Jeff Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band aims for better community

Jeff Grubbe, the chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in California, responds to criticism of some of the tribe's recent legal maneuvers:
Former Bay Area TV political reporter Hank Plante’s wildly inaccurate opinion published in the Desert Sun Jan. 8, 2014 gets everything wrong about the decades-long struggle by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to maintain their sovereignty, lands and resources. The Tribe takes strong exception to the attempted character assassination, which is based on inaccuracies, gross generalizations and unrelated information.

Contrary to Mr. Plante’s grossly misinformed claims, existing federal law, as confirmed by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s regulation issued in January 2013, is that Riverside County’s possessory interest tax on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation is not legal. Riverside County chooses to ignore this regulation because it would rather take taxes collected in the Coachella Valley and spread them around to the far corners of the county. Not only is the tax illegal, it’s unfair.

Mr. Plante is also wrong when he says that the case is about the Tribe’s taxes. The Tribe does not pay this tax. The tax is assessed by the County on lessees of the Tribe’s Indian trust lands.

Unfortunately, Riverside County collects the taxes on Agua Caliente land and then uses that revenue far from the Reservation and the Coachella Valley. After prevailing in this case, the Tribe intends to enforce its own possessory interest tax and use the revenues generated to benefit the local community.

Get the Story:
Jeff Grubbe: Tribe's efforts are for the good of the valley (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 1/9)

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