Opinion: Chumash Tribe wields influence on land-into-trust
"The recent announcement that the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians (Chumash casino) closed escrow on 1,400 acres in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley is the latest in what is becoming a long list of purchases in this small valley that includes 6.9 and 5.8 acres across from the casino, the largest hotel in Solvang, a restaurant turned Chumash employee center in Buellton, two gas stations and plans to develop a third.

Although the Solvang hotel, Buellton employee center and gas stations are not in federal trust they do support the Chumash casino gaming facility, seemingly a violation of sections 2.8, 4.2 and 15.6 of their tribal-state gaming compact. This has been challenged as expansion of gambling into our community but has been ignored by the Governor and those in power.

As we understand from Santa Ynez tribal members, the reason for the 1,400 acre purchase is further expansion of gambling by moving existing tribal housing off the reservation and onto the newly purchased 1,400 acres for the 140 tribal members and expanding the existing casino, and to build a hotel, golf course and for other bigger development to service this expansion on the 1,400 acres. Other plans include 300 more acres and the large Dos Pueblos Ranch on the Gaviota Coast.

All of these purchases give our community, and communities across the country, great cause for alarm. These casino tribes are armed with hundreds of millions of gambling dollar purchasing power, have tribal consortiums influencing decision-making (as reported by Malcolm Maclaclan, Capitol Weekly 4/1/10), and clearly have the ear, if not more, of the federal and state government."

Get the Story:
Kathy Cleary: Questions raised about tribal land purchases in Santa Ynez Valley (Capitol Weekly 4/8)

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