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Letter: Board was wrong to bypass tradition

I am Joan Bennett, a former American Canyon City Councilmember. I publicly protest the decision of the Napa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) to snub our District 5 Supervisor Belia Ramos via their vote to deny her chairpersonship of the 2022 BOS year. The BOS led by Supervisor Dillon to bypass the decades-long tradition of honoring the rotation of supervisors to chair was successful in changing the way a chair is chosen from a just and fair way to a popularity contest of the 5 supervisors.

In December, Supervisor Dillon asked for the issue to be put on the Dec. 17 agenda, where it was then determined that the chair rotation was not policy, but a tradition that could be changed. The fix was in. On Jan. 4 the BOS, proposed by Dillon, elected Ryan Gregory as chair for 2022.

Does anyone really believe that this action was just "out of the blue?" What discussions between supervisors took place in the days and weeks before the vote? It certainly seems a real likelihood there were Brown Act violations leading up to the vote. So, then the question needs to be asked, what did Supervisor Ramos do to provoke this change from tradition of such an important matter? Supervisor Dillon, when asked by a reporter stated, "there were extenuating circumstances." Pressed further what those circumstances were, she said, "I don't think I have the liberty to say."

I believe this is code for, I dropped an accusatory bomb and I don't have to be accountable to back up my smear. It is no secret that Dillon and Ramos have not had the best of relationships. Supervisor Ramos is an independent, innovative and critical thinker, who sometimes does not walk in lockstep with others. Some may not like her style, but I think it is a good trait to have, to look at issues from different perspectives; it is a healthy thing.

Needless to say that this decision by the BOS is also a slap in the face to District 5. Can the BOS be trusted to be fair and just to American Canyon and other parts of the District 5 in the future? Stay tuned.

Joan Bennett

American Canyon

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