From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Draft Tribal Casino Regulation Hearings In Your Area

Editors Note:  If you are receiving this e-mail and do not live near one of the hearings, we thought you would want to know about the hearings so you could get testimony in.  

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
Alliance Against Reservation Shopping
PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA  98604
(360) 687-3087 – Fax:  (360) 687-2973
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003 
mike@hardimanconsulting.com -- 202-489-4893

Draft Tribal Casino Regulation Hearings In Your Area

Hearings in Sacramento and Minneapolis this week. 

*****Make plans now to attend in Sacramento on Tuesday morning and Minneapolis on Thursday morning.  See Action Items below for details. 

Tribal casino reservation shopping is coming to your area.  Look below to read the background on the issue. 

You now have until April 28th to send comments.  This is an all out call to action.  
All you have to do is send a letter with your comments about what you like and what you don’t like about the regulations.  

Editors Note:  These regulations written in draft by George Skibine actually have a few good things in them.  Our belief is that it is bait and switch.  Skibine is going out now to the tribes in four meetings to give them a chance to comment on the regulations.  Our information now is that he will then put out draft regulations for review by you an others.  He may seek to avoid further hearings.  

You need to insist on a minimum of a 90 day public comment period and more hearings.  We consider it likely that when the final regulations come out, they will be watered down with most, if not all, the good things taken out.  That is because George Skibine and the BIA have largely only listened to the tribes so far.  

The last two meetings in Sacramento and Minneapolis are critical for community people to attend.  

*****Action Items

-----1.  Be sure to attend one of the two remaining consultation meetings to be held by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  It is critical that they not just hear from the tribes.  Communities need to have a say.

The schedule is as follows: 

Tuesday, April 18: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Radisson Hotel Sacramento, 500 Leisure Lane, Sacramento, Calif.

Thursday, April 20: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Crown Plaza, 2200 Freeway Blvd., Minneapolis, Minn. 

-----2.  You need to call your Congressman at (202) 225-3121 and insist that he or she request a 90 comment period extension on these proposed regulations.  Ask him to request more meetings where the general public is invited.

-----3.  Make the same request of both your Senators at (202) 224-3121.  This is an easy request for them to grant because it is not taking a position.  It is just about making the process fair and open.

-----4.  Write a letter with your comments by April 28th about the new regulations and fax AND e-mail it to George Skibine, BIA, Fax: (202) 273-3153. – E-mail:  george_skibine@ios.doi.gov;   James Cason, Action Deputy Secretary, Fax:  (202) 208-1873 – E-mail: james_cason@ios.doi.gov;  and Acting Secretary of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Interior Lynn Scarlett, Fax:   (202) 208-5048 – E-mail:  lynn_scarlet@ios.doi.gov 
Your comment can be one page or as many as you need.    

-----5.  To get a copy of the regulations, go to  www.landrights.org 

Reservation Shopping is where a Indian tribe looks to place a new casino near a freeway with an off-ramp close to a population center.  

As of now, your community cannot say no to a new casino, no matter what your local laws, customs and culture say.

That means that your community could end up with one or more giant tribal mega-casinos that do not pay taxes, obey state or local laws, and often damage local communities with the ills of gambling like high crime, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and gambling addiction.   These casinos are often larger than those in Las Vegas.  

These casinos take money but don’t give much to the community.  Except they give huge donations to politicians in the political process where local politicians are so afraid of them that few local decisions are made without the tribes consent. 

The key here is does your community have a choice?  If a community does not want a casino, it should have the ability to stop it.  But that is not how the law is written now.  Tribal casinos can be plunked down pretty much anywhere the tribes want regardless of local custom and culture.

When you testify, oppose any grandfather clause in the new regulations.  

If a grandfather clause gets in the regulations or is passed by Congress, the speculators like Donald Trump and other developers will win and your community will lose.  Most new off-reservation casino proposals are funded by outside speculators hoping for large windfall profits by hiring lawyers to use the many loopholes in current law. 

A grandfather clause virtually guarantees these speculators will make huge profits at your expense.   The speculators become the most powerful people in your community and really control local politics.   No politician will risk taking a position without checking with the tribe first.  That is what is happening in lots of places.  

If you help stop the grandfather clause, most of these tribes won’t lose because the money already expended comes from speculators.  These speculators have no vested rights.  They took risks.  They are used to losing.  They are called speculators because they take big risks, and big losses and often win huge profits.  But local communities should not suffer at their hands.

Congress and the BIA need to get a grip on these loopholes and stop the exceptions and grandfather clause.   

Most of the lobbying controversy in Washington was about Jack Abramoff  and reservation shopping by tribes crossing state lines or moving outside their traditional boundaries and away form their reservation. 

There is no way to overstate how much damage these monsters can do to local communities. 

Do not assume the people who need to know about these new regulations will hear about them.

Call your friends, neighbors and business associates to get them to attend. 

Please forward this message as widely as possible.  

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