Why is Measure D on the June ballot? Unless you are new to town, everyone is well aware of the two-year, drawn out procedure to process the application by 33-year-old Christian Palmaz for a private heliport on his property in Coombsville.
Palmaz doesn’t like the 15-minute drive from his home to the Napa County Airport where he parks his personal copter. Regardless of the impact upon his many neighbors; four public hearings listening to his hired guns explain how his personal helicopter won’t bother anyone; and the county Planning Commission’s ultimate denial of his application, Palmaz is appealing that decision to the Board of Supervisors to be heard after the election.
Most commercial use of helicopters has been outlawed for many years now, but the loophole for personal use and abuse has been left wide open. More than 1,000 hours of county staff time have already been spent processing the Palmaz application, and yet no effort has been put forth by our Board of Supervisors to preclude a repeat of such a request by our new billionaire residents. None, nada.
Should Measure D by some chance be defeated, it will be the lead argument by Palmaz before the Board of Supervisors that “the citizens of Napa County are in favor of private heliports.”
When you receive your voter information booklet in the mail, you will be surprised to see that our own Sen. Bill Dodd is the lead opponent to Measure D. And why, you might ask? Dodd urges everyone to vote 'no' on D because it is unnecessary and is only “in search of a non-existent problem.”
Personally, I liken it to getting an immunization shot before I get a disease instead of after the disease, provided I survive the disease.
And so it comes to mind, just why would Sen. Dodd take such a position that is so contrary to the peace and quiet of our Napa Valley? It is quite obvious that the extremely wealthy carry a great deal of political clout. And once the county approves one such private heliport, our new neighbors in their $15 million homes will not be satisfied driving their cars to reach their new third home in Napa County.
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Let’s follow the money. Step back almost 10 years when then-Supervisor Bill Dodd was leading the private-public partnership for the renovation of the Justin-Siena High School athletic stadium. Supervisor Dodd was following in the footsteps of his parents who were ardent supporters of Justin-Siena, and for whom the new stadium was going to be named Dodd Stadium. While the renovation totaled $2.5 million, the only substantial contribution mentioned in the Napa Valley Register was “The Palmaz family of Napa made a $500,000 donation.”
According to the April 28 Napa Valley Register, the No on D campaign has received $11,000 in donations, $10,000 of which is from Christian Palmaz. I don’t know about you, but somehow the definition of “coincidence” doesn’t fit here.
Ten years ago, Palmaz donates half a million dollars to a campaign for naming the stadium after the Dodd family, and today we have Sen. Dodd carrying the ball for the No on D campaign with possible benefit to Palmaz.
Please join me and everyone else in voting 'yes' on D. Enough is enough.
Editor's note: The Register asked Sen. Dodd about the issues raised in the letter and he sent the following response: "In nearly 20 years of public service I've demonstrated my independence. In fact, I voted to levy the largest fine for a code violation in Napa's history to that point, $750,000, against Palmaz. The Board of Supervisors has the power to protect residents without risking the ambiguities and legal liabilities that the county's impartial 9111 report found with Measure D. In the last 50 years, there have been 3 applications for a heliport: one was denied, one was withdrawn, and one was just denied by the Planning Commission and now awaiting an appeal to the Board. As a steward of the taxpayers money, the liability risk significantly outweighs any perceived benefit."