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June 2019

Valley Clean Energy board meeting, Thursday, July 11

VCEThe Valley Clean Energy board of directors will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, in the Council Chambers at Woodland City Hall, 300 First St. in Woodland. The meeting is open to the public.

The board — which includes members of the Davis and Woodland city councils and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors — is expected to hear a presentation from a representative of PG&E on the utility’s residential time-of-use rates.

VCE, the local electricity provider, launched a year ago and provides cleaner energy at competitive rates to 55,000 local customers. For more information, visit https://valleycleanenergy.org. To receive agendas by email, sign up at https://valleycleanenergy.org/get-in-touch/.

What Rich Rifkin Doesn’t Understand about Ethnic Studies

Rifkin-ethnic-studiesIn arguing against ethnic studies, he inadvertently demonstrates the need for it.

By Roberta Millstein

When I was in college, I saw little need for Women’s Studies courses.  My thinking was that discussion of important contributions from women should be included throughout the curriculum. 

Some thirty-five years later, they still aren’t.  Neither are the contributions of racial minorities.  Yet some people still sing the same song that I song in college.  They have failed to learn what I  learned the hard way – that change doesn’t just happen on its own, and that sometimes you need what might seem like an imperfect solution in the interim in order to get to the point where you can implement a better solution. 

We need ethnic studies now.  We’re not at the point where we can just integrate the work of racial minorities into the curriculum.  I wish we were there yet, but we’re not.

Continue reading "What Rich Rifkin Doesn’t Understand about Ethnic Studies" »

Davis Soroptimists give moms a boost

On June 5, Soroptimists Meredith Sweet, left, and Eda Chen present Terecita Lopez with a $2,500 grant to help her finish her training to become a licensed vocational nurse. Three other women received grants as well.
Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo

Soroptimist International of Davis gave a boost to four local moms on June 5, when it presented $5,000 in Live Your Dream Awards.

(From Press Release)

At a luncheon at Odd Fellows Hall, the service organization presented a $2,500 grant to Terecita Lopez, a $1,000 grant to Brenee Spears, and $500 grants to Samantha Morales and Ngozi Nwoko.

The Live Your Dream Award is a cash grant given to women who are financial heads of their household and pursuing an undergraduate degree or vocational training. The award is a resource for motivated women to improve their education, skills and employment prospects, leading to better lives for themselves and their family.

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Frustration Over Paid Parking Expansions

Paid-parkingNew citizen initiative filed in response

Frustrated by City Hall's insistence on paid parking expansions despite massive popular resistance, friends of downtown and concerned Davisites have filed a citizen's initiative to go on the March 2020 ballot. The proponents of record are Daniel Urazandi and Robert Milbrodt although many people have been involved in drafting the initiative. To become involved yourself come to a campaign organizing meeting at Steve's Pizza 6PM on Thurs June 20.

Public notice from the proponents:

Why an initiative?

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Making Lettuce Happen

LetuceBy Kelley Joseph

I have tried for a few seasons to grow lettuces and failed several times and this year was the first year I managed to make it happen. SO I wanted to share some tips that made the difference in case anyone here has struggled with it or is interested in adding it. I’m by no means an expert, so that means 1. If I can do it, you can do it too 2. Feel encouraged to add more advice if you have had your own success with it 3. This is definitely a hacking together and not an expensive professional set up so don’t be intimidated or think it takes a lot of complicated gear.

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Overheard at Cindy's

CindysBy Carey Ann Hunt

            “I don’t think my future girlfriend would appreciate the fact that I drive 90 mph every chance I get. So, considering that, I try to slow down to 65 every time I notice how fast I’m going.” He is a tall slender young man, wearing a black San Francisco tee-shirt, and fine rimmed glasses. He chatted to his friend, a young woman with a grown out bob pulled back into two pony tails. They sat across from each other in a booth, on the Chiles’ side of the restaurant. Piano music played in the background. It was a slow Tuesday evening at Cindy’s.

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A Tour of The Sustainable Living and Learning Communities

A IMG_8406A future focused interdisciplinary institution grows from the deep roots of UC Davis’s alternative communities.

By Colin Walsh

In an earlier article we discussed the new SLLC that binds together the Student Farm, The Experimental Community Gardens, the Domes, Design Lab workspace, and Project Compost and the Tri Co-ops (Pierce, The Agrarian Effort, and Davis Student Co-op). What had been distinct learning communities with similar values and commitment to student agency, are now a unified grassroots educational initiative that explores a broad range of principles and practices related to agricultural, environmental, and social sustainability. Together, they aspire to promote 4 values, according to the SLLC website: experiential learning, sustainability, community, and place.

We also looked at the Green Fellowship program, a new effort to “fund projects exploring student-led advancement of social justice, sustainable technology, and environmental sustainability at UC Davis” according to the website.

A_IMG_4047The Tour

On Saturday 5/11, as a very nice wine and cheese reception featuring food from the Student Farm and wine from the award winning Matthiasson and Farella wineries wound down (Steve Matthiasson and Tom Farella where in attendance), our tour guides gathered us together in the Eco Garden by the historic farm house at the student farm. We were welcomed warmly by our guides Carol Hillhouse and Nick Tamayo. Nick described his several years of experience with the student farm as he became ever more involved.

First, we walked through the Eco Garden, literally taking time to smell the flowers. Our guides took the time to point out plants and told us about the history and visions for the areas as we went.

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Aimee Rose Santone Delivers in Rent

Rent By Rachel Rycerz

Aimee Rose Santone will be playing Mimi in Davis Musical Theatre Company’s production of Jontathan Larson’s rock musical RENT, running June 14 through July 7. This will be her third featured role at DMTC; she debuted with the role of Esmeralda in Hunchback of Notre Dame in January, and just finished playing Gladys in Pajama Game. Ms. Santone took a few moments before rehearsal to duck into the hall outside the theater (located at 607 Pena Drive in Davis) and talk about her latest role.

Mimi is the youngest principal role in RENT. Though the character is only 19, Mimi has already had it pretty rough in her life, has a drug addiction, and is living with AIDS. Aimee shared “Despite having a hard life, she brings a positive attitude.  She lives each day in the moment, like it is her last.”

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Davis Amtrak Survey?

SurveyI just took the Davis Amtrak station transit survey and I have some questions of my own.

By Colin Walsh

The City spent $250,000 on a User Survey about the Davis Amtrak station. The funding came from a state of California grant and not the City of Davis, but that is still a pretty good chunk of CA taxpayer change.

I am a frequent train commuter, so I was interested to take the survey. Having grown up in Davis I am a native bike rider, having lived in New York I am an adaptive strap hanger, and having lived in LA I have certainly done my share of driving.

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Mace Ranch Innovation Center reborn as Aggie Research Campus

West from Rd 30B - Sac skylineThe on-again off-again on-again business park proposal returns, with scanty detail

By Roberta Millstein

The proposed Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) is back, now reborn as the Aggie Research Campus (ARC).

In Spring 2016, the developers of the proposed MRIC decided to put the project on hold, citing “higher than expected costs” and a less-than-promising economic analysis.  This was actually the second hold on the project, the developers having suspended the project once before, then having brought it back, then having suspended it again.

When the proposal was suspended for the second time, some City analysis had been done, but some commissions were still in the process of analyzing the proposal, such as the Finance and Budget Commission, the Natural Resources Commission, and the Open Space and Habitat Commission (as I noted in a letter to the editor in the Enterprise after the first hold).

Now as UCD and DJUSD let out for summer vacations, the developers have returned to request that the City resume processing their application.  See the following letter addressed to the members of the Davis City Council:

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Concert to Fight Human Trafficking and Child Sexual Abuse

62509530_2404302522942218_416424790476193792_nTaylor Chicks, The Duval Speck Trio, and The Yadao Trio Play Benefit Concert for Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center 

From Press Release

All are invited to attend a fun-filled, energetic benefit concert with The Taylor Chicks, The Duval Speck Trio, and The Yadao Trio at The Oddfellows Hall, 415 2nd Street in Davis on Sunday, June 23 from 4:30-8:00 pm.

This special event supports Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center ( MDIC ) in its efforts to eliminate human trafficking and child sexual abuse. Beer, wine, Fabulous Tacos by T’s Tacos and Tunes will be available for purchase. There will be a silent auction featuring artwork by Cathy Speck, which has been very popular in the Davis 2nd Friday Art About circuit.

Cameron Handley, Director of the MDIC (Yolo County’s Children’s Advocacy Center) reports, “Sex trafficking of our local youth is far more prevalent in Yolo County than most people realize. Because of our proximity to two major interstates, I-80 and I-5, our specific region in California is one of the most targeted regions by traffickers in the United States”

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Davis's Pontac and Bailes Recognized in ABC 10 Segment

ABC10By Colin Walsh

Sacramento's ABC 10 ran an uplifting segment about long time Davis residents Ellen Pontac and Shelly Bailes on Monday June 10th. The 6 minute segment shares this long time Davis couple's story in their struggle for marriage equity. 

After years of domestic partnership that the state refused to legally recognize, Bails and Pontac were first married in San Francisco in 2004 but the marriage was invalidated by the California Supreme Court. The second time was the charm and in 2008 they became the first same sex couple to wed in Yolo County.

Bailes told me, "We think it was very sweet that ABC 10 did this. It was a fun interview because we got to talk about the past and reminisce."


Barista Brew

Cropped 1

By Michelle Jillian Bailey

The welcoming aroma of coffee. The clink of dishes and whoosh of the foamer. A tiny woman behind the counter. She owns a huge smile and an even bigger heart. This mighty woman is Jira, proud new owner of Barista Brew Café.

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Proposal Triples Size of Homeless Shelter

Pauls-place-renderingCurrent Zoning Does Not Allow for 4 Story Project

By Colin Walsh 

Paul’s Place homeless shelter was announced on the front page of the Davis Enterprise yesterday noting how the very rapid growth of the Davis homeless population has overtaxed the old H street facility. This 4-story proposal will include 28 units, 4 emergency beds, “program space to connect people with public benefits, housing and employment opportunities and health and human services, as well as the basic services needed on a daily basis by those living outdoors: food, clothing, showers, restrooms and laundry facilities.” (link)

With the increasing local homeless population there is little doubt that solutions need to be found. Paul’s place would replace the existing well-worn Davis Community Meals 12 bed shelter at 1111H St.

One hurdle the new shelter will need to overcome to be built is the size of the proposed new building. At 4 stories tall it would be the tallest commercial or residential building between 5th St. and Covell. It will be the building in a half mile radius and the current zoning does not allow for 4 a story building.

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Finance and Budget Commission Wants City to Better Communicate Davis Budget Situation

On 6/4/2019 Matt Williams, Chair of the City of Davis Finance and Budget Commission, acting as a representative of the commission presented the following resolutions to the Davis City Council.

Continue reading "Finance and Budget Commission Wants City to Better Communicate Davis Budget Situation" »

Great Tree Search Update

This scarlet oak on Antioch is a car magnet because of the cooling shade it produces all summer.

By Greg McPherson

Nineteen trees were awarded Great Tree status in Tree Davis’s Great Tree Search. Great Trees were designated because of their unusual size, species, form, or history. Awardees ranged from 12 to 380 years old, 11 to 129 feet tall and 1 to 20 feet girth. Fascinating stories on what made each tree special were captured in a series of Davis Enterprise articles this spring and can be found online at the Tree Davis website http://www.treedavis.org/programs/great-tree-search/.

Each Great Tree has a Necklace with species name, fun fact, and a QR code that points one to more information on the website.

Also on the website is a map with locations and fun facts on each Great Tree. A graphic design class at Sacramento City College produced unique Tree Necklaces that adorn each tree with species name, fun fact, and a QR code that points one to more information on the website.

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Pacifico's Naked Impacts on Neighbors

Comments provided by Abbie Dewitt to the Davis City Council 6/4/2019 published with permission.

Good evening. My name is Abbie, and I live on Evergreen Court, the first residential coul-de-sac closest to the Pacifico property, the entrance being about 700 feet away, to give you an idea. I have lived on this street my whole entire life, and I've seen how the community and neighborhood has changed over the past 20 years.

Growing up, I rode my bike to school with my best childhood friend who lived on the same street as me, via the bike path behind our house - the same one the residents of Pacifico use to access their living units. I remember the first day our mothers let us go alone in the 3rd grade, and how independent and mature I felt. Now, almost a decade later, a 3rd grade girl lives in that same house my best friend used to live in. I've babysat her since she was 5, and I know how much she would love to ride her bike to school, but her mother refuses to let her because of how dangerous that same bike path is now. Contaminated needles on the ground, garbage, and people screaming and cursing, to name a few concerns.

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City Council needs forward thinking on broadband internet

My understanding is that the major question in front of the Council is whether to continue to pursue a municipally-owned broadband network.  The Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF) says yes; staff says no.  I am here to support the BATF recommendation.

I was astonished to see Dan Carson's editorial in the Davis Enterprise. It would seem that he has already decided, in advance of today's staff presentation and  without hearing comment from the community and fellow Councilmembers that Davis should not control its own broadband network. I hope that he and other Councilmembers have an open mind on this. 

Everyone seems to agree that having municipally owned broadband would bring great benefits to the City, spurring economic development and small business, bringing in needed revenue, and provide fast internet to schools and low income households. Given that, you would think that this would be a no brainer. 

Yet Carson, following the staff report, worries about the costs. This seems to miss the point in multiple ways. To quote a recent article on the topic: 

“Cities invest in many facilities that are not designed to make a profit, from sports stadiums and convention centers to airports and museums. Cities are not indifferent to the economics of such projects, but the bottom line is not strictly enterprise solvency. Especially for infrastructure like broadband, the network effects and spillovers should contribute to the economic and social life of the community.” https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/a3np4a/new-municipal-broadband-map

Furthermore, as things stand now we are at the mercy of a monopoly. As coincidence would have it, Comcast raised its prices just this month. My household is now paying almost $80 for high speed internet. Our only “alternative” is to “pay less by paying more,” that is, by getting our internet bundled with other services we don’t want and wouldn’t use. We live in Central Davis, yet AT&T cannot provide high speed bandwidth to our household. We are at Comcast's mercy. This is not forward thinking. 

Carson compared City owned broadband to the bullet train. A more accurate comparison would be SMUD, a lost opportunity for Davis to control its own electricity. 

Let’s not make that same mistake again. Let’s do what over 750 communities have done <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/06/29/new-report-swings-and-misses-on-communities-and-next-generation-broadband/amp/> and control our own broadband network.  

Let’s be bold and act for the greater good of the community. 

Davisites, please come to City Council this evening and let the Council know that this issue is important to you. 


A response to Dan Carson's op-ed opposing a city-owned broadband network

There are significant economic reasons to have a municipal fiber project

Published by Matt Williams in the Davis Enterprise, reprinted with permission of the author

I respectfully disagree with Dan Carson.

As a member of the BATF I would like to share with the public the following list of reasons that explain why BATF came to the official conclusion in writing that “the emotion and passion around the concept of a municipal fiber project could not be any more intensified."

BATF officially chose not to include the detailed list in the current recommendation memo because the focus of the memo was limited to the two additional tasks Council gave the BATF in 2018. These reasons cover what was learned during the whole BATF duration from 2016 to 2019. It is important to note that there are some BATF members who might not personally agree with some of the listed reasons; however ALL of the reasons were actively discussed by the BATF. 

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Open Space and Habitat Commission visits new City open space area

IMG_5897On Saturday, the Open Space and Habitat Commission had an officially noticed "meeting" – really, a stroll through the woods – on City-owned land to the west of the Putah Creek South Fork Preserve.  This land, approximately 10 acres in total, was purchased with Open Space funds in 2017 with the goal of providing more open space access for Davisites.  Most of the trail is already there (recently cleared by volunteers); the City plans to make small improvements like signage, removal of invasive plants, etc.

This post is my unofficial impression of our morning as a commission member, as documented through my phone camera.  It was a lovely hike and I hope you enjoy these pictures from the City's "backyard," which you can visit yourself if you care to.

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