On Thursday, March 8, the Windsor Town Council received notice from the office of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris that the Senate Indian Affairs Committee would be hearing the request from the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians for their Windsor lands to be placed into trust.
The hearing was meant to take place on Wednesday, April 11, in Washington, D.C., but on March 27, Town Manager John Jansons was informed it had been postponed.
“I have received word that the proposed Lytton Senate Hearing is delayed from the April 11 date put forth previously,” Jansons said in an email. “With recent heavy snows, many hearings were canceled and postponed and now the entire committee calendar is backed up. The Lytton hearing potentially could be heard as early as April 18 or April 25, but that has not been set yet, or confirmed.”
Jansons has been informed that it will be a closed hearing, and as such the town will not be sending representatives. Each side will be allowed two witnesses to testify. While the final list is not known, it appears that Mike Healy, a Petaluma City Councilmember, will be one of the witnesses against the land going into trust, while Margie Mejia will testify in support of her tribe’s request.
The Petaluma City Council has been vocal in its opposition. In September of 2017, The Times reported that “on Sept. 18, the City Council of Petaluma voted unanimously to sign a letter of opposition to HR 597 that they would send to senators Feinstein and Harris. That council’s motivation, per the letter, was due to the protections from gaming that cover Windsor, and all lands purchased by the tribe north of Highway 12, leaving what the Petaluma council called ‘a big bull’s eye on the City of Petaluma’ for a potential new casino closer to San Francisco than the Graton casino in Rohnert Park.”
The Windsor Town Council has been generally in favor of the tribe’s plans, though the group Citizens for Windsor has been strongly opposed to their plans.
The hearing calendar for the Bureau of Indian Affairs can be found at indian.senate.gov/hearings.