Rumor has it that the 29-Palms Band of Mission Indians has proposed a “new” proposal for their casino vision to be in Joshua Tree close to the intersection of the 29-Palms highway at White Feather just east of “downtown” Joshua Tree.
The Joshua Tree Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) will hold an open community meeting Thursday evening August 18, 2011 to discuss the matter starting at 7 p.m. in the Joshua Tree Community Center about half a mile north of the 29-Palms highway at 6171 Sunburst Ave. (P.O. BOX 1245
Joshua Tree CA 92252.) The MAC, formed in 1992, is the official liaison between Joshua Tree residents and business entities and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors 3rd District – Currently, Neil Derry is the 3rd District Supervisor.
Update: Thursday Aug 18, 2011 – The “MAC” meeting tabled discussion on the Casino issue until the next MAC Meeting scheduled for Thursday September 15, 2011 at 7 p.m. See above for location. County Supervisor Neil Derry is scheduled to attend the meeting. It is unknown if any representative of the Casino proposal will attend. This writer had contacted the Tribe’s CFO Steve Gralla (see below for details) but has not responded to my inquiry. \\\
The previously proposed Nüwü Casino Resort & RV Park (see link note below) to have been located on Indian reservation property at the southern end of 29-Palms town started around mid 2007 and was abandoned in 2009 amid controversies and environmental issues.
The link above to the impressive but archived “old” Nüwü website was designed by Claudiu Calaican of La Habra, California. Link Note: ((Calaican, the designer, has removed the archived website and cannot be viewed as of 8-6-11))
This “new Nüwü” Casino would be the second casino owned by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians augmenting their successful Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella, (just east of Palm Springs) California. For an overview click Casino View.
The local newspaper, Hi-Desert Star, reports on this latest proposal.
Tribe eyes Joshua Tree for casino
By Kurt Schauppner
Twentynine Palms Correspondent
Published: Saturday, July 30, 2011 1:05 AM CDT
JOSHUA TREE — The Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians is considering building a casino here, rather than in Twentynine Palms as originally planned [planned in 2007, abandoned 2009]. County Supervisor Neil Derry and Joshua Tree Municipal Advisory Council member David Fick both expressed opposition to the notion. Leaders of the Twentynine Palms tribe did not respond to requests for comment by presstime. READ MORE at Hi-Desert Star
Just how much opposition or support for this latest proposal remains to be revealed. Certainly, conservation enthusiasts are sure to oppose the project on environmental issues and county government will likely oppose it on grounds of loss of property tax revenue should the rumored 130 acre land be put into a federal Indian Trust making the site sovereign Indian land not subject to many local government regulations including county building permits and property taxes.
(Before anyone jumps on that, let me say that “our ancestors” stole the property from “their ancestors”.)
As of 8-5-11, Hi-Desert Star’s survey results seem to be 51 no, 54 yes, 11 yes & no, and 2 don’t care.
UPDATE: August 5, 2011
The Hi-Desert Star newspaper has more information. Link: CASINO
In part, Desert Trail Reporter Kurt Schauppner writes:
Steve Gralla,** a spokesman for the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, said Monday, Aug. 1 that tribal officials are working on a statement addressing what he called misinformation about the proposed casino.
That statement, he said, would address several of the options facing the tribe.
As of presstime, The Desert Trail had not received that statement.
Comments? Questions? Email Kurt Schauppner at email@example.com.”
**Who is Steve Gralla?
In a February 2011 press release, RAM Holdings Ltd. announced the appointment of Mr. Gralla to the Board of Directors of its operating subsidiary RAM Reinsurance Company Ltd. RAM Holdings Ltd. is a Bermuda-based holding company. Its operating subsidiary, RAM Reinsurance Company Ltd., provides financial guaranty reinsurance for U.S. and international public finance and structured finance transactions. More information can be found at www.ramre.com.
Mr. Gralla is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, a federally recognized southern California Native American tribe. As CFO, Mr. Gralla overseas the Tribe’s business interests. Previously he held various positions, including Senior Vice President, in the banking industry in areas such as compliance, commercial and construction lending and loan quality and production over a 30 year period. Mr. Gralla holds Gaming Licenses issued by the National Indian Gaming Association and the California State Gambling Control Commission. Mr. Gralla received his B.S. and MBA from Monmouth University (West Long Branch, New Jersey).
UPDATE: August 6, 2011
Hi Desert Star newspaper has dramatically modified their “survey” or “poll” on this issue. The “numbers” are non distinct as to the issue.