10 things you need to know about the UCD-City-County "Town Hall" that are not being reported in other places.
On Thursday 10/17 UCD, the City of Davis, and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors held a public meeting to discuss housing. Both the Enterprise and the Vanguard blog have written about it, but here is a list of 10 significant or interesting points that have been left out of those articles.
1) This was not a “Town Hall” style meeting despite being characterized as such (see May, Lee and Saylor’s oped ). This meeting was held in a traditional public meeting format, with limited public comments in the beginning, then speeches made by the panelists from UCD, City of Davis and Yolo County Supervisors. The last speakers final slide said "Questions?" in bold letters, but was quickly taken off the screen. At the end of the meeting Vice Chancellor Ratcliff noted the meeting was ending early. At that point I very politely asked if the panel would be willing to take questions. VC Ratcliff stated that no questions would be taken. By comparison the October 14 Congressman Garamendi Town Hall had over 1½ hours of Q & A.
2) Very little notice was given for the meeting. It was only posted to the Davis Enterprise on Tuesday 10/15 and the e-notification from the City also only went out on Tuesday. This extremely short notice is legal since the Brown Act only requires 24 hour advance notice for a special meeting, but disappointment has been expressed by many who did not know about the meeting until after the fact. The meeting was also in a remote less known location on campus. By comparison the Garamendi town hall was announced 19 days in advance and held in a central location.
3) No students spoke during public comment, and there may not have even been any students at the meeting. This seems strange given that students demanding more housing have been a regular feature of Davis City Council meetings, and the only published topic of the meeting was housing.
4) The meeting was well attended by the development and real-estate community. Most notably all the big players from the Nishi team were there (John Witcombe, Sandy Whitcombe and Tim Ruff).
5) The Mayor basically declared that the housing crisis was over, even though none of the recently approved big student housing projects are available for rent yet. (see the Mayor's 1 slide)
6) Chancellor May spent most of his time promoting UC Davis, and boasting about its accomplishments. He even told about how he almost was included in an episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” The Chancellor never mentioned what the UCD housing task force recommended, or that UCD is not following those recommendations. See this Greg Rowe article for more details.
7) City officials spent a significant portion of their time complimenting Chancellor May and telling him he was doing a great job.
8) Supervisor Saylor gave a presentation that included a slide announcing the addition of a new “managed” lane to the Causeway and a separate slide about a new electric bus that will be running from UCD to the UCD Medical center. (Aggie electric bus article)
9) Council member Carson talked about his 2003 lawsuit against UCD that delayed the building of housing at West Village and ultimately dissuaded UCD from connecting directly to Russell Blvd from the West Village development, though Carson told Chancellor May that UCD won, “fair and square.”
10) Oddly there were a lot of security guards at the very mild-mannered event.