If you own property or pay fees for services, you are on the verge being saddled with taxes and fees to overcome the loss of revenue caused by burdens that a wealthy few are intent on forcing on us.

Forget the schools. Forget those suffering with physical and mental disabilities. Forget our crumbling roads and infrastructure. You will pay for the unfunded costs of uncontrolled development by a sovereign nation plunked down in the center of our county.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is trying to box county government into a corner, and into acquiescing to its demand to take 1,400 acres into sovereign-nation status. It’s just another step in the tribe's expansion plans.

The tribe is carving out a nation, quite literally, exempt from local and state law. After this 1,400 acres, what’s next? The 365 acres the tribe purchased for $15 million in 2015?

What does "sovereign nation" mean? Why is the tribe so intent on sovereign-nation status for the property they own? It's really quite simple. As a sovereign nation, the tribe is not a part of the United States. The federal government holds its nation in trust outside and above local, state and most federal regulation. It can then develop and build pretty much as it chooses, what it wants and when it wants.

The tribe eliminates local and state land-use law. The tribe eliminates the community. It goes straight to the federal government that gives the tribe free rein. For the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, it is the golden key to massive uncontrolled development.

The county cannot capitulate and agree to a sovereign-nation status for 1,400 acres, one in a series of dominos poised to fall, simply because successful tribal members demand it. The tribe’s plan is to expand, either incrementally or immediately, by developing huge chunks of rural land into whatever it so chooses at its sole discretion.

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So much for respect for the community around them. So much for respect for ancestral lands.

So what does that mean to you, the taxpayer?

Negotiations with the county have only produced time-limited in-lieu payments for a part of the housing it says it wants now, nothing for the vast majority of its development and nothing for any undisclosed future development.

Does the tribe want the benefits of being a resident of this county? Of course. But, like going through the buffet line at its casino, the tribe wants to pick and choose what benefits it wants, such as schools for its children and roads to its nation. But it doesn’t want to pay for them or the impacts it will create for all of the rest of us.

Just one instance of the tribe’s tax-avoidance schemes relates to Measure K, a bond issue to update infrastructure at Santa Ynez Union High School. Tribal members and family send their children to this school. They will vote on this bond obligation. Yet the tribe hides within the sovereign nation to avoid paying their share of this obligation. The tribe gets a free ride. It’s representation without taxation.

You, the taxpayer, will pay. And future property owners will pay forever.

Living in this county, it is time for you to voice your opinion. Contact your county supervisor by phone, mail or email to oppose paying the costs of a sovereign nation in your taxes. Don’t complain later when taxes and fees for services go up without any benefit to you.

Mike Brady is a resident of Los Olivos.

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