Say 'no' to deception, Yes to Measure C

A Letter to the Editor by Linda Kerr, May 27th, 2018


"Deception: noun.  Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary - "the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid."

The No on Measure C campaign of deception continues. They troll in the gutter for new ways to deceive the voters. “Event centers”, “traffic” – they know these words and all of their deceptions invoke strong negative emotions for many in the community. And they know these assertions are false.

Their mailers have included the name of a strong and outspoken supporter of the Yes on C campaign. And a deceased individual. And those that were neutral. Deception.

And now the latest mailer, makes it appear, in an oh so subtle sleight of hand, that the Napa Land Trust is against Measure C. The Land Trust is neutral. Deception strikes again.

They will say and do whatever it takes to make sure you are confused and dissuaded from supporting your own best interests. Don’t let them. Know the facts.

What will your 'yes' vote on Measure C do? It’s as simple as one, two, three. It will:

1. Place a cap on oak woodland removal. Current county practice places no limits on removal – the result, clear cutting of hillside oaks has become business as usual.

2. Increase water quality buffer zones along streams and wetlands.

3. Increase oak tree replanting.

Together, this will protect the quality and quantity of water flowing to our reservoirs and groundwater aquifers.

Don’t let deception guide your choice. Water is a limited resource. Say “Yes” to a more secure, stable, and cleaner water future for us, for our businesses, for our agriculture.

Linda Kerr


You’ve had bad habits all along; Now it's just official

A Letter to the Editor by Angela Camp, May 27, 2018



Say you are a 6-foot, 2-inch man and weigh 239 pounds. Just a random example.

By the official categorization, you’re overweight, but not obese. You think, “I’m a little heavy, but everything is fine.” Then, you go into a doctor and see you weigh more like 245.


Have you experienced a major weight gain? Not really, just a few pounds. However, you’re now in the obese category.

Your doctor says to watch your eating and get better exercise. You need to be on a program. This needs your attention. Bad things will happen if you don’t do something. You automatically get enrolled in programs by your health care provider.

You argue that nothing has changed much from your last weigh-in, so why all the fuss now? It’s just a couple pounds. Did the change from "overweight" to "obese" suddenly change what you need to do?

Actually not. You should have been watching what you eat and getting exercise all along. You should have been on a program to get into a healthy weight and watch all the things that lead to a healthy state. You should have been exercising regularly for many years.

Now, there’s a spotlight on it and everyone is paying attention and offering help. What do you do? Fight the idea that you need to get healthier or start jogging?

This is the situation with the Napa water basin. The state Department of Water Resources just recategorized Napa from Medium priority to High priority in a preliminary report.

The actual evaluative score went up just a few points, from being very high in the Medium category across the line into the High priority. It’s not a major change, numerically.

There was no single egregious action that screwed up the water table. It’s all of the things that happen - more wells being drilled, more vineyards planted, more people living here that put pressure on our natural water resource that are tripping alarms.

We need to do more. We need to have been doing more all along to protect water resource and quality, both underground and on the surface. We need to control the growing consumption better, and protect the supply. We need to get formal about this to protect the future. What we have been doing is not enough.

One thing we can do is protect the watersheds. That’s where the water comes from that ends up in the groundwater and in the surface streams. We can slow down and stop deforesting watersheds, because those forests capture water and guide it into the water table, so it is available all year round and finds its way to the basin under the valley.

One thing we can do right now, before any meetings, is to vote Yes on Measure C, which very simply protects the watersheds. We need to control our tree-cutting diet.

Angela Camp


California’s water pollution laws languishing without enforcement

There is nothing more Californian than our ability to swim, surf and fish in clean water. And yet, we have fallen behind Kentucky and Texas when it comes to clean water enforcement. With industry advocates in the federal driver’s seat, we need state leaders in California to hold polluters accountable for harming our precious water resources.

Jared Blumenfeld for The San Francisco Chronicle, May 24th, 2018.

Photo: Russian Riverkeeper

Photo: Russian Riverkeeper

"Two years ago, I hiked the length of California and waded the Kern, Feather and San Joaquin rivers. At their beginnings, these waters are crystal clear, cold, flowing strong and clean. More than 40 years ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to protect these national treasures from pollution.

When California’s rivers leave the mountain snowmelt behind, they embark on a difficult journey. Many are diverted, drained and pumped dry before they reach the Pacific Ocean. Those that keep flowing are often polluted with heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, plastic bottles and runoff from industrial operations. In fact, the number of California rivers that failed to meet basic water quality standards for swimming, fishing and drinking shot up 170 percent from 2006 to 2010, (the last time our state undertook this legally required biannual task)."


Read the full article here:

Replanting alone is not enough. Support Measure C

Letter to the Editor by Patricia Damery, May 26 2018

To the Napa County Board of Supervisors: I applaud your decision supporting the planting of oaks in Napa County, as well as considering the replanting of conifers lost in the October fires ("Napa County wants to help with post-wildfire oak planting," May 24). We have been supporting RCD’s re-oaking the valley efforts for two years now, and it is great to see our board behind these programs.

However, I have been concerned about the effectiveness of these efforts. In Alston Park many of the new shoots that make it (and many do not) are taken by voles and other rodents. On our own ranch I see that oaks already grow where they grow best. Planting where oaks are not growing often results in failed attempts. We need more research on oak woodland and conifer restoration, which would be an important area for you to fund.

This is one reason that I support Measure C. To cut oak woodlands where they naturally grow, even if the replanting is only 2-1, or 3-1, is a net loss in the functions they provide (erosion control and groundwater restoration, carbon sequestration)— even when successful— for many years. Oaks grow slowly.

It does not make sense to keep cutting oaks— or conifers, for that matter, and then think replanting is going to mitigate that loss. We need you as our elected governing body to think more broadly about our hillsides, watersheds, and water supply. The most recent finding by the DWR reclassifies the Napa River basin as an area of high concern for water supply into the future and for our cities. It is critical you address this dire situation. Permitting more (irrigated) vineyards and development into our hillsides won’t do it.

Please address this serious situation. Supporting the replanting of acorns/trees is a baby beginning, but we need serious planning to protect our ecology so Napa County remains a jewel into the future.

Wine industry interests are threatening this, and increasingly these interests are corporate and outside interests. We need you to act on the behalf of the larger population of Napa County and on behalf of our environment.

Patricia Damery





Your Water: Who has your back?

Letter to the Editor by Gary Margadant, May 27 2018


In our county, many homes and businesses use water to stay viable and meet the needs of their owners and renters. If water is to be available to all in disaster, drought and plenty, are all users willing to share responsibility to make sure your water sources are sustainable, clean and drinkable? Can you rely on your neighbors to be good neighbors?

Water passes through all our properties on the way to groundwater, rivers and reservoirs that serve us all, so what must we do to make sure this passing water meets our neighbors needs? Are we good at this sustainable thing? A couple of California water agencies say 'no' and are sending us warnings. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) says our groundwater basin has problems we need to monitor and fix. The Regional Water Quality Board says our rivers are chocked with high levels of silt that essentially make the native fish homeless, and we need to fix this too.

The DWR says the major problems for the groundwater come from various sources: Population, total wells, public wells, irrigated acres, water quality, salt water intrusion. They require a Sustainable Agency to manage our groundwater with transparency of use, for we know not what we do without a water meter.

The Water Quality Board says the major problems are vineyard development in the hills that expose the soils to erosion that carry the silt to the rivers. They require the vineyard owners fix this with Best Practices.

Good neighbors cannot duck their responsibilities to us all and these agencies will be watching over us to make sure we do the sustainability things that benefits us all. We should do the same.

Measure C is proposing a tried and true good neighbor method of sustainability.

Vote Yes on Measure C.

Gary Margadant

Mount Veeder

Did You Know?

Letter to the Editor, by Norma J Tofanelli, Past President of Napa County Farm Bureau


Did you know that two experienced land-use lawyers wrote the legal text of the Measure C initiative? One, Tom Adams of Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty, represented the Napa Valley Vintners and the other, Robert Perlmutter, with Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, has often represented the Napa County Farm Bureau as well as Napa County itself.

Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger also wrote Measure J and successfully defended it before the California Supreme Court. Now, these organizations oppose Measure C Saying that it’s “legally misleading and confusing?”

Did you know that the boards of directors of the Napa Valley Vintners, the Napa County Farm Bureau and the Napa Valley Grapegrowers did not take any formal survey of their members before they voted to oppose Measure C? Many members, possibly even a majority, still support Measure C.

Did you know that Measure C allows the removal of 795 acres of oak woodlands - because this condition was required by the Napa Valley Vintners to get their original support? It effectively allows "business as usual" for the first 795 acres. That is why Measure C is needed to protect the rest.

Did you know that without Measure C, many thousands of acres more can be clear cut? With Measure C, once the 795-acre cap is reached, developers can apply for an oak removal permit, similar to what residents already do in every town and city in Napa County.

Reject corporate Big Money misstatement and deception. Reject deforestation as a means of expansion. Protect our reservoirs. Save our Watersheds. Yes on Measure C.

Norma J. Tofanelli

Napa County Farm Bureau Past President, 2013-16


Measure C Protects the Water We All Need

Letter to the Editor by Warren Winiarski, May 27 2018


I am replying to the May 20 letter by Garrett Buckland of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (“Grapegrowers set the gold standard for land stewardship”). The grapegrowers are wonderful stewards of their vineyards. But their gold standard stewardship doesn’t address the main problem that Measure C targets, namely, preventing the exhaustion of the Napa Valley’s water resources.

Everyone in Napa County -- including towns, cities, small farmers, and residents -- depend on our common water resources, and these resources are supplied by oak woodlands. And, oak woodlands are finite. If we continue without limit to allow oak woodlands to be removed and replaced by vineyards and wineries, we destroy that land’s capacity to recharge water supplies in the Napa River basin. It’s not a question of how many more acres of farmlands we’ve protected than have other California counties. Thanks to our Agricultural Preserve, we’re doing great on that score.

It’s a question of supporting the existing farmlands and communities with enough water for their needs. If we keep chipping away at the oak woodlands we have, soon they’ll be gone and the vineyards that replace them won’t have the water they need to prosper. Everyone understands “overgrazing;” the sheep starve and the pasture is destroyed.

According to research by the Napa Valley Vintners, who helped write Measure C, Napa County could still add 5,000 acres of vineyards in the Ag Watershed without removing any oak trees. But sooner or later, we will hit the limit of how many acres can be farmed with the available water resources. We got ahead of the trend 50 years ago by creating the Agricultural Preserve and preventing urban sprawl. Now we need to get ahead of the trend again, this time by protecting the wineries, vineyards, communities and residents by preserving the water they all need.

Measure J (which was unopposed) included the following statement: “The unique character of Napa County and quality of life of County residents depend on the protection of a substantial amount of open space lands. The protection of such lands not only ensures the continued viability of agriculture, but also protects the available water supply and contributes to flood control and the protection of wildlife, environmentally sensitive areas, and irreplaceable natural resources.”

Please uphold Napa County’s long tradition of shared natural resources, and join us in voting 'yes' on Measure C.

Warren Winiarski


Don't reward bad behavior

Letter to the Editor by Beth Mattei, May 26, 2018



I refuse to reward the bad behavior of the No on Measure C campaign.

The No on C folks were sued over false and misleading statements they tried to pass off as true in their original voter pamphlet guide arguments. The Napa County Superior Court ratified an agreement in which the No on C side would remove or replace five objectively false and misleading statements in their official ballot arguments and agree to pay their opponent's (the Yes on C folks') attorney's fees.

Yet the No on C folks spun that court decision in the most insidious ways.

In addition, No on C billboards and signs have made dubious claims like Measure C will “increase traffic” that even Dave Whitmer, a No on C spokesman, said at a public event was a “pretty weak argument.”

No on C are the ones who mislead the voters at public forums with comments like the Napa County Land Trust "does not endorse Measure C" when a more accurate statement is that the Land Trust is remaining neutral. This should not be viewed as a reluctance to endorse Measure C, but simply, the Land Trust’s historical policy of neutrality on such issues.

The Napa Land Trust has also directed the two people who are using their past affiliation with the Land Trust in No on C ads, flyers, and endorsers' lists to stop using that affiliation when listing their names. Let's see if they comply.

No on C printed a woman’s name as an endorser on their splashy newspaper ads without, as she said in a recent Letter to the Editor, her permission.

And finally, if you received a "COPS Voter Guide" in the mail that looks like a major public safety organization endorsing a No on C position, think again. COPS Voter Guide is a "pay to pay mailer" that rakes in millions of dollars by selling ads under the guise of "endorsements". Appearance in that guide was paid for and authorized by the No on C campaign. COPS Guide Inc. has no members.

You have to ask yourself why the No on C folks have resorted to these shady tactics? And can you trust anything they say?

Meanwhile, the Yes on C campaign has been honest throughout and has not resorted to intentionally misleading the voters. I am voting Yes on C for a number of reasons but among them are that I trust the intentions, integrity, and behavior of the Yes on C campaign. I hope you will vote "Yes" and support Measure C too.

Beth Mattei


Measure C critics trot out same old arguments

Letter to the Editor by Kathryn J. Winter, May 27 2018



The arguments against Measure C are the same anti-regulation opinions I heard 20 years ago while serving on the Napa County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

As with all land-use battles, the moneyed interests that have fought proposed rules in Napa County are at it again trying to kill Measure C. Many writers of the No on C letters who now tout the benefits of the Conservation Regulations fought against them tooth and nail.

The calls for more science, new task forces, less regulation, trust in the “stewards of the land,” and my favorite – the possibility of lawsuits - ring hollow to me. They are simply delaying tactics.

I support Measure C for conservation, canopy protection, clean water, consistent water supply, and logical continuation of regulations that protect our precious, finite resources, oak woodlands and wildlife corridors. Please vote yes on C.

Kathryn J. Winter


‘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.


"“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.”


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."