We posted on the recent editorial in the North County Times (The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians Have Moral...) and earlier about the City of Temecula's lawsuit against the Pechanga Tribe ( City of Temecula lawsuit dismissed ). But part of the story that's been missed is the dance of morality here. The NC Times thinks the issue is an agreement and then Pechanga looking for a loophole out of it:
That doesn't excuse the fact, though, that the Pechanga Tribe agreed to pay the city about $2 million per year to help counter the impact of thousands of slot machines on its neighbor, then sought refuge in a loophole to keep from paying it.
The real moral issue is WHY a city would not exercise their outrage at the way the Pechanga Tribe has treated its own people, some of whom are Temecula citizens, too. We wrote about that back in March 2010 ( ..Temecula taking Money from Nation that violates Civil Rights ) At the time we wondered why in that story, the Press Enterprise never brought up the issues:
Pechanga has violated their members civil and human rights, which will be discussed at the New Mexico hearings on indigenous people in Albuquerque next week.
Pechanga has stolen $200 million in per capita payments from members via unlawful disenrollments (now much higher)
Pechanga has taken health care benefits to the tune of $12 million dollars from members
It leads one to wonder how the city can look to benefit off the stolen money from 25% of Pechanga people? Is that good moral judgement? Doing the right thing can sometimes be difficult, but getting into bed with a tribe they now know is untrustworthy is not the right move.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said: "Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." (h/t: Carolyn Lowe Schuyler)
We know the morals at Pechanga, led by Mark Macarro are lacking, we'd hope the City of Temecula would be better, and we'd like to see the media take off their blinders. They've spent DAYS on a story of a little known person passing a horrible email about the President, but no time on a tribe that has harmed so many of it's people. (equal to 8 million Californians)
The City of Temecula should exercise it's moral outrage on an unethical partner in a manner we discussed here. They should cease all business with the tribal business entities, not attend functions at the casino, tell their employees to do the same. And let all their friends know what has happened. While $2 million seems like a lot of money, it pales in comparison, as one of our commenters noted, to what is lost by the eliminated membership. The tribe can rectify this immediately, by simply following tribal law. And they know it.