Opinion | Trust

Editorial: County undermines Chumash Tribe's land-into-trust talks

A view of the Chumash Tribe's land-into-trust site in Santa Barbara County, California. Photo from Chumash EA

Talks between the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Santa Barbara County broke down last week and one California newspaper thinks local officials had a lot to do with it by appealing one of the tribe's land-into-trust applications:
Both sides have valid arguments, but the end of negotiations last week came generally as a result of the county, almost surreptitiously, voting behind closed doors to appeal a decision that allows the tribe to place two acres into federal trust. Tribal officials didn’t appreciate the manner in which the Board of Supervisors handled that issue, concerning a small plot of land the tribe has been using, and apparently will continue to use for landscaping, recycled water irrigation and a Caltrans easement.

The board vote on that appeal was not unanimous. First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal and the 5th District’s Steve Lavagnino voted against filing the appeal, thus becoming the only supervisors who realize the county is going to the mat — and jeopardizing negotiations on the larger tribal properties.

Looking at the way this thing unraveled, and the county’s fighting the tribe’s plans over something as insignificant as two acres the tribe has been using for years, it is not difficult to understand the tribe’s frustration.

Meanwhile, critics accuse the tribe’s leadership of not showing good faith in the government-to-government talks. But that is something that works both ways.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Butting heads in the Valley (The Lompoc Record 3/8)

Also Today:
Talks break down between Chumash, county subcommittee (The Lompoc Record 3/7)

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