Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 4:51 pm | Fair 77º

 
 
 
 

Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to Congress

The Honorable Rob Bishop, Chairman
The Honorable Raul Grijalva, Ranking Minority Member
House Committee on Natural Resources

The Honorable Don Young, Chairman
The Honorable Dr. Raul Ruiz, Ranking Minority Member
Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs                                              

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members:

Re: H.R. 1157

I am writing to ask that you defer consideration of H.R. 1157 in order to honor the process that the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs urged the County of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to undertake during the Subcommittee hearings on June 17, 2015.

Santa Barbara County, the Tribe and the local community have all invested a great deal of time and resources pursuing discussions as the Subcommittee recommended. At the urging of the Subcommittee, our County and the Tribe have met at eight public hearings from September 2015 through March 15, 2016, to negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement similar to those adopted by other California counties.

Significant effort and progress has been invested at the local level.  Please do not short-circuit the very process that the Subcommittee itself put in motion and that the parties have been pursuing in good faith.

The parties paused the process to allow their legal counsel to craft language on the waiver of sovereign immunity.  This will ensure that the final terms of a settlement are enforceable. Then, discussions are supposed to resume.  A new Tribal Chairman was recently elected, which also bodes well for the future discussions.

It is far better to resolve these issues at the local level with the parties and the community working through the various possibilities and together figuring out how to reconcile different interests.  Please allow those who must live with the results to develop a solution rather than imposing a decision from far away and from the top down.

Respectfully,

Joan Hartmann
Candidate for Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor

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