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.
Entries categorized "Business"
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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.
The 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:
Yesterday, 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
Just 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.
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.
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.
The following letter was submitted by Todd Edelman to the Planning Commission for its meeting tonight, July 11, at 7 PM.
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.
JUMP down the page for my suggested SOLUTIONS
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%!).