Article II, section 1 of our California Constitution provides “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.” Section II goes on to describe the initiative process as one of the principle methods of alteration or reform at the county level when our government refuses, fails or neglects to provide for the public good. Less than half of the states in our union recognize the right of its citizens to use the initiative process. We have two county-wide initiatives on our June ballot.

Getting on the ballot is a rigorous process requiring the signatures of thousands of Napa County’s citizens so all may vote on the citizen-proposed laws. Recently, numerous elected and appointed officials, as well as those aspiring to public office, denigrate this precious constitutional right we enjoy here in California — Belia Ramos (an attorney, no less), Alfredo Pedroza, Mary Luros (also an attorney) and Dave Whitmer.

Now the Napa Valley Register editorializes on Measures C (“right idea in the wrong vehicle”) and D (“the initiative process will lock in whatever unintended consequences there may be . . .”) parroting the same, public relations party line that law is better made by our elected officials with input from stakeholders, that we cannot control the unintended consequences of an initiative without another expensive election, and that these initiatives are just too complicated to have the voters make law. The initiative process is a healthy one and must be used when our government does not provide for the public good. Our local government’s lack of respect for welfare of the citizens of this county has led in large part to the emergence of these two initiatives. Lack of respect for citizens is one thing. However, lack of respect for our constitution is a quality unworthy of any government official here in Napa County.
Kathy Felch

3 Comments, RSS

  • Norm Manzer

    says on:
    May 2, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Kathy hit the nail on the head. Our Board of Supervisors criticizes local citizens for bringing forth these two initiatives when they lament that we should have come to them so they could hammer it out for us. What a joke. Had our Board of Supervisors had the true interest of Napa County citizens they would have moved on this before the initiatives were circulated. They all five march to the drumbeat of the Napa Valley Vintners and large donors like the Palmaz family, and now they got caught with their pants down. They were relying upon the NVV to craft a Watershed and Oaklands initiative that would take the heat off of them, but when the NVV caved in from internal political pressure from their international corporate members and the likes of Craig and Kathryn Hall, the Supes ended up with egg on their faces. How fitting. Had the NVV not backed out of their own crafted Measure C initiative, the Supes would be lauding its merits like they had created it themselves.

  • Roland Dumas

    says on:
    May 2, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    The initiative process in California owes its beginning to a citizen revolt over the corporate control over the state government by Southern Pacific Railroad. It is always appropriate for citizens to use direct democracy when government has come under the control of corrupting corporate influence.

  • Harris Nussbaum

    says on:
    May 3, 2018 at 4:01 am

    What a great perspective and so true! Thank you for your insights. It is sad that a small group who are already wealthy are spending so much to make a little more using so many false statements to control the election and our political process by trying to confuse the public. Winning a yes on Measures C and D are extremely important because of how they will help protect our water and environment, but more important is the message that money cannot continue to buy everything.

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