"Ten years ago last month, when I was first elected to the honorable position of tribal chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, I had no idea what an incredible decade it would be.
It seems like it was just yesterday that it was December 1999 and I was entering into the world of tribal politics — a world that had been previously unknown to me. The last 10 years flew by in a blur as I served my tribe and saw our main business enterprise — the Chumash Casino Resort — grow into one of the most popular entertainment destinations in the region.
When our tribe entered a new era by consolidating our hodgepodge of buildings and trailers and opening the doors to our improved Chumash Casino Resort in 2003-04, we were fortunate in that the economy was going strong. Industries all across the nation were booming and Indian gaming was no exception.
However, the true test of the strength of an organization and its leaders happens during the challenging times — when tough decisions have to be made, belts need to be tightened and adjustments introduced.
We have all witnessed how the miserable economic environment has created havoc all across the country. After two decades of growth in consumer spending, the U.S. saw a significant reduction in consumer spending starting in 2008 and continuing through 2009. Economists have varying opinions on when we will begin to see an economic recovery and, not surprisingly, all agree that California will take longer to recover than the nation as a whole.
Amidst all this economic turmoil, however, Chumash have continued to thrive — thanks to our growing loyal customer base and our team’s ability to provide the best entertainment experiences in the region."
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Vincent Armenta: Tough challenges make us stronger
(The Solvang Valley News 1/22)