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November 2019

United Methodist Alternative Giving Fair Benefits Non-Profits

(From press release) Benefit the greater good while shopping for the holidays at the Davis United Methodist Church Alternative Giving Fair, Sunday morning, November 24, from 9:30 to 1 pm. 

The fair will include homemade items, handicrafts from around the world, calendars, cards and other seasonal items.  All proceeds benefit non-profits, such as Heifer International, Sierra Club, Grace Garden, Sahaya International, and United Methodist service projects.  The church is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. 

Davis United Methodist Church is a reconciling and an inclusive community of faith.  Church services are Sundays at 8:30 and 11:00.  For more information, visit www.davisumc.org or contact the church office at davisumc@davisumc.org or 530-756-2170.


Winters Votes to Join Valley Clean Energy

VCE(From press release) The city of Winters is the fourth local jurisdiction to join Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s not-for-profit public clean power electricity agency. The cities of Woodland and Davis as well as the unincorporated area of Yolo County are already members, having launched the agency in June 2018.

At its Oct. 15 meeting, the Winters City Council passed a resolution approving the terms of membership in VCE as well as the first reading of an ordinance authorizing implementation of the community choice aggregation program for all electricity customers in Winters. The second reading and adoption of the ordinance occurred at the Nov. 5 council meeting.

Continue reading "Winters Votes to Join Valley Clean Energy" »


Bring the Claw Back

Diminished yard waste pick up proves woefully inadequate

By Colin Walsh

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Fallen palm fronds dwarf the organic carts the City has provided to put them in North Davis.

This past August while many were away on vacation the Davis City Council voted to greatly diminish street yard waste pick up that many refer to as "The Claw." For decades yard waste pick up had been routine with The Claw visiting neighborhoods weekly. But over the last few years the City has slowly reduced the service. This last reduction has certainly gone too far.

Arguments made for reduction included cost savings for the City, bicycle safety, and improved general City appearances.

The savings were not fully realized because Recology ended up charging a lot more than expected. As the August 13th report to the City Council states, "The reasoning for the higher rate is the potential that the same volume of material may be collected (occurring during alternate weeks as opposed to every week) and the landfill fees for the volume totals make up the bulk of the per unit rate. In addition, labor costs associated with the pick-ups are anticipated to be higher as it will likely take longer to pick up in one week the same amount of material previously set out over two weeks."

In the last 2 weeks we have now seen that the bicycle safety and appearance goals have not only not been met, the situation has gotten considerably worse. There was a significant windstorm on Sunday 10/27 that left large amounts of debris in yards and on the street. Homeowners fairly quickly responded by pulling the debris into the street in violation of the City's new rules. Under our old Claw schedule pick up would have begun immediately. Under the new schedule debris sat in the streets for much longer. In many places it may be more than 2 weeks.

Informal reports from around the City indicate it is likely The Claw is well behind schedule and yard waste piles are still sitting out in neighborhoods where it was already due for pick up.

What follows is an unscientific photo essay from around town showing some of the problems.

Continue reading "Bring the Claw Back" »


Some important clarifications on EIR updates for the ARC

Other issues unfortunately went unaddressed

ARC-location-overviewBy Roberta Millstein

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, an item concerning updating the old Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the new Aggie Research Campus (ARC) proposal was pulled from the Consent Calendar, allowing for staff and Council discussion of the issue in addition to public comment.

Five commenters addressed the item, including three commenters whose prepared comments appear in a sister article to this one.  Together, these comments made clear why an issue this substantive should never have been on the Consent Calendar in the first place, which is meant for uncontroversial issues that don’t require discussion.

Interestingly, in stark contrast to the last meeting where ARC was on the Consent Calendar, there were no student speakers in support of the project, corroborating the appearance that the previous speakers were coordinated and arranged.

Issues raised included:

Continue reading "Some important clarifications on EIR updates for the ARC" »


Three comments concerning updates to the ARC EIR

Three-commenters

Many concerns raised about the proposed environmental analysis, timeline, and more

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, an item concerning updating the old Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the new Aggie Research Campus (ARC) proposal was pulled from the Consent Calendar, allowing for staff and Council discussion of the issue in addition to public comment. 

However, it was a very packed agenda, and so Mayor Lee limited comment time for all citizen speakers on all items to 2 minutes rather than the usual 3.  What follows are the prepared comments from Roberta Millstein, Colin Walsh, and Rik Keller, which are more extensive than the actual comments that they had time to present.  (The City Council's response to these comments is described in a subsequent article).

Continue reading "Three comments concerning updates to the ARC EIR" »


MACE MESS: CALLING IT WHAT IT IS

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By Char Henwood

Here’s what it is, folks:  the Mace Mess is a very bad design.  It was bad when conceived in 2010, bad when the design was completed in 2013 (without a traffic study), and bad when installed (against South Davis residents’ strenuous objections) in 2018-2019.  We’ve lived with it for a year, and it is still a bad design.  At least one bicyclist has been seriously injured and ended up with a plate with 10 screws in her forearm.  She was not hit by a car – the bike trough got her. 

Here’s what the Mace Mess is not:  It was not and is not a response to a safety issue.  There were no bicyclist/pedestrian car-involved accidents on Mace in the 10 years prior to the installation of the Mace Mess.  Residents have reported over 120 traffic incidents to the City Council since March of 2019 following completion of the Mace Mess project. From the perspective of South Davis residents, it appears that none of this information has been given to the design team that is theoretically developing an improved design to fix Mace.   It’s a miracle only one person has been seriously injured so far. 

The Mace Mess is/was not an attempt to promote a safe bike route to schools.  The initial Mace project was intended to improve the sidewalks and to repave Mace and the bike lanes.  The safe route to schools rhetoric was tacked on ex post facto to get grant money from SACOG.  With SACOG and BTSSC input, the project was expanded to turn Mace, a major artery for South Davis, into a “residential” street, and to “force residents out of their cars” because South Davis residents are “too car-centric.”  Agricultural businesses South of Mace that use Mace to get their equipment across I-80 were never consulted.  The City admits they did not do a traffic study; they just barged in with a doctrinaire attitude and strong-armed the project to completion.  Now we have a dangerous design that the City would rather not fix because they might have to repay SACOG some part of $3M in grant money.  BTW, South Davis residents have not been able to get answers to questions about SACOG’s position on modifying the current (need I repeat it?) VERY BAD design. 

The Mace Mess is not a pitched battle (as represented by the bike lobby) between young parents concerned about their children’s safety and ancient and vociferous residents who don’t care if other people’s children are injured.  Older South Davis residents sent their kids off to Pioneer and other Davis schools without concern and know that there was never a safety issue on Mace.  The bike lobby seems to want bicyclists to believe that the bike lanes will be taken away if Mace Boulevard is restored.  This is not what residents asked for and it is puzzling when people who are looking directly at proposed corrections with bike lanes represented on the slides react as if the bike lanes will be taken away.  The City has cherry-picked input on the Mace Mess bike troughs, when in fact for every bicyclist who has said they like the bike troughs there have been as many (plus some representatives of bicycling clubs)  who have pointed out that they are dangerous. 

South Davis residents who drive (even the old ones) do not get up in the morning determined to run over bicyclists and pedestrians.  South Davis residents understand how navapps work.  South Davis residents understand that congestion on I-80 and navapps are big contributors to congestion on Mace.  South Davis residents just want Mace redesigned so that congestion clears as quickly as possible.  In short, we want the City to fix what it broke – Mace Boulevard.   It is pretty hilarious (and/or infuriating, take your pick) that the consultants’ possible solution that provides the second-best travel time on NB Mace is close to the original configuration, and that that the possible solution that provides the best improvement in NB Mace travel time is the old configuration plus a traffic light at Montgomery. 

Until the last few months, the City has been reluctant to admit they made a terrible, expensive mistake and to accept the responsibility to fix it.  Claiming that the Mace Mess is solely the result of I-80 traffic and navapps, thus providing the City with a much-desired excuse to not fix what they have broken, is irresponsible. 

And if the Mace Mess isn’t fixed, someone is going to be seriously injured or worse because it’s a VERY BAD DESIGN. 

 


Downtown Parking and Virtue Signaling

6a017d3c4588ca970c0240a44d33e1200c-800wiBy Glen Holstein

While collecting signatures at the Farmer’s Market for the initiative to facilitate Davis parking we found most folks taking the time to stop signed.  A few, however, were quite hostile and wanted walking and biking to be the only method of Davis travel by making driving so onerous by means like limiting parking that folks would abandon cars.  This war on cars supported by key city staff and partially enabled by the city council is what’s made our initiative necessary.  Its results are all around us:  traffic clogging structures causing gridlock at Mace Boulevard, meter schemes that reduce parking convenience, elimination of former parking areas, lack of the traffic light synchronization that eases traffic flow in Sacramento and Woodland, and new longer waits at signals that have increased red light running. 

All this has done nothing to eliminate cars.  It has only excluded from central Davis those too disabled to walk or bike and those wanting to use their vehicles to make purchases.  Meanwhile sprawl is facilitated by making free commercial lots at the edge of Davis or in other towns more attractive.

Extremists who want Davis transportation limited to walking and biking claim it’s about climate change, but it’s not.  Diverting traffic from the core to more distant places makes climate change worse, not better.  So does causing vehicles to idle at every red light as they inch across town.  Even those in hybrid or electric vehicles are frustrated by these unnecessary and harassing delays.

What it is about and only about is virtue signaling so the few in their spandex suits can feel morally superior to the rest of us.


City smuggles ARC EIR decision onto Tuesday’s Consent Calendar

Transportation consultant believes ARC may result in new significant impacts or a substantial increase in the severity of significant impacts.

ARC-location-overviewBy Roberta Millstein

After the controversy over the approval of the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) back in February 2017, and after having to pull the most recent son-of-MRIC item from the Consent Calendar (the project now misleadingly dubbed “Aggie Research Campus” or ARC), you would think that the City Council would have learned its lesson not to try to smuggle important items on the Consent Calendar, where items are meant to be uncontroversial and passed unanimously without any staff presentation or discussion from Council or citizens.

If you thought that, as I did, you were mistaken.

Readers may recall that the ARC is a proposal for a ~200 acre business park with housing and hotel to be built outside Mace curve on prime farmland.  When the City Council approved the EIR, they knew it was very possible, even likely, that updates to the EIR would be needed in light of changes to the project or changes to relevant conditions, such as traffic.  Now that the City is moving forward with evaluating the new ARC proposal, the time has come to revisit the EIR.

Staff is recommending that the Council authorize the City Manager to enter into a contract with Raney Planning & Management, Inc. to prepare a Supplemental EIR and to approve a budget for that purpose, to be paid by the applicant.  However, there are at least three potential concerns with this recommendation.

Continue reading "City smuggles ARC EIR decision onto Tuesday’s Consent Calendar" »


Reisig Endorsement Raises Concerns About Provenza

As the race for District 4 County Supervisor begins to take shape, we are surprised to see incumbent Jim Provenza advertise that he is “proud to have [Yolo DA] Jeff Reisig's endorsement.”

To us, it doesn't feel that long ago that we were fighting to bring change to the Yolo DA's office, and so naturally we view Supervisor Provenza's embrace of DA Reisig with concern.

Lately (especially since the closer-than-expected 2018 election), DA Reisig has tried to fashion himself as a “progressive prosecutor.” We find this hard to square with his record of fighting progressive reform.

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Learn more about the draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan

What do you want your downtown to look like?  How many stories do you want it to be?

Downtown Davis Plan and Amtrak Study Workshop FlierBy Roberta Millstein

Here are three ways to find out more about the draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan:

  1. Watch the Opticos Video Presentation to DPAC
    The October 24th Opticos presentation to the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC) is available for viewing on the City video archives under  at https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/city-council/city-council-meetings/meeting-videos – click on "Other."  The Opticos presentation at the DPAC meeting begins at about the 05:00 minute mark on the video and goes until 1:02:00. The presentation provides a good introduction and overview of the Draft Downtown Plan and also touches on the Draft Form Based Code.  It is followed by about 1.5 hours of DPAC questions and comments if interested in that part of the meeting.

  2. Community Meeting/Open House – Saturday November 2nd at 1:00 PM
    This Saturday (tomorrow) there will be a Community meeting at the Davis Community Church starting at 1:00 PM. It is for the general public and anyone is welcome. There will be a brief presentation at 1:30, but will primarily be an open house format for the public to come at their convenience. See flier above.

  3. Other Meetings
    Other meetings include a DPAC meeting scheduled for November 14th for committee discussion about the draft plan and two training sessions on the Form Based Code for code users scheduled for November 20th and December 11th. Meeting information is available at: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/community-development-and-sustainability/planning-and-zoning/downtown-davis-plan/news-and-updates.

The draft Davis Downtown Plan itself is here: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/community-development-and-sustainability/planning-and-zoning/downtown-davis-plan. The Draft Downtown Davis Specific Plan and Draft Downtown Form Based Code are available for a 90-day public review and comment period ending January 14, 2020. Public comments should be submitted using the online comment form.

More information on the Davis Amtrak Access and Connections Study is here: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/city-manager-s-office/davis-amtrak-access-and-connections-study