Entries categorized "Current Affairs"

More on recent problems with the Davis Enterprise

News-stock-photoBy Eileen Samitz

I appreciate this Davisite article and completely agree with its response to the defensive Enterprise article by Tanya Perez. However, the problem with the Enterprise goes far beyond the few mentioned. The Enterprise needs to become more even-handed and print the comments and concerns of the wide variety of community members, instead of focusing on and reflecting personal opinions of its new editor Sebastian Oñate so often on its Forum page.

Further, it is inexcusable that the Enterprise's publishers would tolerate the condescending comments posted by its new editor, Sebastian Oñate (on Twitter) ridiculing Davis community members and their submitted writings to the Enterprise. His predecessor, Debbie Davis, was a professional who respected all opinions, regardless of whether she agreed with them or not, and would never have behaved so unprofessionally and disrespectfully towards the community.

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A response to Tanya Perez on the purpose of the Davis Enterprise

Perez-and-Beckett In Sunday’s paper, Tanya Perez writes a spirited and mostly reasonable defense of the Davis Enterprise, but she doesn’t quite get it.

Lamenting the loss of eagle-eyed editor Debbie Davis, AP news stories, and the like, Perez writes:

The Enterprise aims to give you the information you cannot get elsewhere. We know you have Google, so you can look up the recipe sections we no longer carry. You can Google comic strips you miss, or AP News stories or national headlines.

 We are trying to give you context for local issues. And we are working to tell you what people in our immediate area want to know. That is our core mission [emphasis added].

Right on.  This is certainly why I subscribe to the Enterprise – why I subscribed as soon as I moved here and why I continue to subscribe.  I am always a little baffled when people say they don’t read the local paper.  I think it’s important to know what is going on around us, even more so than what is going in the state or nation.

Where I think she misses one of the core missions of a local paper, however, is where she writes:

Continue reading "A response to Tanya Perez on the purpose of the Davis Enterprise" »

Downtown/Core Planning Should Be Part of a Holistic, Organic Plan for Davis Overall

Davis-neighborhoodsBy Nancy Price

I'm glad for Chris Jones' alternative vision. In my opinion, the process has been hijacked by special commercial interests, outside planners, the Planning Department and the City Council. Having attended two meetings, seems to me the community is being railroaded by the process, stirred up by the dream that downtown redevelopment that will cure Davis' ills, especially the economic "problems," and be the city of the future.

Though the process appears to be democratic and fully participatory, the outside consultants were rude, didn't answer questions honestly and without bias, and dismissed others...treating many participants as lacking the requisite "credentials" and education on planning to participate meaningfully. How many of our tax dollars are being spent on this process?

Yes, the town square concept described by Chris Jones has historical, traditional roots with major state institutions clustered around the square or central commons: church, school, administrative and judicial offices, financial institutions, etc. But let's be honest, cities all over the world are made up of neighborhoods that replicate the same concept on a smaller scale.

Here I offer another alternative. Why create a downtown that is a central place in the economic/social hierarchy? That's how we in Davis have always thought of the downtown - the "Main Street." In fact, after a few of us "saved" Central Park from being a three-tiered shopping mall, we created the first Core Area Task Force..maybe that was 1987 or 88 or 89. We have always had a very protective attitude toward the "core" and tried to ensure peripheral malls would not compete with the core.

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Preserve our right to be heard at City Council meetings

GaggedIf you want to preserve your right to speak in general public comment at City Council meetings, come to the City Council meeting today (Tuesday, July 10) at 7:15 PM and express your concerns about the proposal to shunt some of general public comment to the very end of the meeting.  Maybe you’ve never spoken at a Council meeting.  Maybe you don’t think you would. But it’s exactly when our concerns are the greatest that we find ourselves doing things that we didn’t expect we’d do and when we most need to preserve our right to speak.

Although I’ve spoken at Council meetings a number of times, I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken at general public comment at the beginning of the meeting (exception: my first time when I didn’t understand how things worked).  But I have heard others give general public comment.  They speak of issues that the Council might not yet know about or has yet to take up and place on the agenda.  Or they speak to items that are on the agenda, but for which they cannot stay to speak. They speak with passion and conviction.  Maybe the issues aren’t important to me.  But they are important to the speaker.  In a democracy, all voices should be heard, even those we disagree with or those who speak about things that we ourselves do not care about, because when it’s our turn, we will want to be heard.

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New Police Surveillance Technology Needs More Disclosure and Specificity

CameraDear Mayor Lee and Davis City Council Members,

We are pleased to see our new city surveillance ordinance being implemented. Last Thursday night we saw the first staff reports on surveillance technologies being used in the city. As our first attempt as a city to lead the way in public disclosure of use of surveillance technologies, we want all parties to contribute to fully meeting the spirit and requirements of the ordinance. To that end, we offer both questions and suggestions regarding the Police Department staff reports.

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Envision Downtown Davis

Virtual Community Workshop Flyer FinalThe City of Davis is asking for your help in planning for the future of downtown. By participating in the Virtual Community Workshop, your input will help with the creation of the Specific Plan. The workshop is currently live through June 28.

Join the conversation and participate in the Virtual Community Workshop at www.cityofdavis.org/EnvisionDowntownDavis

Additionally, the Downtown Davis Plan Team will be hosting the second Participatory Design Workshop from July 10 through July 14 at the Davis Community Church Fellowship Hall, located at 421 D Street. They will be reaching out with a flyer and additional information shortly.

Democracy and general public comment: A reply to Jon Li

Brett_LeeI want to thank Jon Li for his thoughtful response to my earlier article, an article that objected to the recent proposal to limit the time for general public comment at the beginning of Council meetings, shunting the rest of general public comment to the end of the meetings.  His remarks provide the opportunity for me to reflect more on the nature of democracy as it pertains to our humble town.

 Jon asks us to think about the real purpose of public comment and about the nature of a representative democracy, and rightly so.  It is my view that recent events, both regionally and nationally, have shown us that just showing up to the polls and voting during elections is not enough.  Citizens can and should be more engaged than that.  Of course, ultimately we do rely on our elected representatives to make decisions.  But it is incumbent on us to let them know where we stand on issues, to raise concerns that they may not have thought of, to give them the information that they need in order to be able to properly represent us.

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Inappropriate Behavior from the Editor of the Davis Enterprise

Onate-taking-overEveryone knows that newspapers are under severe threats to their survival and have been for some time.  The Davis Enterprise is no different.  Yet newspapers play an essential role in informing the community, fostering community dialogue, and forging community.  That makes me loathe to criticize the Enterprise.  But when the new Editor, Sebastian Oñate, engages in practices that undermine those very goals, I feel as though I must speak out.  I do so not to hurt the Enterprise further but rather in the hopes of changing his ways, or if that is not possible, to encourage the paper to find a different Editor.

The problem with Oñate’s practice is this: he has engaged in practices that demean and disparage readers.  This serves to reduce participation and harm one’s sense of community, not foster it.  An Editor should always take the high road and be seen as open and fair to all.  Unfortunately, Oñate has not done that, as the following examples illustrate. (If images are too small to read, you can click to enlarge, or just follow the links).

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Nishi money spills into tax measures

Pileofmoney-croppedBy Gilbert Coville

As we all know, it’s illegal to give money to an elected official in exchange for a favorable vote. However, monied interests get around this by contributing to elected officials’ pet projects if a vote goes their way.

This doesn’t happen in Davis. Or does it?

On Feb 6, our city council voted to advance the Nishi 2.0 student housing project to a Measure R vote. They were clearly not as excited about this project as they were with the previous Nishi proposal (just search on YouTube: “Davis council lukewarm”). However, they advanced the project to the ballot anyway; it is now Measure J. The Council continues to promote the project, with the mayor as the de facto spokesperson for Yes on Measure J.

The Council also is promoting two local tax measures, H and I, to help fund local park and road maintenance. Two Council members are officers of the committee promoting these measures, and Council members have been staffing its table at the Farmers Market.

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If you look at most downtowns...

Bw-bicyclestatueBy Jon Li

Most downtowns have lots of jobs, and lots of people living downtown. Davis has neither.

The economic and business problems with Davis are outside the General Plan, which only deals in land use terms with housing and traffic. The Downtown Plan process is about how to make Davis “look” more appealing, as though that will work.

The merchants’ answer is a new parking structure so that people can drive their cars. But that is 20th century suburbia. What about re-thinking the downtown as an urban center, with six to ten story buildings, as high as UCD’s Sproul Hall which is 9 stories.

The problems with Davis have to do with the non-existent economy. Davis city staff with their grand salaries want to keep Davis just the way it is, as though the state hasn’t killed the Redevelopment Agency almost a decade ago. Amazon is transforming the world economy, and Davis needs to figure out how to respond.

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Grieving Mother of 5 Seeks Answers After Son's Suicide; Says Son Needed Mental Health Services Instead of Felony Prosecution by Yolo D.A.

(Press release) Patti Pape – mother of recently-deceased UC Davis student Eric Pape – wants answers about why the Yolo County D.A.’s office pressed serious felony charges against her late son for an incident that occurred when he was having a panic attack while receiving treatment in a hospital.

“The D.A.’s office should have realized that this was a mental health case and should never have charged my son. I believe that the stress of his felony trial contributed to his eventual suicide,” she said.

Ms. Pape and a few others will make brief comments at rally this Thursday, May 17 at Noon at the UC Davis MU Patio.

Continue reading "Grieving Mother of 5 Seeks Answers After Son's Suicide; Says Son Needed Mental Health Services Instead of Felony Prosecution by Yolo D.A." »

You Can’t Compare Davis with San Francisco

By Jon Li

Roberta Millstein recently wrote in the Davisite that if six to ten story buildings were allowed in the Davis Downtown area, then there would be all kinds of urban problems, citing an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Wait a minute.  You can’t compare suburban Davis with world famous celebrity magnet City By The Bay with over ten times the population of 750,000.  There are villages, nooks, streets that have more economy, more society, more culture than all of Davis put together.   I get that some people came to Davis to escape that rat race, but many people who work in Davis commute from SF.

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How High Should the Downtown Go - And Why?

IMG_1296In a recent post, Jon Li decried the process used by "Downtown Davis Plan Team Participatory Design Workshop." In addition to those concerns about process, in his view the right solution to Davis's economic problems is to turn the Downtown into 10,000 residences by building six stories, and higher, and having jobs and housing downtown."

In reply, one commenter thought that "the charrette consultants went straight to tall, dense downtown buildings as a first solution" and that that "would probably gentrify downtown to the point where all the small independent businesses would be forced out because rents would go too high."

Interestingly, then, we have agreement that there were problems with the process, but disagreement with the desired outcome: a tall, dense downtown.

Would a tall downtown in fact improve Davis's economy?

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Why the Davis Downtown Economy is Falling Apart

Bw-bicyclestatueBy Jon Li

Do you wonder about the empty stores in Downtown Davis? Don't you wish there was somebody on the City of Davis Staff who is responsible for improving our local economy?

Last week, the City of Davis held its "Downtown Davis Plan Team Participatory Design Workshop" for four days. It was lectures by highly paid outside consultants mouthing what the Davis Staff has decided is going to be in the Downtown element of the new Davis General Plan.  State law says ours is out of date now and must be updated. Davis Staff set up a process with as little public input as possible. They only want to legally check off the box "public input."

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Why is our Democratic Assembly Member endorsing a non-Democratic Yolo County District Attorney?

DeanJohanssonBy M E Gladis

To Voters in California Assembly District 4.

One wonders what the Democratic Assembly Member, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry intends by endorsing the present non-Democratic Yolo County District Attorney since he doesn’t follow democratic values. This District Attorney remains neutral on Prop 39 ( 3 Strikes Reform ) but opposes Prop 47 (Sentencing Reform ), Prop 57 ( Reduce Mass Incarceration ), and Prop 64 (Legal Adult Marijuana Use).These four Propositions Yolo County voters overwhelmingly approved. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry appears to oppose Yolo County voters.

Consider, then, this same District Attorney has filed more felony trials in Yolo County ( Pop. 213,000 ) than has the district attorney in Alameda County ( pop. 1,683,000 ) Felony trials are expensive ordeals. Yolo County 41% to CA average 19% Felony non-conviction rate. Cecilia seems to support this effort.

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Dean Johansson Supports the Just Announced 'Use of Force' Legislation to Curb Killings of Civilians by Law Enforcement

DeanJohansson(Press release) Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Dean Johansson, a candidate for Yolo County District Attorney, Tuesday was among the first candidates for public office in the region to support state legislation introduced today to restrict when law enforcement officers could shoot suspects.

The measure would modify the standard officers use to fire their weapons to "necessary force" from the current "reasonable force," which has led to 162 killings by California peace officers in 2017 – more than half of those killed were unarmed.

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How can we measure Davis as a healthy, sustainable bio-social economic organism confronted with perpetual UCD Disruptions?

Source: Davis Wiki

By Jon Li

The city staff has a status quo approach to the state requirement that the out of date Davis general plan be updated. Staff has imposed a rigid process where the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee is only allowed to listen. Everything is subject exclusively to city council ratification; staff does not want any changes from either the Advisory Committee or the City Council. Staff only wants the right to claim they are acting on the authority of the city council. The city council has no control over the city staff.

Davis’ economy is so pathetic that it cannot afford the government we have, let alone the amenities most people in Davis take for granted.

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District Attorney Candidate Dean Johansson Played Key Role in Development of New City of Davis Surveillance Ordinance

(Press release) Yolo County ACLU* board member Dean Johansson – now a candidate for Yolo County District Attorney – played a leadership role in developing the surveillance ordinance passed unanimously Tuesday, March 20, 2018, by the Davis City Council.

The ordinance – which regulates city departments’ use of surveillance technology, building in safeguards to protect civil liberties – was the result of a year and a half of collaboration between the Yolo County ACLU, ACLU of Northern California, Davis City Council, Police Chief Darren Pytel, and Brian Hofer, Chair of the City of Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission.

Other community groups, including the Davis Human Relations Commission, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, ACLU People Power, and the National Lawyers Guild supported the development and passage of the ordinance.

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Proposed revisions to the Cannery project will NOT be heard by the City Council tonight

From: "City of Davis eNotification" <webmaster@cityofdavis.org>

City Council Agenda Update - February 20, 2018

Date: February 20, 2018 2:18 p.m.

Agenda Item 5 - Public Hearing on The Cannery Marketplace Project Revisions will not be heard at tonight's City Council meeting. The item will be opened and continued to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Discussion of the item will take place at the March 13 meeting.

We apologize for any inconvenience.