"In the West, as in Napa, natural beauty is being "harvested," in the argot of the developer."
-- James Conaway
James Conway's Opinion Editorial in the Napa Valley Register on Friday says it all in one short article: Napa County is being exploited by outside money. Developers ignore or belittle the concerns of neighbors as they push vineyards into our fragile hillsides, as witnessed once again this last week with the Board of Supervisor's denial of the appeal of remote Mountain Peak Winery. Conaway states this is but a microcosm of what is happening in the country "and not even global warming can scotch this bonanza."
His is a rallying cry for citizens. We still have the vote, and it is critically important that we use it in electing officials who do listen to the electorate and are not bought off by developers, the wine and hospitality industries. We must pass initiatives which legislate to protect our precious environment and community when our elected officials fail us.
For a quarter of a century Conaway's books have chronicled the history of the Napa Valley. His most recent book, Napa at Last Light, is to be published in February 2018.
From a concerned citizen in response to the Conaway article:
"The massive development that is taking place in Napa County is not sustainable for the natural ecology of the region, from deforestation to groundwater depletion. These levels of development are also not economically supportable due to the requirements of new infrastructure and ongoing needed maintenance. Witness the burdens on roadways caused by thousands of workers and tourists, and service vehicles driving in and out of Napa County. With these problems, we are naive to think that that money is not changing hands behind the scenes which gives development a boost and results in nearly every proposed project getting government approval."