By Pierre Neu and Bob Polkinghorn
Special to the Express
On June 2, 2020, the Winters Fire House was nearly at capacity. It was a hot, tension filled evening, where a record number of people showed up wanting to express their views to the City Council on placing the Keep Winters Winters (KWW) Initiative on the Nov. 3 ballot. Another 75 people were “attending” via Zoom. The meeting lasted until nearly 1 a.m. Depending on your point of view, there were several adjectives you might use to characterize this historic meeting.
At the end of the day, the City Council decided to defer their decision by a month. This was not unexpected, but what did surprise everyone was a prescient gesture by Mayor Wade Cowan to KWW leadership offering an opportunity to sit together and try to work out our differences of opinion and, perhaps, reach a compromise.The offer was accepted!
Both of us were part of the five designated negotiators – three from KWW, two from the Council – that spent several hours over the next month seeing if we could pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat. There were several honest, civil, exchanges of ideas, genuine give and take, no rancor, no lines drawn in the sand just five citizens who, despite differences, respect each other and care deeply about the future of Winters. One might say we were trying to bring life to the concept of democracy in our town of Winters. And, fortunately we did! Take note, DC!
In announcing the compromise initiative – now known as Measure A – Mayor Cowan noted that, “The Council recognizes the desire of our citizens to be an integral part of the planning process. It is good for the City and its citizens.” Councilmember Harold Anderson concurred, calling it, “A historic moment for the City of Winters.”
That evening the City Council by a 5-0 vote, agreed to place the compromise initiative on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Measure A is indeed good for the city and its citizens. It provides a comprehensive, citizen-driven process for planning the 800 and more acres north of town. It is not a developer, profit-driven model. Measure A respects our ag land and our ag heritage and it honors citizens’ expressed desire to approve or not any growth plan for this area. Importantly, Measure A has no tax consequences.
We believe Measure A is a winner for our city and we strongly urge your YES vote. A “yes” vote affirms the unique qualities of the people who live here, our ability to work together, live together, and plan together so that we, our children, and grandchildren can treasure this place and this land now and into the future. Join us in voting “yes” on Measure A.