Useless Tid-bits

Useless Tid-bits

In a former life I led California homeschoolers in the march for freedom. A group of us diligently fought restrictive legislation that affected Homeschooling or homeschoolers in general.

As you can imagine, we gained quite an education on how our system of government works. I know lots of tid-bits of seemingly useless information but useless is an interesting word because surely everything has worth to someone or else it wouldn’t exist, right?

For instance…did you know that…

  • Each legislator has staff members who are paid out of taxpayer dollars to clip all newspaper clippings, magazine articles, articles both online and in print. Can’t they do their own scrap booking on their own time, just like the rest of us?
  • How you communicate with your legislator matters a great deal, to him or her. Your letters, faxes and E-mails are assigned a certain weight. Such as one letter represents a 1,000 other individuals, one-fax represents 100 people and an E-mail represents 10 others.

While sending a letter might be good for the economy, sending a fax wastes almost as much paper. However, if you send an E-mail to your legislator, you should fully expect it to go un-read and unanswered, except of course by those annoying auto responders. Don’t you just hate to get those? That really has a way of making one feel important and respected!

If you ask me it demonstrates their lack of respect for those of us who voted them into office.

When the amount of E-mail gets overwhelming, they get dumped. Erased. Unread. If these legislators can pay someone to clip newspaper clippings by gosh they can pay someone to print off the letters, read them and compile a summary of those documents.

Where do these arrogant people get off accepting pay for work they haven’t done. It is our duty as tax paying citizens to participate in our government. Our legislators need to start doing their jobs or they won’t have them for long.

I highly recommend getting to know your local politicians and policymakers. Make sure when they are passing legislation that affects your family that he or she can’t quite get you out of their mind. They need to know that we are counting on them to do the right thing, not the easy thing and certainly not a decision that is good for their political career but bad for everyone else.

Who knows you might discover your own useless tid-bits of information.

Be a part of the solution, get involved today. I’ll be adding more details here soon.

Casino Gaming

Schwarzenegger Sells California Out to Gambling Casinos

Massive tribal contributions flow into political campaign coffers.

Massive tribal contributions flow into political campaign coffers.

by Kathryn Bowen

Whoever coined the phrase “Ignorance is bliss” must have been talking about the 35 million Californians trusting that their governor and their elected officials are actually doing their job with respect to gambling casinos run by Indian tribes in our state.

“Bliss” is what Governor Schwarzenegger has been selling the public while he sells the State down the river by granting the largest expansion of gambling in history to 5 casino tribes.

In the wake of Californian’s support of Prop 1A, former Governor, Gray Davis, negotiated gambling compacts with Indian Tribes. Millions of voters succumbed to a brilliant marketing campaign that casino tribes invested nearly $100 Million into, equal to a presidential election, to persuade voters to change our State constitution and direct gambling monopolies to Indian tribes. I was one of those voters.

Here’s the bad news.

At this moment, your elected representatives in California are just about to vote on whether to grant 5 casino tribes, consisting of just 1,876 people, the ability to expand willy-nilly despite the impact on our communities, families, children and ultimately the financial future of California.

This is just the beginning; 67 additional tribes with gaming compacts are waiting in the wings and the Governor may not inform the public when renegotiations commence with these tribes.

The reality is the revenue promised for the state through gambling expansion will not materialize. The Governor and his advisors know this and should probably buy a new calculator because they know the expected income is neither measurable or enforceable!

Thousands of emails, letters, phone calls and exhaustive testimony attempting to alert our elected officials of endless issues regarding jurisdiction, regulation, accounting and disastrous social costs have fallen on deaf ears.

Hearing Loss

The reason for the hearing loss? Could it be the massive unregulated tribal contributions flowing into political campaigns of the majority of our elected officials in our State Capitol?

In fact, tribes poured $429,600 into the campaigns of just fifteen assembly members who held an “impartial” hearing on problematic regulatory issues with the compacts and will be key in deciding their fate. How impartial can they really be when taking money from the same tribes that will benefit from their vote? By any definition, this is a profound conflict of interest.

Making matters worse, the Minimum Internal Control Standards (MICS), the only federal regulatory leg left to oversee the integrity of the games and to collect the money, has been eliminated from the compacts.

What does this mean? These so-called compacts are really contracts that will cement a permanent partnership between the State of California and loosely regulated gambling casino tribes for the next 25-years, without the ability of the state to audit and collect the money or to ensure fair gaming for the patrons.

Casino tribes have kicked federal regulators off their land claiming sovereignty. What makes the state think its going to be any more successful especially given the fact there are simply not enough enforcement resources?

Moreover, Schwarzenegger privately brokered 25-year, multibillion dollar deals without so much as an economic study to show how expanded gambling will impact the people of California.

Given the fact that 80% percent of gambling revenue comes from households with incomes of less than $50,000 a year, don’t you think you need a study to show what this spread of gambling is going to do to the state?

What kind of representative government balances its budget on the backs of its poorest and most vulnerable citizens? Even Russia and other countries around the world who believed that gambling actually produced economic vitality have come to their senses and banned or closed most of their casinos due to the economic strain caused their economies.

Once again, our elected officials are going for the quick fix approach to fixing the state’s budget problems instead of assessing the long-term effects of really bad policy.

What does California get? We all get to sit by and watch our regional economy redirect billions in disposable income (taxable sales) into “sovereign tribal governments” who are not bound by the U.S. Constitution, remain outside regulatory laws and pay no taxes on their $23 Billion profits.

This massive federal scandal’s tentacles have found their way into every corner of our government through corrupt campaign finance loopholes. From the White House on down to local county governments who are faced with the dilemma of how to stand up to tribes who exploit their ancestral suffering to bully local governments into giving them what they want.

Wake up California! The gaming tribes’ plight no longer has anything to do with civil rights, justice or historical reparations, but rather with self-indulgent gambling expansion under the guise of self-determination.

About the author:

Kathryn Bowen is an expert and activist on government regarding gambling across the country.

Issues include: tribal expansion, tribal sovereignty, tribal sovereign immunity, political corruption due to unlimited funds from casino tribes both in local and state government, civil rights, equal protection issues communities struggle with due to representative government becoming too reliant on big gambling dollars. Member of the legal subcommittee team involving a lawsuit filed by Preservation of Los Olivos (POLO) and Preservation of Santa Ynez (POSY) against the federal government in 2005. This suit was filed as an appeal to the Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to accept privately purchased land by the Santa Ynez Band into federal trust status without proper representation of community interests. Writer/Producer of documentary “Big Gambling Dollars and Politics at Work”

A Trip to the Capitol

Today (2001/03/01) I had the pleasure to take my wife and son to the California state capitol. We accompanied a group of homeschooling families that are in Sacramento for the next couple days on group field trips. We took the capitol tour together and had the opportunity to watch a session of the state assembly. Though, admittedly, I am not very familiar with our states laws, I am a self-declared minimalist – I believe less government is better in almost every regard.

Sacramento, CA

I had the ‘pleasure’ all right. There were at least two bills on the table for vote today. One of which specified March second as the ‘Nationwide Reading Day’ (or something to that effect). Nationwide? From a bill in CA? Amazing. I didn’t know we had that authority. What’s more, I was impressed to see the number of ‘co-authors’ for the bill. The total number was in the realm of seventy. Yes seventy. No, you’re not reading that incorrectly, and yes, we only have seventy-nine assembly ‘persons’. You’ll have to excuse those three or four that did not coauthor – I’m sure it wasn’t by design. I think they were all deathly ill, attending to funerals or otherwise incapable of being there for the opportunity to co-sponsor such important legislation. Yes, that was sarcasm; but unfortunately, no, I’m not making it up.

It’s important legislation like this that keeps me up at night. And rightfully so.

And that’s not all. Special consideration was made for the individuals (and families of) that lost their lives in the driving incident in Santa Barbara last week. With all due respects, the respect and ‘moment of silence’ are perfectly satisfactory, but it should be understood that it is little more than political posturing – of course. Especially when this ‘moment of silence’ was followed quickly by statements about how we need to work harder on handgun regulation – where did that come from? It was an AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT. No weapons of any kind were involved. But some politicians obviously felt it necessary to take that opportunity to speak out about their need to stifle your second amendment rights: over an auto accident.

After some more ludicrous discussion, the assembly came to a discussion about colon cancer being the second largest cause of death nationally – or something to that extent. I wasn’t sure exactly what the point of this discussion was, since they brought up several means of detecting colon cancer and how ‘simple’ it was to remove, if found in time. Great. There was discussion about how the legislators should have an ‘awareness campaign’ within their districts, but I don’t think there was any political force behind it. If people don’t want to go to doctors are they going to force them? Does the assembly hope to author a bill that would require Californians to get a rectal exam every year? What was the point of this?

My concern in this is that within the short session today (it couldn’t have been more than an hour and ten minutes) they managed to bring up both firearm legislation and something to do with people dying from colon cancer. Why? I think they should instead spend their time and energy fighting the greater evil of our state: stupidity. I think that if you look back at each murder, accidental death and ‘near death experience’ throughout the world, much less the country or ‘tiny’ state of California, you’ll find that the number one cause of death and accidents is *stupidity*. Where is the drive to educate people on common sense, or to eliminate the widespread following that stupidity claims? In fact, stupidity is so abundant that several of the assembly ‘persons’ were obviously infected. Where is the call to arms against it now? I think you’ll hold your breath a long time if you wait for it.

Remember, you won’t always be in the majority.

Regards,

Shawn K. Hall