Proposed Casino in Joshua Tree

Preliminary processes for Casino comments:

  1. Letter to BIA requesting Notification of Fee to Trust application by the Twenty Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.

  2. Letter to your Congressional delegation to request Field Hearings in California. It is only going to be through field hearings that we can get the word out that the fee to trust process is broken and needs to incorporate the impacts on the local communities.

  3. Two recent letters (Warning: PDFs Enterprise Rancheria, North Fork Rancheria) by the Asst. Secretary of the Interior, Larry Echo Hawk  to Governor Brown requesting two part determination concurrence. In both cases there are numerous officials in opposition, In the Enterprise issue there was a countywide vote of 52.8% in opposition and 60% opposition in the district of the proposed casino. The Asst. Secretary did not even consider the vote of the public. The Governor of a State has different concerns than the Asst. Secretary and disenfranchising the vote of the public is a serious issue.

Casino Meeting Press Release

On October 15th, the Joshua Tree Community Association hosted a presentation by the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians. The presentation was advertised on Z107.7 (KCDZ), our local radio station, and in our local newspapers, the Hi-Desert Star in Yucca Valley and the Desert Trail in 29 Palms.

The meeting began with an informal presentation by the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians. Initially they proposed building a 20,000 square feet casino and showed photographs of a similar 20,000 square foot casino in Oklahoma. There were no site schematics or other supporting materials as they are in the preliminary stages of community input.

The tribe is also talking of making their 29 Palms reservation site an educational center and of joining and making donations to local community organizations.

The 29 Palms Band left future expansions of the Casino open depending on economic opportunities. They did make a confusing statement of support for the Casino from the National Park. That statement was corrected after the meeting by Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent Mark Butler. He said Joshua Tree N.P. has a "neutral stance" concerning the proposed casino, whatever location is proposed.

The 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians then heard statements and questions, with over 90 percent of the 39 speakers and the audience of approximately 270 people opposed to Joshua Tree hosting a ‘sovereign nation’ Casino for a myriad of reasons.

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Estimated attendance at Saturday’s JTCA meeting regarding the casino ~270

  • A petition was presented with ~450 signatures opposing the casino in Joshua Tree
  • Spokesperson on behalf of Transition Group (~40) opposing the casino in Joshua Tree
  • 39 people spoke from the audience / 36 opposed to casino – 3 supporting casino
Breakdown by community of those attending that signed in
Community Number Attending
Total 215
Joshua Tree 170
Yucca Valley 16
29 Palms 11
Pioneertown 5
Yucca Mesa 3
Pipes Canyon 2
Landers 1
Morongo Basin 1
Brooklyn, NY 1
Coarsegold, CA 1
Las Vegas, NV 1
San Diego 1
Indio 1
Idyllwild 1
 

A Questionnaire was offered as people exited:
  1. I want the Joshua Tree Casino as presented by the 29 Palms Mission Band of Indians.
  2. I want the Joshua Tree Casino, but with more mitigations and conditions with the community.
  3. I want the Casino not to be in Joshua Tree, possibly 29 Palms or Yucca Valley, but not Joshua Tree.
  4. I don't want a Casino in the Morongo Basin.

Questionnaire Response Breakdown
Question # Number
1
 4
 2  0
 3  11
 4  183
 3&4  6
 1&2  2
 Total  206
 

Joshua Tree National Park Sup. Mark Butler's response to quote about supporting a casino in Joshua Tree

 National Park Service
U.S. Department of Interior
Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park News Release


Joshua Tree National Park Clarifies Position on Proposed Tribal Casino


On October 15, the Joshua Tree Community Association sponsored a public meeting about a proposal by the Twenty-nine Palms Band of the Mission Indians to build and operate a casino in the Village of Joshua Tree. At this meeting, a presenter made a comment that the National Park Service supports the project. This statement is incorrect. As with any land use proposal for an activity on private lands outside the park, the National Park Service cannot, and does not, support or oppose the casino proposal. The park is officially neutral. Joshua Tree National Park will be in contact with tribal representatives to clarify the position of the National Park Service on this project.

The NPS has no jurisdictional authority concerning private land use proposals outside the boundary of the park. The concept of a casino in Joshua Tree and its potential authorization is a matter between the tribe, the citizens of the community of Joshua Tree, and the agencies having jurisdictional authority over the project. To date, the NPS has not analyzed the potential impacts that a casino in Joshua Tree would have on the park. As more information becomes available, the NPS will determine the appropriate level of analysis to pursue.

As a neutral party to these discussions the NPS supports all involved in their efforts to seek a mutually agreeable and acceptable solution.

-NPS-

10/17/11

Contact: Joe Zarki, 760-367-5520

74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277



Statement by Rev. Dr. Lynn Reece

The following statement was read by The Rev. Dr. Lynn Reece PASTOR 29 Palms UMC and Joshua Tree UMC.

October 15, 2011

We wish to make known that we are against the building and operation of a casino or other gambling establishment within the geographic boundaries of the community known as Joshua Tree, California.
For the following reasons:

• The operation of a casino would be inconsistent with the ethos of this community

• Joshua Tree is one of the gateways to the Joshua Tree National Park. A casino would detract from the rustic environment that currently exists.

• A significant and irreversible depletion of natural resources (i.e. water) is likely.

• A detrimental impact on the fragile high-desert environment is likely.

• With a significant number of individuals in the community who are not in the workforce, fighting drug or alcohol addiction, or living on fixed/limited incomes, having a casino in such close proximity does not seem to be in the best interest of the community.

• A Casino located in the community would change the entire “flavor” of the community.

• Concerns regarding increased traffic flow.

We support the right and desire of Native American nations to provide a source of income for their communal needs, and respect the uniqueness of the Native American cultures. Additionally, we recognize the potential for much needed new employment opportunities as a result of the building an operation of a casino. However, we do not believe that a Casino in Joshua Tree is in the best interest for everyone concerned.

Federal and State Contact Information

Thank you all for coming out to the meeting at the Community Center today it was a wonderful meeting!

What we now need to do is follow-up with our State and Federal representatives to let our voice be heard.

If you haven't already done this please email or call some of the folks (Specifically Feinstein's office)
and let them know how you feel. Please send out to your lists - pass it along.

Thanks,
Mindy

List of Federal and State officials.