Entries categorized "Ethics"

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.

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Debrief on Debris in the Bike Lane?

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South-bound Pole Line just south of East Covell. Convenient to pick-up, not so convenient for people who want to use the lane
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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....

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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

Vote-no-on-measure-b-news

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

1. Nightmarish Traffic Gridlock

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

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

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


2. Unprecedented Increases in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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

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

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


3. DISC will Cannibalize our Downtown

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

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

• Our Downtown should not be Sacrificed for Developer Profits!


4. DISC will NOT have Affordable Housing

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC


A Different Vision for the DISC 200 Acres

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Photo credit: Nick Buxton

By Juliette Beck

A little over twelve years ago when I was pregnant with my first child and deciding whether to move to Davis to join my sister in raising our families here, I looked at the air quality data and considered the impacts on newborn lungs.

I ultimately made the decision to move here and fight like hell for my children to grow up on a livable planet, in a healthy community. Given the climate emergency that has choked our skies with smoke for weeks on end, I'm not sure I'd make that same decision today.

We are at a critical turning point in human history. For decades, scientists, activists and frontline communities have been telling us we must change course. This summer, it has become undeniable that all of us here in California are now on the frontlines of a rapidly destabilizing climate.

With Measure B (thanks to Measure J/R now on the ballot as Measure D), we as citizens of Davis have the opportunity to vote on how our community will respond to the climate emergency - an emergency caused in large part based on how we as a society develop land and open space.

Located just east of the Mace Blvd curve and north of the Ikeda Market, this swath of farmland borders Davis as a gateway to our city. It could be a showcase for climate positive, regenerative farming that sustains our local food needs. But if Measure B passes, it will instead be a sprawling development comprised mainly of $800,000+ luxury homes and a massive industrial business park.

Continue reading "A Different Vision for the DISC 200 Acres " »


2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates

Part 5  - Toxics Reduction

by Alan Pryor

Introduction - Every 2 years the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates on matters of interest to the public and/or our local Sierra Club members. We use questionnaires with written responses to allow the candidates to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. We report these in a series of articles on a range of environmentally-related topics.

This is Part 5 of the series in which we report candidates' responses to a series of questions regarding toxics reduction in the City. The candidates responses are in alphabetical order based on their first name.

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1st Question re: Pesticide Use Reduction

Preamble: Davis recently banned the use of pollinator-killing neonicotinoid class of pesticides and phases out the use of the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-up product) next year. However, the City Council declined to require that only certified organic pesticides be used in the City’s Parks and Open Spaces as recommended by the Natural Resources Commission and endorsed by the Sierra Club Yolano Group.  

Question: Do you support restricting pesticide use on City properties to only those certified as “organic” and why or why not?

Continue reading "2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates" »


2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates

Part 4  - Transportation Management

by Alan Pryor

Introduction - Every 2 years the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates on matters of interest to the public and/or our local Sierra Club members. We use questionnaires with written responses to allow the candidates to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. We report these in a series of articles on a range of environmentally-related topics.

This is Part 4 of the series in which we report candidates' responses to a series of questions regarding transportation management in the City. The candidates responses are in alphabetical order based on their first name.

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1st Question re: Bicycle Use

Preamable: Davis prides itself on being a bicycle-oriented city with miles of bike lanes and paths throughout the community to facilitate bike use as an alternative form of transportation. Yet, the bicycle mode-share in Davis has dropped in recent years.  

Question: What would you propose to make the bicycle a more viable and safe transportation mode in Davis?

Continue reading "2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates" »


2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates

by Alan Pryor 

Introduction - Every 2 years the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates on matters of interest to the public and/or our local Sierra Club members. We use questionnaires with written responses to allow the candidates to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. We report these in a series of articles on a range of environmentally-related topics. This is Part 1 of the series in which we report candidates' responses to a series of questions regarding energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the City. The candidates responses are initially in alphabetical order based on their first name.

Part 1  - Energy Use and Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

1st Question re Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Preamble - Davis has declared a Climate Emergency and mandated carbon neutrality by 2040. Often 60% or more of a new project's GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions are due to transportation-related impacts. Some have proposed that developers pay for mitigation of these GHGs because they cause public harm just as sellers of tobacco pay a tax for their associated public harm.  

Question - Do you support in principal a GHG mitigation fee on new developments in Davis and why or why not?  If yes, do you have any ideas how such a fee might be assessed?

Continue reading "2020 Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire and Responses from Davis City Council Candidates" »


Ormat Technologies Expands Energy Storage Footprint in California

Signs Agreements with Two California Community Choice Aggregators

(From press release) Ormat Technologies Inc. (NYSE: ORA) announced today that it has signed two resource adequacy agreements, each for 50% of its 5 MW / 20 MWh Tierra Buena battery energy storage project currently under development in Sutter County in Northern California.

Two community choice aggregators — Valley Clean Energy in Yolo County and Redwood Coast Energy Authority in Humboldt County — each signed an agreement for 2.5 MW of resource adequacy from Ormat’s Tierra Buena energy storage project. Under the 10-year agreements, the project is expected to begin commercial operation no later than June 2022.

These are the first energy storage deals for the two CCAs, sought in order to comply with a multi-year statewide mandate to add 3.3 GW of incremental resource adequacy to the California grid by 2023.

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 DISC will be an Environmental Disaster

DISC is an Unmitigated Environmental Disaster - Vo 00001 DISC is an Unmitigated Environmental Disaster - Vo 00001(From press release)

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

Yet DISC will increase Davis' annual carbon footprint by over 8% - over 83 million pounds per year!...What are they thinking?

Friday, October 2           Davis, CA

 What is Measure B and the DISC Industrial Park 

Measure B is on the November 3 ballot in Davis asking to annex 200 acres of Prime farmland into the City and pave it over to build a sprawling car-centric industrial center and 850 housing units.

This land-use dinosaur would be located on the northeast corner of 2nd St and Mace Blvd just across the street from Ikeda's Market.      

Read more      

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 DISC will be an Environmental Disaster 

  • The Developer claims the project will be carbon neutral. But according to the project's Environmental Impact Report, "...net emissions in the year 2035 would equal 37,724.31 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, the project would NOT meet the City’s target of net carbon neutrality by the year 2040." This is unacceptable!

  • There is no way the vast bulk of the project's carbon emissions can be reduced on-site. Instead the Developer will rely on purchase of cheap off-site carbon credits or mitigation elsewhere in the City to supposedly become carbon neutral. But this does nothing to actually reduce the City's total carbon emissions. This is deceitful!

  • The Developer falsely claims if DISC isn't built in Davis, it will just be built elsewhere with more greenhouse gas emissions. But all new commercial buildings anywhere in California must meet ever-increasing energy efficiency standards. This is misleading!

  • The Developer claims the project's jobs will be "Green" jobs. But because almost 80% of the greenhouse gases generated from DISC come from the projected 24,000+ daily car trips, DISC would actually have a smaller carbon footprint if built in other locations with superior public transportation access and much shorter commutes for workers. Commuter jobs are NOT "Green"!

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

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Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC

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For more information, order a lawn sign, or make a donation -  www.VoteNoOnDISC.com


Supervisor Provenza Votes to Take Action on Climate

JIm-Provenza(From press release) At Tuesday's Yolo County Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Jim Provenza introduced a resolution on behalf of the Yolo Climate Emergency Coalition, declaring a climate crisis in Yolo County and setting a countywide goal of achieving a carbon negative footprint by 2030.

The motion was approved, with support of Chair Sandy and Supervisors Villegas and Saylor, joining Provenza. Provenza also brought a separate motion to provide funding for a citizen's advisory body to advise the Board on developing and implementing the new Climate Action Plan. The Yolo County District Attorney agreed to use funds from a special account in his office to cover this cost. It is anticipated that the District Attorney's consumer and environmental unit will be a future partner in these efforts.

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Sierra Club Endorses Colin Walsh in District 2 and Kelsey Fortune in District 5

Sierra Club endorsedFor Davis City Council in the November 2020 election 

(From press release) This endorsement cites their strong and unequivocal opposition to Measure B which seeks voter approval for the annexation of 200 acres of prime farmland for the proposed DISC mixed use industrial/business park on the outskirts of Davis and their robust positions on a host of other local environmental issues consistent with established Sierra Club policies.

The endorsement of these candidates follows a thorough review of candidate answers to an extensive questionnaire completed by all of the City Council candidates. While the current Sierra Club endorsement is exclusive to Mr. Walsh and Ms. Fortune, we do thank the other City Council candidates for participation in the process and note that many were generally consistent in their overall support of other environmental initiatives in the City that are important to and supported by the Club. These include, among others:

Continue reading "Sierra Club Endorses Colin Walsh in District 2 and Kelsey Fortune in District 5 " »


Pro-DISC letter is misleading

OSHC ARC resolutionBy Roberta Millstein

My fellow Open Space and Habitat Commission (OSHC) member, Patrick Huber, writes to defend the environmental status of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) (see Davis Enterprise letter). I respect Patrick; we have worked well together on the commission for a decade. However, although we have agreed on many things, he provides a partial and thus misleading picture of DISC in his letter.

On April 23, 2020, the OSHC voted unanimously on a motion, seconded by Patrick, not to recommend DISC (then called ARC) on the grounds that it would result in a substantial net loss of a noteworthy combination of open space values, including: prime agricultural land, open space on the City’s perimeter, habitat for sensitive species such as burrowing owl and Swainson’s hawk, and views of the Sierra Nevada and Sacramento skyline (see adjacent screenshot).

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As CA Fires Burn, Yolo County Declares Climate Emergency

Yolo County Board of Supervisors commits to justice and mobilization

(From press release) With smoke still rising from one of California's most massive wildfires on record, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to accelerate local climate action and to fund a climate advisory committee tasked with helping the county achieve just and equitable outcomes for marginalized communities and to retool livelihoods.

Yolo County joins over 1,750 local governments in declaring a climate emergency, part of a decentralized global campaign that has engaged local communities in policymaking.

Continue reading " As CA Fires Burn, Yolo County Declares Climate Emergency" »


Yolo County Climate Crisis Resolution

Contact your County supervisor to express your support

DC2E0350-A347-417C-9FF2-F070B04A3233By David Abramson

Tomorrow the Yolo County Board of Supervisors will be voting on a RESOLUTION DECLARING A CLIMATE CRISIS REQUIRING AN URGENT AND INCLUSIVE MOBILIZATION IN YOLO COUNTY.

We have 91 endorsing organizations and individuals from all across Yolo County. Thank you!!

🌟To get a strong resolution passed, we need your help!🌟

🌱Action Item 1: 🌟Write Your County Supervisors🌟

Please email or call the supervisor representing your district, share your story and express support for the Climate Emergency resolution, Item #37.

Continue reading "Yolo County Climate Crisis Resolution" »


Sierra Club Endorses Yes on Measure D

Sierra Club endorses “The Citizens’ Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Lands”

Sierra Club endorsed(From press release) Citing grounds of “preservation of agricultural lands and open space, in-fill development and densification and citizen oversight of sound land-use planning ", the Sierra Club announces its endorsement and support of Measure D in Davis CA on the November 2020 municipal ballot.

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Measure D is a ballot measure renewal of an existing City of Davis ordinance, “The Citizens’ Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Lands”, which gives the citizens the right to make the final decision on projects proposing to develop open space or agricultural land within or adjacent to the City. It was originally approved by the voters in 2000 as Measure J and overwhelmingly renewed as Measure R in 2010.

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Valley Clean Energy Calls for Support for Local Wildfire Victims

VCEAs wildfires continue to rage throughout California and elsewhere in the West, residents, ranchers and business owners in the greater Winters area are putting their lives back together after seeing their homes and businesses go up in flames.

Valley Clean Energy, the local electric generation service provider, urges locals to join the agency in offering support in the form of donations to the Greater Winters Fire Relief Fund created by the Rotary Club of Winters. VCE contributed $1,500, and so far, nearly $40,000 has been raised toward a goal of $60,000.

Many of the fire victims live outside the Winters city limits and are “our friends, our extended family, business owners, and parents to classmates of our children,” says Winters Councilmember Jesse Loren, a member of the VCE board of directors.

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