Regarding Chiles Road Apartments / Loss of Commercial Site

Chiles-Project-2WThe following letter was submitted to the Davis City Council yesterday (March 15) and is reprinted here with permission of the author.  For background information on the proposed Chiles project, see this Davis Enterprise article. The Council will consider the project at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, March 19.

To Davis City Council:

In reference to the Chiles Road apartment proposal, some seem to be claiming that there's a "shortage" of available commercial space (while simultaneously advocating for conversion of existing commercial space to accommodate residential development). If there is an actual shortage of commercial space, then the proposed conversion of the Chiles Road site (from commercial to residential zoning) is difficult to logically explain. One might think that (at a minimum), a mixed-use proposal might be appropriate and in-demand - assuming that one truly believes that there's a shortage of commercial space. (Also assuming that the city believes that commercial development is needed, to fill its coffers.)

In any case, this latest missed opportunity is surely something I'll remember, if/when the MRIC proposal arises again.

Continue reading "Regarding Chiles Road Apartments / Loss of Commercial Site" »


HELP SAVE MUSIC IN PARADISE, CALIFORNIA!

ParadiseHELP SAVE MUSIC IN PARADISE, CALIFORNIA! Musicians, parents and relatives of musicians, music lovers, educators, people with empathy and compassion, people affected by the fires, people who know people affected by the fire . . . . . . . so yes, EVERYONE please support musicians from the Davis schools who will come together at:

Brunelle Hall on
Saturday March, 16th from
9 am - 6pm

Raise funds to help rebuild the Music Programs in the Paradise schools.

There will be performances all day!

Local, musician and music educator extraordinaire, Joe Craven, will kick off the final concert, with a few inspired words at 5 pm.

This "Festival Ensemble" led by Robert Schofield, is composed of junior and high school band students from Paradise and Davis. Admission is free! All donations will go directly to the Paradise school music programs to help rebuild facilities, replace burned instruments and music and replace lost equipment. If you can't attend, please donate using the link below. And whether you can attend or not, please share this post with other friends who may support the cause!

Donate $25 and receive a $5 discount at ChickPeas!
Donate $50 and receive a $10 discount at ChickPeas!
Donate $100 and receive a $20 discount at ChickPeas!
(*vouchers will be emailed within 48 hrs of donation)

*******The ChickPeas Food Truck will be at the event and will be collecting donations for the Paradise Schools! So come hungry and ready to donate for this worthy cause!

you can also donate at the GoFundMe Site


YCTA Votes to Oppose Davis Paid Parking Proposal

Taxpayer meterby Colin Walsh

Yesterday March 14th the Yolo County Taxpayers Association (YCTA) weighed in on the Downtown Davis Parking Meter Issue with a resounding no thanks.

In Norton hall in the North West corner of Woodland, YCTA members from around the county weighed in on this hot Davis issue. Alzada Knickerbocker, owner of the Avid Reader, and Daniel Urazandi, owner of Bizarro World, made the case against the City of Davis’s proposal to convert a large part of downtown parking to meters.

The presenters noted the long hours 7 days a week Davis will require Downtown visitors to pay to park. The plan’s requiring payment from 10am to 10pm everyday including Sunday was highlighted as well outside the norm for most downtown paid parking schemes.

Continue reading "YCTA Votes to Oppose Davis Paid Parking Proposal" »


Art aficionados appreciating Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman's “Anima Mundi” Exhibit

A previous Davisite article announced Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman's Exhibit “Anima Mundi,” a Solo Show Featuring Limited Edition Prints.  The exhibit is open through the end of March.

Visitors appreciating Sullivan-Beeman's art:

P-1

Continue reading "Art aficionados appreciating Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman's “Anima Mundi” Exhibit" »


Opposition to Paid Parking

AceI respect and support our local businesses

By Colin Walsh

Now is not the time to put the retail that has managed to survive in Downtown Davis in jeopardy by instituting parking fees.

CNBC reported today that nationally, “Already, 4,810 store closures have been announced by retailers in 2019, according to Coresight Research.” Only 5,524 store closing were tracked by Coresight in 2018. 2019 thus far is proving to be a fatal year for retail. (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/08/these-retailers-have-announced-store-closures-in-2019.html)

It is clearly a challenging climate for physical stores, and the City of Davis should be careful not to make it any more difficult locally.

In Davis we are very fortunate to have a vibrant downtown that includes several independent and locally owned retailers. In Davis we still have the choice to shop at locally owned hardware stores, bookstores, and more. These stores have disappeared from the landscape in most cities. Locally owned stores like this do more for the local economy by keeping more money locally. Large chains and online stores literally siphon money out of the community to pay CEOs and investors and offer only a few low paying local jobs in return.

Continue reading "Opposition to Paid Parking" »


Is JUMP bike’s minimum age limit a violation of Federal law?

JUMP image smallThe following is a modified version of a letter I sent on February 11 to Ryan Rzepecki, CEO/Founder of JUMP, the electric bike share brand owned by Uber that is the sole provider of bike share in Davis (as well as Sacramento, UC Davis and West Sacramento). I have not yet received a reply.

The Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) holds its next monthly meeting this Thursday, March 14, at 5:30 pm at the Davis Senior Center, A St. entrance. An evaluation of Sacramento JUMP is on the agenda. I have created a series of “Commissioner’s Reports” which address the age limits, weight limits, speed limit settings, parking capabilities and other aspects of the system.  This is available here as a Google Doc or as a PDF at the agenda link for this meeting.

In my view Jump’s minimum age limit of 18 and maximum weight limit of 210 lbs and the City and/or region’s required  speed assistance limit of 15 mph of the bike and restriction on parking flexibility are contrary to our city’s culture, goals and traditions, and do not respect the balance of safety and convenience created in State law. They reduce the capability of the JUMP bike in general and minimize the advantages of a moderate electric boost. While addressing these issues, I will do something more specific: I will make a motion to ask Council to determine if the minimum age limit may be against Federal law -- it is the age issue which I focus on in this letter… - T. Edelman

Continue reading "Is JUMP bike’s minimum age limit a violation of Federal law?" »


On Open Access and the UC severing its relationship with the publisher Elsevier

Open-access-no-elsevierThe University of California recently announced that it was terminating its relationship with the publisher Elsevier because Elsevier would not meet its terms for open access.  According to the UCSF library, Elsevier publishes the highest number of peer-reviewed journals worldwide and is the largest publisher of UC-authored journal articles. Thus, UC’s termination of its relationship with Elsevier is a dramatic step that may end up having equally dramatic, and hopefully positive, effects on journal publishing, paving the way for more open access.

But what is open access, and why is the UC’s decision important?  As a 20+ year academic and a co-editor of an open access journal, Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology, I thought I’d give an explanation geared toward the layperson to help provide some context for this decision.

Continue reading "On Open Access and the UC severing its relationship with the publisher Elsevier" »


Does the City Council Listen?

By Ron

In the "other" blog today, there's a suggestion that the Lincoln40 developers were more considerate of the neighbors, than the Trackside developers. And, presumably by extension, this means that Lincoln40 should have been approved, but not a 4-story Trackside.

It certainly is possible that the Lincoln40 developers were more considerate of neighbors than the Trackside developers. (Of course, this ignores the fact that Trackside is IN the neighborhood, while Lincoln40 is separated by the railroad line.)

Continue reading "Does the City Council Listen?" »


Contentious Paid Parking Hearing Continued to a Friday Afternoon.

Mayor Lee informs commenters they may not affect decision process.

By Colin Walsh

On Tuesday March 5th 2019 The City Council heard from about 50 people in public comment on the City’s plan for paid parking in downtown Davis. Comments ranged from unequivocal support to disgusted opposition with a wide range of complaints between. Few speakers were ready to accept the plan as currently proposed and most opposed the plan altogether.

At midnight everyone was exhausted by the several hours long display of democracy, most especially the City Council. It was then that Mayor Brett Lee gave an unusual speech from the dais that is being called “condescending,” “undemocratic,” “arrogant” and “offensive” by some.

Continue reading "Contentious Paid Parking Hearing Continued to a Friday Afternoon." »


Parking proposal not ready for prime-time: unanswered questions

Town-Gown-edgeThe following was sent to the Davis City Council on 6 March 2019.

Dear City Council members,

I did not attend last night's meeting, in part because of personal commitments but also because I don't have strong views on parking. And I have to admit that I haven't followed all of the details. So, maybe I am missing something, but I find myself extremely puzzled with the proposal and have some questions that I hope get addressed when the Council takes this up again.

First of all, I understand that a big motivation is to try to get employees and students out of prime parking spots. It seems like the current proposal is a very indirect way of doing that, a way that may or may not succeed. Just considering students, I don't know if people think that students are on campus 9-5, but they are not. They are on campus only as long as they need to be to take their classes and that is often for 5 hours or less. Students will probably be thrilled to be able to park for a 5 hour block at a cheaper rate than the university is offering. Has anyone actually studied student habits? If not, you're just making proposals in the dark, hunt-and-peck, trial-and-error, which seems like not the right way to go about it. Maybe if the Council were considering the task force recommendation to have adjustable rates based on real-time availability, things might sort themselves out, but otherwise I foresee problems.

Continue reading "Parking proposal not ready for prime-time: unanswered questions" »


Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman to Exhibit “Anima Mundi,” a Solo Show Featuring Limited Edition Prints

At Pence Gallery with an Artist’s Reception on March 8, 6-9pm 

Known for magic realism and egg tempera technique, Sullivan-Beeman will be showing her largest all-in-print work to date

1551814071337blob
L: "Black Swam" print 16 x 20 inches, framed 18 x 22 inches on Moab Entrada 290 gsm cottom rag, edition 2/50
R: "Clothesline Girl" print 12 x 16 inches, framed 14 x 18 inches framed on Moab Entrada 290 gsm cottom rag, edition AP 3/5
Images from Anima Mundi via Dropbox: www.dropbox.com/sh/vo5vmoz5kw1nbww/AAAjdrkUF3ndxCfdGHLw41PRa?dl=0


(From Press Release) Los Angeles and Vancouver, B.C.-based artist Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman’s solo exhibition “Anima Mundi” opens at Pence Gallery on Friday, March 1. The show will represent her largest body of prints to date. There will be an artist’s reception at the gallery the evening of Friday, March 8 from 6-9PM (212 D Street, Davis, CA 95616).

In Sullivan-Beeman’s show statement, she says, “The anima mundi (world soul) is an inherent correspondence between all living things on the planet. The anima mundi relates to our physical world in the same way the human soul associates with the physical human body. These works are a menagerie of the little pieces of me that go into each of my characters and narratives – our shared anima mundi.”

Continue reading "Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman to Exhibit “Anima Mundi,” a Solo Show Featuring Limited Edition Prints " »


No Paid Parking at the Amtrak Lot

IMG-3716By Colin Walsh

It is in the best interest of the region to get as many people as possible off of I80 and onto the train. Further restricting parking at the train station works against environmental goals of reducing long distance drivers. Frankly the region needs more parking to help transition people from driving to public transit. If an added benefit of this is increasing parking for downtown at the same time, that's a good thing too.

I find it very frustrating that council members and City staff seem to have drawn a conclusion BEFORE even starting an already paid for $250,000 dollar study.

Tucked into the Staff report on the paid parking agenda item tonight is this Parking Task Force recommendation #4, “Convert Amtrak Lot to Paid Parking.”

While this is not part of tonight’s proposal, it is just as poorly thought through. Council Member Will Arnold advocated for this in his op-ed on the Davisite.org this week. He and others have cited People driving from Sacramento to Davis to avoid the pay lot in Sacramento. But there is no actual evidence of this. Indeed, Will admitted he had heard it word of mouth. But there has been no survey and no study.

Converting the Amtrak lot to paid parking is a terrible idea that is at best premature.

Let’s look at some history of this issue that the staff conveniently left out of tonight’s staff report. The future of this lot is an important consideration while considering paid parking downtown.

Continue reading "No Paid Parking at the Amtrak Lot" »


Council Member Will Arnold On Downtown Parking

Parkingby Will Arnold

This Tuesday, my City Council colleagues will discuss, and potentially take action, regarding how and where we park our cars in Downtown Davis. 

By virtue of my wife and I owning a business downtown, Mother & Baby Source, I am required to recuse myself from the Council decision on this issue.

But recusal from official duties does not waive one’s right to speech, and I feel I ought to share some thoughts on the subject.

Our current downtown parking situation is not ideal. Mother & Baby Source, for example, is a regional destination for new and expecting parents and, as one might assume, convenient parking is important to our customers. 

We hear a good degree of frustration from customers about the current parking situation. Predictably, parking is impacted when customers need it most. At certain times of day, cars circle the blocks looking for a spot to park. 

It feels very much like there is not enough convenient parking to meet customer demand. 

This has been the case for a number of years. In an effort to address it proactively, a group of citizens was formed in 2013 to seek solutions to our parking issues. This group was called the Downtown Parking Task Force. Its members were downtown business owners, property owners and other stakeholders. They studied the issue for a year, and their work resulted in 19 recommendations. 

Some of these recommendations are what might be called “low-hanging fruit,” including upgrades to our parking enforcement technology, better signage, and restriction of delivery vehicle double-parking during the lunch rush. Completing these measures, while important, only works around the edges of our parking issues. Other, more impactful measures remain in progress.

One task force recommendation is to increase the overall supply of parking downtown. Current demand, combined with significant growth of UC Davis student enrollment, and our express desire for Downtown Davis to be a destination for out-of-town visitors and shoppers, make this an attractive proposition, in my opinion. 

But parking garages are exceedingly expensive and, absent outside funding, not something the City can afford on its own. I am encouraged by recent efforts to explore funding for a garage on the Amtrak lot, but the result of that process is many years away. 

Other cities have approached this issue by providing shuttles or other transit options to allow customers to park on the periphery, or even well-outside downtown, and be transported in. The task force recommended transit options be improved and expanded, and that a transportation alternatives campaign be undertaken. I believe this is a critical initiative that ought to be prioritized by the City, including the allocation of additional resources.

Then there is the important task of better managing our current parking supply.

One effective way to increase available customer parking is to reduce the number of non-customers parking in convenient spots. Nearly a quarter of parking spaces downtown are occupied by employees, and incentivizing them to park elsewhere is a priority. Toward that goal, the City has streamlined the “X” permit process and increased the number of employee parking options, with further expansions in the works. I support these efforts. 

Other non-customers who park downtown include Amtrak riders and UC Davis students and employees heading to campus. Many of these folks are customers at other times, but if one parks downtown just to leave, it is not the best use of a downtown parking space.

For example, a number of Capitol Corridor riders from Sacramento drive to Davis to board westbound trains because the Sacramento station charges for parking and we do not. I believe converting our Amtrak lot to paid parking is an advisable step to address this issue and, combined with time-limited street parking, will remove the incentive to utilize our Amtrak lot in this way, freeing up spaces for downtown customers. 

However, the proposal that has received the most attention is the recommendation by the task force to install parking meters throughout a large portion of downtown. This would ensure customers can reliably find a spot to park, albeit for a price (between 50 cents and one dollar per hour, depending on the time of day). 

Many of these newly-open spaces will be the ones currently occupied by employees and other non-customers. But some customers have expressed that they will decide not to patronize downtown because of the added cost and inconvenience.

Installing parking meters downtown is also a very costly and character-altering proposal. Their significant initial expense is only recoverable by their continued use, meaning they will be a permanent fixture of our downtown. In other words, once parking meters are here, they’re here to stay.

For this reason, I believe a prudent approach is to exhaust our other parking-related efforts, such as the ones described above, prior to making this permanent and costly change to our downtown. 

In addition, our Downtown Plan Advisory Committee is in the midst of its work, and long-term, large-scale changes to our downtown character ought to wait until their efforts have concluded. 

Finally, there are concepts that are not part of the official recommendation, such as a parking validation program, that I believe warrant further exploration prior to implementation of paid street parking. 

I do not envy my colleagues in dealing with this difficult issue. It is a discussion based in large part on a number of frequently-changing variables and assumptions. But such is the nature of policy making. I believe each of them, as well as our City staff, consultants, task force members, and others engaged on this issue, share the goal of fostering a vibrant and successful downtown for all. Together, we can work toward solutions that honor the character of our wonderful downtown.

Will Arnold is a Current Davis City Council Member and co-owner of the Mother and Baby Source. As is required by conflict of interest rules, Council Member Arnold will be recusing himself on this issue when it comes to City Council Tuesday March 5.

 


Sordid history of paid parking coming to head at 3/5 council meeting

PaytoparkBy Daniel Urazandi

Paid parking has been brought before council dozens of times, always with false urgency. Until now, it has always been voted down because the public is overwhelmingly against it and it would hurt business. Since this is still inarguably true, how did we get to the point that the City is about to install parking meters on all streets and lots in the heart of downtown?

In 2014 the Council voted unanimously against paid parking yet in 2017 the same members voted unanimously for it. What happened in the interim is a sad lesson in politics. What casual observers didn't know was that the 2014 Council really wanted paid parking but were waiting for the right political moment to pass it. So they appointed a Parking Task force to study the issue and stacked it with enough obvious proponents of paid parking, even the private owner of the G St parking garage, that they knew the Task force would do the expected and return a report favoring paid parking.

Continue reading "Sordid history of paid parking coming to head at 3/5 council meeting" »


Opening this weekend, an art installation, "Second Bite: The Wisdom of the Apple"

Ticket greenTechnology meets artistry in a captivating art installation titled "Second Bite: The Wisdom of the Apple" that opens this weekend in Davis. The unique and multi-sensory art installation showcases nearly 100 interconnected Apple computers, powerful yet diverse imagery and mesmerizing music designed to challenge visitors to explore age-old themes and re-think long-held perceptions about the Apple, the Tree and the Snake. 

Supported, in part, by a grant from the City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs program, the thought-provoking exhibit is available for FREE public viewing from Friday, March 1 through May 31, 2019 on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings between 7 and 10 p.m. The art is installed in the warehouse behind Omsoft Technologies at 1930 5th St, Suite C. 

Continue reading "Opening this weekend, an art installation, "Second Bite: The Wisdom of the Apple"" »


Chefs Feeling Competitive and Creative for the COOL Cuisine Burger Battle

Bistro 33 Impossible burger at dinner_crop
Bistro 33 Impossible burger at dinner

By Linnea Patterson

Plant-based eating is growing faster than ever in 2019. For this we can thank the many creative chefs whose innovations allow more and more people to become comfortable with meat alternatives.

The COOL Cuisine Burger Battle is a month-long contest where chefs compete for diners’ taste buds. Diners get to taste and rate each burger they try among 17 different eateries. Many of the participating chefs are just as excited, if not more so, than the diners. You can find a list of contenders at coolcuisine.net.

Continue reading "Chefs Feeling Competitive and Creative for the COOL Cuisine Burger Battle" »


Young Democratic Socialists Hold Launch Party for "College for All" Campaign in Davis

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 1.28.17 PM“Public college and universities tuition free? Damn right.” Bernie Sanders , most popular politician in the U.S. [1]

WHAT:

State funding for higher education has declined by 65% in the last four decades, part of a broader gutting of the U.S. public education system. In response, tuition and fees have more than quadrupled in California since 2000 [2]. At UC Davis, 49% of students take out loans during their time in school. These students graduate with an average debt of $19,124 [3].

The YDSA at UC Davis is launching Davis’ College For All campaign on Saturday March 2nd , 2019. The YDSA’s nationwide College for All campaign demands tuition-free public higher education through direct federal and state funding to fully cover living wages of all campus workers, student debt cancellation, ending all forms of government subsidies to for-profit institutions, and democratic representation for students, faculty and staff in all higher education budgeting decisions. Davis’ local YDSA chapter will be working to build a broad coalition with student organizations on campus, as well as working with campus workers in their joint fight against austerity.

Continue reading "Young Democratic Socialists Hold Launch Party for "College for All" Campaign in Davis" »


Why we need a Green New Deal and Why Garamendi and Feinstein should cosponsor it

Paradise-on-fire
Paradise on fire

I just dug up my lecture notes from a class on “Science, Technology, and Values” from Spring 1998, my first year of teaching, more than 20 years ago.  At that time, the Sierra Club warned that global warming would lead to heat waves, disease, vanishing habitat, and extreme weather.  They urged:

  1. The Clinton administration should be negotiating a strong, enforceable and legally binding global warming treaty that protects our children's future by cutting global warming pollution 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2005.
  2. The president should raise miles-per-gallon (CAFE) standards to from 27.5 mpg to 45 mpg for cars and from 20.7 mpg to 34 mpg for light trucks, as the majority of the commission he appointed recommended.
  3. Increase research and investment into clean car technology like hydrogen fuel cells and improved batteries.
  4. Cut subsidies for oil and coal development. Increase funding for clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power.
  5. Raise energy efficiency standards for home appliances and electronics. Create incentives for homeowners and businesses to become more efficient.
  6. Require that any energy industry restructuring encourage energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable technology, and that dirty, coal-fired power plants switch to cleaner natural gas.

Of the above recommendations, either they have not been done or they were done insufficiently. 

Continue reading "Why we need a Green New Deal and Why Garamendi and Feinstein should cosponsor it" »


DavisGIG survey concerning publicly-owned Fiber Optic Internet Infrastructure

Fiber-optics-internet(From press release) DavisGIG is a community group that is advocating for municipal ownership of Fiber Optic Internet Infrastructure for Davis.

This would mean our community would invest in the construction of publicly-owned "tubes" to the Internet. Fiber Optic is the single best, most reliable Internet carrier cable. IT is the backbone of the Internet and is a necessary ingredient for forthcoming 5G Cell services. It lasts decades, and the lasers used to send Internet packets down the thin glass tubes are easy and cheap to upgrade and continuously improved. The City would lease access to this fiber to multiple ISPs, entrepreneurs, cell phone companies, or other. This would give our municipality a new long term revenue source and asset. More importantly making this one time infrastructure investment gives connectivity for our schools, city buildings, for a one time NON MONTHLY RECURRING COST. More important than this, you can REDIRECT your monthly broadband payment, away from huge companies, back to the City in the form of lease fees ISPs will pay the community for the use of its fiber.

Continue reading "DavisGIG survey concerning publicly-owned Fiber Optic Internet Infrastructure" »


Davis PD has refused to release report on Picnic Day policing incident

Badge_decal_design_400x400Statement to the Davis City Council on behalf of Davis People Power

By Nora Oldwin

Speaking on behalf of People Power in support of the request to the Davis Police Department to reconsider its refusal to release material pursuant to a PRA in connection with  SB 1421:

On January 1, when SB 1421 became law, we filed a request seeking, among others, the MacGregor Report, which I’ll refer to as the OHS report. Up until January of this year, Police personnel records of misconduct were kept hidden from the public. But Senate Bill 1421 changes that. To respond to issues of lack of community trust in its institutions, this law provides for the mandatory release, upon request, of records related to a sustained finding (after an internal investigation) of misconduct in 3 areas:  dishonesty, sexual assault, or use of force. 1421 took effect January 1 of this year.

Continue reading "Davis PD has refused to release report on Picnic Day policing incident" »