Residents organize fight against Pala Raceway noise – “Sovereign nation” turning deaf ear, they say

After months of discussion, Rainbow residents have chosen to gather to discuss what is next for those who feel their lives are constantly disrupted by the noise traveling from the Pala Raceway.

The Rainbow Community Planning Group discussed what steps have been taken and what choices are left to the Rainbow community, which they claim has been quite disrupted at various times throughout the day by the sounds of motorcycles, which echo through the area.

“Obviously, we are not happy here,” said Dennis Sanford, chairman of the Rainbow Community Planning Group. “We have attempted numerous times to come to an agreement with Pala Chairman Robert Smith; probably many in Rainbow have. All attempts seem to fall on deaf ears. We are not sure what can be done.”

Because the Pala tribal property has been deemed sovereign by the federal government, local and regional noise pollution ordinances and codes that regulate other property owners in the area are not applicable. At the beginning of the year, Pala hired a consultant to conduct noise studies, and it was reported that the results showed the raceway was not creating noises surpassing the legal limit.

“That’s not what it’s about,” said a resident involved in the Rainbow community effort. “The noise is a nuisance and a detriment. There is going to be a meeting to bring different community members that are being affected by the noise together to see what can be done. It’s not like living next to a tarmac, but it has affected our lifestyle and the environment that we live in.”

The meeting will be held Saturday, Jan. 21 from 11 a.m. to noon at Rainbow Valley Grange hall, 2160 Rainbow Valley Blvd. in Rainbow.

“It has been our hope all along that the [Tribe and the] raceway would at least recognize the situation and at least take steps to correct it,” said Sanford. “We have not gotten a lot of reaction. Unfortunately, they are out of our jurisdiction, and we can only relay our frustration as a neighboring planning group. The reservation knows that we have no pressure that we can exert, other than being the neighbor that says, ‘Hey, you are making too much noise.’ It’s like having a neighbor who has a dog that barks all the time. What do you do?”

Residents hope to become more organized in their efforts, and to unite various groups who have similar concerns about the raceway.

“We have never been able to organize, and that’s what we are going to attempt to do. We need to figure out what kind of legal action is needed. The community needs to band together and rise up in one voice,” said the resident. “We are a lot smaller than Pala and the raceway. We are not trying to get the motorcycle riders to stop; that is not the focus of our efforts. We want someone to be accountable for the detriment the noise has caused the environment.”

To obtain more information regarding the Pala Raceway group, email

To comment on this story online, visit

21 Responses to "Residents organize fight against Pala Raceway noise – “Sovereign nation” turning deaf ear, they say"

  1. Michelle   December 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Just one of the many reasons that any sane person would oppose the extension of tribal lands anywhere around them. Essentially the tribe can do anything they want with practical immunity or legal accountability to anyone but themselves.

  2. Me   December 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    People need to band together and start boycotts of these casinos that feel like they can do whatever they want.

    With their sovereignty status, it’s the only thing residents can do.

    We have an abundance of casinos in San Diego County so there are plenty of alternative ones to frequent.

  3. You ain't seen a deaf ear yet...   December 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    That deaf ear they are turning to Rainbow regarding all the noise day and night from their motorcycle track is the same thing the Pala tribe will turn to everyone when they finish buying up all the land along the 15 freeway and turning it into a Las Vegas light show advertising their casino. Hello? Anyone out there? Gonna allow this? Where are the cowboys when you need them?

  4. Sheila   December 16, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I am happy there is a place the kids/adults can ride with some sense of security and not riding on other peoples private property.

  5. Really?   December 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Day and Night? The motorcycles run at night and bother you? Doubtful as the park closes at dusk..

    Las Vegas light show? Where is this "light show" you speak of that just bothers you to the point you can’t take it?

    You have way to much time on your deaf ear…

  6. Jerry   December 17, 2011 at 12:14 am

    People say things when they’re frustrated. We know that dogs really don’t bark ‘all the time’, even though it feels like it.
    As far as the light show comment, it was referenced properly as a future event…and frankly I can see Pala buying up all kinds of freeway property just so they can put up lighted signs. Isn’t that what powerful casinos do?
    Seriously, fast forward 30 years and I’ll bet there will plenty of casino ‘light show’ signs on HWY15.

    The real issue at hand is that precious peaceful and serene environment that convinced people to build their homes, lives and dreams in. And it cost them plenty of time, sweat and money to have that.

    If someone destroys that which has so much value, don’t you think there should be some compensation?

    In this case the damage is not permanent and therefore can be easily remedied by just requiring silencers and that whole area can be returned to the serene beauty it once held.

    But quite frankly, and I’m sad to say, I think all the noise, trash, dust and light pollution will just get worse as politicians don’t care about things like serenity, they care about those with the biggest purse.

    Good luck Rainbow.

  7. Loren   December 17, 2011 at 1:57 am


    Why do your kids have to be on motor bikes when you know you’re disturbing others?

  8. Robin   December 18, 2011 at 9:16 am

    What about the freeway the 15? most rainbow residents including my own grandparents live next to that NOISE and the track is a little far away to be causing that much of a nuisance get busy and get off other peoples backs who are trying to live their lives and have fun with it while they are young

  9. Robin   December 18, 2011 at 9:20 am

    not to mention that most people seem to be against the casino itself and not the riders. don’t attack the riders because they ride on tribal land and are protected by it or would you prefer for them to trespass on your land and ride on your property? there is also noise from neighboring temecula and planes and helicopters from the military bases overhead all the time i dont hear a complaint about that……

  10. Carl   December 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Loren: Let me help you out with your question. People like Sheila just don’t care about anyone other than themselves. As long as they can get their kids out of their home for a few hours, who cares? Let ’em rip!

  11. Carl   December 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Robin: Maybe you need to work on your parenting skills? Your kids shouldn’t be tresspassing on other people’s property period.

  12. Julio   December 19, 2011 at 12:32 am

    The Pechanga tribe is pushing a Bill to stop Liberty Quarry from starting what would be mining operations detrimental to the tribals’ "sacred lands and traditions." The Pala tribe also wants the Gregory Canyon Landfill to ever start operations just at its doorsteps, for the same reason. Common sense would indicate "Pala’s ancestors sacred land and traditions" would not be ethically served with the Palaraceway noise echoing around the hills and "Mother Earth" being incessantly trampled by recreational vehicles. Try to right this wrong. Besides, in the last two years, your valley, neighbors and patrons of your businesses already suffered the highly publicized traffic congestions during Memorial Day brought about by Palaraceway activities. Members of the Pala tribe, your valley is not a place for a raceway.

  13. tonedeaf   December 19, 2011 at 11:56 am

    It’s the sound of freedom!!!

  14. Ann   December 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    It seems as whever a tribe does something to better it’s lifestyle for their tribal members as well as community members, there are people out there complaining. Why don’t you look at the positive things the tribe has done, including donating to local communites such as Fallbrook. Have you been to the new library there? The noise level in which you are referring is minimal. You may not have anything else better to do than find something to say that is negative to the native americans.

  15. Bret   December 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Ann: The noise is NOT minimal and I live nearby. Please stop implying racism when others bring up legitimate complaints.

  16. REALLY?   December 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Ann: The noise is NOT minimal and I live nearby. Please stop implying racism when others bring up legitimate complaints.

    Is it louder then your neighbors lawnmower? Doubtful…

  17. Lisa   December 23, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Bret… there was a racist tone with comment #3. Maybe you all need to stop trying to listen for the sound all of the time. It’s a wonderful area for people of all ages to get outside and have a wonderful day riding and watching others ride. Finally, we have something wonderful for kids and adults to do around here. What makes your right to peace and quiet trump all of our rights to recreation which gives all of us a clean, safe, well run area to enjoy ourselves and families. It’s about standard of living and I for one am thankful for Pala Raceway and what wonderful memories it holds for me and my family and so many others and the good clean fun that can be had by the kids. Especially when there aren’t too many things for kids to do around here. It is the sound of freedom!!

  18. To Lisa   December 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    If you want good clean fun try a bicycle.

  19. Come on now   December 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I don’t know what any of you are referring to I live nearby and can not hear any noise from the track.

  20. Yeah Right   January 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Let me guess. Deaf?

  21. Really   January 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

    So why do you feel that even though the noise study shows its below the legal limit that you should be able to stop 20,000 members of the raceway from going out with their families and have fun riding a bike ? The tribe by allowing the raceway is contributing hugely to the economy of San Diego as the riders buy $ 8,000. bikes and supplies. It is a good thing for San Diego County.


Leave a Reply