Opinion: Community depends on Chumash Tribe's successes

"The Santa Ynez Chumash tribe has been in the news recently over plans to build homes for tribal families. This is positive news, and headlines should celebrate the tribe’s move to provide houses and, in the process, create local construction jobs.

Sadly, this hasn’t been the case, because small groups in the Santa Ynez Valley continue to try to block just about everything the Chumash want to do.

If these groups had their way, there would be no tribal casino, hotel resort or any other business. Gone would be the 1,600-plus jobs the Chumash are responsible for generating in Santa Barbara County. Imagine if these jobs never existed or just vanished.

What’s often overlooked is the positive economic impact the tribe has on North County.

More than 600 Chumash employees live in Santa Maria. Where would our city be without these jobs? For one thing, our double-digit unemployment rate would be even higher. More families would be hurting.

The same for Lompoc. About 550 residents there are Chumash employees. As it is, Lompoc’s unemployment rate is even higher than Santa Maria’s."

Get the Story:
Robin Hayhurst: SM residents rely on tribe’s success (The Santa Maria Times 11/9)

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