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John’s nearly 18 years in elected public service includes engagement in numerous local, regional, state and national organizations that have enhanced the skills and network of colleagues John has used to be an effective, solutions-oriented local leader.

After being elected Yountville’s Mayor in 2010, John became a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities, to complement his longtime membership in the League of California Cities. Through these national and statewide local government advocacy organizations, John continues to build personal relationships with other elected officials and professional staff allowing him to be a part of influential discussions about legislative activity before, during and after bills have been passed in the Capitol and in Congress.

John DunbarIn 2019-20, John was President of the Cal Cities Board of Directors, an organization that represents all 482 cities and towns throughout California, and is serving as Immediate Past President this year. He’s been a Board member since 2016, and has played a pivotal role in negotiations with state and federal legislators advocating for laws that protect and serve the interests of Napa County and our North Bay region.

As County Supervisor, John will use his diverse experience leading at the local level to focus on the issues most important to Napa County, including:

COVID-19 & Local Economic Recovery

As Mayor of Yountville, John has been in close communication and collaboration with Napa County, state and national representatives, as well as up-valley elected city and community officials to support our local workforce and businesses during COVID-19 public health orders and business interruptions. That effort has shifted to focus on Napa County’s ongoing economic recovery and protection from additional financial strain caused by the pandemic.

As a member of the Napa County Economic Recovery Task Force, John has engaged with business owners and operators across all sectors to identify their most difficult challenges, address funding needs and labor shortages, and manage bureaucratic barriers and public health directives. Recovery in our agriculture, wine, hospitality, lodging and other business sectors that hire and retain our local workforce and support all other important initiatives in Napa County is critical to maintaining a healthy local economy, protecting our lands and serving all of our citizens.

Water Conservation/Drought

Like all of us, John has been concerned with decreased water supplies in local reservoirs, lakes, rivers and watersheds. Recognizing the critical importance of a reliable water supply for our residents, businesses and agriculture, John knows that everyone has a role in conservation. Reducing water consumption and utilizing reclaimed or recycled water for uses such as residential, commercial and municipal landscape irrigation are all immediate solutions we can apply. Smart technology for water metering and drip irrigation systems, as well as converting to drought tolerant plants, offer additional water reduction benefits.

Through his work on the Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Board of Directors, John has become knowledgeable on both ends of the water spectrum: drought and flood. With experience on county, regional and statewide boards, as well as his work as Mayor leading the Yountville community through water conservation efforts over many years, John is well-suited to help guide us through the extremely dry conditions facing Napa County and our North Bay region.

Wildfire Protection

Historic wildfires over the last several years have increased the awareness and need for prevention and mitigation measures, firefighting resources and major funding throughout Napa County in order to protect our community from the devastating impacts of wildfires.

With much of Napa County’s Third Supervisorial District encompassing urban-wildland interfaces where rural, rugged terrain runs adjacent to local municipalities and drinking water sources, John has been a strong advocate for efforts to secure more resources for preparedness and response, and for programs to reduce the threat and intensity of wildfires. Areas of emphasis include strengthening vegetation management programs on federal, state, public and private lands; creating defensible spaces; supporting community efforts such as local Fire Wise Councils and Citizens Organized to Prepare for Emergencies (COPE); improving emergency alert and warning systems; drafting comprehensive countywide evacuation plans; and working with local and state officials to find solutions to reduce wildfire risks associated with investor-owned utility infrastructure and operations.

On the Board of Supervisors, John will collaborate with his colleagues to make sure that meaningful action continues on this critical issue, so that Napa County and neighboring counties are more prepared to combat wildfires and become less susceptible to the tragic loss of life and property in future wildfires.

Climate Action

John believes that Napa County can leverage some of the same resources being deployed for wildfire protection on behalf of climate change initiatives, given that many of the same conditions that increase wildfire risk also are harming our land, water and air. Then, capturing additional funding specifically dedicated to environmental protection efforts would increase the speed and impact of climate action measures.

John agrees that everyone in Napa County shares the responsibility to mitigate harmful greenhouse gas emissions, protect wildlife and natural habitats, reduce fuel loads in our wildlands, and preserve water supply. At the same time, we can advance personal and commercial projects that result in climate-friendly outcomes.

John serves on the Napa County Climate Action Committee, Napa Valley Transportation Authority and the MCE Board of Directors, which is an agency that focuses on the production of clean, renewable energy for Napa County and other regions of the San Francisco Bay Area. Areas of emphasis for John include reducing greenhouse gases from the transportation sector, increasing the availability of electric vehicle charging stations and pushing for the increased use of low or no-carbon renewable energy resources.

John knows that meaningful progress on climate goals is a broad and complex effort that cannot be achieved by a single community. However, based on the mindset of “think globally, act locally,” John will continue to support and advocate for programs that help Napa County remain at the forefront of climate action.

Thinking and acting with the mindset of collaboration, not conflict, allows us to protect and enhance a healthy environment while supporting the recovery and sustainability of our local economy.

Housing Affordability

When John moved to the Napa Valley in 1998, the cost-of-living was lower and housing was more affordable in our community. In the decades since, interest has increased dramatically in the region from agricultural, tourism, natural beauty and quality of life perspectives. When coupled with the relative affordability of housing compared to areas like San Francisco and housing demand exceeding supply, John has witnessed the housing affordability crisis in the North Bay grow at an alarming and unsustainable rate.

John has supported a collaborative approach between city and county governments to increase the housing supply, thereby making housing more affordable. While he has concerns about the impacts of formulaic housing requirements mandated by the state, especially their impacts on smaller rural communities such as the Napa Valley, John also knows we must bring communities together to identify appropriate infill housing opportunities, and evaluate efficiencies and incentives to homebuilders to create more of the workforce and low and middle-income housing Napa County needs for those experiencing housing insecurity and struggling to afford the high cost of living here.

Traffic & Transportation

As a longtime resident of Yountville, John regularly travels the Napa Valley’s two main thoroughfares, Highway 29 and Silverado Trail, and has experienced the traffic congestion resulting from local workforce commutes and the many visitors traveling up and down the valley.

As a member of the Napa Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors, John has advocated for investments that alleviate bottlenecks on Highway 29 and Silverado Trail, and he also support initiatives that address traffic congestion, vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, street and road conditions, and reliable and affordable public transportation.

As an avid cyclist who regularly rides the Napa Valley Vine Trail and rural roads throughout Napa County, John also recognizes opportunities to encourage the use of alternative and low-cost modes of transportation. While not always practical for commuters and those traveling long distances, John hopes that expanded connectivity of bikeways and pathways will increase opportunities for bicycling to replace some vehicle trips both for work and recreation throughout the Napa Valley.

Veteran’s Services

John is proud to support our veteran community and the brave men and women who’ve served our country. As the Mayor of Yountville, John has been a regular presence at the Yountville Veteran’s Home. He serves on the Board of Directors for The Pathway Home, a nonprofit veteran treatment program, and has advocated for the needs of veterans and their caregivers with leadership in the California Department of Veteran Affairs and other state agencies. As Supervisor, John will keep the needs of veterans close to heart, and will remain a strong advocate for our veteran community.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The issues of diversity, equity and inclusion have taken their rightful position at the forefront of our community. John prioritizes working together on initiatives to advance racial, social, economic and all forms of equity in Napa County and beyond.

John has taken leadership positions locally and at the state level to help educate and generate ways to review, reimagine and reform local government agencies and services, business support and community engagement – all through an equity lens.

John has heard the voices of community members calling for equity and justice for all, and he recognizes the responsibility of elected leaders to eliminate systemic injustice and ensure that everyone has access to all opportunities.

In 2009, John authored Yountville’s Equal Rights Resolution. As Mayor, John has led his Town Council colleagues in support of flying the Rainbow Flag each June in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month. He also co-chaired the League of California Cities Advancing Equity Task Force to educate and provide resources for local government officials in this space.

He has been a frequent supporter of Hands Across the Valley and the Napa Food Bank, organizations that help distribute food to local residents challenged by food insecurity.

His motivation is the pursuit of diversity, equity, inclusion and support for under-represented and disadvantaged populations to ensure everyone has access to local, state and federal services and resources.