The Oxnard Journal
Remember the old adage "The flower of the lemon tree is beautiful and sweet, but the Fruit of the lemon is impossible to eat." Such it is with this so-called (INDIAN CASINO) which is being proposed by the Maidu Indians whose tribe resides in Plumas and Tehema Counties in northern California, some three-hundred miles north of the Oxnard Factory Outlet. Contrary to the claim circulating that the Maidu tribe owns no tribal land, the word is that this is a False Claim. Rumor has it that this tribe in fact does own land but has avoided placing this land in trust which would Federally designate it as Maidu tribal land. This could greatly affect local individuals who have empathy for a "landless" indian tribe seeking to build a gigantic casino complex in Oxnard . Let us not miss the forest for the redwoods. Would elected officials of Oxnard entertain the idea of a Las Vegas/Reno gambling corporation seeking to build a gigantic casino complex in our City? Is there any doubt that the local residents would surely reject such a corporate proposal from neighboring Nevada? This is exactly what is occurring. Remove the plight of the Native American Indians from the equation and the entire complexion of this proposal changes from Dr. Jekyll to that of Mr. Hyde.
Now for the truth which quite often slips through the cracks in the decision making process of Oxnard. This project calls for a 150,000 sq. ft. Casino featuring 2,000 slot machines and 176 table games. A 250 room hotel, a range of restaurant dining options, lounges and showrooms, resort retail stores and 'Flex' facility for concerts, meetings, tradeshows, sporting events, and etc.
BUT, Wait A Minute! How does this poor landless Maidu Indian tribe propose to fund such a huge project? This is the point where this story takes a frightening turn. Enter PARAGON GAMING. Paragon is a Limited Liability Corporation that plans to develop gambling projects across the United States and in Canada using Native American Indian tribes as a front. If Paragon Gaming rings a bell, maybe it's because not long ago Paragon attempted a gambling proposal in Port Hueneme, but Port Hueneme's decision makers had the wisdom to reject the proposal. I fear that kind of wisdom does not exist in the City of Oxnard. Wisdom has no place when there are pockets in need of lining and potentially large sums of money to be made by the same privileged few that always seem to profit from actions and decisions of the Oxnard City Council. (Editor's Note: Remember the Pacific Suns debacle.) These decisions of the city leadership are most often contrary to the wishes of the citizenry who elected them.
Kudos to Mayor Lopez and Councilman John Zaragoza who wasted no time taking a stand of opposition to the Casino proposal and no doubt see the project for what it really is, a Front for Big Nevada Gambling to grab a foothold in California. Once again, history repeats itself and big corporate money has found a loophole in the system by taking advantage of Native American Indians who will serve as a bona fide FRONT to cloak Paragon's plans to build full-blown gambling casinos here in California and also nationwide in states where gambling is otherwise illegal. When Paragon left Port Hueneme, they said they would "find an Indian tribe" and they did. A recent phone call placed to Paragon by one of Oxnard's Neighborhood Council, (now known as the INCF) Chairpersons requesting a copy of the Oxnard Casino project and business plans as well as projected earnings was promptly denied under the pretext that Paragon is "currently in negotiations with the City of Oxnard."
What Negotiations? Gee, and we, the citizens of Oxnard have been told by our elected officials that there is nothing more occurring than a staff report on the project. Would Oxnard's elected officials outright lie to the Community?????
In response to that question, on March 12th, the Oxnard City Council received a full report endorsing this project from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). However as April rolled around, certain members of the City Council claimed they knew nothing of the proposal until it appeared in an April 8th article in the Star Press. I'd say once again, they've been caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar.
Why were the citizens of Oxnard deliberately misled on this minor addition to our city's landscape? Timing IS everything! By claiming they had no knowledge of the Paragon Casino proposal until April 8th, the City Council can say there was no time for them to get a report on the project and make a decision on the issue prior to May 15th. Why is May 15th such an important date? It is expected that on or around May 15th, the State of California is going to impose restrictions on tribal gambling which would seriously disrupt the plans of Paragon Gaming in Oxnard. By taking no action on this issue prior to the May deadline, the City Council is as much as approving the project. As with Pontius Pilot, the Council is following a similar cleansing method of washing their hands of the whole issue by failing to take a stand of opposition to this Nevada backed Casino. Taking a stand too late is as good as no stand at all!
We've been told the Tribal Representatives are meeting with "community leaders". What community leaders? My bet would be that these would be the various department heads and the handful of local business people who are already lining up with their hands-out for the promises of mitigation moneys that are tantamount to bribery. The losers in this scenario, as usual, will be the residents of Oxnard whose hard-earned money will fuel another capitalist machine from outside the boundaries of Oxnard. This done, as is the usual way business is conducted in Oxnard, only a handful of already elite individuals will stuff more into their already fat pockets. Greed is a great motivator.
As the song says, "I get on my knees and pray, we don't get fooled again." Remember, when you read of this topic in the "RED STAR PRESS" which is most often our local purveyor of censored propaganda, that the "MAIDU INDIAN CASINO" is actually "THE LAS VEGAS/RENO NEVADA PARAGON GAMING CASINO"
When will the people of Oxnard raise up their heads, open their eyes, and take control of their local government?
Exclusive for the Oxnard Journal
ALAN T. WINGO =-=-=-=- (a writer of lineage in the Cherokee tribe)