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Pioneer Press, Fort
Wednesday, February 16, 2005 Vol. 32, No. 17 Page A15, column 1
It was a song and dance. Ten head honchos from well-to-do Indian Gaming companies, law firms and architecture businesses, showed up to razzle-dazzle the country bumpkins of Siskiyou County on Feb. 8.
These men tried to explain that Indian Gaming Casinos provides an economic base for Tribes to create a better self-functioning economy.
The problem is that the Alturas Rancheria has only five adult members. The Rancheria already operates a casino in Alturas. But because that casino plays less than 350 slots, the Tribe is also designated as a non-gaming Tribe.
(There are 70 non-gaming Tribes.)
In California, each non-gaming Tribe received $1.1 million last year. With more than a million in non-gaming monies; profit from a casino; and only five members -- the Alturas are not a poor Tribe.
This casino, called "Shasta Mountain Casino," could make a lot of money.
What do Alturas need another casino for? They should have more than enough funds to create a different economy or industry other than gambling.
Many folks do not know that the Alturas bunch has already tried to squeak in a casino in the urban City of Oakland. Yes, that is right folks, they do what is called "Reservation Shopping."
That one proposed to bring in $40 million to the Oakland city’s coffers, compared to the $11 million the Tribe claimed it would payroll from the Shasta Mountain Casino at the south end of Yreka. But Oakland didn’t happen, so they are looking for an easy-to-do casino.
It was reported by the U.C. Berkley Graduate School of Journalism reporter, Ryan Lillis, on Oct. 1, 2004: "Last July, Mayor Jerry Brown and the Alturas Rancheria tribe went before the city council with a plan to build a casino near Oakland International Airport. The tribe, which already runs a small casino in remote Modoc County, said the new casino would bring 4,000 jobs to the area and $40 million to city coffers every year."
These men that went to Oakland and now Yreka, including Darren Rose, are high rollers. Gamblers.
Rose has purchased $3 million in land surrounding the proposed casino. These guys believe the land is an investment. It will be developed.
Most Tribes do not know how to manage casinos and so they hire gaming companies. These executives and companies are gambling that the people of Yreka will believe that the casino is a done deal.
Well it isn’t.
There are several rules they have not followed.
The number one rule, which is part of the U.S. Congressional act called the "Indian Gaming Regulatory Act" of 1988, is that casinos can only be built on aboriginal tribal territory.
This is the reason that there were two propositions on the November 2004 ballot in California regarding Indian Gaming. The gaming companies and the Tribes would like to be able to put up a casino anywhere. So far that is not legal. But remember, money talks.
Even the federal government acknowledges that most of Siskiyou County was Shasta Nation territory. The Alturas Rancheria is based in Modoc County, more than 135 miles away.
There is major corruption lurking behind this casino proposal. To stop it, write Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Because the other important regulation the Alturas Rancheria bunch has to follow, is a need for community support.
I don’t support this casino proposal in my community.
Subject: Shasta National responds to Alturas Indian Rancheria
Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California
Letter to the Editor
From the Shasta Nation Tribal Council
Ladies and gentleman, one of the Shasta Nation’s
most sacred places is called Mt. Shasta, not Mt.
Alturas. Mt. Shasta has cultural and spiritual
significance to the Shasta People.
There are many reasons why an Alturas Rancheria
gaming casino would adversely impact the spiritual,
cultural, economic and educational integrity of the
Shasta Nation Tribal Council
Subject: Alturas Indian Rancheria, of Modoc County, proposes casino in Siskiyou County, California.
The Pioneer Press, at the very top of the State of California, grants permission for this article to be copied and forwarded.
Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California
Wednesday, February 16, 2005 Vol. 32, No. 17 Page A1, column 1
Newest Indian Gaming Casino proposal
-- It was learned that the Alturas Indian Rancheria has only five members.
By Liz Bowen, assistant editor, Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California
YREKA, CALIFORNIA – Saying the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors did not endorse any particular Indian Gaming Casino proposal, Board Chair LaVada Erickson, opened the first of two public meetings with the Alturas Indian Rancheria and the management companies involved in gaming and Indian Casinos on Feb. 8.
The two meetings were held separately: The first by the county at 1:30 p.m. and the second was hosted by Yreka City Council at 7 p.m. Both meetings were held at the Yreka Community Theater.
Individuals attending both meetings were invited to use a speaker card and to limit their comments or questions to three minutes.
Craig Marcus introduced himself as the tribal administrator for the Alturas Indian Rancheria. He then introduced nine other leaders, including the Alturas Rancheria Chairman Paul DelRosa; individuals from Indian Casino gaming management and attorney companies that are part of the team, which will put together the "Shasta Mountain Casino," Marcus explained.
The casino is planned in three phases and would be based on a hill just south of Yreka. A map showed that Easy Street and Oberlin Road will be used to access the parcel that Darrin Rose claims to own. The parcel is known as the Bender allotment. Bender was a Shasta Indian, not a member of the Alturas Rancheria. According to federal law, Indian Gaming Casinos can be placed on Indian Trust land, but not on purchased land by a Tribe after 1988. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was established by the U.S. Congress in 1988, which governs Indian Gaming Casinos.
An impressive line-up of individuals involved in Indian Gaming were introduced --
Keith Wallace was down in the front of the crowd. He is president and chief executive officer of Showboat and it was touted that he built the first Riverboat casino on the Missouri River. Wallace’s gaming company has established 10 Indian Gaming Casinos in the last 10 years, but he has also been involved in controversy of tribes and casinos in Kansas for several years.
Two lawyers were from Monteau and Peebles, a company that states it specializes in "negotiating business agreements, developing litigation strategies, or lobbying" in the Indian Gaming business.
Wayne Smith was also introduced. He was once a deputy at the national level of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Marcus failed to further explain that Smith was fired at the beginning of a BIA internal investigation last year, for alleged influence-peddling, according to Indian Country news.
Marcus told the crowd that he is a member of the Pueblo of Taos Tribe.
This casino is not a proposal of the Shasta Nation –
Rumors have ran rampant throughout
the Siskiyou County that the Shasta Nation was
behind the Alturas Indian Rancheria and this
casino. One reason for this may be because the
Rancheria has named the gaming establishment the
"Shasta Mountain Casino."
But discussion from Marcus and several Shasta Indians explained that the Shasta Nation is not involved in this proposal.
It was during the second meeting on Feb. 8, when Gary Lake of the Shasta Nation read an opposition letter to the 10 individuals representing the Alturas Rancheria and gaming companies.
Earlier at the 1:30 p.m. meeting held by the county, Althena Calico, also a Shasta, said that Yreka is Shasta territory.
The Alturas Rancheria has a reservation in Modoc County and a rule, which governs Indian Gaming states that a casino can only be placed on the aboriginal territory of the Tribe.
Marcus told the group that the Alturas Rancheria has a compact signed by former California Governor Gray Davis, which allows the Tribe two casinos.
But since the Alturas began to propose a casino outside of its reservation in Siskiyou County, over two years ago, both the Karuk Tribe of California and the Shasta Nation have written letters to the county, state, BIA, senators and the governing National Indian Gaming Commission. Both letters opposed the Alturas Rancheria’s casino, because of its placement in Siskiyou County.
Marcus disagreed saying that the Alturas have "no qualms" with other tribes.
Several from the 100 or so individuals in the audience spoke against the casino in the earlier meeting, with a few speaking in favor. During the evening meeting, the room was more divided and at times, Marcus and the gaming individuals became, defensive.
Karuks were approached by same Indian Gaming companies –
In the earlier meeting, Stacy Lipari told the audience that the same gaming companies representing the Alturas Rancheria had previously offered to aid the Karuk Tribe of California in putting in a casino in Yreka. Lipari, who said that she is both Karuk and Shasta, said that the Karuk Tribal Council turned down the gaming companies – several times.
An insider told the Pioneer Press that the Karuk’s turned down the Indian Gaming management companies and proposals, because the Karuks were only offered 10 percent of the take.
Lipari is the sister of Darren Rose, who was in attendance at the meetings.
Rose, whose name was once listed on the Karuk Tribal membership roll, has been allegedly adopted into the Alturas Rancheria and is now vice-chairman.
Legality of Shasta Trust allotment --
During both meetings, it was questioned if Rose actually owned the Bender Shasta Trust allotment, where the casino has been proposed.
According to Mark Levitan, attorney for the Alturas Rancheria through Monteau and Peebles LLP, Rose is "asserting jurisdiction" of the Shasta Trust allotment.
It was admitted that Rose does not own all of the Shasta Trust land. At least 30 percent is still in the ownership of deceased and living members of the original Shasta Indian Bender.
Ross Stanford questioned the legality of Rose’s ownership, when there are "still outstanding probates on Trust land," and that his family are some of those descendants of Bender and those individuals are "in fact federally recognized Shasta Indians."
"As heirs are identified, the tribe will approach these individuals and buy them out," said Wayne Smith.
Will the Brazie land be developed?
Doris Wood, of South Yreka, questioned what will happen to the adjacent Brazie pond and land. It was purchased by Rose in April of 2004.
"You would not have spent $3 million in land, if it wasn’t to be developed," said Wood.
Over five years ago, Rose began purchasing property surrounding the Shasta Trust allotment. County property records show that Rose has paid over $3 million for the acquisitions.
Marcus told Wood that at present there are "no plans to develop the Brazie property." But at the end of his comment, he added that "land is an excellent investment anywhere," inferring that the Brazie property was considered an investment. "A casino does put profit back into towns and schools," said Marcus.
But Rose lost potential support from surrounding residents last fall, when he allowed hunting of birds, several times, at the pond.
Previously, the Brazie family did not allow hunting in the pond sanctuary. Neighbors were outraged, because of the slaughter of the wild birds.
Wood also said that the Brazie property was zoned as agriculture 1. How would the Tribe be able to get the zone designation changed? Marcus gave no answer, except to say again that the Tribe has no plans for development.
There are only five members listed for the Alturas Indian Rancheria --
In the earlier meeting, Board Chair Erickson, asked how many members there were in the Alturas Rancheria. Marcus said there were nine.
During the Yreka City Council meeting, it was further explained that the Alturas has only five members. According to the BIA census, only adults are counted as actual members and four of those nine are actually children.
750-slot machine casino will be phased in --
Although the first phase of the casino proposal will be a temporary facility, it will house 300-slot machines, four to seven gaming tables and a restaurant.
There were few answers from Marcus regarding the impacts of increased traffic and water usage. An overhead map and artistic design of the large casino were displayed by Sonny Vinberg of the Group West Design, which provides master planning and architecture.
Marcus said he expects the project to advance in 18 months to include 750 slots, a 100-room hotel and parking space for 1,000 cars and 20 buses. Marcus also said they hope to begin construction next month – March.
Eventually, there will be 500 full-time employees, according to Marcus, who added that the casino will "provide more entertainment opportunities." At that time, the Tribe expects the annual payroll to be around $11.5 million.
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