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Five Council Candidates State Positions on Measure J/R

 

West from Rd 30B - Sac skyline
View from Mace curve - one of the areas subject to Measure J/R

Last night (2/28/2018), the Davis College Democrats held a forum for candidates for Davis City Council. Well, not all candidates -- you had to be a declared Democrat to participate, even though the City Council is supposed to be non-partisan. Forum participants also had to answer a series of loaded questions. Here's one:

Our city is running out of room to accommodate future growth, with a severe housing and financial crisis. Measure R has placed a stranglehold on any annexation efforts to deal with this problem by requiring a ballot measure for any significant development. In 2020 Measure R will go on the ballot for reauthorization. If elected how will you augment Measure R to stave off another city housing or financial crisis?

Davisites might be surprised to learn how the five candidates (out of nine running) in attendance answered.

For background, in case people aren't familiar with Measure R (an extension of the previous Measure J, often called Measure J/R), it is:

An ordinance of the City of Davis amending the city's general plan to add a policy requiring voter approval for certain changes to the land use designations or entitlements of properties shown on the general plan land use map and enacting the citizens' right to vote on future use of open space and agricultural lands ordinance to provide for voter approval of (1) any general plan land use map amendment that changes a land use designation from an agricultural or urban reserve designation to an urban designation or from an agricultural designation to an urban reserve designation and (2) any proposal for development on the last two large vacant properties designated for urban use commonly known as the Covell Center and Nishi properties; this ordinance to be adopted by the voters and effective upon adoption by the voters of the city.

In other words, Measure J/R puts the power in the hands of Davis's voters to decide what their borders will be -- when open space and ag land should be used for development and when it should be preserved for future generations and for habitat for non-human species. In 2010, Measure R passed by 76.7%.

But, it seems, all five of the Council candidates in attendance want to either take that power away from you, putting into their own hands should they be elected, or they want to reduce your power. That would be (in alphabetical order): Mary Jo Bryan, Linda Deos, Eric Gudz, Gloria Partida, and Mark West. All want to overturn or revise Measure J/R.

If this issue is important to you, vote accordingly.

[I am republishing this previously published post, originally posted on Mar 1 2018, with a new title at the suggestion of a reader, who said he thought that the new title would make the article more accessible].

Comments

Bob Milbrodt

So these five "democrats" don't believe in democracy. That has long been the problem confronting our community. The City refuses to abide by the wishes of the residents. Rather than discovering and delivering what the community desires... the community has been repeatedly asked to ratify what the politicians, bureaucrats, and developers desire. This is just more of the same. To all five, I say no thanks.

Roberta L. Millstein

I'm inclined to agree, Bob. And the irony of their anti-democratic stance is deepened by the fact that some of them have trumpeted their willingness to listen to the people, give everyone a seat at the table, etc. I do want to hear more from those who said that they want to revise Measure J/R, but I am skeptical.

Gilbert Coville

For those that want to watch for themselves, the video is here: https://www.facebook.com/daviscollegedemocrats/videos/10156285540558395/

The relevant question is about 29 minutes in.

Here is my best effort at a transcript of the question and the candidate responses.

Moderator:

Our city is running out of room to accommodate future growth, with a severe housing and financial crisis. Measure R has placed a stranglehold on any annexation efforts to deal with this problem by requiring a ballot measure for any significant development. In 2020 Measure R will go on the ballot for reauthorization. Will you support amending or repealing Measure R? How?


Mark West:

Measure R is the great lie of Davis. It was put forward to say we are going to protect farmland and ... it has not done so .. all it has done is move development to Woodland or on to the University campus and farmland is being been destroyed anyway. In the ethos of protecting that farmland so if we kept that housing in Davis we'd be able to control density and control which land is being built on. I think Measure R is a stranglehold on our ability to solve both our housing problems and our economic problems, our fiscal problems and so I plan on working to repeal it when it comes up for reelection. I don't think we should try to ... we can talk about amending it but I think best choice would be to [inaudible]


Gloria Partida:

I believe that we need to amend it. I think that ... I agree that it is ... is has been ... it has changed the entire character of our city. And for as much as we talk about how we want to keep Davis a certain way, what Measure R has actually done is change our ... the full makeup of our city and it needs to be changed. It has to be ... we have to grow very carefully and that's the only reason that I would say we have to amend and not just repeal.


Mary Jo Bryan:

You're gonna have to know the history of Measure J which started off with what it was trying to do at that point.
The situation now is totally different and we're not providing homes for people that live in Davis already, that want to grow into Davis, no, work in Davis and want to live here, and so it's a ... versus bringing in growth which the Cannery is doing, bringing in ... growth people of a certain economic base not allowing the other ... rest of us to be able to buy a home in Davis.

Moderator:

Just to be clear, do you support amending or repealing?

Mary Jo Bryan:

Repealing of course. I have never voted for it.


Linda Deos:

It's been interesting the measure R thing. I call it J-R, that's how I remember it. Is [inaudible] between the haves and have-nots. If you've got it, great, if not, then you're screwed. Then it also puts the power outside of us into the hands of developers coming towards us saying, "We know what's best for you. We're going to tell you what development's going to be and here you vote it up or down." I don't like that. I want to keep the power in with us. It's going to be very hard to take the vote away from people, so we're going to have to educate. I am definitely for repealing.


Eric Gudz:

Yes. So I'm actually a big strong supporter of urban growth boundaries. As an urban professional transportation scholar, somebody who's worked in land use and transportation policy, urban growth boundaries will absolutely save us in the centuries to come in the way in which we're developing our cities and towns. We don't want to sprawl out to the middle of nowhere. We don't want to be like San Jose. However, this measure needs to be amended, for sure, to reflect the realities of today. So it absolutely needs to be amended. We need to have an ability to find out a way to figure out what's going to work best for the next century of Davis.

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