Letter: No Confidence in the Council

By Elaine Roberts Musser

I was appalled with City Council’s response to the apprehension many expressed at the City Council meeting on June 4 about the proposed midterm city budget and 1% sales tax increase. Concerned citizens were gaslighted, accused of seeking revenge for the commission mergers and engaging in hyperbole. (Gaslighting in this context is manipulating citizens into questioning their own perception of reality to avoid accountability for questionable behavior.)

The fact of the matter is we only pointed out things the Finance & Budget Commission would’ve zeroed in on, were it still in existence (but hasn’t been for almost a year). But as we know, the current City Council (minus Councilmember Neville) voted to eliminate this commission in favor of a more generic Fiscal Commission that has not yet met, now manned with new commissioners who are mostly commission inexperienced.

Here are the problems we highlighted:

  • No city audit in three years;
  • A general fund reserve of 7.5%, half the 15% it should be;
  • One time gimmicks/delays: suspension of paying down $42 million in unfunded liability of employee healthcare benefits; reduction of $1.5 million originally intended for pavement management;
  • A 1% sales tax increase, to offset general fund reserves and to pay for additional services/programs. What new services/programs is purposely vague.

In other words, the City Council wants us to approve a 1% sales tax increase, in essence a blank check with virtually no accountability, insisting we trust them to make responsible decisions. Their conduct has hardly inspired confidence!


Sierra Club Hosts Summer Potluck and Wetlands Talk

Image 573(From press release) Join the Sierra Club and YoloSol Collective on Wednesday, June 26 for a summer potluck and panel presentation on “Restoring Cache Creek Wetlands.”

For this free, public event, we are pleased to welcome Native Californian cultural practitioner Diana Almendariz, Cache Creek conservationist Jim Barrett, and UC Davis entomologist Geoffrey Attardo in a discussion of how the lower Cache Creek’s watershed ecosystem functioned in the past before agriculture and mining changed its current condition. Panelists will share their ideas for a restorative, climate-resilient future for the creek and its plant and animal wildlife.

Almendariz is a naturalist, educator and practitioner of Maidu/Wintun, Hupa/Yurok culture, heritage and experiences. Following the teachings of renowned Wintun basket weaver and culture bearer Bertha Mitchell (1936-2018), Almendariz has been working for more than twenty years to bring to life a Tending and Gathering Garden in a reclaimed mining pit at the Cache Creek Nature Preserve.  She is a frequent lecturer at UC Davis, Sacramento State, museums and nature centers. She leads workshops on cultural burning on place-based traditional ecological knowledge.

Jim Barrett, a retired physician, conservationist and proud grandfather, has lived alongside lower Cache Creek near the home of Yolo County settler pioneer William Gordon for 24 years. As a board member of Cache Creek Conservancy and the Sierra Club Yolano Group, he envisions a role for reclaimed gravel mines in the restoration of lower Cache Creek.

Geoff Attardo, Associate Professor of Entomology at UC Davis, is passionate about mosquitos, marshes, and teaching science.  He specializes in the study of arthropod disease vector biology and the role of bio-diverse ecosystems in public and environmental health. Geoff is currently partnering with Almendariz on a project to demonstrate the benefits of traditional tule and cattail wetlands management.

Continue reading "Sierra Club Hosts Summer Potluck and Wetlands Talk" »


Oh Do *@#$%& Off, Greenwald (regarding building on a conservation-forever easment specifically, but also in general)

City-promised-to-protect-a-strip-of-land-along-a-creeCome on Greenwald.  Seriously?

When people fought decades ago to save land from development, forever, do you believe what they were really fighting for was to save the land from development 'forever, or until there was pressure to build housing, whichever comes first' ?

Continue reading "Oh Do *@#$%& Off, Greenwald (regarding building on a conservation-forever easment specifically, but also in general)" »


Wildhorse proposal must be rejected, Conservation Easement must not be violated

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City promises made, need to be kept 

by Eileen M. Samitz                                                                      

The City needs to reject the North Covell Creek housing application to develop 75 acres of the Wildhorse golf course because it would clearly violate the 1998 Deed of Conservation Easement executed between the Wildhorse property owner and the City.  The Conservation Easement unequivocally states that its purpose is “…forever conserving the open space character…” of the property.

In the early 1990’s I was one of a group of neighborhood representatives from the surrounding neighborhoods of Green Meadows, Covell Farms and La Buena Vida who spent years in a citizen-based planning process negotiating long and hard for a better Wildhorse project. We emphasized and placed a priority on the condition of a  Conservation Easement on the golf course so that it would never be developed and  would remain a golf course with its open space nature and preserving the habitat features around it.

We made it clear that this commitment needed to be permanent. Subsequently, the developers and the City agreed to this and included the Conservation Easement commitment to be solid and impenetrable into perpetuity. Since the developers, the City Staff and City Council completely committed to the Conservation Easement,  promises made then, need to be kept to our community.  Otherwise, it makes clear that our City government cannot be trusted on any agreement or any information they espouse to Davis citizens.

Regarding additional background, In 1995 there was a referendum campaign against the Wildhorse development agreement which went to a vote on the May ballot.  However, the Development Agreement included many benefits including $8 million to the City’s Major Project Financing Plan, a 9-acre dedicated school site at no cost to the school district, and  the critical Conservation Easement which the neighborhood representatives were successful in solidifying. The outcome was that Davis voters approved the Wildhorse Development Agreement which included the Conservation Easement. Therefore, any attempt now by the City to renege on this commitment would be a violation of public trust and an attempt to overturn a public vote.

The intent of a Conservation Easement  is “…for the exclusive purpose of assuring that the open space character of the Easement Area will be conserved and maintained forever, and that uses of the land that are inconsistent with these conservation purposes will be prevented or corrected.” The Wildhorse Conservation Easement also expressly prohibits any commercial, residential, or industrial use or activity on the easement area. 

The California legislature codified conservation easements as a unique public-private conservation method. Civil Code 815 clearly specifies that Conservation Easements are binding upon successive land owners.  Most important, the code states that “A conservation easement shall be perpetual in duration.”   

The permanent binding provisions of the Wildhorse Conservation Easement and State law are abundantly clear to the property owner and City. The notion of surrendering almost 75 acres of deed-restricted land to incompatible uses must  be summarily rejected. Any attempt to change or “amend” any Conservation easement is a dangerous precedent  and must be rejected, plus it would invite a lawsuit that will be financially costly for the City to litigate, the cost for which would come out of our City’s already stretched budget.

Regarding specifics on the documentation of the Conservation Easement and the development agreement, here are the facts:

On September 28, 1994, the City and Duffel Company executed a development agreement  for the Wildhorse Project, of which  Section 3.2(f) states: “Duffel shall record a conservation easement in favor of the City or a non-profit land trust selected and approved by the City on the property to be used as a golf course. The conservation easement shall preclude development of the golf course property for other urban uses and structures.” The conservation easement  was executed between Duffel and the City in March 1998, for the express purpose of “forever conserving the open space character of the subject property.”

Despite the unambiguous language in the Development Agreement and the Conservation Easement regarding the easement’s permanency , in December 2018 the owner submitted a development application that proposed to convert almost six acres of the golf course abutting Pole Line Road into the “Balterra at Wildhorse Condominium Project,” consisting of 40 – 60 homes. This was followed in early 2019 with a public meeting and strong opposition from community members, since this would also be a violation of the Conservation Easement.

The City responded in July 2019, noting that “…the property in question is covered by a Conservation Easement that preserves the property as an open space.” This means that once again, the golf course owner applicant was clearly advised that the property must remain as undeveloped open space. 

Yet, here we are with another proposal to attempt to violate the Conservation Easement and the Development Agreement conditions with paving over 75 acres of the golf course wiping out that open space and the  protected habitat around it as well.

One wonders why the City even accepted this current application knowing that this attempt to violate a Conservation Easement and Development Agreement which Davis citizens fought long and hard for is astonishing. Further, here is absolutely no language that allows any kind of land swap in the Conservation Easement, nor the Development Agreement as the applicant is trying for. Moreover, if the City violates these promises and agreements, what next? Will the City now start paving over our parks, greenbelts and habitat areas?

In summary, the City of Davis, the City Council, and the Wildhorse developers agreed to the hard negotiated Conservation Easement and Development Agreement. Anything other than  a solid rejection of this application would be a horrendous precedent and a complete violation of trust by our City government to our community and would invite a costly lawsuit. For community members concerned about this issue and want more information please email [email protected] or call (530) 756-5165.

Eileen Samitz is a former City of Davis Planning Commissioner and served on the subsequent Housing Element Steering committee and the 2001 General Plan update land use committee.


Al's Corner June: Committee Rise, Committee Set

CRCSIt's June, and the City of Davis is in mourning.  People are visiting the Davis Cemetery to visit our fallen committees.  To celebrate this misery, Alan C. Miller sang "Committee Rise, Committee Set" at the City Council meeting last night, sung to the tune of "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof.  Mr. Miller was brought to tears by his own performance.

     This can be viewed at this link:  https://davis.granicus.com/player/clip/1703?view_id=6&redirect=true

     At this time signature:  38:10

Here's the lyrics from Tuesday night's (June 4th) council meeting:

Continue reading "Al's Corner June: Committee Rise, Committee Set" »


Police Surveillance and Military Equipment Acquisition Policies t

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MRAP 2014-08-29 at 9.42.39 AM

To be Discussed and Possibly Decided at Tuesday, June 4th Davis Council Meeting

By Scott Steward

Right when Davis is in full graduation mode - the City is to consider items that have everything to do with how free you are to express your views without being recorded and traced, with or without your knowledge.  Is this servail increasing our safety or providing more tools that have to be maintained and that have to find an excuse to exist?

Military equipment in a civil city?  Where Davis has been resistant, other communities are less so, and the armaments that our police department does not have, it can leave them wondering if they have to borrow the highest gauge shielding and firearms.  Or is that true?  Is keeping the peace more about relationships and not over-arming to defend against community breakdowns that erupt in bizarre and tragic ways?  Ways that no shielding can defend.  A teenager hidden in a house, a gun owner deciding he does not like a police officer, a gun owner whose roommate does not suspect he has lost it. Or a knife held by a young man whose mind and body go feral?

Disarming those whose weapons are for organized crime and premeditated harm, this is part of peacekeeping, and how that can happen safely for the police officers is to be heard and understood.  What are the tradeoffs? What is necessary, and what is contributing to escalation?

Item 5 (7:15) - agenda is here: https://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/2024/2024-06-04/City-Council-Agenda-06-04-24.pdf


Service for Delaine Eastin

Greetings friends and colleagues,

Join us in downtown Sacramento for a tribute to the life and legacy of Delaine Eastin. Through reflection, remembrances, music, and community, we will honor her contributions to California and generations to come. A reception will follow the formal program.

The fifth woman in California history to be elected to statewide constitutional office, Delaine remains the only woman to serve as Superintendent of Public Instruction empowering six million K-12 students in more than 10,000 schools. Delaine's legacy lives on in each of us through her mentorship and friendship, and her courageous leadership in local, state, national, and international realms, which still sets the foundation for public policy in our state.

To RSVP and receive full details, please visit the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebration-of-life-for-the-honorable-delaine-eastin-tickets-915820442597?aff=odeieiemailshare&utm-campaign=social%2Cemail&utm-content=attendeeshare

Sincerely,

Family and Friends of Delaine Eastin


Sierra Club and Environmental Council of Sacramento Sue Caltrans over Environmental Deficiencies of Yolo I-80 Freeway Widening Project

I-80 Widening Logo
(From press release) On May 29, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) filed a lawsuit against Caltrans alleging legally inadequate environmental analysis of the I-80 freeway widening project through Yolo County.

The lawsuit’s goal is to stop Caltrans from widening 17 miles of the I-80 freeway from six to eight lanes between Davis and Sacramento through the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area until Caltrans conducts a valid analysis of adverse environmental impacts threatened by the project and implements appropriate mitigation for these harmful effects.

Caltrans’ Environmental Impact Report (EIR) grossly underestimates increased vehicular travel, which would emit far larger quantities of greenhouse gases (GHG) and air pollutants than claimed. The EIR fails to consider viable alternatives, such as increased public transit or alternate tolling strategies. Therefore, the project neither adequately manages demand nor produces adequate revenue to fund needed transit alternatives. Also, Caltrans’ proposed mitigation is woefully inadequate to offset the resulting increased GHG and air pollutant emissions.

Caltrans violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to acknowledge that freeway widenings do not produce less congestion but, in fact, result in increased traffic -- leading to worse congestion and pollution - due to “Induced Demand”.

Continue reading "Sierra Club and Environmental Council of Sacramento Sue Caltrans over Environmental Deficiencies of Yolo I-80 Freeway Widening Project " »


Get a Front Row Seat to the Green Revolution Taking Place in Yolo County

Tuesday 5/28 - This Yolo County Climate Action Commission Meeting is a must-see - 4:00 to 6:30 pm

BigShift

By Scott Steward

Big plans. The Commission (and UCD) turn plans into implementation. Big dollars are going to be spent (UCD plans on spending $58M a year for the next 17 years), and if you are an EV enthusiast, a water protector, a Green House Gas Reduction professional, activist or a professional activist - at least get the meeting agenda notes to read if you can’t attend - 4:00-6:30 on Tuesday, May 28th.

As many of our regular Council meeting attendees know, these are necessarily procedural meetings. This is just a courtesy to new attendees: the meeting has Zoom access, and brief constructive comments are encouraged.

Item 5a: Request for Proposal for the County’s conversion to a ZEV fleet - Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan RFP Release

Item 6. Kristin Sicke,  Executive Officer of Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency, will deliver a report on the Agency’s status and progress toward rational regulation of water in the area.   You might recall the Davisite.org OPED about our county’s water situation.  We are now at a point where well permits are allowed, and for the interim, the Groundwater Agency has not finished its methodology for sustaining water levels in the area.  

The big worry is that in the “study area” (Capay Valley and North and other areas), farmers and residents are experiencing sustained drops in water levels and have given much of their time to tell the County about it.  Drops associated with existing wells, even after these last 3 average/wet years.

Continue reading "Get a Front Row Seat to the Green Revolution Taking Place in Yolo County" »


Tenth Davis Pride kicks off on June 1

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A drag queen interacts with a young festivalgoer at the 2023 Davis Pride Festival. (Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo)

By Wendy Weitzel

The rainbow crosswalks are being painted Sunday in downtown Davis, signaling the path to a month full of Davis Pride celebrations ahead in June.

This is the 10th year of Davis Pride activities, organized by the nonprofit Davis Phoenix Coalition. For 2024, highlights include the Davis Pride Community Fair and Music Festival, an after party, a fun run, skate night, comedy night, and plenty of drag.

This year’s theme is “Davis Pride – Because Yolo County is for Everyone!” It follows the Davis Phoenix Coalition’s recent lawn sign messages “Davis is for Everyone” and “Yolo County is for Everyone,” to counter the far-right actions experienced in the community.

The 10th annual Davis Pride Community Fair and Music Festival has a new location this year: Civic Center Park, at Sixth and B streets. The community-focused, family-friendly event includes a music festival, resources, vendors, food, drinks and more – from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1.

Continue reading "Tenth Davis Pride kicks off on June 1" »


CTC joins Davis in rejecting science & climate realities and funds Yolo 80

CTC's $105M highway widening grant shows it has lost the plot when it comes to following Governor Newsom’s and the Legislature’s stated climate directives.

By Carter Rueben (NRDC) and Alan Hirsch

On May 16 the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved $105 million from the State’s Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP) to widen a stretch of Interstate 80 from Davis to Sacramento. In the room and on the Zoom feed, dozens of Davis and Sacramento-area and statewide advocates called in to ask CTC to reject the funding and push Caltrans to provide real congestion relief and reduced environmental impacts.

NRDC identified TCEP in a 2023 report, "Closing the Climate Investment Gap," as the state program that most heavily invests in highway widening in contravention of our state’s climate goals.

 A study commissioned by the California State Transportation Agency came to a similar conclusion. 

By NRDC’s latest estimate, CTC has granted over $2 billion total to more than 50 highway expansion projects since the TCEP program was created in 2018, even though the program is able to fund projects that are wins for both goods movement and the environment, like truck and train electrification projects and rail grade separation projects.

We're at a pivotal time when the state’s climate laws require the state to dramatically scale up rail lines, bus routes, and active transportation corridors, while investing in electrification efforts that zero-out tailpipe pollution. Yet, the TCEP highway widening projects are doing just the opposite – collectively adding hundreds of millions of additional vehicle miles traveled (VMT) across the state per year. This is a trend we can and must reverse, as our friends at NextGen Policy detailed in their report, California at a Crossroads.

The Yolo 80 project is indicative of the systemic issues at Caltrans and CTC and retro-thinking by Yolo County and city elected officials that reject their own climate action plans drawn up by 5 local citizen climate to enable Caltrans.

What makes the Yolo 80 highway widening particularly striking?

Continue reading "CTC joins Davis in rejecting science & climate realities and funds Yolo 80" »


Past honored in 10th year of Davis Pride

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Gloria Partida, left, Jessica Uzarski, Yolo County Supervisor Lucas Frerichs and Mily Ron jump for joy after volunteers complete the rainbow crosswalk painting in downtown Davis on May 30, 2023. This year’s painting will be from 6 to 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 26 around Central Park in Davis. (Courtesy photo)

By Wendy Weitzel

As the Davis Phoenix Coalition marks its 10th year of Davis Pride activities next month, its members also want to honor those who painted that rainbow road.

Pride celebrations in Davis go much deeper than a decade. Every June from 1996 to 2006, local LGBTQ+ activists Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac coordinated the Yolo County Lesbian and Gay Picnic Day. After it took a hiatus, the event was revived in 2015 by the nonprofit Davis Phoenix Coalition, which rebranded it as Davis Pride. Rising from its origins as a single-day event with 500 participants in the 1990s, it has become a monthlong June celebration, drawing close to 10,000 people. These participants come from all segments of the local population, happy to gather in support of LGBTQ+ rights.

This year, highlights include the Davis Pride Community Fair and Music Festival, an after party, a fun run, skate night, comedy night, and plenty of drag.

Gloria Partida founded the Davis Phoenix Coalition in 2013 after her son, Lawrence “Mikey” Partida was brutally beaten in an anti-gay attack. She and other organizers started Davis Pride with the idea of a fun run, and added a family-friendly festival for the whole community.

Despite successes like the federal legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, they knew Davis Pride would be controversial. She saw what Bailes and Pontac went through. “They had a lot of pushback when they were doing the work,” Partida said.

Continue reading "Past honored in 10th year of Davis Pride" »


Open Discussion: Library vs. Mom's for Liberty: Library Loses -- Free Speech Wins (of course)

LibraryTransferring a few comments from Al's Corner, to open the discussion:

Beth Bourne and M4L have been vindicated.

The library has to change its policies and pay $70,000 in damages and fees.

Continue reading "Open Discussion: Library vs. Mom's for Liberty: Library Loses -- Free Speech Wins (of course) " »


Davis Downtown names Brett Lee as executive director

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Brett Lee (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Former Davis Mayor Brett Lee has been named executive director of the Davis Downtown Business Association, effective June 3.

Lee replaces Brett Maresca, who stepped down from the role on Jan. 26 to pursue other opportunities. Former Davis City Manager Dirk Brazil has been interim executive director since Feb. 12.

Lee served on the Davis City Council from 2012 to 2020 – the last two of those years as mayor. He’s a third-generation Davis resident and is raising his 15-year-old son here. Lee has degrees from UC Berkeley and the London School of Economics. For the past nine years, he has worked as a process improvement engineer for Farm Fresh to You, a subscription-based organic produce delivery service of Capay Organic farm.

Kevin Wan, president of the Davis Downtown board of directors, is thrilled to welcome Lee. “His existing relationships with city staff and his experience with the politics of Davis make him the perfect fit to lead Davis Downtown and champion our mission. Since his days on City Council, he has always been an advocate of our downtown, especially for clean and safe streets, which – year after year – is a top concern with our membership. His skill set will be a tremendous asset to help us navigate an evolving economic landscape.”

Continue reading "Davis Downtown names Brett Lee as executive director" »


CITY COMMISSIONS IN CHAOS! SPEAK UP ON MAY 21, 2024

Commissionsby Elaine Roberts Musser,

It appears that our long established city commission system is in chaos!  

Look at what happened in the month of May - many cancelled commission meetings.

Because of Councilmembers Vaitla and Chapman refusing to appoint applicants to commission vacancies, the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC) has appeared not to be  able to meet for nine months and counting. Nor is the Senior Citizens Commission (SCC) meeting anymore, for lack of a quorum. Many commissions have not been able to meet on a regular basis because of quorum problems.  

 

To add insult to injury:

    • In a staff report written by Councilmember Vaitla and Chapman, they prematurely and presumptuously claimed to be recruiting applicants for “newly merged commissions”, even though the City Council hasn’t weighed in on merging any commissions.
    • Councilmember Vaitla has said publicly that commissions are dysfunctional, don’t give the City Council information it wants, and commissioners are somehow “privileged”.

 

159 commissioners, former City Council members and concerned citizens signed a petition to stop the mergers. Councilmember Vaitla did make the rounds of the commissions to be merged, and many commissioners voiced their concerns.

    • Commissioners are not well versed in two disparate subject matter areas.
    • There will have to be more meetings/longer meetings to cover all the material required.
    • Critical issues will get less attention because of time constraints.
    • Recruiting qualified commissioners will become more difficult since they will be expected to be well-versed in two subject matter areas.  Commissioners are apt to quit from burnout and frustration at the heavy workload. 
    • The proposed scopes of the merged commissions are vague and unclear to the point of being almost meaningless.
    • Once commissions are merged, it is highly unlikely the former commissions can be resurrected, if things go wrong (which is likely - 2 commissions are already defunct).
    • Fiscal oversight of the city budget will be minimal, endangering any city tax measure. 

 

This issue is to be heard on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 @ 6:30pm.  SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE MERGERS AT THE MAY 21 CITY COUNCIL MEETING. Express your discontent. Either: 

    • Preferably come in person to the City Council meeting on May 21; or
    • Record a message ((530) 757-5693); and/or
    • Write a letter to City Councilmembers (citycouncilmembers@cityofdavis.org). 

 

See petition and updates at the following link: 

https://www.change.org/p/reverse-city-council-decision-to-move-forward-with-merging-commissions-1e9f0d8d-0697-4f45-85ad-6a7720e2b8b3/u/32599079   


Transparency is Part of Inclusivity & Diversity

YoloTD cac false equity 1

What message will the CTC send Thursday?

By Alan Hirsch

Letter to California Transportation Commission [email protected]

Chair Carl Guardino and Members,

CC  CTC Equity Committee  Chair William Walker

Re: Disagreeing Better on Transportation Projects

 

Mr. Guardino:

 

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say:

    “You are entitled to your own opinions. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

The California Public Records Act (and the Brown Act) were designed so we work from the same facts---that there is sharing of information - so in dialog agencies don’t strategically withhold information to put electeds official as well as the public at an unfair disadvantage in reviewing projects.

Transparency is Inclusivity.

However, I want to bring to your attention a situation where Caltrans seems to be strategically withholding information from the public on a $1/2 billion project.

In June 2023 the CTC staff report recommended NOT to fund Yolo80 toll lanes out of TCEP funds, rating it medium priority. In that staff report CTC staff rated Yolo80 31st out of 48 projects.   Caltrans rated Yolo80 last in priority (24th) out of 24 of their projects. (extract from June 2023 staff report attached)

This of course raises question why it is now rated a priority for advance funding. In the CTC discussion on 5/16. Would not you and other commissions like to know? 

In fact 11 months ago, I tried to find out.

Continue reading "Transparency is Part of Inclusivity & Diversity" »


Yolo officials like Diversity & Inclusion-- except when big money is Involved

YoloTD cac false equity
By Alan Hirsch

DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) is given lot of lip service in progressive circles in Yolo County. But it can turn performative - especial if those in power have already made up their mind on a solution and don’t want to be contradicted- i.e. surface and take in to account diverse opinions.

That is what has been at play for Yolo County on Yolo80 widening with local electeds having made up their mind 3 years ago to add toll lanes to a 17 mile stretch of I-80.  After that they have worked to turn the legally required public process into a  check the box exercise, excluding diverse view point from being considered-- even when the diverse  viewpoints are backed by top transportation experts from UC Davis.

We are now at the end-stage where Davis Mayor/Yolo Transportation District Chair Josh Chapman is overtly discouraging public participation: he said openly it don’t matter what members of Davis public think -- hiding the fact the project is not yet fully funded and public input to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) can still make a difference.

This DEI hypocrisy in Yolo County will continue unless people call out the hypocrisy. The  public can be heard at the CTC’s Equity Committee meeting Wednesday. It is especially focused on this behavior like this by  in local transportation jurisdictions.

Emails are needed to the “CTC-EAC” (California Transportation Commission- Equity Advisory Committee) to note the performative nature of Yolo80 Environmental process (Caltrans District 3 and YoloTD) – and also to oppose funding the new toll lanes  until the process is made truly diverse and inclusive in the search for a solution.

Write to  [email protected]   Subject: Equity and: Funding widening Yolo80 with Toll Lanes.

Issues to note to the Equity Committee: (cut and paste into email?)

 

Continue reading "Yolo officials like Diversity & Inclusion-- except when big money is Involved" »


Whole Earth Festival Sunday - Women's Music Day - "Double Maya Rainbow! Oh, my God—it's a Double Maya Rainbow all the way! Whoa, that's so intense!"

Download (1) DownloadSunday at the Whole Earth Festival has traditionally been held on Mother's Day, and for many years has highlighted women artists on Sunday.  

This year is no exception, with the Sunday lineup on "Quad" Stage including: 

11:20-12 SOPHIE SENG

12:20-1 LILLIAN FRANCES

1:20-2:20 MAYA MCNEIL AND THE SILVER APPLES

2:40-3:40 MAYA BURNS

4-4:50 JESSICA MALONE

and yes, it's a DOUBLE MAYA RAINBOW from 1:20 pm to 3:40 pm !!!!

Maya Burns first wowed WEF audiences years ago when at the age of ten she sang a perfect acapella version of "White Rabbit".  Now a Singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer she floats from Monterey to Ensenada to México City and annually visits the Whole Earth Festival in Davis.  She presents her music in English and Spanish, inspired by her cultural surroundings growing up in Mexico.

Maya McNeil is a native of Davis who's solo music is now blossoming as she premiers her amazing band, the Silver Apples, for the first time Sunday!  Maya has a few singles online now such as "Waiting for the Light to Change" and "Main Stream", in anticipation of her first album, "Waiting for the Light to Change".  Maya was Art Space Director of the Festival years ago and has deep roots with the Festival.

Images Maya Mc

Do note that the Whole Earth Festival has temporarily moved to Russell Field this year, the big grassy area along Russell Blvd.  It's going to be hot this weekend and Russel Field is treeless, so bring a hat, sunscreen, water, and take advantage of the Whole Earth Misting Station between Quad Stage and the Staff Dome (teal, lavender and tan dome), as well as the 26 large shade structures towards the eastern side of the field.  Quad stage is the eastern of the two stages.

Also, be sure to check out Maya Burn's parent's (Jim & India) tie-die booth, the colorful booth nearest Quad stage - they have shirts, hats, dresses and much more!


Final I-80 EIR released - an embarrassment of errors that sets up Caltrans for Legal challenge

I-80- causeway narrower lane cross section
By Alan Hirsch

On Wednesday May 1, the 1971 page (plus 345-page appendix)- final EIR for yolo80 was released. The 139 comments take up nearly 71% of the pages.   – 108 of the 139 were from individuals, not government agencies, cities or  environment groups with paid staff.  This highlights the  fact this science-defying proposal from Caltrans has become “the most controversial freeway project in the state.” 

-----------------------
 NOTE: The last chance to comment on the funding will be at California Transportation Commission Meeting Thursday May 16, By Tuesday send any comments. (esp inadequately funded mitigation plan, induced demand negates any congestion relief, no environmental justice plan for tolls)
to [email protected]
Subject: Widening I-80 with a Expensive Toll lane.
Pro-Tip: use 14 or 16 pt font for short email.

--------------------------

The EIR concluded that despite the widening the freeway will generate 158M more miles of driving (VMT) a year...equal to adding over 11,000 more cars to the road and should be built based on “Statement of  Overriding concern” as it has benefit to reducing congestion- Even  though everyone agree this is wrong as congestion will return within less than ten years.  It is also strange given  their VMT Mitigation plan only offsets 55 Mil VMT miles year of the additional driving and ignores the nearly 50Million of additional a truck.

Adding capacity via toll lanes only guarantee richest member of community- and groups of Tahoe travelers  never faces congestion.

The EIR also ignores any analysis of increased danger from narrowing lanes and permanently removing shoulders. (see diagram)   

The ability of the proposed mitigation plan to provide a carbon/VMT offset is taken to higher degrees of absurdity to somehow claim the project tolls will fund adequate mitigations- and have money left for a social equity/environmental Justice  program into perpetuity.

Public not told about public hearing on toll levels.

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Open Discussion: Bob Dunning Terminated by Davis Enterprise Owners (an Al's Corner Exclusive)

Adfc46d7-dadc-4553-a16a-0777ff3b922bIn a bozo move by the owners of the Davis Enterprise, Bob Dunning was terminated without so much as a thank you after 55 years of service to the paper (and Davis).

Shelley Dunning pays a very sweet tribute in a 7-minute video on her Facebook page:

facebook.com/shelleydunning

She also outlines how cold the termination was.  I doubt that will sit well with the Davis community.

Bob's column will continue at: 

thewaryone.com

Please share your thoughts here in comments regarding this poorly-handled move by the owners of the Davis Enterprise.

Full disclosure:  Bob Dunning once wrote a column about how I should be on the City Council :-|

Note:  Pardon the pictured haircut, Bob, this is what A.I. gave me when I described the incident!