Letter: "Napa Pipe is Bad for Students"

Napa Valley College student Alex Shantz urges the college board of trustees not to support the plan to develop Napa Pipe for homes and businesses. The board meets Wednesday night.

As a young adult and Napa Valley College student, I have several concerns with the Napa Pipe project and the idea of the board of trustees supporting it.

As former president of the Associated Students of Napa Valley College, I played a part in developing the college’s 2011 to 2014 strategic plan. The current Napa Pipe project could have potential ramifications for the college’s strategic plan and its mission.

My concerns with Napa Pipe as it relates to Napa Valley College are as follows:

• Traffic is already a huge issue on the Napa-Vallejo Highway. Napa Pipe could severely increase traffic on the highway, which would significantly impact students driving from Vallejo and American Canyon to Napa Valley College.

• I understand there has been discussion between Napa Pipe developers and college representatives concerning opportunities for training, partnerships, and classes on-site. However, I do not recall seeing these aspects of the project included in the Napa Pipe proposal as it appeared before the Napa County Planning Commission.

Because of this, and because Napa Pipe is such a controversial issue, it seems inappropriate for Napa Valley College to support Napa Pipe before it’s even been approved by the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

• Rezoning Napa Pipe from industrial to residential will eliminate future possibilities for industrial jobs. California community colleges are being required to severely restrict their purposes. One of their purposes is to train and prepare students for the workforce.

Napa Valley College could better carry out its mission to enhance workforce development by partnering with companies or public agencies using Napa Pipe for industrial purposes.

For example, Napa Pipe could be used as a renewable energy production and distribution center. This could create educational opportunities through partnerships with Napa Valley College to prepare students for careers in green technologies.

Such an idea would support the college’s 2011 to 2014 strategic plan, which calls for the college to “provide programs that prepare students for careers in emerging industries and occupations including green technology applications” (2.2).

In conclusion, I urge the Napa Valley College board of trustees to reject the resolution to support the Napa Pipe project.

Napa Pipe is bad for students. It will increase traffic, eliminate future jobs, and limit opportunities for the college to carry out its mission and strategic plan.

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Catherine George December 12, 2012 at 05:39 PM
"I will note his partnership idea has merit but that area, and Napa overall (in my opinion) is better served by this property being zoned residential instead of industrial." You do not make an argument for this, merely state an opinion. So, why do you think it would be better as residential? Can you make an argument for that?
Catherine George December 12, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau~ You are making many assumptions here which are a bit out of left field. And yes, you were being patronizing, imho. Thanks for the final point which bears repeating: "For decades Napa has been held hostage by a handful of political millionaires trying to profit by imposing their visions".
Penny December 12, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I can't believe that either principals have that much money to invest in this project - look what they claim has been spent so far - millions. There have to be other investors to even get this off the ground. And I am very sad to hear one is the former mayor - how sad.
Native74 December 12, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Lend Vest...man I guess I'm old since I remember that time. A few of our family friends lost their homes due to that scam. Very sad times in this valley.
Native74 December 12, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Spot on.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 12, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Alex, your letter is correct: Residential Napa Pipe will be more negative than positive for NVC students. It was very well written and outlined genuine concerns from a student's perspective. Please, accept that as a compliment instead of patronization. I do not know your grasp of local politics, but I did assume from reading your letter that you suffer from the same ideology that I did at your age. Your ideas are sound, yet these ideas are up against collusion, profiteering, and hand-shake politics. If you become a developer you will learn that submitted proposals and media coverage never disclose all details of a development project. Developers who disclose everything go bankrupt quickly. Definitely get more students to speak up about your concerns. Keith Rogal is an expert at pandering. Take advantage of that. He will find something the students want and pacify them with promises of fulfillment. My advice to the NVC student body: Get It In Writing.
Alex Shantz December 12, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I just received an email from the president's office. Apparently, the board of trustees has decided to pull this item from tonight's agenda. Victory!
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Alex, can you forward that to me? louisa.hufstader@patch.com
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 10:50 PM
I meant to say "please," Alex! Sorry.
Scott Yeager December 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM
A skirmish is not the battle and a battle is not the war.
Alex Shantz December 13, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Yes, you are right. It’s still a small victory. Many community members and groups expressed their concerns to the trustees and I am sure that played a role in convincing the trustees to back down, for now.
Catherine George December 13, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Yes, great news, for now.
Penny December 13, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Yeah, I filled one trustee's ear Sunday night.
Alex Shantz December 13, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Its a shame I have such a "thin grasp on community politics." I guess the trustees, along with the dozen or so individuals and community groups who opposed the Napa Pipe resolution, missed that memo.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 13, 2012 at 07:37 AM
The NVC Board of Trustees pulls one item from a single meeting agenda and you publicly claim "Victory!" ??? Let me publicly edit my memo: I'd like to change "thin grasp" to "barely a grasp".
Timothy Lal December 13, 2012 at 08:32 AM
Every once in a while I hop onto this thread to see if anyone has any other interesting points to share but all I see when I get on is the your blind angry foolish ramblings and when its read you basically say nothing. You just sound mentally stagnant and a bit baseless, your desire for ego satiation through heckling someones positive efforts is appalling. You should find a new pass time sir or at the very least propose a better idea with some thought to it
Timothy Lal December 13, 2012 at 08:32 AM
One of the easiest roles to play is the role of the critic. I have not heard you make any intelligent counter point to the solar plant idea all you have done is bash and heckle. Perhaps he lacks perfection in not winning the war in one single decisive flawless battle. I would like to see what great perfection you have brought to this world and what great wisdom and intelligence you have to share with the masses. Cynicism is not a sign of constructive intelligence it is rarely a sign of wit it is often a sign of a deep lacking holding a mask of superiority to hide the inferiority within. What do you actually have to contribute to the ideas for this location? Do you have anything better to propose? I would love to hear this gem that you possess. It is very easy to be a critic especially when you feel no obligation to contribute or make something of your own.
Timothy Lal December 13, 2012 at 08:33 AM
Their is a great amount of self interest and corruption to fight coming from those who rule over this city and I have seen it from my youth, and it is a difficult beast to tackle and will not be destroyed easily. It is important for the people to take back their home one of the major steps in the path to freedom is self reliance and this idea of a solar plant is a very viable step to our self reliance. It will provide opportunities for industry make energy more affordable for residence and business and industry so we can instead of giving our money to a greedy energy monopoly that suppresses progress for temporal and selfish gains we can invest (since most large projects are mostly subsidized by the tax payer, yet the land owner reaps the rewards) in a project that will benefit the community. Benefit in green jobs, education in renewable energy for the college and cheap renewable energy for the people
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 13, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Thanks Timothy (let's call you Pot). You have saved me a trip to the psychologist. Where can I send your check? I hope your fees are more reasonable than most of the shrinks in town. Thanks again, sincerely, the Black Kettle. BTW, Napa Pipe would best be an industrial area with truck traffic heading south on Devlin Rd to delivery destinations. Each new building could be required to install solar panels on their roof to offset the energy consumption. Residential development there with just one road into Napa is a very bad idea. Some of the businesses could offer internships to NVC students for vocational experience towards their career fields. But what do I know? I'm just a idiot heckler.
Timothy Lal December 13, 2012 at 10:53 PM
It is the first time you shared an idea instead of bashing an opinion without offering an alternative so it is progress.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 13, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I have been negative on Residential Napa Pipe since the first article published in our local media. Many, many comments about the horrific traffic situation.. It is not my project, nor do I have any vested interest in any development for that property, so it would be futile to suggest what I believe should be built on that location. Since you asked, I told you. Keith Rogal has no reason to lend me an ear and I will not be subject to his expert pandering. BTW, NVC has a huge solar farm. How many people work there? Is there any profit for NVC or simply some energy savings? Your "ideal" project of a solar farm at Napa Pipe lacks broad spectrum, long-term employment and any potential for generating revenue beyond operation costs. I may be wrong. Please educate me how it will support itself. I'm open to being convinced that it will work. Do you have a business plan or investor portfolio that I can study?
Alex Shantz December 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
"But what do I know? I'm just a idiot heckler." I certainly won't dispute your assertions when they are true.
King Jarvis IV December 14, 2012 at 01:29 AM
USS doesn't seem like a guy who needs validation, but he is of knowledge on the subject of Napa Pipe. He seems to know some of the nuances revolving around the core of this provocative property. This King would like to know how many folks work at NVC's solar farm and if it is in the black. Seems like AS and TL would be on it like Blue Bonnet. HRM
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 14, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Alex, let me buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. We can discuss the ideas about the Napa Pipe project. You can show me your renewable energy production and distribution business plan, or maybe an investor portfolio, possibly a PowerPoint presentation for your plans for NVC student involvement with Napa Pipe. You've worked on these, no? You at least have some data and statistics to support your position. I'm sincerely interested to find what information created your concern for the NVC Board's support of Napa Pipe. We're on the same page about the negative impacts of the current plan, why don't we compare ideas and we can both learn some new things.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 14, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Alex, you may contact me at steve.simo@sbcglobal.net for interesting info about the Napa Pipe project and traffic.
Timothy Lal December 14, 2012 at 07:24 AM
It would support itself like any power plant would, selling energy to residents and business in the local area. If we invested in the new oxidized copper panels that would be less expensive and less wasteful than using silicon based panels and from what I read also generate more energy and also be more durable. I believe that if the energy was sold at half the cost of fossil fuel energy the project would still be able to pay for itself in years to come. If the panels were raised farther above ground than what annual flooding would occur than I think that any potential detriment could be avoided. USS your idea of having an industry at the location has merit especially if the territory was covered with panels that would serve a dual purpose. The amount the panels would produce would cover the energy needs of the facility and then some, excess sold to the surrounding locals. Most of the initial starting costs would be through tax payer subsidies like any project that is pushed through coupled with the land owners investment. (which seems like a crooked practice as the land owner typically gets to reap the benefits of profits yet the taxpayer has to put in an investment into someone else's thing, but whatever. I need to learn a lot more about how that works there might be some things I am not understanding on that) We receive a large amount of sunlight throughout the year and it would be great if we got a majority of our energy supplied through a renewable source
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 14, 2012 at 07:58 AM
Timothy, one major flaw why your idea will not work: There is no energy grid to transport the power from the source to the consumer. Everything is owned by PG&E and the P.U.C. will not allow any community to build a secondary grid. I have tried to fight PG&E and I would rather take on the Chinese army than ever do that again.
Catherine George December 14, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau ~ What is there to prevent use of the existing grid which carries our electricity now? Why couldn't that be used?
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 14, 2012 at 05:12 PM
It is the property of PG&E, and they are not going to let any competition use their grid without extensive terms and expensive cost. If you have solar on your roof and it produces more electricity than you use, PG&E doesn't pay you for providing extra, they just take it and still charge you for using their meter.
Catherine George December 14, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Thanks - but actually, PG&E does pay you for the electricity you produce on your roof. PG&E gives you credits for that electricity; http://www.pge.com/myhome/saveenergymoney/solarenergy/nembilling/ In any case, my point is that there is an existing grid. No need to build another one, if the existing one can handle the capacity. I'm sure we could find out from checking into other solar projects to see how PG&E handles this sort of thing.


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