Editor's note: has kindly sent us the following letter. It is a response to another letter recently published as a . The writers have also provided their letters to other local media.
26 August 2012
I read with great interest the letter from Karen Garcia and Catherine George, “”
I am a Napa Local since 1963 and own a business downtown. Although I sympathize with the writers regarding the loss of a “local” business I could not disagree more with their proposed solutions that border on the ridiculous.
I might start by pointing out that the City of Napa recently adopted (May 1st 2012) a 250 page Downtown Specific Plan that was developed in a public forum with a committee made up by local citizens that included a wide spectrum of our community, including local business people. There were 10 public meetings and many community workshops. No one from the public or the committee expressed the slightest interest in restricting who and who couldn’t open a business in downtown Napa or asking property owners or the City to subsidize local small businesses.
In a nutshell we already have “asked residents to visualize downtown”, yes our residents have a say in what happens downtown and they have spoken, I am compelled to ask Ms. Garcia and Ms. George, where were you?
Anyone can read the document on the City of Napa’s website under the heading, Downtown Specific Plan.
And what according to “Napa Local” constitutes a local business? Is the owner of the local business required to live in Napa? Did you know that the owner of Baker Street lives in another County? And would she be required to sell cigars and cigarettes that are made only in Napa?
The evil empire of Starbucks started as a small business and so did Apple … is Apple now too rotten (too successful) for Napa if they wanted to open a store here? These businesses and many like them should be welcome in Napa, not discouraged. These businesses were built by people with vision, courage, innovation, and hard work and are an important part of what makes this country great. These are vital components to a thriving local economy.
And what of the evil developers and property owners? Do you mean local entrepreneurs like Harry Price, Todd Zapolski, Michael Holcolm and many others like them? These local people have invested heavily in downtown Napa at great personal risk. I find it ludicrous to suggest that we should somehow have “Napa Local” visa vie an ordinance, dictate what the rent should be for buildings rather than letting the free market system and market value drive rents.
I support with all my mustard a thriving downtown, I’ve staked my future on it by opening a business there. I believe a thriving downtown needs to be a mix of local business and the corporate big boys. They are not mutually exclusive but rather are mutually dependent for a successful, thriving downtown that serves locals and visitors alike.
It is short sighted to not recognize the economic and social benefits of having an Apple store for example in downtown. Any idea on how much tax revenue these kinds of businesses generates for our local economy? And how about jobs? Or I guess we can continue to drive to Walnut Creek or Santa Rosa and waste our time driving and putting money in another local economy.
The solutions offered by “Napa Local” for downtown are not solutions but rather would be an enormous impediment to the positive transformation we all long for. The answer is not in discouraging businesses to come to Napa but rather creating a friendly business environment where they can thrive, where we can all thrive.
If “Napa Local” is so concerned about local business I would suggest that they raise some capital, borrow some money, take some risks and open a business. At the very least, how about helping our property owners find tenants that will open new businesses and get Napa going.
Half the stores downtown sit empty … follow the suggestions of “Napa Local” and we can expect more of the same for years to come.
I would encourage our local elected officials, present and future to reject any ordinance that would hinder our economic and social future.
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