Because Measure C was created in secret, the only public airing of the measure has been mailings, street signs, ads and letters to our local newspapers.

Even with the generosity of our local editors printing long letters, initiatives are a terrible way to govern. It should be no surprise then, that pleasantries are abandoned. The truth is stretched to the breaking point and misleading feel-good slogans are repeated ad nauseum in hopes that the “Big Lie” will prevail. These are hard scrabble, no holds barred fights. Winning is everything. Whether any of us like it or not, this is the life of all initiatives, and it will take a very long time for our valley to heal.

The entire premise of how a forest functions championed by the Measure C authors and supporters is outdated, wrong and simplistic. If Measure C passes the oak woodlands will, with time, become overcrowded, thick with underbrush and dead-fall, leading to unhealthy forests.

This overcrowding will insure that the forests become more susceptible to disease, insects, drought and hot destructive fires. Instead of the moderate fires burning the underbrush and small trees, with the larger oaks surviving, these new fires will be hotter crown-fires likely to kill even the largest and most fire-resistant oaks.

Forests consists of trees and plants: the more there are of them the more water they will use. As the forests overgrow they will give up less and less water to our creeks and rivers – exactly the opposite of Measure C’s goals. Read the articles yourselves by Googling “When trees became the enemy: Why North American cities must thin overgrown forests to improve water supplies,” “DROUGHT WATCH: Why More Trees in the Sierra Mean Less Water for California” or “Billions of gallons of water saved by thinning forests.”

Has anyone done an overlay or flow chart of the oak woodlands to see where all this supposed new-found water will flow to? Will it flow west to the Napa River or will it flow into the Berreyessa drainage to benefit Solano County? It seems unprofessional not to have this important information.

Is the Napa River a cesspool of pesticides and chemicals as many of the Yes on Measure C supporters claim or is it in the cleanest condition of the last 75 years and getting cleaner every year? Chris Malan in her April 23 Napa Valley Register letter says that the Napa River is “listed by the EPA for Chlordane, DDT, Dieldrin, PCBs and Mercury.”

Only for the last “one mile” of the Napa River is she correct. Chris conveniently left out that the Napa River is broken into three segments by the Regional Water Board. The “non-tidal Napa River” is from the headwaters to just north of Lincoln Avenue. The “tidal Napa River” is from Lincoln bridge south to just before Mare Island, and for the last mile before entering into the Carquinez Straits is called the “Mare Island Straits.”

I have found no evidence supporting claims that the non-tidal Napa River and tidal Napa River are polluted with any identifiable pesticides or pollutants. Mercury is specifically mentioned as a “Do not list on 303(d) (TMDL required list)” for the non-tidal Napa River and is mentioned only as a “legacy pollutant” for the tidal Napa River.

On Feb. 12, 2014 Kevin Lunde, Ph.D of the SF Water Board presented to his board that the Napa River should be delisted for nutrients, in part, because: “Although (Napa) vineyard use has increased over the past 30 years, vineyards use less nitrogen per acre than other regional crops. In addition, improved vineyard sediment controls and cover crops have reduced sediment and nutrient runoff.”

Here is more good news: “NONPOINT SOURCE SUCCESS STORY, Implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices Reduces Nutrients in 36 miles of the Napa River” is the headline of a U.S. EPA document dated December 2015. Google it.

Whatever the results of the election, if our community is to move forward in any meaningful way we first have to agree on the fundamental science that defines our environment. Until then let’s vote No on Measure C. Find out more at stopmeasurec.com.

Stuart Smith

St. Helena

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