Behind-the-scenes fight preceded Democratic neutrality on gaming compacts
By Malcolm Maclachlan (published Thursday, November 22, 2007)
For months, Democratic loyalists have been bracing for a fight between labor and tribes over the amended gaming compacts that could become a contentious distraction within the party. They got a preview last weekend, with the sides fighting it out during the party’s executive board meeting in Anaheim.
Meanwhile, two legal challenges to the anti-compact referendums were turned back last week. Next Tuesday, a third challenge will get its day in court, with the help of a “friend of the court” brief filed by the governor’s office.
Some opposed to the compacts were upset with an e-mail that went out to several dozen people on November 13 from Ron Andrade, a board member of the CDP’s Native American Caucus and the Executive Director of the LA City/County Indian Commission. Andrade is a member of a “small, non-gaming tribe,” the La Jolla of the San Diego area.
In the e-mail, Andrade wrote: “We are asking for you to attend the Native American Caucus of the Democratic Party on Friday at 8pm at the Sheraton Park Hotel, Anaheim. We will pay for your membership and we will provide dinner.”
This led to charges that Andrade was using his offices to stack the meeting with compact supporters, particularly since message went out from his LA County email address.
Andrade confirmed that he wrote the email, but said it has been taken out of context. He said the offer was from him personally, and was not meant to come from any official body. (OP: Then WHY didn't he uses his OWN person email? What does the time-stamp say?) Three people took him up on the offer, he said, and he paid for the meals and the $25 caucus membership out of his own pocket.
“I don’t like to use the word ‘I,’” Andrade said. “It’s not in our culture.” He added, “It went out to my friends. No one got it blind.”
“I don’t think it matters how many people took him up on it,” said John Gomez, a former member of the Pechanga tribe who has become an activist for disenrolled Indians. “It’s the fact that offer was made.”
OP: AND the fact that he said, "Please distribute this to you lists and ask your friends to attend." That is a solicitation to bring people he doesn't know.