What is UC Davis’s Financial Impact on Davis?

201112008_tower_0057-2UC Berkeley just agreed to pay $86 Million for impacts on the City of Berkeley.

UC Davis, in comparison, agreed to contribute significantly less to the City of Davis –  $2.2 million, mostly in city and county transit infrastructure and analysis in 2018.

By Colin Walsh

Davis and UC Davis are like sister cities with a razor thin border drawn between them that runs the path of the old Lincoln Highway - 1st street, A Street and Russell Blvd. Each side of the line has its own police department, fire department, administration, and tax implications. But, what happens on one side of the imaginary line has impacts and repercussions on the other side.

No tax revenues flow from UC Davis to the City of Davis.

So what are the impacts of the 40,000 UC Davis students on Davis? What are the impacts of having o the fifth largest employers in California nestled in close with just an imaginary dividing line? What are the impacts of UC Davis’s 23,000+ faculty and staff?

It was announced last month that the City of Berkeley is to receive $86 million in a settlement to pay for the impacts from a “construction project on the northeast edge of campus” and “continued increases in UC Berkeley enrollment. The money will be paid “over the next 16 years to cover the city’s added costs in police and fire safety and other services.” (link)

Continue reading "What is UC Davis’s Financial Impact on Davis?" »


Local Non-profit fundraiser outreach for community pet spay/neuter mobile unit

6E05DA95-B6CF-4045-8F52-49B30F4AE8B8By Eileen Samitz

Yolo County Spay and Neuter Group (YCSNG) is asking for donations to help make a dream come true.  A dream that will help the entire community!

Yolo County Spay and Neuter Group is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal welfare organization and is solely donation based and volunteer run. 100% of all funds raised go to animal care and welfare and offers a variety of services including trap-neuter-return for community cats ensuring health and welfare, low cost spay/neuter for both feral and rescue cats and dogs, and adoptions for animals that otherwise would remain abandoned or be euthanized. In 2020 YCSNG adopted out over 200 animals to loving, forever homes!

From its inception, a primary goal of the organization has been to own and operate its own low-cost mobile spay/neuter clinic.

It is exciting that this dream can now become reality with the help of community members! The organization is asking the public to help by donating monetary contributions (see how below).  The group’s leadership has identified a fully functional, well stocked, mobile veterinary vehicle that is for sale for $180,000. This fundraiser is time-sensitive because the agreement to secure the funding was limited to 90 days and there are 75 days remaining and complete the purchase, so donations are needed as soon as possible.

The clinic would be open at least three days a week, and it would be used to spay or neuter up to 30 animals a day. “This type of fully equipped unit is uniquely challenging to locate.  This is especially true for one that, like the one we have been offered, is reasonably priced and in excellent condition,” explained Amanda Hartman the YCSNG Board President.  “There is such an overwhelming need for reliable low-cost services.  The health and well-being of the entire region would benefit if we can get more dogs and cats spayed and neutered. This mobile unit is crucial to making that goal a reality.”

To make a tax-deductible donation please make your check to “Yolo County Spay/Neuter Clinic”, and mail your check to:

Yolo County Spay/Neuter Group
P.O Box 577
Woodland, CA 95776

Or donate on-line via:

1)  PayPal email ycfspayneuter@gmail.com 

Or

2) Venmo-Amanda-hartman-40 (with last digits of phone number 6585)

For more information, please see our website at ycfspayneuter.com or contact Amanda Hartman at (530) 383-6585 or email ycfspayneuter@gmail.com


City of Davis Sues Sacramento Developer and Binning Ranch Holding Co.

Ranch sketch final

Davisite Exclusive

City of Davis Claims $691,000 for Unpaid Bills

Defendant Claims Legal Theory of “Unwashed Hands”

By David L. Johnson

In a disputed controversy involving the once-proposed Davis Innovation Center, the City of Davis has filed a $691,000 lawsuit against Binning Ranch Holding Co., SKK Developments and Sotiris Kolokotronis, the owner of SKK Developments, a major residential and commercial real estate developer in Sacramento.

The city claims the defendants failed to pay the city for services related to the project’s application, including costs for environmental consultants, planning, engineering, building inspection and legal services.

The lawsuit, filed in Yolo County Superior Court, states that under a 2014 agreement with the city, the defendants agreed “to pay the City all costs incurred, both direct and indirect…associated with the review and processing of the Application….”

Jason Hoffman, an attorney for Sotiris Kolokotronis and SKK Developments denies the claim and indicates that all specified damages in the lawsuit were caused by the city, incorporating, in part, a defensive legal theory of Unwashed Hands. This theory bars relief to a party that has engaged in inequitable behavior, including fraud, deceit or bad faith related to the subject of that party's claim.

Continue reading "City of Davis Sues Sacramento Developer and Binning Ranch Holding Co. " »


Sutter to cut 205 trees to save money

Picture3City fails to acknowledge health benefits of trees

By Alan Hirsch  Alan@DavisLorax.org

On Wednesday, 7/14 the City Planning Commission approved a request by Sutter Davis Hospital to remove an additional 63 mature trees. If you missed the fact the city had already OK’ed the removal of 142 tree for solar panel panels you are not alone: the Tree Commission and Tree Davis were unaware either. City staff revealed at meeting that they had quietly issued permits for the  removal this small forest of  trees two years ago. Sutter claims this location is cheaper than installing them on the roof, but did not discuss how much, or why they couldn’t install the panels in treeless area between Sutter and Communicare Clinic, or the largely  treeless parking lots  in the far north. 

At the meeting the city defended Sutter and argued that the permits were all  “legal” even though they never ran it by the citizens on the Tree Commission that have legal authority to review all tree removals.

The relative size of the cutting (205 mature trees) is huge:  the City of Davis only plants 200-500 new saplings a year and they don’t all survive and mature.

Continue reading "Sutter to cut 205 trees to save money" »


Ring in Dumpster Christmas!!

Top

by David Abramson

Background

Davis area folks: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year(TM) is nearly upon us...no not that holiday!!

I’m referring to Dumpster Christmas, Raccoon Holiday, Dumpster Hanukkah, Trash Treasure Tidings, or as known in many secular or agnostic Davis/Yolo traditions.

Friday July 30th- Sunday August 1,
peaking on Saturday the 31st
August 30th-Sept 1 also peaking on the last day of the month!

Ring in Dumpster Christmas!!

*see historical Dumpster Christmas Photo Gallery

There will be couches, beds, bookshelves, and frames!
There will be Versaci and other types of clothes, shoes, and other wears!
There will be packaged food, spices, and kitchen supplies galore!
There will be laser printers!
There will be phone charging cables!
There will be musical instruments and art!
There might be air fryers (2 years streak going)!
There will be antiques and people loading antiques off in trailers to sell at antique shops for hundreds of dollars!
There will be magic and manifestation!
There will be untold gems that come once in a blue moon!
All...thrown...into...dumpsters

What to Do About it?

You have the answer in your own way!

This “guide” was drafted by a longtime celebrator of Dumpster Christmas, but please please feel free to make it better, do it better, collaborate, and engage in a way that makes sense for you.

Please add your needs/offerings and share this document with your network!!

🎁Dumpster Christmas Mutual Aid Organizer🎁

Contents: Needs, Offerings, Places to Dumpster, and Rideshare

Some Simple Actions & Ideas (please add your own flavors)

  1.  take what you need!

  2.  distribute what your community needs

  3. pull out useful things from dumpsters that you aren’t going to take and set them aside and/or create a on-the-spot donation station if one doesn’t exist

  4. Document and take pictures (then upload them here)!!

  5. Wear a homemade badge or nametag to identify yourself as a member of the ‘Davis Waste Recovery Network’ (is anyone good at drawing raccoons???)

Other ideas:

-map out who is already working on this kind of thing and potential partnerships for distribution and transport (e.g. Davis Night Market | Freedge | Davis Bike Collective(?))

-Organize an “awards ceremony”, write-ups, create content and culture locally to highlight the apartment complexes who did great, and which ones flubbed. Take lots of pictures of the amazing stuff that is getting thrown away and what you’ve recovered.

-What else?

 

Safety and Security

You are solely liable for any activity that you partake in during the beautiful holiday of Dumpster Christmas. All info in this guide is simply for informational purposes only. 

Be safe, stay hydrated, wear gloves, watch out for sharp objects, be mindful of your surroundings, and be courteous to those who are moving out.

Do a proper inspection of any furniture for bed bugs (how-to article), mold, and structural integrity, and make sure appliances are in safe and working condition.

When you are finished with an area, leave it cleaner than you found it!! Do not block roadways

 

Legality of Dumpster Diving

 I will not give any legal advice here, but if you google search “legality of dumpster diving” or read this article, you can see various perspectives and landmark cases. Decisions have largely ruled in favor of Dumpster Divers and Good Samaritans, including the Supreme Court case of “California vs Greenwood”.

 

David’s Note
Sometimes an apartment manager will ask you to leave. I usually don’t have that much of an issue. note: my experience is of a white person dumpstering in Davis. 

My partner has experienced discrimination as a person of color while dumpster diving in Davis and she recommends that if you are a POC, you go alongside some white friends. It’s a shame that this has to even be a thing, but it’s the world we live in, even in Davis :/ 

I normally have a conversation with the apartment managers and let them know that I’m from the Davis Waste Recovery Network and that I am there documenting waste for a report on move-out waste. Most of them want to be known for doing the right thing.

Usually apartment managers just want to know what you’re doing. Be kind and respectful...this could be an opportunity to build bridges to apartment complexes and no longer be complicit in the insane wastefulness of move-out. Maybe they will voluntarily put up a donation station.

Do what you feel comfortable with personally. Nobody can choose that for you except yourself.

You can have an apartment manager call David Abramson at 530-902-8223 (informational purposes only), and you can also reach me at this number at any time if you have any other issues or questions. 

If you are asked to leave or experience any discrimination, please call or text David Abramson at 530-902-8223 and/or add that information to the ‘Places to Dumpster’ in the Mutual Aid Organizer.

And happy dumpstering!!!

 

Dumpster Christmas Mutual Aid Organizer spreadsheet
(add your needs, offerings, and support capabilities)

Please share this guide and organizer with anyone who might have a need or an offering and likes to get down with trash treasures!! Happy holiday!


Petition to Save Sutter Trees

LENK6046

by Alan Hirsch aka the Davis Lorax  Alan@davislorax.org

I hope people can help save Sutter trees by signing the change.org petition to support the appeal…and passing the petition  on to your friends with a note: http://chng.it/mft8fNRGmF

This is the story in 7 bullet points:

  •  205 trees to be cut at Sutter Hospital unless the Davis City Council affirms a citizen appeal.
  • Hospital "saves on solar” by cutting trees instead of putting solar on roof, the empty lot north of the hospital, or the treeless parking lots north of clinic.
  • City OKed Phase I of the Plan in 2019 without notifying the community.
  • City claims tree cutting will “improve the neighborhood character.”
  • Ignores science showing healing nature of a tree-filled environment.
  • City illegally issued permit when it bypassed Tree Commission.
  • Sutter may already be killing the trees now by stopping watering.

Continue reading "Petition to Save Sutter Trees" »


Smoky Days Ahead!?! Leafblowers, Buses and Climate Shelters.

7.27-28_windsI just sent the following to the City Council, relevant Commissions (BTSSC, NRC and SSC), County Supervisors and Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District...

Per Weather.com the winds will shift to the north (and variants) at least part of this Tuesday and Wednesday. The prevailing south winds (from the south) have until now seem to have helped spare Davis and the immediate region (esp. to the west) from wildfire fallout from the huge fires east of Chico.

As the wind may not just shift until late Monday or early Tuesday, I hope that Staff will be prepared to put the leaf blower ban into effect. (Note that most of the combined air region has had Spare the Air days for most or all of last week, if only for ozone)

Davisinbottomleftcorner
Davis is in the lower left corner - https://fire.airnow.gov

Spare the Air means that Unitrans is free. Possible smoke and almost certain heat (esp on Wednesday through Friday) will in my understanding open our "Climate Shelters" at Vets and the Mary Stephens Library. As 14th Street is served by Unitrans buses (1 to 3 lines depending on the time of year and day of the week) it seems like a good and free way for many to get to the Climate Shelters, yes? It seems likely that Climate Shelters disproportionately serve lower income people who have less access to not only modern HVAC but also personal motor vehicles.

Unfortunately the free Unitrans service is in tiny print at best on the Share the Air notices (email or website), and as far as I recall has never been mentioned in the City's notices about the Shelters. All of these programs are happening, but the communication is not joined up, and few know about them

SparetheAir-Unitrans

Beyond this, I don't understand why Yolobus doesn't have free service during Spare the Air days. Do I understand this correctly? Can people in Davis get to Climate Shelters (or anywhere else urgent) during a smoke and/or wildfire fallout event by free public transport, but not anyone else in Yolo County?

Thanks for taking immediate action when necessary.... or preemptively!


Tree Davis Position on Sutter Davis Hospital Tree Removal

Sutter Parking Lot Shade Trees 1
Sutter Parking Lot Shade Trees

A recent article in the Davis Vanguard ("City Will Have to Weigh between Trees and Solar Panels at Sutter as Complaints Reign about Public Process," July 21, 2021) described a variety of issues concerning the Planning Commission’s recent approval to remove 205 trees in association with improvements to the Sutter Davis Hospital campus. Tree Davis appreciates the efforts made by David Greenwald and Alan Hirsch to bring this proposal into the public spotlight. The Tree Davis Board has these thoughts to share.

1) Our tree canopy is under increasing threat from decline due to old age, development, and climate change stressors like drought, wind, and pests. Tree Davis supports increasing measures to protect and preserve healthy trees and to grow our community canopy with climate-ready species. 

2) We recognize that in certain circumstances, retaining healthy trees may not be possible. Full mitigation of lost canopy, through planting either on-or off-site should be accomplished, as per our Tree Ordinance.

3) We support retaining mature tree canopy in parking lots when possible because trees can provide environmental and social benefits that PV arrays cannot, such as heat island mitigation, carbon storage, air pollutant uptake, beauty, stress reduction, and wildlife habitat.

4) Tree Davis believes that the Tree Commission’s charter should be updated to include consultation on individual project proposals because of the expertise they can provide. For example, the proposal to transplant 43 mature trees to another location at Sutter Hospital may sound reasonable, but, the benefits may not offset the costs in the long term. The failed effort in Woodland to transplant historic olive trees along Gibson Rd. is an example.

Greg McPherson
President, Tree Davis Board of Directors


Sustainability, Adaptation, and Regenerative Farming: Understanding Responses to Global Warming

This article was first published at https://islandviewmedia.net/blog/ and is reprinted here with permission of the author.  Davisites may find it of interest given the re-surfacing of the DISC project, which would pave over farmland and replace it with an automobile-oriented industrial project.  Regenerative farming envisions a way that the land could be used to combat rather than contribute to climate change and could potentially be deployed in various places in the Davis area.

By Robert Chianese

We strive to ensure our future by living, growing, and building sustainably. I’ve written about “Sustainability” since  the 1970’s, starting with my prize-winning essay on forming a local Sustainability Council which I did here in Ventura County. I became a true believer in its promise to reduce our impacts on the planet through its very tough tri-fold requirements: use renewable energy, no toxics, cause no loss of biodiversity.

I later saw its promise fade as it became lost first in the fraudulent use of the term to “green-wash” all sorts of products and processes–lying about their sustainability. The FTC issued “Green Guides” in 2012 to push back on unsubstantiated claims about so-called green products, but corporations ballyhoo the term even more now. We hear boasts about the eco-friendly products of Clean Coal Energy, ExxonMobil, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Malaysian Palm Oil and the Fur Council of Canada. Short-term ugly profit is more like it.

Even more disturbing are current reports about our failures to shift off our carbon-hungry diet. Through our human-caused, “anthropogenic” actions, we cloak the globe in a heat shroud, intensifying droughts, wildfires, floods and sea level rise. Nothing sustainable here.

Teenage phenom Greta Thunberg spent almost a year investigating how well we are meeting our environmental challenges. The documentary, “I Am Greta,” follows her through various countries and climates in search of sustainability successes, but she’s mainly discouraged and defeated. She even confronts the dean of environmental programs, David Attenborough about his gorgeous nature films in the time of climate systems collapse. He half-concedes he needs to change his pitch. His new series “A Life on the Planet” tries to atone for glossing over our very un-gorgeous damage to the earth.

Ecologists have come up with new concepts we need in order to save the planet. Some say we need to adapt to the new climate realities, which implies accepting the damage we have done and adjusting to it. But neither adaptation nor adjustment get defined clearly.

Continue reading " Sustainability, Adaptation, and Regenerative Farming: Understanding Responses to Global Warming" »


What is in a Street Name?

Amherst cropTime for more inclusive street names in Davis

 By Colin Walsh

Since George Floyd’s death just over a year ago, Americans have taken to the streets raising their voices against racial oppression. A new desire to reckon with racism has arisen in our country. One form this has taken is in reevaluating the naming of buildings and places though this reevaluation of names also predates the rise of the BLM movement. For example, in 2017 Yale changed the name of one of its residential colleges which had been named after Vice President Calhoun, an infamous white supremacist. The University of Virginia renamed its law school away from that of a former confederate general. Closer to home UC Berkeley renamed 2 of its buildings in 2020 to move away from the names of former faculty members with slave holding ties or well documented white supremacist views. (link)

Sometimes this has been controversial. In San Francisco the school district recently voted to rename 44 public schools, but then later rescinded the decision.

A few years ago in Davis we debated the appropriateness of “Sutter Place”, and ultimately renamed part of it to Risling Court after David Risling Jr. a civil rights activist and founder of DQ University (link). But, the City left both Bidwell street and place, named after John Bidwell, Sutter’s business manager. The Davis Sutter Hospital also still lists its address as Sutter Place. 

Clearly street names with a problematic legacy are not easy or quick to change, but it is time we look hard at the names of other streets and institutions in Davis. This would be an excellent job for the Historical Resource Management Commission, or a specially appointed committee. In the meantime, here is my first look at the subject. We have a few problematic street names in Davis and some serious issues of omission.

Continue reading "What is in a Street Name?" »


Why we need to change our thinking about the pandemic: virus variants, vaccination, divisiveness

The following comments from Tia Will are in response to an editorial from David Greenwald, which you may wish to read first for context.

Reality Check – or why I strongly disagree with almost everything you said:

1. “Our biggest concern is that we are going to continue to see preventable cases, hospitalizations and, sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated,” Walensky said.  It shouldn’t be. Our biggest concern should be the possibility of more variants. How do you think the Delta variant arose? It came from our unwillingness to implement and maintain the preventive measures to control the novel virus in the first place. If you look at our county’s website graphics you will see that every time we masked, distanced , chose outside activities and avoided crowds, the virus came under control, every time we didn’t, it surged. Around a year ago I wrote here that my nightmare scenario was the emergence of a variant that was highly transmissible, had high lethality and attacked the young, and was vaccine resistant. Delta was just the virus’ first stab at that. Do we honestly think if we just let the virus spread, even amongst just the unvaccinated,  the nightmare scenario cannot occur?

2.”The good news is that if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe Covid, ” Let’s look at this a little closer. The current vaccines confer a 95 percent chance that an individual who contracts the virus will not have severe COVID or die or a 5% chance you will. Viral Roulette anyone?  This focus on severe disease and death only was useful in the beginning when the biggest concern was to keep people out of the hospital in order to “flatten the curve”. This was a worthy goal when hospitals are overwhelmed but which allowed the “only the vulnerable” will be affected attitude to arise. This neglected other undesirable consequences both economic and medical – shutdowns, deaths of those under 50 ( often our first responders and medical personnel, careers and lives not taken, but ruined by long COVID, and, once again, the rise of variants.

Continue reading "Why we need to change our thinking about the pandemic: virus variants, vaccination, divisiveness" »


Pacifico proposal rushed without community input

SignA letter to City Council from Trace DeWitt

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Dear Mayor Partida and Council -

Like many residents of South Davis I was shocked and startled to learn on Friday morning that the Davis City Council plans, at a meeting this coming Tuesday, July 20, to “direct the Council Subcommittee and City staff to negotiate a tentative master lease agreement with Yolo County” embodying a CalWORKS proposal based on a Yolo County Health and Human Services (Yolo County HHS) presentation for the future use of the City’s Pacifico property that will only be received by the Council as part of the same agenda item at the very same meeting.  The Subcommittee and staff are then to be directed to “bring [that Pacifico  master lease agreement] back to the City Council for a final review.”   

I understand of course that the Brown Act only requires 72 hours’ notice of city council meetings even though 48 hours of that notice period is a weekend. This letter isn’t about the legality notice.  It’s about fairness of notice to the affected community, which in the two business days allotted cannot possibly respond to even the cursory terms of the CalWorks proposal’s most terms l in a way that can provide the Council the input needed for an intelligent decision on whether the CalWorks proposal should be negotiated with the County at all.

As all members of the Council are well aware, the historic mismanagement of the Pacifico property in South Davis as low-income housing since its default acquisition by the City a decade ago has inflicted a number of ills on the surrounding community that have yet to be satisfactorily addressed by the City, and so continue to fester to the present day.  While the City has taken some first, necessary steps to ameliorate the situation, it is far from having resolved the issues that have plagued Pacifico residents and neighboring homeowners, including drug use, alcohol abuse, theft, trespass, physical assaults, verbal violence, noise, littering, and a host of behaviors that adversely impact the lives of residents of South Davis.  The City’s inattention to these problems has been a bane on the lives of vulnerable residents of Pacifico, and of their neighbors at large. 

Now the City proposes not merely to entertain, but to negotiate an agreement with Yolo County that will presumably double the current number of residents of the Pacifico property by the addition of single-parent families to the low-income housing mix.  This increase is of necessity presumed, since Yolo County HHS’s CalWorks proposal – its “project details” comprise all of 20 lines of text (Proposal, 06-5) -- does not bother to disclose the number of new residents it will add to Pacifico’s current population (the staff report implies an increase of perhaps 56 beds (Report, 06-3).  The proposal does indicate it plans to utilize the two of four buildings that are currently vacant on the property, and “keep the dormitory style layout” (Proposal, 06-5) that has been a source of complaints from residents in the currently-occupied buildings, with “no budget to improve the habitability of each unit” (ibid.).  And  while proposing to add this new population of single parents and their children to the residents currently housed on the Pacifico property, Yolo County HHS apparently plans to do nothing to address the problems emanating from Pacifico  – only to “manage its own residents” (Report, 06-3) and “[p]rovide additional fencing for site security and control” (Proposal, 06-5) – apparently believing it will wall off its own “vulnerable population in need of safe and secure housing” (Report, 06-3) from the onsite problems that have plagued Pacifico’s existing residents and the neighboring population for the last decade.

Three business days is simply not enough time for citizens having a genuine interest in the welfare of our vulnerable, underserved populations to bring to the Council what it needs to know of their concerns for their Pacifico neighbors and themselves in their daily lives.  The community has a right not to have its concerns dismissed with the bland assurance of the City that “Staff and the Council Subcommittee heard the questions and concerns and believe that many of them can be addressed in partnership with Yolo County” (Report, 06-2).  Citizens have a right to express their skepticism of that belief in the face of the spectacular failure of the past partnership to come to grips with Pacifico’s problems.  The City Council should defer Agenda Item 6 to the next appropriate council meeting to afford a meaningful opportunity to make their views known to their representatives.

- Tracy 


WWJTD?

How to take back some control in the COVID era

IMG_0530
Your author, walking the walk

By Roberta Millstein

With COVID cases re-surging in California and locally as a result of the highly transmissible “delta variant”, it is hard not to feel powerless.  Maybe you got vaccinated (I hope so – if not, please do).  Maybe you are still wearing a mask when indoors in public places (I hope so – if not, please do – Yolo County is now recommending it).

And yet, we sit here and watch the numbers rise yet again, the product of yet again opening too soon even as the voices of many epidemiologists told us not to.  Our political leaders bowed to public pressure and who suffers?  Well, everyone, individuals and businesses alike.  We’ve taken the shortsighted route and with numbers trending up again we’re headed back to the bad scenarios we thought we left behind.

What can we do?  I ask myself, WWJTD?  That is, What Would John Troidl Do?  In these times I am especially missing the wise guidance of John Troidl.

IMG_0515I don’t know for certain what he would say, but as he did so many times while he was still alive, I expect he would urge us to get tested regularly.  Yes, even if you’ve been vaccinated.  Being vaccinated dramatically reduces your chances of contracting COVID, but it doesn’t eliminate the possibility entirely, and I don’t think it eliminates the possibility of transmitting the virus, either.

Continue reading "WWJTD?" »


City of Davis and the (Near) Future of Rail Travel

L21spanish

Virtual Public Workshop! Thursday, July 15 from 530 to 7pm

 

I wrote the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) earlier today:

To the BTSSC,

I strongly suggest that the BTSSC set up an ad-hoc sub-committee about Link21 so that it can stay engaged long-term, receive and process community input and then at the appropriate time make recommendations to the City Council.

The City of Davis is a small tomato in a huge pot of soup in this matter, but the railway proportionately bisects the City of Davis more than other town along its current route between Oakland and Davis. Davis grew around the rail and I-80 corridor in a way that - especially in the last 60 years - did not facilitate multi-modal travel based on the railway. A typical regional or suburban station like Davis in much of Europe would have multiple bus lanes that terminate at the station and hundreds of secure bicycle parking space for all kinds of bikes, suburb connections for walking and cycling for all directions, and a lively place for activity in front of the station, instead of a parking lot. The City has made some progress in this area of late, but, for example, there are still many who want a new parking structure at the station, and voters thankfully - but only narrowly - disapproved a new development project far from the station with no good cycling connections to it, lots of parking and imagined good access to I-80.

I had tried to form a sub-committee nearly three years ago about the I-80 Managed Lanes Project, but it was terminated shortly after Commission approval because the second member moved to Sacramento. While I appreciate the healthy skepticism the BTSSC had about the Managed Lanes Project at the last meeting, I believe it prudent to get ahead of the game as much as possible for this even larger project that relates to both the Managed Lanes Project as well to our Downtown and General Plans, as significantly improved rail service would facilitate the creation of a lot more carfree or carlite households in town. As you seem to recognize, the worst outcome of the Managed Lanes project will do nothing but worsen traffic in town and literally throw a rotten tomato at our forming Climate Policy. The worst Managed Lane implementation will not support railway travel until perhaps many years from now, and indirectly, when thousands of Davis residents, frustrated with increased congestion and pollution, surround Caltrans District 3 HQ and bombard it with stinky, rotten tomatoes genetically-modified to annoy "deaf" state officials and narcissistic automobilists.

TomatoesAs a robust railway powered by renewable energy is a key tool in fighting Climate Change, I would also suggest you consider making the sub-committee a joint one with NRC, and Social Services too in order to help ensure that the system is accessible for all households.

The person who seems to be the current project manager for this part of the Megaregion, Jim Allison from Capitol Corridor, is very approachable and helpful. The Link21 sub-committee would be wise to also connect with other - especially smaller - communities along the corridor in order to create common, expected and seamless last-mile connections to their stations, and dense and proximate housing that makes good public transportation possible. All the pieces are necessary, but the puzzle has to be solved by everyone. I think that I prefer the tomato to the puzzle metaphor.

Thanks,

Todd Edelman"


Where are our fully-loaded EBT cards?

Foodbanks

 

Yesterday, the Davis Vanguard's "Food Assistance Has Tripled in Yolo County in the Past Year - Here's How We Can Continue to Meet These Critical Needs" invited some obvious praise - and perhaps some not so obvious further thoughts...

But to start I'll say: Good going Yolo Food Bank! And Freedge, Davis Nightmarket, Tuesday Table, Buy Nothing (Facebook) and others in your efforts towards nutritional equity. It’s also vital that doubling for Calfresh (EBT/”Food stamps”) at Farmers’ Markets continues.

I’m curious, however: The combined value – monetary, simplified – of the assistance one e.g. single-member household can get from Calfresh and related government-programs with YFB and the other programs is substantial. If one has the capacity, organization, transportation etc. it’s not difficult to receive upwards of $400 of assistance per month. That’s great, but a wealthier person – I didn’t say a “wealthy person” – can simply go  to Nugget, the Davis Food Co-Op, or the many specialty stores for all their needs (yes, one can use EBT for food items on Amazon). No travel around town (a challenge for people without easy automobile access), no waiting out the produce at Farmers’ Market which is distributed for free later in the day.

So it seems that potential calories, proteins, phytonutrients etc. are at a considerably more equitable level than the distribution system itself. A member of a low-income household visiting a half-dozen locations at all times of day for food which the wealthier person can get in one trip is simply far from equitable.

Is there a concept in these organizations to administratively and literally centralize all this food into a seamless operation, for example a $500+ monthly Calfresh allowance for a single-person household, and perhaps even a certain fraction that can be used at a restaurant (Calfresh currently partners with McDonald’s, 7/11 etc, seems contrary to the program’s nutrition agenda but paternalism is not welcome here, okay.)? Is this a goal, that’s stymied – at best – by government actors? What examples do we have from other places?

Hungry for some answers….

 


Vague lanes solving regional pains?

Davis80
Not the Caltrans project! This is the author's concept for a bypass to and from the Bypass.

On July 1st Davis Vanguard covered the announcement of Federal funding of 86 million dollars for the Yolo-80 Managed Lanes project.

I appreciate most the comments of Alan Miller, Alan Pryor and Richard McCann. I hope I can add something below.

The MTC area gets a lot of income from its bridges, and uses it for public transportation. Consider that Davis and SACOG-area drivers pay into this when driving south to San Jose, west to Oakland and San Francisco, and so on, but people from those areas make no similar contribution our region – really, the east side of the Northern California Megaregion – when traveling to Davis or Sac or of course towards Lake Tahoe.

Caltrans dropped the long-promised new bike-ped bridge across the Bypass, replaced by some improvements on the west side of the Bypass. Combined with new infrastructure such as separated lanes and a lot of shade trees in West Sac,  the  whole corridor could be optimized for faster e-bikes and provide a good alternative for many, especially in east and the east part of South Davis. But… nope! Or so it seems.

The graphics in the Caltrans presentation on the Yolo 80 Corridor planned for the BTSSC meeting this Thursday show only buses in the managed lanes, which is not what’s really planned for the managed lanes. Nasty! The managed lanes are mostly in added lanes, and if these lanes are available for private vehicles off-peak, for a premium, or free for a carpool then induced demand happens - see also Alan Pryor's comment in the Vanguard article - and we eventually lose.

It’s also not clear how this project interfaces with the 80-Richards project.

It’s not clear how much congestion there will be during the long construction period.

It’s not clear if any general re-paving will decrease noise (new technology makes this possible).

It’s probably unlikely that Caltrans will support a discount on Capitol Corridor during the construction period.

But yeah, rail. What’s up with the future Capitol Corridor improvements? How does this project related to our impending new General Plan? My favorite idea is to build a highway bypass south of town and then put the railway below grade so that it also no long splits the City in two (in retrospect, it would probably have been better to not build anything south of the 80-rail corridor). Anyway, all the new space roughly in the center of Davis could be the location of a lot of new dense, mixed-use development which could facilitate low-vehicle ownership or at least use, as it would eventually be convenient to UCD and Downtown by bike, to both Sacramento and especially the Railyards, and to points to the west by rail. It would also be much quieter in parts of the City with this sort of ring-road solution. In general terms it would complement my concept for building above 113 roughly between Russell and Covell. I've also proposed a noise-mitigation and solar-generation project for the I-80 corridor through Davis.

Related to this whole thing and that next to last point, over three years ago when I was on the BTSSC I initiated a sub-committee on 80 and related. It never went anywhere and was dissolved as the other Commissioner who joined it moved to Sacramento and no one else on the Commission wanted to pursue this... route. Sigh. Please demand that BTSSC members ask some hard questions this Thursday!

 
 

You might be a YIMBY if...

Affordablehousingmeme

By Rik Keller

You might be a YIMBY[1] if:

  1. You advocate for zoning deregulation and “filter down” affordable housing thinking those are very different from Reaganomics, deregulation, and trickle-down housing.

  2. You are a “faux-gressive” who laces your rhetoric with terms like “social justice” and “equity” and “sustainability” without thinking of the impropriety of appropriating and co-opting those terms; meanwhile, the effects of the policies you promote kick people of color out of their homes in lower-income areas  and promote unregulated sprawl  onto farmland or habitat.

  3. You pretend that people who point out the deep connections of your movement to development real estate interests and funding are “conspiracy theorists.”

  4. You need a foil to vilify, so you pretend there are organized NIMBY[2] groups that want nothing built anywhere ever, then ferociously battle this strawman.

  5. You claim we have “under-built” housing for decades and blame it on the NIMBY boogeyman without evidence.

  6. You think that because you took one economics class in college and learned one thing (the “law” of supply and demand, not really a law at all), you understand complex housing markets and that your simplistic prescriptions are “solutions”.

  7. You engage in naive magical thinking, conjuring up a world where if you build more housing, only the people you want to move in, move in—no rich out-of-town investors! —and developers will want to build so much housing that prices will drop, reducing their profit margins.

  8. You claim affordable housing activists who advocate for specific affordable housing programs are too naive to understand how free market capitalism and Econ 101 will benefit them.

  9. You avoid even mentioning actual programs that produce affordable housing such as inclusionary zoning programs and funding public housing.

  10. You believe that “build baby build” is the only answer and eschew all other solutions or even suggestions as to how to get affordable housing built.

  11. You don't care where you build. It could be next to a freeway, in a historic neighborhood, on prime farmland, or wherever—just build.

  12. Your movement belittles, insults, and vilifies anyone who points out the flaws in your reasoning as a way to distract from the real issues.

  13. You try to start class wars and generational wars, pitting the middle class (especially older) against people with lower incomes, in favor of high-income developers.

 

[1] YIMBY stands for “Yes In My Back Yard.” However, since YIMBYs often advocate for building in other areas outside of where they live, YIYBY (“Yes In Your Back Yard”) might be more accurate, albeit not as easy to say. “BANANAS” (Build ANything ANywhere AlwayS) is another suggested acronym. Self-identified YIMBYs have been making their presence known in Davis.

[2] NIMBY stands for “Not in My Back Yard.” No one actually calls themselves this; it’s an insult that YIYBYs (see previous footnote) like to sling against anyone who tries to argue for good projects and good planning.

 


Valley Clean Energy Appoints New General Counsel

Inder Khalsa Headshot(From press release) Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s locally governed not-for-profit electricity provider, has appointed Inder Khalsa as its new general counsel. Khalsa is an attorney with Richards, Watson and Gershon, a law firm that specializes in providing services to local governments.

Khalsa has advised the law firm on administrative and transactional public law matters for 16 years, with a particular focus on renewable energy, community choice programs, land use, planning, zoning, affordable housing, real estate matters and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

She also has expertise in the creation and operations of joint powers authorities such as Valley Clean Energy. Khalsa assisted in the formation and launch of Marin’s CCA—the first to launch in the state in 2010—and has represented other CCA programs since that time. She counsels local government agencies on all aspects of municipal governance, including the interpretation, application of and compliance with the Brown Act, Public Records Act, Political Reform Act and other ethics laws.

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Re-imagine Policing - The Fight for Equity

Newrainbowflag2Comments for the City of Davis City Council on June 22, 2021

This is about Item Number 8 - Adoption of the Budget

 

My name is Todd Edelman. I’m a resident of east Davis and the son and grandson of Holocaust Survivors.

Equity is a process, not a goal. We fight for it, forever and always.

The fight for equity is recognizing and adopting - not only adapting - best practice from other communities.

The fight for equity is about being honest about our history and optimistic about our future.

In the fight for equity we support symbolic activities, but prioritize action.

In the fight for equity we recognize that our children don’t look like other children

In the fight for equity we recognize that our children DO look like other children.

In the fight for equity we never lose sight of the present in favor of higher political ambitions

In the fight for equity we listen to our Commissions, and take direction from unanimous Commission decisions. 

In the fight for equity we recognize that citizens run the City, and that elected officials and Staff serve them in a way that optimizes every tax dollar raised, with only the best tools. 

A City Council that is serious about its fight for equity will create a new Public Safety Department.

 


What is a Housing Trust Fund, and how can we strengthen Davis’s?

3 categories of housing needs
This diagram shows the continuum of housing needs  and some possible priorities for programs under each of the 3 needs categories

Background: On May 20, the Housing Element Committee (HEC) voted in favor of 10 recommendations, two of which related to Davis’s Housing Trust Fund, based on a draft document from Davis’s Social Services Commission (SSC). On May 9, the Planning Commission voted in favor of these two recommendations (and none of the other HEC recommendations). On June 15, members of the City Council expressed support for these proposals, although they did not vote on them officially.

By Georgina Valencia

The City of Davis has a Housing Trust Fund (HTF).  There are a number of cities throughout the State that have Housing Trust Funds.  The funds that go into the HTF account is designated for services and programs related to affordable housing.  Currently, the City has no designated plan with priorities and related programs as proposed by the SSC.  More specifically there is no sustainability planned into the programs the city currently offers.  Programs to date have been Ad Hoc and directed by the funds and programs the State decides that Cities should pursue.

Current funding sources for our City HTF come from: in-lieu fees, 1% fee from the sale of affordable homes, State Grants for CDBG and HOME funds, SB2 funds, rent from City owned affordable housing and more.  At any given time there is approximately $500,000 plus or minus in the HTF.

A few examples of real world issues that programs and funding in our HTF could correct:

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