On September 11, 2013 the Glendale Republic ran an article by Caitlin McGlade entitled Glendale softens harsh casino tone. It makes me angry to see the AzRepulsive begin its not so subtle media infomercial in an effort to sway public opinion in support of the Tohono O’odham (TO) Tribe’s ambitions.  In my latest unscientific blog poll I asked the question, Is the Arizona Republic’s reporting fair and balanced? Of the 50 respondents, 40 (80%) said, “No” and 10 (20%) said, “Yes.” 4 out of 5 people no longer believe that its coverage is fair and balanced and recognize that its reporting is slanted.

I stand with Congressman Trent Franks, the Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (and all of the tribes in the state supporting them). I do not support a casino in Glendale and I believe a dialogue with the TO only becomes necessary if all legal avenues are closed and the Tribe prevails. It sends the wrong message.

I am not going to repeat all of the reasons why planting a casino in Glendale should not happen. Instead, in April of 2013 I authored a 5 part blog series on the effects of a casino. If you have not read them, please take the time to go back and check them out:

  •    April 11, 2013      Casino, to be or not to be, Part 1
  •    April 15, 2013      Casino…promise made, promise broken, Part 2
  •    April 16, 2013      Casino…good, bad or indifferent?, Part 3
  •    April 22, 2013       A casino is a casino…no matter where it is, Part 4
  •    April 24, 2013      Casino…it’s lose, lose for everyone, Part 5

What truly dumbfounds me is that one of the major rationales for keeping the Coyotes hockey team at Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena is that it generates more people and therefore more sales tax to the businesses (and the city) in Westgate. Yet Councilmember Sherwood apparently believes that the casino will do no harm to Westgate and says, “There’s not enough right now to keep people here. The casino just offers another thing for folks to do if they’re in town.” Is he nuts? Even Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett who has supported the casino from the start acknowledges, “In the short term, it (the casino) will probably hurt Westgate…” Sherwood is speaking from both sides of his mouth. On the one hand keeping the hockey team is good for Westgate and on the other the casino is good for Westgate as “another thing for folks to do.” We know that the casino will siphon discretionary dollars away from Westgate. Councilmember Sherwood, you can’t have it both ways.

Vice Mayor Knaack is performing her usual wringing of hands routine and practicing “kumbaya” with her comment, “We can’t keep on and on and on with this.” She just wants everyone to get along. Whatever happened to sticking to one’s principles? Is this another example like her avowal that she supports the downtown merchants as she votes approval for a liquor license they opposed?

Councilmember Martinez gets it with, “How do casinos attract their clients? Cheap booze, cheap food and the cost of the rooms are minimal. Here (at Westgate) we have hotels and restaurants paying taxes and helping us pay off our debts to the arena and everything else and the tribe comes in with a clean hand and they don’t have to pay anything.” Bravo Councilmember Martinez. You do get it and you are sticking to your principles.

The Gila River Indian Community said, “…any dialogue between the city and the TO would have no bearing on the Gila River’s position.” Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Diane Enos said it best in this statement, “If the commitments to keep tribal casinos out of neighborhoods made by all 17 Arizona tribes during Prop. 202 negotiations were being kept, cities like Glendale wouldn’t find themselves in these circumstances, vulnerable to broaching risky developments like this off-reservation casino, exasperated further by the current economic climate in Glendale.” Bravo President Enos. You get it too. I wonder what the Republic’s position would be if the Tribes pulled their considerable advertising dollars?

Let’s at least acknowledge that the TO and its supporters are preying on Glendale’s weakened financial position and using it as leverage to further their cause. Before its indebtedness became a cause célèbre leaders in Glendale stood on principle. How much gold are our elected officials willing to sell out for? Glendale must stay the course.

PS: In the September 12, 2013 edition of the Arizona Republic the story ran again. Only this time the comments from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community are omitted while keeping the TO’s comments intact. Way to go Arizona Republic!

©Joyce Clark, 2013

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