Entries categorized "Housing"

An Open Letter to South Davis on Issues at Pacifico (January 2021, recycled)

Today the D. Vanguard recycled some old content from January 2021 in a 'new' article "Commentary: Long Troubled by Some of the Comments on Pacifico" and sprinkled in some recent content from an Anti-NIMBY Council-meeting public comment.

I, too, am disgusted by some of the comments on Pacifico, but the comments I find twisted are the opposite comments Greenwald is troubled by -- those by David Greenwald, Georgina Valencia and some much-DV-recycled comments by Gloria Partida . . . and the rest of the Usual Suspects of the "Anti-NIMBY" crowd.

My position remains immortalized in the following letter:

An Open Letter to South Davis (January 2021)

Hello South Davis,

I don’t live in South Davis, but I’m looking at District 3 100’ away out my window.

I share your problems and your concerns. There is a spot 200’ from my house where drug addicts / drug dealers / thieves camp outdoors. This is not a homeless encampment, it is a revolving crime den. In Spring 2020 I had three scary men on meth (I believe) approach me late at night and one threw rocks at me. There were numerous incidents of mental health outbursts. I slept little for two months as these people were up all night.

Our neighborhood mostly solved the problem *this time* eventually by having meetings with both the Police Chief and his Lieutenant, and relentlessly pestering the City Council. That took two months.

Your problems I have heard regarding Pacifico are similar, and thankfully also seem better but not solved. I am here with you in unity. We cannot participate in these issues only when the problem is next to us. We must support other Davis residents who have similar problems, as the problem is bigger than Pacifico, and bigger than the location next to me.

God Bless the people who are helping the truly homeless population that are in need. Those who spoke today on that are I believe sincere. However, the problem is not the needy, but the criminals. We cannot conflate these.

There have been times when residents, and subtly even our leaders, have shamed “the homed” for being “privileged” and not being sensitive to those in need. These are separate issues. We must recognize the needs of the truly homeless. We must also recognize that there is no shame in having a home and a roof over our heads, nor the need to protect our families and yes, our things.

When people talk of drug dealers and thieves, they are not talking about the needy homeless; we must not conflate the two as a rhetorical trick. We must recognize and acknowledge that shaming the ‘other’ and demonizing those with homes, and those without homes, will not result in constructive resolution. We must recognize the needs of all parties as legitimate. Except for criminals, they ‘need’ to be removed.

Alan C. Miller is a resident of Old East Davis

Development Planning Priorities for Davis

Note: As part of item 8 on Tuesday's City Council agenda, the City will consider an evaluation rubric as a possible tool for consideration of review of peripheral proposals. The following is an alternative rubric proposal.

Proposed by Judy Corbett, Alan Hirsch, Roberta Millstein, Alan Pryor, Bob Schneider, David J. Thompson, Colin Walsh, Stephen Wheeler, James Zanetto, and Sierra Club Yolano Group

1. Develop infill opportunities first

  • City to hire consultant or add staff to actively pursue and encourage implementation of the Downtown Plan and other infill opportunities.
  • Council action to initiate redevelopment of city-owned parcels on Fifth Street and communicate with potential nonprofit partners.
  • Council to approach school district regarding redevelopment of 5th Street properties.
  • Upzone parcels along arterial corridors and in shopping centers to a minimum height for mixed-use development so as to use land efficiently in central locations.
  • 100% affordable housing overlay zoning like the Cambridge model to create new affordable housing redevelopment opportunities in already developed areas. By focusing zoning changes only for affordable housing it gives affordable housing developers the opportunity to initiate redevelopment projects without competing against more lucrative for profit market rate developments for development sites.
  • Reduce parking requirements for these sites, including considering car-free housing on certain sites, along with low parking maximums, to encourage redevelopment & affordability; a package of policies to reduce motor vehicle use such as on-site car-shares, market pricing, good bike parking, transit improvements, etc.

2. Initiate and complete General Plan or Specific Plans updates.  This will provide a comprehensive look at the future and ensure consideration of cumulative impacts including traffic, water, wastewater and other infrastructure. A General Plan is preferred but an option might be a Specific Plan for the Northeast and /or Northwest areas. Any new planning process should be kept short and efficient so as to avoid the lengthy and expensive experiences of many past plans.

3. Peripheral development standards

Continue reading "Development Planning Priorities for Davis" »

Letter: Hibbert’s 224 Apartment Proposal Will Have NO Parking and NO Poor

This Loophole Must Be Removed

Hibbert’s SB 330 development avoids the Builder’s Remedy which at least requires 20% of the units for Low Income (LI) so on the face of it for 224 units projected there should be 44 units for low income households.

So by adding a measly 8,000 sq. ft. retail to a four story project, Hibbert’s avoids providing 33 low income units. Under SB 330 only 11 low income units are proposed which is 5%. None of units will serve very low income (VLI) households which is the city’ biggest gap in meeting the RHNA numbers of 580 VLI.

The project is exclusionary by design.

For the Hibbert’s site proposal under SB330 there will be no parking requirements. Think of the impact on G street neighbors and the Co-op in particular. Where will 250-300 vehicles park in the neighborhood?

David J Thompson

Housing SB423 and SB4 California Senate

By David J. Thompson

Passage of SB 423 will make “Builders Remedy” permanent for cities not having an approved housing element. Bill neglects building housing for very low income households.

Two bills relating to housing and requirements affordable housing have been sent to the Senate Floor. Because Davis has not had its housing element approved by the State of California, our city is now open to “Builders Remedy”. SB 423 makes permanent that any housing can be built as long as it has 20% of the units for low income households. Under SB 423 most city oversight is removed.

My critique of these two bills (SB423 and SB4 Weiner) is that they do nothing (as far as I can tell) to provide housing for the most in need group of very low income households (VLI) in our city. They do however; push for units for low income households (LI) and that might be as much as the housing advocates could lobby for in these two bills.

If these low income units are the only ones built then a city will continue to not meet its VLI targets. Does that mean therefore most housing elements will be found out of compliance? And therefore, the builders remedy will be the only law of the land? I have a call into the Senate to pose this question. (This paragraph added today)

Continue reading "Housing SB423 and SB4 California Senate" »

City Council is Jeopardizing their Proposed Tax Measure on the November 2024 Ballot by Withholding a Vote on New Peripheral Residential Development

By Alan Pryor

The Davis City Council recently decided at their April 4, 2023 meeting that they would explore all options for putting a new general tax measure on the November 2024 ballot while declining to place a peripheral housing project on the same ballot. The Council’s stated reasons are that they did not believe Staff had the “bandwidth” to process both ballot measures simultaneously and that they feared the controversy of placing a peripheral ballot measure on the same ballot as their preferred general tax measure ballot may harm the tax measure’s chances of success.

And at last Tuesday night's Council meeting they agreed to relegate all future peripheral Measure J/R/D housing ballot measure to special elections over at least the next few years. I believe this decision was shortsighted and made without a complete understanding of what motivates Davis voters to approve or disapprove of tax measures in Davis.

Aside from the obvious charge that the City is favoring adding new revenue to their coffers over providing needed housing in the community (after standing on their soap boxes and proclaiming the dire need for housing over and over again in the past), this decision displays a misunderstanding of the realities of Davis electoral politics and this lack of awareness may presage the failure of both the expected November 2024 general tax measure AND any new peripheral housing ballot measure on later special election ballots.

Let me explain.

Continue reading "City Council is Jeopardizing their Proposed Tax Measure on the November 2024 Ballot by Withholding a Vote on New Peripheral Residential Development" »

Recommendation to the Social Services Commission for Changes in Davis’ Affordable Housing Ordinance

The following was emailed as an attachment to the Social Services Commission yesterday for their meeting this evening (7 PM, Monday May 15) where they will be taking up proposed changes to Davis's Affordable Housing Ordinance.

by Roberta Millstein and Alan Pryor



The Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance (available at https://library.qcode.us/lib/davis_ca/pub/municipal_code/item/chapter_18-article_18_05?view=all) is now implemented on a temporary basis to account for changes in state law requiring economic justification if minimum affordable housing requirements for new projects exceed 15% of total housing units.  The current temporary ordinance is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2023, with proposed changes under consideration by the Social Services Commission at its May 13, 2023 meeting.

However, even with these proposed changes, the existing Affordable Housing Ordinance has provisions which we believe do not provide social justice, equity, and fairness in terms of meeting the needs of the City’s low-income population because it is biased toward the financial benefit of developers rather than maximizing the availability of affordable income housing in Davis.

We recommend the following changes to the temporary ordinance if it is renewed by the sunset date of June 30, 2023 and to a revised permanent ordinance.

  1. Eliminate ADUs as an acceptable alternative to provide on-site Affordable Housing - We recommend that Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) be completely eliminated as a way for developers to avoid constructing real Affordable Housing.

  2. Substantially increase in-lieu fees if chosen by a developer as an acceptable alternative to provide on-site Affordable Housing - We recommend that in-lieu fees be substantially increased so that it is no longer a financially preferable option for developers to pursue. 

We elaborate on each of these recommendations further below.

Continue reading "Recommendation to the Social Services Commission for Changes in Davis’ Affordable Housing Ordinance" »

The Proposed Village Farms Davis Development Project is NOT Threatened by Groundwater Contamination from the Former Davis Landfill Site

By Alan Pryor

Executive Summary and Conclusions

This article reports on potential groundwater contamination beneath the former Davis Landfill site north of the City of Davis on Poleline Rd. and the adjacent site proposed for the Village Farms Davis development project immediately south and southeast of the old landfill site.

During the contentious Measure X election in November, 2005 in which the proposed Covell Village project (on the same site as the current proposed development, Village Farms Davis) was rejected by voters, allegations were made that the site’s groundwater was contaminated by leaching of pollutants from the former Davis landfill site just north of the project. In particular, it was alleged that a carcinogen, vinyl chloride, was in the groundwater beneath the project site rendering the project unsuitable for development in as much as a deep well was proposed for the site to add to the City of Davis potable water supply.

In a recent City Council meeting (April 4, 2023) in which the possible timing of bringing peripheral projects before the voters were discussed, one public comment again stated that vinyl chloride was in the groundwater beneath the old Davis landfill and the proposed site for the Village Farms Davis project.

The parcel itself has so many problems. It has toxics in the north end from the land fill site. The old land fill site was not lined so there is vinyl chloride leakage from the old land fill and it’s substantial. Vinyl chloride does not go away.

These claims of vinyl chloride and other toxic compounds in the groundwater were based on data from the early 1990s though 2005 which showed some intermittent groundwater contamination (including some tests showing the presence of vinyl chloride) in shallow groundwater test wells beneath the old landfill and immediately to the south beneath the then proposed Covell Village project. These earlier monitoring well test results were reported in the EIR issued in the Covell Village EIR issued in 2005 and are further discussed below in the section entitled Summary of Well Monitoring Findings.

These reported findings were considered important at the time because, as stated above, the Covell Village project proposal included a new deep well on the project site to provide drinking water capacity for the proposed project and connecting into the City’s potable water supply network. Concerns were expressed that the shallow water contamination could worsen and impact the deep aquifer from which potable water would be drawn. Potentially compounding the problem was the discovery that the groundwater plume was migrating from the landfill toward the south and southwest in the direction of the proposed Covell Village project.

Annual testing of the monitoring wells subsequently occurred in the period since the Covell Village EIR from 2012 – 2019. These later tests showed a substantial reduction in groundwater contamination in the intervening years and the report from consulting engineers engaged by the City to evaluate the groundwater contamination showed the following results;

  1. NO Vinyl Chloride was found at all in any sampled groundwater from 2012 – 2019 nor were there ANY other VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) or metals found in any of the test well samples above the EPA's Primary Maximum Concentration Levels (MCLs) for drinking water.
  1. There were some measurements of nitrate (probably from past agricultural fertilization on the site) in the monitored wells that were in excess of Primary MCLs and some other naturally occurring minerals (selenium, manganese, and sulfate) that were intermittently in excess of Secondary MCLs but not hugely in excess of other well waters in the area.

    However, these are NOT a human health concern because the groundwater beneath the Village Farms Davis project site will NOT be pumped and used for drinking water purposes. Instead, the project will rely on City of Davis municipal drinking water supplies as delivered to the rest of the City.
  1. The plume of groundwater beneath the former landfill site and the proposed development project site was most recently determined to be moving toward the northeast away from the Village Farms Davis project site as a result in changes in groundwater extraction rates in the area. Thus, even if there was very unlikely leaching from the landfill site future in the future it would NOT migrate in the direction of the proposed development project.
  1. Based on the sampling results from 2012 - 2019 indicating no detectable amounts of vinyl chloride and no amounts of volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs) or heavy metals in excess of established EPA MCLs, it was recommended that the City discontinue annual testing and request a No Further Action letter from the Regional Water Board thus confirming the area is no longer considered a threat to groundwater contamination.

These later test monitoring results from 2012 – 2019 are also further discussed below in the section entitled Summary of Well Monitoring Findings.

Continue reading "The Proposed Village Farms Davis Development Project is NOT Threatened by Groundwater Contamination from the Former Davis Landfill Site" »

React in haste; repent at leisure

A few reflections on our recent tragedies

By Roberta Millstein

Before I say anything else, let me begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the family and friends of David Breaux and Karim Abou Najm.  Both were important contributors to the community, both with more to give.  The third stabbing victim, is, as of this writing, thankfully still alive.  Although her name has not been released yet, I venture to say that she too is an important member of our community.  I can say that with confidence because I deeply believe that we are all important community members.

With two of the three stabbing victims being unhoused, I am grateful to see that the City is working toward providing emergency shelter for those who are willing to accept it.  I hope that these efforts are successful; given that the perpetrator(s) have not been found, the unhoused members of our community are clearly more vulnerable than ever.

Beyond protecting those who most need it, what else can the City do?  Here I will admit to being tired, wrung out, and on edge, so I don’t have the energy to go on at length.  So what follows will be, I am sure, too brief.  But perhaps it will be enough to get people thinking.

Continue reading "React in haste; repent at leisure" »

Letter: Make the Wright vote

We are fortunate to have two good candidates for Davis City Council. I will vote for Francesca Wright because I see her as better able to think outside the box and be a results-oriented activist. I value her demonstrated strong commitment to address racial inequities. I appreciate that she is an experienced group facilitator as we need to have difficult conversations, especially with financial issues looming. She has demonstrated a need to help people before they are in crisis with the Department of Social Services. I appreciate her innovative ideas for dealing with climate change such as developing storage capacity with neighborhood microgrids and encouraging small farm food production and eco villages. She is committed to speaking up for renters, half of our Davis population and I respect that. I experience her as being a person with skills and heart.

Jean Jackman

Letter: Francesca is Wright for the City Council

Dear Davis Citizens,

In the upcoming Davis City Council Election please vote for Francesca Wright.

Two months ago, in her pursuit of input on affordable housing Francesca sought out my perspective.

I was pleased to share my experience and hear of her passion and plans to address affordable housing.

Francesca seems even-keeled, thoughtful and interested in the opinions of others. She has a long history of successful organizational activity on behalf of needed community solutions.

The city has to face some critical structural issues and I trust that Francesca has the competency, courage and common sense to tackle them head on.

She's Wright for the job.

David J Thompson

Letter: Vote for Donna Neville

I urge you to vote for Donna Neville on May 2 to fill the vacancy on the Davis City Council.  I am an advocate for the unhoused who has worked on homeless and low-income housing issues in Davis for many years, and I am impressed by her understanding of the causes of both chronic homelessness and temporary homelessness that results from an unforeseen crisis, such as a medical emergency, and. Her understanding has led her to propose specific, practical solutions. She understands that Davis can only deal with the issue by working to provide more housing for low-income workers and families.

Her emphasis on updating the General Plan reflects an understanding of the need for our city to plan and to develop a shared vision of what we want our community to look like over the next decades. She also understands that the General Plan is an important part of dealing with our multifaceted housing crisis. 

Donna also advocates for an Economic Development Plan where the city takes a proactive approach to determining how it will diversify our revenue and bring in the much-needed funding to take care of city infrastructure and continue to support city services. Her background in public finance will be invaluable in assisting in this economic development effort.

As someone who taught Environmental Studies for many years, I know that Donna has a real grasp of the need for action to address climate change. She will depend on the best science and will consider how the costs of various actions needed to address climate change will be borne by different members of the community. Her willingness to listen to everyone in the room will be important in ensuring that the city's policy is accepted by people living in Davis.

Finally, Donna's considerable professional experience as a government lawyer means that she has the knowledge and the experience to critically evaluating the information put before her.  As a city council member, she will clearly, fairly, and compassionately weigh the costs and benefits of varying actions before the council.

Please vote for Donna Neville for city council.

Helen Roland Cramer

Don't lose the opportunity for housing at University Mall site

By David J Thompson

Without a doubt, the University Mall site will be the greatest lost opportunity for housing in Davis in this ten year RHNA cycle. At 14+ acres, no other site presents the capacity for affordable housing as does University Mall. In terms of a real (not imagined) site that the developer wishes to re-develop, the closest proximity to the UCD campus of any site, the opportunity to reduce student traffic, an option to swap parking spaces for housing, with thoughtful site planning an ability to accommodate additional stories of housing, a valuable site for affordable housing, the possibilities are endless and the benefits accrue to many of us that envision the future projects that Davis must foster. 

There will be no bigger loss to Davis’s needed future if a retail only plan is the regretful permanent outcome. There is no other site within Davis that provides such immediate and real value for the changes we need in land use.

However, it seems like Brixmor is intent on replacing a mall with a mall. In this era which requires a radical rethinking of city planning can we really be so bankrupt of options that a redone mall is the only outcome? We need big changes where we have big opportunities. So the City must turn down the Brixmor plan.

What could change the outcome?

  1. The City should pause the application process and enter into negotiations with Brixmor as to the best way for the City and the neighborhood to achieve a mixed use project. Every reasonable effort and inducement by the City should be looked at to encourage Brixmor to withdraw this present application and return with a mixed use application.
  2. Could the City use eminent domain to obtain the site for a housing only proposal that would eliminate the parking structures needed for the commercial site and replace it with housing? Repurposed as just housing at 40 units per acre the site can accommodate 560 apartments of which at 20% around 112 units would be affordable. The most ever affordable units in the history of Davis.

What an achievement that could be for the Davis future many of us want to build.

To the Planning Commission and City Council I ask you to pursue anything except a re-done mall.

Davis must grow up, not out

By Judy Corbett, Robert Thayer, Stephen Wheeler and James Zanetto

The Feb. 5 Davis Enterprise article stating that the City Council will examine ways of pre-approving housing developments on sites at the periphery of Davis in order to meet the city’s long-term “regional housing needs” allocation runs counter to the entire momentum of urban development economics and city finance.

It is well known that by building dense, vital downtowns, with multi-story housing and walkable amenities, cities may not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but actually build more positive property tax flows. Building at the periphery does the exact opposite by reducing income per acre from property taxes while increasing infrastructure maintenance including roads, water, sewers, flood control, street trees, police, fire and garbage collection.

Jeff Speck, author of “Walkable City Rules,” (Island Press, 2018) states that “communities that fund infrastructure with an eye to long-term return will invest in compact, mixed-use development — especially in historic districts — and not in sprawl.”

Beginning with the 1974 “Costs of Sprawl,” considerable research studies have shown that dense urban areas return far more revenue per acre than peripheral, auto-oriented development; the former actually subsidize the latter. (See the case studies website of Urban3: https://www.urbanthree.com/case-study/ )

Since the new Davis Downtown Plan addresses this, at least in the short term we need to avoid peripheral development that does not pay for its own ultimate financial impact on a wide range of city services. Portland, Ore., and the smaller California cities of Pasadena, Petaluma, Hercules and Lodi are examples of communities where the advantages of building strong downtowns can be observed today.

Continue reading "Davis must grow up, not out" »

Rent Increases, Price Gauging, Collusion — Republican Stew

2022-10-20 Porter Inflation
U.S. Representative Katie Porter

By Scott Steward

Rents have gone up so fast it has surprised even colluding real estate software marketer RealPage. Again blocked by Republicans, the “A Place to Prosper Act”, renters rights and rent increase control, never reached debate. Rent is not increasing because it costs more to keep up properties. Rents are higher because it’s what enough people can be forced to pay. Owners are charging computer generated higher rents, knowing that it will cause higher vacancies, because they can—increasing homelessness. It’s that bad.

Not one Republican voted for the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act. And if Republicans are the majority—you will never hear of the bill to make sure you are charged a fair price at the pump. Much more the opposite, put Republicans in power and you will fuel Putin’s Russian war, make Saudi’s rich and put American energy independence into the trash can.

Corporate profits are at records. This is true not because these corporations are adding value, it is true because they are charging high prices. Pharmaceutical companies, cable companies, oil companies—an average of 53% increase in profits over the last 6 months. How? By raising prices well over their costs—just plain old “because they can.” Biden is not the owner of Moderna, Xfinity or Exxon—most of inflation is being caused by corporate greed.

In the meantime Trump appointed judges ruled to defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a similar ruse was used to undercut the EPA, (saying agencies have to have more explicit power from Congress.) Hogwash! Guess what else is funded outside of regular appropriations—Medicare and Social Security. These Judges want to serve up these 50+ year old protections, including women’s reproductive rights, to the carving knives of MAGA Republican controlled majorities in the House and Senate.

Blame inflation on someone, that’s what Republicans are betting on even as their party will make the problem worse with giveaways to the rich and the same trickle down policies that gave 80% of us a zero increase in household income over the last 40 years. That’s their big idea.

Democrats can be forced to make laws that put Americans first. That’s why we have made some gains to see that regular Americans get fair compensation and opportunity—that is what is best for the economy—for Democrats, Republicans, Independents and everyone.

Celebration of Abraham Rocks the Block in West Sacramento with Habitat for Humanity

Rocks-the-block(From press release) On Saturday October 8 the Celebration of Abraham joined Habitat for Humanity Greater Sacramento to Rock the Block in West Sacramento. Our team comprised folks from all three Abrahamic traditions including Jewish (Renee Dryfoos, Gregory Guss, John Katonah and Dean Newberry), Muslim (Anne Kjemtrup, Kamal  Lemseffer and Timur Mamedov) and Christian (Mary Philip and Helen Roland Cramer). In addition to providing the interfaith work team, the Celebration of Abraham ran an on-line fundraising campaign and raised $1350 to supply the materials needed to work on the project.

The specific project that the Celebration of Abraham worked on was painting the transitional housing that Shores of Hope provides to folks aging out of foster care. Shore of Hope is a nonprofit in West Sacramento that offers among other services transitional housing, Slavic Women’s Health Outreach, emergency shelter, and a Food Closet. (See Welcome to Shores of Hope )

Letter: Comments on Mr. Morrell's take on homelessness in Davis

I am writing to share my deep concern about the comments that Adam Morrill, a candidate for city council (District 4) has made regarding homelessness and those who experience homelessness.  His comments should trouble all of us. Despite our move to district elections, we remain one city and one community. I have spent well over decade working on issues related to homelessness, serving on the boards of Davis Opportunity Village, the Yolo County Homeless and Poverty. I am also a member of the Interfaith Housing Justice Group. Mr. Morrell’s approach to dealing with the homeless issue lacks an awareness of the scope of the problem as well as an understanding of the limits of the resources of local nonprofits.

In the Davis Chamber of Commerce forum, he was asked about his approach to addressing homelessness. Early in the forum he referred to unhoused individuals as “violent transients.” He said that he thought a better solution to addressing homelessness than “kind of moving people along who are continually problems, people who aren’t interested in services” is “deeding over the sidewalks to the landlords because then it results in a “trespassing issue rather than just a camping issue.”” This approach will lead to criminalizing unhoused people. But he didn’t stop there, he went on to say that the city shouldn’t be in the business of social services and that these efforts are duplicative of what the nonprofits have already been doing. The nonprofits cannot solve the issue—they simply do not have the resources.

My deeply held view is that all humans deserve to live with dignity, and that includes the right to be in stable housing and to receive appropriate services. And I believe local government – because of its role in housing policy, enforcing building codes, and protecting public health -- has an important role in dealing with issue.  Mr. Morrill has a very restricted and troubling view of what it takes to build a community where everyone is safe.

I urge those who live in District 4 to vote for Gloria Partida.

Helen Roland Cramer

Winter Shelter for our Unhoused Residents

Why non-congregate (e.g. hotel/motel-based) shelter is the best solution

(From press release)

Background: The City of Davis, in coordination with several stakeholder organizations, is planning for winter shelter for our homeless Davis and Yolo County neighbors. The current proposal being advanced by the City’s Social Service and Housing Department is to use the city-owned house at 512 5th Street as congregate shelter for up to 10 people, with Davis Community Meals and Housing (DCMH) providing staffing, case management and administration of the program.

HEART of Davis (formerly Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter) is enthusiastically supportive of and interested in contributing to sheltering those who need it during the cold winter months. We stand ready to provide volunteers to provide food and other resources to those in need. However, we firmly believe that the 5th Street house is the wrong venue for this purpose at this time, for the following reasons:

  • The 5th St facility is far too small to address the need. Historically, there have been at least 20-25 people needing cold weather shelter on a nightly basis in Davis. Sacramento homeless camp sweeps will likely increase the need.

  • As a congregate shelter it may well be a source of COVID-19 outbreaks, during which time it will have to be closed, as has been the case with the 4th and Hope Shelter in Woodland.

    • During the closures, the only alternative will be using motel or hotel rooms for non- congregate shelter, or to provide nothing at all.
    • The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) shelter guidance (dated May 6, 2022) advises: “ When possible, the use of alternative housing sites or non-congregate settings should be considered in lieu of congregate shelters.” (See the attached rationale, written by Dr. Sheri Belafsky, UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, in consultation with the Yolo County Public Health Officer).

  • Some hotel rooms will be needed anyway for the vulnerable population. Those who are at highest risk for COVID will need to be sheltered in separate motel/hotel rooms to minimize health risks.

    • The City will then be implementing a second track of non-congregate shelter, which will require separate management. The City could reduce management costs and staff time by running just one non-congregate shelter program.
    • It will be very difficult to for our volunteers to provide food at two locations

Projected Costs: The room costs of such a program, assuming ~20 people per night for 4 months (120 days) would be 20 rooms x $100/night x 120 nights= $240,000. Demand each night will depend on the weather and other factors, such as screening criteria. HEART of Davis has offered a matching contribution $25K, which has thus far not been accepted by the city. Additional fundraising to pay for rooms, supplies, and other resources will be needed, and possible sources would be other organizations in Davis who support the homeless, the local business community, and, of course, the city.

What you need to know: Dana Bailey, Director of Davis’ Department of Social Services and Housing, is hosting a meeting with multiple interested organizations on Thursday, October 6, to present her current plan. The City Council will discuss this item at its October 18 meeting.

What you can do: Please spread the word to your networks and constituencies that the City Council needs to direct staff to pursue shelter options that can accommodate 20 or more people, such as a motel- based shelter. Please contact City Council members directly using the contact information below. Tell them:

  1. Winter shelter for our homeless neighbors is desperately needed in Davis.

  2. The proposal to use the city house for congregate shelter is both inadequate to address the need, and unsafe, from a public health point of view.

  3. Motel/Hotel-based shelter, like that provided last year, is probably our best option at this time, since we know how to run such a program and it needs to be up and running in a month.

  4. The City needs to, and can, find resources to run such a program. All that is needed is the political will.

  5. The Council should direct staff to focus on non-congregate shelter options that can house 20+ people/night.

Please contact the City Council, and plan to attend the October 18 City Council meeting. Spread the word!

Lucas Frerichs


City Council District 3

Term Ends: 2024

[email protected]


Will Arnold

Vice Mayor

City Council District 2

Term Ends: 2024

[email protected]


Dan Carson

Elected "At large"

(resides District 1)
Term Ends: 2022

[email protected]


Josh Chapman


City Council District 5

Term Ends: 2024

[email protected]


Gloria Partida

Elected "At large"

(resides District 4)
Term Ends: 2022

[email protected]


Attachment. Analysis from Dr. Sheri Belafsky
Rationale for non-congregate shelter whenever feasible this winter:

  • While case rates and hospitalizations have been trending down over the past month, significant virus circulation remains throughout Californiaincluding Sacramento and Yolo counties. Per CDC data, Yolo County currently has a low community level, however, “community transmission”, which reflects the presence and spread of COVID-19, is still “substantial”. (https://www.yolocounty.org/government/general-government-departments/health-human- services/adults/communicable-disease-investigation-and-control/covid-19)

  • Currently, the behavior of the COVID-19 virus is unpredictable, and the development of new variants this winter is possible.

  • Congregate emergency winter shelter constitutes a high-risk transmission setting for a population disproportionately at high risk for COVID-19 complications.

  • CDPH’s shelter guidance (dated May 6, 2022) advises: “When possible, the use of alternative housing sites or non-congregate settings should be considered in lieu of congregate shelters.” (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/infection-control-guidance- clients-congregate-shelter-including-homelessness.aspx). CDPH also advises that “Non- congregate housing should also be prioritized for:... those who are at high-risk for severe COVID-19 infection or medical complications should they become infected, such as people over 65 or those who have underlying health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infection.”
  • CDC recommendations for “medium” community levels include:

    • Testing in high-risk settings (these include settings that are enclosed with poor ventilation, and where there is close contact between residents
    • Masking with a high-quality mask if at high risk of complications from COVID-19 infection

  • In the event of COVID-19 outbreaks, other shelters with congregate housing have been forced to close intermittently with subsequent urgent re-housing of their guests in motel rooms to isolate.

Why DiSC matters for the City Council election

Some of DiSC’s proponents called it a tiny city. That suggests it is a microcosm of Davis as a whole and all of the issues it faces.

DCC with DiSC in background-2By Roberta Millstein

In a recent interview with the Davis Enterprise, Gloria Partida said that “I know that people right now are very focused on what happened with Measure H” but that being a member of Council is “not a one-issue job.”

However, Measure H represents a large number of central and key issues that future Davis City Councils will have to weigh in on.  It would have been bad for Davis in variety of ways, as Davis citizens widely recognized when they rejected the project by an almost 2-1 margin. 

Thus, a candidate’s stance on Measure H speaks volumes about their values and how they would govern.  Gloria Partida (District 4), Dan Carson (District 1), and Bapu Vaitla (District 1)  were strongly in favor of Measure H.  In contrast, Kelsey Fortune (District 1) and Adam Morrill (District 4) strongly opposed Measure H.

As the No on Measure H campaign emphasized in its ballot arguments and campaign literature, each of the following issues was relevant to the proposed project. In no particular order:

Continue reading "Why DiSC matters for the City Council election" »

Part 2 Candidate Responses to the Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for the 2022 Davis City Council Election

Sierra Club logo

Land Use and Housing Development – Downtown Core and Student Housing

Introduction - As has been our custom for over 20 years, the Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares a wide-ranging questionnaire and presents it to candidates in races of interest to our local membership. The questionnaire for the 2022 Davis City Council race received answers from all 5 candidates in the 2 of the 5 City Council Districts for which an election is held in Novemeber, 2022.

The candidates, listed in alphabetical order by their first name, are:

District 1 (West Davis): - Bapu Vaitla, Dan Carson, and Kelsey Fortune

District 4 (East Davis ) - Adam Morrill, Gloria Partida

Questions asked were in the following general categories:

Part 1 - Land Use and Housing Development – Peripheral Development

Part 2-- Land Use and Housing Development – Downtown Core and Student Housing

Part 3 - Energy Use and Greenhouse Gases

Part 4 - Transportation Management

Part 5 - Waste Management

Part 6 - Toxics in the Environment and Other Environmental Issues

Part 1 in this series can be viewed by clicking on that article's title above which is linked to the earlier publication.

This is the 2nd in the series of articles and focuses on Land Use and Housing Development – Downtown Core and Student Housing and provides candidate responses to the following questions:

Continue reading "Part 2 Candidate Responses to the Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for the 2022 Davis City Council Election" »

An evening with Leah Rothstein

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By Ellen Kolarik 

It was November 18, 2019 and Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law was nearing the end of his presentation to a full house at Davis Community Church.  More than 200 people remained for the Q&A. 

A member of the audience asked “How can we maintain that small town feel and still deal with our housing issues?”

The reply? “That small town feel is a euphemism for a segregated community.”

Those of us that were involved in putting on that event were excited and proud that our community was open to hearing tough information about who we are as a country and as a community.  But, how to move forward?

Interfaith Housing Justice Davis (IHJD) formed as a response to Rothstein’s call to action.  IHJD is a loose coalition of faith organizations in Davis who advocate for changes in city policy to encourage more affordable housing, the first step in desegregating a community.

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Where have all the babies gone?

Screen Shot 2022-07-09 at 10.22.28 AMBy Dave Taormino

Davis has been gradually losing its innate college town character. The level of civility in civic discourse continues its decline as demonstrated in the recent Measure H campaign. The 1960 – 70s mid-western ethos that prospered when Davis and UCD set out on their mutually aligned growth paths has deteriorated with urban-like political fighting. The midwestern neighborly values that were once well established have given way to a divisive approach to community engagement. In housing development discussions, the person you disagree with is characterized as evil, dishonest, a liar, etc. Why? In part because Davis’s 40 years of restrictive housing and growth policies has spawned and feeds unintended and unnecessary discord with little visible, offsetting benefits.

Here are some of the impacts:

  1. Less than 40% of our TOP City management live in Davis. Nearly all the major City decision makers and their families live elsewhere. Their family life and personal civic involvement is not here.
  2. The percentage of Davis Police and Fire Department personnel who live in Davis is much lower than the TOP management. In essence, their family and hearts reside elsewhere.
  3. The vast majority of North, North Davis homeowners are individuals employed at UCD or a Davis business. They cannot afford to live here. A sizable number have children commuting daily with their parents to attend Davis schools, a good outcome for us.
  4. In the Cannery, roughly 80% of the buyers had no relationship to Davis or UCD, although some had grown children living here. Most came from the Bay Area and Marin County, exactly where the Cannery developers heavily advertised. It was an intentional strategy not intended to attract local UCD faculty, staff, and other Davis workers. In the 546 homes, an unbelievably low number of school age children actually live there. Something like 26 new students resulted from Cannery’s 546 homes plus apartments. In the 80’s and early 90’s a “Cannery-type neighborhood” would have generated 300 - 400 new students. Where have all the families with or capable of having babies gone?
  5. Approximately 1,000 Elementary through High School students commute daily to our schools. Without these commuting students some neighborhood schools would close. Imagine the rancor and anger that would result should neighborhood school closures be considered. The civic anger, neighborhood vs neighborhood would likely be greater than the recent Measure H arguments. The School District has done a masterful entrepreneurial job in “recruiting” out of Davis parents/children to attend our neighborhood schools. For how long can those creative efforts be sufficient? A university-oriented community NEEDS GREAT schools. Great schools require children from childbearing age parents living here and as a result contributing to a wholesome, family friendly, inclusive community. That was “the 1960’s and 1970’s Davis civic perspective” when UCD embarked on its original and now continuing growth plan.

The list could continue, but you get the point.

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