The Oceanside city council congratulates the Rincon tribal council. Shown (from left) Mayor Jim Woods, Alfonso Kolb Rincon Council, Steve Stallings, Laurie Gonzalez, (all Rincon Council), Tishmall Turner vice chairman, Rincon Council, Bo Mazzetti, chairman and Oceanside staffers responsible for planning and implementing Earth Month and Earth Day in the city.
The Oceanside City Council issued an April-Earth Month Proclamation, during which they recognized the five-member tribal council of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians for the band’s contribution to the city’s Earth Day Festival at the Council meeting on April 5.
Oceanside’s Earth Day festival was April 22 in downtown Oceanside.
Mayor Jim Woods recognized Rincon Tribal Chairman Bo Mazzetti, Vice Chairwoman Tishmall Turner, and council members Steve Stallings, Laurie Gonzalez and Alfonso Kolb for the band’s 3-year sponsorship of city’s Earth Day festival.
The Rincon Band has helped grow Oceanside’s Earth Day festival into the second largest celebration in San Diego County — the result of funding three years of radio announcements, and other public communications, recyclable gift bags and providing a center stage with musical entertainment the day of the festival in downtown Oceanside.
The proclamation declared in part, “Whereas, the mission of the Green Oceanside campaign for the City of Oceanside is to bring environmental awareness and stewardship to our community and; Whereas, each year Green Oceanside staff members and partner organizations collaborate to present environmental education programs and public participation opportunities that teach how to be better stewards of the planet…”
Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti responded that the Rincon Council has been pleased to assist the city in growing this annual event, “We really like promoting this event because it brings together the community to celebrate Mother earth and educate how individuals can help protect the planet,” he said and noted that Oceanside coastal areas were once home to Luiseño ancestral villages.
Back at home on the Rincon Reservation, the Rincon-owned enterprise, Harrah’s Resort Southern California, celebrated Mother Earth’s day by reducing lighting on the property one hour a day during April, offering a number of green promotions for guests, and an E-waste and paper shredding collection for employees and guests on April 22.
The Rincon Band was the first tribe to reduce its carbon footprint by installing solar in the band’s casino enterprise. The solar field consists of 4,056 solar panels on 5.5 acres, the largest solar field of any Southern California tribal casino. Designed to produce 1.1 Megawatts per year, the solar plant is saving roughly $300,000 per year in energy costs – equivalent to planting 450 trees per year.
Since the solar panels were installed in 2009, the plant has generated 11,858,912 kilowatt-hours of electricity. This is the same as removing 1,722 cars from the road, saving 920,145 gallons of gasoline, and preventing 2,931 tons of waste from going to landfills. The solar system powers the HAVC system and warms the water in guest rooms and the main pool.
Additional energy is saved by low emission showerheads, energy saving thermostats, and Energy Star appliances in the kitchens. Ninety percent of the light bulbs are LED, saving about $700,000 per year. The resort also recycles all types of furnishing and office equipment through donations to schools and organizations, like Habitat for Humanity. More than just the standard paper and plastic, Harrah’s also regularly recycles E-waste, batteries; eyeglasses, billboard vinyl, and cooking oil.
An onsite garden has supplied Harrah’s restaurants with 7,500 lbs. of tomatoes and 900 lbs. of chili peppers over the past five years.
“What makes the green programs at Harrah’s work so well is the commitment of the management to the ‘Code Green’ program, and the employees, who are encouraged to practice recycling and energy efficiency at home as well as at work,” said Chairman Mazzetti. “Many also volunteer time on the property and in the community. For example, Harrah’s volunteers have cleaned over 32 miles of beaches, and have adopted Lake Wohlford as a conservation project.”
In 2012, Harrah’s installed four electric vehicles charging stations and currently has eight charging stations—with more planned. As part of the Blink Network of 4,000 stations, guests can find the resort using navigation systems and reserve a charging station spot to guarantee their electric car is charged for the drive home.
Harrah’s donates unused and partially used guest room hygiene products. Each year, the resort’s housekeeping team collects approximately 3,700 lbs. of soap shampoo and lotions from guest rooms. In 2011, Harrah’s Resort joined Clean the World’s “Global Hygiene Revolution.” According to the organization, over 2 million children under the age of 5 die every year from diseases preventable by good hygiene. Clean the World’s mission is to save more than 1 million lives a year by distributing sanitized, repackaged packages of hotel guest-room products to over 100 countries. So far, Harrah’s Resort has donated 18,000 pounds of products, including nearly 60,000 bars of soap.