A Santa Barbara Superior Court judge last week dismissed a lawsuit filed against Chumash leadership by activist group Save the Valley, which alleged that the tribe wrongfully failed to sign its Williamson Act contract for the 1,400-acre Camp 4 property, purchased in 2010. Under Williamson, the tribe receives decreased tax rates. In its lawsuit — filed in July — the group asked that the tribe sign the document and pay its legal fees. Judge Timothy Staffel ruled that leaders Sam Cohen and Vincent Armenta — the two singled out in the suit — benefit from the sovereign immunity afforded to the tribe and that the group should have included the County of Santa Barbara as a defendant. Armenta, tribal chair, said he “wasn’t surprised” by the dismissal.
PASTORAL LAND: The tribe’s plans to annex the 1,400-acre land known as Camp 4 has been the source of bitterness between tribal leaders and some valley residents because that would open the door to development not governed by rigorous county codes.