Opinion: Chumash Tribe lobbies Rep. Gallegly for land-into-trust

"The latest in the politics of casino tribes is what we are finding out about Chumash Casino chairman Vincent Armenta’s discussions with Congressman Elton Gallegly to put the 1,400 acres, in the heart of Santa Ynez, into federal trust/reservation status.

Land in federal trust is outside local and state jurisdiction and taxation. Anything can be built, including box stores, cigarette stores, high-density housing, high-rise hotels, a power plant, expansion of gambling.

The fact that the Congressman is even considering legislation to put the 1,400 acres into trust is impossible to understand. Congressman Gallegly’s office knows about the POLO and POSY litigation against the federal government that has cost our community six years and almost $2 million.

The litigation includes two Supreme Court decisions and was filed to stop the completely corrupted Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) fee land to trust process. And it has stopped it. Any consideration or discussions between Congressman Gallegly and Chairman Armenta of putting the 1,400 acres into federal trust are an end run around the community’s litigation and the Supreme Court.

Congressman Gallegly’s office is telling us that there is nothing to worry about. Surprisingly, politicians still seem to think they can reassure us by saying that we should not be concerned, they have our best interest at heart, public opinion counts, that it would never happen without community support, that the community and county would be protected with agreements that would ensure, among other things, prohibition of gambling."

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