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Placing a moratorium on winery marketing events is not the answer

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Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 12:00 am

At the urging of a few interested parties, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors has instructed staff to draft a text amendment that would put a ban or moratorium on marketing events for new wineries, and limit the same events for existing wineries.

There is no precedent that I am currently aware of that would warrant the current proposed text amendment; this text amendment would implement a broad, sweeping moratorium and indiscriminate ban. There is no public emergency or item of public safety that would necessitate such a moratorium.

By proposing, pushing or lobbying for a moratorium, all interested parties in pushing such an agenda have admitted that they believe the system to be broken and unable to effectively operate under its own current checks and balances.

A moratorium says that San Joaquin County is being overrun; things are currently so out of control that only a moratorium would restore order. Is this the case? Is this the epidemic, two wineries that have flouted the code and have been effectively dealt with, and one winery that went through all proper legal and county hearing procedures? Do these three instances constitute an epidemic? Do these three wineries out of the current 80-plus wineries warrant a moratorium? By implementing a moratorium, the County Board of Supervisors will admit to their constituents that the current process is out of control and not properly functioning.

The County Planning Department has done an excellent job to date in considering on a case by case basis each and every application. The County Board of Supervisors has been able to effectively hear all public concerns, appeals and applications. The Planning Department and Board of Supervisors have considered each application based on its merits. Like the outcome or hate the outcome, each applicant has been afforded their due process.

A moratorium simply picks winners and losers.

I ask that you please vote "no" on the current proposed text amendment. There are better options and more items to discuss, so don't kill the conversation. Don't pick winners and losers; let's work together for a win-win for everyone involved.

Ryan Sherman


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