An Environmentalist Explains Why Measure C is Bad for Napa Valley
I don’t usually publish articles by others here at Fermentation. However, given the election tomorrow and given the importance of explaining exactly why Measure C needs to be defeated and given the authority of Susan Boswell‘s voice, this commentary from the Napa Valley vintner needs to be heard:
An Environmentalist Voting No on Measure C
Through my involvement as a former chair and currently a member of the Watershed Information and Conservation Council, a member of the board of Sustainable Napa County, and a former member of the board of the Napa Valley Vintners I have had the wonderful opportunity to learn the history, facts, research and science behind Napa County’s efforts to protect our watershed. Becoming the first certified Napa Green winery and being certified Napa Green Land brought my attention to what we can do as a community to protect our environment.
I have been and always will be an environmentalist who understands that success only comes from the partnership between business, community, and government.
My NO on C vote is to continue to protect our watershed by keeping vineyards thriving in the hands of the families who have lived here for generations and who will continue to protect the land and maintain agriculture as the highest and best use of the land for future generations to come.
Despite what you may have been led to believe it is not big corporations who own the most agricultural land in Napa County but luckily for us it is multigenerational family businesses, like Cakebread, who have been leaders in our environmental efforts for many years. Our heritage families have made the Napa Valley noted for some of the best wines in the world. They are responsible for the very fabric of our beautiful landscape, The Ag Preserve, the health of our watershed, and the economic sustainability of our residents and county government.
How could an environmentalist possibly take this stance?
Here is why
- Our community must continue to be forward thinking about our environmental policy, however, Measure C is NOT the right vehicle for change. I urge you to wait for a course of action that will build upon and effectively work with our current Napa County and the State of California’s already stringent regulations for development.
- Measure C is not community driven by majority but instead created by individuals with their own desire for change: Residents, business owners, community environmental protection groups, and county government need to be involved in order to develop plans that can protect Napa County’s Watershed long term and maintain Napa County as the leading environmental policy community in the State with a balanced budget and a General plan that provides for the economic livelihood of its residents and protection of our watershed.
- Scientific studies and an annual assessment of our Watershed health should be the source of recommendations and governance not opinion alone. All of our successful environmental efforts to date have been based upon science and research and community involvement. Measure C, as you know, has no science behind it. It is based upon opinion and everyone has a right to their opinion BUT YOU have a responsibility to VOTE based upon your determination of fact from historical county records not newspaper interviews.
- The community and business based volunteer efforts working with Napa County have raised the bar higher than California regulatory standards. This is a remarkable community with a history of finding the right solutions to environmental issues when we work together. Measure C is NOT the right solution.
- Facts: Corporate Greed on the rise? I can’t end without noting that Facts and truthfulness are key to my making a decision to vote Yes or No. The Yes on C authors have been talking “alternative facts” about greedy big corporate business taking over the valley. Here are the actual facts.
As Tom mentioned over 90% of the wineries in Napa County are family owned, many of which have been here for 3 or more generations. 79% of these winery families also own vineyards large and small. 80% of the family-owned wineries produce less than 10,000 cases of wine annually, which is hardly a corporate greed business model.
When you think “big” think many millions of cases produced by less than 2% of the total wineries in Napa County…hardly a threatening “take over” by big business. Did you know that many of the “millions” of cases by Napa wineries are often produced in Lodi or other areas in California and not in the Napa Valley and that much of the fruit to make these millions of cases of wine is grown outside of Napa County?
Become a part of the solution not a sideline critic. Get involved and be in the know.
Before casting your vote on June 5th take a look at these websites to learn the real story about environmental protection in Napa County which encompasses a great deal of history, science, research and data collection, restoration and a community effort that is unparalleled.
https://napagreen.org Did you know more than half of all the vineyards in Napa County are certified Napa Green? Read about the Napa Green Land and Winery certification programs.
The Watershed Information and Conservation Council has a great website that you can delve into to see what is happening in your watershed now from deep scientific research data to local meeting schedules and events.
http://naparcd.org RCD’s website also has scientific studies and information and opportunities for you to become active in programs to protect Napa County’s environment including a wonderful wildlife program.