Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just WHO is a Native American Indian? UPDATE: Pechanga doesn't like it

UPDATE: Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro's cousin doesn't like this article. In fact, he gives it his "moron alert". That means it left a mark, even though there are some inaccuracies with this story. Dr. Johnson was PAID BY PECHANGA to research the HUNTER family and HE PROVED us Pechanga.

Jim Marino of the Santa Ynez Valley Journal asks the question. And calls out Pechanga of Temecula in the article. Pechanga has said, "Yes, we know that people who LIVED in the 1880 Temecula era SWORE that your ancestor was a Pechanga, but we'd rather believe an imprisoned child molestor than a vaunted elder"

Jim writes:

With the rise of Indian gambling casinos all over the country — and in particular those 60 casinos in California with more on the way — the question naturally arises: Who exactly qualifies to call themselves an “Indian”?
The basic answer to what appears to be a simple question is that an “Indian” is whoever the particular tribe says is an Indian. Now any person can claim to be part Indian, just as many say they are part Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. OP: Basically, tribes like Pechanga, Redding, Picayune, San Pascual, Enterprise are making a laughing stock of tribal history.

Pechanga portion:

One such vivid example here in California occurred at the Pechanga tribe, another massive and profitable gambling casino between Riverside and San Diego. Once boasting about 900 members, in one fell swoop, tribal Chairman Mark Macarro disenrolled an entire extended family, the Gomez family, in a move commonly recognized as an effort to fatten the profits for the remaining members and families.
To sell this disenrollment to other suspicious tribal members, who suspected Macarro’s true motives, he paid for and commissioned an ethnological investigator from here in Santa Barbara County, John R. Johnson, curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He is a renowned authority on California Indians and was hired at the tribe’s considerable expense.
His thorough investigation and report to the Pechanga tribal government concluded, essentially, that the Gomez extended family was as much entitled to enrollment as anyone else. The tribal government promptly dismissed his report out of hand, ignoring his findings. To this day, the Gomez family has not been re-enrolled. Because Indian tribes are allowed to disregard the U.S. Constitution, even though tribal members are, by law, U.S. citizens, the Gomez family has no legal recourse.

Thank you Jim, and please keep reading the Santa Ynez Valley Journal.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

KCET and PBS doing a story on Illegal Pechanga Disenrollments

Great news for THOUSANDS of California's Native Americans who have suffered under regime's like that of Mark Macarro and Andrew Masiel and the Masiel/Basquez Crime Family of Pechanga.

From Val Zavala's blog on KCET

This weekend I headed out to Temecula to begin shooting a most interesting story. It's about how some wealthy Indian tribes are kicking out certain members claiming they do not have proper ancestry. But long-standing members who have been kicked out say the "disenrollments" are due to political differences. Also at play -- money. Disenrollments mean fewer tribe members, and fewer members mean more money from gambling revenues for the remaining members. More than $30,000 a month.

The Pechanga Tribal Council is led by a familiar face, Mark Macarro. He's the telegenic Native American who appears in political commercials for Indian gaming propositions. The leader of the "disenrolled" is John Gomez. (See photo of John and family.) He says under Macarro's leadership hundreds of long-standing Pechanga members have been kicked out.

Tribal membership has gone from about 1200 to about 800. Monthly payments from gambling revenues have gone from about $25,000/ month to more than $30K per adult tribe member. No work required.

Much credit to USC News21 journalism student, Brian Frank, who first pitched the story and has done all the research. Thanks, Brian!

Brian and Val, THANK you for bringing this story forward, in this time of financial crisis for many in CA's Indian Country.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pechanga Tribe Motion to Dismiss DENIED. Case Moves Forward.

Here's the latest from the Joe Liska vs. Donna Barron of Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians:

The hearing on June 22 is postponed..

The Judge in this case denied Pechanga's motion to have the lawsuit dismissed. The defendant Donna Barron's claim, that the paperwork was served late
was disputed by the proccess server, who while attempting to serve papers was escorted out of the Reservation by the Tribes lawyers.

OP: Pechanga Tribe trying to keep justice from moving forward, imagine that? Remember, they tried to keep the people of California from voting on increases in slot machines?

The Judge will make a ruling in 2 weeks, and if the case
goes forward then the next hearing will be on July 27.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Politicians Touched by Tribes, Out of Touch with Main Street?

Santa Barbara Attorney Jim Marino has an interesting column up on the leverage that California's Gaming tribes have on our state congress. These include tribes like Enterprise Rancheria, Pechanga, Redding Rancheria and Picayune Rancheria that have stepped all over the civil and human rights of some of their members, denying them voting rights, elder care and access to their homelands.

Pay to play

The pay to play mentality has never been more prevalent than it is today. The historic special interests have been around a long time: unions, big business, medical and legal based associations, prison guards and a number of others.

The newest players are the handful of Indian casino groups, some with only one or two “tribal members,” many with questionable tribal identities and who have been allowed to build and operate full blown class III gambling casinos on land that is not eligible for Indian gambling under federal law.

On any given day you can see these casino Indians arriving in Sacramento in their private jet planes bearing gifts in the guise of political contributions to those willing legislators and officials with hands extended.

Just a few of the many, many examples have had direct impacts on local communities and more can be expected

When the voters approved Proposition 1A in March 2000, few understood that they were not just amending the Constitution, Art. 4, sec. 19, to authorize the governor to negotiate gambling compacts with federally recognized Indian tribes or bands.

Rather, the voter approval in effect ratified the 59 tribal-state compacts executed by Gov. Gray Davis without existing authority and approved by the legislators in October 1999.


Friends in high places

The state of California and Gov. Schwarzenegger could have required these tribes, offering these machines for play like the casino at San Pablo, Calif., to pay significant money to the state and further to follow rules of operation established by the state in that compact.

At the 11th hour, state Senator Jim Battin from the Palm Springs area wrote a letter urging Commissioner Hogen and the National Indian Gaming Commission not to change the rule, and he got 20 other senators to sign that letter.

The rule was not changed.

So here is a state senator urging a federal agency not to change a rule that would have been a benefit to the state is supposed to represent.

Senator Battin has funneled thousands of dollars in Indian casino monies to his political colleagues in Sacramento through his “Friends of Jim Battin” committees, (lending new meaning to the expression “it pays to have friends”).

When his campaign financing practices ran afoul of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, he set up the “Jim Battin Defense Fund,” funded, of course, by Indian casino money.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BIA rules on Altura Rancheria: Seven not Five

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has decided there are seven, and not five, members of the Alturas Rancheria. There has been an ongoing dispute regarding membership, as opposing factions among the members stood to have majority voting rights based on the number of members in the rancheria.

The decision was announced in a June 6, 2009 letter to Rancheria Chairman Phillip Del Rosa and Vice Chairman Darren Rose. A copy of the letter was delivered to the Daily News this week for Del Rosa. Del Rosa and Rose have been in an ongoing dispute over membership, with Del Rosa now holding a four-vote majority of the seven members, based on the ruling.

Rose, who was adopted into the tribe when it was pursuing a casino to be located in the Yreka area, would have held a three-vote majority had the BIA determined there were only five voting members.

Rose claimed that the adoption of of Don Peckingham and Calvin Phelps into the tribe was for only an honorary membership with no voting rights.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Santa Ysabel Tribal Council Votes to Keep Chairman Accused of Mis-Spending

The Santa Ysabel Tribal Council, which owes the county about $1 million in missed payments stemming from a deal struck between the two governments to help pay for increased law enforcement, ambulances and problem gambling programs, voted 4-3 to KEEP Chairman Hernandez. He still faces a recall by the tribe.

Vice Chairwoman Brandie Taylor, who has had an ongoing feud with the chairman, said she was surprised by the outcome of the vote.

"Honestly, we were shocked at the four votes for him," she said in an email statement. "The four never gave their reasons and now the tribal members want to know how they could have voted for the best interest of the tribe by allowing him to stay in office."

In the petition for removal, the tribe's Legislature alleged that Hernandez misspent the $27,180, which the tribe had allocated last year as a payment for the Inter-Tribal Court. The petition did not say how the money was spent.

Hernandez said last month that the claim was false. He said he paid the court what the tribe could afford at the time, $5,000. The chairman said the tribe had failed to pass a budget for 10 months, which put the tribe's finances in disarray. Obviously his leadership skills need improving.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pechanga's Macarro to Commissioners: DO as I say, Not as I DID, or I'm Really Not Lying THIS Time

Pechanga's Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro showed quite a bit of chutzpah, when speaking before Riverside County Commissioners this week. A man who lied to Congress as we discussed HERE, and HERE when he told them the tribe would not use 296 acres of pristine environment the tribe wanted put into trust. Anyone want to guess where the new Journey Golf Course is built upon?

Here's a quote by John Macarro, shorter brother of Mark, from the Press Enterprise: In response, Pechanga's General Counsel John Macarro, wrote, "Once the land is placed in trust, a tribe has complete zoning and planning authority over it and can change land uses just as a county or city can change or update its general plan or zoning designations."

This past Thursday,Temecula's efforts to derail a proposed gravel mine near a pristine environmental reserve just outside of town were dealt a severe setback, when officials voted against letting the city annex the land.

Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of LuiseƱo Indians, told commissioners the annexation would protect the place where tribal tradition says the Earth was created and the tribe was born.

"This is our Eden," he said. "We cannot re-create where the world was created. There is only one Eden."

The Pechanga tribe, led by Macarro re-created Eden by throwing out the elderly and children of two large families that we've discussed HERE and HERE

Here's Macarro's quote to Congress on the Great Oak Property:

And, when specifically asked if the Pechanga Tribe had “any plans for development of any kind on the Great Oak Ranch property”, Chairman Macarro responded as follows:

“No, we don’t. As stated … the intended use and purpose is to preserve and protect the resources that are there.”

Former Pechanga Legal Analyst John Gomez Jr. had this to say:The transfer of the Great Oak Ranch and eventual development of the property is tragic,” stated John Gomez, Jr.* “If the golf course project, or any other development, had been proposed on private property as culturally rich and significant as this, you better believe that tribal officials would have taken every action, whether it be lawsuits or acts of Congress, to stop it. Unfortunately, the duty to protect and preserve does not apply to tribal projects that may add to the bottom line.”

Temecula Area People, Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro has desecrated the land but want YOU to protect land. He LIED when he said HE would protect the land, but REALLY REALLY means it when he says he wants to protect the land NOW. He has put the safety of OTHER culturally significant sites in jeopardy, because he LIED to Congress. Put no stock in what he says.

There is lots of information at the links, please take a look.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

San Pasqual: Suing our State for chance to take more cash

YES, this is the same tribe that the BIA recently invalidated their elections.

The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians is seeking $550 million from the state over the number of slot machines allowed at Valley View Casino, it was reported Tuesday.

In a claim filed Monday, the tribe says Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has refused to allow San Pasqual the 2,000 Las Vegas-style slot machines it was promised in a 1999 gambling compact, The North County Times reported. Valley View currently has 1,574 machines.

"We are just asking for what was established to be ours according to the language of the 1999 compact," San Pasqual Chairman Allen Lawson said in a written statement.

However, the state has a different interpretation of what the compact allows.

Because California gets revenue from slot machine license fees, Schwarzenegger has used a lower number of licenses to draw tribes into negotiations for more cash in exchange for more machines, the Times reported.

A federal judge ruled that there should be a total of 42,700 machines available throughout California but the state has limited the number to 32,151.

The judge's ruling is under appeal.


California Indian Gaming Revenues DOWN 5.6%

Gee, and we were promised that if we gave tribes expanded gaming, that our budget would be balanced. Now, with negative growth, we won't even get what we were getting?


Pechanga In Court To Thwart Judgement in Joe Liska Case

HUGE blow to Pechanga...

There will be a court hearing in the San Diego Federal Court on Monday, June 22 at 10:30 am. The Pechanga Band of Mission Indians are asking for a dismissal of a Federal Court Judgement that was awarded to an individual in the Moritorium. This is HUGE!

The individual, Joe Liska, who has been caught in Pechanga's UNLAWFUL moratorium has already won and now the Pechanga Band of Mission Indians, who didn't take it seriously the first time are trying to get it dismissed. He has been fighting this fight alone and quietly and now it is time for all to know!