Tax the tourists not the residents

Tax the tourists not the residents

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Regarding Measure K: Could it be that the rareness of land available for purchase by the Open Space District and other organizations from willing sellers be due to the many documented variances granted by the Board of Supervisors to winery applicants, for example, reduced set backs from highways, roads and reservoirs, and allowing development of grades (hillsides) exceeding normally accepted practice?

Do these variances allow development of parcels for wineries that are often not otherwise suited for such use? If denied, would there be more willing sellers?

I can easily understand why Mr. Parker (CEO of the Land Trust) supports Measure K. He let the cat out of the bag when he stated that if K passes, the Land Trust and other organizations could ask the Open Space District for matching funds to land federal and state grants. The funding for protection of open space, building trails and other endeavors has been a hotly debated topic for years.

I humbly suggest the following: 1. Stop the variances for questionable locations, and, 2. Raise the lodging tax, add a fee for wine tasting and use the proceeds to fund the goals of the Open Space District.

Three and one half million visitors to the Napa valley annually (I remember reading somewhere), many who pay three hundred dollars or more per night for lodging, and most, I suspect, partake of wine tasting at various venues in the valley. A mere two dollars and fifty seven cents each amounts to nine million dollars annually. Problem solved without further punishment of local residents.

Mitch Whorton

Napa

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