My family and I are taken aback and disappointed by the column written by Travis Stanley, president of the Napa Chamber of Commerce ("Napa Chamber: Housing, housing and more housing in Napa," June 13).
As background, the opposition to Napa Oaks was invited to speak to the Government Affairs Committee of the Chamber after they heard a presentation from Davidon Homes, the Walnut Creek developer that is trying to hijack our hillsides. In an email to me, they stated, "the members always like to hear from both sides of an issue before determining whether or not the Chamber should consider taking a formal position."
We willingly gave a presentation in good faith, and upon completion, we were dismayed to see Davidon Homes reappearing at the conclusion of our presentation. Something did not seem right.
I subsequently emailed the chamber regarding this incident and asked them to forward my email to the members of the government affairs committee, but never received a reply. Many committee members confirmed to me that they did not receive my email.
We find it disingenuous that they now take a position in strong support of Napa Oaks, but then again we are not surprised, given that:
1. Executive committee member and immediate past chair Kevin Teague is the attorney for the developer;
2. Executive committee member, chair elect, and Napa City Planning Commission member Mike Murray voted in favor of the project;
3. Executive committee member, past chair, and current government affairs committee member Ken Frank wrote a letter in support of the project; and
4. Board of Directors member Greg Cole spoke in favor of the project.
Given these apparent internal biases, we respectfully requested that the chamber not take a position and remain neutral. To have the audacity to take a position on this issue without declaring these conflicts of interest is simply astounding.
If the president of the Napa Chamber of Commerce would have conducted true due diligence on this project, he would have learned that Andersen Ranch and Napa Oaks vastly differ in zoning, project size, topography, and many important other factors. Specifically, Andersen Ranch is not being built on one of the last remaining hillsides in Napa, a hillside that is also composed of a labyrinth of fault lines. I will save the myriad other differentiators for the hearing.
If all the Napa Chamber of Commerce wants is "housing, housing, and more housing" perhaps they should consider relocating to Emeryville, Walnut Creek, or Orange County.
Napa is a unique place that has been preserved for many years thanks to the sage foresight of many advocates who have preserved the beauty of Napa. Let's not botch those tireless efforts to fill the pockets of a multimillionaire out of town developer with no ties to our beloved city or county.