Federal government and tribe also have a role to play in section 14 reparations
It is difficult to deny the complexity of the article 14 issue, and there is no doubt that some of the problems could have been avoided by a more humane approach.
Unfortunately, the blame seekers took a simplistic approach in making Frank Bogert the villain, since he was the mayor at the time. They seemed to have ignored that the issue also heavily involves the tribe, which owns half of Palm Springs and has its own tribal council and president who governs that territory. The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was also involved, with its considerable influence over the tribe.
The tribal council may decide to cede some of its sovereignty to the city, as it did in 1978, when the tribe agreed to let the city take care of the planning and zoning of its land, while retaining the power to veto city decisions.
Bogert could not alone make decisions regarding section 14. On top of all this, the tribe was miserably poor, and in 1959 the federal government had just given them the right to lease land for up to 99 years instead. of five years, which was an achievement of Tribal President Vyola Ortner. All of this made Article 14 an important asset.
What really happened was that the tribe issued the eviction notices, which were applied leniently and often ignored. The follow-up clearing was somewhat selective as many buildings remained afterwards. Someone from the tribe was to indicate which ones should be left and which ones should be cleaned up. The tribe had asked the city to take responsibility for helping with the cleanup.
Since then, the tribe and its members have benefited greatly from a federal law allowing Indian gambling in states where gambling was already permitted. This law was signed by President Reagan in 1988. Since the California constitution did not allow gambling, except poker, the tribes approached Californian voters who ultimately approved the amendment to the law. state constitution to authorize Indian gambling. Once approved, casinos were governed by covenants made by the governors of each state. Governor Gray Davis was very tribal friendly, so the Agua Caliente Tribe were treated to three successful casinos with the potential for even more.
The beneficial federal legislation was motivated by a desire to provide reparations for the treatment that Native Americans suffered. With the casinos and the booming real estate market in Palm Springs, this tribe has become very wealthy.
Going back to section 14 issues and efforts to provide redress to the injured African American community, it appears the tribe may have a responsibility here as well. After all, they were the ones who profited the most from the newly profitable Section 14, where the Spa Hotel once stood and now houses the Spa Casino.
Maybe Congressman Raul Ruiz should be involved so that the federal government pays 50%, leaving the tribe to pay maybe 35% and the city with 15% fairer. After all, through the BIA, it was a mismanagement of a community of color led by the federal government.
Given all of this, it makes sense to leave the statue of Bogert alone.
Frank Tysen is a Fulbright Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, and former professor of urban and regional planning at USC. Email him at [email protected]