Letters to the Editor: April 29, 2015

Give us something new, Moodies; Airbnb no threat to Napa


It’s a shame that the Moody Blues feel that new music is not what their fans want (“True Blues,” April 22). Maybe for the band’s 50th anniversary in 2017, they could come up with something extra special that would be fantastic.

Via Bohemian.com

Napa Needs Airbnb

According to the website www.napanow.com/whovisits.html, Napa Valley currently receives 1.7 million overnight visitors each year, and the average length of stay for overnight visitors
is 2.9 days. That statistic suggests
4.93 million visitor-nights per year. That’s right: there is a need for almost
5 million overnight rooms each year. Divide that by 365. There is currently a need for about 13,000 rooms every night of the year in Napa Valley.

The Visit Napa Valley website reports that there are about 5,000 overnight rooms in Napa Valley, including B&Bs. When demand for overnight accommodations outstrips supply by about 8,000 units every night, there is absolutely no credibility to the claim that Airbnb is decimating anyone’s tourist hosting business.

I am truly embarrassed to have to think that I live in a town that has elected a city council that is trying to pimp this lie off onto the community. Vice-Mayor Scott Sedgley proposes making Airbnb into yet another privilege for the rich, by limiting Airbnb rental properties to historic Victorians in the downtown area—all of which just happen to be owned by the rich people that he serves, and who don’t need the money anyway.

City council member Mary Luros proposes perhaps allowing a number of Airbnbs that is effectively equal to zero. But by suggesting a number slightly greater than zero, she can proudly tout how reasonable she is. Councilmember Juliana Inman already makes money off of her own short-term rental. It’s easy to see why she opposes the competition presented by Airbnb. It’s nothing more than simple self-interest.

If the city council is going to claim these rentals are disruptive, they need to publish a clear and explicit report of specific incidents that supports this contention. Proscription without proof is bad governance.

There is no reason why Airbnb hosts can’t comply with fire inspections and other permitting issues. Homeowners insurance and renters insurance both provide liability coverage for bodily injury to a guest. Read your policy.

Renting a spare room is a great way to meet new people. It helps older city residents avoid the isolation that comes from living in an unfriendly town. And it’s a great way to bring young people who have lots of energy but limited financial means into our city.

The Napa City Council seems bound and determined to make it impossible to live here unless you’re rich. That is not their charge. If they disallow Airbnb, they clearly are not serving the greater population of this city, and I would hope voters will remember that come election time.


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