There is so much wrong with the City of Glendale/Tohono O’odham proposed agreement, one hardly knows where to begin. Let’s start with the fact that it was posted on the city’s website on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. Do you know when the council vote is scheduled for this agreement? How about in 6 days, on August 12, 2014. In a city with a population of 239,000 how many people are even aware of or know any of the details of this agreement? Let’s be generous and acknowledge that perhaps the number is 2,000 residents. That’s .008% of Glendale…not even 1%. What’s the rush? The city should take the time necessary to inform its residents. Each of the councilmembers should be hosting a district meeting to offer information on the proposed agreement and get feedback from their residents. There should be a presentation on its TV cable channel 11. How about a town hall? This is an issue that calls for extensive public outreach.

What does the Tohono O’odham want from Glendale?

  • A restatement of Glendale’s repeal of a past resolution opposing a reservation within Glendale’s Municipal Planning Area (MPA).
  • Support of the Nation’s putting the entire 134 acres into Trust.
  • Admit that the land is not, and never has been within the corporate limits of Glendale.
  • Public acknowledgement of Glendale’s support for the proposed casino and wants it built as quickly as possible.
  • Urge the State of Arizona not to challenge the Secretary of the Interior’s decision and to withdraw its legal appeal regarding annexation
  • Urge Arizona’s Congressional delegation to oppose Representative Trent Franks’ bill and the bill offered by Senators McCain and Flake
  • Issue a joint press release within 10 days of the signing of this agreement to publicly state all of the above stipulations
  • Glendale is not to challenge any decisions made by the Secretary of the Interior
  • Glendale must stipulate to the National Indian Gaming Commission or Department of the Interior that their property meets U.S. Code requirements
  • The land is not subject to Glendale’s design standards or review and the TO will use its own building codes
  • Glendale will provide water and wastewater services

What can be learned from the Tohono O’odham’s Wish List? They are scared because they see the hurdles before them which they may not clear successfully. Of course they want Glendale to repudiate everything. What if the Congressmen’s bills pass? The TO are dead in the water. Any one of the State of Arizona’s challenges could be successful. The National Indian Gaming Commission could deny their right to put gaming on the land. Again, why are 4 Glendale councilmembers so anxious to support the TO and to approve the agreement now…immediately? Because the TO are desperate. Their very Wish List signals that they need Glendale to avidly support them to succeed.

What will the TO give to Glendale?

  • The TO will pay for construction of infrastructure on their property (something that all developers ordinarily do). They refer to Exhibit C with a list of what that would be. Do we know? No…because there is no publicly available Exhibit C
  • The TO will pay for construction of offsite improvements if Glendale can prove they are a direct result of the TO project. They refer to Exhibit D with a list of what that could be. Do we know? No…because there is no publicly available Exhibit D
  • The TO may, if they feel like it, enter into a public safety mutual aid agreement
  • The TO promises to give the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau $100,000 a year and increase it by 2% a year ($2,000). That’s easy…that will come from the 8% a year the state requires of all Tribes to be dispersed to non-profits
  • The TO will pay Glendale $1.4 million a year and increase it by 2% a year until 2026. After that the payment drops to $900,000 a year. Why use the year 2026? That’s the year the current State Compact expires. Do you think the Tohono O’odham might suffer under a new Compact? If there is one? You betcha.
  • The TO waives Sovereign Immunity…sort of. First there must be Mediation, then Arbitration. Is the action is in accordance with the TO’s Resolution No. 14-317 the city might be able to legally sue the Tribe. What is in this mysterious and secret Resolution 14-317?

Set aside the fact, for the moment, that Glendale should not be entering into any agreement with the TO now. There are so many issues unsettled. Of all of the flawed stipulations in the proposed agreement the three major ones are: the amount of payment by the Tohono O’odham to Glendale; the prohibition of Design Review and construction inspection by Glendale;  and the issue of sovereign immunity. They will be explored further in the next blog.

Glendale promises to be cheerleader and lapdog, all rolled into one, for the Tohono O’odham…but the cost to Glendale is extremely high, especially in terms of its reputation and its integrity with the Tribes opposing the proposed casino, the State of Arizona, Arizona’s Congressional delegation and all Valley cities. The cost is too high.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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