Davis residents have now received a second glossy multi-page mailer in support of the Nishi 2.0 project. Most likely, there will be more to come. How do proponents of Nishi spend their money? What are their priorities?
In local elections in California, campaign finance reports are filed with the local municipality. Here in Davis, these forms are viewable on the eCampaign Public Access system accessed from the City of Davis website’s Financial Disclosures page.
When trying to influence an election, corporations are required to report any related expenses as independent expenditures.
Recently, the developer of the Nishi 2.0 project, Davis Gateway Student Housing LLC & Affiliated Entities, filed three Independent Expenditure Reports, on March 23, April 4, and April 17. The first lists expenditures of $29,750.00, the second for $2,351.30, and the third for $31,079.22 for a total (so far) of $63,150.52. $15,000 of that is listed as “Consulting for Mailers,” so you can be sure they’ll want to get their money’s worth and have many mailings.
It’s amazing that in a span of just under 4 weeks, they have poured over $60K to market their project and influence an election. Compare this to the $30K to perform conclusive air quality testing on the site. Over three years ago, Dr. Tom Cahill, Professor Physics/Atmospheric Sciences, UC Davis and founder of the DELTA Group (Detection and Evaluation of Long-range Transport of Aerosols, recommended that this testing be performed for Nishi 1.0, and he reiterated that recommendation to the developer before Nishi 2.0 went to the City Council. But the developer (and the City Council) chose to ignore that recommendation, a recommendation that was echoed by many Davis citizens (including the authors of this piece).
In other words, with six more weeks to go before election day, the developer has already spent twice the amount of money on buying the election than it would have taken to do air quality testing.
This is the same developer who insisted that they couldn’t possibly provide more than 15% affordable housing because they were “right on the line” on money. But developers don’t spend this much money on a campaign unless they expect to make piles of money from the project.
So, what are the developer’s priorities? Apparently, not future residents’ health. Apparently, not affordable housing. Apparently, it’s getting their project approved and lining their pockets.
Read the comments below for updates on the developer's spending. As of 5/24/2018, it was over $197,000.