Napa League responds to letter about watershed initiative

By Robyn Orsini - Letter to the Editor - Napa Valley Register


This letter is in response to Julie Ann Kodmur’s letter of March 8 (“Forum on watershed initiative was biased”), in which she was disheartened that the League of Women Voters of Napa County did not uphold “standards of impartiality, of research into critical issues, [and] of fair and honest debates of candidates and initiatives.”

It is true that in its Voter Services activities, the League is scrupulously nonpartisan, in that it does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office. During election years, it holds balanced candidate forums, as well as forums that impartially discuss ballot measures based on in-depth data.

What Julie Ann does not realize is that for 98 years all local, state, and U.S. Leagues have also been invested in advocacy efforts. U.S. and state Leagues continually lobby legislatures and Congress, based on grassroots studies and much research on which broad consensus is reached. The Napa League recently held programs about immigration issues and climate change, both backed by U.S. and California League policies.

Supported by the U.S. and California Leagues’ long-standing positions on protecting water resources and land conservation, including watersheds, the Napa County League voted to support Measure C, the Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative.

The program on Monday, March 12, 6:30–8:30 p.m., at the Napa County Library, co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, is not a “forum;” rather, like other issue-oriented programs, its purpose is to educate the public about the importance of healthy watersheds. Among others, experts Dr. Tosha Comendant and Certified Consulting Arborist Bill Pramuk, both members of the Napa County Watershed Information and Conservation Council, will be speaking about the science behind the initiative.

Since a different form of the initiative failed to be placed on the ballot in 2016, no action has been taken by any government body to codify watershed protections, thus helping to guarantee the quality and quantity of groundwater resources. The LWVNC supports Measure C because we believe, after studying the amendments it makes to the General Plan and other ordinances, that it is the first step in creating such protections, particularly when we anticipate continuing drought conditions.

League members hope that the public will educate themselves on the importance of maintaining healthy watersheds––much of which remain undeveloped and forested by mature oaks, a host of other trees, and chaparral.

Robyn Orsini, President