No on Measure K, the Boondoggle Tax

No on Measure K, the Boondoggle Tax

$9 MILLION per year!

But no money for Lake Berryessa.

And no compelling need nor recreational benefit for Napa residents.

Picking your pocket a dollar at a time.

Expanding boutique environmentalism.

No measurable impact on climate change.

“Protecting” already well-protected land - from what, for what?

Buying city votes with sales tax-funded local parks.

Boondoggle: work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value; an expensive program that is a waste of money, especially one using public money. Imagine kids in a candy store spending money like drunken sailors.

A burning question to many of us trying to revitalize a battered Lake Berryessa region is why this Boondoggle Tax is being considered at all when one of the most important recreational areas in Napa County, Lake Berryessa, has been so neglected by the County. We’d like to have $9 MILLION a year to help in the revitalization of this major resource! Real recreation for real people with real monetary benefit for Napa County.

Lake Berryessa is only mentioned ONCE in passing in the ordinance itself in Section B.1.b describing “protecting” water quality by buying land. But Lake Berryessa is already the cleanest lake in northern California with no foreseeable water quality threats. Buying watershed lands which can't be developed anyway does not "protect " water quality.

The District now has a budget of about $800,000 in Transient Occupancy Tax from Napa County plus various grants. They have been doing fine with this amount. The RPOSD, with its policy of land grabs and trails-at-any-cost philosophy, has done little of compelling benefit for Napa County residents. They claim they are “preserving” land, but they are actually just buying land that is already nearly unusable in any practical development sense. 

Measure K includes the word “protect” ten times but never tells us what it is “protecting” from. Open space preservation, watershed protection and environmental issues have already been properly addressed in county ordinances which have resulted in Napa county being among the most preserved and protected in the state.

Giving $9 million dollars - $9 MILLION! - a year to this agency would be like, to mix cliches, giving it to kids in a candy shop who would spend money like drunken sailors on mostly pointless acquisitions that hardly anyone could use. Their slick master plan would have you believe Napa County is in grave danger which could only be alleviated by buying more unusable, already protected land. Most rural residents understand this.

But to buy the votes of urban folks they propose giving money to individual Napa cities to create more parks within their borders. This is not the role of a Regional Parks and Open Space District.

To inflate their relevance they actually claim they will have a positive impact on climate change. This is a scientifically silly statement in a state where preserving a few hundred acres of forest land to “sequester carbon dioxide” pales in the face of wildfires that burn tens of thousands of acres of trees a year, releasing their already-sequestered carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As of December 22, 2019, more than 7,860 fires have been recorded according to Cal Fire and the US Forest Service, totaling an estimated of 259,823 acres of burned land.

$9 MILLION per year! $45 MILLION in 5 years. $90 MILLION in ten years. $135 MILLION in fifteen years. Ridiculous! What could you do with $9 MILLION per year. $9 MILLION stolen from Napa County residents’ wallets. The existing sales tax in Napa County is already 7.75 percent, with the exception of St. Helena, where it is 8.25 percent. For many people, these taxes build up and become a burden. The RPOSD needs to live on its current budget not tax, tax, tax.

The Lake Berryessa News believes the benefits of Measure K are not worth its cost.                       © Peter Kilkus 2018