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 Linda@LindaDeos.com to discuss this or any of the other issues we have here in Davis.