The Napa City Council unanimously moved Tuesday to include “socially responsible language” in its investment policy.

At the urging of 116 people who signed an online petition related to the subject, the council amended its investment policy to say the city will not invest in companies that manufacture assault weapons.

Council members acknowledged the act was largely symbolic — the city currently has no investments in such companies — but important nonetheless.

“It is a minor change,” Councilwoman Juliana Inman said. “It says we are not authorizing investing in, ‘bonds, notes or other instruments issued by manufacturers of assault weapons that are illegal for sale in the state of California.’ ... It’s, I think, a very small, but in some ways significant, change.”

The council first discussed the matter in February after resident Lowell Downey created a petition urging the city and county to divest from any companies that manufacture or sell firearms or ammunition.

Downey, who was not present Tuesday, said in an interview Monday that he was pleased the city is taking some action against guns, though he would have liked to have seen broader language included in the investment policy.

Councilman Peter Mott, a hunter, said he believes the city has struck a balance with the amendment. The language is modeled after a revision to the investment policies of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) earlier this year.

“We don’t have any investments in this now. We’re not changing our investments because of this. We’re just adding a little bit of language that seems prudent,” Mott said. “These are very minor changes that really have no impact on our investment strategies now.”

Interim Finance Director Bill Zenoni said staff researched the subject. Until now, the city’s investment policy has dealt purely with finances.

“We looked at a number of cities in Northern California,” Zenoni said. “The cities we found that were going in this way were Berkeley and Oakland, which had fairly restrictive investment guidelines,” he said.

CalPERS and the teachers’ retirement system amended their investment policies in a less comprehensive way to include language similar to what was before the Napa council, he said.

“We felt that was something that was pretty well thought out, would make a statement ... and we would be able to administer,” Zenoni said.

Councilman Scott Sedgley said investing only in “socially responsible” companies is nothing new, and something he foresees becoming more prevalent in Napa.

“I see more socially responsible issues in the future,” Sedgley said. “Whether we invest overseas in certain economies that might be denying civil rights to its people, all those issues come into play and I think it’s appropriate and timely and we’ll probably see more of these little items attached to our investment policy in the future.”

(19) comments

Old Time Napkin
Old Time Napkin

Remember this decision and the sale of the Borreo building to the Land Trust in the next election. We need to make some serious changes to this council.

freeport56
freeport56

The "Big Question" is, "When will the Council Divest from the Constitution?" Oh, that's right they already have with their new Renewable/Sustainable Housing Plan!

publiusa
publiusa

Mayor Jill Techel, was endorsed in 2012 for reelection by the Napa County Republican Central Committee. Now she is supporting the disinvestment in American companies and American jobs and is guiding Napa to be more like Berkeley and Oakland...the two centers of liberal democrat progressivism that are the laughing stock of America. Good pick for a re-election candidate Republicans...and you wonder why the Republican Party is defunct. Oh and, you local Republicans also supported Bill Dodd for re-election and he registered Democrat right after he was re-elected.

napken
napken

Hey, I have an idea- lets divest from any company who has mean people working there. And from any company who doesn't know all the words to "We are the world". Sure it might only be symbolic but it would feel sooooo good. Let me get 2 or 3 friends together and sign an online petition so that it forces the council to act. And as far as investments go.. I hear 8-tracks and horse and buggy technology is happen'n.

napa1957
napa1957

While we are voting to NOT support things ILLEGAL, why doesn't the local government take a stand about the hiring of undocumented workers by out vineyard managers and wineries. Contrary to "popular" opinion, I believe that the rarely enforced Immigration Laws do say that folks need to have a work permit/visa to be employed? Might upset some "movers and shakers"? Maybe not as "politically correct" as to support something is basically nothing but a waste of time?

napken
napken

Well, great job at yet another stunning display of mindless knee-jerk groupthink. If this was about sound investment planning (which it never was) the council just divested from an extremely profitable sector...brillient. This was more a demonstration of a struggle to do something...anything to try and look relevant. And to call the press into witness such folly just proves my point. This is what political correctness looks like...and what it accomplishes. A complete waste of time, energy and paper. Where are the greenies to decry the vulgar waste of paper this tripe was written on? And the inflated self important egos on this council need to be evaluated. To think this "action" really does anything is frightening on its face. Well it's off to the doughnut shop to celebrate and slap each other on the back for yet another splendid day of fixing absolutely nothing of importance or value. But it did "feel" good and boy did they look very busy at doing nothing and good at it!

widget1
widget1

Wow Napa is getting more like Berkeley every day. Plastic bags, rainbow flags, now evil assault weapons. I'll get a hundred or so people to sign petitions for some other issues the council can approve. Let's see. spotted owls, global warming, rain forests, IRS not targeting conservative groups, ...oh wait that last one will never fly, only lefty causes get attention

rob100180
rob100180

what a crock. apparently only need a 116 to get what you want into town with 80,000 people. I guess that means we really need to get 117 to get them to change their mind? once again the people who control so they have no idea what the majority of the people want.

publiusa
publiusa

Disinvesting in American companies employing American workers? The companies will will go out of business, lay off their workers and gun manufacturing will simply move to China. The guns then will be totally unregulated, but Chinese will have the skilled jobs. Good job, Ms. Mayor...Republican!

glenroy
glenroy

It’s the incremental things that destroy a society like a cancer cell mutating & splitting eventually it becomes unstoppable….and, btw, there is a constitution in our history. Socially responsible has nothing to do with local government being responsible, it's partisan politics, nothing but. This is pure liberal politics of special treatment forcing the tax payers to invest based on a liberal agenda.
So, when or if moderation returns... far more citizens die from STD than guns and assault rifles combined, STDs costs this nation far more in dollars and cents….the socially responsible thing to do would be excluding investing in our with anyone who chooses such a lifestyle prone to STDs and high health costs? Anyone who flies the STD flag?
It's here folks…. take a look at public ed text books from K up these people think your kids belong to them to be mentally reshaped, to be like them.
Everything about liberalism is political, what you read, say, hear, eat, drive....think about.

455olds
455olds

What a load of horsepucky. 116 online petition signatures. Where was the public debate?

Arnie
Arnie

Good job Mayor Techel and Councimembers!

NapaMark15
NapaMark15

By the way, I have recently purchased an "illegal assault weapon" from a California manufacturer. They make a California legal model and a model meant for export to every other state. So I'm supporting "illegal assault weapons"?

NapaMark15
NapaMark15

116 people? 116 people?!?

And "assault weapon companies"? You mean, like Wal Mart as reported earlier? And how are companies that make "assault weapons" that are CALIFORNIA legal making "assault weapons"?

This makes no sense, but whatever legislation makes you and the 116 people who petitioned for it feel good I guess...

Native_84
Native_84

If the council is socially responsible then why do they bow to the wants of 116 who signed an online petition and may not actually be a resident of Napa when the population is nearly 80000 people? They don't seem to be following the wants of society. Secondly these companies also produce weapons for use by the military and police, including Napa, who protect society. Maybe they shouldn't supply the police department with assault weapons? Wouldn't that be socially responsible? At least it wouldn't be hypocritical.

TruthPlease
TruthPlease

Wow. Just wow.

rocketman
rocketman

.........and here is my question......can the Council actually articulate what companies produce only illegal assault weapons and what companies don't?

Nope!

rocketman
rocketman

The Council "actually" has no idea what they voted to do.......

Constitutionalist123
Constitutionalist123

Well this is just silly. I mean our all knowing government invests in companies that build manufacture and distribute weapons that are illegal in the U.S. why shouldn't our city. If it makes money and turns a profit then isn't it bad business strategy to avoid it? Just because assault weapons are illegal doesn't mean we shouldn't invest in companies that supply them. Hell the way I look at it if that's the case they should stop investing in anything that has illegal aliens working there. I mean why should they pick and choose what illegal activity to frown upon. They help to supply medical aid and huge subsidies for illegal aliens so why wouldn't they invest in gun manufacturers. Especially from a solely business stand point illegal aliens cost them money. Investing in a company can and most likely will turn a profit... Seems like a poor business strategy.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.