Davisites, it’s time to draw your district maps

Productive Saturday meeting has some surprises

By Roberta Millstein

Yesterday I attended the first half of the Sept 21 Community Workshop on City Council District Elections. There were about 12 Davisites in attendance. 

Paul Mitchell gave a similar presentation to the ones that had he had given at two previous City Council meetings, but with two very positive and welcome changes: not only was there a bit more detail, but also we had the chance to ask him questions and follow-up questions. 

After the presentation, attendees were encouraged to try to draw their own district maps of 5 or 7 districts, using the principles outlined (see here), emphasizing especially the need to have contiguous districts of roughly equal size.  According to the procedure outlined, the demographer will take these maps into consideration when proposing draft maps for citizens and the City Council to look at. 

What follows is an assortment of things that were “news to me” and hopefully will be of interest to other Davisites, concerning: 1) combining North Davis with Wildhorse, 2) precinct-level data vs. census-block level data, 3), the importance of getting the number of districts right, and 4) possible consequences of 2022 re-districting.

Continue reading "Davisites, it’s time to draw your district maps" »


Great turnout for Davis's climate strike

Davis's students lead the way

By Roberta Millstein

Joining climate strikes around the world, yesterday Davis's students led a march of their own, starting at the Veteran's Memorial Center and heading down B Street to collect in Central Park for speeches and activities.  Our students did us proud, with many Davisite adults showing up to support them as well.  Although the concerns and fears expressed are serious and real, it was a positive event in that we were all out there to connect with each other and work for a common cause. 

This is not the first climate-related event in Davis and hopefully it will not be the last. In particular, we need to press the City to follow through on its Climate Emergency Resolution of March 2019

Here are some pictures from the beginning, middle, and end of the event.

Continue reading "Great turnout for Davis's climate strike" »


Lack of info on forming districts for new City Council election process

And no response from the demographer hired by the City for requests for that info

By Roberta Millstein

As we’ve posted about previously (see, e.g., here and here), the City of Davis will soon be deciding on districts for City Council elections.  No longer will Davisites vote on 5 councilmembers at large – instead, they will get to vote on one person from their district (with the number of districts still undecided – 5 or 7 are the numbers most discussed).

As part of this process, the City has asked citizens for their input on “communities of interest.”  (Note that worksheets proposing communities of interest are due by tomorrow, Sept 20).  At two City Council meetings, demographer Paul Mitchell presented information to help Davisites make their recommendations (see slides from his presentation here).

While his presentation was excellent and informative, once I took at closer look at the slides, I realized that we were not being given enough information to make informed recommendations.  To show the problem, here is one of Mitchell’s slides showing voting precincts with population numbers:

Continue reading "Lack of info on forming districts for new City Council election process" »


VCE Tops Renewable Goals – Delivers Cleaner Energy at No Extra Cost to Customers

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s public power supplier, reports that even cleaner and greener energy has been delivered to its electricity customers than was projected at last year’s launch.

“One of our core goals is to supply Woodland, Davis and unincorporated Yolo County with cost-competitive clean energy,” said Tom Stallard, Valley Clean Energy board chair and a Woodland City Council member. “I’m happy to report that this year VCE has exceeded this goal while still matching PG&E’s rates.”

An analysis of VCE’s 2018 power content revealed that the community choice energy program’s Standard Green electricity portfolio included 48 percent renewable energy (all from wind power sources) and was 85 percent carbon-free, Interim General Manager Mitch Sears reports. The majority of VCE customers receive Standard Green energy.

That exceeds original VCE program goals of 42 percent renewable energy, with 75 percent of the total carbon-free, Sears says.

Continue reading "VCE Tops Renewable Goals – Delivers Cleaner Energy at No Extra Cost to Customers" »


Speaker on Davis 2060: Trees or Tucson?

Treelined-street(From press release) Unshaded asphalt will burn you: it reaches over 150 degrees in the summer.

So, with forecasts now estimating Davis temperatures will rise to rival today’s deserty Tuscon, shade trees will determine if we will still be able to walk, bike, or even comfortably wait for a bus on summer afternoon.  Or even walk your bare-footed dog.

The Davis’s climate resiliency plans will be putting shade trees front and center, and to that end the City has obtained a ½ million dollar grant to develop a new Forestry Master Plan.

Continue reading "Speaker on Davis 2060: Trees or Tucson?" »


Tickets still available for The Village Feast

Table2018
Guests sit at long tables under the sycamore trees at Davis' Central Park at the 2018 Village Feast. Photo credit: Hanna Schoenberger

(From press release) A few tickets remain for The Village Feast, a culinary event Sept. 28 that celebrates Farm to Table month in the Sacramento region.

The event, from 1 to 4 p.m., immediately follows the Davis Farmers Market in Central Park, 401 C St., Davis. It is presented by Davis Farm to School and the Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Sacramento.

The Village Feast follows Le Grand Aïoli tradition of late-summer feasts of Provence, France, where aïoli — golden garlic-mayonnaise — unites people and food for a gastronomic celebration. Guests bring their own best dinnerware, flatware and cloth napkins, setting the scene for a long, leisurely meal under the shade of the sycamore trees. Wine glasses are provided.

Continue reading "Tickets still available for The Village Feast" »


Valley Clean Energy meeting, Thursday, Sept. 12

VCE(From press release) The Valley Clean Energy board of directors will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Council Chambers at Woodland City Hall, 300 First St. in Woodland. The meeting is open to the public.

The board — which includes members of the Woodland and Davis city councils and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors — is expected to adopt residential time-of-use rates and receive an update on potential acquisition of PG&E wire and pole assets.

The meeting agenda is available at https://valleycleanenergy.org/board-meetings/.

VCE, the local electricity provider, launched in June 2018 and provides cleaner energy at competitive rates to 55,000 local customers.


VCE Costs the Same as PG&E But Delivers More

By Tom Stallard

It’s been a long hot summer, but those cool autumn days aren’t too far off…

And thanks to Valley Clean Energy, local electricity customers are not paying any more to run their air-conditioners than they would have paid under PG&E. At the same time, they are reaping the environmental benefits of a greener energy portfolio.

Community choice programs like VCE can keep their rates competitive by buying electricity through a process that encourages private energy companies to compete to provide clean, renewable power.

Continue reading "VCE Costs the Same as PG&E But Delivers More " »


Initial Thoughts on the Move to District Elections for the Davis City Council

Neighborhoods-and-precinctsHow to form districts and how many, how to select Mayor

By Roberta Millstein

Last night at its regular meeting, the Davis City Council began the community discussion of how we should move forward with district elections for the Council, the decision to do so having already been made.  No decisions were made and no votes were taken, although some preliminary preferences were expressed by Councilmembers. 

Here are just some quick thoughts of mine after watching the livestream of the meeting from home.  No doubt my views will evolve as the process continues. 

First, if you missed the meeting, I highly recommend watching the presentation from demographer Paul Mitchell; videos from meetings are posted here, slides from his presentation are available here.  It was clear and informative, including explanations of what constitutes a community of interest and the idea of being functionally contiguous.

Continue reading "Initial Thoughts on the Move to District Elections for the Davis City Council" »


District Elections and "Communities of Interest"

Distrct Elections and "Communities of Interest"

Share Your "Communities of Interest" with the City to Help Shape Future Council Districts

Davis Residents:

As you may have heard, the City is shifting to district elections for our City Council members to comply with the California Voting Rights Act. This is a significant change, which may have large impact on community representation. The goal of the California Voting Rights Act is to address vote dissolution and discrimination. The City is asking for input from residents to help shape the districts in ways that reflect our community values.

The City has started outreach efforts for the conversion to district elections scheduled for November 2020. Currently, the City elects its Council Members through an at-large election system. This means that each Council Member can reside anywhere in the City and is elected by the registered voters of the entire City. In a district election system, the City is divided into separate geographic districts. Each Council Member is elected by the registered voters of the particular district in which the Council Member resides. Voters do not vote for candidates outside their district. The City has contracted with a demographer to analyze the data points allowed in the California Voting Rights Act, as well as information provided by residents, when drafting district maps.

As part of the district election process, the City is asking for community input on residents “Communities of Interest.”  A Community of Interest (COI) is any cohesive group of people that live in a geographically definable area and could be considered as a potential voting bloc in current or future elections. The California Voting Rights Act requirements are based on population in Davis, not registered voters or immigration status. We are asking for all residents to provide their Community of Interest.

Some Communities of Interest are considered “protected classes” in that they have rights through state or federal civil rights or voting rights laws. Some examples of protected classes in districting would be ethnic and racial minorities, such as a concentration of Latinx, Asian or African American people. Protected classes can be described through public input, and there is information that must be used wherever applicable to define these areas and make sure that they are not being harmed by the district boundaries.

There are other COI that can also be considered in districting, but don’t have the higher legal requirements as ethnic or racial minorities. Identifying these other COI are still critical to the process.  These could be clusters of senior citizens in one community, a group of college students living in a densely populated area near a campus, people who live in the downtown area or a specific neighborhood, or even people who share concerns such as parents with young children, bicycle enthusiasts, topic interest group, etc. 

Please take a moment to complete the Community of Interest worksheet. The worksheet can be submitted on the City's website, emailed to districts@cityofdavis.org, or dropped off at City Hall.  To have your comments included in the information used by the demographer, please submit them by September 20, 2019. The City Demographer will consider this input when drafting district maps.

The City has scheduled several public meetings that residents may attend to provide input on the process. The schedule for outreach meetings is as follows:

Tuesday, September 3 
Public Hearing at City Council meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Boulevard. This item is scheduled to be heard at 7:20 p.m.  Actions: Receive general input, identify communities of interest, and consider district criteria.  City Staff Report (PDF).

Tuesday, September 10
Public Hearing at City Council meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Boulevard. Actions: Receive general input, identify communities of interest, and consider district criteria.

Saturday, September 21
Community Workshops at the Davis Senior Center, 646 A Street. Drop by any time between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. There will be presentations on the process at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 8
Public Hearing at City Council meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Boulevard. Action: Initial draft of district maps will be reviewed.

Tuesday, October 22
Public Hearing at City Council meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Boulevard. Action: Council to select district maps.

Tuesday, November 5
Public Hearing at City Council meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Boulevard. Action: Council to adopt ordinance establishing district elections.

City Council meetings are televised live on City of Davis Government Channel (Comcast Channel 16, AT&T U-Verse Channel 99 - scroll to select "Davis Community Channels" and then select the City Government Channel).  You can also view the meeting live online.

Information Resources:

District Election website: cityofdavis.org/districts 
City Council Agendas & Staff Reports: cityofdavis.org/councilagendas
Email:  districts@cityofdavis.org
District Elections Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Elecciones De Distrito Preguntas Frecuentes (PDF)
Community of Interest Worksheet (PDF)
Formulario De Comunidades De Interés (PDF)


Denounce hate speech and invitation to interfaith community picnic in Central Park

August 2019 has brought us mass shootings based on race-hatred and important national leaders publicly making bias statements demonizing religious minorities as terrorists or people with divided loyalties implying, they are not fully citizens of this country. Americans are increasingly feeling vulnerable and afraid. This situation is untenable, and the Celebration of Abraham must respond.  

In the weeks following 9/11, a group of clergy and laypeople came together to form the Celebration of Abraham with the idea that this interfaith group would work to keep our community from descending into religiously bigoted dialogue or action. The mission of the Celebration of Abraham is to create a welcoming tent in our community of people of all faiths and beliefs to nurture a sense of compassion, respect, appreciation and foster learning and understanding among the three Abrahamic faiths while welcoming all to people to join us. The goal of the Celebration of Abraham always has been to bring our community together to celebrate or diversity. In addition to the yearly Celebration of Abraham dialogue held every January, we have called out hateful actions locally and nationally and held events like the Interfaith Walk that began at Bet Haverim, moved to the Davis Islamic Center and ended in an interfaith community meal at Davis United Methodist Church.

Continue reading "Denounce hate speech and invitation to interfaith community picnic in Central Park" »


VCE public workshop, studies purchase of PG&E Assets

VCE(From press releases)

Valley Clean Energy Sponsors Public Workshop on Proposed New Residential Time-of-Use Rates

Valley Clean Energy (VCE) will conduct a public workshop this month to share information on proposed changes to PG&E’s residential electricity rates based on time of use. VCE is considering whether or not these rates would be advantageous to VCE customers and would like to hear from its customers. PG&E staff and VCE representatives will be present to discuss the proposed changes and answer questions.

The public workshop will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, in Woodland City Council Chambers, 300 First St. in downtown Woodland.

Continue reading "VCE public workshop, studies purchase of PG&E Assets" »


Can We Talk?

Larry3
by Larry Guenther

First, full disclosure.  I am on boards, commissions, and committees in Davis, but I am speaking on my own behalf as an individual community member.

Whether there is an issue with minority representation on the Davis City Council and, if so, whether district elections would address that issue, appear to be moot.  We are going to create districts and have district elections.

But while we’re sorting out those districts, I feel other questions with the way our city is governed should be discussed at the same time.  That discussion might include:

Continue reading "Can We Talk?" »


Davis District Election Staff Report Has Major Deficiencies

Picture1City Council to Consider on Tuesday 

By Matthews Williams

The Staff Report for the consideration of district elections omits several important considerations, which include but are not limited to the following:

(1) The Fiscal Impact section of the Staff Report does not include/describe the worst-case-scenario, which will happen if the City agrees to go to district elections and pay the "up to $30,000 that State law requires the City to pay to the plaintiffs’ attorney" and then gets subsequently sued for failing to make a good faith effort in the steps of the districting effort. That worst-case-scenario would not only expose the City to the costs of legal defense, but also expose the City to the possibility of fines/penalties/damages.

Continue reading "Davis District Election Staff Report Has Major Deficiencies" »


STATEMENT OF CONCERN RE: RE-PURPOSING OF THE JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITY (JDF)

JuviPEOPLE POWER of DAVIS

STATEMENT OF CONCERN RE: RE-PURPOSING OF THE JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITY (JDF)

  • We acknowledge the happy problem that the capacity of the JDF far exceeds the demand for secure detention of Yolo County juveniles, and that the county’s ongoing operational costs for the facility are high.
  • We know detained youth benefit from personal connections and support from family and community, and therefore access and proximity to these resources is fundamental to their continued well-being.­
  • The current situation places all genders of youth together, which has its risks, but also offers significant benefits, most notably:
    • proximity to family and a very engaged community; and
    • reduced exposure of our Yolo youth to influences, likely found in the Sacramento facility, of other incarcerated youth whose knowledge, experiences, and affiliations may encourage harmful impacts;
    • no contact with adult
  • The current construction to expand and renovate the Yolo County adult jail facilities requires temporary relocation of the adult booking facility, during a construction period of an estimated 18-24 months.
  • The current expansion and renovation will increase adult jail capacity to over 450 beds and improve medical and mental health services at the adult
  • During the past five years youth from under-resourced neighborhoods in Woodland, Knight’s Landing, and West Sacramento have been disproportionately represented among JDF admissions. Most impacted is the Broderick neighborhood of West Sacramento, which has suffered years under a gang injunction, lacks youth programs, and locks its school yards to the public when school is not in session;

THEREFORE, we respectfully request the board act to:

  • Ensure any agreements to place Yolo youth in the Sacramento County JDF are restricted to not more than the time required to complete the Yolo County Jail
  • Provide transportation funding to family and encourage, through economic incentives, community support for visitation at Sacramento JDF during the construction
  • Forgo additional expansion of Yolo County adult incarceration by transferring authority for use of the JDF to the Sheriff. Rather than expand jail capacity, we should seek alternatives to pre-adjudication detention, which currently accounts for a majority of the jail
  • Preserve funding for Reinvest cost savings into meaningful community engagement and youth development resources.
  • Use this time-limited construction period to engage youth, their families, and the impacted communities to work with the Chief Probation Officer to develop recommendations for youth development and alternatives to juvenile detention options in Yolo County and to guide the community engagement

DMTC: Teen Cabaret 2019

Traum_cropped
Tylar Traum performs in DMTC Teen Cabaret, 2015.

By Rachel (Hoover) Rycerz and Marc Valdez

Tylar Traum came of age onstage at Davis Musical Theatre Company (DMTC) before heading to New York City to study Theater and New Media at Marymount Manhattan College.  This year during school breaks, she brought her skills back to her home town of Davis.  Over winter break, she taught an Audition Workshop for 7-17 year olds at DMTC.  In July, she taught singing, dancing and acting for the same age group at DMTC Summer Camp.   Her latest project has been directing DMTC’s 2019 Teen Cabaret.

The first Teen Cabaret was held in in 2006.  It was created to showcase the talents of teen performers in DMTC’s Young Performer’s Theatre (YPT), as well as to help fund DMTC’s two theater youth scholarships.  DMTC first established a scholarship in 1995, initially for the amount of $100.   A second scholarship was added in 2003.  Currently, two $500 scholarships are given annually.  Tylar herself received one of the awards in 2017 for her dedication to YPT, including performing in the cabaret.

Steve
Producers Steve and Jan Isaacson present Tylar Traum with DMTC Award, 2017.

This year, seven teens will be performing songs from “DMTC…Past & Future.”  The singers include Nora Baggarly, Katarina Detrick, Ella Del Favero, Katelyn Reeves, Stella Silver, Annie Whiteford and Lindsay Whiteford.  You can see them onstage at DMTC, 607 Pena Drive this Saturday, August 10th at 7:00 pm and Sunday August 11th at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are $10 (plus a $2 facilities fee), and proceeds go to the Teen Scholarships.

 

 

 

Cabarat
DMTC 2019 Teen Cabaret Performers. Standing, L-R: Ella Del Favero, Annie Whiteford, Katarina Detrick and Katelyn Reeves. Front Row: Stella Silver, Nora Baggarly and Lindsay Whiteford.

Rachel (Hoover) Rycerz grew up on stage in Davis, performing in 30 shows before heading to Berkeley to major in English. She returned to the stage in Davis this past November as Miss Hannigan in "Annie."  This July, she played Hannah Pitt in Angels in America at Roseville Theater Arts Academy.

Marc Valdez is a community theater volunteer, and has served on the Board of Davis Musical Theatre Company (DMTC) since 2002, and keeps a blog, Marc Valdez Weblog, at http://marcvaldez.blogspot.com

 

Menu announced for The Village Feast

PassingFood2018
Guests sit at long tables under the sycamore trees at Davis' Central Park at the 2018 Village Feast. Photo by Hanna Schoenberger

Annual summer sendoff is Sept. 28 in Davis’ Central Park

(From press release) The extensive menu is set. Do you have your ticket? The acclaimed Village Feast returns to Davis on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The event, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Central Park, 401 C St., Davis, is presented by Davis Farm to School and the Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Sacramento. The event celebrates September Farm to Table month in the Sacramento region.

The Village Feast follows Le Grand Aïoli tradition of late-summer feasts of Provence, France, where aïoli — golden garlic-mayonnaise — unites people and food for a gastronomic celebration. Guests bring their own best dinnerware, flatware and linen or cloth napkins, setting the scene for a long, leisurely meal under the shade of the sycamore trees. Wine glasses are provided.

Continue reading "Menu announced for The Village Feast" »


Valley Clean Energy responds to Woodland utility fraud news

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy — the official, locally governed electricity provider for Woodland, Davis and unincorporated Yolo County — would like to reassure its customers that recent reports of utility fraud are not connected to the agency in any way.

Valley Clean Energy (VCE) began offering customers clean, low-carbon power in June 2018 and currently serves more than 54,000 customer accounts. The not-for-profit public agency reinvests its revenues back into the communities it serves.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig issued a news release Friday, Aug. 2, to warn local residents to be aware of utility service providers who are switching customers’ gas or electric service without consent or authorization.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy responds to Woodland utility fraud news" »


Valley Clean Energy announces net energy metering and dividend program

VCE(From press release) The Valley Clean Energy (VCE) board of directors took big strides last month to fulfill two major promises to its customers.

The board voted unanimously to begin including Net Energy Metered (NEM) solar customers into VCE service starting in January 2020, and additionally voted to launch a Dividend Program this fall, designed to share revenues with customers when VCE meets its financial goals.

Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency that provides electricity service to customers in Davis, Woodland and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy announces net energy metering and dividend program" »