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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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The Glendale City Council will vote on the proposed Tohono O’odham/Glendale agreement on Tuesday evening, August 12, 2014. Expect a packed house with speakers both pro and con. If you would like to attend the meeting here are the details:                                                     

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

6 PM

Glendale City Council Chambers

5850 W. Glendale Avenue

In the proposed agreement the Nation will pay $100,000 to the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau with an annual 2% ($2,000) increase. Bet on the payment coming from the state mandated percentage that all tribes must dole out to non-profits annually. Although not specified in the proposed agreement the general understanding is that the money will be used to promote and advertise the casino. Now, that’s a sweet deal for the Tohono O’odham (TO). The funds will be used exclusively for the proposed casino’s promotion to the detriment of other competitor member businesses who have restaurants, bars or hotels.

Glendale would be better served to have a stipulation similar to the Seneca/Buffalo agreement. In June, 2014 the Buffalo News reported, “Seneca Gaming Corp. on Thursday announced a plan to spend $3 million over a year marketing Buffalo’s attractions… The marketing program announced Thursday includes print, television, radio and digital advertising in Ontario, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Among the targeted markets are Toronto, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.” Hmmm…$3 million and Glendale is settling for $100,000 to its Convention Bureau to be used to advertise the proposed casino.

It is widely known that Mayor Weiers, while visiting the City of Niagara Falls, received a great deal of information on that city’s casino revenue sharing arrangement. He brought it back, had it copied and distributed to every member of council. They know there is a better deal to be had yet they continue to rush to accept this deal. People are now openly wondering is there any quid pro quo? Have the Tohono O’odham done or will it do Independent Expenditure campaign mailings for Alvarez? In 2016 will it do the same for Hugh, Sherwood and Chavira? Many readers of this blog still can’t get over Mark Becker’s (Becker Billboards owner) campaign donation of $2,500 to Alvarez and her vote of approval for the billboards. So much for principle. If they are ugly and unwanted in her district, why wouldn’t they be ugly and unwanted in the Cholla district?

Are you dumb founded yet by this proposed agreement? If not, you should be. It’s reminiscent of the arena management deal and the Camelback Ranch deal. The majority (Alvarez, Hugh, Sherwood and Chavira), avid supporters of the TO, have continually pointed fingers at previous councils and their inability to negotiate deals to benefit Glendale. Now they have an opportunity to negotiate in Glendale’s best interest and they have blown it.

This is a deal that begs for rejection. The majority of 4 can’t do that for all kinds of reasons: their haste to get something…anything…before the November General Election when the council make up could change and they lose their majority; their haste to get something…anything…should the Attorney General’s investigation into Open Meeting Law violations drops the hammer on any or all of the 4 of them and they lose their majority; and lastly, out of sheer embarrassment for rejecting an agreement they have publicly proclaimed as a “good deal for Glendale.”

What they fail to recognize is that the Tohono O’odham are desperate. They need Glendale. Glendale does not need the Tohono O’odham. The TO must still secure gaming approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Interior Department and to obtain it they need Glendale and the Governor of the State to enthusiastically embrace their plans.

This coalition of 4 councilmembers reminds one of an old, worn out, street hooker bending over and willingly accepting five bucks for services rendered. It’s downright pitiful and embarrassing.

© 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.

The proposed agreement between the City of Glendale and the Tohono O’odham should not be executed at this time. It is premature. There are outstanding legal actions and Congressional legislation yet to be decided. At the very least, the Glendale City Council should table this action to a time uncertain. There is absolutely no need for execution of this agreement immediately. In the last blog there were 3 major flaws with the agreement. Let’s take a look at them.

  1. The City of Glendale has no authority to review the design and the only entity that can inspect construction is the Fire Marshall. The Fire Marshall will not be able to tell if the plumbing, electrical, etc., construction is up to Code. The reservation is similar to a foreign nation planted inside Glendale. The proposed casino’s design cannot be approved by Glendale and even more importantly, the Federal Aviation Administration. The University of Phoenix Stadium’s height was subject to the FAA process and required approval from the agency. If the Tohono O’odham builds structures whose height interferes with operations of Luke Air Force Base or the Glendale Municipal Airport, Glendale and every agency is prohibited from taking action to stop it. There is precedent for such action. In Kenosha, Wisconsin their agreement stipulates, “That the Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority will follow all applicable building and Federal Aviation Rules during the construction and operation of the project.”  Glendale should insist on a stipulation in the agreement requiring the Tohono O’odham’s development to be subject to Glendale’s design review process and FAA restrictions.
  2. The amount to be paid to Glendale annually is too low. Here are some examples of Tribal revenue sharing with other cities across the country. In NY Governor Cuomo’s press release of August, 2013 says, “Under the agreement, the local governments in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and the Salamanca area will receive their full 25% share of local impact payments, a total of $140 million. Today, the Governor traveled to Western New York to present checks to the local governments receiving funds under the agreement: Buffalo will receive $15.5 million, Niagara Falls will receive $89 million, and the Salamanca area will receive $34.5 million.” Because of a dispute between the State of New York and the Seneca Tribe payments were suspended for several years. The money cited in the press release were back payments made by the Seneca Tribe to those 3 cities. These cities receive anywhere from $2 to $8 million annually. The Seneca facility is about half the size of the proposed TO casino and therefore generates about half of the revenue expected at the proposed TO facility. Here is another example and it underscores another problem, “Officials in Duluth, Minnesota, are still trying to reinstate a gaming agreement with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. The tribe was sharing 19 percent of gross revenues from the Fond-du-Luth Casino. The tribe stopped making payments in 2009 after sending $75 million to the city.” If the Tohono O’odham stop making their miserly annual payments to Glendale, the city will see itself in a Duluth-type situation, waiting years to rectify the situation. Here is one last example and believe me, there are plenty more that could be cited. The Michigan Pokagon-New Buffalo Area Local Revenue Sharing Agreement says, “Section 18 of the Compact defines how tribal payments are made to local governments…These payments shall equal 2% of the annual net winnings at each casino derived from all Class III electronic games of chance, to the local units of government that are located in the immediate vicinity of each tribal casino site or that are otherwise directly affected by the operation of the casino.  It is the intent of the State and the Tribe that the payments to local units of government provided for in this section will be used primarily to provide financial resources to those political subdivisions of the State that actually experience increased operating costs associated with the operation of the Tribe’s Class III gaming facility.” For the most recent fiscal year, as of July 31, 2011, the total allocations of the tribal payments were shared by 8 cities and 4 educational districts in the amount of $5,818,019. The City Council should renegotiate the Tohono O’odham annual payment and require $15 million annually. That is equal to ONE DAY of estimated net profit or it should stipulate a percentage (no less than 5% annually) of net profit.   
  3.                                                                                                                                                                                                             3.  Lastly, Lastly, there is the issue of tribal sovereign immunity. The TO in the proposed agreement refers to a TO Resolution 14-317. I visited the Tohono O’odham’s web page on its Code and some very interesting information was available: “The Tohono O’odham Code is an unofficial compilation of the Nation’s laws of permanent and general interest, as well as Tohono O’odham Judicial Court rules, canons, and significant administrative orders. While the Code as a whole has not been formally adopted by the Legislative Council, an increasing number of the Nation’s laws are being adopted in a uniformly codified format and the individual laws appearing in the Code have been duly enacted as reflected in their legislative histories.” The web page defines sovereign immunity further: 

“Section 2101 Sovereign Immunity

    1. “The government of the Tohono O’odham Nation (“Nation”) and any person acting within the scope of his or her capacity as an officer, employee, or agent of the Nation are absolutely immune from suit, court process, or liability.
    2. “The Nation’s sovereign immunity extends to the Nation’s districts, enterprises, entities, and the officials, employees, and agents thereof.
    3. “Sovereign immunity cannot be waived except by a resolution or other official action of the Tohono O’odham Legislative Council expressly waiving, or authorizing a waiver of, sovereign immunity; provided that such a waiver shall be limited in accordance with its terms. A Legislative Council action that authorizes a Nation’s district, enterprise, or entity to sue or be sued does not waive sovereign immunity unless a waiver is expressly granted in a separate written contract or other duly approved writing.”

What is Resolution 14-317, where is it and what does it say? On Thursday, July 17, 2014 the TO called a Special Session and the last Resolution approved that day is Resolution 14-316, approving a Pisinemo District 2014 Operations Amendment . When was Resolution 4-317 passed and why is it not posted on the TO web site listing all actions passed by their Legislative Council? The City Council should require a stipulation requiring the TO to completely waive sovereign immunity with regard to any provision of this agreement. If the TO will not do so, then they have something to hide.

The proposed agreement makes me ill. Once again, Glendale is being taken to the cleaners and the majority of 4 councilmembers are too dumb or too ignorant to realize it. If they are truly serving the best interests of Glendale, as they claim to do, ad nausea, then they would take action to reject this TO self-serving agreement or at the very least, table it and craft an agreement that protects Glendale and works in its favor. Any one of these issues is enough grounds to reject or table the current proposed agreement. I would hope Councilmember Hugh might be concerned enough about these agreement provisions to support such action. So should Councilmember Sherwood, who fancies himself a negotiator and businessman extraordinaire.  

©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.

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

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.

Glendale released the draft of an agreement with the Tohono O’odham (TO). Here is the link: http://www.glendaleaz.com/documents/SettlementAgreementDRAFT.pdf  . The Arizona Republic has an August 7, 2014 article on the subject as well. Here is their link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2014/08/06/glendale-council-casino-agreement-tohono-tribe/13680763/ .

The first question that arises is why the sudden rush to get this accomplished? Think about it. Councilmember Gary Sherwood is under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office over allegations of violations of the Open Meeting Law. What if it proves true? There is always the possibility that he could be removed from office. If that were to occur, poof…the coalition of 4 councilmembers could become a minority of 3. There goes the coalition driving Glendale’s Tohono O’odham train.

As Mayor Weiers said in his testimony before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, why should one man, Gary Sherwood, who reneged on his anti-casino pledge to voters, be allowed to decide the fate of Glendale?

What is stranger still, there are Tribal law suits undecided and even if a decision is rendered, appeals are sure to follow. Legally this issue is far from being decided. Then there is legislation introduced by Senators McCain and Flake. Should the bill’s passage occur after the November General Election with the strong possibility of a Republican majority in the Senate, the TO are stopped in their tracks. Again, the question, why the rush?

Should we expect this issue to appear on the August 12, 2014 council meeting agenda? Remember all of the countless times Councilmember Alvarez has called for an issue to be decided by a vote of Glendale’s residents? Her silence in requesting a public vote on this issue is deafening. When an issue is going her way, as far as she is concerned there is no need for a public vote.

In an earlier blog I referred to educated and credible industry estimates of the kind of revenue that will be generated should such a casino be built in Glendale. The estimate is that the TO casino will net between $300 million and $350 million a year. Over 20 years the TO’s earnings from the proposed casino will be the stratosphere of $6 Billion. It’s a number that is mind boggling and nearly incomprehensible. And the TO, in a fit of generosity, are willing to give Glendale $26 million over 20 years? The Glendale City Council is now truly and certifiably nuts.

The draft agreement certainly favors the interests of the Tohono O’odham and not the City of Glendale. Look for the next blog to discuss the specifics of the draft agreement.

There has been so much deception and betrayal throughout this entire saga, not yet ended. The Tohono O’odham deceived and betrayed its Sister Tribes, the State of Arizona and the voters who approved the 2002 Compact. Councilmember Gary Sherwood deceived and betrayed his constituency by running on an anti-casino platform and then reversing his stance. Glendale is poised to betray the Tribes opposing the proposed casino, the State of Arizona, Arizona’s Congressional delegation, all of the region’s cities and most importantly, the people of Glendale…all for what? 30 pieces of gold.

© 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.

GWC and Mom July 31 2014Bless their hearts. I love and respect the Glendale Women’s Club (GWC). My Mom was a member of the GWC for over 25 years. They are a well respected organization within our community.

Times have changed and so should they. On July 24, 2014 the GWC held its biannual Candidates’ Forum. They hosted eleven candidates. Think about it. There are 4 candidates each in the Barrel, Cholla and Ocotillo districts. All were there with the exception of Reginald Martinez who could not get time off from work. It’s too much already!

They wanted to keep the Forum to a reasonable length of time – no more than 60 to 90 minutes.  They allotted each candidate an opening minute and a closing minute. That exercise alone consumed 22 minutes. The result was that there was very little time to ask questions of individual candidates. The candidates’ responses to questions are critical to draw distinctions between them. But there was no time…no time to probe…no time for follow up. I would humbly suggest that the GWC institute a new system when there are so many candidates. Perhaps they could conduct two forums or a forum for each district…perhaps held in each of the respective districts? Something has to give. The present forum no longer works.

Early ballots for the Primary Election are being mailed now. If you signed up for voting by Early Ballot you should receive it sometime in the first week of August. If truth be told early voting totals will decide the races in all three Glendale districts. Yes, there will be some voting at the polls but there will not be enough numbers to offset the results of early voting.

Each candidate deserves a “thank you.” It is never easy to put yourself in front of your peers to be judged by them while asking for their vote. It is a humbling experience and one of satisfaction if you are still standing after the Primary. Then the real work begins and the most difficult aspect of all is for each candidate to communicate the critical distinctions between himself/herself and the opponent. Good luck to all of the candidates.

With 4 candidates in each district the chances of one candidate securing 50% + 1 are very difficult and we can expect to see run offs in every district at the General Election. In two of the districts – Cholla and Barrel – voters do have legitimate choices. In the Ocotillo district there is but one choice. Here is a recap of this blog’s choices in each of the districts:

Cholla district:             

  • Van DiCarlo
  • Lauren Tolmachoff

Barrel district:

  • Randy Miller
  • Bart Turner

Ocotillo district:

  • Bud Zomok

Voters it’s up to you now. Do your homework. Take the time to find out your candidates’ positions on Glendale’s major issues. Please do not do what so many ill informed voters do and that is choose the first name in the list or choose the name you like the best. Be careful for whom you cast that precious ballot. Your city’s future viability is riding on your choice.

© 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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