The Goals of Camp 4
By Mike Brady of Los Olivos
“One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The federal government has forgotten its commitment to “One Nation,” creating hundreds of small nations, dozens in California alone. These nations have “liberty” over and above the ordinary citizen. These gaming/casino nations have state monopolies providing them wealth and power. With wealth, they buy political influence, buy land and can expand boundlessly.
County and state land use laws don’t apply to gaming/casino nations. Environmental laws are applied at a cursory level. The federal government, acting as a land use czar, gifts land use regulation to the tribe, a sovereign nation.
This is playing out in the Santa Ynez Valley on 1400 acres known as Camp 4. If it can happen here, it can happen along the Gaviota Coast or at any place a tribe sees economic opportunity or a place to build a private enclave. The Tribe’s objectives are to;
• Provide houses for 136 members plus for approximately 1300 lineal descendants; inevitably hundreds of more houses than the Tribe’s stated 143.
• Expand housing onto the 800 plus acres designated “open space” which should be designated as “land banked” for future expansion.
• Build a 12,000 square foot center with a 250 car parking lot for 50 full time employees to host around 100 events every year.
• Pay no property tax.
• Pay nothing to local schools that educate their children.
• Eliminate state sales tax by taking delivery of all purchases in its sovereign nation.
• Pay nothing for maintaining and improving county roads accessing its sovereign nation.
• Have unfettered access to the Santa Ynez Uplands Water Basin, the water aquifer for the Santa Ynez Valley
On February 13 Judge Wilson in the 9th District Federal Court voided the Bureau Of Indian Affairs (BIA) January 19, 2017 decision to put this 1400 acres of agricultural land into the Santa Ynez Band Of Chumash Indians’ nation. The Judge’s decision made it clear that the impacts of this development need to be analyzed as they exist today. 2 days after the judge’s decision, the BIA, at the bidding of the Tribe, summarily issued a notice that it was making technical corrections and immediately putting the 1400 acres back into the tribe’s sovereign nation ignoring the Judge’s admonition to analyze todays impacts which include;
• To the Santa Ynez Uplands Water Basin on which the 1400 acres is centered,
• Of the at least 6000 increased daily visits to its Casino,
• Of the hundreds of houses to be built on the 1400 acres,
• Of the elimination of open space which is land banked for future development,
• Of the new $33 million cultural center and museum billed by the Tribe as a western United States tourist attraction,
• Of the undisclosed, lurking in the background, development of 369 acres between the 1400 acres and the Casino.
The BIA wagged its middle finger at our small community.
The Tribe is doing it too; moving aggressively to push through Congress, HR 317, a bill that strips the citizens of our basic right to judicial review. So much for “justice for all.” The Tribe ignored the wellbeing of the community when;
• Negotiating an agreement with the County that ended when the Tribe informed the County it had 2 weeks to accept what the Tribe decided to give us, or to get nothing.
• During negotiations with the County, the Tribe sponsored a bill in the state legislature to relieve itself of property taxes simply by applying to take a fee property into their nation.
And yet we are supposed to believe that the Tribe’s intention is to work with us? I’m saddened that the facts speak otherwise. The BIA, for the Tribe, is ignoring the fact that the Tribe’s development does, and will, have impacts. You can make your own value judgement as to whether this development, and its impacts, are good or bad. But to ignore the facts is simply wrong.
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