Herrera-Beutler Takes a Stand on Mega-Casino. Squarely on the Fence

by lewwaters

Residents of Clark County seem to be pretty much evenly divided over plans and approval given for the Cowlitz Tribe to build their $510 million mega-casino near La Center, in the north end of the County Local governments and some groups are appealing the Cowlitz decision.

The casino has been a thorn in the communities’ side for some time, with the Cowlitz Tribe hoping to win approval and begin construction in 2012 sometime.

Neither side debating the casino has given an inch and each has their reasons for their stand.

My friend and fellow blogger at Clark County Politics and Jaime Herrera Watch is one who opposes the casino, with good reason. As a man with ties to political expertise, he has been wondering how our newly elected congressional representative, Jaime Herrera Beutler stands on the casino, what with her reputation for not taking strong stands on issues in her short political career.

Question for our esteemed congress-critter: the campaign is over…. has McMorris given you your position on the mega casino yet?

Also wondering myself, I was initially somewhat pleased to read in Friday’s the Daily News, Herrera Beutler speaks out against proposed Cowlitz casino.

I could only think to myself, “Finally she’s taking a stand on something.”

I was at her second town hall Thursday evening and don’t recall her mentioning a stand on the casino, even though a representative of the Cowlitz Tribe was present.

Reading the TDN article, my initial pleased attitude quickly became, “Jeeez, here we go again.”

In a letter to Larry Echo Hawk, assistant secretary of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Herrera-Beutler wrote, “Your decision seemed to minimize several serious concerns raised by my constituents and others who have followed your process,” adding that she was “concerned the federal agency made an end-run around Congress and ignored local zoning laws” in their decision on the casino.

Then, about midway through the article, I read, “Herrera Beutler stopped short of opposing the tribal casino…”

She “speaks out against it,” but “stops short of opposing it?”

Is that similar to John ‘F’in Kerry (who served in Vietnam I hear) who once stated of a defense expenditure, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it?”

Equally unnerving as is her usual sitting on the fence on an important issue like this, Cowlitz Tribal Chairman Bill Iyall learned about her letter from a reporter! She didn’t even contact the Tribe, but stated in her letter that she was “also concerned that the Cowlitz Tribe had too large of a role in the decision-making process, including paying for part of the government’s feasibility study on the casino.”

Iyall told TDN, “BIA requires tribes to pay for feasibility studies on large-scale projects, and tribes aren’t buying desired outcomes.”

Beyond that, I’m still trying to get my head around she speaks out against it, but doesn’t oppose it.

Is that we can expect the next two years?

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