News/Press

Vote on Napa Valley’s Measure C too Close to Call

By Virginie Booth | Wine Enthusiast | June 5th, 2018

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The Napa County vote on the hotly contested Measure C, an initiative that seeks to limit vineyard development, remained too close to call Wednesday morning, as only 40 votes separated the two sides.

With 168 of 170 precincts reporting, the count was 7,188 for and 7,148 against Measure C, more formally known as the Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative.

Voting officials said between 40% and 60% of the ballots remained to be counted. Napa County Registrar of Voters, John Tuteur, expected the next set of preliminary results to be released later this week.

The election results must be certified by June 25.

 

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Measure to restrict Napa County vineyards too close to call.

By Esther Mobley | San Francisco Chronicle | June 5, 2018

 Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

A ballot measure to limit further vineyard development in Napa County to preserve oak trees and water sources was ahead by just 42 votes Tuesday, with 99 percent of precincts counted.

Measure C, the Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative, was running 7,191 votes in favor, to 7,149 against, in Napa’s all-mail-in system. A final count is expected later this week.

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Napa County voters deadlocked on vineyard development restrictions.

By ROBERT DIGITALE - THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | June 5, 2018

 

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A Napa County ballot measure that would limit vineyard development in woodlands and along waterways was leading by the slimmest of margins late Tuesday.

The fate of Measure C, widely viewed as a public referendum on whether the wine industry’s expansion should be reined in, was too close to call. Of more than 14,300 votes counted, the measure led by a mere 40 votes. Thousands of votes remain to be counted, most of which likely will be tallied next week, a county election official said Tuesday night.

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Napa County Measure C sharply divides wine industry

Angela Johnston for KALW, May 31 2018

 Measure C proponent Warren Winiarski stands in front of his vineyards at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.  CREDIT ANGELA JOHNSTON

Measure C proponent Warren Winiarski stands in front of his vineyards at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.

CREDIT ANGELA JOHNSTON

"“When we passed the Agricultural Preserve there were almost zero number of acres that were irrigated in this valley — and now we have almost zero number of acres that are not irrigated,” he says.

Winiarski and the authors of Measure C say: if we don’t preserve the streams and oak trees of the Napa Valley hillside, there won’t be enough water to grow anything.

“There won’t be viticulture if you don’t have the water. Napa is a victim of its own success.”

...Measure C would put a cap on the number of oak trees a Napa landowner can remove. Once that quota has been met, landowners will have to apply for a permit to cut down additional trees. The Measure would also create a buffer zone around streams where no tree of any type can be removed."

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Napa Sunset

Book Review by Jonah Raskin for the Bohemian

Napa at Last Light: America's Eden in an Age of Calamity

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"Geoff Ellsworth was a willing and a candid source. A St. Helena council member, artist and supporter of Measure C, Ellsworth has lived in Napa County for 50 years. For decades, he watched the slow, steady chipping away of the forests, the privatization of watersheds and the spread of roads, vineyards, wineries, tasting rooms, event centers and estate homes. Like Conaway, Ellsworth decries what he calls the "erosion of democracy" in Napa. He worries that if the dominance of the industry goes unchecked in his hometown, it can happen anywhere in the United States."

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"We're nearly at the point where advocating for clean water for everyone is beginning to look revolutionary," Ellsworth says. "It looks like Napa is turning into the 'valley of the oligarchs.'"

Read the full review here

Do You C?

James Knight for the Bohemian

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""We've entered this era, starting with the national election, of these alternate truths." Hackett says it's all about polling. After the Napa Valley Vintners turned against the measure they'd initially helped craft—in part because polling results showed they'd almost certainly lose such a fight, according to Hackett—they turned to polls showing that traffic, hillsides and water were among Napa residents' top concerns.

"They took them and flipped them 180 degrees," Hackett says. "It doesn't matter that it isn't real or true; they just say it to confuse voters.""

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‘This is an eye-opener’: Changes in global water supply hint at future conflicts and crises

 Dry, cracked Earth that used to be under Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, illustrates how water resources are shifting due to climate change and human activity. A new analysis using satellite data has identified more than 30 regions on Earth where the amount of stored water on the landscape has increased or decreased by an amount greater than the 32 billion ton storage capacity of Lake Mead.  JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

Dry, cracked Earth that used to be under Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, illustrates how water resources are shifting due to climate change and human activity. A new analysis using satellite data has identified more than 30 regions on Earth where the amount of stored water on the landscape has increased or decreased by an amount greater than the 32 billion ton storage capacity of Lake Mead.

JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

"“This is an eye-opener,” said Roy Brouwer, an economist and executive director of the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute who was not involved in the analysis. “It raises awareness that things are changing and that in some areas something has to happen to counter and anticipate some of the catastrophes that may be waiting for us in the not-so-far future.”

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Researchers have published many results based on GRACE data but the new analysis, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, marks the first time all available observations from the mission, from April, 2002, to March, 2016, have been analyzed and assembled to provide a comprehensive map of water trends around the world. Those trends encompass changes in where water is stored across Earth’s surface, including groundwater, soil moisture, glaciers, snow cover and surface water. The result suggests a water landscape that is changing fast on a global scale, in large part due to human activity and climate change."

St Helena City Council Resolution in Support of Measure C

RESOLUTON ENDORSING MEASURE C ON JUNE 5, 2018 BALLOT RECITALS

A. The City of St. Helena owns and operates Bell Canyon Reservoir. The Bell Canyon watershed is approximately 3,647 acres. The City owns just 140.7 watershed acres, including the Reservoir.

B. Bell Canyon Reservoir is the primary source of drinking water for the City of Saint Helena. In consequence, it is essential that the Bell Canyon watershed be managed to protect the health and life safety of the residents of St. Helena.

C. As elected leaders of St. Helena, we have a fiduciary duty to ensure the health and life safety of our City’s residents. This duty includes doing our best to protect both the quality and quantity of water flowing into the Reservoir from its watershed.

D. Measure C establishes enhanced buffer zones around the watershed’s creeks and small streams. At a time of increasingly stringent drinking water quality standards and customer expectations, these enhanced zones provide much needed protection from chemical and sediment loading of the Reservoir that adversely affect both the quality and quantity of stored water.

RESOLUTION

NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of St. Helena resolves to endorse Measure C.

League of Women Voters Endorses Measure C

Endorses Measure C: Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection. 

The LWV Napa County endorses Measure C. Its position statement is as follows: The League has long supported actions that promote the health of our natural environment, with emphasis on conservation and high standards of water quality. Maintaining pristine streams, rivers, wetlands, and the watershed are of utmost importance in ensuring reliable water supplies into the future. Our analysis of Measure C is in keeping with LWVUS and LWVCA positions developed over years of study, and the LWVNC is proud to endorse this initiative. LWVNC has studied the opposition’s arguments and found them lacking in long-term visioning and factual substance.