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Glendale Mayor Opposes Tohono O’odham Nation Operating Casino

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At an August 10 panel discussion, the mayor of Glendale, Arizona, said she supports the Tohono O'odham Nation developing the 134 acres its owns outside Phoenix, if the tribe does not build a casino on the land, reported The Glendale Star.

The tribe wants to annex the unincorporated land to make it a sovereign nation for its planned $300 million hotel-casino.

"We respect the right of the Tohono O'odham nation to develop the 134-acres of land they own if done as every other land owner and developer has done and will do in the future," Mayor Elaine Scruggs said at a forum, in which the tribe was not invited to speak, The Glendale Star reported. "The land does not need to be removed from state and local jurisdiction and converted into an Indian reservation for the nation to build the office buildings, hotels and resorts and shopping centers and residents that they speak of."

The panel included other opponents of the tribe's proposed casino: President Diane Enos of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (the tribe views the Tohono O’odham’s proposal to establish trust lands in the Phoenix suburbs to build its Las Vegas-style resort casino as an invasion on their ancestral territory), Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall, Chief Deputy Arizona Attorney General's Office Rick Bistrow, and U.S. Representative Trent Franks.

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Scruggs told attendees that 500 commercial and retail jobs and 5,000 office jobs would be possible if the land was developed by the city—not by the tribe on annexed Indian land.

"This will only happen if the parcel is developed in the city of Glendale and not as a sovereign nation," Scruggs said, reported The Glendale Star.