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Why I am Against the Return of BottleRock to the Napa Fairgrounds

It was about this time that I realized that almost every positive comment that I read was somehow selfishly motivated. The words “I” and “We” were present everywhere. “I want it back”. “I thought it was great”, “We had a blast”, “We had no problems”, “Worked for me…” Once I noticed this trend, I found myself getting more and more disgusted with each comment I read. Then I stumbled on one of my own comments, “I didn’t even go to the thing and I had no problems at my house. I think it was great.” Is what I wrote. It was then that I realized that we were all so personally motivated that we failed or refused to recognize that our town was made up of more that just “me”. I looked back and searched out the comments from those with issues and concerns. There were several that spoke about children. Some people could not get their children to sleep. Some were uncomfortable with the filthy language spewing from the mouths of the performers. Some spoke of pot smoke engulfing children on their streets and in the event itself. One gentleman spoke of fearing for his property as the concert got out each night and staying up late just to make sure no one vandalized his property. One person wrote that their pet was shaking uncontrollably from the loud noises, while many others of rattling windows hundreds of loud, intoxicated individuals wandering past their homes in the middle of the night. There were many other complaints of traffic, public urination and blocked streets. For me, I kept returning to the stories about the children of our community. I have decided that I will not support the return of BottleRock to the Napa fairgrounds, and I believe that it would be a mistake for our city leaders to allow it to return to that venue. I closed my eyes and imagined myself in the shoes of all of those negatively affected by this festival and realized that I have been selfish. Just because I am comfortable and happy does not mean that all is well in BottleRock land. Napa is still a small town. I know that many people hate that idea and some are working hard to eliminate that from our reputation. They see being a small town as a weakness. They feel we need to be more progressive and cosmopolitan. They want us to grow and evolve. But I disagree with them. I believe that being a small town is one of our strengths. It makes us special and unique. Once we quit being a small town and start being a city we lose our heart. Once be become a city we will be little more than a collection of businesses surrounded by houses full of faceless citizens. Once we become a city we cease to be a collection of charming neighborhoods and become a collection of subdivisions. Where there were once communities and families there will be drive-thru restaurants and strip malls. Our small and modest fairground is surrounded by two of our oldest neighborhoods, Alta Heights and Juarez. These communities are full of older homes alive with young families, some with very low incomes. They are our neighbors and our friends. They are residents of our town and I submit to you all that our duty as a small town is not to be seduced by big business, but to protect our communities from being stepped on in a money grab. A few men seek to turn a profit by trampling on the backs of our neighbors. They see these people as disposable families that sit in the way of their goals to make money. They have discounted them. Is it because some of them are not as rich as they are? These promoters sell us on the idea that it is OK because we will make money and have fun. We are told by them that profit is good. Listening to music is good. It is all good. They assume that the neighbors they step on will get over it. I say no, it is not good. I believe we are a small town full of neighbors, families and friends. I believe that we are a close community and as such we should stand together. Sure we could make money from our neighbor’s discomfort, but what does that say about us as a town? How does this define us? Some of the lowest family incomes live in the Juarez neighborhood. Does that make them less important than those of us in other neighborhoods? Will we sell them out for a few extra dollars? Do we really want to sell our souls for some music? Is our price for selling out our friends and neighbors a rock concert? Will we allow one business to trample on another so they might reap a profit? Should we take away the lively hood from one family so that another can double theirs? I for one do not want to have to look in the eye of a father whom fought to put his children to bed because I wanted to listen to Primus. If we cannot stand together as a community, then I expect our city leaders to do it on our behalf. This is an important moment in the history of our town. Our leaders are setting precedent for what we stand for. They are defining some of our core values through their decisions about the future of this event and the decision they make will be relevant moving forward as more and more events are proposed. What do we stand for? Do we step on the backs of our neighbors in a frenzy for profit and greed or do we stand to protect them from unreasonable infringement of their rights to safety, security and enjoyment of their homes and property? The governments of the city and county of Napa are about to establish our core values. I hope they do what’s right and protect our neighborhoods and families.

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