Former Pechanga member John Gomez, Jr. who, along with 130 adult members of his family, were forcibly stripped of their citizenship and denied their civil rights, writes about why CA voters should vote NO on Prop 94 95 96 97.
California voters should be thankful and exercise their right to vote.
And remember this, Not all Californians share the same basic rights we all take for granted. Just ask those who have been victimized by Tribes such as the Pechanga Band of the Big 4. Due process and equal protection of the law are hard to come by at Pechanga.
Throw in blatant disregard for the Constitution and lack of protection of basic rights, and you will begin to understand why nearly 300 Pechanga members have been stripped of their citizenship- and many hundred more denied membership- since California voters approved tribal gaming and Pechanga became one of the wealthiest tribes in the State.
It should come as no surprise that a tribe that has denied its own members basic rights guaranteed by tribal laws and the Constitution would work so hard and spend so much money to deny other Californians their rights as well. Should we really expect Pechanga officials to value and respect the rights of "outsiders" - remember Chairman Macarro's statement to the press that what the tribe (Pechanga) does- "...is no business to the white man."- when they have done the same for their own citizens.
Pechanga is not the only California gaming tribe to blatantly deny individuals their basic rights- thousands of Californians have been the victims of human and civil rights violations at the hands of tribal governments. As a result of these rights violations, the victims have been cut-off from or denied health care benefits, elder benefits, education assistance, and other social services, and most must now avail themselves of state and federal programs at taxpayer expense. Over the life of the Big 4's sweetheart deals, hundreds of millions, and possibly billions, of dollars will be spent by the State of California to provide the victims of rights abuses the services previously provided by tribes such as Pechanga .
The payout to the State under these sweetheart deals amounts to nothing more than re-imbursement to the State for taking care of individuals wronged by Pechanga and other tribes. So, be thankful that you are not one of the thousands of Californians who have been victimized by tribal governments.
Be thankful that the courts have upheld your Constitutional rights and denied the Big 4's attempts to deny your right to vote. And don't be fooled by the dollar amounts being thrown about by the Big 4 tribes- a good portion of any money received under these sweetheart deals will go towards taking care of the victims of their crimes.
Lets send Pechanga, the Big 4, and the other offending tribes a message on February 5th. Vote no on Props 94, 95, 96, & 97.
John Gomez Jr. www.airro.org
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