Brown Creates Special Advisor on Tribal Issues

San Diego Union Tribune 9.20.11

Important to 18 San Diego County tribes 

Sacramento — Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday issued an executive order creating a new position of special advisor on Indian issues, a move that could elevate the influence of the 18 San Diego County tribes when it comes to setting state policy on contentious issues from land use to health care.

The unpaid position has yet to be filled.

The news was cheered by Robert Smith, chairman of the Pala band of Mission Indians, a North San Diego County tribe.

“It’s good to have a person who has the ear of the governor,” Smith said in a telephone interview. Issues will include elder health care, cultural safeguards and transportation, he added.

One role the advisor will not play is that of gaming compact negotiator, Brown’s office stressed.

Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon band of Luiseno Indians in San Diego County, was by his side when the governor signed the executive order at a tribal alliance meeting in Sacramento. Mazzetti could not be reached for comment.

“The governor is interested in communication early and often,” said Elizabeth Ashford, a Brown spokeswoman.

Brown did not issue a statement after signing the directive, which described the post as a “direct link between the governor’s office and tribal governments on matters including legislation, policy and regulations.” The executive order declares that the “state is committed to strengthening and sustaining effective government-to-government relationships.”

The advisor’s role will include acting as a liaison between tribes and the governor, facilitate communications between the tribes and state agencies and review legislation for impacts on tribes and make recommendations to the governor.

Pala Band of Mission Indians

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