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Measure J, Measure R... and now Measure J again? A guide for the perplexed

Linda Deos on Measure R

DeosMeasure R

My name is Linda Deos and I am a candidate for Davis City Council. I am writing on Measure R because of its continued importance to all of us here in Davis. Let me begin by stating in as clear as terms as possible that I support Measure R. I unequivocally support direct citizen participation in land use decisions affecting City policies for compact urban form, agricultural land preservation and adequate housing supply to meet internal City needs. I voted to renew Measure R in 2010.

After attending numerous commission and council meetings over the past year, I have been especially struck by the lack of information provided to city commissioners who are asked to weigh in on many development proposals brought forward. I have also seen the real frustration from our volunteer commissioners that their respective efforts and time have been for naught due to their inability to truly weigh in on proposals.

Here’s an example of what I’ve witnessed: Developer X proposes a project which includes many single-family residences, with some greenbelts, maybe a park (or not), and perhaps some kind of retail. This project goes before our various city Commissions to be vetted and during this process the project changes. Despite the changes to the project, the various city Commissions rarely get to review the revised project. Additionally, often the project comes before the commissions as an “idea” and not a fully formed project. Because the project is presented as merely an idea, the Commissions are unable to fully comment on the impacts, positive or negative, of the particular project. The project eventually gets to the City Council which, by this time, can’t really make/demand any major changes to the project because time has run out to make a decision. The voters are then forced to vote up or down on a project that hasn’t been fully reviewed or vetted. This process is unfair to everyone and especially unfair to Davis residents.

Let’s see if we can find a way to improve this process. Either through amendment of Measure R, or through some other appropriate means, I support adding provisions which would serve to strengthen the process for reviewing future projects by ensuring even greater public participation in the proposed project. Let’s look at an amendment requiring more specificity as to the details of the proposed project before it can be presented to the city Commissions and/or an amendment requiring that the Commissions be given the opportunity to review the proposed project again if it has gone through major revisions after the Commission had initially reviewed it.

By strengthening the review process before a project comes before the voters we can be confident that the project we are voting on has been vetted as much as possible by our commissioners and council members. Strengthening the review process assures our voice is heard and enables all of us to be a part of creating the kind of Davis we want to have in the future.


In closing, if amending Measure R is not the best means to improve the process for reviewing proposals, I would support renewing Measure R in 2020. Please feel free to contact me at to discuss this or any of the other issues we have here in Davis.


Gilbert Coville

This is a very nice piece and I applaud all the sentiments as written. However, this is a very different position from that stated by Linda Deos at the Davis College Democrats Davis City Council Candidates forum on Feb 28.

For those that want to watch for themselves, the video is here:

The relevant question is about 29 minutes in.

Here is a short transcript of the relevant question. I've put in bold portions that I believe are absolutely contrary to what's written above.


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?

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.

Why do the Davis College Democrats get a very different answer (ie. "I am definitely for repealing") compared to what is written here (ie. "... in as clear as terms as possible that I support Measure R")? What has changed in the short space of a week to have such different answers? Will Linda go back to the Davis College Democrats and say "Oops, I didn't really mean what I said?"


So, I’m confused. Her position on measure R is what exactly?

Bob Milbrodt

It looks as though she spoke her heart to the College Democrats her desire to repeal Measure J/R. Then, someone advised that her positon was politically untenable. So, now she says... in the first paragraph of this article that she supports Measure J/R. Yet, within this same piece, she argues to amend it? Baffling.

Todd Edelman

Can it be amended?

She's right on about the Commissions, based on my personal experience: Last night we reviewed the concept for Anderson Road. See It had gone through three 90 min or two hour meetings with the public, a bunch more meetings with stakeholders and collaboration between the consultant and city staff (though the City has been without a key engineer for nearly a year). It came to us but we were - simply put - not able to address its fundamental design, which I think has major problems, also due to the process, which depended on a public that made choices based on feeling and intelligence, but without enough information on advantages and disadvantages of various design elements. The consultant claimed that the concept follows City of Davis Street Standards, but those Standards were never shared with the public at the meeting, and neither were some very helpful materials from NACTO which Davis has formally decided to follow - these Standards were approved in fall of 2016 but took a year to be published on the City's website. I was not able to comment on the process, that the Street Standards are completely deficient in certain aspects such as how e-bikes can be accommodated or examples of specific roundabout designs, and was eventually cut off in mid-sentence when I was only partially done with my comments on the design itself.

The vote was 7 to 1 (I dissented; there was one absence) with the agreement that when we review the plan again, after any approval by the City Council we will have a full meeting to go over it. But at this point it's already reached the stage - 30% design - after which basic things cannot be changed. (Early on I had participated in those public meetings before I was a Commissioner, but at the last one I didn't opine on a design as it didn't seem fair as I would commenting on it soon thereafter as a Commissioner.)

As a Commissioner I was not able to bring my expertise to bear, and unless I can - as a private citizen - get the Council to agree with my criticism, there's little that will change in the future. The design of Anderson Road can be a critical juncture in re-imagining mobility in Davis as it can create a clear template for future improvements. The template might be clear, but at this point it looks like it will be inadequate. I was unreasonably restrained in my efforts to use my expertise to even suggest changes. This seems to be a structural problem in how the City works.

I am member of the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission but the views presented here are strictly my own.

Roberta L. Millstein

Todd, I agree with you that there are serious Staff-Commission-City Council communication problems, and I plan to blog on them more soon. But that seems to be a separate and larger issue from Measure J/R.

Todd Edelman

It is and it's not -- for example in January in the BTSSC we looked at the WDAAC with the same restrictions as last night. My comments on it - in other words something that would provide no justification for support for it in a likely November 2018 - were recorded as "Todd Edelman feels that WDAAC does not have any meaningful connectivity [to the rest of Davis]". And I don't think we're going to be able to look at it again.

Roberta L. Millstein

I'm not really following you, Todd. Again, yes, there are serious Staff-Commission-City Council communication problems, but the situation you are describing with the BTSSC has nothing to do with Measure J/R.


I agree with Roberta. It sounds like a serious staff problem, and I have seen the same on non measure R projects. I don't think this is a Measure R problem being described.

Todd Edelman

My point is that the voters will make the ultimate decision about WDAAC in November 2018 - IF the Council takes it that far - because J/R requires a vote - and that I'm not impressed about the opportunities which my Commission has been given to criticize WDAAC.


Todd, From what your saying then, it sounds like a good thing Measure R is in place.

Todd Edelman

Certainly, and it should stay so until we have something better, which will probably only come as a result of the misinformed discussion relating to growth (people who grew up in suburbs etc. are still kinda wired to think it can only be outward - rather than upward - and that is has to increase car traffic - it does not.)

In my comments on the Draft EIR for the Happy Exercising Elders Dependent on Car Driving Ghetto (WDAAC) I suggested that it was ridiculous that something with a projected 97.15% automobile driving modal share could be possible in a City with diametrically-opposed goals for both bicycle share and GHG reduction, etc. (About cycling specifically, there is a goal for all populations of 30% of trips to shopping by 2020, but there is no requirement for how much an individual development (start of journey) has to be responsible for this (and there's not one either for the destination, i.e. Nugget, Safeway etc. which have a bike modal share 1/15 of the City's goal.)

This relates to J/R in the not-quite-only-general sense as there is an obvious disconnect present: Let's say that opioids = cycling: In the current state of affairs, the City has concrete goals to reduce use, but there is nothing concrete for drug companies/dealers, doctors and pharmacies to do except for having little bowls of anti-opioid medicine around and available (the "bowls" are bike parking and bike paths). Some kind of mysterious magic in the "bowls" is supposed to stop people using. (Now... speaking of analgesics - or rather analogies - I gotta get out of this forum right now... so won't be able to defend my analysis until later...)

Todd Edelman

Argh! Sorry: Should read "Will only come as a result of a much more informed discussion..." (Wish that Davisite and VG had the same editing tools...)

Rick Entrikin

Thank you Davisite for helping me decide to NOT support Linda Deos for Council. At best, she claims she wants to open up Measure R(formerly J) for "amendment." At worst,and as she stated adamantly to the College Democrats,she wants to "repeal" R. I am convinced that she is using doublespeak by bringing commissions and staff into the discussion, in an attempt to regain the many potential votes she lost by stating she wanted to repeal R. The staff-commission disconnect is a smokescreen. It is a totally separate, longstanding issue whereby commissioners feel as if they have not received adequate information or time from staff. I will support ONLY candidates who unequivocally support renewal of Measure R, AS IS. To date, the only two I know of who meet that criterion are Larry Guenther and Ezra Beeman.

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