OCTOBER 20, 2010
Senator Pearce on proposed gambling facility
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The Obama Administration and the Tohono O’Odham Nation have filed court documents to stop Senator Russell Pearce from intervening in the pending legal challenge to the Tohono O’Odham Nation’s efforts to establish a gambling facility in Maricopa County, just outside the incorporated city limits of Glendale. Senator Pearce filed to intervene as an Arizona resident outraged by the total lack of any regard by the Obama Administration for the right of the State of Arizona, its residents, Maricopa County and the City of Glendale to determine their destiny. Senator Pearce said, “It is an outrage that in America today the Federal Government can swoop in, crush the States’ rights to dictate what happens in their boundaries, and ignore the will of Arizona voters. It is with total disregard and disrespect for the State of Arizona that this Administration acts.”
The 2002 Indian Gaming Compacts that were approved by Arizona voters after a contentious statewide election specially prohibit another gambling facility from locating within the urban areas such as this site location. The Tohono O’Odham have stated outright that this site, if given reservation status, will be used as a gaming facility. If the reservation status is approved, the Indian Gaming Compacts, which limited the amount and location of gambling facilities throughout Arizona, will be dismantled, opening Arizona up for costly litigation and the potential for unfettered gaming - going directly against the will of the people of Arizona, voting to restrict gaming through the Compacts. In total, the Tohono O’Odham Nation, not including any of their individual members or affiliated PACs gave in 2008 over $360,000 to candidates around the country in support of the Obama Administration policies.
Governor Brewer has submitted a letter asking that this land not be placed into reservation status and now Senator Pearce, acting as a concerned long-time Arizona resident, is asking to participate as a party to the proceedings and the Obama Administration vigorously objects.
“This is just another egregious example of the Obama Administration totally disregarding the will of a state in favor of a special interest donor,” said the Senator.
“Not only did Obama decide not to ask the Arizona people if Arizona wants the Federal Government to act to create a gambling facility at Glendale’s doorstep, but now they have decided to fight any possibility of allowing the voice of Arizona residents to be heard.”
Senator Pearce asks, “Why does the Obama Administration want to keep me out of this action? What are they afraid I’m going to say? Are they hoping to ram this through under a veil of secrecy? Well not on my watch - I am here to shine a bright light on this thing. Obama has apparently decided that in this family of the United States, Arizona is the black sheep and he will stop at nothing to crush anything the good people of Arizona want. Obama has thrown democracy out the window – he’s taunting Arizonans by saying “don’t care how you voted, what I say goes all throughout this land.” Here the Feds are sticking their nose in a state’s rights issue and trying to prohibit the people of the state from even making serious comment. Why wouldn’t they welcome a voice questioning whether a major decision that will not only site a gambling facility across the street from school children, but will also lead to the total dismantling of the Indian Gaming Compacts that the people of Arizona, Republicans and Democrats alike, after much debate and tribulation, voted for?
“This is not about the ability of Indian Nations to expand their boundaries in certain specific cases. This is about totally ignoring the will of a state, about blowing up our State Gaming Compacts that were voted on by Arizonans. This is about Arizona, about the individual states rights to control their destiny. We have compacts with the Tribal Communities, contracts to play by certain rules. We voted on them as a people. If this is allowed to proceed without comment or intervention we have to question what, under Obama, has happened to our Democracy.”