DISC site not required to satisfy Davis's commercial needs

Infill would be a better choice

By Pam Gunnell, Richard McCann, and Matt Williams

A 200-acre business park like DISC is not an objective in the City of Davis’ General Plan.  Additionally, DISC contains uses (housing, retail, parks, ag buffer) that require land that would not be needed with an infill model that uses existing parcels inside the city limits. According to the project’s own environmental review documents, the FSEIR, only 101 acres of the 200-acre DISC are needed for R&D, office and light manufacturing.  (FSEIR p. 2-21 and p. 2-254) 

Since DISC is proposed to be built out in 4 phases over 20-25 years, 101 acres of land is not needed all at once.  For that reason, existing smaller parcels in Davis may be able to accommodate the initial R&D development and defer the need to consider DISC for a number of years … at a time when the impacts of COVID on market demand for Office/R&D/Flex space are much clearer.

The City, however, is not seriously considering meeting its commercial needs with infill of existing parcels, despite the fact that a 2019 City study enumerates 124 acres of vacant parcels inside the city limits. (FSEIR p. 2-21 and LINK) This does not include City–owned properties and parcels that are underutilized and could be rezoned – for example the PG&E property on the edge of downtown nor does it include redevelopable properties already appropriately zoned.

Continue reading "DISC site not required to satisfy Davis's commercial needs" »


Does DJUSD’s Measure A (CFD #1 Special Tax) Have an End Date, or Does It Not Have an End Date?

By Matt Williams

On Friday and Saturday two articles appeared online that covered the work-in process due diligence research that I was in the midst of undertaking regarding DJUSD's Community Facilities District No. 1 (CFD #1) Special Tax, which was originally passed by the voters in Measure A on November 7, 1989. Friday's initial article by me can be read HERE in the Davisite, and Saturday's response article by David Greenwald can be read HERE in the Davis Vanguard.

As part of the Friday article comments, Don Shor posted the following observation and question. Based on his comment, it appeared that Don accepted on face value the words that he quoted and bolded.  I read those words differently than Don did, and my response to him also appears below.  One additional piece of background is that the intent of my initial communication to DJUSD was to bring some additional transparency and clarity to the questions raised by those very same words that Don quoted.  So far the trajectory of the events has been consistent with that intent.

Continue reading "Does DJUSD’s Measure A (CFD #1 Special Tax) Have an End Date, or Does It Not Have an End Date?" »


Reimagining Public Safety Community Teach-In

Date: Saturday, Oct 24
Time: from 1:30-3:00pm
Location: Central Park, Davis, CA

Because of COVID, attendees are expected to socially distance to keep everyone safe. Masks are required (extras masks/ hand-sanitizer will be provided if needed). Stay home if you feel sick!

Yolo People Power, Multiculturalism Rocks!, Women in Leadership Davis, Yolo Committee for Diverse and Inclusive Elections, and Indivisible Yolo invite you to an educational rally on re-thinking policing and public safety to help create an anti-racist, reformative, compassionate system that TRULY keeps every member of our community safe.

This event will feature short speeches by local activists, organizers, university and high school students, and experts on the problems of our current law enforcement/ criminal justice system and what solutions exist to transform it.

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Six Mayors Endorse Colin Walsh for City Council

Six-former-mayorsThe Colin Walsh for Davis City Council District 2 campaign announces the endorsement of six former Davis City Council Mayors: Jerry Adler, Michael Corbett, Sue Greenwald, Bill Kopper, Joe Krovoza, and Ken Wagstaff.  Walsh has also been endorsed by former Councilmembers Stan Forbes and Mike Harrington.  These endorsements follow the Sierra Club’s earlier endorsement of Walsh.

Former Mayor Krovoza stated, “He's a kind, thoughtful and reflective person. Most important, Colin is an independent thinker. He's balanced, informed, transparent and open in his thinking.”  He continued, “Colin will seek to understand all sides of issues and then consider the path forward.”

Former Mayor Corbett noted that “Colin will stand up to the financial influences of developers who are trying to shape the city to their advantage. He will push for a new citizen based general plan that addresses: a stable economy, climate change, income and racial equality, connects bicycle paths, and preserves the character of our town.”

“Colin is hardworking, honest, and principled. He will respect the right of citizens to be heard. A master of city planning detail, he will hold developers to all aspects of their agreements with the City,” according to former Mayor Wagstaff.

“Colin has the judgment to honor our unique small town character while applying sound environmental planning principles,” affirms former Mayor Greenwald, adding that “Colin won't blindly follow out-of-town boilerplate consultant reports and approve every developer application with only minor tweaks.”

In response to the endorsements from the six former Mayors, candidate Walsh stated, “I am honored to have the support of so many past Davis Mayors. Having lived in Davis most of my life, these are community leaders I have watched shape our City. I will work hard to live up to their belief in me and the forward thinking and high standards that they set during their own tenures.”

For more information on Colin Walsh’s campaign for Davis City Council, visit https://www.Walsh4Davis.com/


Letter: Fortunate to have Provenza in difficult times

JIm-ProvenzaLife is so difficult right now, but we have been fortunate to have Supervisor Jim Provenza’s leadership and experience when it matters most. A man of integrity who puts service above all else, Jim's continued work on our behalf is imperative.

Jim’s style isn’t what one expects in politics. He gravitates toward complex tasks instead of the limelight. As a volunteer with the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery I saw this when the Nursery nearly closed. Jim rolled up his sleeves and made sure our most vulnerable children and their families would be cared for. These children are highly diverse, and in need of equity and inclusion. Jim has been their champion all along.

Under Covid, Jim fast-tracked essential supplies to the Nursery and other agencies serving young children. He also led the way to raise funds to support our fragile nonprofit network.

Over the years, Jim has continually earned my respect and my vote and I hope you’ll join me by voting for him November 3, 2020.

Veronica Stanton


Pros and Cons for Measure B (DISC)

Davis-LWVBy the League of Women Voters Davis Area

The Question:  Should residents approve annexing agricultural land to develop the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC)?  Annexation of county land for city-related uses has required citizen approval since voters passed the Citizens Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Landsordinance in 2000 (as Measure J) and renewed it in 2010 (as Measure R). 

The Situation:  Davis has studied options for an innovation park with the goals of leveraging UC Davis' international reputation for academic and research advancements in agriculture, biotech, green-tech, and food science research.  As the options were studied, four options initially appeared to be available but these have since been reduced to one (see Appendix for a more detailed history).  The project site is agricultural land that has been productively farmed for many decades.  Moving forward with the project will put an end to farming on the site.

Continue reading "Pros and Cons for Measure B (DISC)" »


Criminal Negligence

By Dan Urazandi

There have been a series of crimes at my shop that have forced me to consider crime in Davis. Most of us take it for granted that Davis is safe like it was a decade or two ago. Many of us are learning otherwise as we are victimized by criminals. I hope a few more can be convinced without having to become victims and that corrective action will be taken before things get even worse, particularly as covid policy is emptying California jails.    

   In 2018 and 2019 my son and I were victims of two assaults with deadly weapon while minding our store. This year's crime was a burglary, we were hit with a smash and grab on 9/24. I was aghast and furious that the police would not assign an investigator to the case. They seemed unconcerned with property crime, which begins to explain its massive increase in the last few years. So we handled the case ourselves; when the suspect came back on 10/9 to sell me stolen merchandise from other stores he burglarized and, yes, some he had burglarized from me, my son and I put him under citizen's arrest after some struggle. When I handed him over to DPD they acted for the first time in this case with expedition by letting him go one hour after picking him up. That's after we found him, caught him, fought him and arrested him for them. The thief couldn't have been stupider and we went far beyond what a citizen should have to do to catch this serial burglar, but he went free anyway.

Continue reading "Criminal Negligence" »


Public Comment to DJUSD School Board Last Night — Funny Money in Measure B Argument?

Fact-checkBy Matt Williams

The following Public Comment was submitted by e-mail to the DJUSD School Board with copy to DJUSD CFO Amari Watkins.  The Public Comment was read into the record by Superintendent John Bowes.  As noted in the text of the Public Comment, I have been dialoguing with Amari Watkins over the past three weeks.  What came out of the due diligence homework leading up to that dialogue was a complete surprise.

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Members of the DJUSD School Board, over the past three weeks I have been in e-mail communication with your CFO Amari Watkins regarding the current and future status of DJUSD’s Community Facilities District No. 1 (CFD #1).  Amari has provided the 1989 Resolution documents that created and govern CFD #1, which I have reconciled with the numbers from the four most recent DAVIS JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT MELLO‐ROOS COMMUNITY FACILITIES DISTRICT NO. 1 SPECIAL TAX REPORTs (“the reports”) prepared by DJUSD’s tax administration consultant, SCI Consulting Group.

Bottom-line … subject to Amari’s (DJUSD’s) provision of any additional legal and/or election documents … the numbers from “the reports” say that CFD#1 will have reached the point where the language from the Rate and Method Resolution, “The special tax shall be levied and collected only so long as it is needed to pay the principal and interest on debt incurred …” will reach both its logical and fiscal conclusion during or before DJUSD’s Fiscal Year 2021-2022 … possibly as early as during or before Fiscal Year 2020-21.  Said another way it appears to be clear that CFD #1 will be fully paid off at the end of Fiscal Year 2020-21, or at the latest Fiscal Year 2021-22.

The implications of CFD #1 ending for the DJUSD annual revenue stream are significant.

Continue reading "Public Comment to DJUSD School Board Last Night — Funny Money in Measure B Argument?" »


Letter: Multiple grounds for a no vote on Measure B

Measure B (DISC) is perhaps the worst development project that has ever come before Davis voters. Above all, it will have major adverse and irreversible environmental effects, and instead of helping to solve the housing problem, it will only aggravate it. Finally, it will do nothing to solve the city’s major fiscal issues, and indeed only exacerbate them.

A year ago, Davis leaders declared a “climate emergency” and declared it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. This massive project (over twice the size of the Cannery project) will spew more than 37,000 metric tons of carbon emission every year from the traffic it generates, according to the EIR, a net increase of 8% in Davis’ existing carbon footprint.

The project will generate 24,000 additional car trips daily, and the EIR (Appendix F, p. 123) says that at 14 intersections traffic will deteriorate to Level F. This does not take full account of the cumulative traffic impacts produced by the building of the many many thousands of units completed, under construction and approved in the last few years.

Moreover, the developers are in no way committed to mitigating in any way the inevitable traffic deadlock.

Furthermore, the EIR notes that DISC will create a minimum need for 3,760 housing units to accommodate the jobs generated. But it will only provide 850 units, and 83% of them will be at high-end market rates.

Finally, this development, even on its own terms, will not provide the revenues to offset the city’s serious fiscal deficit, quite to the contrary. The city’s Finance and Budget Commission was deeply skeptical of the developers’ claims, three doubted that there would be a net fiscal profit, and one even called the fiscal projections a “fairy tale.” This does not even take into account the major infrastructural spending by the city necessary to try and mitigate the environmental impacts.

What’s not to abhor? Please vote No on B.

Dan Cornford
Davis


Letter: The Road Ahead

IMG_3892DISC for me represents a 20+ year commitment to going down the wrong road.  It represents a reversal of fundamental tenets that have shaped Davis for the better.

DISC is sprawl plain and simple. It circumvents every good planning principle that Davis has stood for. It places retail, office and dense housing on the periphery while destroying 200 acres of farmland. It is the antithesis of what we should be doing in the era of global warming as DISC depends on car commuters and makes a joke of the City’s mandate of carbon neutrality by 2040.

Furthermore, DISC will destabilize existing businesses and compromise our ability to fill existing vacancies. Even before Covid, DISC was a poor plan for a community that values a strong downtown. But, Covid on top of DISC boggles the mind.  The SEIR states that cannibalism from DISC will cause sustained commercial vacancies of up to 313,000 sq. ft.

The good news is that we have an alternative option that would take us down the right road.

We have enough land in Davis to serve our commercial needs. In 2019, the city’s justification for converting 3820 Chiles Rd. from commercial to residential reads “the existing current inventory of vacant land for 0ffice and R&D/Flex uses will meet demand for the next 43 to 69 years”.  We also have a Downtown Plan that is full steam ahead and calls for intensifying residential and commercial in the core. Joe Minicozzi, hosted by Cool Davis in March, was unequivocal that investing in the ground Davis already has, that has existing services and infrastructure, is the best path to economic stability and revitalization.

I want to add that Colin Walsh, candidate for City Council District 2, is the one council candidate who has studied every aspect of DISC and has taken a lead role against the project. In Colin you will find a candidate who will make the tough decisions to do what is right, and not what is politically expedient.  He has the resolve and commitment to go down a better road.

Pam Gunnell
Davis


Area arts organizations confront racism

By Wendy Weitzel

Members of the local arts community met virtually on Oct. 7 to support each other and share how they are reimagining their work in the time of COVID-19.

Arts Alliance Davis was formed a few years ago as a grassroots effort to give artists and their supporters the opportunity to gather, collaborate and create meaningful impact. Meetings, typically every other month, are open to anyone. The October meeting, via videoconference, included 17 artists or representatives or arts organizations.

Much of the discussion focused on anti-racism. Davis resident NJ Mvondo, a self-described Black artist and community organizer, recently launched the interactive Healing Art Project to provide a positive platform for dialogue about systemic racism. Mvondo runs Multiculturalism Rocks!, an organization celebrating cultural diversity in the arts. The Healing Art Project is a treasure hunt for two-dimensional art – displayed in merchant windows in downtown Davis and beyond – encouraging patronage to local businesses.

Continue reading "Area arts organizations confront racism" »


Letter: Vote Larry Guenther for Davis City Council

GuentherI have lived in Davis for 50 years and have known Larry Guenther for the last 10 of them.  He is always friendly, respectful, and a good listener.  He is also down-to-earth and a problem-solver.  He will make an excellent addition to the Davis City Council, and I endorse him highly!

Dorte Jensen
Davis


2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates

Part 5  - Toxics Reduction

by Alan Pryor

Introduction - Every 2 years the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates on matters of interest to the public and/or our local Sierra Club members. We use questionnaires with written responses to allow the candidates to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. We report these in a series of articles on a range of environmentally-related topics.

This is Part 5 of the series in which we report candidates' responses to a series of questions regarding toxics reduction in the City. The candidates responses are in alphabetical order based on their first name.

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1st Question re: Pesticide Use Reduction

Preamble: Davis recently banned the use of pollinator-killing neonicotinoid class of pesticides and phases out the use of the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-up product) next year. However, the City Council declined to require that only certified organic pesticides be used in the City’s Parks and Open Spaces as recommended by the Natural Resources Commission and endorsed by the Sierra Club Yolano Group.  

Question: Do you support restricting pesticide use on City properties to only those certified as “organic” and why or why not?

Continue reading "2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates" »


2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates

Part 4  - Transportation Management

by Alan Pryor

Introduction - Every 2 years the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates on matters of interest to the public and/or our local Sierra Club members. We use questionnaires with written responses to allow the candidates to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. We report these in a series of articles on a range of environmentally-related topics.

This is Part 4 of the series in which we report candidates' responses to a series of questions regarding transportation management in the City. The candidates responses are in alphabetical order based on their first name.

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1st Question re: Bicycle Use

Preamable: Davis prides itself on being a bicycle-oriented city with miles of bike lanes and paths throughout the community to facilitate bike use as an alternative form of transportation. Yet, the bicycle mode-share in Davis has dropped in recent years.  

Question: What would you propose to make the bicycle a more viable and safe transportation mode in Davis?

Continue reading "2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates" »


Downtown Merchants Revolt Against DDBA's Support of DISC

The following signed petition was sent to the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA) by a group of downtown business owners expressing concern that the DDBA issued a statement in support of Measure B and asking that that statement of support be rescinded until the full DDBA membership can be polled in an open, transparent, and democratic manner – Heather Caswell, The Wardrobe

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Be Bold – Be an Agent of Change! - A Petition Opposing Measure B and DISC

We believe the heart and soul of Davis is our downtown core. And we believe we must protect it and nurture it to realize its long term, sustainable potential. We support he Downtown Development Plan as a viable means to rejuvenate and enhance the businesses and livability of the downtown core.

We also believe the development of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) on the far east side of Davis, with 2.6 million sq ft of commercial space including 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 160,000 sq. ft. of hotel and meeting space, will siphon business tenants and merchant customers away from our downtown coreadversely affecting affecting its viability and vitality. 

We therefore are opposed to Measure B which seeks to approve the annexation of prime farmland into the City and the construction of the massive DISC project.

Continue reading "Downtown Merchants Revolt Against DDBA's Support of DISC" »


Oct. 17 Virtual Townhall With Colin Walsh

Walsh-photo-3Colin Walsh, a candidate for Davis City Council 2020 District 2, is hosting a Zoom Town Hall on Saturday, October 17 at Noon. Members of the community are invited to this opportunity to get to know Colin and share your thoughts on Davis. Details at Walsh4Davis.com.  

Or on Facebook, see https://www.facebook.com/events/362603148220815/


DISC is using Voodoo Economics

Voodoo-economics(From press release) The Developer's promises of economic benefits from DISC want you to believe all you have to do is vote "YES" on Measure B and the City's potholes will be miraculously filled with the gold nuggets tumbling from the DISC bandwagon.

But the DISC project will not be an economic bonanza and may even cost the City money over the long term. This is because extremely optimistic projections of property taxes from the project will probably never materialize.

And with no fiscal guarantees, the Developer will be the only one hauling away wheelbarrels of money!

Continue reading "DISC is using Voodoo Economics" »


2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates

Part 3  - Waste Management and Water Treatment

by Alan Pryor

Introduction - Every 2 years the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates on matters of interest to the public and/or our local Sierra Club members. We use questionnaires with written responses to allow the candidates to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. We report these in a series of articles on a range of environmentally-related topics.

This is Part 3 of the series in which we report candidates' responses to a series of questions regarding waste management and water treatment in the City. The candidates responses are in alphabetical order based on their first name.

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1st Question re: Proposed Commercial and Multi-Family Recycling and Food Waste Collection

Preamble: The City of Davis waste management plan also now requires mandatory commercial and multi-family segregated recycling and segregated food scrap collection but this City has yet to roll-out these mandatory programs on a widespread basis.

Questions:  Do you support these measures, why or why not, and how should the City go about rolling them out and enforcing them?

Continue reading "2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates" »


Letter: Vote Walsh for change

Urazandi-for-WalshAs we face a crisis of leadership on the national and local level we need significant change. Colin Walsh is a longtime Davisite who knows what our town has been, is and can become. His policies are based in community outreach and common sense. He has frequently given voice to the people city hall ignores (almost all of us) and I know he will continue to do so on council.

Many voters are confused and disillusioned by the quagmire of lies and deceit that permeates current politics and have been made cynical by those, current council included, who promise one thing as candidates then perform 180s once elected. The solution is not withdrawal from the arena but finding and supporting people like Colin who respect the democratic process, feel the great responsibility of representation and will not sell us out or forget us upon election.

Dan Urazandi
Owner of Bizarro World


2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates

Part 2  - Land Use and Housing

by Alan Pryor

Introduction - Every 2 years the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates on matters of interest to the public and/or our local Sierra Club members. We use questionnaires with written responses to allow the candidates to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. We report these in a series of articles on a range of environmentally-related topics. This is Part 2 of the series in which we report candidates' responses to a series of questions regarding land use and housing in the City. All of the candidates supported Measure D so this question is not included for brevity. The candidates responses are in alphabetical order based on their first name.

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1st Question re: Measure B – Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus Mixed Use Business Park

Question: Do you support the development of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus mixed use business park in Davis as proposed on the November ballot as Measure B and why or why not?

Continue reading "2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates" »