Entries categorized "Housing"

Extortion in Davis? Not from Measures J/R

Cannery-moneyBy Matt Williams

Extortion is the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.  Measures J/R clearly do result in additional expenses for a developer; however, the City (and the community) don’t receive any payments as a result of any of the provisions of Measures J/R.  The additional developer dollars are paid out (discretionarily) to third parties, like election campaign consultants, and advertising channels, and experts providing testimony, etc.

In the last 10 years I can only think of one example of “extortion”  and that example is one where the developer “extorted” an $8 million payment from the City.  Of course I refer to the Cannery CFD.  Not only did the developer receive that $8 million cash payment, but that $8 million payment cost the Davis taxpayers a total of $21.8 million in principal repayment, bond closing costs and interest payments.

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City Council Out of Step on Parking, Roads, Housing, and the Claw: Will it Impact the 2020 Council Race?

Checking-pulseTonight, the City Council will decide whether or not to convert approximately 32% of downtown parking to metered parking spaces, 7 days a week, 10 AM-10 PM.  The opposition to the City’s proposal from citizens and business owners has been vocal and voluminous. 

Will the City Council nonetheless vote to proceed with the plan?  And if they do, will voters next spring remember and think twice about re-electing incumbents?

This is not the first indication that the Council isn’t communicating well with its citizens. 

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Regarding Chiles Road Apartments / Loss of Commercial Site

Chiles-Project-2WThe following letter was submitted to the Davis City Council yesterday (March 15) and is reprinted here with permission of the author.  For background information on the proposed Chiles project, see this Davis Enterprise article. The Council will consider the project at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, March 19.

To Davis City Council:

In reference to the Chiles Road apartment proposal, some seem to be claiming that there's a "shortage" of available commercial space (while simultaneously advocating for conversion of existing commercial space to accommodate residential development). If there is an actual shortage of commercial space, then the proposed conversion of the Chiles Road site (from commercial to residential zoning) is difficult to logically explain. One might think that (at a minimum), a mixed-use proposal might be appropriate and in-demand - assuming that one truly believes that there's a shortage of commercial space. (Also assuming that the city believes that commercial development is needed, to fill its coffers.)

In any case, this latest missed opportunity is surely something I'll remember, if/when the MRIC proposal arises again.

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Laundered Campaign Contributions Appear to Have Been Made to the Yes on Measure L Campaign by West Davis Active Adult Community

Money-launderingby Alan Pryor, Treasurer and Principal Officer of No on Measure L

INTRODUCTION

In previous articles pertaining to the financial disclosures of the Yes on Measure L/West Davis Active Adult Community campaign on the November 2018 ballot in Davis, I provided evidence showing:

  1. About $70,000 of campaign expenditures that were made by the Yes on Measure L campaign for attorney’s fees were probably illegal under FPPC campaign finance regulations as set forth in the FPPC Disclosure Manuals that provide guidance and requirements for such campaign expenditures.
  2. The Davis Vanguard ran daily ads from the inception of the campaign until voting day and for a substantial period beforehand. The payment for these ads is not disclosed on any financial statements filed by the Yes on Measure L campaign which may be a violation of FPPC regulations.
  3. A disclosed financial filing expenditure of $3,000 was made to "Froggy's" for food service for a Vanguard fundraising event. This is probably not an allowable campaign expense for the Yes on Measure L campaign under FPPC guidelines.
  4. Over $64,000 of non-monetary contributions to the Yes on Measure L campaign for “salaries” have been disclosed in campaign filings but the recipients of these salaries have been kept secret. Further, it is not known if these payments were for personal gain, which is prohibited by FPPC regulations, or may be otherwise disallowed under FPPC guidelines.

This information is more fully disclosed in the BACKGROUND section attached to the end of this article and referenced in previous articles I have written as disclosed therein.

In this article I report how the primary financial contributor to the Yes on Measure L campaign is the West Davis Active Adult Community entity itself, totaling $164,500. In 2017, West Davis Active Adult Community was formed as a Fictitious Business Name business under the charter of Doug Arnold Real Estate Inc. Doug Arnold Real Estate Inc was a California Domestic Stock Corporation whose Agent for Service of Process was David Taormino. However, Doug Arnold Real Estate Inc was dissolved in 2018, thus apparently rendering West Davis Active Adult Community as an orphan company without legal status in California.

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Requesting investigation into WDAAC and Yes on L allegations

Justice2The following was emailed to CityCouncilMembers@cityofdavis.org this morning

Dear Members of the Davis City Council,

I am writing to request formally that the Davis City Council send a letter to the Yolo County District Attorney and California Fair Political Practices Committee (FPPC) requesting investigations into the allegations against the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) and the Yes on L campaign, as described in the following article by Alan Pryor:

https://www.davisite.org/2019/02/yes-on-measure-l-campaign-violates-fppc-disclosure-laws-by-failing-to-report-davis-vanguard-ad-expen.html

(Or please click here if that link wraps).

Specifically, the article alleges:

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Yes on Measure L Campaign Violates FPPC Disclosure Laws by Failing to Report Davis Vanguard Ad Expenditures and Providing Inadequate Disclosure of other “Non-Monetary” Contributions and Expenditures

PileofmoneyBy Alan Pryor, Treasurer and Principal Officer of the No on Measure L campaign.

In an article I authored and published on February 12th in both the Davisite and Davis Vanguard, I vehemently disagreed with and disputed allegations that the No on Measure L campaign committed expenditure or finance reporting violations (see Background below). I noted, to the contrary, that California election law specifically disallows campaign monies to be used for these type of litigation expenses.

Further, I also disclosed that about $70,000 of campaign expenditures which were made by the Yes on Measure L campaign for attorney fees were illegal under FPPC campaign finance regulations as written in the FPPC Disclosure Manuals that provide guidance and requirements for such campaign expenditures.

In the course of investigating such expenditures and in recent commentary on-line by different observers, it was noticed that there were other areas of campaign expenditures that are inconsistent with financial disclosure standards of the FPPC. In particular, the Davis Vanguard ran daily ads since the inception of the campaign until voting day and for a substantial period beforehand. The payment for these ads is not disclosed on any financial statements filed by the Yes on Measure L campaign which is a violation of FPPC regulations

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The Yes on Measure L Campaign has “Unclean Hands” when Alleging Improper Financial Disclosures by the No on Measure L Campaign

Dirtyhandby Alan Pryor, Treasurer and Principal Officer of the No on Measure L campaign.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

The “unclean hands” legal doctrine is where one party in a legal dispute argues the other party is not entitled to obtain an equitable remedy because the other party is acting unethically or has acted in bad faith with respect to the subject of the complaint—that is, with "unclean hands”.

David Taormino is the principal promoter of the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) which was recently approved by the voters of Davis on the November 2018 ballot as Measure L. During the course of this campaign, a federal lawsuit was filed by the well-known Sacramento civil rights attorney, Mark Merin, against David Taormino and the City of Davis. This lawsuit alleged that a preferential “Davis-Based Buyers Program” in the Development Agreement signed between the Davis City Council and David Taormino was discriminatory and exclusionary in nature. Thus, it was illegal because it favored Davis residents or people connected to Davis who are predominantly white. However, this Development Agreement was NOT part of the ballot measure put before the Davis voters and the lawsuit was unrelated to the issues before the voters on the ballot.

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Yes on L lawn sign impropriety on Election Day

Yes-on-L-signThe sign to the left greeted me this morning as I went to vote at my polling place at the VMC.  It is, in my opinion, an example of improper electioneering.

Electioneering is not permitted within 100 feet of a polling place. Electioneering is defined by the California Election Code Section 319.5 as “the visible display or audible dissemination of information that advocates for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot within 100 feet of a polling place, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location.”

Although someone cut the "Yes" part of the sign out, it's clear that this sign is advocating for the WDAAC project and is thus prohibited.

You have to wonder about the real merits of a project when its proponents will stoop this low to promote it.


What Are Davis Residents Saying Against Measure L?

Luxury sprawlBy Rik Keller

The Yes on Measure L/West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) campaign has been saying that opponents of the project are "against seniors" and has been making unsubstantiated claims that the No On WDAAC campaign arguments are "lies" [see: https://www.davisite.org/2018/10/uncivil-discourse-at-the-civenergy-forum.html]. In the added context of the Yes on L campaign spending about $250,000 in this election cycle compared to about $7,500 for the opposition (as of reports filed 10/20/2018), this kind of messaging from deep-pocketed special interest groups who stand to make millions from cynical voter manipulation is offensive.

The following is a sampling of some Davis citizen comments against the Measure L/WDAAC project from social media posts that demonstrate that Davis residents are seeing through the blizzard of marketing money and the false charges of the project proponents. To my knowledge, none of these are from anyone working/volunteering on the No On WDAAC campaign, nor were they solicited by the campaign. It is notable that a significant number of the comments were posted on the Yes On L campaign's own Facebook page posts/advertisements.

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What YES Does

ERC residents
Residents of Eleanor Roosevelt Circle regularly meet with their on site Social Services Coordinator

By David Thompson

With your YES vote for Measure L, these low income seniors will get to stay and live in Davis. Otherwise, there are few places for them to go.

Davis Low Income Seniors are People by the Numbers

How many low income seniors will get a home in Davis?

This energy flowing through my senior years comes directly from the Davis Community through the Eleanor Roosevelt Circle, thank you. Davis is a uniquely qualified community to establish new models of senior housing. Please vote yes on Proposition L to house more seniors.”

Diane C. Evans, Davis

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Disrespectful redface Halloween costume from the Yes on L/Yes on WDAAC campaign

Pocahontas
Yesterday, Jason Taormino posted the photo at the left from their setup in downtown for the Halloween walk, showing one of their volunteers dressed as Pocahontas.  Most people have heard of “blackface”, especially since Megyn Kelly recently had her NBC show cancelled over defending blackface as being “ok so long as you were dressing, like, as a character.”  So why does the Yes on L campaign think that it’s ok to dress in redface as Pocahontas? 

People have been rightly and roundly criticized for dressing in redface before.  A student at Oklahoma university was pilloried for dressing in redface, with the recognition that a costume like that is “deeply disrespectful to the Native American community.”  Stephanie Fryberg, a Professor of Psychology and American Indian Studies at the University of Washington, as quoted in an article from Indian Country Today, asks, “Why are issues for Native people taken as less serious in the domain of bias and stereotyping and prejudice than for African Americans, why is there this difference?”

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Much of WDAAC will be on “Prime Farm Land” as Classified under the Yolo County Agricultural Conservation and Mitigation Program

Another “Untruth” by the Yes on Measure L Campaign

By Alan Pryor and Pam Nieberg

INTRODUCTION

The Yes on Measure L campaign has been falsely characterizing the soils on which the WDAAC project is to be built as “unproductive” or “low quality alkaline soils solely used for winter animal feed crops”. Their most recent mailer contained the following graphic:

Wdaac-soils-1

These claims are demonstrably untrue. In fact, the soil is suitable for a variety of human crops as characterized by the Yolo Co Agricultural Conservation and Mitigation Program. In summary, according to the EIR certified by the City Council, the lower approximately 50% (36.2 acres) of the site is Brentwood clay loam. Approximately a third of the soils (26.75 acres ) on the site directly above the Brentwood soils are Marvin silty clay. Above that are Willows clay (11.44 acres), and only a tiny piece (0.56 acres) in the upper north west piece of the site is Pescadero silty clay/saline-alkaline.

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Send the West Davis Active Adult Community Plan Back to the Drawing Board.

WestdavisLet’s Meet the City’s Real Internal Housing Needs, Including for Low-Income Seniors

By Nancy and Don Price

In October 2002, the City Council appointed a subcommittee to study housing needs in Davis. In particular, the Council wanted to consider providing housing opportunities for the local workforce as the primary reason for city residential growth.

In this context, the phrase “internal housing need”  was incorporated in City policy framework, documents, and studies to refer primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing. Indeed, work force housing is the only category of housing specifically mentioned as “internal needs” in the City’s General Plan and for which specific policies have been crafted to meet the need.

For instance, Measure J (voter approved in 2000) and Measure R (voter approved in 2010) as an update of Measure J was intended to “further” and “implement” meeting this “internal housing need” based on local employment growth, UCD growth, and “natural” growth. Indeed, meeting this “internal housing need” is the only justification provided in Measures J/R for converting agricultural lands on the periphery of the city.

Unfortunately, the Yes on Measure L campaign has erroneously misappropriated the term, “internal housing needs,” to otherwise claim the WDAAC project, providing low-income subsidized senior housing and much larger and expensive homes  for senior purchase, meets these needs and thus should be approved by voters. This is a false claim and is not supported anywhere in City documents.

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The “West Davis Active Adult Community” Naming is Misguided and Probably Illegal

By the No on Measure L Campaign

Introduction

A letter received from the Fair Housing Council of Orange County, posted yesterday on the Davisite, advises the City of Davis of the wrongful naming of the West Davis Active Adult Community senior housing project:

“the term ‘active adult community’ is very much misguided and needs to be changed...rather than moving forward with a name that readily implies that the community is not welcoming of individuals who have a right to choose to live within in its borders.”(excerpted from letter)

Eric Gelber, a Davis resident with 26 years experience as an attorney with disability rights advocacy experience - including fair housing advocacy - made the following statement in response to this letter:

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) added disability and families with children as protected classes under the federal Fair Housing Act. A concession to seniors was also enacted to allow for senior housing developments, which could continue to utilize age restrictions if specified conditions were met. One of the conditions is that 20 percent of the housing in such developments must not be age-restricted, and must be available to younger households, including families with children.

Some of the earliest cases under the FHAA focused on advertising for developments, which marketed themselves as communities for “active adults.” Such advertising was determined to be a not so subtle way of discriminating against people with disabilities who were not traditionally “active.” Similarly, advertising a senior housing development as an “adult” community, gives the impression that families with children are not welcome in even the 20 percent of homes that are not age-restricted.(emphasis added)

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Letter from Orange County Fair Housing Council expresses concern about WDAAC

The Davisite was forwarded the following letter from the Orange County Fair Housing Council (OCFHC), a private 501(c)(3) non-profit located in Santa Ana, California. The OCFHC raises concerns about the project's use of the term  ‘active adult.'  With respect to the term 'adult,' the letter states that "fair housing and related civil rights laws...do not recognize or sanction adult-only or otherwise age restricted housing within California that falls outside of the specific definition of what constitutes senior housing" and "may give the impression that families with children are not welcome to live in that community."  They also raise the concern that the use of the term 'active' "may tend imply that, even for the properly age restricted portion of the project, people with disabilities may not be welcome."  The letter appears in its entirety below.

 

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Keeping Davis White? Land Use Policy Is A Civil Rights Issue

PartIII-1
The March on Washington, Aug. 28, 1963

By Rik Keller

“What has kept Davis so white?”

—City of Davis Mayor Pro Tempore Gloria Partida 10/3/2018

This is Part III in a series of articles about the history and ongoing patterns of housing discrimination in Davis.

Introduction

In Part 1: “Why Is Davis So White? A Brief History of Housing Discrimination” and Part 2 “How White Is Davis Anyway? A Comparative Demographic Analysis” of this series, other types of housing discrimination practices were mentioned that have continued even after explicit racial discrimination practices ended; for example, subprime lending that and “exclusionary zoning” that result in development patterns that focus on low-density single family houses and exclude more affordable housing types.

 The point is, to borrow a quotation, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past”.

An article about the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act this year stated: “As Richard Rothstein explains in his groundbreaking book The Color of Law, our past segregationist policies have deep roots. Explicit discrimination may be outlawed, but indirect segregation via disinvestment and exclusionary land use policies remain common themes in our country today.” [https://www.housingvirginia.org/news/microblog-50-celebrating-the-fair-housing-act/]The history and dynamics of these issues in Sacramento have been studied by Dr. Jesus Hernandez from the Sociology Department at UC Davis. His “research focuses on understanding the connection between economic market activity in the region and the patterns of racial segregation that we have.” [https://www.capradio.org/news/the-view-from-here/2017/08/15/s10-e2-transcript-segregated-sacramento/]

 

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Why such deceitful attacks on affordable senior housing at the expense of the real needs of very low income Davis seniors?

By William Powell and David Thompson

We have never seen such an exaggerated litany of attacks against needed affordable housing for low income seniors in Davis. This is from the perspective of our combined 60 years of serving the needs of low income seniors in Davis.  The future needs of low income seniors in Davis should not become cannon fodder by the representative of the No campaign in their false war on affordable senior housing. We believe Davis seniors deserve better and that Davis voters deserve an honest debate.

So, as long time Davis senior housing providers, we are taking on two issues of the No on Measure L representative - keeping in mind that Winston Churchill once said: 

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its trousers on.”

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Experiencing intimidation from your landlord concerning Prop 10?

Rampart-letter(From Sacramento Tenants Union Facebook page) Are you or anyone you know experiencing intimidation from your landlord directly due to Prop 10 (Repeal Costa-Hawkins to allow cities/counties to adopt rent control) and voting for the Nov. 2018 election?

It's happening elsewhere in California; let us know if this despicable behavior is happening in the Sacramento metro area, too!

Email: SacTenantsUnion@gmail.com

[Image description: A letter from Rampart Property Management in Los Angeles, which manages more than 12+ apartment complexes. The letter informs tenants of a pending rent increase in response to the ballot measure.]


Uncivil Discourse at the CivEnergy Forum

Yes-On-LThe Yes on L side did not behave well at Sunday’s CivEnergy forum. 

This inappropriate behavior certainly wasn’t CivEnergy’s fault.  They had picked an excellent moderator in the form of attorney and former City Council candidate Linda Deos, who asked fair and neutral fact-finding-oriented questions about the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) project.  And along the same lines, CivEnergy’s Bob Fung crafted from audience comment cards two more neutrally worded questions.  Actually, all were framed in terms of discussions rather than questions, a touch that I rather liked.  Deos further warned forum participants to keep their answers focused on the project and not make them personal.  Alas, that was not to be.

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