Taylor & Sidney vie for Hopi Chairman seat

Wayne Taylor

Wayne Taylor

KYKOTSMOVI -- Ivan Sidney went from dark horse to frontrunner by winning the most amount of votes in the primary election for Hopi Chairman Nov. 2.

Sidney, who is running on a platform of more open government, said the vote shows the majority of the Hopi voters want change.

Sidney was first with 298 votes and Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor Jr. was second with 250 votes, so those two will proceed to the Nov. 16 general election.

Former Hopi Vice Chairman Caleb Johnson finished a close third in the six-way race as he grabbed 231 votes. The remaining three candidates for chairman were Elgean Joshevama with 174 votes, Arnold Taylor Sr. with 148 votes and Armand Fritz with 80 votes.

In the vice chairman's race, former Hopi Vice Chairman Phillip Quochytewa Sr. and Todd Honyaoma Sr. will compete against each other in the general election. Quochytewa led the field with 271 votes and Honyaoma was second with 202 votes.

Mary Felter, the lone female candidate, took third with 178 votes and retired DPS officer Wayne Kuwanhyoima placed fourth with 170.

The rest of the field was Robert Sumatzkuku, fifth, with 156 votes; Valjean Joshevama Sr., sixth, with 138 votes and Ernest "Tubby" Honyaktewa, seventh, with 61 votes.

Open government

Before the primary vote, Sidney criticized Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor Jr. and the Hopi Tribal Council for not running an open government.

Sidney points to longtime Choctaw Chairman Phillip Martin as someone who has remained in office a longtime because he mastered economic development and he mastered trust with his people through open government including printing the tribe's finances in the tribal paper.

"We don't know what's going on with our tribal government," Sidney said. "That's why we need a change."

Sidney further criticized the tribe for a lack of financial audits and a lack of reporting to the villages, especially on financial matters.

Chairman, page 8

Chairman Taylor said his administration has made efforts for open government, but understands they have to do more. He added that the tribal council must be involved in this and they must ask the villages to accommodate their reports.

"We're going to make sure that the Hopi Tribal Council meetings are always open. We'll also make a concerted effort to publicize the agenda in advance and encourage people to come to the meetings," he said.

Chairman Taylor said they will advertise the meetings through newspapers, radio stations and public notices as well as making reports to the villages. Sidney said he would also do this.

"I'm committed to be responsive and to open government. I've heard the people loud and clear," Taylor said.

Chairman Taylor explained the complications with the tribal audit. He said the last audit that was completed was in 2003. He said they have not completed the 2004 audit because they switched auditors and had trouble with the auditor. That auditor was replaced and another auditor is working on completing the 2004 audit.

Chairman Taylor said most governments do not publicize their audits, but do publicize their annual budgets and that the Hopi Tribe does exactly that. He said the next budget will be publicized after the new year in January or February.

"We were presenting those budgets in the villages last week and we'll continue to do so this week," he said.

Past mistakes

Chairman Taylor noted that Sidney served two terms as chairman and that Sidney admitted in recent articles that he had made mistakes.

"I don't need to go into that. The people will remember," the chairman said.

Chairman Taylor said he has been a steady stable leader who has made decisions based on principle and will continue to do so.

"I apologize if there has not been adequate reports to the villages, but that has to be a two way street," he said.

Sovereignity

Sidney said the Hopi Tribe needs to think about how it uses tribal sovereignty. He said the tribe has put so many requirements in place that it has scared off much needed businesses from coming to the Hopi Reservation, such as banks.

"We need to think about how we use tribal sovereignty," he said.

Sidney said a planned shopping center for First Mesa has been ready since March, but has been delayed due to tribal bureaucracy.

Sidney said he would like to see the Hopi become a model minority meaning that they want to become so successful with businesses that other minorities will tailor themselves after Hopi. He pointed to the Japanese as a model minority in America.

"We need to master and compete in the educational world just like the Japanese," he said. "The Japanese start working by the time they're 15 and then they are ready for college. Why do they come to the U.S.? To make money."

Sidney also blames the Hopi government for not using local businesses. He notes that there is a print shop in Hotevilla, but the tribe rarely uses it.

Sidney said as gas prices continue to rise that it will be more expensive for people to be able to shop on the Hopi Reservation.

Sidney owns Hopi Wireless and serves as an agent for Cellular One, meaning that he sells their phones, accessories and rate plans with a store based in

Kykotsmovi.

Chairman Taylor feels the Hopi Tribe is starting to make inroads on economic development.

"We have been able to do something bold by diversifying through buying businesses that are already up and running," he said.

Chairman Taylor said these investments paid off immediately as the tribe takes in about $2 million a year from the Continental Plaza and Kachina Square and Heritage Square properties in Flagstaff.

He noted that the Three Canyon Ranch, near Winslow, was purchased during former Chairman Ferrell Secakuku's term, but he supports the purchase because it gets Hopi out of its landlocked status and gives them the opportunity to create businesses on Interstate 40 where a lot of traffic goes by.

Chairman Taylor said the Hopi Tribal Council recently created the Hopi Development Corp. He said this seven-member task team was created to help with economic development.

The four members on the task team so far are Ralph Honhongva, Gerald Calnimptewa, Joan Timeche from University of Arizona and Wayne Fox from Northern Arizona University. All four have Masters in Business Administration.

Chairman Taylor said his administration is in the process of starting its own telephone company, creating Hopi broadband Internet services and starting its own electric company.

He said the tribe is negotiating with Century Tel to purchase the telephone company. He said this needs Arizona Corporation Commission approval. He said once this purchase is complete that the office would be moved from Flagstaff to Hopi, and it would create some

Hopi jobs.

Chairman Taylor said creating Hopi broadband Internet services will provide better Internet services to the Hopi Reservation. He said this is a wireless service that the tribe will be opening and will create more jobs for Hopis.

He noted that the tribe received two grants from U.S. Economic Development Authority. One grant was for $2.3 million for setting up the infrastructure and another was for $750,000 to make sure that Moenkopi will also be served with these broadband services.

Chairman Taylor said the tribe is negotiating with Arizona Public Service to take over the electric services on the Hopi Reservation. He said the Arizona Corporation Commission has been made aware of APS' lack of reliable service to the area. He said the Hopi

Tribe is working with Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to purchase the service

The chairman said that APS usually puts money back into communities where it has electric power, but has not done that on Hopi.

"The money we pay for telephone and electric goes off the reservation," he said. "If we're sovereign we need to keep money on the reservation. It will strengthen our sovereignty."

Water issues

Water has been one of the biggest issues throughout Chairman Taylor's administration. He said the Navajo Aquifer, which is the Hopi's main source of water, is being depleted.

Chairman Taylor said Hopi needs to start getting most of its water from the C-aquifer, which is located south of Leupp. He said Peabody Coal should also be using the C-aquifer instead of the N-aquifer. He said the owners of the Mohave Power Plant are ready to use that water and put in pipelines to bring in 5,600 acre feet of water per year to the Hopi Reservation.

Chairman Taylor said a major water study by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management showed that Hopi needs to import water because of the depleting N-aquifer.

"We can use water to create business and opportunities on Hopi," he said.

Housing needed

Chairman Taylor said another big issue is the desperate need for housing on the Hopi Reservation.

He said there is a lack of land availability within the villages that have forced them to look elsewhere.

So the tribe was forced to look where they could set up housing zones in new communities and thus they have planned for housing in Tawaovi.

Chairman Taylor said Hopi can now develop housing in this Hopi Partitioned Land area.

"We'll build a new community and housing. Some can be purchased by tribal members," he said. "We'll also build pods where businesses can move. It will also have a museum and a hotel."

Chairman Taylor said he has heard the criticism that villages have been left out, but that's because there has not been any land available for housing and due to the village bureaucracy that makes it hard to get land leases. He added that the tribe has money available for village economic development planning and design so villages need to prioritize and let the tribal council and chairman know what they want.

Sidney said as administrator of Sichomovi Village that his administration has built an exemplary village government by establishing its own by-laws for, administrative, financial and personnel policies.

Sidney said as a village administrator he has learned that the modern daily affairs and traditional government need to be separated to avoid confusion. He said the problem is that when the tribal council representatives are appointed by the kikmongwi, or religious leader, that they are not accountable to the people.

"They are not looking out for the kikmongwi's best interest and they won't be until they have to be accountable," he said.

Urges change

After serving as Hopi chairman from 1981-1989, Sidney served as an assistant to the president at Northern Arizona University. This enabled him to bring Native American issues directly to the president.

Sidney notes that this was so successful that one year later Arizona State University created the same position for former Navajo Nation Chairman Peterson Zah and two years later University of Arizona created a similar position for former Hopi Chairman Vernon Masayesva.

Sidney said as chairman he would propose two term-limits for chairman and possibly for tribal council members. He would also like to see the gallery changed so that the tribal council seats are no longer elevated. He wants the people to have a better view of the tribal council rather than having the tribal council looking down at them.

Sidney said if elected the first action he would take would be to visit all the villages. He emphasized that he would also work with the tribal council.

"I'm willing to make change. Is the tribal council? We can't have infighting at the expense of the people," Sidney said. "My point is this isn't just about me. It's about a partnership."

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