PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Monday, November 28, 2016

Santa Ynez Tribal Chairman Disappointed with Lack of Progress with County

SANTA YNEZ, CA – November 28, 2016 – In a strongly worded letter to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn expressed his disappointment with the Board’s recent cancellation of the December 8, 2016 Ad Hoc Subcommittee meeting between the County and the Tribe.
Chairman Kahn, who has participated in each Ad Hoc Subcommittee meeting since its inception in September 2015, said, “While the Ad Hoc Subcommittee has helped improve the government-to-government relationship, meaningful progress on Camp 4 and other issues have been elusive.”
In the letter, Chairman Kahn said he hoped that at the end of the day the two governments would emerge with a stronger relationship based on mutual trust and respect. However, due to the Board’s inability to find a meeting date in November and with the cancellation of the December 8 meeting, he questioned his optimism that absent Congressional legislation, the County has no interest in negotiating with the Tribe.
The special Ad Hoc Subcommittee was created as a result of the demands made by Congress on the County from the June 17, 2015 congressional hearing for the purposes of “engaging in discussions between the Santa Barbara County Board Supervisors and members of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians regarding land use issues, as well as financial matters of mutual concern….”
Since the first meeting, however, Chairman Kahn said it is disheartening to realize that another year will come and go without tangible progress on the issue of Camp 4. He said that one could reasonably interpret the decision to unilaterally pause negotiations—for the second time in 2016—as a political calculation and an effort to delay progress.
“That interpretation would be supported by the fact that the County has known there would be a transition in its District Three negotiating team for more than a year, since October 9, 2015,” said Chairman Kahn. “The hiatus also seems incongruent with the promise Supervisor Farr made to voters that she and her staff would continue to work as hard as ever to represent her constituents until the very last day of her term in December 2016.”
Chairman Kahn ended the letter by stating that he “valued the noticeable de-escalation of tension between our communities in 2016 – it represents a step forward, and while we look forward to the transition of leadership after the November 8, 2016 election, when the Ad Hoc Subcommittee resumes in January, it is my hope that the County’s elected leaders reciprocate our good faith. This means giving our proposals sincere consideration backed with decision and action, doing the work the Ad Hoc Subcommittee was formed to do.”

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