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September 2018

On the Proposed Ordinance to Prohibit the Feeding of Certain Wildlife

TurkeysIn response to concerns over the behavior of turkeys and other City wildlife, City staff has drafted an ordinance (see ordinance here) that would ban the feeding of certain wildlife, namely, coyotes, wild turkeys, foxes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, ducks, geese, crows, and gulls. 

What constitutes “feeding”?  Well, the ordinance spells this out pretty specifically.  It includes both deliberate and intentional feeding as well as negligent feeding, with a provision for warning inadvertent violators of the ordinance. 

I encourage everyone to take a look at the details of ordinance; my focus here is not on those details but rather on the pushback I’ve seen from the community, most recently with Sunday’s Enterprise column from Bob Dunning.  I can’t tell how strong that pushback is, but on the assumption that it might be strong, I thought it was important to discuss.

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New online questionnaire for the future of downtown Davis

NewonlinesurveyThe City of Davis is planing for the future of Downtown! The project team is currently drafting the Downtown Davis Plan Specific Plan and would like additional clarity on some topics. The Downtown Davis Plan Online Questionnaire just opened today and will stay open through Tues, October 2.

The website address: www.CityofDavis.org/DowntownPlan

The Spirit of the Davis Based Buyer Program for the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC)

By Jason Taormino

The spirit of the Davis Based Buyer program for the West Davis Active adult community is a focus on our community's needs. Nearly six hundred Davis families have joined our interest list for the for sale homes and there are more than four hundred additional individuals on waiting lists for affordable senior apartments. During our lengthy community outreach including more than seventeen city commission and council meetings we were asked for some methodology to ensure that we focused on this home grown demand rather than advertising in the Bay Area.

On dozens of occasions while dropping off or picking up my kids at Cesar Chavez elementary school I was approached by parents who were eager to move their aging parent(s) to Davis. From my perspective there are two clear segments of demand that our proposed neighborhood can serve from a market rate perspective - seniors in Davis who want to downsize and those who want their aging parents to come to Davis. Additionally, the affordable apartments and a memory care facility serve important needs. Without the senior restriction on 80% of the homes it is highly unlikely that seniors in Davis or bringing a parent to Davis would occur as a significant percentage of the total housing.

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Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure L - No on West Davis Active Adult Community

Sierraclub(Press release) Citing grounds of unplanned sprawling development, the Sierra Club announced its opposition to Measure L in Davis CA on the November 2018 municipal ballot. Measure L is a vote to allow the annexation of a 75 acre parcel of farmland on the northwest periphery of the City and the subsequent development of a senior housing project including 410 single-family, single-story detached homes and a 150 units of low-income senior housing. 

The endorsement of the opposition to this ballot measure follows an extensive evaluation process by the local Sierra Club Yolano Group, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club California Local Measure Review Committee.

The Sierra Club has long-standing official policies designed to minimize urban housing sprawl and maximize intensive infill development. These include planning policies which stimulate conservation of open space and preservation of natural areas and agricultural lands, The Sierra Club opposes sprawl as a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use that is devastating environmental and social conditions.

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Erroneous Assumptions and Hyperbole are Used by the Davis Vanguard to Justify WDAAC's Illegal Affordable Housing Program

By Alan Pryor


In yesterday’s column entitled “My View: Unintended Consequences – Will Anyone Go above the Affordable Housing Requirements Again?, David Greenwald made a number of unsubstantiated and erroneous claims about whether the City’s current affordable housing requirements were met by the West Davis Active Adult Community project.

Mr Greenwald claims these City’s minimum affordable housing requirements were more than met by the developer and chastised opponents of the project for making a number of “misleading” or “inaccurate” statements.

As reported by Mr. Greenwald in yesterday’s column,

What we see at WDAAC is that the developer would have been required to build around 84 units in order to reach the 15 percent threshold.  The developer could have avoided much of this kerfuffle by simply donating 1.25 acres of the land, the minimum required and then pumping additional money just like Sterling did to help them build the housing.

The result is that the developers would have met the minimum 15 percent affordable housing requirements.  They would have had a cash contribution in there to assist with building the project.  And this attack by the opposition would not have occurred.


“Instead of 1.25 acres, they’ve donated around 4.25 – which means by their calculation, they have made about a $2.7 million contribution over and above what they were required to do.

In addition, there will be an additional 66 or so affordable units (there were some differences in what number that was originally required, but we will use 74 for the purpose of this argument).”

The problem with David’s analysis is that it is just blanket statements of numbers presented as facts. There is no quantitative calculations to justify these claims nor references to the Affordable Housing Ordinance or the Development Agreement to substantiate these claims.

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Why it’s a problem that “Yes on L” is refusing to debate the WDAAC project

DebateThree days ago, Alan Pryor revealed on the Davisite that David Taormino was refusing to participate in two public forums on the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC), apparently because he particularly objected to debating Alan.  But maybe some Davisites don’t see why this is a problem.  After all, are developers obligated to participate in a public forum?

Yes, they are.  And they shouldn’t be able to select who their debating opponents are.

To see why, let’s compare a public forum for the Davis City Council with a public forum for Measure L. 

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Hidden Figures, Billie Jean King, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

HiddenfiguresUnfortunately, movie reviews are not my forté. (The Davisite looks forward to the time when our movie reviewer, G. Bruno Fischer, can resume writing his reviews again).  But three recent movies, all focused on women, have me reflecting on what they have in common. 

I've begun to think that all women are, in some sense, hidden figures. 

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Why Won’t David Taormino Participate in Forums or Debates on Measure L – What is He Afraid of or Hiding?

AfraidEmojiBy Alan Pryor

There is a long history of community forums and debates in Davis on important ballot measures that were hosted by various community groups. Indeed, every major ballot measure for the past 10 years has seen at least two or more such forums or public debates occur leading up to election day.

I myself have participated in a number of these debates on behalf of the City including two supporting passage of Measure D (the Parks Tax Renewal in 2012), six supporting passage of Measure I (the Water Project in 2013), and two supporting passage of Measure O (the Sales Tax Measure in 2014). I also represented the No on Nishi 1.0 campaign in 2016 in five forums or debates.

The campaign committee “No on Measure L – No on West Davis Active Adult Community” has offered to participate in any and all such public forums and debates on Measure L during this election cycle and we were rearranging our work and vacation schedules to make sure we were available to attend such events.

We thought we had a minimum of 2 forum/debates scheduled and were actively working to arrange to participate in others until late last week. Then we were informed that the two planned events sponsored by CivEnergy and Rancho Yolo were abruptly cancelled and simultaneously the phone lines went dead with prospective sponsors of other potential forums/debates.

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Why Is Davis So White? A Brief History of Housing Discrimination

Part one in a series on discrimination and housing in Davis, this article provides an overview of mortgage loan redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory housing practices in the U.S., with examples from Davis showing the extent of discrimination in housing practices that excluded non-white populations from specific areas. 

Sierra Vista Oaks (Miller Drive)-1950-detail
Image: detail of the deed restrictions for the Sierra Vista Oaks subdivision in Davis (Miller Drive & Ovejas Avenue north of 8th Street) from 1950. [source: Yolo County Clerk-Recorder archives, retrieved by the author]

By Rik Keller


In 1917, the Supreme Court in Buchanan v. Warley ruled municipal racial zoning unconstitutional. In response, private agreements—including restrictive covenants—started to be put in place to continue residential segregation practices: “Racially restrictive covenants refer to contractual agreements that prohibit the purchase, lease, or occupation of a piece of property by a particular group of people.”[1] These were legally-enforceable contracts put onto the deed of the property. They were enforced with the help of neighborhood associations, real estate boards, and other organizations. For example, the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB), started in 1908, promoted the use of racial covenants in new developments.

Typical language in these racially-restrictive covenants included statements such as “…hereafter no part of said property or any portion thereof shall be…occupied by any person not of the Caucasian race…[2] These covenants became so commonplace that “by 1940, 80% of property in Chicago and Los Angeles carried restrictive covenants barring black families.”[3]

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Deceptive map for the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) Project

CourtesymapAny complex project will have its pros and cons, so voters need accurate information in order to be able to properly assess them.  The “courtesy map” included in an article about the project in today’s Davis Enterprise, presumably provided by WDAAC project proponents, works against this purpose.  It is extremely misleading.

Looking at the map provided, you’d think it would be just a short hop from the WDAAC to the Marketplace shopping center, where there is a supermarket, a drug store, restaurants, and other useful businesses.  Of course, this would be desirable if it were true.  But it isn’t true.

The Google satellite map shows the real story.  Highway 113, just a thin line on the courtesy map, is a wide freeway, together with on-ramps and off-ramps (not shown on the courtesy map at all) on either side.  Pedestrians will have to cross the distance of the highway and the on- and off- ramps. 

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Vegan food at de Vere’s Irish Pub? Yes!

AvocadotoastLast night, about 30 members of Cool Cuisine visited de Vere’s Irish Pub, where a grand (and tasty) time was had by all.  Cool Cuisine, founded by Davisite Anya McCAnn, “is a coalition of individuals and organizations seeking more plant-based dining options.”  Through meetups at restaurants and potlucks, Cool Cuisine seeks to support people who want to eat plant-based diets (for whatever reason, and whether they are vegans or not), while also encouraging local restaurants to provide more plant-based restaurant items.  In other words, all are welcome – check out the Facebook page or the Meetup group to be updated on future events.

I’ve been to several successful Cool Cuisine restaurant meetups now, including ones at Symposium, Nami Sushi, Davis Noodle City, Yeti Restaurant, and Three Ladies Café.  In some cases we were given special menus, whereas in other cases we just enjoyed the vegan items already on the menu.  But de Vere’s was certainly an unexpected surprise, vegan food not being typically associated with Irish pub fare.

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WDAAC Is a Sprawling Urban Planning Disaster

Westdavisby Alan Pryor and Pam Nieberg

Forward -

The Davis City Council has approved a sprawling senior housing development project located in West Davis along Covell. Voters will have a chance to approve or reject the project in this year’s November election. The project is called West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC).

On Tuesday, 8/28, an article by the author was published in the Davisite that discussed the massive reductions in Development Fees given away by the City to the Developer.

On Thursday, 8/30 another article was published that discussed the erroneous financial assumptions used by the City to project a positive annual financial benefit to the City. That article also discussed how the Development Agreement and Baseline Features for the project are so vague so as to make them functionally  unenforceable

This current article focuses on the gross deficiencies in general land use and planning for the project and how it fails to meet objective City guidelines for senior housing nor regional sustainable urban planning standards.

1. The Far Edge of Town is Exactly the Wrong Location for a Senior Development and This Project has Exceedingly Poor Connectivity for Seniors.

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How will – and should – the recent Monsanto Roundup decision affect Davis?

PesticideapplicationA few weeks ago, a jury awarded $289 million in damages to a California school groundskeeper, finding that his cancer was caused by on-the-job exposure to Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup, the main active ingredient of which is glyphosate.  How will this affect Davis?  How should it?

Recall that, in a rather messy and prolonged process, the Davis City Council voted to “phase out” the use of glyphosate.  But where is the City in that process?  Do we even have an IPM specialist to replace Martin Guerena (who stepped down many months ago after being ill-treated by the City), i.e., someone who could oversee this phase out and report on it?  

And does the phase out need to be accelerated?  Or should it occur immediately?

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