Friday, November 04, 2005

Pombo and Native Americans

Wes at Pombo Watch has been doing a great job this week of nailing down the various relationships between Pombo and Native Americans.  Remember, the committee Pombo chairs has oversight over Indian affairs in the House.  This makes for some interesting, and often disturbing, reading.  Check out:


Anonymous arnlieb said...

I am a member of nosaugertiescasino, anti-casino group in New York's Hudson Valley. Here's my take on Rep. Pombo and Indian casinos. your "Game for Gaming" posting suggests that Pombo's off-reservation casino proposal is intended to protect tribes that have casinos from competition by mandating local community consent for off-reservation casinos. I'm not sure that is a correct analysis of what Pombo is up to.

U.S. Representative Richard Pombo of California has
threatened to settle New York’s Indian land claims and
related casino applications by federal fiat, without
input from the State and the federal courts, much less
from those of us living in Saugerties, New York, where
the Seneca-Cayugas, an Oklahoma tribe, allied with
development Thomas Wilmot, are seeking a casino
located at Winston Farms in Saugerties.
On March 2005, the U.S.
Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the Oneida Indian Nation
cannot claim sovereignty over land that it sold more
than 200 years ago. In June 2005, the Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the Cayuga and
Seneca-Cayuga land claims and in September 2005 the
same court denied a request for a rehearing. 

Now Congressman Pombo, chair of the House Resources
Committee, intends to intercede and overrule the
courts to settle the matter. He announced on
September 23, 2005 that he intends to introduce
legislation that would settle the land claims, details
to be announced.

His proposals include modifying the section of the
Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1998 that allows
Indian tribes, under certain circumstances, to build
casinos outside of their
reservations. Off-reservation spread would be
regulated and state and county agreement required.

On the other hand, a new and seemingly smoother
mechanism of spread is proposed. The Secretary of the
Department of Interior would be required (not
permitted, "required") to designate "Indian Economic
Opportunity Zones",
two per state – one on Indian land, and the other on
non-Indian land.  On these these "IEOZs" Indian
tribal governments and their developers would be
allowed to construct off-reservation casinos. Las
Vegas/Atlantic City multi casino development is
encouraged since these sites have to be shared by all
eligible tribes in the state. All that would be
required to have a multi casino development 100 miles
from New York City is support of Secretary of the
Interior, the Governor, and a compliant county
government. If N.Y.'s Ulster County (where Saugertiers is located) continues to resist then
perhaps Greene or Orange county would do.

Pombo has said he wants to allow tribes who were
currently not able to successfully operate gaming in
their current
locations the ability to develop off-reservation
facilities in communities that desire them. He noted
that since the gaming law (IGRA) was passed, only
three tribes have ever successfully used the current
process to open off-reservation facilities.

Pombo is a
recipient of money from Jack Abramoff, from the
casino/gaming industry, and from Indian tribes. All
told, a Political Money Line analysis shows, Pombo's
campaign and leadership fund-raising committees have
collected $221,000 from tribes since 1999. This was
more than all but four members of the House and Senate
had collected and suggests that Congressman Pombo is
too close to casino money to be an impartial arbiter
of land claim and casino matters.

We in Saugerties are very concerned about having a
casino with its attendant social costs forced on us
despite the legal decisions against land
claims,despite the constitutional illegality of
gambling New York State, and despite the overwhelming
opposition by officials of the Village and Town of
Saugerties , the Ulster County Legislature, the City
of Kingston, and 11 Town and Village Boards of Ulster
County (representing almost 52 percent of Ulster
County’s 2000 Census population.) Saugerties DOES NOT
want a casino but this action by Congressman Pombo,
which we compare to an eminent domain land grab but on
a grand scale, if not blocked by our Congressional
representatives , might occur despite all
local opposition.

The 1999 report of the National Gambling Impact Study
Commission called for a moratorium in the expansion of
casino gambling yet casinos continue to proliferate
helped by politicians such as Rep. Pombo. We need our representatives
to take a strong and effective stand to
stem casino gambling and block Rep. Pombo’s efforts on
its behalf. We also hope that lPombo's California opposition will defeat him at the polls.

10:46 AM, November 14, 2005  

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