An Open Letter to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors:
The proposed agreement between the Santa Barbara County government and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is financially irresponsible, against the wishes of the citizens in the Santa Ynez Valley, and a precedent for unbounded commercial growth throughout Santa Barbara County.
The urgency to acquiesce to the threat of congressional action is unfounded and irresponsible. Your job is to protect the citizens of this county, not be the first to retreat. The threat is HR 1491. It is a bill rejected by our own Congressmember Salud Carbajal, It is a bill that relinquishes due process, and it is a bill that has failed twice before to reach the floor of Congress. Your assumption of the threat clearly comes from the Tribe and not from Washington, D.C.
In your haste to accept something reluctantly without protest, you have:
Held meetings behind closed doors to affirm a final agreement.
Excluded input from the public with a last-minute and abbreviated “review” cycle.
Demonstrated no process for modifications from public input.
Abandoned all fiscal responsibility and water conservation duties with a proposed agreement that takes on infrastructure and development burdens it can ill afford.
Allowed water exportation from the largest aquifer in the Santa Ynez Valley.
In the confines of closed door meetings, you have forgotten about your duty to the citizens of Santa Barbara County.