Entries categorized "Ethics"

Smoky Days Ahead!?! Leafblowers, Buses and Climate Shelters.

7.27-28_windsI just sent the following to the City Council, relevant Commissions (BTSSC, NRC and SSC), County Supervisors and Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District...

Per Weather.com the winds will shift to the north (and variants) at least part of this Tuesday and Wednesday. The prevailing south winds (from the south) have until now seem to have helped spare Davis and the immediate region (esp. to the west) from wildfire fallout from the huge fires east of Chico.

As the wind may not just shift until late Monday or early Tuesday, I hope that Staff will be prepared to put the leaf blower ban into effect. (Note that most of the combined air region has had Spare the Air days for most or all of last week, if only for ozone)

Davisinbottomleftcorner
Davis is in the lower left corner - https://fire.airnow.gov

Spare the Air means that Unitrans is free. Possible smoke and almost certain heat (esp on Wednesday through Friday) will in my understanding open our "Climate Shelters" at Vets and the Mary Stephens Library. As 14th Street is served by Unitrans buses (1 to 3 lines depending on the time of year and day of the week) it seems like a good and free way for many to get to the Climate Shelters, yes? It seems likely that Climate Shelters disproportionately serve lower income people who have less access to not only modern HVAC but also personal motor vehicles.

Unfortunately the free Unitrans service is in tiny print at best on the Share the Air notices (email or website), and as far as I recall has never been mentioned in the City's notices about the Shelters. All of these programs are happening, but the communication is not joined up, and few know about them

SparetheAir-Unitrans

Beyond this, I don't understand why Yolobus doesn't have free service during Spare the Air days. Do I understand this correctly? Can people in Davis get to Climate Shelters (or anywhere else urgent) during a smoke and/or wildfire fallout event by free public transport, but not anyone else in Yolo County?

Thanks for taking immediate action when necessary.... or preemptively!


Sustainability, Adaptation, and Regenerative Farming: Understanding Responses to Global Warming

This article was first published at https://islandviewmedia.net/blog/ and is reprinted here with permission of the author.  Davisites may find it of interest given the re-surfacing of the DISC project, which would pave over farmland and replace it with an automobile-oriented industrial project.  Regenerative farming envisions a way that the land could be used to combat rather than contribute to climate change and could potentially be deployed in various places in the Davis area.

By Robert Chianese

We strive to ensure our future by living, growing, and building sustainably. I’ve written about “Sustainability” since  the 1970’s, starting with my prize-winning essay on forming a local Sustainability Council which I did here in Ventura County. I became a true believer in its promise to reduce our impacts on the planet through its very tough tri-fold requirements: use renewable energy, no toxics, cause no loss of biodiversity.

I later saw its promise fade as it became lost first in the fraudulent use of the term to “green-wash” all sorts of products and processes–lying about their sustainability. The FTC issued “Green Guides” in 2012 to push back on unsubstantiated claims about so-called green products, but corporations ballyhoo the term even more now. We hear boasts about the eco-friendly products of Clean Coal Energy, ExxonMobil, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Malaysian Palm Oil and the Fur Council of Canada. Short-term ugly profit is more like it.

Even more disturbing are current reports about our failures to shift off our carbon-hungry diet. Through our human-caused, “anthropogenic” actions, we cloak the globe in a heat shroud, intensifying droughts, wildfires, floods and sea level rise. Nothing sustainable here.

Teenage phenom Greta Thunberg spent almost a year investigating how well we are meeting our environmental challenges. The documentary, “I Am Greta,” follows her through various countries and climates in search of sustainability successes, but she’s mainly discouraged and defeated. She even confronts the dean of environmental programs, David Attenborough about his gorgeous nature films in the time of climate systems collapse. He half-concedes he needs to change his pitch. His new series “A Life on the Planet” tries to atone for glossing over our very un-gorgeous damage to the earth.

Ecologists have come up with new concepts we need in order to save the planet. Some say we need to adapt to the new climate realities, which implies accepting the damage we have done and adjusting to it. But neither adaptation nor adjustment get defined clearly.

Continue reading " Sustainability, Adaptation, and Regenerative Farming: Understanding Responses to Global Warming" »


You might be a YIMBY if...

Affordablehousingmeme

By Rik Keller

You might be a YIMBY[1] if:

  1. You advocate for zoning deregulation and “filter down” affordable housing thinking those are very different from Reaganomics, deregulation, and trickle-down housing.

  2. You are a “faux-gressive” who laces your rhetoric with terms like “social justice” and “equity” and “sustainability” without thinking of the impropriety of appropriating and co-opting those terms; meanwhile, the effects of the policies you promote kick people of color out of their homes in lower-income areas  and promote unregulated sprawl  onto farmland or habitat.

  3. You pretend that people who point out the deep connections of your movement to development real estate interests and funding are “conspiracy theorists.”

  4. You need a foil to vilify, so you pretend there are organized NIMBY[2] groups that want nothing built anywhere ever, then ferociously battle this strawman.

  5. You claim we have “under-built” housing for decades and blame it on the NIMBY boogeyman without evidence.

  6. You think that because you took one economics class in college and learned one thing (the “law” of supply and demand, not really a law at all), you understand complex housing markets and that your simplistic prescriptions are “solutions”.

  7. You engage in naive magical thinking, conjuring up a world where if you build more housing, only the people you want to move in, move in—no rich out-of-town investors! —and developers will want to build so much housing that prices will drop, reducing their profit margins.

  8. You claim affordable housing activists who advocate for specific affordable housing programs are too naive to understand how free market capitalism and Econ 101 will benefit them.

  9. You avoid even mentioning actual programs that produce affordable housing such as inclusionary zoning programs and funding public housing.

  10. You believe that “build baby build” is the only answer and eschew all other solutions or even suggestions as to how to get affordable housing built.

  11. You don't care where you build. It could be next to a freeway, in a historic neighborhood, on prime farmland, or wherever—just build.

  12. Your movement belittles, insults, and vilifies anyone who points out the flaws in your reasoning as a way to distract from the real issues.

  13. You try to start class wars and generational wars, pitting the middle class (especially older) against people with lower incomes, in favor of high-income developers.

 

[1] YIMBY stands for “Yes In My Back Yard.” However, since YIMBYs often advocate for building in other areas outside of where they live, YIYBY (“Yes In Your Back Yard”) might be more accurate, albeit not as easy to say. “BANANAS” (Build ANything ANywhere AlwayS) is another suggested acronym. Self-identified YIMBYs have been making their presence known in Davis.

[2] NIMBY stands for “Not in My Back Yard.” No one actually calls themselves this; it’s an insult that YIYBYs (see previous footnote) like to sling against anyone who tries to argue for good projects and good planning.

 


Care Not Cops Protest

IMG_20210615_192926344(From press release) For over a year, the Davis community has been demanding changes to how the city approaches public safety, including the creation of a new independent Department of Public Health and Safety that emphasizes preventive solutions instead of the reactionary and punitive measures employed by police officers. To accomplish this, the community has asked the City of Davis to reduce the police budget and transfer those resources to properly fund this new department. After reviewing this year’s proposed budget, Davis community leaders are disappointed by the complete lack of consideration for community demands regarding increased health and safety resources. The city is considering hiring more police officers, and this year’s budget includes no new funding for social services and actually increases the police budget. 

A new department could employ social workers, civil servants, and mental healthcare professionals to take on tasks like mental and behavioral health calls, welfare checks, code enforcement, traffic enforcement, noise complaints, and more.

This Tuesday, June 15th,  Yolo Democratic Socialists of America held a car caravan through downtown Davis ending with a protest at City Hall to pressure Davis City Council to adopt a budget that reflects the community’s values. The budget is set to be adopted on June 22nd.

Continue reading "Care Not Cops Protest" »


What the HEC is Going On? Part III

image from davisite.typepad.comConflicts of Interest in the City of Davis Housing Element Committee

 by Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

 Note: The preceding Part II in this series covering Brown Act violations is here:

 “Housing Element Committee members are expected to remove themselves from all discussions and votes on matters in which they have any direct personal financial interest.

 

In gauging such extra-legal conflicts of interest and/or duty, each member shall exercise careful judgment and introspection in giving priority to the interests of fairness and objectivity; if there is any reasonable doubt that the member has a conflict, the member shall refrain from participation in the committee’s deliberations and vote(s).” – City of Davis Housing Element Committee Ground Rules (p. 4)

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On? Part III" »


What the HEC is Going On? - Part II

Under rugThe City’s Denial of Brown Act Violations by the Housing Element Committee and Certain of Its Members is Not Credible nor Factually-Based

 by Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

 Note: A subsequent Part III of this series will cover conflicts of interest of HEC members in detail

 Introduction

Last week the authors wrote a carefully-researched and well-documented article on the City of Davis’s Housing Element Committee (HEC) alleging several serious violations of the California state Brown Act open meeting laws prohibiting direct communications between members of jurisdictional bodies. As stated in that article, the composition of the Council-appointed HEC, which is supposed to represent a “diversity of interests” in the community, was instead primarily composed of development and real estate interests and their local supporters.

In our article, we also disclosed that several weeks ago, there were a last-minute series of policy recommendations very favorable to the real estate and development interests in the City that were suddenly introduced to the Committee by these same real estate and development interests. These recommendations, in direct violation of the Brown Act, were sent directly from one member of the HEC to the entire HEC.

The HEC then further violated the Brown Act in considering and voting to adopt the same recommendations without publicly noticing that these recommendations were being considered by the HEC. In essence, these recommendations were introduced secretly to the HEC and then voted upon without full public disclosure and scrutiny of the recommendations. Furthermore, the development and real estate interests on the Committee failed to adequately disclose conflicts of interest in terms of their investments and holdings in the City that would be impacted by these very same favorable recommendations approved by the HEC (see more on this point in the coming Part 3 of this series of articles).

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On? - Part II" »


California’s Huge Budget Surplus Provides Once in Lifetime Opportunity to Bury Fire-Causing Power Lines

Four power line fires map Sonoma Independent June 3 2022

By Nancy Price

Despite predictions of an even worse year for wildfires and power shutdowns than 2020, not one dollar of California’s immense $76 billion budget surplus is being allocated to actually prevent wildfires which is to bury overhead power lines.

Since 2017, four of the six most destructive fires have been sparked by overhead power lines. Burying just a tiny fraction of these lines that pose the highest risk of fires is by far the most important preventive measure to protect us from catastrophic fires and the terrible cost we pay with our lives, health, economy and environment. 

Preventing fires mean we can protect our forests that are much need carbon sinks so we can realize our state’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

Burying overhead wires would also eliminate the expanding number of massive power shutdowns that liability-averse utility companies order because of the fire risks. These shutdowns impacted 2.5 million Californians last year, especially the elderly and infirm, whose lives sometimes depend upon medical machinery requiring steady electricity.

Continue reading "California’s Huge Budget Surplus Provides Once in Lifetime Opportunity to Bury Fire-Causing Power Lines" »


15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!

SD15
 
My strong feeling is that all local streets - including Downtown - should have a 15 mph design speed. This is already a number most are familiar with, as it's used alongside e.g. speed tables on school routes and even the sharp turn from 2nd St to L St.

The design speed is a speed that most people feel comfortable moving at in motor vehicles. People on bikes can also feel a design speed, but they are nearly infinitely more inherently safe than motor vehicles to others in the public ROW. 15 is also a bit faster than most cycling speeds.Traveling by bike on most greenbelt paths in Davis at 15 mph feels too fast - the paths are under-built - and perhaps the biggest design flaw in post 1970's Davis, sadly and ironically complemented by the clinically-insane wideness of many streets in West Davis, Mace Ranch and South Davis... but also much older streets in Old North, etc.
 
Does it seem slow? Perhaps. However, consider that for most journeys by motor vehicle a relatively short distance is on local streets. So any journey lengthening will be minimal.
 
Or can it even be shorter? Yes! 15 mph speed design is best complemented by elimination of existing mandatory stops; to be replaced by yields. It's these often unnecessary stops that lengthen journey time the most. Getting rid of them also decreases pollution (gas, particles and noise) and makes people less likely to feel the need to speed to the next stop sign.
 
So it can be both safer and faster!

Continue reading "15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!" »


Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!

2nd StRailway modification project along 2nd St. leads to subverted process and disrespected City policy.

The item "CCJPA 2nd Street Improvements 30% Design" is on the Consent Calendar for the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) today.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), which runs the eponymous rail service with partner Amtrak, is planning to make modifications to the railway parallel with 2nd St, roughly between L St and the Pole Line. A significant part of the project will also raise, repave and re-stripe 2nd St - there's long been a problem with railway ballast making its way to the street - and include installation of an ADA-compliant sidewalk on the north side of the street, where no sidewalk currently exists up to the west end of Toad Hollow.

So far, so good? Unfortunately not. The item involving a significant infrastructure modification is only on the Consent Calendar and the changes to the street itself - aside from the new sidewalk, which is clearly a good thing - are not following the 2016 Street Standards, and the whole length of 2nd St is not compliant with the 2013 General Plan Transportation Element.

Continue reading "Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!" »


What the HEC is Going On?

IMG_0744The Subversion of the Housing Element Committee (HEC) Deliberation Process by Hidden Development Interests

Note: Several recent articles in the Davisite touch on the subject matter discussed here: For other comments on the Housing Element’s failure to address affordability and the proposals being pushed by development and real estate interests, see Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing (5/27/2021). See also Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California (5/25/2021) For comments on problems with the City of Davis’s decision-making process see Good decision-making process involves staff and City Council too (6/3/2021)

By Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

The City of Davis’s Housing Element Committee (HEC), which is supposed to represent a “diversity of interests” in the community, was instead co-opted by development and real estate interests. Two weeks ago, there were a last-minute series of policy recommendations that were sprung on the Committee by these same real estate and development interests in violation of Brown Act open meeting laws. The HEC then further violated these laws in considering and voting to adopt the recommendations. Furthermore, the development and real estate interests on the Committee failed to adequately disclose conflicts of interest in terms of their investments and holdings in the City that would be impacted by the favorable recommendations approved by the HEC.

This subverted process brings up important questions: Why has the City directed a process that has so little public input, especially from genuine affordable housing advocacy groups? How did the City staff allow so many violations of Brown Act laws regarding transparency and open government? Why did the City select HEC members with such a preponderance of real estate interests instead of appointing more representatives from the affordable housing community?

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On?" »


Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California

Screen Shot 2021-06-06 at 11.20.18 AMConcerns raised about lack of public participation from all economic segments of the community without adequate time to review, among many other concerns. Additional changes are needed to comply with the law and provide the most effective strategies to address the critical housing needs facing Davis residents with low incomes.

Background: The City of Davis is preparing the 2021 – 2029 Housing Element to evaluate current and future housing conditions and identify housing sites to meet the community’s needs. Updating the Housing Element is a state requirement. The following letter commenting on the Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California was sent to the Davisite to post.

May 25, 2021

Jessica Lynch, Senior Planner
Department of Community Development and Sustainability
23 Russell Boulevard
Davis, CA 95616

Via email at jlynch@cityofdavis.org
Re: Housing Element Update 2021-2029, draft submitted May 3, 2021

Dear Ms. Lynch and City of Davis Staff,

We are writing to provide comments on the Draft Housing Element released for public comment and submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on May 3, 2021.

As you know, Legal Services of Northern California (“LSNC”) is a nonprofit civil legal aid organization providing legal assistance to low income individuals and families throughout Yolo County. LSNC’s mission is to provide quality legal services to empower the poor to identify and defeat the causes and effects of poverty within our community. LSNC has represented tenants in Yolo County since 1967. Last year, we handled more than 900 housing cases, including almost 200 cases for Davis households. Through our work, we gain insight into the struggles of low- income residents in Davis.

We have prepared these comments in partnership with and on behalf of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, a nonprofit coalition that works to ensure that all people in the greater Sacramento region have safe, decent, accessible and affordable housing in healthy neighborhoods supported by equitable public policies and practices.

The draft element adequately addresses many of the statutory requirements. Our comments cover areas where additional changes are needed to comply with the law and provide the most effective strategies to address the critical housing needs facing Davis residents with low incomes. We, along with SHA, are happy to discuss our comments and provide additional input as the City incorporates our suggestions and finalizes the draft.

Continue reading "Comments on Draft Housing Element from Legal Services of Northern California" »


Good decision-making process involves staff and City Council too

Screen Shot 2021-06-03 at 4.27.34 PM

The following letter was emailed as a comment for tonight's special City Council Subcommittee on Commission Process meeting.

Dear City Councilmembers and Commission Chairs,

It is extremely difficult to comment on this item without knowing more about what will be discussed. However, one concern I have – and I will just have to see where things go today – is how this group became a “Subcommittee on Commissions.”

The original letter that triggered this subcommittee, a letter that I co-signed, was titled “A Proposal for Improving City of Davis Decision Making.”  It included provisions regarding City Commissions, but it was not limited to that.  It also included provisions regarding “transparency, information, disclosure, and public engagement” as well as provisions “for developing and making decisions on Staff proposals submitted for City Council action.”  It was not just about how commissions operate.

It would be a missed opportunity if this subcommittee were to narrow its concerns from the letter’s original scope.  Indeed, it would be a sad irony, given the letter was in part prompted by commissioners feeling that they were not being heard and seeing their communications to the city lost in translation.

Continue reading "Good decision-making process involves staff and City Council too" »


Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing

Housing elementOn 5/26 the City of Davis Planning Commission met to discuss the draft housing element. The Housing Element is a state mandated component to the Cities General Plan since 1969, California has required that all local governments update the Housing Element on regular intervals to meet the housing needs within the community. The City of Davis is receiving comments on the 2021-2029 housing element through July 1st at 5pm. you can learn more about the 2021-2029 Davis Housing Element here Link .

What follows are the comments of Rik Keller to the Davis Planning Commission.

__________

5/26/2021

To: City of Davis Planning Commission

From: Rik Keller

Re: Housing Element Update

I have been a long-term affordable housing consultant and advocate since the mid-1990s. Locally, I have recently advocated for increased affordable housing for various projects in the City review process...

  • see: https://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/06/examination-affordability-nishi-projectmeasure-j-expensive-overcrowded/

...and for more equitable and inclusive housing policies in general:

  • see my 3-article series here: https://www.davisite.org/2018/10/keeping-davis-white-land-use-policy-is-a-civil-rights-issue.html

I am a strong advocate for addressing exclusionary housing practices. We already have tools in place to counter “snob”/exclusionary zoning. These include inclusionary zoning (IZ) policies that the City of Davis has in place as part of its Affordable Housing Ordinance [AHO] (see Article 18.05 of the Davis Municipal Code: http://qcode.us/codes/davis/view.php?version=beta&view=mobile&topic=18-18_05)

Unfortunately though, the City of Davis has drastically weakened its IZ policies in the past decade. In 2011, in response to pressure from development groups, it suspended its Middle Income Ordinance that was targeted to provide housing affordable to the local workforce. And in early 2018, the 25-35% requirement for inclusionary/affordable housing in the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance (AHO) was reduced to 15% “temporarily” because of a need to respond to State rules. In the almost 3.5-years since, the City has been promising to update its IZ requirements, but has repeatedly broken its own deadlines, and hasn’t completed the required studies to update it.

Continue reading "Davis Housing Element Fails Affordable Housing" »


"Should Trees Have Standing?"

IMG_7711The legacy of Christopher D. Stone.

By Nancy Price

It is fitting to honor Christopher Stone just when the Vanguard is hosting a webinar on the topic of Climate Change, SocioEconomic Disparities in Tree Cover and Sustainability on Sunday morning (May 23).

For those who have never read Stone’s seminal article, he is remembered by so many as the father of environmental law for his inspired, path-breaking article, “Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects.”

In this 1972 article in the Southern California Law Review where he taught at the USC Gould School of Law for 50 years, Stone wrote: “I am quite seriously proposing,…that we give legal rights to forests, oceans, rivers and other so-called ‘natural objects’ in the environment – indeed to the natural environment as a whole.” He went on to propose that these rights would be asserted by a recognized guardian, much as the law allows for guardians for children, incapacitated adults and others who have rights but require someone to speak on their behalf. As Stone pointed out, “the world of the lawyer is peopled with inanimate right-holders – such as trusts, corporations, joint ventures, municipalities…and nation states.” Stone was insisting that rather than treating nature as property under the law, that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.

Continue reading ""Should Trees Have Standing?"" »


The Yolo Way meets the American Rescue Plan

Our recovery from the pandemic must also be a response to the climate emergency
By Adelita Serena
You may have seen an internet meme that began as a March 2020 Graeme MacKay editorial cartoon. In one version, a “COVID” tsunami threatens a coastal city; behind it comes a larger “Recession” tsunami; behind it a “Climate Change” tsunami; and finally behind it a “Biodiversity Collapse” tsunami.

Despite Yolo County’s inland location, we need to take seriously the message of this cartoon — that our recovery from the pandemic must also be a response to the climate emergency. It must also address deeply entrenched economic and social inequities causing these crises to strike some communities and demographics much harder than others.

One immediate way to do this is to use our American Rescue Plan funding to develop narratives, programs, and projects that do all three: repair damage from COVID-19, fight climate change, and follow the leadership of frontline and long-disadvantaged communities for whom these efforts have the highest stakes. We can call our approach to these problems “The Yolo Way,” by which we signal our local recognition of what Martin Luther King called “an inescapable network of mutuality” and our commitment to making that network more healthy, just, fair and sustainable.

Continue reading "The Yolo Way meets the American Rescue Plan" »


Davis for Real Public Safety Bike Caravan/Teach-in

(From press release) Many Davis community members have been re-thinking public safety after episodes of police brutality and a long-time lack of adequate services for mental health issues, drug use, and houselessness. These issues have exacerbated racial disparities, which are particularly pronounced in Davis.

This is why Davis leaders have been sending hundreds of emails and public comments to the Davis City Council, urging council members to create a Department of Public Safety independent from the Police Department. Organizers argue that such a department could employ social workers, civil servants and mental healthcare professionals to take on tasks like welfare checks, code enforcement, traffic enforcement, noise complaints, and more.

This Saturday, May 15th, 1pm-3pm at Davis Central Park, Solidarity Space (4th and C), the Davis for Real Public Safety Coalition will be hosting a bike caravan followed shortly by a teach-in at Davis Central Park. This event will include a panel discussion to examine why Davis needs an independent public safety department and what community members can do to bring about a more just City of Davis.

Continue reading "Davis for Real Public Safety Bike Caravan/Teach-in" »


Senator Portantino Champions Ratepayer Equity Legislation

SB 612 creates fair system for managing legacy energy resources and reducing costs for all ratepayers

(From press release) State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge) has introduced SB 612 which requires that California electric ratepayers have fair and equal access to benefits associated with investor-owned utility (IOU) legacy energy resources and that the resources are actively managed to maximize their value. The bill, sponsored by the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA), will have its first hearing on April 26 before the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.  The bill would benefit community choice aggregators such as Valley Clean Energy, which serves electricity customers in Woodland, Davis, Winters and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County.

Legacy energy resources are a major concern because they account for billions of dollars in above-market costs in IOU energy portfolios, and the utilities rely on California ratepayers to pay the costs. They include capital-intensive utility-owned generation facilities and expensive long-term renewable energy contracts with third parties.

Under SB 612, legacy energy resources would be handled in more prudent ways that reflect new market realities and that reasonable steps are taken to minimize above-market costs that accrue to ratepayers.

Continue reading "Senator Portantino Champions Ratepayer Equity Legislation" »


Another Letter to Planning Commission - serious flaws with Davis-Connected Buyers Program

Dear Planning Commissioners -

At the upcoming Planning Commission meeting this Wednesday you will be presented with the newly proposed "Davis-Connected Buyers Program" for the Bretton Woods Project. This new proposal has serious flaws and is essentially gutless in terms of ensuring that a large percentage of new homes are sold to existing Davis homeowners thus freeing up current local housing stock for new families as promised by the developer in the actual language on the ballot in the Measure J/R vote in 2018.

I have written a detailed article published in the Davisite about the new program and its shortcomings that are so severe that it renders the program practically non-existent. To see the article click on the following title, Bretton Woods Attempts Another Bait and Switch with Its Davis Based Buyers Program.

In summary, the new Davis-Connected Buyers Program states that it will have prospective buyers sign a disclosure form identifying their link to Davis but that it also allows ANYONE to refuse to sign the disclosure form because they are a member of a protected class based on any race, gender or gender identity, ethnicity, religion, etc. I myself could refuse to sign the disclosure form simply because I am a straight married white agnostic male and the developer's new proposal says that would allow me to buy a new home even if I otherwise had no links at all to Davis. The developer also claims that they will not investigate or demand proof of any "protected status" claims because he does not want to intrude on the prospective buyers privacy. In other words, the developer will take any and all buyers thus opening the floodgates to anyone who wants to buy there and has the wherewithal to engage in bidding wars.

Continue reading " Another Letter to Planning Commission - serious flaws with Davis-Connected Buyers Program " »


Letter to Planning Commission Expresses Concerns with Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program

Below is the text of a letter submitted to the Davis Planning Commission for its April 14th meeting expressing issues and concerns with the Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program.

Commissioners:

I write to express concerns with the Davis-Connected Buyers Program (DCBP), which is scheduled to be presented at the Planning Commission’s April 14, 2021 meeting. I am disappointed that this agenda item is an informational update only rather than an action item. That suggests that the City Council is not interested in further commission input or recommendations on the DCBP and that its approval by the Council as submitted by the developer is a fait accompli.

I am now retired but have nearly four decades experience with state and federal fair housing laws. I was an attorney with Disability Rights California, California’s designated non-profit disability protection and advocacy organization, for 26 years and subsequently held positions as Chief Consultant for the Assembly Human Services Committee and as legislative director for the California Department of Developmental Services. I am also a former member of the Davis Social Services Commission.

Provisions of the DCBP do not make sense and the program will almost certainly not achieve its purported purpose. Most importantly, as has been alleged—including in a lawsuit challenging the DCBP that was subsequently dismissed without prejudice on procedural grounds—the DCBP is likely to perpetuate, and possibly exacerbate, existing racial disparities in Davis as compared to the region.

Continue reading " Letter to Planning Commission Expresses Concerns with Bretton Woods Davis-Connected Buyers Program" »


More concerns about Putah Creek restoration proposal

April 5, 2021

Davis Open Space and Habitat Commission

Re: Proposal for habitat restoration/public access project along the South Fork of Putah Creek east of the City’s South Fork Preserve

Dear Commissioners:

I recommend that you approach the proposal with great caution and offer these questions and comments. There is no objection to weed control, riparian planting, and modification of water diversion methods. But the largest part of this proposal is to modify channel form, and that is of great concern. It’s been tried before on Putah Creek in Winters at great cost and great loss to fish and wildlife and riparian forest resources.

The stream channel filling and alteration part of this proposal is premised on these erroneous ideas about the existing stream condition:

Continue reading "More concerns about Putah Creek restoration proposal" »


Please do not allow the Solano County Water Agency to destroy the Davis Putah Creek Preserve

Note: the following was emailed to the Davis City Council and to members of the Open Space and Habitat Commission early this afternoon.

Commissioners – Firstly, I apologize for this late communication so close to your Open Space and Habitat Commission meeting this evening. I just became aware yesterday of tonight's agenda item on the proposed study to modify Putah Creek through the Davis Putah Creek Preserve.

I represent Friends of Putah Creek which is a non-profit corporation formed in response to the disastrous waterway modifications that were made in the Winters Putah Creek Parkway by the Solano County Water Agency. These changes were made during the last decade under the same guise of remediation and restoration of the Creek to a natural "form and function" as is now represented by their employee tonight. The current study proposes to eventually implement many of the same misguided, non-scientific based "improvements" in the Davis Putah Creek Preserve which proved so harmful in Winters.

In response to the obvious outcome shortcomings of that project, Friends of Putah Creek undertook an extensive and quantitative evaluation of the project in terms of the subsequent habitat degradation and decline in plant and animal population in the Parkway. In this study we found substantial failure of the project to meet the promised improvements – even after spending over $7 million dollars on the 1.25 mile project itself and then millions more in subsequent efforts to remediate the damage caused by the project. Even today we are still seeing extensive tree die-back and loss of animal life that has yet to return. This is the worst example of environmental pork Yolo County has ever seen.

Continue reading "Please do not allow the Solano County Water Agency to destroy the Davis Putah Creek Preserve" »