Dear Friends Who Vote in Napa County,
The lack of affordable housing is a primary driver of poverty in our community, and the 2017 wildfires have made a very bad situation worse for the working families who constitute the backbone of our agriculture and hospitality economy.
A few data points paint a stark picture:
- More than 650 homes were destroyed by the October fires in Napa County, and the North Bay region lost nearly 7,000 homes in total.
- Because 44% of our workforce commutes in each day from less expensive housing markets in Sonoma, Lake and Solano counties, the dramatic loss of housing stock in neighboring communities has had a profoundly negative impact on our workforce.
- Median rents in Napa County have increased 50% since 2013, and now stand at $3,000 per month. The rental vacancy rate has decreased from 2% before the fires to 1% now.
I'm writing you today with an unprecedented request: please vote
YES on Measure I and the appropriate companion Measure for your city or town (H in American Canyon; D in Calistoga; F in Napa; E in St. Helena; and S in Yountville).
A yes vote would increase the transient occupancy tax (TOT) by 1% countywide, and could create as much as $5 million annually for workforce and affordable housing projects in Napa Valley.
Importantly, this modest tax increase would be paid by our visitors, and not by local residents. (For more information, please click
Napa Valley Community Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, and we have never endorsed a ballot measure before.
In recent years, I’ve had Board members who decamp every summer to the Bohemian Grove and Burning Man in equal numbers. Put another way, we are diverse in our political preferences and life experiences, but in complete agreement on the housing crisis we face in this community.
We did not undertake this endorsement lightly, and hope you will consider a yes vote on Measure I and the various local measures to which it is connected.
Thank you very much, and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.
Terence P. Mulligan
Napa Valley Community Foundation