Tribal agreement is bad deal for county


Last week there was an article stating the County of Santa Barbara is facing 10 major fiscal issues in the next two years.  If that is the case, why did the county enter into an agreement with the Chumash tribe where the tribe is only obligated to pay an annual amount of $178,000 in lieu of property taxes on Camp 4, a 1,400-acre parcel in the Santa Ynez Valley that they purchased for $44,000,000?  An agreement that ceases in 2040.

The tribe claims they will only build 140 single-family homes along with a tribal center.  If the homes were valued at $500,000 each, the property taxes alone would be over $770,000 per year.  That figure doesn’t take into account the taxes that would be paid on the remaining acreage and tribal center.  There is no guarantee they will not construct commercial buildings on the property.

The paltry sum of $178,000 doesn’t come close to covering the fiscal impact on the remaining citizens in the county for the services that will be provided.  It is not even adjusted for inflation.  Supervisor Adam was right at the board meeting when he said agreement with the tribe is “ambiguous as to the commitments the county is agreeing to and it’s ambiguous as to the cost that we are agreeing to, and therefore it is a blank check and it is a bad deal for the county.”

Can someone explain to me how Supervisor Williams got on the negotiating team, especially since he has taken over $172,400 in campaign contributions from California tribes, including $46,000 from the Chumash, of which $18,000 was given to him after he was elected Santa Barbara County supervisor?

The agreement with the tribe is an embarrassment that will cost the county and its residents for years to come.

Mike Hadley

Santa Ynez


Community effort saves Nativity Pageant


Once in a while, unexpected emergencies can threaten any theater performance.

Such an emergency arose on Dec. 8.  Late that afternoon when a water valve broke, it resulted in no water coming into the Solvang Festival Theater property.  No water meant the beloved annual Nativity Pageant was in jeopardy of being canceled.

Fortunately, a team of staff and community members rushed to the rescue and devised a temporary fix that would allow the show to go on.  Working into Friday night and through Saturday morning, water was restored.

Solvang Theaterfest thanks those who jumped in to rescue the pageant.  They were city of Solvang Water Supervisor Mike Mathews; general contractor Jean-Paul Demeure; plumber Dan McCollum; the theater’s handyman, Andrew Goettler; Solvang Theaterfest board member John Mathews; and Solvang Theaterfest Executive Director Mary Ann Norbom.

Because of this team effort, nearly 1,200 people were able to experience the magic of the Nativity Pageant in the Solvang Festival Theater.  The willingness to assist our community’s theater demonstrated once again how working together makes Solvang such a wonderful city in which to live.

Ann Foxworthy Lewellen

Board Member,

Solvang Theaterfest