Sunday, September 23 , 2018, 6:18 am | Overcast 61º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Chumash Camp 4 Bill Introduced in Congress

Northern California congressman takes the lead on legislation to allow annexation of 1,400-acre property

A bill that would allow the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to take Camp 4 into trust via the legislative process was introduced this week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill was introduced Wednesday night by Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a Republican representing California’s 1st District, and referred to a House Committee on Natural Resources.

News of the backed bill spread Thursday, more than a week after the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to pursue all avenues of opposition to the annexation of Camp 4, a 1,400-acre parcel of agricultural land near the 138-acre valley reservation.

The Chumash bought the land in 2010 from the late Fess Parker, and has said it wants to build homes there for tribal members.

The fee-to-trust process has been contentious because it would effectively remove the land from the county’s tax rolls and from the oversight of the county planning processes.

Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta has repeatedly said that the tribe would work with county government or without it, which the latest legislation seems to prove true.

"It was a momentous day in the history of our tribe," Armenta said in a statement Thursday. "Members of the tribe, their children and their grandchildren need a place where they can live and raise their families on tribal land governed by their own tribal government and the Camp 4 land is ideal."

HR 3313 would authorize the U.S. Secretary of Interior to take the land into trust for the benefit of the tribe and other purposes.

The bill was also backed by five cosponsors, including Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-San Fernando Valley; Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock; Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Florida; Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert; and Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, said Thursday that she would not back the bill. 

“I do not support Rep. LaMalfa’s legislation," Capps said in a statement. "I understand how important this issue is for residents of the Santa Ynez Valley, the Chumash tribe and, indeed, the entire county. That is why I continue to believe a local resolution between the county and the tribe is best for all parties involved.”

The exact language of the bill was not immediately available Thursday, although the legislation includes a provision prohibiting gaming on the land to be taken into trust — a condition tribal officials say they requested.

According to the Chumash, any tribal development on Camp 4 lands would be subject to the rules and review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers

Density and development would also be subject to tribal government restrictions.

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who represents the Santa Ynez Valley, sent out an email message to supporters Thursday saying that she has encouraged Capps to do everything possible to oppose the legislation and intends to ask senators to do the same if similar legislation is introduced in the Senate.

Farr encouraged fellow opponents to contact Capps' office to express their concerns, noting that introduction of the federal bill was several years in the making.

"So, unfortunately, the introduction of this bill by Congressman LaMalfa, although unwelcome, should not come as a surprise to those of us in the County who have been following this issue closely," she said in the message.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >