In the aftermath of the Glendale City Council’s March 18th workshop, touted by the Tohono O’Odham Nation as a victory for their proposed neighborhood casino, media headlines spoke of the beginning of “negotiations” between the Nation and the city. As a veteran of this five-year-long political and legal battle and the governor of the Gila River Indian Community, I write to offer a strong note of caution about such “negotiations.”
During the years this fight has raged, elected leaders, neighbors and tribal communities have raised a host of objections to this project. Every one of those objections remains as true today as they have been for years. The only thing different? The flip flop of one politician, a member of the Glendale City Council.
While that councilman has staked out an odd political stance – he remains against the casino, he told his colleagues, but open to hearing the Nation’s promises – the position of those opposed to the project, including Gov. Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne, nearly the entire Arizona Congressional delegation, a host of Valley mayors and tribal communities statewide, has not changed one iota.