Investigative reporter Susan Bradford discovers the Pechanga Tribe and Mark Macarro and Holly Macarro's attempt to steal water rights from allottees including Tosobol and Hunter Clans. Here is her take
Pechanga Band Launches Lucrative Water Rights Grab
Under the pretext of compensating the allottees of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno for past historical injustices, the industrialists are attempting to corner the lucrative water market in the Santa Margarita River watershed with the assistance of two lobbying firms at the center of the Abramoff investigation.
In June, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indian Water Rights Settlement Act, which seeks a “fair, equitable, and final settlement of certain claims by the band and allottees against the United States” and “water rights and claims for injuries to water rights in the Santa Margarita Watershed for the band and the U.S. in its capacity as trustee for the band.” was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee (H.R. 2508) and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee (S. 1219).
The language of the bill was written by Holly Maccaro, a Principal of Ietan Consulting, which, along with Akin Gump, represents the tribe as the lobbying firms on record. Akin Gump, which enjoys strong ties to Sen. John McCain, assigned former counsel to Secretary of Interior, Michael Rossetti, to represent the tribe.
Rossetti testified against Deputy Secretary Stephen Griles, Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff’s chief contact within the Department of Interior, in the McCain’s duplicitous Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearings .
Maccaro was careful to define an “allottee” as a “member of a federally recognized Indian tribe who holds a beneficial real property interest in an Indian allotment that is … located within the reservation and held in trust by the United States.”
Presumably, then, the numerous Pechanga Indians who have been disenrolled would not receive any benefits from this legislation.
The Santa Margarita Watershed covers 750 square miles in northern San Diego and southwestern Riverside countries and contains a variety of “nearly intact habitats, including chaparral-covered hillsides, riparian woodlands, and coastal marshes,” according to Project Clean Water. Of the total watershed area, approximately 27 lies within San Diego County with the river forming near the City of Temecula in Riverside County at the confluence of the Temecula and Murrieta Creek systems.
Most of the water provided by the river flows within San Diego County through unincorporated areas, the community of Fallbrook, and the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “The lower river and estuary have largely escaped the development typical of other regions of coastal Southern California and are therefore able to support a relative abundance of functional habitats and wildlife,”the PCW maintains.