Letters to the editor

Dear Editor,

It is high time for elected officials to brush up on their oaths of office, take a U.S. Constitution refresher course and be reminded who they work for. Special interests seem to be garnering all the attention these days, but what about the People of California?

Governor Schwarzenegger’s recent filing in federal court, as reported in Capitol Weekly on Nov. 22, supporting the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ claims that “the voters do not have jurisdiction over the agreement, because it was not legislation but a deal between two sovereign governments,” is a stunning example of the arrogance of our governor.

Why would our governor subvert a vote by the people?

The backroom nature of these deals might have something to do with it. Agua Caliente Chairman Richard Milanovich finalized his compact with our governor at a Napa resort and had this to say about cutting his deal: “Governor Schwarzenegger, number one, is a businessman, and what we did was a business deal. He was smoking a cigar when we reached an agreement.”

Local and state governments are increasingly using government-to-government “privilege” to elude public involvement. This practice is an outright abuse of the intent of a federal directive that was given to federal branch agencies only, and growing legal opinion would argue that it violates the 14th Amendment securing equal protection of the law. Gambling compacts are not treaties. They are contracts between casino tribes and the People of California.

Here’s the refresher course for our elected officials. The first three words of the Constitution are “We the People.” There is no royalty claimed here. More concretely, the basic principle of government is that it derives its power from the consent of the governed. Don’t you need our vote to have our consent?

The governor’s attempt to keep these referendums from the voters only further erodes the ability to enforce our Constitutional contract with our government — the ultimate in political accountability.

Kathryn Bowen,
Santa Ynez

Dear Editor,

Since when do the voters of California not get a say in any deal that our governor or the Legislature or any other state official enters into when it has a dramatic impact on the lives of all Californians? This is what Milanovich and the Agua Caliente Band are saying. The other question is that in light of the Constitution’s statement that all men are created equal, is the IGRA even legal? It discriminates against the vast majority of Americans in favor of a very small minority based on race or ethnicity.

Clark Curtin,
Santa Teresa, N.M.

Dear Editor,

This is in response to the Oct. 25 article on a proposed ballot proposition on uninsured motorists.

I do not know why you are trying to get the drivers with safe driving records to buy insurance. I would think that you would try to get the drivers with poor driving records to get insurance, and their insurance would probably be in the $100-per-month category. There are probably 1 million poor people in California who are eligible for food stamps but are not participating. If they are required to buy expensive auto insurance, they can collect the food stamps if the insurance leaves them without money for food.

I did an exhaustive food stamp study (www.foodstampstudy.com) and located many states with food stamp skyrockets linked to auto insurance laws. I also was behind a food stamp survey done in Billings, Mont., that indicated that over the last 20 years in Montana, over 30,000 would have listed auto insurance as a reason for needing food stamps.

If California wants to get tough with uninsured motorists, would California please start obeying the fiscal note law and indicate in these laws the increase in the National Reporting System of food stamps (increases the costs of the California Department of Public Health and Human Services).

Dr. Robert Maril also did a study on the impact of mandatory auto insurance on low-income Americans and found out that 44 percent of the respondents said they had problems buying food due to auto insurance purchase. Type the title into the Yahoo search engine and you should be able to view the study (use quotation marks around the above title). Thank you.

Don Birkholz,
Broadus, Montana

Dear Editor,

On Nov. 22, James Lynch wrote a commentary challenging the legitimacy of the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians as a “federally recognized tribe” and its “reservation” as a properly recognized “federal reservation” (Capitol Weekly, Commentary).

Lynch’s article discusses one “tribe,” but in all probability many, if not most, of the casino “tribes” fall into this same category. They have been fabricated and engineered by greedy politicians and crafty attorneys. These politicians, our representative government, ignore the tremendous negative impact and prostitute the casino-hosting community for favors by the casino “tribes.”

In Santa Barbara County, they grovel. Just look at the recent resolutions by Assemblyman Pay-dro Nava and Third District Supervisor Crooks Firestone, passed without any opportunity for public comment, to get a taste for the backroom deals going on to cleverly market the Chumash Casino.

As our Legislature sells out its constituents for gambling dollars, it is also empowering these fabricated casino “tribes” to become more and more brazen in their demands to be treated as “sovereign nations” and “sovereign governments.” Politicians are loving this government-to-government deal-making with these tribal governments, as it is a means to circumvent public knowledge and participation.

This is happening all over the country. The few non-politicians in the public who believe there should be some accountability by our representative government watch this scam with dumbfounded amazement and fight with private lawsuits, petition signings and fund-raisers to protect the Constitution and the communities that they love so much.

And what do they get for their efforts? They are called racists for not agreeing with the expansion of these fabricated tribal governments functioning outside the U.S. Constitution and destroying their communities with their self-regulated gambling operations and unenforceable tribal-state gaming compacts.

Will the real representative please stand up and do something?

Kathy Cleary,
Los Olivos

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