St. Helena Window is Citizen Central for a better St. Helena. It is a way to bring more and better information about local government to local people. Local government has the most immediate impact on people and yet it is often the least understood. This is compounded by the once-a-week nature of local newspapers and their inability to go into much depth due to space and personnel constraints. The point of this site is to enable citizens to see through that often unclear and confusing window between local government and its constituents. Regardless of anyone's political persuasion, it is hoped that those who visit are united by the common desire to see the City of St. Helena be fair to all, plan realistically and face the future under excellent management.


Check the Rules/Ethics page for the rules for political gift giving on the local level
and Conflicts of Interest on the Good Government page.
Fair Political Practices Commission Guidelines for Local Gifts Fact Sheet,

See Archived SHWindow newsletters for additional background on issues and related files.

St. Helena's Unique Voting Problem

ISSUES: check the Issues page for more topics.

City Council Members' Budget 2014-15
Where Our Money Goes


8/12/14 UPDATE: The General Plan is due to be discussed in September at the Planning Commission.
The General Plan process is now at the stage where the community can see and understand all the changes the City Council has done for the past 3.5 years. And there is a separate analysis of just the Problem Changes for St.Helena and why.
March 11 Staff Report,
most recently published General Plan changes.
General Plan Changes Page to see:
1. The Cover Sheet
2. The Staff Report of the Council changes;
3. Short lists of the most problematic changes by Element.
4. VIDEO CLIP on cultural diversity, a sample Council discussion pf General Plan changes.


The cities and the County of Napa are currently grappling with the effects of increased tourism, wondering if over saturation is around the corner and when to impose restraining forces to cushion decline if and when trends change.
See the Tourism page for a synopsis of the Butler Report, its full Report and more in-depth articles on over saturation.


This issue has reached a crisis the scope of which Alan Galbraith fully presented to the City Council on Jan 14 and also Jan. 28. Below are some of his documents and links used to fully outline the problem for St. Helena. Conservation information will added to the Issues page as it is developed.

Learn about the Hero Program to fund solar, water conservation, a charging station and energy efficient appliances. It will be available in St. Helena summer, 2014.

ST. HELENA WATER EMERGENCY ANALYSIS Please read this to understand the water emergency that we face in St. Helena. Due to the late spring rains, we are in phase 1 conditions, not phase 2.
Precipitation Map
St. Helena Water Supply Analysis
Phase II Declaration of Emergency, passed by the City Council Jan. 28, 2014
The National Weather Service Drought Outlook
Check the Drought Impact Map to see how many impacts will occur in Napa County.


In order to complete the General Plan, a Housing Element must be added. A new one must be done every 5 years and the current one is due January 2015. Here is a White Paper on the current status (the legal version) and here is the lay version of same (easier to read). As of 8/10/14 there has been no action on the Housing Element in St. Helena. Read more.
See also: The Crux of the Hunter Controversy

While the Tree Tunnel was pruned in December, it is now looking bad again. With the hiring of a new City Manager, maybe there will be renewed attention there but not likely soon.

The Council is currently planning to put the Wine Train issue back into play by favoring allowing it to stop here in the new General Plan.

The Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program Draft for 2014.

Going Forward? by Sandra Ericson, an essay on the choices facing small towns in this age of new realities.
Planners Web, News and Information for Citizen Planners (includes Planning Commissioners)