Letter to Planning Commission Expresses Concerns with Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program

Below is the text of a letter submitted to the Davis Planning Commission for its April 14th meeting expressing issues and concerns with the Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program.

Commissioners:

I write to express concerns with the Davis-Connected Buyers Program (DCBP), which is scheduled to be presented at the Planning Commission’s April 14, 2021 meeting. I am disappointed that this agenda item is an informational update only rather than an action item. That suggests that the City Council is not interested in further commission input or recommendations on the DCBP and that its approval by the Council as submitted by the developer is a fait accompli.

I am now retired but have nearly four decades experience with state and federal fair housing laws. I was an attorney with Disability Rights California, California’s designated non-profit disability protection and advocacy organization, for 26 years and subsequently held positions as Chief Consultant for the Assembly Human Services Committee and as legislative director for the California Department of Developmental Services. I am also a former member of the Davis Social Services Commission.

Provisions of the DCBP do not make sense and the program will almost certainly not achieve its purported purpose. Most importantly, as has been alleged—including in a lawsuit challenging the DCBP that was subsequently dismissed without prejudice on procedural grounds—the DCBP is likely to perpetuate, and possibly exacerbate, existing racial disparities in Davis as compared to the region.

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More concerns about Putah Creek restoration proposal

April 5, 2021

Davis Open Space and Habitat Commission

Re: Proposal for habitat restoration/public access project along the South Fork of Putah Creek east of the City’s South Fork Preserve

Dear Commissioners:

I recommend that you approach the proposal with great caution and offer these questions and comments. There is no objection to weed control, riparian planting, and modification of water diversion methods. But the largest part of this proposal is to modify channel form, and that is of great concern. It’s been tried before on Putah Creek in Winters at great cost and great loss to fish and wildlife and riparian forest resources.

The stream channel filling and alteration part of this proposal is premised on these erroneous ideas about the existing stream condition:

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Please do not allow the Solano County Water Agency to destroy the Davis Putah Creek Preserve

Note: the following was emailed to the Davis City Council and to members of the Open Space and Habitat Commission early this afternoon.

Commissioners – Firstly, I apologize for this late communication so close to your Open Space and Habitat Commission meeting this evening. I just became aware yesterday of tonight's agenda item on the proposed study to modify Putah Creek through the Davis Putah Creek Preserve.

I represent Friends of Putah Creek which is a non-profit corporation formed in response to the disastrous waterway modifications that were made in the Winters Putah Creek Parkway by the Solano County Water Agency. These changes were made during the last decade under the same guise of remediation and restoration of the Creek to a natural "form and function" as is now represented by their employee tonight. The current study proposes to eventually implement many of the same misguided, non-scientific based "improvements" in the Davis Putah Creek Preserve which proved so harmful in Winters.

In response to the obvious outcome shortcomings of that project, Friends of Putah Creek undertook an extensive and quantitative evaluation of the project in terms of the subsequent habitat degradation and decline in plant and animal population in the Parkway. In this study we found substantial failure of the project to meet the promised improvements – even after spending over $7 million dollars on the 1.25 mile project itself and then millions more in subsequent efforts to remediate the damage caused by the project. Even today we are still seeing extensive tree die-back and loss of animal life that has yet to return. This is the worst example of environmental pork Yolo County has ever seen.

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Bob Dunning celebration nears!

Dunning column logoCommunity members are invited to celebrate Davis Enterprise columnist Bob Dunning’s unprecedented 51-plus-year career by viewing a virtual show Friday, April 9, on YouTube and by participating in a socially distanced vehicle parade on Saturday, April 24.

The virtual celebration, which runs from 4 to 5 p.m. and can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8JQBnfTOAc, will feature highlights of Dunning’s long and storied career, including his tennis match with Bobby Riggs, his many hosting gigs for nonprofit organizations — highlighted by a visit by legendary comedian Bob Hope to raise money for the expansion of the Davis Senior Center — and his coverage of innumerable community, high school and UC Davis sports events.

Special appearances by friends, elected officials and community members are planned. The event, which is being presented with the help and support of Davis Media Access, is hosted by retired city of Davis public relations manager Bob Bowen.

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Bretton Woods is Attempting to Pull Another Bait and Switch with its Davis Based Buyers Program

Protections Will Weaken for Prospective Davis Senior Buyers

by Alan Pryor

INTRODUCTION

The Bretton Wood developer, David Taormino, is attempting to pull another bait and switch on Davis seniors by completely gutting the campaign promises he made to Davis voters committing to sell 90% of homes in the new project to Davis-based buyers. The long-promised Davis-Based Buyers Program was intended to ensure that 90% of all new homes sold at the new development were to Davis seniors thereby freeing up their existing large homes for new families to come to Davis.

But make no mistake about it, this newly proposed watered-down plan has so many loopholes in it that it will open the floodgates to advertising and sales to well-heeled Bay Area expatriates flush with cash from sales of their own inflated homes. Indeed, this will probably drive up prices for new homes at the project so high that it will functionally exclude Davis seniors from participating - much like we saw in the Cannery project where the majority of new sales were to buyers from outside Davis.

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Virtual film fest features documentaries by and about women

LUNAFESTsquareSocial 1(From press release) Soroptimist International of Davis is a local host for LUNAFEST, an all-documentary lineup of seven short films by female filmmakers, which begins streaming on April 23.

The gender disparity in film is real. Women are still underrepresented in this medium where, in the last 13 years, 4.8% of directors are female. However, change is happening. Research from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative reports that 10.6% of the directors of 2019’s top movies were women — the highest in more than a decade.

For 20 years, The LUNA Bar brand has inspired women, championed change, and demanded that equality is a right. These values fueled LUNA to create LUNAFEST, the first all-female traveling film festival, now in its 20th season, and screening virtually in 2021. This year’s films are:

  • “Overexposed: Filming an Arctic Odyssey” by Holly Morris: A behind-the-scenes look at the film team that captured the daring story of the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition.
  • “Knocking Down the Fences” by Meg Shutzer: A.J. Andrews, the first woman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award, struggles to make it as one of the best professional softball players in the world.
  • “A Line Birds Cannot See” by Amy Bench: Separated from her mother at the border, a 12-year-old sets out on a harrowing journey to the United States to find her.
  • “The Scientists Versus Dartmouth” by Sharon Shattuck: A young neuroscientist and her colleagues make a life-changing decision to speak up for women in science everywhere.
  • “Until She is Free” By Maria Finitzo: Mixed-media artist Sophia Wallace imagines a culturally literate world, where all people are equal and able to live with rich possibility and purpose.
  • “Connection” by Tracy Nguyen-Chung & Ciara Lacy: A lifelong angler, Autumn Harry had never fished beyond the waters of her reservation – until she picked up a fly rod.
  • “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business” by Christine Turner: There’s no stopping this legendary artist, even at age 93.

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Cycling to School - Encouragement isn't enough

DJUSDparking
Student parking lot at Davis High School (Google Maps)

Today the other Davis blog ran a guest opinion on cycling to school. The comments are useful. My comment follows:

Walking and cycling should be the primary means of travel to school – and I applaud the earlier comments, especially those that reflect on how the biggest danger to people walking or cycling to school is people driving themselves or being driven by their parents to school.

The school drop-off is actually not permitted in some cities… students can’t be dropped off at or near school. The discussions and planning for the school commute in relation to Chavez Elementary are dominated by the necessity of the infamous drop-off.

Then also we have the new, Federally-funded connector from east Olive Dr. to Pole Line (and South Davis). It’s great and its primary purpose is to connect kids on Olive to school in South Davis, BUT the City has allowed the Ryder (Lincoln40) frontage to be re-constructed in such a way that bike lanes are below Davis minimums. They so far refuse to consider moving parked cars from the south side of Olive, which allow re-striping on both sides to City Standards. While the westbound I-80 exit to Olive will be eventually be shut down, in the process towards that – i.e. while the 80-Richards interchange is being re-constructed – the plan is to detour ALL westbound traffic headed into Davis onto Olive, crossing the path of students headed the other way to South Davis (and also alongside university students headed to campus).

The bus should be a great alternative – especially in DJUSD schools where 20 to 40% of elementary-age students don’t come from areas near them – but unfortunately Unitrans doesn’t really work for students below 4th or 5th grade.  Yet the DJUSD Board has repeatedly refused to consider implementing a return of intra-city school buses… they won’t even consider doing a study. No movement there, even as other schools around the country – including UCD – move towards 100% electric bus fleets.


"urgent safety concern...."? & City Soil

Please write the City of Davis Tree Commission today at <treecommission@cityofdavis.org> in advance of today's early evening meeting, or call during the meeting, and ask them to incorporate elements of my City Soil concept to their draft modifications of Chapter 37 of the municipal code.

IMG_20210303_174621(1)
Trinita Terrace & 5th St, entrance to The Cottages at Mace Ranch

City Soil builds roots to support not only trees, but also clean air, quieter neighborhoods,  jobs and sustainable transportation!

In Davis, it's not allowed to place leaves or other yard waste in bike lanes. Never. Never Ever. It's a good regulation.... because it's DANGEROUS!

There's a stretch on 5th St. in Mace Ranch where unknown assailants who live in the neighborhoods east of the police station and west of Alhambra place leaves and/or branches in the bike lane. Per a discussion on NextDoor, at least in The Cottages there's no scheduled yard waste pick-up due to some financial arrangement made when it was established, or  later. It's not clear. Myself and several others have been using the City's notification system to report these transgressions for years... but the only result is that the rest of us pay the City to pick up what these people won't pay for.

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LWVDA Social Justice Forum

Social Justice ForumThe League of Women Voters Davis Area would like to invite  Davis residents and surrounding communities to participate in a dialogue regarding racism, equality and inclusivity initiatives in the Davis Area.

The League of Women Voters Davis Area (LWVDA) is sponsoring a virtual forum on Wednesday, March 17th from 6:30 to 8:00pm for the community. This forum will focus on exploring difficulties and possibilities for people of color in the Davis Area community.

This is the beginning of the League’s efforts to educate the community on Social Justice issues systemic within our Davis community.

Register for this event on: https://rb.gy/t5zjon OR https://lwvsocialjustice.eventbrite.com

We welcome questions and we request that you email your questions for the panel to komalh@lwvdavisarea.org

Best wishes,

Komal Hak, Director of Communications, Strategy & Marketing

komalh@lwvdavisarea.org


BTSSC meeting this evening!

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Zuzana Čaputová, the President of Slovakia, is shown a cargo bike, in Trnava, Slovakia. Photo by Matej Kalina, www.pluska.sk.

Foreshadowing: In the spirit and solid of full transparency, I've decided to publish my warnings and suchlike to my former colleagues and replacement on the City of Davis Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC).

Comments in advance of the March 11, 2021 BTSSC meeting (Tree Commission-related comments are in Regular Agenda Item 6B)

General Comments: 

* The February review of how things work in the transportation department was useful and detailed, It is noted, however, that in the organizational chart there's a vacant Safe to Routes School position, BUT not a vacant Senior Civil Engineer (Transportation) position. This position was filled until 2017, the City tried to hire someone during 2018 and possibly 2019, but then dropped it. I've seen no evidence that it was officially, publicly-dropped. The Staff members with civil engineering degrees currently handling the duties and direction normally exercised by this position simply do not have the experience to do it right. The evidence for this is the proposals - some that have come to the BTSSC - that show a lack of knowledge of regulations (Tulip-Ponteverde), improvised out-of-classification infrastructure (the "low cost safe space" on south-bound Lake at Russell), total discounting of the lack of a pedestrian crossing across Lake at Russell, even as most of the intersection was re-done. That it shows a continued bias towards motor vehicle transportation is likely not a conscious one, but one simply born of lack of experience. People are trying to do their best, and my comment is not personal. The City Manager and City Council need to work harder to hire the right person who can help their colleagues and subordinates, so that they can help our City deserve its Platinum bike-friendly status.

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"Healthy Aging in a Digital World": Wrap up to UC Davis Mini-Medical School..... this coming Saturday....

Dear Friends,

Good afternoon!  I grabbed this information from the eventbrite site that supported my enrollment in the UC Davis 2021 Mini-Medical School.  

The last session, described below, is this coming Saturday

===================================================

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Healthy Aging in a Digital World—A co-presentation by Thomas S. Nesbitt, M.D., M.P.H, Emeritus Associate Vice Chancellor and Heather M. Young, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean Emerita

The Mini Medical School concludes on Saturday morning, 3/13/2021, with a joint presentation on “Healthy Aging in a Digital World” by two esteemed faculty emeriti, Dr. Thomas Nesbitt and Dr. Heather Young. Dr. Nesbitt spent most of his career researching and implementing telehealth programs so that the reach of specialty medical care could be extended into rural and other underserved communities. Dr. Nesbitt is the Founding Director of the Center for Health and Technology, and the Emeritus Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Technologies and Alliances at UC Davis. Dr. Young is the Founding Dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and has dedicated her clinical and research career to improving health care for the elderly. Drs. Nesbitt and Young are friends and colleagues who previously delivered a presentation on this topic. I viewed it and it was wonderful! They are delving more deeply into this topic for the Mini Medical School class of 2021, so we can count on an engaging and inspirational closing presentation!

======================================================

In case you were wondering, here are the names of the wonderful speakers for the entire series this Winter/Spring:

Continue reading ""Healthy Aging in a Digital World": Wrap up to UC Davis Mini-Medical School..... this coming Saturday.... " »


Valley Clean Energy Makes Major Solar+Storage Power Deal

PV solar project
A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will construct Resurgence Solar, the new photovoltaic (PV) solar project, on the existing site. It will look similar to the project shown in this photo. Courtesy photo

(From press release) With its recent approval of a new power purchase agreement, the Valley Clean Energy (VCE) board of directors took another significant step toward the agency’s goal of providing cost-effective renewable energy — and resilience — to its customers. VCE is the local electric generation provider for Davis, Woodland, Winters and unincorporated Yolo County.

The VCE board approved the 20-year agreement to purchase the output from the Resurgence Solar I project currently under development in San Bernardino County by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The total capacity of the solar photovoltaic project is 90 megawatts (MW) of power and 75 MW of battery energy storage. This project supplies enough energy to power two-thirds of the households served by VCE, and the storage delivers power to the electricity grid when it’s needed the most, in the early evening.

“We are very pleased to work with Valley Clean Energy to help meet their renewable energy goals and bring clean, affordable, home-grown solar energy to their customers,” said Matt Handel, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources.

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Covid-19 study being conducted in elementary schools in California.....

Dear Friends,

Heard this VERY interesting news segment recently which described an 8 week research project in three counties in California regarding transmission of COVID-19 in elementary schools.

The study is funded by a foundation and is located in three counties in California:  Merced, Los Angeles, and San Mateo in the Bay Area.

The idea is to test students and staff twice a week to see if there is an arrival and spread of the coronavirus.  Really good community-based public health!

See more below, including an interview with a prominent physician.

https://abc7news.com/covid-19-coronavirus-testing-schools/10374077/ 

This is the kind of public health work which is done to keep STAFF and students healthy.

Have a great week!

John


Really interesting interview with Dr. Michael Wilkes about sports during COVID.... lots of practical considerations you can use.

Dear Folks,

Thought you might like to hear this clip, it is really a gold nugget.  Dr. Wilkes (the guy with BOTH a medical degree and a doctorate in public health) answers questions and shares tips about what is and is not safe to do sports wise at this stage of the pandemic.  The topic is "Youth Sports".....

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LRd7llDnwvDtJb1ess0LYqHGaUIc7dd5/view?usp=drivesdk

Cheers!

John

PS  Did you hear the UCD Mini-Medical school talks yesterday?  They were great!  Just register and you can hear all previous talks, as they are recorded.


That "celebrating someone's death" thing

Rush
Rush Limbaugh
Ethan Miller/Getty Images - https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/20/opinion/rush-limbaugh-women.html
I am reminded first of all that the date of death rather than birth is the one to remember for Jews as it demarcates the time in which we can be judged. This is the day we commemorate this person, and then also the yearly anniversary of that day.
 
For millions of Jewish victims in the Shoah - those killed in ghettos, on the way to or in concentration or death camps... and many others - there is no known precise date of death. For many it was decided that the day of their deportation would be the effective date, as at that time their fate was sealed.

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Davis Local Selected One of the Emerging Insurance Leaders In 2021

Meraz-photo-240x300
Photo courtesy of CSAA Insurance Group

(From press release) A local Davis woman, Suzanne Meraz, has been selected as one of the top 123 insurance professionals across the country and globe.

As Director, External Affairs of CSAA Insurance Group, Suzanne was chosen due to her and her teams' positive impacts on the insurance industry. Suzanne says, "As society's financial first responders, we're making and delivering on a promise to people to be there for people in their time of need. It feels good to be working in an industry that is doing something positive for the economy, for people, and for communities."

Six leaders from CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer, are among the 123 insurance professionals from across the country and overseas named to the 2021 Class of Emerging Leaders. The class will be honored at the 2021 Virtual Emerging Leaders Conference on Feb. 22-23, hosted by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), the Insurance Careers Movement (ICM) and AM Best.

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How's your mental health during this pandemic? Perhaps you will want to check in with Dr. Yellowlees next Saturday....

Dear Friends,

Oh my, yes, we are pretty much all stressed by this long term pandemic.  There is a saying that you should be nice to people because you do not know what burdens they are carrying...... a message that is twice as important during this public health crisis.

What to do?

Well, one thing you can do is to tune in to the UC Davis Mini-Medical School each Saturday.  This is such a special gift from the University to the public, it cannot be overstated how wonderful it is!  

Over the years, I have attended a couple of times and am back at it this year.  Next Saturday, Dr. Yellowlees, a psychiatrist is going to talk about mental health during a pandemic.  I'm confident it will be an excellent talk.

Below you can see the schedule for the whole series.  The sessions given have been recorded and are available.  Upcoming ones will be recorded as well.  They start at 9 a.m. Saturday morning and go to about 11:15. You have to sign up on line to join the class, the class is free, and you can ZOOM from the comfort of your home (or wherever).  

I STRONGLY recommend you check these out.  And thanks again to UC Davis for offering this wonderful resource to the community!

Best regards,

John

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Top epidemiologist leaves Yolo County .......

Dear Friends,

Dr. Haydee Dabritz, a UC Davis graduate with a PhD in Epidemiology has recently left Yolo County Health Department after 8 years to work for the California Department of Public Health.  

Yolo County's loss is California's gain as Dr. Dabritz is a well regarded epidemiologist/scientist with a practical bent for data and pragmatic program design and evaluation.

Dr. Dabritz was the lead epidemiologist in helping Yolo County respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

She will be missed (although if you look at her LINKEDIN page she is being congratulated by a number of people)..... 

Below is a description of the work of the PhD in Epidemiology that you may find useful.... schools and programs of public health are experiencing a HUGE increase in applications as an educational response to the Pandemic.  Brown University's School of Public Health has experienced a 75% increase applications in one year!

Regards,

John

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Letter: Safely re-opening schools in the near future

The following letter was sent to the Principal of Emerson Junior High School on February 12, 2021

Dear Ms. Kennedy,

I am the parent of a 13 year old boy in Emerson J. High School.

He has been stuck at home or in my law office since March, using Zoom, almost completely isolated from his school and other friends.

I think the DJUSD has done its best to provide some minimal education to its students and to keep them safe during one of the worst pandemic periods in a hundred years. The fact that Davis' infection and death rates are so low is testimony to how the community has handled the emergency. Thank you for your and the teacher and staff and Board's good efforts. Congratulations to all of you.

However, have you seen the new CDC Recommendations that came out today as to re-opening schools?

I think if the DJUSD immediately reviews and adopts those guidelines, our schools can be safely reopened in the very near future, not late spring or even next fall, as it currently looks like the plan is going to be.

May I ask you to refer this email to the Board, Administrator, General Counsel, and President of the DTA for review and comment?

I hope our District will immediately and seriously consider an updated plan for safely re-opening our schools as soon as possible, but not later than the end of spring break.

Thank you,

Michael J. Harrington
michael@mikeharringtonlaw.com


Community Celebrates Longtime Local Columnist

Dunning column logo
Bob Dunning writes “The Wary I” column for The Davis Enterprise. Davis Enterprise/Courtesy photo

(From press release) He’s spent the past 51 years chronicling life in Davis, sharing his opinions, prompting us to examine ours and reflecting on all that makes this town the special place it is.

Now, it’s Davis’ turn to show its admiration and respect for Bob Dunning with a springtime celebration in honor of his 51 years at The Davis Enterprise.

Dunning was hired by The Enterprise on Jan. 27, 1970, as a sports writer, and he remembers being terrified of deadlines as he sat down at his typewriter that first day on the job. Now, tens of thousands of deadlines later, he confesses that he never really wanted to be a journalist but admits that he wouldn’t trade his time in newspapers for anything.

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