It has been 17 years and 117 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On Monday, April 27, 2015 in the Opinion section of the Arizona Republic pro and con casino op-ed pieces were published.  Mayor Jim Lane of Scottsdale presented the current anti casino position. In it he supports the position taken by Governor Doug Ducey and the state Gaming Director. The state’s position is that the Tohono O’odham (TO) should not benefit from the fraud they committed against the voters of Arizona and they will not issue a gaming permit to the TO. That is the state’s right. If the TO do not agree with the state’s decision they can and most probably will take the state to court.

Councilmember Ian Hugh (Cactus district) presented the pro casino position. He offered two arguments. His first was that this issue is a matter of local control. Oh really? What about the federal Department of the Interior granting the TO reservation status on land within Glendale, technically a county island, that they purchased with a straw company and held secret for 7 years? What about the Bureau of Indian Affairs that has yet to approve TO gaming on their reservation parcel? What about the State of Arizona’s ability to grant or deny a gaming license for this new temporary gaming facility per the 2002 voter approved state gaming compact with all of the tribes’ (including Ned Norris Jr. representing the TO) publicly pledging to build no more casinos in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area?

Glendale has been in the middle of a maelstrom not of its making since the TO made its announcement in 2009. By the way, there was no courtesy head’s up to Glendale. No introductory meeting expressing the sentiment that they would like to locate within Glendale and asking what needs to be accomplished on their side to make it happen. No, the TO rode rough shod over the city basically sending the signal that it didn’t matter what Glendale thought about their plans. There has never been local control. Asking for recognition to represent that this council is representing “the interests of the Arizonans we represent” is ludicrous.

Hugh’s second argument is just as silly. He refers to “the tremendous public support for the casino resort.” This has been the most divisive issue in Glendale’s history. There is just as much “tremendous public support” against the casino. Just ask the residents most impacted by this casino project – those who live closest to the proposed casino.  They are the ones who will deal with increased and obstructive traffic 24/7. They are the ones who will have to deal with increased crimes of opportunity in their neighborhoods, especially burglary and theft. The following links are articles related to increased crime as a result of a casino courtesy of one of my blog readers, Bill Eikost:

Ask the residents of Glendale, the rate payers for water services who, at sometime in their futures, can expect their water bills to go up to pay for the fixes and upgrades to the water and sanitation systems that will be needed to provide service for the intense development on the TO site.

To add fuel to the fire, for the past few days the pro casino side has been shilling a Congressional Budget Report and claiming that it would definitively and absolutely cost US taxpayers a billion dollars to deny this casino to the TO. Not true. It’s a scare tactic designed to frighten or anger people.  One can read the real story about this billion dollar claim in an article published today, April 28, 2015 by Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Here is the link: . Here is the link to the Congressional Budget Report courtesy of one of my blog readers, Legend: .

As further signs of pro casino desperation the TO with a little help from their buddies, the companies currently constructing the temporary casino, ran a full page ad in the Arizona Republic today designed to go after Senators McCain and Flake and Representatives Franks and Gosar and their legislation, H.R. 308 and S. 152, the Keep the Promise Act of 2015. Their dire headline is that these legislators want to put 1,300 Arizonans out of work. First, not all of the construction workers on the site are Arizonans, much less live in Glendale or the west Valley.  Secondly, these are temporary jobs. When the construction is completed or stopped these jobs vanish.  And of course, they had to throw in that the mean old, Indian tribes that have established casinos want to protect their market share and are willing to kill babies to protect it…some exaggeration here…but not much.

Add to all of this exaggeration and hyperbole two resolutions on tonight’s Glendale city council meeting agenda: a police mutual aid and a fire mutual aid agreement between the city and the TO up for approval or disapproval. Of particular interest is a stipulation within the agreement protecting the TO’s sovereign immunity. If the TO’s hired personnel screw up in delivering police or fire service to a Glendale resident, there is no means of suing the tribe due to their preservation of their claim of sovereign immunity.  Does that then preserve the onus of liability on Glendale? The training of officers and fire personnel on a reservation may not be of the same caliber as that of municipal employees.

These agreements may not even be legal. It could be that an agreement between a US municipality and a sovereign nation (the TO is a sovereign nation and is not subject to federal, state, county or municipal laws) may not be worth the paper upon which it is written. It probably has the same amount of validity as if the municipality of El Paso, Texas, entered into a mutual aid agreement with the country of Mexico. It’s more for show and is a direct salvo to the state’s declaration that it will not issue a gaming license to the TO. If someone sues we’d find out how valid these agreements really are.

All of this signals desperation and anger on the part of the Tohono O’odham. The realization that the state will not grant them a gaming license has them attempting to convince the public to pressure the state. It will not work. Their plan to open their temporary casino later this year has evaporated and if the Congressional legislation passes it is dead.

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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