Partnership ignored

Letters to the Editor - 10/10/13 edition

October 8, 2013 

Dear Editor,

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians Tribe has long stood opposed to the illegal, off-reservation North Fork casino, proposed for 99 more than 35 miles from the Mono Tribe's land. This off-reservation casino absolutely flies in the face of the will of California's voters and their "yes" vote on Proposition 1A in 2000.

Just as importantly from our perspective, the illegal North Fork casino will decimate our 10-year, $350 million investment in the Chukchansi Gold Casino – Madera County's largest employer, supporting more than 1,100 jobs and annually pumping millions of dollars into the county economy.

Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler ignored these critical points in his comments in "Funds pour in to put North Fork casino on the ballot" in the Sept. 24 edition of the Star. Supervisor Wheeler touts the proposed Mono casino as an economic benefit without acknowledging that most of the dollars North Fork would earn and the jobs that illegal casino might create will come at the expense of our tribe, our casino and the more than 1,000 Madera County families who rely on Chukchansi Gold for a paycheck.

Supervisor Wheeler rails against what he calls "an intrusion of our local economic development and land use planning authority."

We'll make the obvious point: What about the economic development opportunities our tribe will lose if this casino is built? And what about the land use plan and gaming compacts that have been in effect for many years — plans our tribe relied upon when planning and building the Chukchansi Gold casino?

Our tribe has long been a loyal partner to Madera County, its supervisors and Supervisor Wheeler. Time and again, we've delivered tens of thousands of dollars in grants to benefit North Fork-area, County residents and more than $1 million per year for a decade to Madera County.

We feel compelled to remind Supervisor Wheeler that the Madera County Board of Supervisors represents all the people of Madera County, not just a select few with a deal to sell and a lot of money to throw around.

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians Tribal Council Quorum

Nancy Ayala, chairwoman,

Amanda Ramirez, vice chairwoman,

Tracey Brechbuehl, treasurer,

Dr. Karen Wynn, secretary

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