I read a recently published article that inquired of the public: What kind of public art should grace the roundabouts that are to be placed near First Street?

Reading further into the article, I was shocked to learn the city had budgeted $350,000 for a monument to be installed here. A response was provided by the city to justify this exorbitant project ("Public art will not come from taxpayer funds," Oct. 5).

To what level of insanity have our city leaders, managers and board members risen to?

Regardless of the origin of these funds, albeit from an ordinance imposed upon developers, to even ponder that we would set aside such a significant amount of money to fund a piece of art in lieu of funding other vital needs of the city is troubling.

It’s preposterous that this amount of money cannot be utilized to fund a park, prevent a school from closing, purchase tablets for students, fund a scholarship, fund an ROP program, teach a trade, pave one of many roads in the city that are in desperate need of repair or negotiate a salary that benefits any one of the bargaining units and employees of the city. Many of those employees struggle to pay the cost of living here.

I find it unimaginable that we earmarked money through an ordinance to be spent on luxury and have not amended that ordinance to benefit the people who live, work and learn in the City of Napa with something more realistically appropriate than art.

Instead we chose a monument, displayed to a daily parade of luxury vehicles and limos, while our residents continue to drive upon substandard roads, our children share school supplies in crowded classrooms and workers employed in a variety of occupations struggle for adequate housing and job skills.

If Napa truly is a centerpiece for the wine and tourism industry and art needs to be on display for all to see, I question why an offer was not presented to any worldly artist to design, build and install this monument for free. I question what type of artist would deny that opportunity? Some of the world’s greatest artists fabricated their masterpieces for free simply to benefit all. It appears that all solicitation of philanthropy was absent from this project.

This monument is nothing more than an impromptu, materialistic purchase.

Concerning this intersection, I would think that drought- resistant landscaping would have been a bit more fiscally responsible. Going forward, our elected leaders need to reassess this ordinance, the stifling level of over regulation attached to it and the inappropriate use of funds generated from it.

If we must keep this ordinance, those funds should be redirected to programs and organizations who deserve and qualify for it most. I am sure there is no shortage of talented youth, aspiring students and generous artists who would gladly donate their artistic product to the city and in return, receive appropriate recognition and display.

Otherwise, the city of Napa is in the business of financing artists. What other private industry are we subsidizing?

Trevor Hall


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