Sometimes it seems this town is trying to find its get up and go. If we were taking an auto trip we are getting a lot of constituencies into the car, Ag and Seed, BioTech, New Downtown, Innovation Center, are all getting in and closing the door, putting on our seatbelts, turning the key and not getting anywhere. To our dismay, we look down and see no tires. We are missing an essential element that forms the vehicle that drives our economy to growth, to speed us along our way, that thing is cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth. Businesses and their employees working in these fields that we are trying to bring to town, require access to the fastest and most reliable transport infrastructure available, fiber optic cable. For three years the City of Davis Broadband Advisory Task Force has been evaluating the feasibility of a community-owned fiber optic network. On June 4th they will deliver their recommendation that it is, and that the City should seriously consider pursuing this opportunity. We agree, and hope the City Council takes the next steps the Task Force recommends.
The community owned fiber optic project will meet many specific economic and connectivity objectives of its community partners. More importantly its design is guided by certain principles and community values and brings direct substantial benefits to Davis residents. These benefits are referenced from and included in the Feasibility Study Report (FSR), the phone survey, and the DavisGIG online poll. Some of the current needs that the network is designed to address are:
Digital Inclusion - Currently in the marketplace there are areas where residents have no choice, or poor connectivity. There are three specific areas in Davis1 where only one wireline provider offers any service considered by the FCC to have “Broadband.”2 A community owned network that covers all parcels, and methodically expands to future parcels ensures that all residents, regardless of income level will be connected to the network.3
Digital Divide - The network, which will connect to every parcel in the community, can ensure that all residents regardless of income level have at least minimal level of wireline broadband service without data caps or restrictive transfer allowances that come with cell phone plans. Municipal ownership will ensure, through operational policy or specific vendor lease relationships to the municipal fiber, that a low income plan is available.4 Davis residents strongly believe Internet access on the fiber network should be available to all.5
By Annika Forester and Colin Walsh
In the middle of Saturday afternoon at the 50th anniversary Whole Earth Festival a throng of die-hard festival goers left the UC Davis Quad and headed west. We gathered together with others at the Student Farm, a place on campus that showcases many of the values and ideals the Whole Earth Festival has celebrated for five decades. As special as the festival’s golden anniversary was, we were headed to something more important focused on the next 50 years.
By Roberta Millstein
When I read the Davis Enterprise op-ed on roads, driving, and biking last month (“Infrastructure, what is it good for?”), I was sympathetic. After all, it does seem to make sense to call out the “operative principle” that “if only we make driving (or parking) inconvenient enough, then people will drive less, or slower, or somewhere else.” Indeed, as the op-ed says, we surely don’t want to rejigger our roads and our parking spaces only to increase car traffic and cars idling if the goal is to reduce carbon emissions.
But now I am not so sure.
By Nancy Price
On May 14th, 2019 Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, sent a remarkable letter to the Chancellors of all UC campuses, the Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the CEOs of all the UC Medical centers announcing the “temporary suspension of the use of glyphosate-based herbicides.”
Napolitano cited “concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards, as well as potential legal and reputational risks associated with this category of herbicides.”
This may be a response to the mounting scientific research linking glyphosate to cancer, or it could just be that the UC system is worried about being named as a defendant in a glyphosate lawsuit like the three Monsanto/Bayer have lost over the last two years. The most recent lawsuit found Bayer responsible for damages of 2 billion dollars.
As I biked through a wooded area on a path headed downtown from South Davis around sunset, I began hearing party music. The music and bright flashing party lights came quickly toward me and then zoomed right past. The speaker and lights were mounted to a bike and the rider was the leader of a long string of cyclists, many with brightly decorated and lit up bicycles. There were perhaps thirty of them that whizzed by me going in the opposite direction.
One of the bikers caught my eye and said as he past, “Psst, you’re going the wrong direction! Turn around, it’s a bike party”!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Regarding the 5/15/2019 Court decision on the Trackside project
The 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.
It 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.
(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.
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).
It 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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.