Entries categorized "Environment"

The current Davis General Plan opposes Sustainable Response to Climate Change

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

By Jon Li

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

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  That plan was once ecologically innovative but the California Building Code superseded Davis’ code in 1990.

            The 1987 General Plan had so little public participation that it was quickly out of date.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

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

Continue reading "The current Davis General Plan opposes Sustainable Response to Climate Change" »


Open Letter to City Council on Jump's Age Discrimination

Jumpvote
Uber photo modified by T. Edelman

Todd Edelman sent the following email to the City Council today for tonight's Council meeting. For reference, please see yesterday’s article by the same author.

Dear City Council,

1 -  I feel it is important to note that when modifications to the bike share ordinance related to bike share were initially adopted, the BTSSC was bypassed, and that one element which Staff pushed hard for - locking bikes TO racks - resulted in a lot of the problems we had with bikes parked where they were not supposed to. Though Sacramento's unofficial policy permitted flexible parking in 2018, the Staff resisted a change until the spring of this year. Thankfully, the current Staff Report recommends e.g. "parking in the street like a motorcycle".

Continue reading "Open Letter to City Council on Jump's Age Discrimination" »


City of Winters set to join VCE in special meeting, Thurs, Oct 10

VCE(From press release) The Valley Clean Energy board of directors has scheduled a special meeting for 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, in the Woodland Council Chambers, 300 First St. in Woodland.

The board is scheduled to accept the city of Winters’ request to join Valley Clean Energy, a community choice energy agency that has been providing electricity service to customers in Davis, Woodland and unincorporated Yolo County since June 2018.

The Winters City Council is set to execute a joint powers agreement with VCE on Oct. 15 and authorize enrollment of Winters’ municipal, commercial, agricultural and residential accounts.

Continue reading "City of Winters set to join VCE in special meeting, Thurs, Oct 10" »


Tell City Council it’s time to lower the age limit for Jump bike share

SWNS_THUNBERG_MURAL_006
Credit: SWNS

By Todd Edelman

If Greta Thunberg had visited Davis last month for the Climate Strike, she wouldn’t have been able to use Jump bike share. Perhaps before arriving, she would have learnt that kids of all ages in Davis are the national champions of cycling for transportation: To school, to the park, to the homes of their friends, to the library, to the movies, to places they’re not supposed to go…. In the USA, they use bikes more than anyone else in their age group.

Greta is only 16. Perhaps she would have forcefully asked why Jump bike in Davis (and the region) has a minimum age limit of 18.

 

Continue reading "Tell City Council it’s time to lower the age limit for Jump bike share" »


City moving forward on 200 acre business park outside of Mace Curve

Aggie Research Center (formerly, Mace Ranch Innovation Center) on Tuesday’s Council Consent Calendar

ARC-location
Location of proposed ARC, with sunflowers and corn. Picture taken by R. Millstein 9/2019

By Roberta Millstein

Back in June, I noted that developers had asked the City to resume processing their application for a massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside of (i.e., to the east of) the Mace Curve.  Things were mostly quiet over the summer.  Now, with a pair of items on the Tuesday City Council Consent Calendar, the City is moving forward on this application before the project has even been presented publicly. 

The Council agenda notes, “All matters listed under the Consent Calendar are considered routine and non-controversial, require no discussion and are expected to have unanimous Council support and may be enacted by the Council in one motion in the form listed below” (emphasis added).

Item A on the Calendar concerning the so-called “Aggie Research Center” (or ARC; formerly Mace Ranch Innovation Center, or MRIC) authorizes “the City Manager to enter into a contract with Economic and Planning Services (EPS) to prepare an updated study of the market demand assumptions, the economic impact analysis, the fiscal impact analysis, and the financial feasibility analysis and public financing evaluation for the Aggie Research Campus.”  Item E on the Calendar appoints a City Council subcommittee for the project (Partida/Carson).

Yet ARC proposal has not been presented to City (at least not publicly), its Commissions, or its citizens.  The ARC proposal has been modified from the previous one – which was also not fully vetted (see link at the beginning of this article).  Why is the City planning on moving forward with the proposal without discussion and public input?

Continue reading "City moving forward on 200 acre business park outside of Mace Curve" »


VCE Workshops to Answer Solar Customers’ Questions About Upcoming Enrollments

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy will host two public workshops in October to review upcoming enrollments for PG&E customers who have solar panels.

The workshops, which are designed to review VCE’s solar policies and answer customers’ questions, are set for:

  • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, in the Community Chambers at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. in Davis, and
  • 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, in the Council Chambers at Woodland City Hall, 300 First St. in Woodland.

Residents of Valley Clean Energy’s service area who had solar panels installed on their roofs or property prior to VCE’s launch in June 2018 have continued as PG&E Net Energy Metered (NEM) customers. That’s about to change, as VCE begins enrolling these customers starting in January 2020.

Continue reading "VCE Workshops to Answer Solar Customers’ Questions About Upcoming Enrollments" »


Great turnout for Davis's climate strike

Davis's students lead the way

By Roberta Millstein

Joining climate strikes around the world, yesterday Davis's students led a march of their own, starting at the Veteran's Memorial Center and heading down B Street to collect in Central Park for speeches and activities.  Our students did us proud, with many Davisite adults showing up to support them as well.  Although the concerns and fears expressed are serious and real, it was a positive event in that we were all out there to connect with each other and work for a common cause. 

This is not the first climate-related event in Davis and hopefully it will not be the last. In particular, we need to press the City to follow through on its Climate Emergency Resolution of March 2019

Here are some pictures from the beginning, middle, and end of the event.

Continue reading "Great turnout for Davis's climate strike" »


VCE Tops Renewable Goals – Delivers Cleaner Energy at No Extra Cost to Customers

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s public power supplier, reports that even cleaner and greener energy has been delivered to its electricity customers than was projected at last year’s launch.

“One of our core goals is to supply Woodland, Davis and unincorporated Yolo County with cost-competitive clean energy,” said Tom Stallard, Valley Clean Energy board chair and a Woodland City Council member. “I’m happy to report that this year VCE has exceeded this goal while still matching PG&E’s rates.”

An analysis of VCE’s 2018 power content revealed that the community choice energy program’s Standard Green electricity portfolio included 48 percent renewable energy (all from wind power sources) and was 85 percent carbon-free, Interim General Manager Mitch Sears reports. The majority of VCE customers receive Standard Green energy.

That exceeds original VCE program goals of 42 percent renewable energy, with 75 percent of the total carbon-free, Sears says.

Continue reading "VCE Tops Renewable Goals – Delivers Cleaner Energy at No Extra Cost to Customers" »


Speaker on Davis 2060: Trees or Tucson?

Treelined-street(From press release) Unshaded asphalt will burn you: it reaches over 150 degrees in the summer.

So, with forecasts now estimating Davis temperatures will rise to rival today’s deserty Tuscon, shade trees will determine if we will still be able to walk, bike, or even comfortably wait for a bus on summer afternoon.  Or even walk your bare-footed dog.

The Davis’s climate resiliency plans will be putting shade trees front and center, and to that end the City has obtained a ½ million dollar grant to develop a new Forestry Master Plan.

Continue reading "Speaker on Davis 2060: Trees or Tucson?" »


Valley Clean Energy meeting, Thursday, Sept. 12

VCE(From press release) The Valley Clean Energy board of directors will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Council Chambers at Woodland City Hall, 300 First St. in Woodland. The meeting is open to the public.

The board — which includes members of the Woodland and Davis city councils and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors — is expected to adopt residential time-of-use rates and receive an update on potential acquisition of PG&E wire and pole assets.

The meeting agenda is available at https://valleycleanenergy.org/board-meetings/.

VCE, the local electricity provider, launched in June 2018 and provides cleaner energy at competitive rates to 55,000 local customers.


VCE Costs the Same as PG&E But Delivers More

By Tom Stallard

It’s been a long hot summer, but those cool autumn days aren’t too far off…

And thanks to Valley Clean Energy, local electricity customers are not paying any more to run their air-conditioners than they would have paid under PG&E. At the same time, they are reaping the environmental benefits of a greener energy portfolio.

Community choice programs like VCE can keep their rates competitive by buying electricity through a process that encourages private energy companies to compete to provide clean, renewable power.

Continue reading "VCE Costs the Same as PG&E But Delivers More " »


VCE public workshop, studies purchase of PG&E Assets

VCE(From press releases)

Valley Clean Energy Sponsors Public Workshop on Proposed New Residential Time-of-Use Rates

Valley Clean Energy (VCE) will conduct a public workshop this month to share information on proposed changes to PG&E’s residential electricity rates based on time of use. VCE is considering whether or not these rates would be advantageous to VCE customers and would like to hear from its customers. PG&E staff and VCE representatives will be present to discuss the proposed changes and answer questions.

The public workshop will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, in Woodland City Council Chambers, 300 First St. in downtown Woodland.

Continue reading "VCE public workshop, studies purchase of PG&E Assets" »


Valley Clean Energy responds to Woodland utility fraud news

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

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

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

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy responds to Woodland utility fraud news" »


Valley Clean Energy announces net energy metering and dividend program

VCE(From press release) The Valley Clean Energy (VCE) board of directors took big strides last month to fulfill two major promises to its customers.

The board voted unanimously to begin including Net Energy Metered (NEM) solar customers into VCE service starting in January 2020, and additionally voted to launch a Dividend Program this fall, designed to share revenues with customers when VCE meets its financial goals.

Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency that provides electricity service to customers in Davis, Woodland and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy announces net energy metering and dividend program" »


Destruction of mature trees at WDAAC

Tree-stump
California black walnut stump after removal. Tree was north of Covell Blvd. and along the west side of the West Davis Active Adult Community development site.

By Greg McPherson and Larry Guenther

On a global scale, planting billion of trees to combat climate change will be for naught if we don’t stop clearcutting the Amazon and other forests. The same idea applies on a local scale. Tree Davis’s upcoming planting of 1,000 trees will matter very little if healthy, mature trees are removed from development sites. Large amounts of carbon dioxide stored in these big, old trees is rapidly released after removal, whereas it takes many years for young trees to acquire biomass and accumulate carbon.

In November Davis voters approved Measure L, which established Baseline Project Features to guide development of the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) property, which is located west of the Sutter-Davis Hospital and north of Covell Blvd. In early June we noticed that 14 large, old California black walnut trees were among a host of trees removed from the site. We wondered why these veteran trees were not protected in a greenspace buffer along Covell Blvd.

Continue reading "Destruction of mature trees at WDAAC" »


Valley Clean Energy Community Advisory Committee meeting

VCEThe public is invited to the next meeting of the Valley Clean Energy Community Advisory Committee. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25, in the Woodland City Council Chambers at 300 First St. in Woodland.

Advisory committee members will review and discuss PG&E's residential time-of-use proposal, hear an informational presentation on potential local energy efficiency programs and discuss coordination of VCE's 2020 Integrated Resource Plan and Strategic Plan.

VCE, the local electricity provider, launched a year ago and provides cleaner energy at competitive rates to 55,000 local customers in Davis, Woodland and unincorporated Yolo County. For more information, visit https://valleycleanenergy.org. To receive agendas by email, sign up at https://valleycleanenergy.org/get-in-touch/.


There should be a public buyout of PG&E

By Dov Salkoff

I am in a strange stage of my life. I am unemployed with a Ph.D. in neuroscience, living in my mother’s house. Since moving to Davis, I became more involved with political activism, most of all climate change. I am now driven, every day, by the conviction that there is something fundamentally wrong with this world, and people like me are in a good position to be part of the movement to fix it.

I’ve heard a lot of ideas from Davisites on how to combat climate change, and there is a clear pattern. Electric cars, solar panels, “going vegan” and biking to work peak enthusiasm as ways to reduce emissions, but there is a fatal flaw in these solutions. They leave out the poor and working class. In a survey of eight counties in the Sacramento region, 37% of respondents said they couldn’t afford making personal changes to reduce their environmental impact.

Continue reading "There should be a public buyout of PG&E" »


Valley Clean Energy board meeting, Thursday, July 11

VCEThe Valley Clean Energy board of directors will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, in the Council Chambers at Woodland City Hall, 300 First St. in Woodland. The meeting is open to the public.

The board — which includes members of the Davis and Woodland city councils and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors — is expected to hear a presentation from a representative of PG&E on the utility’s residential time-of-use rates.

VCE, the local electricity provider, launched a year ago and provides cleaner energy at competitive rates to 55,000 local customers. For more information, visit https://valleycleanenergy.org. To receive agendas by email, sign up at https://valleycleanenergy.org/get-in-touch/.


A Tour of The Sustainable Living and Learning Communities

A IMG_8406A future focused interdisciplinary institution grows from the deep roots of UC Davis’s alternative communities.

By Colin Walsh

In an earlier article we discussed the new SLLC that binds together the Student Farm, The Experimental Community Gardens, the Domes, Design Lab workspace, and Project Compost and the Tri Co-ops (Pierce, The Agrarian Effort, and Davis Student Co-op). What had been distinct learning communities with similar values and commitment to student agency, are now a unified grassroots educational initiative that explores a broad range of principles and practices related to agricultural, environmental, and social sustainability. Together, they aspire to promote 4 values, according to the SLLC website: experiential learning, sustainability, community, and place.

We also looked at the Green Fellowship program, a new effort to “fund projects exploring student-led advancement of social justice, sustainable technology, and environmental sustainability at UC Davis” according to the website.

A_IMG_4047The Tour

On Saturday 5/11, as a very nice wine and cheese reception featuring food from the Student Farm and wine from the award winning Matthiasson and Farella wineries wound down (Steve Matthiasson and Tom Farella where in attendance), our tour guides gathered us together in the Eco Garden by the historic farm house at the student farm. We were welcomed warmly by our guides Carol Hillhouse and Nick Tamayo. Nick described his several years of experience with the student farm as he became ever more involved.

First, we walked through the Eco Garden, literally taking time to smell the flowers. Our guides took the time to point out plants and told us about the history and visions for the areas as we went.

Continue reading "A Tour of The Sustainable Living and Learning Communities" »


Great Tree Search Update

Scarlett-oak
This scarlet oak on Antioch is a car magnet because of the cooling shade it produces all summer.

By Greg McPherson

Nineteen trees were awarded Great Tree status in Tree Davis’s Great Tree Search. Great Trees were designated because of their unusual size, species, form, or history. Awardees ranged from 12 to 380 years old, 11 to 129 feet tall and 1 to 20 feet girth. Fascinating stories on what made each tree special were captured in a series of Davis Enterprise articles this spring and can be found online at the Tree Davis website http://www.treedavis.org/programs/great-tree-search/.

Great-tree-necklace
Each Great Tree has a Necklace with species name, fun fact, and a QR code that points one to more information on the website.

Also on the website is a map with locations and fun facts on each Great Tree. A graphic design class at Sacramento City College produced unique Tree Necklaces that adorn each tree with species name, fun fact, and a QR code that points one to more information on the website.

Continue reading "Great Tree Search Update" »