Sold Down the River

Santa Barbara was sold down the river.

On Tuesday, August 25, with no advance warning, Governor Brown signed a 25-year gaming compact crafted over several years in closed-door negotiations with the Santa Ynez Chumash tribe. Two days later, the county government learned this in a press release announcing a 300-page (more or less) compact was signed.

One day later, August 28, the county was informed that on the following Tuesday the compact would be reviewed by State Senate and Assembly committees. The county, allowed two minutes to comment, stated in part, “the County Board of Supervisors has not had an opportunity to fully review, analyze, or consider taking a formal position.” In a rush to vote, the next day, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson managed the approval of the bill on the Senate floor.

In a summary of the compact’s contents, it appears it may be better than what it replaces. This doesn’t change that the public and the county were eliminated from input in this six-day railroading of the public process.

Government by the people, for the people? I thought I lived in the United States, not in some South American junta. The public had no chance to understand this compact. Our state government eliminated us. The principles upon which our government is formed were violated.

The governor and Hannah-Beth Jackson just sold us down the river. Will it happen again?

On a related issue, the Tribe, in letters to the editor, advertisements, and its website, as of September 3, states the current expansion of the casino is not for additional gaming. In fact, the Tribe has been in negotiations with the state for years to have gaming increased, and the new compact raises it from 2,000 to 2,500 gaming devices. The current casino expansion, from the day it was planned, is for increased gaming.

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