Getting the Nishi Discussion Out of the Rabbit Hole: Part 1 of 2 (air quality, finances, lack of integrity)

By Colin Walsh and Matt Williams

The Davis Vanguard’s article of May 9, 2018 (“Commentary: Enough with the Weird Red Herrings”) is a disservice to the Davis Community. Instead of addressing the main body of the CivEnergy Measure J Forum (held on May 6), the article goes down a rabbit hole of answers given in response to audience questions.

Let’s start with the basics. As we stated at the CivEnergy forum, there are three main reasons to vote against this project: 1) bad air quality, 2) costs, and 3) lack of integrity in the process.

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Davis Police Making Latinas Feel Unwelcome in Davis

Photo credit: Davis Wiki
As a Latina mother of two. my incident with a Davis police officer is hard for me to retell due to how degrading it feels to remember. Yet such stories are crucial to share with community, so we all are aware of Davis Police improper behavior

One sunny afternoon at the end of January, 2018, I with my daughter and her friend decided to take Ragsy, our pet rabbit, out for a walk in Willowcreek Park. We were excited to try out his new leash on a walk outside after much indoor time during the rainy season.

As we arrived in the park it was immediately clear that the two unleashed dogs would pose a risk to our rabbit. I asked the owners of the dogs to please leash their dogs because I had two young kids and a leashed rabbit with me. The middle-aged white man seemed to agree and said he understood. He would tell his friend, a white woman, who had a teenager and elementary-school-aged kid with her. And they would both leash their dogs. I thanked him and walked away smiling.

Sadly, they refused to comply. He casually walked over to the woman; they both laughed; they did not leash their poodle or lab.


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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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Fact Checking Claims by Opponents of Measure H – Parks Tax

Photo credit: Davis Wiki

By Alan Pryor

Measure H is a 20-year parcel tax for Parks Maintenance at $49 per year per residential parcel (or per apartment for multifamily dwellings) increasing at 2% per annum.

The signers of the Argument Against the Measure and the Rebuttal to the Argument For the Measure are all the same, as follow;

Michael Nolan, Acting President of Yolo County Taxpayers Association,

John Munn, Former Member of the Board of Education of the Davis Joint Unified School District,

Don Price, Emeritus Professor of History, University of California Davis,

Pam Nieberg, Former Co-Chair, Yes on Measure O (City of Davis Open Space Ordinance)

These signers are a disparate group of individuals representing fiscal conservatives and social progressives in Davis.

In their Arguments Against Measure H and their Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure H, these signers made some serious claims and allegations against the City as a fiscally responsible agent and the trustworthiness of the statements made by the Measure’s proponents in fairly assessing the Measures’ impacts and honestly reporting them to the electorate.

This article investigates these claims and attempts to quantitatively verify their accuracy. In doing so, some independent investigations and fact-checking were done and some of the information was obtained in response to direct inquiries to the campaign.

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Davis Police Officers PAC Pours Money into Reisig's DA Campaign

Pileofmoney-croppedBy Gilbert Coville and Roberta Millstein

The Davis Enterprise has reported that the "Davis Police Officers PAC” donated $500 to Jeff Reisig’s campaign for Yolo County District Attorney.  Jeff Reisig, the incumbent, is being challenged by Deputy Public Defender Dean Johannson. However, the article only covers contributions up through April 21, 2018. 

Since then, the PAC (officially called “Davis Police Officers’ Association Political Activities Committee”) donated $2000 on April 27 and another $14,000 on May 3, according to two Form 497 24-hour contribution reports filed with the Davis City Clerk.  Such forms must be filed when a PAC donates more than $1000 to a candidate’s campaign.

In total, then, the Davis Police Officers PAC has donated $16,500 to Reisig’s re-election campaign so far.

Readers may draw whatever conclusions from this information that they wish.

Former Mayor Joe Krovoza Endorses Larry Guenther and Ezra Beeman


Joe Krovoza (Davis City Council 2010-2014, Mayor of Davis 2011-2014) has given the Davisite permission to publish the following letter, distributed to his friends via email.

Hello, Friends.  I hope and trust this note finds you well.  I am being asked who I support for City Council in 2018 -- for the two open seats and it's Larry Guenther and Ezra Beeman.  Larry and Ezra will work tirelessly for Davis.  They understand and will advance what makes Davis unique: school-city connections; supporting seniors; parks; partnerships with UC Davis; a vibrant downtown; and so much more.

Feel free to forward this on.

My view is Larry and Ezra will be the best match for the leadership our new mayor Brett Lee will provide.  Brett will be outstanding; he has all the right values for Davis and the conviction to do what's best for Davis long-term; I want Brett to have a strong council that will contribute to his visionary and his pragmatic approaches. 

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Why the Nishi Site is Worse than Other Sites

Nishi-overall-satelliteSouthwest-nishi-satellite Northeeast-nishi-satelliteIn a recent letter to the editor in the Enterprise, Bill Wagman asks, "What is the difference [between Nishi and Olive Drive] and why do there seem to be no concerns voiced about Olive Drive. Or are there concerns which have not been made public?"

The answer is: It is possible that there are health concerns at other near–freeway sites such as Olive Drive. Peer-reviewed studies have found elevated health risks at many near-freeway sites. But the Nishi is of particular concern because it is adjacent to where the freeway goes from six lanes to three lanes, and so there are often backups on that portion of I-80, especially during weekend Tahoe traffic. More backups mean more car and truck braking. Braking releases ultrafine particulate matter into the air, and that causes health risks such as an increased risk of ischemic heart disease, an increased risk of lung damage, an increased risk of cancer, and an increased risk of developmental problems.

Also, Nishi is of particular concern because the freeway is elevated next to Nishi, so the pollutants travel further, as peer-reviewed studies of similar sites have shown.

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Update - Carson campaign posts Partida signs

BRIAN hOSTFIELDDan Carson's City Council campaign Facebook page posted a picture of Brian Horsfield the campaign's " Lawn Sign Guy" posting Carson and Partida signs. Note the Partida sign laying on the lawn in the background of the photo. 

This comes after Carson made a point of not endorsing any other candidate at the Chamber of Commerce PAC Forum on April 2nd. Partida also declined to endorse any other candidate at the Chamber forum.

The Carson campaign photo corroborates the Davisite Story run yesterday Partida and Carson City Council Campaign Working Together?

Follow the link to see pictures Mr. Horsfield posting Carson and Partida signs at several local apartment complexes.

Partida and Carson City Council Campaigns Working Together?

06Willows2Spotted today - a gentleman putting up Partida and Carson signs at multiple locations in a car emblazoned with both City Council candidates logos.

On April 2nd at the Davis Chamber of Commerce PAC City Council Candidates Forum all of the candidates where asked who they would be casting their second vote for. Both Dan Carson and Gloria Partida declined to state. Today however someone was spotted putting up signs for both candidates.

The Gentleman drove a car with custom emblems for both Partida and Carson adhered to it's sides, Partida on the driver side and Carson on the passenger side.

This appears to be a specific example of coordination between the Carson and Partida Campaigns.

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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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Sierra Club Endorses Dean Johannsson for Yolo DA


To our Sierra Club members and the Yolo County public -

After 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 Northern California Political Review Committee, the Sierra Club Yolano Group is pleased to officially announce the Sierra Club's official endorsement of Dean Johansson for Yolo County District Attorney.

We were convinced of our choice based on Mr. Johansson's extensive and demonstrable commitment to environmental and social justice and his unwavering support for rights of victims and defendants in the judicial system. Mr. Johansson's platform embraces a progressive, humane, and evidence-based approach to criminal justice that exactly aligns with the core beliefs of most Sierra Clubbers.

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What Measure O (Open Space tax) Should Be

Open space mapBy Robert Milbrodt

While on the City Council, Sue Greenwald made a motion for the City to develop an open space and habitat protection plan with a funding mechanism to be submitted for voter approval. Her proposal died for lack of a second, even for the purpose of discussion. Sue asked a group of community activists to carry the torch.

The Davis Visioning Group took up the task and built a comprehensive science based open space and habitat protection plan that was submitted to the City, Mitch Sears. That plan included a GIS model identifying and prioritizing land for acquisition, and a complete set of tools for maximizing the use of Measure O funds, with management and mapping tools to facilitate public scrutiny and accountability. The premise at the outset was for the community to contribute the funds necessary for property control or ownership and for the City to contribute maintenance and management.

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UCD's Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) for Campus Growth Falls Short

Photo credit: Davis Wiki

By Greg Rowe

 UC Davis recently released its draft 2018 Long Range Development Plan for guiding campus growth through 2030-31. Unfortunately, it lacks important detail and substance. Most important, the plan falls short of housing 50% of the anticipated 39,000 student enrollment called for in resolutions adopted by City Council, Yolo County Board of Supervisors, ASUCD Senate and the local Sierra Club.

The LRDP says 18,318 students will ultimately live on campus, or 47% of 2030 enrollment. This is 1,182 short of the 19,500 that would represent 50% residing on campus. This is not insignificant; each 1% shortfall means another 390 students seeking off campus housing in Davis and other cities after freshman year.

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The real costs of Nishi for taxpayers; misleading overstatements on ballot arguments in favor of Nishi

Matt-Williams-PBEBy Matt Williams

In the 2015-16 deliberations about the Nishi 2016 proposal, the City’s economic consultant EPS presented to the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC) its initial model of costs and revenues, which showed a $78,000 deficit fiscal impact for the City in the first year of full buildout, which later grew to $106,000 after correction of a math error in the model.  The FBC rightly noted that $106,000 annual deficit would come out of the pockets of Davis taxpayers.


In the robust discussion that ensued, some of the FBC members argued that the discussion should include a “cash accounting” approach in addition to the “full life-cycle accounting” approach EPS was using in their model.  The explanation was that many of the expenses included in the EPS model had already been “pre-spent” by the City and would not have to be immediately re-spent. FBC member Dan Carson calculated an estimated amount of $734,000 per year (out of an estimated total expense budget of $1,532,000), which was a 48% reduction.

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Money to sell Nishi 2.0 to voters, but no money for air quality testing for Nishi residents

Pileofmoney-croppedBy Gilbert Coville and Roberta Millstein

Davis residents have now received a second glossy multi-page mailer in support of the Nishi 2.0 project. Most likely, there will be more to come. How do proponents of Nishi spend their money? What are their priorities?

In local elections in California, campaign finance reports are filed with the local municipality. Here in Davis, these forms are viewable on the eCampaign Public Access system accessed from the City of Davis website’s Financial Disclosures page.

When trying to influence an election, corporations are required to report any related expenses as independent expenditures.

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Meet the Candidates, Pro/Con statements on Ballot Measures, from Davis Media Access

DavisMediaAccess(Press release) Davis Media Access (DMA) has produced a series of “Meet the Candidates” and Pro/Con statements for local ballot measures for the June 5, 2018 election.

Currently celebrating its 30th year, DMA is the non-profit community media & technology center supporting local content creation, archiving and distribution via television, radio and the Internet. DMA operates DCTV Public Access Channel 15, DJUSD Educational Access Channel 17, and KDRT-LP, 95.7 FM.

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Davis City Councilmember Will Arnold Endorses Dean Johansson for Yolo County District Attorney

DeanJohansson(Press release)

Arnold cites Johansson’s experience and progressive justice policies that reflect the values of Davis and Yolo County

DAVIS -- Davis City Councilmember Will Arnold today announced his support for Dean Johansson for Yolo County District Attorney.

“Dean has the experience and record on public safety that reflect the values of our community. I share his commitment to fairness, equality, and justice, which is needed now from our District Attorney,” said Arnold.

Dean Johannson has served for more than 20 years as an attorney in our justice system, both as a Deputy District Attorney and currently as a Yolo County Public Defender. He is challenging the incumbent District Attorney Jeff Reisig.

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CivEnergy Forum on Ballot Measures H, I, and J (taxes and Nishi)

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.24.48 AMCivEnergy will host a community forum on Sunday, May 6th from 3pm-5pm featuring representatives of the three local ballot measures that will be on the June 5, 2018 General Municipal Election ballot for the City of Davis. The forum will be cosponsored by Davis Media Access. The free event will be held at the Community Chambers meeting room in the Davis City hall complex located at 23 Russell Blvd.

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