May 28, 2004

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Rush to Judgement?

Why is there a sudden and frantic rush to judgment by National City’s Mayor and Council, with little if any public input on the development agreement for the proposed construction by Sycuan Indian Tribe of a $30 million bay front hotel?

If Councilman Ron Morrison’s statements are true that, “the public is not going to know the details. We don’t even know yet,” why have the Mayor and Council called for a special meeting on Tuesday May 25, 2004 at 11:00 am (when everyone is at work) to discuss, consider and possibly vote on one of the most important and crucial issues affecting the future of National City?

People are questioning why the sudden rush to judgment for this project, considering that it took the mayor and council:

· One year to create the voter approved proposition “L” mandated police review board,

· Six months to investigate the J.C. Penney issue and,

· Five months to issue an audit of the infamous xmas tamalada.

National City residents obviously have questions about the … proposed project, and about their rights what is the best use of their valuable bay front property, how it will be utilized, especially after the following facts and statements:

1. National City’s two present hotels (Red Lion Inn and Holiday Inn) are presently both losing money and the Red Lion Inn is planning to convert to condos.

2. Mayor Nick Inzunza made ridiculous, ludicrous, and nonsensical public comments that the gambling exemptions is a “non-issue,” saying gambling is not allowed in the city, and questioning the motivations of those raising the gambling issue, saying it was insulting. If anyone believes that there will be no gambling, then I’ll sell that person some ocean side property in Arizona.

3. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has quietly made a series of decisions that could unleash Indian gambling and open the door to Nevada-style casinos almost anywhere in California. Some established tribes also may be positioning themselves for the possibility of urban gaming. The Sycuan band in East County is about to finalize a $30 million ocean front hotel project with National City. In its agreement with the city, the tribe says it has no intent to conduct gambling on the site, though the contract expressly preserves that option in the future.

With recent revelations of Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamente campaign contribution fiasco in the 2003 recall election, and the known fact that Mayor Inzunza is a recipient of Sycuan campaign contributions ($1000 to the mayor’s Christmas tamalada and?) serious questions of conflict of interest are raised, and also raises the issue that the Mayor and City Council should disqualify themselves from voting to approve or disapprove the proposed bay front project.

We propose instead that:

The 30 million dollar bay front hotel project that will most certainly involve a gambling proposition in the near future be placed on the ballot to insure that the issue will be openly discussed, debated and voted on by National City voters.

Herman Baca
National City

(Editors Note: On May 25, 2004, National City, city council approved a development agreement with the Sycuan Indian band to build a bayfront hotel and conference center.)

Connect the dots.

Contributors to the Committee to Elect Nick Inzunza for Mayor included:

$2500, Latino Builders Industry Association, 7/25/2002

$1000, Latino Builders Industry Association, 10/24/2002

$2000, Singing Hills Resort at Sycuan, 11/3/02 (two days before the election)

The Latino Builders Industry Association has exclusive negotiating rights to the development project at the sight of the old matanzas on the West Side. Based on the Campaign Statement I have seen the biggest single contributor to the Committee to Elect Nick Inzunza for Mayor was the Committee to Re-elect Juan Vargas. That Committee contributed $10,200 to Mayor Inzunza’s campaign.

Campaign contributions to the Committee to Re-elect Juan Vargas, a percentage of which would have been included in those funds funneled to the Committee to Elect Nick Inzunza for Mayor, include the following:

$3000, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, 2/25/2002

$500, Singing Hills Resort at Sycuan, 12/6/2001

$1000, Jose Mireles, Executive Director, Latino Builders Industry Association, 12/6/2001

$1000, Sylvia Leon-Mireles, Homemaker, 12/6/2001

Today’s viewing of the California State official website showed the following contributions to the Friends of Juan Vargas on the last report day this session:

$3000, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, 4/2/2003

$3000, Singing Hills Resort at Sycuan, 4/10/2003

$3200, Latino Builders Industry Association, 5/16/2003

I spoke today (May 25) to a special meeting of the Community Development Commission of National City (CDC). I mentioned legalized corruption and bribes being called campaign contributions. I don’t hate any of the players but I do hate the game so many of us choose to play. I asked the Mayor to take the moral responsibility to find a balance between his campaign contributors and the people who live here, have lived here and will continue to live here after he leaves and moves on to another political office. I mentioned that community development should involve the community, why not? Mayor Inzunza stated after I sat down, “I raised over $150,000 in campaign funds and actively sought funds from developers, but I don’t give tit for tat, that would be illegal and that’s not how I operate.”

Later, when Councilman Ungab suggested that any motions on the matter of the sale of real property to Marina Gateway Development Corporation, LLC and Sycuan Tribal Development Corporation wait a week until the next City Council meeting so there might be greater public participation, the Mayor and other members of the CDC turned to the Sycuan attorney and asked if that was OK with him. “We prefer today,” he said. And so the vote was taken today on a matter that couldn’t wait a week although it will commit the people of this city to an agreement binding until 2040.

David Avalos
National City

Lyn Sherwood receives two ears

For many long years I’ve been reading your articles on the “corridas de toros” with great interest because I’m an avid aficionado. With special interest was the article titled in honor of Mr. Lopez Hurtado “requiem for a matador,” followed by the great article of two weeks ago.

I haven’t been to a “corrida de toros” in Tijuana for many years since they have turned a gran corrida de toros into nothing more than a business spectacle for the tourists, ignoring the fans and avid followers completely. I still remember vividly, the great encierros from Casablanca and Huchaipan that were destroyed by the change of longer pics. They all looked at each other stupidly believing the knowing public wouldn’t know any better. From my perspective it is the bull, which is the number one attraction and the matador second. For which if the matador possess the skill, knowledge, dedication and valor from his many years of experience as a noted matador which will transform his craft into an art form unmatched anywhere on this planet. A crescendo equal or better than any superbowl.

To you Lyn Sherwood, with deep respect and admiration, thanking you for your many long years in helping us understand this wonderful art and folklore of what is a misnomer “bullfighting” but I prefer “corridas de toros.”

Roberto Villegas
Via email

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