I would like the opportunity to set the record straight about oppositional distortions from those interested in further development on our hillsides. They say:
1. It’s a solution looking for a problem. Measure C was anti-ag.
2. Measure C and the current proposal for a water and tree protection ordinance proposed by the county will be the demise of agriculture here in Napa County.
3. There’s no science behind the environmentalist’s claims.
4. Enhanced watershed protections take away property rights.
5. This idea for more water protections will kill the small farmer.
6. These ideas come from a small minority who have theirs and have deep pockets with selfish motivations.
7. It’s too much to protect 70 percent of our forests.
8. Measure C would have allowed removing 795 acres of forest.
9. The Napa River is much cleaner than it was in the ‘60s.
Response: I call BS on all of that.
1. There’s a much greater threat to agriculture in Napa Valley than sparing our hillsides from deforestation, and that’s running out of water. It’s a finite resource we all share as a community. Two-thirds of the water used for ag on the valley floor comes from our hills.
2. There is a misconception that growth is mandatory if we want a strong wine economy. Absolutely untrue. Most longtime successful wineries are interested in quality (the brand ) not in growth. Growth is necessary only for those needing share prices to rise.
3. If only these people would open a book. It’s ludicrous to think we don’t have a climate crisis. All science points to the need for changing the way we take care of our home.
4. Property rights are limited by the effect on our neighbors. This is a community problem. Our community shares our water. It’s not just for ag, but for the fish in the river, the water in our reservoirs, the habitat in our woodlands and ag.
5. The idea of a small farmer is not real. It’s $200,000 per acre at a minimum to go from bare ground to a producing vineyard; that’s if you already own the land. Actually the vast majority of successful wineries today have no interest in supporting the fantasy of small farmers.
6. The Yes on C constituency is made up of nearly 18,000 voters; that is no small minority. The Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture are selfless individuals from the wine grape growing industry who feel their mission in this is to protect this treasured Napa Valley. They and all the others promoting enhanced protections only care about our future here. They speak from their hearts, not from their wallets.
7. We can take no pride in allowing 30 percent of our forests to be clearcut. The services the trees provide are far reaching: soil retention, certainty for water quality, carbon sequestration, species protections, and water, water, water for all. Let’s take back our water from the self-interested, greedy segment who hide behind distortions of reality.
8. The 795 acres agreed upon after collaboration with the Napa Valley Vintners, was designed to be a “soft landing” for those with projects in the pipeline. It was a compromise that was used against us. If the current proposed ordinance were to pass, there would be nearly 30,000 acres open to deforest in Napa County. The voters didn’t like 795. We cannot take any pride in allowing that level of clearcutting here at home.
9. It’s true, we are not dumping pollutants from the likes of tanneries any more. But our Napa River is listed as impaired by federal standards that are regulated by the state. The river is in a critical stage where way too much sediment and nutrients are pouring in from increasing development. The fish that used to be abundant have left. That is indisputable. Coho salmon and steelhead are tiny in numbers. They are prevented from spawning because the river bottom that should be lined with gravel is covered with sediment. The river is too warm and negatively affected by negative nutrients.
Please write and call your local county representative and tell them we need the very strongest protections available that will help keep our Napa Valley, our community, our forests and streams, and our shared water supply plentiful and for all.