continued Freitas went on to cite state and federal environmental and noise statutes he believed applied to the case and to suggest arbitration if no agreement could be reached. After receiving no answer to the letter, Freitas sent it again, on April 15, 2000. Almost a month later, he received a letter dated May 11, 2000, not from LaChappa but from the tribe's Escondido lawyer, Art Bunce, which stated, "The Tribal Council's initial response is to reject any suggestion that any outside party should dictate to the Barona Band how it will use the lands of its federal Indian reservation."
Bunce went on to say that Freitas's letter "seeks to give non-Indians an effective veto over the decisions which the Tribe makes as to how it wishes to make use of its Reservation land. While the tribe wishes to be a good neighbor, the approach of your organization assumes the result of any dialog, and treats the Barona Band and its federal Indian reservation as just another ordinary neighbor, rather than a sovereign government. For this reason, the Barona Tribal Council is not interested in any discussion where the result is already dictated before the discussion even begins."
Communication between the tribe and the Barona Mesa Environmental Association grew a little more cordial over the next few years. Freitas and others from his association met with LaChappa once -- "Though nothing came of it," Freitas says -- and the tribe even agreed to have a noise study done. The test was performed on July 10 and 11, 2004, by Investigative Science and Engineering, which concluded, "Based upon the measurement, hourly noise levels were found to be at or below 60 [decibels]. This commonly would not be deemed as excessive noise."
Freitas says the test did not reflect normal conditions at the track. "The tribe insisted on knowing the date of the test, and fewer bikes came that day," he contends. Since then, there have been "more races, bigger bikes, more dust, and more noise. And they've started coming on some weekdays now."
Freitas and the members of the Barona Environmental Association who haven't moved out of the neighborhood in frustration have contacted County Supervisor Dianne Jacob's office as well as state and federal government entities. The message they've gotten from all of them has been a version of what one official from Dianne Jacob's office said recently: "We're well aware of the problem with the track, but we can't operate on tribal land."
The county supervisor's staff is planning an August meeting to bring together the tribe and its neighbors.
Neither the Barona tribe nor the California Mini Motorcycle Club responded to phone calls seeking comment.