A trip to a casino in Tucson may not be the best place to start, but it is a beginning for Glendale City Council. Not every councilmember made the trip and took the tour Aug. 29 of Desert Diamond Casino, which is the major casino owned and operated by the Tohono O’odham Nation.
But, the point is, the mayor and at least half of our city’s councilmembers made the trip. It was a long time coming, but not too late to begin what is being referred to as “dialogue.”
We applaud the mayor and council for this gesture. It is not a minor one, to be clear. It marks the start of a real partnership, where the TO Nation now has a local government moving to its side of the table instead of across the aisle in a courtroom.
Lawyers for both sides may be saying, “Woe is me.”
But for those seeking meaningful employment in the West Valley, if the TO Nation can break free from the courtroom drama being drawn out by two other Valley tribal communities, there will be job openings aplenty at 95th and Northern avenues. Once the physical structure – resort and casino – are in place and open, there will be an opportunity to experience what has occurred in Tucson the past decade.
As Councilmember Ian Hugh has said about his own research into the impact of the casino operation on Tucson, there can be a give and take between Glendale and the TO Nation that will greatly benefit both parties. All of the tribal nations in Arizona have been generous in their support of local communities, and extremely generous to local schools. They have supported charitable organizations and purchased outright vital public safety equipment for cities and towns.
These are difficult times for the City of Glendale. But city leaders have chosen the right path on their way to developing strong partnerships.