Navajo Council Naabi Committee on amendments to Arizona liquor laws & liquor board

Navajo Council’s Naabik’iyati Committee meeting. A couple of Delegates, including Leonard Tsosie, asked Naabi to move up Legislation (g), (h), (i) up to the front of the agenda.

Delegate Filfred said that the members of Naabi spent most of the morning meeting with Navajo Election Administration Director Edison Wauneka. Filfred makes a motion for NEA Director Wauneka to make a report to Naabi. VOTE 20 in favor, 1 opposed.

Naabi votes 21 in favor, 0 opposed to adopt its agenda.

I agree that the voters/people need to be informed, especially elders who are the primary voters. And so we have to use radio and it’s expensive. Our election budget was short $120,000. And I felt that if I went on the radio on a daily basis that I might confuse the people even more. I was also asked why I was not complying with Council legislation. I also appreciate Delegate Tom Chee’s comments.

As Election Administration, we have to be very unbiased.

Delegate Leonard Pete was concerned about being in the middle of law. We get lot of people coming to office.

We are following Council legislation for Run-Off in June 2015 and were in the process of contacting candidates when a Petition for Contempt of Court was filed with the Navajo Nation Supreme Court. And Delegate Leonard Tsosie said that the earliest Primary Election could be March 24. But the parties involved in the Contempt of Court Petition have time to file briefs. And the Legislation that the Council approved also included $317,000 for the election office. But Delegate Dwight Witherspoon is sponsoring Legislation for $317,000 and the election office has $317,000 in its budget.

The election office has no power to say that it will not listen to Council and the Courts. It gets really complicated.

17 in favor, 3 opposed

i was not at meeting this morning. And so I’d like a written report from the legislative staff.

NAABI NOW ON Legislation 0017-15 Relating To Naabik’iyati’ Committee And Navajo Nation Council; Recommending Changes In The Arizona Liquor Law Statutes To The Arizona State Legislature. DELEGATE JONATHAN HALE MOTIONS. SECOND BY DELEGATE DAVIS FILFRED

In 1965, Red Barn bar was established. In April 1981, Hoochies bar was established..The community living near Red Barn and Hoochies are negatively impacted by the impact of liquor sales and activities. Liquor board is in the process of making money and that needs to be address by amendments to Arizona law. If transfer of a liquor license is denied then the license stays with liquor holder and so that has to be addressed by amendments to Arizona law. There also needs to 8 Arizona liquor board members instead of 7 and there also needs to be representatives from Native Americans.

It’s closed. There is no more panhandling, no more nuisance. We only won the battle, not the war. We can’t sit still and twiddle our thumbs. We need to terminate liquor license. The purpose of 0017-15 is to work with the State of Arizona. Apache County is the poorest of the poorest. Why is that? We are working to take back our community.

Apache Country attorney has been meeting with the Nahat’a Dziil community and supports the proposed amendments to Arizona’s liquor board.

we did find it very difficult to work with Arizona liquor laws, unlike New Mexico liquor laws. When we went before the Arizona Liquor Board, the board told us only to address the laws for Transfer of Liquor License and not include community concerns and conduct of liquor license owner. We have hearing on Feb. 3, St. Johns, where owner Gary McDonald sentenced and we hope Arizona liquor board terminates liquor license.

This is not the first time that Arizona is addressing liquor issues. The Human Rights Commission has been studying way to reduce liquor abuse in the border towns. Showlow elected official attempted to make similar amendments. We just got past blocking liquor transfer. And regarding the use of 40,000 Navajo people opposing liquor sales was because we realize that the Navajo government has casinos that sell liquor.

And regarding membership to the Arizona Liquor Board and raising members from 7 to 8, whom are all appointed by Arizona Governor, we are trying to get one Native American on board. For example, Winslow population has more than 9,000 people and Holbrook has 26 liquor licenses, which we believe are for the sale of liquor to Navajo people.

We are trying to accomplish with these amendments is that if you live in a one mile radius of liquor establishment then you are the only one that can protest liquor license. Chambers and Nahat’a Dziil are negatively impacted by liquor establishments but they are not in the one-mile radius.

If two/third vote is carried by that body to deny liquor license then that same two/third vote should be reflected by Arizona Liquor Board, which would be five.

We don’t want liquor establishment in Sanders, which happened in 1965, but Az Liquor Board said that we could not talk about alcohol related deaths, trash from liquor stores, and we want to, we need to.

WE want all four liquor licenses that Gary MacDonald owns to be revoked.

State Sen. Carlyle Begay is very concerned about liquor sales and supports these amendments to state liquor laws and liquor board.

According to a Jan. 5, 2015, Navajo Nation Legislative Branch press release, the Arizona State Liquor Board denied two liquor licenses for Ole Red Barn and Lee’s Liquor, which are located near the small Navajo community of Nahat’a Dziil.

The press release stated that on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, members from the Renewal of Hope Task Force were part of approximately 80 community members from the Nahat’a Dziil Chapter that traveled on two charter buses to Phoenix to attend a long-awaited Arizona Liquor License Board hearing. The outcome of hearing resulted in the denial of two liquor licenses for Ole Red Barn Liquor and Lee’s Liquor, which are located near the border of the Navajo Nation.

At the conclusion of the 8-hour hearing at the Department of Liquor Licenses and Controls Office, the Board voted 6-0 to deny the transfer of the two liquor licenses from Gary McDonald, who recently pled guilty to felony drug and contraband charges, to his close friend George Ryan.

During the hearing, the issue of whether Ryan is “reliable, capable, and qualified” to have a liquor license was considered, however it was proven that Ryan does not meet the statutory requirements, does not understand the liquor license renewal application process, has no established business plan for both stores, and has a close-personal relationship with McDonald.

“Navajo Nation has very strong concerns. Ryan has no plans, business plans that will facilitate a comfortable, reliable, and responsible business. He is not protecting the citizenry. He is selling to individuals that are inebriated,” stated Leonard Gorman, director of Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.

For months, Nahat’a Dziil community members have protested against McDonald and the liquor establishments. Many have testified that the Ole Red Barn has been detrimental to the surrounding communities resulting in deaths and higher than normal crime rates in the area.

Council Delegate Lorenzo Curley (Houck, Klagetoh, Nahat’a Dziil, Tsé Si áni, Wide Ruins) who represents the Nahat’a Dziil community, stated he moved into the Sanders area in August 2013 and believes that Ryan has done nothing to improve the operational integrity of Ole Red Barn Liquor. (NOTE – DELEGATE CURLEY WAS REPLACED BY DELEGATE RAYMOND SMITH JR.)

“ADOT did a lot of work to improve the areas,” Curley clarified after Ryan attempted to take credit for the improvements outside of the liquor store’s vicinity.

The community of Nahat’a Dziil has been victimized for decades by liquor establishments such as Ole Red Barn Liquor, High Country Liquor, and Lee’s Liquor. Community members in attendance celebrated the outcome of the liquor boards denial of the transfer.

“I wanted to be a part of the whole thing. The way it turned out was good and the way the Board handled it. The way they were asking questions showed Ryan did not know what he was doing. My mom is happy and proud of what happened,” stated Al Zilth, a community member who traveled with his mother, Rose Zilth, to Phoenix for the hearing.

Zilth shared that his older brother started his drinking habits at Ole Red Barn Liquor store, in which his older brother continues to purchase alcohol from even until today.

“Everything will be better, community-wise. These liquor establishments have brought a lot of pain to our community,” stated Zilth.

Two liquor licenses for McDonald’s other establishment, High Country Liquor, are currently suspended and not in operation. The denial of the transfer of two licenses to Ryan prohibited the operation of Ole Red Barn Liquor and Lee’s Liquor.

A sentencing hearing for Gary McDonald is set for Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. at the Justice Court in St. Johns, Ariz., on charges he pled guilty to. The court has the authority to revoke McDonald’s liquor licenses at the sentencing hearing.

The proposed agenda for Naabi has 9 pieces of legislation:
(a) 0005-15 An Action Relating To NAABIK’ IYATI’ And The Navajo Nation Council; Confirming _____________________As Speaker Of The 23rd Navajo Nation Council;
(b) 0006-15 An Action Relating To NAABIK’ IYATI’ Committee; Respectfully Requesting The State Of New Mexico To Consider Amendments And An Appropriation In New Mexico House Bill 108, Introduced By Patricia A. Lunstrom
(c) 0007-15 An Action Relating To NAABIK’ IYATI’ Navajo Nation Council; AppoinLegislation 0008-15 Relating To Naa’bik’iyati’ And Navajo Nation Council; Selecting An Interim President Of The Navajo Nation Pending The Election Of A New President.
(d) 0008-15 Relating To Naa’bik’iyati’ And Navajo Nation Council; Selecting An Interim President Of The Navajo Nation Pending The Election Of A New President.
(e) 0009-15 Relating To Naa’bik’iyati’ And Navajo Nation Council; Allowing Navajo Nation President, Ben Shelly, To Remain In Office Until The Navajo Nation Elects A New President.
(f) 0011-15 Relating To Naa’bik’iyati’ And The Navajo Nation Council; Rescinding, Repealing And Rendering Null And Void A Resolution Entitled CD-80-14 Which States It Is Relating To An Emergency; To Address A Matter Of Navajo Voter Disenfranchisement; And Providing For A Special Run-Off Election And A Special General Election For The Office Of President.
(g) 0012-15 Relating To Naabik’iyati’ Committee; Approving Grazing Fees For Eastern Navajo Agency Of The Navajo Nation; And Requesting Approval By The Federal Government
(h) 0016-15 Relating To An Naabik’iyati’ And The Navajo Nation Council; Amending The Emergency Clause Of 2 N.N.C. § 164
(i) 0017-15 Relating To Naabik’iyati’ Committee And Navajo Nation Council; Recommending Changes In The Arizona Liquor Law Statutes To The Arizona State Legislature.

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