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A Response to 'Tribal Body Politic'

The casual reader of "The Tribal Body Politic" (Currents, May 27) would draw two quick conclusions:

1. Without Doug and Tina Lentz, Casino Del Sol and AVA would not exist.

2. The Lentz's were ousted because of tribal politics--specifically, because of this year's council elections.

Both conclusions are incorrect. In answer to No. 1, Doug and Tina Lentz certainly played an important role--as did hundreds of others--in building the largest and finest Indian casino in the state, Casino Del Sol, as well as the breath-taking 4,600 seat AVA (which, as D.A. Barber pointed out, "is bringing in acts that historically bypassed Tucson"). Credit for all this should begin by going back some 25 years--to the pioneering efforts of both tribal and nontribal members--in creating the original "Yaqui Bingo" (where Casino of the Sun now stands).

In the intervening years, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has established a proud tradition of self-sufficiency as well as preservation of language and culture. Thanks to the vision of both past and present tribal councils, education and economic development play a primary role in all plans. Health care facilities have been built. Better housing has gone up (with more coming). And "Yaqui Pride" is everywhere--and growing--with future plans including a resort, a new bingo venue, expanded entertainment facilities and exciting restaurant additions.

As for No. 2, the tribe is extremely proud of the fact that 66 of its members had enough interest in the future to run for the 11 seats on the council. These people share a common vision of self-sufficiency. While wanting to develop new partnerships with those who share this vision, there also is no longer any room for those who don't share that vision. According to casino CEO Edmund Miranda, "Their dismissal was not so much a difference in politics--which the article implied--as it was a difference in philosophy. In the battle of dependence vs. independence, independence won."

In a way, this is as much a victory for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe as the historic ceremony May 26, which officially recognized the tribe's flag. Tribal members now proudly take a more active role in running their casinos. And it's already paying off. CEO Miranda added, "We're taking a fresh, new look at everything. And we're finding that in many areas, we can do more with less. Efficiency and accountability are now operational priorities. This translates into expenses that are significantly less than before. By restructuring the tribe's process in determining donations to nonprofits, more resources are available for tribal matters. As for our advertising, by choosing an experienced local firm, we have already been able to save significantly on both production and placement. We wish the Lentz's well. But they are part of the past. We look to the future and, as our new commercials say, it's "Hot, Hot, Hot."

Rich Moret
Pascua Yaqui Tribe advertising agent


Torture by American Soldiers Are 'Combat Legend'

I have to hand it to Connie Tuttle: She can sure spin history like a spider web (Tuttle, May 27). She sounds so guilt-ridden over American history. I can just see her parading down the street with chains, whipping herself over her back, asking for forgiveness for having been born an American woman.

I just love journalists who quote anonymous "combat veterans from an elite force" who engaged in such deep, dark, despicable actions in war that can never be discussed. "Sshhhh!" say these anonymous combat veterans, who claim they saw so many prisoners tossed from helicopters, they lost track of the number. Give me a break!

You've heard of urban legends? This is a combat legend. I served in a combat unit in Vietnam. My battalion was engaged in furious combat action from November 1967 to May 1968. Many fellow Marines were killed or wounded in that period. We captured soldiers regularly. I always observed the prisoners being treated with respect. When they wanted water, they got water. A cigarette or candy bar? They got a cigarette or candy bar.

So, the unnamed "combat veteran" is wrong about other combat vets wanting prisoners dead. To say that dishonors the memory of all the fine, brave young men who gave it all up because they believed in the "nature" of America. We combat Marines proved to the whole world that you can engage in combat for months, seeing brother Marines fall at your left and your right, and still treat sworn enemies captured in combat operations with dignity and respect.

So Connie, I'm sorry to burst your bubble and belief system that American "nature" is fecal, but somebody needed to rattle you a little to let you know that the vast majority of Americans do want to do what's right and just.

Lee S. Aitken


Arizona Has a Long, Deep Crook History

You wrote that your water hose was stolen practically "under your nose" ("Hosed," May 13).

I was green out of New York and ripe for the picking when, on my first day in Tucson in 1970, an ice cream store clerk short-changed me. Since then, my departing wife took off with my interest in our house; a jacket, on the seat beside me, got off the bus before I did; a wool sweater warmed someone else for Christmas after being snatched at a busy post office; an Indian blanket, clothes, TV, camera and a $125 air-travel voucher all ceased to be stored with a friend, who lost a $3,800 car stereo in the same caper; three mobile homes became low-cost housing for others; four pairs of pants never got to the rinse cycle when I left the laundromat momentarily; I've been taken to the cleaners with a truck I bought from a "friend"; "puppy dogs" of an incumbent politician stole or ransacked hundred of my Arizona Examiner vending machines.

I was arrested and hit by a car in the same period. I've been a very slow learner!

Because the U.S. Supreme Court reviews only about 200 cases a year, out of more than 8,000 petitions it receives, the lower courts are implanted with corruption and ineptitude, as Chief Judge William Rehnquist acknowledges, but glosses over, in his book, The Supreme Court.

Janet Napolitano, when she was attorney general, excused corruption and ineptitude: "No one knows my client like I know my client," she explained. Attorney General Terry Goddard falsely claims that he cannot legally correct the problem because, he says, he can only defend agencies of the state. When I wrote Napolitano that city court unconstitutionally puts the burden of proof on the accused, she replied that I should take up the matter with the city attorney.

Thanks to crooked courts, the city stole real estate from me to widen Campbell Avenue. My lawyer transferred possession against my order. The city used a fraudulent appraisal and blocked all my evidence. The county levied taxes for 18 months after the city took the property. Mayor Walkup knows of the fraud and has refused to act.

Hey, thieving is an American way of life. It's knit into the fabric of our society. In Arizona, it came with the territory; not content with the theft of California and Texas, the spoils of war, the United States stole Arizona for a few measly millions. No doubt, theft is our manifest destiny. So batten down the hatches. Use strong locks. Leave a light on. Think crooks!

Ed Finkelstein

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