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April 25, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Economic Future of Indian Lands

  |   Video
  • ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is hosting a conference that examines issues of economic development on Indian lands. Carl Artman, director of the College of Law’s Tribal Economic Development Program, and Diane Enos, president of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, discuss some of the issues that impact tribal land management and strategic development.
  • Carl Artman - Director,College of Law’s Tribal Economic Development Program
  • Diane Enos - President, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community
Category: Government

View Transcript

Ted Simons: ASU Sandra day O'Connor college of lava is hosting a conference this week to examine economic development on Indian lands. Here with a preview is Carl Artman, direct effort college of law's tribal economic development program and Diane Enos, president of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. Thank you so much for joining us tonight on "Horizon."

Diane Enos: Thank you.

Carl Artman: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Carl, let's start with you and the goal of this conference. Talk to us about that.

Carl Artman: Sure. Tribes and the communities that surround tribes face a plethora of issues when it comes to economic development. We see these unfolding every day here in Arizona, Phoenix, valley wide. Certainly when it comes to economic development, you can look to the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and Scottsdale and see where that success is. You can look to heel what river in Chandler and see where that success is. If you look to north and see what's going on with the Grand Canyon that might be an example of where there might be some issues that need to be ironed out and certainly with Tohono O'Odham, what's happening over at Glendale, this issue is arising as what the impact of taking that land into trust? How is the best way to develop that land economically and who gets to have a say in that? So what this conference hopes to look at are the range of those issues. Going back historically, setting a historic base for it, a cultural base and legal base for it and looking at those, the current issues. The perspective from tribal leaders, the tribal leaders have to make decisions about how they are going to use the land in economically, in the economically best fashion. They are making decisions that impact seven generations worth of tribal members but they have to make those decisions at the speed of business. The city leaders have to learn to work with the tribes. So we are going to try to look at it from both sides.

Ted Simons: Diane, what do you see as far as your position with the tribe and where the land actually is and the importance of that land dealing with all the issues Carl is talking about here?

Diane Enos: One of the things that we really have to remember, and Carl hit on it a little bit is that we have a little bit of land. We don't have the land that we had prior to the coming of the Europeans. So what we do with that land is really critical because we have to look ahead many generations to the future people of our communities. So what we do now has to be for our self interest. We can't just throw up a bunch of strip malls, for instance, and expect that to have a decent return in the future. We have got to look ahead at least 100 years.

Ted Simons: When you deal with folks in the tribe and everyone's got a different idea -- I am sure some folks think a strip mall is a pretty good idea. How do you work that out? What kind of consensus has to be built? And what are you hearing from the tribe, from members there saying, I would rather do this than rather than that?

Diane Enos: Well, you know, in government you always get question. And that's good. I mean, that's powerful. But we have a council of nine members and we cannot move forward on any venture unless the council, by vote, agrees to do so. We just did a significant development at Salt River which is a talking stick -- excuse me Salt River fields at talking stick along with -- salt, I'm getting mixed up. Talking stick resort. Those are half a billion dollars of investments by our community. And in order to do those we had to evaluate the worth and the return but not only that, the long range effect. So question that and, of course, we got criticized by some people. But now that we are starting to see the success of those ventures people are saying, hey, OK.

Ted Simons: You mentioned the historical and cultural and legal factors when you are looking at tribal land and trying to get economic development going. Touch on all, start with historical. As Diane mentioned, the land is there, the land has changed over time. But the land that's there right now, how does history play into how that land is developed?

Carl Artman: Well, let's build off of what President Enos just discussed. The Salt River field at stalking stick and the talking stick resort, when the tribe decided to build on those lands, it wasn't just a decision, the fact of a decision we are going to build on this land or that land. That was a decision that had to be strategically made in working with what’s called the allotees, the individual landowners that hold that land in individual trust or individual Federal protection. And in many respects, those allotees, because of the history, where history put them, that was actually a law that was passed in the 19th century, that gave them that land, and then that law was reversed in the early 20th century, that flummoxed, if you will, the whole land and legal and cultural system on the tribes. But these individuals, the allotees still hold the land and in many respects they negotiate with their own tribal government as to how that land will be developed. And in addition to that, the tribe had to work along with Scottsdale and the state of Arizona. And Maricopa County.

Diane Enos: Don't forget about the BIA.

Carl Artman: And the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Here you have four different governments, a set of allotees all looking at this land and when they are looking at it from the tribe's perspective, they are north looking at it as just 10 acres or 20 acres, they are looking at the land that their grandparents and great-great grandparents grew up on. There's a history and personal meaning to that land.

Diane Enos: And their descendants will live on.

Carl Artman: Exactly.

Ted Simons: Let's get over now to the legal aspect you are dealing with the Federal government, dealing with local government, dealing with state government. Talk to us about those challenges.

Diane Enos: Everybody has an opinion. You said it. Right at the very beginning. What we have developed with the city of Scottsdale, Mayor Lane was over in the community last week and we talk about the this very thing -- was synergy. We had to consider our development, of course, for the interests of our community but also, what are we going to do that's going to benefit and -- excuse me, the development in Scottsdale, we have some things they don't have and they can't V they can't have gaming in Scottsdale. But a lot of the tourists that come to the city of Scottsdale can come to our facilities and game there. They can come also to stay at our resorts. Now we have the Salt River fields, they can come watch a brand new spanking new –- superior – I mean super -- I can't -- add enough superlative spring training center for the diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. What we have done with the success of the Salt River fields has really benefited the surrounding cities. Scottsdale I think understand that.

Ted Simons: Carl, you also mentioned cultural factors that play into this as well. Diane, let's get back to you on this one. Obviously some folks I am sure members, allotees, lots of folks there look at your culture and say, let's not go too far this direction. Let's go here or vice versa. How does that ply into things?

Diane Enos: We all agree on some very basic principles. We have to take care of our families. We have to take care of our children. We have to plan for the future generations that are coming. That's a very, very core cultural principle. So if you do those things and how you go about doing development, with those in mind, I think everybody understands that at some point.

Ted Simons: Is that something you see across tribes, I should say, is that the cultural aspect along with I guess historical, does play a pretty big part.

Carl Artman: A very important part. When many people say what's going to be the success of economic development, what sort of milestones are we going to put out there, tribes, some of the milestones they look at are how will this impact the culture? How will it change the culture for better or worse? What's it going to look like in seven or 10 generations from now?

Ted Simons: The idea -- You mentioned complementing surrounding areas. There are some critics who see the casinos and hotels and what's happening in Glendale, that particular effort as not necessarily complementary. How do you respond to that?

Diane Enos: Well, the voters when they passed prop 202 agreed that there was a certain balance what that had to be reached with the state players, with the cities, with all the citizens of Arizona, and the tribes. You’ve got some tribes that are in rural areas with the state. They have no market. They have no, very, very limited opportunities for economic development under the terms of the compact. They transfer some of their machines to have, to those tribes that have bigger populations and they get a return for their machines. And it helps them not like it does us, build police departments up, build public buildings up, so we are very basic things like educational components, health care, a bunch of things that most governments take for granted that we don't have the same taxing capabilities to do.

Ted Simons: To be able to do those sorts of things on any tribal land at a time when the recession is just hammering away at everywhere around the country, talk to us about the challenges there.

Carl Artman: Well, there's a lot of challenges. First of all it be the financing. But if you have a good project, if it's going to have a good return on financial level, the financing will probably be easy. One of the biggest challenges you have when dealing with land and one of the things we are going to be talking about is how can you use the tribal land to leverage that development, to leverage that financing? If it's held in trust by the United States government, you can't use that land as leverage. You can't finance on that or you can only finance on a very limited fashion. And so a lot of tribes are asking, is that the best way to go? Do we need to seek Federal trust protection to develop on our land? Or should we be looking to other ways? Shall we seek to change the law to allow a different sort of economic paradigm on our reservations?

Ted Simons: Very quickly, that trust land issue, talk to us about that.

Diane Enos: You have to have good credit. Even if you have trust land to work with and have those limitations, I’ll call them limitations, but you have to have good credit. And again, I want to go back to the question about gaming. When the voters approved prop 202 they enabled tribes like the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community to start establishing a good record. But we had a diverse economy since, gosh in the '70s, with start the diversifying way back then. And I think that what we have to remember is that we are businesses just like anybody else. While we have this trust status land and some of the issues that go, that are associated with it, I think it forces us to be better business people, to be more on point and to be more trustworthy.

Ted Simons: All right. We’ll stop it right there. Thank you so much for joining us.

Carl Artman: Thank you Ted.

Glendale Casino Update

  |   Video
  • Get the latest information on efforts by the Tohono O’odham Indian nation to build a casino in Glendale. The Phoenix Business Journal’s Mike Sunnucks will bring us up to date.
  • Mike Sunnucks - Phoenix Business Journal
Category: Government

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Plans by the Tohono O'Odham tribe to build a casino on land it owns near 91st Avenue and Northern seem to be progressing despite strong opposition from Glendale officials and state politicians. Here with an update from Mike Sunnucks of the "Phoenix Business Journal." Mike thanks for being here. Good to see you. Give us the latest on all this. Let's start with some of the basics. 91st Avenue and Northern, how much land out there are we talking about?

Mike Sunnucks: I think it’s about 50 acres. No, actually they cut it down. It was at 91st and Glendale came in and said we annexed part of that. The tribes kind of move the it to the west a little bit so it's more close to 95th. It's right on that parcel north of Westgate, University of Phoenix Stadium, right across from a high school which is a concern for Glendale, and the tribe seems to be moving forward in the courts. They’ve won the case in the courts so far. It's on appeal. They have got the approval from the interior department so the tribe seems to be moving forward but they’ve got some hurdles to go.

Ted Simons: Go ahead and again give us a concise history of this whole situation and where we stand now, which you are saying basically seems to be in the tribe's court.

Mike Sunnucks: Yeah the tribe seems to be to have the advantage because of an 1980s era law sponsored by McCain when he was in Congress and Barry Goldwater that said the O’Odham tribe could replace some lands they lost historically. Now those lands could be on unincorporated land in Phoenix, the Phoenix area, Pinnell county or Tucson and so they went in quietly under kind of a holding company name out of the Seattle and bought this parcel, way before the stadium or the arena or Westgate or any of that commercial development were built. And so they kind of sat there all these years, empty, and then suddenly, a couple years ago, they popped up and said, hey, we want to build a $500 million casino and threw a wrench in everybody's plans. Caught Glendale totally off guard and sparked this huge legal political fight between that city and the tribe.

Ted Simons: Let's go to both sides of this fight. The tribe's position they bought the land fair and square, it's going to bring in construction jobs, these sorts of things. Correct?

Mike Sunnucks: Yeah. They say it will help the area, it’ll help Westgate, help bring people to that area, help the west valley grow, bring construction jobs in at a time when things are really tough and they point to this 1980s law that's pretty specific they replace lands they lost historically because of settlements down there and moves down there by white folks, essentially and they can buy this land and this fits that -- seems to fit that definition pretty well.

Ted Simons: OK Glendale's position is that the tribe bought it under kind of a weird corporate name, kind of tried to slip through there. Tribe waits until infrastructure is in and all of a sudden decides, hey, give us more of what Glendale is saying here.

Mike Sunnucks: There's a few tax on Glendale. They didn't like how the tribe did it. They felt they were left in the dark. They let all of this infrastructure come in that Glendale and other folks paid for and then suddenly they are going to, not pay any taxes on it because it would be tribal land. They say you know the feds approved this. The interior department approved this plan. They say that steps on states rights. The state has the right to do this. The state gaming compact and it will be a poison pill. They have some allies in other tribes that don't like this saying it will blow up what voters approved.

Ted Simons: That's a big deal, too. Because the gaming compact has certain parameters. You start messing with the parameters, all bets are off so to speak correct?

Mike Sunnucks: Yeah. Absolutely. The other tribes who opposed this casino say, ok it's going to open everything up, it's going to be a poison pill. The O’Odham tribe says, oh no, we are allowed another casino and this fits under that. It be interesting to see what happens on the impact on other tribes, other gaming compacts.

Ted Simons: And again now, Glendale, this is all in the courts. Ninth circuit?

Mike Sunnucks: Yeah, Glendale lost the first round in the court. They appealed it. Going to go to the Federal appeals court in San Francisco. We will see what happens there. And they got a tough go I think right now. That law is pretty specific, you know, and it's unincorporated land that the tribe can replace it and that's, that's their argument and that's what the lower court went with.

Ted Simons: Now, the legislature tried to get involved in this and I guess did to a certain degree but there are complications there. Correct?

Mike Sunnucks: Everybody, politically in town, the tribe doesn't have a lot of friends. The Congressional delegation, the governor, folks in the legislature, Russell Pearce are all against this casino. And so they tried to pass legislation trying to basically allow cities to stop this from happening. It was basically a Glendale versus O'Odham tribe bill. The problem is I don’t think it’ll go into effect fast enough for them to stop it. The tribe will say this is a Federal law. This is going to supersede state law. That's always going to be the tribe's kind of fall back on this and they have a big advantage there legally, I think.

Ted Simons: Speaking of legally you refer to the tribe is pushing for the interior department to get some kind of opinion in the ninth circuit to help move things along. But it seems as though from the tribe's perspective things are moving along quite nicely.

Mike Sunnucks: yeah, they’ve done pretty well. They did have to sue at one point to get the interior department to move forward because they kind of sat on it this for a while. This has happened in other states. California is a place where these tribes come in, try locate casinos. The Federal government seems to take a long time in trying to determine there’s a lot of political factors you have when both Senators from the state and the governor opposed, that complicates matters back in D.C. so they had to sue at one point. You might see some more suits obviously on both sides on this. I don't think Glendale is going to give up easily.

Ted Simons: Last question. You mentioned Glendale. This is an ancillary question but what the heck is going on out there? You have got some tough situations with the Coyotes going on, you got this casino problem. Development out there isn't quite happening around some of these sporting facilities like they thought. What's going on?

Mike Sunnucks: Yeah, if anybody has a lot of challenges because of the economy and the real estate crash, it's Glendale. Westgate has not turned out how they originally hoped. They hoped to have a lot more development around there. They wanted to make it into a jobs center where people worked out there, went out to eat, went to the hockey games and the bars. That hasn't happened because of the recession. Obviously the Coyote situation has gone on for three years. They’re fighting with the Goldwater institute, trying to find money to buy the team. They’re fighting with the tribe over this parcel. That's just north of there. There's a lot of developments that they had hoped to come in there that haven't. Some of it is just bad timing. Everything collapsed on them. Other stuff is, they're really spatting with a lot of people.

Ted Simons: All right. Mike, good stuff. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

Medical Marijuana

  |   Video
  • Joe Yuhas, co-founder of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, describes the challenges, and progress, that’s been made in getting the state’s medical marijuana program up and running.
  • Joe Yuhas - co-founder, Arizona Medical Marijuana Association
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. It's been more than a week since Arizona's medical marijuana program started in earnest. I recently spoke with Joe Yuhas, co-founder of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association and asked about the program's early challenges. Joe, good to see you.

Joe Yuhas: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about some concerns with the program right now. There's a lot of talk about Federal scrutiny, Federal pressure on everyone involved with this medical marijuana program. Talk to us about that.

Joe Yuhas: I think you are referring to the so-called Ogden memo where they're clearly is some degree of controversy because this remains, medical marijuana remains prohibited by Federal law. But frankly, I am not too concerned about it. The justice department has indicated that under the Obama administration that they are going to respect the laws that have been passed on the state level for medical marijuana. The memo specifically was in response to request by state officials but the fact of the matter is the justice department has yet to prosecute any dispensary operator or cultivation facility that is operating within state laws.

Ted Simons: So, but what exempts state workers from Federal prosecution right now? Just kind of a general understanding?

Joe Yuhas: Yeah, and I think that frankly the controversy that has been raised by opponents of medical marijuana is a bit overblown. The Federal government is not going to prosecute state employees who are carrying out the laws that have been passed by the voters of Arizona or any other state. There's been no evidence that the justice department has any indication to do that in any other state. There are 14 other medical marijuana states in the union now. Others will be adopting medical marijuana laws soon. The Federal government clearly is not going to be in the business of prosecuting state employees.

Ted Simons: What about folks who run dispensaries? What about landlords who lease out these dispensaries? The space to the dispensaries?

Joe Yuhas: The challenge that we are facing is the new industry evolves here in Arizona are concerns such as that. Because of the discrepancy between state and Federal law, there are those that are taking understandably a very cautious position but the bigger challenge for the industry are the, to some degree oppressive zoning restrictions enacted by many of the 90 municipals and 15 counties in Arizona. What I think as the program evolves and the unfounded fears that have been planted by a number of opponents of medical marijuana don't materialize we are going to find, continue to find medical marijuana becomes mainstream in society.

Ted Simons: We had a high profile case with ping, the golf manufacturer, golf club manufacturer threatening to move as a dispensary was OK'd to move next door there. Some folks saying these should only be in industrial areas as opposed to other parts of town.

Joe Yuhas: I think that's a mistake. If you want to encourage pot shops that's what you are going to get. But to allow true medical marijuana to develop, programs, the program to develop here in Arizona, I think we want high standards. And those high standards ought to allow medical professionals, for example, to administrator and participate in a program. By force, dispensaries in industrial areas and next to an adult bookstore you get the type of activity you plan for. If we want to plan for a program that has high standards that encourage the medical communities to administer and embrace this program, then clearly those zoning restrictions have to allow dispensaries to operate in that kind of fashion.

Ted Simons: If there is no dispensary within 25 miles that allows the patient to go healed and grow their own. Correct?

Joe Yuhas: Very true. That was part of prop 203 initiative. And wisely the Department of Health services -- and we are delighted the with the way the rules have been developed. They can always be improved but Will Humble, the department of the department and staff have done a very good job in developing a rules package that reflects the will of the voters and the intent of prop 203 and by utilizing these health assessments areas in the state of which there are 125 of them, that will provide the vehicle for dispensaries to be allocated geographically across the state to discourage those patients from growing their own medical marijuana.

Ted Simons: We have had Will Humble on the program talking about this. One of his concerns are what some folks call certification mills, these fly by night things that open up and all of a sudden they are given OKs for this, that, and the other. Is that a valid concern?

Joe Yuhas: We hope and once again the Department of Health services is doing a marvelous job in their outreach efforts to the medical community but our hope is the primary doctors embrace this program rather than have a limit number of doctors who as you pointed out specialize in this practice. Scrip mills is what we call them. We don't want scrip mills 6789 we want the medical community to embrace the medical marijuana program as a mainstream alternative to treating patient needs.

Ted Simons: How do you guarantee, though, or become a watch dog or regulate as far as having physicians recommending marijuana to patients they don't even know, patients they have just met? That's what we are hearing is going on in some places.

Joe Yuhas: And that will happen unless the medical community as a whole embraces the program. Our hope is primary care physicians will continue to treat their patients as they always have, but now with this alternative opportunity now available to meet patient needs.

Ted Simons: We talk about the chilling effect, the possible chilling effect of Federal pressure on landlords and dispensaries and the whole nine yards. Is there also a concern there could be a chilling effect with doctors, with physicians who just say, I don't want a part of this? I don't want to deal with this right now. Could that be a problem with the program?

Joe Yuhas: Yes, but I think again the department of health services is doing a good job to educate doctors to make them aware of the details of both the initiative language, prop 203, and the rules that the Department of Health services has developed. We are finding more and more, particularly since the passage of prop 203 that medical marijuana is becoming mainstream. I mean, our association is offering a banking program to dispensary operators. This has been embraced now by elements of the business community. It's true, landlords, property owners are -- have some doubts. Mostly that is driven by unreasonable zoning restrictions that many of the municipalities have enacted but again I think as the program evolves, unfounded fears that don't become reality, we are going to absentee a continued evolution of medical marijuana and its acceptance in the community.

Ted Simons: So what the critics of the program are saying, you know, the business of fearful doctors, fearful landlords, concern regarding pressure from the Federal government, equates to a negation of the program, a de facto negation of the program you say --

Joe Yuhas: No. We think the program is going to be very successful. Look, the fact of the matter is, recent statistics show in the year 2009, more Americans for the first time, 2.6 million, abused pharmaceutical pain killing prescription drugs at a higher rate than used marijuana. 2.4 million. The fact of the matter is there is room for abuse in any program. But we think with the regulations of the Department of Health services has developed and with the cooperation of the industry, and I think responsible dispensary owners will make up the bulk of the industry, as well as patients, we are going to have a very good program that will be a model for the nation.

Ted Simons: Joe, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Joe Yuhas: Thanks very much.