Entries categorized "Ethics"

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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Leaf blower ban - contact City Council today

By Todd Edelman

City of Davis people... why has there not been a ban on use of leaf blowers in the nearly month-long wildfire fallout event?

Why do feel the need to remove every leaf and bit of dirt from our landscapes?

Why do we allow ourselves to send dust clouds and noise to our neighbors when we might not even know their names?

Why do some falsely portray a ban as an assault on a largely Latino workforce?

WRITE the City Council NOW!

Agenda - September 15, 2020

Item 6 (8:15)
Natural Resources Commission Recommendation on Updating/Strengthening Leaf Blower Ordinance and Request for City Council Direction (Public Works Utilities & Operations Director Stan Gryczko/Management Analyst Adrienne Heinig)


Recommendation:

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Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC in Davis, CA

Sierra Club endorsedCiting grounds of “excessive traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and poor land-use and planning”, the Sierra Club announces its opposition to Measure B in Davis CA on the November 2020 municipal ballot.

Measure B is a vote to allow the annexation of approximately 200-acres of Prime farmland on the northeast periphery of the City and the development of a business park along with a 850-unit housing development. The project site is now farmed and serves as foraging habitat for numerous Special Status Species including Burrowing Owls, Swainson’s Hawks, and White-Tailed Kites.

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

The Sierra Club has long-standing official policies designed to minimize urban sprawl onto farmland and habitat and maximize intensive infill development. These include planning policies that further conservation of open space and preservation of natural areas and agricultural lands. The Sierra Club opposes sprawl as a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use with devastating environmental and social outcomes.

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No on DISC signs now available

E538AF89-DD67-40D4-AAE5-84E5FE1BBF5EThe No on DISC - No on Measure B campaign announces that its signs are now available, free, for use on your lawn or street facing window. This creative and attractive sign uses humor to point out three major flaws in the project: increased traffic gridlock, increased greenhouse gases, and loss of burrowing owl habitat. 

You can request your sign at https://www.VoteNoOnDISC.com/, where you can also learn more about the problems with this massive business park proposed on prime farmland outside the Mace Curve. You can also donate to support the cause and volunteer to help by writing a letter to the editor or through other means. 

“Like” the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VoteNoOnDISC/


Support our local Religious Leaders Recommendation for Reconsideration of the University Commons project

Community input to the Council majority of Partida, Lee and Carson is needed now

19universitycommons
By Eileen M. Samitz

Many thanks to the Davis religious leaders for the excellent article published August 22 in the Davisite.

This incredible and sincere outreach by so many local religious leaders to the City Council majority is impressive and their recommended action is so needed to be taken by Council majority now.  So everyone’s input to the Council is needed now, to support the recommendation to reconsider approval of the University Commons project, before this Tuesday’s August 25th meeting when the Council is scheduled to finalize approval of the project.

The Davis religious leaders group recommendation for the Council majority is to “take a pause and reconsider their approval votes” and to reject it. This terrible project does not offer any housing that is affordable. So, urging the Council to reconsider its approval is clearly the right thing to do for the sake of the UCD students, as well as the rest of the community needing housing that is affordable. The University Commons “affordable units” are affordable in name only, and it is an insult to even classify them as “affordable” with the rental prices they are projecting.

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University Commons: Will Council grandfather in another Tree Blighted Parking Lot?

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This is a picture of one of the large "successful" trees the landlord planted years ago when the University Commons development first opened. Note the massive scar as a result of neglect of pruning (lower limbs need to be removed so they are not broken off by trucks driving by),  And again rocks placed around the base of the tree that get hot and both stifle growth. Most trees in this lot have rocks any arborist will tell you hurt trees, but maybe the landlord is based in Tucson.   Why does this happen? What is the solution? The City Arborist is stretch thin and has no time to inspect commercial parking lots to assure landlords are caring for trees, so we get to city's 50% shade requirement. This is why we need to require landlords to reimburse the city the cost of hiring an outside arborist to provide tree maintenance oversight. Council required this for the DISC development,  why not University Commons too?

By Alan Hirsch, City Lorax 

This Tuesday, the city council will address details to permit a 7 story dorm proposed for University Commons/Trader Joe's shopping center.

There is debate about it size, height, affordability, type of units in the build.

But there is one fact everyone agrees on:

IF it follows the current city policy it will end up in the middle of an unshaded parking lot full of stunted trees.

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Using capitalism to fight racism

By Belinda Martineau

One thing Enterprise columnist Tanya Perez (and other Davis residents) could do to help get over “paralysis by analysis” (or paralysis by anything else) regarding the current unacceptable state of racism in our country is to … boycott Nugget Markets.

After reading “Lawsuit against Nugget can go to trial” in The Enterprise several weeks ago—which described a racial/national origin discrimination case filed against Nugget Markets Inc. in 2017 on behalf of two men, one from El Salvador and one from Mexico, by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund — that’s one action against racism I’ve decided to take.

As described in Caleb Hampton’s article, a federal judge found that a “reasonable man in Plaintiffs’ circumstance would have found the hostile conduct sufficiently severe and pervasive,” and in response to complaints they made to company higher-ups about harassment by several supervisors one man was fired the very next day and the other started receiving his first negative performance reviews.

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Letter: Endorsing Walsh for Davis City Council

Roberta-with-Colin-signI write to endorse Colin Walsh for Davis City Council District 2. I first met Colin when he was working on the campaign against Nishi 1.0. I was immediately impressed by his passion and dedication. He often worked late into the night and was concerned to get every detail right. Since then we've worked on a number of initiatives together, including the community blog, Davisite.org, which fosters neighborly dialogue in Davis.

Another example: Since last fall when the MRIC Mace curve business park project resurfaced to become ARC and then DISC, Colin has read thousands of pages of documents, attended Council and Commission meetings, asked hard questions, and made thoughtful suggestions, all on his own time as a citizen committed to good process and careful analysis. He raised concerns about the compressed timeline for community engagement and about the inadequate affordable housing proposed by the developers.

His comments to the Open Space and Habitat Commission on the DISC business park were particularly helpful to me as a commissioner. He pointed out that the bat studies at the site were insufficient, an issue that might otherwise have been overlooked, and urged that the Prime farmland at the site weigh heavily in any decision. I also appreciate his work as a member of the Tree Commission, arguing for a greater number of trees in the project (alas, the recommended number was rejected by the developer, but the number was increased somewhat).

So when Colin says that he will solicit community and commission input, you can believe him. When he says he will analyze thoroughly and ask hard questions, you can believe him. When he says he will foster open and transparent government, you can believe him.

Colin is committed to social justice and the environment and would make an outstanding Councilmember. Whether or not you are in his district, you can support him with an endorsement, lawn sign, letter to the editor, or donation. See his website at walsh4davis.com for details. If you are in District 2, please give him your vote.


Roberta Millstein
Chair, Open Space and Habitat Commission
(speaking for myself alone)


Valley Clean Energy donates face masks to RISE Inc.

Mask donation
Angel Barajas, a member of the Valley Clean Energy board of directors, left; and Tessa Tobar, center, program and community engagement specialist for VCE; present some of the 500 washable face masks to Tico Zendejas, executive director of RISE Inc.

(From press release) Valley Clean Energy (VCE), the local electricity provider for Yolo County and the cities of Woodland and Davis, is doing its part to keep local residents safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

VCE purchased 500 high-quality, washable and U.S.-made face masks and donated them to RISE Inc., a nonprofit organization that serves the Latinx community and has organized the delivery of social services to western Yolo County for more than 30 years.

Woodland City Councilman Angel Barajas, a member of the VCE board of directors, said RISE was chosen to receive the gift because it “does an incredible job servicing residents in the rural Yolo County region.”

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Burrowing Owls and Davis elections

Buow-croppedBy Catherine Portman

As candidates run to retain their elected positions they will tout issues they’ve supported to win citizen’s votes. There will be advertisements, slogans and even face mask images that imply the candidate supports certain issues. Lest there be any confusion about what the City of Davis has done for burrowing owls, I’ll recount a few “lowlights” of the city’s inaction and neglect of burrowing owls over my 20 years advocating for the owls.

In 2000 several natal burrows were disked at Mace Ranch housing development (Flatlander and Yolano Flame). The city did not pursue legal action against the developer for disking owlets into the ground.

The city, as the CEQA lead agency, was required to mitigate the destruction of the Mace Ranch owl colony. Mitigation was secured at Grasslands Park. A  Burrowing Owl Reserve of 60 acres was established.  In 2004, a Burrowing Owl Habitat Management plan (a legal requirement under CEQA) was developed that required the vegetation not exceed 4 to 5 inches, year round. The city never kept the vegetation within that standard height. (Sustain Environmental.  Documents provided on request. ) Pam Nieberg and I contacted city council members, the Natural Resource Specialist and the Open Space and Habitat Commission. The city did not comply with the Habitat Management Plan. Pam and I met with then City Manager, Dirk Brazil. He told us if there was no money for vegetation management, it would not happen. When the consultant, Sustain Environmental, consistently found the vegetation height not in compliance with the Habitat Management Plan, the city ended the consultant’s contract. No more breeding burrowing owls at the Reserve or Grasslands itself.

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Local Clergy Comment on Affordable Housing

The owners of the University Mall, the Brixmor Property Group, have applied to the City for permission to demolish the existing shopping center and replace it with a mixed-use project of 264 apartments and 136,000 sq ft ground-floor retail.

We also note that Commissioner Darryl Rutherford has stated that the Commissioners themselves had multiple objections. "I'm a little disappointed in what we're seeing here." He called the proposed affordable housing plan ($600,000 in lieu fees) "an atrocity" and a "slap in the face."

Historically, Davis once had one of the strongest inclusionary housing requirements in the state. That policy intended to create affordable units in every major rental project built in Davis, enabling low-income families to live in Davis, and create the possibility of a robustly diverse community. Many minority households whose members work in Davis are part of the low-income population and these affordable units were often their only entry to living and working in Davis.

However, of the 264 apartments being given permission to be built on the University Mall site in Davis, not one of those 264 units will be set aside as an affordable unit.

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Letter from Davis faith leaders opposing the changes in regulations on seeking asylum in the U.S.

To Whom It May Concern:

As faith leaders in Davis, CA, we strongly oppose the changes in regulations on seeking asylum in the United States being proposed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review of the Department of Justice.   These proposals would effectively end our asylum system, block protection for people and families fleeing from persecution, and reverse decades of U.S. and International Law.  The changes would restrict the number of those admitted to the US, apparently on the unfair basis of wealth and status.  Thus, those with the means to fly into the US would not be affected if their flight was non-stop or only had one stop in another country.  However, those who have passed by land through two countries would automatically be barred.

The new proposed rule is long and complicated; however, a few of its new restrictions are particularly disturbing.  It would eliminate gender-based claims for asylum.  Women and LGBTQ asylum seekers would be disproportionately affected by this change. Not only would women be unable to seek asylum based on their experiences of extreme domestic violence, but even women fleeing sex slavery at the hands of terrorist groups could be denied.

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Valley Clean Energy makes new hire

R_Boyles(From press release) Valley Clean Energy is pleased to announce the hiring of Rebecca Boyles as its new director of customer care and marketing. In this position, she is responsible for all customer touch points, including outreach, marketing, programs, key accounts and customer policy development.

Boyles joins Valley Clean Energy after spending four years in progressively responsible positions in customer care and billing operations at MCE (formerly Marin Clean Energy). Her additional leadership experience includes chairing the Billing Operations and Customer Care Committee for CalCCA, the statewide community choice energy association, as well as directing social media for the communications team at the Women's Environmental Network.

Prior to working in the utilities sector, Boyles focused on stakeholder engagement at Future 500, a nonprofit that advises Fortune 500 companies on sustainable business practices and community relations.

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Family-Friendly Father’s Day Walk in Davis to Protest Racial Injustice

(From press release) On Sunday, June 21, 2020, Parents of African-American Children - Davis (PAACD) is hosting a family -friendly walk in Davis to honor the victims of racial injustice and police brutality and highlight the importance of talking to children early about race and racial prejudice.

The walk will begin at 9 am at Playfields Park (2500 Research Park Drive) in Davis and continue on the bike path to John Barovetto Park (about 2.6 miles). At 11 am, at John Barovetto Park (4400 Alhambra Drive), the group will stand in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to remember George Floyd and all the victims of police brutality.

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Valley Clean Energy - 2 Years Strong

VCE(From press release) During these trying times, it’s more important than ever to take note of the good news that’s worth celebrating.

“Please join us as we mark the anniversary of Valley Clean Energy,” said Don Saylor, chairman of the board of directors of the not-for-profit public agency and a Yolo County supervisor. “We’re two years strong as of June 1, and it’s all because of you, the VCE customers who support us in taking charge of our clean energy future.”

People who suffer from asthma and other lung-related conditions have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, so cleaning up the air in California has become even more important for everyone.

“That’s just what VCE has been doing these past two years, by offering people cleaner, greener electricity and an option for 100% carbon-free power,” added Dan Carson, VCE’s board vice-chair and a member of the Davis City Council. “And we’ve only just begun.”

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Should Davis defund the police?

By David Abramson

The City of Davis Finance and Budget Commission is meeting tonight at 6:30 to discuss proposed budget cuts, including that of the Davis Police Department.

Written comments can be submitted by 4:30 today to FBC@cityofdavis.org or can be given live during the meeting: https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/commissions-and-committees/finance-and-budget-commission/agendas

My guess is this will be on the 6/16 City Council agenda, and further comments will be needed directly to City Council, but the commissions are a good place to start.

See below for the letter I submitted.

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Not so much “community” in the BrightNight solar deal

47036D8C-C262-42A2-A15A-D4433024F394By Matt Williams


Intentions and goals are only words unless they are accompanied by accomplishments, and when it comes to accomplishments, especially in the realm of renewable power, City Hall is very good at "talking the talk" but not very good at “walking the walk.”

That is a bold statement.  Is it factual?  The answer to that is “Absolutely!” and the evidence of how little actual accomplishment the City has achieved is illuminated by looking at a side-by-side timeline of the City and Yolo County from 2011 to present.

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We have a problem in Davis

F7403023-8B59-4518-B391-D57E2C32E247By Emily Hill

White people of Davis, this is relevant here, too:

One of the fundamental things wrong with police culture is solidarity with violent colleagues. 

You may have seen the video of police in riot gear pushing over a 75 year old man who started bleeding from the head while the other officers present walked by him, seemingly unconcerned.

Two officers have been suspended and ALL 57 of the city's emergency response team resigned from the team in solidarity with their dangerous coworkers. There have been no consequences for the officers who stood by and did nothing. None of those 57 should be in any position of community authority, let alone with a service weapon.

This is not a problem "over there". This extends to Davis.

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Celebration of Abraham statement on killing of George Floyd

Celebration of Abraham (COA), a Yolo County interfaith organization for over 17 years, is saddened and outraged at the killing of George Floyd and expresses our deepest condolences to his family. We are anguished at the continuous violence black Americans have suffered throughout the history of our county—slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and the senseless killings at the hands of white vigilantes and law enforcement.

We understand that many in the law enforcement community, including the Davis Police Chief, are horrified and speaking out against the systemic racism and militarism in policing.

Celebration of Abraham encourages all to reflect and to take action so such acts of abuse of power are no longer the norm. "Othering," as discussed during one of COA's community conversations, is a divisive force that is among the roots of the problem. As humans, we are programmed to organize information we take from the world into categories. For much of recorded history, humans have used categorical differences to justify fear or power relations between groups. Our religions have within them the capacity to unite us, though there are those who use these traditions to divide us. Our Abrahamic faith traditions tell us to value the other.

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Davis Soroptimists present community grants

Communicare
A baby gets a checkup at a Communicare Health Center. A Soroptimist grant will fund a new postpartum group for moms in need. Courtesy photo.

(From press release) This spring, Soroptimist International of Davis awarded $6,500 in funds to like-minded nonprofits through its annual Community Grants program.

The following organizations received awards:

  • Communicare Health Centers received $2,000, to supply a new postpartum group providing moms and babies with the best start possible through education, community support and health care.
  • Thriving Pink earned $1,500 for educational workshops to support local breast cancer survivors.
  • Yolo Diaper Bank received $1,000 to purchase the supplies needed to wrap and deliver 100,000 diapers over the year to agencies that distribute diapers to families that would otherwise not have enough.
  • Yolo Children’s Fund was awarded $1,000 to meet the needs of girls and teens who are abused or disadvantaged. It funds special projects, needs or educational enrichment that would otherwise go unmet.
  • Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee received $1,000 for legal documents to help individuals get housing, employment and aid, especially women who need to support their children or escape violence.

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