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August 2020

No on DISC signs now available

E538AF89-DD67-40D4-AAE5-84E5FE1BBF5EThe No on DISC - No on Measure B campaign announces that its signs are now available, free, for use on your lawn or street facing window. This creative and attractive sign uses humor to point out three major flaws in the project: increased traffic gridlock, increased greenhouse gases, and loss of burrowing owl habitat. 

You can request your sign at https://www.VoteNoOnDISC.com/, where you can also learn more about the problems with this massive business park proposed on prime farmland outside the Mace Curve. You can also donate to support the cause and volunteer to help by writing a letter to the editor or through other means. 

“Like” the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VoteNoOnDISC/

Event: Meet the candidates for District 5 (South Davis) on Zoom

An upcoming Zoom forum will allow Davis voters to meet and greet the four District 5 City Council Candidates — Rochelle Swanson, Josh Chapman, Kelsey Fortune and Connor Gorman.

This virtual forum will meet from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, and will allow time for two questions per candidate. The questions will be the same for each candidate and must be answered in 3 minutes or less:

  • Please tell us about yourself and why you’re running for City Council?
  • What are the three most important city council issues/topics to you and why?

Continue reading "Event: Meet the candidates for District 5 (South Davis) on Zoom" »

Event: Phone Bank for Prop 15

1598492440037Large commercial property owners are avoiding billions of dollars per year through a tax loophole created by Proposition 13.

Since the start of the pandemic, California's 165 billionaires have seen their wealth increase by $175 billion. None of that wealth has translated to lower prices for consumers and everyday people.

It's time for the people to take back what is theirs.

Join Sac, Yolo, and UC Davis Democratic Socialists of American this Saturday, August 29, at 2pm to call CA voters to say YES on Prop 15, Schools and Communities First: tinyurl.com/prop15phone-bank

Ongoing safety problems with Pacifico

The following email was sent to the City Council on late Tuesday evening and is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Hello Mayor Partida, Council Members Lee, Frerichs, Carson, and Arnold, City Manager Webb and Assistant City Manager Feeney,

My comment to the City Council regarding Pacifico didn't make it through tonight. Nevertheless, I briefly want to remind all of you of the situation in our South Davis neighborhood.

The acts of crime and intimidation are continuous and not getting better. In fact, random hostile acts of intimidation have increased in number and the act of crime itself has increased in severity.

The most recent incidents that have compromise safety and well-being include:

  • attempted rape
  • prostitution in the parking lot
  • theft and intimidation to Pacifico residents by Pacifico residents
  • loitering combined with heavy consumption of alcohol on the bike path and near homes
  • drug deals and coercion in the parking lot
  • bb rifle shooting on the green belt by a known violent and dangerous criminal who frequents Pacifico
  • a dumpster fire that was suffocating and threatened my family and home.

Those who currently have their safety and well being compromised due to the Use at Pacifico include:

  • my family and visiting family and friends
  • neighbors, families, and friends in homes (Oakshade West Neighborhood Association and beyond)
  • neighbors, families, and students in apartments/duplexes (Octave and Sharp and Flats, Avalon, Brisa)
  • neighbors and Pacifico residents, including disadvantaged women, children and elders - some of our most vulnerable.

These dangers affect everyone in this neighborhood. Many horrible things have happened and continue to happen.

I respectfully request that a plan for Pacifico be of top priority and the subject be put on the long range calendar. Thank you.

Gratefully yours,

Tracy De Wit

Event: Virtual meeting with City Council candidate Colin Walsh

Walsh-photoColin Walsh, a candidate for Davis City Council 2020 District 2, is hosting a Zoom Town Hall on Saturday, August 29 at noon. Members of the community are invited to this opportunity to get to know Colin and share your thoughts on Davis. Details at Walsh4Davis.com.

Valley Clean Energy Issues Warning About Utility Bill Scam

VCE(From press release) Yolo County residents are advised to be on the alert for scam phone calls purporting to be from their energy provider.

According to one Davis resident who received such a call recently, the caller apologized for overcharging her on her utility bill, explaining that the overcharge was from a third-party supplier.

She was told to press 1 to apply for a rebate check, but the woman hung up, believing that the caller was attempting to gain access to her bank routing and account numbers.

Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s public not-for-profit local electricity provider, would like to reassure its customers that it never asks for a customer’s banking information over the telephone.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy Issues Warning About Utility Bill Scam" »

Support our local Religious Leaders Recommendation for Reconsideration of the University Commons project

Community input to the Council majority of Partida, Lee and Carson is needed now

By Eileen M. Samitz

Many thanks to the Davis religious leaders for the excellent article published August 22 in the Davisite.

This incredible and sincere outreach by so many local religious leaders to the City Council majority is impressive and their recommended action is so needed to be taken by Council majority now.  So everyone’s input to the Council is needed now, to support the recommendation to reconsider approval of the University Commons project, before this Tuesday’s August 25th meeting when the Council is scheduled to finalize approval of the project.

The Davis religious leaders group recommendation for the Council majority is to “take a pause and reconsider their approval votes” and to reject it. This terrible project does not offer any housing that is affordable. So, urging the Council to reconsider its approval is clearly the right thing to do for the sake of the UCD students, as well as the rest of the community needing housing that is affordable. The University Commons “affordable units” are affordable in name only, and it is an insult to even classify them as “affordable” with the rental prices they are projecting.

Continue reading "Support our local Religious Leaders Recommendation for Reconsideration of the University Commons project " »

District Elections?

How Did We Get District Elections?

By Larry Guenther

In 2019, the City of Davis was threatened with a lawsuit under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) by attorney and former Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad. The letter stated that if the City of Davis did not institute district elections, Mr. Rexroad would file suit on behalf of anonymous clients. The legal timeline for forming districts (90 days) did not allow the City to complete the process for the primary election in March of 2020. The City proposed to Mr. Rexroad that they would complete the process by the 2022 election. "Not good enough," said Mr. Rexroad. He pointed out that if the City moved its Council election to the November General election, there was plenty of time to complete the process. The City Council decided to change the City Council election to the November general election and change to District Elections.

The City Council also chose to stay with a 5-member council and created the map below. This November's election will be for representatives from districts 2, 3, and 5.

Continue reading "District Elections?" »

Insufficient affordable housing at University Commons

Faith leaders speak out

19universitycommonsAt the Davis City Council Meeting on Tuesday, August 18, a 3-2 vote approved the University Commons Proposal. We, the undersigned faith leaders, express our disappointment at this decision. While we are encouraged by Brixmor's increase from 0% to 5% affordable housing at the 80% median income for Yolo County, we also contend that this is not enough.

While the specific decision regarding the University Commons is the spark to this conversation, the housing crisis in Davis and across our state does not begin and end with this decision.

As faith leaders in the Davis community, we have the opportunity to engage with individuals from many walks of life, ministering with people of diverse economic, racial, generational, and educational backgrounds.

Continue reading "Insufficient affordable housing at University Commons" »

Proposed Voter Assistance Centers (VAC) and Ballot Drop-off Box (BDB) Locations for November 3rd General Election

Public Notice for Community Review and Input

(From press release) The Yolo County Elections Office, in accordance with guidance provided by the California Secretary of State Office and the recently signed Senate Bill SB 423, is directed to identify and make public the proposed Voter Assistance Centers (VACs) and Ballot Drop-off Box (BDB) locations to be used in the upcoming November 3, 2020 General Election.

Yolo County will have 12 Voter Assistance Centers (VACs) and 12 Ballot Drop-off Boxes (BDB) located throughout the county (listed on the following page). The Yolo County Elections Office has worked in partnership with local jurisdictions and school districts to ensure voting locations that allow for secure, socially distant in-person voting in Yolo County. The VACs are spread out throughout each community for ease of accessibility.

The elections office, with the help of county leadership and through partnerships with local jurisdictions and the education community have secured optimal in-person voting locations throughout the community. “Thanks to these partnerships, education facilities throughout the region are being used to help promote our democracy at a level we have never seen before,” says Jesse Salinas, Yolo County Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters. “We are also providing ballot drop-off box locations to make returning Vote by Mail ballots as effortless as possible. In addition, your return postage will be paid to help encourage voters to utilize mail in voting,” says Salinas.

Continue reading "Proposed Voter Assistance Centers (VAC) and Ballot Drop-off Box (BDB) Locations for November 3rd General Election" »

University Mall and the Davis General Plan

Dear Davis City Council,

I am running for City Council in District 2 – the district that the U-Mall is in.

First, I want to state that I believe a mixed-use project can be a good fit for the University Mall location. I certainly remember my mom buying me Star Trek pajamas at Lawrence’s department store there when I was a kid, and more recently I have taken my daughter to shop at Forever 21, also now closed. I have seen a lot of change here, and welcome that it will evolve and change again to better meet current demands.

What I would look for in a project for this site is something that fits better with the surrounding neighborhoods. This project has been compared to the Davis Live project. However, this project is significantly larger in scale because it is 7 stories spanning an entire city block. You can see in the image from Brixmor that the project is 75-80 feet tall (7 stories) across the entire east west axis of the project with almost no set back from either Anderson Road or Sycamore. It is certainly out of scale to the neighborhood University Mall is in. 80 foot tall buildings immediately adjacent to the sidewalk might be expected in a dense urban area, but is out of scale with this neighborhood.

Continue reading "University Mall and the Davis General Plan" »

The disastrous University Commons mega-dorm proposal goes to City Council August 18 for final vote

New Staff report reveals even more issues


By Eileen M. Samitz

The Planning Commission’s 7:0 denial vote

The monolithic University Commons redevelopment proposal is heading for a final City Council vote on August 18. This project is completely out of scale for the surrounding neighborhoods and would create enormous impacts in the already heavily trafficked Russell Blvd. corridor and beyond. In addition to creating a 7-story, block-wide “wall,” the impacts from this project would negatively affect the entire community in many ways. 

The project’s many problems include the “rent-by-the bed” group housing format consisting of 894 beds which includes many 4-bedrooms apartments unsuitable for families. The City has approved four mega-dorms in the last few years; there’s no need for a fifth.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously to reject the project and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) due to many reasons covered in a recent op-ed including the “significant and unavoidable” traffic impacts. Such a resounding denial rarely happens unless the project is as exceptionally bad as the University Commons proposal. The weblink to that op-ed with the many reasons for the Planning Commission’s rejection for the project and its EIR can be viewed here.

Continue reading "The disastrous University Commons mega-dorm proposal goes to City Council August 18 for final vote" »

University Commons: Will Council grandfather in another Tree Blighted Parking Lot?

This is a picture of one of the large "successful" trees the landlord planted years ago when the University Commons development first opened. Note the massive scar as a result of neglect of pruning (lower limbs need to be removed so they are not broken off by trucks driving by),  And again rocks placed around the base of the tree that get hot and both stifle growth. Most trees in this lot have rocks any arborist will tell you hurt trees, but maybe the landlord is based in Tucson.   Why does this happen? What is the solution? The City Arborist is stretch thin and has no time to inspect commercial parking lots to assure landlords are caring for trees, so we get to city's 50% shade requirement. This is why we need to require landlords to reimburse the city the cost of hiring an outside arborist to provide tree maintenance oversight. Council required this for the DISC development,  why not University Commons too?

By Alan Hirsch, City Lorax 

This Tuesday, the city council will address details to permit a 7 story dorm proposed for University Commons/Trader Joe's shopping center.

There is debate about it size, height, affordability, type of units in the build.

But there is one fact everyone agrees on:

IF it follows the current city policy it will end up in the middle of an unshaded parking lot full of stunted trees.

Continue reading "University Commons: Will Council grandfather in another Tree Blighted Parking Lot?" »

Using capitalism to fight racism

By Belinda Martineau

One thing Enterprise columnist Tanya Perez (and other Davis residents) could do to help get over “paralysis by analysis” (or paralysis by anything else) regarding the current unacceptable state of racism in our country is to … boycott Nugget Markets.

After reading “Lawsuit against Nugget can go to trial” in The Enterprise several weeks ago—which described a racial/national origin discrimination case filed against Nugget Markets Inc. in 2017 on behalf of two men, one from El Salvador and one from Mexico, by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund — that’s one action against racism I’ve decided to take.

As described in Caleb Hampton’s article, a federal judge found that a “reasonable man in Plaintiffs’ circumstance would have found the hostile conduct sufficiently severe and pervasive,” and in response to complaints they made to company higher-ups about harassment by several supervisors one man was fired the very next day and the other started receiving his first negative performance reviews.

Continue reading "Using capitalism to fight racism" »

Letter: Endorsing Walsh for Davis City Council

Roberta-with-Colin-signI write to endorse Colin Walsh for Davis City Council District 2. I first met Colin when he was working on the campaign against Nishi 1.0. I was immediately impressed by his passion and dedication. He often worked late into the night and was concerned to get every detail right. Since then we've worked on a number of initiatives together, including the community blog, Davisite.org, which fosters neighborly dialogue in Davis.

Another example: Since last fall when the MRIC Mace curve business park project resurfaced to become ARC and then DISC, Colin has read thousands of pages of documents, attended Council and Commission meetings, asked hard questions, and made thoughtful suggestions, all on his own time as a citizen committed to good process and careful analysis. He raised concerns about the compressed timeline for community engagement and about the inadequate affordable housing proposed by the developers.

His comments to the Open Space and Habitat Commission on the DISC business park were particularly helpful to me as a commissioner. He pointed out that the bat studies at the site were insufficient, an issue that might otherwise have been overlooked, and urged that the Prime farmland at the site weigh heavily in any decision. I also appreciate his work as a member of the Tree Commission, arguing for a greater number of trees in the project (alas, the recommended number was rejected by the developer, but the number was increased somewhat).

So when Colin says that he will solicit community and commission input, you can believe him. When he says he will analyze thoroughly and ask hard questions, you can believe him. When he says he will foster open and transparent government, you can believe him.

Colin is committed to social justice and the environment and would make an outstanding Councilmember. Whether or not you are in his district, you can support him with an endorsement, lawn sign, letter to the editor, or donation. See his website at walsh4davis.com for details. If you are in District 2, please give him your vote.

Roberta Millstein
Chair, Open Space and Habitat Commission
(speaking for myself alone)

Valley Clean Energy donates face masks to RISE Inc.

Mask donation
Angel Barajas, a member of the Valley Clean Energy board of directors, left; and Tessa Tobar, center, program and community engagement specialist for VCE; present some of the 500 washable face masks to Tico Zendejas, executive director of RISE Inc.

(From press release) Valley Clean Energy (VCE), the local electricity provider for Yolo County and the cities of Woodland and Davis, is doing its part to keep local residents safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

VCE purchased 500 high-quality, washable and U.S.-made face masks and donated them to RISE Inc., a nonprofit organization that serves the Latinx community and has organized the delivery of social services to western Yolo County for more than 30 years.

Woodland City Councilman Angel Barajas, a member of the VCE board of directors, said RISE was chosen to receive the gift because it “does an incredible job servicing residents in the rural Yolo County region.”

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy donates face masks to RISE Inc." »

Burrowing Owls and Davis elections

Buow-croppedBy Catherine Portman

As candidates run to retain their elected positions they will tout issues they’ve supported to win citizen’s votes. There will be advertisements, slogans and even face mask images that imply the candidate supports certain issues. Lest there be any confusion about what the City of Davis has done for burrowing owls, I’ll recount a few “lowlights” of the city’s inaction and neglect of burrowing owls over my 20 years advocating for the owls.

In 2000 several natal burrows were disked at Mace Ranch housing development (Flatlander and Yolano Flame). The city did not pursue legal action against the developer for disking owlets into the ground.

The city, as the CEQA lead agency, was required to mitigate the destruction of the Mace Ranch owl colony. Mitigation was secured at Grasslands Park. A  Burrowing Owl Reserve of 60 acres was established.  In 2004, a Burrowing Owl Habitat Management plan (a legal requirement under CEQA) was developed that required the vegetation not exceed 4 to 5 inches, year round. The city never kept the vegetation within that standard height. (Sustain Environmental.  Documents provided on request. ) Pam Nieberg and I contacted city council members, the Natural Resource Specialist and the Open Space and Habitat Commission. The city did not comply with the Habitat Management Plan. Pam and I met with then City Manager, Dirk Brazil. He told us if there was no money for vegetation management, it would not happen. When the consultant, Sustain Environmental, consistently found the vegetation height not in compliance with the Habitat Management Plan, the city ended the consultant’s contract. No more breeding burrowing owls at the Reserve or Grasslands itself.

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Local election season begins in earnest

Featuring two measures, City Council elections, and DJUSD school board elections

By Roberta Millstein

For those who haven't been paying close attention, a lot of things about our local elections solidified on Friday: the "pro" and "con" statements for local measures were submitted (with rebuttals to come soon) and City Council candidates turned in their ballot statements and nomination forms. 

The DISC business park project, proposed to be built on Prime farmland outside the Mace Curve, is subject to a Measure J/R vote and has been assigned the letter 'B'.  You can find the "pro" and "con" arguments online:

Argument in favor of Measure B

Argument against Measure B (I am one of five signers to this argument)

Continue reading "Local election season begins in earnest" »

Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market celebrates the big 1-0

Fruitful-partnership(From press release) Call it a decade of deliciousness or a tradition of nutrition. The Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market celebrates 10 years of bringing farm-fresh produce and local foods to employees and visitors on Thursday, Aug. 6, as the nation celebrates National Farmers Market Week.

“Fruit and vegetables are foundational to healthy living – and when they’re farm-fresh and locally grown? That’s good for everyone,” said Rachael McKinney, CEO of Sutter Davis Hospital. “In our simplest form, Sutter Health is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to health and wellbeing – both inside and outside the walls of our hospitals. The weekly market at Sutter Davis has easily become one of my favorite days of the week, where I can stock up on fresh produce and local items for my family, as well as interact with the community, our employees and patients. We are proud of this partnership and the benefit to the community it provides.”

Continue reading "Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market celebrates the big 1-0" »