Press Release from Coloma-Lotus Association of Merchants
Coloma, California, September 15, 1998-- The Coloma-Lotus Association of Merchants voted unanimously to oppose El Dorado County Measure W.
If passed, Measure W would cut commercial usage on the South Fork of the American River to around 45,000 user-days per year, less than half of the present level, effective May 1999.
The Coloma-Lotus Association of Merchants views the measure as an unnecessary and potentially devastating threat to the local economy. The whitewater rafting industry provides an estimated $13 - $15 million per year in revenues to the El Dorado County economy. The Coloma-Lotus area is especially dependent on this revenue. Cutting the commercial rafting income by more than 50% would severely impact many of the local businesses that supply the rafting tourists with food, lodging, sundries and entertainment. Some smaller businesses would be unlikely to survive.
The Coloma-Lotus Association of Merchants also objects to the arbitrary way in which this measure was proposed. The Board of Supervisors gave no warning to the affected businesses before putting this measure on the ballot, and made no attempt to work out a compromise that would soften the financial impact. Furthermore, they ignored the Environmental Impact Report on the South Fork of the American River that is due to be reviewed this month, the culmination of a two-year joint process between the commercial outfitters, private boaters, local residents, local businesses, and government agencies. (The EIR process was mandated and run by the County and funded by fees on commercial whitewater usage.) The Association feels that allowing this Measure to pass would set a dangerous precedent for damaging other local industries.
Founded March 1998, the Coloma-Lotus Association of Merchants is made up of local businesses in the Coloma-Lotus area of El Dorado County. Members meet twice a month to discuss issues that impact the local community. For more information contact Pat Kovach at (530) 642-5830 or Donna McMaster at (530) 621-9981.