Measure C

Time to vote yes on Measure C


A letter to the editor - Napa Valley Register by Geoff Nelson




Sometimes lost in the debate about the controversial Measure C are the advantages of natural woodlands in both carbon sequestration (aka greenhouse gas reduction) and water quality.

In a woodland ecosystem, the soil has been protected for millennia from the large inherent fluctuations of temperature and the forces of water. When it is raining hard, you can stand on the forest floor and barely feel rain drops hitting you. The forest canopy is a buffer to rainfall intensity, and it moderates surface temperatures.

The thousands of years of organic matter accumulation can be up 12 inches thick, covering the soil. In contrast, vineyard soil is always exposed to both the sun's intensity and the occasional rain deluge, although a carefully cultivated ground cover helps.

Exposure means both erosion and high soil temperatures, which accelerates lots of processes, including decomposition rates and volatization of chemicals.

In addition, the excellence of native woodlands in carbon sequestration has been well researched, e.g., Williams et al. Carbon Balance and Management 2011, 6:11. (, and J. Environ. Qual. 35:1396–1404 (2006).

Even though Napa has been a leader in sustainability, we all feel the negative effects of the explosive growth. As a wine grower for 30 years, I feel it’s time for Yes on C.

Geoff Nelson


Big business is telling us what to do


A letter to the editor - Napa Valley Register by Lucretia Marcus




Please allow me to preface my "Yes on C" letter with the following: we moved to Calistoga for many reasons.

Prime among them is how clean the elements are: air that you can't "see" or "smell", clean water, "traffic jams" consisting of four cars at an all way stop sign. The friendliness of those who live here is an added plus.

We ran from everything being politically related. Well, here we are again.

I'm asking that you read the article recently in the Register that tries to give both sides of the argument.

Let's look at the sides:

1) One has five times the amount of money to convince us that they are right.

2) One is crying that Yes on C would "allow" hundreds of acres of oaks to be cut down. Oh, the horror. A reminder: those are the exact number of acres left in the General Plan that was passed years ago.


3) Regarding that General Plan: only 41 percent of the land allowed to be planted under that agreement has been used. Why are the "No on C" folks fighting for more?

4) Suspiciously, no mention of ground water pollution or the draining of our watershed. Hmmm, could it be because their PR firm, so successful in defeating the ban GMO campaign, felt that those issues shouldn't be discussed?

The reality? This is big business that is fighting for control. This is big business wanting more: more profits/more control. Big business likes to tell us, the little people, what is "good" for us and we should just let them do it.

Just remember, big business exists to make money. What happens when they're done with this beautiful valley?

I really don't want to think about that. Do you?

Lucretia Marcus


Who benefits from opposing Measure C?



Why is the wine industry opposing Measure C, willing to spend half a million dollars and counting to defeat it? Measure C simply enhances the protection of our oak woodlands and the quality and quantity of our water. So why object?

It seems to come down to a business, a big business decision. If Measure C passes, vineyard expansion will be more difficult in Napa County.

Now, who might want and be able to plant those vineyards? Not the young family of modest income nor the small locally-owned wineries. Not with land in the valley ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars per acre. Not with the cost of planting a vineyard ranging from thirty to fifty thousand dollars per acre.

So who would want to plant those vineyards in the woodland watershed? Those who could afford to do so––the deep pockets of the wine industry. To a considerable extent those deep pockets belong to consortia and corporations with shareholders who generally reside outside of Napa County, even outside of the United States. They don’t participate in our community, drink our water, admire our hillsides.

The bottom line is that national and international companies would likely be the ones paying to cover the Mayacamas and Vaca mountains with vineyards, reducing the health and beauty of our county.

Over the past 50 years the Napa Valley has flourished largely due to the protection provided by the Agricultural Preserve and the passage of Measures J and P. The attorneys who drafted Measures J and P also wrote Measure C, which is a natural extension of these prior initiatives.

The buffer zones around streams and creeks, required by Measure C, have been shown to be essential for protecting water quality and for maximizing groundwater recharge. The moratorium on cutting down the oak woodlands, required by Measure C, further protects the quality and quantity of our water supply by distributing rainfall and preventing hillside erosion and runoff of silt, fertilizers and pesticides into creeks, streams and the Napa River.

So who benefits by opposing Measure C? The big business that is already buying our wineries, vineyards and brands, now poised to buy our woodlands and water for vineyard expansion. Don’t let this happen.

Support a sustainable Napa Valley. Vote for Measure C.

Jennifer Baerwald

Pope Valley



The 411 on 795 for Measure C

Letter to the Editor, May 16, 2018



Thanks, Measure C opponents, for your latest contribution to disingenuous mendacity. In your latest mailer, I see you have fixated on the 795-acre figure.

Maybe you forgot Measure C was written in cooperation with the Napa Valley Vintners. And you pretend not to know that oak woodland is now being cleared for vineyards at a rate that, by 2030 will add up to ...  795 acres.

So that number is basically yours, included to ensure the Vintners’ support. Which they then withdrew. The Measure C effort made this concession up front, and was repaid with an opposition campaign of obfuscation and deception.

Turning the 795-acre figure on its head and acting like Measure C favors oak woodland cutting is the latest of these. And without Measure C, what’s the number of cleared acres allowed?


Shame on the No  on Measure C campaign. Vote 'yes' on Measure C.

Jeremy Wilder Fitch


Is Napa growing too much wine? Residents seek to preserve treasured land


As published in The Guardian.

The rise of Napa began with an upset. Warren Winiarski would know – his wine, a cabernet sauvignon, was a firm underdog at a legendary 1976 blind tasting in Paris, which pitted the best of France against the little-known California region.

His winery, Stag’s Leap, shocked the wine world by taking top honors. “It broke the glass ceiling that France had imposed on everyone,” he recalls. “People’s aspirations were liberated.”

Today Winiarski, 89, is speaking not of liberation, but of limits. A growing coalition of industry veterans and longtime residents fear that Napa has become a victim of its own success, pointing to the ecological transformation of the valley floor from dense oak woodland to a sea of vine-wrapped trellises. And they are posing a thorny question: has a unique agricultural region reached a tipping point at which agriculture itself becomes the threat?

Read the Guardian article here:

Sierra Club is for Measure C




A Letter to the Editor - St. Helena Star by Diane Shepp - Sierra Club Representative


Two opponents of Measure C have signed election documents representing themselves as “Sierra Club Member” and “Former Sierra Club Board Member” to which we take strong exception as attempts to mislead voters in the face of approval by the Sierra Club at all levels to endorse Measure C.

"Sierra Club has confidence in Napa County voters and calls upon our membership to join and vote YES on Measure C."


Read Diane's letter here:

Complaint Filed with State Elections Watchdog over Official Legal Analysis of Napa County’s Measure C

Napa County – The attorney for the Yes on C campaign filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) late on Monday, May 7th, charging that the Napa County Board of Supervisors, as well as Supervisors Ramos and Pedroza, are “actively engaged in an unregistered and unreported campaign against the Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative of 2018, which has been placed on the June 5, 2018, ballot as Napa County Measure C.” Read the entire complaint filed here:

The complaint asks the FPPC to take enforcement action against the county for unlawfully using public funds to prepare a “9111 Report” that advocates against Measure C.  The county’s report was prepared by the law firm the county previously retained to keep a very similar ballot measure off the ballot in 2016. Under the California Constitution, public officials are prohibited from using taxpayer dollars to advocate for or against a ballot measure. Instead, the California Supreme Court has directed that any materials prepared at public expense must be limited to “fair presentation” of “all relevant facts” and cannot be used “to promote a partisan position in an election campaign.”

“The county’s 9111 report on Measure C is so outside the norms of what these analyses typically include that it’s a stretch to call it a ‘9111 report’ at all,” said Robert “Perl” Perlmutter of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP, the law firm that drafted the language of Measure C as well as previously adopted citizens’ initiatives in Napa County, Measures J and P. “The report is campaign advocacy paid for with taxpayer dollars, plain and simple. We feel confident that the FPPC will agree with our position.”

Under state elections law, public agencies like boards of supervisors and city councils have the authority to prepare reports informing voters about the potential impacts of citizens initiatives that affect their local jurisdictions. These analyses, known as 9111 reports (in reference to a section in the California Elections Code), are authorized to examine seven specified effects of county initiatives as well as any other matters the board requests. The county’s report was drafted in a biased manner that did not consider any of Measure C’s benefits and failed to analyze any of the seven effects identified in the Elections Code.

The report contains no discussion of how and to what degree Measure C will further its stated goals of ensuring long-term protections for Napa County’s oak woodlands, streams, and wetlands. The approach taken in the Measure C report stands in stark contrast to the approach taken in past 9111 reports for other Napa County ballot measures.

According to the FPPC complaint, “the 69-page report . . . reads as if it were a legal hit piece prepared for an opponent of Measure C, with the sole purpose of cataloguing every conceivable ground—no matter how flimsy—for potentially challenging Measure C in court.” The complaint points out that the executive summary in the report highlights the allegedly “significant” likelihood that Measure C’s opponents will file litigation against Measure C on numerous grounds. But the report then buries the fact that such potential lawsuits against the measure would most likely fail in court. 

The report repeatedly asserts that key terms in the initiative might be attacked as unconstitutionally vague, without mentioning that those same terms are repeatedly used in the county’s existing laws, the county has never had a problem interpreting them, and they have never been legally challenged.

The complaint also names Supervisors Ramos and Pedroza, who signed the ballot arguments against Measure C that relied on the taxpayer-funded report to promote their political position on this matter. 

The complaint alleges that the board and these individual supervisors violated state law by unlawfully using public funds for campaign purposes. It also argues that “they have violated numerous provisions of the Political Reform Act by: (1) failing to file the required independent expenditure verification; (2) failing to include any legally required disclaimers on certain campaign materials; and (3) failing to acknowledge their ongoing campaign finance reporting obligations.”

“The bottom line is that the county’s report about Measure C is replete with fundamentally misleading, biased, and inflammatory statements. It’s a campaign document, and must be treated accordingly,” concluded Perlmutter.

Letter sent to Fair Political Practices Commission names the Board of Supervisors and
Supervisors Ramos and Pedroza for using taxpayer funds to support campaign activity.

Read Measure C carefully, then vote yes



Letter to the Editor - St. Helena Star by Michael Honig



As the 2017 Chair of the Napa Valley Vintners board of directors, I worked with other community members to develop what has become Measure C. I’m writing to encourage you to join me in voting yes on C.

There is a lot of noise out there right now as people take sides and disseminate various arguments regarding development of the Napa Valley. There are those who believe that the future of the Valley depends upon more growth and others who wish to limit growth.

In 1968, when the Agriculture Preserve was originally created, many people voted against their own economic self-interest to protect the land and limit its exploitation. We are facing another such decision and as a vintner and long-time resident I am deeply concerned that a no vote on Measure C will erode decades of important protection of our precious land.

Measure C will not stop agriculture and, in fact, only pertains to certain specific areas in the Agricultural Watershed. Currently there are thousands of acres that could be developed as well as thousands more that are already entitled to development but have not been developed. I’m concerned that inaccurate information is being circulated as both sides of the argument fight for a win.

I urge you to carefully read Measure C for yourselves and try to disregard the slanted and misleading arguments that are circulating. After understanding exactly what the measure will and will not do, I hope that you will also vote yes.

Michael Honig