Our editorial board is composed of concerned and informed citizens who live in St. Helena and beyond. To understand what is really happening in our home town, we need to look beyond our city’s borders and into the unincorporated areas controlled by the county that surrounds us and the other municipalities nearby. We need to look beyond the headlines of the local newspapers and press releases being passed off as “news.” We need the backstory so we can get a full picture, respond accordingly, and examine all the potential impacts to life in our town. And we need to call out the BS when we see it. The following people are committed to doing just that.

Elaine de Man, St. Helena

“My family moved to St. Helena in 1998 and our two children grew up here.  Our neighborhood was full of other kids their age and there was a real sense of community.  I loved living in a place with an authentic agricultural heritage and some great, local dining experiences. I enjoyed shopping downtown, seeing people I knew, and visiting with various shop keepers. And I especially liked that I could be hiking in the wilderness nearby, where I might see a bear or a mountain lion, and 20 minutes later enjoying Happy Hour at a local back street hang-out. Over the years I’ve seen that all that change as our downtown became less diverse and less local local-serving, More and more houses in the community are second homes that sit empty most of the time.  And I miss all the kids.”

Lana Ivanoff, St. Helena

“As a resident of St Helena for almost a half century, I am saddened by the many changes in the Valley. Large corporations are running what used to be family wineries, second homes and vacation rentals are destroying our neighborhoods, and class divisions have become more evident in school populations, as well as societal. Napa Valley is no longer a community of like-minded people working for one another,  but a playground for the rich and famous. Tourism and money have become the driving force. Environmentally, money seems to govern also, not agricultural preservation. That is not what the founders of this valley created and worked so hard to preserve. It’s not what our family moved here for and invested our time and energies in. And it’s not what I want for future generations.”

Tom Belt, St. Helena

Sharon Dellamonica, St. Helena

“When I moved here with my family in l98l, I hoped that I wouldn’t see the destruction that happened in Santa Clara Valley. Lush green orchards and open land there were turned into asphalt parking lots. It is clear that the Napa Valley is in danger now as well. Our local newspapers are not reporting this accurately and many of our local government officials, dazzled by the big corporate and developer money dangled in front of them are becoming enablers. We need managed growth, water security, and more enlightened local governments to protect and preserve. If we keep going the way we are now, Napa Valley will become a wasteland.”

Mike Hackett, Angwin

“As a resident of Napa County since 1978, I’ve seen our valley change from one dedicated primarily to agriculture into one transformed into a tourist mecca. All of it is about wine grape production, but the power of the money has disrupted the balance between the environment and agriculture to an over-dependence on tourism. This has overwhelmed the rights of the common man here. The compromised elected-officials first look through the lens of what is best for developers, not what is best for our citizens and the environment. This is called ignoring the Public Trust.”

Steve Sando, Napa

Deborah Fortune WaLTON, NAPA