can request documents and take preliminary testimony from potential witnesses in the form of a deposition. The attorney representing the side that requested the deposition does the questioning.

Mr. Quigley negotiated the state gaming compact on behalf of the TO. Since 2003 he has been general counsel of their gaming enterprise entity. When he joined the law firm of Rushing Lopez & Lizardi, PLLC., the TON followed him and is currently a client of this firm. He is also the attorney for Rainer Resources, a wholly owned TO entity. It was Rainer Resources which bought the land in Glendale in 2002 and held it until the TO made their 2009 public announcement of their plans to develop a casino in Glendale.

Mr. Quigley grudgingly gave up information and often claimed attorney-client privilege. However, some of his answers were very telling. On page 19 he is asked if the TON owns other properties. Based upon the following line of questions it appears that the TON already does own additional properties. The 64 dollar questions are where? On county islands? How many? That is information the TON did not and will not give up.

  1. Q. “Other than what I’ve already asked you about,  are there any other fee lands that the Nation has an interest in?”
  2. A. “Yes.”
  3. Q. “What are those?”
  4. A. “I am aware of the property that we’ve been referring to as the West Valley Resort property in this litigation.”
  5. Q. “Anything else?”
  6. A. “I’m sure there are, but I’m not familiar with them.”
  7. Q. “How can you be sure there are if you don’t know specifically what properties they are?”
  8. A. “My best guess is that the Nation owns additional real estate beyond those.”
  9. Q. “And what do you base that on?”
  10. A. “I believe in the past, I’ve seen records of fee ownership of land.”
  11. Q. “How many additional pieces of real estate, approximately, do you believe the Nation owns?”
  12. A. “I don’t know.”
  13. Q. “How many have you seen records of?”
  14. A. “I don’t know.”
  15. Q. “Can you give me an approximate number?”
  16. A. “A couple.”

Another line of questioning on page 65 deals with the Tohono O’odham never specifically mentioning the possibility of acquiring additional land in the Phoenix metro area to be put into trust for the purpose of gaming during the time that voter approval was sought for the state compact.

  1. Q. “Because everybody knew that casinos had to be located on the Indian lands of the tribe, and the tribe had specific Indian lands in the vicinity of Case Grande, Florence, and Gila Bend. And I’m asking you, when you referred to each of those three areas, did you mean to be referring specifically to Indian lands that the tribe already had in trust?”
  2. A. “No.”
  3. Q. “How would somebody involved in those conversations have known that you were referring to something more broadly than those specific lands that the Nation already had in trust?”
  4. A. “Because the vast majority of the people who were involved in those conversations would have understood the ability to acquire additional Indian lands.”
  5. Q. “And how would they have understood about the ability to acquire additional Indian lands?”
  6. A. “Most of them would have read the IGRA (federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act).”
  7. Q. “But that doesn’t—the IGRA doesn’t give anybody any specific right to acquire additional Indian lands. Right?”
  8. A. “No, it does not.”

On pages 87-89 the line of questioning corroborates the TON’s belief that it can locate additional casinos in the Phoenix metro area. Mr. Quigley asserts the same belief that can be found in the above reference to the judge’s questioning of the TON’s attorney Seth Waxman in December of 2015.

  1. Q. “Is it correct that under the Nation’s interpretation of the Gila Bend Act (IGRA) and the compact, it could, if it so chose, and if this made economic sense, close all of its existing facilities and locate four casinos in the Phoenix market?”
  2. A. “With the exception of the limitation on a fourth facility, if the Nation operates four facilities, the compact has no limitations on where the Nation’s Indian lands it can place its facilities other than the mile-and-a-half restriction.”
  3. Q. “So if – if, for example, the Nation were to acquire under the Gila Bend Act (IGRA) and have taken into trust parcels of land that were – it’s understood if they were taken into trust, they would be on unincorporated land on county islands or directly across the municipal limits of Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale, that would be acceptable under the Nation’s view of what the compact limitation are with respect to the location of facilities?”
  4. A. “What do you mean when you say ‘that would be acceptable’?”
  5. Q. That would be legally permissible. It’s the Nation’s position that that would be allowed by the compact?”
  6. A. “If the Nation acquired lands under the Gila Bend Act (IGRA) in the locations that you specified, and if those lands were taken into trust, and if those lands were eligible for gaming, then the compact, I believe would allow the Nation to conduct gaming on those lands, assuming they met the requirements of the mile and a half between facilities and the met the requirements for the fourth facility.”

Clearly both attorneys representing the Tohono O’odham Nation, Waxman and Quigley, hold the legal opinion and have counseled their client such that the TO can establish additional casinos in the Phoenix metro area. We know that the TO owns additional land in the area. We don’t know how much or where. It may just be a matter of time. If the TO prevail against the state in court and is granted a liquor license at the Glendale casino, katy bar the door…more casinos will come.

Did you know that there are approximately 200 parcels of unincorporated land (county islands) in the Phoenix metro area? The TO used a shell company to buy the land in Glendale and they could do the same to acquire additional parcels. Are you ready to have a casino near your neighborhood in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert or Mesa? It may happen.

The consequences of such action would be catastrophic. It would provide incentive needed by the state legislature to open gaming to non-Tribal entities. If they were to do so the state would receive sales tax, property tax, etc. from non-Tribal casinos. It makes the prospect very attractive at a time when revenues often times do not cover all of the state’s needs. Currently there is no tax per se paid by the Tribal casinos. Under the existent compact there is what is defined as “tribal contributions.” They are distributed as follows:

  • 12% distributed by the Tribes to the cities, towns and counties of their choosing for community services and public safety programs for local governments
  • The remaining 88% of the Tribes’ total annual contribution goes to the Arizona Benefits Fund on a quarterly basis and provides funding for the Arizona Department of Gaming and the Office of Problem Gambling. The remaining funds are distributed as follows:
  • 56% to instructional improvement for schools
  • 8% to trauma and emergency care
  • 8% to Arizona tourism
  • 8% to wildlife conservation

It would blow up the existent voter approved state Gaming Compact of 2002 and would make it very difficult to negotiate and to seek voter approval on a new compact as voters would be reluctant to rely on any public statements about its provisions. After all, it was sold to the voters with the promise that “there would be no new casinos in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.” As Mr. Quigley stated on page 177 of his deposition, “I do not think it would be a fair statement to say that one could rely on any statements in there (referring to the 2002 voter information guide) as necessarily being correct.” If the TO has a bridge to sell, would you buy it?

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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 ‘fair use’ of any such material. 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.

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.

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

For the past few days the Tohono O’odham (TO) have seen news that they can only characterize as awful. On April 24, 2015 the Congressional Budget Office issued a report on cost outcomes to the federal government if the TO is not allowed to build its casino in Glendale. Here is the link: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/50136 . Those who have represented that is an exact cost figure are deliberately misleading people in an attempt to pressure them to drop their opposition to the casino. Now despite the recent outrageous headlines of stopping the casino will cost US taxpayers a billion dollars here are direct quotes from that report:

“Based on information from the Tohono O’odham Nation, CBO expects that if H.R. 308 were enacted, the tribe would pursue litigation against the federal government to recover its financial losses caused by the prohibition on gambling. Whether the tribe would prevail in such litigation and when those proceedings might be concluded are both uncertain. The basis for any judicial determination of the tribe’s financial losses is also uncertain. CBO estimates that possible compensation payments from the government could range from nothing to more than $1 billion; however, we have no basis for estimating the outcome of the future litigation.”

 “That decision is now under appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the tribe has been successful in litigation thus far and construction of its resort and casino is underway, it may be more difficult for the tribe to prevail in a claim brought after enactment of H.R. 308 because of the types of claims available to it and the facts of this particular situation. The outcome of such litigation is uncertain.”

“Regulatory taking claims are often unsuccessful and usually do not lead to significant economic awards when (as in this case) the taking does not fully diminish the economic value of the property;”

What should disturb everyone is the fact that the TO’s estimated annual income from this proposed casino at $100 million dollars a year or one billion dollars over 10 years. You can hear the sucking sound now as dollars subject to sales tax from nearby businesses vanishes. It’s no more than dollar displacement. People only have so many discretionary dollars. If those dollars are consumed by the TO casino then those dollars are not spent elsewhere in the community and the multiplier effect of each and every dollar is lost.

The second bomb to drop is a poll released by the Sonoran Alliance on April 28, 2015. Here is the link: http://sonoranalliance.com/2015/04/28/new-poll-support-for-glendale-casino-collapses/ . Here is the conclusion drawn from the survey. “Based on the survey results there is overwhelming support from voters to oppose new gaming in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Once voters become aware of the various issues surrounding the conduct of those involved with this proposed casino, opposition grows by 18% to a clear majority in opposition. This survey shows that most of Arizona’s elected officials are acting with large support for their activities in trying to stop this casino.”

The third bomb dropped today, April 30, 2015, was with an article by Bill Theobald of the Republic Washington Bureau entitled Senate committee passes bill to block casino near Glendale. He reports, The Senate Indian Affairs Committee passed by voice vote legislation sponsored by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain (and Sen. Jeff Flake)…” Last month the House Natural Resources Committee passed the same legislation. That means that both bills can now be voted up or down by the full House and the full Senate.

Senator McCain, commenting on the Keep the Promise Act of 2015, said in part, “the law doesn’t allow a tribe to ‘air drop’ a casino onto land in a metro area that’s not part of its traditional tribal lands.” He also said, “building another casino in the Phoenix area violates the intent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. ‘I know what the intent of Congress was because I wrote the bill’.” Arizona’s Congressional representatives are not the only legislators hearing complaints from their constituents on this issue. Many other states are facing the same issue of, as McCain puts it, “air dropping” casinos. Consequently there is a lot more support for this legislation than is perceived. It becomes precedent setting and may allow other legislators to stop reservation shopping in their states.

The desperation of the Tohono O’odham becomes more palpable every day. That’s why the press conference after the state announced that it would not grant the TO a gaming license. It is amusing that several headlines and the Op Ed piece in the April 30, 2015 edition of the Glendale Star scream support for the proposed casino. It’s no secret that the paper’s editor, Carolyn Dryer, is a supporter of the casino. In fact, several years ago she attended a pro-casino meeting hosted by former Ocotillo councilmember Norma Alvarez not as the paper’s representative but as a private citizen. Bias oozes from every article on the casino and objective reportage especially on this issue has become a stranger to it.

Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, vows to fight to the bitter end and he remains adamantly defiant. Councilmember Chavira and Vice Mayor Hugh were good puppets as they reiterated the same, tired arguments of other tribes’ attempts to kill competition. They all conveniently ignore that this action began in secret while the TO pushed Arizona voters to approve the state gaming compact. They conveniently ignore the fact that the tribe kept the purchase of land within Glendale’s boundaries secret from the city for 7 years. They conveniently ignore the fact that the TO deliberately withheld their plan for this casino from its sister tribes for 7 years. As stated by the Arizona Gaming Director, fraud was committed by the Tohono O’odham.

Many supporters of the casino ignore these facts, plead ignorance of them or simply shrug their shoulders while trotting out arguments of a down trodden tribe deserving of this casino no matter how it is acquired. Whatever the casino supporters’ reasoning they should check their moral compasses. Perhaps their tolerance for dishonesty evaporates and is solely dependent upon their perception that their ox is being gored.

© 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.

It has been 17 years and 117 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On Monday, April 27, 2015 in the Opinion section of the Arizona Republic pro and con casino op-ed pieces were published.  Mayor Jim Lane of Scottsdale presented the current anti casino position. In it he supports the position taken by Governor Doug Ducey and the state Gaming Director. The state’s position is that the Tohono O’odham (TO) should not benefit from the fraud they committed against the voters of Arizona and they will not issue a gaming permit to the TO. That is the state’s right. If the TO do not agree with the state’s decision they can and most probably will take the state to court.

Councilmember Ian Hugh (Cactus district) presented the pro casino position. He offered two arguments. His first was that this issue is a matter of local control. Oh really? What about the federal Department of the Interior granting the TO reservation status on land within Glendale, technically a county island, that they purchased with a straw company and held secret for 7 years? What about the Bureau of Indian Affairs that has yet to approve TO gaming on their reservation parcel? What about the State of Arizona’s ability to grant or deny a gaming license for this new temporary gaming facility per the 2002 voter approved state gaming compact with all of the tribes’ (including Ned Norris Jr. representing the TO) publicly pledging to build no more casinos in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area?

Glendale has been in the middle of a maelstrom not of its making since the TO made its announcement in 2009. By the way, there was no courtesy head’s up to Glendale. No introductory meeting expressing the sentiment that they would like to locate within Glendale and asking what needs to be accomplished on their side to make it happen. No, the TO rode rough shod over the city basically sending the signal that it didn’t matter what Glendale thought about their plans. There has never been local control. Asking for recognition to represent that this council is representing “the interests of the Arizonans we represent” is ludicrous.

Hugh’s second argument is just as silly. He refers to “the tremendous public support for the casino resort.” This has been the most divisive issue in Glendale’s history. There is just as much “tremendous public support” against the casino. Just ask the residents most impacted by this casino project – those who live closest to the proposed casino.  They are the ones who will deal with increased and obstructive traffic 24/7. They are the ones who will have to deal with increased crimes of opportunity in their neighborhoods, especially burglary and theft. The following links are articles related to increased crime as a result of a casino courtesy of one of my blog readers, Bill Eikost:

http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/rural-indian-casinos-bring-traffic-crime-as-well-as-jobs/article_6c033a00-73b0-11e0-b43d-001cc4c002e0.html  http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/09/25/as-native-american-casinos-proliferate-the-social-costs-of-the-gambling-boom-are-ignored/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/10/30/studies-casinos-bring-jobs-but-also-crime-bankruptcy-and-even-suicide/

Ask the residents of Glendale, the rate payers for water services who, at sometime in their futures, can expect their water bills to go up to pay for the fixes and upgrades to the water and sanitation systems that will be needed to provide service for the intense development on the TO site.

To add fuel to the fire, for the past few days the pro casino side has been shilling a Congressional Budget Report and claiming that it would definitively and absolutely cost US taxpayers a billion dollars to deny this casino to the TO. Not true. It’s a scare tactic designed to frighten or anger people.  One can read the real story about this billion dollar claim in an article published today, April 28, 2015 by Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Here is the link: http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2015/04/28/report-legislation-blocking-west-valley-casino-could-cost-taxpayers-1-billion/ . Here is the link to the Congressional Budget Report courtesy of one of my blog readers, Legend: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/50136 .

As further signs of pro casino desperation the TO with a little help from their buddies, the companies currently constructing the temporary casino, ran a full page ad in the Arizona Republic today designed to go after Senators McCain and Flake and Representatives Franks and Gosar and their legislation, H.R. 308 and S. 152, the Keep the Promise Act of 2015. Their dire headline is that these legislators want to put 1,300 Arizonans out of work. First, not all of the construction workers on the site are Arizonans, much less live in Glendale or the west Valley.  Secondly, these are temporary jobs. When the construction is completed or stopped these jobs vanish.  And of course, they had to throw in that the mean old, Indian tribes that have established casinos want to protect their market share and are willing to kill babies to protect it…some exaggeration here…but not much.

Add to all of this exaggeration and hyperbole two resolutions on tonight’s Glendale city council meeting agenda: a police mutual aid and a fire mutual aid agreement between the city and the TO up for approval or disapproval. Of particular interest is a stipulation within the agreement protecting the TO’s sovereign immunity. If the TO’s hired personnel screw up in delivering police or fire service to a Glendale resident, there is no means of suing the tribe due to their preservation of their claim of sovereign immunity.  Does that then preserve the onus of liability on Glendale? The training of officers and fire personnel on a reservation may not be of the same caliber as that of municipal employees.

These agreements may not even be legal. It could be that an agreement between a US municipality and a sovereign nation (the TO is a sovereign nation and is not subject to federal, state, county or municipal laws) may not be worth the paper upon which it is written. It probably has the same amount of validity as if the municipality of El Paso, Texas, entered into a mutual aid agreement with the country of Mexico. It’s more for show and is a direct salvo to the state’s declaration that it will not issue a gaming license to the TO. If someone sues we’d find out how valid these agreements really are.

All of this signals desperation and anger on the part of the Tohono O’odham. The realization that the state will not grant them a gaming license has them attempting to convince the public to pressure the state. It will not work. Their plan to open their temporary casino later this year has evaporated and if the Congressional legislation passes it is dead.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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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 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.

I belong to a neighborhood website that encompasses my area as well as about a dozen other subdivisions adjacent to Westgate and the Tohono O’odham temporary casino (currently under construction). A few days ago a conversational thread began on the site reflecting residents’ opinions regarding the effects of a casino near all of us. About 7 people have posted their opinions to date. I feel compelled to dispel some of their assumptions.

A local realtor in the Westgreen Estates subdivision said, “I do not recall any values going down as a result of a casino being built.” It’s one of the first questions you hear when someone wants to build a casino somewhere near you. That question is what’s it going to do to my property value?

There is now enough data from other areas of the country and their experiences with a casino to prove property values are impacted negatively from a nearby casino. From American Attitudes on Development comes, “A nuclear power plant, while the least-favored type of power plant, would still be preferable to a landfill, a casino, or an aggregate quarry.” A Foxboro, Maine resident and realtor for 23 years offered this in an op-ed in the Foxboro Sun Chronicle, March 11, 2012. Foxborough was facing the prospect of a casino in its community. Based on his 23 years of real estate experience he said, A casino is controversial. Anything controversial will cause some home buyers to exclude Foxboro and surrounding towns. This potential reduction in buyers will negatively affect the price and resale of homes here.” He went on to say, “A casino will change the demographics and feel of the town. The casino developer is setting aside funds to deal with the increased need in law enforcement the casino will bring. Many families moved to Foxboro because of the community feel. Any significant change in crime, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and, domestic violence, or any other demographics will change the feel and fabric of Foxboro and surrounding towns.”  A 2013 study by economists belonging to the National Association of Realtors concluded that, “the impact of casinos was ‘unambiguously negative’ on a housing market.”

I can hear the outrage from casino supporters now but the fact remains, while they support the casino, few property owners (including casino supporters) actually want to live near this casino. Most people understand that, at the very least, a casino operates 24/7 and will lead to an increase in crime, traffic congestion, drunken drivers, trash, tour buses and road noise – and that these things will be ultimately reflected in a reduction in property values.

None of the local resident responses asked about a casino and its effect on crime rates. Yet it is another area of concern. The following is an Abstract entitled Casinos, Crime and Community Costs by Earl L. Grinols and David B. Mustard, originally published in 1996 but this excerpt is from the Review of Economics and Statistics (February 2006). The authors say,“Casinos increased all crimes except murder, the crime with the least obvious connection to casinos. Most offenses showed that the impact of casinos on crime increased over time, a pattern very consistent with the theories of how casinos affect crime. The crime-ameliorating effects of casinos through increased employment opportunities and wages for low-skilled people will be concentrated shortly after opening. Between 5.5% and 30% of the different crimes in casino counties can be attributed to casinos.

“According to the study, five years after a casino opens, robbery in the community goes up 136 percent, aggravated assault is up 91 percent, auto theft is up 78 percent, burglary is up 50 percent, larceny is up 38 percent, rape is up 21 percent and murder is up 12 percent, compared to neighboring communities. Crime-lowering effects, like additional police and the new jobs represented by a casino are overwhelmed by rising crime increased by the presence of the casino, according to the study.”

Locals responding on this thread believed that traffic would be manageable. A resident of Westgreen Estates subdivision said, “We have enough open space to adapt to any increase traffic (sic).” A Rovey Farm subdivision resident said, “A quick drive around the other casinos in the valley will show you what kind of traffic to expect. (Not much).”

The Connecticut South Western Regional Planning Agency issued a Casino Traffic Impact Study in 2009.  “The purpose of this study was to estimate the possible traffic and air quality impacts of the development of a casino in Bridgeport.” The study concluded, “the development of a casino would have a significant impact on traffic congestion in southwestern Connecticut. Casino traffic is not seasonal because the number of trips to and from casinos is relatively consistent from month to month. Casinos operate 24 hours per day; there is no peak travel period to and from casinos thus traffic impacts of casinos may be experienced at all times of day.”

The increased traffic in the area will not just be due to the number of visitors to the casino. Add to that, traffic from employees as well as vendors and suppliers making deliveries with their semis at all hours of the day and night. Many transportation agencies in many states where casinos have located have done similar studies. All of these transportation studies recommend new transportation infrastructure whose costs are borne by you – the taxpayers. Increased traffic in our area will not be the result of an occasional Cardinals football game. Instead imagine that kind of traffic every day of the year, 24/7.

Yet other studies demonstrate sales tax revenue moving from other, traditional sources to a casino. In essence there is a shifting of sales tax revenue away from hotels and restaurants such as in Westgate, toward gambling facilities. Visitors and residents spend money on gambling that would otherwise be spent on other goods and services. This effect is known as “substitution.” There is also a shift of workers currently in one industry to the gambling industry. This is known as “displacement.”  This new development will take workers from other industries and move them into the casino industry. A New Hampshire study also offered, “For a standard casino, most patrons come from within 30 miles and participation declines exponentially as distance increases.”

So, respondents from Provence, Rovey Farm and Westgreen Estates, to the thread of discussion about casino impacts, be careful what you wish for. Then again, if you don’t mind a reduction in your property value, increased crime and increased traffic congestion, continue to welcome this casino that will most assuredly change the long treasured fabric of our community.

© 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.

On March 7, 2015 the Glendale Republic ran an op-ed by Mayor of Scottsdale Jim Lane, Mayor of Fountain Hills Linda Kavanaugh, Mayor of Apache Junction John Insalaco and Mayor of Litchfield Park Thomas Schoaf. It was in juxtaposition to another op-ed by Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. Norris’ and the tribe’s ad campaign slogan has always been one of “keeping the promise.” Yes, they have kept their promise — to screw everyone – the state, the voters, Valley cities, sister tribes and the people of Glendale. Many readers no longer get the Republic so I offer these 4 mayors’ remarks below:

Don’t reward years of deceit with Glendale mega-casino

“As mayors of Valley cities, we believe the potential Glendale casino represents no cause for celebration. From the Tohono O’odham Nation’s secret plan to put a casino in the Valley to their breaking faith with the voters of Arizona who in 2002 narrowly approved the current tribal gaming compacts, the path to the construction of this casino has been pockmarked by deceit.

“We do not make such a statement lightly, but no other explanation seems to fit the facts. It’s because of this history of deception, coupled with the serious ramifications this casino likely will have on every Valley city, that we, as mayors, jointly urge the Arizona Congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, to immediately force action on the Keep the Promise Act of 2015, which will prevent the Tohono O’odham Nation from moving forward with its gaming facility near homes, schools, places of worship and child-care centers.

“While federal court actions still have the potential to stop this project, time is of the essence for Congress, which absolutely can prevent this monument to greed. As you read this, the Nation is actively building a temporary casino structure in Glendale, while publicly saying they intend to open the casino before the end of the year.

“Even so, a moment spent exploring history is vital to understanding why so many Valley leaders and residents have declared this casino – with its 1,100 slot machines and 1,000 seat bingo hall – such a bad idea. Our opposition traces back to the 2002 election and the years of compact negotiation preceding that vote. Throughout that process, Tohono O’odham and other Arizona tribes promised that these compacts would preserve the balance of tribal gaming statewide, and that the casinos would be restricted to traditional tribal lands. The Phoenix metro area, the tribes promised, would get no additional casinos. None.

Records show that, even as the Tohono O’odham was making that promise and helping bankroll a $20 million campaign, they were actively seeking land in Glendale. Tohono O’odham negotiators misled state negotiators and other tribes regarding its true intentions for its fourth casino. To allow the tribe to open that casino in the Valley would be to reward deception.

“In a 2014 policy decision, the federal government allowed the Tohono O’odham Nation the ability to build as many as four casinos on county islands throughout the Valley. This the Nations can do without consulting with impacted communities or being subject to any Maricopa County zoning requirements. Given that the tribe already has sited a casino near a school, nothing can effectively stop them from putting one of its next three casinos in your neighborhood, near your child’s school or beside your church or synagogue. After all, the Nation is headquartered in southern Arizona. They simply do business in the Valley, giving them little reason to invest in our communities and to preserve our quality of life.

“Should these properties be given a green light, you can be sure the massive gaming corporations who run Vegas and America’s horse tracks again will target Arizona for expansion. With the promise of gaming restricted to traditional reservations in tatters, the Legislature would have no reason to keep out big gambling.

“The Keep the Promise Act of 2015 will stop that ugly breach of an important vow; at least until the gaming compacts expire in 2027. This legislation is fair. It merely ensures that tribes act in good faith and it’s good policy for our state. Failing to act would be to reward years of deceit by one tribe at the expense of the citizens of Arizona.”

The Tohono O’odham brags about the support it has, namely Glendale, Peoria, Tolleson and Surprise. The Glendale city council did an abrupt about face welcoming the casino when received its thirty pieces of silver for its betrayal of its resident’s wishes to stop it. Peoria, Tolleson and Surprise hope to gain economic crumbs from a casino on the west side of the Valley. They are all complicit in the deceptions of the Tohono O’odham. Make no mistake. These mayors in their op-ed were right on the mark when they said it’s all about greed. For the sake of the almighty dollar the Tohono O’odham have proven they will knife anyone in the back who stands in their way. They have destroyed their reputation as well as the trust of their sister tribes. There’s an old saying, “what goes around, comes around.” The Tohono O’odham will learn that lesson soon enough.

© 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.

Steel is rising for the Tohono O’odham (TO) self-billed “temporary casino.” This casino’s history and future are rife with technicalities.  The TO secretly purchased a piece of land, a county island within Glendale, that technically is not Glendale. The TO claimed it could do so because their interpretation of the State Gaming Compact allowed it…yet another technicality. There are many, many county islands within the Valley and the TO believe they technically have the right to plant more casinos on them. They should be extremely careful. Technicalities can come back to bite one in the butt.

There are a few “technicalities” that the TO have yet to face. They have not received gaming approval from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to date. I suppose the TO consider that as just a minor technicality. The Arizona Department of Gaming has not approved a gaming license for the TO’s new casino. It could take quite some time for the department to clear the Tohono O’odham for that precious state gaming license. Technically, all tees have to be crossed and all eyes dotted and the state will not grant a license until every stipulation is satisfied. This action is not a mere technicality. In the meantime there is still federal legislation introduced by Senators McCain and Flake. This is another action that cannot be considered a mere technicality. The bill will come to a vote and the expectation is that it will be approved.

This temporary casino could become a ghostly, unused testament to The Tohono O’odham’s overreaching use of technicalities. Don’t be surprised if this casino never opens…due to a technicality.

© 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.

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