Entries categorized "Politics"

Uncivil Discourse at the CivEnergy Forum

Yes-On-LThe Yes on L side did not behave well at Sunday’s CivEnergy forum. 

This inappropriate behavior certainly wasn’t CivEnergy’s fault.  They had picked an excellent moderator in the form of attorney and former City Council candidate Linda Deos, who asked fair and neutral fact-finding-oriented questions about the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) project.  And along the same lines, CivEnergy’s Bob Fung crafted from audience comment cards two more neutrally worded questions.  Actually, all were framed in terms of discussions rather than questions, a touch that I rather liked.  Deos further warned forum participants to keep their answers focused on the project and not make them personal.  Alas, that was not to be.

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Melissa Moreno Has Support of Educational Leaders

I am writing to express my strong support of Melissa Moreno for the position of Yolo County Board of Education Trustee. The County Board of Education provides support for programs that serve our most vulnerable youth. Melissa’s combined life experience, community service, academic training, and professional experience make her ideally qualified for this position.

For the past eight years I have served as the Yolo County Board of Education Trustee for Area 2, the position Melissa now seeks. During a portion of this time, I also served on the California School Boards Association Delegate Assembly and the California County Boards of Education Board of Directors. This service has allowed me to see firsthand the requirements, challenges, and opportunities involved in the important work of county offices of education and county boards of education, locally and throughout California.

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Moreno best qualified for board of education

As a parent of children who attend Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Davis, I care about quality education for all children in Yolo County.

That’s why I support Dr. Melissa Moreno for Yolo County Board of Education Trustee, Area 2.

Moreno, who has a Ph.D. in Education, has the leadership, education, and community service experience we need on the board. And she has demonstrated a deep commitment to diversity and inclusivity throughout her life and career. Her record of accomplishments in these areas includes founding the Ethnic Studies program at Woodland Community College, where she’s currently a professor and program director.

The board of education is responsible for serving the most vulnerable students and families in our community. No one is more qualified for this job than Dr. Moreno.

Vote for Melissa Moreno on Nov. 6 and visit www.moreno.ycboe.org for more info.

Jerry Jimenez

What to do post-Kavanaugh

Blue-waveTime to act.

I've been so emotionally caught up in this Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination for the last few weeks, and now I find I can't even think about it. Too horrifying.

My way of dealing today is to pick a bunch of Senate and Congressional races and send them money. Ask your friends around the country for suggestions.  Mine were very helpful.  538 is a good source to identify close races. Look at websites to see if candidates support your values. Support women and people of color when you can.

There are, of course, other ways to act. But I think this November election is crucial. If the Senate and House remain red we are truly screwed. So if you can't afford to donate, please volunteer in other ways. Send postcards. Make phone calls or texts. Help get out the vote.  Indivisible Yolo is one local organization that you can join forces with, although there are others. 

You don't even have to be excited about it. I'm not. I'm numb. But I feel slightly better for having supported a bunch of races, and will keep an eye out for more that I can support.

Other suggestions are welcome in the comments.  Let's support and encourage each other.

WDAAC Does Not Meet Real Housing Needs for Davis

by Alan Pryor and Pam Nieberg

Forward - Davis already has by far the oldest average population in the region and this project will compound that population imbalance. Despite the abundance of young University students, according to 2016 US Census Bureau estimates the percentage of people in Davis under the age of 18 is 16.1% compared to 25.5% in West Sacramento and 26% in Woodland. Looking at younger children, the disparity is even greater with 3.8% of the Davis population under the age of 5 compared to 8.1% in West Sacramento and 6.7% in Woodland.

Clearly, because of the age-restrictions imposed on buyers, this project will do little to directly increase the housing stock for young families. And because of this dearth of kids in town, our schools are so starved for young students that we need to import over 650 students per day just to keep school doors from shuttering and moth-balling our existing neighborhood schools. And we pay dearly for schooling those imported students with the highest school-related parcel taxes in the region. We clearly need more young families with children in town to fill our schools and maintain our vibrancy in Davis yet few families can afford to come to Davis because of sky-rocketing home purchase and rental prices.

What Davis really needs is smaller-scale, more dense, and  affordable housing designed for both seniors AND families of modest means. The last thing we need is a sprawling, senior-only Sun City-lite developments like you see in sunbelt states. A development with smaller homes laid out in a curvilinear fashion with different designs (instead of rows and rows of near-identical box-like houses) would attract far more seniors AND the families preferred if the project were designed with a close-knit neighborhood setting in mind.

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Professor Melissa Moreno for Yolo County Board of Education, Area 2

Dear Editor,

As a peace officer, I expected those who serve our communities, including peace officers and elected officials, to possess a deep and abiding desire to help people --all people, without hesitation or reservation. Professor Melissa Moreno possesses this essential quality, along with proven leadership in the field of education.

As an educational leader, Professor Moreno understands the value of cultural inclusivity, and has put this value into practice in her 25 years of educational service to students and families. In her work as a community college professor teaching Ethnic Studies, she excels as a teacher, mentor, and guide for students seeking cultural knowledge. She has lengthy experience as a community advocate, including advocating for community members in Yolo County by acting as a leader in developing the Safe Yolo resolution to protect immigrant families.

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Cumulative impacts of all the developments in Davis

PublichousingBy Dan Cornford

I do not have time to comment extensively right now on Roberta's piece. But I do want to say that I agree 110% with what she says. I am just sick and tired of all the pro-growthers accusing anyone who does not oppose their rampant pro-growth propaganda as being some old white, rich NIMBY, as someone who could not afford to buy his first house until I was 53, despite being a full professor at a CSU, and only then could I buy when I inherited a modest amount of money after my father died.

Roberta is right that no candidate for council had the courage to squarely take on the pro-growthers. I have been saying and writing for two years that the Council, its commissions, and of course the pro-growthers, never stop to consider what the CUMULATIVE IMPACTS of all these developments will be in tandem with the unmandated growth of UCD over the next 5-10 years. What will be the environmental impact on a relatively small city of this growth in all respects (to say nothing of the fiscal impacts and burdens)? The fast expansion of UCD, notwithstanding their LRDP, and their recent MOU with the city, is no cause for comfort. (I mean, to take one example, if UCD does not meet its already inadequate building timetable, they will face a massive fine of $500 per unit. That's really going to force them to meet their timetable isn't it?)

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Growth – The Elephant in the Room

PublichousingNo one in Davis talks about growth.  We talk around growth, sure – the need for specific projects, or the need to preserve farmland.  But we never talk about growth

Consider our most recent City Council election.  Did one of the candidates present themselves as pro-growth or slow-growth?  Not that I can recall.  “Smart-growth,” maybe – an infinitely flexible euphemism if I ever heard one.

I suspect that no one wants to talk about growth because not a moment passes before the conversation-distracting “pro-developer” and “NIMBY” labels (and similar labels) are slung.  But we desperately need to talk about growth.  We’re growing now and we are facing questions about future growth in the immediate future (Measure L and the West Davis Active Adult Community) and beyond.

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Is this really your view on Measure L, Davis Enterprise?

Davis enterpriseIs this really your view on Measure L, Davis Enterprise?  Because I'm having trouble believing the words in front of my eyes. 

Did you really write, "If WDAAC gets built and all the white Davis seniors move into it, then it will give more opportunity for minorities from out of town to move into the single-family houses the seniors vacate"?

In other words, it would be OK if WDAAC were composed completely of white Davis seniors?  And the reason it would be OK is that nonwhite individuals would have the "opportunity" to move into the vacated houses formerly occupied by white individuals – even if the nonwhite individuals didn't have the opportunity to move into WDAAC itself?  Just the bare possibility that "minorities" could move into Davis would be enough to justify an exclusionary program?

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Bob Dunning’s False Equivalency Regarding the Testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh

Ford-kavanaughAlthough Bob Dunning and I agree on one thing (that Dr. Blasey’s testimony was “compelling and believable without holes or hesitation”), I otherwise find much to disagree with in his recent column in the Davis Enterprise, “Truth gets lost in the crossfire.”  In particular, I object to his casting this as a purely political disagreement, where Republicans are taking Brett Kavanaugh’s side and Democrats are taking Christine Blasey Ford’s side, where “reasonable people can disagree over which person they believe,” and where “if everyone in America believed that Judge Kavanaugh had assaulted Dr. Ford, he would not be confirmed.”

Maybe the debate over Kavanaugh’s nomination started out as a purely political disagreement a month ago, but it stopped being that the moment that Dr. Blasey came forward with her testimony of sexual assault – her testimony that, 36 years ago, Brett Kavanaugh laid on top of her, tried to rip off her clothes, covered her mouth so that she couldn’t scream and couldn’t breathe, and then laughed about it.  And that the only thing that saved her was that he and his buddy, Mark Judge, were too drunk to follow through on what they had begun.

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Will There be No Place in Davis for Low Income Seniors

By Bill Powell and David Thompson

“Each day I get five calls from low income seniors looking to find housing in Davis” says Susan at Shasta Point Retirement Community. “And each day at least one senior arrives at Shasta Point anxious to get housing and hoping by turning up they may have a better chance than just calling.” They don’t.

Every day there are five to 10 emails or phone calls from low-income seniors to the two staff members at Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. At ERC about three seniors per day walk through the door hoping to get a place. They can’t.

In 2018, there is a waiting list of 441 seniors for the four largest Davis affordable senior communities; Davisville (70), Shasta Point (67), Eleanor Roosevelt Circle (59) and Walnut Terrace (30). In 2017 there were a total of 14 turnovers. Only 14 of the 441 waiting in line got in. At that rate it would be 31 years before the last of those seniors get housed. The actual wait for an extremely low-income senior can be from three to five years.

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Davisites' attitudes towards Kavanaugh, Thomas, #metoo, #whyIDidntReport

I posted a link to this Davis Media Access video to the Davisite Facebook page a few days ago, but I can't get it out of my head.

In the video, you see men supporting (now Supreme Court justice) Clarence Thomas, and men supporting Professor Anita Hill.  You see women supporting Thomas, and women supporting Hill.  But most of all, you hear exactly the same arguments on both sides that you are hearing in the media today concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is now facing three separate sexual assault accusations: one from Prof. Christine Blasey Ford, one from Deborah Ramirez, and one from a number of as-yet-unnamed women who lawyer Michael Avenatti is representing.

If DMA were to redo those interviews in Davis today – in the #metoo #WhyIDidntReport #BelieveSurvivors era – would the results be much different?

I'd like to hope that they would be.  But I fear that they wouldn't.

Planned West Davis Adult Community, if Approved, Would Perpetuate Racial Imbalance in the City of Davis

Complaintimage(Press release) The proposed restrictive West Davis Active Adult Community on the City of Davis’ November 6 ballot which advertises its purpose as a planned community “Taking Care of Our Own,” is being challenged in federal court because it will perpetuate racial imbalance and discriminate against minorities by restricting sales to residents of Davis

In a federal complaint filed Monday, September 24, by Sacramento civil rights attorney Mark E. Merin, plaintiff Samuel Ignacio, a Filipino/Hispanic senior on behalf and all other minorities outside of Davis, seeks to stop the project because it excludes those living outside of Davis from buying most of the 410 planned for-sale units.

Davis, a city whose senior population is disproportionately “white” as a result of historic racially restrictive covenants, red-lining practices, and previous University of California hiring practices, approved the project with 90% of its units restricted to “purchasers with a preexisting connection to the City of Davis.” The result of this “local resident” restriction, as alleged in the civil rights complaint, is the continuation of a racially imbalanced community and the exclusion of minority would-be purchasers in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

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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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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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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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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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