Entries categorized "Ethics"

The Commission Subcommittee Song (Matchmaker Parody)

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Sung at Tuesday February 21st City Council meeting, to the Tune of 'Matchmaker' from 'Fiddler on the Roof':

Parody Live at City Council (time - 20:15): 

https://davis.granicus.com/player/clip/1665

Original Song: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8J5hNqELzI

Continue reading "The Commission Subcommittee Song (Matchmaker Parody)" »


Stop PG&E from Robbing us Today, Climate Action Everywhere Tomorrow!

Our only homeBy Scott Steward

The necessary actions to combat climate changes are too slow - obvious.  Here is some of what the youth had to say to us adults on April 19th.  Our local youth from Fresno, Davis, and Sacramento made their voices (short movie clip here) heard at the Capital this past Friday.

California has made good progress, and Yolo County has made more progress. We hope Davis will be as focused and insistent on necessary changes as well.

What can adults do today to help our children's tomorrow?  There are many, but one thing stands out in our State, and that is to reverse the 2022-2023 damage inflicted by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), shielded by Governor Newsom, to raise our rates and just about crush the last 25 years of residential renewable energy progress in California. 

Your utility bills have gone up 30% to pay $5.7 Billion to PG&E to cover climate change costs that an energy judge has already ruled are twice the $2.7 Billion needed.  Please consider taking action and reading the op/ed written by Loretta Lynch, former Chair of the CPUC, who got us out of the Enron crisis 20 years ago. Paywall - so the article in full requires a temporary subscription to SF Chronicle - here is an excerpt.

Continue reading "Stop PG&E from Robbing us Today, Climate Action Everywhere Tomorrow!" »


Little Publicized Hearing on I-80 Tolls

$10+ at rush hour  - but Tahoe Groups go free!

By Alan Hirsch

Cartoon- induce demand can't wait for road to be widenedPolicies that will  decide how hi the tolls will be on new I-80 lanes will be discussed at little publicized hearing Tuesday April 9th  5:30 at the  West Sacramento Public Library.  Zoom will be available. This may be the first - and maybe last- chance for most members to make oral public  comments as future toll agency meetings will be held during the day in DT Sacramento SACOG offices, where zoom-in comments are not allowed.

Staff for this new agency members have also shared they believe, under the proposed policies, they expect tolls on I-80  for Davis commuter  may typically be $10 each way at congestion times-- or even more when congestion is worst -even $40). But they are proposing 3-in-a- car will go toll free- a policy that seems to differentially favor Tahoe recreational travelers over commuters.

The hearing by the California Transportation  Commission (CTC) will take input on  setting up a new agency and making policies for the proposed 17 miles of new toll lane that run from I-80 in Dixon to both I-80 and I-50 Sacramento River Bridges. The agency will decide how  tolls are set, who get  discounted tolls,  and how the toll revenue will be used. The Agency sponsors are SACOG and  Yolo Transportation District. YoloTD is  chaired  by Davis Mayor Josh Chapman who is also the Davis’s representative on SACOG.

Continue reading "Little Publicized Hearing on I-80 Tolls" »


Council’s Non-Scientific Reasoning on I-80

Why Didn’t  YoloTD share the facts?

By Alan Hirsch

Congestion photo old car_texas59_traffic_jam_1962My beloved Davis has failed to accept the science out of UC Davis on climate change.  I worry for our future if even Davis  can’t face the urgency of our situation.

I urge everyone to watch the March 5th video of Davis City council and listen to their rationalization not to align city policy with UC Davis scientists on the freeway I-80 policy. The city council discussed sending a letter to state officials noting the city’s agreement with Caltrans’ own policy that freeway widening is contrary to the State’s climate action plan and won’t solve congestion. The city council rejected sending the letter, even though no one challenged its substance.

I know a few readers here still might think freeway widening works to fix congestion--  for them  I wonder who they are listening  to if Caltrans policy itself accepts UC Davis research? 

Begin watching council rationalize the “settled science” away beginning at 1:07:41 as Councilmember Donna Neville withdraws her letter and offers two unscientific  reasons: 1) there was no community consensus, and 2) the letter would not make any difference.

Is consensus the way to measure scientific validity in Davis? Should we accept at face value Councilmember Gloria Partida’s argument that her survey of people she talked to on her walks takes precedence over findings from the UCD Institute of Transportation Studies?   Or Neville’s statement that until we have consensus, we “should not speak to the highest level of government.”  I note the council managed to take a position on the Israel Gaza war before a polarized audience.

Continue reading "Council’s Non-Scientific Reasoning on I-80" »


Seeds of Justice Reading and Reflection Group

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By Ooti Maxine, Maidu artist

(From press release) The Seeds of Justice learning community started in 2021 as a project of the Episcopal Church of St. Martin to study the backgrounds for establishing land-based ministry in Yolo County; that is, an approach to ministry that considers the racialized history of the land including its uses, original inhabitants, labor and immigration, ecosystem health, and environmental threats, to be a key component of the church’s mission. We have in the past two years hosted lively conversations with Native Californian cultural practitioners, historians, and professors: Diana Almendariz, Melissa Moreno, Melinda Adams, Beth Rose Middleton Manning, John Liu, and Alan Taylor.

This year, we are partnering with YoloSol, a cultural arts and ecology collective, and the Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice to read the book Know We Are Here, edited by Terria Smith, a tribal member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians.

We will meet once a month on Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm at St. Martin's  to reflect on how these stories shape our understanding of the Native Californian past, shed light on our current climate crisis, and might suggest pathways to a restorative future for the web of life here in the Yolo bioregion.

Continue reading "Seeds of Justice Reading and Reflection Group" »


Davis Chooses Popularism over Science

YoloTD is going to CTC for I-80 money

By Alan Hirsch

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YoloTD Chair/Mayor Chapman

On Tuesday March 5, Davis Council let stand a 2021 policy to “strongly support” I-80  widening for cars—ignoring 34 letters and public comments asking for  reversal of  city policy adopted with no commission or other input.

The city council, at least temporally, seems to have joined the science deniers on freeways with a majority of members  claiming we need “consensus” before simply accepting UC Davis research, affirming settled science, or even simply adopting policy that  just restated Caltrans and the state climate plan on sustainable transportation.

This also means science supporting Davisites must turn their  attention to a more sympathetic body to stop I-80: the California Transportation Commission (CTC). This body once in the  past  blocked funding Yolo80, rating it 24 out of 24 in priority and might do it again next week. Emails  on CTC agenda item 19 are needed ideally  by Monday to ask them to block a $105 Mil grant  for more I-80 auto widening in Yolo County.  They, unlike YoloTD seem concern with induced demand’s climate impact, as  described in this article “Managed Lane Expansion Project  Not Approved by California Transportation Commission

Who spoke in favor of the Widening in Davis?

Continue reading "Davis Chooses Popularism over Science " »


75% fossil fuel reduction by 2030

As the group of students, staff, and faculty whose meeting with Chancellor May in December 2021 led to a plan to eliminate fossil fuel use by UC Davis (Fossil Free UCD), we are pleased to see the release of the Fossil-Fuel Free Pathway Plan (FFFPP), as reported in the Davis Enterprise.  We are grateful to Chancellor May for his continuing dialogue and leadership. 

The FFFPP calls for eliminating 95% of fossil fuel use from university operations by 2040.  Equally important is the shorter-term goal contained in the plan: a 75% reduction of fossil fuel use by 2030. 

This shorter-term goal is essential because deep and swift emission cuts from burning fossil fuels is the only appropriate response to the dramatic consequences of climate change we are already experiencing.  To meet this 75% reduction target, UCD will need to work together with other UCs and our state and federal legislators to secure funding.

As a leading university, UCD educates our students for a successful future. Our teaching mission comes with a responsibility to ensure that we graduate our students in a world where they enjoy a stable climate. UCD is showing by example that we can greatly reduce the use of fossil fuels within years, not decades. This leadership will hopefully inspire other universities and government entities to swiftly enact plans to go fossil-fuel free as well.

UCD affiliates who wish to join our ongoing efforts are encouraged to contact us via our website at https://fossilfreeucd.org/

Cort Anastasio
Patrick Cunningham
Mark Huising
Brianna Mcguire
Helene Margolis
Elizabeth Miller
Roberta Millstein
Emma Saffel
Suzana Sawyer
Stephen Wheeler
Sandy Xie

On behalf of Fossil-Free UCD


State Protections Sought for Vanishing California Burrowing Owls

(From press release) Conservation groups petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission today to protect five imperiled populations of the western burrowing owl under the California Endangered Species Act.

The petition seeks endangered status for burrowing owls in southwestern California, central-western California and the San Francisco Bay Area, and threatened status for burrowing owls in the Central Valley and southern desert range.

“These fascinating ground-dwelling owls need relief from being bulldozed or evicted to make way for urban sprawl,” said Jeff Miller, a senior conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I’ve witnessed the disappearance of burrowing owls from much of California over the past two decades, and it pains me to watch their extinction trajectory. They need immediate protections if we want to keep these owls around to grace our grasslands and open spaces.”

The only owl species that nests and roosts underground, the burrowing owl was formerly widespread in California and commonly nested in grasslands throughout low elevation areas of the state. Burrowing owls have suffered significant habitat loss due to urban development, conversion of grasslands to agricultural lands, and large-scale wind and solar energy infrastructure. They are also killed by rodenticides and collisions with wind turbines and cars.

The owls rely on burrowing mammals such as ground squirrels to excavate underground burrows for nesting and roosting. Urban development removes suitable nesting and foraging habitat, while ground squirrels are routinely eradicated from ranching and agricultural lands.

“When a formerly common species disappears from our landscape, what does it say about the health of our ecosystems? Abundant burrowing owls once brought so much joy to residents of our valley, but development has pushed them to the brink of extinction,” said Shani Kleinhaus with Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society.

Protecting the burrowing owl under the California Endangered Species Act would require state and local agencies to manage threats. That would include ending the state policy of allowing owls to be evicted from lands slated for development and requiring adequate mitigation for habitat loss. Regional planning efforts, and in some cases direct intervention to boost owl abundance, are needed to prevent the imminent disappearance of burrowing owls from many areas of the state.

“State protections are urgently needed since the environmental review process hasn’t meaningfully protected or conserved burrowing owls,” said Catherine Portman with the Burrowing Owl Preservation Society. “We’ve tried to get mitigation for owl habitat destroyed by scores of development projects in Yolo County, but owl colonies are routinely evicted without requiring habitat protections. For example, 103 acres of prime burrowing owl breeding habitat in Yolo County were developed in 2015 in exchange for only 19.5 acres at a mitigation bank that has never hosted nesting owls.”

Continue reading "State Protections Sought for Vanishing California Burrowing Owls" »


Tonight at City Council: Weigh in on I-80 widening

By Roberta Millstein

Just a quick heads up to let folks know about an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed I-80 widening project.  The subcommittee of Councilmbers Arnold and Neville have drafted a letter for City Council consideration that recognizes the objections raised by many Davisites to the project and expresses concerns.  See proposed letter here: Download 04-Subcommittee-Recommendation-Transportation-Letter

I think it is a fairly weak letter, and would urge something stronger, but I think it's also important to acknowledge that it is at least more of a stand than the City Council has been willing to give prior to this.  So a comment on the order of, "thanks, this is good, but we can do better" seems appropriate.

As a reminder:

  • In person public comment: This is item #4 on the agenda, tentatively scheduled for 6:55 PM.
  • Submit written public comments to [email protected]. Emails are distributed to City Council and staff. To ensure the City Council has the opportunity to review information prior to the meeting, send emails by 3:00 p.m. on the meeting date.
  • Submit comments by voicemail prior to the meeting: Call the city’s dedicated phone line (530) 757-5693 to leave a voicemail message for public comment. Staff will play comments during the appropriate agenda item. Comments will be accepted from 12:00 noon until 4:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Voicemail public comments will not be accepted after 4:00 p.m. Speakers will be limited to no more than two minutes.

I-80 A Threat to Housing Affordability?

Blinder siloVideo: A Widening Goal is for More Bay Area ”Super Commuters”

By Alan Hirsch 

The Davis  General Plan is on Tuesday’s city council agenda- not just in the item so labeled, but reverse  of the city policy of “strongly supporting” the I-80 widening.

I-80  is not just about climate, it also impacts having housing, affordable housing for local residents.

While we in Davis can zone in more density like Cannery,  push Davis developers to increase their affordable set aside a few percent points, and even  vote a tax on ourselves to fund a housing trust, the benefits for current resident will easily be diluted by demand generated from over  ten thousand commuters a day  the 33% increase in freeway capacity enable.

 Prices are set by demand vs supply,  If  more people have access and want housing here the prices will go up- as will demand for subsidized affordable units.

Continue reading "I-80 A Threat to Housing Affordability?" »


Will Davis Council get serious about Climate & I-80?

Cartoon fist grabing freewayReview of policy to “Strongly Support” the widening at Tuesday Meeting

By Alan “Lorax” Hirsch

On Tuesday March 5th  Davis  Council  Meeting, there will FINALLY be a full discussion of the I-80 policy for the City of Davis. it will likely be in cryptically worded agenda item called Legislative Policy.  

This is follow-up to the January 9th Council meeting where the city council wrote a highly critical letter about the problems with the environmental analysis for the widening.  And the June 6th 2023 meeting Caltrans pressured the city council and said “agree to partner with us- tonight--  or you won’t get mitigation money.”

Currently,  Davis City policy is expressed in letter written to federal government and California Transportation Commission to “strongly support” the I-80 freeway widening. This is based on two lines slipped into a 10 page city council’s lobbying policy agenda item three years ago (2/16/21).  The BTSSC (Davis city transportation Commission) has never been consulted on this policy, neither has the council ever before had a in depth discussion targeting support or opposition this $465Mil project. Contining this  policy put obtains the missing $200- $350 mill need to complete construction of the project- and funding it mitigation of its GHG above real transit improvements. 

ACTIONS NEEDED:

If residents  want to speak up on this project, they can do one of these actions:

  • Show up council chambers and make a 2-minute comment— (you can make comment in general comment period before 7 pm and still make an election night party)
  • Leave Voice msg noon at 4pm on Tuesday 5th. 530-757-5693
  • Email: Davis City Council [email protected]

Talking Points:

Continue reading "Will Davis Council get serious about Climate & I-80?" »


Letter: No to PG&E Contributions

I recently read the Enterprise’s article about campaign contributions in the District 4 Yolo County Supervisors race. I was very disappointed to learn that a candidate in that race took money from PG&E. As a climate advocate, PG&E is the last corporation I want to see involved in our local elections. PG&E is responsible for dozens of wildfires, hundreds of deaths, and thousands of homes destroyed in California. As a Davis resident, my rates have also been hiked by PG&E, all while my service worsens.

PG&E has been flexing its political power to pass its liabilities onto ratepayers. Who could forget the money PG&E spent to defeat Yolo’s effort to join SMUD? As a community, we need to create a locally-controlled energy grid that relies on 100% renewable energy. Electing people who take money from PG&E is two steps backwards.

Yolo County is also beginning to implement its climate action & adaptation plan. As PG&E cuts investment in renewables due to their bankruptcy, the last thing we need in Yolo County is a Supervisor beholden to PG&E. The Enterprise reporting also begs the question: how can PG&E even give money to candidates with their recent bankruptcy? Is that what my higher rates are paying for?

I encourage everyone to read the Enterprise coverage of the contributions to the Supervisor race. I will be voting for a candidate who did not take money from PG&E.

Elias Bunting


Analysis of Vaitla’s Statements in Davis Enterprise Article on Merging Commissions

By Elaine Roberts Musser

If you parse through Councilmember Vaitla’s statements appearing in the Davis Enterprise, it shows:  a  lamentable  lack  of  understanding  about  how  commissions  work;  a  complete disregard  for  the  opinion   of  commissioners   who  are  the  ones  effected   by  merging commissions;  and  an  extremely  questionable  and  ill  informed  rationale  for  what  he  is proposing. Furthermore, because of his refusal to appoint applicants to commission vacancies, the FBC is no longer providing citizen oversight of the city budget. That, together with his proposal the city pay to create new city public health services that are the responsibility of the county, will sink the chances of any tax increase proposed for the November ballot.  

  1. Vaitla: “…either City Council is not proactive in asking the commissions what to do; or the membership of the commissions is such that people have interests of their own and they are kind of deviating from what Council is asking, outside of the authorizing resolutions of the commissions…
    • If the City Council is not proactive in asking commissions what to do, whose fault is that? The commissions cannot read the City Council’s collective mind. The City Council needs to be more communicative as to what information it wants.  Why should commissioners be punished by being forced to merge with another commission because of the fault of the City Council?
    • If commissions are deviating from their authorizing resolutions, city staff will rein them in if necessary.

Continue reading "Analysis of Vaitla’s Statements in Davis Enterprise Article on Merging Commissions" »


The Ever-Changing Justification for Widening I-80

Why can’t Caltrans Tell Yolo County the True Cost?

By Alan Hirsch

On Tuesday March 5th the Davis City Council will review and hopefully reverse the current city policy that endorses I-80  freeway widening for cars. This policy was set quietly in 2021 as two line buried  a 10 page policy  statement  on thing the city would lobby by an ad hoc committee of Lucas Frerich and Dan Carson.  But now I-80 has surfaced before council as a threat to the City Climate Change Plan its clear the current council needs to reexamine it if it want to be taken seriously on climate change.

The January 9th ye open staff report to reviewing the I-80 Draft EIR also heighten interest.. At that meeting,  Councilmember Will Arnold the former Caltrans Director Of Media Relations, shared Caltrans policy  which he  summarized:  believing  freeway widening will fix anything is the definition of insanity. (Link to transcript of Arnold’s remarks)

Every-changing Justification for I-80 Widening

Continue reading "The Ever-Changing Justification for Widening I-80" »


Dark, Anti-Democratic Forces Sue the Davis Vanguard

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These dark forces are believed to be funded by the Dark Underbelly of Davis. 

In true Davis Vanguard journalistic style, no information on who the dark forces may be or why they are suing, but the Vanguard did ask for money to the tune of $100k.  Statement:

Continue reading "Dark, Anti-Democratic Forces Sue the Davis Vanguard" »


Council Should Reverse Course on Merging Advisory Commissions

The Davis City Council Should Reverse Course on Merging Advisory Commissions

The Subcommittee on Commissions (Vaitla, Chapman) process for introducing the merging commissions concept was not accomplished in good faith.

The proposal was first made available to the public late on the Friday before last Tuesdays City Council meeting and was quickly put to a council vote Tuesday night. Even other council members were kept in the dark about the specific proposal until Friday. This was a devious, unfair and terrible process.

There was no material input from commissioners. Some commission chairs and vice-chairs were consulted about what was and wasn’t working in their respective commissions. But some commissioners said they were never asked about the radical plan to merge their commissions, and some commission chairs and vice-chairs testified that they were not consulted at all by Council members Chapman and Vaitla.

 

The Subcommittee on Commissions has refused to appoint applicants to fill commission vacancies for the last six months, causing commission quorum problems. The Finance and Budget Commission has not met for months and is now down to two members and effectively out of business. After months of waiting to be appointed, applicants move on to other things rather than sit around and wait. The claim that commissions must be merged because there are not enough applicants is a sham.

 

Merging commissions with two disparate areas of expertise would make them less able to accomplish either missionIf the mergers happen, the workload will double, and there will either be less time for discussion of issues or the meetings will have to run very long.  A commissioner is not likely to have expertise in both missions. For example, the Utility Commission has almost nothing in common with the Finance and Budget Commission, and the Human Relations Commission has nothing in common with the Civics Art Commission.

We, the undersigned commissioners, request that the City Council:

  1. Immediately reverse their preliminary action of approving moving forward with the concept of merging commissions;
  2. Then (a) send the City Council staff report on merging commissions to each affected commission (b) to provide full and proper feedback on the merger plan to the City Council, so (c) it could consider the merger plan in a future council discussion.

(Note: Anyway wishing to add their name to this petition can log on to change.org and search for the petition title, Reverse City Council Decision to Move Forward With Merging Commissions.)

Jim Cramer – Member, Tree Commission Member                     

Elaine Roberts Musser – Member, Utilities Commission     

Gerry Braun – Member, Utilities Commission                        

John Reuter – Member, Tree Commission                          

Alana Gamage – Member, Tree Commission                    

NJ Mvondo – Member, Human Relations Commission                          

Sheila Allen - Former Chair, Human Relations Commission                           

Colin Walsh - Vice Chair, Tree Commission                         

Margot Loschke - Former Chair, Senior Citizens Commission                   

Alan Pryor - Former Member, Natural Resources Commission                   

Eileen Samitz - Former Member, Planning Commission                    

Roberta Millstein - Former Chair, Open Space & Habitat Commission              

Larry Guenther – Former Member, Tree Commission                    

Connor Gorman – Member, Human Relations Commission

37 Davis residents and activists                  

 


Council to Commit to De-Commissioning Commissions?

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There's some metaphor here... ask the Council about it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, January 30th, the City of Davis City Council will “Consider Recommendations Related to Commissions”. Please show up this evening - item 5 is scheduled for 7:20pm - or call the comment line at (530) 757-5693 before 4pm.

Let's look at some recent history first... and then tonight's meeting:

June 3rd 2021

“City Council Subcommittee and All-Commission Chair Meeting”. Video. 

This was a two-hour meeting between all Commission Chairs with then City Council member Lucas Frerichs - who chaired the meeting - and Gloria Partida.

It’s worth noting that two of the Commission Chairs - Bapu Vaitla and Donna Neville - are now on the City Council. Vaitla does not reference this meeting in the Council sub-committee proposal scheduled for this evening.

While the meeting is certainly worth a focused viewing, for now I will focus only on statements made at the meeting related to future activity (e.g. further similar meetings with Chairs, Council agenda items, etc):

“Hopefully not the last meeting” (Lucas, earlier in the meeting)

“Update to the City Council Coming shortly” (Frerichs @ 1:59:40 - it’s not clear if this meant any minutes from meeting would be passed along to Council)
“Hopefully on a regular basis” (Frerichs @ 2:00:00 - Referring to an intention for similar meetings with Chairs.)
“I’m sure that Kelly [Stachowicz] and Zoe [Mirabile] also will [...] put together some minutes.” (Partida - 2:01:00 - As no publicly-distributed minutes are taken, it’s not clear what this referred to. )

At the end Colin Walsh - the Chair of the Tree Commission -  asked about when there would be another similar meeting “in the not too distant future”.  Partida responded:  “It was pretty clear that that’s one of the main takeaways here… we will be setting that up”. She also said  “...What I heard was that people are we really wanting twice a year to meet this way…so I can [should or will be able to] confirm that”  (Walsh, Partida from 2:04:25)

Despite what Frerichs and Partida said or intended, there were no meetings - between Chairs and a Council non-quorum or in City Council - until February 2023, 20 months after the 2021 meeting. 

 

February 7th 2021

City Council Meeting. Community comments start at about 2:34. Some highlights:

* Alan Hirsch. gives a good comprehensive look at the overall poor state of things regarding respect for Commissions. 

*John Johnson - a member of the NRC -  talks about NRC not having enough time to do what it needs to

* Alan Miller suggests a great, truly-democratic and also streamlined idea for organizing the Council and Commissions. 

* Roberta Millstein makes clear the paternalistic functioning of Council and Staff

* Colin Walsh criticizes the generally low-quality process

Based on Colin Walsh's observation at the meeting, there were very few members of the Public at the meeting. This would indicate a likely lack of communication about the agenda topic. I also don’t understand why it was called a “workshop”, as it didn’t have this form.

 

Present Day:

Two pieces earlier this week in Davisite:

Council to Eliminate Tree Commission Tuesday

City Commissions Merger Proposals are Ill Conceived - Testify Tuesday

 

In the sub-committee report for today’s meeting: 

"The Council Subcommittee spoke with all AVAILABLE chairs (or vice-chairs) [emphasis mine] of existing commissions to receive their feedback on what is working in the present structure and what could be improved." [page 4]

"In reviewing the scopes and structure of each of the City's 14 advisory commissions, the subcommittee undertook the following research: [...] * Met with [ALL?] chairs and vice-chairs of each commission to gain a better understanding of what works well and areas of potential improvement, especially with respect to Council direction about what areas of commission activity would be most valuable; [page 7].

What actually happened? Did the Chairs and/or Vice Chairs coordinate with each other? Did they have the opportunity to e.g. get questions from Chapman and Vaitla and then get input from their Commission before speaking with Chapman-Vaitla?Are there minutes of these meetings?

The proposal would - in the long-run - have a total of approximately 28 fewer Commissioners than the current 98, so just under 1/3 less participation from the same city (and possibly expanding) population, with similar low to mid level staff, same senior staff and same council numbers, and still minimal involvement from youth (see below)

While there would be less staff hours, it's not clear if this will reduce staffing expenditure (I don't fully understand how staff gets paid when working evenings, etc)

The new language comes from state-mandates on General Plans, but it's clear that the "Element" names don't have to be included in the names of the related Commission.

We then have the proposed "Circulation and Active Mobility" - and they don't get the correct name for the BTSSC again!  - but I think that Circulation is a somewhat old-fashioned term which I believe - and not only superficially - relates to LOS (Level of Service)

The archaic and unusual name of "Circulation..." as the new name for what’s unfortunately and informally oft-referred to  as the "bike commission" with "....and Active Mobility" which in aggregate is… poor English (just like the current BTSSC, as “Bicycling” is a subset of “Transportation” (outside the sporting context) and “Street Safety” is mostly a quality of the situation, 

I would prefer e.g. “Efficient, Joyous and Safe Mobility Commission”, as it covers all forms of transportation using conveyances, walking, other means of travel, resources/climate change issues and the social sphere!

"The required Noise and Safety elements [of the Consolidation] are not listed; community engagement for these will be led by Staff.)" (page four) Seriously, what the actual f*ck?? Is there any actual logic for this or a similar and official mechanism in any other part of the proposal

There's a promise at the end that no one will have to leave, presumably Commissions will change as people term out, but will there will perhaps be more split votes for a long time due to math: 7 to 7, 6 to 6, 5 to 5, 4 to 4 votes (before Commissions "settle" again at 7 members.

There's NO proposal for a Commission of Youth Members/Youth Commission. About 90 cities and towns in California have these!  At the very least, there's no proposal for more youth OR age of minority-age ex-officios for ALL Commissions

There’s NO promise of more communications - via social media, the City’s website, etc - to encourage more attendance and attention of Commission meetings and ongoing work, inclusive of biographies of Commission members. One should not have to Google a Commissioner’s name to see their affiliations, job, a bit about their experience, etc.


City Comissions Merger Proposals are Ill Conceived - Testify Tuesday!

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The City Council is hearing proposals to consolidate commissions on Tuesday night. These changes have serious implications. Here are the proposals:

Continue reading "City Comissions Merger Proposals are Ill Conceived - Testify Tuesday!" »


Arnold calls $465mil I-80 Widening “Insanity"

Council Member & Former Caltrans Employee’s Remarks on I-80

Will arnold picture

Submitted by Alan Hirsch

Below is a transcription of Councilperson Will Arnold remarks on the I-80 widening for the video of the 1/9/24 Davis Council meeting. Arnold was the Manager of Media Relations at Caltrans HQ until August  2023.  His testimony adds to that of the Hi level whistle blower Jeanie Ward-Waller  She accused Caltrans of violations CEQA in moving ahead freeway widenings and I-80 project in specific. YoloTD Board has never asked their staff or Caltrans a single question about that in any open board meeting.

 (Link to city website with video see time stamp  3:51:29)

 

Thank you,  Mayor Chapman.

There is an important note I want to read:

‘Highway investments over the years have contributed to a dependence on automobiles and supported development patterns that have made walking, cycling and transit use inefficient, challenging and sometime dangerous in many parts of the state.  Highway investment have also contributed to the displacement and division of some neighborhoods and imposed noise and safety hazard on many others.

Further research over the past several decades had demonstrated that highway  capacity expansion has not resulted in long term congestion relief and in some cases has worsen congestion, particularly in urbanized regions. (ed note: all emphasis his)  Projects in urban area that add travel lanes result in changes in travel behavior due to a short-term reduction in travel time and improvement in reliability. This phenomenon known as “Induced travel” explains why adding capacity has rarely succeed in reducing congestion over the long term or supported alternatives to driving and more transportation efficient land uses.

Finally, highway expansions are costly. Expansion of the existing highway system means less available funding for other transportation needs and priorities as well as continued increase to long term maintenance costs for the existing system. As a result, we cannot continue the same pattern of highway expansion investment in California and expect different results.  3:52:52

Rethinking our approach to highway expansion programs will be a critical part of insuring we are working toward equitably meeting our climate change goals.  3:53:01 ‘

This is part of the state Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure, known as CAPTI. This is a document passed in 2021 by the state transportation agency signed by Davis Hi Alumnus David Kim, former (CA) Secretary of Transportation 

 They Know. THEY KNOW (Arnold emphasis), They know what we are saying it true. 

This isn’t a secrete in Sacramento, this it isn’t a secrete in any of the 12 Caltrans districts, even District 12 in Orange county. They know.

And yet, we reach these inflection points where it’s time to put our money where our mouth is as a state in how we invest our limited transportation dollars, and we each these inflection points and the same thing keep happening when we invest in what we know, which is more freeways, or lanes expecting a different result. 

Which we know is the definition of Insanity.” ends 3:54:18


Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure M - No on the Floodwall in Woodland, CA

(From press release) Citing “the potential to induce sprawling growth”, the “potential adverse impacts on prime farm land”, “lack of proper public process”, devastating environmental and social outcomes including climate change, air pollution, and loss of biodiversity, the Sierra Club announces its opposition to Measure M in Woodland CA on the March 5, 2024 Special Municipal Election Ballot. Measure M is a vote to allow the construction of the Lower Cache Creek Flood Risk Management Project or, as it is referred to locally, the “Floodwall”.

In 2004, a majority of Woodland voters passed Measure “S”, which added a section to the Woodland Municipal Code that provides that the City shall not fund or take any action that supports the Lower Cache Creek flood barrier or a “substantially similar structure”.

A "No" vote on Measure "M" will keep that prohibiting language in the Woodland Municipal Code in its current form as originally enacted by Measure “S”, and will not allow City Council authorization for the construction and funding of the Lower Cache Creek Flood Risk Management Project.

The Lower Cache Creek Flood Risk Management Project consists of a 5.6 mile massive earthen structure from 6 ft to about 16 ft above grade, depending on its location, and the existing topography of the land. It will run east-west just north of the northern urban limits of the City of Woodland connecting to an existing levee on the Cache Creek Settling Basin.

The endorsement of the opposition to this ballot measure follows an extensive evaluation process by the local Sierra Club Yolano Group Management Committee, the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Political and Executive Committees, and the Sierra Club California Local Measure Review Committee.

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ML King’s Lesson on how needed structural change is slowed by cities

By Alan Hirsch  

This year's Davis city-sponsored King celebration is on Peace Activism. It will take place on Monday at 10 am at the Veterans Memorial Center.

This 53-second viral YouTube video of Stokely Carmichael/Kwame Ture discussing peace and justice provides the context in which King was working.

I believe local cities, especially progressive  Davis can best honor King by learning from him about how change happens- what it feels like when you are in the middle of the story.  We can learn by analogy what it looks like when a local community is grappling with deep structural change—and how local civic leaders respond when they recognize the need for a change in the traditional way of doing things.

King’s goal in 1960’s was to reform the structural evil of Jim Crow, deeply ingrained in the culture of Southern cities.

Today, we are in the middle of a story of how to deal with the climate crisis -  a  society dependent on burning fossil fuels creating a crisis for long-term survival.

For Dr. King the obstacle to change was not Washington but local government. The Supreme Court had just equipped local governments with tools through rulings like Brown vs. Board of Education. The Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations were sympathetic, yet in the 1960s South, it was local  businesses  & governments that resisted. They sought to first maintain peace, of the status quo, fearing that change would be disruptive, leading to divisiveness and disorder.

Similarly, in addressing climate change, the State of California has established strong goals and policies. It has provided local governments with tools under the environmental impact process to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. 

Local leaders are aware of what is at stake for climate.. During a discussion of the I-80 freeway widening January 9th Davis Councilmember Will Arnold shared what he learned when he was a Caltrans employee.  He read from Caltrans HQ policy states freeway widening does not fix congestion for long  and also undermines the state climate change plan.... local caltrans district need to stop advancing these projects.  Arnold summed it up dramatically:
   "We know this," widening freeways is "insanity."

Continue reading "ML King’s Lesson on how needed structural change is slowed by cities" »