Washoe candidates outline tribal goals
Five of six candidates vying for the chairman seat of the Washoe tribe outlined their ideas to improve services on Saturday.
Steve Dexter of Carson City, Al Granados of the Bay Area, who will retire to Gardnerville, Art Sam of Bridgeport, Calif., Benny Mills of Carson City, and incumbent Brian Wallace are running for chairman of the Washoe Tribal Council.
The sixth candidate, Dresslerville resident Kathy Wyatt, did not attend the forum at the Dresslerville Recreation Center and Gym.
Wallace was the last candidate to speak and spent his allotted time defending his position and denying various allegations by other candidates.
“I’ve been honored to be able to stand here over the past 12 years and can honestly say things are better for us.
“The reservation is a place where Indians live surrounded by thieves, and that hasn’t changed.”
Wallace categorically denied accusations of missing funds, and making “executive decisions” as chairman to override council policies.
“Accountability is an everyday obligation,” he said.
A question and answer session followed the candidates’ presentations. Wallace was asked why he allowed liquor to be sold by reservation businesses although tribal members had made their intentions known it was not acceptable.
He said it “isn’t a big deal” to remove the alcohol because the tribe does not get benefits from the sale.
Kathryn Rogers, a tribal council member from Carson City, told Wallace that many activities the tribe engages in are not part of the Council’s agenda, including negotiations between the WDE and casino developer Butch Peri.
She also said council members are not given meeting minutes or properly informed of various activities.
“Things are posted, direct mail, and you show up at meetings,” Wallace said.
“Yes, I go to meetings,” said Rogers. “I never get information, and things like this casino are a big surprise.”
Wilfred McDonald, a 67-year Carson Valley resident, asked Wallace why more Indians did not serve in positions related to the tribe and objected to the WDE’s role.
“Sometimes, I get the feeling these guys (council members) don’t know who they are working for,” he said.
Steve Wyatt of the Affiliated Obsidian Nation, asked if Wallace was going to step down as one of four grand marshals for the Oct. 26 Nevada Day parade. The AON has asked organizers to reconsider its decision to have Wallace as one of four grand marshals and said they plan to protest if he does not step down.
Wallace said he will not step down, and Wyatt said, “Good, we will see you there.”
After the meeting, Wallace said allegations of tribal money mismanagement, use of tribal funds for a $7,000 birthday party in Las Vegas and a pending FBI investigation are “pathetically false.”
The chairman and representative council seats are four-year positions. Two representatives each are elected from Woodfords, Dresslerville, Carson City, Reno, Stewart, and off-reservation alternates for the 12-member council.
In addition, four seats on the Community Council are up for election and are comprised of representatives from each community. A secretary/treasurer is appointed by the council members.
The Washoe election is Oct. 19.
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