Entries by Davisite

PG&E Bends to Grassroots Pressure Campaign to Bury Fire-Causing Power Lines Instead of plan to replace 50 miles a year, utility commits to burying 10,000 miles of overhead lines



Courtesy Sonoma Independent

PG&E’s sudden July 21 announcement to initiate what it called a Marshall Plan level effort to spend more than $15 billion to bury 1,000 miles of fire-causing overhead power lines a year for ten years marked a stark reversal of the utility giant’s argument that such an effort would be impossibly expensive. 

Potential liability for the Dixie Fire prompted the company’s recently hired CEO, Patricia “Patti” Poppe, to unveil the plan.“We know that we have long argued that undergrounding was too expensive,” Chief Executive Patti Poppe said. “This is where we say it’s too expensive not to underground. Lives are on the line.”

The announcement came two months after the Sonoma Independent, allied with the Davis Community Vision Alliance, launched a grassroots Bury Power Lines Now! Campaign.

The effort began with this article in the Sonoma Independent describing how climate change-induced high winds, hot weather and drought have caused overhead power lines in a relatively tiny area of the state to spark four of the six most destructive fires in the state since 2017.

Continue reading "PG&E Bends to Grassroots Pressure Campaign to Bury Fire-Causing Power Lines Instead of plan to replace 50 miles a year, utility commits to burying 10,000 miles of overhead lines" »

What is UC Davis’s Financial Impact on Davis?

201112008_tower_0057-2UC Berkeley just agreed to pay $86 Million for impacts on the City of Berkeley.

UC Davis, in comparison, agreed to contribute significantly less to the City of Davis –  $2.2 million, mostly in city and county transit infrastructure and analysis in 2018.

By Colin Walsh

Davis and UC Davis are like sister cities with a razor thin border drawn between them that runs the path of the old Lincoln Highway - 1st street, A Street and Russell Blvd. Each side of the line has its own police department, fire department, administration, and tax implications. But, what happens on one side of the imaginary line has impacts and repercussions on the other side.

No tax revenues flow from UC Davis to the City of Davis.

So what are the impacts of the 40,000 UC Davis students on Davis? What are the impacts of having o the fifth largest employers in California nestled in close with just an imaginary dividing line? What are the impacts of UC Davis’s 23,000+ faculty and staff?

It was announced last month that the City of Berkeley is to receive $86 million in a settlement to pay for the impacts from a “construction project on the northeast edge of campus” and “continued increases in UC Berkeley enrollment. The money will be paid “over the next 16 years to cover the city’s added costs in police and fire safety and other services.” (link)

Continue reading "What is UC Davis’s Financial Impact on Davis?" »

City of Davis Sues Sacramento Developer and Binning Ranch Holding Co.

Ranch sketch final

Davisite Exclusive

City of Davis Claims $691,000 for Unpaid Bills

Defendant Claims Legal Theory of “Unwashed Hands”

By David L. Johnson

In a disputed controversy involving the once-proposed Davis Innovation Center, the City of Davis has filed a $691,000 lawsuit against Binning Ranch Holding Co., SKK Developments and Sotiris Kolokotronis, the owner of SKK Developments, a major residential and commercial real estate developer in Sacramento.

The city claims the defendants failed to pay the city for services related to the project’s application, including costs for environmental consultants, planning, engineering, building inspection and legal services.

The lawsuit, filed in Yolo County Superior Court, states that under a 2014 agreement with the city, the defendants agreed “to pay the City all costs incurred, both direct and indirect…associated with the review and processing of the Application….”

Jason Hoffman, an attorney for Sotiris Kolokotronis and SKK Developments denies the claim and indicates that all specified damages in the lawsuit were caused by the city, incorporating, in part, a defensive legal theory of Unwashed Hands. This theory bars relief to a party that has engaged in inequitable behavior, including fraud, deceit or bad faith related to the subject of that party's claim.

Continue reading "City of Davis Sues Sacramento Developer and Binning Ranch Holding Co. " »

Sutter to cut 205 trees to save money

Picture3City fails to acknowledge health benefits of trees

By Alan Hirsch  Alan@DavisLorax.org

On Wednesday, 7/14 the City Planning Commission approved a request by Sutter Davis Hospital to remove an additional 63 mature trees. If you missed the fact the city had already OK’ed the removal of 142 tree for solar panel panels you are not alone: the Tree Commission and Tree Davis were unaware either. City staff revealed at meeting that they had quietly issued permits for the  removal this small forest of  trees two years ago. Sutter claims this location is cheaper than installing them on the roof, but did not discuss how much, or why they couldn’t install the panels in treeless area between Sutter and Communicare Clinic, or the largely  treeless parking lots  in the far north. 

At the meeting the city defended Sutter and argued that the permits were all  “legal” even though they never ran it by the citizens on the Tree Commission that have legal authority to review all tree removals.

The relative size of the cutting (205 mature trees) is huge:  the City of Davis only plants 200-500 new saplings a year and they don’t all survive and mature.

Continue reading "Sutter to cut 205 trees to save money" »

Ring in Dumpster Christmas!!


by David Abramson


Davis area folks: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year(TM) is nearly upon us...no not that holiday!!

I’m referring to Dumpster Christmas, Raccoon Holiday, Dumpster Hanukkah, Trash Treasure Tidings, or as known in many secular or agnostic Davis/Yolo traditions.

Friday July 30th- Sunday August 1,
peaking on Saturday the 31st
August 30th-Sept 1 also peaking on the last day of the month!

Ring in Dumpster Christmas!!

*see historical Dumpster Christmas Photo Gallery

There will be couches, beds, bookshelves, and frames!
There will be Versaci and other types of clothes, shoes, and other wears!
There will be packaged food, spices, and kitchen supplies galore!
There will be laser printers!
There will be phone charging cables!
There will be musical instruments and art!
There might be air fryers (2 years streak going)!
There will be antiques and people loading antiques off in trailers to sell at antique shops for hundreds of dollars!
There will be magic and manifestation!
There will be untold gems that come once in a blue moon!

What to Do About it?

You have the answer in your own way!

This “guide” was drafted by a longtime celebrator of Dumpster Christmas, but please please feel free to make it better, do it better, collaborate, and engage in a way that makes sense for you.

Please add your needs/offerings and share this document with your network!!

🎁Dumpster Christmas Mutual Aid Organizer🎁

Contents: Needs, Offerings, Places to Dumpster, and Rideshare

Some Simple Actions & Ideas (please add your own flavors)

  1.  take what you need!

  2.  distribute what your community needs

  3. pull out useful things from dumpsters that you aren’t going to take and set them aside and/or create a on-the-spot donation station if one doesn’t exist

  4. Document and take pictures (then upload them here)!!

  5. Wear a homemade badge or nametag to identify yourself as a member of the ‘Davis Waste Recovery Network’ (is anyone good at drawing raccoons???)

Other ideas:

-map out who is already working on this kind of thing and potential partnerships for distribution and transport (e.g. Davis Night Market | Freedge | Davis Bike Collective(?))

-Organize an “awards ceremony”, write-ups, create content and culture locally to highlight the apartment complexes who did great, and which ones flubbed. Take lots of pictures of the amazing stuff that is getting thrown away and what you’ve recovered.

-What else?


Safety and Security

You are solely liable for any activity that you partake in during the beautiful holiday of Dumpster Christmas. All info in this guide is simply for informational purposes only. 

Be safe, stay hydrated, wear gloves, watch out for sharp objects, be mindful of your surroundings, and be courteous to those who are moving out.

Do a proper inspection of any furniture for bed bugs (how-to article), mold, and structural integrity, and make sure appliances are in safe and working condition.

When you are finished with an area, leave it cleaner than you found it!! Do not block roadways


Legality of Dumpster Diving

 I will not give any legal advice here, but if you google search “legality of dumpster diving” or read this article, you can see various perspectives and landmark cases. Decisions have largely ruled in favor of Dumpster Divers and Good Samaritans, including the Supreme Court case of “California vs Greenwood”.


David’s Note
Sometimes an apartment manager will ask you to leave. I usually don’t have that much of an issue. note: my experience is of a white person dumpstering in Davis. 

My partner has experienced discrimination as a person of color while dumpster diving in Davis and she recommends that if you are a POC, you go alongside some white friends. It’s a shame that this has to even be a thing, but it’s the world we live in, even in Davis :/ 

I normally have a conversation with the apartment managers and let them know that I’m from the Davis Waste Recovery Network and that I am there documenting waste for a report on move-out waste. Most of them want to be known for doing the right thing.

Usually apartment managers just want to know what you’re doing. Be kind and respectful...this could be an opportunity to build bridges to apartment complexes and no longer be complicit in the insane wastefulness of move-out. Maybe they will voluntarily put up a donation station.

Do what you feel comfortable with personally. Nobody can choose that for you except yourself.

You can have an apartment manager call David Abramson at 530-902-8223 (informational purposes only), and you can also reach me at this number at any time if you have any other issues or questions. 

If you are asked to leave or experience any discrimination, please call or text David Abramson at 530-902-8223 and/or add that information to the ‘Places to Dumpster’ in the Mutual Aid Organizer.

And happy dumpstering!!!


Dumpster Christmas Mutual Aid Organizer spreadsheet
(add your needs, offerings, and support capabilities)

Please share this guide and organizer with anyone who might have a need or an offering and likes to get down with trash treasures!! Happy holiday!

Petition to Save Sutter Trees


by Alan Hirsch aka the Davis Lorax  Alan@davislorax.org

I hope people can help save Sutter trees by signing the change.org petition to support the appeal…and passing the petition  on to your friends with a note: http://chng.it/mft8fNRGmF

This is the story in 7 bullet points:

  •  205 trees to be cut at Sutter Hospital unless the Davis City Council affirms a citizen appeal.
  • Hospital "saves on solar” by cutting trees instead of putting solar on roof, the empty lot north of the hospital, or the treeless parking lots north of clinic.
  • City OKed Phase I of the Plan in 2019 without notifying the community.
  • City claims tree cutting will “improve the neighborhood character.”
  • Ignores science showing healing nature of a tree-filled environment.
  • City illegally issued permit when it bypassed Tree Commission.
  • Sutter may already be killing the trees now by stopping watering.

Continue reading "Petition to Save Sutter Trees" »

What is in a Street Name?

Amherst cropTime for more inclusive street names in Davis

 By Colin Walsh

Since George Floyd’s death just over a year ago, Americans have taken to the streets raising their voices against racial oppression. A new desire to reckon with racism has arisen in our country. One form this has taken is in reevaluating the naming of buildings and places though this reevaluation of names also predates the rise of the BLM movement. For example, in 2017 Yale changed the name of one of its residential colleges which had been named after Vice President Calhoun, an infamous white supremacist. The University of Virginia renamed its law school away from that of a former confederate general. Closer to home UC Berkeley renamed 2 of its buildings in 2020 to move away from the names of former faculty members with slave holding ties or well documented white supremacist views. (link)

Sometimes this has been controversial. In San Francisco the school district recently voted to rename 44 public schools, but then later rescinded the decision.

A few years ago in Davis we debated the appropriateness of “Sutter Place”, and ultimately renamed part of it to Risling Court after David Risling Jr. a civil rights activist and founder of DQ University (link). But, the City left both Bidwell street and place, named after John Bidwell, Sutter’s business manager. The Davis Sutter Hospital also still lists its address as Sutter Place. 

Clearly street names with a problematic legacy are not easy or quick to change, but it is time we look hard at the names of other streets and institutions in Davis. This would be an excellent job for the Historical Resource Management Commission, or a specially appointed committee. In the meantime, here is my first look at the subject. We have a few problematic street names in Davis and some serious issues of omission.

Continue reading "What is in a Street Name?" »

Pacifico proposal rushed without community input

SignA letter to City Council from Trace DeWitt


Dear Mayor Partida and Council -

Like many residents of South Davis I was shocked and startled to learn on Friday morning that the Davis City Council plans, at a meeting this coming Tuesday, July 20, to “direct the Council Subcommittee and City staff to negotiate a tentative master lease agreement with Yolo County” embodying a CalWORKS proposal based on a Yolo County Health and Human Services (Yolo County HHS) presentation for the future use of the City’s Pacifico property that will only be received by the Council as part of the same agenda item at the very same meeting.  The Subcommittee and staff are then to be directed to “bring [that Pacifico  master lease agreement] back to the City Council for a final review.”   

I understand of course that the Brown Act only requires 72 hours’ notice of city council meetings even though 48 hours of that notice period is a weekend. This letter isn’t about the legality notice.  It’s about fairness of notice to the affected community, which in the two business days allotted cannot possibly respond to even the cursory terms of the CalWorks proposal’s most terms l in a way that can provide the Council the input needed for an intelligent decision on whether the CalWorks proposal should be negotiated with the County at all.

As all members of the Council are well aware, the historic mismanagement of the Pacifico property in South Davis as low-income housing since its default acquisition by the City a decade ago has inflicted a number of ills on the surrounding community that have yet to be satisfactorily addressed by the City, and so continue to fester to the present day.  While the City has taken some first, necessary steps to ameliorate the situation, it is far from having resolved the issues that have plagued Pacifico residents and neighboring homeowners, including drug use, alcohol abuse, theft, trespass, physical assaults, verbal violence, noise, littering, and a host of behaviors that adversely impact the lives of residents of South Davis.  The City’s inattention to these problems has been a bane on the lives of vulnerable residents of Pacifico, and of their neighbors at large. 

Now the City proposes not merely to entertain, but to negotiate an agreement with Yolo County that will presumably double the current number of residents of the Pacifico property by the addition of single-parent families to the low-income housing mix.  This increase is of necessity presumed, since Yolo County HHS’s CalWorks proposal – its “project details” comprise all of 20 lines of text (Proposal, 06-5) -- does not bother to disclose the number of new residents it will add to Pacifico’s current population (the staff report implies an increase of perhaps 56 beds (Report, 06-3).  The proposal does indicate it plans to utilize the two of four buildings that are currently vacant on the property, and “keep the dormitory style layout” (Proposal, 06-5) that has been a source of complaints from residents in the currently-occupied buildings, with “no budget to improve the habitability of each unit” (ibid.).  And  while proposing to add this new population of single parents and their children to the residents currently housed on the Pacifico property, Yolo County HHS apparently plans to do nothing to address the problems emanating from Pacifico  – only to “manage its own residents” (Report, 06-3) and “[p]rovide additional fencing for site security and control” (Proposal, 06-5) – apparently believing it will wall off its own “vulnerable population in need of safe and secure housing” (Report, 06-3) from the onsite problems that have plagued Pacifico’s existing residents and the neighboring population for the last decade.

Three business days is simply not enough time for citizens having a genuine interest in the welfare of our vulnerable, underserved populations to bring to the Council what it needs to know of their concerns for their Pacifico neighbors and themselves in their daily lives.  The community has a right not to have its concerns dismissed with the bland assurance of the City that “Staff and the Council Subcommittee heard the questions and concerns and believe that many of them can be addressed in partnership with Yolo County” (Report, 06-2).  Citizens have a right to express their skepticism of that belief in the face of the spectacular failure of the past partnership to come to grips with Pacifico’s problems.  The City Council should defer Agenda Item 6 to the next appropriate council meeting to afford a meaningful opportunity to make their views known to their representatives.

- Tracy 

The City of Davis Housing Element Update & Developer Web

What is fueling the push to radically rewrite Davis’s laws on development?

by Colin Walsh

“Pro-development activists try to trick you into thinking it helps the poor to destroy neighborhoods to make way for luxury condos.” 

“An agenda for building up the power base of the neoliberal right is not going to get too far in liberal beachheads like San Francisco or New York using the traditional Republican platform. It needs a new story that appeals to young millennials, and it has found it in the “pro-housing” language of the YIMBYs. But in the end, it’s pushing the same underlying principles: the way to a more efficient future is to destroy belief in regulation, public investment, and democratic participation, whether the arena is charter schools or health care or housing affordability.”

Nathan J. Robinson made these statements in a recent Current Affairs article. Let’s look at what is behind the YIMBY push in Davis.

The Davis Housing Element Update Committee (HEC) had its final meeting on May 26th where they voted to pass 10 motions that, if ultimately adopted, would radically change the development landscape in Davis. The recommendations include abolishing the 1% annual growth cap, doing away with single-family (R-1) housing zoning, removing checks, balances and public input from the approval process, and several other radical developer-friendly proposals. Neither staff nor the public were informed ahead of time of this discussion by the Committee. These radical proposals have since taken up most of the discussion at 2 planning commission meetings, and at the Davis City Council meeting on 6/15. To understand where these recommendations came from, one needs to understand the committee members and the web of developer and real estate interests surrounding the Committee. This chart helps paint that picture.


Continue reading "The City of Davis Housing Element Update & Developer Web" »

What the HEC is Going On? Part III

image from davisite.typepad.comConflicts of Interest in the City of Davis Housing Element Committee

 by Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

 Note: The preceding Part II in this series covering Brown Act violations is here:

 “Housing Element Committee members are expected to remove themselves from all discussions and votes on matters in which they have any direct personal financial interest.


In gauging such extra-legal conflicts of interest and/or duty, each member shall exercise careful judgment and introspection in giving priority to the interests of fairness and objectivity; if there is any reasonable doubt that the member has a conflict, the member shall refrain from participation in the committee’s deliberations and vote(s).” – City of Davis Housing Element Committee Ground Rules (p. 4)

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On? Part III" »

What the HEC is Going On? - Part II

Under rugThe City’s Denial of Brown Act Violations by the Housing Element Committee and Certain of Its Members is Not Credible nor Factually-Based

 by Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

 Note: A subsequent Part III of this series will cover conflicts of interest of HEC members in detail


Last week the authors wrote a carefully-researched and well-documented article on the City of Davis’s Housing Element Committee (HEC) alleging several serious violations of the California state Brown Act open meeting laws prohibiting direct communications between members of jurisdictional bodies. As stated in that article, the composition of the Council-appointed HEC, which is supposed to represent a “diversity of interests” in the community, was instead primarily composed of development and real estate interests and their local supporters.

In our article, we also disclosed that several weeks ago, there were a last-minute series of policy recommendations very favorable to the real estate and development interests in the City that were suddenly introduced to the Committee by these same real estate and development interests. These recommendations, in direct violation of the Brown Act, were sent directly from one member of the HEC to the entire HEC.

The HEC then further violated the Brown Act in considering and voting to adopt the same recommendations without publicly noticing that these recommendations were being considered by the HEC. In essence, these recommendations were introduced secretly to the HEC and then voted upon without full public disclosure and scrutiny of the recommendations. Furthermore, the development and real estate interests on the Committee failed to adequately disclose conflicts of interest in terms of their investments and holdings in the City that would be impacted by these very same favorable recommendations approved by the HEC (see more on this point in the coming Part 3 of this series of articles).

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On? - Part II" »

Civility, Facts and the Arroyo Park Zip Track.

By Joe Krovoza

At 7:40 pm Saturday evening (6/12) Janet went out to our backyard to pick greens for dinner. She heard a man say "...and that's where the nasty terrible people who hate the zipline and hate children live." [best possible paraphrase] Janet looked over the fence at who was saying this and there was a man standing there with his dog and children. He saw Janet and said something like, "and there's the terrible nasty woman who hates children." She said, "Excuse me? Would you like to talk?" (not threatening, certainly incredulous) but he ignored her and continued walking and talking to his children, repeating "that's the nasty terrible woman who hates children."

She was deeply shaken. Is this okay? Can’t we respectfully agree to disagree?

Casual zip track users and park visitors have no way of knowing how the sound of the zip track travels through our backyard and home. It comes, uninvited, into every room of our house every single time someone is on one of the two tracks. It is not a pleasant sound. It is metallic and jarring. It is impossible to focus on ordinary tasks while it is happening. Or to sleep.

Continue reading "Civility, Facts and the Arroyo Park Zip Track." »

Proposal to Eliminate R-1 Single Family Zoning is a Terrible Idea


Dear Davis City Council, Planning Commission, and Social Services Commission Members,

I would like to take a moment to address the idea of removing R-1 single-family zoning that is popular with developer interest groups and YIMBYs at the moment. This radical policy change would allow investors to buy single family houses in any neighborhood in the city and replace them with 4-unit or more multi-unit complexes. A good way to look at this type of proposal is as deregulation and trickle-down housing. The removal of R-1 zoning is often suggested by these pressure groups as a panacea for creating affordable housing and ending homelessness. There is mounting evidence that this is just not true, and I strongly recommend you read this article on the downfalls of trickle-down housing. https://www.housinghumanright.org/trickle-down-housing-is-a-failure-heres-what-you-need-to-know/?fbclid=IwAR2a_TkSVF0Zlb6pSMrZ7n3fL3SfLHAh354XQN3NZZuL6TNs85r5eST5iqc

In Davis we have a large demand for rental housing. That demand coupled with an abolition of R-1 single-family housing zoning will result in investors converting single family homes to 4 units or more (per lot) of student rental housing that will be leased at top dollar. This is most likely to occur in what are currently the most affordable neighborhoods, like Davis Manor. These are also the most diverse neighborhoods. This will increase the cost of housing in these neighborhoods. This is the opposite of creating the affordable housing that deregulation advocates claim will come as a result of their trickle-down theories. Deregulation will hurt the people who need affordable housing the most.

Continue reading "Proposal to Eliminate R-1 Single Family Zoning is a Terrible Idea " »

Unequivocally Bad Solar Panel Placement at Cesar Chavez Elementary .

This letter was sent to DJUSD on June 8.
Redwood tree
Dear Matt and Facility planning team,
I just saw the proposal for the placement of solar panels at CCE and it is unequivocally a bad placement.
The panels will cover the existing grass at the edge of the blacktop thereby creating more of a barrier between the grass and the blacktop.   This necessitates the destruction of two massive and iconic redwood trees.    Removing trees in itself is not a problem - if the result is inescapable.  In this case, it is not an inescapable result to place the solar panels in that suggested location.
The video clearly says that the benefits of this placement include  only 2 things.
Benefit 1) providing a solar shade structure.    This is not necessary if there were more trees on the grass AND if those trees were maintained AND if the children were allowed to use the grass and the pathway during school hours.  Did you know that kids at CCE are not allowed to use their own school yard (the grass) during recess?  Did you know that the trees that were planted at the edge of the track are mostly dieing? 
Benefit 2)  Preserving Blacktop.   Preserving blacktop is not a value of the community at large and nor is it a value of the parents of CCE, were you to poll them.  Preserving play space is important, and blacktop is important for certain kinds of play - but preserving it at the expense of creating what effectively amounts to a barrier between the children and the natural space of the field (where they should be allowed to play) is not a long term postive vision.
There are at least 3 other areas where the Solar panels could be placed.
1) On top of the new MPR.  Why are we building a new building that apparently cannot hold solar panels?
2) Shading the portable classrooms on the south side of CCE Campus.  These roofs would benefit from the shade and the industrial structures on campus would not take anymore of the campus footprint.  In fact, one could imagine the solar array shading any number of buildings on the campus in whole or in part.
3) Over the parking area.  Wouldn't the teachers appreciate a solar array over the parking area to keep their cars cool?
I don't claim to speak for anyone but myself on this issue.  However, I do believe I have a good sense of the pulse of the community.   This placement will be met with massive pushback from the community and I strongly recommend reconsideration as soon as possible.
Best regards
Joseph Biello
Parent of CCE Student and Neighbor
the DJUSD video mentioned in the letter can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUn0h5tukbo
CCE Solar

Noise Ordinance Change Is Bad Idea

Submitted by David Johnson,

Because the City of Davis is considering a revised sound ordinance, I thought it would be helpful to hear from Robert Lawson, a sound professional, who recently posted the following informative piece on Nextdoor.com.


I am a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Certified Safety Professional with over 35 years experience taking sound level measurements and commenting on noise issues as a part of the CEQA process.

  1. It is unusual, and in my opinion a bad idea, to base the City of Davis noise ordinance in large part on sound levels averaged over a 1 hour period (l eq - 60 minutes).

-- Unusual?

 - Color coded noise ordinances from several other communities with University of California campuses (Berkeley, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara) as well as from Sacramento are available at https://nonoise.org/regulation/stateregs.htm .

Unless I’m mistaken, only San Diego uses l eq - 60 minutes. Although several use a sliding scale for averaged sound levels (30 minutes to 5 minutes, based on sound levels) most of these have specific mention or provisions for impulsive noise (noise of very short duration with a sharp onset), which is the type of noise that has had much discussion lately in town in regards to recreational equipment.

 -The nonoise.org site also includes a summary review of hundreds of ordinances across the country, indicating that 60 minute averaging (l eq 60 mins) is not common in community noise ordinances.

  1. It could be costly and difficult to enforce a noise ordinance largely based on average noise levels over a 60 minute period.

-- Costly/difficult to enforce?

Continue reading "Noise Ordinance Change Is Bad Idea" »

Proposed Noise Ordinance Is Ill Advised


Dear Members of the Davis City Council,

I have looked into the proposed changes to the noise ordinance, and I have investigated what the standards are in other communities. I find both the existing ordinance and the proposed ordinance lacking in the detail to make either enforceable without considerable interpretation. Even more surprisingly though, I found that what the staff reports to be very minor changes to actually be very significant changes thus requiring a more robust process before implementation.

First, I want to address the new definition of Person in the proposed rewrite of 24.01 General Provision that exempts the city.  They simply remove: "...  including any city, county, district or other public agency." this move to exempt the City from the ordinance is a significant change and creates a dubious double standard. I do not think it is appropriate to exempt the City, but at a minimum that decision needs to be better vetted.

Next I want to address averages and maximums. Clearly changing the language in 24.02.020 figure 1 from "Maximum Noise Level (dBA)" to "Average Hourly Noise Level (dBA)" is a meaningful change that alters what is covered by the ordinance. Such a significant change should be better vetted by commissions and the community before implementation.

Continue reading "Proposed Noise Ordinance Is Ill Advised" »

Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing

Housing elementOn 5/26 the City of Davis Planning Commission met to discuss the draft housing element. The Housing Element is a state mandated component to the Cities General Plan since 1969, California has required that all local governments update the Housing Element on regular intervals to meet the housing needs within the community. The City of Davis is receiving comments on the 2021-2029 housing element through July 1st at 5pm. you can learn more about the 2021-2029 Davis Housing Element here Link .

What follows are the comments of Rik Keller to the Davis Planning Commission.



To: City of Davis Planning Commission

From: Rik Keller

Re: Housing Element Update

I have been a long-term affordable housing consultant and advocate since the mid-1990s. Locally, I have recently advocated for increased affordable housing for various projects in the City review process...

  • see: https://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/06/examination-affordability-nishi-projectmeasure-j-expensive-overcrowded/

...and for more equitable and inclusive housing policies in general:

  • see my 3-article series here: https://www.davisite.org/2018/10/keeping-davis-white-land-use-policy-is-a-civil-rights-issue.html

I am a strong advocate for addressing exclusionary housing practices. We already have tools in place to counter “snob”/exclusionary zoning. These include inclusionary zoning (IZ) policies that the City of Davis has in place as part of its Affordable Housing Ordinance [AHO] (see Article 18.05 of the Davis Municipal Code: http://qcode.us/codes/davis/view.php?version=beta&view=mobile&topic=18-18_05)

Unfortunately though, the City of Davis has drastically weakened its IZ policies in the past decade. In 2011, in response to pressure from development groups, it suspended its Middle Income Ordinance that was targeted to provide housing affordable to the local workforce. And in early 2018, the 25-35% requirement for inclusionary/affordable housing in the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance (AHO) was reduced to 15% “temporarily” because of a need to respond to State rules. In the almost 3.5-years since, the City has been promising to update its IZ requirements, but has repeatedly broken its own deadlines, and hasn’t completed the required studies to update it.

Continue reading "Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing" »

Organic Farming Movement Powerhouse, Amigo Bob Cantisano, Passes


By David Kupfer

One of the most experienced, astute, opinionated, and influential players in the Organic Farming Movement, Amigo Bob Cantisano passed after an 8 year battle with throat cancer at age 69 surrounded by his family on December 26. He was a rare ninth-generation Californian, directly descended from a Spanish lieutenant in the 1775-76 Juan Bautista de Anza expedition that led and created the first land route between New Spain and Alta California.

Just as his ancestors were pioneers in their own right, Cantisano distinguished himself by being a singular powerhouse in the organic horticulture field for nearly half a century. A San Francisco native, as a child, he first learned how to garden from his grandmother, and in the late 1960s began growing pesticide-free food while living on communes in the City’s Haight Ashbury district and in Mendocino County. He first was employed at Good Karma, an early San Francisco vegetarian café, and at the City’s first natural foods emporium “New Age,” both owned by Fred Rohé, whom Cantisano called “the founder of the whole natural foods movement.” It was these experiences, along with exposure to Rodale Press’s Organic Gardening magazine and a speaker at San Francisco’s first Earth Day celebration in 1970 on the impacts and hazards of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and large mono crops to human health and the environment, that set him off on his life-long crusade that extended through his life.

Continue reading "Organic Farming Movement Powerhouse, Amigo Bob Cantisano, Passes" »

Called Out

Called out

By Kelsey Fortune

During Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, the Council appointed commission members. I was hoping to be one. Instead, after making my apology public, I was called out and shamed in a public forum where I had no option to respond.

I missed my interview. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but we are living through difficult times right now. Staff and I had scheduled a fifteen-minute interview with Dan Carson and Gloria Partida on Monday, November 23rd. Unfortunately, my grandmother, who has been in a nursing home since a stroke in the Spring of 2019, was diagnosed with COVID-19, and my mind was elsewhere. I forgot about my interview completely.

I emailed an apology. The following morning, I realized my mistake. I was extremely disappointed with myself for missing such an important meeting. The whole day was filled with guilt and sadness. I emailed the staff member with whom I had been corresponding about the interview.

“I want to sincerely apologize for missing my interview yesterday. My grandma has been diagnosed with COVID, and I am completely consumed with this news. I'm sorry that I wasted Dan and Gloria's time. I hope that I can still be considered to serve on a commission.”

I received a compassionate response from staff on Monday, November 30th. I understood this to mean that my application had been forwarded along with this information.

“I am truly sorry to hear about your grandma’s diagnoses, and wish her a speedy recovery!! Your application has been forwarded to the entire City Council for their consideration. Appointments will occur tomorrow at their Council meeting.”

I called in to apologize during public comment. Instead of responding with compassion, Council responded by called me out in their discussion. It was stated that this was the first they were hearing from me. From my perspective, that is not true. I reached out the day following the missed interview. Regardless, speaking this way about a private citizen in a public forum where they cannot respond is inappropriate, unprofessional, and humiliating.

Please consider what you expect from our elected officials.

University Mall and the Davis General Plan

Dear Davis City Council,

I am running for City Council in District 2 – the district that the U-Mall is in.

First, I want to state that I believe a mixed-use project can be a good fit for the University Mall location. I certainly remember my mom buying me Star Trek pajamas at Lawrence’s department store there when I was a kid, and more recently I have taken my daughter to shop at Forever 21, also now closed. I have seen a lot of change here, and welcome that it will evolve and change again to better meet current demands.

What I would look for in a project for this site is something that fits better with the surrounding neighborhoods. This project has been compared to the Davis Live project. However, this project is significantly larger in scale because it is 7 stories spanning an entire city block. You can see in the image from Brixmor that the project is 75-80 feet tall (7 stories) across the entire east west axis of the project with almost no set back from either Anderson Road or Sycamore. It is certainly out of scale to the neighborhood University Mall is in. 80 foot tall buildings immediately adjacent to the sidewalk might be expected in a dense urban area, but is out of scale with this neighborhood.

Continue reading "University Mall and the Davis General Plan" »