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|Soboba 62-Year Water Struggle Not Over Yet!!!!
by Ernie C. Salgado Jr., Soboba tribal member, July 7, 2009
Just when the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians thought their water battle was over with the signing of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Settlement Act by President George W. Bush on July 31, 2008. Now the Obama administration has decided that it doesn’t have the money to pay the tribe the $11 million dollars the federal government owes the tribe as its part of the settlement with the tribe.
- "...there is fair and unfair and there is right and wrong and this is totally wrong."
While the Soboba tribe is forced to hire a lobbying firm to help persuade members of Congress to appropriate the funds with which to pay the tribe President Barack Hussein Obama by executive order has ordered the expenditure of $20.3 million in “migration assistance” to the Palestinian refugees and “conflict victims” in Gaza. “…The 'presidential determination' which allows hundreds of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States. HR 1388 was signed by President Obama on Jan. 27 and appeared in the Federal Register on Feb. 4, 2009…” - Excerpt taken (Excerpted from an editorial by Lynn Estes in the Riverside Press Enterprise. To verify the executive order for yourself: www.thefederalregister.com/d.p/2009-02-04-E9-2488).
Tribal Chairman Adam Castillo filed the original lawsuit in 1946. The settlement awarded the tribe $18 million from local water districts, $11 million from the federal government and the right to 2 billion gallons of water a year from the aquifer, approximately 6,000 acre feet. The tribe agreed to use no more than half the water allotment for the first 50 years. What isn't used will be available to other local water providers. It is not clear if the tribe would be compensated for the water it did not use that would be used by the other local water providers. EMWD will also deed 128 acres near Diamond Valley Lake in the Winchester area to the tribe.
In addition to its problems of collecting from the federal government the tribe also faces a multitude of gridlocks with the local governments including the County of Riverside, the Cities of Hemet, San Jacinto, Temecula and Menifee as well as the State of California. In order to transfer the 128 acres near Diamond Valley Lake into trust status and to use the site for a business venture the tribe must mitigate the concerns of the local governments. The tribe had expressed a desire to build a casino at the Diamond Valley Lake location, however, after all the local governments and the State wanting “Their Fair Share” the tribe decided that it was not financially feasible to expand its gaming operation. The tribe also expressed an interest in developing a hotel and casino near the reservation along Lake Park Drive in San Jacinto but ran into serious resistance from the San Jacinto City Council and from Jeff Stone the Riverside County Supervisor representing the San Jacinto Valley.
However, after it is all said and done the Soboba Tribal Leaders are on the outside looking in while the Palestinian refugees and “conflict victims” in Gaza with ties to Hamas get $20.3 million in “migration assistance” to resettle in the United States. And while Congress was handing out its $787 Billion Dollar stimulus package the tribe was not even mentioned, not even in the $800 Million Dollar Special Pork spending, nada, and now the tribe must go begging to get paid the money it is due.
In my humble opinion there is fair and unfair and there is right and wrong and this is totally wrong.
Original SOBOBA water story.
ERNIE SALGADO JR
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Reservation: Soboba Indian Reservation
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