Glendale Applies for Nearly $800K in Grants from Longtime Nemesis Tohono O'odham Nation

Categories: Wild, Wild West

West Valley Resort.jpg
An artist rendering of the Tohono O'odham Nation's proposed West Valley casino

A Glendale City Council decision to apply for nearly $800,000 from the Tohono O'odham Nation signals a major shift in the city's relationship with the Indian community and reveals the city's newfound perspective of the TON's plans to build a resort-style casino in the West Valley.

Council members of the cash-strapped city voted unanimously to submit various grant applications for money that is part of a revenue sharing program in which all gaming tribes are required by law to participate.

For years, Glendale officials -- both elected and appointed -- fought bitterly in Maricopa County Superior Court, U.S. District Court and in the court of public opinion and spent millions of dollars to stop the Nation from moving forward with its casino plans.

Last week, Glendale decided to try and reach into the tribe's pocket.

See also:
-Wanna Bet? The Tohono O'odham Want to Build a Casino in the West Valley
-Congressman Ed Pastor Joins Congressman Trent Franks in Opposing TON Casino
-Glendale City Council Begins Formal Casino Negotiations With Tohono O'odham Nation

Glendale didn't just fight in legal arenas -- the city exhausted its political capital using Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Arizona's U.S. lawmakers, including Congressman Ed Pastor and Congressman Trent Franks. City officials, working closely with the Gila River Indian Community, leveraged those lawmakers' support and got them to propose legislation to block the casino.

GRIC opposed the TON's casino plans because, at present, GRIC is the only tribe with a West Valley casino. A new casino would undoubtedly cut into their market share.

Glendale and GRIC were once close allies. But now, Glendale is sidling up to the TON.

As part of the 2002 voter-approved gaming compacts, which allow the tribes sole authority to operate casinos in Arizona, tribes were required to dole out a fraction of their revenues to cities, towns or counties for services that would benefit the public.

  • City officials agreed on June 10 to apply for the money for the following projects:
  • Glendale Public Libraries - $101,699: More library space
  • Glendale Gets Healthy-Fitness and Nutrition Program - $47,639.55: After-school program to combat childhood obesity
  • Youth Sports Program - $43,056: Sports programs for children 4 to 17 years old.
  • Police Department - $136,500: Purchase of two crime scene response vehicles
  • Police Department - $60,164.12: Purchase of ten mobile data computers for cop cars.
  • Fire Department - $376,704: Upgrade and refurbish the fire department's 32 heart monitors purchased in 2006.

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This would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

Robin Key
Robin Key

The proposed site is Northern and 91st ave. Literally across the street from Kellis High School, surrounded by residential property, next door to Westgate and the new Tenger Outlets. I can see the pros and con's for this proposal. Some say it will bring jobs and revenue to Glendale, but I feel it will take sales and tax revenue away from Glendale. There are several struggling hotels in the are that will most likely suffer revenue losses. Plus, I'm not thrilled about having a casino in my backyard. Only time will tell if it is good or bad for Glendale. I just wish they hadn't spent millions of dollars of tax money fighting a losing battle. No wonder they are cash strapped.

Captdie Steve O
Captdie Steve O

Isn't that casion supposed to be build right off the 101 between Thomas and Camelback?

DnRaphael Abrahams
DnRaphael Abrahams

The acquisition of the property the TON wants to develop was secretly purchased through a land swap by the US Govt who purchased county land within Glendale strip annexed land in exchange for reservation land it wanted. ••• In case you don't know, strip annexing is a 100+ year old practice considered a responsible planning development tool for cities. The practice was halted in 2007 (I think) because it was creating more problems than it was solving. ••• Having sat on the Planning Commission for Glendale years ago, I can tell you the city had other plans for that land. One possibility I worked behind the scenes on was to pave the way for was a major theme park on that land, something more perfect for Glendale than a casino. When the economy tanked the theme park idea was halted. A casino there not only means that a theme park cannot be considered in the future, but limits the other possibilities the city would prefer to consider. ••• There rational fears the casino inspires: that just enough sports fans will patronize the casino before and after games instead of merchants they want to support; how will that impact the entertainment district? There is a certain kind criminal problem that is associated with a casino: the property, nearly sits across the street from a high school. The city's development plan includes mixed use, which mostly means homes/people residing within the entertainment district. How will that criminal element impact the student and families? ••• The grant makes sense: because it's considered tribal land, the city will not receive a tax base to provide necessary services the casino will need. Since leaving my appointment with the city I have not really kept up with it all, but it sounds like the grant is the beginning of a path to an amicable, working relationship. To call Glendale a racist town is prejudice.

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Vanessa Lizzy

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Glendale desperately needs a whole new city council. This group obviously can't think ahead and see all the money people would also spend in Glendale if the casino were built. They have no money? They have some of the best venues in the state and they can't make THAT work??? Wow. Changes need to made immediately. Glendale should be thriving, instead they are broke and STILL fighting the casino. How much was spent fighting it? Too much. Now they want money from the tribe? Are you kidding me???? I could go on and on, but you get my drift.

Eileen Sketo
Eileen Sketo

Sounds like the casino would be perfect for Glendale.


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  Glendale and the NW VALLEY deserve a CASINIO. The more in State GAMING money for AZ. the better. Good to see cooler heads prevail.  GALLEGO DISTRICT 7... peace


The CoG blew a ton of $ on lawyer fees. Good for the TO. peace

WhoKnows topcommenter

This is because Glendale has been "run" by morons for many years!  The whole deal on started the slide into insanity......

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Grovel, grovel, grovel... give us $800,000. We're so sorry. Grovel, grovel, grovel...

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