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Letter: Don't Expand the Jail in Downtown Napa

Randolph Street resident Elizabeth McKinne is one of many Napans concerned about the prospect of expanding the county jail downtown. Supervisors will hear a report today on "location options" for the longtime lockup.

about the ’s plans for building a massive, were disappointed that public turnout for the June 7th meeting this summer was smaller than in January.

The County’s choice of holding the meeting at the beginning of the summer may have affected the public turnout. However, despite the lower attendance, public comments were still as strongly weighted as they had been at January’s public meeting.

The County’s recently-published summary and evaluation of the June meeting - that the comments were more balanced between those for and against - is not the way I remember it.

As I recall, only two people spoke in favor of rebuilding the jail downtown, though several County employees were there, presumably supporting the jail remaining in its current location.

It is disappointing that the County chose to place the on a summer while many residents are away on vacation and unable to attend the meeting.

I believe that as Napa residents learn more about the issue many will want to see a full exploration of all the variables involved in planning the jail, including weighing the appropriate site for its future location.

Also, there is a natural question that has arisen in thinking about the planning for a new jail: what will be done about 's criminal patients and future secure housing for them? That is one of many questions that have come to mind in examining the proposal for a new jail.

There are more questions than answers. A lot has changed since 2008 when the study plan was approved by the Supervisors. It may take additional time, but it would be prudent to reexamine the decision for the long-term good of all.

Napa the city is a big part of Napa the county. We are one. As citizens of Napa City, we hope the County will not blunder into saddling the with an enormous jail in the heart of a now-vital .

Elizabeth McKinne, Napa

Editor's note: "Location options" for the jail are on the . Public comment will be accepted prior to the discussion.

PHIL Aved August 13, 2011 at 05:05 PM
Tony, Amen to that brother. I remember the days of the quiet majority and if we continue to remain silent we stand to lose everything. No one deserves a government that can only agree on salary increases for them selves. I hear a lot of stuff about taxing the rich while we only tax the poor ie: SSI deductions stop at $250,000, why? Tax all earned income. Better I stay of subject then wax philosophically so once again, where is the money to build all this going to come from? Everyone have a great weekend!
Tony Scott August 13, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Actually, SSI is capped much lower - at $106,000 or so. But benefits are capped too. If we raise the cap on the tax, we would need to raise the maximum benefits. Medicare tax is uncapped on W-2 income, however.
Tony Scott August 13, 2011 at 06:37 PM
But generally speaking, I don't think more taxes should always be the first answer - better and more efficient government and thoughtful spending are not considered enough. This jail discussion appears to be a perfect example of government deciding something to increase their size and power, and then creating studies to justify their positions. As Mark Twain said, there are three kinds of lies : Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics. Government studies all too often use the last of those lies to justify their actions, and hope the public will be confused by their detailed analyses so that their conclusions can't be questioned. "See - we hired consultants to do a study, and they are experts, so we have to agree with their conclusions. It was just by happenstance that their conclusions support our position - the fact that we are paying them a lot of money has nothing to do with it, of course!"
Louisa Hufstader September 13, 2011 at 12:35 AM
Hi everybody -- I didn't mean to neglect this thread for so long, but a lot has been happening in other Napa arenas. Wanted to let you know that I am turning over the jail coverage to Marsha Dorgan, veteran Napa crime reporter, whose first report is here: http://napa.patch.com/articles/whats-the-answer-to-jail-overcrowding It includes our very first Napa Patch poll and I hope you will take part. Thank you so much.
Barry Ollice March 20, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Maybe if we didn't lock up people for every little petty offense,the jail wouldn't be so full.NCDC has a perfectly functioning home arrest system that they refuse to use because they bring in more money from the state by keeping people jailed.If memory serves me;didn't we just finish an expansion in '03?I know!Let's just make more laws so we can lock up more people,so we can generate enough revenue to build the new jail!

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