Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rincon Decision Could Change Compact Negotiations.

Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti has an article in Indian Country Today, arguing that our Governer, Arnold Schwarzenegger negotiated in bad faith with tribes. Well, the tribes also promised they would take care of their people. How did that work out for members of Pechanga, Picayune, Redding and many others in California? Disenrollment, elder abuse, loss of voting rights, healthcare......

By stacking the deck against tribal governments when negotiating casino compacts, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was gambling that he could violate federal law with impunity. He bet he could hold the tribes hostage by our need to engage in gaming as our only means to economic development. But, it appears this is one bet he may lose. OP: Tribes like Pechanga tried to circumvent laws too, like putting additional Class II slots trying to get around their 2000 slot limit. Mr. Mazetti falsely claims that gaming is the only means to economic development and that's not true, entertainment and dining, also have economic possibilities. Of course, one may make you rich, the other, simply a business venture.

The United States District Court has ruled that the governor’s negotiation tactics with California’s gaming tribes are illegal and constitute bad faith. The state appealed to the 9th Circuit Appeals Court and a decision is expected soon that may change the way governors throughout the nation negotiate. It may also halt the trend of holding tribes hostage to state politics and charging increasingly higher fees as a condition for signing compacts.

The lawsuit, brought by the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians of San Diego, alleged Schwarzenegger imposed an illegal and unfair tax on gaming revenues in return for tribal state compact agreements. OP: If you want a monopoly, you should have to pay dearly for it. Otherwise, it would make more sense to change the laws and legalize gaming in California, with total regulation by the state. What a CONCEPT!

Rather than work with Rincon to reach an agreement consistent with the court’s order, what did the state do? The state appealed, until the case finally landed where it currently sits – pending the decision of the 9th Circuit Court. OP: The HORROR! After suing the state, Mr. Mazetti whines about the state suing back!?

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