Entries categorized "Business"

The current Davis General Plan opposes Sustainable Response to Climate Change

Note: Wednesday, the Davis League of Women Voters will host a presentation by Davis Deputy City Manager Kelly Stachowicz on The General Plan "What Is It and Why Do We Care!", 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM, 3300 Cowell Blvd

By Jon Li

Davis’ General Plan expired in 2015, like old milk in the back of the refrigerator.

The current 2002 Davis General Plan (Housing element update 2010-15) is an update of the 1974 Plan.  That plan was once ecologically innovative but the California Building Code superseded Davis’ code in 1990.

            The 1987 General Plan had so little public participation that it was quickly out of date.   In 1993-4, 16 Davis committees worked on policies for a new general plan in such areas as youth, seniors, art, social services, community computer networks and economic development, as well as the state mandated plan elements like housing, transportation infrastructure, public safety and open space.

            Any innovation died there.  A group of anti-growth activists prolonged the process several years, and buried the innovation in the back of the plan.  The only thing that matters about the current Davis General Plan is kill any economic development because it might cause change.

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Sudwerk earns gold in most competitive beer contest in U.S.

Award Winning Pils Marzen SM(From press release) Sudwerk Brewing Co. of Davis won two medals at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival, more than any other brewery in the Sacramento region.

Put on by the Brewers Association, the 33rd GABF, which concluded Saturday, Oct. 5 in Denver, is the most competitive and coveted beer festival in the nation. The competition included 9,497 entries from 2,295 breweries representing all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Sudwerk was the only brewery in the Sacramento region to take home a gold medal, for its Märzen Amber Lager. It won the American-Style Amber Lager category, which included 101 entries. This was the second year in a row the beer has medaled; it earned a silver in 2018.

Sudwerk also won bronze for The People’s Pilsner, in the Bohemian-Style Pilsener category, out of 123 entries.

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Freedom to Park Initiative Seeks Signatures

FreedomtoparkComplaints about parking availability and the battle over paid parking have been going on in Davis for decades. We are entering the final stage.

By Daniel Urazandi

Some local businesspersons and concerned citizens have drafted and filed an initiative that does what should have been done long ago-- sets a baseline for parking downtown that expands both bike and auto parking, and bans parking meters throughout Davis. Once 4,200 Davisites sign the petition the initiative will go on the ballot and we can vote on it  ourselves. Council has already voted several times, each time choosing to erode and restrict parking while charging for it. We are certain the vast majority of folks want the opposite—free parking and more spaces—so that is exactly what our initiative provides.

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Valley Clean Energy responds to Woodland utility fraud news

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy — the official, locally governed electricity provider for Woodland, Davis and unincorporated Yolo County — would like to reassure its customers that recent reports of utility fraud are not connected to the agency in any way.

Valley Clean Energy (VCE) began offering customers clean, low-carbon power in June 2018 and currently serves more than 54,000 customer accounts. The not-for-profit public agency reinvests its revenues back into the communities it serves.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig issued a news release Friday, Aug. 2, to warn local residents to be aware of utility service providers who are switching customers’ gas or electric service without consent or authorization.

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Frustration Over Paid Parking Expansions

Paid-parkingNew citizen initiative filed in response

Frustrated by City Hall's insistence on paid parking expansions despite massive popular resistance, friends of downtown and concerned Davisites have filed a citizen's initiative to go on the March 2020 ballot. The proponents of record are Daniel Urazandi and Robert Milbrodt although many people have been involved in drafting the initiative. To become involved yourself come to a campaign organizing meeting at Steve's Pizza 6PM on Thurs June 20.

Public notice from the proponents:

Why an initiative?

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City Council needs forward thinking on broadband internet

My understanding is that the major question in front of the Council is whether to continue to pursue a municipally-owned broadband network.  The Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF) says yes; staff says no.  I am here to support the BATF recommendation.

I was astonished to see Dan Carson's editorial in the Davis Enterprise. It would seem that he has already decided, in advance of today's staff presentation and  without hearing comment from the community and fellow Councilmembers that Davis should not control its own broadband network. I hope that he and other Councilmembers have an open mind on this. 

Everyone seems to agree that having municipally owned broadband would bring great benefits to the City, spurring economic development and small business, bringing in needed revenue, and provide fast internet to schools and low income households. Given that, you would think that this would be a no brainer. 

Yet Carson, following the staff report, worries about the costs. This seems to miss the point in multiple ways. To quote a recent article on the topic: 

“Cities invest in many facilities that are not designed to make a profit, from sports stadiums and convention centers to airports and museums. Cities are not indifferent to the economics of such projects, but the bottom line is not strictly enterprise solvency. Especially for infrastructure like broadband, the network effects and spillovers should contribute to the economic and social life of the community.” https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/a3np4a/new-municipal-broadband-map

Furthermore, as things stand now we are at the mercy of a monopoly. As coincidence would have it, Comcast raised its prices just this month. My household is now paying almost $80 for high speed internet. Our only “alternative” is to “pay less by paying more,” that is, by getting our internet bundled with other services we don’t want and wouldn’t use. We live in Central Davis, yet AT&T cannot provide high speed bandwidth to our household. We are at Comcast's mercy. This is not forward thinking. 

Carson compared City owned broadband to the bullet train. A more accurate comparison would be SMUD, a lost opportunity for Davis to control its own electricity. 

Let’s not make that same mistake again. Let’s do what over 750 communities have done <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/06/29/new-report-swings-and-misses-on-communities-and-next-generation-broadband/amp/> and control our own broadband network.  

Let’s be bold and act for the greater good of the community. 

Davisites, please come to City Council this evening and let the Council know that this issue is important to you. 

 


A response to Dan Carson's op-ed opposing a city-owned broadband network

There are significant economic reasons to have a municipal fiber project

Published by Matt Williams in the Davis Enterprise, reprinted with permission of the author

I respectfully disagree with Dan Carson.

As a member of the BATF I would like to share with the public the following list of reasons that explain why BATF came to the official conclusion in writing that “the emotion and passion around the concept of a municipal fiber project could not be any more intensified."

BATF officially chose not to include the detailed list in the current recommendation memo because the focus of the memo was limited to the two additional tasks Council gave the BATF in 2018. These reasons cover what was learned during the whole BATF duration from 2016 to 2019. It is important to note that there are some BATF members who might not personally agree with some of the listed reasons; however ALL of the reasons were actively discussed by the BATF. 

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The need for cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth

Fiber-optics-internetBy Robert Nickerson

Sometimes it seems this town is trying to find its get up and go. If we were taking an auto trip we are getting a lot of constituencies into the car, Ag and Seed, BioTech, New Downtown, Innovation Center, are all getting in and closing the door, putting on our seatbelts, turning the key and not getting anywhere. To our dismay, we look down and see no tires. We are missing an essential element that forms the vehicle that drives our economy to growth, to speed us along our way, that thing is cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth. Businesses and their employees working in these fields that we are trying to bring to town, require access to the fastest and most reliable transport infrastructure available, fiber optic cable. For three years the City of Davis Broadband Advisory Task Force has been evaluating the feasibility of a community-owned fiber optic network. On June 4th they will deliver their recommendation that it is, and that the City should seriously consider pursuing this opportunity. We agree, and hope the City Council takes the next steps the Task Force recommends.

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Community Owned Fiber Optic Ring

DavisGIGGUIDING PRINCIPLES

By DavisGIG

The community owned fiber optic project will meet many specific economic and connectivity objectives of its community partners. More importantly its design is guided by certain principles and community values and brings direct substantial benefits to Davis residents. These benefits are referenced from and included in the Feasibility Study Report (FSR), the phone survey, and the DavisGIG online poll. Some of the current needs that the network is designed to address are:

  1. Digital Inclusion - Currently in the marketplace there are areas where residents have no choice, or poor connectivity. There are three specific areas in Davis1 where only one wireline provider offers any service considered by the FCC to have “Broadband.”2 A community owned network that covers all parcels, and methodically expands to future parcels ensures that all residents, regardless of income level will be connected to the network.3

  2. Digital Divide - The network, which will connect to every parcel in the community, can ensure that all residents regardless of income level have at least minimal level of wireline broadband service without data caps or restrictive transfer allowances that come with cell phone plans. Municipal ownership will ensure, through operational policy or specific vendor lease relationships to the municipal fiber, that a low income plan is available.4 Davis residents strongly believe Internet access on the fiber network should be available to all.5

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City Council Makes Target Mall Decision Based on Demonstrably False Claims

By Daniel Urazandi

I wasn't at all surprised when the sitting council voted unanimously to remove the zoning restrictions on the Target mall. But I was astonished by the content of the staff report they based that decision on. It makes claims that are demonstrably false to anyone who has taken even a walk around downtown, and then these are the very statements that have been parroted by the chamber in a support letter and by council in their decision. From the report:

“In 2006, the city was concerned that the shopping center could have a negative impact on the economic viability of the downtown.

Studies were prepared that showed there was little likelihood of urban decay, which has held true.

After 10 years of operation in the city, staff believes it can be empirically deduced that the tenants in the shopping center are not relocating from the downtown area nor are they causing closure and mass vacancy in the downtown area”

“In fact downtown is thriving regardless of the existence of other businesses in Davis”

“there is no evidence that the shopping center has an impact on the downtown area.”

In other words, they are doubling down on the lie they told in 2006 even in the face of plain evidence from the intervening years.

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Broadband Public Comment to City Council

On April 9, 2019 The Davis City Council took public comments on a proposed new contract for City of Davis broadband infrastructure.

The City Council discussion was held in closed session after comments. The City Council did not record or broadcast the public comments. Audio has been provided to the Davisite by Bob Fung of CivEnergy, photos by Roberta Millstein. Approximately 30 people were in attendance.

 

 


On the So-Called "Parking Compromise"

Dynamic-pricingBy Daniel Urazandi 

 I want to thank every businessperson, customer, employee, visitor and friend who cared enough about downtown to object to the city's paid parking plan. If we had not spoken up they would have metered every space, endangering businesses and increasing our cost of living while reducing quality of life. While we deserve our moment of relief and celebration there are very real problems with the substitute plan the city is imposing.

    Council decided not to put meters on the streets but to put them in nearly every public lot instead. This is 279 spaces that will go paid, a 600% increase. Common sense and all data says this will send drivers to the streets to avoid paying in the lots, making it harder to find a free space. This will hurt businesses, particularly those closest to the lots. The lot across from Woodstocks is going paid while there are three vacant storefronts on that block. The disincentive of paid parking will help ensure that the only occupants there continue to be homeless camps.

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Paid Parking Resolution

ABCCEBC4-CBA7-4001-BC8A-562EAE12AB69The Davis City Council passed a resolution on Monday 3/25/2019 with detailed instructions to staff regarding parking downtown. The Davisite received the specifics of the resolution from the City Clerk on 3/29/2019. The specifics exactly as delivered to the Davisite are as follows: 

 

 

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Did the Council Listen to Citizens on Parking? Process and Outcome

G-street-and-amtrakYesterday, I wrote an article wondering whether the City Council would listen to citizen’s objections to the downtown parking proposal, drawing attention to a pattern of problematic communication between Davisites and Council.  Last night, they unanimously approved what is being billed as a “compromise” between the proposal and what Davisites wanted (which was, for the most part, no change to what we have currently). 

How did the Council do? 

This being winter grading season at the University, I’ve got grades on my mind.  I give the Council a ‘C+’ for process and a ‘C’ for outcome.

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Failings of the Downtown Paid Parking Proposal

E-St-Graph-2By Dan Urazandi

The history of paid parking in Davis has unfolded outside my store window. From here, the center of downtown and the maelstrom of the debate on paid parking, I can see the cause of parking problems and effect of supposed solutions. I can see close to 40 spaces that have been removed over the years—the E st plaza cost 25, three more for the walkway through the lot, three given away to zipcar and uber, two to the crosswalk, at least two to bulb outs, some to bicycle parking in the street, two to the bus stops. This is just on one block. Throughout downtown nearly 100 spaces have been whittled away over the last 20+ years. I use hand count estimates since the city refuses to release hard numbers that would prove they caused the parking shortage. All these losses entailed removing a practical necessity, parking spaces that were being used many times every day, for aesthetic gains that are used far less often by far less people or serve no purpose at all. Now the city wants to tax every space because each is a valuable commodity, but they placed no value on them before wanting to monetize them.

This is the sort of firsthand evidence the Council needs to hear and heed. There are solid reasons why 90% of downtown businesses, customers and employees are opposed to the city's paid parking plan. The 70 businesses that entreated council to stop implementation represent generations of knowledge of how best to serve downtown Davis. The Chamber of Commerce, the vast majority of DDBA members and downtowndavis.org are all against the plan. Business is against metered parking because it deters people from coming and staying downtown, which is bad for business.

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On Open Access and the UC severing its relationship with the publisher Elsevier

Open-access-no-elsevierThe University of California recently announced that it was terminating its relationship with the publisher Elsevier because Elsevier would not meet its terms for open access.  According to the UCSF library, Elsevier publishes the highest number of peer-reviewed journals worldwide and is the largest publisher of UC-authored journal articles. Thus, UC’s termination of its relationship with Elsevier is a dramatic step that may end up having equally dramatic, and hopefully positive, effects on journal publishing, paving the way for more open access.

But what is open access, and why is the UC’s decision important?  As a 20+ year academic and a co-editor of an open access journal, Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology, I thought I’d give an explanation geared toward the layperson to help provide some context for this decision.

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Parking proposal not ready for prime-time: unanswered questions

Town-Gown-edgeThe following was sent to the Davis City Council on 6 March 2019.

Dear City Council members,

I did not attend last night's meeting, in part because of personal commitments but also because I don't have strong views on parking. And I have to admit that I haven't followed all of the details. So, maybe I am missing something, but I find myself extremely puzzled with the proposal and have some questions that I hope get addressed when the Council takes this up again.

First of all, I understand that a big motivation is to try to get employees and students out of prime parking spots. It seems like the current proposal is a very indirect way of doing that, a way that may or may not succeed. Just considering students, I don't know if people think that students are on campus 9-5, but they are not. They are on campus only as long as they need to be to take their classes and that is often for 5 hours or less. Students will probably be thrilled to be able to park for a 5 hour block at a cheaper rate than the university is offering. Has anyone actually studied student habits? If not, you're just making proposals in the dark, hunt-and-peck, trial-and-error, which seems like not the right way to go about it. Maybe if the Council were considering the task force recommendation to have adjustable rates based on real-time availability, things might sort themselves out, but otherwise I foresee problems.

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Take action to prevent deregulation from destroying local ISPs like Omsoft

Fiber-optics-internetJust like everything else, the current deregulatory craze at the expense of common sense is about to hit the Internet Access Industry, and WE NEED YOU to take 5-10 minutes and write a letter at the website www.savecompetition.com . Please share liberally, as this is not being reported on in a major way.

DEADLINE 9/4/2018

Here is the crisis.:
The US TELECOM ASSN, the trade group for the Mega Giant telecoms like Verizon, ATT and Centurylink have petitioned the FCC for forebearance from the COPPER line sharing requirements of the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act. They state that there is robust competition in local Internet Access markets and great cheap fast Internet Access throughout the US. They request to end all regulated wholesale access to the Unbundled Network Elements (Copper Pairs) of the Telephone Network your grandparents, parents and you paid for through your taxes.

California companies like Omsoft, SonicNet, CruzIO, LMI, Shasta.com, and Cal.Net, along with the remaining small ISPs across the nation will have their access to their main Internet Transport medium, the Public Switched Telephone System, (PSTN) completely shut off in 2 years.

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Looking for feedback on new app to support local businesses in Davis

HeynearbyHey Davis Neighbors,

My son Will has been working on a mobile app (called HeyNearby) to support local businesses in Davis. It’s early days but he’s looking for people to give it a try.

Here’s a quick summary of what it does:

It allows you to save and share all your favorite businesses in town. Once you have your list, you never have to search again.

You can take the “Town Quiz”, which allows you to add any shops, restaurants or services (in Davis as well as in any work or vacation spots).

You can give “Kudos” to your favorites. This let’s everyone know why you think a business is special. Since everyone’s a critic these days, they are trying to highlight the positives.

Lastly, you can also invite your friends to the app so we can all share our favorites. That way, whether you’re looking for an electrician, plumber, music teacher, or anything else, you can just see what your friends recommend.

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Nugget... or Fool's Gold? (4699 Alhambra Drive, Office/R&D)

Elephantmelon
In the development process in Davis, is there an elephant in the room (or the City Council chambers)? Source: https://www.santoro-london.com/en/products/Fruity-Scooty-Notebook-Elephant

The following letter was submitted by Todd Edelman to the Planning Commission for its meeting tonight, July 11, at 7 PM.

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Dear Planning Commissioners,

First of all I would like to say that I consider it very unfortunate that the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC) meeting is scheduled at the same time as the Planning Commission (PC) meeting. Tomorrow's Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety (BTSSC) meeting has been cancelled, but - again - it was planned as simultaneous to that night's DPAC meeting.

***

Second - just so you know - the BTSSC is not apparently seeing this project. I am not clear why this is the case. Aside from their individual unique perspectives and goals, there is a welcome overlap in the scope of what the BTSSC and PC look at in regards to mobility. It seems that this will be missing from this evaluation. I write here on my own behalf.

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JUMP down the page for my suggested SOLUTIONS

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Analysis

Nugget is by most accounts a great company that treats its employees well and offers great service and products (though so far the seeded watermelon on sale this year needs some help...). But the mobility profile for their retail locations bears no relation to our City's goals in our Council-approved Beyond Platinum bicycle plan from 2014: While the goal for bicycle trips for shopping is 30% by 2020, my multiple non-scientific visual surveys over the past 18 months at Nugget on E. Covell show a share between 2 and 4% at best. Even if a large, automobile-oriented market is informally considered to only be responsible for a 15% goal, this location only fulfills a fraction of it (and, by the way this 15% would need to be balanced by other destinations shooting for 45%!).

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