Entries categorized "Housing"

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!


Part 2 - Déjà Vu – Council and Staff Collude to Limit Review of the DISC 2022 Project by the City's Advisory Commissions...Again!!

Staff's and Council's Current Scheme to Limit Analysis and Input from the Commissions include Artificial, Arbitrary Deadlines Imposed on Citizen Advisory Commissions.

By Alan Pryor

Introduction

Readers will remember one of the primary complaints surrounding DISC 1.0 on the November 2020 ballot as Measure B was that the Commissions were intentionally and systematically excluded from fully participating in the review of the project through scheduling manipulations imposed by City Staff with Council approval. It appears that history is repeating itself which is the subject of this series of articles. Part 1 of the series (see https://www.davisite.org/2021/09/d%C3%A9j%C3%A0-vu-council-and-staff-collude-to-limit-review-of-the-disc-2022-project-by-the-citys-advisory-com.html) discussed the history of City Staff and Council ignoring input by both the Advisory Commissions and the public in many other important City matters.

This Part 2 in the series discusses the recent Council decision that greatly limits Citizen Advisory Commission input and recommendations for Baseline Features for the newly proposed DISC 2022 project now heading for the June 2022 ballot in Davis. The article is a detailed examination of the means by which the City Council and Staff are intending to again limit analysis and input from the Commissions by hamstringing the Commissions' ability to hold multiple meetings to review the DISC 2022 project.

Continue reading "Part 2 - Déjà Vu – Council and Staff Collude to Limit Review of the DISC 2022 Project by the City's Advisory Commissions...Again!!" »


City of Davis and the (Near) Future of Rail Travel

L21spanish

Virtual Public Workshop! Thursday, July 15 from 530 to 7pm

 

I wrote the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) earlier today:

To the BTSSC,

I strongly suggest that the BTSSC set up an ad-hoc sub-committee about Link21 so that it can stay engaged long-term, receive and process community input and then at the appropriate time make recommendations to the City Council.

The City of Davis is a small tomato in a huge pot of soup in this matter, but the railway proportionately bisects the City of Davis more than other town along its current route between Oakland and Davis. Davis grew around the rail and I-80 corridor in a way that - especially in the last 60 years - did not facilitate multi-modal travel based on the railway. A typical regional or suburban station like Davis in much of Europe would have multiple bus lanes that terminate at the station and hundreds of secure bicycle parking space for all kinds of bikes, suburb connections for walking and cycling for all directions, and a lively place for activity in front of the station, instead of a parking lot. The City has made some progress in this area of late, but, for example, there are still many who want a new parking structure at the station, and voters thankfully - but only narrowly - disapproved a new development project far from the station with no good cycling connections to it, lots of parking and imagined good access to I-80.

I had tried to form a sub-committee nearly three years ago about the I-80 Managed Lanes Project, but it was terminated shortly after Commission approval because the second member moved to Sacramento. While I appreciate the healthy skepticism the BTSSC had about the Managed Lanes Project at the last meeting, I believe it prudent to get ahead of the game as much as possible for this even larger project that relates to both the Managed Lanes Project as well to our Downtown and General Plans, as significantly improved rail service would facilitate the creation of a lot more carfree or carlite households in town. As you seem to recognize, the worst outcome of the Managed Lanes project will do nothing but worsen traffic in town and literally throw a rotten tomato at our forming Climate Policy. The worst Managed Lane implementation will not support railway travel until perhaps many years from now, and indirectly, when thousands of Davis residents, frustrated with increased congestion and pollution, surround Caltrans District 3 HQ and bombard it with stinky, rotten tomatoes genetically-modified to annoy "deaf" state officials and narcissistic automobilists.

TomatoesAs a robust railway powered by renewable energy is a key tool in fighting Climate Change, I would also suggest you consider making the sub-committee a joint one with NRC, and Social Services too in order to help ensure that the system is accessible for all households.

The person who seems to be the current project manager for this part of the Megaregion, Jim Allison from Capitol Corridor, is very approachable and helpful. The Link21 sub-committee would be wise to also connect with other - especially smaller - communities along the corridor in order to create common, expected and seamless last-mile connections to their stations, and dense and proximate housing that makes good public transportation possible. All the pieces are necessary, but the puzzle has to be solved by everyone. I think that I prefer the tomato to the puzzle metaphor.

Thanks,

Todd Edelman"


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.

 


What is a Housing Trust Fund, and how can we strengthen Davis’s?

3 categories of housing needs
This diagram shows the continuum of housing needs  and some possible priorities for programs under each of the 3 needs categories

Background: On May 20, the Housing Element Committee (HEC) voted in favor of 10 recommendations, two of which related to Davis’s Housing Trust Fund, based on a draft document from Davis’s Social Services Commission (SSC). On May 9, the Planning Commission voted in favor of these two recommendations (and none of the other HEC recommendations). On June 15, members of the City Council expressed support for these proposals, although they did not vote on them officially.

By Georgina Valencia

The City of Davis has a Housing Trust Fund (HTF).  There are a number of cities throughout the State that have Housing Trust Funds.  The funds that go into the HTF account is designated for services and programs related to affordable housing.  Currently, the City has no designated plan with priorities and related programs as proposed by the SSC.  More specifically there is no sustainability planned into the programs the city currently offers.  Programs to date have been Ad Hoc and directed by the funds and programs the State decides that Cities should pursue.

Current funding sources for our City HTF come from: in-lieu fees, 1% fee from the sale of affordable homes, State Grants for CDBG and HOME funds, SB2 funds, rent from City owned affordable housing and more.  At any given time there is approximately $500,000 plus or minus in the HTF.

A few examples of real world issues that programs and funding in our HTF could correct:

Continue reading "What is a Housing Trust Fund, and how can we strengthen Davis’s?" »


Why eliminating single-family zoning is a terrible idea

Screen Shot 2021-06-19 at 4.18.46 PM

By Dan Cornford

On May 20, the Housing Element Committee voted in favor of 10 recommendations, one of which was the elimination of R1 (aka Single Family Housing, or SFH) zoning. Neither the Planning Commission nor the City Council weighed in on this recommendation as a body in their recent meetings concerning the Draft Housing Element, although some members of both bodies expressed interest in pursuing at least some weakening of R1 zoning. On the state level, SB 9 and SB 10 would eliminate R1 zoning.

Is this a good idea? Will it lead to affordable housing? Would it be good for the environment?

In short: No, no, and no.

Here are five reasons why eliminating R1 zoning is a bad idea:

Continue reading "Why eliminating single-family zoning is a terrible idea" »


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" »


Surprising outcome and a few oddities at Planning Commission meeting

Housing-ElementBy Roberta Millstein

This is just a short update to follow on the Davisite’s earlier articles concerning the Housing Element Update (see here, here, and here).

This past Wednesday (June 9th), the City of Davis’s Planning Commission met for a second time to discuss the recommendations of the Housing Element Committee (HEC)-- the first meeting was May 26.  At the earlier meeting, most of the comments from the public concerned 10 recommendations that the HEC had passed.  And a good number of the comments came from UC Davis students who were apparently reading from the same script, since their comments were identical or nearly so.

So, one might have expected that the June 9 meeting would be more of the same.  But that was not the case.

Continue reading "Surprising outcome and a few oddities at Planning Commission meeting" »


Letter from OEDNA Board, RE: Core Transition East in Downtown Plan

June 8, 2021
Mark N. Grote, Secretary
Old East Davis Neighborhood Association

City Council and Planning Commission Members
Planning Staff
Community Members

Re: Future of the Core Transition East

Dear decision-makers and community members: On behalf of the Old East Davis Neighborhood Association Board, I am writing to ask again for collaboration between the city, property owners and neighbors, to address the unique challenges of the Core Transition East as the Downtown Plan moves forward.  

Unique challenges of the Core Transition East parcels

The Core Transition East, located in Old East Davis just to the east of downtown, consists of four large parcels adjacent to the Union Pacific railroad tracks between 3rd and 5th Streets. Current planning provisions designate this area for neighborhood-compatible buildings that make appropriate scale transitions between the downtown core and the traditional, small-scale houses of Old East Davis.

The parcels of the Core Transition East present unique design challenges that are not met by the general building forms of the November 2019 draft Form-Based Code currently under review as part of the Downtown Plan. Some of the unusual features of these parcels are:

Continue reading "Letter from OEDNA Board, RE: Core Transition East in Downtown Plan" »


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" »


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" »


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" »


Bretton Woods is Attempting to Pull Another Bait and Switch with its Davis Based Buyers Program

Protections Will Weaken for Prospective Davis Senior Buyers

by Alan Pryor

INTRODUCTION

The Bretton Wood developer, David Taormino, is attempting to pull another bait and switch on Davis seniors by completely gutting the campaign promises he made to Davis voters committing to sell 90% of homes in the new project to Davis-based buyers. The long-promised Davis-Based Buyers Program was intended to ensure that 90% of all new homes sold at the new development were to Davis seniors thereby freeing up their existing large homes for new families to come to Davis.

But make no mistake about it, this newly proposed watered-down plan has so many loopholes in it that it will open the floodgates to advertising and sales to well-heeled Bay Area expatriates flush with cash from sales of their own inflated homes. Indeed, this will probably drive up prices for new homes at the project so high that it will functionally exclude Davis seniors from participating - much like we saw in the Cannery project where the majority of new sales were to buyers from outside Davis.

Continue reading "Bretton Woods is Attempting to Pull Another Bait and Switch with its Davis Based Buyers Program" »


The Failure of Measure B Suggests a New Vision Is Needed

West from Rd 30B - Sac skylineBy Roberta Millstein, Pam Gunnell, Nancy Price, Alan Pryor, and Colin Walsh

Measure B – the measure that proposed a 200-acre business park and housing development outside of the Mace Curve – failed at the polls.  The defeat comes with official Yolo County returns showing that 16,458 people, or 52% of voters, said “no” to the project.  In Mace Ranch and Wildhorse, 60% of voters opposed the project.

This is a remarkable result considering that the No on B campaign was outspent by over 14 to 1.  As of October 28, Yes on B had spent $258,919 between when B was put on the ballot in July and the election in November, while No on B had spent $18,149.  The No on B campaign, composed solely of volunteer Davis citizens, created its own literature, designed its own sign and other graphics, was active on social media, and, to the extent possible during COVID, pounded the pavement distributing flyers to let Davisites know about the negative impacts that this project would bring.  It was a true grassroots effort.  There were no paid designers, no paid consultants, no multiple glossy mailers, and no push-polls to gather information on what messages would sell.  Opponents also could not table at the Farmers Market due to COVID restrictions, normally the bread and butter of a campaign lacking deep pocket donors to finance getting its message out.

By comparison, Yes on B hired a PR Firm and other consultants more than a year in advance of the vote to help contrive and package its message and run the campaign.

The fact that Measure B was nonetheless defeated in the face of long odds and unusual circumstances shows that DISC was a bad project for Davis from the outset.  It was too big, chewing up prime farmland and habitat.   The promise of on-site housing for DISC employees could not be guaranteed, making the development car-and commuter- oriented with extensive parking areas. Poor public transportation options exacerbated this problem. The DISC development would have massively increased Davis greenhouse gas emissions and made it impossible for Davis to meet its carbon neutrality goals. We are in a climate emergency, as Yolo County and other counties have recognized; Davis needs to shoulder its share of responsibility for climate impacts, including but not limited to wildfire impacts and extreme weather events locally and globally.

Continue reading "The Failure of Measure B Suggests a New Vision Is Needed " »


5 Very Good Reasons to Vote No on Measure B - No on DISC

Vote-no-on-measure-b-news

(From press release) If you're still undecided about Measure B authorizing the 200-acre DISC Industrial Park on prime farmland and burrowing owl habitat with 2.6 Million sq ft of commercial buildings, following are five very good reasons to vote NO on this massive, sprawling, ill-conceived project that will forever change Davis for the worse.

1. Nightmarish Traffic Gridlock

• The Environmental Impact Report estimated that more than 24,000 in-and-out daily car trips will occur for the DISC project when completed - more than doubling current traffic levels. It will turn Mace Blvd. into a parking lot causing hours of gridlock every day.

• The City and Developer have no plans at all on how they will mitigate this massive influx of new traffic. Instead, a Traffic Demand Management Plan will be prepared by the Developer in the future.

• But "Figuring it all out later" is NOT a plan!


2. Unprecedented Increases in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

• Our world is burning up and melting around us. This year we have seen the largest fires ever in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Siberia, the Amazon, and Australia along with record-breaking ice-melts in Greenland and Antarctica.

• Yet according to the project's Environmental Impact Report, "...net emissions in the year 2035 would equal 37,724.31 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, the project would NOT meet the City’s target of net carbon neutrality by the year 2040." Instead it will increase the City's carbon footprint by over 8% from this one project.

• Our leaders passed an Emergency Climate Resolution just last year...what are they now thinking?


3. DISC will Cannibalize our Downtown

Thirty different small downtown Davis merchants recently signed a petition opposing the project's 100,000 sq ft of additional retail space (about the size of Davis Target) and the 160,000 sq ft of additional hotel space (more than twice the size of the new Marriott just across the street) because it would present severe economic hardship on the small downtown merchants already reeling from COVID.

• The DISC Environmental Impact Report (EIR) also projected than an additional 313,000 sq ft of commercial space in Davis could become newly vacant due to competition from the DISC project leaving blight in its wake.

• Our Downtown should not be Sacrificed for Developer Profits!


4. DISC will NOT have Affordable Housing

• The DISC Developer falsely claims the amount of affordable housing at the project is "record-breaking" for Davis. That is simply NOT true for either the market-rate OR the subsidized affordable housing.

• The estimated rent for a market-rate 2- bedroom apartment will be $2,500+ per month and the estimated price for a 2,200 sq ft home will be over $800,000+ and will require a $200,000+ annual salary to buy.

• There will be 128 subsidized housing units on-site which is 14.7% of the 850 total housing units. But the West Davis Active Adult Community will have 150 subsidized senior apartments on site which is 31.6% of the 475 total units.

• DISC will neither be "Affordable" or "Record-Breaking"!


5. DISC is using Voodoo Economics to Project a Profit for the City

• Property Tax revenues are based on hopelessly optimistic and unrealistic valuations that are 48% higher compared to the same analysis done by the same financial consultant for the same business park just 5 years ago and 68% higher than current regional averages.

• The City's Finance and Budget Commission voted on a slim 4-3 margin only that the project "is likely to produce a net positive financial benefit to the City"...Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

• And one Commissioner even called the consultant's assumptions a "fairy tale".

• Clearly, a thumb has been put on the scale to make the project seem economically far rosier than reality. _________________________________________________________


The more we hear about DISC, the more it is clear that Davis will get all of the traffic and pollution and the Developers will get all of the profits. It's time to just say "NO"!

__________________________________________________________


Sierra Club Endorses No on Measure B - No on DISC


A Different Vision for the DISC 200 Acres

Image1-2
Photo credit: Nick Buxton

By Juliette Beck

A little over twelve years ago when I was pregnant with my first child and deciding whether to move to Davis to join my sister in raising our families here, I looked at the air quality data and considered the impacts on newborn lungs.

I ultimately made the decision to move here and fight like hell for my children to grow up on a livable planet, in a healthy community. Given the climate emergency that has choked our skies with smoke for weeks on end, I'm not sure I'd make that same decision today.

We are at a critical turning point in human history. For decades, scientists, activists and frontline communities have been telling us we must change course. This summer, it has become undeniable that all of us here in California are now on the frontlines of a rapidly destabilizing climate.

With Measure B (thanks to Measure J/R now on the ballot as Measure D), we as citizens of Davis have the opportunity to vote on how our community will respond to the climate emergency - an emergency caused in large part based on how we as a society develop land and open space.

Located just east of the Mace Blvd curve and north of the Ikeda Market, this swath of farmland borders Davis as a gateway to our city. It could be a showcase for climate positive, regenerative farming that sustains our local food needs. But if Measure B passes, it will instead be a sprawling development comprised mainly of $800,000+ luxury homes and a massive industrial business park.

Continue reading "A Different Vision for the DISC 200 Acres " »


Pros and Cons for Measure B (DISC)

Davis-LWVBy the League of Women Voters Davis Area

The Question:  Should residents approve annexing agricultural land to develop the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC)?  Annexation of county land for city-related uses has required citizen approval since voters passed the Citizens Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Landsordinance in 2000 (as Measure J) and renewed it in 2010 (as Measure R). 

The Situation:  Davis has studied options for an innovation park with the goals of leveraging UC Davis' international reputation for academic and research advancements in agriculture, biotech, green-tech, and food science research.  As the options were studied, four options initially appeared to be available but these have since been reduced to one (see Appendix for a more detailed history).  The project site is agricultural land that has been productively farmed for many decades.  Moving forward with the project will put an end to farming on the site.

Continue reading "Pros and Cons for Measure B (DISC)" »


Letter: Multiple grounds for a no vote on Measure B

Measure B (DISC) is perhaps the worst development project that has ever come before Davis voters. Above all, it will have major adverse and irreversible environmental effects, and instead of helping to solve the housing problem, it will only aggravate it. Finally, it will do nothing to solve the city’s major fiscal issues, and indeed only exacerbate them.

A year ago, Davis leaders declared a “climate emergency” and declared it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. This massive project (over twice the size of the Cannery project) will spew more than 37,000 metric tons of carbon emission every year from the traffic it generates, according to the EIR, a net increase of 8% in Davis’ existing carbon footprint.

The project will generate 24,000 additional car trips daily, and the EIR (Appendix F, p. 123) says that at 14 intersections traffic will deteriorate to Level F. This does not take full account of the cumulative traffic impacts produced by the building of the many many thousands of units completed, under construction and approved in the last few years.

Moreover, the developers are in no way committed to mitigating in any way the inevitable traffic deadlock.

Furthermore, the EIR notes that DISC will create a minimum need for 3,760 housing units to accommodate the jobs generated. But it will only provide 850 units, and 83% of them will be at high-end market rates.

Finally, this development, even on its own terms, will not provide the revenues to offset the city’s serious fiscal deficit, quite to the contrary. The city’s Finance and Budget Commission was deeply skeptical of the developers’ claims, three doubted that there would be a net fiscal profit, and one even called the fiscal projections a “fairy tale.” This does not even take into account the major infrastructural spending by the city necessary to try and mitigate the environmental impacts.

What’s not to abhor? Please vote No on B.

Dan Cornford
Davis