Trent Franks

Trent Franks

Lately, Councilmember Alvarez has been pushing the Tohono O’odham agenda before Glendale City Council-to no avail. A majority of them are not biting. Perhaps it’s because they accept that the city is still in litigation with them and one does not fraternize with the opposing party of a lawsuit. That obviously does not bother Councilmember Alvarez. On May 2, 2013, our favorite non-newspaper, the Glendale Star, published Alvarez’ Letter to the Editor entitled Franks supports East Valley interests over will of West Valley voters…again. You can read the entire Letter to the Editor with this link

I dare to venture that my recent series of blogs about the casino may have prompted the TO to try to get out in front in an casino 1attempt to neutralize my comments. They certainly have been pushing on Councilmember Alvarez of late to try to get their message out, first at council meetings and now with this Letter to the Editor. The TO poured thousands of dollars into the recent election campaigns of Alvarez’ chosen candidates and now it’s time for her to carry their water.

Did she write the piece? That’s for you to judge and as you do so, reflect on her public comments at council meetings which have not been nearly as polished. If I were a betting person, I would bet that her Letter to the Editor was ghosted by one of the lovely ladies at TriAdvocates, a consultancy firm hired by the Tohono O’odham. It certainly provides TriAdvocates something to do for their $180,000 annual retainer.

Alvarez berated Congressman Trent Franks for doing what he should be doing for his West Valley constituency and that is protecting their interests as well as those of the State of Arizona by introducing H.R. 1410. He is also protecting the interests of a majority of the Tribal nations in this state that have publicly opposed the actions of the Tohono O’odham.

Alvarez cites the “overwhelming support for the project in this community, with polls consistently showing more than two-thirds of West Valley voters are in favor of the casino…”

polling 1Really? I could write questions for a poll right now that would demonstrate that two-thirds of West Valley voters are NOT in favor of the casino. Conveniently two factors are ignored. One is that a poll can be written and utilized to back up any point of view. In most cases, they are meaningless. Secondly, I know that a majority of those Glendale residents immediately impacted by the casino do not support it. The further away one is from it and especially if one lives in another town or city the resistance to this casino diminishes. For those who live in Sun City, for example, the casino is merely a convenience with less travel time. What does someone in Peoria care if it costs Glendale millions of dollars to support a casino? It’s not in their backyard and they will not bear the costs.

Alvarez then goes on to say, “The West Valley should currently be enjoying the 3,000 permanent jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars per year this project will bring to our community.”

If you had read any of my previous blogs, the professors and researchers I cited make very clear that the jobs created by a casino will be in man moneypart, “displacement” jobs. In other words, instead of someone working at a Denny’s that person will take a job at a casino. Keep in mind, 25% of the jobs will go to Native Americans. There is nothing wrong with that but now those alleged 3,000 jobs becomes 2,250. In my blogs I offered factual information that the number of jobs that will be created is vastly over stated. As for the hundreds of millions of dollars per year that will come to Glendale my question is from what? It can’t be from taxes because the TO will pay no tax of any size, shape or description to anyone. Perhaps Alvarez is referring to the 8% of the state-mandated 12% tribes must allocate through grants to non-profits? If so, it would take years and years and years to even come close to her “hundreds of millions of dollars per year.” So much for offering factual information.

Lastly Alvarez says, “Making matters worse is that H.R. 1410 seeks to re-write the voter-approved Arizona Gaming Compact, a document that was written and signed by 17 sovereign nations and the State of Arizona.”

Ned Norris Jr Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman

Tohono O’odham Chairman
Ned Norris Jr.

This statement earns a Woo Hoo for today. Prior to bringing the compact to voters all of the state tribes spent several years negotiating and approving among themselves the framework of a compact. It was a gentleman’s/gentlewoman’s agreement among the tribes. Did the TO agree with fingers crossed behind their backs? It appears so. It raises the question of, if you will renege on a promise to your fellow Tribes who else will you renege on?

That framework was then negotiated with the State resulting in Proposition 202 that the voters of the state approved. In an attempt to persuade voters to approve the compact it was clearly stated that the number of casinos in the Phoenix Metro area was limited to seven. That is the number of casinos that exists today without the proposed TO casino. Franks’ bill seeks to do the very thing the TO refuse to do and that is protect the intent of the Arizona Gaming Compact.

No, Councilmember Alvarez, your attack on Congressman Franks is misguided and seemingly managed by your “friends” who do not live in Glendale. The Congressman is to be commended for protecting our interests and we do live in Glendale.