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The Proposed Village Farms Davis Development Project is NOT Threatened by Groundwater Contamination from the Former Davis Landfill Site

By Alan Pryor

Executive Summary and Conclusions

This article reports on potential groundwater contamination beneath the former Davis Landfill site north of the City of Davis on Poleline Rd. and the adjacent site proposed for the Village Farms Davis development project immediately south and southeast of the old landfill site.

During the contentious Measure X election in November, 2005 in which the proposed Covell Village project (on the same site as the current proposed development, Village Farms Davis) was rejected by voters, allegations were made that the site’s groundwater was contaminated by leaching of pollutants from the former Davis landfill site just north of the project. In particular, it was alleged that a carcinogen, vinyl chloride, was in the groundwater beneath the project site rendering the project unsuitable for development in as much as a deep well was proposed for the site to add to the City of Davis potable water supply.

In a recent City Council meeting (April 4, 2023) in which the possible timing of bringing peripheral projects before the voters were discussed, one public comment again stated that vinyl chloride was in the groundwater beneath the old Davis landfill and the proposed site for the Village Farms Davis project.

The parcel itself has so many problems. It has toxics in the north end from the land fill site. The old land fill site was not lined so there is vinyl chloride leakage from the old land fill and it’s substantial. Vinyl chloride does not go away.

These claims of vinyl chloride and other toxic compounds in the groundwater were based on data from the early 1990s though 2005 which showed some intermittent groundwater contamination (including some tests showing the presence of vinyl chloride) in shallow groundwater test wells beneath the old landfill and immediately to the south beneath the then proposed Covell Village project. These earlier monitoring well test results were reported in the EIR issued in the Covell Village EIR issued in 2005 and are further discussed below in the section entitled Summary of Well Monitoring Findings.

These reported findings were considered important at the time because, as stated above, the Covell Village project proposal included a new deep well on the project site to provide drinking water capacity for the proposed project and connecting into the City’s potable water supply network. Concerns were expressed that the shallow water contamination could worsen and impact the deep aquifer from which potable water would be drawn. Potentially compounding the problem was the discovery that the groundwater plume was migrating from the landfill toward the south and southwest in the direction of the proposed Covell Village project.

Annual testing of the monitoring wells subsequently occurred in the period since the Covell Village EIR from 2012 – 2019. These later tests showed a substantial reduction in groundwater contamination in the intervening years and the report from consulting engineers engaged by the City to evaluate the groundwater contamination showed the following results;

  1. NO Vinyl Chloride was found at all in any sampled groundwater from 2012 – 2019 nor were there ANY other VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) or metals found in any of the test well samples above the EPA's Primary Maximum Concentration Levels (MCLs) for drinking water.
  1. There were some measurements of nitrate (probably from past agricultural fertilization on the site) in the monitored wells that were in excess of Primary MCLs and some other naturally occurring minerals (selenium, manganese, and sulfate) that were intermittently in excess of Secondary MCLs but not hugely in excess of other well waters in the area.

    However, these are NOT a human health concern because the groundwater beneath the Village Farms Davis project site will NOT be pumped and used for drinking water purposes. Instead, the project will rely on City of Davis municipal drinking water supplies as delivered to the rest of the City.
  1. The plume of groundwater beneath the former landfill site and the proposed development project site was most recently determined to be moving toward the northeast away from the Village Farms Davis project site as a result in changes in groundwater extraction rates in the area. Thus, even if there was very unlikely leaching from the landfill site future in the future it would NOT migrate in the direction of the proposed development project.
  1. Based on the sampling results from 2012 - 2019 indicating no detectable amounts of vinyl chloride and no amounts of volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs) or heavy metals in excess of established EPA MCLs, it was recommended that the City discontinue annual testing and request a No Further Action letter from the Regional Water Board thus confirming the area is no longer considered a threat to groundwater contamination.

These later test monitoring results from 2012 – 2019 are also further discussed below in the section entitled Summary of Well Monitoring Findings.

Background

The 400-acre site of the currently proposed Village Farms Davis residential development project is bordered on the northeast side by the former 31-acre City of Davis waste disposal site. Historical records indicate the waste disposal activities at the Site began in the 1940s as an open burn dump. Operation as a direct-bury Class III landfill began in 1969 and received waste from residential, commercial, and industrial clients and construction debris until 1975, after which no additional waste was received.

Yearly records of the number of truckloads received were used by the City of Davis to estimate that approximately 300,000 tons of mixed waste was deposited in the landfill during its operation. The City of Davis also reported that NO hazardous classified waste had been disposed of at the landfill.

Figure 1 – Old Davis Landfill Vicinity Map

Fig. 1 - City Rpt 2019 Q4 M

The Site was also used as the location of the former City of Davis Waste Water Treatment Facility, which included 5 surface water aeration ponds and a processing facility (Figure 2). The inactive ponds remain at the Site but the processing facility has been demolished and removed. An active Go-Kart racing facility, and an active Paint Ball facility currently occupy the southern portions of the former landfill site.

Figure 2 – Old Davis Landfill Site Map

Fig. 2 - City Rpt 2019 Q4 M

Summary of Well Monitoring Findings

Periodic water sample testing from a series of seven monitoring wells both on the old landfill site (3 wells), on the Village Farms Davis project site (3 wells), and on the east side of Poleline Rd adjacent to the Wildhorse Golf Course (1 well) has been performed since 1992.

Concentrations of Water Contaminants - Pre-Covell Village EIR (Before 2005)

The early history of testing for contaminants (including vinyl chloride) is summarized best in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Covell Village issued in 2004 from which partial excerpted sections are quoted below;

Old Davis Landfill, County Road 28H.

Vadose soil impacts were not detected immediately beneath the landfill facility. Trace level volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations were detected in the downgradient wells including vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloropropoane and 1,4-dichlorobenzene. Elevated selenium, chloride and nitrate were further reported for the downgradient wells. D&M concluded that groundwater downgradient of the former landfill facility had been impacted by landfill leakage with some contaminant levels above California Maximum Contaminant Levels. In 1996, D&M prepared an Evaluation Monitoring Report (EMP) for the former landfill facility….Only one VOC (1,2-DCP) was detected in groundwater samples obtained from the onsite CPT probes at concentrations ranging from 0.72 to 1.2 ug/l. VOCs were not detected in any of the onsite wells during four sampling events performed in 1995 and 1996. Based on the low levels detected, D&M recommended no further action, with semi-annual groundwater monitoring.

Groundwater Sampling in 2003

The results of sampling in February 2003 did not indicate detectable VOCs in any of the monitoring wells. Only dichlorodifluoromethane was detected in onsite wells HLA-MW1 & 2 and DM-MW4 at concentrations ranging from 1.5 to 6.4 ug/l between 1999 and 2002. The CVRWQCB completed a Monitoring Report Compliance Checklist for the landfill facility in March 2002 confirming that formal monitoring should continue in addition to a determination of background water quality.

Groundwater Sampling in 2004

The Report states that the aforementioned groundwater wells were sampled on Tuesday, February 10, 2004. The results showed little change in inorganic aqueous chemistry. One organic compound, dichlorodifluoromethane (Freon-12), was detected at monitoring well DM1. This compound has been detected onsite in the past and the concentration of 5.1 parts per billion (ppb) was slightly higher than the previous results of 3.90 ppb. Both levels are well below the State’s Action Limit for drinking water standards.

Subsequent to the issuance of the DEIR, numerous Comments to the DEIR were submitted indicating that the continued presence of vinyl chloride constituted a future risk to inhabitants of the proposed Covell Village project. This was addressed in the Response to those Comments in the Final EIR (FEIR) subsequently issue, as follows;

According to both the City of Davis Public Works Department and GEOCON Consultants, the statement on page 11-5 of the 1997 Jones & Stokes Covell Center EIR is incorrect, because vinyl chloride has not been detected in either groundwater or vapor samples collected from the monitoring wells located on the Covell Village property. As further stated by GEOCON Consultants in March 2005, review of the source document referenced in the 1997 EIR (Evaluation Monitoring Report and Proposed Corrective Action Plan, Old Davis Landfill prepared by Dames & Moore, dated June 1997) does not corroborate the statement that vinyl chloride was detected on the Covell Village property. Vinyl chloride was detected in well DM-MW3 located on the City-owned landfill property during the initial groundwater sampling events performed in March and July 1992 at concentrations of 2.0 and 2.7 ppb, respectively. Subsequent sampling performed by the City's consultant (Dames & Moore) between September 1992 and August 1996, including five cone penetrometer test (CPT) groundwater samples collected from the Covell Village property, did not indicate detectable levels of vinyl chloride. Biannual groundwater sampling performed by the City of Davis since 1999 has only resulted in one detection of vinyl chloride; 2.8 ppb in well DM-MW2 located on northern portion of the City-owned landfill property in February 2001. The lack of persistent detections suggests that vinyl chloride is not present in groundwater beneath the former landfill or adjacent Covell Village property as a stable migrating plume”

Concentrations of Water Contaminants - Post Covell Village EIR Monitoring (2012 – 2019)

Subsequent to the defeat of Measure X at the polls and pursuant to an order from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board (CVRWQCB), the City again began testing of the groundwater in the 7 test wells from from 2012 – 2018 on an annual basis and then twice in 2019 (the later two tests to see if any seasonal variation occurred in sample concentrations). In 2018 the City retained the consulting engineers, Wallace Kuhl Associates to evaluate the well water test results and recommend an appropriate course of action, if any.

A report detailing the findings of constituents in the groundwater beneath both the landfill and the Village Farms Davis site prepared by the City’s contractor, Wallace Kuhl Associates (Semi-Annual Monitoring Report, Fourth Quarter 2019– Old Davis Landfill, WKA No. 12395.01P, January 23, 2020). According to this report, there was no groundwater contamination by any heavy metals or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in excess of their established Maximum Concentration Level (MCL) and none of the samples showed the presence of any vinyl chloride contamination at all.

A Change in the Direction of Underlying Groundwater Flow

Generally, groundwater flow beneath Davis is toward the east. However, groundwater testing during the early 1990s indicated the directional flow of groundwater beneath the former landfill site was toward the south and southwest. According to the analysis performed at the site by Dames and Moore in 1997, groundwater flow was generally toward the south during fall – spring changing toward the southwest during the summer months.  At the time, “this was attributed to increased pumping of groundwater at the Hunt-Wesson Plant to the southwest of the landfill...during the onset of the tomato canning season...from late-June to mid-October groundwater pumping at the plant is on the order of 2 to 2.5 million gallons per day compared to approximately 400,000 gallons per day in the off season”. It was reported this dropped local groundwater levels on the order of 7 ft. thus establishing the downgradient flow from the landfill through the Covell Village site towards the Hunt Wesson Cannery.

By 2019, however, the City’s consulting engineers had determined that the directional groundwater flow had completely changed direction as a result of discontinuance of groundwater pumping at the Hunt-Wesson plant which closed in 1999 (Wallace Kuhl Associates (Semi-Annual Monitoring Report, Fourth Quarter 2019– Old Davis Landfill, WKA No. 12395.01P, January 23, 2020). Their report stated that, “The groundwater contours generated based on groundwater-surface elevations indicate that on October 22, 2019, the groundwater gradient was northeast at a gradient of 0.009 feet per foot. Figure 3 depicts groundwater surface elevation contours for the modeled potentiometric groundwater-surface at the Site”.(Emphasis added).

Thus even if further contamination leakage from the landfill site commenced in the future, it will migrate away from the Village Farms Davis development site. The groundwater gradient is graphically shown in the following figure.

Figure 3 – Groundwater Directional Map

Fig. 3 - City Rpt 2019 Q4 M 

Final Assessment of the Former Davis Landfill Site

A final assessment of the former Davis Landfill Site was made by the City’s contractor, Wallace Kuhl Associates in a report entitled Site Characterization Report – Old Davis Landfill, WKA No. 12395.01P, June 20, 2020. The main findings excerpted from this report follow (with bold emphasis added).

4.0 2019 GROUNDWATER SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS

No metal concentration in groundwater exceeded its established EPA Primary MCL Maximum Concentration Limit. No VOC was detected at a concentration that exceeded its established EPA MCL.

5.0 CONCLUSIONS

Beginning in September 2012, the City of Davis Department of Public Works Utilities & Operations resumed groundwater monitoring at the Site. Analysis was limited to VOCs. In 2019 the City of Davis retained WKA to conduct groundwater monitoring.

WKA conducted second and fourth quarter 2019, groundwater monitoring and sampling at the Site in June and October of 2019, respectively...Analytical results from the Fourth Quarter 2019, sampling event revealed that Nitrate was detected is groundwater samples at a concentration exceeding its MCL of 10 mg/L. Manganese, Sulfate, and Selenium were detected at concentrations exceeding their respective secondary MCL.

6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Terminate quarterly groundwater monitoring and abandon wells DM-MW-1 through DM-

MW-5, as well as HLA-MW-1 and HLA-MW-2.

  • WKA recommends that the State Water Board close the case and issue a No Further Action ruling for the Site.”

 

REFERENCES 

All data on the site and groundwater contamination for this report was obtained from the following pertaining to the former landfill site. Copies are available upon request.

  1. Solid Waste Water Quality Assessment Report, Report for Old Davis Landfill, Dames and Moore, January, 1993
  1. Evaluation Monitoring Report and Proposed Corrective Action Plan - Old Davis Landfill, Dames and Moore, June 1997
  1. Covell Village Draft Program Level Environmental Impact Report, SCH# 2004062089, Raney Planning and Management, December, 2004
  1. Covell Village Final Program Level Environmental Impact Report, SCH# 2004062089, Raney Planning and Management, May, 2005
  1. Semi-Annual Monitoring Report, Fourth Quarter 2019– Old Davis Landfill, WKA No. 12395.01P, Wallace Kuhl Associates, January 23, 2020

Comments

Alan C. Miller

Just plain weird to have AP supporting this housing and defending its developer with the same TLDNR fervor that was formerly reserved for fighting developments. I say this as someone who voted for Covell Village. Not as thrilled with this proposal, it'll take some convincing. As for the groundwater, I used to work in the profession, and what is presented here passes the smell test.

Ron O

I agree, Alan M.

I can envision someone like Alan P. possibly supporting something like Palomino Place (or even Nishi), but not a 400-acre, primarily single-family housing proposal on 400 acres of prime farmland - extending beyond (and wrapping-around) The Cannery, as well.

Don't know if he cares about traffic on that side of town, but this thing would also be a traffic nightmare (especially since The Cannery and Spring Lake have been built since Covell Village I was defeated).

Good luck trying to get to CostCo or Home Depot from Davis, after that. Already, there's a lot of traffic going up Road 102 to connect with I-5, as well.

Not to mention the freeway access points at Mace. (It will REALLY be something if the Chiles Ranch and "100% Housing DISC" proposals are approved at some point, as well.)

And ALL of these properties are far from UCD.

Truth be told, I don't understand why ANYONE would support it, other than those hoping to make a buck off of it (one way or another).

For those hoping for lower housing prices, the rise in interest rates is starting to take care of that - far more than a single development (anywhere) would. The Sacramento region is experiencing some of the largest declines in housing prices in the country, at this point.

Tuvia

https://www.davisvanguard.org/2023/05/guest-commentary-proposed-village-farms-davis-development-project-is-not-threatened-by-groundwater-contamination/

My kneejerk was to start with a "forest for the trees" angle, but also stating that Alan Pryor is certainly nearly unassailable as a big picture thinker in environmental protections.

BUT, instead:

* "When push comes to shove" - e.g. when they feel desperate for housing in a particular place, or with accessible schools in a particular place - do they finally put aside various environmental risks and "bite the bullet"? I Googled "Are people concerned about air and water pollution when choosing a home" and didn't see an immediate answer: Just like water quality minutiae, this is outside my skill set...
* However, I see a lot of people living in relatively near homes right next to I-80, which is nearly constantly noisy and -depending on monitoring site - variably polluted with gasses and particles... and a small fraction also live downwind of In&Out, but I digress..
* So my guess is that people won't care if they live on top of or next to a poisoned site. "Americans' kvetch constantly but.... people want to sleep somewhere with locked doors and climate control.
* Speaking of noise pollution, the go-karts are really annoying.

***

I semi-intentionally used a bunch of common phrases above to highlight the need for a compassionate community to use language properly and honestly:

"Village Farms" is not obviously not farms - and people will just be taught or convince themselves that transferring corporate agricultural land to mostly single-mostly genetic family homes is inevitable. It's also obviously not a village, but who in the USA even knows what a true village is any longer? Village Homes is also mostly not a village. (Imagine aliens in some Kurt Vonnegut book visiting Village Homes and not finding a village.) I lived in a place called Studio Village in Culver City ("The Heart of Screenland") and live in a Village-named place now in Davis. People love villages, even if people in named villages aren't in villages. So... while "West Davis Active Adult Community" was kind of a designation and the final name is related to some kind of worship of the Post WWII economy, curious if "Village Farms" will also be changed to e.g. "Compassion Acres" or more perversely and honestly "Downtown Merchants persuade Council to permanently ban paid parking as Village Farms residents drive their electric cars to shop in east Woodland Village not-Village".

Let's compare this to DISC I and II. Alan Pryor is a true hero in his role in defeating those exercises in multi-million dollar developer masturbation with government facilitation, and I would like to hear his answers and everyone else's. For my part - and I lived across Pole Line from the proposed development for a year and way more peripherally - still in Davis - since October 2021.... because I see the stats in the Campus Travel Survey, I see how little biking there is at distances over 15 min from campus, and that's for many people who can't easily afford cars. I don't see how the proposed density and availability of private vehicles, parked fare free in or next to their homes will ever result in a significant use of public transportation. I see no solution for 102 aside from closing it to through traffic except for ag-related business. People will drive to Oaktree Plaza, we know this, right?

If we build this, we just encourage Woodland to further expand south and perhaps in other directions, we will see SACOG to shrug its shoulders so hard in powerlessness that it will crush its own head... we should be joining Caltrans (and Amtrak) to sue the frack out of Woodland and other places so they stop expanding, as this gives a rather robust middle finger to any possibility of a robust regional public transportation network.

The water argument would be important if there were a wide range of environmentally-beneficial reasons to build it. There are not, so it's not.

(Note: This is the same comment I made in the Davis Vanguard, repeated here for folks who don't visit that other publication as they feel it doesn't pass "the smell test".)

Nancy Price

As for the groundwater and all the testing, I see no mention that any one of the large family of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances = PFAS "forever chemicals" were tested for, nor do I see a PFAS chemical listed as tested in my water bill. So, I'd like to briefly here pass along some information.
Across the country, leachate from old and current landfills that contain a myriad of products manufactured with PFAS chemicals to make them grease, stain, water, and heat resistant or add other properties is contaminated with PFAS, often the source of contamination of drinking water sources. PFAS chemicals are known to be carcinogenic and have serious impacts on health.
Additionally, firefighting foam with PFAS has been used for decades at military and commercial airports; even the new formulation is considered as toxic. And finally, the International Association of Fire Fighters has mobilized to inform firefighters of the danger of PFAS in their turnout gear and high rates of cancers among firefighters. https://www.iaff.org/pfas/
For information: https://www.ewg.org/what-are-pfas-chemicals and also
militarypoisons.org, https://www.militarypoisons.org/take-action
and the Sierra Club has a good factsheet, just do an internet search to download.

California has set low limits on PFAS in drinking water because the EPA has still not set national limits.

Ron O

To clarify my initial comment, I'm agreeing that it's strange that Alan P. would be supporting this. As far as the potential toxics on the site, I'll leave that to others to discuss/analyze.

Eileen Samitz

There can be no assumption that the Village Farms site is safe for development. It is surprising and disappointing to see this article attempting to dismiss the significant concerns that have been raised in the past, and recently, regarding toxics contamination from the former City landfill site and the former City sewage treatment plant, which are immediately adjacent to the Village Farms property.

There is much to respond to regarding this attempt to ignore the toxics concerns including the fact that the studies done were focused primarily on the former City landfill site, and there was no major clean up action but minimal monitoring. Furthermore, there is the former sewage treatment plant which is located immediately adjacent to the former landfill site which was unlined and could not provide a barrier to prevent the leakage.

The fact is that vinyl chloride, which is carcinogenic, was found on the former City landfill site as well as the Village Farms site by the Dames and Moore study, plus other toxic chemicals. These issues were raised by many concerned citizens during the Covell Village EIR review, including by Pam Nieberg and myself. Pam served as president of the Frontier Fertilizer Superfund Oversight Group for 28 years, and she worked in the toxicology field for over 38 years and has expertise in this subject. She, like I, see that there has not been adequate monitoring or adequate analysis for this 400-acre Village Farms site and so the very same concerns stand, including toxics, traffic, floodplain, unaffordable housing and unsafe bike/pedestrian access issues. More to come on this issue.

Greg Rowe

Aside from the topic of this article, there is another aspect of this proposed development that may warrant examination. For many years the Covell Farms applicant (through his company, Tandem Properties) executed "Master Leases" on its apartment buildings with UCD. This set aside those apartments for exclusive occupancy by UCD students. This action had several negative consequences. First, it removed those units from the overall rental market; i.e., they were unavailable for occupancy for anyone but students. Second, because UCD is a non-profit entity, the existence of a "master lease" between the applicant's company (Tandem Properties) allowed Tandem to apply for a property tax exemption from Yolo County. I don't know whether Tandem actually did apply for such exemptions, but if it did, that would mean that Yolo County and the City of Davis have potentially been deprived of a great deal of property tax revenue in past years. Fortunately, the MOU executed among UCD, the County and the City in 2018 ended the master lease practice, but it would be interesting to know how many of Tandem's properties had master leases and how many obtained property tax exemptions; and moreover, how much tax revenue was lost.

I am a City of Davis Planning Commissioner, but these comments are strictly in my capacity as a private citizen.

S. Rainier

If the developer is so keen to build housing, why not CLEAN the site? Without a full restoration and regeneration to purely natural setting - NO.

How can Alan P. be the head of the local Sierra Club and be for this kind of greed driven ignoring of valid concerns for human health? I don't understand this.

If the developer and Alan want to camp out on the site for say a week or so to prove it's safe, let's see it. Pitch a tent, drink the groundwater....

This is a sad action by the land owner, very sad. Leaving ecocide to poison others....genocide. It's the way of the greedy without conscience happening globally.

Alan C. Miller

"How can Alan P. be the head of the local Sierra Club and be for this kind of greed driven ignoring of valid concerns for human health? I don't understand this. "

Look to Davis history for other examples of this. Leopards don't just change their spots, they are enticed to become striped tigers, or elephants. This would be like Alan Miller suddenly advocating for a freeway widening, or an overpass at the train station (go under, go under), or supporting Fletcher the Frog. None of this is going to happen. I'm not even necessarily going to vote against this project, though leaning that way at the moment. I'm just always curious about species change before my eyes. Not accusing, just mighty fascinated.

George Galamba

I don't know about the toxics, but the traffic on Pole Line Road and Covell Blvd. are already unacceptable. This notion that one can constantly add demand on existing infrastructure is ludicrous. If the developer can move the development a bit to the west and make Pole Line Road 4 lanes up to Gibson Road in Woodland, then maybe.

Ron O

George: It would have to be 4 lanes all the way to the connection with I-5, to make that "work". (For that matter, I-5 itself could probably use another lane between Woodland and Sacramento, even now.)

There's already traffic jams on Road 102 prior to the the I-5 freeway entrance points, at times. Backing up at the "CostCo intersection" where it intersects with Road 102.

Not to mention the intersection at Pole Line and Covell, on the "Davis" side. And from there, continuing down Pole Line through Davis, or spilling onto Covell - either/both directions. Ultimately impacting the freeway access points to I-80, as well.

And that's without even considering the possibility of Palomino Place, Shriner's, 100% Housing DISC, and whatever that proposal is called on the south side of Mace.

Since Covell Village I was proposed and defeated, The Cannery and Spring Lake have been built (though still not complete), and there's another 1,600 housing units planned adjacent to Spring Lake (at the so-called "technology park" that "moved" from Davis before it even reached voters).

Part of the "justification" for The Cannery was to provide an "alternative" to Covell Village, Act I. I'm hoping that it can be stopped at Act II, and doesn't reach the point that DISC has (DISC1, 2, 3 . . .). At least, I think DISC #3 is coming up, soon. I lose track, partly because they keep changing the names of all of these development proposals.

For those who believe that cars "should" be simply wished-away (or regulated into non-existence), good luck with that.

Ron O

I do have one idea for all of the growth advocates. (Those who haven't even defined what the supposed "increased need" is in the first place, in terms of numbers, etc.) And also haven't put forth any analysis whatsoever regarding how that supposed "increased need" has ALREADY been addressed (e.g., at The Cannery, Spring Lake, etc.)

How about if they inquire as to the status of Chiles Ranch (which has been owned by a local developer for more than 10 years), and which is planned for some 96 housing units within city limits - BEFORE advocating for more sprawl? Is that too much to ask? (I've asked probably 30 times on the Vanguard over the years, with no response.)

The "reason" for that non-response is (no doubt) related to not "liking" the question in the first place.

https://foutshomes.com/chiles-ranch/

For that matter, when is this same developer going to start building on Pole Line (yet another 30 single-family housing units)?

https://www.davisenterprise.com/news/new-homes-proposed-for-vacant-pole-line-road-site/

And by the way, don't forget the cumulative traffic impacts of all of THOSE already-planned developments. And yeah, I'm sure that I'm leaving out other developments, as well.


Ron O

My mistake - Road 102 is already 4 lanes, beyond Gibson. In fact, I think there's 4 lanes right before that intersection. (Forgot, even though I drive it frequently.) In any case, it does get backed up at the "Costco intersection" at times. Mostly from people traveling through (e.g., to get to I-5, from Davis).

Alan C. Miller

GET THIS, FOLKS !!!

A.P. Say: " . . . the obvious target of any such litigation likely would be to overturn the City's voter-approved Measure J/R/D allowing citizens the right to vote on peripheral housing projects in Davis. I believe this to be a real and urgent concern. So to potentially save the authority of Davis voters to approve or deny future peripheral projects, I am advocating that the City place on the November 2024 ballot at least one of the currently proposed 4 larger peripheral projects . . . "

In other words, to save the ability of Davis voters to decide YES/NO on projects, we must very soon vote on a project :-| I assume this is to show the Authoritarian State of California that Davis voters can be trusted to vote YES, so their ability to vote NO isn't taken away. Which then begs the question: who cares if we have the right to choose if we must always vote YES in order to keep the right to vote YES or NO ???!!! If Davis votes NO, that would accelerate the State's timeline to take away the right to vote NO. And, anyone care to guess which of the "4 larger peripheral projects" A.P. would like to see on the '24 ballot ? I'll give you ONE guess . . . :-|

Through the looking glass . . . and into the toilet bowl :-|

Ron O

. . . if we must always vote YES in order to keep the right to vote YES or NO ???!!!.

Yes. In order to "save" the ability to vote "no", you must vote "yes" on all proposals.

So if you're opposed to Measure J, you should vote "no" on all proposals (to ensure Measure J's destruction).

Or so goes the argument presented.

."And, anyone care to guess which of the "4 larger peripheral projects" A.P. would like to see on the '24 ballot ? I'll give you ONE guess . . .".

Can you ask a more-challenging question than that?

One that doesn't involve 400 acres of sprawl, which was already/previously rejected?

Concerned Sierra Club member

I got my ballot for the Sierra Club in my email today and had to do a double take when I saw who was on the ballot. I had to come back to this page to see if Susan Rainier’s comment was as bad as I remembered it. And yes, it was. I don’t know which is worse, her over the top accusations of a local developer (who for sure has earned many criticisms, but genocide is completely out of line) or her dragging the Sierra Club into this issue out of nowhere. But here she does not display the necessary professionalism to serve on our local Sierra Club committee. I hope that people see this comment and don’t vote for her. She has shown that she does not have the right sort of judgment for the position.

Ron O

I strongly support Susan Rainier, and plan to vote for her as a Sierra Club member. In fact, it was my idea to nominate her.

I won't be voting for the current leader, who apparently can't even define "sprawl".

The Sierra Club itself is at risk of irrelevance. One might think they would have learned a lesson when they endorsed Wildhorse Ranch (a much smaller proposal) which I believe lost by the largest margin of any proposal in Davis' history.

I'd suggest that the local leader of the Sierra Club reconsider his alliance with the Covell Village developer. And certainly, any Sierra Club member should consider this when electing leadership, as well.

I have seen more than enough (e.g., during local Sierra Club Zoom meetings) for me to conclude that there's something seriously wrong when the local leader became a "cheerleader" for Covell Village, and decided to rebut every environmental concern that was raised by others.

I did not attend the earlier meetings (regarding toxics at the site), but I did see evidence of what appeared to be vernal pools on the northern section of the site, as presented by a former student who has expertise in this area. (There was a slide presentation.) The same concerns were also raised by the local leader of the California Native Plant Society - who also has expertise.

There is also a great deal of internal animosity at this point during those meetings, some of which has been directed at me (at this point). Prior to that, I had attempted to remain friendly and open to honest discussion regarding the actual issues that the Sierra Club should be objectively examining. I've since realized that this is no longer possible, even though I still don't harbor any personal animosity.

But honestly, the entire current leadership seems resistant to even define "sprawl" in the first place. In other words, they have no criteria (and resist creating it in advance of examining proposals). Apparently, they are going to define sprawl AFTER examining specific proposals (such as Covell Village) on a case-by-case basis. Again, with no criteria established in advance.

Ron O

To clarify, it's not the "entire" current leadership that's resistant to defining sprawl. But they are a decided minority.

Roberta L. Millstein

Ron, you state, “I'd suggest that the local leader of the Sierra Club reconsider his alliance with the Covell Village developer.”

Unless you can provide evidence for this supposed “alliance,” I’m calling this out as a baseless accusation. He has not endorsed the project and neither has the Sierra Club. The club has said repeatedly that they will wait for the EIR before voting on whether or how to take a position. And so yes, given that, defining “sprawl,” now, in advance of having all the information, just takes us away from other timely issues like I-80 widening.

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Ron O

Unless you can provide evidence for this supposed “alliance,” I’m calling this out as a baseless accusation.

It's based upon observation. The local Sierra Club leader appears to be on unusually friendly terms (e.g., communication) with the developer of the Covell Village site. And is quite defensive whenever anyone brings up an environmental concern.

It is not his job to defend the proposal (or any proposal).

He has not endorsed the project and neither has the Sierra Club.

I believe that Alan P has, in fact, personally expressed support for the proposal - in articles he has written for local blogs and at council meetings. I'd call that an "endorsement".

The club has said repeatedly that they will wait for the EIR before voting on whether or how to take a position.

So again, the Sierra Club has no established criteria to make such a determination. This glaring shortcoming has absolutely nothing to do with any "given" proposal.

And so yes, given that, defining “sprawl,” now, in advance of having all the information, just takes us away from other timely issues like I-80 widening.

Your sentence above clearly demonstrates the problem with the Sierra Club's approach. That is, the club is planning to examine proposals and THEN establish criteria. For that matter, there are no criteria to determine "which" proposals would be examined.

One might argue that there is also no criteria regarding "priority", and that the local chapter might be wasting its time fighting I-80 expansion. As if CalTrans cares about what one small city along I-80 has to say about it. Which contrasts with the local control that Measure J provides regarding development proposals.

But since you brought up I-80 expansion, your implication is that the club already has its hands full, fighting that (and cannot handle anything else). This has not been my impression while attending Sierra Club meetings.

One of the first things that auditors do, for example, is to determine whether or not an organization has established criteria. And in the Sierra Club's case, they do not. This would be an automatic audit finding in-and-of itself.

Criteria (established in advance) would be used to determine whether or not a given proposal matches those criteria. Organizations that lack criteria have no basis for making decisions regarding any particular proposal.

In addition, the Sierra Club has no criteria as to whether or not they should support any development proposal, even if they don't meet its non-existent criteria for "sprawl".

I would argue that the public's perception of the Sierra Club is that it is not (or should not be) in the business of supporting any development proposal, and that it is (instead) viewed as an organization that supposedly advocates for the protection of the natural environment. I don't know at what point the Sierra Club made a decision that it should start weighing in on development proposals for possible "support", or the conditions in which it would do so.

This is different than stating that the club should automatically oppose proposals.

There aren't even any criteria for determining whether or not a given proposal would be examined in the first place.

So again, my observations (regarding the lack of criteria) is not referring to any particular proposal.

Roberta L. Millstein

How Alan “appears” to you is not a basis for the claim you have made. And Alan has never hesitated to make his opinions known. I am sure he will do so in due time. In the meantime, your claims are, as I said before, baseless.

In the 1991 Green State of the State: Policy before Planning, by Sierra Club California four key policies for managing growth were identified:

Cleaning the air
Promoting energy efficiency
Ensuring affordable housing
Protecting valuable open space and farmlands

These are not the only relevant criteria, e.g., they club has in the past looked at the Biological Resources category of the EIR. I am sure we will clarify the criteria, looking at past practice, before discussing the VF project. But since we are not discussing it now, there is no point to doing it now.

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Ron O

Below is the claim I made, regarding Alan. I stand by it.

“I'd suggest that the local leader of the Sierra Club reconsider his alliance with the Covell Village developer.”

Alliance has more than one meaning. And yet you deny that he (personally) endorses the proposal? Do I need to refer you back to the articles he's written, the public statements he's made, the defense he's mounted on behalf of the developer, etc.? He's friends with the guy.

Several others (and you know this) are quite angry and disappointed in him.

There is actually nothing "wrong" with personally supporting a proposal, or being friends with a developer. Another Sierra Club member supports the Shriner's proposal.

But don't deny that Alan doesn't support Village Farms. And let's not waste time digging up the articles he's written, the public statements he's made, his defense of the proposal in regard to Sierra Club discussions, etc. Not to mention the outright hostility he's displayed toward some others who bring up environmental concerns regarding the Village Farms proposal.

But you're deflecting from the primary point, as it's not really about Alan, is it. It's ultimately about the Sierra Club itself.

Also, some "anonymous" commenter above made some rather disparaging comments about the candidate that I nominated above. I see nothing in Susan's comments above that would cause me concern.

The Sierra Club has no criteria for determining what "sprawl is". And now that I look at the four key policies that you just listed above, what part of "open space and farmland" is the local chapter considering ignoring? If the answer is "none", then why is the Sierra Club even considering endorsing Village Farms? (or any other proposal) which is in conflict with its own policies?

I'm proud to support Susan Rainier. And I see no comments from her that would cause me to reconsider. She seems quite welcoming, friendly and positive regarding environmental concerns, and (unlike some others) doesn't seem to have a problem defining "sprawl".

Roberta L. Millstein

Alliance has more than one meaning.

Exactly. And you have not defined the meaning that you intend, which conveniently allows you to make broad insinuations.

And yet you deny that he (personally) endorses the proposal? Do I need to refer you back to the articles he's written, the public statements he's made, the defense he's mounted on behalf of the developer, etc.?

I have read everything that Alan has written. He has analyzed aspects of the project, as he has done in the above article, but I have not read any statement by him that says he endorses it. Saying that "The Proposed Village Farms Davis Development Project is NOT Threatened by Groundwater Contamination from the Former Davis Landfill Site" is not an endorsement. I am sure that Alan will give his opinion in due time, whether he has formed it yet or not. Again, you can say how things "appear" to you, or make whatever inferences you like, but those are just that, your inferences, without basis.

Also, some "anonymous" commenter above made some rather disparaging comments about the candidate that I nominated above. I see nothing in Susan's comments above that would cause me concern.

The anonymous commenter said that, based on the comments made on this page, "she does not display the necessary professionalism to serve on our local Sierra Club committee" and that "she has shown that she does not have the right sort of judgment for the position." You have expressed your opinion, the anonymous commenter has expressed theirs.

And now that I look at the four key policies that you just listed above, what part of "open space and farmland" is the local chapter considering ignoring?

You are ignoring that affordable housing is also on that list. Is that enough to tip the scales? Maybe, maybe not. The information has not been analyzed, the discussion has not been had. You want a quick judgement. That isn't going to happen. The Club is going to wait for all of the relevant information and make its judgement then, as it has done in the past -- as it did for DISC (when Alan Pryor was also chair). It may vote to reject the project. It may not take a stand at all. I truly don't know. But I think looking at all the factors and not making a quick a priori judgement is sound environmental decision-making.

Here is the position that the Sierra Club used for DISC -- the criteria used are clear there: https://www.davisite.org/2022/04/sierra-club-endorses-no-on-measure-h-no-on-disc.html

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Ron O

You have expressed your opinion, the anonymous commenter has expressed theirs.

Right - just as I have regarding Alan's support for the proposal.

Despite what you claim, I'm not "insinuating" anything nefarious, and have already noted that there's nothing wrong with personally supporting a proposal, or being on friendly terms with a developer.

There is a problem if the other board members of the Sierra Club don't recognize potential bias (for, or against a particular proposal) by the chairperson.

You are ignoring that affordable housing is also on that list. Is that enough to tip the scales? Maybe, maybe not.

There is no implication in the list of policies that a choice has to be made. Affordable housing can be built within cities.

(I'd question whether the Sierra Club itself should take a position regarding Affordable housing as well, as it's not really an environmental issue. But that's a different subject.)

The information has not been analyzed, the discussion has not been had.

Again, there is no criteria regarding when it's supposedly "o.k." to build on farmland (e.g, your implication that if a proposal has "enough" Affordable housing, it's then "o.k." to disregard the other policy regarding building on open space and farmland).

You want a quick judgement. That isn't going to happen.

No - I want the Sierra Club to create criteria IN ADVANCE of considering proposals.

And since you're now implying that the club should engage in some kind of "tradeoff" analysis regarding proposals, there is also no criteria regarding that.

I am not requesting a decision regarding a particular proposal in the absence of criteria.

And again, I'm seeing no comment whatsoever from Susan Rainier that would cause me concern.

I am, however, concerned about Alan P's bias

Eileen Samitz

First, I find it interesting that the “hit piece” posted targeting Susan is posted by an anonymous poster. It appears that that this person hiding their identity wants to benefit another candidate (i.e., Alan).

Further, I completely disagree with the anonymous unfair comment, since I know that Susan is a dedicated environmentalist and is passionate about protecting our environment. So, it is the “Concerned Sierra Club member” comment which actually is “over the top”.

Second, it is a fact that Alan Pryor has been advocating for the Village Farms project at public meetings and in the media, despite the fact that the Village Farms project proposed by Tandem Partners developer John Whitcombe is very similar to his previous Covell Village project with same problems, and more, making Village Farms an even worse project.

Covell Village was strongly opposed by the Sierra Club and voted down by Davis voters, and so it is very disappointing that Alan is supporting Village Farms despite all of the same problems with the project.

The Village Farms problems include but are not limited to:

- the site has 200-acres of flood plain taking up over half of the enormous 390-acre site.

- enormous traffic impacts exist in this area currently, so adding 1,800 units on the 390-acre site at Covell Blvd. and Pole Line Rd. would be insane.

- the site has serious access issues, particularly there is no safe access across Covell Blvd. for pedestrians and bicyclists. This intersects with Pole Line impacted with heavy traffic with accidents and bear misses too often.-the site has had a long history of toxics and contaminants leakage issues since it is immediately adjacent to the Old City Landfill and Sewage treatment plant.

-the site has a history of having vernal pools for decades which were document this past August with a presentation at the California Native Plant society where Alan stated that Johnny Whitcombe is a “ fairly open fella” who if approached may be interested in preserving this area (i.e., vernal pools), and anything which may help the developer to get the project through a successful vote on the Measure J ballot. Well, it is shocking but, two weeks later the vernal pools were disced. This is reminiscent of the Burrowing Owl’s disced on Covell Village when the same developer owned it.

Yet, Alan continues to try to deny the toxics and contaminants issues, and is falsely claiming that there are not vernal pools despite all the photographs samples and making it evident that the vernal pools with the Glen Holstein a professional biologist, and expert in vernal pools has made clear that, yes, Village Farms has clearly the vernal pools on it for decades.

So, Alan’s defense of Village Farms despite these facts, particularly his denial of the toxics and contaminants issue and the attempts to deny the existence of the vernal pools makes it clear that it is Alan who does not the judgement to hold a position of the Sierra Club Board.

Alan’s disrespect and condescension towards Yolano Group members who disagree with him has been chronic and resulted in multiple complaints. Recently, a member stated that he was disgusted about the way the meetings have been run by Alan and therefore wanted to be taken off the email list. As a result of these complaints, the Sierra Club Yolano Group Board had to have an emergency meeting and is requiring a facilitator to handle the Village Farms issues when agenized because Alan has been so antagonistic to many members who are opposing it.

So, I will be voting for Susan Rainier, Pam Nieberg, and Bob Schneider for Sierra Club Yolano Board, and hope others do as well.

Roberta L. Millstein

Despite what you claim, I'm not "insinuating" anything nefarious, and have already noted that there's nothing wrong with personally supporting a proposal, or being on friendly terms with a developer.

I'm glad to hear it.

There is a problem if the other board members of the Sierra Club don't recognize potential bias (for, or against a particular proposal) by the chairperson.

Since everyone has opinions, it makes no sense to regard one person's opinion as a "bias."

No - I want the Sierra Club to create criteria IN ADVANCE of considering proposals.

It has criteria -- plural. Again, see previous decisions. What it does not have is a single criterion -- sprawl. If you want an algorithm that automatically spits out an answer, then you ought to be very interested in the various rubrics that have been proposed and discussed on the Vanguard. In my opinion, nothing is so cut and dried that it can be evaluated by a points system. There is no substitute for analysis and discussion -- which again, hasn't happened yet but will happen. Anyone who wants to short cut that process isn't giving the issues their full due.

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Roberta L. Millstein

First, I find it interesting that the “hit piece” posted targeting Susan is posted by an anonymous poster. It appears that that this person hiding their identity wants to benefit another candidate (i.e., Alan).

There is no hit piece, only an expression of an opinion about words left here that the poster and anyone else can read from themselves to determine if they think that Susan Rainier has conducted herself in a way that is appropriate for a representative of the Sierra Club. And there is no mention of Alan by that poster. That is your own inference, made completely without evidence.

Alan’s disrespect and condescension towards Yolano Group members who disagree with him has been chronic and resulted in multiple complaints. Recently, a member stated that he was disgusted about the way the meetings have been run by Alan and therefore wanted to be taken off the email list. As a result of these complaints, the Sierra Club Yolano Group Board had to have an emergency meeting and is requiring a facilitator to handle the Village Farms issues when agenized because Alan has been so antagonistic to many members who are opposing it.

That is a complete misrepresentation of why the Board had a private meeting to discuss procedures (not an "emergency" meeting). Yes, accusations have been made. They are appearing on this page. That doesn't mean they are legitimate.

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Ron O

As an example of Alan Pryor's bias, I personally witnessed the presentation and interactions between the former student (Kees) and Glen Holstein on one side, vs. Alan Pryor on the other.

At best, ANY observer would conclude that vernal pools are a distinct possibility on the site, and that there may be concerned that the site was disced shortly after the issue was brought up.

And yet, Alan went out of his way to deny this.

Again, I didn't see the interactions regarding the toxics, flood zone, etc. But based upon what I observed regarding the vernal pools (and the hostility I witnessed toward those who challenged him), I would conclude that Alan is advocating for the development, and is attempting to influence others on the local Sierra Club board to support the development.

It will be up to the board (including those he personally appointed to the board) to keep the local chapter in check.

But again, it's the credibility of the local chapter that's at risk, more than anything else.

Roberta L. Millstein

As an example of Alan Pryor's bias, I personally witnessed the presentation and interactions between the former student (Kees) and Glen Holstein on one side, vs. Alan Pryor on the other.

At best, ANY observer would conclude that vernal pools are a distinct possibility on the site, and that there may be concerned that the site was disced shortly after the issue was brought up.

I had to miss the meeting, but I have seen some of the documents. From what I can tell, the issue is pretty complicated and it is not at all obvious what happened at the site. I haven't come to any conclusions about it one way or another. Again, this is all premature as far as I am concerned.

Alan is advocating for the development, and is attempting to influence others on the local Sierra Club board to support the development.

Alan is free to express his opinion, as are you, as are the rest of the committee members. Everyone is perfectly able to come to their own conclusions, taking into account those opinions, as they choose. But again, making a claim about whether DISCing did or did not occur is not advocating for the project. That is your inference.

It will be up to the board (including those he personally appointed to the board) to keep the local chapter in check.

This is a false statement. Anyone added was voted on by members of the management committee, per the usual procedure for off-election-cycle appointments. He didn't "personally appoint" anyone.

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Eileen Samitz

Roberta,
Actually, it is a “hit piece” and anyone objectively reading it can see that. The fact that it was posted anonymously makes it all the more obvious.

My account of what has been going on at the Sierra Club Yolano Group meetings is not a misrepresentation by any means. That is why a number of Yolano Group members have complained about how Alan Pryor has been running the meetings with his condescension and a complete lack of respect for members who try to express opinions different then his, particularly on the Village Farms issue.

Alan's disrespectful and bullying behavior towards members at the Oct. 4th Sierra Club, Yolano Group meeting was inexcusable, when a number of the members tried to publicly testify in opposition of Village Farms. Several members had photos and other evidence about the vernal pools on the Village Farms site. But, Alan tried to shut them down with much disrespect. As a result of this meeting chaos, one member emailed that he was disgusted with the way Alan was running the meetings and that he wanted to be taken off the email list.

As a result, the Board decided there needed to be a “procedures” meeting very soon. It was described to me as an emergency meeting. It certainly was needed urgently because members had had enough of the bullying behavior and disrespect that Alan demonstrated at this and other meetings toward the members who did not share his views, particularly on Village Farms.

These are facts, not accusations, and they are all true.

Ron O

I had to miss the meeting, but I have seen some of the documents.

And that's why you can't comment on what occurred during that meeting.

Alan is free to express his opinion, as are you, as are the rest of the committee members.

I'm not the chair nor am I on the board of the local chapter of the Sierra Club. As such, I do not control the agenda, rules, restrictions, etc.

But again, making a claim about whether DISCing did or did not occur is not advocating for the project. That is your inference.

You just said that it's unclear what happened. Alan takes the position that is favorable to the developer.

Why are you claiming that I'm making any "inference" whatsoever regarding what I believe occurred?

Anyone added was voted on by members of the management committee, per the usual procedure for off-election-cycle appointments. He didn't "personally appoint" anyone.

O.K. - he apparently nominated at least one.

As have I (outside of that process).

Alan C. Miller

You two are, like, super verbose, man

And don't use the name "Alan" without the last name, please. I don't want anyone to get any of the three Alan's confused.

The enthusiastic support by AP for the project NW of Pole Line / Covell is beyond bizarre. It's one of the strangest political occurrences I've witnessed in Davis, sans maybe Dan Carson thinking it would be a good idea to support DISC while sitting on the Council. It's so bizarre in fact that it tells me something is very rotten in Denmark, and I will not be voting for Village Farms. And I did enthusiastically vote for Measure X and Covell Village.

Roberta L. Millstein

Actually, it is a “hit piece” and anyone objectively reading it can see that. The fact that it was posted anonymously makes it all the more obvious.

It is all of six sentences. It directly references comments that are viewable to everyone and expresses an opinion that the language that Susan Rainier used in those comments makes her unsuited for the committee. For what it's worth, I know that the commenter is not the only one who has that opinion. It is no way a "hit piece."

As a result, the Board decided there needed to be a “procedures” meeting very soon. It was described to me as an emergency meeting. It certainly was needed urgently because members had had enough of the bullying behavior and disrespect that Alan demonstrated at this and other meetings toward the members who did not share his views, particularly on Village Farms.

As it was my idea to have the meeting, I have some "insider information," you might say, about why and how it was called. You may have heard that it was an emergency meeting, but it was never expressed that way by me or among committee members. My motivation in calling for the meeting was to respond to reports I had heard from multiple people that presenters and commenters were not listening to the chair and not adhering to the time constraints spelled out on the agenda. Thus, we met in large part to confirm time contraints and added a facilitator so that the chair could focus on the chair's job and not have to keep time too.

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Roberta L. Millstein

And that's why you can't comment on what occurred during that meeting.

I'm not. I'm commenting on whether it is obvious -- whether it is clearcut -- that discing occurred. And based on the documents I have seen, I can say, no, it is not at all obvious.

You just said that it's unclear what happened. Alan takes the position that is favorable to the developer.

Yes, he thinks it is clear that there was no discing. I think it is not clear. That his position is "favorable" to the developer doesn't mean that he is wrong.

O.K. - he apparently nominated at least one.

Not since I have been on the committee, and if he nominated me, that is news to me -- he was not the person who contacted me, and that person said only that my name had come up in discussion.

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Alan C. Miller

"Alan takes the position that is favorable to the developer."

ALAN WHO !!!!!?????

Ron O

I'm not. I'm commenting on whether it is obvious -- whether it is clearcut -- that discing occurred. And based on the documents I have seen, I can say, no, it is not at all obvious.

What's obvious is the conflict between Alan vs. Glen and Kees. Mostly, in regard to whether or not there's vernal pools in the first place.

As a layman, it was pretty obvious to me that there's strong potential evidence of such.

The frequency of discing was less clear to me.

But as I recall, some claim that this same developer "disced owls" in regard to the previous proposal. I don't recall or know if this is actually true.

Yes, he thinks it is clear that there was no discing. I think it is not clear. That his position is "favorable" to the developer doesn't mean that he is wrong.

I would agree that it's not clear to me, at least. But when Alan P reactively denies every single environmental concern regarding a particular development (and reacts with hostility toward those challenging his claims), this indicates bias.

I really don't feel like looking through the comments he's made in support of the proposal, but I recall that he started commenting on the "need for housing" shortly before this proposal arose. I can find that article if you'd like, or you can look for it on the Vanguard yourself. It was a rare instance of David Greenwald and Alan Pryor in agreement.

I concluded (at the time) that Alan's comments were a result of his advance knowledge of the upcoming Village Farms proposal.

Eileen Samitz

Roberta,

As Ron pointed out, you were not at the meeting when all of the chaos occurred so you really don't have a perspective on how bad this situation was. So, while you may not think that your "procedures" meeting was an emergency, others felt it was.

And on the "hit piece" by the anonymous poster, let's just say we need to agree to disagree. But it is very clear other me, and others who have read it that it is clearly a "hit piece". The fact that someone posted it anonymously makes very clear that it was not intended to simply be an "opinion". It was intended to do harm, so being dismissive of it does not help excuse it.

And regarding the vernal pools, there is no question that Alan is in denial of the vernal pools despite all the evidence of the photos and plant samples which are on record now. Alan Pryor has no expertise in the subject of vernal pools, and those professionals with expertise in vernal pools had explained to him that he is wrong. So, Alan Pryor is clearly just trying help the developer to get his disastrous Village Farms project pushed through.

Roberta L. Millstein

Eileen, feeling like something was an emergency doesn't make it so. Feeling like something was a hit piece doesn't make it so. Feeling like someone is "clearly" trying to do something doesn't make it so. You've expressed your opinions, but they have no basis. They remain solely your opinion, which others can share or not.

As for what happened at the meeting, I did, as I said, speak with several people, and it's not as though you are a complete disinterested uninvolved party in what happened. And I had also witnessed similar things at previous meetings. So right, I don't know exactly what happened and don't claim to. But I do know that it was necessary to have a clear policy about time limits and the committee's willingness to have a clear and consistent policy about enforcing them, and the committee agreed with that, which is why the policies were adopted.

Speaking only for myself, not the Sierra Club.

Ron O

You've expressed your opinions, but they have no basis.

That's also an opinion that someone might claim has no basis, especially when the basis has already been provided.

They remain solely your opinion, which others can share or not.

Or, they might agree with some conclusions, and not with others.

An example is the vernal pools. Alan P was not open to objective analysis. In my "opinion", that opinion (regarding Alan P) would be well-supported by anyone who practices objectivity.

For the most part, I claim to have the ability to analyze without allowing my own goals to interfere. For example, I saw pretty clear evidence that vernal pools (likely) exist, but I'm not sure about the frequency of discing over the years. The evidence I saw regarding the latter was not conclusive.

My personal opposition to the proposal would remain regardless of vernal pools or toxics at the site. I don't try to use those issues as an "excuse" to oppose, nor would I try to deny their existence (if I supported the proposal).

It's as if these individual concerns become proxy concerns to the broader, more fundamental issue (which I'll label "sprawl" and all of the resulting impacts). But there are folks (like Kees and Glen) who actually are primarily interested in the vernal pools.

Eileen Samitz

Again, you were not present at the Oct. 4th meeting so I am not sure how you can say if was involved, or uninvolved. So, I am sorry, but actually it would seem that your opinion on this has no basis, since you did not witness what happened.

However, I was present and can attest to what happened at the Oct. 4th meeting that you missed when Alan was so condescending and disrespectful to so many of the members. And others can attest to this who were present as well. Alan Pryor’s behavior was inexcusable and many of the other members at the meeting were upset and felt bullied by Alan.

It is important that members are treated with respect at the Sierra Club, Yolano Group meetings, and that they are also treated fairly, including allowing their opinions to be heard, not only Alan's.

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