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For some time now I’ve been trying get my arms around Measure C so that I can vote for or against it based on solid facts and not emotions. Anyone that has ever worked with me has heard my mantra about the need to make data-based decisions. If you don’t have data, i.e. facts, you can’t make an informed decision.

I’m as environmentally concerned as everyone else is today so when I hear about protecting Napa’s water supply and oak woodlands, I’m all for it. However, that’s an emotional response and not one based on data or facts.

For several months I’ve been following Measure C in the Register, on Facebook and anywhere it’s being discussed. Some factual information can be gleaned from these sources but for the most part you are reading or hearing biased information. People I respect are on both sides of Measure C so this doesn’t help my decision either.

Until this week I hadn’t read the entire 16-page Initiative. Now that I have I can say with authority that I have more questions than I had before. Here are just a few of my new ones:

-- Is the Oak Removal Limit of 795 acres too much or too little?

-- What is a Class I, II or III Stream? I have what I consider to be a stream next to my property, which is greater than 1 acre, but I have no idea what class it is.

-- Water Quality Buffer Zones are measured by the number of feet from the top of the bank on either side of a Class I (125 feet), Class II (75 feet) or Class III (25 feet). How were these measurements determined? Too many feet or too few feet?

-- Dying or diseased oak trees can be removed but only if designated in writing by a certified forester, forest pathologist or arborist. How much will this cost and is it for individual trees or a group of trees?

I have also ventured into reading parts of Napa County’s General Plan and Code of Ordinances to better my understanding of this initiative. Additionally, my research led me to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Control Board’s General Permit for Vineyard Properties in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek Watersheds. There appear to be similarities to Measure C, so I question why both are needed.

The first conclusion I have reached is that this initiative should not be on the ballot. The subject matter is too complex for the average voter to understand and there appears to be a lack of scientific data to support Measure C. A grass-roots approach works in many instances but this is not one of them.

The second conclusion I have reached is that because of the above I will be voting No on Measure C. I hope others will vote No also so that complex matters such as watersheds and the protection of oaks are addressed by the right people -- and that is the county supervisors and county staff.

David Layland

Napa

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