Absent: Council Members Douglas Jiron, Fernando Abeita, Phillip Jiron, Secretary Verna Teller & Governor Eddie Paul Torres
Meeting started at 9:10 a.m.
Council member (CM) Cynthia Jaramillo reported that several tribal members are “disgruntled” about removing their cattle from the community range land.
Weeks ago, Governor Eddie Paul Torres directed tribal members to remove their cattle from the community range due to overgrazing. The lack of rain and the overgrazing has left nothing for the cattle to eat. As a result, cows are starving and dying.
According to CM Jaramillo, tribal members that removed their cattle are angry because some people have not complied with the Governor’s executive order to remove their cattle from the range. She also said that cattle owners are failing to properly dispose of their dead cows on the range. Jaramillo said it is causing a health hazard.
Lt. Governor Antonio Chewiwi advised the Council that Governor Torres is adamant about requiring everyone to comply with his order to remove their cattle from the range. If not, there will be long term damage to the range. He said that it could take as long as two (2) years for the range to recover from the overgrazing.
9:21 a.m. CM Phillip Jiron arrived
9:23 a.m. Secretary Teller arrived
9:25 a.m. President Michael Allen Lente & Lt. Governor Antonio Chewiwi left the council meeting to attend a meeting with casino employees.
The Council, by motion, unanimously approved the residential lease application for Anthony S. Paquin. 9 in favor, 0 opposed & 0 abstaining.
The Council, by motion, approved the residential lease application for Marcelino GR Zuni. 8 in favor, 0 opposed & 1 abstaining. CM Cynthia Jaramillo abstained.
CM Cynthia Jaramillo told the Governors that they needed to report information about the Highway 47 beautification efforts in the Isleta Tribal Newsletter. She said that it is important to report it because it is “something positive.”
To read about the Highway 47 beatification efforts, see Highlights ITC Mtg. July 2, 2013, “Landscaping of Highway 47 Corridor”.
CM Jaramillo also said that she is hearing “negative information” from tribal members about the Tribe wasting money by purchasing a “fleet of vehicles.” She told the Governors to give a report in the Tribal Newsletter to let people know that the Tribe is using “GSA leasing” for the vehicles and not purchasing the vehicles.
Secretary Teller asked the Council to fill a vacancy on the TEC. She suggested that the Council select a male to fill the vacancy because the entire committee is currently composed of women. Teller said it would bring balance to the TEC.
CM Josephine Padilla nominated me (Christopher Abeita).
CM Phillip Jiron nominated Tammy Jiron-Abeita.
Secretary Teller nominated Jack Garcia.
CM Cynthia Jaramillo interrupted the nomination process by declaring that I was “disqualified” from serving on the TEC because I was banned from holding any type of office with the Pueblo.
Jaramillo is referring to former Governor Alvino Lucero’s action to prohibit me “in perpetuity” from ever running for an elected office or serving in any appointed position with our Tribe. Alvino Lucero is father of Cynthia Jaramillo.
[In November 2002, Alvino Lucero was serving as Governor. Eugene Jiron was serving as the Head War Chief. They signed a letter informing me that they received a “petition” to remove my name as a candidate for the Tribal Council.
To read their letter, click this link: Alvino’s Letter.
At that time, Alvino Lucero claimed that he had a petition signed by the people of Isleta requesting that my name be removed as a candidate for office. Interestingly, he never produced his petition].
Vice-President Jaramillo asked whether the Council was violating Chris Abeita’s rights to be a candidate for office.
CM Barbara Sanchez interrupted by nominating Francis Abeita as a candidate for the TEC.
Secretary Teller stated that we all know what happened to Chris Abeita. It was highly political. It is embarrassing that we are acting in this way. If Governor Alvino Lucero had his way, he would have banned me from running for office as well.
CM Josephine Padilla stated that she did not believe it was appropriate to ban someone for life from holding or running for office.
CM Joseph “Cougar” Lucero said “I wish you thought about that when I was being appointed as Chief Judge.”
[Lucero is referring to Governor Torres appointing him as Chief Judge of the Isleta Tribal Courts. Lucero, however, did not receive a 2/3 majority vote of the Council to confirm his appointment as required by the Isleta Tribal Constitution.
To read about Joseph Lucero’s failed appointment as Chief Judge, click the following links:
Secretary Teller responded, “you weren’t qualified, Cougar.”
CM Lucero screamed, “You weren’t either!!”
Vice President Jaramillo told Lucero “That’s enough!”
CM Cynthia Jaramillo said, “He [Chris Abeita] was banned because of all of his trash talk, just like he is still doing now!”
[Jaramillo is referring to this blog, IsletaPuebloPolitics.com.]
Vice-President Jaramillo told her “That’s enough!”
CM Cynthia Jaramillo became angrier and told the Vice-President that she had the floor and that he could not stop her from talking.
The Vice-President told her that she no longer had the floor and that he was ending discussion of this issue. So, he tabled the issue because CM Jaramillo lost her temper.
The Law Offices of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Enderson & Perry LLP are working with several Indian Tribes to lobby the US Congress about reforming the Internal Revenue Code. Tribes want to change several federal tax laws.
Some reforms that Tribes are seeking include:
* changes that would treat Tribal Government pension and employee benefit plans in the same way that State Government plans are treated;
* changes that would exempt Tribal Governments from paying taxes on certain goods and services in the same way that States are exempted; &
* changes that would allow Indian Tribes to have the same type of access to resources that States can access for the enforcement of unpaid child support.
The Sonosky Firm is submitting a letter to the appropriate Congressional Committees that are considering the reforms. The Law Firm wanted to know whether Isleta wanted to be included in their letter. They will then initiate a lobbying effort to persuade the Congress to adopt the reforms.
10:31 a.m. President Lente & CM Fernando Abeita arrived.
The initial cost to join the other Tribes in seeking federal tax reform will be $5,000.
CM Barbara Sanchez made the motion to approve the Tribe joining in Sonosky’s letter on the federal tax reforms and to pay the initial cost of $5,000 to the Sonosky Law Firm. Second by CM Phillip Jiron, motion carried 8 in favor, 2 opposed & 1 abstaining.
Secretary Teller and CM Josephine Padilla opposed and President Lente abstained.
The VAWA is a federal law, which created the Office of Violence Against Women. The VAWA helps to fight against domestic violence. It implements numerous programs such as:
* Education, Training and Enhanced Services to End Violence Against and Abuse of Women with Disabilities;
* Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders; &
* Grants to Indian Tribal Governments Program.
For an exhaustive listing of programs and grants visit: www.ovw.usdoj.gov/ovwgrantprograms.htm
The VAWA also requires that persons convicted of domestic violence make automatic and mandatory restitution to their victims.
Recently, President Obama signed into law the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which amends the VAWA. The amendments will allow Indian Tribes to exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit acts of domestic violence on the reservation. Before Tribes may exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, Tribes must meet specific requirements. Some of those requirements include:
* Ensuring that Tribal Judges are law trained;
* Publishing the Tribe’s laws;
* Providing free lawyers to persons that are indigent; &
* Providing jury trials that are composed of persons that fairly represent the community, which means that non-Indians or non-member Indians may not be excluded as potential jury members.
Pablo Padilla, the Tribal Attorney, asked the Council to authorize the Isleta Law & Order Committee to decide whether Isleta should participate in a pilot project through the Department of Justice to begin asserting criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians through the VAWA. The committee will examine the requirements necessary to participate in the program.
CM Barbara Sanchez made the motion to authorize the Isleta Law & Order to Committee to decide whether the Pueblo should participate in the VAWA pilot program. Motion carried 9 in favor, 1 opposed & 1 abstaining. CM Fernando Abeita opposed & CM Joseph “Cougar” Lucero abstained.
Pablo Padilla, Tribal Attorney, requested that the Council enter into an executive session because he wanted to discuss the status of hiring an Associate Legal Counsel. He stated that several new issues just came to light and he wanted to discuss those issues privately with the Council.
CM Barbara Sanchez made the motion to enter into executive session, second by CM Phillip Jiron, motion carried 10 in favor, 1 opposed & 0 abstaining. Secretary Teller opposed.
After the Council entered their executive session, I left the meeting at 11:33 a.m. I did not return for their afternoon session.
By Christopher Abeita