Responses to Questions from August 20th Candidates Forum in District Six

QUESTION: Is there a Fed law that let American Indians attend any school in the US? Is so, what up with Laveen School here in Laveen, Arizona?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: Under federal law all Native Americans are entitled to attend any educational institution as long they meet the school’s minimum requirements. As for Laveen School, for an example: you may need to live within the school district.

QUESTION: Would you push to pass for a vote? What is your opinion about the Tribal Constitution? Do you support it?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: If the tribal constitution is referring to the 1960 Constitution, we have lived with this constitution for over 50 years. I support the current constitution. In regards to the draft constitution, I support the draft because it defines the three branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial); it removes the BIA from the secretarial election process and offers an amendment process.  

QUESTION: How can you stop lengthy punishments for minor crimes? Can you help change this because our youth need to be working not in jails?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: We need to support parents in being accountable and responsible for their children. We as a Community need to invest more time and energy into programs that addressed our youth and offer support.

QUESTION: What does “Team” mean to you?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: A coordinated effort to accomplish a common goal.

QUESTION: In 2008: Governor’s team looking into issue with DRS police, but we still have same issues (where action)

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: I understand there are still issues surrounding DRS and the Police Department. But due to sensitive nature there are limitations of what can be discussed publicly. Therefore, I recommend you to speak with the Governor’s team.

QUESTION: Where is the job description so we could know what to ask of you or what expectations are?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: There is no job description as classified through the Human Resources Department. However, GR-122-00 ordinance describes the powers and duties of the Governor. The tribal constitution identifies the role of the Governor. However, the community members may have greater expectations of the Governor which are defined through the election process.

QUESTION: Would you continue to support the tribal constitution and what it contains?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: If you referring to the 1960 Constitution, Yes, I support the constitution as it defines the terms, rights of members, governing body, tenure of office, referendum and initiative processes.

QUESTION: If elected how you will deal with the freeway issues here in District 6?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: In general, I would support the freeway as a means to diversifying our economic sources as long as it did not desecrate our sacred mountain. The freeway issue is definitely a hot topic for our community. At the heart of this issue is WHERE the freeway will be on land. Business developers and the State, thought has the loop either cutting through our sacred mountain or being aligned with current community lines. First know that I support economic development, diversifying our funding sources, and the rights of landowners and the community to develop their land. Secondly, I will safeguard our natural resources by protecting our land, water, vegetation, and sacred sites as stated in my platform. Now about the proposed freeway vote . . . as you may be aware of, the Community Council has voted to refer the matter to a referendum vote of the People. I respect the process, as outlined in the Tribal Constitution, and encourage all to vote on this important matter. I’m glad that Community members are not only interested, but are also adding to the discussion about the possible opportunities and issues that face our Community. Through these discussions, different perspectives are shared which can lead to out of the box solutions. Keep in mind that many of these opportunities/issues are not clear-cut with simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. The language of the freeway vote has not been created, so currently there is not an issue to vote on.

QUESTION: What are your feelings/opinions on “medical weed”?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: The issue does not apply to the Community. However, I have a personal preference that this matter should be considered personal and as such I have no public opinion.

 QUESTION: How does a memo from Governor override our current policy or resolution?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: Through an Executive Order which is a memo from the Governor defining directives, behaviors and expectation of Tribal Administration and staff.

QUESTION: How do you plan to get community involved to go to meetings?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: By feeding the community interests. What I mean by this is to engage the community members at various levels i.e., schools, church, community, etc.

QUESTION: How do you see the role of Governor in comparison with the roles of the Community Council?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: Currently, the Governor is delegated all administrative day-to-day responsibility for the Community. However, the Community Council has legislative responsibility for the Community. My view of this matter is simple: The Executive executes measures (the policies, laws); The Legislative approves measures (the policies, laws); The Judicial interprets measures (the policies, laws).

QUESTION: Veterans: the US president signed into law to provide each veteran with a home. Is Gila River working with the VA on an agreement for our veterans?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: To clarify this matter, the federal government underwrites veteran’s financial obligations through the VA administration.

QUESTION: When it comes to education High School dropouts has a high percentage. How can that be changed?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: Fund K-12 Retention Programs to improve graduation rates, track drop outs, and provide alternatives towards earning high school diploma or GED. Partner with parents and school officials to assess student performance at schools, including on and off reservation. Coordinate with Tribal Education Department and the schools to take an active role in facilitating discussions with the Community’s programs and schools. Meet with school officials and teachers to provide educational expectations for our students.

QUESTION: Our Community has a mindset of accepting domestic violence as normal, how can you as a community leader change this?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: We don’t accept domestic violence as normal; we accept domestic violence with a blind-eye to this activity. First by education, we can raise the level of value of individuals. (Children, women, elders)

QUESTION: In most corporations, the CEO reports to the Board and Shareholders on the operations of the company. As a candidate for GRIC Governor aka CEO, what is your position on reporting to the Districts on a Semi-Annual basis by attending all District Community Meetings in person?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: To provide consistent updates to Tribal Departments, Employees, Districts, the Community Council, the Elderly Concerns Group, the Council of Elders, the Youth Council and Urban Members living off the Community. Provide monthly updates via Gila River News, Tribal Website and Social Media. Use technology to communicate status of our Community.

QUESTION: How you going to correct passed wrongs for RIF/terminated employee; what about HR?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: I am not being elected to change pass administrative decisions.

QUESTION: Education – How are you going to improve the process of the scholarship funding? My son is not in school this semester due to the education dept. messed up his funding last semester. They were late sending funds to the school so he was dropped from all classes. I helped him get some classes back but he lacked a class which affected his funding for this semester but now he is not eligible for the scholarship. As  a single parent trying to encourage him he is very discouraged with the tribe, so again how are you going to improve the funding so other kids don’t keep going thru this?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: At this point, I believe it is important to review the policies and procedures for scholarship funding.

QUESTION: As Governor how do you plan on dealing with the corruption of certain directors and from being manipulated by them? Certain depts. are very hush because of their policies, but as community members we should have the right to speak on all the mistreatment of tribal employees as well as hard working employees. Will you know when you are being manipulated?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: Currently all department directors are contracted annually. The Community Manager’s performances are tied with the duties and obligations of the department directors. Therefore, I will hold community managers accountable for their director’s behaviors.

QUESTION: How can you make community managers more responsible & accountable for their duties especially with such high salaries?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: As with the previous question. I will hold Community Managers accountable for their director’s behaviors.

QUESTION: Our tribe is very humble and our blood quantum is dropping also this is non-natives coming on community and enrolling as Akimel O’odham & Pee-Posh. What can you do to stop that?

RESPONSE BY GREG MENDOZA: At this point, I believe it is important to review the policies and procedures that defined the enrollment process for becoming a Community member.

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