Boondoggle tax proponents’ mailers and public statements would have you believe that Measure K is the greatest thing to hit Napa County in years. It will solve water quality problems, eliminate wildfire dangers, and even help mitigate climate change.
But this is just the classic marketing ploy - using emotional, but non-relevant, arguments to get your vote. Their slick master plan would have you believe Napa County is in grave danger, a danger that could be alleviated only by buying more unusable, already protected land. Most rural residents understand this.
$9 million per year. $135 million in 15 years.
-- But no money for Lake Berryessa.
-- And no compelling need nor recreational benefit for Napa County residents.
-- No improvement of already good water quality.
-- No significant wildfire defense. Napa Firewise Foundation already does this.
-- No measurable impact on climate change.
-- “Protecting” already well-protected land - from what, for what?
-- Buying city votes with county sales tax-funded local parks.
-- Appealing to boutique environmentalism.
-- Picking your pocket a dollar at a time.
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Boondoggle: work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value; an expensive program that is a waste of money, especially one using public money.
Imagine kids in a candy store spending money like drunken sailors.
A burning question to many of us trying to revitalize a battered Lake Berryessa region is why this Boondoggle Tax is being considered at all when one of the most important recreational areas in Napa County, Lake Berryessa, has been so neglected by the county. We’d like to have $9 million a year to help in the revitalization of this major resource. Real recreation for real people with real monetary benefit for Napa County.
Lake Berryessa is mentioned only once in passing in the ordinance section proposing “protecting” water quality by buying land. But Lake Berryessa is already the cleanest lake in Northern California with no foreseeable water quality threats.
Buying watershed lands that can't be developed anyway does not "protect " water quality. Proponents claim they are “preserving” land, but they are actually just buying land that is already nearly unusable in any practical development sense.
Measure K includes the word “protect” 10 times but never tells us what it is “protecting” from. Open space preservation, watershed protection, and environmental issues have already been properly addressed in county ordinances which have resulted in Napa County being among the most preserved and protected in the state.
To inflate their relevance proponents actually claim Measure K will have a positive impact on climate change. This is a scientifically silly statement in a state where preserving a few hundred acres of forest land to “sequester carbon dioxide” pales in the face of wildfires that burn tens of thousands of acres of trees a year, releasing their already-sequestered carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Millions of acres of new trees would have to be planted around the world to make a real global impact. See “Negative Carbon Dioxide Emissions” in the latest edition of Physics Today.
$9 million per year. $45 million in 5 years. $90 million in 10 years. $135 million in 15 years. Ridiculous.
What could you do with $9 million per year; $9 million stolen from Napa County residents’ wallets. The existing sales tax in Napa County is already 7.75 percent, with the exception of St. Helena, where it is 8.25 percent. For many people, these taxes build up and become a burden. The Open Space District needs to live on its current budget not tax, tax, tax.
I believe the “benefits” of this Boondoggle Tax are not worth its cost.
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