On August 28, 2014 the Tohono O’odham broke ground for their casino WITHIN Glendale. I love the way some people not only rewrite history but change geographical boundaries. All of the expected players were there…members of the Nation, Tohono O’odham vendors and contractors (and wanna bes) on the project, a few West Valley elected officials, and of course the infamous 4 Glendale Councilmember supporters – Alvarez, Hugh, Sherwood and Chavira. There was a by-invitation-only gathering at the Renaissance Hotel prior to the ground breaking and only the most ardent were invited.

Norma was positively giddy during the entire event and proudly strutted around with her ceremonial walking stick. Sherwood was there acting in his capacity as pseudo-mayor of Glendale. Hugh and Chavira were…just there. From reports of a few who attended, it was a sight to behold.

But…hold on a minute. Isn’t there still legal action not yet decided? Doesn’t the Tohono O’odham still have to get gaming permits from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Interior? Isn’t there a bill introduced by Senators McCain and Flake yet to be approved or denied by the Senate? Yes…to all.

Even Councilmember Martinez’ reading of a letter at the last council meeting in opposition to the casino penned by former Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs held no sway with anyone…then or now.  

The Tohono O’odham are making a bet that nothing stands in their way to stop their project. What more could one expect from a casino operator who relies on your losing bets every single day? That’s chutzpah.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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