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"Yes" and the "No" on Measure C campaigns settle on change to statements in a voter pamphlet

Revised statement filed by the No on C campaign will appear in the pamphlet distributed to voters before the June 5 election.
by Kerana Todorov
April 09, 2018

The supporters of a ballot measure to limit the removal of oak trees from the hillsides above the Napa Valley floor have won a round in court.

A Napa County Superior Court judge on Friday approved a settlement between the “Yes” and the “No” on Measure C campaigns to change statements in a voter pamphlet that a supporter of Measure C alleged were either false and/or misleading, according to court records. The revised statement filed by the No on C campaign will appear in the pamphlet distributed to voters before the June 5 election.

Napa County’s main wine industry trade associations, including the Napa Valley Vintners and the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, strongly oppose the measure, calling it unclear and full of unintended consequences. Proponents of the measure say Measure C will protect the watershed.

The Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture, which includes the Farm Bureau, Winegrowers of Napa County and other trade associations, has agreed to pay the $54,000 without admitting any guilt, according to Ryan Klobas, policy director for the Napa County Farm Bureau. The coalition leads the campaign against Measure C.

The case began on March 23 when Yeoryios Apallas, a Soda Canyon grapegrower and Measure C supporter, filed a complaint against Napa County Registrar of Voters John Tuteur to stop Tuteur from printing allegedly false and/or misleading statements in the voters’ pamphlet, according to court records.

Also named in the lawsuits were opponents of Measure C, including Napa County Supervisor Belia Ramos.

The statements Apallas successfully challenged included that “’Measure C will outlaw future farming in the Ag Watershed;’” “Restrictions from Measure C will prevent property owners from … adding to one’s home …’”; and a third statement which supporters said stated that all elected officials oppose Measure C.

Helena Mayor Alan Galbraith, said he does support Measure C. Two supervisors have remained neutral. The revised arguments against the measure will read that Measure C will “restrict future farming in the Ag Watershed (…)” and that Measure C “will require property owners to obtain a permit before removing oak trees in the Ag Watershed (…).”

“Voters deserve to know the truth about Measure C, and I felt I had to take a stand against the misinformation being pushed out by the No on C campaign,” Apallas said in a written statement posted on Napa Vision 2050.org. Napa Vision 2050 is a grass-roots group that led the initiative to place Measure C on the ballot.

Klobas, Napa County Farm Bureau’s policy director, said the No on C campaign agreed on the settlement to avoid further litigation and expense and move forward with the campaign.

Measure C would curtail the removal of oak trees after 795 acres of oak woodlands are removed from the hillsides in Napa County, from properties zoned in the agricultural watershed district. It would set new buffers along streams. It would also require that three oak trees be planted for every oak removed during future developments – instead of two.

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