SANDAG commits $200,000 to support collaborative planning

Earlier this week, SANDAG chairman Steve Vaus met with the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association at the Sycuan Resort and Casino to sign a memorandum of under­standing committing $200,000 to regional planning strategies of mutual concern.

Vaus and SANDAG Execu­tive Director Hasan Ikhrata met with SCTCA chairman Robert Smith and members of the SCTCA board to commit funds for planning related to key issues that affect the Na­tive American reservations. The reservations make up ap­proximately 4 percent of the re­gion’s land base and a majority are in remote areas within the unincorporated eastern portion of San Diego County.

“It is an honor to continue our commitment to work with the Tribal Nations of our region. For too long their needs and contributions were ignored or misrepresented,” said Vaus, who is the Mayor of Poway. “This MOU unites us to work togeth­er to ensure our borders extend handshakes, not barriers and to ensure we cooperate on planning and design to support prosper­ity. SANDAG is committed to fostering these relationships to ensure the needs of every person in our region are met.”

The MOU outlines the coor­dination efforts between SAN­DAG and the Tribal Nations on policy areas of mutual concern, including transportation, habi­tat conservation, energy, and economic development.

“We are pleased that our part­nership with SANDAG contin­ues to grow. This MOU provides us with resources that greatly enhance our ability to fully re­alize the potential of this part­nership,” said Chairman Smith. “Our region is home to the most federally recognized tribal na­tions in the United States. The work we do here will benefit all our communities long into the future.”

The SCTCA represents 20 federally recognized Indian tribes in Southern California, 17 in San Diego County; three are in Riverside County. The agree­ment signed earlier this week only affects the 17 San Diego County tribes. The 17 sovereign domestic nations in San Diego are from four cultural/ethnic groups: the Kumeyaay/Dieg­ueño, Luiseño, the Cupeño, and Cahuilla.

In 2018, SANDAG met with the SCTCA for the San Diego Regional Tribal Summit (Sum­mit) as part of the tribal con­sultation for the Regional Plan. During the Summit, elected of­ficials from the region’s Tribal Nations and local governments discussed opportunities for mu­tual collaboration and agreed on a set of strategic objectives:

Transportation: Pursue criti­cal mobility project planning identified by Tribal Nations

Energy: Identify policies and opportunities to support energy and renewable energy program planning for tribes

Environment: Continue col­laboration to support habitat and environmental conservation in areas that surround Tribal Nations

Economy: Develop a method­ology to study the impacts of tribal economies on the region

The results of these planning efforts will feed into the SAN­DAG long-range blueprint, San Diego Forward: The 2021 Re­gional Plan.


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