« March 2023 | Main | May 2023 »

April 2023

Letter: Make the Wright vote

We are fortunate to have two good candidates for Davis City Council. I will vote for Francesca Wright because I see her as better able to think outside the box and be a results-oriented activist. I value her demonstrated strong commitment to address racial inequities. I appreciate that she is an experienced group facilitator as we need to have difficult conversations, especially with financial issues looming. She has demonstrated a need to help people before they are in crisis with the Department of Social Services. I appreciate her innovative ideas for dealing with climate change such as developing storage capacity with neighborhood microgrids and encouraging small farm food production and eco villages. She is committed to speaking up for renters, half of our Davis population and I respect that. I experience her as being a person with skills and heart.

Jean Jackman

Letter: Supporting Francesca Wright for City Council

I’m writing to encourage everyone in District 3 to vote in the upcoming election for the Davis City Council. While Davis is lucky to have two good candidates competing for the open seat, I’m supporting Francesca Wright. I’ve known her for over 40 years, and during that whole time, she’s been actively engaged in building community for the purpose of improving people’s lives.

Here in Davis, where she’s lived for more than 25 years, Francesca’s been an effective leader who has successfully brought positive change to our community. Among many other examples, Francesca led the effort to improve public safety in Davis, with the result we now have an independent auditor in the Davis Police Department who ensures officers enforce the law fairly and without bias. She also led the effort to address housing and mental health issues more effectively in our community, with the result that we now have a Department of Housing and Social Services here that focuses on reducing homelessness, increasing the affordable housing supply, and ensuring our residents with mental health issues can find appropriate care.

One of Francesca’s defining traits is her collaborative approach and respect for all points of view. She’s a skilled facilitator with a strong commitment to finding common ground and solutions that reflect the collective voices of the community. She brings vision coupled with direct experience in identifying and implementing concrete actions to achieve these shared goals. These are the qualities we need in our City Council so that Davis can continue to grow and support all of our residents.

For these reasons, I urge you to vote for Francesca Wright for the Davis City Council. For information about her platform and priorities for building our community, you can view her website at www.wrightfordavis.org.

Ginny Puddefoot

Provenza Announces He Will Not Seek 5th Term

Jim Provenza(From press release) Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza has announced he will not seek re-election for a 5th term in March of 2024. Provenza was first elected to the Davis Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees in 2003 and later joined the Yolo County Board of Supervisors in 2008. When asked about his decision, Provenza cited his desire to spend more time with his extended family, especially his wife, Donna, his children, and four grandchildren. He also plans to travel, and to eventually explore new ways of serving the public. At the end of his term, Provenza will have been in public service for 45 years.

During his time as a County Supervisor, Provenza achieved several notable accomplishments including saving the Yolo Crisis Nursery in 2014 (the front door of the nursery is named after Provenza for his efforts) and obtaining millions of dollars for direct services to children and families, those without housing, and the aged.  He is proud that the Board recently approved a new South Davis Library. Provenza also worked hard for environmental justice and sponsored Yolo County’s resolution to set a goal of net negative carbon by 2030. Most importantly, Provenza served the day-to-day needs of his constituents by tirelessly representing their interests.

“There are many initiatives I’m working on, and I’m excited about what can be achieved over the next two years,” said Provenza. “I plan to spend the next 20 months working diligently on behalf of the residents of Davis and Yolo County. I intend to go out strong.”

Provenza went on to praise the strength of the community and partnerships between the cities and the County. “No supervisor stands alone in their accomplishments,” said Provenza. “We are fortunate to have five outstanding supervisors, an excellent city council, and the most dedicated and hardworking citizen advocates anywhere. These relationships contribute to addressing essential needs such as the opening of Paul’s Place in Davis, critical wildfire prevention at Putah Creek, and promotion of housing for persons with mental disabilities.”

Continue reading "Provenza Announces He Will Not Seek 5th Term " »

Wright for Informed Approach and Experience

My support for Francesca Wright is based not only on her informed approach to specific issues facing the city from housing, especially affordable housing, and city services to climate change and diversity, but also and especially on the type of experience she will bring to governance.

As a professional and a grassroots organizer over many years, she starts a process at the level of what people say about their concerns and possible solutions based on their experience. That means her solutions to Davis problems will be shaped to address our needs and interests. Several times she has listened carefully to me, and though we may not agree on every point, I have complete confidence that she is committed to the kind of dialogue that will result in good public policy.

Wright has worked for and with public institutions such as the California Institute of Mental Health and several County “First 5” programs that support at-risk children and their families. Unlike her opponent, the strength of her qualifications and experience comes from her work at the community level, rather than within the bureaucracy. You can learn more about her work over the years at https://wrightfordavis.org/bio/ and also by reading her Platform.

With the city in need of a good listener, fresh approaches and someone who will engage in the spirit of collaboration, I urge residents of District 3 to vote for Cesca Wright.

Nancy Price

Letter: The “WRIGHT” choice for council

Note: This letter was originally published in the Davis Enterprise and appears here at the request of the author.

I’m writing to enthusiastically support Francesca Wright for City Council. (I wish I could vote for her but I’m in the fourth district.) As another co-founder of Yolo People Power, I’ve had the chance to work with Francesca and have seen her respond to numerous community issues thoughtfully, strategically, creatively, and successfully. Much has been written in this paper and elsewhere about the value that Donna Neville’s experience on city commissions, etc. would provide, which surely is not to be discredited. But a lack of the same type of experience may be equally qualifying if it serves to free a candidate to consider a wide range of possibilities, not just those assumed to be the “right” ones, or as another letter writer put it: “in the box”. Wherever she has shown up I’ve seen Francesca invite discussion, listen, encourage group interaction, and then, collaboratively, figure out how to utilize our resources to tackle issues, especially where there has been no established roadmap to success. She would be great on the council. I urge my fellow Davisites who can, to vote for Francesca. She really is the “Wright” choice!

Nora Oldwin

Wright for Davis!

Wright-lawn-flowers-cropBy Larry Guenther

I live in District 3, and I emphatically support Francesca Wright for Davis City Council.

We are governed by a representative democracy. On a City Council of five members, those individuals need to represent many and diverse groups. So the primary traits I like to see in a Council Member are the ability to A) listen, and B) create win-win solutions from situations where there appears to be adversity. People talk about candidates having a specific 'expertise.' My view is that the expertise required of a true representative is the ability to bring people of different views together to come up with solutions that work for everyone.

As a member of the Tree Commission, I signed the open letter on "Improving City of Davis Decision Making," written by other Davis Commissioners in 2020. This letter laid out many great steps to improve engagement with the Commissions and to improve the outcomes of issues that came before City Council. I felt then and, as a current commissioner, I still feel that there are fundamental issues with the participation of City Commissions and that these recommendations would address these issues very well. There has yet to be any movement on these recommendations.  I believe that Francesca Wright actually appreciates the Commission system and the expertise the members of these commissions bring to the table. As someone who I have witnessed really listening to people and incorporating their ideas into a final plan of action, I have no doubt that Francesca Wright would move forward on really engaging the Commissions and using them to their full potential.

Continue reading "Wright for Davis!" »

Tree Davis to Observe National Arbor Day with City of Davis and Enterprise’s Bob Dunning

2021 Bike Tour 1 (1)

(From press release) Saturday, April 29, marks National Arbor Day, and Tree Davis will celebrate it by offering two, free events at 8 a.m.: a bicycle ride/tree tour and a celebration at Central Park with the City of Davis and journalist Bob Dunning. Mayor Will Arnold will also attend the event and read the City’s proclamation.

Starting at 8 a.m., the fifth edition of the “Great Tree Search Bike Tour” will begin with coffee and donuts at the North Davis Pond parking lot, located at Anderson Road and F Street. At 8:30 a.m., Board President Greg McPherson will begin the six-mile tour with stops at several ecological restoration projects. In addition to visiting Great Trees, the tour will include outstanding examples of tree shaded streets and parking lots. Riders will learn about the past, present, and future of the Avenue of Trees along West Russell, then finish at noon at Central Park to join the ongoing celebration.

At the same time, from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., an Arbor Day Celebration will be taking place at Central Park. Tree Davis, City of Davis, UC Davis Arboretum, CAL FIRE, West Coast Arborists and other urban forestry champions will be available to chat with attendees about the importance of trees in the face of climate change. At noon, Bob Dunning will lead a discussion at the event about the history and impact of Davis’ trees, alongside city staff and other community leaders.

Attendance for both events is free, though registration for the bicycle ride is necessary, at:  www.treedavis.org.

Potential irregularities underlying decisions made about the U-Mall site

There were significant errors, omissions, and mischaracterizations about zoning, the EIR, and contractual obligations.

By Rik Keller

Screen Shot 2023-04-18 at 8.10.10 AM
Screen Shot from the City of Davis website

Note: The following has been set to members of the Planning Commission and members of the City Council

I’ve been following the U-Mall/University Commons/The Davis Collection discussions with interest. I have decades of land use planning experience as a consultant for cities and counties since receiving my Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning degree in the mid-1990s, including general plan policy review and development, zoning ordinances, housing elements, and project consistency review. Based on my knowledge and experience in the field, I have some very strong questions about the process that the City has conducted.

Looking at the 3/8/2023 staff report for the Planning Commission in detail:

  1. There are significant errors, omissions, and mischaracterizations about the Mixed Use (MU) land use designation and associated Planned Development (PD) zoning district adopted for the site by the City Council on August 25, 2020. I believe these errors may be significant enough to re-open the discussion about a required residential component for the site and possibly require additional City Council votes;
  2. There are also significant errors, omissions, and mischaracterizations about the required environmental analysis under CEQA for the revised project. Specifically, because the project no longer has a residential component, the streamlining procedures that allowed for some CEQA analysis exemptions no longer apply, and additional EIR analysis appears to be required;
  3. Finally, many of the contractual obligations under Development Agreement (DA) no longer apply, but an amended DA was not completed by the project proponent and City Council.

In summary, there appear to be numerous shortcuts taken to approve the modified project that aren’t legally adequate.

As a note: In his 3/20/23 appeal to the 3/8/2023 PC decision, Councilmember Bapu Vaitla did question the consistency of The Davis Collection proposal with broader General Plan vision statements but did not directly address the specific language and requirements for the Mixed Use designation and the PD zoning district for the site.

Continue reading "Potential irregularities underlying decisions made about the U-Mall site" »

Author Fiekowsky Speaks About Choosing Not to Ride Off the Climate Cliff

2023-04-12 Climate RestoraBy Scott Steward

Davis, like the rest of humanity, is on course to ride off a climate change cliff. We will just do it on bikes.

If you don't want that kind of future then come see the author of "Climate Restoration,” Peter Fiekowsky speak this Thursday at 7:00 pm (see details at end).

Peter does not have all the answers, but he has taken on what needs to be taken on in his treatment of the scale and urgency to the problem of survival in the face of climate change. Peter's assumptive voice patronizes, but his book is an important contribution to where we need to go to reach "safe harbor."

For a crib notes summary of the book you can read a review at Earth.org. The reviewer, Maria Mendez, holds back from what could really bother you about the author's interpretation of the elite pedigree behind the proposed solutions to draw down CO2. Fiekowsky spends no ink on the legacy of the slave enabled colonialist system that lives on in our extractive economy and remains a real danger to his own aspirations. 

That said, Peter Fiekowsky is an ally in the forces of change that apply to climate action and provide for a just transition and benevolent community.  His privileged myopia need not get in our way of a better path toward the rapid evaluation of, if and how best to apply, geoengineering to reduce hundreds of gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2050.  I believe he would be open to constructive suggestions about how to include more voices in the benefits and origin stories of this work.

Continue reading "Author Fiekowsky Speaks About Choosing Not to Ride Off the Climate Cliff" »

Tainted Love headlines Davis Pride Festival in June

Tainted Love will bring the best of 1980s music to the Davis Pride Festival on June 4. (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) The 1980s tribute band Tainted Love will headline the June 4 Davis Pride Festival. The music is part of a weekend of activities in downtown Davis that celebrate International LGBTQ+ Month.

“A Tainted Love performance is like reliving the ’80s,” its promotional material states. “The band will take you back in time while keeping the party going.”

Based in San Francisco, Tainted Love – the Best of the ’80s Live performs at major clubs, ballrooms and rock venues across the country. Its high-energy show has a loyal fan base, and is appreciated by every generation.

The band’s name is inspired by the 1981 Soft Cell hit “Tainted Love,” but it plays a wide variety of hits from the 1980s, including “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, “Jesse’s Girl” by Rick Springfield, “Don’t you Forget About Me” by Simple Minds, and “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. Other covers include songs by Billy Idol, Bon Jovi, John (Cougar) Mellencamp, Madonna, Phil Collins, Prince, The Police, Van Halen and others.

The music festival, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. that Sunday, includes several local and international bands, choirs and a drag queen revue. It’s just part of the ninth annual Davis Pride Festival and related events. The community-focused, family-friendly weekend includes a skate night, fun run, music festival, drag queens, vendors and more – June 3 and 4. 

The events, produced by the Davis Phoenix Coalition, follow the theme “I am Davis Pride.” This year, Davis Pride’s presenting sponsor is BluPeak Credit Union. The highlights of the weekend include:

Continue reading "Tainted Love headlines Davis Pride Festival in June" »

It was an April Fool’s kind of week in Davis this week


What is going on with the City Council?  Tuesday’s meeting was surreal.

By Roberta Millstein

First, Councilmember Bapu Vaitla, critic of NIMBYs who dare to say that projects should be better, suggested that the proposed University Mall redevelopment isn’t good enough.  Somehow, even though the site has been retail-only for decades, Councilmember Vaitla claimed that that use isn’t consistent with the General Plan – stating, among other things, that the project does not provide “a diversity of housing options” – and he called for an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the project.

If Councilmember Vaitla were a defender of the project as approved, he would likely say that an appeal like this was just a delay tactic.  But because it’s his objection to the project, he marshaled Davisites to come speak in favor of the appeal.

Then Councilmember Gloria Partida, who has consistently argued that we need more housing in Davis, voted to deny Councilmember Vaitla’s appeal, effectively guaranteeing that there would be no housing at the University Mall site (since the vote to hear the appeal had to be unanimous).

To further the up-is-down left-is-right Council meeting, the council – to a person – decided no, it will not go forward with putting any of four housing-projects-in-process on the ballot for November 2024.[1]  This is in spite of, again, all four councilmembers touting themselves as being pro-housing, and perhaps even more puzzling, in spite of the fact that two of the four councilmembers wrote the report suggesting that the Council take up the question of which project to put in process for November 2024.

A representative of one of the developers of the four projects even got up to say that nothing should be put in motion for November 2024!  Surely this was April Fool’s?  Nope, April 4.

Continue reading "It was an April Fool’s kind of week in Davis this week" »

Letter: Francesca is Wright for the City Council

Dear Davis Citizens,

In the upcoming Davis City Council Election please vote for Francesca Wright.

Two months ago, in her pursuit of input on affordable housing Francesca sought out my perspective.

I was pleased to share my experience and hear of her passion and plans to address affordable housing.

Francesca seems even-keeled, thoughtful and interested in the opinions of others. She has a long history of successful organizational activity on behalf of needed community solutions.

The city has to face some critical structural issues and I trust that Francesca has the competency, courage and common sense to tackle them head on.

She's Wright for the job.

David J Thompson

First Countywide High School Youth Voter Registration Drive

(From press release) The Yolo County Elections Office in partnership with the League of Women Voters, Davis Area and Woodland chapters, invite all local high schools to host and participate in the first Countywide High School Youth Voter Registration Drive (VRD) in Yolo County.

This countywide voter registration drive was established as a result of the recently adopted Yolo County Board of Education Resolution #22-23/44, in Support of High School Voter Weeks (last two weeks in April). The two-week drive is scheduled from April 17 to April 28, 2023. This drive is open to all local high schools and students.

“This effort is a direct result of the strong partnership between the Yolo County Elections Office, League of Women Voters local chapters, the Yolo County Office of Education and its Board, and local youth service providers,” said Jesse Salinas, Yolo County Assessor/Clerk- Recorder/Registrar of Voters.

Schools interested in participating should complete the Yolo County Voter Registration Drive Participation Survey: https://forms.office.com/g/DrUiFFmwwf by Wednesday, April 5, 2023. During a Youth Voter Registration Drive students will be able to register or pre-register to vote, learn about the upcoming 2023 Youth Empowerment Summit and be entered for a chance to win prizes.

For more information contact María D. Coronel, Outreach Specialist with Yolo County ACE at [email protected].

We encourage residents to connect with Yolo County ACE – Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Elections on Facebook: @YoloACE, Instagram: @YoloCoACE, YouTube: @Yolo County ACE, TikTok: @yolocoace, and Twitter: @YoloCoACE to receive the most up to date information and updates.

Letter: Wright for City Council

Francesca Wright is an inclusive and innovative leader who is not going to follow insular ways of doing things that have led to stalled Davis business opportunity and housing logjams.

With her experience, Francesca successfully brought about constructive change to how we keep each other safe and how we plan and implement policy. As a leader within Yolo People Power, Francesca worked to create the Davis Department of Social Services and Housing. Francesca Wright was also instrumental in the implementation of community law-enforcement oversight, a positive model for the nation; a framework where we are all part of the solution to keep each other safe.

Francesca has consistently sided with democracy and access to decision makers. I got to know Francesca these past five years on foot, visiting people in their apartments and single family homes all over Yolo County — to encourage them to vote. She won't wait for city meetings to get voter input.

Her success at solving problems comes from the people. Francesca brings strength to the council, strength to remove barriers and build trust in decisions for business, housing, climate action, and equity.

Please join me in voting for Francesca Wright for Davis City Council.

Scott Steward

Letter: Vote for Donna Neville

I urge you to vote for Donna Neville on May 2 to fill the vacancy on the Davis City Council.  I am an advocate for the unhoused who has worked on homeless and low-income housing issues in Davis for many years, and I am impressed by her understanding of the causes of both chronic homelessness and temporary homelessness that results from an unforeseen crisis, such as a medical emergency, and. Her understanding has led her to propose specific, practical solutions. She understands that Davis can only deal with the issue by working to provide more housing for low-income workers and families.

Her emphasis on updating the General Plan reflects an understanding of the need for our city to plan and to develop a shared vision of what we want our community to look like over the next decades. She also understands that the General Plan is an important part of dealing with our multifaceted housing crisis. 

Donna also advocates for an Economic Development Plan where the city takes a proactive approach to determining how it will diversify our revenue and bring in the much-needed funding to take care of city infrastructure and continue to support city services. Her background in public finance will be invaluable in assisting in this economic development effort.

As someone who taught Environmental Studies for many years, I know that Donna has a real grasp of the need for action to address climate change. She will depend on the best science and will consider how the costs of various actions needed to address climate change will be borne by different members of the community. Her willingness to listen to everyone in the room will be important in ensuring that the city's policy is accepted by people living in Davis.

Finally, Donna's considerable professional experience as a government lawyer means that she has the knowledge and the experience to critically evaluating the information put before her.  As a city council member, she will clearly, fairly, and compassionately weigh the costs and benefits of varying actions before the council.

Please vote for Donna Neville for city council.

Helen Roland Cramer

Rebranding at UC Davis: New Mascot is the Ca$h Cow$!

DALL·E 2023-04-01 00.08.16 - a cow mascot adorned with a graduation cap and a stack of cash in its hoovesDAVIS, CA - In a stunning announcement today, the University of California, Davis revealed that it would be retiring its current team nickname, the “Aggies," in favor of a new name that better reflects the school's commitment to undergraduate students and the hefty tuition bills they pay. 

Effective immediately, the university's new nickname and mascot will be the “Ca$h Cow$.” The decision was reportedly made after a lengthy debate among university administrators about how to best celebrate the financial contributions of out-of-state and international students. 

"We felt it was important to honor our biggest contributors," said Chancellor Dairy Dismay. "We want our students to know that they're not just a number, they're a dollar sign," added Dismay. "And what better way to show them that than by making our mascot a literal representation of the financial burden they're shouldering?"

Reaction to the news was mixed on social media, with some observers praising the university for embracing its financial realities, while others criticized the decision as cynical and tone-deaf.

Continue reading "Rebranding at UC Davis: New Mascot is the Ca$h Cow$!" »