RINCON TRIBAL GOVERNMENT
The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians occupies a 6,000-acre reservation in Valley Center, CA, and has a tribal population of 500 plus enrolled members. Established in 1875, the Rincon Band is a sovereign government recognized by the U.S. Constitution, the United States Congress, court precedent, and federal policy. The tribe is not subdivision of the county or state, but as a federally recognized sovereign tribal government, the Rincon Band has powers equal to a city, county, or state. The tribe has a “Trust Relationship” with the federal government, and, like state governments, is responsible for enforcing all applicable federal laws from environmental to taxation on the reservation.
Democratically elected by a majority vote of tribal members, the Rincon tribal council has the executive, legislative, and legal authority and responsibility to protect and promote the welfare of the tribal members, as well as jurisdiction over the reservation land. The elected tribal officers include a chair, vice chair, and three council members. Elections are held every two years, with three officers elected in one election cycle and two in the next. The tribal council has an obligation to hold regularly scheduled meetings with the entire membership to discuss business, and policy decisions. As a matter of tribal tradition and practice, Rincon tribal members expect to play a role in their government; they expect to be informed of council decisions and consulted on major developments.
The elected 2015-2016 Rincon tribal council consists of Chairman Bo Mazzetti, Vice Chairwoman Tishmall Turner, and Council Members Steve Stallings, Laurie E. Gonzalez and Alfonso Kolb Sr.
In addition to serving as the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government, the tribal council is the board of directors for tribal enterprises, including, Harrah’s Rincon, one of the premier resorts and casinos in Southern California.
The Rincon Band owns Harrah’s Resort Southern California and uses profits from this and other commercial enterprises to provide government services such as police and environmental enforcement, health, youth, seniors, recreation and culture programs, economic development and a tribal court. The government also funds a highly respected and well-equipped tribal fire department, ambulance, and paramedic unit, as well as contracting with the San Diego Sheriff, delivering increased patrols on the Rincon Reservation and in Valley Center community. At no cost to taxpayers, Rincon’s public safety operations respond to emergencies in the neighboring communities, with more than a majority of calls generating outside the reservation.
Rincon’s tribal enterprises are significant contributors to the North San Diego County economy, through job creation, purchase of local products and services, and tax generation. In the interest of sharing and being good neighbors, the tribal council and Rincon Community Contributions Committee award hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to regional non-profits and public agencies that support quality of life programs in the region.
The tribe also invests in boot strapping struggling tribal governments through quarterly contributions. Seventy-one tribal nations, unable to generate meaningful revenue by engaging in gaming have received a total investment of $25.3 million from 2002 -2014 from the Rincon Band.