Sunday, August 21, 2016

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in comely Napa Valley?

                    People are calling it voter suppression,
                 never a good idea in California                                                         
     A quick ruling on Napa’s long-suffering initiative proposal to prevent clear-cutting in the hills went before the California Supreme Court last week. Since the county deadline for inclusion on the November ballot loomed, proponents had decided to bypass the usual appeal process and go for a quick ruling.
   The court came back with a summary decision that the case didn’t qualify as an emergency. Opponents of the initiative - the combined wine, tourism, real estate industries - were jubilant. But their celebrations may prove to have been premature. In the first place, the court didn't rule on the merits, just the emergency status. Second, the industry's now on record as being in favor of denying people the right to vote on what many believe is the issue in Napa.
   The law firm representing backers of the initiative believes it will eventually prevail, as do other, independent lawyers. The firm is formally filing for a place on the regular appeals docket. Though the case won’t come up for at least a year, passion - and animosity - is building behind the scenes (see previous Nose posts). Proponents easily gathered twice the number of signatures required - almost seven thousand - and many more people want to vote on tree cutting and water quality.
   Napa’s four reigning power centers - the Napa Valley Vintners, the Farm Bureau, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, and the Winegrowers of Napa County - fought the initiative, and their collective letter opposing it put them on record as being in favor of denying citizens a say in what happens in the hills.
   Some Napans think voter suppression is a better description. They're now referring to these powerful organizations - once all distinctly different in style and belief - as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
   If the initiative eventually prevails, the Four Horsemen will be saddled not only with some new limits on what they can do in fragile terrain, but also with a reputation as suppressors of the popular will, also known as democracy.
To order Napa:

1 comment:

  1. Citizen signatures will surely double should we begin this process anew!