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Laws, Not Ephemera


I remain opposed to the Santa Barbara County supervisors’ discussions with the Chumash. The resulting memorandum of understanding looks like another gambit to improve the odds of successfully transferring Camp 4 property to a federal fee-to-trust status. The Secretary of the Interior illegally declared that status on January 20, 2016, taking a stop that first required congressional discussion and approval. HR 1491 attempts to correct that error (emphasis mine):

(a) RATIFICATION OF TRUST STATUS. — The action taken by the Secretary on January 20, 2016, to place approximately 1,427.28 acres of land located in Santa Barbara County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is hereby ratified and confirmed as if that action had been taken under a Federal law specifically authorizing or directing that action.”

HR 1491 also seeks to correct the error of the secretary’s assumption of jurisdiction without congressional discussion and approval:

(b) RATIFICATION OF ACTIONS OF THE SECRETARY. — The actions taken by the Secretary to assume jurisdiction over the appeals relating to the fee-to-trust acquisition of approximately 1,427.28 acres in Santa Barbara County, California, on January 20, 2015, is hereby ratified and confirmed as if that action had been taken under a Federal law specifically authorizing or directing that action.”

HR1491 is required to correct the legal error relating to the secretary’s dismissal of appeals:

(c) RATIFICATION OF ACTIONS OF THE SECRETARY. — The actions taken by the Secretary to dismiss the appeals relating to the fee-to-trust acquisition of approximately 1,427.28 acres in Santa Barbara County, California, on January 19, 2017, is hereby ratified and confirmed as if that action had been taken under a Federal law specifically authorizing or directing that action.”

We should be working with the correct representatives and senators to kill HR1491. Ceding property of the United States of America that is larger than the City of Solvang requires serious discussion that takes into account the General Plan of Santa Barbara County. No one should be naive to the point of believing discussions and agreements made in 2017 will stand the test of time. We are strong because we live by the rule of law, not by ephemeral discussions and memoranda.

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