As a 34-year resident of Saint Helena, your admonishments in a recent column hit home (“Civility in the letters section,” Sept. 16). It seems we have, as you so accurately pointed out, lost our sense of civility.
Since I believe that much can be learned from what a person has accomplished in their life here is a summary of his Alan Galbraith’ s education and work experience. Please read what follows:
A. Overview: Alan Galbraith was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts (his dad was a Harvard professor), including college (Harvard 1963). Law school (University of Michigan, 1966) followed college. Alan’s first California job was a teaching job at Boalt Hall. He then took on a second with California Rural Legal Assistance (“CRLA”), focused on Indian issues in Northern California.
It was in connection with his work for CRLA that he first became familiar with Saint Helena. Alan’s work took him from time to time from the Bay Area to Lake County. The tunnel of elms made a wonderful impression on him.
In 1967-1968, he was a research clerk for the Honorable Stanley Mosk, a justice of the California Supreme Court who received his appointment to the Supreme Court. Alan met his wife Sarah while working for the California Supreme Court. She was clerking for Justice Mathew Tobriner, both as appointees of the first Gov. Brown.
Sarah has deep roots in Napa County. On her father’s side, Sarah is both a Dunlap and a Coombs (her father’s name was David Coombs Dunlap). Both families have a long history of civic involvement in Napa County, including representing Napa County in the state Legislature.
Sarah’s parents retired from the Bay Area in 1978 to a family property in the Coombsville area, east of Napa. As their children were growing up, there were frequent visitors to Napa. The property remains in the family. They placed an easement on the property in favor of the Napa Land Trust years ago to preclude vineyard or other commercial development on the property.
Sarah and Alan decided to retire to St. Helena. They began their search for a home in the city in 2003, purchasing their house in January 2005 and moved permanently to Saint Helena on July 15, 2008.
B. Family: Alan and Sarah have three children, all married, and six grandchildren. Their son David is a diplomat; daughter Kate is a reporter; daughter Jean is a law professor. All grandchildren love Saint Helena — especially the playgrounds and Gotts Roadside Diner.
C. Legal career: Alan’s career was with a law firm (today, Williams & Connolly LLP) in Washington, D.C. He became a partner in 1976 and was with the firm for nearly 40 years. His legal practice was mostly in complex civil litigation, largely in federal courts (both trial and appellate). Alan passed bar examinations in Massachusetts (‘66), California (‘67), and Maryland (‘82). He was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar by motion (‘69).
Over a long career, Alan was admitted to practice in many federal appellate courts, including the Supreme Court (1972.)
He worked with well-qualified experts in many fields, especially engineers and financial experts (civil cases), mostly highly skilled partners in major accounting firms. Alan’s clients provided him with a lifetime of experience in practical business education, especially in proper corporate governance, tax and finance.
D. City and county government involvement: In the last 10 years, Alan has dedicated himself to service in city and county government in St. Helena and Napa County. He is now completing his fourth year (second term) as mayor of Saint Helena. Additionally, he has served on the following City and County committees and boards:
1. City Level Positions: Saint Helena Planning Commission (2009-2013), including service as its chairman; General Plan Update Steering Committee (“GPUSC”); Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Subcommittee of the GPUSC; Affordable Housing Committee; Library Board (Council liaison).
2. County level Positions: Member, Groundwater Resources Advisory Committee (“GRAC”); director, Napa Valley Transportation Authority (‘NVTA”); director, Napa County Flood Control & Conservation District; chairman, Napa County Grand Jury, 2013-2014.
3. Quick note: Alan as mayor has developed respectful relationships with county and city officials. There is often commonality in our issues, and in a county with issues that more and more involve all of us (such as traffic, housing, impact of tourism), these relationships are of great importance in evaluating our issues not only in our own specific context but in the broader county context.
Alan seeks re-election as mayor in the belief that he can continue to contribute to the betterment of our community — which includes working with all Napa cities and the county.
Perhaps his opponent would care to provide similar information for publication, then each of us can make a better-informed decision as to which candidate would be the best choice for our next mayor.