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The Davisite has explicitly extended invitations to every city council candidate in the November 2022 election to send announcements press releases and other written material to us for publication on the blog. We publish these as received with no commentary or alteration.

Since Davisite started in 2018 and through several election cycles, Davisite has published all campaign announcements and other article related to Davis as received. In that time our readership has grown significantly both in daily page hits and email subscribers.

Some candidates choose to send announcements and some supporters send letters about candidates. Some candidates completely ignore the Davisite and the Davisite audience.
 
The all-volunteer staff at Davisite want to make it clear to our readers that we are not selectively blocking candidates announcements, rather certain candidates are choosing not to connect with Davisite readers.
 
And no matter who sends an announcement, Davisite will always stick by our comment rule - no personal attacks are allowed on the Davisite.
 
 

Legal Fees Owed to the Lawyers for the Six Defendants Sued by Dan Carson over Measure H Ballot Statements were Finally Paid on His Behalf by the Yes on Measure H Campaign Committee

PileofmoneyBut Numerous Questions Remain Unanswered

by Alan E Pryor

Executive Summary

 In the June 7, 2022 election, Davis voters were asked to approve the annexation of 102 acres of land off Mace Blvd into the City of Davis for the construction of a large industrial project known as the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus. The matter was on the ballot as Measure H and was resoundingly defeated by voters by almost a 2:1 margin.

Prior to the election but immediately following the submission of ballot statements to the City Clerk by the proponents and opponents of Measure H, Davis City Council member Dan Carson, as a private resident, sued the six Davis citizens who authored and signed the Argument Against Measure H alleging that their ballot statement contained numerous references that were false and misleading.

After ruling on the matter generally in favor of the defendants and making only very minor changes in the ballot statement language, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire also later ruled that Dan Carson must repay $42,209.25 in legal fees to the Counsel for the six defendants in the case. In his ruling he stated the defense by the six defendants "served a public benefit purpose...as the public in a democracy has a strong interest in political debate that is 'uninhibited, robust and wide open'." After the election, this fee award was finally paid on behalf of Council member Carson by the Yes on Measure H campaign committee.

Assuming no monetary or other consideration was given by Council member Carson to the Yes on Measure H committee, the payment of the fee award for Council member Carson, an elected public official, by the Yes on Measure H campaign is probably considered a "Gift" under California law. Any such "Gift" to an elected official in excess of $520 per calendar year is prohibited under California law and, if so determined to have occurred, is subject to administrative penalties of up to $5,000 per violation or three times the amount of the gift received.

Further, any such gift may also also subject to an Internal Revenue Service levy of income tax on the donor of the "Gift" rather than the recipient. In this case, the responsible party incurring that liability would be the Yes on Measure H committee, which potential liability has not been reported on their Form 460 financial filings with the City.

Background

On March 21, 2022, Davis City Council member Dan Carson, as a private citizen, filed a lawsuit against 6 Davis residents (including this author) who wrote and signed the Argument Against ballot statement supporting a No vote on Measure H on the recent June ballot in Davis. The lawsuit against the six individual ballot statement authors/signers (the "Real Parties of Interest") sought to suppress almost 1/3 of the language - over 80 words -  in the ballot statement, alleging the statements were "false and misleading". 

Dan Carson was a long-time supporter of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) project, which the Measure H ballot sought to approve and be annexed into the City. Of further interest, Council member Carson was part of the 2-person City Council subcommittee that negotiated the terms of the DISC industrial project with the developer on behalf of the City.

After he voted to put the project before the citizens on the ballot, Council member Carson also then became the "Honorary Chair" of the Yes on Measure H committee, further clouding the nature of his relationship with the Yes on Measure H committee and the managing partner of the development project, Dan Ramos of Ramco Enterprises..

On March 30, 2022 Judge Maguire ruled that only 2 minor changes needed to be made in the ballot statement - deleting the word "only" from one clause and changing the unit of measurement of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the project in another clause. The ballot statement was otherwise left unchanged and the functional intent of the language remained in place.

Shortly thereafter, Counsel for the six defendants, Strumwasser and Woocher, filed a Petition for Award of Attorney's Fees requesting reimbursement of their legal fees and expenses incurred by the firm defending the six Davis residents from the Carson lawsuit. Counsel for Mr. Carson subsequently submitted their own petition for award of attorney's fees from the six Davis defendants alleging that he, Dan Carson was, in fact, the "successful party" in the litigation and was thus entitled to reimbursement of legal fees from the six individual Davis defendants.

This was a highly unusual request because both Council member Carson and Dan Ramos had both previously publicly admitted that the Yes on Measure H committee had funded the lawsuit on behalf of Dan Carson. Payment of these legal fees to Mr. Carson's attorney's prosecuting the case, Nossaman LLP, was confirmed by the Yes on Measure H committee Form 460 financial disclosure filings with the City of Davis.

Thus, although Mr. Carson had not actually paid any legal fees himself, he still petitioned the court to order the six individual Davis defendants who successfully fended off his lawsuit, to reimburse the legal fees that were otherwise actually paid for by the developer through the Yes on Measure H committee.

After a hearing on the matter, on June 1, 2022 Judge Daniel Maguire ordered Dan Carson, as the plaintiff in the lawsuit, to pay $42,209.75 in legal fees to Counsel for the six Davis defendants. In his ruling Judge Maguire stated,

"As explained below, while both sides gained some of their objectives in this litigation, the Real Parties in Interest have achieved the greater share of success, and are awarded a net fees recovery of $42,209.75."

He further explained his ruling stating,

"Under the ‘American Rule,’ litigants in this country generally pay their own lawyers, win or lose. In contrast, under the "English Rule," the loser pays both lawyers...

There are exceptions to the American Rule, and one is the private attorney general doctrine. Its purpose is to encourage "meritorious public interest litigation vindicating important rights."...

The private attorney general doctrine accomplishes this purpose by awarding attorneys' fees to litigants who advance the public interest by successfully bringing or defending a lawsuit. (Ibid,) The aim is to incentivize legitimate public interest litigation, not to punish the losing side. (Ibid.) Without the prospect of a fee award, litigants may be unable or unwilling to undertake or defend litigation that transcends their own private interest, even when doing so would benefit "a broad swath of citizens."

"The Real Parties in Interest also satisfy this requirement, as the public in a democracy has a strong interest in political debate that is  'uninhibited, robust and wide open.'...Our society has a deep commitment to free speech, especially in political matters, and by defending their right to make their argument in their words, the Real Parties in Interest have also enforced an important right affecting the public interest."

In summary, Judge Maguire based his Award of Attorney's Fees on the finding that the six defendants, the Real Parties of Interest, were more "successful" than Mr. Carson in the outcome of the litigation and that the award "advanced the public interest" by "defending their right to make their argument in their words".

According to the most recent Form 460 financial filing by the Yes on Measure H committee, these required legal fee reimbursements were paid to their Counsel, Nossaman LLP, on June 21 for forwarding to Strumwasser and Woocher, the Counsel for the six defendants. However, Nossaman LLP did not forward any payments to Strumwasser and Woocher until July 26, telling Strumwasser and Woocher that the Yes on Measure H committee had not paid them until them.

Unanswered Questions Concerning the Payment of Mr. Carson's Legal Award Fees by the Yes on Measure H Campaign

1st Question - Is the Payment by the Yes on Measure H Campaign of the Legal Fees Owed by Mr. Carson Considered a "Gift" to an "Elected Official" Not Allowed Under State Law?

The California Political Reform Act restricts gifts, honoraria, payment of travel expenses, and loans in excess of $520 per calendar year to 1) elected officials and candidates for local elected offices, 2) most local officials, 3) judicial candidates, and 4) designated employees of local government agencies.

In determining whether the payment of the awarded legal fees by the Yes on Measure H committee on Mr. Carson's behalf is a non-allowable "Gift" to Mr. Carson, the following information is provided in the Fair Political Practices Commission publication FPPC Ed - Pro 046 10-2021, October 2021 (https://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/NS-Documents/TAD/gift-fact-sheet/LocalGiftFactSheet_Final_2021%20Version_2_Gendered%20Terms_Clean_Copy.pdf).

"What is a "Gift"?

A “gift” is any payment or other benefit that confers a personal benefit for which a public official does not provide payment or services of equal or greater value….(Section 82028.) (See Regulation 18946 for valuation guidelines.)"

The award of attorney's fees by Judge Maguire explicitly orders a payment by Petitioner, Dan Carson, to Counsel for the Real Parties (the six defendants). However according to the Form 460 reporting Yes on Measure H committee finances filed on July 28, 2022 with the City of Davis City Clerk, full payment for the obligation by Dan Carson was actually instead made by the Yes on Measure H committee. The payment was purportedly made by the committee on June 21 to Counsel for the six defendants, Strumwasser and Woocher, to the committee's Counsel, Nossaman LLP, acting as the payment agent for the Yes on Measure H committee.

Conclusion - In the absence of any recompense otherwise made by Mr. Carson to the Yes on Measure H committee, it would otherwise appear that this payment of Mr. Carson's obligation by the Yes on Measure H committee would be considered a "Gift" to him from the Yes on Measure H committee.

"Enforcement”

Failure to comply with the laws related to gifts, honoraria, loans, and travel payments may,

depending on the violation, result in criminal prosecution and substantial fines, or in

administrative or civil monetary penalties for as much as $5,000 per violation or three times the amount illegally obtained. (See Sections 83116, 89520, 89521, 91000, 91004 and 91005.5)".

Conclusion - If the payment of Mr. Carson's legal fees by the Yes on Measure H committee is construed to be a "Gift", it could result in criminal penalties in addition to imposition of administrative penalties up to $128,127.75 ($42,709.25 x 3).

Possible Exceptions - The primary exception to the restrictions and limitations on "Gifts" to elected public officials exists as follows,

"Existing Personal Relationship. Benefits received from an individual where it is clear that the gift was made because of an existing personal or business relationship unrelated to the official’s position and there is no evidence whatsoever at the time the gift is made that the official makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on the individual who would otherwise be the source of the gift. (Regulation 18942(a)(19).)"

However, this exception would seemingly not apply in this instance because Council member Carson has publicly declared on numerous occasions that he has no business or economic relationships of any kind with the Yes on Measure H committee, the developer Ramco Enterprises, or the DISC project itself.

Further, it is clear by by being part of the City Council subcommittee that negotiated the development agreement between the City of Davis and the project, that Council member Carson "makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect" on the principal developers of the project who, not coincidentally, are the principal funders of the Yes on Measure H committee. Additionally, because one of the developers of the DISC project, Ramco Enterprises, also has numerous other properties within the City in which Mr. Carson "makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect" on those properties, this exception to the restriction of a gift is not applicable.

Conclusion -  The payment of the award of legal fees by the Yes on Measure H campaign committee is seemingly not excepted by FPPC regulations regarding restrictions on "Gifts" and otherwise could be considered a gift to Council member Carson because it "confers a personal benefit (to Council member Carson) for which a public official does not provide payment or services of equal or greater value."

We assume in this discussion that Council member Carson has not provided or agreed to provide any past or future favorable treatment of any matters before the City by the developer by virtue of the developer's many other property holdings within the City. But if any such promises or inferences were otherwise made in exchange for the payment of the Mr. Carson's legal fees, it otherwise could be construed as a "Bribe" rather than a "Gift" for which much more substantial criminal and civil penalties could result.

2nd Question - Will any such "Gift" to Dan Carson of the Payment of His Legal Fees by the Yes on Measure H Committee Impose any Additional Income Tax Liability?

According to the Internal Revenue Service,

"The gift tax is a tax on the transfer of property by one individual to another while receiving nothing, or less than full value, in return. The tax applies whether or not the donor intends the transfer to be a gift. The gift tax applies to the transfer by gift of any type of property. You make a gift if you give property (including money), or the use of or income from property, without expecting to receive something of at least equal value in return."  (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/gift-tax)

"The donor is generally responsible for paying the gift tax. Under special arrangements the donee may agree to pay the tax instead." (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/frequently-asked-questions-on-gift-taxes)

In the present circumstances, the "Gift" to Dan Carson by the Yes on Measure H committee (by virtue of their payment of legal fees owed by Mr. Carson) would presumably generate an income tax liability on the part of the Yes on Measure H committee, as the gift donor rather than by Mr. Carson as the recipient of the gift.

In their most recent financial 460 report (through June 30) filed with the City in which the payment of $42,209.25 by the Yes on Measure H committee was noted, there was NOT any corresponding accrued expense noted to reflect the additional income tax liability potentially incurred by the committee by virtue of their "Gift" to Carson.

3rd Question - Why Does a Discrepancy Exist in the Reported and Actual Date of Payment of Awarded Legal Fees to Counsel for the Six Defendants?

The $42, 209.75 fees ordered to be paid by Mr. Carson to the Counsel for the 6 defendants was supposedly paid by the Yes on Measure H committee through Carson's Counsel, Nossaman LLP, on June 21 according to the most recent 460 campaign financial statements submitted by the Yes on Measure H committee to the City on July 28 for the period ending June 30, 2022.

However, the award amount was not forwarded by Carson's Counsel to the six defendants' Counsel, Strumwasser and Woocher, until July 26, 2022 and the delays were continually attributed by Carson's Counsel to ongoing delays in receipt of the payment from the Yes on Measure H committee. Perhaps there is an honest accounting error here but these discrepancies in timing have not been explained.

________________________________________________

Alan Pryor is the Principal Officer and Treasurer of the No on Davis Innovation and Sustainable Campus Campaign Committee and one of the defending Real Parties of Interest in the lawsuit brought by Mr. Carson.


City Seeks Public Comment on Davis Climate Action and Adaptaion Plan (CAAP)

Davis CAAPCommunity Review Period Now Open for City's 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

From City of Davis Press Release:

Post Date:August 08, 2022 4:06 pm

The City of Davis announced today that the community review period for the City’s draft 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is now open to the public for an extended 60-day period that will close on October 10, 2022. 

The CAAP establishes a roadmap for carbon reduction policies that will allow the City of Davis to achieve its carbon neutrality goal by 2040, five years ahead of the State’s 2045 timeline. This accelerated goal stems from a 2019 City Council resolution declaring a climate emergency in response to current and expected future climate impacts, including increases in extreme heat, drought, tree mortality, wildfire and flooding. In addition, the CAAP complies with California legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, address climate adaptation and incorporate environmental justice enacted since 2010, including Senate Bills 379 (2015) and 1000 (2018); Executive Order B-55-18; California Air Resources Board 2017 Scoping Plan; and Office of Planning and Research General Plan Guidelines.

“We all have a responsibility to take care of our environment as stewards for future generations,” said Mayor Lucas Frerichs. “Toward this goal, the CAAP will further develop and elevate the City’s commitment, advocacy and leadership to climate action and sustainability.”

Started in January 2021, the process for the CAAP is nearing the final stages of completion with this draft document community review period, to be followed by a finalized adopted CAAP and environmental review targeted for December 2022. Community engagement continues to be an integral component of developing and implementing the CAAP actions and have included multiple community workshops, presentations to community partners, ‘pop-up’ meetings downtown, online surveys, an online community forum, a dedicated City website and monthly progress reports to City Commissions. Additionally, an external Technical Advisory Committee met eight times over the last year to provide input and expertise on the process and content of the CAAP. Through these efforts, the CAAP’s project management team was able to be responsive to local experts, community suggestions, information requests and adjust products and schedules in response to public input, all indicative of the importance of the community-based approach in developing the CAAP update. 

The CAAP describes achievable, measurable GHG emissions reduction and climate change adaptation actions that align with the City’s goals and priorities. When implemented, these actions will reduce GHG emissions by 42% below 2016 levels by 2030 and set the community on a trajectory toward its 2040 carbon neutrality goal. The CAAP actions will also prepare the community for climate change impacts, improve public safety, address environmental justice and enhance the quality of life for residents.

To submit a comment for the community review period, visit: https://cityofdavis.org/davis-CAAP-survey. To read the CAAP, visit:  https://www.cityofdavis.org/sustainability/2020-climate-action-and-adaptation-plan-caap. Contact the Sustainability Coordinator Kerry Loux at: caap@cityofdavis.org.



Adam Morrill announces candidacy for City Council, District 4

Adam-morrillBy Adam Morrill

I’m pleased to formally announce my candidacy for Davis City Council, District 4.

I was born and raised in the Bay Area where I met my high school sweetheart and wife of 22 years.  We both came to Davis as undergraduates and after graduating decided this is where we wanted to raise our family.  I have been active in the community as a volunteer firefighter, CPR instructor, basketball coach, and AYSO referee.  I have spent 25 years of my life as a Davis resident (20 of which as a homeowner) and I have witnessed the gradual decay of a once prosperous city due to neglect and a lack of vision and planning.

City-council-districts-d4I’ve entered the race because I am a solution and results oriented person and I want Davis to be a place where my kids want to raise their own families and where they can afford to own their own home.  I want to fix our crumbling roads and sidewalks and ensure there are fiscally responsible plans to maintain them.  We need to proactively maintain our urban forest, greenbelts and parks so that they can remain one of the great assets of our city.  I want to work with local businesses to revitalize our downtown to make it a destination for our residents and visitors to Davis.

We need leaders who push for strategic infill development that will provide entry level housing to young families and workers, as well as dedicated Affordable Housing, not unaffordable housing that permanently destroys prime farmland.  We need leaders that will work cooperatively with our local non-profits, faith-based organizations, and the county to address the homeless crisis in our city.  They are the experts and should take the lead, while we should support them rather than wasting funds and trying to duplicate their efforts. 

We need leaders who will provide innovative support and resources for our public safety staff to effectively deal with violent and property crime while also actively engaging and building partnerships within the community to compassionately attend to the issues associated with homelessness and mental health.  We need leaders who will not just give lip service to attaining carbon neutrality by 2040, but lead by example with the city taking concrete steps NOW to immediately lower the city’s carbon footprint.

I am the person to do the job, and that’s why I am running for Davis City Council, District 4.

Contact: adam@adam4davis.org


Yolo County Upgrades to 100% Renewable Ultragreen Electricity From Valley Clean Energy (VCE)

VCE(From press release) The Yolo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to upgrade to Valley Clean Energy’s 100% renewable, 100% carbon-free UltraGreen service. This action will include all County VCE business accounts that are not already covered by existing solar/renewable projects.

Taken as a whole, this decision is an important step toward ensuring that 100% of Yolo County’s electricity for its operations will be sourced from renewables, further decreasing the County’s dependence on fossil fuels and decreasing carbon emissions.

“We know that the power sector is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions,” said Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair, Angel Barajas. “Moving toward 100% renewable, 100% carbon-free electricity for County facilities is a powerful step we can take to fight climate change. It’s directly aligned with our 2011 Climate Action Plan. And at only 1.5 cents more per kilowatt-hour, we find it provides a great cost/benefit ratio for our local communities.”

Yolo County’s goal is to transition all remaining accounts to 100% renewable electricity in the upcoming billing cycle. Funding will be included in the 2023-24 County budget for that purpose.

“As the local not-for-profit public energy provider, VCE strives to provide simple, cost-effective ways for our customers and communities to take action on climate change,” said VCE Executive Officer Mitch Sears.  “With this move the County becomes our largest UltraGreen customer and helps drive the clean energy economy forward.” 

Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency formed in June 2018 to provide electrical generation service to customers in Woodland, Davis, Winters, and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. VCE’s mission is to source cost-competitive clean electricity while providing product choice, price stability, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions and reinvestment in the communities we serve.


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #9

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place for YOU to comment on local issues and articles/comments from other local media.  Bring a can of gasoline and a source of ignition.  [See "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is" for Rulez.]

CONCERT ON THE LAWN

Greg Erba_wide
FRIDAY JULY 29 at 6:45pm
at Lutheran Church of the Incarnation:
1701 Russell Blvd. Davis, 95616

Join us for a Concert on the West Lawn of Lutheran Church of the Incarnation on Friday, July 29 at 6:45pm! The concert will feature Greg Erba, a native of Woodland, and alum of the Davis High Jazz Band, who is now a professional country rock musician in L.A. Greg will play some of his own music, and be joined by a cadre of musicians from LCI and Davis Lutheran, who will play some old favorites and bring a bit of summer joy into our community. Blankets, lawn chairs and/or picnic food is welcome - as are friends and neighbors. See you Friday!


Please Donate to Help Us Stop Indiscriminate Open Pit Mining in Yolo County

Imagecdn.mightycause
Photo of Prime Farmland Set to be Destroyed by Proposed Open Pit Mine

The Sierra Club Yolano Group, together with its local partner, Yolo Land and Water Defense, is desperately trying to stop a massive new sand and gravel open-pit mining operation. This proposed project will forever destroy 300 acres of productive prime farmland just off of Cache Creek a few miles west of Woodland. Almost in the city's backyard, this huge new surface mine will leave behind a wasteland of methyl mercury contaminated impoundment ponds, no guarantees of successful farmland reclamation, potentially serious decreases in local groundwater levels, and greenhouse gas and priority pollutant emissions far greater than estimated (see below for more detailed information about the project's environmental shortcomings).

Our lawsuit challenges improper mining project approvals. Over vigorous objections about the lack of appropriate environmental protections as required under California law, this project was recently approved by the Yolo County Supervisors when they certified a defective Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and awarded lucrative 30-year sweetheart mining rights to Teichert Mining. The company is a subsidiary of a billion-dollar mining and construction behemoth. To stop this ill-advised and destructive project unless necessary protections are put in place, the Sierra Club with our partners recently sued Yolo County and Teichert Mining to rescind certification of the EIR and project approvals.

The Sierra Club and a number of members of both organizations have already made very substantial contributions, but we urgently need to raise $12,000 more to continue this lawsuit all the way through trial. Please help us force Teichert Mining to act responsibly so that our children and future Yolo County generations can enjoy unpolluted habitat, productive agricultural land, safe and reliable access to good quality water, and clean, breathable air.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation of any amount.

1) By Credit Card or Paypal - Click on the online donation link here (https://www.mightycause.com/story/Yolanogroupsc)

2) By Check - Send your check payable to Sierra Club Foundation, c/o Yolano Group, 2736 Brentwood Pl in Davis CA 95618.

Continue reading "Please Donate to Help Us Stop Indiscriminate Open Pit Mining in Yolo County" »


Kelsey Fortune Announces Her Candidacy for Davis City Council in District 1

Fortune_smaler

>>from press release<<

I am honored to announce my candidacy for Davis City Council in District 1.

I was raised in small town Wisconsin to believe everyone should play an active role in shaping their community. I moved to Davis nine years ago to pursue my PhD in economics, determined to live in accordance with my values for respect, inclusion, and sustainability. I use my bicycle as my main form of transportation and have woven close relationships with a wide variety of people through my involvement in our community. I volunteer my time as the Associate Director of Purple Tree Cafe and on the Boards of Bike Davis and Cool Davis.

Faced with a climate emergency that threatens to exacerbate already unacceptable levels of inequality and is currently degrading our environment, I believe our diverse and compassionate community is our greatest strength. I see untapped potential for progress and action in the City of Davis. The people and elected leaders who came before us laid the groundwork for a vibrant, sustainable community, and our city government and citizenry can again become an example of an equitable and effective response.

The city is also faced with an unsustainable budget, a public safety and justice system that does not best serve the people, an extreme dearth of both affordable and dedicated low-income housing, and lack of transparency, effective communication, and action from our City Council. Our children’s future depends on our ability to act now to address these problems.

That’s why I’m running for Davis City Council in District 1.

______________________________________________________

For more information, contact FortuneForDavis@gmail.com,  530-220-2001


Soroptimists award grants to three nonprofits

ThrivingPinkGrant2022
Yolo County teens Bella and Abby participate in Thriving Pink’s comfort bag making at its Volunteer Day. The bags contain breast cancer-specific wellness and support items to be given to patients at local infusion centers and healthcare offices. The nonprofit received a Soroptimist grant for its Youth Education and Support outreach project directed at teen girls. (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Soroptimist International of Davis recently awarded grants to three local nonprofits: Thriving Pink, CommuniCare Mobile Medicine and Mutual Housing of California.

The club distributed $5,000 in Community Grants between the three organizations. “Our committee received high quality grant applications that aligned with the Soroptimist mission, vision and values,” said Lisa Adda, SI Davis president and chair of its Community Grants Committee. “Our core values are gender equality, empowerment, education, and diversity/fellowship, and our committee prioritized those in awarding these funds.”

Adda said this year’s grants help women and girls “with education as it relates to breast cancer, empowerment through emergency shelter, and diversity ­by reaching an important audience.”

Continue reading "Soroptimists award grants to three nonprofits" »


A Failure of Equity - Racist and Ableist Bike Share Returns to Davis

E6a0ce4fef1b41a4a3839f8c0e6cd132At the city council meeting tonight a pilot for e-bike and e-scooter share will likely be approved - and will start by September. 

Bike share and scooter share are great things, despite all sorts of issues. Electric assist makes these "micromobility" devices even more of a joy. More and more bike share systems offer e-bikes, sometimes exclusively. Scooter share was always electric.

But as with Jump bike share - which ended in Davis a little over two years ago - the minimum age limit for use for bikes will be 18. Once again this age limit makes it racist.
 
Why is it racist?
 
It's simple: Youth have fewer mobility choices, even more so if they're members of economically-vulnerable households. Brown and Black people are over-represented in these households. There's no minimum age for using the type of bikes supplied by Lime. There's no formal impossibility for parents and guardians to take legal responsibility for necessary contracts. Therefore... it's arbitrary... and this means it's racist. It's doesn't mean that the City Council is racist. It means that unless we change their minds they are making a racist decision tonight.
 
Once again the speed is limited to 15 mph assistance without any evidence that this has any benefits for safety. Nor only does this make the bikes less competitive with automobiles, the speed assistance limit below what state law allows is biased against less strong people who might find it harder to get their bikes over 15 mph. This is probably ableism, yes?, or something else which City documents and various statements of the current City Council would naturally disavow.
 
Many other cities have much less racist and ableist systems
 
There's no minimum age for the use of type 1 e-bikes, which will be the type supplied by Lime. The minimum required for use of an e-scooter in California is possession of a learner's permit, and being 16. However the Lime-supplied pilot requires a minimum age 18 for that as well. That's two years when kids can drive a car most of that by themselves before they can use bike share or scooter share in Davis. Bike share systems all over California and the USA allow users under age 18 (For example the system in Philadelphia allows 16 year-olds to use their e-bikes and 14 year-olds their "acoustic" bikes.) But we're the USA cycling capital! (Perhaps it's time to change our official City logo - to purge this anachronistic and anti-egalitarian high-wheeler bicycle from our community imagery?).
 
A major innovation that Davis can make here is by replacing the age cut-off with one based on peers. This is because the majority of youth have friends that are in the same grade. Not everyone in the same grade is the same age: We see this manifested when some high school students can get licensed before their friends. 14 would work - nearly everyone that age is tall enough to ride the Lime bikes - but connecting it with entrance to high school would still be much better than the current situation. See details below - this will get many on bikes at age 15.  And then on e-scooters at age 16! Voila! Bikequity!! Fairscooterism!
 
Another good - and perhaps still innovative - new feature is that the park in the street like a motorcycle thing is a clear part of the rules. (This was done spontaneously by many Jump users and almost went forward officially before the bike share system was removed from Davis and UC Davis due to COVID.) However there's still a huge amount of the contract and rules based on the idea that the bikes will need to be moved within 90 minutes if there are badly parked. (In the pilot it's allowed to park like this in Downtown, but it's not even clear that there will be a sticker on the bikes to advise people of this. It's not really intuitive.)
 
The City Council has known about this issue for years
 
In March 2019 - when I was a member of the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety (BTSSC) -  I created a lengthy report on the one year anniversary of bike share in Davis and UC Davis. I was able to initiate what became a unanimous vote to ask the City Council to ask its partners at SACOG - and the previous operator Uber/Jump - to consider lowering the age (and raising the weight limit). This sat on the long-range calendar until shortly after Uber removed the bike share system from Davis and UC Davis.
 
The other day I confirmed with Lime and that neither the e-bikes nor the e-scooters will have a maximum weight limit. That's good - the newer e-scooters are generally considered to be more robust than those available just a couple of years ago.
 
Oh, last time the DJUSD Board of Education was asked to support an under-18 age limit.. they were not interested. This may have been in 2019 - a partly-different board.
 
What to do?
 
Thank the City of Davis City Council for bringing back bike share and introducing scooter share, BUT:
* Demand that they allow the use of Lime e-bikes from the first day of 10th grade, or even better the first day of summer before 10th grade.
* Demand that - per state law - everyone 16 years old with a learner's permit be allowed to use Lime e-scooters.

Will this City Council Uphold Democracy?

DemocracyTuesday’s Council Meeting will give us our first indication

By Roberta Millstein

This City Council does not have a good track record on democracy.  It has the opportunity to do better this time.  Will it?

Newly appointed Mayor Lucas Frerichs, having served on the Council since 2012, is anticipated to step down on January 2, 2023 to become Yolo County District 2 Supervisor.  That will leave a vacancy on the Council in District 3 (note that county and city district numbering is different) until the November 2024 election.  The Council has a choice of two ways of filling the vacancy: 1) call a special election to fill the vacancy (see staff report for possible dates) or 2) appoint someone to fill the vacancy.

The first way is the democratic way.  It’s the way that allows the voters of District 3 to select a representative who they feel listens to them and understands their concerns about their district.  It’s the way that allows new voices to put themselves forward for leadership of the city, fulfilling one of the promises that district elections were supposed to bring – i.e., more localized campaigns being easier and less expensive to run.

The second way is the power-abusing way.  All the other districts will have elected their representatives, but District 3 would be appointed by councilmembers who are not even in their district.  There is nothing about this process that would ensure that the appointed representative would know about and care about issues particular to District 3.  What this process does allow for, however, is for councilmembers to appoint someone who sees things their way or who is part of the current power structure in Davis.

Note that the Council also has the option of calling for a special election (the second way), but then appointing someone to fill the vacancy until the election.  I think this option is problematic too.  The person appointed for the interim period before a special election would have the advantage of incumbency in that election. The council should refrain from any appointment at all and simply call an election to fill the seat.[1]

Continue reading "Will this City Council Uphold Democracy?" »


Where have all the babies gone?

Screen Shot 2022-07-09 at 10.22.28 AMBy Dave Taormino

Davis has been gradually losing its innate college town character. The level of civility in civic discourse continues its decline as demonstrated in the recent Measure H campaign. The 1960 – 70s mid-western ethos that prospered when Davis and UCD set out on their mutually aligned growth paths has deteriorated with urban-like political fighting. The midwestern neighborly values that were once well established have given way to a divisive approach to community engagement. In housing development discussions, the person you disagree with is characterized as evil, dishonest, a liar, etc. Why? In part because Davis’s 40 years of restrictive housing and growth policies has spawned and feeds unintended and unnecessary discord with little visible, offsetting benefits.

Here are some of the impacts:

  1. Less than 40% of our TOP City management live in Davis. Nearly all the major City decision makers and their families live elsewhere. Their family life and personal civic involvement is not here.
  2. The percentage of Davis Police and Fire Department personnel who live in Davis is much lower than the TOP management. In essence, their family and hearts reside elsewhere.
  3. The vast majority of North, North Davis homeowners are individuals employed at UCD or a Davis business. They cannot afford to live here. A sizable number have children commuting daily with their parents to attend Davis schools, a good outcome for us.
  4. In the Cannery, roughly 80% of the buyers had no relationship to Davis or UCD, although some had grown children living here. Most came from the Bay Area and Marin County, exactly where the Cannery developers heavily advertised. It was an intentional strategy not intended to attract local UCD faculty, staff, and other Davis workers. In the 546 homes, an unbelievably low number of school age children actually live there. Something like 26 new students resulted from Cannery’s 546 homes plus apartments. In the 80’s and early 90’s a “Cannery-type neighborhood” would have generated 300 - 400 new students. Where have all the families with or capable of having babies gone?
  5. Approximately 1,000 Elementary through High School students commute daily to our schools. Without these commuting students some neighborhood schools would close. Imagine the rancor and anger that would result should neighborhood school closures be considered. The civic anger, neighborhood vs neighborhood would likely be greater than the recent Measure H arguments. The School District has done a masterful entrepreneurial job in “recruiting” out of Davis parents/children to attend our neighborhood schools. For how long can those creative efforts be sufficient? A university-oriented community NEEDS GREAT schools. Great schools require children from childbearing age parents living here and as a result contributing to a wholesome, family friendly, inclusive community. That was “the 1960’s and 1970’s Davis civic perspective” when UCD embarked on its original and now continuing growth plan.

The list could continue, but you get the point.

Continue reading "Where have all the babies gone?" »


City of Davis survey results

How are you feeling about your city?

By Roberta Millstein

Recently, the City released the results of a periodic survey it does to take the pulse of Davis's residents.  The results are online here.

The survey was conducted April 12 – 19, 2022 using a a multi-modal methodology: telephone, text- and email-to-web.  There were 500 interviews with an estimated margin of error ±4.37 percentage points.

The staff report highlights some "key takeaways":

  • more than two-thirds of residents are optimistic about the direction of the City
  • more than 75% are satisfied with City services
  • affordable housing, homelessness and public safety are the top three areas of concern for residents
  • social media platforms and communications from the City are gaining popularity as a source of local news

Those are indeed interesting takeaways, although as always with the term "affordable housing," one wonders if people intend the legal meaning, or if they are unhappy with the affordability of housing more generally, or both.

Below are two panels of the survey that I found interesting.  In the first panel, only 23% of citizens are dissatisfied with city services but 39% are dissatisfied with the City Council.  So it seems that the dissatisfaction with the City Council is over and above the dissatisfaction with the provision of city services.  As for the second panel, as a longtime subscriber to the Davis Enterprise I am glad to see that it remains our top source for news.  I hope that people support it with subscriptions because there really is no other comparable source in Davis.

I'm curious to hear people's thoughts and reflections about the survey, so please leave comments if you'd like to weigh in!

City-satisfaction-ratings

Important-source-of-local-news

 

 


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #8

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place to comment on local issues and articles and/or comments from other local forums that you may or may not have been banned from.  For the few Rule-ez at Al's Corner, see "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is".  Burn Baby Burn!

 


Happy 4th of July?

FlagBy Roberta Millstein

When I was growing up on the east coast, 4th of July was always a wonderful day.  My father, a WWII vet, loved fireworks and imparted that combination of awe, excitement, and patriotism to my sister and me.  We'd head to the next town over and stake out a position on the grass and wait for the amazing display from a barge on the river.  It was always over way too fast, the "big finale" being the part you looked forward to the most while knowing that it signaled the end.

Of course, I want everyone to have a good day.  I want children to have wonderful experiences like the one I was able to have as a child.  No one wants to be a killjoy.

But.

I also want our celebration of the 4th of July to be a genuine one – that is, a celebration of freedom.

It's hard to feel free when 6 people are dead and more than 2 dozen hospitalized for the sin of attending a 4th of July parade, when mass shootings have become a daily event and our elected lawmakers fail to take action that would make a difference.

It's hard to feel free when 50% of the population has just been told that their bodies are not theirs to control, that the state can make one of the most fundamental and life-changing decisions for them.

It's hard to feel free when in the same decision, one of our Supreme Court justices threatens to eliminate the right for heterosexual couples to use contraception, the right for homosexual couples to have sex, and the right for gay people to get married.

It's hard to feel free when racially-motivated voter restriction laws have been passed across the country, preventing full participation in our democracy.

It's hard to feel free when Black Americans are incarcerated at nearly five times the rate of white Americans.

As civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer said, nobody’s free until everybody’s free.

Meanwhile, Davis's "celebration" continues as planned even with known harms of fireworks both for those who are attending and not attending, spewing toxic chemicals into the air,  triggering PTSD in humans, and scaring animals into bolting.

When is Davis going to have a more appropriate celebration, one that is healthy and recognizes the liberties we have as well as the liberties we still have to fight for?

When are we going to start fighting for our liberties?

 


The City Council should require masks at meetings

023D5980-5DAE-4BAA-8091-9CB9DB5D4A18An open letter to the new Davis mayor and the city council:

I attended the city council meeting in person this week for the first time in over two years. I wore a N95 mask for the entire meeting. A few of the audience also wore masks. Unfortunately, none of the councilmembers or city staff did likewise (although the city attorney had one on for at least part of the time).

Also this week I had to call city hall on business and was informed on the phone that masks are required in city facilities for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The Yolo County COVID website states: "Yolo County strongly recommends you wear a well-fitting, high quality mask in indoor public settings when COVID case rates are moderate to high (above 7 cases per 100,000)." The current weekly average case rate is 45.8 cases per 100K individuals, six times higher than the recommended minimum level for masks, and higher than the average state rate of 36.8.

By holding public meetings and not requiring masks the Council and staff put themselves and members of the public (and by extension their families) at increased risk for COVID infections.

Given how well the city and community have responded to the COVID pandemic in the past two years, I am disappointed the council has not seen fit to require masks for themselves, staff, and attendees at meetings. Please follow the county health officer's recommendations.

The pandemic is not over.

Robert Canning


City Council issues lily-livered statement concerning abortion rights

City council statementBy Roberta Millstein

Two days ago, the City released a statement signed by all five members of the Davis City Council in response to the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.  Sadly, the statement is wishy-washy and lacking in any sort of call to action.  One wonders why they even bothered.

Those who moved to Davis recently may not be aware that the City Council voted to make Davis a pro-choice City in 1989.  The LA Times quoted then-Mayor Michael Corbett: “The resolution is a political act to support women’s choice to choose their own morality. . . . I know that will alienate people, but that’s the way I see it.”  That was bold leadership, leadership that is sorely lacking in today’s City Council.  Are we still a pro-choice city today?

There are, it should be acknowledged, some positive elements to Tuesday’s statement, namely where it says:

Continue reading "City Council issues lily-livered statement concerning abortion rights" »


Community Canopy - Free Shade Trees!

Free-shade-trees(From press release) Tree Davis is committed to enhancing and expanding Davis’s urban forest. As part of our mission, Tree Davis’s Community Canopy Program, in partnership with the City of Davis, offers free trees to homeowners in Davis. 

This is the last season for homeowners to take advantage of this grant program! Now is the time to bring cooling shade, beauty, and improved public health to your home and neighborhood. Supplies are limited so please contact Tree Davis today: https://www.treedavis.org/city-of-davis-community-canopy/ . Our trained staff will visit you at your residence this summer to help you select the right tree for your front yard.

Plantings begin in October and we can either work with you to plant your tree if you wish, or we will plant the tree for you.

This is your last chance to request a tree for fall plantings. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors! Spread the word and contact us today to line up a consultation.

For more information visit www.treedavis.org, (530) 758-7337, or contact info@treedavis.org

 


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #7

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place to comment on local issues and articles/comments from other local forums that you may or may not have been banned from.  For the few Rule-ez at Al's Corner, see "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is".