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September 2018

Is this really your view on Measure L, Davis Enterprise?

Davis enterpriseIs this really your view on Measure L, Davis Enterprise?  Because I'm having trouble believing the words in front of my eyes. 

Did you really write, "If WDAAC gets built and all the white Davis seniors move into it, then it will give more opportunity for minorities from out of town to move into the single-family houses the seniors vacate"?

In other words, it would be OK if WDAAC were composed completely of white Davis seniors?  And the reason it would be OK is that nonwhite individuals would have the "opportunity" to move into the vacated houses formerly occupied by white individuals – even if the nonwhite individuals didn't have the opportunity to move into WDAAC itself?  Just the bare possibility that "minorities" could move into Davis would be enough to justify an exclusionary program?

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What Are “Internal Housing Needs” in Davis?

“That directive and those words means something!” -- David Taormino on Measure R, 9/19/2018[1]



By Rik Keller

Measure R (the “Citizens’ Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Lands Ordinance”) was passed by the voters and adopted by the City of Davis in 2010. Davis Municipal Code Section 41.01.010(a)(1) states that the purpose of the Ordinance is [my emphasis] “...to establish a mechanism for direct citizen participation in land use decisions affecting city policies for compact urban form, agricultural land preservation and an adequate housing supply to meet internal city needs...”

This article will examine what the phrase “adequate housing supply to meet internal city needs” means. First, while the word “need” is used several times, “internal needs” is not further mentioned in the adopted ordinance or in the ballot language that went to the voters (ballot language is purposely streamlined). Is this sui generis language that just appeared out of nowhere? Can it mean that any type of housing is sufficient to meet some sort of undefined “internal need” in Davis and should be allowed to convert agricultural lands? Measure R does state that “continued conversion of agricultural lands to meet urban needs is neither inevitable nor necessary,” so the Ordinance must have some criteria in mind to achieve this goal of not unnecessarily converting ag land, right?

As will be demonstrated in the following, the phrase “internal housing need” as used in City of Davis policy framework, documents, and studies actually refers primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing, and indeed that category is the only one specifically mentioned and for which specific policies have been crafted to meet the need.

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Bob Dunning’s False Equivalency Regarding the Testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh

Ford-kavanaughAlthough Bob Dunning and I agree on one thing (that Dr. Blasey’s testimony was “compelling and believable without holes or hesitation”), I otherwise find much to disagree with in his recent column in the Davis Enterprise, “Truth gets lost in the crossfire.”  In particular, I object to his casting this as a purely political disagreement, where Republicans are taking Brett Kavanaugh’s side and Democrats are taking Christine Blasey Ford’s side, where “reasonable people can disagree over which person they believe,” and where “if everyone in America believed that Judge Kavanaugh had assaulted Dr. Ford, he would not be confirmed.”

Maybe the debate over Kavanaugh’s nomination started out as a purely political disagreement a month ago, but it stopped being that the moment that Dr. Blasey came forward with her testimony of sexual assault – her testimony that, 36 years ago, Brett Kavanaugh laid on top of her, tried to rip off her clothes, covered her mouth so that she couldn’t scream and couldn’t breathe, and then laughed about it.  And that the only thing that saved her was that he and his buddy, Mark Judge, were too drunk to follow through on what they had begun.

Continue reading "Bob Dunning’s False Equivalency Regarding the Testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh" »

Will There be No Place in Davis for Low Income Seniors

By Bill Powell and David Thompson

“Each day I get five calls from low income seniors looking to find housing in Davis” says Susan at Shasta Point Retirement Community. “And each day at least one senior arrives at Shasta Point anxious to get housing and hoping by turning up they may have a better chance than just calling.” They don’t.

Every day there are five to 10 emails or phone calls from low-income seniors to the two staff members at Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. At ERC about three seniors per day walk through the door hoping to get a place. They can’t.

In 2018, there is a waiting list of 441 seniors for the four largest Davis affordable senior communities; Davisville (70), Shasta Point (67), Eleanor Roosevelt Circle (59) and Walnut Terrace (30). In 2017 there were a total of 14 turnovers. Only 14 of the 441 waiting in line got in. At that rate it would be 31 years before the last of those seniors get housed. The actual wait for an extremely low-income senior can be from three to five years.

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Santa Clara County secures massive funding from Stanford University

The headline in the Daily Post (#1 in Palo Alto and the Mid-Peninsula) is


..... and then underneath

"$155.8 million for expansion".

Yes,  you read that correctly, Stanford is paying Santa Clara County over $150,000,000 for permission to expand.

This is such good news.  The money goes to affordable housing in the County exchange for expansion of academic buildings associated with Stanford University.

Bravo Santa Clara County!

There is also an additional requirement to build affordable housing on campus.

Gosh, it is so refreshing when a university provides valuable resources (like cash) to the local areas where it is located.  

Way to go Stanford!!


That housing deal among UCD, City of Davis, and Yolo County

To be sure, I am still learning about this "deal".  And I am willing to be enlightened.  So, my comments are preliminary..... but concerned.

It seems like the deal is totally future oriented.  That is, it takes a "go forth and sin no more" form of agreement i.e. it only pertains to the students who come to this area due to the (additional) incremental growth of the University.  That is often a good approach, sometimes makes it easier to come to an agreement.  Particularly if parties are inclined to maintain previously entrenched positions.  *

But how about the 20,000 "temporary occupants" who are already inhabiting Davis and nearby towns? By this I refer to undergraduates who should be housed on campus who currently live in the community and drive rental rates up and availability of housing down. I don't mind if grad students are living in the community, that's fine. It is not unusual for "adult learners" to continue to live in the communities that contain the university where they did their grad work.

Continue reading "That housing deal among UCD, City of Davis, and Yolo County" »

Downtowndavis.org and Downtown Parking

WebsiteLocal businesses want parking.

By Colin Walsh

A new organization is growing in Davis. A group that is feeling shut out of Downtown planning. They are not your typical old Davis activists accused of protesting everything instead they are at the very heart of the downtown economy - Davis business owners. You can find them at downtowndavis.org

The website makes it clear what has this new group rising, "STOP PAID PARKING," and "ACT NOW."

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Davisites' attitudes towards Kavanaugh, Thomas, #metoo, #whyIDidntReport

I posted a link to this Davis Media Access video to the Davisite Facebook page a few days ago, but I can't get it out of my head.

In the video, you see men supporting (now Supreme Court justice) Clarence Thomas, and men supporting Professor Anita Hill.  You see women supporting Thomas, and women supporting Hill.  But most of all, you hear exactly the same arguments on both sides that you are hearing in the media today concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is now facing three separate sexual assault accusations: one from Prof. Christine Blasey Ford, one from Deborah Ramirez, and one from a number of as-yet-unnamed women who lawyer Michael Avenatti is representing.

If DMA were to redo those interviews in Davis today – in the #metoo #WhyIDidntReport #BelieveSurvivors era – would the results be much different?

I'd like to hope that they would be.  But I fear that they wouldn't.

Planned West Davis Adult Community, if Approved, Would Perpetuate Racial Imbalance in the City of Davis

Complaintimage(Press release) The proposed restrictive West Davis Active Adult Community on the City of Davis’ November 6 ballot which advertises its purpose as a planned community “Taking Care of Our Own,” is being challenged in federal court because it will perpetuate racial imbalance and discriminate against minorities by restricting sales to residents of Davis

In a federal complaint filed Monday, September 24, by Sacramento civil rights attorney Mark E. Merin, plaintiff Samuel Ignacio, a Filipino/Hispanic senior on behalf and all other minorities outside of Davis, seeks to stop the project because it excludes those living outside of Davis from buying most of the 410 planned for-sale units.

Davis, a city whose senior population is disproportionately “white” as a result of historic racially restrictive covenants, red-lining practices, and previous University of California hiring practices, approved the project with 90% of its units restricted to “purchasers with a preexisting connection to the City of Davis.” The result of this “local resident” restriction, as alleged in the civil rights complaint, is the continuation of a racially imbalanced community and the exclusion of minority would-be purchasers in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Continue reading "Planned West Davis Adult Community, if Approved, Would Perpetuate Racial Imbalance in the City of Davis " »

How White Is Davis Anyway? A Comparative Demographic Analysis

Part Two in a series, this article examines historic racial/ethnic demographics in Davis compared to surrounding areas and California as a whole in order to determine what sort of effect historic patterns of discrimination may have had.

"The Past Isn't Dead. It Isn't Even Past"

By Rik Keller

The first installment of this series, “Why Is So Davis So White? A Brief History of Discrimination”, provided an overview of mortgage loan redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory housing practices in the U.S., with examples from Davis showing the extent of overt discrimination in housing practices that led to excluding non-white populations from specific areas.

The article concluded with a brief summary that described how In Davis—as in many areas of the U.S.—redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory practices effectively locked out minorities from being able to participate in one of the greatest mass opportunities for wealth accumulation in U.S. history: the post-WWII housing boom. And even as overtly discriminatory practices started to be curtailed, post-WWII municipal zoning practices in the 1950s— especially in fast-growing suburban areas—emphasized large-lot single-family homes as a way to exclude more affordable housing types and to continue patterns of racial/ethnic/income segregation. One common misconception when discussing housing is that discrimination in the U.S. ended some time in the 1960s. Davis is an example of how the wealth disparities that were accentuated by these policies and practices persist today with residential patterns and housing opportunities distributed along particular racial/ethnic lines, along with ongoing discrimination.

Continue reading "How White Is Davis Anyway? A Comparative Demographic Analysis" »

On the Proposed Ordinance to Prohibit the Feeding of Certain Wildlife

TurkeysIn response to concerns over the behavior of turkeys and other City wildlife, City staff has drafted an ordinance (see ordinance here) that would ban the feeding of certain wildlife, namely, coyotes, wild turkeys, foxes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, ducks, geese, crows, and gulls. 

What constitutes “feeding”?  Well, the ordinance spells this out pretty specifically.  It includes both deliberate and intentional feeding as well as negligent feeding, with a provision for warning inadvertent violators of the ordinance. 

I encourage everyone to take a look at the details of ordinance; my focus here is not on those details but rather on the pushback I’ve seen from the community, most recently with Sunday’s Enterprise column from Bob Dunning.  I can’t tell how strong that pushback is, but on the assumption that it might be strong, I thought it was important to discuss.

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New online questionnaire for the future of downtown Davis

NewonlinesurveyThe City of Davis is planing for the future of Downtown! The project team is currently drafting the Downtown Davis Plan Specific Plan and would like additional clarity on some topics. The Downtown Davis Plan Online Questionnaire just opened today and will stay open through Tues, October 2.

The website address: www.CityofDavis.org/DowntownPlan

The Spirit of the Davis Based Buyer Program for the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC)

By Jason Taormino

The spirit of the Davis Based Buyer program for the West Davis Active adult community is a focus on our community's needs. Nearly six hundred Davis families have joined our interest list for the for sale homes and there are more than four hundred additional individuals on waiting lists for affordable senior apartments. During our lengthy community outreach including more than seventeen city commission and council meetings we were asked for some methodology to ensure that we focused on this home grown demand rather than advertising in the Bay Area.

On dozens of occasions while dropping off or picking up my kids at Cesar Chavez elementary school I was approached by parents who were eager to move their aging parent(s) to Davis. From my perspective there are two clear segments of demand that our proposed neighborhood can serve from a market rate perspective - seniors in Davis who want to downsize and those who want their aging parents to come to Davis. Additionally, the affordable apartments and a memory care facility serve important needs. Without the senior restriction on 80% of the homes it is highly unlikely that seniors in Davis or bringing a parent to Davis would occur as a significant percentage of the total housing.

Continue reading "The Spirit of the Davis Based Buyer Program for the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC)" »

Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure L - No on West Davis Active Adult Community

Sierraclub(Press release) Citing grounds of unplanned sprawling development, the Sierra Club announced its opposition to Measure L in Davis CA on the November 2018 municipal ballot. Measure L is a vote to allow the annexation of a 75 acre parcel of farmland on the northwest periphery of the City and the subsequent development of a senior housing project including 410 single-family, single-story detached homes and a 150 units of low-income senior housing. 

The endorsement of the opposition to this ballot measure follows an extensive evaluation process by the local Sierra Club Yolano Group, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club California Local Measure Review Committee.

The Sierra Club has long-standing official policies designed to minimize urban housing sprawl and maximize intensive infill development. These include planning policies which stimulate conservation of open space and preservation of natural areas and agricultural lands, The Sierra Club opposes sprawl as a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use that is devastating environmental and social conditions.

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Erroneous Assumptions and Hyperbole are Used by the Davis Vanguard to Justify WDAAC's Illegal Affordable Housing Program

By Alan Pryor


In yesterday’s column entitled “My View: Unintended Consequences – Will Anyone Go above the Affordable Housing Requirements Again?, David Greenwald made a number of unsubstantiated and erroneous claims about whether the City’s current affordable housing requirements were met by the West Davis Active Adult Community project.

Mr Greenwald claims these City’s minimum affordable housing requirements were more than met by the developer and chastised opponents of the project for making a number of “misleading” or “inaccurate” statements.

As reported by Mr. Greenwald in yesterday’s column,

What we see at WDAAC is that the developer would have been required to build around 84 units in order to reach the 15 percent threshold.  The developer could have avoided much of this kerfuffle by simply donating 1.25 acres of the land, the minimum required and then pumping additional money just like Sterling did to help them build the housing.

The result is that the developers would have met the minimum 15 percent affordable housing requirements.  They would have had a cash contribution in there to assist with building the project.  And this attack by the opposition would not have occurred.


“Instead of 1.25 acres, they’ve donated around 4.25 – which means by their calculation, they have made about a $2.7 million contribution over and above what they were required to do.

In addition, there will be an additional 66 or so affordable units (there were some differences in what number that was originally required, but we will use 74 for the purpose of this argument).”

The problem with David’s analysis is that it is just blanket statements of numbers presented as facts. There is no quantitative calculations to justify these claims nor references to the Affordable Housing Ordinance or the Development Agreement to substantiate these claims.

Continue reading "Erroneous Assumptions and Hyperbole are Used by the Davis Vanguard to Justify WDAAC's Illegal Affordable Housing Program " »

Why it’s a problem that “Yes on L” is refusing to debate the WDAAC project

DebateThree days ago, Alan Pryor revealed on the Davisite that David Taormino was refusing to participate in two public forums on the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC), apparently because he particularly objected to debating Alan.  But maybe some Davisites don’t see why this is a problem.  After all, are developers obligated to participate in a public forum?

Yes, they are.  And they shouldn’t be able to select who their debating opponents are.

To see why, let’s compare a public forum for the Davis City Council with a public forum for Measure L. 

Continue reading "Why it’s a problem that “Yes on L” is refusing to debate the WDAAC project" »

Hidden Figures, Billie Jean King, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

HiddenfiguresUnfortunately, movie reviews are not my forté. (The Davisite looks forward to the time when our movie reviewer, G. Bruno Fischer, can resume writing his reviews again).  But three recent movies, all focused on women, have me reflecting on what they have in common. 

I've begun to think that all women are, in some sense, hidden figures. 

Continue reading "Hidden Figures, Billie Jean King, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg" »

Why Won’t David Taormino Participate in Forums or Debates on Measure L – What is He Afraid of or Hiding?

AfraidEmojiBy Alan Pryor

There is a long history of community forums and debates in Davis on important ballot measures that were hosted by various community groups. Indeed, every major ballot measure for the past 10 years has seen at least two or more such forums or public debates occur leading up to election day.

I myself have participated in a number of these debates on behalf of the City including two supporting passage of Measure D (the Parks Tax Renewal in 2012), six supporting passage of Measure I (the Water Project in 2013), and two supporting passage of Measure O (the Sales Tax Measure in 2014). I also represented the No on Nishi 1.0 campaign in 2016 in five forums or debates.

The campaign committee “No on Measure L – No on West Davis Active Adult Community” has offered to participate in any and all such public forums and debates on Measure L during this election cycle and we were rearranging our work and vacation schedules to make sure we were available to attend such events.

We thought we had a minimum of 2 forum/debates scheduled and were actively working to arrange to participate in others until late last week. Then we were informed that the two planned events sponsored by CivEnergy and Rancho Yolo were abruptly cancelled and simultaneously the phone lines went dead with prospective sponsors of other potential forums/debates.

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Why Is Davis So White? A Brief History of Housing Discrimination

Part one in a series on discrimination and housing in Davis, this article provides an overview of mortgage loan redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory housing practices in the U.S., with examples from Davis showing the extent of discrimination in housing practices that excluded non-white populations from specific areas. 

Sierra Vista Oaks (Miller Drive)-1950-detail
Image: detail of the deed restrictions for the Sierra Vista Oaks subdivision in Davis (Miller Drive & Ovejas Avenue north of 8th Street) from 1950. [source: Yolo County Clerk-Recorder archives, retrieved by the author]

By Rik Keller


In 1917, the Supreme Court in Buchanan v. Warley ruled municipal racial zoning unconstitutional. In response, private agreements—including restrictive covenants—started to be put in place to continue residential segregation practices: “Racially restrictive covenants refer to contractual agreements that prohibit the purchase, lease, or occupation of a piece of property by a particular group of people.”[1] These were legally-enforceable contracts put onto the deed of the property. They were enforced with the help of neighborhood associations, real estate boards, and other organizations. For example, the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB), started in 1908, promoted the use of racial covenants in new developments.

Typical language in these racially-restrictive covenants included statements such as “…hereafter no part of said property or any portion thereof shall be…occupied by any person not of the Caucasian race…[2] These covenants became so commonplace that “by 1940, 80% of property in Chicago and Los Angeles carried restrictive covenants barring black families.”[3]

Continue reading "Why Is Davis So White? A Brief History of Housing Discrimination" »

Deceptive map for the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) Project

CourtesymapAny complex project will have its pros and cons, so voters need accurate information in order to be able to properly assess them.  The “courtesy map” included in an article about the project in today’s Davis Enterprise, presumably provided by WDAAC project proponents, works against this purpose.  It is extremely misleading.

Looking at the map provided, you’d think it would be just a short hop from the WDAAC to the Marketplace shopping center, where there is a supermarket, a drug store, restaurants, and other useful businesses.  Of course, this would be desirable if it were true.  But it isn’t true.

The Google satellite map shows the real story.  Highway 113, just a thin line on the courtesy map, is a wide freeway, together with on-ramps and off-ramps (not shown on the courtesy map at all) on either side.  Pedestrians will have to cross the distance of the highway and the on- and off- ramps. 

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