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Initiatives; said and known

Much is said these days about the initiative process. But saying and knowing can differ.

Know that the initiative is upheld in the California Constitution as a way for people to advance important issues in a political climate perhaps dominated by a powerful business culture. The initiative is no mere “notion” as some say.

Progressive leaders in 1911 rallied popular interest enough to overcome the wealthy railroad elite which controlled Sacramento and placed the initiative process squarely in our State Constitution. There it remains for Californians to address resolution of important issues which elitists may want to ignore, belittle or thwart to this day.

Issues involving water or natural resources often have common interest held by the many downstream in this state. Many know their security in shared health and happiness may depend on it.

Much earlier, Jeremy Bentham stated that we should aim to obtain “the greatest happiness of the greatest number.” Happiness for the many is no notion either. One can read the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence (or, my letter to the editor of July 5, 2017) to know the rightful purpose it plays in modern democracy, made manifest by initiative in California.

People of Napa County have become familiar with the initiative process. They have known to enact important protections for shared resources by initiative (like Measures J and P). They know complexities involved and that more needs to be done from time to time. Napa voters can be trusted with reason to vote yes on Measure C this time around.

Now, wealthy landholding elitists will say anything to obfuscate issues of protecting our watersheds and oak woodlands. They even besmirch the initiative process, insulting the intelligence of Napa voters. Their corporate-driven development plans evade common interest to cut down stately old oak trees, grub out stabilizing roots, rip away soils and degrade clean waters of our streams, reservoirs and river with harmful sedimentation, left at greater burden for rate payers or nature to try and mend later.

I happily join many Napa citizens downstream of our wooded hillsides in voting yes on Measure C.

Tony Norris

Napa

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