From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Thursday Mail Deadline – Casino Reservation Shopping

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net 
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Thursday Mail Deadline – Casino Reservation Shopping

You can get in the official record for Congress.  Send your testimony about Tribal gaming and reservation shopping.  It’s easy.

No matter whether you are facing a new Tribal Casino now or not, you may well face one in the near future.  Please don’t fail to fill out at least one of the Testimony Questionnaires at www.landrights.org and send them in.   

The Resources Committee will receive testimony for two weeks after the hearing which was June 6th in Sacramento.  You can help us by mailing your Testimony Questionnaire to American Land Rights.  You can fax it to us at (360) 687-2973.

You can fax or e-mail it to the Committee up until Monday night, June 20th.

If you want, you can fill out several Questionnaires.   There are four Questionnaires that focus on the Cowlitz-Mohegan Casino just north of Portland, Oregon near Vancouver, Washington.

There are three that are designed for people anywhere in the country to easily get on the record and testify.

***National Stop Tribal Reservation Shopping Coalition forming.  Send an e-mail to ccushman@landrights.org with your name, address, phone, fax and e-mail and we’ll add you to the list.  There is no cost.

If you have a website with information about Tribal gaming, casinos or Reservation Shopping, but sure to send it to us.  We’re going to list every website in the country.

We need to hear from you.  Respond to ccushman@landrights.org


Go to www.landrights.org

We have posted seven Testimony Questionnaires for you to select from.  Or you may send the first four and the final three.  

-----1.  The first four (1-4) are about the national casino issue but focus on the attempt by the Cowlitz and Mohegan Tribes to build the 5th largest casino in America between two small towns 15 minutes north of Portland, Oregon.  There is some duplication but all four are mostly different.  You should send all four but you can send just one.  We wrote four to make sure all the issues were covered. 

-----2.  Testimony Questionnaires 5 – 7 are written from a national perspective.  There is some minor duplication but they are mostly different.  You should send all three.  

***Please send your testimony.  Get on the record.

It is critical that all concerned citizens prepare testimony for the Resources Committee  hearing.  The testimony can be as long as you want or as short as one page.  If you want to get it read, it should have a one page summary at the front.

You can testify easily by using a Testimony Questionnaire from www.landrights.org

These don’t have any organization ID on them so you can use them for your own group in your own location.

You can and should put your concerns in your own words in the place designated on the Testimony Questionnaire.  You will make the document more valuable.

It is important for legal reasons that you send testimony.  It is the legal concept called “laches” or “sleeping on your rights.”  If somewhere down the road you want to challenge any casino or some aspect of it legally, whether you are a city or a private person,  it is important that you be able to show a pattern of being involved.  So participating now is important.

There are four ways to get your Testimony to the Committee:

-----1.  You can e-mail it to:  resources.committee@mail.house.gov

-----2.  You can fax it to: (202) 225-5929

-----3.  Mail:   Your mail may not get there in time.  Keep in mind, it will be delayed for several weeks because of the Anthrax mail inspections and may not be included in the official record.  Mail to Chairman Richard Pombo, House Resources Committee, House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.  Mark it:  June 6th Hearing On Reservation Shopping on the outside of the envelope.  Their website is:  http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/

-----4. You can mail it to American Land Rights at PO Box 400, Battle Ground, Washington, 98604.  We will Federal Express it to our office in Washington which will hand deliver it to the committee.  Please mark it: June 6th Hearing On Reservation Shopping on the outside.  

You can send testimony on any aspect of the fight over any Casino in your area.  But include something in your letter regarding Reservation Shopping as that is the focus of the hearing.  The more you talk about this new concept of fee land becoming “sacred” because it is close to an urban center, has a freeway and an off ramp, the better. 

It is ok to go into whether a particular tribe actually lived in your area,  whether they will have to obey local land use laws, their threat to the community structure, addiction, schools, kids and all the other bad things associated with this proposal.

You can give your opinions and facts.  

The key is to make this proposal controversial in the eyes of Congress.  Where there is heat, there may be light.

Tribal Gaming Casinos are spreading across the country.  At first it was just on existing reservations.   Now they’re spreading to small towns where the have been successful setting up new reservations.

Hundreds of tribes that have been largely non-existent have hired lawyers and are reforming so they can get in on the so called bonanza.  

The bonanza is a casino dropped in the middle of either a major city or at least out in the suburbs of a city on a freeway with an off ramp.

Imagine a new casino larger than nearly every casino in Las Vegas dropped into the middle of your neighborhood or town.  On the surface, you may see some benefits.  Construction workers would work for a little while.  

But the downside is huge.

In one example, Ridgefield and La Center, Washington, just a few miles form Portland, Oregon, the Mohegan Tribe is partnering with the Cowlitz Tribe to try to build the fifth largest casino in America.  Bigger than every casino in Las Vegas except the MGM Grand.

The Mohegans from Connecticut own the largest casino in America two hours from New York and Boston.  They’re making billions of dollars.

The Cowlitz, who are not even from Southwest Washington, are Reservation Shopping.  The new definition of “sacred ground” is --  does the land have a freeway with an off ramp close to a big city.

You need to be concerned that a tribe will try to come into your area.  It will dramatically change the social and political climate.  They have so much money that elected officials are afraid to oppose them.  So local people are losing control of their local community all over the country.  

These Mega-casinos do not have a positive effect on the community.   They drive out local businesses, lower property values, increase local taxes, cause personal bankruptcies, encourage crime, and flood roads with drunk drivers. Additionally, a gambling complex this large will scare away new non-casino businesses and jobs that, rightfully, do not want to have their facilities located near a mega-casino and the negative consequences it brings.

Just one example is the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.  At the Mohegan Sun employees and their families do what they call “hot bunking”.  That means that three families share a house.   They rotate through the house every eight hours so they sleep, and cook on a rotating schedule.  No matter what they do in your town, the demographics will change forever.  The environment will change.

This issue is not about preserving Tribal culture, not about creating jobs, and not about economic development for the area.  Almost none of the Mohegan money in Connecticut spreads to the community.  Local schools are getting killed.  They cannot take care of their facilities and the Indians do not pay their fair share for the impacts.   

This issue is about, and only about, putting a big casino close to a major city so non-local gambling investors can make lots of money at everyone else’s expense -- period.

If the mega-casino proponents have their way, casinos will be springing up all over the country in big and small towns.  In Clark County, Washington they will build one of largest casinos in the World. 

Our plan, besides working to build a coalition in Clark County and nationwide, is to reach out to our allies and members nationally.  ALRA has nearly 300,000 e-mail addresses, 500,000 fax numbers and approximately 900,000 names in our network.   And we’re growing daily.   Just maintaining the database is costly.

There are many people nationally who are concerned about the abuse of new Tribal Reservations as a tool to ignore local land use laws and environmental regulations and install large gaming facilities.  “Reservation shopping” has become a runaway process.  

*** How to Join:

There is no cost to being a member of the Tribal Reservation Shopping Coalition.  Just send back an e-mail that you want to be on the coalition list with your full name, address, phone, e-mail and fax if you have it.   Send it to ccushman@landrights.org

Please forward this message as widely as possible.  Teamwork wins.

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