I want to express my outrage and disappointment in State Sen. Bill Dodd’s argument against Measure D (Yes on Measure D prohibits permitting more private heliports).
Dodd argues that under Measure D’s terms “Utility contractors, like those working for PG&E, won’t be able to use helicopters to replace power poles or service lines as they successfully did after the October fires.”
This is dead wrong. Measure D does not change County Code about the use of helicopters to install and maintain distribution lines to convey gas or electricity.
Dodd also states, “helicopter operators providing essential services may be restricted from landing on private property in Napa County if Measure D is approved.”
Again, dead wrong. Measure D does not change County Code about emergency use facility landing sites or emergency medical services’ landing sites. (Code 18.120.010/A.9).
Let’s be clear: this Measure D does not affect airspace or flight at all. It simply regulates landings of helicopters.
Did Dodd read the text of the initiative? Measure D makes two changes in County Code: 1. prohibiting personal use airports and heliports and 2. prohibiting helicopter landings at vineyards unless unavoidable, such as in emergencies. Aerial applications by helicopter for agricultural production are still permitted.
A Napa Valley Register article quoted Dodd as saying that his argument was based on the 9111 report commissioned by the Board of Supervisors to give “independent” legal analysis on the measure. Given the facts above, this analysis, as argued in front of the Supervisors by the Measure's attorney of Moscone, Emblidge, is flawed.
Senator Dodd has been invited to participate at several forums, including the League of Women Voters, to defend his statements but thus far has avoided participation.
Why would a state senator present “facts” that are so wrong? Are perhaps special interest funders behind him? Democracy requires access to the facts. How else can we make informed decisions?
Editor's note: The Register asked Bill Dodd about the issues raised by the author. He said his legislative schedule has made it difficult to accept invitations to speak on this initiative. He said his opposition to Measure D, and also to Measure C, relates to possible unintended consequences, which would be difficult to fix if the legislation is enacted by ballot initiative. The people and supervisors of Napa County, he said, "are perfectly capable of handling these issues" without resorting to initiatives.