I’ve always been suspicious of kumbaya solutions to political problems: pleasant, but not practicable.

Case in point: Candidate Bruce Porter’s solution to the controversy surrounding the Chumash Band seeking initially to put 1,400, and now 1,800 acres of land, into trust, exempting it from local taxes and County land use laws.

First he offered: Valley residents and tribal members should work as neighbors.  More recently he suggested: the tribe and County should cooperate.  (Did he miss that the county and the tribe just held seven meetings and the attempt to work together apparently came to an impasse?)

A bit naïve, I think. 

This may be because on this topic, Porter has long been disengaged. 

He was missing at all the hearings related to tribal issues prior to his decision to run for supervisor.  He refused to discuss the matter when parents wanted the High School Board to consider the impact to school budgets if lands owned by the Band were taken into trust.  (I wonder if the $100,000 given by the Tribe for the school’s new swimming pool influenced his choice.)  He failed to offer any comments at the critical last Ad Hoc meeting and failed to even show up at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting that dealt with the County-Tribe negotiations.  

Whatever the reason for his naivety—warm and fuzzy on the tribe while promoting trucking of oil on the Coast—his judgment does not inspire confidence.

Sharyne Merritt
Buellton