West Valley Casino Opponents Fail in Attempt to Force Election to Reverse Glendale's Support

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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Ed and Bette Sharpe / Glendale Daily Planet
City officials rejected Gary Hirsch's submission of several boxes with signed petitions.
Another victory of sorts for the Tohono O'odham Nation and its plans to open a casino in the West Valley.

Glendale officials rejected boxes of petitions gathered by an anti-casino group upset that the City Council formally reversed its opposition to the Nation's gaming project called the West Valley Resort.

And, the group wasn't happy that the Council voted to formally oppose a measure introduced by Arizona Congressman Trent Franks to effectively kill the casino project. Or, that Glendale entered into an agreement with the Nation that exchanges financial support for political support.

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Gila River Indian Community Federal Lobbying Tab Reaches Nearly $11 million

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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

The Gila River Indian Community has spent nearly $11 million in federal lobbying since 2009, the year its sister tribe, the Tohono O'odham Nation announced its plans to open a West Valley casino.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community joined GRIC in its battle to block the casino, and it has dropped nearly $2 million on federal lobbying.

That's almost $13 million dedicated to lobbying in Washington, D.C. to stop the Nation from opening its doors to the West Valley Resort, a casino which has already broken ground on a swath of land near 91st and Northern avenues.

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Glendale Group Says it Submitted More Than 13K Signatures Against the Casino

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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A group calling itself "Glendale Citizens for Voice and Choice" reportedly turned in more than 13,000 signatures on a "petition protesting the way the Glendale City Council approved the gaming Casino at 91st Avenue and Northern without notice to the citizenry."

We reached out to Timothy Schwartz, a spokesman for the group, and he mentioned on the phone that group members agreed not to talk to the media beyond a press conference held about noon.

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Exposed: Anti-Casino Signature Gathering Campaign Misleading Some Glendale Residents

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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David Steele
The Tohono O'odham Nation has broken ground on its West Valley resort-style casino.

Just as soon as the Glendale City Council voted to support the Tohono O'odham Nation's efforts to build a casino near the city limits, an effort got under way to collect signatures to try to stop it.

The group calls itself Glendale Citizens for Voice and Choice and has embarked on an effort to overturn the council's support. It's expected to announce later today that it's gathered thousands of signatures of residents who oppose the casino.

New Times, which has written numerous articles about the Nation's fight to open its casino doors, received various complaints from Glendale residents that individuals collecting signatures to thwart the casino are misleading potential signers.

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Tohono O'odham Nation Breaks Ground at Site of West Valley Resort and Casino

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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TON Chairman Ned Norris hugs Councilwoman Norma Alvarez, a casino supporter from Day 1.

Officials from West Valley cities, including Peoria, Tolleson, Glendale, gathered with leaders from the Tohono O'odham inside a white air conditioned tent in the middle of a dusty, vacant field this morning.

They were there to break ground on the West Valley Resort and Casino -- a momentous ceremony taking place more than five years after the project was announced.

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Groundbreaking Ceremony Tomorrow for Tohono O'odham Nation's WV Casino

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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

It's been decades in the making, and tomorrow, the Tohono O'odham Nation is hosting a groundbreaking groundbreaking for its West Valley Resort and Casino.

The private ceremony, which will include tribal and local government leaders, comes just weeks after the City of Glendale and the Nation reached a formal agreement to work together on the resort-style casino project.

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Senator John McCain Embraces Congressman Trent Franks' Anti-West Valley Casino Bill

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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Senator John McCain at a oversight hearing hosted by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Arizona's political heavyweights have spent years in federal court challenging the legality of Tohono O'odham Nation's proposed West Valley Resort, a casino near 91st and Northern avenues.

Since the law hasn't been on opponents' side, they've desperately been trying to change it.

Congressman Trent Franks, who is now joined by Senator John McCain, is attempting for at least the third year in a row to manipulate the terms of the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act with a narrow bill that would effectively block the Nation's casino.

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Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers Fails to Convey City's True Stance on Gaming at Senate Hearing

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers testifies in Washington, D.C. at Senate Committee on Indian Gaming.

Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers was among several individuals who testified before a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Wednesday regarding plans by the Tohono O'odham Nation to build the West Valley Resort, a resort-style casino near 91st and Northern avenues.

Although Weiers had pledged to convey the city's newfound support for the Nation's proposed casino and gaming on their swath of land, he devoted two sentences to Glendale's official stance in his nearly six-minute speech.

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Major Reversal: Glendale Declares Support for Gaming on Tohono O'odham Nation's WV Land

Categories: Wild, Wild West

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Vice Mayor Yvonne Knaack, Mayor Jerry Weiers and Councilman Manny Martinez opposed the Tohono O'odham Nation's proposed casino.

In a room brimming with union trades workers wearing bright-orange shirts, the Glendale City Council reversed its long-held opposition to the Tohono O'odham Nation establishing a reservation and opening an resort-style casino just outside of the city limits.

Members of the TON sat in the front row, relishing yet another victory in their five-year battle with the City of Glendale, the State of Arizona, and sister tribes.

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Florence Official's Response to Lawsuit by Filed by Former Police Detectives

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New Times' special report on Florence

Florence officials continue to deny allegations of corruption and abuse of power leveled against the town by two former detectives -- Walt Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson.

The two police officers, who worked as detectives with the Florence Police Department until they were fired in December 2012, filed a suit in U.S. District Court claiming that they were wrongfully terminated in retaliation after they made "protected disclosures ... outside of their chain of command regarding police corruption, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice committed by the FPD and FPD officers."

Jess Knudsen, the town's spokesman and assistant manager, stated in an e-mail sent to members of the media, that "claims that Mr. Hunter and Mr. Vonzombie were fired for whistleblowing or that there is corruption in the Florence Police Department are unsubstantiated, frivolous and irresponsible."

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