For all of you folks who are not following this national crisis, Indian tribes all over the country, many of them fabricated by the BIA and clever attorneys reaping millions from tribal recognition, are partnering with MGM, Donald Trump, Harrah’s, Swift Trucking and many other non-tribal entities including off-shore enterprises, to buy land and place it into federal trust to remove it from local taxation and regulatory laws governing development. This ‘bypass’ of local regulations allows tribes to build casinos, expand their “sovereign” territories and reservations, expand tax-exempt private businesses, and use tribal “governments” to dominate the surrounding community. It is apparent that equal protection does not apply.
Billions of dollars of casino money is used to influence Congress, local politicians and affect public policy and local laws that affects each and every one of us. Remember Jack Abramoff involving members of Congress and $70 million associated with tribal interests?
It is easy for Santa Barbara to forget about what is happening to your neighbors just over the hill. The Santa Ynez Valley has been greatly impacted by the Chumash Casino. It is a $700,000 a day NET business that does not pay property tax, retail sales tax, TOTs and other taxes. The Chumash casino generates 20,000 visitors daily onto our roads and into our quiet community. Crime has increased by 2,400% since 1993 and traffic is a growing problem for the infrastructure of our Valley.
Recently, residents of the Santa Ynez Valley proposed a “No Fee to Trust Policy” to be placed into our local Community Plan, as the Santa Ynez Band privately own many acres in Santa Ynez and Buellton, and are attempting to assert more sovereign control by placing additional land into federal trust. They are one of the largest landowners in Santa Ynez, yet they were not addressed in the Community Plan. Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone modified it and brought it to the supervisors and fought hard for their vote, and your supervisor, Salud Carbajal, voted against it. It is shocking that Carbajal would refuse to be respectful and supportive of Supervisor Firestone, whose district is most affected by tribal expansion through annexation, and throw the legal burden of having to address each annexation as it comes down the pike onto the community’s back.
It is shocking that Supervisor Carbajal would be supportive of a situation that causes massive traffic through his district, and if this “reservation” is expanded could generate additional gaming in the Santa Ynez Valley.
In addition, his support of tribal expansion and separate rules for Indian “nations” could become even more relevant if the Coastal Band of Chumash get the federal recognition they are presently seeking. They own over 100 acres on the Gaviota Coast.
Wake up, Montecito, and think about a casino in Santa Barbara, or another one in the Santa Ynez Valley. If you don’t get vocal and let Supervisor Carbajal know what you think, you may lose your equal protection of the law, suffer the exponential increased crime from casinos and face a five-lane freeway running through your town.
Kathy Cleary, Los Olivos
(Publisher’s Note: The Chumash Casino does not have to go through local government agency to expand or change. For the most part, the citizens of Santa Ynez Valley cannot impose local regulations on their operations. By his vote, Salud is probably trying to maintain a good relationship between the surrounding communities and the Chumash Casino, but it’s way beyond that. The Chumash tribe is now one of the richest and most powerful forces in the Valley and should have to live by the rules the rest of us follow. Kathy is right; there should be no more tribal annexation. – J.B.)