The Grand Coalition initial meeting
Bill Hocker | Jan 21, 2015
Sandy Ericson of the St Helena Window attended and has given a description of the meeting in an email which I take the liberty of copying here (since I can't figure out how to link to the email directly):
It had to happen. Yesterday at the Marriott Hotel in Napa, 50 leaders of neighborhood (some un-named) and district organizations came together. The goals were to organize and pool their energy, resources and plain ol' clout in the on-going struggle for citizens' interests to be represented as winery expansion reaches saturation. The meeting was historic and will result in more highly skilled opposition to proposed plans, not to mention major changes in the County's political climate. Some of the players: Get a Grip on Growth, Save Yountville Hill, Mt. Veeder Stewardship Council, St. Helena citizens, Calistoga citizens, Defenders of the East Napa Watersheds, Save Rural Angwin, Living Rivers Council, Protect Rural Napa, Sierra Club.
The mood was balanced but serious and the room was highly aware of the need to move decisively and soon. Budget season is upon us, there are 40+ pending applications, the drought is on-going, Direct To Consumer is turning wineries into Disney sets and daily life is gridlock. Nonetheless, over and over, people came back to the greatest threat, the loss of trees, wildlife and natural resources that once gone will never return as we face a rising climate heat.
It is critical now that there be a moratorium on applications and a County-wide summit meeting of all interests to establish a new philosophy/policy/plan for our collective future. Meeting room combat over every application without a breather or a new approach is a waste of time and resources -- just the costs of EIR's and attorneys alone will be exorbitant. To begin the thinking, here's a short one-page place to start. It is about fundamental ethics.
The issue is also about business. The thinking of many in the wine industry goes like this: Too many wineries mean too much demand for NV grapes, which will mean either more vineyards in the hills (with little water) or demand from wineries to drop the 75% NV grapes rule. Then what?
Sandy has an encyclopedic knowledge of the issues we face and her emails are always an informative (and often entertaining) read. Please sign up for her email list here.
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