Entries categorized "Ethics"

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!" »


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!" »


What the HEC is Going On?

IMG_0744The Subversion of the Housing Element Committee (HEC) Deliberation Process by Hidden Development Interests

Note: Several recent articles in the Davisite touch on the subject matter discussed here: For other comments on the Housing Element’s failure to address affordability and the proposals being pushed by development and real estate interests, see Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing (5/27/2021). See also Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California (5/25/2021) For comments on problems with the City of Davis’s decision-making process see Good decision-making process involves staff and City Council too (6/3/2021)

By Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

The City of Davis’s Housing Element Committee (HEC), which is supposed to represent a “diversity of interests” in the community, was instead co-opted by development and real estate interests. Two weeks ago, there were a last-minute series of policy recommendations that were sprung on the Committee by these same real estate and development interests in violation of Brown Act open meeting laws. The HEC then further violated these laws in considering and voting to adopt 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 the favorable recommendations approved by the HEC.

This subverted process brings up important questions: Why has the City directed a process that has so little public input, especially from genuine affordable housing advocacy groups? How did the City staff allow so many violations of Brown Act laws regarding transparency and open government? Why did the City select HEC members with such a preponderance of real estate interests instead of appointing more representatives from the affordable housing community?

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


Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California

Screen Shot 2021-06-06 at 11.20.18 AMConcerns raised about lack of public participation from all economic segments of the community without adequate time to review, among many other concerns. Additional changes are needed to comply with the law and provide the most effective strategies to address the critical housing needs facing Davis residents with low incomes.

Background: The City of Davis is preparing the 2021 – 2029 Housing Element to evaluate current and future housing conditions and identify housing sites to meet the community’s needs. Updating the Housing Element is a state requirement. The following letter commenting on the Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California was sent to the Davisite to post.

May 25, 2021

Jessica Lynch, Senior Planner
Department of Community Development and Sustainability
23 Russell Boulevard
Davis, CA 95616

Via email at jlynch@cityofdavis.org
Re: Housing Element Update 2021-2029, draft submitted May 3, 2021

Dear Ms. Lynch and City of Davis Staff,

We are writing to provide comments on the Draft Housing Element released for public comment and submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on May 3, 2021.

As you know, Legal Services of Northern California (“LSNC”) is a nonprofit civil legal aid organization providing legal assistance to low income individuals and families throughout Yolo County. LSNC’s mission is to provide quality legal services to empower the poor to identify and defeat the causes and effects of poverty within our community. LSNC has represented tenants in Yolo County since 1967. Last year, we handled more than 900 housing cases, including almost 200 cases for Davis households. Through our work, we gain insight into the struggles of low- income residents in Davis.

We have prepared these comments in partnership with and on behalf of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, a nonprofit coalition that works to ensure that all people in the greater Sacramento region have safe, decent, accessible and affordable housing in healthy neighborhoods supported by equitable public policies and practices.

The draft element adequately addresses many of the statutory requirements. Our comments cover areas where additional changes are needed to comply with the law and provide the most effective strategies to address the critical housing needs facing Davis residents with low incomes. We, along with SHA, are happy to discuss our comments and provide additional input as the City incorporates our suggestions and finalizes the draft.

Continue reading "Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California" »


Good decision-making process involves staff and City Council too

Screen Shot 2021-06-03 at 4.27.34 PM

The following letter was emailed as a comment for tonight's special City Council Subcommittee on Commission Process meeting.

Dear City Councilmembers and Commission Chairs,

It is extremely difficult to comment on this item without knowing more about what will be discussed. However, one concern I have – and I will just have to see where things go today – is how this group became a “Subcommittee on Commissions.”

The original letter that triggered this subcommittee, a letter that I co-signed, was titled “A Proposal for Improving City of Davis Decision Making.”  It included provisions regarding City Commissions, but it was not limited to that.  It also included provisions regarding “transparency, information, disclosure, and public engagement” as well as provisions “for developing and making decisions on Staff proposals submitted for City Council action.”  It was not just about how commissions operate.

It would be a missed opportunity if this subcommittee were to narrow its concerns from the letter’s original scope.  Indeed, it would be a sad irony, given the letter was in part prompted by commissioners feeling that they were not being heard and seeing their communications to the city lost in translation.

Continue reading "Good decision-making process involves staff and City Council too" »


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.

__________

5/26/2021

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" »


"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" »


Davis for Real Public Safety Bike Caravan/Teach-in

(From press release) Many Davis community members have been re-thinking public safety after episodes of police brutality and a long-time lack of adequate services for mental health issues, drug use, and houselessness. These issues have exacerbated racial disparities, which are particularly pronounced in Davis.

This is why Davis leaders have been sending hundreds of emails and public comments to the Davis City Council, urging council members to create a Department of Public Safety independent from the Police Department. Organizers argue that such a department could employ social workers, civil servants and mental healthcare professionals to take on tasks like welfare checks, code enforcement, traffic enforcement, noise complaints, and more.

This Saturday, May 15th, 1pm-3pm at Davis Central Park, Solidarity Space (4th and C), the Davis for Real Public Safety Coalition will be hosting a bike caravan followed shortly by a teach-in at Davis Central Park. This event will include a panel discussion to examine why Davis needs an independent public safety department and what community members can do to bring about a more just City of Davis.

Continue reading "Davis for Real Public Safety Bike Caravan/Teach-in" »


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" »


Another Letter to Planning Commission - serious flaws with Davis-Connected Buyers Program

Dear Planning Commissioners -

At the upcoming Planning Commission meeting this Wednesday you will be presented with the newly proposed "Davis-Connected Buyers Program" for the Bretton Woods Project. This new proposal has serious flaws and is essentially gutless in terms of ensuring that a large percentage of new homes are sold to existing Davis homeowners thus freeing up current local housing stock for new families as promised by the developer in the actual language on the ballot in the Measure J/R vote in 2018.

I have written a detailed article published in the Davisite about the new program and its shortcomings that are so severe that it renders the program practically non-existent. To see the article click on the following title, Bretton Woods Attempts Another Bait and Switch with Its Davis Based Buyers Program.

In summary, the new Davis-Connected Buyers Program states that it will have prospective buyers sign a disclosure form identifying their link to Davis but that it also allows ANYONE to refuse to sign the disclosure form because they are a member of a protected class based on any race, gender or gender identity, ethnicity, religion, etc. I myself could refuse to sign the disclosure form simply because I am a straight married white agnostic male and the developer's new proposal says that would allow me to buy a new home even if I otherwise had no links at all to Davis. The developer also claims that they will not investigate or demand proof of any "protected status" claims because he does not want to intrude on the prospective buyers privacy. In other words, the developer will take any and all buyers thus opening the floodgates to anyone who wants to buy there and has the wherewithal to engage in bidding wars.

Continue reading " Another Letter to Planning Commission - serious flaws with Davis-Connected Buyers Program " »


Letter to Planning Commission Expresses Concerns with Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program

Below is the text of a letter submitted to the Davis Planning Commission for its April 14th meeting expressing issues and concerns with the Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program.

Commissioners:

I write to express concerns with the Davis-Connected Buyers Program (DCBP), which is scheduled to be presented at the Planning Commission’s April 14, 2021 meeting. I am disappointed that this agenda item is an informational update only rather than an action item. That suggests that the City Council is not interested in further commission input or recommendations on the DCBP and that its approval by the Council as submitted by the developer is a fait accompli.

I am now retired but have nearly four decades experience with state and federal fair housing laws. I was an attorney with Disability Rights California, California’s designated non-profit disability protection and advocacy organization, for 26 years and subsequently held positions as Chief Consultant for the Assembly Human Services Committee and as legislative director for the California Department of Developmental Services. I am also a former member of the Davis Social Services Commission.

Provisions of the DCBP do not make sense and the program will almost certainly not achieve its purported purpose. Most importantly, as has been alleged—including in a lawsuit challenging the DCBP that was subsequently dismissed without prejudice on procedural grounds—the DCBP is likely to perpetuate, and possibly exacerbate, existing racial disparities in Davis as compared to the region.

Continue reading " Letter to Planning Commission Expresses Concerns with Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program" »


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?" »


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 " »