Dillon vs. Perez
Bill Hocker | Mar 12, 2018
NVR 3/9/18: Dillon and Perez to face off for Napa County supervisor seat
As the makeup of the current Napa County Board of Supervisors goes, Supervisors Dillon and Wagenknecht, both up for re-election this year, might be considered the left wing, representing a conservationist ethos, as opposed to the right wing majority devoted to development or "growth" interests. As the most senior supervisors, with long service to the Napa community before that, both have have a connection to and a first-hand appreciation of the battles waged to protect the county from urbanization, in the WDO, measures J and P and the 2007 drafting of the current General Plan. As such, over these last 4 years, as changes to the other 3 seats have pushed the board in an even more development-oriented direction, community groups opposed to that development trajectory have looked to them to be allies and defenders of Napa's rural heritage. Unfortunately, in an age of corporate and plutocrat takeover of the wine industry and the push for tourism development to increase profits, they have not been as supportive as needed for the growing efforts to slow the profit- and wealth-fueled degradation of Napa's rural environment and way of life.
Supervisor Dillon is being challenged by former Farm Bureau President Cio Perez for her seat on the board. Where business-centric Sup. Mark Luce, in 2016, was successfully challenged by development interests for his flirtation with the idea of banning further wineries in the AP, the conservation-minded Sup. Dillon is being challenged from the left for not making an effort to deal with the urbanizing forces that Sup. Luce had recognized. Both Sups. Dillon and Luce, each nitty-gritty policy wonks, have honestly sought solutions with a nod to both conservationists and developers. Unfortunately, in this age of developer supremacy (from the President on down) which rejects centrist solutions, communities throughout the county have been forced to rise in grass-roots efforts to counter the threat.
Three choices in the June election, Measure C, Measure D and the District 3 supervisor race are all about one issue: what this place will be 50 years from now. Do we continue the urban trajectory that has begun to fill the vineyards with event centers and parking lots, to deforest and endanger our watersheds for vineyard estates and more event centers, to promote a tourism economy that brings ever more transients, workers and traffic, stressing resources and infrastructure and changing the nature of the county's small town and rural character, and to continue a development model that places the interests of a small number of wealthy individuals and corporations over those of the majority of residents that live in the county.
Diane Dillon does have a record of commitment to preservation issues in the county and, as Supervisor, where preservation doesn't threaten the wine or tourism industry she will come down on that side. (In all fairness, in the high profile battle directly pitting agriculture against tourism represented by the Raymond decision, she supported agriculture.) But these are not subtle times and the dangers of losing the battle to prevent the urbanization of Napa are more real than they have been since the AP was created.
A small hope may exist that Sup. Dillon, if re-elected, will rediscover her conservationist roots and be the voice and vote that Napa needs if it is to remain a sustainable rural-agricultural enclave in the Bay Area for the next 50 years. But right now, seeing equivocating decisions that tout conservationist bona fides while voting for more development, that's a big if. And needing developer support to fend off a challenge from the left will make her future support of conservation issues even less likely.
Cio Perez, with deep farming roots and a long and vocal commitment to support the original ideals of the Ag Preserve to insure that agriculture remains the prime economic engine of the county in the face of tourism and good-life urbanization, now appears to better represent the aggressive defense needed to protect the Ag Preserve ideals against the assault. Cio Perez at this point is a surer choice.
copyright © sodacanyonroad.org