Health and Social Services Committee hear update report on Thoreau IHS Clinic

Preconstruction conference scheduled on April 5

THOREAU, NM – The Health and Social Services Committee of the 21st Navajo Nation Council met March 23 during a regular meeting at Thoreau Chapter to get an update on the Thoreau Clinic.

According to Candace Tsingine, acting director for Division of Facilities Management and Engineering, Navajo Area Indian Health Services (NAIHS) met all the requirements for construction to occur. A preconstruction conference for the proposed clinic is scheduled for April 5 at the NAIHS office in Fort Defiance, Ariz.

“The preconstruction conference introduces the contractor to the federal contracting office,” Tsingine explained. “The contracting office informs the contractor of the rules and regulations on the construction of the facility.”

Native American Services Corporation is designated as the contractor for this project.

At the conference, an official declaration will be given to the contractor to proceed with construction. Although a notice to proceed with construction will be sent to the chapter on April 19, Tsingine said, “It does not necessarily mean dirt will be turning over to the side that day.” 

In an effort for the constituents of Thoreau to fully understand what is going on with their proposed health facility, Council Delegate Alice W. Benallly (Crownpoint/Nahodishgish) made a directive to have NAIHS write a letter updating Thoreau Chapter on the construction process.

Tsingine explained,” To date, the letter is still in draft form, but it will be sent to chapters very soon informing the chapter that the project has been covered for construction.” 

Council Delegate Thomas Walker Jr. (Birdsprings/Leupp/Tolani Lake) expressed appreciation.

“I think it’s interesting here asking our trustee to keep to their promises even at the local level,” Walker said. “Today, at the local level that conveyance is happening. As tribal leaders, we need to keep standing up for our people.”

The committee accepted NAIHS’ report on a 6-0 vote.

Child Abuse Prevention Workshop

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, the Navajo Division of Social Services will be hosting an educational workshop on Child Abuse Prevention.

The educational workshop will consist of two (2) presentations from local experts on child abuse prevention. The Division will providing free lunch to all those who attend the event. The presentations will be open to all members of the community.

The Division is also requesting that local service providers encourage their clients to attend the child abuse prevention event. The information provided would be beneficial to all community members including parents, grandparents, and those who work directly with families and children.

The Division would like to invite your agency to participate in the event. You are invited to set up a booth at the event. The activities and workshop will be held at the Kayenta Recreation Center. The tentative time of the event has been set from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. 

If you have any questions and/ or concerns you can contact me, Leandrew Sixkiller, at (928) 697-5643.

Taxpayer Advocates Endorse Rep. Kirkpatrick Bill to Cut Congressional Pay for First Time in 77 Years

National Taxpayers Union Joins Effort to Make Senators, Representatives Share Pain of Recession

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Ann Kirkpatrick has earned grassroots support from around District One and the entire United States for her fight to send a message to Washington on congressional pay, and today one of the most prominent taxpayer advocate groups in the country joined her effort. Just days before the 77th anniversary of the last pay cut for Members of Congress, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) announced it will endorse the Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act and help Rep. Kirkpatrick push Congress to pass the bill.

The Congresswoman introduced the measure to reduce salaries for all senators and representatives by five percent. If passed into law, it would be the first pay cut for Members of Congress since April 1, 1933. The endorsement of this long-overdue legislation by NTU is another step towards making Washington understand that taxpayers are fed up with tone-deaf governing during the recession.

“Given the current economic climate, it is inexcusable for Congress to pad its already sizeable compensation package as our Nation continues to face 10 percent unemployment,” said Jordan Forbes, NTU federal government affairs manager. “Like present times, families scrimped and saved to make ends meet during the Great Depression. Our representatives should be doing the same.”

“The American people have had enough of Washington politicians refusing to live up to their responsibilities,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “If elected officials are going to say that this country is facing its most difficult economic times in generations, then they need to act like it. The last time Congress faced this great a challenge, they took a pay cut – this Congress needs to follow their lead.”

Rep. Kirkpatrick has already put her money where her mouth is, and is returning five percent of her pay for this year. She will be sending her second $870 check to pay down the national debt on Thursday.

Her frustration with Washington and her push to force Members of Congress to make some sacrifices have struck a chord with many who are angry with the failure of America’s politicians to listen to them. Her legislation has been praised by the editorial boards of the Washington Examiner and numerous other newspapers, and hundreds of supportive phone calls and letters have come in from people in her district and across the country.

“Folks are sick of politics as usual, and they are demanding action on common sense solutions like this bill,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “I do not know anyone who has not seen their salary cut in the last eight decades. Senators and representatives need to recognize that they are no different than anyone else.

“On Thursday, it will have been exactly 77 years since Congress’ last pay cut. It is time to get the job done.”

Rep. Kirkpatrick’s bill would also block any automatic increase in congressional salaries for next year. She has previously co-sponsored bills to stop the automatic congressional pay increase for 2011 and to eliminate the automatic raise altogether, and was part of the successful effort to block the pay hike for 2010.

As part of her “Do More With Less” Initiative, the Congresswoman has sharply criticized the White House’s FY2011 budget proposal and is calling for significant spending cuts. Last month, she helped pass a measure re-establishing the statutory “pay-as-you-go” requirement for Congress and stood up against a $1.9 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. Rep. Kirkpatrick also supported deep reductions in last year’s appropriations bills, opposed the bank bailouts, was an early voice for using bailout funds to pay down the debt and is part of the bipartisan coalition supporting a strong, independent deficit reduction commission.

NAVAJO MAN SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR ASSAULTING HIS UNCLE

PHOENIX  – Joseph Peter Begay, 21, of Pinon, Ariz., was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Martone to 37 months in prison for assaulting his uncle, a 46-year-old member of the Navajo Nation Indian Tribe.  On January 15, 2010, Begay pleaded guilty in federal court to Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.

On August 10, 2009, Begay, his uncle and other family members were together when Begay, who had been consuming alcohol, became angered and began yelling at his uncle.  Begay then ran towards the residence where he was staying, broke one of the windows, and retrieved a knife from the residence.  Begay’s uncle, the victim, tried to calm Begay down when Begay stabbed the victim in his shoulder area, back and neck.  As a result of the stabbing, the victim sustained a critical eight-centimeter injury near his carotid artery and stab wounds to his shoulder, back and neck.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Navajo Department of Law Enforcement, the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The prosecution was handled by Christina J. Reid-Moore, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER:    CR-09-8097-PCT-FJM     

RELEASE NUMBER: 2010-055(Begay)

Rep. Kirkpatrick Fights to Close Loophole, Provide New Tools for Law Enforcement in Cracking Down on Cartel Cash Smuggling

Congresswoman Introduces Bill to Help Border Security Personnel Combat Use of Stored Value Cards by Drug Gangs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Ann Kirkpatrick continued her push to strengthen U.S. border security efforts and fight back against the Mexican drug cartels today, introducing new legislation to help law enforcement address an emerging trafficker tactic. The Anti-Cash Smuggling Act of 2010 will close a legal loophole that has allowed the cartels to use stored value and prepaid cards to smuggle money across the border.

These cards are among the fastest growing technologies in the financial services industry, and Washington has not yet brought the law up to speed with this development. The regulations currently on the books do not allow U.S. border agents to stop or even question people using these devices to launder money. As they are forced to stand by and watch, the gangs are taking full advantage of the stored value and prepaid card loopholes to support their criminal operations.

Law enforcement has made dealing with this issue a priority, and Rep. Kirkpatrick has been working with them to ensure that they have the investigative tools they need to keep Americans safe. Her legislation ensures that stored value cards are treated just the same as cash, expanding the reach of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other agencies to help them identify smugglers and their routes.

“For too many years, the southern border has been a gateway for the illegal trafficking of drugs, weapons, people and money. It is a challenge Arizonans live with every day – the danger is too close for us to ignore,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “Congress needs to provide law enforcement with the resources it will take to secure the border and defeat the cartels, and that means ensuring that they can respond when the cartels change tactics.”

Federal law enforcement has been stepping up their efforts against illicit money smuggling, which is an important step towards shutting down these criminal gangs and reducing the violence at the border. The Mexican drug cartels rely on money smuggled from the United States to run their organizations, and the National Drug Intelligence Center estimated that they took between $18 billion and $39 billion from the U.S. to Latin America in 2008.

“Smuggled money is the fuel that powers the cartels, allowing them to pay for those who terrorize our communities and to traffic drugs into this country. If we stop the cash flow, we stop the cartels,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “Our law enforcement risk their lives every day to track down these traffickers. They need Congress to back them up.”

The Congresswoman, Arizona’s only representative on the House Committee on Homeland Security, has been a leader on border security issues in her first term. Last spring, she introduced the Border Violence Prevention Act of 2009 to provide CBP with improved weapons, better body armor and the modern technology they need to protect our communities along with legislation to give local, state and tribal law enforcement in Arizona new access to resources and information.

Rep. Kirkpatrick also introduced a bill requiring a report from the Secretary of Homeland Security on the success of the Merida Initiative to strengthen our border security, introduced the Secure Borders Act to prevent corruption from hindering border security efforts and led the campaign against the White House’s proposed budget cuts to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).

She will soon be travelling to the U.S.-Mexican border to take a firsthand look at security operations.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TO HOST TOWN HALL MEETING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO GALLUP TO DISCUSS OUTREACH EFFORTS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN VICTIMS OF RADIATION EXPOSURE

WASHINGTON – Assistant Attorney General Tony West will visit the University of New Mexico-Gallup TUESDAY, MARCH 30TH at 10:00 A.M. MDT/12:00 P.M. EDT , to discuss a new internship program that will employ students part-time to conduct intensive outreach efforts to Native American victims of radiation exposure which may entitle them to compensation under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). During the two-week training program in Washington, D.C., students will learn about the RECA Program, federal law, the federal government, and community outreach.  After successfully completing their training, the outreach interns will be employed part-time in the Four Corners region conducting RECA outreach efforts with Native American communities.

Arizona Legislature Poised to March to Madness by Cutting Revenues $900 million says ASU faculty study

Dave Wells, a faculty member at Arizona State University, has released a research study, “Corporate Tax Games: March to Madness or Economic Growth?”

With the legislature having completed work on the fiscal year 2011 budget, pending voter approvals in May and November,  HB2250 “Arizona’s Job Recovery Act,”  a major tax reduction bill that passed the Arizona State House in January, is expected to be heard in the State Senate. 

While it is purported to be a jobs bill, it slashes taxes for corporations while also expanding income tax cuts.  If HB2250 is such wise policy, it should be empirically demonstrated, not just ideologically asserted.  In other words, Wells explores whether we are seeing a March to Madness or Economic Growth?

It seems reasonable to presume from this research that states that have adopted these policies do better than those states which fail to follow these policies.  This report takes measures of business climates and business tax rankings relative to an objective, macroeconomic growth measure and compares it to how well these same indices perform against the states ranked by the men’s college basketball RPI (Rankings Percentage Index), a.k.a. March Madness—something which has nothing to do with economic growth.

Wells says, “Unfortunately, the business climate and tax rankings don’t correlate with economic growth.  Eight measures are better predictors of where the University of Kentucky ranks compare to the University of Arizona than how states perform economically.   That’s madness, if it’s your guide to public policy.”

Two measures showed significant positive correlations with economic growth. NAEP 8th-grade reading and math scores have a good, positive correlation with economic growth outcomes.  Even better is the High School Graduation rate. 

Wells concludes, “If passed, HB2250 would be a March to Madness, adding another $900 million to a sizeable $2.5 billion structural deficit, while undercutting the educational supports which have been empirically demonstrated to correlate with economic growth.”

The full study can be found at http://www.public.asu.edu/~wellsda/research.  The views do not represent those of the university.