When the Farm Bureau and its allied wine and hospitality industry partners use the “highest and best use” language, they are talking about vineyard and winery development - period. Never mind the historical agricultural uses of much of the Valley’s land, such as grains, vegetables and orchards. Never mind that the once-prevalent use of grazing on hillsides (“fuel management" in current wildfire-speak) greatly aided in the minimization of devastating conflagrations such as those of last October.
I want to tell you why I am voting 'yes' on Measure C. I have lived in the same location in the county for over 50 years. My husband and I had a well dug in the late 1960s. We thought it was overkill, but we went to 405 feet. For years, we did not worry about having enough water for our home and gardens
This report shows that groundwater is currently being removed at a sustainable level (defined as 17,000-20,000 acre-ft/year). Seventy-seven percent of the groundwater removed is used by vineyards and wineries. Sixty-three percent of the groundwater recharge comes from the hillside watersheds (upland watersheds). This means the ability of our hillside watersheds to recharge the groundwater is critical for Napa Valley’s agriculture.
The Napa Valley will change, but it should only change for the better. There is plenty of land available in the outlying county for the planting of vineyards. Therefore there is no need, beyond perceived self-interest, to destroy the Valley’s signature landscape. Measure C is a modest first step in what must be an ongoing effort to conserve the legacy of the hard-fought battles of the past.
As stewards of the land, it is our responsibility to look after our resources for the sake of the children, the wildlife and the economic well-being. Say Yes for Watersheds, Woodland and Wildlife. Yes on Measure C.
I realize that change is necessary if you are going to be a successful farmer. However, how many new vineyards and wineries do we need? There are many vineyards already in the watershed. It only takes a Sunday drive along the rural roads to see them here, there and everywhere. How many more vineyards are needed to satisfy the opponents of Measure C before enough is enough?
Vintner Joyce Black Sears is a supporter of Measure C, as well as the co-owner of Black Sears Vineyards in Angwin. Her reasons for supporting Measure C, she says, runs as deep as her long history in the county and her love for her neighbors, her fellow citizens, her grandchildren and her environment.
"For these agricultural lands to continue to thrive into the future, the watershed must also be preserved. Without a secure water supply, the Ag Preserve is a meaningless designation. We must protect the oak-studded hillsides from encroachment to replenish our groundwater and sustain the quality of the water that flows into the Napa River. Particularly with drought becoming more common in our region, protecting our water supply is essential for Napa Valley’s future."
YES on C Campaign was forced to take opponents to court over misleading arguments presented for taxpayer-funded Voter Information Pamphlet. Napa County Superior Court ordered that five objectively false and misleading statements in Measure C opponents’ official ballot arguments be removed from the ballot pamphlet and replaced with modified language. Ballot arguments appear in Voter Information Pamphlets that are printed and mailed out by the County Registrar of Voters. Because these documents are printed and distributed using taxpayer funds, individuals have the right to challenge ballot arguments that they believe are objectively false. Free speech protects persuasive language, but it does not allow campaigns to present false information to voters. Per state law, the court can only approve changes to ballot arguments that have been shown to be objectively false and misleading
"Passage of Measure C will help protect oak woodlands, biodiversity, aquatic habitat, endangered steelhead trout, and the community’s water supply. Development pressures and the influence of big money have made protection of Napa Valley uplands challenging."
This analysis also found that even the headwaters of rivers are very impacted from human activities, mostly due to development along the surrounding land for headwaters. More than a third of headwaters were impacted.
Headwaters are the source of clean drinking water for many Americans. So that has a very direct impact on the health of communities, and if headwaters start out damaged, diverted or polluted, it literally all goes downhill from there.
For Dunn and those in favor, Measure C is about fulfilling the legacy of the Ag Preserve: taking a stand to keep Napa bucolic. No one understands this better than Winiarski, the founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, who actively campaigned for the Ag Preserve in 1968 and is now campaigning for Measure C.
"“It was easier in 1968 to think about agriculture as a favorable alternative to housing development,” Winiarski says. “But agriculture at its current rate is unsustainable, because the resources of this valley are not endlessly exploitable.
“Agriculture is the highest and best use,” he continues, “only if it’s qualified.”"