Category Archives: Napa Valley ACTS

Mission: We are an umbrella organization that networks the politically-active progressive groups in Napa County to

(a) gather & disseminate info on political activity in the County,
(b) mobilize these groups and Napa residents when necessary, and
(c) provide thought-leadership for these groups and their members.

We provide the platform for Progressive Action in the Napa Valley.

Thompson releases fire recovery guide for Napa and Sonoma residents

Thompson releases fire recovery guide for Napa and Sonoma residents

Atlas Fire
The top of Green Valley Road on Thursday following the Atlas Fire.

“Our district pulls together in tough times,” Thompson said. “We’ve overcome challenges before by working together, and we will do so again. Should you need anything, my staff and I are here to help.”

Fires in Napa, Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino counties have burned more than 250,000 acres and destroyed more than 6,000 homes. More than 30 people are confirmed dead and hundreds are unaccounted for.

Information on various resources is available to fire victims at

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Where to Get Fire Information

I copied this from Debbie Alter-Starr‘s facebook page:

I like A LOT of information during disasters so here are my hot tips – no pun intended for emergency info locally.

In my opinion, the best way to stay informed with greater frequency and greater detail than Nixle reports provide, at all hours of the day. is to make sure you are on Facebook as well and “FOLLOWING” as “FIRST in your Facebook news feed, the following Facebook pages:…/

Nixle website– if you aren’t signed up for their messages by cell phone or email: Go there and chose the city/county feed you want. While Nixle remains your very best source for evacuation notices at the moment that they are made, that’s their primary focus. I like more information in addition to these notices.

I think it’s a very good idea to join Facebook even if you never have before because there is a MUCH MORE info on Facebook pages than you will find on websites or nixle.
Even the County of Napa updates Facebook more than they do their website, etc. City of Napa website has a lot of good information – most groups though seem to focusing on updated their facebook pages only with breaking news.

The phone number for emergency information for the public that can be called that is often busy during the day but not busy at after 5pm is 707-253-4501. See also the physical location for emergency information center: I don’t recommend calling this number in the daytime while you can for example in Yountville jjust go downtown to get information in person but after hours it is very nice to know there is a place to call. You can leave messages on their machine for a call back. They have bilingual staff.

PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETINGS today (THURSDAY) – they will be live-streamed on the County of Napa Facebook page above:

4pm in English at NVUSD Auditorium (corner of Jefferson and Lincoln Ave in Napa – the 2-story building.) All are welcome -but you can just watch it over your internet.

6pm in Spanish at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

For ongoing information tune in to 1440 KVON A.M. Radio. KVYN’s FM station is not working so this AM station is for now KVON and KVYN both. They often have call in options (call in on air to 707-252-6222.)

Hope this all helps!

I’m adding:  Air Quality Map – Enter your zip code

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Wildfire News from Napa County

Napa County, and neighboring counties, are inundated with wildfires.  Many residents have been evacuated.  Sadly, many have lost their homes.  Too many have died.  As of day four, the fires are still not under control.

Here is a listing of credible sources – for health, advisories,  shelters, volunteering and donations:

County of Napa Website Fire Information

Cal Fire – Current incidents in California

Cal Fire Webpage – Links to Hazard Maps

Napa Register – Webpage links to LATEST Napa County Wildfire Information 

Interactive Satellite Map of Napa/Sonoma County Fires

Interactive Air Quality Map


If you find other helpful links or find that the information sources here are no longer valid, please contact me at

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Public Input on Napa County Voting Rights

Having monitored the voting process at a polling station,the ‘behind the scene’ counting process and county vote certification, I can assure you that this issue is critical.  The more eyes on it (and voices heard), the better.

You may review the Napa County Election Division’s draft EAP  (plan for compliance with SB450, CA Voter’s Choice Act) which allows counties to establish all vote by mail elections and to set up Voting Centers instead of traditional precincts.

The Election Division will be taking public input on its draft plan on October 2, 2017, at 10:00 AM, County Building, 1195 Third Street, Suite 305.  You can get details on the Election Division website.

Read the article in the St. Helena Star for a more complete background.

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Napa Vision 2050 – Take on Compliance

Compliance: For The Times They Are A-Changin’

For almost three years, Napa Vision 2050 has been advocating respect for Napa County’s semi-rural and agricultural heritage, adding the contemporary voice of neighborhood groups to the preservationist guidelines Napans established decades ago.

The guidelines have since been observed—and also ignored.  The county has been lax in monitoring guideline compliance.  Moreover, with violations discovered, it’s condoned them.  For example, with breathtaking permissiveness the Board of Supervisors forgave Calistoga’s Reverie Winery for carelessly ignoring its visitation and production permits.  

And last month the Board blessed the road-building plans of Raymond Vineyards to prefer, ironically, hospitality events to vineyards.  For its ag-to-tourist project, Raymond had applied to the county out of respect for its permit process.  The Board seemed untroubled that in Raymond’s previous respect for county guidelines it forgot its legal limit of 26 employees (they have 90).

By the Board’s disregard for its own land-use principles, we are losing Napa’s semi-rural, small-town identity as an agricultural valley. Where there were just a few score wineries two decades ago, now there are over 500.  Where a limited number of visitors sampled wine at tasting rooms for free, now tourists number over 3 million every year.  Where residents and visitors enjoyed a tranquil, unhurried drive to and from the Valley, traffic congestion now plagues the highways.  Where the county’s commitment to agriculture was to the “highest and best use” of the land, it’s goal now appears to be bringing money into the Valley via tourism.

But there’s a glimmer of hope.  The degradation of that highest-and-best-use ideal is so obvious that the chorus of concern is growing beyond the strained voices of environmentalists to include growers and viticulturalists.  For example, in Carneros David Graves of Saintsbury Winery wisely wondered, “How do we safeguard a place without loving it to death?”  

Vintner Michael Honig expressed shock about Bremer Winery’s “disregard for the rules” in Angwin.

Grape grower Andy Beckstoffer, referring to  Raymond Vineyards’ road project in St. Helena, commented to the supervisors, “they want to take land out of ag solely for the purpose of hospitality. . We ask you to reject this application and support an agricultural economy.”  He added in a Napa Valley Register letter  “Napa County has two choices.  One is to have an agricultural economy supported by tourism and the other is to have a tourism economy supported by agriculture.”  Raymond, he reminded the supervisors pointedly, has “no sworn commitment to protect the agricultural land and rural character of our county.  But you do.”

Yet another vintner, Robert Trinchero, noted Napa’s popularity and called the problem “encroachment”:  “Our customers come from all over . . . That is going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.  You can’t move all these people here.  We need vineyards.”  He acknowledged the growing sense that “enough is enough.  There are too many wineries.”  Furthermore “some wineries build their wineries and vineyards irrespective of the feelings of their neighbors.  This causes a lot of problems, so we have to change that.”

Trinchero also remarked that “the mentality of some winemakers is that they would rather apologize . . .  that they didn’t know they can’t have tourism tasting. We have to draw the line somewhere.  The line should be the law.  It should be reasonable, in that no neighbors are complaining.”

The good news continues.  The Planning Commission just rejected the Palmaz proposal for helicopter use in Napa.  That decision is stunning because this county has heretofore been so agreeable to applications for projects no matter how inappropriate or how inconsiderate of neighbors.

Clearly, the momentum in Napa County is shifting.  Napa Vision 2050’s two recent town halls featured robust attendance and frustrated citizens eager to arrest the degradation of the county.  

It’s increasingly apparent that not only we residents, but also the responsible wine industry, now recognize how destructive indulgence toward tourism (more visitors, more traffic) has been to the county’s heritage. It’s time to make changes.

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Rapid Mobilization for Napa County

A few weeks ago, Lisa Seran and Valerie O’Pry presented a template for Rapid Mobilization for Napa County to activist leaders.

We are excited to provide a copy of that slide show presentation here on our website.  It is a short show (only 10 slides) and is packed with important information – including preparing your own Rapid Mobilization Kit.

Please sign up for the Napa Valley ACTS alert list today so you can be notified quickly.

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RED ALERT: Health Care Action NOW!

I’m becoming increasingly concerned about the new “Cassidy-Graham” health care bill that is moving forward in the Senate.  By Senate rules, it must be voted on by September 30th.

It’s kind of a stealth bill—a last chance to repeal and replace Obamacare.  It has not yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and that will have to happen before a Senate vote.  The scheduling may work out that a CBO score will come out just before a vote without the opportunity for pro-Obamacare forces to react.

The bill’s biggest vice is that it leaves lot of decision-making to the states and it will gut Obamacare.  Here’s Paul Krugman’s take:

The last time the repeal Obamacare vote lost was because John McCain voted against it (along with Murkowski and Collins).  This time, I think he will vote for it, not least because Lindsey Graham is his big bud in the Senate.

I am hoping that someone will organize a rally in SF or Sacramento next weekend, so keep a lookout for that.

In the meantime, here are some things I think we can do, even though there is no actual bill yet.  Call it the “impending” bill or some such.


  1. Call and email McCain’s office and remind him that he has publicly said he will not support a bill that does not go through (the Senate’s) “Regular Order” (meaning open committee hearings, etc.).  The Cassidy-Graham bill will not be going through Regular Order.  Ask him to keep his promise.
  2. Call and email Sens. Murkowski and Collins and ask them to stand tall again against the bill.
  3. Call and email Sen. Rand Paul’s office and ask him to vote against.  (He has said he’s against it because it “keeps too much” of Obamacare (!!!! Whatever.)  But he has made statements like that before and then re-entered the Republican fold.
  4. Call and email Feinstein’s and Harris’ office and ask them to work persuade their Republican colleagues to vote against the bill.  Tell Harris to work on “Medicare for All”  after September 30th, and to focus on defeating the Cassidy-Graham bill now.
  5. Focus on this bill in the next two weeks and try to figure out which Senators might also vote against it.  Let the rest of us know.

Sen. Susan Collins (ME)

Call this senator now! (202) 224-2523

Augusta Office
Phone: (207) 622-8414
Twitter @SenatorCollins

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK)

Call this senator now! (202) 224-6665

Phone: (907) 225-6880 
Fax:(907) 225-0390
Twitter @lisamurkowski

Sen. John McCain (AZ)

Call this senator now! (202) 224-2235

Phoenix, AZ 85016
Phone: (602) 952-2410
Fax: (855) 952-8702
Twitter @SenJohnMcCain

Sen. Rand Paul (KY)

Call this senator now! 202-224-4343

Bowling Green, KY
Main: 270-782-8303
Twitter @RandPaul

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA)

Call this senator now!  (202) 224-3841
DC Fax: (202) 228-3954

San Francisco, CA * (3 other offices)
Phone: (415) 393-0707
Fax: (415) 393-0710 
Twitter @SenFeinstein

Sen. Kamala Harris (CA)

Call this senator now!  (202) 224-3553
DC Fax (202) 224-2200

Los Angeles, CA* (3 other offices)
Phone (213) 894 – 5000
Fax (202) 224 – 0357
Twitter @SenKamalaHarris

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Who Is Napa Valley ACTS

We network the progressive political groups of Napa County to provide the most up-to-date information on political activities, so citizens can take action.

Our mission:

  • networks the progressive groups in the Napa Valley, gathering and disseminating the most up-to-date group event information,
  • mobilizes these groups and Napa County residents to take action, and
  • provides thought-leadership to these groups and their members.

Target Audiences:

  • the leadership of the politically-active progressive groups in Napa County and its’ membership
  • county residents interested in becoming/staying politically involved


Mary Jane Bowker
Ellyn Elson
Lisa Seran

Twitter:       @NVActs
Instagram:  nvacts

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Violence is not the answer

from the Napa Valley Register September 3rd Letters to the Editor

With the horrific destruction of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, comes most certainly, a great need for additional help to all those who have been injured, or lost loved ones, plus assistance for the loss of homes, businesses schools, roads, etc.

This may be the impetus Congress needs to make a decision on the way the national budget is allocated towards the military. “The $600 billion in this year’s budget for military spending is more than the six combined countries of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, and Saudi Arabia.” This information, plus the following quotes are from the May, Washington Newsletter of the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Sadly, an audit of the Pentagon’s books has still not been furnished, even though in the 1990s a law was passed requiring it to be provided.

“Weapons systems regularly overrun their budgets or are rendered obsolete, while still in development. Such as the billions-over-budget F-35 fighter jets (designed for wars that the U.S. doesn’t fight any more) to the Littoral combat ship that the Pentagon says it doesn’t need.”

The Pentagon’s own internal study found some $125 billion in potential savings over five years just in administrative and bureaucratic waste.

Violence and threats are not the answer. “The State Department, USAID, and other development agencies are critical in preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.”

This was presented to Congress in February by more than 120 retired generals and concluded that early conflict prevention programs “help forestall open-ended crises that are far more damaging to American interests and far costlier to the American tax payer.”

General Thomas Waldhauser, head of the U.S. Command in Africa, testified before the Armed Services Committee in March that “‘We could knock off all of ISIL and Boko Haram this afternoon, but by the end of the week, those ranks would be filled.”

“At a time when the U.S. is facing multiple foreign policy crises, the U.S. should increase investment in the cost-effective programs that promote diplomacy, development and international cooperation. We need more tools in our foreign policy toolbox, not fewer.”

One of the “tools’ at our disposal is the Campaign Nonviolence (CNV) happening across the United States the week of Sept. 16-24. Last year, 758 events, vigils, marches study groups, etc. were held in all 50 states. This year, 1,000 events are planned to promote a culture of peace, and nonviolence free from war, poverty, racism, and environmental destruction.

Here in Napa on Sunday, Sept. 24, from 2-4 p.m., a Vigil for Peace, will take place on the four corners of Third Street and Soscol Avenue.

Vigils are only one way to make our hearts and minds known, and I hope that all in our community will find their own way to envision a world free from violence. From the national magazine of CNV; “At a time of permanent war, growing poverty, threats to civil liberties, ecological devastation, the enduring terror of nuclear weapons and the scourge of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and economic injustice, we face the challenge and opportunity to choose powerful and creative nonviolent alternatives.”

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18.

Teresa Cahill


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