Wednesday, November 2, 2011

  • It has been 86 days - August 4th - since we first contacted your office for information regarding the Federal grants and loans provided to the Nisqually Tribe to build a for-profit jail located literally in our backyard. After dozens of calls and personal visits, we have not received a single document from your office.

    I fail to understand why it should take three months to forward something as simple as the guidelines for the grants and loans provided. The documents we have requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) such as the grant application, the traffic and site feasibility studies, and environmental impact studies are on file electronically and could be located in seconds. We have checked with a local activist group on what the normal timeline is for requests like ours. They told us these types of requests normally take less than a week. The law states that you have 20 days to comply.

    Your email response 27 October 2011 informing us that it would take another two weeks before any information would be forthcoming lacks credibility. It strikes me as strange that all the departments involved – Justice, Indian Affairs, Agriculture, Army, and the Environmental Protection Agency – have projected the exact same date that they will have their responses and information ready

    The proposed jail will begin construction in approximately 90 days. We are desperate for this information immediately. We feel compelled to take a more active approach to motivate you to comply with the law.

    Therefore, 1,000 of our supporters will begin calling and faxing your office for updates every day until you comply with the law.

    We also plan to post daily updates detailing our plight and your lack of assistance on our Facebook and the Facebooks of various organizations in your congressional district. We are also in the process of writing letters to all the local newspapers in the south Puget Sound area.

    We plan to attend every public speaking engagement you have during next year’s re-election campaign and will also doorbell precincts in your congressional district for your opponent

    We resent being forced to work so hard and long in order to receive such simple information, but you have left us no choice.

    We ask that you immediately forward us the documents we have requested via the FIA. They are listed below.

    1. Feasibility study for the proposed jail.
    2. Copies of the Recovery Act Grant for $20 M
    3. Stipulations on the Grant ie: Conditions, extensions, timing of monetary allotments, etc.
    4. How did the Nisqually Indian Tribe come up with the numbers for inmate population? Their numbers exceed what our local Sheriff believes is available in our jurisdiction. What other inmates will the Nisqually Indian Tribe be contracting with to increase population?
    5. Feasibility study for the USDA low interest loan. What collateral did the Nisqually Indian Tribe use for the USDA loan when the land could not be used since it is “trust” land.
    6. Studies that show “no other appropriate” site was available for this project. We would like to see the studies that were performed to support his finding. In a FOIA request, Fort Lewis provided documentation that show 4 other possible alternatives on where else to construct this proposed jail. How can the Nisqually Indian Tribe turn these suggested alternatives down solely because they are lease beneficial for “their” community? This should not be a reason to turn down an alternative site?
    7. The public notification process was flawed. There were “no public comments” on the EA for this project. How can this be when the project is of great magnitude and will severely affect and impact our community? The Nisqually Indian Tribe states they contacted 16 neighbors adjacent to the proposed jail. Four families cited on this list out of the sixteen adamantly stated that they were NEVER notified.
    8. What is the Nisqually Indian Tribe responsible for to address and assist the impacts that our County will have caused by this proposed jail?
    9. Please provide documentation on how we can appeal the land exchange of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land to the Nisqually Indian Tribe in exchange for the 179 Acres parcel.
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