I totally agree with Roberta’s criticism about the candidates for city council refusing to be more specific and with specific reference as to how they stand on Measure J/R and if they want to amend it, how precisely would they amend it.
However, I would like to broaden this discussion to make observations about the ways in which almost all candidates for city council have campaigned since I moved here in 2000. A trend that was apparent when I arrived here has become more and more pronounced.
To put it bluntly and simply, almost all candidates are reluctant to, or more accurately often refuse, to discuss specifics especially when it comes to some of the most important and controversial issues. Their reasons for doing this are obvious. They think by appealing to as broad a constituency as possible, and not alienating any one constituency, they are maximizing their appeal and their chances of election. I could cite endless examples from the campaigns of several of our incumbent council members.
I do not have time to quote from the campaign literature of all nine council candidates, but suffice it to say that with few exceptions most candidates spout vague generalizations re their solutions or policies that border on blatant obfuscation. The electorate really does not know where they stand on “the growth issue” let alone how they will act if elected to a FOUR year term. This is incredible given the serious and immediate growth issues that Davis faces.
Instead most candidates try to woo voters by writing and talking of some mix of the following: their experience, if any, in city governances; their relevant professional experience; their education; their business acumen and expertise; their endorsement;, their ties to Davis et al. et al. They then get their supporters to repeat most of this, and their policy generalizations, with glowing character references included in a letter to the Davis Enterprise.
Briefly and selectively, for now, let me be specific in what I’d like to know from all the candidates:
- Are you for or against Nishi 2.0?
- Whether Nishi 2.0 is approved or not, estimates are that with UCD’s on-campus building, with the approval of several Megadorm proposals, and other projects, there will be circa 12,000-13,000 more beds in central Davis, and its immediate vicinity, in the next few years. Do you believe that the impacts on Davis of this expansion have been sufficiently evaluated by the City? Do you have any concerns that this expansion’s cumulative effects might put stress on Davis’s infrastructure and exacerbate the city’s existing fiscal problems? If not, why not? If you do, what solutions do you propose?
- UCD, we are informed, is committed to providing 8,500 beds over the next ten years or so. What if any steps are you prepared to take to ensure that UCD keeps its promise and builds new on-campus housing commensurate with the pace of it its growth in enrollment?
- Is it the obligation of the City to build housing for students no matter when and in what circumstances UCD’s decides to expand its enrollment?
- Several cities that host UC campuses (including Berkeley and Santa Cruz) have successfully sued their host universities (in decisions upheld by the California Supreme Court) to, among other things, limit enrollment growth and obtain substantial mitigation costs from their host universities. In what circumstances might you approve the City of Davis taking such actions against UCD?
- Both the City and UCD have been, and will be, growing at an almost unprecedently fast rate in the near future. Do you believe there is some point at which a city like Davis reaches a point of full capacity where further expansion seriously threatens the city’s fundamental quality of life when it comes to environmental and fiscal and issues?