This current so-called Napa Pipe city water issue is a clear case of government turf war incompetence; and government not being honest with the voters. Tax dollars for the city and county were never what we voters voted for! We voted for a Costco, then affordable housing, period.
Back in the early 1970s, as the first president and organizer of Skyline Park Citizens Association, I was the negotiator between the association, Napa County and the state to make Skyline park a reality. For the better part of a year, I ran into this government turf war crap with each county department, and Dick Friday at the State Hospital for the State. I also ran into various governments dishonesty problems as well. Frustration to say the least.
So I contacted then-County Administrator Al Harberger and requested a “joint meeting of all parties and all County departments, the State, and the Department of Fish and Game. At the beginning of the meeting the county counsel asked, “Who called this meeting? It is the first time I have ever seen all parties present at one meeting!”
The details and county agreements were finalized at that meeting in just about an hour and a half! This is not rocket science! Getting the final signed contract between the county and the state took me a great deal of additional effort, but it finally was signed, after a phone call to the lieutenant governor, and sent directly to me at my work by overnight delivery from the state for me to deliver to the county personally. This should put some perspective on the role I actually played in this major project for fellow Napa residents.
This Napa Pipe water issue can be “finalized’ the same way. Since when did the city and the county abrogate agreements and contracts to a third party? City of Napa, Napa County, both legal counsels, Costco and their legal counsel, and Napa Redevelopment Partners and their legal counsel call a joint meeting and sit down and finalize a guarantee agreement that Napa city will provide the water upon the “signed guarantee of Costco” beginning construction before the housing portion can begin. Include a very heavy penalty—multi-million dollar penalty—if Costco fails to keep the guarantee.
Upon Costco beginning actual construction, Napa Redevelopment may begin the first Phase of home construction and other developments. Napa voters approved Napa Pipe based upon the promised Costco construction! No Costco—no Napa Pipe development project. Period! This project could be finalized in a very short order if all the parties would sit down at one joint meeting and sign a guarantee agreement. This is a clear case of government incompetence, dishonesty, and the blame game government loves to play. A pure waste of taxpayer dollars and trust.
Heck, for a fee, I will show the City Council and the Board of Supervisors how this is done. I do have the firsthand knowledge of how it is done. I called the ‘first and only’ such meeting between all parties involved in a major project in the early 1970s. And it works! It seems this practice has not been done since.
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The City Council and Board of Supervisors must call such a meeting and get the Costco construction signed agreement guarantee, as the voters were promised, or do not go forward, but terminate the entire project. This is not, repeat not, something to be left to a third party that has a conflict of interest in the matter! They have millions of dollars at stake remember. And the idea that this third party could just pay a small fee if Costco is not built was never presented to the voter for approval. Good luck with that one getting through a vote of the public. This is not honest government. No wonder the public trust of government is so low.
What appears to have happened however, the City Council has not obtained a Costco construction guarantee, but has consented to provide water to the project anyway! The City Council and the Board of Supervisors have allowed the project development organization to enter into some sort of a contract with Costco themselves, that should and must be done by the city and county of Napa. This so-called contract is binding upon both the city and county as part of the actual development plan after all.
How did this one happen? Who is responsible for letting this happen? Napa Pipe would never have been passed by the voters if Costco was not part of the plan. This “development plan,” with Costco as a major part, was promised as a “done deal” to the voters! I don’t recall voting to have a third party obtain a contract with Costco that might lead to construction someday.
This was possibly misleading to get the project approved by the voters; as the current facts clearly demonstrate. Both the City Council and the Board of Supervisors have a responsibility themselves to either get a guarantee from Costco with a signed agreement to begin construction, or terminate the project. Period.
Or all of them should resign! Public outcry should be harsh, loud and clear. Stop the dishonesty.
Wilkinson lives in Napa, and was an organizer and the first president the Skyline Park Citizens Association.