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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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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On May 13, 2013 the Rose Law Group Reporter posted the following article. I do not usually re-post entire articles but in this case many of you may not see it. This opinion piece was written by those, in addition to Glendale residents, most affected by the Tohono O’odham proposed casino, the Tribal leaders. Read their words. They relied upon the words of their brother and sister TO Tribal leaders.

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents leadership of the Arizona House and Senate in lawsuit against the Glendale casino.)

[OP-ED] Tribal leaders say Tohono O’odham’s has ‘ill ambition’ for casino

Posted By Phil Riske / May 13, 2013

By Diane Enos, Gregory Mendoza, Sherry Counts, Arlen P. Quetawki, Sherry Cordova and Clinton M. Pattea | The Arizona Republic

New federal legislation introduced by Arizona congressional Reps. Trent Franks, Ed Pastor and Ann Kirkpatrick that would keep compacts intact deserves a fair look.

The complexity of the issue has been captured by The Arizona Republic in its editorials and in recent news articles that have delved into the history of the voter-approved Proposition 202 to shed light on how a proposed casino in Glendale has much broader implications.

Arizonans who in 2002 voted “yes” on Proposition 202 did so based on the 17 Arizona tribes’ promise that Indian casinos would be kept out of neighborhoods and, as penned by then-Gov. Jane Dee Hull, “Voting ‘yes’ on Proposition 202 ensures that no new casinos will be built in the Phoenix metropolitan area and only one in the Tucson area for at least 23 years.”

These commitments were accepted and promoted by 17 Arizona tribes, including the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Arizona. We worked for nearly two years to negotiate a tribal-state plan for limited Indian gaming that was accepted by community leaders, business leaders and elected officials, who in turn publicly advocated for what ultimately became Prop. 202.

At the time, none of the participating 17 tribes expressed disagreement with the framework, which is why a proposed casino in Glendale is a plain violation of the commitments made to Arizona voters in 2002.

As leaders of Arizona tribes, we expect honest transactions from federal, state and local officials and set the same expectations of ourselves and of fellow tribes. It is for these reasons that we support this new, bipartisan legislation.

The Keep the Promise Act will protect the integrity of our work during the gaming-compact negotiations.

It will safeguard the trust of elected officials, business leaders, our own communities and the Arizona voters when they said “yes” to Prop. 202.

Without it, an explosion of new neighborhood casinos — in Glendale and beyond — could be on the horizon because if the promises made through Prop. 202 are broken, the door is opened for other off-reservation casinos.

To that end, it is no secret that the Tohono O’odham Nation now says it never pledged to restrict the number of casinos in the Phoenix area or to keep them out of neighborhoods. It asserts the right to develop multiple casinos on county islands near Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale or anywhere else in the Valley.

Such ill ambition is detrimental to Prop. 202, destroys the good work of 16 tribes and cultivates an atmosphere of distrust.

This is why there is an urgent need for the Keep the Promise Act. It will protect the collective vision of “limited and balanced gaming” in Arizona that was carefully engineered by tribal and state leaders, and approved by voters.

Actively support House Resolution 1410, the Keep the Promise Act, and urge your legislators to do the same.

Diane Enos is president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Gregory Mendoza is governor of the Gila River Indian Community. Sherry Counts is chairwoman of the Hualapai Tribe. Arlen P. Quetawki is governor of the Pueblo of Zuni. Sherry Cordova is chairwoman of the Cocopah Indian Tribe. Clinton M. Pattea is president of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.