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May 2019

Honoring Dr. Thomas Cahill

Cahill programA man whose outstanding science was matched by his humanity

By Roberta Millstein

On Saturday, a packed St. James Catholic Church paid their respects to one of Davis’s most esteemed and well-loved sons, Dr. Thomas Cahill, better known to his friends and family as “Tom.”

Tom’s achievements were many; they are outlined in the obituary in the Davis Enterprise.  What most impresses me about his record was his dedication to doing science that mattered.  Trained as a nuclear astrophysicist, he quickly turned to the issue of air quality in California and was one of the small team that successfully advocated for the lead- and sulfur-free gasoline in the early 1970s.  His work on air quality continued throughout his career, even after his “retirement,” working on ultra-fine aerosols (including their impact on first-responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack) and aerosol impacts on global climate.

A few years ago, I was visiting at another university and met another faculty member who worked on air quality.  I asked him if he had heard of Tom Cahill.  The answer?  “Of course, yes!  Tom is the person to talk to about air quality issues.”

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Arroyo Zipline Opens

fixFirefighters to lock it up at night

By Colin Walsh

The City of Davis Parks department delivered as promised and the Arroyo Zipline is back up and zipping. Even so the Change.org petition to reopen the zipline permanently has continued to gather signatures.

This afternoon I found several Davis Parks employees restoring the zipline to operation. They reattached the swings and I witnessed them squirting large amounts of lubricant onto the tracks. Even Martin Jones, the Superintendent of Davis Parks, was there. They were smiling and clearly happy to be restoring the equipment.

Interestingly, the lock up mechanism is no more than a beefy chain and pad lock. Jones described the lock down plan for me. A City Parks Employee will unlock the zipline every morning and a Davis Fire Department Employee will lock up the zipline every night.

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Arroyo Park Zipline to Reopen Today

IMG-4119Noise complaints, a petition, and City response

By Colin Walsh

On May 20 the City of Davis disabled the large brand new zipline playground equipment in Arroyo Park apparently in response to noise complaints from neighbors. The substantial over 30-foot-long equipment was only just opened at the end of April but was already quite popular with parents and kids.  Since closure just 4 days ago, already a change.org petition titled “Permanently bring back the Arroyo Park ziplines” has received 248 signatures.

Neighborhood sentiment was easily visible on Facebook and Nextdoor with many posts urging the City to reopen the Zipline.

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Davis Vanguard Fundraiser Post-Mortem

Developers and Council Get Cozy with the Vanguard

By Roberta Millstein, Rik Keller, and Colin Walsh

After having raised concerns about Sunday’s Vanguard fundraiser in a series of articles (most recently here), we thought we should give a quick summary of how it all turned out.

The event was scheduled to begin at 5 PM.  The three of us arrived a bit earlier than that.  Rik ordered a large pizza, which we munched on throughout the event.  We sat just outside of the back area of Lamppost Pizza that had been reserved for the fundraiser. 

Mayor Brett Lee speaking

We watched people trickle in and mingle in the designated area.  The event finally got started around 5:30 PM, beginning with David Greenwald speaking.  Mayor Brett Lee spoke immediately afterward.  There was no amplification of their voices and so we couldn’t hear much of what was being said.  According to the Vanguard’s own account, Lee discussed homelessness.  At this point, the only other City Council member in attendance was Dan Carson.

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WHY DO THEY COME? The Root Causes of Immigration to the US

Public Presentation June 2

(From Press release) Come hear a first-hand report on "The Root Causes of Immigration to the U.S." June 2 at the Friends Meeting, corner of 4th and L Streets, Davis at 2:00pm.

The news media are filled with stories and pictures of thousands of migrants walking from Central America through Mexico to the U.S. border seeking asylum or other categories of entry. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and the migrants clearly are desperate, determined, and hopeful. Why do they undertake such a journey? Why do they come, what are they escaping or seeking?

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Artists gather to share their creativity

Birch Lane students see a production this month of "Light the Way," a bike safety musical by Bike City Theatre Company. There's a public performance of the play June 1-2 at Patwin Elementary.
Photo credit: Owen Yancher/Davis Enterprise

By Wendy Weitzel

More than 20 artists and supporters of the arts gathered May 16 for the bi-monthly Arts Alliance Davis meeting, this time at the city’s Hunt-Boyer Mansion downtown. This story is a glance at what’s going on in the local arts community.

Arts Alliance Davis meets every other month, at rotating venues. The collaborative effort unites artists, civic and arts organizations, businesses, patrons and other community arts allies. It’s open to anyone who creates, supports or enjoys the arts.

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Statement from the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association

Regarding the 5/15/2019 Court decision on the Trackside project

OEDNA-v-CoDThe Old East Davis Neighborhood Association is grateful that the Court conducted a thorough review of the administrative record and made a well-considered decision. The Court was unusually diligent, in that the Parties were brought together for a second hearing to ensure that all relevant aspects of the case were presented.

Vacate-and-rescindIt was never the neighborhood's intention to prevent redevelopment of this site. We support infill. In a Davis Enterprise Op Ed on Sept 24, 2017, we showed that the Trackside proposal could be downscaled to fit within neighborhood Design Guidelines and City zoning. The Court's ruling is a good outcome that could lead to a well-designed, transitional building that is consistent with Davis' land use policies.

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Local Environmental Heros Honored by Sierra Club

(From Press release) This year, environmentalists from the local Sierra Club Yolano Group's area (primarily Yolo County) received 4 of the 6 individual awards given for all of Northern California at the Sierra Club’s Mother Lode Chapter Annual Awards Banquet in Sacramento on May 18. One additional special award for meritorious service was given to a local environmentalist by the Yolano Group.

The Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club covers almost all of Northern California from Yosemite to the Oregon border and the Inner Coast Range to the Nevada state line. The Sierra Club is the nation's largest and oldest environmental group and has almost 1,500 members in Yolo Co. and 3.5 million members nationwide.

Following are the local environmental heroes receiving the awards at the gala event and a brief description of why they were recognized.

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Criticism of City Council For Ties To Davis Vanguard Continues

14May2019CityCouncilVanguard Defends Council

The following are comments that Roberta Millstein, Colin Walsh, and Rik Keller provided to City Council on Tuesday evening, May 14, during the open citizen comment period (these may not be verbatim as language could have been modified slightly during presentation or cut short due to time constraints).

14May2019GreenwaldIt should be noted that after we again criticized the City Council for their involvement with the Vanguard fundraiser, on Wednesday morning in the Vanguard “premium newsletter” David Greenwald attacked Colin Walsh several times after identifying him as a potential City Council candidate – and then proceeded to defend the current Council, which has three incumbents who may be running for re-election, on a separate issue.

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Davis Hosts Green New Deal Town Hall as Part of Nationwide Mobilization

Community members from Davis and surrounding areas will meet at the UC Davis Art Annex to discuss the ​Green New Deal and how to best address the climate emergency on Saturday, May 25th, from 10am-12pm. The event is one of more than 250 town halls for the Green New Deal taking place all over the country. It hopes to stimulate conversation and action on climate justice in the region.
Saturday May 25, 10 AM - 12 PM
UC Davis Art Annex 107
● Sunrise Movement ● Yolo County Progressives ● Sierra Club (Yolano Group) ● UPTE - University Professional and Technical Employees ● YDSA - Young Democratic Socialists of America at UC Davis

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No On L Campaign Cleared by FPPC

L graphicYes On L Campaign Investigation Continues

By Colin Walsh

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) have ended an investigation into the No on Measure L WDAAC. The City of Davis provided Davisite.org a letter from the FPPC addressed to Alan Pryor “No on Measure L - No on West Davis Active Adult Community” Treasurer that states, “The Enforcement Division will not pursue this matter further.” This puts to an end an investigation into the No on L campaign committee that was originated by WDAAC developer and the Davis City Council.

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City Council Makes Target Mall Decision Based on Demonstrably False Claims

By Daniel Urazandi

I wasn't at all surprised when the sitting council voted unanimously to remove the zoning restrictions on the Target mall. But I was astonished by the content of the staff report they based that decision on. It makes claims that are demonstrably false to anyone who has taken even a walk around downtown, and then these are the very statements that have been parroted by the chamber in a support letter and by council in their decision. From the report:

“In 2006, the city was concerned that the shopping center could have a negative impact on the economic viability of the downtown.

Studies were prepared that showed there was little likelihood of urban decay, which has held true.

After 10 years of operation in the city, staff believes it can be empirically deduced that the tenants in the shopping center are not relocating from the downtown area nor are they causing closure and mass vacancy in the downtown area”

“In fact downtown is thriving regardless of the existence of other businesses in Davis”

“there is no evidence that the shopping center has an impact on the downtown area.”

In other words, they are doubling down on the lie they told in 2006 even in the face of plain evidence from the intervening years.

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AFSCME 3299 and UPTE-CWA 9119 Strike at UC, May 16

May16-strikeBy Connor Gorman

Solidarity forever! The UC still hasn't agreed to provide basic rights and dignity to many of its workers (much less what they truly deserve). On top of this, the UC is continuing to outsource countless jobs to for profit companies whose employees are treated even worse than UC employees. Because of this, AFSCME 3299 (which covers service and patient care workers) will be striking this Thursday (May 16) along with UPTE-CWA 9119 (which covers technical and professional employees). The only picket-line in the region for this strike will be at the UC Davis med center (in Sacramento) since there will not be a picket line on the main UC Davis campus this time but some people are arranging carpools between Davis and the picket line. For more details see:

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New study challenges Wiener’s approach to housing

Eminent economic geographers say that deregulation and upzoning will make gentrification in cities like SF much worse.

By Tim Redmond

Pretty much everybody who’s paying attention to the housing crisis in San Francisco – except, apparently, the Chronicle – is talking about the new study by eminent economic geographers Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Michael Storper that argues against looser zoning rules as a solution to the housing crisis.

Even Richard Florida, who used to love the idea of cities attracting the young “creative class” (before he discovered gentrification) says the study is important. It’s the latest in a series of studies that challenge the notion that allowing the private market to build more housing will bring down prices.

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City Staff Misleads the Council on Target Mall

IMG_4062by Colin Walsh

In an item on tonight’s City Council agenda, Developers and City staff are asking the City Council to relax requirements at the Target shopping center on 2nd Street by Mace. 10 years in, there are still store fronts there that have never held a store. Sadly, the City staff report urging the change has huge glaring problems.

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Davis Vanguard IRS Disclosure Problem

Door_cropPART II: Obfuscation and Misdirection

By Colin Walsh

Part I of the article series “Vanguard Slams the Door on Required Public Disclosures” discussed information requests made by Rik Keller to the Davis Vanguard seeking in-person inspection of documents required by federal law to be made available and the Vanguard’s refusal to provide these, both figuratively and literally slamming the door in the face of these requests. This information request is directly connected to the investigative work that Keller and others (including myself) have been performing to publicly document possible ethical and legal violations by both the Vanguard and the Davis City Council in relation to a planned upcoming fundraiser that the Vanguard has advertised, Keller and others have also publicly called for the Vanguard to adopt principles/policies/guidelines regarding ethical journalistic practices and funding/donor transparency, including standards and guidelines advocated by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN).

After the Davisite published Part I of this series, the Vanguard posted some of the tax records Keller requested to www.davisvanguard.org. On the face of it this may seem responsive to the requests and the previous article, but there is more to the story.

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Whole Earth Festival at 50

17880393_10156045259041562_2837432402355387804_oBy David Kupfer

This festival was absolutely the first of its kind some 50 years ago, an art happening/educational event produced for and by students to advance alternative ideologies and enjoy enlightening music and speakers, all focused around a shared appreciation and worship of our Mother Earth home planet.  It presaged Earth Day which occurred around the globe the following year and continues to this day. In the turbulence of the late 60s, a beautiful form of community expression manifested that lives on today. I grant you the nudity and clouds of weed smoke have disappeared due to the University’s prudish conservative character, but the spirit goes on.

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Concern about tree pruning in middle of nesting season

By Pam Nieberg 

Please contact the City Council, City Manager, City Wildlife Resource Specialist and whomever else you wish regarding the city tree pruning that is going on right now.  Someone in the city contracted for the pruning of city trees now, in the middle of nesting season for virtually every bird species, including the legally protected Swainsons Hawk.  Who in their right mind would do that?

When I received a notice of the pruning, I contacted the city to ask that it stop, giving the reasons stated above.  Unfortunately, a number of the city trees in my neighborhood, including a number of Canary Island Pines which Swainson's hawks love, were heavily pruned despite efforts to prevent it. 

Normally, this time of year, I hear the Swainson's hawks vocalizing all over the neighborhood, every day, all day. Yesterday and today after the pruning--complete silence.

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‘Davis Needle’ points the way between UC Davis and downtown

 Mike Hollibaugh of Holly Solar watches as artist Mark Grieve, in hardhat, guides forklift driver Dave Pedroli during Tuesday's installation of "The Davis Needle" at Third Street and University Avenue in Davis. Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Weitzel

A 25-foot-tall obelisk created from reclaimed bicycle parts is a sparkling new addition to Davis’ public artworks.

On Tuesday, artists installed “The Davis Needle,” which rises from the center of the Third Street and University Avenue intersection. The city of Davis commissioned it in 2011 as part of the Third Street Improvement project.

“I feel like I’ve been working on it my whole life,” artist Mark Grieve joked on Tuesday morning, as he adjusted the base before a forklift hoisted the sculpture into place. Crowds gathered to watch the installation, some of them enjoying lunch or beverages at two adjacent restaurants: Third and U Café and Pho King 4.

Artists Grieve and Ilana Spector designed and built the sculpture, and Mike Hollibaugh of Holly Solar devised and installed the internal LED lighting system. At night, an animated sequence of random, fluid lights will surge through the sculpture.

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Traffic Fiascos: Who’s Responsible?

By Glen Holstein

Lately Davis has been lurching from one fiasco, paid parking, to another, Mace gridlock, like a drunk staggering home from a dive bar.  Kudos to the Davis Enterprise for connecting the dots that these and many other fiascos are related elements of a campaign that’s strangling vehicle traffic while increasing greenhouse gas release and reducing safety.  And kudos to Ellie Fairclough for pointing out the similarity between the Mace and Paradise fiascos.  As at Mace, the exit road from Paradise was reduced from four to two lanes and traffic “calmed” so much that 88 people were incinerated trying to escape the Camp Fire.

And in the paid parking fiasco parking enforcement staff were cheerleaded so much that they started behaving more like an occupying army than public servants.  Recently when a downtown business owner tried going to lunch she was forcibly detained by a parking enforcer who yelled “You can’t leave – I haven’t written you a ticket yet.”

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