(Santa Ynez, Calif.) Below is the statement of Santa Ynez Valley Coalition Chair Bill Krauch presented today at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Barbara.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you the views of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition regarding the proposed Memorandum of Agreement between Santa Barbara County and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Coalition member organizations represent the views of thousands of Santa Ynez Valley residents and include: Santa Ynez Valley Concerned Citizens, No More Slots, and WE Watch.The mission of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition is to ensure that Santa Ynez Valley residents have a voice in land use decisions affecting our water, environment, public safety, and economy. We oppose “Fee to Trust” efforts by the Chumash Indians.
The mission of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition is to ensure that Santa Ynez Valley residents have a voice in land use decisions affecting our water, environment, public safety, and economy. We oppose “Fee to Trust” efforts by the Chumash Indians.
The process you are considering for the consideration and approval of this agreement troubles us. After months of closed-door meetings, the public was only able to review the MOA late last week, and the Board will consider and act on it 2 weeks from today. Also, at the meeting last week, many questions were asked and responses were promised. To date, none of those questions have been answered.
As Supervisor Hartmann noted last week, the MOA is based on thousands of pages of documents and required the extensive efforts of lawyers and professionals working for the County and the Tribe to draft. And now, you are expecting county citizens who are volunteering their time and effort to drop everything they are doing to review and comment on the MOA and the corresponding “thousand’s of pages documents” upon which it is based? The process you are considering is patently absurd.The tribe has repeatedly acted in bad faith concerning the negotiations resolving the Camp 4 issues. The Chumash have sought both federal and state legislation in a blatant attempt to skew their negotiating position in their favor in its talks with the County.
In fact, at the meeting, last week, both Supervisor Hartmann and Williams said that the federal legislation was the primary reason they needed to come up with an agreement quickly irrespective of how bad it was because of the threat of this legislation, H.R. 1491, moving in Congress. Essentially, if you move forward with the schedule you are proposing, you have capitulated to these bad faith tactics and are rewarding the Chumash at the expense of residents. You should instead be conveying your opposition to H.R. 1491 to our elected Representatives in Congress instead of adopting an agreement that requires the County to endorse it.
Finally, it is important to note that the proposed MOA reflects an absolute and complete reversal of the County’s previous position on Camp 4. In fact, the County has gone to court on behalf of residents and taxpayers asserting that the environmental analysis undertaken by the federal government on Camp 4 is wholly inadequate. Now, after months of closed-door sessions, the County has negotiated an MOA that relies on this flawed Environmental Assessment. The public has a right to know what happened behind those closed-doors that resulted in this reversal.
At a minimum, the County should provide residents 30-days to review and comment on the agreement given its importance to the future of the Santa Ynez Valley. This is the same amount of time provided for public comment on both Environmental Assessments for Camp 4 fee-to-trust application and the Tribe’s12-story hotel. Therefore, you should postpone the consideration of the MOA until a November Board meeting.