On May 9, St. Helena City Council did something that other government leaders have been afraid to do: lead.
They focused on the short- and long-term interests of citizens and came to the clear conclusion: they need to take a stand on protecting the sources of water for their community. They endorsed Measure C that protects the watershed from deforestation. Deforestation has a number of harms, including damaging the quantity and quality of water that St. Helena and the rest of the valley depends on.
What did it take to make this decision? They looked at facts and science and considered the impact of deforestation on their town’s water supply. That part is straightforward.
The other part is that they ignored the big money campaigning to defeat the measure that protects watershed. They took the risk of big money being poured into their elections to defeat leaders who keep the interest of citizens in mind. They had the courage to vote in spite of the million-dollar disinformation campaign that uses fear, uncertainty, and doubt to confuse voters.
At the same time, the city of Napa and the Napa County Board of Supervisors ducked the opportunity to lead. They followed the money from deep pocket donors who have only their personal financial interests in mind. They backed off from taking a clear leadership stand.
I have a suggestion for Napa City Council and the Board of Supervisors. Have some courage to lead for the benefit of residents of your jurisdictions and not just represent the influence of big vineyard developers and mega corporations.
Be like St. Helena.