Photo: Duane advocating in another year

Duane Cronk wrote the following article for Eyes on Napa for the May 2016 newsletter. We reprint it here, in our remembering Duane Cronk series. His message has only proven to be more relevant. –Editor

Today, Napa Vision 2050 is working diligently to elect someone who will represent our vision for the future. One of the things we find disturbing is the high cost of a campaign. I remember when we elected a supervisor for $4,000. The voters approved Dowell Martz and he gave us good government for eight years, with no obligations to anyone. No obligation to money. Just to us.

Political contests are won by big money today and government has become a servant to those who paid for all those glitzy mailers and the big signs along the highway. A few days ago, the Register reported that Alfredo Pedroza had raised more than $200,000. The required forms indicate that most of it – $187,075 -came from 161 vineyard/winery people and other businesses.

Who do you think Pedroza will give his vote to when one of those donors reminds him of a $5000 donation?

The people of Napa County will never win control of their government unless thousands of them become willing to contribute to their candidates. And help to tell their story.
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One of the projects which Napa Vision 2050 opposes the most vigorously is Craig Hall’s big development up on Atlas Peak Road. People are appalled by the plan to clear-cut 24,000 trees. But Craig Hall gave Pedroza $7300. Any idea of how much he contributed to the other four supervisors?
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In spite of all that, I am optimistic that we can beat big money. If you watch TV you will notice that America is hearing a lot of anger about how our political system has wandered away from one person, one vote. They hear Donald Trump on one hand and Bernie Sanders on the other, declaring that the system is broken. I believe that people we know, regardless of their party, are subconsciously beginning to project those angers to our local political dynamics. They are beginning to think that their values – which include protection of our forests and our neighborhoods are just being ignored in the supervisory debates.
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I particularly believe that the environmental conservation movement is cresting and this may be the year when the cutting of 24,000 trees will become a rallying call for a lot of us. We have some things going our way. Two examples are immensely cheering: One, I read that the national president of the Sierra Club had submitted to arrest for an act of civil disobedience. That is what I call standing up for a cause. Made me proud to be a member of the Sierra Club.

Two, the committee for the “Water, Forest and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative” is about to turn in more than 5,000 signatures to get that measure onto the ballot. They reported that the signature-gathering effort drew 80 volunteers into the effort. Amazing!
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Do I believe that the 14 member organizations of Napa Vision could put 80 volunteers into the campaign of someone we want in office? We could make that 200.

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