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Post election wrap up--on a few of the more interesting races

some specific post election thoughts--what are yours?



Measure U


This was a measure that probably got the most raw emotion
going this time around. Land use, what else would do that? Proponents tend to
blame the massive TV advertising budget of PUC, but it seems like it is hard to
stop a project when there is no specific project there being proposed. Voters
can't wrap their minds around a general plan designation. PUC continues to be
very evasive about their plans so when they have some, which they obviously do,
it may be a different story. In the meantime it is a setback for Save Rural
Angwin.


Prop 30


Californians pass a tax, what do you know? I voted for this
with the feeling that I was bailing out a goof off relative one more time. State
workers (in general, not all) still have too much in pension, in health
benefits and are often overpaid. The prison guard pay is obscene. But yet...it
was for our schools which are in deep trouble. We are robbing our future with
young people and it is stupid to let them suffer any more. Did you know that
Napa Valley College has 16,000 students? That is a number that is almost 10% of
the county population. A lot. And if we don't educate them we will pay for
their welfare and prison later on.



Van Gorder vs Luce


This was a race that gave us what campaigns are supposed to
do, a way for the public to evaluate the candidates. It broke new ground in
being partisan and I have to say although the Republicans are famous for being
partisan, it was the Democrats in this case.

The partisanship might not have hurt Van Gorder too much,
but it was a few key errors in the last three weeks that really did hurt him.
Appearing to waffle on Napa Pipe, out of the blue bringing up expanding the WDO
(winery definition ordinance) along with an ugly picture of Luce on a flyer
that ended up on the front page of the Register were the deciding factors in
this very close race, I believe.

Luce also came on as more solid and stronger as the campaign
progressed. He appeared more firmly committed to a point of view that at one
time he appeared to be waffling on. I predict as the votes are counted from
those who voted the latest Luce will gain on Van Gorder.



Tea Party Conservatives


One comment on the Obama vs Romney race. The Tea Party is
hurting themselves with their extremism and more and more people are starting
to tune them out. They are in such a self enclosed bubble that a lot of them
don't even appear to recognize it. It is not that there is anything wrong with
their policies, it is that they seem more concerned with the size of Michelle
Obama's behind than they do coming up with a believable plan to fix the
deficit. We have to work together, and if one side is perpetually at war with
the other then our national crisis is only going to get worse. It will get
worse until it turns into a colossal tragedy, which then probably will bring us
together. Why wait for that?

 

Measure T

I am happy that this passed and I am happy that Napa voters
recognized that regardless of what is going on in Sacramento, we can and need
to create our own destiny and take care of ourselves. The local governments,
unlike the state, have done an excellent job in holding down spending and being
responsible to taxpayers. We deserve a beautiful county, and we have to separate
ourselves from the irresponsible budget problems of the state because we do not
have them here.

The next thing is to fund our parks and open space. We have
to find a way to pay for them as that will help not only the beauty of the
county but ensure the open space we need to maintain the ag preserve. As a
newly elected Parks and Open Space District Director myself, I plan to work
toward that end.



The future of Napa and Scott Sedgley


Napa is growing by leaps and bounds, over 1200 new citizens
in the last year, downtown is hopping at night now, even during the week, and
lots of new and exciting things to do and see, not the least of which are the
new theaters. That's all good.


The one problem with growth that we can't seem to solve is
the traffic, and we are on a course toward becoming overwhelmed with it. I
don't think most people realize it, although some do. Most of the business
promoting sorts in town are not really concerned about it. They just figure it
is something you have to live with if you want growth.


One person who does get it is Scott Sedgley, who said that
in about ten years traffic will be so bad that we won't be able to get
upvalley. He is the only one in his position publicly who has said things like
that, and I was gratified to hear it. I was very favorably impressed with him overall
and look forward to what new ideas and input he will bring to the city council.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alex Shantz November 09, 2012 at 06:59 AM
A few quick thoughts: I see a lot parallels between the NO on U campaign and the NO on 37 campaign. Both campaigns were funded by deep pockets and used very dirty campaign tactics to instill fear into voters. Also, I really recent this notion that local politics are "non-partisan". All politics are partisan. Politics is about the struggle and resolution of conflicting views. A person can be partisans of developers and corporate interests. A person can be partisans of unions and working class people. Or, a person can even be partisans of the environment. Lastly, I can't stand the fact that the Van Gorder mailer in question was considered a hit piece! It was a mailer which contained true information about Mark Luce's record. When I think of a hit piece I think of something that truly attacks the character of a candidate in a very personal way. Gordon Huether's letter which attacked Napa Local was more of a hit piece then this mailer.
Michael Haley November 09, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Alex, yes I have seen your mini debates with Kevin Hangman, Chair of the GOP, on the Register over the partisan issue and he agrees with you. I don't exactly, yes, everyone has a point of view so in that sense there is partisanship. But there is truth, too, reality is not entirely subjective. So I think partisan to me means some level of lying, and there are levels of it. There are half truths which are the most dangerous because they are the most believable lies. And there are intentionally ugly photos that misrepresent someone regardless of what words accompany them, which is a kind of personal attack. Was it really possible to learn something about Mark Luce's record from that mailer? I didn't. It got lost in the way it looked, which I believe was intentional.
Alex Shantz November 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
We will have to agree to disagree on the mailer. I feel the mailer raised relevant issues. The BOS plays a role in budgeting for health and human services. I think Luce should have either defended his record or clarified his position. Instead, he complained he was being unfairly attacked. I think it’s fair to expect things like this to come up in a political race. Concerning partisanship, I agree there is truth. The truth is, a given action will have real consequences on a person, a group of people, or the entire community. Not everyone will be happy or pleased. To me, partisanship is tied to the reasons a politician makes a given decision. What person or group is a given politician really looking out for? Maybe this isn’t a conventional definition of partisanship but it’s how I view the concept.
Alex Shantz November 09, 2012 at 08:03 PM
On a separate note, what are your views on the Calistoga race? I find it very interesting. Voters decided to pass Measure B. However, it’s looking like Carl Sherrill, a fierce Silver Rose opponent won a city council seat. And, Charlotte Williams, an anti-Silver Rose activist, is almost in second place. What do you make of that?
Michael Haley November 09, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Yes, technically the original meaning of the word partisan is simply someone who believes in something and stands up for it. Now to me it means someone who is willing to lie to one degree or another. Even among well intentioned honest people to be a partisan now means to ignore the valid points coming from the other side and not include them in your thinking. I actually do not think you are like that, at all. Greens are very inclusive and sincerely so. That is one of the things I really like about the Green party.
Michael Haley November 09, 2012 at 09:18 PM
That you don't need to get 50% of the vote to win a council seat. The partisans (to coin a phrase!:) against the Silver Rose had enough votes to put their candidate in office but not enough to stop the Silver Rose project. Also there may be other reasons they like Carl Sherrill, perhaps? I actually haven't followed Calistoga that closely so I may be off here.
Mark Luce November 11, 2012 at 04:02 PM
What relevant issues? The accusations were that I was attacking "women's health", something Van Gorder never raised in our various debates as he knows it simply is not true. I responded to letters to the editor with their false claims around funding Planned Parenthood. No one would actually debate me on any of these issues. And if they wanted to debate these issues, they would have been issues 9 months ago, not in the last two weeks. There were no real issues in his mailers, only hot button propaganda.
Michael Haley November 11, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Alex, I think although Mark Luce responded to my post, it was for you. I did not see any relevant issues in the mailer. I only saw what was in the Register, my recollection is that besides the photo the rest was deliberately vague.
Lisa Batto November 11, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Great summation...I think it will be less than 10 years before we can't really move around the valley, unless we do something to help now. With the Climate Action Plan looming and cars being a major contributor to the County portion of Greenhouse Gasses, I wonder if there is any way to encourage people to tour responsibly? Our tour companies are doing a good job of transporting folks around the valley...but I wonder if we can't do more to encourage group visits and discourage single trips? How can we make it cool and easy to travel together? When visiting any place outside the USA - you encounter mass travel opportunities - shuttles, trains, tours are offered and used...it takes some good thinking with all of our partners to come up with a plan reduce congestion and make a difference. It's also going to take the help of all the businesses in our destination, large corporations and the little guy. I have a lot of seemingly strange ideas - like what if you had to pay to park at a winery? What if you could rent an electric car and get FREE parking? We need to manage our transportation, not have our transportation run over us. I hate to compare us to Anaheim...they began managing transportation years ago. Disneyland wants maximum number of people in their Park. Anaheim created a transportation plan. Paid for by the merchants using the service and government - benefiting the community. And they monitor it for change so they can continue to improve it. Forward looking!!
Michael Haley November 11, 2012 at 10:26 PM
thanks Lisa. On Anaheim, how is their plan working, do you know? Napa presents such a unique set of circumstances that it is difficult to sort it all out, not the least of which is that we are actually a very small place which has a lot of land taken up by farming to boot. I am studying it a lot, actually, and will write more about it soon. One thing that other heavily visited locations do, like Orlando and San Francisco for instance, is direct most of the tourist traffic to certain areas and away from locals. Orlando has international drive, built a freeway straight from the airport to Disney and the hotels, and when people visit there they don't even realize it, but the locals love it because in Orlando all you have to do is avoid those places. Disney totally controls all of it and they did a fantastic job there, planned it from the get go. We can't do that here because the place is small and the upper valley is where almost all the wineries are.
Alex Shantz November 12, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Mark Luce, I appreciate you taking the time to respond. The mailer claimed you support a constitutional amendment to nullify Roe Vs. Wade. The mailer cited an article from the San Fransisco Chronicle. I don't recall reading a response from you concerning that. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment to nullify Roe Vs. Wade? I don't remember seeing an answer to that specific question. I do think this is a relevant issue. Because, change often occurs from the bottom up. So, the views our local elected officials have do have an impact on national issue. All though, the election is already over, I appreciate you response.
Alex Shantz November 12, 2012 at 02:20 AM
"Even among well intentioned honest people to be a partisan now means to ignore the valid points coming from the other side and not include them in your thinking." This is where I am coming from. I became political conscious during the Bush years. I saw us go to war and bomb the crap out of innocent people on a pack of lies. I saw our civil liberties being violated through the Patriot Act and things like extraordinary rendition. I saw a vicious right wing movement emerge aimed at deregulating corporations and axing social services. I've seen college tuition skyrocketing and student debt reach up to $1 trillion. I've the social safety net mercilessly attacked. And, I never saw real opposition. I never saw Democrats doing enough to fight back. They always claimed they didn't have enough votes. And then Obama got elected. And, one of the first things he did is sit down with Republicans and insurance companies to hash out a healthcare bill that everyone could get behind. He tried compromising, and got resistance from Republicans the entire way. And, even though he bent over backwards to compromise, he ended up having to push his healthcare bill through with all the Democrats voting for it. He could have, instead, used his progressive base to push something like singer-payer health care through. Its just one example. But, part of my disillusionment with the two party system stems seeing Democrats being too bi-partisan.
Lisa Batto November 12, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Glad you are researching - on Anaheim its working very well. The recent addition was a sort of super entrance to Disney for people driving in to the parking area. In Anaheim, they have a major convention center, the stadium for the Angels and Disneyland all within a few miles of each other. What I think they have done a terrific job at is to get people to walk or ride public transportation. The ARC as they call it, I believe was developed through public and private funds. Every person who stays at a local hotel receives a free pass to ride the system. Yes, it is focused getting to and from Disneyland - keeping people parked at their hotels and off the roads - and it works. When I visited New Zealand, the only way I could get to other towns was to ride the train or take a scheduled van ride. This worked very well. I didn't want to drive and their were plenty of options to get around the town. What I see in Napa is lack of options - right now. It may come to a point in the future that our wineries will be forced into developing a plan, and that is beginning with the county Climate Action Plan - we need to be forward thinking and be proactive instead of reactive. I realize its not easy to get Americans out of their cars. It takes a lot of effort on the part of government, residents and businesses to improve our systems. We may be unique, but we are all experiencing the same frustration as we drive north...I believe we can manage this problem.
Michael Haley November 12, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Lisa, yes we should engage the wineries, I think it will be in their interest. If it gets to a point that their visitors can't get to their tasting rooms, it will impact them severely. High end clientele like we are supposed to be trying to attract are not going to sit in traffic when they have so many other options. Also, one thing that concerns me is that we are not building with walking or public transit in mind---like putting the new theaters where everyone has to drive to get there, as opposed to downtown where at least in the future it will be feasible to think people could ride or walk there. When the Gasser project is built at least those people could walk there.
Michael Haley November 12, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I agree with everything you said there, it is not a matter of partisanship to me, it is a matter of sticking to your guns and getting something done. The only thing Obama did right in what you wrote above is that at least he got health care through. It was on a straight line party vote as it was, but now that it is in place, it can be improved on. I guess I agree with you about being partisan as long as one doesn't lie or spin to achieve goals, and also to recognize that the other side has some legitimate points. You can't be so partisan as to not recognize a good compromise when you see one,like one dollar in tax increases for every ten in spending cuts that the President offered the GOP and they turned it down.
Alex Shantz November 13, 2012 at 02:54 AM
"I agree with everything you said there, it is not a matter of partisanship to me, it is a matter of sticking to your guns and getting something done." Perhaps that is a better distinction.
Lisa Batto November 25, 2012 at 03:54 AM
I realize I'm pretty late in commenting on your last post. I think it would have concerned me more to put a large cineplex that demands so much parking when key movies are playing, downtown. We don't seem to have the capacity to service that many people in downtown, with parking. Even with the old theater parking was always an issue - even when I was young. Until the new theater was built we went to Vallejo to watch movies. 1) the place was healthier 2) we always found easy parking. Living in Westwood, I could walk or ride a bike downtown, and we would do so on the weekends for a fun day. My point is, that the new theater is in walking distance for many people and parking is plentiful. Bus pick up and drop off is located nearby for mass transit. It has left a hole for Napa Downtown, but one that will probably be filled shortly. Construction is picking up, and developers are looking for the next project - financing seems to be loosening. We as citizens, need to be aware and participate if we want to be part of the solution.
Michael Haley November 25, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Lisa, I'm still here reading, the email notice is nice. I agree with your view, and there is also the matter of Century Theaters being a private company and they obviously preferred that site. It's a lot bigger than the old site. What we are doing, gradually though, is spreading out and getting a lot bigger. As you say, construction is picking up and loans are probably gettting easier to get, and it looks like the economy will pick up considerably next year. My concern is, are we ready and can we handle all the traffic we are about to generate? Are we going to like the new big Napa, and will we be able to maintain the sense of community we have had (that is fantastic) when we get a lot bigger? I don't think the theaters are a big issue in that, and I didn't mean to get off on that tagent. I am more concerned about all the hotels that are being planned, now they are talking about a thousand new rooms just downtown. I really don't think we can handle that without a lot of problems developing. As you say, we don't even have the room to service the theaters downtown. Perhaps we need to convert that spot into another parking garage. I know the sustainable development people won't like it, but....what else can we do?
Lisa Batto November 26, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Michael, yes the notification is nice - I think mine was turned off! I agree - we aren't ready for the the traffic we are about to generate. As far as sustainable development goes, (I'm part of that group!) Maybe the theater area needs to be a parking garage - it could be reserved for all electric, hybrid, low emission diesel and alternative fuel vehicles. Just a future thought! Sustainable Development is a pretty deep issue and providing ways for people to move around outside of their cars is just one small piece. I smile because when you say the new big Napa, that is pretty close to the same words my Dad used about 20 years ago. In his eyes we have been this big new Napa for a long time. Our community in his eyes disappeared when they changed downtown. Honestly, The sense of community, to me, comes from being involved with your neighbor, whether that is in business or the person next door. I'm not certain for everyone that this means downtown is important. it isn't for my parents and I can imagine there are thousands more like them. The town of Napa is meant to get bigger. This is where our community grows and opportunity abounds. Housing should be here, hotels, restaurants, etc...we can't have this overspill into our green spaces. There are a lot of things not being spoken about between our governments and businesses....what will happen is government regulation will force businesses to participate - AB32, County's CAP, City Green Building Ord...why wait?
Michael Haley November 26, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Lisa, this is on my older blog, I just noticed that. Anyway, on the point about Napa being meant to get bigger, that is what I am struggling with. I am not sure I am going to like it or that it is going to work. Napa has gone through waves of growth, but that happens because people make it happen, developers push for it and the community wants it. But to me it is like filling up a glass with water, when there is very little you can add a lot. But when it gets to the top you can't put any more in without spilling it. Napa was laid out as a farming town, the valley is small,and with the farmland there is no where to go to build out roads. We are getting closer and closer to our capacity limit. American Canyon is at that point already, and I really don't want to go there just so we can add yet more hotels and restaurants. I guess I just don't see that as progress. I dunno....will have to think about it some more. It is an important to have a discussion about what is community too, I think it more has to do with people loving their community as a whole, which people do in Napa.

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