Wow….did I wake up in 2007 this past month or what... and if I did…where the hell is my Delorean?! This is just one of many irresponsible and misinformed statements made by Senator Rosenberg regarding Land Into Trust issues surrounding the non-threat of Indian casinos in Massachusetts….and his excuse to pass an irresponsible Casino Gambling Bill in Massachusetts…but I’ll save the irresponsibility of the Senate and the Bill itself for another day…for now, let’s focus on our Senator Rosenberg who apparently is the “guru” on Indian Gaming….uhhhh...yeah….not so impressed with you so far Senator Rosenberg. You sound exactly like Governor Patrick when he was pushing his three casino bill - and we all know how misinformed he was about that, but I digress.
First of all Senator, may I suggest you pick up a copy of Without Reservation…it gives the complete story on exactly how an Indian casino was forced on Connecticut….twenty five years ago….. Now don’t get me wrong here because yes, there has been this “letter” floating around from Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Lary Echo Hawk stating that the Department of the Interior will continue to process eligible pending applications for gaming on Indian lands….blah, blah, blah…..yet not a big deal when you actually understand Federal Indian Policy and IGRA. What our dear Senator doesn’t seem to understand is that the BIA has no jurisdiction or authority to place land into trust...neither does the SOI at this point...in fact, the BIA is only responsible for determining if the applications submitted prior to the Carcieri decision are still eligible under the new rules. By no means is the letter or any other "memo" that is circulating saying that all applications are being processed by the BIA...nor does it say any decision on land in trust is being made by the BIA. In fact, the letters coming out of the BIA and SOI’s office regarding the processing of applications are deliberately ambiguous. Let us all keep in mind here that they do consistently say that applications will be processed if and only if they fully satisfy the requirements of the law. That’s a big IF Senator and one the Mashpee and the Aquinna don’t meet. Hey, I get it....the reason for these letters is understandable…frustration has been building with tribes who are awaiting decisions on applications - shortly after the Carcieri decision they were told to consult with their lawyers on the legality of their request. Nothing has moved forward since. The only thing that’s changed now is that the responsibility for determining eligibility for applicants has shifted from the tribes to the BIA and the BIA is only now evaluating the pending applications for applicable legal standards. After all….there were tribes that were recognized before 1934 and they may have applications awaiting a decision.
As it stands right now, the threat of an Indian casino isn’t real and I and many other well informed citizens can debate that until the cows come home. And if we can understand Federal Indian Policy, I find it extremely difficult and disheartening to believe that our State Senators could be so easily mislead with regards to the legalities of the Mashpee tribe’s proposed casino.
….here is Senator Rosenberg’s comment to a concerned and well informed citizen when this was explained to him….
With all due respect if you have not spoken directly with the BIA then you do not have all the information you need in order to understand the full scope. You are reading what you see accurately but you probably have not had the direct conversations with the BIA that I and others have had which provide the additional background.if you have I would appreciate information about those meetings. Neither you nor I were part of additional meetings with Secretary's office and the BIA and the heads of landless tribes in which he committed to resolve the issues both of landless tribes and those seeking additional land. All of the meetings we have had and all of the reports we have received from Washington add up to a commitment to resolve land in trust issues in a timely fashion.
That's it for now. Thanks for the dialogue.
With all due respect Senator, many of us have spoken directly to the BIA and unlike you….we didn’t just call them “cold”…we already knew our rights as citizens under Federal Indian Policy and knew the rights of this State as well - so those of us who have spoken with the BIA and Washington were not so naïve as to believe everything we were told. Oh, and by the way Senator, I personally have had the pleasure of speaking directly to the chairman of the NIGC -- that’s the National Indian Gaming Commission -- just in case you didn’t know that…which it seems to this chick like you don’t because you obviously believe that the Mashpee automatically have the right to build a casino just because they are a Federally Recognized Tribe - which they do not. From my real and direct face to face conversation with said Chairman, he made it clear that the NIGC would not approve casino gambling on land in Middleboro that was clearly set aside for a casino…that is called Reservation Shopping and it is a big no no.
Senator…with all due respect…having Land in Trust does not a casino make….especially if said land is in a State that does not allow Class III gambling to begin with…so before you make silly and ignorant statements like “we have to beat them to the punch” and before you wave your hand and dismiss an informed and well educated voting, taxpaying citizen…you might want to actually try and listen to someone other than the Tribe(s) and the BIA.
With all due respect, Senator Rosenberg…do you even know who that educated voting taxpayer who sent you all this information is? Do you even realize that the person who you have been so dismissive to was responsible for bringing one of the best Indian law councilors together with the Carcieri Lawyer? Do you know that this person was the one who recognized that Rhode Island’s argument in the Carcieri argument wouldn’t win as it was so this person brought in a more experienced lawyer from Arizona to help with that case? Do you know that this person’s research on Indian case law is so extensive that it has been used by a New York lawyer who then successfully argued an Indian law case before a Federal judge? Do you know that this person knows more about Indian law than any lawyer on the east coast because of what happened in Salamanca, New York…or that what happened in that town was so disturbing that the atrocities of Federal Indian Policy was dedicated to this person in a book…a book written by two Indians, I might add?…did you know any of that Senator Rosenberg?….did you know any of that before you responded to the information given to you with such a pompous and “holier than thou” attitude? Did you? Because I really, really want to know.
How about instead of being ignorant and patronizing, perhaps you might want to try a lot more listening and a lot less talking about things that are so obviously esoteric to you….heck, God did give you two ears and one mouth for a reason - its about time you realized that reason - here is a hint for you....do a lot less talking and twice as much listening, you might actually learn something….and while your at it, you might want to try some light reading…may I suggest the Kickapoo case in Texas - this is where it was determined that a State is not required to enter into a compact with a Tribe seeking class III gaming if class III gaming is illegal in that State….you can read about it here and then perhaps correct yourself in your statements regarding tribal / state compacts….or perhaps you could brush up on the Hawaii and other decisions that made it perfectly clear that the Federal Government cannot exercise power over a sovereign State and that casinos are not inevitable…in simple terms, Sir….the Federal Government cannot take land from a Sovereign State and place it in Trust, thus removing it from State tax rolls and exempting it from State regulations unless that State says they can…oh, and hey, how about that little factoid that the Federal Government can only set aside excess Federally owned land to be placed into trust…oh yeah…none of that here in the good ‘ol Commonwealth.
Look…I am not so naïve myself that I don’t believe that the BIA told you things that make you worry that Tribal casinos could become a true possibility here because I am sure they did. Heck, me and a group of well informed citizens have been dealing with this for the past three years…and have learned a lot from people who have spent a lifetime dealing with this….several of whom are Native Americans, I might add….and we have learned a lot about federal process, or more accurately, the tricks of the Tribe(s) for getting their Casino‘s…I have to believe that the BIA is taking into consideration that pesky little pinhole in 25 CFR when determining the applicability of a Tribe’s LIT application under the new rules and the Tribe(s) in Massachusetts will most certainly try to use this pinhole to get land - in fact I am quite certain they will when considering the shenanigans going on in Fall River - which could be why you probably think a Tribal casino is inevitable…but said pinhole could be considered unconstitutional by a State and a group of Senators from said State who actually have the….ummmm….dare I say......nads…… to stand up for themselves and their citizen’s sovereign rights instead of bending over the chair of inevitability….with all due respect, Sir.
Or maybe you are just worried about a bingo hall like Twin Rivers….which is such a huge disappointment in the profit maker, job creator and economic engine fantasy for Rhode Island….yeah, those bingo slots sure are a threat to the Commonwealth…and gosh, lest us forget what happened in Connecticut because you told us so…
If we understand correctly now, there are machines that look like slot machines, act like slot machines but are in fact a Bingo gaming machine and because weve allowed Bingo would not have to get our permission, nor would we have to legalize slot machines for them to be able to open a casino with slot machines, for all intents and purposes. So our choice, basically the issue of whether to legalize slot machines is effectively mooted out. We either get in front of it or behind it.
Sen. Rosenberg said, That is how the state of Connecticut ended up with two full-scale casinos. The tribe down there said they were going to exercise their right to electronic bingo. The first tribe chose to share the market with the second tribe, and thats how we ended up with what we have in Connecticut. There is ample precedent now that electronic bingo machines are recognized. The second reason and way in which this is profound is that there have been a number of hiccups. - transcripts from the Senate Hearing on the Casino Bill
Jeez...talk about leaving out the pertanent facts - Senator, you obviously don't know the history of IGRA nor do you care to understand that that State was bamboozled by a smart lawyer looking to make some cash - but hey, no matter because it happened and we had better go build us some casinos real quick like….forget the damned independent cost benefit analysis - look what happened in Connecticut twenty-two years ago…and it's gonna happen to us....we need to beat them to the punch….right Senator?
So what exactly happened in Connecticut Senator? Other than increased crime, increased drunk driving incidents, a need for more police and fire services, a need for more teachers, failed small businesses and traffic topped off with high property taxes…do you think Connecticut would allow what happened to them then to happen now? I don't think so.....what is it exactly that we have learned from Connecticut Senator Rosenberg? That it is inevitable so prepare to bend over that chair of inevitability? Really???
Oh, and while I’m at it Senator Rosenberg, with all due respect….it is your job and the job of every Senator to govern this State under its own Constitution….and in case you haven’t read it for a while (or at all)….here is the first article ….
Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
Yet here you are…debating whether or not to allow smoking in casinos because cigarettes are threat to public health…debating whether or not to allow free drinks in casinos because drunk driving is a threat to public safety…but gosh darned it, not to allow these things will most certainly result in casino failure which will cut into the so called “profits” for the State - which you can't even say for sure exists because there is no time nor a need for an independent analysis of the costs...so these things must be allowed and we certainly don't need an independent analysis done, just pass the bill now and worry about that later…..arguing all this and so much more to pass a bill for an industry that in and of itself is a public health and safety threat..a threat to the safety and happiness of the citizens of this Commonwealth. Because we got to beat them to the punch….Good job Senators…and a super kudos to you Senator Rosenberg…..here is something to be really super duper proud of.
- There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is the willingness to think - Chuck Jone
- be the change you want to see in the world -