Pala's Big Gamble

Ben Westhoff's June 21 cover story about the Pala tribe's casino riches — and the subsequent expulsion of one-sixth of its membership — earned praise from readers (“Blood Lines“).

“What a great article!” Alaxwish writes. “Thank you, L.A. Weekly, for exposing the truth about tribal gaming and what is being done on reservations to native peoples. It's particularly disturbing to hear how tribal members act — for example, 'laughing at people who have lost their money.' As if receiving money payouts for doing nothing and having no career makes one better.”

Remembering Margarita writes, “The disenrollments stripped the members of their heritage, of their pride of being Pala Indian. It would be like the president telling you that you no longer are an American citizen and that you must move, with every eye staring and laughing as you pack your things, dying inside, with nowhere to go and no heritage to be proud of.” She believes the Bureau of Indian Affairs must get involved: “Our government steps into other countries that have evil leaders who take advantage of their people but they stand idly by when it happens in their own land. The BIA just lets this happen? What are they here for?”

Sedona Sherpa also calls for BIA action: “The same scenario plays out across tribal lands where gaming is present. There are huge, tax-free dividends and corporate jets for council members to enjoy in some tribes, while the others remain in abject poverty. It's time for the BIA to take over all Indian gaming revenue and disperse it evenly to all Native Americans across the nation and Alaska, with a fair share for each.”

He Remembers Mama

Last week's most buzzed-about story, however, was Ray Richmond's First Person account of his mother's life as the mistress of the owner of Clifton's Cafeteria and a peddler of “marital aides” (“My Mother, the Mistress,” June 21). Richmond's piece got a shoutout from no less than The New York Times — and readers were equally enthusiastic. “Great story,” Jen Fisch writes. “It would be a great movie.”

Boybooe is thinking book deal. “That's some real two-fisted, heart-in-the-mouth writing, feller,” he writes. “Looking forward to the book.

Naatz offers a dissenting view. “You dumped human remains inside of a restaurant,” he writes. “Congratulations; Clifton's has lost at least one customer thanks to you.”


L.A. Weekly staffers killed it at this year's 55th annual Southern California Journalism Awards, sponsored by the L.A. Press Club. Creative director Darrick Rainey took top honors in design, while writers Catherine Wagley, Libby Molyneaux and Zachary Pincus-Roth won first place for criticism, headlines and entertainment writing, respectively. But the night's big winner was Gene Maddaus, who won first place for hard news and was named Print Journalist of the Year. Three cheers!

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