« July 2023 | Main | September 2023 »

August 2023

City Exempt from CEQA for Arroyo Park Sky Track Location B

By Janet and Joe Krovoza

On Tuesday, August 27, 2023, Yolo County Superior Court judge Timothy Fall ruled that the City of Davis is not required to complete any additional environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) before proceeding with relocation of the Sky Track from its original location. The ruling isn’t final yet. A formal order will be issued in a few weeks.

The case turned on Judge Fall accepting the city’s use of the “small accessory structures” categorical exemption of CEQA. The CEQA guidelines provide examples for this category of exemption as “garages, carports, patios, swimming pools, and fences.”  The guidelines describe accessory uses as: “(a) On-premise signs; (b) small parking lots; and (c) Placement of seasonal or temporary use items such as lifeguard towers, mobile food units, portable restrooms, or similar items in generally the same locations from time to time in publicly owned parks, stadiums, or other facilities designed for public use.”

We disagree that such an exemption is appropriate. Unlike the CEQA guidelines’ examples, the Sky Track is permanent, not “temporary or seasonal,” and creates an inescapable abrasive industrial sound that ports sound directly into homes whenever it is in use, interrupting sleep, rest, and concentration, and impacting physical and mental health. Accessory structures aren’t known to have moving mechanical parts proven to violate a noise ordinance standard.

Continue reading "City Exempt from CEQA for Arroyo Park Sky Track Location B" »

Vanguard Bias and Censorship Leads Another Longtime Commenter to Quit the Site

by Ron O
Well, after several years of commenting on the Vanguard it has finally come to this - I quit.
When I first started commenting, the Vanguard allowed a wide variety of comments (and viewpoints) without even requiring that commenters use their own names.  It was a lively environment with a wide variety of viewpoints, no arbitrarily-enforced comment limits, and the ability to post comments without pre-cenShorship - as others have labeled it (in reference to Don Shor).  Though it seems highly likely that David Greenwald also moderates comments, and is ultimately responsible as the operator of the site.
Ironically, the changes that the Vanguard has implemented since those earlier days have not addressed the problems that they claimed to be addressing, whether it's continued personal attacks, doxing, or (perhaps most importantly) - refusing to post comments that the simply don't like.

Continue reading "Vanguard Bias and Censorship Leads Another Longtime Commenter to Quit the Site" »

Al's Curiousity Corner #3 - The Burning Man Attendees vs. Climate Change Activists vs. Tribal Police Incident

Tribal Police ram barricade set up on Route 447 by climate activists - the only paved way into Gerlach and from there, Burning Man, backing up traffic for miles.

Curious your thoughts, Davisites.  Reference article and video may be found here:


Other references welcome.

YES, Mayor Arnold needs to recuse himself again


Back in June I strongly suggested that Mayor Will Arnold recuse himself from City Council discussion/support of the I-80 Managed Lanes Project - The mayor's main gig is a key role in communications at Caltrans. 

He did recuse himself.

Tonight the City Council is voting for approval for one of two variants for re-reconstruction of Mace Blvd (see my opinion on that below). 

While it's not a Caltrans project, per se, the continued problem of operators of private motor vehicles using county roads and Mace to try to bypass traffic on I-80 is in large part due to the sad negligence of Caltrans in supporting anything but nice but expensive-to-use and proportionately symbolic commuter-regional railway service (Capitol Corridor), to focus on induced travel as a healthy strategy (the aformentioned Managed Lanes project) and to seemingly ignore any serious consideration of solutions to the awful I-80/CA-113 interchange, modifications to certain on-ramps to permit entering vehicles to get up to the prevailing speed before merging or any kind of substantial long-distance bus service to complement Capitol Corridor (and more...)

The so-called "restoration" of Mace will not solve the I-80 problem, but since Caltrans won't either, and since Caltrans won't help solve the Mace problem... the discussion and vote tonight is very, very much connected with Caltrans and so the Mayor should again recuse himself. 


Sprayingmap8292023As an hopefully not so itchy or worse aside in my favor regarding aerial and other spraying for mosquitoes (specifically to counter the threat of West Nile Virus) in relaton to highways workers at Caltrans and private travellers - and in relation to agenda item 4 also in this evening's Council meeting. missing any attachments!  - I have repeatedly called via social media - and finally, acknowledged comments from staff for Supervisor Provenza - to ensure better outreach to workers busy on the I-80 pavement rehabilitation project and to people transitting the region by its highways who are unlikely to see or hear local (social) media announcements about the spraying. Some of this is immediately adjacent to I-80 - including tonight, during the Council meeting - and CA-113.


Back to the Mace Re-re-design: It's a betrayal of the Commons and of the City's symbol and oft-repeated climate change and related goals to prioritize traffic lanes above bike lanes, and to sacrifice (median, in this case) trees instead of traffic lanes for bike lanes... the latter, in other words, is putting people on bikes - or really kids on bikes riding to elementary school  - against trees, really, the Greater Arboreal World. It's a sad, sad day... There's no "restoration" -- the four lanes of Mace are no exiled monarch, and they certainly ain't democracy - automobilist entitlement is getting its way, once again. Look around: Davis is not getting better for walking and cycling. Anyone who has encouraged this motorized farce will have to face their own conscience.

In the Davis Future, the Climate Crisis and Housing Affordability Crisis are Conjoined

By David J. Thompson

This piece is a slightly longer piece based upon remarks my remarks to the Social Services Commission on Monday, August 21, 2023.

Since 1983 in a professional role, I have helped gain approval of and the building of over 500 units of affordable housing in Davis.

With the Social Services Commission now reviewing the two annexation proposals I wish to remark not on the specifics of the rubric you have been asked to review but on the overall status of key elements of affordable housing in Davis.

Here are some key facts the commissioners should consider;

  • The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) of the Sacramento Area of Governments (SACOG) directed the City of Davis to show where 530 Very Low Income (VLI) and 350 Low Income (LI) units could be built within the city.
  • To get those 930 VLI and LI affordable units (@ 15% of market rate units requires building 6.200 new market rate apartments within the City of Davis. Can anyone see 6,200 market rate apartment units being built in Davis over this RHNA cycle? I do not.
  • VLI units can only reach affordability with the deep subsidy projects get from competing in the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC). Statistically, you can only win a subsidy for VLI units if you have a free site of two acres on which you build at least 50 plus VLI and LI units. How many free sites of at least two acres are there in Davis? Certainly not enough (about 23 free sites of two acre needed) to build 930 VLI and LI units.
  • When David Taormino asked me to do the affordable housing for Bretton Woods I said I would if he doubled the land required for affordable housing. Taormino donated land for 150 VLI and LI apartments instead of the required 68. I and Delta Senior Housing Communities (DSHC) are no longer doing the affordable housing at Bretton Woods but that one act had great impact on gaining voter support and approval. 150 VLI and LI units are being built there.
  • In the proposed Village Farms development of 378 acres about 2% of the land is reserved for affordable housing.
  • However, also in the Village Farms proposal there are 149 acres set aside for parks.
  • So 39% of the land for parks and 2% of the land for poor people. Given the differences in the percentages of land use you’d think we had a park crisis rather than an affordable housing crisis.
  • Another few acres of park transferred to affordable housing would substantially address the affordable housing crisis in Davis.
  • There is an even greater problem in terms of the VLI, LI and Moderate (MOD) income people in Davis who are already rent impacted. For over 30 years Davis has had a very low vacancy rate which means that most renters in Davis overpay the HUD 30% guidelines. The small number of market rate rental units in either of the two proposals ensures that for another ten years the 35,000+ renters in Davis will continue to have no savings by living here while over-paying on the rent. That’s a whopping hit on the monthly budget of the working families and students living in rental housing.
  • If these two proposals are approved by the city then overpayment is guaranteed and enshrined by the action of the City of Davis.

Continue reading "In the Davis Future, the Climate Crisis and Housing Affordability Crisis are Conjoined" »

Climate strike Davis marks 200th anniversary

(From press release) Youth leaders held the 200th climate strike today in Central Davis, joined by a ‘Raging Grannies’ choir, students, families and other residents of Davis. Many held colorful home-made placards that urged Biden to declare a climate emergency, called for taxing Big Oil’s record profits, and advocated low-carbon transport.

The weekly Friday protest on the corner of 5th and B has been held since Davis’ biggest ever climate protest in September 2019 when almost 1000 young people walked out of school and marched downtown. It is inspired by the Swedish youth activist, Greta Thunberg, and is part of an international #FridaysforFuture movement.


Davis strikers

On Friday September 15, youth around the world will again hold a massive global strike and demand an end to the fossil fuel era. Everyone is invited to join the youth-led march and action at midday (12pm) outside the Veteran’s Memorial Center and to bring chants, songs, murals and more demanding that Newsom and Biden declare a climate emergency. There will also be a family friendly event in Old Sacramento at 11am on Sunday September 17th.

Eliot Larson, coordinator of Fridays for Future Davis said:

Continue reading "Climate strike Davis marks 200th anniversary" »

The 20th Village Feast is set for Oct. 22

Diners pass aïoli at The Village Feast in October 2022. (Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo)

(From press release) The Village Feast celebrates the Sacramento region’s Farm-to-Fork season, where the community gathers to enjoy and honor the bounty of local farmers. This year, the event returns to Central Park – under the shade of the Davis Farmers Market structure – for its 20th anniversary community meal, from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22.

Presented by Davis Farm to School and the Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Sacramento, The Village Feast is a fundraiser for food and agricultural education in the greater Sacramento area. The Village Feast follows the late-summer feasts of Provence, France, in the grand aïoli tradition, uniting people and food for a long, leisurely alfresco meal that stars aïoli — a golden garlic-mayonnaise. All proceeds from The Village Feast support early and continued education around food and agriculture.

As in years past, each meal begins with appetizers of olives, nuts, local wines and fresh baguettes. The meal is served family-style, with passed platters of heirloom tomatoes drizzled with local olive oil, steamed and grilled local vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and bowls of garlic-scented aïoli. Next comes the grilled lamb and summer white bean salad, then a fruit galette for dessert.

Les Dames d’Escoffier and Davis Farm to School paired up for this event because of their shared visions and values. Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic organization of female leaders in the areas of food, fine beverage and hospitality, gives scholarships to area women to further their education in these areas. Davis Farm to School provides garden grants, organizes farm field trips, and supports farm-fresh food in school meals.

Tickets are $165 per person until sold out. Attendees may reserve tables of eight for $1,320. Tickets are available at https://thevillagefeast2023.eventbrite.com.

The silent auction will be online, available to anyone. Bids open on Oct. 8 and close at 5 p.m. on Oct. 22. It includes dozens of items and experiences donated by chefs, restaurants, wineries and community members. Participants bid on items by downloading the free Auctria smartphone app at https://www.auctria.com/blog/auctria-mobile-app/. Auction pre-registration begins Sept. 15.

For more information about The Village Feast event or sponsorships, email Rachael Levine at [email protected].

Al's Curiosity Corner #2 - Open Forum on the Library Issue

While there has been a discussion on that 'other' blog, the reason I hang here is that many comments get deleted there without explanation, especially on this issue and especially comments even modestly politically right.  However, this is a sensitive issue, and I am not going to allow outright insults directed at trans people/supporters/protestors nor at persons associated with Mom's for Liberty. 

For example, for some reason that other blog allows MFL persons to be called Nazis, and that sort of useless comment isn't going to be allowed here.  On the other hand, in the Yahoo comments on the Bee article, about 153 out of 155 comments were against the library actions, despite the article leaning towards supporting the protestors.  AND . . . many if not most of those commenting there were denying the existence of trans people, insulting trans people, and/or calling trans people various derogatory terms implying mental illness just for being trans.  I'm not putting up with any of that shit here either.  I won't outright delete a comment unless it's completely empty of anything but outright hate towards either side, and I'll always explain why a comment or part of a comment was deleted.

My views on the library matter are simple:  I'm a Jew who believes the Skokie decision was the greatest triumph for the core of what makes America great:  Free speech, baby!

What are your views?   I'd like this to focus on free speech vs. hate speech; the actions/authority of the library/library-manager, the actions of those putting on the meeting and those protesting the meeting, and various takes in the media.

(Note:  I have a life, so your comments may not be posted for many hours.  Deal with it.)

Al's Curiosity Corner: What Do Davisites Think of 'Rich Men North of Richmond' ?

I'm curious what the people of Davisitesville think of this mega-hit's message. 

My reaction, from the lyrics, is this could be a punk song sung by 'Oliver' as a raw country ballad.  Rage!  Stickin' it to the monarchy, the man, the machine.  Anger at what the government is doing to us, against the men in power.  Yet this song is being labeled a 'conservative ballad'.  True, it is catching fire in conservative circles, but I don't see that in the lyrics.  I can easily hear a Johnny Rotten or a Henry Rollins versions of this song.

There's a reference to 'minors on an island'.  That happened.  Davis liberals don't defend pedophiles (do they?). 

Continue reading "Al's Curiosity Corner: What Do Davisites Think of 'Rich Men North of Richmond' ?" »

Craig McNamara Interview


How the Son of Robert McNamara Coped with Vietnam War; Wrote Painful, Revealing Book About His Father

By David L. Johnson

Craig McNamara in his office overlooking his 450-acre organic walnut tree farm in Winters. Craig is sitting in the chair his father, Robert McNamara, used at the Pentagon when he was Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Behind Craig are historical photos of his father and other mementos.


My father loved me to the end of the earth and I loved him. But in any relationship, there are huge caverns, crevices and dysfunctions. I had so desperately wanted to learn about Vietnam from my father, but it never happened.”

The father is Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s. McNamara is known as one of the chief architects and defenders of the Vietnam War.  The quote is from McNamara’s son, Craig McNamara, an organic walnut farmer in Winters, who in 2022 wrote the book “Because Our Fathers Lied, A Memoir of Truth and Family, from Vietnam to Today,” a heart wrenching indictment of his father’s integrity and actions on the Vietnam War.

The following article is based on a June 2023 interview with Craig McNamara in his office overlooking his 450-acre farm.


Continue reading "Craig McNamara Interview" »

Locally produced, "Yellow Skies" Music Video for Climate Action

Yellow Skies Cover(From press release) On Friday the locally produced Yellow Skies launched a YouTube music video from the Fridays for Future noon time Davis 5th and B location.  "We are starting from a shoestring and the viewership is growing steadily. We have several hundred views and some really enthusiastic reviews."
So powerful! Thank you <3
So moving!!
Heartfelt song she does beautiful job. Thanks


Watch here:

 Yellow Skies asks you to join in the work and to declare a climate emergency, a national climate emergency. It is not an emergency to run around in chaos. It is an emergency called to calmly stop using fossil fuels and go into hyperdrive on local food, locally sourced just-about-everything and to produce lots of renewable energy - and to do it quickly. 
The Yellow Skies music video is built around a song. "The song aims to make an enjoyable and meaningful listening experience about what our youth are experiencing, what we are all experiencing." Yellow Skies starts and finishes with clips of youth climate activists speaking out for all of us to take action and points to a few of the many organizations leading the way and demanding change to policies that protect fossil fuel use.

Continue reading "Locally produced, "Yellow Skies" Music Video for Climate Action" »

Letter: $1/2 Million Picnic Structure for Arroyo Is Excessive

Dear Council Members,

We are very appreciative of Council Member Partida's pulling of item B, the “Arroyo Park Picnic Area Shade Structure Project,'' from the consent calendar July 18. Given the magnitude of the proposed financial commitment, and the fact that the final cost differed so greatly from what the Recreation and Park Commission had been asked to consider, it was certainly appropriate to do so. We continue to hope that even at this point one of the four council members who voted in favor of the project will ask for reconsideration and that the council will vote to send this item back to the RPC.

As you know, at the July 18 meeting, the council, in a four to one vote, approved funding in the amount of $407,675 for an open-air structure that would house six new picnic tables and two barbecues. No plumbing. No wiring. No funds set aside for future maintenance. At the cost of not replacing a tree that had died and of removing precious green space from a well-used and aesthetically pleasing, shady expanse of lawn -- an unwelcome departure from the original park plans. A project as staff-driven as any we’ve seen. And this vote was based on grossly misleading testimony from Davis city staff.

Continue reading "Letter: $1/2 Million Picnic Structure for Arroyo Is Excessive " »

Solano Park, UCD’s opportunity to start building higher-density student housing

UC Irvine's Mesa Court part of their Middle Earth complex of student housing including three 6-story building of beautiful student housing that the are hugely popular with the students. https://educationsnapshots.com/projects/4672/uc-irvine-mesa-court-towers/

By Eileen M. Samitz

While a recent article by UCD Chancellor May opened with his goal for UCD to be a good neighbor to Davis, there’s much more UCD can, and needs to do to reach that goal.

Historically, in 1989 UCD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Davis, in which UCD promised to not have “sharp” enrollment increases to avoid impacting the City,  that it would provide more on-campus housing to accommodate its student’s needs, and that it would not exceed 26,000 students by 2006.

None of these promises were kept. UCD enrollment continued to accelerate, but for the next two decades production of on-campus student housing did not keep pace with the expanding student population. Instead, UCD executed “master leases” with the owners of local multi-family housing complexes, which reserved those apartments exclusively for UCD students. Because UCD is tax-exempt, this practice allowed the owners of those properties to then claim a property tax exemption, thereby depriving the City and County of much needed tax revenue. 

UCD has a long history of missing on-campus student housing targets. In November 2000, the UC Board of Regents  released a report titled “UC Housing for the 21st Century,” which assigned  UCD a  goal of 11,143 on-campus beds by 2012, but UCD missed that goal by 1,835 beds, Then, UCD’s 2003 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) anticipated that UCD would house 10,800 students on-campus by 2016, but missed that target by 1,400 beds.

Continue reading "Solano Park, UCD’s opportunity to start building higher-density student housing" »

Hot Davis Days Cars & Coffee is Sunday

Attendees enjoy the 2022 Hot Davis Days Cars & Coffee event. (Chris Lossin, CPP, Aperture Alley Photography)

(From press release) Davis Downtown will present its third annual Hot Davis Days Cars & Coffee event on Sunday, Aug. 13 in Central Park, 301 C St.

The event, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is free for participants and attendees. Vintage, new, electric and other specialty vehicles are welcome. No registration necessary. Participants are asked to bring their cars to the Farmers Market Pavilion between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Once that area is full, overflow vehicles for the show may park on C Street, between Third and Fourth streets.

Patrons and participants may enjoy treats from Upper Crust Baking, and coffee from Pachamama. Davis Downtown is collaborating with several other groups to make this year the largest and best Cars & Coffee event yet. These include the car-enthusiast groups Cars and Coffee Sac, Davis Motorsports and Yacht Club Premier Car Club.

For details, visit https://davisdowntown.com/hot-davis-days-cars-coffee/. For additional information, email [email protected].

Davis Downtown leads and energizes the downtown as the primary business, entertainment and cultural center of Davis. Alive with activity seven days a week, downtown Davis draws locals and visitors alike to experience fine food and beverages, retail, professional services, arts and entertainment in an extraordinary and sustainable gathering place.

Concerns regarding our pesticide spraying program

BiteBy David Abramson

Dear Neighbors,

You may have seen that over the past several months, I have been sharing regularly with notifications about and my concerns regarding the pesticide spraying program that’s being done by the Sacramento Yolo Mosquito Vector District in our County. Yes I'd rather be doing something else but alas, many people don't even know this is happening, so I thought an awareness campaign was appropriate.

As others have posted, the agency has scheduled an entire blanket aerial spray of the chemical Diprom/Naled over the cities of Davis and Woodland tonight and tomorrow between 8:30PM-12AM.

My concerns are that:

  1. They are using a pesticide (Naled/Diprom) that’s currently banned in the EU due to concerns of it’s toxicity
  1. This pesticide has known toxic effect on bees and butterflies even at the doses prescribed for mosquito spraying programs (1)(2)(3). Many studies have conducted tests of varying quality in controlled environments, single-species results of large insects, or for single dose exposure, but not for this particular spraying program or frequency in which the spraying is happening and in an ecosystem setting accounting for all variables of the real world.
  1. Formal requests to the SacYolo Mosquito Control Vector District to share the science that shows the pesticide to be safe for the ecosystem, including our native pollinators has not been satisfactorily fulfilled. In neither of the two requests did they highlight a study showing the spraying program to be safe for insects or other pollinators.
  2. There is a lack of transparency, accountability, and oversight on the spraying programs. As far as I know, there are no ground samples being taken by the agency or independent researchers after these sprayings and no regular monitoring or data that's publicly available.

To that end, I am recommending that:

Continue reading "Concerns regarding our pesticide spraying program" »

The Housing War is Over - Greenwald Declares "Uncle"

Yesterday could go down as the most important day in Davis history:  the day the housing back-and-forth between David Greenwald and Ron Ortel ended.

On Greenwald simply declared, after more than a decade of housing-essays and long comments between the two:


This will mark the start of a new era with a Davis Vanguard free of housing articles, signed under the Treaty of White, named after our long-departed Innovation Officer, for no reason in particular.  Or the color white, I'm not sure.

The Vanguard will now focus on its true passion:  cooking with fish.  Lots of articles on cooking with fish.

Now if only Ron O. would just get over the notion that Measure J or Rent Control were good ideas.

Oh, well.  Baby steps.  ;-)

That should elicit an essay for the Davisite.  On Housing  :-|

What have I done?

The Appalling Spectacle Now Happening in Yolo Superior Court

By Robert Canning

Like a number of people, I watched the live video stream of the Carlos Dominguez competency “trial” in Department 10 of Yolo County Superior Court last week and will watch again when the trial reconvenes.

As a forensic and correctional psychologist for the past twenty years with experience working in and consulting to jails and prisons on mental health treatment issues, I was amazed and appalled watching the spectacle unfold in real time. The trial is to determine the competence of a young man whose severe mental illness is on display daily in open court for all to see. The law requires the jury decide first whether Mr. Dominguez suffers from a mental disorder, and then if the mental disorder interferes with his capacity (competency) to understand and reason about the charges against him, and whether he can aid in his own defense.

What is most appalling to me is that his mental illness has been allowed to worsen while in custody. If the Yolo District Attorney had not requested a jury trial then Judge McAdams would have been the sole source of the decision about Mr. Dominguez’ competence. Given his comments this week to the public defender, I believe he would have found Mr. Dominguez incompetent to proceed weeks ago. In that case Mr. Dominguez would have been able to receive treatment for his mental illness sooner, possibly in a state hospital setting. If this treatment was provided, it is possible that Mr. Dominguez could be restored to competency in a matter of months.

The law requires that detainees in jails receive adequate medical and mental health care. This has been guaranteed since 1976 when the Supreme Court decided in favor of inmates in Estelle v Gamble. Subsequent case law has reinforced the right to appropriate care and emphasized the role of correctional systems in providing that care.

Because we have a public trial with testimony from mental health and medical experts and jail staff, we can see some of the glaring inadequacies of mental health care in our county jail.

Continue reading "The Appalling Spectacle Now Happening in Yolo Superior Court" »

Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - August 2023

image from www.sparkysonestop.com

Got a thought on Davis politics, or a even a single politic?  Got a thought on the request to give a donation to the Davis Vanguard so they can fund the replacement of their crappy old website?  I have a thought -- give instead to the Davis-Ite to replace the D-ite's even older, crappier website !   Underfunded old crappy blog structures:  It's the Davis Way !