August 30, 2014 6:00 pm •
What the world has seen is impressive.
Napa survived. It rallied around the injured, the displaced and the traumatized.
Though much was damaged, and many people are suffering injuries and the loss of property, the city emerged whole from the quake, perhaps even stronger for having bonded in adversity.
We applaud the many generous companies and organizations that have stepped forward to donate, from the Oakland Raiders and Wells Fargo, which kicked in $50,000 each, to the Fuller Brush Company, which donated $100,000 worth of cleaning supplies. Far surpassing anyone else, meanwhile, was the Napa Valley Vintners, which stepped in with $10 million to fund a relief account administered by the Napa Valley Community Foundation.
There were innumerable smaller gestures of kindness as well — neighbors helping neighbors, checking on the elderly or ill, or just lending a sympathetic ear for those dealing with trauma.
The next task is digging out and replacing the things that are lost. These will be long and tedious days, but we hope that we can meet them with the same resilience that the community showed in its early days.
There will be time later for hard questions:
Were our buildings and roads in good condition to withstand the quake?
Was our emergency planning and preparedness sufficient, both collectively and individually?
Were any building owners negligent in their seismic preparations, causing undue damage to neighbors?
Were property owners and residents covered by sufficient earthquake insurance?
We will need to think through carefully how to rebuild damaged historical buildings, including the old court house and the Goodman Library.
We will need to consider what this event means for the future of downtown Napa’s much-heralded renaissance, since so many of its key historic anchors sustained damage.
We will also need to take a hard look at regulations, building standards, and enforcement at both the city and county level.
But those are questions for the future. For today, let us pause and appreciate how well the community handled this crisis, and be profoundly grateful that it was not worse.