It is obvious that the Mishewal Wappo, if recognized as a tribe with sovereign rights in the Napa Valley, intend to build a casino.
The opening of a casino here would irreparably harm the integrity of our valley’s winemaking culture and economy. This culture and economy are integral to the livelihoods of local residents, and also to a range of incredibly good philanthropic works.
Auction Napa Valley has raised more than $100 million to benefit local medical, youth and housing nonprofit initiatives. Our local winemaking culture is the core attraction for patrons to come from all over the world to support the auction.
Furthermore, my family’s own Music Festival for Mental Health has been the primary instrument in raising more than
$140 million for research for better therapies and cures for mental illnesses, inspiring hope and changing lives in the Napa Valley and internationally.
This annual event is underwritten by the sales of my family’s wines, and one of its main attractions is a wine tasting reception in which many generous local vintners participate.
The judge in the Wappo lawsuit for tribal recognition’s decision, that Napa and Sonoma counties have no relevant interests to protect and thus cannot argue in opposition, is ignorant and unjust.
It ignores all of the incredibly good things going on Napa and Sonoma’s valleys right now — things which depend on our winemaking culture and economy, and hang in the balance.
Although Napa and Sonoma counties are presently barred from opposing the lawsuit, local residents are not. This is why I am speaking out. I will fax the secretary of the interior later today.
I believe Napa and Sonoma residents should take every action available to oppose casino development.
Brandon Staglin / Napa