The Pecos Landowners Association (PLA) has had longstanding ties to Pangea, but under a recent cloud of suspicion about business practices Pangea has used to get D6 landowners to sign away their lands for a 202 right of way, the PLA announced that they have broken ties with Pangea. A complaint was brought to D6 officals that Pangea went to the home of an elder with dementia, and acquired her signature on a contract authorizing Pangea to develop her lands for a 202 right of way.
The PLA and Pangea’s relationship has been under suspicion since its very beginning, not just from just GRAL202 but also from Community members who have received letters from Pangea they only have 30 days to sign a Pangea contract signing away their lands. When landowners need help understanding what that letter means to their land rights, the PLA is where they are directed. However, Community member Nathan Percharo was the PLA Chairman in 2011, when the 202 planning was almost all that the PLA worked on, and Percharo still provides consulting services to Pangea, as is stated on their website. Is that legal, for Percharo to be on Pangea’s payroll for consulting services, as he advises D6 landowners on zoning and land use issues?
Why is Pangea operating in the dark, and how did they become such a player in the issue, when we don’t know anything about them? Joey Perez is a Community member who says he owns Pangea, but he is not listed as the owner on the Pangea website. He is, however, listed as the owner of Initial Impressions, a casino marketing agency that has the same business address as Pangea. Initial Impressions boasts that they can “organize a covert invasion of a small or large country”. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joseph-perez/19/3b2/42
Are those Pangea’s plans, to literally pave and bulldoze the way for yet another casino takeover in Gila River? When will our leadership move beyond casinos, and casino hotels to give us sustainable development and meaningful skills to pass down to our families? Joey Perez is from Blackwater, where he may not have learned much about the balance between Muhadag Do’ag and the Estrella mountain range in our west end. Do we want his money and power influencing the 202 issue? Do we Community members really believe we are just one casino away from solving all our economic problems?
We are a grassroots campaign against the freeway, and all of our flyers, pamphlets, zines etc are printed out of our own pockets, in black and white on plain paper, donated by Community members at times, other times paid for by us. We don’t have the money to do more than that. Where did the Pecos Landowners Association, a non-profit organization, get the money to print out full color handouts on thick cardstock? Those cost a lot of money. Where does the non-profit PLA get the money to offer rides to the polls on February 7th? Pangea has money.
Link to Pangea’s website: http://pangealand.com/company-overview.html
We recently wrote this editorial in the Gila River Indian News to expose Pangea. In the same issue of the GRIN, we also ran a NO BUILD ad. Please pick up a copy of the GRIN, and ***please donate*** to help us cover the costs of our ad on page two of the January 2012 GRIN. As of today, January 22, we still do not have enough money to pay the GRIN for our ad.
The December 2011 edition of the Gila River Indian News featured a paid advertisement from a campaign calling itself 202 Yes. A company called Pangea that leases Native American land for profit is behind the 202 Yes campaign. Pangea paid Initial Impressions, an advertising agency that specializes in marketing Native American casinos, to design the ad. Pangea and Initial Impressions work hand-in-hand at the same physical address in Tempe.
Pangea refers to themselves as GRIC landowners, but Pangea is actually a corporation that is pressuring GRIC landowners to lease their lands to Pangea for development. Pangea’s website, designed by their casino marketing friends at Initial Impressions, announces their goals to build a master-planned city in District Six, which Pangea refers to as nothing but “acres of undeveloped land” in a prime location for Pangea’s City Concept.
Our responses to Pangea’s ad. Responses from O’odham who are for NO BUILD.
*202 Yes states that the on-reservation option saves the mountain.
In fact, both proposed freeway alignments destroy the mountain. The on-reservation alignment will force the loss of more than 600 acres of GRIC lands at the base of South Mountain (source: Kimberly Dutcher, GRIC Law Office). These sites are full of cultural significance, and The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) knows this. By destroying the foothills of Muhadag Do’ag, we destroy the entire mountain, as well as Muhadag Do’ag’s connection to the Estrellas. And what about the Pee Posh and O’odham families that would fall victim to the on-reservation alignment, and lose their homes to the freeway?
*202 Yes states that by allowing the on-reservation alignment to be built, GRIC has a say in the noise control, pollution, and construction costs of the freeway extension.
In fact, any and all cost and environmental analysis has already been done by HDR Engineering, an international consulting firm handpicked by the Arizona Department of Transportation/ADOT without the input of GRIC. HDR and ADOT also share office space. HDR completed a draft environmental assessment in 1987 that has not made been made available to Gila River. The obvious question is–why not?
HDR was supposed to finish the EIS in 2006 (Environmental Impact Statement, which describes the freeway’s impact to our air quality, cultural sites, groundwater, displacement of homes, plant and animal life, etc), but they have still not released the EIS to our Community. GRIC will not have a say in the noise control, pollution control measures or construction costs of this freeway extension…we can only make comments on the EIS that HDR is doing for ADOT. A vote for NO BUILD will remind ADOT that Gila River is sovereign, and we will have our say. If neither ADOT or HDR have made an effort to disclose past environmental findings to our Community, with the freeway proposals still in limbo, why should anybody in Gila River believe they will do right after a yes vote?
*202 Yes states that NO BUILD is not an option, because Maricopa County voters approved it in 2005, through the passing of Proposition 400.
In fact, Proposition 400 merely provided the State with partial funding for a freeway, by authorizing a sales tax, with revenues from the tax going to freeway planning. It did not authorize the South Mountain extension of the 202. Furthermore, due to rising construction costs and decreasing sales tax revenues, the state of Arizona is facing a 5.3 billion dollar shortfall for freeway planning. (source: Arizona Republic, March 9, 2009 “Freeway decision put off until 2011”).
* 202 Yes states that NO BUILD is not an option.
In fact, ADOT’s own website states the following, from a section about the South Mountain extension to the 202:
14. Is it possible that nothing will be built?
Yes, that is one of the options being studied. It is important to recognize that impacts can occur by doing nothing. The no-build alternative is being evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. (source: http://www.valleyfreeways.com/Highways/Valley_Freeways/Loop_202/South_Mountain/library.asp#faq)
Another source: In a January 26, 2005 Arizona Republic article about the 202 titled, “ADOT Report Stirs Up Concern” the following point is made: “The environmental impact study and preliminary design of the project was begun in 2001 and is expected to be complete by 2006. If after the study’s completion the Maricopa County Association of Governments, the community and other governmental bodies deem the freeway unfeasible or unnecessary, the process will stop. The freeway will not be built.”
It is important to note that the State of Arizona has delayed the release of the 202 EIS for decades. The “due date” of 2006 was already severely behind the expected EIS completion date. In 1986, former Governor Donald Antone wrote a letter stating the Community’s concerns about environmental impacts of the proposed freeway. Governor Antone requested that the EIS be released to the Community before any other steps regarding the 202 freeway were to be made. Twenty five years later, Gila River is still awaiting the EIS.
* 202 Yes states that the freeway will bring economic development to Gila River.
In fact, there are no freeway exits planned within the boundaries of Gila River, and ADOT’s own report circulated within Gila River stated that the purpose of the freeway is to shorten east-west travel time by 17-20 minutes for Phoenix area commuters.
This freeway proposal is not for our benefit. The off-reservation option will cut a 40-story high, 200-yard wide blast through our sacred mountain. The on-reservation alignment is just as bad, forcing families out of their homes, and forcing us to give up 600 acres of our lands with no guarantees of a land swap. If approved, both alignments would bring cancer-causing emissions to the west end, as well as release chemicals into the air that cause deficits in lung function for our children as they age (source: The Lancet, January 2007, “Effect of exposure to traffic on lung development from 10 to 18 years of age: a cohort study”).
The Loop 202 should not be extended anywhere at all! Either proposal for the 202 would be a killing zone, bringing us the footprint of an 8-lane freeway where nothing grows, all plant and animal habitats in the footprint would be destroyed, and our groundwater and air would be polluted with carbon emissions, nitrogen dioxide, and other exhaust pollutants. The two proposed routes for the 202 extension are less than 1/4 mile apart in some areas, and both routes would come close to Gila Crossing, where our children would breathe in freeway pollution that harms brain development. In addition, because the two routes are so similar, our Creator’s home would be forever destroyed if either Loop 202 proposal is approved.
We are O’odham who believe in NO BUILD, and we hope that you are too. The evenings in Komadk this time of year, the night air is sweet and cold. You do not hear waves of freeway traffic rushing by. Our skies are dark, so you can clearly see the stars twinkling over the Estrellas. No noise pollution, no freeway lighting, no haze of smog blanketing the desert. We hope to keep it this way for our children, our nieces and nephews, and their unborn children and grandchildren.
Please attend the January 14th forum, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Sacaton Boys and Girls Club and voice your opposition to the South Mountain extension to the 202. And please save the date for the January 21st 202 forum in D6, at the Komatke Boys and Girls Club, 9:00 am to 3:00pm. Lunch will be served at both forums.
Please contact us for more information on how you can help support NO BUILD before the February 7th vote at home.