Entries categorized "Ethics"

Concern Regarding Moderating Practices on the Davis Vanguard

Vanguard-policyNote: Prior to giving permission to the Davisite to post this, the author sent this piece to the Vanguard yesterday, saying "If you have any particular concerns, please let me know before 8:00 a.m., tomorrow. (Alternatively, if you'd like more time to respond, please let me know that as well.)". He did not receive a response.

By Ron O.

I am writing this article in regard to my personal experience, as well as what I’ve witnessed regarding ongoing problems with the Davis Vanguard’s policies and practices in reference to moderating of comments (as well as the general commenting environment).  These problems are interfering with the Vanguard’s mission to operate in an “open and transparent manner”, and are contributing to a rather hostile commenting environment in which to challenge and discuss the issues presented.

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Downward spiral of Davis discourse

Misrepresenting the facts

Note: The following letter was sent to the Davis Enterprise on December 20, 2019, but so far they have chosen not to publish it.

Prt_220x220_1389426708By Roberta Millstein

After my previous letter to the editor concerning unprofessional and rude behavior at the City Council was published, I had hoped to say nothing further about the matter, especially after seeing Anne Ternus-Bellamy’s excellent December 6 summary of events. Unfortunately, Brian Horsfield responded by mispresenting what had happened and accusing me of lying. Eric Gudz likewise misrepresented the facts and accused me of “smearing” Councilmember Will Arnold.

So, I feel the facts need to be set straight. I refer the reader to Ternus-Bellamy’s article, but to reiterate: On three separate occasions, several Davisites and I took our personal evening time to go to Council meetings, pointing out vague and conflicting project descriptions, the absence of information on City websites, the dearth of opportunity for citizen input into projects, and more. (See, e.g., here and here).

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Why dropping SAT/ACT admission requirements isn’t a “dumbing down”

The tests do, in fact, discriminate against low-income students

Bubble-sheetBy Roberta Millstein

A recent letter to the editor in the Davis Enterprise decried the move to drop the SAT and ACT as part of the college application process.  The letter writer states that to get rid of these standardized tests would be to “dumb down” the educational process, suggesting that people need to accept that not everyone’s abilities are the same and that some students just need to work harder.  The letter writer rejects out of hand the suggestion that the tests “discriminate against minorities and the poor.”

Letters like this remind me that there are a number of facts about these standardized tests that are not well known.  So, in the interests of education (yes, a double meaning here), I thought it would be helpful to rehearse some of them.  I will focus on the SAT because that is the test I am more familiar with.

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Bats Ignored in Environmental Review for Mace Business Park

2019-12-23_17-43-09Will new ARC SEIR do better?

This letter was sent to Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney on December 23, 2019.


Dear Mr. Feeney,

I am writing to draw your attention to a significant omission in the Mace Ranch Innovation Center Project Final Environmental Impact Report dated January 2016. At no place in the FEIR is there any consideration for Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis), or for Hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus).

Just over 2 miles from the MRIC/ARC site is “One of the largest seasonal Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) colonies in California. An estimated 250,000 individuals strong.” (https://baynature.org/2013/07/25/yolo-bats/). This colony roosts under the Yolo Causeway bridge and has been well documented in the Davis Enterprise and the Sacramento Bee (https://www.davisenterprise.com/community/see-bats-at-the-causeway/, https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article31141712.html).

I have personally observed bats flying over the MRIC/ARC site during summer months, but there is no mention of bats in the FEIR, or any of the underlying documentation.

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Reflecting back on VCE's year

What a year it's been!

VCEBy Tom Stallard

The end of each calendar year offers an opportunity to sit back and reflect on the goals reached over the past 12 months and to look forward to a new year of possibilities and challenges.

At Valley Clean Energy — your local not-for-profit electricity provider— we’re working hard to fulfill our mission to deliver clean electricity, energy product choice and greenhouse gas emission reductions, all with local control at competitive prices.

Since June 2018, we’ve been serving 55,000 customers in the cities of Woodland and Davis plus the unincorporated area of Yolo County. That number will grow when customers in Winters are enrolled after the city became an official member of VCE this month.

Thanks to the creativity and dedication of our professional staff, and the visionary leadership of my colleagues on the board, the past year has been jam-packed with accomplishments. Here’s a brief review:

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Valley Clean Energy Welcomes Legacy Solar Customers

VCEThe Valley Clean Energy board of directors has adopted a policy governing how legacy solar customers — those who installed solar systems prior to VCE’s launch in June 2018 — are enrolled with the local electricity service provider.

“We’re thrilled to begin enrolling solar customers, also known as Net Energy Metered customers, beginning in January,” said Tom Stallard, VCE board chair and a member of the Woodland City Council.

“Solar customers have already demonstrated a financial commitment to renewable energy, and it will be great to have them in the fold, helping all of us take a big leap toward a more sustainable future for our communities.”

Beginning in January and continuing through December 2020, PG&E solar customers will be automatically enrolled in VCE service during their existing PG&E true-up month. As with all VCE customers, these solar customers will have the choice to opt out and stay with PG&E.

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ARC Project Recommended Sustainability Features

Recommended Project Alternatives for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-sustainabilityThe following comments were submitted to the City by The Aggie Research Center Working Group, an ad hoc committee of interested Davis environmentalists with experience in evaluating land use and planning issues in Davis, on December 7. The Group has collaboratively developed this set of recommended sustainability features for the project and submitted them to the developer in November, 2019. With his knowledge, these recommendations are now formally submitted as scoping comments to the supplemental EIR for the purposes of evaluating desirable sustainability alternatives for the project

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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I. SUSTAINABILITY PLAN

Functional Goal: Develop and implement a comprehensive Sustainability Plan and ensure sustainability commitments made in the Plan are embodied in the subsequent Development Agreement and implemented and maintained for life of project.

  1. Mandatory, measurable and enforceable.

  2. Equivalent in scope and detail to Nishi.

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Business park outside of Mace curve: More environmental review

Questions about traffic, area impacts, climate change

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-traffic-climateThe following comments were submitted by Roberta Millstein to the City of Davis. This is part 2 of 2; other comments submitted by Millstein and posted earlier addressed land use, parks/greenways and open space.  These comments serve as recommendations as to the scope and content of the supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the "Aggie Research Campus," a proposed massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, focusing on the changes in project and conditions from the previous Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) proposal.

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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The following questions need to be addressed by the Supplemental EIR for the “Aggie Research Campus” (please note that wherever I say “impacts” I mean “environmental impacts”):

Continue reading "Business park outside of Mace curve: More environmental review " »


Business park outside of Mace curve: environmental review

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-landuseQuestions about land use, parks/greenways and open space

The following comments were submitted by Roberta Millstein to the City of Davis today. This is part 1 of 2; other comments submitted by Millstein to be posted later [edit: see here] will address traffic/transportation, area impacts, and climate change impacts/interactions.  These comments serve as recommendations as to the scope and content of the supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the "Aggie Research Campus," a proposed massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, focusing on the changes in project and conditions from the previous Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) proposal.

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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The following questions need to be addressed by the Supplemental EIR for the “Aggie Research Campus” (please note that wherever I say “impacts” I mean “environmental impacts”):

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Business Park Developer Accused of Providing Misinformation

Lawyer
Attorney representing the business park defends a questionable table at the EIR scoping meeting.

Last minute release questioned

Attorney's for the Massive Mace Business Park dubbed "ARC" provided the City of Davis with a letter and tables in preparation for the EIR scoping yesterday. The City posted these documents to the City Website and emailed them to select individuals. Unfortunately these documents have come under scrutiny for possibly containing misinformation.

The City of Davis did not vet the information before releasing it to the public and injecting it into the EIR process. In the words of City Manager Mike Webb, "These documents were submitted by the applicant and therefore are appropriate to posted to the city web site as such."

When asked if the "City has opened itself up to litigation by sending false and misleading information out in advance of tonight’s meeting," Webb stated, "The City, as you know, does not edit documents that are submitted by the applicant. "

The letter below details some of the problems with the applicant's last minute release:

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Unitrans and the Davis Food Co-op Give Back to the Community

“Stuff the Bus” Food Drive on Saturday, Dec. 7

Uni_stuff_the_bus_flyer

(From press release) Unitrans and the Davis Food Co-op are proud to host the “Stuff the Bus” holiday food drive to support The Pantry, the University of California, Davis, an Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD) led organization that provides nonperishable, high-protein food for UC Davis students struggling to pay for meals.

A vintage Unitrans London double-decker will be on display at the Davis Food Co-op and volunteers will be receiving food donations from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Davis Food Co-op, 620 G St.

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Post-Carbon Potluck & Mace business park environmental review

Rough-ARCmap-corrected copyTwo important events at almost identical times, but synergy possible

By Roberta Millstein

Attend a climate crisis potluck or give comment on the scope of an environmental review?  Both?

The first event: the Davis Post-Carbon Association (DPCA) is having a potluck this Monday, Dec 2 in the Davis Library: Blanchard Room 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can meet fellow residents who are taking action and learn how you can join the effort!

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WHO WAS MAX BENSON?

CandleAN INTERVIEW WITH HIS MOTHER, STACIA

#SHINEONMAX

 

On Sunday, November 17, 2019, people around the world lit candles in honor and remembrance of Max Benson.  The local vigil was powerful, but worldwide, the hashtag #ShineOnMax became a unifying and powerful movement to bring the world together in solidarity of valuing autistic lives.

Max was killed after being placed in an illegal prone restraint for nearly two hours at his school.  Soon, The Aspergian will cover this story in more detail, but right now the world needs to know Max outside of “the boy who was killed.”

Max was a boy who lived, a bright, vibrant, loving, curious, hilarious, creative, outgoing soul whose life had purpose and value.

I talked to Stacia Langley, Max’s mom, to get to know Max outside of the sparse, often-dehumanizing soundbytes that have punctuated the news stories about his last days.

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The Home Wood-Burning Season of the 2019–2020 Winter is HERE!

Please take care to reduce wood-smoke emissions from your fireplace or wood stove.

Wood-stove(From press release) As the weather cools, home fireplaces and stoves are starting to heat up. But while a wood-burning fireplace or stove is cozy indoors, smoke from poorly managed home burning can be harmful for those living nearby.

Smoke is dangerous and can affect air quality indoors as well as outside.

Wood smoke contains a variety of harmful gases as well as very small particles that can damage the lungs, blood vessels, and heart. When too many people operate wood-burning fireplaces and stoves at once (or when wood-burning fireplaces and stoves are operated under poor conditions), locally high concentrations of wood smoke can result.

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VCE Integrated Resource Plan Workshop

Information / Questions / Customer Input

VCE(From Press release)  – Valley Clean Energy will host a public workshop in early December to discuss and seek input to their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The workshop is open to all VCE customers and interested parties, and will offer information and answer questions, while gathering input from customers.

VCE’s IRP outlines our planned power supply for the next 3 years and provides a forecast for expected electric demand and resource supply until 2030. The IRP also details our commitment to renewable and low carbon energy procurements. The IRP is a VCE planning document that is updated every 2 years and is also governed by regulatory requirements. Our final plan will be submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for consideration in May 2020.

The workshop agenda will include:

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Mace Mess: 11 Broken Promises

Mace mess2Squandered Trust

Comments given to the Davis City Council by Mimi McMahon

Trust is an important element when citizens elect officials to act on their behalf.  There is no room for special interests or personal gain.  A promise is a contract. The City has squandered the trust of Davis citizens and those affected by the Mace Mess you and your staff have created.  You have wasted millions of dollars of our hard-earned taxes. 

Broken and Unfulfilled Promises

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Unprofessional behavior from City staff and Councilmember Arnold

Poor communication continues; irregularities confirmed

Appl-received-aug-2019By Roberta Millstein

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, several Davisites and I showed up to give public comment about an item on the Consent Calendar, scheduled to be approved without discussion. The item concerned the environmental review for a new housing project proposal for Olive Drive.

We raised concerns such as: the fact that this was the first time the project was disclosed to Davisites, preventing any input from citizens prior to review; the failure of City staff to provide the project application and description, only providing them when Colin Walsh noticed that they were missing and requested them, with the result that Davisites had less than the required 72 hours to review (see article from Colin Walsh); and the likelihood that the project is not realistic as proposed, which would make the environmental review pointless at best.

This was the third time in recent days that we have had to raise concerns about items being on the Consent Calendar that should not have been, the other two times having to do with a proposed ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside of Mace curve.

Last time, Councilmember Will Arnold yelled at us.  This time, he compared us to Flat Earthers.

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Thursday's Caltrans Workshop Key to Davis Growth and Climate Future

IMG_6919By Alan Hirsch

On Thursday Caltrans will hold a workshop on the future of the I-80 corridor, Davis’s Connection to the rest of the World.  It will be in the Blanchard room of the Library at 6:30pm.

Caltrans will be considering different options to deal with transportation demand in this corridor.

Will they just address only thru traffic, i.e. Tahoe Snowbirds...or real needs of people who live in the corridor, for example transit needs that can’t be met by slow, limited stop and expensive Capitol Corridor Train service or the anemic and unreliable Yolobus service?

If you care about traffic on Mace Blvd...or how we can have accommodate economic growth in Davis -- like the proposed 12,000 (!!!)  trip a day Aggie business park on Mace curve  -- this is the meeting to go to.

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Linda Deos responds to anti-Provenza op-ed

Supervisor race kerfuffle

Linda-Deos
Linda Deos, candidate for Yolo County Supervisor

By Linda Deos

Last week, the United States House of Representatives began impeachment hearings, focused on the President’s decision to withhold Congressionally approved military aide from Ukraine in exchange for dirt on his political opponent. This same week, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court indicated it might take away DACA, President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, threatening millions of young immigrants with potential deportation. These actions highlight the vast powers of the state, and the ways they can be wielded against innocent people.

We live in the City of Davis, often referred to with a bit of pride by longtime, liberal residents (and consternation by more conservative ones) as ‘The People’s Republic of Davis.’ But we are also the city that made national news a few years ago when protesting students were pepper sprayed by campus police. And now we are a city where a longtime Enterprise columnist casually referred to a group of Davis residents as “Trumpian” for writing an op-ed in the paper.

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United Methodist Alternative Giving Fair Benefits Non-Profits

(From press release) Benefit the greater good while shopping for the holidays at the Davis United Methodist Church Alternative Giving Fair, Sunday morning, November 24, from 9:30 to 1 pm. 

The fair will include homemade items, handicrafts from around the world, calendars, cards and other seasonal items.  All proceeds benefit non-profits, such as Heifer International, Sierra Club, Grace Garden, Sahaya International, and United Methodist service projects.  The church is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. 

Davis United Methodist Church is a reconciling and an inclusive community of faith.  Church services are Sundays at 8:30 and 11:00.  For more information, visit www.davisumc.org or contact the church office at davisumc@davisumc.org or 530-756-2170.