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

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

By Carter Rueben (NRDC) and Alan Hirsch

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

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

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

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

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

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

What makes the Yolo 80 highway widening particularly striking?

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


Past honored in 10th year of Davis Pride

FourLeap2023
Gloria Partida, left, Jessica Uzarski, Yolo County Supervisor Lucas Frerichs and Mily Ron jump for joy after volunteers complete the rainbow crosswalk painting in downtown Davis on May 30, 2023. This year’s painting will be from 6 to 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 26 around Central Park in Davis. (Courtesy photo)

By Wendy Weitzel

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Beth Bourne and M4L have been vindicated.

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

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


Davis Downtown names Brett Lee as executive director

Lee_DDBA
Brett Lee (Courtesy photo)

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

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

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

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

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


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

Commissionsby Elaine Roberts Musser,

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

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

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

 

To add insult to injury:

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

See petition and updates at the following link: 

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


Transparency is Part of Inclusivity & Diversity

YoloTD cac false equity 1

What message will the CTC send Thursday?

By Alan Hirsch

Letter to California Transportation Commission [email protected]

Chair Carl Guardino and Members,

CC  CTC Equity Committee  Chair William Walker

Re: Disagreeing Better on Transportation Projects

 

Mr. Guardino:

 

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say:

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

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

Transparency is Inclusivity.

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

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

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

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

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


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

YoloTD cac false equity
By Alan Hirsch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

11:20-12 SOPHIE SENG

12:20-1 LILLIAN FRANCES

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

2:40-3:40 MAYA BURNS

4-4:50 JESSICA MALONE

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

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

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

Images Maya Mc

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public not told about public hearing on toll levels.

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


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

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

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

facebook.com/shelleydunning

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

Bob's column will continue at: 

thewaryone.com

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

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

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


Open Forum on the Pro-Palestine Encampment on the UCD Quad

598f7067-85aa-4d13-8b6b-0aab5b7ef1c9I went to two Seders this year.  At the first one, no one mentioned the Israel-Gaza war.  It did seem a bit the elephant in the room.  Just before the second Seder, I received an email from the host, referencing an online blog essay by author Ilana DeBare.  It suggested:

I suggest opening up your seder to discussion, not just readings. Ask guests—in advance so they have time to consider—to bring their own thoughts and feelings about Passover and this war, and suggest that they come with open ears and an open heart. Let down the defensive walls that we’ve been carrying for months. At the Seder table, we can hopefully feel safe and able to listen to others, even if their views are different from our own.

So in that spirit, I'm inviting the citizens of Davis to express their thoughts about the encampment on the Quad on the UC Davis campus.  While y'all are hashing this out, I'll be in the kitchen eating gefilte fish.

 

Continue reading "Open Forum on the Pro-Palestine Encampment on the UCD Quad" »


Al's Corner - MAY the Farce be with Ewe

F0c1e298-a6b9-4787-8d01-7b930495390cWelcome to MAY on Al's Corner.  Where you MAY discuss the clown-show that is Davis politics.  At 5:30pm on Tuesday, the AWARDS will be given out.  Maybe we'll finally learn who the person nominated is who does "good" and "bad" according to at least one commenter, and what "bad" they did. 

But I doubt it.

So talk about anything :-|


Estates, Wills & Trusts is topic of May 22 Soroptimist talk

Silva
Raquel M. Silva (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts will be the topic of the Wednesday, May 22 meeting of Soroptimist International of Davis. The free program will be from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the conference room at University Inn and Suites, 1111 Richards Blvd., Davis.

Soroptimist International of Davis is empowering local women by offering a series of financial literacy talks. The programs are educational and free from sales pitches. They focus on the issues females face in the financial and legal world, including a gender pay gap, smaller pensions than men, and patriarchal attitudes.

Davis family law attorney Raquel M. Silva will share some steps people can take to make sure their estates avoid probate and other problems. This is the fourth in a four-part series that covered Women & Investing, Life & Liability Insurance, and Taxes & Accounting. Lunch is provided by the club, with donations accepted to cover meal costs. First-time Soroptimist guests are always free.

Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. It was founded in 1921 in Alameda County. Soroptimist International of Davis was chartered in 1954. Local members join some 75,000 Soroptimists in 122 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls. Its core values are gender equality, empowerment, education, diversity and fellowship.

SI Davis offers cash Live Your Dream Awards to female heads of household seeking education or training, and assists King High students through its Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls program. It also funds high school scholarships, and grants to nonprofits that align with the Soroptimist mission.

SI Davis members meet twice a month on Wednesdays – once at lunchtime and once in the evening – and connect for other fun activities and service. Learn more at https://www.sidavis.org/.


Four Million CA Households Fleeced for Utility Profits and Never-Ending Rate Hikes.

Objecting to cpuc

By Scott Steward

State leadership is about to let utilities gouge you. Three days before the end of the 2022 legislative session, legislators passed AB 205, a utility flat tax introduced by Newsom as a rider. The bill passed without public discussion.  

Now, the CPUC is allowing utilities to hit four million ratepayers with a $24/month utility tax. The hardest hit will be those with a small energy footprint, working families and seniors living in apartments and small homes, as well as people with rooftop solar. (Find out more about the STOP THE UTILITY TAX here). (CALL TO ACTION, MAY 9TH IN SACRAMENTO).

The Utility Tax will add to the pain that these four million households are already feeling from never-ending rate hikes, which have increased by over 30% in California in the last two years.

The CPUC is letting the utilities increase taxes, electricity, and gas rates without a cap, which means the pain will only get worse in the years to come. The $24/month tax is just the start. Utilities have made it clear that they intend to raise the utility tax to $80 a month or more.

More than 250 nonprofit groups and 20 legislators supported AB 1999, which would have capped the Utility Tax at a sensible $10/month and pegged any increases to inflation. But Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas pulled the bill out of the Assembly Utility and Energy Commission (that had the votes to pass the bill).

Continue reading "Four Million CA Households Fleeced for Utility Profits and Never-Ending Rate Hikes." »


Join the Conversation on Davis Housing Solutions

(From press release) "Davis Housing Solutions: A Community Conversation", a forum organized by Interfaith Housing Justice Davis (IHJD) promises to be an insightful event addressing pressing housing issues and exploring potential solutions. Scheduled for May 16th from 6:30-8:30pm at Davis Community Church, the forum aims to bring together local and regional experts such as Roberto Jimenez CEO of Mutual Housing California and Reverend Connie Simon of the Unitarian Universalist Church, to name a few and moderated by our Mayor, Josh Chapman.  Voices from immigrant mothers in our Davis Joint Unified School District ¿Un Cafecito? will be featured, as well as stories from housing-insecure students, the unsheltered, and those striving to purchase their first homes. The forum will explore topics such as affordable housing, social services, and the city's Housing Trust Fund.  Attendees will gain insights into how the Housing Trust Fund can effectively address housing challenges in Davis, with a focus on ensuring sustainable funding for its initiatives.

Following the formal presentations, attendees will have the opportunity to question a panel that includes City Council members and city staff, local housing experts and non-profit housing experts.  Additionally, representatives from Northern California Legal Services, Mutual Housing California, Empower Yolo and League of Women Voters will be available--offering opportunities for community involvement and contributions to housing equity efforts.

The forum is open to all and free of charge, with donations to the Housing Trust Fund welcomed during registration. Livestreaming information will be provided after registration, allowing broader participation in the conversation.

IHJD urges all community members to participate in shaping the future of housing in Davis.

Register for the forum at  Https://bit.ly/interfaithhousing

To contact Interfaith Housing Justice Davis, email Ellen Kolarik at [email protected]


Why Are People Dancing Around Some Unspoken Issue Regarding a Human Relations Commission Award?

Unspoken-BSomething scandalous appears to be going on with the choice of a Thong Hy Huynh Award by the Human Relations Commission.  If you're looking for the answer, you won't find it here.  But that's not because I'm dancing around the issue, it's because I honestly don't know what the issue is, and for some reason those who do know what it is only want to imply to the public that there's a issue, but they don't want to say what person they have an issue with, why, or give any details.

Continue reading "Why Are People Dancing Around Some Unspoken Issue Regarding a Human Relations Commission Award?" »


Stop PG&E from Robbing us Today, Climate Action Everywhere Tomorrow!

Our only homeBy Scott Steward

The necessary actions to combat climate changes are too slow - obvious.  Here is some of what the youth had to say to us adults on April 19th.  Our local youth from Fresno, Davis, and Sacramento made their voices (short movie clip here) heard at the Capital this past Friday.

California has made good progress, and Yolo County has made more progress. We hope Davis will be as focused and insistent on necessary changes as well.

What can adults do today to help our children's tomorrow?  There are many, but one thing stands out in our State, and that is to reverse the 2022-2023 damage inflicted by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), shielded by Governor Newsom, to raise our rates and just about crush the last 25 years of residential renewable energy progress in California. 

Your utility bills have gone up 30% to pay $5.7 Billion to PG&E to cover climate change costs that an energy judge has already ruled are twice the $2.7 Billion needed.  Please consider taking action and reading the op/ed written by Loretta Lynch, former Chair of the CPUC, who got us out of the Enron crisis 20 years ago. Paywall - so the article in full requires a temporary subscription to SF Chronicle - here is an excerpt.

Continue reading "Stop PG&E from Robbing us Today, Climate Action Everywhere Tomorrow!" »


Groove with Soroptimists for 70th anniversary

SI Davis 70th Anniversary Invite FlyerSoroptimist International of Davis will celebrate its 70th anniversary with a disco-themed dinner on Sunday, May 19.

The event is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Stonegate Country Club, 919 Lake Blvd., Davis. Tickets are $40 and include dinner, a drink ticket, and disco lessons led by Pamela Trokanski. Groovy attire is encouraged. Tickets may be purchased at https://bit.ly/GetGroovyWithUs. The event is open to the public. Please RSVP by May 10.

Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. It was founded in 1921 in Alameda County. Soroptimist International of Davis was chartered in May 1954. Local members join some 75,000 Soroptimists in 122 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls. Its core values are gender equality, empowerment, education, diversity and fellowship.

SI Davis offers cash Live Your Dream Awards to female heads of household seeking education or training, and assists King High students through its Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls program. It also funds high school scholarships, and grants to nonprofits that align with the Soroptimist mission.

SI Davis members meet twice a month on Wednesdays – once at lunchtime and once in the evening – and connect for other fun activities and service. Learn more at https://www.sidavis.org/.


The I-80 Whistleblower was clearly Right

I-80 causeway 4th lane done 2024 04 14 sketch 2

By Alan Hirsch

The Caltrans whistleblower Jamie Wald-Waller accused Caltrans district 3 to beginning widening the causeway illegally- using  SHOPP-money   i.e.  funds reserved to maintain pavement surfaces. If you drive California freeway you know how short we are here on money to maintain what we already  have.

But not only does this action by Caltrans a the misappropriation of funds,  it is wildly illegal to widen a road without going thru the environmental process.

 You can see it happen in this picture of the causeway= the have repaved the center shoulder it already is a new 4th travel lane. This picture was on West Sac End of the causeway east bound on Sunday  4/14/24.  You can also notice I-80/ Reed Ave  bridge in West Sac is  being widening for the new toll lanes with money that was supposed to be only used for road maintenance.

Caltrans official I District 3 will likely get away with no consequences.

Even if you think we need the widening, should it not go thru the legal process---that has enabled added thousand of miles of new lane in the past?

This reflect a culture of corruption: If Caltrans District 3 is institutionally willing to do, why should anyone trust them on any report or application?

It seems if you have enough money the law is not an impediment to accomplishing your goals. One can also question who the elected officials in Yolo County who have said not a word as this illegal behavior works to accomplish their goals.


UPDATE ON COMMISSION MERGER ISSUE 4/14-24

by Elaine Roberts Musser

Finally the City of Davis commission  merger issue is being brought  back  to  some of the affected commissions for their feedback. Unfortunately city staff and some of the City Councilmembers are acting as if their terribly flawed plans for merged commissions are a done deal.  

For example, last week the city began recruiting members for two of the proposed merged commissions (Fiscal Commission; Transportation Commission). And, this Wednesday, the first of an expected series of hearings will be held at the Utility Commission, to review a mission statement drafted by the City Council Subcommittee  (Vaitla; Chapman) for the new Finance Commission that would be created by combining Utilities Commission with the Finance and Budget Commission.  The Utilities Commission staff report states that it is seeking feedback on the proposed scope of work for what it calls the newly created commissions.”  

These commissions have not been “newly  created,”  as the full City Council only approved them in concept  last January. It did not provide final approval in the form of official council resolutions and, in some cases, new city ordinances, that are needed to actually implement such mergers. 

  • The actual motion that was approved by the City Council “task(s) the subcommittee with continuing work on reviewing and revising the authorizing resolutions of each Commission…(with) bringing information back to the full Council for final review and approvals.”
  • That same evening City Manager Mike Webb advised the City Council: “… ultimately …

none  of  it  becomes  official until  the  City  Council adopts  updated  authorizing resolutions.”

The proposal to merge commissions is still extremely flawed: 

Disparate skill sets - Merging two commissions will require an incredibly steep if not impossible   learning  curve  for  commissioners   to   become   well-versed   in  disparate commission missions.

More  difficulty recruiting  applicants  -  Because  applicants  for  the  proposed  merged commission need expertise in both commission missions and meetings are apt to run long to cover all the ground required, it will be difficult to recruit citizens to serve on the merged commissions.

Time constraints - The agendas of commissions are often quite full.   A merging of two commissions  will  result in half as much  time  spent  on critical  issues and much  longer meetings.

Proposed scope inadequate, vague and unclear - The proposed scoping statements appearing in the city’s press release and staff reports for the new Finance Commission and Transportation Commission omit many functions of existing commissions and has been simplified so much that they are vague and unclear. The draft mission statements for the other commissions remain secret as of now. 

ONCE AGAIN, PLEASE VOICE YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT THIS TERRIBLE MERGER PLAN TO CITY OFFICIALS. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD THROUGH EMAILS TO THE FULL COUNCIL  ([email protected]rg), AT  COMMISSION  MEETINGS  (the Utilities Commission meets Wednesday,     April 17, in the City Council chambers conference room), PUBLIC COMMENT AT CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS (next meeting is April

23) AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (to the Davis Enterprise, Davisite, and Davis Vanguard).