RINCON: Tribe drills to test underground water in private property
By EDWARD SIFUENTES - North County Times March
couple living behind a barricade imposed by the Rincon Band of
Mission Indians got a visit Monday morning from workers hired
by the tribe to drill holes on the property.
crew from Applied Engineering and Geology was there to test the
underground water supply, tribal officials said.
was the latest salvo in a five-year battle to get the owner of
the property to comply with the Valley Center tribe's environmental
5-acre property, directly across the road from the tribe's casino
and resort, has housed a vehicle storage yard, a trucking business,
a mushroom farm and numerous recreational vehicles. The property
is now largely vacant except for two modular homes and some abandoned
Rincon officials have said in court documents that the property
was a health and environmental hazard. But the land that was once
part of the reservation is privately held by Marvin Donius, who
has said in court documents that the property was not subject
to the tribe's jurisdiction or laws.
Lawyers for Rincon disagree. They obtained an order from Judge
Anthony Brandenburg, chief justice of the Intertribal Court of
Southern California in Rincon, allowing crews to access the property
and test the water supply for contamination.
Rogers-Dial and his wife, Suzanne, are caretakers of the property
at 33777 Valley Center Road in Valley Center and rent a home there
from Donius. They have started a website called "Steve and Suzanne's
Last Stand at Rincon" documenting their feud with the tribe. "It
makes my blood boil," Steven Rogers-Dial said Monday morning.
"They are looking for something to get Marvin thrown off this
Oct. 20, 2009, Donius filed a lawsuit in federal court against
tribal officials saying that tribal rules did not apply on his
property because it was private land. Judge William Hayes dismissed
the case last year, saying that Donius first had to follow through
with the tribal court process.
the 2007 wildfires, the tribe has refused to give San Diego Gas
& Electric Co. permission to restore power to the property. Following
the fires, the tribe enacted its Tribal Environmental Policy Ordinance
in an effort to eliminate environmental problems and fire hazards
on the reservation.
The tribe claims that the 5-acre property was subject to its environmental
rules under a U.S. Supreme Court case, Montana v. United States.
In the Montana case, the court ruled in 1981 that a tribe has
civil authority over nontribal lands within its reservation when
the health or welfare of the tribe is threatened. Rincon
claims in court documents that the chemicals from the various
businesses on the property may have contaminated the groundwater.
October 2010, the tribe placed three concrete barricades blocking
the entrance to the property. About 7:30 a.m. Monday, crews moved
one of the barriers to allow several vehicles and people onto
the property to conduct the drilling. Two Sheriff's Department
deputies and two tribal security officers waited outside the property
to prevent any confrontations.
whether the tribe had county permits to drill on the property,
Rincon attorney Denise Turner Walsh said Monday that the permits
were not needed. "We have a court order," Turner said. "What more
do we need?"
NC Times article
RINCON: Couple staying put in property dispute with tribe
State, fed courts have ruled that the fight belongs in tribal
By EDWARD SIFUENTES - North County Times January
over two months, Steve and Suzanne Rogers-Dial have been living
behind a concrete barricade on a 5-acre property near the Rincon
are caught in an ongoing legal dispute between the property owner,
Marvin Donius, and the Rincon Band of Mission Indians. The couple
can come and go from the Valley Center site, but anything they
remove from the property is not allowed back in.
are making our life miserable," Steve Rogers-Dial said of
spokeswoman for the tribe said Thursday that the court case is
ongoing and that the tribe will continue to fight the legal battle.
November, a Superior Court judge in Vista denied the couple's
request for a preliminary injunction against the Rincon band's
blockade. Judge Robert Dahlquist said the court lacks jurisdiction
in the matter.
the couple refuses to leave.
reason is two-fold: They have no money to move anywhere else and
they are helping their friend, Rogers-Dial said.
a principle," he said. "They are trying to run a man
off his property."
property, located directly across the road from the tribe's casino
and resort, has housed a vehicle storage facility, trucking business
and numerous recreational vehicles. Rincon officials have said
the property was a health and environmental hazard and ordered
it to be cleaned up.
says the property is not subject to the tribe's jurisdiction or
laws because it's not on reservation land.
years, the Rincon tribe has tried to get the owner to comply with
its regulations using the Intertribal Court of Southern California,
but Donius has rejected the court's authority over his property.
Anthony Brandenburg, chief justice of the Intertribal Court, issued
an injunction in September ordering Donius to remove all vehicles
and tenants from the property. Brandenburg gave the owner until
October to comply, but Donius refused.
the judge's order, the tribe blocked the only entrance to the
property with several large concrete barriers.
who works removing debris from construction sites, said the barriers
have hurt his business. He parks his truck outside the property
and has relied on friends to help him store the containers he
uses to haul away the debris.
manufactured home where he and his wife live runs on a diesel
generator because the tribe has not allowed San Diego Gas &
Electric to restore power to the property since the 2007 wildfires
brought down the lines.
couple spends $800 a month in fuel to keep the generator running,
attorney for the tribe said state and federal courts have repeatedly
ruled against Donius and Rogers-Dial and reinforced the tribe's
staff writer Edward Sifuentes at 760-740-3511.