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April 2020

Valley Clean Energy Seeks Local Renewable Contracts

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy has announced that it plans to purchase renewable energy from qualifying local projects. The solicitation, “2020 Local Renewable Request for Offers,” is now public and can be found on VCE’s website at https://valleycleanenergy.org/solicitations-rfps/.

As the name implies, the solicitation is focused on procuring energy produced very close to where it will be used — in Yolo County or the six adjacent counties.

This local request for offers is consistent with VCE board direction and the agency’s vision to pursue procurement of cost-effective local renewable energy. The solicitation also aligns with VCE’s procurement goals, which seek to provide 80 percent renewable energy by 2030, with up to 25 percent of that provided by local resources.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy Seeks Local Renewable Contracts" »

Wow! They are going to test everybody in LA!!

Dear Friends,

I can only imagine you saw this exciting headline in the LA Times or other paper (Davis Enterprise?): https://lat.ms/3aPlyaX

L.A. County and city announce free COVID-19 testing for all residents

This is terrific!

Meanwhile, how are we doing in Yolo County?  The Health Department updates the Yolo County Covid-19 Dashboard daily.  (Thank you!).  Here it is:


The Dashboard shows that 1990 tests have been done and since we have a population of 220,500 (how did we get THAT big?!) as of 2019, that means that slightly less than 1% of the population of Yolo County has been tested.


Can we do better than that?

There have been 16 CV associated deaths in Yolo County (11 of residents of Long Term Care Facilities) and 163 confirmed cases (96 outside of Long Term Care Facilities).

So, that's 96 non-institutionalized cases in a population of 220,500.  Or .04% of the Yolo County population.  That is NOT 4% but four one hundredths of one percent.  

I am quite confident that more testing would reveal more cases... for one thing, the dashboard shows we have had cases all over the County.

Can we please do more testing?  



PS  If Yolo County does not have the resources to do SIGNIFICANTLY more testing, perhaps we could join other Sacramento Metro health districts and scale up across the region.



Yolo County - UCD COVID-19 planning needed now

By Eileen M. Samitz

I, like many, are grateful to hear that Yolo County has recently required face coverings for the public including essential workers. Many Davis residents have been requesting it, so appreciation goes to Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman for implementing this new face coverings policy.

However, I am very concerned about the County’s current plan of how overspill from our two local hospitals would be handled should we have a COVID-19 “surge” locally. As things stand now, overspill patients from our small Sutter-Davis (48 beds) and Woodland (156 beds) hospitals would be sent to Sleep Train Arena (formerly Arco Arena) in Sacramento. Since we only have these two small hospitals in Yolo County, and although some extra capacity has been planned, it is very possible we would exceed that limited capacity. Davis alone has over 69,000 residents and Yolo County has over 220,000 residents.

Continue reading "Yolo County - UCD COVID-19 planning needed now" »

Abramson Accepts Seat on City of Davis Natural Resources Commission

DAbramson IMG_3292
for immediate release 4/27, 2:08PM

Serving the City of Davis Natural Resources Commission and Paying Homage to the Original Peoples of This Land


Abramson Accepts Seat on City of Davis Natural Resources Commission

I am very excited to be joining the Natural Resources Commission and to have the opportunity to work with the other commissioners, City Council & Staff, the community in Davis and Yolo County, and indigenous peoples to move towards a healthy future with clean air, clean water, healthy soil, food security, renewable infrastructure, resilience in a changing climate, and a transition to economies that protect our most sacred resources and sustain life.

I thank the City City Council for putting their faith in me as a commissioner. As I expressed in the commissioner selection City Council meeting on 2/25/20, my consideration and selection for this commission should represent a commitment by our City Council to work to implement a rapid transition towards a healthy future and to meet this crucial moment.

The time to act is now and we are moving far too slowly. How we should proceed is not entirely obvious, but I have faith that through working together we can come into the right relation with the lands that we call home for the next generations of life to come.

As I accept this call to duty and service to my community, I would like to honor the Patwin people who stewarded these lands before being violently removed and subjected to disease and genocide by our cultural predecessors right here in the place we now call Davis.

Continue reading "Abramson Accepts Seat on City of Davis Natural Resources Commission" »

Why the Bakersfield Doctors Should Not Be Believed

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 1.28.07 PMBy Robert Canning

         Two physician-entrepreneurs who own a string of urgent care clinics in Bakersfield claim the data they have collected from testing for coronavirus proves that the current “stay-at-home” and physical distancing orders need to end and that COVID-19 is “just like the flu.” Their YouTube video interview from last week has been viewed more than five million times. It has garnered attention from the likes of Elon Musk who tweeted “Docs make good points” and Fox News host Laura Ingraham who played excerpts Monday night. But their claims have sparked wide controversy from experts in academia who say their assumptions are flawed, their sample biased, and their extrapolations “implausible.” The Kern County health office has stated it does not agree with their claims. And yesterday their original video was removed for what YouTube says are violations of its “community guidelines.”

Continue reading "Why the Bakersfield Doctors Should Not Be Believed" »

Yolo Democratic Socialists of America Night School: Understanding Capitalism

YoloDemocraticSocialistsOfAmerica(From press release) The newly-formed, fledgling Yolo Democratic Socialists of America is hosting its first ever Night School on Tuesday, April 28th at 6:30pm and we’d like you to join us! This is a reading group and political education initiative composed of Yolo community members. Our first discussion will be based on a short reading from “The ABCs of Capitalism” by Jacobin writer Vivek Chibber. We’ll discuss key concepts of political economy and relate theory to action in the real world, informing our strategies for collective action and transformational change.

Yolo DSA is radically inclusive. Anyone from any background can participate at no cost, as often or as little as they like. Which is to say, we really hope that if you’re interested you’ll be there! You can sign up at tinyurl.com/yolodsasubscribe or check out our Facebook page for more information.

Responding to Lee-Carson OpEd on BrightNight Solar Deal

Brightnight-greatdealBy Matt Williams

The commentary by Mayor Lee and Councilmember Carson in the Sunday Enterprise really does not address the core concerns that have consistently been raised by the community. In summary, those concerns are that the city used a non-competitive process which resulted in a low-offer and thus left money on the table while failing to go through a full public process that might have identified deficiencies in the offer by BrightNight.

After reading the Lee-Carson OpEd, I (and I'm sure many others) now have one additional major concern ... that it does not appear that the Council Majority has actually listened to the Public Comment voicemails, or actually read the Public Comment e-mails they have received.

Continue reading "Responding to Lee-Carson OpEd on BrightNight Solar Deal" »

Hop on your bike for fun, exercise and exploration – even now

May is a great time to use your bike for essential errands like grocery shopping. (Adobe Stock photo)

May is (still) Bike Month

By Wendy Weitzel

Social distancing might keep us from hosting in-person events, but it doesn’t stop us from getting out for solo bike rides or trips with other members of our household.

Hopping on a bike is a great way to enjoy the spring weather, get some exercise, and feel mentally refreshed. The practice not only relieves stress, it may start a healthy habit worth keeping down the road. And it’s absolutely allowed during the shelter-in-place order, as long as you maintain at least 6 feet physical distance.

Wearing a face covering is not required while engaging in outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, bicycling or running. However, anyone engaged in such activity must comply with distancing requirements. Everyone should carry a face covering with them, to use if needed.

Continue reading "Hop on your bike for fun, exercise and exploration – even now" »

Don't Miss Out on your Utility Rate Discount

VCE(From press release) The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on everyone in Yolo County. Some are able to shelter in place, work from home, and continue to receive a paycheck. Others are providing services to others — sometimes at personal risk. Still others have been laid off from their jobs and are having trouble paying for rent, food and utilities.

“If your income has suffered in the past months, we’re urging you to check on your eligibility for a utility rate discount during these trying times,” says Valley Clean Energy board chair Don Saylor, a Yolo County supervisor.

California utilities provides rate discounts to income-qualifying customers. In Yolo County, these programs include the California Alternate Rate for Energy Program (CARE), which provides a discount of 20 percent or more for electricity and natural gas, and the Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA), which provides an 18 percent discount for electricity. Valley Clean Energy and PG&E offer the same special rates.

Local residents whose income has changed significantly due to COVID-19 may now be eligible for these rates, even if they weren’t able to qualify before the pandemic.

Continue reading "Don't Miss Out on your Utility Rate Discount" »

Zoom Out of Memory

The Staff decision to not regularly record and distribute Commission remote meetings is both inappropriate and a lost opportunity.


Zoom in. Zoom Out. Zoom is out of memory. Zoom out of memory.


By Todd Edelman

At the beginning of the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission’s (BTSSC) first remote meeting on April 9th, we were informed that the meeting was being recorded. I asked and was told that it would be available “within a few days”. I followed up on April 10th by email to Staff but have never received a response. In the email I acknowledged that there might be some technical changes, e.g. there was not a formatted specific place for these - all Commissions - on the City’s website, as there is for City Council and the Planning Commission, (There is, however, an “Other” category…) 

At the City Council meeting on April 14 during the approval of the Consent Calendar, Mayor Pro Tempore Partida said she had questions about comments made during General Public Comment a few minutes earlier. Mayor Lee said that Council could not respond as the Comments were on non-agendized items, and asked Staff to do this.

Continue reading "Zoom Out of Memory" »

City Misleads on BrightNight Deal - Part 3

Bright night blueThe City’s FAQ on the BrightNight lease option is misleading and factually incorrect – Part 3

By Alan Pryor and Richard McCann

At the last City Council meeting, more than 20 people called in opposition to the City of Davis entering a lease option agreement with BrightNight to develop a solar project on a 235-acre parcel next to the City’s waste water treatment plan. Councilmembers Lee, Carson, Arnold, and Partida all voted for the proposal. Only Councilmember Frerichs voted against the proposal citing his strong concerns about the lack of Commission involvement, the failure to follow normal City policy to procure open bids, and the lack of guaranteed energy sales to the City and Valley Clean Energy.

After the controversy had risen to a high profile, the City Staff issued a “Q & A City of Davis Solar Lease 4/15/20” to defend its decision. Unfortunately, this response is misleading and filled with errors. In this series of articles we go through the Q&A question by question in their order. Our responses also address the gist of Staff's answers. You can follow the link to the Staff’s answers if you are interested, but you should have a good understanding of the issues from this article. Because answering these questions completely is a lengthy endeavor, we have divided this into three parts. This is Part 3 in the series.

Part 1 can be found here (https://www.davisite.org/2020/04/city-misleads-on-brightnight-deal.html) which includes a more complete background of the controversy. Part 2 can be found here (https://www.davisite.org/2020/04/city-misleads-on-brightnight-deal-part-2.html).. The questions posed in both Parts 1 & 2 are posted at the end of this article.


Q. What will happen to the deal if the lessee goes out of business?

The City claims that BrightNight's lenders would likely step into the shoes of BrightNight should it default on the lease. They also claim that "as part of future lease negotiations, the City will likely require a set-aside fund or other similar mechanism that will ensure funds are available for decommissioning and restoration in the event that BrightNight goes out of business".

But the requirement to ensure a set-aside fund or surety bond is NOT in the Term sheet and the City cannot demand it because it is not part of the "Solar Development details" which is the only part of the subsequent lease agreement that is negotiable.

Q. It appears that the term sheet attached to the lease option agreement contains two conflicting assignment clauses. Can you clarify this?

The City claims there are two sections that reference assignment which could be "consolidated" but this is doublespeak and does not address the question.  What the City’s answer does illuminate is that the contract is poorly written and they hope that negotiations will resolve any disputes.  But no amount of wishful thinking will change the fat that the one assignment clause in the contract “allows for the transfer and assignment, with the City’s written consent that shall not be unreasonably withheld” while the other assignment clause does not allow assignment or transfer.

Q. How is the City protected from any future claims made against this project?

Amazingly, the City is only requiring a $1,000,000 insurance policy from BrightNight. A non-profit run by Mr. Pryor delivers about 5,000 tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes/year to non-profit organizations in the City for distribution to their low income clients. This organization, Davis Oral Health Project, receives $5,800 this year of HUD money through the City to help procure these supplies. The City of Davis requires us to maintain $2,000,000 of insurance by the City for giving out toothpaste and toothbrushes while a lessee of 235 acres of City property that is putting a large scale high-voltage solar system on it costing tens of millions of dollars is only required to have a $1,000,000 insurance policy in place. It seems there is a misplacement of potential risk priorities here.

Q. What was the hurry to apply for connection to the California Independent System Operation (Cal ISO)?

Staff again may untruthful statements about CalISO filing requirements by stating BrightNight MUST file by April 1st in order to be considered for an interconnection agreement.  BrightNight could have either 1) submitted a $250k refundable bond or 2) gotten site control and submitted without a deadline. Under the CAISO’s Cluster Study Option, which has an application window of April 1 to 15, site exclusivity is not required, and a refundable deposit of $250,000 can be made in lieu. Under the Independent Study Process, no deadline exists while site exclusivity is required. BrightNight appears to have combined the most stringent aspects of these two different processes in its representations to the Staff. (See CAISO presentation at http://www.caiso.com/Documents/2-InterconnectionApplicationOptionsandProcess.pdf). This fact was presented to the City Council and the Staff in comments that we submitted with others before the Council’s April 7 meeting. It is disingenuous for the Staff to continue to repeat this false statement when it has been corrected and they know it is false.

And we ask the further question, if a company cannot afford to post a refundable $250,000 bond, how should the City expect that company to finance a $25 million plus project? A plea of poverty is not reassuring.

Q. What is BrightNight's track record? Isn't it a new company?

Let's be clear here. This isn't just a situation where Staff should have been more clear stating BrightNight had extensive previous experience where none existed. This was another outright false statement by Staff. Consider only Council's statement in the resolution authorizing the signing of the option agreement,

"WHEREAS, BrightNight is an energy company that focuses on delivering safe, reliable, high-value, low-cost renewable energy. BrightNight has developed, financed, constructed and operated more than 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy since 2009. "

This is simply a completely untrue statement and they got this information from BrightNight themselves.  If you look at BrightNight's website, they still clearly are stating that they have done projects which were, in fact, done by the company that previously employed Mr. Hermann. it does not appear that BrightNight has done a single solar deal to date since their founding.

And while Mr. Hermann's experience is interesting and perhaps even compelling, the City is NOT signing an agreement with one man here who happens to have a track record with another company. We are signing an agreement with a company and that company appears to have a single US office which happens to be his private home in El Dorado Hills. Knowing this,  Staff continues in this deception in their above answer stating "Those projects are attributable to Mr. Hermann, who was the signatory on the Lease Option Agreement." That also is not true. Mr. Hermann was only one person in a much larger team of professionals at 8minute Renewables which support he does not have available in his current company.

This blatant misrepresentation continues a pattern by Staff that when they are caught making false statements (e.g. the statements they made re the ISO filing requirements). When confronted with the true facts, Staff quickly pivots and say they perhaps, " should have been more clearer" instead of simply admitting that what they said to Council and the public was not true. This is not a confidence building step on Staff's behalf.


Part 1 published on Thursday answered the following questions that exposed the City's misguided efforts surrounding this lease and lease option agreement:

  1. Did the City enter into a lease for a solar farm?
  2. Is the lease rate at market value? Were all uses considered?
  3. How was the lease rate determined?
  4. The City did not utilize the RFP process for this solar deal. Why?
  5. Is a sole-source procurement process consistent with the City's procurement policy?

Part 2 published on Saturday delved into the following questions:

  1. Were there other land uses that were considered?
  2. Why is the City using a fixed-rate rental rate escalator?
  3. What is the Term Sheet in the Lease Option Agreement?
  4. Were there any other solar leases to comparable to the City's deal with BrightNight?
  5. Did Staff not look at other solar land lease rates in the Central Valley? If so, what were they? If not, why not?
  6. How does the City solar deal compare to the County's project at the Grasslands

Regional Park?

  1. The option period and lease period seem long. Are they typical for this industry? Q. What if the lessee defaults on the project?
  2. Why doesn't the agreement stipulate that Davis residents will benefit from the solar power generated at the site? Can the lessee sell power to Valley Clean Energy?

About the Authors:

Richard McCann:  Richard is a Davis resident and much of his work has focused on identifying market trends, and developing and assessing incentive structures in both energy markets and environmental regulations. He has analyzed and designed both wholesale and retail electricity pricing and identified key technological and institutional factors driving pricing factors. In particular, he has addressed both the market and environmental barriers to increased renewable energy development. That work has included utility-scale, community or neighborhood, and customer-side resources. He also successfully persuaded electric utilities to institute asset acquisition programs that produced benefits for both specific customer classes and larger communities. On water policy, he analyzed water transfer markets, water efficiency measures, and agricultural water management. And he has participated in a broad range of regulatory forums beyond energy and water, including air quality and greenhouse gases, and land-use planning.  He is a member of the City of Davis Natural Resources Commission,  a past member of the Utilities Commission, and a former member of the Technical Advisory Subcommittee of the city's Community Choice Energy Advisory Committee which recommended a community energy agency.  That recommendation eventually bore fruit in the form of Valley Clean Energy (VCE), which saves Davis and Yolo County residents money on their monthly electric bill, with cleaner renewable energy to boot. Richard was just selected as a group member for city's 2020 Environmental Recognition Award for his work on behalf of that Technical Advisory Subcommittee

Alan Pryor:  Davis resident Alan Pryor has a long career in commercializing large-scale alternative energy projects and other environmentally benign technologies. He is the founder and a director of Yolo Clean Air, a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving air quality for the benefit of environmentally sensitive individuals suffering from respiratory health problems - particularly children and senior citizens. He is also the current chair of the local Sierra Club Yolano Group (which has taken no position in this matter),  a member of the city’s Natural Resources Commission, and former Chair of the city's Community Choice Energy Advisory Committee. 

“One World Together at Home” concert to celebrate health care workers and WHO combating COVID-19, April 18, 8pm on major networks

By Eileen M. Samitz

While our community needs to shelter and place and practice social distancing, I am certain that I am not alone in wanting to help in some other way in the fight against COVID-19.  Thanks to a recent article in the Davisite, one way is to donate to any of our local charities which can be easily found via the webpage for the Yolo Community Foundation at their Covid-19 Initiative website at:  https://www.yolocf.org/news/yolo-covid-19-nonprofit-relief-initiative/.

The other way is to help globally by donating to the World Health Organization (WHO) which is working so hard to unite the forces of all countries, to help combat COVID-19.  One thing that is certain, is that we will only win this war against COVID-19 if we work together with the many other nations battling this terrible disease, by cooperating and pooling our knowledge and make efforts to help each other.

While this event happen is not a telethon to raise funds, we can help WHO by making a donation to them on line via their “COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund” at: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/donate or via their Facebook page for this fund at: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1564752357011737/

So, a nationwide televised concert is happening today, Saturday April 18th for the “One World Together at Home” is to celebrate the healthcare workers and World Health Organization. This undoubtedly extends to thanking the many essential workers who are helping to support our communities working hard daily to provided our essential needs including food and supplies, during this COVID-19 crisis.

There are dozens of well-known musical artists and actors who are participating including Lady Gaga (who helped initiate the concert), the Rolling Stones, Paul McCarthy, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Taylor Swift, Alishia Keys, John Legend, LL Cool J, Andrea Bocelli and Keith Urban so a variety of music and personalities like Oprah Winfrey, Amy Poehler and Ellen DeGeneres. The show is being produced by the well-known non-profit “Global Citizen” and co-hosted by late night show hosts Steven Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon.

The concert can be viewed this evening (Saturday, April 18th) at 8pm (PST) and can be view on all NBC networks, ABC, Viacom/BS networks, The CW and iHeartMedia channels. The concert started 11am PST (2PM EST), so it can be view live now or later via streaming on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Prime Video, TIDAL, Yahoo, Apple platforms and Twitch

Here is a link for more info about the event:


Meanwhile, stay in as much as possible, stay safe, stay well, and please help in this battle against COVID-19 by wearing a face-covering when out near others, wash your hands often and keep them away from your face, and practice social distancing.

City Misleads on BrightNight Deal - Part 2

Bright night blueThe City’s FAQ on the BrightNight lease option is misleading and factually incorrect – Part 2

By Alan Pryor and Richard McCann

At the last City Council meeting, more than 20 people called in opposition to the City of Davis entering a lease option agreement with BrightNight to develop a solar project on a 235-acre parcel next to the City’s waste water treatment plan. Councilmembers Lee, Carson, Arnold, and Partida all voted for the proposal. Only Councilmember Frerichs voted against the proposal citing his strong concerns about the lack of Commission involvement, the failure to follow normal City policy to procure open bids, and the lack of guaranteed energy sales to the City and Valley Clean Energy.

Continue reading "City Misleads on BrightNight Deal - Part 2" »

Send your neighbor to the Davis Farmers' Market for you...... doing business with local vendors

Dear Friends,

Are you going to the Farmers' Market today?  You can buy health promoting food there which also happens to be fresh and tasty.

If you can't go, maybe your friends/neighbors can ask a "Designated Shopper" to go for several families and make a number of purchases.

If we don't support the vendors there now, they might not be there when we are out of quarantine.  

See what you can do!


Blow, Virus! Blow!

Redefining the home as a workplace and school environment 


The following was sent earlier this week to Dr. Ron Chapman, Yolo County Health Officer,  and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors:

“Dear Dr. Chapman and Supervisors,

This is a follow-up to my early queries and comments about advice on HVAC systems and ventilation of residences and more recently links I sent with evidence on how SARS-CoV-2 particles might be distributed even through normal respiration. It’s excerpted from what’s here.

Lately, many store workers in California have tested positive for COVID-19. There's now CDC guidance for essential workers that says to "... increase air exchange in the building.". The EPA also just sent out guidance on safety in school environments, which is still useful even though our schools are closed. It reminds schools to maintain their HVAC system. ASHRAE provides a link to an earlier version of the above-mentioned guidance from the CDC. Finally, there's also OSHA guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19. It's summarized here and says that the Engineering Control process includes "installing high-efficiency air filters" and "increasing ventilation rates in the work environment."

Continue reading "Blow, Virus! Blow!" »

City Misleads on BrightNight Deal

Bright night blueThe City’s Q&A document on the BrightNight lease option is misleading and factually incorrect – Part 1

By Alan Pryor and Richard McCann


On Tuesday night, more than 20 people called into the City Council meeting to oppose the recent decision by the Council to enter into a no-bid lease option agreement with a solar development firm, BrightNight Energy. The option would allow the company to subsequently lease a 235-acre parcel of City-owned land next to the City’s waste water treatment plant for up to 49-years to develop a 25 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic project.

The decision to award the contract followed an unsolicited bid by the solar company to enter into an exclusive, sole-source lease contract with the City allowing it to build a privately-owned solar system on the land. To say this decision by Council (only Lucas Frerichs voted"No") was highly controversial is an understatement. The extensive citizen complaints centered on the following facts:

Continue reading "City Misleads on BrightNight Deal" »

Yolo Community Foundation Announces Historic Partnership to Create New COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Initiative

Community Members Encouraged to Contribute Directly to Yolo County Nonprofits

Contact: Jessica Hubbard


Woodland, CA — The Yolo Community Foundation is leading an unprecedented partnership with Yolo County, the City of Woodland, the City of Winters, the City of West Sacramento, and the City of Davis to create the new COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Initiative. These local jurisdictions are providing staff and funding to support the initiative’s three components: 1) a community-wide campaign to encourage direct contributions to nonprofits; 2) a relief fund to provide grants directly to nonprofits; and 3) technical assistance to help nonprofits through the crisis.

Continue reading "Yolo Community Foundation Announces Historic Partnership to Create New COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Initiative" »

Stanford University School of Medicine study on daily symptoms.... how are you feeling?

Dear Davis Friends:

A good friend of mine from the Bay Area who has had a long career in health care shared information about participation in a research opportunity sponsored and managed by Stanford University School of Medicine.

Below the dotted line is a copy of what she sent me.

FYI, I signed up, it was easy.  And the research team will send me a simple check-in reminder each day with just a couple of questions.

Gives me a good opportunity to contribute to the scientific effort being put together to study this epidemic and begin to compile the data to allow public health authorities to make evidence-based public health decisions.  

Will you join me?

John Troidl


COVID daily symptoms survey

Hi neighbors - Researchers at Stanford Medicine are conducting a daily symptoms survey, which will help inform the response to COVID-19. If you are not already participating, consider joining the survey. It’s really easy (the first survey takes less than a few minutes, and the daily check-ins take as few as a few seconds (literally...2 questions with populated buttons to select your answers) to a bit longer, potentially, if you need to go into detail about either of your answers. And they send you a daily reminder with a link that takes you to your personalized survey. Stay healthy. https://bw3gbcrs.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/https:%2F%2Fmed.stanford.edu%2Fcovid19%2Fcovid-counter.html/1/020000000dg30nn8-hqrj00ob-nbta-s04e-bt1q-j65fkvh7c6g0-000000/plz00nwIw5UuRzRn5CN2bsPDGjU=157

Stanford Medicine National Daily Health Survey for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Your involvement in the Daily Health Survey will hopefully help save lives. As a country, we are all in this together!


ARC Lacks Parks

The project got bigger, but the parks got smaller.
Arc park
Image provided by ARC developer

This letter was sent to the City of Davis Recreation and Park Commission meeting for consideration for their meeting about ARC tonight. The meeting is being held through zoom at 6:30PM and you can join the meeting and offer comment either by clicking this link:

Or calling these numbers: 
Dial: 1-669-900-9128
or 1-346-248-7799
or 1-253-215-8782
or 1-301-715-8592
or 1-312-626-6799
Webinar ID: 158 545 314

Dear Recreation and Park Commissioners,

I am writing to express my serious concerns on a lack of park space in the ARC proposal. 
The document from the developer included at the end of the tonights staff report  starting at page 34 has the following details (link):
  • The current ARC proposal only has 12.7 Acres of Parks.
  • The developer is required to provide 11.14 acres of parks for the 850 housing units under city code.
  • There is no mention of park requirements for the  
    • 1,610,000 sf of Office/R&D/Laboratory 
    • 884,000 sf  of  Advanced Manufacturing
    • 100,000 sf  of Retail
While it is true the developer is meeting the requirement for parks for the residential housing, there is little park land beyond that for the massive commercial properties. Apparently there is no specific requirement for parks for commercial use in City code, but the Rec and Parks Commission, Planning Commission and City Council can and should require sufficient park space to meet the needs of  the proposal. A major new development like this should certainly be asked to include enough park space so other parks in Davis are not negatively impacted. Considering there will be 5,800 employees on site here every day using the parks, it is just going to need more park space. 
The developer has specifically stated the ARC parks will be used by business park employees. Page 34 of the staff report also says the main 7.5 acre park "area is envisioned to serve the needs of ARC sports leagues (i.e., corporate softball) and other community leagues. The remaining three parks range from 1-acre to 2.5-acres and will primarily serve the needs of the residents and employees alike, though all ARC parks will be open to the public."
Clearly if 5,800 employees are going to be using the parks for "corporate softball" or other activities that will be a lot of park use. The configuration of the parks encourages this use by locating mixed use stores and restaurants around the main park and locating the transit terminal in the main park. (A small additional point, the transit terminal is located in the main park and appears to be counted as park land. It is .6 acres.)
By comparison, the previous MRIC business park proposal from the same developer that had no housing in it included 18.7 acres of parks. This can be seen in table 3-3 on page 3-31 of the MRIC EIR.  (link)
 it makes no sense that the developer would include more parks in a buisness only proposal, and then drastically reduce parks in the ARC proposal that has every bit as much space for commercial and adds 850 residences. Notably MRIC project description even had slightly less commercial space.
2020-04-15_12-34-22 MRIC space
This table is fromt he MRIC project description can be seen on page 3-20 of this document 
In conclusion, It makes no sense to increase the intensity of use on the development site, add 850 residences and reduce the park space. The developer invisions parks being used by the 5,800 employees of the commercial tenants, but is only meeting the minimal  requirement for parks based on the 850 residences. As a result the proposal has a significant lack of parks to serve the needs of both the residents and the business of ARC.
I recommend requiring the developer to provide significantly more park space as a baseline feature. 

Finally, I want to draw your attention to a recreation use of the current property that will be lost once this project is built. "The Davis Ditch" is a drainage area popular with the regional skateboard scene and is located in the south east corner of the property. You can read more about it here.  https://www.davisite.org/2020/03/skating-the-davis-ditch.html  

I hope this is helpful.
Colin Walsh

Why Lock Out Our Trees?

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan needs to address trees.

Cork oak
Giant cork oak downtown

The mature tree canopy in downtown Davis is an invaluable historic, environmental, and economic asset. It is a legacy we are fortunate to inherit and its future rests in our hands. Ideally, because of our informed stewardship the next generation will inherit a healthier and more extensive tree canopy resource.

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan (DDSP) allocates 25 pages of guidance to the design and placement of signage, but nothing to canopy conservation and the integration of new trees into downtown development. We do not believe that this omission reflects the level of value that our city officials, business leaders, and residents place on trees in our commercial area.

Tree Davis has submitted written comments that include these recommendations to bolster the inclusion of trees in the DDSP.

Continue reading "Why Lock Out Our Trees?" »