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Why DiSC matters for the City Council election

Some of DiSC’s proponents called it a tiny city. That suggests it is a microcosm of Davis as a whole and all of the issues it faces.

DCC with DiSC in background-2By Roberta Millstein

In a recent interview with the Davis Enterprise, Gloria Partida said that “I know that people right now are very focused on what happened with Measure H” but that being a member of Council is “not a one-issue job.”

However, Measure H represents a large number of central and key issues that future Davis City Councils will have to weigh in on.  It would have been bad for Davis in variety of ways, as Davis citizens widely recognized when they rejected the project by an almost 2-1 margin. 

Thus, a candidate’s stance on Measure H speaks volumes about their values and how they would govern.  Gloria Partida (District 4), Dan Carson (District 1), and Bapu Vaitla (District 1)  were strongly in favor of Measure H.  In contrast, Kelsey Fortune (District 1) and Adam Morrill (District 4) strongly opposed Measure H.

As the No on Measure H campaign emphasized in its ballot arguments and campaign literature, each of the following issues was relevant to the proposed project. In no particular order:

  • Affordable housing DiSC barely met the minimum affordable housing required by the City, a percentage that was already reduced. A true proponent of affordable housing would have pushed for a higher percentage. The housing location was likewise poor, as it would have been adjacent to unhealthy manufacturing activities and I-80.

  • Housing crisis – DiSC would have had far more employees than it could house, adding to Davis’s housing woes. Proponents of DiSC who said that housing was a reason to vote for the project were not doing their math (over 2000 new employees but only about 460 housing units, with no guarantee that employees would be housed on-site).

  • Agricultural land use – All the candidates now claim that they value agricultural land, but the project wouldn’t have just been on any ag land, it would have been on officially designated Prime agricultural land, the sort of land that we will be increasingly relying for local needs and carbon sequestration. Candidates who claim to care about ag land but who were in favor Measure H should not be believed.

  • Habitat land use – The site where DiSC would have gone is known to be habitat for species of special concern, such as Burrowing Owls and Swainson’s Hawks. How will candidates who favored DiSC handle such land uses in the future?

  • Traffic – The area around Mace is already gridlocked and DiSC would have added 12,000 cars per day according to the EIR. Some candidates like to downplay the importance of traffic, but when it’s a matter of picking up a child from school, getting to an essential appointment, or making it to the hospital on time, it’s more than a quality of life issue.  Also, the traffic that the project generated would have dramatically contributed to the City’s carbon output, which leads to the next item.

  • Climate change DiSC would have increased Davis’s carbon footprint by almost 5% and thwarted the ability for Davis to achieve the goal set by its “Resolution Declaring a Climate Emergency,” mandating carbon neutrality by 2040.  Again, all candidates say that they care about addressing climate change, but that doesn’t pass the sniff test for those who supported DiSC.

  • Transportation – DiSC was, by design, a freeway-oriented project. It had little-to-nothing in the way of non-automobile-oriented transit.  Driving is Davis’s #1 contributor to climate change (79% of greenhouse gas emissions); the City Council should be working to improve that situation, not worsen it.

  • Peripheral land use/sprawl The location of DiSC on the outskirts of town made the traffic, climate change, and transportation problems almost inevitable. Why should we think that candidates who supported DiSC would prioritize infill development over sprawl?

  • Downtown Davis – The DiSC EIR unambiguously admits DiSC would have competed with existing local retail, office, and hotel space, especially in downtown Davis. If continuing to have a vibrant, centrally-located downtown was not a priority for those that supported Measure H, how would they vote on issues that affect the downtown in the future?

  • City commission process – Almost every commission pleaded for more time to examine the project, but City staff rushed the process through. Will candidates who supported Measure H take the time to make sure that future projects are thoroughly vetted?

  • Listening to citizens – Almost the identical project had been rejected by voters just 18 months earlier. The City Council could have insisted that the developer engage with citizens and make changes to the project accordingly.  What does it say about candidates who supported a project in spite of previous voter rejection?  As councilmembers, would such candidates listen to citizens?

  • City Planning – The DiSC project is not in Davis’s General Plan, yet the City prioritized putting DiSC on the ballot twice instead of making long overdue updates to the General Plan. Approving massive projects like this without a plan is like going on a cross-country trip without a roadmap – it is easy to lose your way and take a wrong turn. Should we believe candidates who supported Measure H but now claim that they would not support development outside the General Plan?

  • Upholding democracy & independence from developers – Endorsing Measure H meant endorsing the bad behavior of its campaign, which famously included the free-speech squelching developer-funded lawsuit led by Dan Carson. None of the candidates who supported Measure H have made a strong and clear denunciation (or any denunciation at all) that shows they understand why what Carson and the Yes on H campaign did was so problematic.


In short, there is no reason to believe – and much reason to disbelieve – that candidates who supported Measure H would do a good job of steering Davis forward through many of the most important issues it will likely be facing in the coming years.


Dan Cornford

Roberta, a great piece with very well-developed arguments against Gloria Partida. I had read the recent interview with her in the DE and thought someone somewhere should take her to task for all the reasons (and more) that you give. She absurdly claims she is an environmentalist and a scientist, and yet she supported measure (along with the rest of them!!!).

Vote her and Dan Carson out if for no other reason than the ones you give as a matter of principle, though I doubt this will happen, alas. It’s a shame we do not have, in many senses, better candidates running against them.

Changing gears, I was a little shocked that the issue of CAPP did not come up with potentially mandatory electrification of homes in 2025 (when replacing appliances and selling homes). This is a big issue that, while discussed on ND, has got little coverage.

However, it is a potentially very big and controversial one. I have to say here that the usually excellent Anne Ternus-Bellamy dropped the ball on this one in her DE coverage. She did not raise the issue with Partida, and her own article on it yesterday (the first I have seen in the DE on it) was deficient. It did not address the issue of mandatory electrification noted above and barely touched on issues of equity.

To be clear, I have long thought we are in a climate emergency, and yes, I favor and support most radical measures, but this one is not appropriate for many reasons. See the excellent letter to the DE by Kathleen Rowe on this:

And last night I read a major New York Times feature on how stretched and inadequate the California electrical grid is, and how it will take many years to rectify this.


And finally, and relatedly, I am sure we can count on our “liberal” governor and legislature to control PG & E pricing with the help of the CPUC and acquire them as they escalate their price rises!

Colin Walsh

An additional component of the affordable housing discusion is what amount of affordable housing should be in open field peripheral developments. The interim ordinance currently in place was designed for infill which is more expensive for developers to build. open field development should have higher requirements for afforrdable housing than are in the interim ordinance. so a candidate who says they supported disc for the affordable housing is demonstrating that they are willing to support lower percentages of affordable housing in peripheral development.


That is a great letter by Kathleen Rowe. For the most part no one seems to be addressing the costs of going all electric in older homes. I think the climate alarmists don't care, just institute the draconian measures and worry about the costs later. Well someone has to pay for this all.

"And finally, and relatedly, I am sure we can count on our “liberal” governor and legislature to control PG & E pricing with the help of the CPUC and acquire them as they escalate their price rises!"

I take it you said that tongue-in-cheek.

Roberta L. Millstein

Dan, I haven't been following the electrification debate close enough to write about it -- I just know the broad strokes -- but the Davisite would be happy to post an article on any side of that issue.

Right now I am most bothered by what I see as deceptive claims made by some of the candidates that run counter to their previous support of Measure H. Plenty of other folks are engaging on electrification so I feel confident that that will get sorted out.

Hoping to turn the comments back to the topic of this article...

Dan Cornford

Roberta, I am sorry if I diverged from the central focus of your article (which I largely admitted to doing). However, not entirely, because, as I think you would agree the bottom line issue is how accountable CC members have been to Davisites, and thus whether they should be re-elected. And so this ties into the points you may re Measure H, which were so fully made that I could not add much to them while beginning my article by saying, in effect, as much.

Thus, the electrification issues ties into the broader themes of your article, including points you make re climate unfriendly Measure H.

Roberta L. Millstein

Fair enough, Dan. :-) I do think that candidates owe us an accounting of how they would handle the electrification issue, and that accounting had better be consistent with their past actions or offer a mea culpa.

Bob Milbrodt


This is an excellent article that deserves the widest possible distribution. If we want a community that reflects our values, we must start by electing people who share our values. I can't imagine how Bapu, Dan or Gloria could possibly offer a credible mea culpa. The fact that they are not even trying should provide voters with all we need to know.

Todd Edelman

It's fine details, but fine details are important:

* Just before the election, perhaps the last Yes on H pamphlet showed endorsement by the City Council - rather than by its individual members - in the form of a logo that was seemingly created just for the election, or just this pamphlet. The Council as an entity following a discussion in Council did not endorse DISC, right? No, and my understanding is it did not. Did the City Manager or City Attorney care or notice?

* Also just before the election the DISC site was in a pamphlet show to be well-connected for cycling to southeast Davis, e.g. Pioneer Elementary and El Macero Shopping Center Another "oops!", sure.

Equus is the portmanteau of equity and hubris. What's Latin for horsesh*t?

Ron O

It's not just DISC.

The entire existing council probably supports busting-open Davis' eastern boundary (e.g., Palomino Place, Chiles Ranch, "100% Housing/Leapfrog DISC", etc.).

To be followed by Covell Village II, etc.

Even during a significant housing market downturn.

Davis has the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse. (My apologies for any sexist overtones in that old saying.)

Ann Block

So, Roberta and all bashing Gloria Partida here -- you are willing to support a conservative REPUBLICAN Freemason to replace Gloria on the City Council? I'm guessing you do not know much about Adam Morrill. Do you truly want those values on the CIty Council? Someone (Morrill) who has openly called for criminalizing our unhoused population, rather than working to provide services to get them off the streets? Who says he fears allowing his daughter to ride her bike home from Community park after soccer practice due to the unhoused guy who is often near the library, (and who regularly picks up the trash left by those same soccer kids)? Who likely will bring back Roundup to deal with our weed problems? Who thinks making people of color feel welcome in our community can be achieved by just bringing together faith-based communities for activities (apparently he doesn't know that has been happening for years). And have you asked Morrill about his Second Amendment proclivities, much of which he scrubbed from his FB page? Is he going to support the Safe Storage ordinance being worked on presently (I doubt it). Yes, the environment and climate change are extremely important -- but the Council should be able to walk and chew gum. If the ONLY thing you care about is anger about DISC -- I guess you vote for the Republican, no compassion for homeless, no understanding of race and public safety issues, and likely anti-gun control candidate. Gloria does support CAAP (Climate Action Adaptation Plan), you know, which will do far more good than DISC would have done harm, and that support is causing her a lot of grief in the conservatives in our community. I hope you will all reconsider, and re-elect the candidate that will support Davis values consistently - Gloria Partida.

Ann Block

A correction on my last comment -- I believe Gloria supports the overall work of CAAP, I have no idea her opinion on the electrification issue. But the current plan is just a proposal, its not finalized by far, and there are incentives and discounts, assistance, etc. within it, I believe, for low to middle income individuals. I would be surprised if the costs related to individual homeowners were not substantially mitigated, and Gloria herself would likely be the first one to advocate for that -- as at the top of her agenda always, are the working, middle-income, unhoused and otherwise vulnerable residents of Davis, not the wealthy. Our Republican candidate, however, says government should not be spending money to benefit the citizens.

Roberta L. Millstein

I am not bashing Gloria and I am not supporting Adam. I am not taking a stand on the race in District 4, just a stand on the race in District 1, where I am supporting Kelsey Fortune. The goal of my article is to just clarify the implications of somebody’s support or lack thereof of the DISC project. Obviously more goes into support or objection to a candidate than that. On the other hand, it is far more than the one issue that Gloria claims that it was… again, that was my point.

Ron O

In my opinion, someone like Gloria (and Bapu) is far more dangerous than someone like Dan Carson regarding the (traditionally-conservative) "build, baby, build" approach that all three are advocating.

The reason being that folks like Gloria, Bapu, and Robb Davis are essentially claiming "God" on their side. (Not literally, but pretty close.) The problem is that some believe them. These candidates are essentially aligned with the Vanguard.

It's unfortunate that these self-professed "do-gooders" haven't seemed to adopt another "conservative" view, in regard to where money is supposedly coming from. (Probably a reason that they support the Ponzi scheme.)

But Gloria is totally out-of-step with her own district, in regard to peripheral development proposals. More than once (so far). As I recall, she took an even more active role the first time. Anyone who supports her - but is also concerned about the continuing, divisive, and environmentally-harmful peripheral development proposals (which would then be incorporated into her district) has not thought things through. There's really no other way to put this.

If Dan Carson is re-elected, any peripheral development proposal he supports is going to be tarnished. However, the "do-gooders" would not have that problem.

It does seem as though Kelsey Fortune is the most well-rounded candidate, overall. And certainly not a "no-growther".

It's unfortunate that Bapu entered the race, as he'll probably end-up as a "Ralph Nader" type of spoiler. Already, it's difficult to knock off an incumbent like Dan Carson (probably more so, in District 1).

All of this for what is almost a "volunteer" type of job.

I miss the days when candidates were able to say, "yes - I'm a slow-growther" (and make no apologies for it). Honestly, I still think it would be a "winning position", if a candidate arose who did so.

Ron O

Holy cow - how's this for a misleading letter (from Cheryl Essex)?

"Thank you, Gloria, for unequivocally supporting our right to vote on Measures D and H."


The truth is that Gloria has explicitly stated concerns regarding Measure J. She is not a strong supporter of it, as noted in the following Vanguard article:

"Meanwhile, Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida suggested we may want to re-examine Measure J in a few years."

She stated, “I also think we need to acknowledge some pretty negative impacts that we have created” with the city’s overall policy on development."?


Continuing with Cheryl's letter: "I was surprised to read that her opponent told the Sierra Club that the City Council shouldn’t allow us to vote on any peripheral development, “good or bad”, until the entire 20-chapter General Plan is updated. The 83% of voters citywide who supported Measure D in 2020 want the opportunity to vote on peripheral development."

Purposefully conflating the opportunity to vote on Measure J proposals AFTER a general plan update (rather than BEFORE that process is complete) is not the same thing as a failure to support Measure J. No doubt, you already know this. (This is why people hate politics, by the way.)

From Adam's website:

"Housing: Advocate for strategic infill development that will provide entry level housing to young families and workers, as well as dedicated affordable housing, without destroying prime farmland."


At least be honest in your claims, Cheryl.

Bob Milbrodt

Honesty in politics?!? I'm shocked, shocked to hear that dishonesty is going on in politics.
Ann Block’s post above is innuendo at best, likely a sign of desperation in Gloria's campaign. I suspect that faltering campaign will only get uglier. Adam is not a Republican (the voter file is a public record), as if there is something immoral about a political affiliation.
It reminds me why I quit working with local "democrats." They attacked me (a lifelong Democrat) as being immoral for daring to support a Republican for State Assembly. It didn't matter that the "democrat" opponent was a Grand Duke of the KKK!
Voters in District 4 should count dirty politics as another reason to vote for Adam Morrill.

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