The community is a buzz with the latest regarding “Camp 4” - the 1,400 acres in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley owned by the Chumash Casino tribe (Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians). Apparently, the Chumash Casino tribal government is using new tactics to undermine residents’ opposition to their plans to take the 1,400 acres under their control.

As we understand it from members of the community, there was a mandatory meeting for employees of the Chumash Casino and Resort with a penalty for failure to attend. At this meeting the employees were asked to sign a petition stating their support for the Chumash Casino tribe’s plans on Camp 4.

One employee told a friend that he signed the petition because he needed the job.

Someone else said that patrons were also being asked to sign the petition.

And last, but not least, apparently last weekend, at the UCSB Soccer Game, the Chumash had attendants asking students to sign the same petitions supporting the annexation of Camp 4. Supposedly, they have collected 2,500 petitions.

At this time we do not know what politician(s) will receive these petitions. Remember, it takes a politician to sell out a community. And also remember the following: According to a 2005 letter from the Office of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, “in pre-contact times there was no Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians or any single independent political entity constituting a collection of the many different villages in the Santa Ynez Valley” and per the 2009 United States Supreme Court “Carcieri Decision”, there is a question if the Chumash Casino tribe (Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians) is a tribal government eligible for expansion of land into federal trust. In addition, when the expansion plans came up a few months ago, Santa Barbara attorney Barry Cappello sent a letter to the supervisors stating that their participation in moving the 1,400 acres into trust would be illegal, unless they first went through the Santa Ynez Valley Community Plan amendment process.

Congressman Gallegly’s Solvang staff recently said that the Congressman had received virtually no letters of support for the Chumash Casino tribe’s plans on Camp 4. He said that our community should be grateful that we have an honorable Congressman who will listen to our community.

What lucky politician will get these 2,500 signatures? It will be entertaining to see if he/she/they think this fraud provides the political cover to ignore the United States Supreme Court, the facts documented by the Office of former Gov. Schwarzenegger, the established process for amending the Santa Ynez Valley Community Plan, the residents of Santa Barbara County living in the Santa Ynez Valley, and over the hill in Santa Barbara and Montecito who stridently oppose the removal of this 1,400 acres from local and state jurisdiction into trust.

To view the Office of ex-Gov. Schwarzenegger’s letter, contact information for your elected officials, and to donate, visit www.polosyv.org. To donate to the Camp 4 and related expenses account, send your check to Preservation of Los Olivos. Under the memo section of your check, write “Camp 4.” Send your donation to PO Box 722, Los Olivos, CA 93441.

P.O.L.O. is a 501 (c)(4) non-profit corporation. Check with your tax advisor for deductibility.

Kathy Cleary is the president of Preservation of Los Olivos, P.O.L.O., a grass-roots citizen group.