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The following paragraph appeared in a Feb. 13 letter to the editor by Davie Pina, President of Winegrowers of Napa County. Mr. Pina advocates evidence-based decision making with thoughtful consideration and review by all parties.

“It is imperative that any changes to the conservation regulations be science- and evidence-based while allowing for thoughtful consideration and review by all parties. Yet, this rush to move forward needlessly continues despite confusion over virtually every aspect. There is so much confusion -- even with terms and definitions -- that it is clear the board cannot possibly be considering the full impact of their actions on all landowners and businesses.”

Just a few more lines into Mr. Pina’s letter to the editor, the following assertions are made.

“Yet it is clear that some members of the Board of Supervisors feel pressured to “do something” by a small group of political activists who have stated they aren’t willing to compromise, have refused to meet in order to discuss their concerns and constantly threaten Napa County with another divisive initiative if they don’t get their way.”

Mr. Pina offered no evidence to support his assertion that there is a small group of political activists unwilling to compromise. No evidence is offered that this alleged small group of political activists refused to meet in order to discuss their concerns. No evidence is offered that the alleged small group of political activists is threatening another initiative drive.

In fact, the group is not small. Nearly half of those voting on Measure C voted in favor of it. Many of those not in favor were concerned that a 'yes' vote would cause 795 acres of oaks to be cut. Half of the votes cast is not a small group and their concerns are relevant to the on-going discussions about how best to protect the watersheds of Napa County. Voters are concerned about clean water and healthy forests surrounding Napa Valley. They deserve to have a voice.

In fact, those responsible for Measure C did meet with representatives of the wine industry. Together with visionary leadership at the Napa Valley Vintners, it was their desire to craft an initiative that the wine industry could support. Unfortunately, resistance from others in the industry blocked the collaborative effort from going forward. Therefore, it would be the wine industry representatives that refused to meet and were unwilling to compromise.

It is also a fact that the campaign against Measure C was largely based on untrue statements; statements for which there was a lack of evidence. There is no threat to offer another initiative unless there is a need to do so. If such an initiative is divisive, then it is the nature of the political process we have adopted. If opinions on the best steps to take were agreed upon, there would be no need for an initiative.

Mr. Pina’s letter is typical of the tactics used to oppose Measure C. Voters of Napa County nearly passed Measure C in spite of a campaign of fear and disinformation waged by opponents. When that many voters have voiced their opinion, it would be prudent for all of us to pay attention to what these voters were saying with their vote.

Evidence-based assertions should equate to something close to the truth. Mr. Pina’s assertions are not evidence-based.

David Heitzman


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