Entries categorized "Ethics"

United Methodists Host Program on Students with Disabilities

(From press release) Large numbers of K-12 and college students have disabilities and, although schools are legally required to accommodate the special needs of students with disabilities, often they do not. 

On Sunday morning, October 27, from 9:45 to 10:50, the Davis United Methodist Church will host a presentation on Disabilities, Students, and Schools with Joyceanne Beachem and Austin Tam, members of the Disability Task Force of the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church.   The church is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. 

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Open Letter to City Council on Jump's Age Discrimination

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".

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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.

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Student Debt Town Hall, Wed Oct 9

Cancel-student-debt(From press release)


Student debt in the U.S. has now reached $ 1.5 trillion and is currently the second biggest source of debt in the country. In 2017, 65% of students graduating from college had taken out loans, graduating with an average debt of $ 28,650 . In this country alone, 44.7 million people are living with student debt.

This is no small matter. Student debt can prevent people from getting a mortgage on a house, starting a family, saving for retirement, leaving a stable yet unfulfilling job to find a position in their field of study, leaving a job to live with their loved ones in another city – the list goes on. Just the thought, and fear, of accumulating debt prevents many from pursuing higher education, affecting their chances at social mobility. And this fear is quite justified. Student loan delinquency or default rates are 11.4 %, with black college graduates defaulting at rates five times higher than those of their white classmates. Defaulting on a loan can have serious consequences. It can prevent an individual from getting an apartment or a job and take away a section of someone’s paycheck, tax refunds, or Social Security payments. Some states even cancel professional licenses for individuals who hold student loan debt.

This is why student, community, and labor organizers will be hosting a student debt town hall on October 9th, 7pm-8:30pm in Davis, CA to discuss our communities’ experiences with student debt, as well as existing legislative and political solutions like the Student Debt Cancellation Act , proposed by Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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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.

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Response to UCD Chancellor’s Housing Task Force, “Turning the Curve on Affordable Student Housing”

Affordable-housing-task-forceAs a followup to Greg Rowe's letter concerning UCD's seeming failure to follow the recommendations of its own Affordable Housing Task Force, below is a memo sent by Rowe on September 15 to Mayor Brett Lee, Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, City Manager Mike Webb Yolo County Supervisors Jim Provenza and Don Saylor, giving a more detailed response to the recommendations of the Task Force. The report of the Task Force can be found here.

This memo is a revised version of a memo sent to the City’s Social Services Commission, which received a presentation on the UCD Chancellor’s Housing Task Force (“Task Force”) on October 15, 2018.[1]  The comments are keyed to specific text in the Executive Summary and other pages of the Task Force report, indicated by bold font.

  • Page 4, paragraph 2: “A dramatic 47% upsurge in Davis campus enrollment programs between 2000 and 2017 has outpaced local housing affordability, helping drive up rents in the City of Davis by over 31% (in inflation adjusted dollars).”
    • Comment: This tremendous enrollment spurt was arguably the single greatest factor responsible for the sharp upsurge in Davis rents.
  • Page 4, paragraph 3: “Far too often, housing costs and unsettled and even abusive housing circumstances undermine students’ educational experiences while they attend… Bold action is needed.”
    • Comment: Again, this is a problem brought on by UCD's failure to moderate admissions and build on-campus housing on pace with growth in the student population.

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UCD grants to homeless students treat the symptom, not the cause

Affordable-housing-task-forceUCD seemingly ignores recommendations of Affordable Student Housing Task Force

By Greg Rowe

A recent article described UCD grants to homeless students. This program treats the symptom and not the cause: UCD’s continued failure to construct affordable campus housing matching enrollment growth.

Last year the Chancellor appointed an Affordable Student Housing Task Force, which was guided by the assumption that improving housing affordability “…is part of the campus’s fundamental responsibility to students.” The June 2018 task force report had 15 recommendations, some which would directly boost housing affordability.

Unfortunately, UCD has seemingly ignored the most meaningful recommendations, including:

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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.

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Denounce hate speech and invitation to interfaith community picnic in Central Park

August 2019 has brought us mass shootings based on race-hatred and important national leaders publicly making bias statements demonizing religious minorities as terrorists or people with divided loyalties implying, they are not fully citizens of this country. Americans are increasingly feeling vulnerable and afraid. This situation is untenable, and the Celebration of Abraham must respond.  

In the weeks following 9/11, a group of clergy and laypeople came together to form the Celebration of Abraham with the idea that this interfaith group would work to keep our community from descending into religiously bigoted dialogue or action. The mission of the Celebration of Abraham is to create a welcoming tent in our community of people of all faiths and beliefs to nurture a sense of compassion, respect, appreciation and foster learning and understanding among the three Abrahamic faiths while welcoming all to people to join us. The goal of the Celebration of Abraham always has been to bring our community together to celebrate or diversity. In addition to the yearly Celebration of Abraham dialogue held every January, we have called out hateful actions locally and nationally and held events like the Interfaith Walk that began at Bet Haverim, moved to the Davis Islamic Center and ended in an interfaith community meal at Davis United Methodist Church.

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  • We acknowledge the happy problem that the capacity of the JDF far exceeds the demand for secure detention of Yolo County juveniles, and that the county’s ongoing operational costs for the facility are high.
  • We know detained youth benefit from personal connections and support from family and community, and therefore access and proximity to these resources is fundamental to their continued well-being.­
  • The current situation places all genders of youth together, which has its risks, but also offers significant benefits, most notably:
    • proximity to family and a very engaged community; and
    • reduced exposure of our Yolo youth to influences, likely found in the Sacramento facility, of other incarcerated youth whose knowledge, experiences, and affiliations may encourage harmful impacts;
    • no contact with adult
  • The current construction to expand and renovate the Yolo County adult jail facilities requires temporary relocation of the adult booking facility, during a construction period of an estimated 18-24 months.
  • The current expansion and renovation will increase adult jail capacity to over 450 beds and improve medical and mental health services at the adult
  • During the past five years youth from under-resourced neighborhoods in Woodland, Knight’s Landing, and West Sacramento have been disproportionately represented among JDF admissions. Most impacted is the Broderick neighborhood of West Sacramento, which has suffered years under a gang injunction, lacks youth programs, and locks its school yards to the public when school is not in session;

THEREFORE, we respectfully request the board act to:

  • Ensure any agreements to place Yolo youth in the Sacramento County JDF are restricted to not more than the time required to complete the Yolo County Jail
  • Provide transportation funding to family and encourage, through economic incentives, community support for visitation at Sacramento JDF during the construction
  • Forgo additional expansion of Yolo County adult incarceration by transferring authority for use of the JDF to the Sheriff. Rather than expand jail capacity, we should seek alternatives to pre-adjudication detention, which currently accounts for a majority of the jail
  • Preserve funding for Reinvest cost savings into meaningful community engagement and youth development resources.
  • Use this time-limited construction period to engage youth, their families, and the impacted communities to work with the Chief Probation Officer to develop recommendations for youth development and alternatives to juvenile detention options in Yolo County and to guide the community engagement

The Davis community joins the worldwide protest Lights for Liberty

7A1C0631-FD0A-4798-BB11-E4C37D7DEDA8A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps

On Friday July 12th, 2019, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps, will bring thousands of people to locations worldwide as well as to concentration camps across the country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.

Join us at 7 pm at the Central Park in Davis. The local groups who are sponsoring the event include the Davis Phoenix Coalition, Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network, the Celebration of Abraham, Safe Yolo and the Yolo County Democratic Party. The event will include speeches, a poetry reading and music.

The Phoenix Coalition will take a free will collection to help raise bond money for people in detention. The donations will be sent to Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Service (RAICES) www.raicestexas.org. Helping immigrants pay bail is the fasted way to help individuals leave the detention camps.

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.

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Proposal Triples Size of Homeless Shelter

Pauls-place-renderingCurrent Zoning Does Not Allow for 4 Story Project

By Colin Walsh 

Paul’s Place homeless shelter was announced on the front page of the Davis Enterprise yesterday noting how the very rapid growth of the Davis homeless population has overtaxed the old H street facility. This 4-story proposal will include 28 units, 4 emergency beds, “program space to connect people with public benefits, housing and employment opportunities and health and human services, as well as the basic services needed on a daily basis by those living outdoors: food, clothing, showers, restrooms and laundry facilities.” (link)

With the increasing local homeless population there is little doubt that solutions need to be found. Paul’s place would replace the existing well-worn Davis Community Meals 12 bed shelter at 1111H St.

One hurdle the new shelter will need to overcome to be built is the size of the proposed new building. At 4 stories tall it would be the tallest commercial or residential building between 5th St. and Covell. It will be the building in a half mile radius and the current zoning does not allow for 4 a story building.

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City Council needs forward thinking on broadband internet

My understanding is that the major question in front of the Council is whether to continue to pursue a municipally-owned broadband network.  The Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF) says yes; staff says no.  I am here to support the BATF recommendation.

I was astonished to see Dan Carson's editorial in the Davis Enterprise. It would seem that he has already decided, in advance of today's staff presentation and  without hearing comment from the community and fellow Councilmembers that Davis should not control its own broadband network. I hope that he and other Councilmembers have an open mind on this. 

Everyone seems to agree that having municipally owned broadband would bring great benefits to the City, spurring economic development and small business, bringing in needed revenue, and provide fast internet to schools and low income households. Given that, you would think that this would be a no brainer. 

Yet Carson, following the staff report, worries about the costs. This seems to miss the point in multiple ways. To quote a recent article on the topic: 

“Cities invest in many facilities that are not designed to make a profit, from sports stadiums and convention centers to airports and museums. Cities are not indifferent to the economics of such projects, but the bottom line is not strictly enterprise solvency. Especially for infrastructure like broadband, the network effects and spillovers should contribute to the economic and social life of the community.” https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/a3np4a/new-municipal-broadband-map

Furthermore, as things stand now we are at the mercy of a monopoly. As coincidence would have it, Comcast raised its prices just this month. My household is now paying almost $80 for high speed internet. Our only “alternative” is to “pay less by paying more,” that is, by getting our internet bundled with other services we don’t want and wouldn’t use. We live in Central Davis, yet AT&T cannot provide high speed bandwidth to our household. We are at Comcast's mercy. This is not forward thinking. 

Carson compared City owned broadband to the bullet train. A more accurate comparison would be SMUD, a lost opportunity for Davis to control its own electricity. 

Let’s not make that same mistake again. Let’s do what over 750 communities have done <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/06/29/new-report-swings-and-misses-on-communities-and-next-generation-broadband/amp/> and control our own broadband network.  

Let’s be bold and act for the greater good of the community. 

Davisites, please come to City Council this evening and let the Council know that this issue is important to you. 


Let’s Talk About Housing and Homeless in Davis

June Programs at Davis Methodist Focus on Shelter

(From Press release) Across California, affordable housing and homelessness is a huge and growing problem.  Yet solutions proposed by cities and non-profits are often met with neighborhood opposition.  How can we work together as a community to help our neighbors who are struggling to keep or find shelter?  As part of this conversation, Davis United Methodist Church is offering three programs on housing and homelessness on Sunday mornings, June 9, 23, and 30, from 9:45 to 10:50 at the church, which is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. 

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Making Biking Convenient

Is making driving worse our Bike-rack-1 only alternative?

By Roberta Millstein

When I read the Davis Enterprise op-ed on roads, driving, and biking last month (“Infrastructure, what is it good for?”), I was sympathetic.  After all, it does seem to make sense to call out the “operative principle” that “if only we make driving (or parking) inconvenient enough, then people will drive less, or slower, or somewhere else.”  Indeed, as the op-ed says, we surely don’t want to rejigger our roads and our parking spaces only to increase car traffic and cars idling if the goal is to reduce carbon emissions.

But now I am not so sure.

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Honoring Dr. Thomas Cahill

Cahill programA man whose outstanding science was matched by his humanity

By Roberta Millstein

On Saturday, a packed St. James Catholic Church paid their respects to one of Davis’s most esteemed and well-loved sons, Dr. Thomas Cahill, better known to his friends and family as “Tom.”

Tom’s achievements were many; they are outlined in the obituary in the Davis Enterprise.  What most impresses me about his record was his dedication to doing science that mattered.  Trained as a nuclear astrophysicist, he quickly turned to the issue of air quality in California and was one of the small team that successfully advocated for the lead- and sulfur-free gasoline in the early 1970s.  His work on air quality continued throughout his career, even after his “retirement,” working on ultra-fine aerosols (including their impact on first-responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack) and aerosol impacts on global climate.

A few years ago, I was visiting at another university and met another faculty member who worked on air quality.  I asked him if he had heard of Tom Cahill.  The answer?  “Of course, yes!  Tom is the person to talk to about air quality issues.”

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Davis Vanguard Fundraiser Post-Mortem

Developers and Council Get Cozy with the Vanguard

By Roberta Millstein, Rik Keller, and Colin Walsh

After having raised concerns about Sunday’s Vanguard fundraiser in a series of articles (most recently here), we thought we should give a quick summary of how it all turned out.

The event was scheduled to begin at 5 PM.  The three of us arrived a bit earlier than that.  Rik ordered a large pizza, which we munched on throughout the event.  We sat just outside of the back area of Lamppost Pizza that had been reserved for the fundraiser. 

Mayor Brett Lee speaking

We watched people trickle in and mingle in the designated area.  The event finally got started around 5:30 PM, beginning with David Greenwald speaking.  Mayor Brett Lee spoke immediately afterward.  There was no amplification of their voices and so we couldn’t hear much of what was being said.  According to the Vanguard’s own account, Lee discussed homelessness.  At this point, the only other City Council member in attendance was Dan Carson.

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WHY DO THEY COME? The Root Causes of Immigration to the US

Public Presentation June 2

(From Press release) Come hear a first-hand report on "The Root Causes of Immigration to the U.S." June 2 at the Friends Meeting, corner of 4th and L Streets, Davis at 2:00pm.

The news media are filled with stories and pictures of thousands of migrants walking from Central America through Mexico to the U.S. border seeking asylum or other categories of entry. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and the migrants clearly are desperate, determined, and hopeful. Why do they undertake such a journey? Why do they come, what are they escaping or seeking?

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Local Environmental Heros Honored by Sierra Club

(From Press release) This year, environmentalists from the local Sierra Club Yolano Group's area (primarily Yolo County) received 4 of the 6 individual awards given for all of Northern California at the Sierra Club’s Mother Lode Chapter Annual Awards Banquet in Sacramento on May 18. One additional special award for meritorious service was given to a local environmentalist by the Yolano Group.

The Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club covers almost all of Northern California from Yosemite to the Oregon border and the Inner Coast Range to the Nevada state line. The Sierra Club is the nation's largest and oldest environmental group and has almost 1,500 members in Yolo Co. and 3.5 million members nationwide.

Following are the local environmental heroes receiving the awards at the gala event and a brief description of why they were recognized.

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