The California Valley Miwok Tribe would like to respond Lodi News-Sentinel's endorsement Jan. 19 of Propositions 94 through 97 and to the myths behind these ballot measures.
The four tribes pushing these propositions claim that all California Indians will benefit from new gambling compacts. These four tribes are really just multi-million dollar corporations.
The compacts they negotiated are riddled with loopholes. With their money and their lawyers, they will exploit every one of them. The state of California will be giving away millions of taxpayers' dollars and missing the chance to help the poorer tribes that do not have gaming pacts.
As for the California Valley Miwok Tribe, we would like nothing more than to trust and receive the support of our sister tribes, but we have been rebuffed by the Agua Caliente, Sycuan and Morongo tribes. At a meeting last fall of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, we were pledged support by leaders of these tribes in our dispute with corrupt officials of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the California Gambling Control Commission. The assistance never materialized. We are landless and soon will be without a home. California voters should not think these tribes will treat them with any more respect than they had previously afforded us.
Here are the facts behind these propositions:
Fact - Previous compacts were designed to grow modestly. These compacts will cause one of the largest expansions of gaming in U.S. history. They will add 17,000-plus machines to the gaming business in California almost overnight.
Fact - Original compacts had clear guidelines to benefit California taxpayers, to have no negative impacts on local communities. These new compacts do not. If passed, new casinos will overwhelm local services, creating hardships for citizens and catastrophe for unprepared localities.
Fact - If any of these measures pass, the locals who previously had a 55-day comment period to voice environmental concerns would lose that right under the new compacts.
Fact - If any of these measures pass, any current gaming tribe can demand to negotiate for the same deal, bringing whatever adverse affects there may be into every community where a casino is located around the state. Keep in mind, the California Valley Miwok Tribe along with other tribes oppose these measures because some of us care about our fellow Californians as much as we do about making money.
Fact - Out of 108 California tribes, these propositions give just these four tribes more than one-third of the gaming industry. Other local gaming tribes revenue streams would be devastated.
Fact - These compacts fall short in the revenue sharing that is desperately needed by poor and non-gaming tribes. When Californians voted for Prop 1-A, their intentions were not to make a few greedy tribes rich but to fairly help all California Indians in need to improve their impoverished living conditions.
Fact - These tribes currently do not address many of the health care needs of their employees. They have a history of making health benefits so unaffordable that a lot of the health care for their workers are funded by us, the taxpayers, so they do not lose their profit margins. The Agua Caliente Tribe is the worst; taxpayers subsidize health care for 56 percent of dependent children of its casino workers.
Fact - Under these compacts there is no guaranteed money for schools. That is why it is opposed by the California Federation of Teachers.
Fact - The four tribes are currently running an ad showing a list of tribes that support their compacts. Do not be confused, many of us do not support them. To find out more please go to http://www.nounfairdeals.com and join us in protecting our state from corporate opportunists.
The California Valley Miwok Tribe directed its economic development director, Tiger Paulk, to prepare this article.