The Preservation of Los Olivos (POLO) was incorporated to protect the natural resources and rural character of the Santa Ynez Valley. POLO is based on the fundamental American political value that the citizenry of the Santa Ynez Valley is best able to protect the local interests of the Valley. POLO participates in all local governance issues affecting the Santa Ynez Valley. POLO believes in a fair and balanced approach to all present and future land use and planning decisions. POLO believes that the citizens of the Santa Ynez Valley should have the right to promote their viewpoint to protect and preserve the Valley using all state, local and federal processes to ensure the quality of life for everyone.
POLO acknowledges that its goals of preserving the local area are sometimes in conflict with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians’ plans to fully develop and expand its land holdings to promote its casino and other business enterprises. POLO strongly believes that the Chumash Tribe should have the same rights to use their property as all other property owners in the Valley, but the Chumash Tribe should be held to the same rules and regulations as the rest of the citizens, business owners, and surrounding community.
The individual citizens of the Santa Ynez Valley have no voice in the decisions made by the Chumash Tribe because federal law currently holds that placing lands into federal trust status for an Indian tribe removes the land from state and local control. If the lands are placed into trust, the Chumash Tribe will not be required to comply with regulatory restrictions that other citizens and business owners of the Valley must meet. Separate rules and regulations with never be equal or fair. For this reason, POLO has appealed the decision of the Regional Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to allow 6.9 acres of land to be placed into trust status. POLO believes that the Chumash Tribe should participate in the same processes all other citizens must go through to develop their property.
The appeal filed by POLO reflects these beliefs and challenges the authority of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to ignore the interests of the local people. POLO strongly believes that the interests of the local people should be directly heard and considered and the interests of the local community be balanced against those of an Indian tribe applying to remove lands from local control. POLO is raising these same concerns against the 5.7 acre fee to trust application.
There may be a misperception that our members support an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between this tribal government and the County Government. Although we do not have a quarrel with the idea of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an Indian tribe over issues like the clean up of the serious gasoline spill located between the 6.9 acre and the 5.7 acre lots the Chumash want to be placed into trust, POLO will never support intergovernmental agreements between Santa Barbara County and the Chumash Tribe that contain land acquisition provisions. For these reasons, POLO will always oppose applications to have lands taken into trust status.
POLO will continue to fight for an equal voice and equal rights and encourages all people of the Santa Ynez Valley to require that their local, state and federal government officials balance the interests of the thousands of residents of the County of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley against the needs of the 157 member Chumash Tribe.