Entries categorized "Housing"

Davis Tenants Clean & Green Bill of Rights - Message no. 1

DSCN4761By Todd Edelman

On the left in the photo is a new filter for our AC/furnace; on the right,  one about 60-75 days old including two weeks of wildfires. This is, of course, used inside the house, so everything here has come inside though we've had the doors and closed almost all of the time for the past couple of weeks.

These are MERV 13 filters (which our landlord is paying for! Thanks!) Two technicians from Blake's said that a filter of this high value is suitable for our fairly modern HVAC. These are what's planned for use at Lincoln40. When they get this black and clogged up they also start to whistle a bit in the holder as air is trying to go around them, which at least raises energy costs.

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Response to Davis Enterprise Article, UCD LRDP Goes to Regents

WestvillageBy Greg Rowe

The recent Davis Enterprise article about UCD’s 2018 Long Range Development Plan going to the Regents for approval on July 18 warrants rebuttal. UCD proclaims the LRDP builds on the success of the 2003 plan “…and charts ambitious sustainability and housing options…”  But this statement ignores that the 2003 LRDP expected that 36% of total enrollment of 30,000 students would live on campus by 2015-16, but in reality UCD missed the mark by 1400 beds, with only 29% of the 3-quarter average of 32,663 students that year living on campus (most in freshman dorms which they had to vacate for sophomore year).   

In addition, a Board of Regents student housing report issued in November 2002 expected UCD would house 38% of its students by 2012 (with a goal of 40% living on campus) but by 2015-16 only 29% lived on campus, translating to a shortfall exceeding 1800 beds. While UCD’s new housing goals seem ambitious, it obscures the fact that UCD has consistently surpassed enrollment projections while under-producing the housing needed meet the needs of its expanded enrollment.  The previous Chancellor’s overly ambitious “2020 Initiative,” which aimed to boost enrollment by 5,000 more students than required by the Regents, significantly exacerbated the student housing shortage.

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Election post-mortem

YoloCountyBallotHaving taken a day off to reflect, here are some of my thoughts about the election just completed.

First and foremost, let me assure everyone that the Davisite will continue! Some have speculated that this blog was created just to promote Nishi. That was never the case and time will show that to be true. If there have been a lot of articles about Nishi, that was because many of our current authors (myself included) were very engaged in that issue. The Davisite was always intended to be a blog by and for Davisites, which means that our content will always reflect our authors.

So, now is a good time to reissue a call for authors: send us your thoughts, be they political or not, artistic or not, funny or not. You can be a regular author, or send us something from time to time, or maybe just once – long or short, it doesn't matter. (But remember that on the Internet, most people don't want to read things that are very long!). The sidebar contains our contact info and comment policy, the latter of which serves as guidelines for authors as well.

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No air pollution testing at NISHI? Gimme a break! Not testing is just a public health and public policy sin..... and totally non-scientific.

Frankly, it still boggles my mind that the Nishi developers refused to allow air quality testing at their proposed development site.  They had about all the benefits you can imagine, an ideal situation in that a famous UC Davis professor with the right equipment to do air quality monitoring offered to do the testing in a fair and systematic way (you can call it "scientific") in order to determine the unique patterns of air quality at a site that is below grade, adjacent to a very busy highway and wedged in by the railroad tracks.  BUT THE DEVELOPERS SAID "NO!!!!".

WOW!  A big "NO!!!!" to scientific testing. 

Had they asked the Yolo County Epidemiologist like I did whether or not this kind of testing was advisable from a public health perspective, here is what they would have heard (communication from Dr. Dabritz: 

Continue reading "No air pollution testing at NISHI? Gimme a break! Not testing is just a public health and public policy sin..... and totally non-scientific." »


Nishi’s costs, health risks, and loose ends

Nishi-train-car
By Cara Bradley, Thomas Cahill, Gilbert Coville, Pam Gunnell, Marilee Hanson, Michael Harrington, David Kupfer, Robert Milbrodt, Roberta Millstein, Don Price, Nancy Price, Rodney Robinson, Johannes Troost, Dean Vogel, Colin Walsh, and Michael Yackey

Two years after Davis voters rejected the Nishi project at the polls, it’s back on the ballot as Measure J with the same pollution hazards from the adjacent I-80 freeway and railroad, but without the commercial component that was supposed to deliver significant revenue to the City.

Here are seven problems with the Nishi project:

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Is a housing status quo the same as a housing crisis?

Colbert-skitBy Matt Williams

In a May 31 Vanguard article and its comments the word of the day was “Crisis.”  Over the past 12 months another political hype word has been in vogue … “maxi-dorm.”  What do “crisis” and “maxi-dorm” have in common?  They have a resonance when used as sound bites in political hype.

The article didn’t stop with the label “crisis.”  One of the verbal images used was We had another person describe living in a house and having to share the living room for $400 per month, with a sheet partition for privacy.”  The metaphor that image tries to invoke has several interesting flaws, one of which was ironically displayed in the lead image of the article, which shows a dormitory room, where the student residents are sharing a single room for living.  The second was the remembrance is stirs in most Davis viewers of the adventure and excitement of their college days, sharing a dorm room with a roommate assigned by the university.  Getting to know that random stranger, sharing war stories, but without the sheet.  Those were good times … anything but a crisis.  Lastly, the sheet.  For me it conjured up the Colbert comedy skit shown in the picture at the beginning of this article.

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Nishi Hot Dog Give Away: Currying favor or buying votes?

Whitcombe-ticketsBy Gilbert Coville

Last night John Whitcombe and the Yes on J campaign gave away free hot dogs at the Anderson Place Apartments in an attempt to convince voters to approve Nishi 2.0.  The Anderson Place Apartments complex, located on the corner of Hanover Place and Covell, is one of the 14 apartment complexes around Davis owned by Whitcombe and Tandem properties. I was not in attendance myself, so the following report and photographs are based on information that was given to me by individuals who prefer to remain anonymous.

Holding rallies like this where freebies are given away is legal so long as there is no quid pro quo. An example of quid pro quo would be if someone says, “I will give you a hot dog if you vote for my development.”  There is no evidence that there was quid pro quo at this event; however, it is eerily similar to some of Whitcombe’s past practices that resulted in a major Davis scandal.

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The Aggie's article on Nishi air quality: Some additional information

The Aggie has a great new article on the air quality issue at Nishi, including interviews with Dr. Tom Cahill and myself.  I have just a few things to add.

One is that since the article was published, the amount contributed by the developer to sell Measure J to voters has gone from over $170,000 to over $250,000 (a quarter of a million dollars).  This is eight times the cost of what one air quality test would have cost.

Second, according to the article "Whitcome says there were some issues found at the site, but 'nothing of any real consequence.'"  That's not an accurate statement because the site has not actually been studied, just an adjacent site.  And here is what they found at the adjacent site (from Barnes 2015, the study used in the EIR):

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Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 3 of 3

Robb and Matt at Nishi Forum

By Matt Williams

As follow-up to the May 6th CivEnergy forum on Measure J, I published my personal reasons why I oppose Measure J as an article for the Davisite and as a comment to the Vanguard.  Prompted by my list, Mayor Davis took the time to respond to all eleven (11) of my comments one-by-one.  I thank Robb for doing so, and particularly thank him for the structured format he used to reply. This is the third in a series of articles on Nishi's financials in which I respond to Robb Davis's replies to me.  The first article is here and the second article is here.

Matt: Nishi 2018 has no dollars for deferred maintenance of capital infrastructure.
Robb: See previous point. We don’t need it because the developer is responsible.
Matt: That is the same short-sighted, politically-driven thinking that created the current dilapidated state of our roads and the $8 million annual shortfall in the City Budget.
Robb: That is an editorial comment to which I will not respond.

The interchange above is at the heart of the City’s current unsustainable fiscal situation. Past Councils for well over a decade have ignored the advice of Staff regarding the maintenance of the City’s capital infrastructure. The year-by-year individual circumstances have differed, but the behavior pattern was the same. Over and over again, the Council chose to avoid a public dialogue about the fact that our City’s appetite for spending exceeded its annual income.

Continue reading "Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 3 of 3" »


Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 2 of 3

Robb and Matt at Nishi Forum
By Matt Williams

As follow-up to the May 6th CivEnergy forum on Measure J, I published my personal reasons why I oppose Measure J as an article for the Davisite and as a comment to the Vanguard.  Prompted by my list, Mayor Davis took the time to respond to all eleven (11) of my comments one-by-one.  I thank Robb for doing so, and particularly thank him for the structured format he used to reply. This is the second in a series of articles on Nishi's financials in which I respond to Robb Davis's replies to me.  The first article is here.

Matt: Nishi's cash contribution to City has shrunk 90% from $1.4 million down to $143,000.

Robb: Non-sequiter. Two very different projects, one with revenue from commercial activity, unsecured property tax, sales tax. I am not sure the point of this statement. It is less. It is a housing-only project.

Robb is correct that the revenues mix is different, with no unsecured property tax in this project The final EPS financial assessment of Nishi 2016 projected the unsecured property tax revenue at full-buildout at $9,000, which was one-half of one percent of the annual revenues … a rather minuscule difference.

The annual Sales Tax projection at full-buildout for Nishi 2016 was $286,000 as opposed to $198,000 for Nishi 2018, a difference of $88,000.

Continue reading "Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 2 of 3" »


Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 1 of 3

 

By Matt Williams

As follow-up to the May 6th CivEnergy forum on Measure J, I published my personal reasons why I oppose Measure J as an article for the Davisite and as a comment to the Vanguard.  Prompted by my list, Mayor Davis took the time to respond to all eleven (11) of my comments one-by-one.  I thank Robb for doing so, and particularly thank him for the structured format he used to reply.

After taking time off for a movie and dinner date with a group of Davis friends and the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I have put together this point-by-point response to the first of Robb's comments. This is the first of a series of articles in which I will respond to all of Robb's points. I believe that covering them one-by-one will produce a more focused and fruitful dialogue.

Matt:   Nishi 2.0 Will Cost Davis Taxpayers between $350,000 and $750,000 per year

Robb:  FBC findings on Nishi, January 8, 2018 (the only action they took in relation to Nishi)

We also generally concur with the estimate that annual ongoing revenues and costs for the city from the project would be modestly net positive over time.

We note, however, that the estimate does not reflect additional revenues that could result if Davis voters approve an increase in parcel taxes. Also, the estimate does not include revenues from Proposition C cannabis taxes or possible community enhancement funds that could result from the negotiation of a development agreement. Also, the EIR adopted for the original, larger, version of the Nishi project suggests that police and fire costs for serving the new residents could be nominal. (A new environmental review is now being conducted for the revised project.) Thus, in some respects, the net fiscal benefit of the project could be greater than estimated.

Robb made that same point in the May 6th Civenergy Forum, which is that the Council prefers to cover its eyes and ears and proactively ignore everything other than the formal written words they received from the Finance and Budget Commission.  What they are doing is using the specifics of one facet of a multi-faceted process to hear no evil and see no evil.

Continue reading "Robb Davis/Matt Williams Dialogue on Nishi Financials – Part 1 of 3" »


Yes on Nishi exceeds a quarter of a million dollars in expenditures

Pileofmoney-croppedThis came in as a comment on an earlier post, but we thought it deserved its own post.

Davis Gateway Student Housing LLC & Afiliated Entities, the organization for the developers of the Nishi project, has now spent $250,324.06 on the Yes on Measure J campaign!

The most recent expenditures are approximately $31,000 for "Field Expenses", $2,000 for "Voter Contact", and $15,000 for another mailer. And approximately $5,000 for a print ad. That's going to be some ad. Perhaps a full-page in the Sunday paper.

Yes, folks. That's one quarter of a million dollars.


Opposing the Nishi project Because of Costs & Lack of Integrity in the Process

Nish-from-tracks
By Matt Williams

Individuals have different reasons for opposing the Nishi project.  My personal reasons are as follows:

  • Nishi 2.0 will cost Davis taxpayers between $350,000 and $750,000 per year.
  • Nishi’s cash contribution to City has shrunk 90%  from $1.4 million down to $143,000.
  • $650,000 per year of Community Services District revenues in Nishi 2016 have “vanished” in Nishi 2018.
  • Nishi 2018 has no dollars for deferred maintenance of capital infrastructure.
  • That is the same short-sighted, politically-driven thinking that created the current dilapidated state of our roads and the $8 million annual shortfall in the City Budget.

Guess who picks up the fiscal difference … Davis taxpayers

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UCD can, and needs to provide far more on-campus housing

OrchardPark
Orchard Park, still closed after 4 years

UCD’s inadequate LRDP needs major revisions

By Eileen M. Samitz

UCD’s LRDP proposal is seriously inadequate

The UCD LRDP and its associated Draft EIR were released recently after the UCD LRDP update process invited input since fall 2015. The problem is UCD LRDP and its associated Draft EIR are seriously inadequate, as was pointed out by the detailed City Staff letter review of the documents. The City Staff letter, approved by City Council recently, pointed out numerous problems with the UCD LRDP proposal.

The problems include an insufficient amount of student housing proposed (i.e. the City Council’s recommended “50/100” plan was not included) as well as the astonishing lack of many basic details including: 1) timelines of housing to materialize, 2) inadequate student housing densities, and 3) a failure to recognize and acknowledge the significant impacts environmentally and on the City’s infrastructure due to UCD’s shortfall of beds proposed. The proposed LRDP would continue shifting the majority of their student housing burden onto the City.

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Charging 12 months rent for nine months occupancy

Westvillage
Photo source: KRCA

By John Troidl

The majority of off campus and some of the on-campus housing targeting UC Davis students requires applicants for residence to sign a 12 month lease.  When I first came to Davis and some students told me about this practice, I was astonished and asked them if they were sure this was true:  Maybe they misunderstood the terms of the standard lease because after all these were young people without a lot of experiences with real estate and leasing. 

They were correct, it turns out, and they told me about the "Summer Scramble" of trying to sublet their places (with/without landlord permission) to recoup at least some of the lost cash they spent for rent on apartments that they did not need for the Summer.  Unbelievable!

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Promised Nishi Mitigation Features May Never Materialize

Nish-from-tracks

Proponents of Nishi have made much of the promised mitigation features: the tree screen and the air filters. One has to ask, of course, why mitigation is even necessary, and the EIR for the project makes that clear: the location between I-80 and the train tracks brings with it poor air quality and "significant and unavoidable" health impacts. There is no controversy on that point, although some "merchants of doubt" have tried to turn it into one.

Questions have also been raised about whether the promised mitigation will do what it is supposed to do; for example, Dr. Thomas Cahill has pointed out that the tree screen will be much less effective because the freeway is elevated adjacent to Nishi, and the supposed 95% efficiency of the air filters has never actually been demonstrated in a real-life situation (with filters operating at a much lower efficiency in real-life situations).

But the situation is even worse than that. The promised mitigation measures might not even be implemented.

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Davis Vanguard Continues to Deny Nishi Traffic Problem and Attempts to Pour Cold Water on John Troidl's Article

Nishi-OldDavisRdBy Dan Cornford

In response to John Troidl's article of yesterday in the Davisite the DV published an article or "commentator" today entitled "Commentary: Nonsensical Argument that Nishi Project Will Make Downtown Traffic Worse."

Below I will paste in my response to David Gs arguments and his failure to address any of John's. But I urge others to post their comments on the DV today as soon as possible as the traffic issue, IMHO resonates like no other when it comes to Nishi.

It will be interesting to see if the DV allows my short post not because I briefly argue against DG's position, but because in his article DG studiously avoids making any mention of the fact that this article appeared on the Davisite (Now what could possibly be the reason for that? A prize for the right answer.), but instead says he found it on his Facebook feed.

 

Here is is my attempted short post on the DV:

Most unsurprisingly, David makes no effort whatsoever to summarize let alone do justice to John Troidl's article and argument. This is unlike with some of his previous adversaries who he summarizes at length. Perhaps he fears the weight and substance of John's argument. It is worth pointing out also that with Nishi 1.0, when access by Olive Drive to Nishi was permitted, David parroted exactly the same argument (and the very flawed EIR traffic study supporting such an assertion) yet now he, and most Nishi 2.0 advocates, argue that the presumed lack of access (No-one knows how long this agreement with UCD will hold up!) totally negate the real traffic problems created by Nishi. And he thus further shreds his credibility. If you want to read John's article in full and read comments on it go to:

http://www.davisite.org/2018/05/the-nishi-project-will-make-downtown-traffic-worse.html

Edit added 5/23/18 at 11:50 AM: Having originally included the link to the Davisite with my comment, they have now deleted the link that link or "edited" it which proves my point and shows that they see the Davisite as a threat.


The Nishi Project Will Make Downtown Traffic Worse

By John Troidl

I don't get it: If I read the YES ON J (pro-Nishi) material, it seems like they are saying that there will be essentially no ("limited") traffic impact if the Nishi development is approved and actually built.

 How can that possibly be?

There are 700 parking spots planned for the Nishi property. One for each housing unit, right there fronting the highway. Wait, that's just one parking space for each apartment.... 1/3 of a car for each bed located at Nishi.

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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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Dr. Thomas Cahill Responds to Bob Dunning

Nish-from-tracks
In a recent Enterprise column, "Pollution Doesn't Magically End at Olive Drive," Bob Dunning  asks:

...if this is truly all about ultra-fine metals from brakes on trains, why aren’t these same folks sounding the alarm about all the other areas in town that are similarly at risk?

In response, Dr. Thomas Cahill, UC Davis Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Sciences and founder of the DELTA Group (Detection and Evaluation of Long-range Transport of Aerosols), sent us the following information and asked us to publish it.

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