Monday, May 05, 2008
Focus on the Family previously called for a boycott Ilitch brands.
In late 2005 Focus on the Family started calling for a boycott of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. brands in light of the casino ownership. On the web pages of its family.org Citizen's Link Focus on Social Issues November 14, 2005, Focus on the Family's Chad Hills wrote:
Michigan Take Action
Pizza! Pizza! Casino! Casino!
Before you order another pizza from Little Caesar's, consider the following: Marian Ilitch and her husband, Michael Malik — Michigan residents — are the founders and owners of Little Caesar's Pizza chain. They also own the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers (see Ilitch Holdings). Nothing wrong here, as eating pizza and attending sports events are great family
Unfortunately, the Ilitch's are also partners in putting up the money for a casino bid by New York's Shinnecock tribe, and Marian Ilitch recently won state approval to become sole owner of Motorcity Casino in Detroit. Something is wrong here.
Gambling exploits children and adults, ultimately destroying families.
The Ilitch's are sending a mixed message: they are supporting family-friendly activities while investing in an industry that exploits people and ruins families.Maybe Michigan citizens should send them a clear message: 'We don't fund gambling ventures through family-oriented activities.'"
Heading into the 2006 SuperBowl (spotlight on Detroit), Focus on the Family raised the volume. Then suddently Focus on the Family went quiet: (nearly every mention of gaming in Michigan was removed from its Web site); references to MotorCity Casino were removed from the Ilitch corporate website; and a month or so later, it was announced that Mike Ilitch (a member of an Orthodox church) was going to fund some new evangelical-centered million dollar reality TV program pitting church choirs across the country against each other in some sort of "battle of the bands" type competition. One announcement for "Voices of Joy" included:
...Michael Ilitch, the man who came up with the idea of "Voices of Joy" and also the founder of Ilitch Holdings, a family of companies dedicated to creating extraordinary and memorable entertainment and sporting experiences.
Numerous websites noted "Voices of Joy" was the "brainchild" of Mike Ilitch. However, there's no record of any hype on the project coming out of the Ilitch Holdings, Inc. headquarters.
Had Ilitch bought his way out of a boycott? Did the threat of a national boycott raise concern with Major League Baseball?
Dr. James Dobson is the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family.
"What makes this scam even more interesting is the fact that when Mr. Hadley passed away his estate deeded the Charlotte Beach property to a Mr. Michael J. Malik and his gaming business partner. This raises the question of whether Mr. Malik had an interest in the land deal from the get go -- and if so – did he try to disguise his ownership in the land deal? This also begs the question that was raised by the Sault Tribe -- whether this collusive lawsuit was a scam -- a set-up in order to make this land claim seem legitimate. As stated by the Sault Tribe, Mr. Hadley was clearly not an aggrieved landowner – he was a willing and active participant in this scam. That is why today we are asking the United States Department of Interior to investigate this matter and request this Committee refrain from taking any action until such investigation is completed.
"I would like to enter into the record the deeds that show that Mr. Malik received these lands from the Hadley estate.
"Today, Mr. Malik is the lead developer with the Bay Mills Tribe to build a casino in Port Huron. If this land claim was so legitimate, why does it appear that Bay Mills and their developer colluded to hide their identity in these transactions? We believe the answer is clear. They did not want anyone to know this was a scam from the outset"...
FROM THE CORPS PUBLIC GIS SYSTEM: Property Description - The 153.03-acre site is located in Humboldt County, Big Lagoon, California, near the Big Lagoon Indian Reservation. The property is currently part of the Dry Lagoon State Park and is adjacent to the Big Lagoon County Park. During the 1920s and 1930s, cabins were built at the south end of the lagoon and the area was a popular destination for weekend and summer travelers. Many of the old cabins still exist alongside newer houses, several of which appear to be inhabited year round. The area remains a popular destination for camping, boating, fishing, swimming, and beach combing. Property on the southeastern side of the lagoon is part of the Big Lagoon Rancheria, inhabited by the Yurok and Tolowa tribes.
Property History - The Big Lagoon Range consists of land that was acquired by leasehold condemnation on 13 June 1944. The mission of this site was the installation of rocket targets for the training of Fleet Air Squadrons from NAAS Arcata. Due to existing hazardous conditions, the Fleet Air Training Detachment withdrew from the Station on 1 July 1945, stripping its targets and removing all squadrons, Fleet personnel, and equipment. The lease was terminated on 14 April 1946. After this, the site was divided among the state of California and Humboldt County. This property is known or suspected to contain military munitions and explosives of concern (e.g., unexploded ordnance) and therefore may present an explosive hazard.
Calif.gov - EnviroStor
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Program
2007 Defense Department’s Annual Report To Congress – Big Lagoon Bombing Target Clean Up costs $8.6 million
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Big Lagoon Survey Maps
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Big Lagoon Hazardous Potential
GAO.gov - California: Cleanup Projects
Memorandum to Commander U.S. Army Engineer Division on risks at Big Lagoon
Sacramento Bee – Inventory of California Former Defense Sites
California State Military Museum - Big Lagoon Bombing Target Number 12
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Inventory Project Report
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Map
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Cover Letters
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Site Maps
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Inventory Project Report and Real Property Report Maps
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Historical Documents
Big Lagoon Bombing Target ED Project Review and Comment Instructions
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Real Property Report
Big Lagoon Bombing Target MMRP Project Cover Letters
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Archive Search Report Findings
Big Lagoon Bombing Target MMRP Project Area of Concern Range Map
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Archives Search Report Maps
Big Lagoon Bombing Target Range Inventory Working Data
by: Rob Capriccioso
WASHINGTON - After serving for just over a year as assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, Carl J. Artman is leaving the Bush administration. His resignation comes as a surprise to many Indian leaders and U.S. government officials, but some who know him said increasing frustrations with the bureaucracy of the BIA played a role in his early exit.
An enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Artman was confirmed by the U.S. Senate March 5, 2007, to head the BIA. He previously served as the department's associate solicitor for Indian Affairs since February 2006.
''I believe at the end of this administration, the work we have done within Indian affairs will leave not just a legacy, but an infrastructure upon which American Indian and Alaska Natives can build to secure their governmental, cultural and economic futures,'' Artman wrote to Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in a letter announcing his resignation.
''Throughout your tenure, I have appreciated your able insight as we have worked to address important issues in Indian country,'' Kempthorne responded in a letter to Artman.
Artman's official duties included carrying out Interior's trust responsibilities involving the management of tribal and individual Indian trust lands and assets, and promoting the self-determination and economic self-sufficiency of the nation's federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. He was the tenth assistant secretary of Indian Affairs to be confirmed since the position was established by Congress in the 1970s.
Artman is most often cited for starting the department's Indian Affairs Modernization Initiative, which served to enhance communications between tribal leaders and Interior on a number of trust responsibility issues.
His resignation stunned many Indian leaders and U.S. government officials, especially given the lengthy amount of time it took Artman to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
When Artman was confirmed in 2007, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who chairs the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said the job should have been filled two years previously, but legislative holdups made that goal untenable. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a vocal critic of the BIA and off-reservation gaming, ultimately registered the sole dissenting vote against Artman's nomination.
''It's a disappointment and setback for Indian country that Assistant Secretary Artman will be resigning,'' Dorgan said in a statement. ''I am afraid we will not make enough progress on the issues affecting the Native American community, from law enforcement issues to economic development. Mr. Artman took consultation with tribal leaders seriously, and I hope that the future or acting assistant secretary will meaningfully consult with tribal leaders before acting on matters that [affect] our Native American communities.''
W. Ron Allen, secretary of the National Congress of American Indians and chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, said he was ''very disappointed'' to learn of Artman's resignation.
''He truly has been one of our most effective and knowledgeable assistant secretaries,'' Allen said. ''Carl was always forthright with the tribes and was making a significant difference with the BIA and its responsibilities to the tribes.''
Leaders who know Artman expected that he might resign come fall, as the Bush administration tapered to a close. His early departure signaled to some that he may have had ongoing frustrations with BIA bureaucracy.
''I sense that there were things bothering Carl - perhaps just not being able to achieve what he wanted to achieve,'' said Gerald Danforth, chairman of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. Prior to joining the federal government, Artman worked for the Oneida Tribe as director of federal affairs and as chief legal counsel.
''I suspect he would have liked to see changes within the BIA that would streamline the processes,'' Danforth said. ''His intentions were right, but how they were unfolding within the BIA, I don't know. I just sensed a certain frustration that things weren't moving forward as quickly as he believed they could be.''
Many Indian leaders are skeptical that Interior will be able to soon find a replacement that was as well-versed on Indian issues as Artman, especially before the close of the Bush administration.
''Because he has worked in Indian country, he had a clear understanding of what the tribes are trying to accomplish with respect to self-determination, self-governance and self-reliance,'' Allen said. ''It is hard to have an impact when you are working on a short stint in the system, but because he knows how it works, he was able to make decisions to address a lot of policy matters.''
It's expected by some insiders that Majel Russell, an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe of Montana and Artman's principal deputy assistant secretary, may be tapped to fill out the remainder of his term. That would likely mean she would have to relocate to Washington, D.C., from her current home in Montana.
Artman's last day on the job is expected to be May 23. It's unknown at this point where he will land, but Danforth said an invitation is open for him to return to the Oneida Nation. He did not respond to requests for comment.
State legislators and U.S. officials must still approve plan for off-reservation site with 2,000 slot machines.
By Nancy Vogel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Monday that he has signed a deal to allow a Sierra Nevada Indian tribe to build a casino along a major highway near Fresno that could be worth about $25 million a year to the state.
But the tribe lacks federal permission to put a gambling operation on that land. And state legislators -- many of whom are wary of urban, off-reservation casinos -- must approve the compacts. Those are high hurdles that could take months, if not years, to clear.
The deal also may conflict with the governor's own policy on tribal gambling accords.
Under the unusual arrangement, the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians would build the casino along California 99 in the heart of the Central Valley, about 40 miles from their foothills reservation. The tribe would share profits with the state and an impoverished tribe, the Wiyot, on the Humboldt County coast hundreds of miles away. The Wiyot would agree not to build a casino on their land near Humboldt Bay.
Schwarzenegger's official policy, spelled out in a May 2005 proclamation, states that he will not negotiate with tribes that do not already own land that the federal government deems eligible for a casino.
It also states that Schwarzenegger will oppose casino construction in urban areas away from tribal reservations.
The proposed North Fork casino is less than a mile from Madera, population 46,000, and about 22 miles northwest of Fresno. It is owned by Station Casinos, a Las Vegas company pursuing projects with several California tribes.
"Placing a casino along Highway 99 right at the foot of the city of Fresno is certainly an urban casino -- there is no other way to see it," said state Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter), who heads the Senate committee that oversees gambling.
In a press release, Florez called the proposal "erratic" and "illogical."
Schwarzenegger's legal affairs secretary, Andrea Hoch, defended the agreement. It is consistent with the governor's gambling policy because the North Fork tribe does own land that is federally eligible for casino construction, she said -- it just isn't the land where the tribe proposes a casino.
"These compacts are novel approaches to providing what is best for the state of California," she said.
Under the compact, the North Fork tribe would build a hotel and casino with 2,000 slot machines and give the state 13.5% to 22% of net revenues, with the state's share rising as revenues increase.
The tribe also would share a small percentage of revenues -- estimated at $3 million to $5 million a year -- with the 600-member Wiyot tribe. Wiyot tribal administrator Maura Eastman said the money would probably be used to invest in economic development.
North Fork tribal Chairwoman Elaine Bethel Fink said her tribe's rancheria south of Yosemite National Park is too remote for a casino.
"Environmentally, it just makes sense for us to partner up," she said.
Schwarzenegger failed the last time he sought federal and state approval for an off-reservation casino. In 2005, he struck a deal with the Los Coyotes band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians in San Diego County and the Big Lagoon Rancheria of Humboldt County to open casinos in the Mojave Desert town of Barstow, where city officials eagerly sought the jobs it would offer.
Legislators -- who can ratify or reject tribal gambling compacts negotiated by the governor but cannot change them -- refused to vote on the Barstow deals.
In any case, the U.S. Department of the Interior refused to allow the tribes to use the Barstow land for casinos because of the potential harm of tribal families leaving their reservations to work in casinos hundreds of miles away.
Schwarzenegger said he would not submit the North Fork and Wiyot compacts to the Legislature until the secretary of the Interior gives North Fork approval to use the land near California 99 for a casino.
There is no guarantee that will happen.
In January, the Bush administration toughened its stance on off-reservation casinos and promised greater scrutiny on casino proposals more than a "commutable distance" from a reservation.
Cheryl Schmit, director of the gambling watchdog group Stand Up for California, said the compacts, if they are ever implemented, could lead to more casinos near big California cities.
"I think the policy of negotiating before the tribe even owns the land . . . is an invitation to further off-reservation gaming expansion," she said.
by Rob Capriccioso
ALBANY, N.Y - New York Gov. David Paterson, just a few weeks after taking office, is already thinking about collecting sales taxes on cigarettes sold by tribes. It's a path many of his predecessors have unsuccessfully pursued, and several tribal leaders predict Paterson, too, will likely face challenges...
Representatives of the Shinnecock Indian Nation said they wanted to take a wait-and-see approach regarding Paterson's plans... (Full Story)
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Councilman Curran's father and a former business partner Joseph Gee have previously entered into local land deals -- reportedly worth more than $1 million -- with Detroit-based casino developer BarWest LLC. BarWest has proposed to build dual Indian casinos in the Mojave Desert town of Barstow.
While WalMart had at one time proposed building a large regional distribution facility in Barstow, according to WalMart officials, that project is no longer on the table. It is not clear who benefited or stood to benefit from the sale of land to WalMart.
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