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May 2020

Arts organizations work together to create good

RubAdubStencil 1
Artist Danielle Fodor created stencils to print in “places we can’t gather.” This one, talking about the importance of hand washing, uses mud as paint. (Danielle Fodor/Courtesy photo)

By Wendy Weitzel

The arts community is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. With shows, concerts, galleries and all public work halted, local artists are looking for other ways to connect with the community. That was the focus at the May 21 Arts Alliance Davis meeting, where artists from all mediums gathered virtually to collaborate and brainstorm.

Arts Alliance Davis typically meets every other month. This one was via Zoom. The group unites artists, civic and arts organizations, businesses, patrons and other community arts supporters. Meetings are open to anyone.

Many artists and organizations rely on grants as an income source. Rachel Hartsough, the city’s arts and culture manager, said the city of Davis will be extending the terms of its Community Arts grants, and allowing flexibility for artists to postpone or reinvent their projects.

But budget-wise, Davis – like most government bodies – is eyeing cuts. “It’s looking really tough.” She said to expect a substantial reduction in the arts budget.

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Happy anniversary, Valley Clean Energy!

Yvonne Hunter Machu Picchu
Yvonne Hunter, a longtime Davis resident and chair of the Valley Clean Energy Community Advisory Committee, proudly shows off her affiliation with VCE while hiking at Machu Picchu in Peru. Courtesy photo

By Yvonne Hunter

Chair, Valley Clean Energy Community Advisory Committee

As Valley Clean Energy reaches its two-year anniversary, memories of my role in its formation keep popping into my head.

Way back in 2002, it was my job as a lobbyist representing a statewide association of cities to advocate on behalf of cities before the California Legislature. This included the legislation that became law and authorizes cities and counties to buy electricity on behalf of their residents and businesses. These are known as Community Choice Aggregation (or CCA) programs. 

Little did I know that, 18 years later, this new law would blossom and flourish into 21 operating CCAs throughout California, successfully serving 10 million customers in more than 170 cities and counties.

More amazing to me is that the new law ultimately enabled my own city of Davis and my county, Yolo (along with Woodland), to form their own CCA — Valley Clean Energy. Frankly, this is a very humbling experience.

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Responsibility in the age of Covid-19

County's decision shifts the responsibility from government to individuals

Yolo-dashboard-5-26-2020By Robin Rainwater

I've been contemplating the rapidly shifting landscape in Yolo County heavily this week. Not just Yolo County, but in California as a whole. Over the last several months, the Covid-19 pandemic brings me to my data roots and plagues my change management heart. I've spent time using data to influence healthcare policy and over the last few months, I have immersed myself in the data on many levels. I have been helping people in my community understand the data and data trends so that they can make informed decisions for themselves, their families, and communities. I've felt an increasing need to inform more people as I've watched things beginning to unravel because of the balance between economy and preservation of life. A balance that is precariously tipping in a direction that frightens me.

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U-Mall proposal inviting final input to Planning Commission this Wednesday, May 27th

“University Commons”, Still a Monolithic Mega-dorm Fraught with Problems

U-Mall Project proposal is still out-of-scale and the wrong design

Figure 3-8

By Eileen M. Samitz

Time is of the essence for anyone concerned about the inevitable negative effects that would come with almost 900 students living at University Mall.  The proposed “University Commons” redevelopment project and Final Environmental Impact Report (or FEIR) will be on the Planning Commission agenda for a public hearing next Wednesday evening, May 27th.  The commission is being asked to make a recommendation to the City Council on whether to proceed with the project.  As outlined in my article on December 15th, the proposed massive 7-story building will put another big concentration of students close to already heavily-impacted neighborhoods, without improving retail opportunities for Davis residents. 

It should not surprise anyone familiar with the University Mall area that the FEIR determines that the University Commons Project “…would result in significant and unavoidable impacts related to transportation and circulation.” The proposed project continues to pose many important but unanswered questions in terms of parking, neighborhood spillover outcomes and other concerns summarized below.

To make your opinion count, please send an email to the Planning Commission now, and leave a voice mail comment for the commission by following the directions in the agenda notice posted Friday on the City website. It is important to express your concerns by leaving your public comment voicemail, limited to three minutes any time before the meeting, or before the item during the Wednesday, May 27th Planning Commission meeting at (530) 757-5693.  Because public meetings remain off limits due to COVID-19, the Commission meeting will occur on Zoom (see the Zoom link for the meeting via the agenda link below), and recorded project comments will be read aloud to the commissioners during the meeting. To leave a public comment that will be read during the meeting, follow the May 27th agenda link below, and follow the instructions under “public comments”. The meeting be viewed via ZOOM or on cable TV on channel 16. Please be sure to review the staff report.

Here is the Planning Commission Agenda:


Here is the U-Mall EIR Staff report:


The FEIR and updated documents about the project are on the City website, at this link:


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Pride Festival canceled; rainbows remain

Davis Pride Festival attendees huddle under rainbow umbrellas at the May 17, 2019, event. The 2020 festival has been canceled but there are other ways the community can share the spirit during June is Pride month. (Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo)

(From press release) In 2019, it poured rain on the May 19 Davis Pride Festival. But something amazing happened when the rainbow umbrellas came out. Community members huddled closer and supported each other.

In 2020, we all can be those umbrellas. While we can’t gather physically, we can huddle virtually to support each other in that same spirit, said Gloria Partida, founder of the Davis Phoenix Coalition.

Members of the Coalition, which organizes Davis Pride, were disappointed the pandemic forced the cancellation of its annual festival, originally scheduled for May 17. However, they are getting creative with June is Pride Month 2020 – celebrating virtually and visually. DPC is discussing ways to observe and interact that still connect us during physical separation.

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Missing my DAM workouts and my DAM teammates

Taking a break between sets. That's me with the water bottle.

By Roberta Millstein

I started swimming with Davis Aquatic Masters, better known as DAM, shortly after I moved to Davis in 2007.  I was thrilled to have coach-led sets and a group of people to train with – so much more fun, and ultimately much more productive, than trying to swim on one’s own. 

I quickly fell into a routine and decided that, rather than constantly reciting to myself all the many physical and psychological benefits of swimming, I would just understand that swimming three times a week was A Thing That I Would Do.  Period.  Only the most serious of reasons would cause me to miss a workout.  And I stuck with that.  Travel, serious illness, a grad student’s exam that couldn’t be scheduled at any other time – those were about the only things that would cause me to miss a workout.

Until, of course, we finally started to realize the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.  On March 16, DAM strongly recommended that seniors stop going to workouts.  I watched several people leave sadly.  It was an eerie, surreal practice.  I remember I went home and said to my partner sadly, “I think that might have been my last DAM workout for a while.”[1]  And indeed, by the end of the day, DAM had sent out an email cancelling workouts for everyone.  Even though the County and State official stay-at-home orders wouldn’t come for a few more days, that was really the beginning for me.

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Making the Grade, Pregnant, Sick and Exhausted

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Thanksgiving 2004 and I was EXHAUSTED.

By Julia Blair

Last night I was sharing stories with my teenaged kids about some of my experiences of being a young/single/student mom. Below are a few (VERY FEW) excerpts from the stories I shared with them:

*I’m not sharing these for accolades (although I appreciate those who comment with support, etc. honestly); I’m sharing because I do think we need continued progress AND to remind ourselves that we haven’t progressed far enough.

Winter 1999- 1st trimester pregnancy as a community college student (living in the dorms and working full-time at a gas station while attending class full time). Getting ready to transfer to UC (accepted to UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, and (through a local transfer agreement IGETC) to UC Davis...due to said unplanned pregnancy UCD was closest and where I had to go). Community college prof called me to his office after class (I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant—honestly was afraid I’d be kicked out of the dorms) told me I’d never make it at UC, I clearly had a bad attitude and didn’t want to be in his class (I was SO SICK and EXHAUSTED). I left terrified he’d not pass me (my transfer agreement required B’s in prereq classes...funny I could go to Berkeley without his grade but needed it for UCD) and I’d lose my admission. And terrified I really WASN’T UC material. (Never told him my situation; didn’t want to make excuses).

Julia 3
Fall 2000- Spent the summer 2000 studying for the LSAT with my 8 month old, while taking a full load of summer classes at UCD, working as an intern at the middle school, and working 20+ hours per week at the law school. My (then) partner (these details aren’t the point) was abusive and arrested and jailed for a domestic violence related incident involving me and our child. I finished my classes, took the Fall LSAT, and took a full time load of classes, while continuing to work both at the law school and for my department. Took two late Incomplete’s that trimester. Received on-campus psych services and county victim witness services. Petitioned for incompletes to be retroactively withdrawn. Denied for lack of cause (ended up with an F ultimately. 🤷‍♀️ I’m still a graduate and finished law school but fuck that was unnecessary).

March 2002- Decided in 2001 to add another minor and postpone my graduation by a couple trimesters (also got married and decided to have a second child before law school). Baby was born almost end of trimester (but 15 days late). However her arrival coincided with the due date of my final. I emailed the TA from the hospital after her birth and let him know I was hospitalized (normal birth) and would need to turn my paper in 1 day late. Received a 1-full grade reduction due to late paper. (Not that it’s relevant, but because it’s unclear, I took a full trimester of classes after her birth and finished them all).

Julia 2

Fall 2002- Started law school with an almost 3 year old and 5 month old (both still nursing). Asked Dean of Students about any space for pumping breast milk. Was given a faculty bathroom. Colleague reached out to the Dean about getting a lock (gasp) and (us students) paying for a small refridgerator and way to separate the pumping area from the toileting area. Constitutional law professor at said law school analogized our request to faculty’s long-standing request to get bottled water in the faculty lounge (I still have the email I was inadvertently cc’d on).

Jan 2003- I was part of a group of scholars sent to the US Supreme Court to hear oral arguments and meet a Justice in chambers (due to being a recipient of said Justice’s named scholar program). I was still pumping every 4-6 hours. On the final day of our trip we had to check out of the hotel before going to court for oral arguments and then flying home. I let our coordinator know ahead of time. I ended up pumping manually in the handicap stall of the bathroom at the Supreme Court of the United States. This one is still insane to me.

Kenedy retouch
Me with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Gray, Jack and my mom when I was in his summer class in Europe, July 25 2003, summer after my first year of law school. Jack was 3.5, Grace was 16 months, and I was 24

Fall 2004- I was 9 months pregnant during “fall interviews” for summer law firm jobs. I was a law review editor, published, top 10 of my class, etc. Received interviews for about every firm where I applied. But was HUGELY pregnant. Didn’t get a single call back. Two national/international firms interviewed late and both gave me interviews. I’d just given birth. Left my newborn on campus elsewhere while I did both interviews. Called back to both. Hired for the summer by the international firm (whose partners were shocked to learn that I had pumped in the SF firm parking lot prior to my second interview as I left my weeks old baby at home, when I started the next summer).

Fall 2004 (continued)- a nationally known visiting education law prof came to my school. I was thrilled (I went to law school to study ed law). Gabe was born on a Monday and I was in class Thursday morning. (Missed my Wednesday night education law class). 3 weeks after birth he was admitted to the NICU for an unexplained infection. I split my time between school and the NICU (with a 2.5 and 5 year old at home). I missed most, or all, of a second Wed night class (I don’t recall, but it was a blur). I received the highest grade on the class written final. But was failed for class participation because I missed more than 1 class, which decreased my overall grade (maybe some think that’s the way it should be).

Anyways, my husband told me I should write these (and other stories) down. I think even today, 15-20 years later, we’ve shifted and are more accommodating. But honesty I still see how in so many ways, women have to prove they are enough. Can do it all. And quite frankly it’s bullshit. I am often the loudest voice in the room for working parents. Because guess what? It’s okay to do both. And it’s okay to not be expected to pretend like you aren’t.

So if you’ve read this far and care, 1. Don’t be an asshole to parents trying to make a better life for themselves (their families and society) if you are in a position of influence; 2. Speak up even if you are the one being directly impacted OR if it might be a little uncomfortable or inconvenient; 3. Don’t ASSUME the exhausted student in the back of the class is bored or has a bad attitude (I still have a big F you for that community college professor!)

And for the professors and employers that did help (hell yeah, my Poly Sci UCD prof [Nincic—she’s long retired from CSUM] that told me how awesome I was for being in class 3 days after having my first baby at 20, my evidence prof in law school who chided me for NOT bringing my newborn to class, and my con law prof who asked me about “our baby” Gabe whenever he wasn’t in class (Kelso because he had to be almost 80 and a SAINT), and my first year law instructor who was pregnant with her second when I’d started and who I shared my third pregnancy (during law school) and who in many ways was just a fellow momma), and my boss who let me bring my newborn [Joey] to work for MONTHS because I’d just started my State job and had NO leave), you all made ALL the difference.


Davis Farmers Market cancels 2020 Picnic in the Park

But Wednesday and Saturday Farmers Markets will continue

Davisfarmersmarket(From press release) Davis Farmers Market announced May 8 that its Picnic in the Park event is canceled for 2020. This is the first full-season closure since the Wednesday evening event began in 1995.

From April through October, the market traditionally expands its hours, taking advantage of longer days for a weekly festival of food, music and family fun. The event, along with the famous Saturday market (since 1976), are reasons The Davis Enterprise readers continue to choose the market as the Best Community Event and Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner.

Nevertheless, the Davis Farmers Market continues as an essential grocer, 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in Central Park, Third and C streets. There are several restaurants offering grab-and-go takeout food too, but alcohol sales are prohibited.

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Volunteers Needed to Keep Davis' Parks and Pike Paths Aesthetically Pleasing and Green and Pesticide-Free

ProdiamineThe following is reprinted with permission of the author.

To: Recreation and Parks Commission

From: Alan Pryor, Member of the Hazardous Material Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Commission (but communicating as a private citizen)

Date: May 6, 2020

Re: Volunteers are Needed to Keep Davis' Parks and Pike Paths Aesthetically Pleasing and Green and Pesticide-Free

Commissioners -

During the very broad discussion on the state of the City's finances at last night's City Council meeting, the tone was very somber as the City discussed a potentially dire revenue shortfall of up to $10M this year with the economy and City income possibly taking 6 – 7 years to fully recover.

City Manager Mike Webb summed up Staff's presentation with the announcement that he has directed all department heads to seriously begin to consider all possible cost cutting measures in their department. Basically, we can expect across the board cuts to all department budgets and the Department of Parks and Recreation will certainly not be exempt from the pain.

This projected revenue shortfall could have immediate and lasting effects the aesthetics of our parks and greenbelts if not mitigated in some fashion. I have spoken to this group in the past on several occasions during public comments and have been an outspoken advocate about the beneficial impact that volunteerism in park maintenance can have on minimizing the effects of Park's maintenance funding shortfalls and elimination of the use of pesticides.

The current negative impacts of the pandemic on City revenues and budget shortages only reinforces the need for the City to broadly engage volunteers in our City to assist with basic park maintenance tasks such as weeding and spreading mulch if we want to maintain our parks without a wholesale return to massive herbicide use. Fortunately, the City Council has recently specifically directed Staff to explore the advantages of the use of public outreach and volunteer labor in park and bike path maintenance.

Let me explain.

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Contact tracing in Yolo County.....

Dear Friends,

Saw this interesting article about contact tracing, a key step to ending the quarantine. This article is from NPR and makes a state by state comparison on contact tracing:


The CDC briefly describes contact tracing this way:

Key Concepts

  • Trace and monitor contacts of infected people. Notify them of their exposure.
  • Support the quarantine of contacts. Help ensure the safe, sustainable and effective quarantine of contacts to prevent additional transmission.
  • Expand staffing resources. Contact tracing in the US will require that states, tribes, localities and territorial establish large cadres of contact tracers.
  • Use digital tools. Adoption and evaluation of digital tools may expand reach and efficacy of contact tracers.

Seems like our Yolo County "Roadmap to Recovery" should include a plan for contact tracing in our county.  Here is the current version of the roadmap, which is a work in progress.