Entries categorized "Environment"

Smoky Days Ahead!?! Leafblowers, Buses and Climate Shelters.

7.27-28_windsI just sent the following to the City Council, relevant Commissions (BTSSC, NRC and SSC), County Supervisors and Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District...

Per Weather.com the winds will shift to the north (and variants) at least part of this Tuesday and Wednesday. The prevailing south winds (from the south) have until now seem to have helped spare Davis and the immediate region (esp. to the west) from wildfire fallout from the huge fires east of Chico.

As the wind may not just shift until late Monday or early Tuesday, I hope that Staff will be prepared to put the leaf blower ban into effect. (Note that most of the combined air region has had Spare the Air days for most or all of last week, if only for ozone)

Davisinbottomleftcorner
Davis is in the lower left corner - https://fire.airnow.gov

Spare the Air means that Unitrans is free. Possible smoke and almost certain heat (esp on Wednesday through Friday) will in my understanding open our "Climate Shelters" at Vets and the Mary Stephens Library. As 14th Street is served by Unitrans buses (1 to 3 lines depending on the time of year and day of the week) it seems like a good and free way for many to get to the Climate Shelters, yes? It seems likely that Climate Shelters disproportionately serve lower income people who have less access to not only modern HVAC but also personal motor vehicles.

Unfortunately the free Unitrans service is in tiny print at best on the Share the Air notices (email or website), and as far as I recall has never been mentioned in the City's notices about the Shelters. All of these programs are happening, but the communication is not joined up, and few know about them

SparetheAir-Unitrans

Beyond this, I don't understand why Yolobus doesn't have free service during Spare the Air days. Do I understand this correctly? Can people in Davis get to Climate Shelters (or anywhere else urgent) during a smoke and/or wildfire fallout event by free public transport, but not anyone else in Yolo County?

Thanks for taking immediate action when necessary.... or preemptively!


Tree Davis Position on Sutter Davis Hospital Tree Removal

Sutter Parking Lot Shade Trees 1
Sutter Parking Lot Shade Trees

A recent article in the Davis Vanguard ("City Will Have to Weigh between Trees and Solar Panels at Sutter as Complaints Reign about Public Process," July 21, 2021) described a variety of issues concerning the Planning Commission’s recent approval to remove 205 trees in association with improvements to the Sutter Davis Hospital campus. Tree Davis appreciates the efforts made by David Greenwald and Alan Hirsch to bring this proposal into the public spotlight. The Tree Davis Board has these thoughts to share.

1) Our tree canopy is under increasing threat from decline due to old age, development, and climate change stressors like drought, wind, and pests. Tree Davis supports increasing measures to protect and preserve healthy trees and to grow our community canopy with climate-ready species. 

2) We recognize that in certain circumstances, retaining healthy trees may not be possible. Full mitigation of lost canopy, through planting either on-or off-site should be accomplished, as per our Tree Ordinance.

3) We support retaining mature tree canopy in parking lots when possible because trees can provide environmental and social benefits that PV arrays cannot, such as heat island mitigation, carbon storage, air pollutant uptake, beauty, stress reduction, and wildlife habitat.

4) Tree Davis believes that the Tree Commission’s charter should be updated to include consultation on individual project proposals because of the expertise they can provide. For example, the proposal to transplant 43 mature trees to another location at Sutter Hospital may sound reasonable, but, the benefits may not offset the costs in the long term. The failed effort in Woodland to transplant historic olive trees along Gibson Rd. is an example.

Greg McPherson
President, Tree Davis Board of Directors


Sustainability, Adaptation, and Regenerative Farming: Understanding Responses to Global Warming

This article was first published at https://islandviewmedia.net/blog/ and is reprinted here with permission of the author.  Davisites may find it of interest given the re-surfacing of the DISC project, which would pave over farmland and replace it with an automobile-oriented industrial project.  Regenerative farming envisions a way that the land could be used to combat rather than contribute to climate change and could potentially be deployed in various places in the Davis area.

By Robert Chianese

We strive to ensure our future by living, growing, and building sustainably. I’ve written about “Sustainability” since  the 1970’s, starting with my prize-winning essay on forming a local Sustainability Council which I did here in Ventura County. I became a true believer in its promise to reduce our impacts on the planet through its very tough tri-fold requirements: use renewable energy, no toxics, cause no loss of biodiversity.

I later saw its promise fade as it became lost first in the fraudulent use of the term to “green-wash” all sorts of products and processes–lying about their sustainability. The FTC issued “Green Guides” in 2012 to push back on unsubstantiated claims about so-called green products, but corporations ballyhoo the term even more now. We hear boasts about the eco-friendly products of Clean Coal Energy, ExxonMobil, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Malaysian Palm Oil and the Fur Council of Canada. Short-term ugly profit is more like it.

Even more disturbing are current reports about our failures to shift off our carbon-hungry diet. Through our human-caused, “anthropogenic” actions, we cloak the globe in a heat shroud, intensifying droughts, wildfires, floods and sea level rise. Nothing sustainable here.

Teenage phenom Greta Thunberg spent almost a year investigating how well we are meeting our environmental challenges. The documentary, “I Am Greta,” follows her through various countries and climates in search of sustainability successes, but she’s mainly discouraged and defeated. She even confronts the dean of environmental programs, David Attenborough about his gorgeous nature films in the time of climate systems collapse. He half-concedes he needs to change his pitch. His new series “A Life on the Planet” tries to atone for glossing over our very un-gorgeous damage to the earth.

Ecologists have come up with new concepts we need in order to save the planet. Some say we need to adapt to the new climate realities, which implies accepting the damage we have done and adjusting to it. But neither adaptation nor adjustment get defined clearly.

Continue reading " Sustainability, Adaptation, and Regenerative Farming: Understanding Responses to Global Warming" »


City of Davis and the (Near) Future of Rail Travel

L21spanish

Virtual Public Workshop! Thursday, July 15 from 530 to 7pm

 

I wrote the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) earlier today:

To the BTSSC,

I strongly suggest that the BTSSC set up an ad-hoc sub-committee about Link21 so that it can stay engaged long-term, receive and process community input and then at the appropriate time make recommendations to the City Council.

The City of Davis is a small tomato in a huge pot of soup in this matter, but the railway proportionately bisects the City of Davis more than other town along its current route between Oakland and Davis. Davis grew around the rail and I-80 corridor in a way that - especially in the last 60 years - did not facilitate multi-modal travel based on the railway. A typical regional or suburban station like Davis in much of Europe would have multiple bus lanes that terminate at the station and hundreds of secure bicycle parking space for all kinds of bikes, suburb connections for walking and cycling for all directions, and a lively place for activity in front of the station, instead of a parking lot. The City has made some progress in this area of late, but, for example, there are still many who want a new parking structure at the station, and voters thankfully - but only narrowly - disapproved a new development project far from the station with no good cycling connections to it, lots of parking and imagined good access to I-80.

I had tried to form a sub-committee nearly three years ago about the I-80 Managed Lanes Project, but it was terminated shortly after Commission approval because the second member moved to Sacramento. While I appreciate the healthy skepticism the BTSSC had about the Managed Lanes Project at the last meeting, I believe it prudent to get ahead of the game as much as possible for this even larger project that relates to both the Managed Lanes Project as well to our Downtown and General Plans, as significantly improved rail service would facilitate the creation of a lot more carfree or carlite households in town. As you seem to recognize, the worst outcome of the Managed Lanes project will do nothing but worsen traffic in town and literally throw a rotten tomato at our forming Climate Policy. The worst Managed Lane implementation will not support railway travel until perhaps many years from now, and indirectly, when thousands of Davis residents, frustrated with increased congestion and pollution, surround Caltrans District 3 HQ and bombard it with stinky, rotten tomatoes genetically-modified to annoy "deaf" state officials and narcissistic automobilists.

TomatoesAs a robust railway powered by renewable energy is a key tool in fighting Climate Change, I would also suggest you consider making the sub-committee a joint one with NRC, and Social Services too in order to help ensure that the system is accessible for all households.

The person who seems to be the current project manager for this part of the Megaregion, Jim Allison from Capitol Corridor, is very approachable and helpful. The Link21 sub-committee would be wise to also connect with other - especially smaller - communities along the corridor in order to create common, expected and seamless last-mile connections to their stations, and dense and proximate housing that makes good public transportation possible. All the pieces are necessary, but the puzzle has to be solved by everyone. I think that I prefer the tomato to the puzzle metaphor.

Thanks,

Todd Edelman"


Vague lanes solving regional pains?

Davis80
Not the Caltrans project! This is the author's concept for a bypass to and from the Bypass.

On July 1st Davis Vanguard covered the announcement of Federal funding of 86 million dollars for the Yolo-80 Managed Lanes project.

I appreciate most the comments of Alan Miller, Alan Pryor and Richard McCann. I hope I can add something below.

The MTC area gets a lot of income from its bridges, and uses it for public transportation. Consider that Davis and SACOG-area drivers pay into this when driving south to San Jose, west to Oakland and San Francisco, and so on, but people from those areas make no similar contribution our region – really, the east side of the Northern California Megaregion – when traveling to Davis or Sac or of course towards Lake Tahoe.

Caltrans dropped the long-promised new bike-ped bridge across the Bypass, replaced by some improvements on the west side of the Bypass. Combined with new infrastructure such as separated lanes and a lot of shade trees in West Sac,  the  whole corridor could be optimized for faster e-bikes and provide a good alternative for many, especially in east and the east part of South Davis. But… nope! Or so it seems.

The graphics in the Caltrans presentation on the Yolo 80 Corridor planned for the BTSSC meeting this Thursday show only buses in the managed lanes, which is not what’s really planned for the managed lanes. Nasty! The managed lanes are mostly in added lanes, and if these lanes are available for private vehicles off-peak, for a premium, or free for a carpool then induced demand happens - see also Alan Pryor's comment in the Vanguard article - and we eventually lose.

It’s also not clear how this project interfaces with the 80-Richards project.

It’s not clear how much congestion there will be during the long construction period.

It’s not clear if any general re-paving will decrease noise (new technology makes this possible).

It’s probably unlikely that Caltrans will support a discount on Capitol Corridor during the construction period.

But yeah, rail. What’s up with the future Capitol Corridor improvements? How does this project related to our impending new General Plan? My favorite idea is to build a highway bypass south of town and then put the railway below grade so that it also no long splits the City in two (in retrospect, it would probably have been better to not build anything south of the 80-rail corridor). Anyway, all the new space roughly in the center of Davis could be the location of a lot of new dense, mixed-use development which could facilitate low-vehicle ownership or at least use, as it would eventually be convenient to UCD and Downtown by bike, to both Sacramento and especially the Railyards, and to points to the west by rail. It would also be much quieter in parts of the City with this sort of ring-road solution. In general terms it would complement my concept for building above 113 roughly between Russell and Covell. I've also proposed a noise-mitigation and solar-generation project for the I-80 corridor through Davis.

Related to this whole thing and that next to last point, over three years ago when I was on the BTSSC I initiated a sub-committee on 80 and related. It never went anywhere and was dissolved as the other Commissioner who joined it moved to Sacramento and no one else on the Commission wanted to pursue this... route. Sigh. Please demand that BTSSC members ask some hard questions this Thursday!

 
 

California’s Huge Budget Surplus Provides Once in Lifetime Opportunity to Bury Fire-Causing Power Lines

Four power line fires map Sonoma Independent June 3 2022

By Nancy Price

Despite predictions of an even worse year for wildfires and power shutdowns than 2020, not one dollar of California’s immense $76 billion budget surplus is being allocated to actually prevent wildfires which is to bury overhead power lines.

Since 2017, four of the six most destructive fires have been sparked by overhead power lines. Burying just a tiny fraction of these lines that pose the highest risk of fires is by far the most important preventive measure to protect us from catastrophic fires and the terrible cost we pay with our lives, health, economy and environment. 

Preventing fires mean we can protect our forests that are much need carbon sinks so we can realize our state’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

Burying overhead wires would also eliminate the expanding number of massive power shutdowns that liability-averse utility companies order because of the fire risks. These shutdowns impacted 2.5 million Californians last year, especially the elderly and infirm, whose lives sometimes depend upon medical machinery requiring steady electricity.

Continue reading "California’s Huge Budget Surplus Provides Once in Lifetime Opportunity to Bury Fire-Causing Power Lines" »


15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!

SD15
 
My strong feeling is that all local streets - including Downtown - should have a 15 mph design speed. This is already a number most are familiar with, as it's used alongside e.g. speed tables on school routes and even the sharp turn from 2nd St to L St.

The design speed is a speed that most people feel comfortable moving at in motor vehicles. People on bikes can also feel a design speed, but they are nearly infinitely more inherently safe than motor vehicles to others in the public ROW. 15 is also a bit faster than most cycling speeds.Traveling by bike on most greenbelt paths in Davis at 15 mph feels too fast - the paths are under-built - and perhaps the biggest design flaw in post 1970's Davis, sadly and ironically complemented by the clinically-insane wideness of many streets in West Davis, Mace Ranch and South Davis... but also much older streets in Old North, etc.
 
Does it seem slow? Perhaps. However, consider that for most journeys by motor vehicle a relatively short distance is on local streets. So any journey lengthening will be minimal.
 
Or can it even be shorter? Yes! 15 mph speed design is best complemented by elimination of existing mandatory stops; to be replaced by yields. It's these often unnecessary stops that lengthen journey time the most. Getting rid of them also decreases pollution (gas, particles and noise) and makes people less likely to feel the need to speed to the next stop sign.
 
So it can be both safer and faster!

Continue reading "15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!" »


Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!

2nd StRailway modification project along 2nd St. leads to subverted process and disrespected City policy.

The item "CCJPA 2nd Street Improvements 30% Design" is on the Consent Calendar for the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) today.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), which runs the eponymous rail service with partner Amtrak, is planning to make modifications to the railway parallel with 2nd St, roughly between L St and the Pole Line. A significant part of the project will also raise, repave and re-stripe 2nd St - there's long been a problem with railway ballast making its way to the street - and include installation of an ADA-compliant sidewalk on the north side of the street, where no sidewalk currently exists up to the west end of Toad Hollow.

So far, so good? Unfortunately not. The item involving a significant infrastructure modification is only on the Consent Calendar and the changes to the street itself - aside from the new sidewalk, which is clearly a good thing - are not following the 2016 Street Standards, and the whole length of 2nd St is not compliant with the 2013 General Plan Transportation Element.

Continue reading "Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!" »


"Should Trees Have Standing?"

IMG_7711The legacy of Christopher D. Stone.

By Nancy Price

It is fitting to honor Christopher Stone just when the Vanguard is hosting a webinar on the topic of Climate Change, SocioEconomic Disparities in Tree Cover and Sustainability on Sunday morning (May 23).

For those who have never read Stone’s seminal article, he is remembered by so many as the father of environmental law for his inspired, path-breaking article, “Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects.”

In this 1972 article in the Southern California Law Review where he taught at the USC Gould School of Law for 50 years, Stone wrote: “I am quite seriously proposing,…that we give legal rights to forests, oceans, rivers and other so-called ‘natural objects’ in the environment – indeed to the natural environment as a whole.” He went on to propose that these rights would be asserted by a recognized guardian, much as the law allows for guardians for children, incapacitated adults and others who have rights but require someone to speak on their behalf. As Stone pointed out, “the world of the lawyer is peopled with inanimate right-holders – such as trusts, corporations, joint ventures, municipalities…and nation states.” Stone was insisting that rather than treating nature as property under the law, that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.

Continue reading ""Should Trees Have Standing?"" »


The Yolo Way meets the American Rescue Plan

Our recovery from the pandemic must also be a response to the climate emergency
By Adelita Serena
You may have seen an internet meme that began as a March 2020 Graeme MacKay editorial cartoon. In one version, a “COVID” tsunami threatens a coastal city; behind it comes a larger “Recession” tsunami; behind it a “Climate Change” tsunami; and finally behind it a “Biodiversity Collapse” tsunami.

Despite Yolo County’s inland location, we need to take seriously the message of this cartoon — that our recovery from the pandemic must also be a response to the climate emergency. It must also address deeply entrenched economic and social inequities causing these crises to strike some communities and demographics much harder than others.

One immediate way to do this is to use our American Rescue Plan funding to develop narratives, programs, and projects that do all three: repair damage from COVID-19, fight climate change, and follow the leadership of frontline and long-disadvantaged communities for whom these efforts have the highest stakes. We can call our approach to these problems “The Yolo Way,” by which we signal our local recognition of what Martin Luther King called “an inescapable network of mutuality” and our commitment to making that network more healthy, just, fair and sustainable.

Continue reading "The Yolo Way meets the American Rescue Plan" »


Senator Portantino Champions Ratepayer Equity Legislation

SB 612 creates fair system for managing legacy energy resources and reducing costs for all ratepayers

(From press release) State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge) has introduced SB 612 which requires that California electric ratepayers have fair and equal access to benefits associated with investor-owned utility (IOU) legacy energy resources and that the resources are actively managed to maximize their value. The bill, sponsored by the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA), will have its first hearing on April 26 before the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.  The bill would benefit community choice aggregators such as Valley Clean Energy, which serves electricity customers in Woodland, Davis, Winters and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County.

Legacy energy resources are a major concern because they account for billions of dollars in above-market costs in IOU energy portfolios, and the utilities rely on California ratepayers to pay the costs. They include capital-intensive utility-owned generation facilities and expensive long-term renewable energy contracts with third parties.

Under SB 612, legacy energy resources would be handled in more prudent ways that reflect new market realities and that reasonable steps are taken to minimize above-market costs that accrue to ratepayers.

Continue reading "Senator Portantino Champions Ratepayer Equity Legislation" »


More concerns about Putah Creek restoration proposal

April 5, 2021

Davis Open Space and Habitat Commission

Re: Proposal for habitat restoration/public access project along the South Fork of Putah Creek east of the City’s South Fork Preserve

Dear Commissioners:

I recommend that you approach the proposal with great caution and offer these questions and comments. There is no objection to weed control, riparian planting, and modification of water diversion methods. But the largest part of this proposal is to modify channel form, and that is of great concern. It’s been tried before on Putah Creek in Winters at great cost and great loss to fish and wildlife and riparian forest resources.

The stream channel filling and alteration part of this proposal is premised on these erroneous ideas about the existing stream condition:

Continue reading "More concerns about Putah Creek restoration proposal" »


Please do not allow the Solano County Water Agency to destroy the Davis Putah Creek Preserve

Note: the following was emailed to the Davis City Council and to members of the Open Space and Habitat Commission early this afternoon.

Commissioners – Firstly, I apologize for this late communication so close to your Open Space and Habitat Commission meeting this evening. I just became aware yesterday of tonight's agenda item on the proposed study to modify Putah Creek through the Davis Putah Creek Preserve.

I represent Friends of Putah Creek which is a non-profit corporation formed in response to the disastrous waterway modifications that were made in the Winters Putah Creek Parkway by the Solano County Water Agency. These changes were made during the last decade under the same guise of remediation and restoration of the Creek to a natural "form and function" as is now represented by their employee tonight. The current study proposes to eventually implement many of the same misguided, non-scientific based "improvements" in the Davis Putah Creek Preserve which proved so harmful in Winters.

In response to the obvious outcome shortcomings of that project, Friends of Putah Creek undertook an extensive and quantitative evaluation of the project in terms of the subsequent habitat degradation and decline in plant and animal population in the Parkway. In this study we found substantial failure of the project to meet the promised improvements – even after spending over $7 million dollars on the 1.25 mile project itself and then millions more in subsequent efforts to remediate the damage caused by the project. Even today we are still seeing extensive tree die-back and loss of animal life that has yet to return. This is the worst example of environmental pork Yolo County has ever seen.

Continue reading "Please do not allow the Solano County Water Agency to destroy the Davis Putah Creek Preserve" »


Valley Clean Energy Makes Major Solar+Storage Power Deal

PV solar project
A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will construct Resurgence Solar, the new photovoltaic (PV) solar project, on the existing site. It will look similar to the project shown in this photo. Courtesy photo

(From press release) With its recent approval of a new power purchase agreement, the Valley Clean Energy (VCE) board of directors took another significant step toward the agency’s goal of providing cost-effective renewable energy — and resilience — to its customers. VCE is the local electric generation provider for Davis, Woodland, Winters and unincorporated Yolo County.

The VCE board approved the 20-year agreement to purchase the output from the Resurgence Solar I project currently under development in San Bernardino County by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The total capacity of the solar photovoltaic project is 90 megawatts (MW) of power and 75 MW of battery energy storage. This project supplies enough energy to power two-thirds of the households served by VCE, and the storage delivers power to the electricity grid when it’s needed the most, in the early evening.

“We are very pleased to work with Valley Clean Energy to help meet their renewable energy goals and bring clean, affordable, home-grown solar energy to their customers,” said Matt Handel, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy Makes Major Solar+Storage Power Deal " »


Debrief on Debris in the Bike Lane?

IMG_20210203_073619
South-bound Pole Line just south of East Covell. Convenient to pick-up, not so convenient for people who want to use the lane
IMG_20210203_062949
An hour earlier - most bikes are not equipped with headlights and the person on a bike might not see it.

UPDATE: The piles I've described in this post which were on or near the East Covell corridor have been removed. There are some others in the bike lane on Loyola between the entrance to Korematsu Elementary and Alhambra, and still nothing either here or in general to communicate to people driving motor vehicles that people on bikes may deviate from the bike lanes....

*****

Last week's storm was the worst in ten years by many accounts, with serious damage to trees and property, a significant loss of perishable food and other problems caused by lack of power.

Obviously city staff, private contractors and others had their work cut out for them and certainly we applaud their efforts, though many cheered PG&E field staff and they pooped on their bosses (and shareholders).

From what I saw, arterial streets in Davis were cleared for the most part by January 28th, the day after the storms mostly ended. When out then to photograph the weird non-standard lane design on Lake at Russell I passed the dangerousafety radar speed sign on East Covell Blvd. that I blogged about last week.

I noticed that street sweepers had made at least two passes on the traffic lanes of East Covell, because there was a consistent line of debris that started a  foot or two into the bike lane from the number two lane. I noticed the same, um, edging on other arteries.

Continue reading "Debrief on Debris in the Bike Lane?" »


Better main shot cropped_REDCity is blocking bike lanes?

The City of Davis' only response to recent crashes in the vicinity of Pole Line Road and East Covell Blvd has thus far been Enforcement1. Actively, the Davis Police Department has been monitoring some locations in the area.  Passively, the City has placed a
radar speed sign on WB East Covell between Manzanita and Baywood Streets, right about here.

Why is the radar speed sign in the bike lane? The City places similar signs - and they and private contractors place various construction signs - off to the side on streets when there's space to do so, so they clearly understand the advantage of doing so. But when there's no space, they place the signs on the side of the street, and on most collectors and arterial streets in Davis this means it's in a bike lane.

"Putting a radar feedback sign on Covell to invite drivers to slow down: good. Putting a sign in bike lane: not good," says Nicolas Fauchier-Magnan, the President of Bike Davis, who usually goes by Nico.

"Obstructing the bike lane, on a street where drivers routinely go 50 mph or more is simply irresponsible. 

"Come on, City of Davis," continues Nico. "You should know better, and you can do better. Please fix this terrible blunder before someone gets hurt. There is plenty of space on the grass, outside of the bike lane, to safely place this sign."

Continue reading "" »


Nuclear weapons are illegal

By Sarah Pattison

On Jan. 22, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters into force and becomes part of the canon of international law, after it was ratified by the required 50 states. According to Article 1 of the Treaty, states party to the Treaty are prohibited under any circumstances from any of the following activities:

  1. Develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
  2. Transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly or indirectly;
  3. Receive the transfer of or control over nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices directly or indirectly;
  4. Use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
  5. Assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;
  6. Seek or receive any assistance, in any way, from anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;
  7. Allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or at any place under its jurisdiction or control.

Because the United States has neither signed nor ratified the treaty, it does not have the force of law in this country. But the treaty was approved by 122 nations in 2017, and has since been signed by 86 nations and ratified by 51. It is a clear reflection of the frustration and impatience of non-nuclear nations with nuclear weapons states that have failed to fulfill the promise they made “in good faith” in the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970 to negotiate the cessation of the arms race and complete disarmament “at an early date.” While our country and other nuclear weapons states may attempt to sidestep the legal force of the Treaty, we cannot avoid the compelling moral power it carries.

Continue reading "Nuclear weapons are illegal" »


A revolution of values

Move money to human, environmental needs

By Nancy Price

On Jan. 18, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s Jan. 15 birthday. With the long weekend, you could listen to more celebratory radio, T.V. and webinar programs.

Usually, King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial is the highlight, often with community readings that this year may have been outdoor for safely.

Now, in the midst of convergent social, economic and environmental crises, programs often talked about King’s most revolutionary “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech, given on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York, when he moved from civil rights to a critique of capitalism and an economic system that left tens of millions struggling in poverty.

He spoke of the “triplets of evil” — racism, materialism and militarism — and called for a “revolution of values” a shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society.” He called for a “worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concerns beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation.” He emphasized that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Continue reading "A revolution of values" »


The Failure of Measure B Suggests a New Vision Is Needed

West from Rd 30B - Sac skylineBy Roberta Millstein, Pam Gunnell, Nancy Price, Alan Pryor, and Colin Walsh

Measure B – the measure that proposed a 200-acre business park and housing development outside of the Mace Curve – failed at the polls.  The defeat comes with official Yolo County returns showing that 16,458 people, or 52% of voters, said “no” to the project.  In Mace Ranch and Wildhorse, 60% of voters opposed the project.

This is a remarkable result considering that the No on B campaign was outspent by over 14 to 1.  As of October 28, Yes on B had spent $258,919 between when B was put on the ballot in July and the election in November, while No on B had spent $18,149.  The No on B campaign, composed solely of volunteer Davis citizens, created its own literature, designed its own sign and other graphics, was active on social media, and, to the extent possible during COVID, pounded the pavement distributing flyers to let Davisites know about the negative impacts that this project would bring.  It was a true grassroots effort.  There were no paid designers, no paid consultants, no multiple glossy mailers, and no push-polls to gather information on what messages would sell.  Opponents also could not table at the Farmers Market due to COVID restrictions, normally the bread and butter of a campaign lacking deep pocket donors to finance getting its message out.

By comparison, Yes on B hired a PR Firm and other consultants more than a year in advance of the vote to help contrive and package its message and run the campaign.

The fact that Measure B was nonetheless defeated in the face of long odds and unusual circumstances shows that DISC was a bad project for Davis from the outset.  It was too big, chewing up prime farmland and habitat.   The promise of on-site housing for DISC employees could not be guaranteed, making the development car-and commuter- oriented with extensive parking areas. Poor public transportation options exacerbated this problem. The DISC development would have massively increased Davis greenhouse gas emissions and made it impossible for Davis to meet its carbon neutrality goals. We are in a climate emergency, as Yolo County and other counties have recognized; Davis needs to shoulder its share of responsibility for climate impacts, including but not limited to wildfire impacts and extreme weather events locally and globally.

Continue reading "The Failure of Measure B Suggests a New Vision Is Needed " »


Valley Clean Energy Completes Repayment to Smud

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy (VCE), Yolo County’s local public electric generation service provider, continues to make significant fiscal strides just 2½ years after its founding.

In October, VCE made its final installment payment to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), reimbursing the utility for its assistance with operating services during VCE’s launch in 2018. The $1.5 million in deferred charges and interest were paid off on schedule, which demonstrates VCE’s financial discipline while continuing to offer clean electricity at competitive rates.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy Completes Repayment to Smud " »


5 Very Good Reasons to Vote No on Measure B - No on DISC

Vote-no-on-measure-b-news

(From press release) If you're still undecided about Measure B authorizing the 200-acre DISC Industrial Park on prime farmland and burrowing owl habitat with 2.6 Million sq ft of commercial buildings, following are five very good reasons to vote NO on this massive, sprawling, ill-conceived project that will forever change Davis for the worse.

1. Nightmarish Traffic Gridlock

• The Environmental Impact Report estimated that more than 24,000 in-and-out daily car trips will occur for the DISC project when completed - more than doubling current traffic levels. It will turn Mace Blvd. into a parking lot causing hours of gridlock every day.

• The City and Developer have no plans at all on how they will mitigate this massive influx of new traffic. Instead, a Traffic Demand Management Plan will be prepared by the Developer in the future.

• But "Figuring it all out later" is NOT a plan!


2. Unprecedented Increases in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

• Our world is burning up and melting around us. This year we have seen the largest fires ever in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Siberia, the Amazon, and Australia along with record-breaking ice-melts in Greenland and Antarctica.

• Yet according to the project's Environmental Impact Report, "...net emissions in the year 2035 would equal 37,724.31 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, the project would NOT meet the City’s target of net carbon neutrality by the year 2040." Instead it will increase the City's carbon footprint by over 8% from this one project.

• Our leaders passed an Emergency Climate Resolution just last year...what are they now thinking?


3. DISC will Cannibalize our Downtown

Thirty different small downtown Davis merchants recently signed a petition opposing the project's 100,000 sq ft of additional retail space (about the size of Davis Target) and the 160,000 sq ft of additional hotel space (more than twice the size of the new Marriott just across the street) because it would present severe economic hardship on the small downtown merchants already reeling from COVID.

• The DISC Environmental Impact Report (EIR) also projected than an additional 313,000 sq ft of commercial space in Davis could become newly vacant due to competition from the DISC project leaving blight in its wake.

• Our Downtown should not be Sacrificed for Developer Profits!


4. DISC will NOT have Affordable Housing

• The DISC Developer falsely claims the amount of affordable housing at the project is "record-breaking" for Davis. That is simply NOT true for either the market-rate OR the subsidized affordable housing.

• The estimated rent for a market-rate 2- bedroom apartment will be $2,500+ per month and the estimated price for a 2,200 sq ft home will be over $800,000+ and will require a $200,000+ annual salary to buy.

• There will be 128 subsidized housing units on-site which is 14.7% of the 850 total housing units. But the West Davis Active Adult Community will have 150 subsidized senior apartments on site which is 31.6% of the 475 total units.

• DISC will neither be "Affordable" or "Record-Breaking"!


5. DISC is using Voodoo Economics to Project a Profit for the City

• Property Tax revenues are based on hopelessly optimistic and unrealistic valuations that are 48% higher compared to the same analysis done by the same financial consultant for the same business park just 5 years ago and 68% higher than current regional averages.

• The City's Finance and Budget Commission voted on a slim 4-3 margin only that the project "is likely to produce a net positive financial benefit to the City"...Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

• And one Commissioner even called the consultant's assumptions a "fairy tale".

• Clearly, a thumb has been put on the scale to make the project seem economically far rosier than reality. _________________________________________________________


The more we hear about DISC, the more it is clear that Davis will get all of the traffic and pollution and the Developers will get all of the profits. It's time to just say "NO"!

__________________________________________________________


Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC