Entries categorized "Housing"

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


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

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.


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.”

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

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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WDAAC Does Not Meet Real Housing Needs for Davis

by Alan Pryor and Pam Nieberg

Forward - Davis already has by far the oldest average population in the region and this project will compound that population imbalance. Despite the abundance of young University students, according to 2016 US Census Bureau estimates the percentage of people in Davis under the age of 18 is 16.1% compared to 25.5% in West Sacramento and 26% in Woodland. Looking at younger children, the disparity is even greater with 3.8% of the Davis population under the age of 5 compared to 8.1% in West Sacramento and 6.7% in Woodland.

Clearly, because of the age-restrictions imposed on buyers, this project will do little to directly increase the housing stock for young families. And because of this dearth of kids in town, our schools are so starved for young students that we need to import over 650 students per day just to keep school doors from shuttering and moth-balling our existing neighborhood schools. And we pay dearly for schooling those imported students with the highest school-related parcel taxes in the region. We clearly need more young families with children in town to fill our schools and maintain our vibrancy in Davis yet few families can afford to come to Davis because of sky-rocketing home purchase and rental prices.

What Davis really needs is smaller-scale, more dense, and  affordable housing designed for both seniors AND families of modest means. The last thing we need is a sprawling, senior-only Sun City-lite developments like you see in sunbelt states. A development with smaller homes laid out in a curvilinear fashion with different designs (instead of rows and rows of near-identical box-like houses) would attract far more seniors AND the families preferred if the project were designed with a close-knit neighborhood setting in mind.

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Cumulative impacts of all the developments in Davis

PublichousingBy Dan Cornford

I do not have time to comment extensively right now on Roberta's piece. But I do want to say that I agree 110% with what she says. I am just sick and tired of all the pro-growthers accusing anyone who does not oppose their rampant pro-growth propaganda as being some old white, rich NIMBY, as someone who could not afford to buy his first house until I was 53, despite being a full professor at a CSU, and only then could I buy when I inherited a modest amount of money after my father died.

Roberta is right that no candidate for council had the courage to squarely take on the pro-growthers. I have been saying and writing for two years that the Council, its commissions, and of course the pro-growthers, never stop to consider what the CUMULATIVE IMPACTS of all these developments will be in tandem with the unmandated growth of UCD over the next 5-10 years. What will be the environmental impact on a relatively small city of this growth in all respects (to say nothing of the fiscal impacts and burdens)? The fast expansion of UCD, notwithstanding their LRDP, and their recent MOU with the city, is no cause for comfort. (I mean, to take one example, if UCD does not meet its already inadequate building timetable, they will face a massive fine of $500 per unit. That's really going to force them to meet their timetable isn't it?)

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Growth – The Elephant in the Room

PublichousingNo one in Davis talks about growth.  We talk around growth, sure – the need for specific projects, or the need to preserve farmland.  But we never talk about growth

Consider our most recent City Council election.  Did one of the candidates present themselves as pro-growth or slow-growth?  Not that I can recall.  “Smart-growth,” maybe – an infinitely flexible euphemism if I ever heard one.

I suspect that no one wants to talk about growth because not a moment passes before the conversation-distracting “pro-developer” and “NIMBY” labels (and similar labels) are slung.  But we desperately need to talk about growth.  We’re growing now and we are facing questions about future growth in the immediate future (Measure L and the West Davis Active Adult Community) and beyond.

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Is this really your view on Measure L, Davis Enterprise?

Davis enterpriseIs this really your view on Measure L, Davis Enterprise?  Because I'm having trouble believing the words in front of my eyes. 

Did you really write, "If WDAAC gets built and all the white Davis seniors move into it, then it will give more opportunity for minorities from out of town to move into the single-family houses the seniors vacate"?

In other words, it would be OK if WDAAC were composed completely of white Davis seniors?  And the reason it would be OK is that nonwhite individuals would have the "opportunity" to move into the vacated houses formerly occupied by white individuals – even if the nonwhite individuals didn't have the opportunity to move into WDAAC itself?  Just the bare possibility that "minorities" could move into Davis would be enough to justify an exclusionary program?

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What Are “Internal Housing Needs” in Davis?

“That directive and those words means something!” -- David Taormino on Measure R, 9/19/2018[1]



By Rik Keller

Measure R (the “Citizens’ Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Lands Ordinance”) was passed by the voters and adopted by the City of Davis in 2010. Davis Municipal Code Section 41.01.010(a)(1) states that the purpose of the Ordinance is [my emphasis] “...to establish a mechanism for direct citizen participation in land use decisions affecting city policies for compact urban form, agricultural land preservation and an adequate housing supply to meet internal city needs...”

This article will examine what the phrase “adequate housing supply to meet internal city needs” means. First, while the word “need” is used several times, “internal needs” is not further mentioned in the adopted ordinance or in the ballot language that went to the voters (ballot language is purposely streamlined). Is this sui generis language that just appeared out of nowhere? Can it mean that any type of housing is sufficient to meet some sort of undefined “internal need” in Davis and should be allowed to convert agricultural lands? Measure R does state that “continued conversion of agricultural lands to meet urban needs is neither inevitable nor necessary,” so the Ordinance must have some criteria in mind to achieve this goal of not unnecessarily converting ag land, right?

As will be demonstrated in the following, the phrase “internal housing need” as used in City of Davis policy framework, documents, and studies actually refers primarily to low and moderate income workforce housing, and indeed that category is the only one specifically mentioned and for which specific policies have been crafted to meet the need.

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Will There be No Place in Davis for Low Income Seniors

By Bill Powell and David Thompson

“Each day I get five calls from low income seniors looking to find housing in Davis” says Susan at Shasta Point Retirement Community. “And each day at least one senior arrives at Shasta Point anxious to get housing and hoping by turning up they may have a better chance than just calling.” They don’t.

Every day there are five to 10 emails or phone calls from low-income seniors to the two staff members at Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. At ERC about three seniors per day walk through the door hoping to get a place. They can’t.

In 2018, there is a waiting list of 441 seniors for the four largest Davis affordable senior communities; Davisville (70), Shasta Point (67), Eleanor Roosevelt Circle (59) and Walnut Terrace (30). In 2017 there were a total of 14 turnovers. Only 14 of the 441 waiting in line got in. At that rate it would be 31 years before the last of those seniors get housed. The actual wait for an extremely low-income senior can be from three to five years.

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Planned West Davis Adult Community, if Approved, Would Perpetuate Racial Imbalance in the City of Davis

Complaintimage(Press release) The proposed restrictive West Davis Active Adult Community on the City of Davis’ November 6 ballot which advertises its purpose as a planned community “Taking Care of Our Own,” is being challenged in federal court because it will perpetuate racial imbalance and discriminate against minorities by restricting sales to residents of Davis

In a federal complaint filed Monday, September 24, by Sacramento civil rights attorney Mark E. Merin, plaintiff Samuel Ignacio, a Filipino/Hispanic senior on behalf and all other minorities outside of Davis, seeks to stop the project because it excludes those living outside of Davis from buying most of the 410 planned for-sale units.

Davis, a city whose senior population is disproportionately “white” as a result of historic racially restrictive covenants, red-lining practices, and previous University of California hiring practices, approved the project with 90% of its units restricted to “purchasers with a preexisting connection to the City of Davis.” The result of this “local resident” restriction, as alleged in the civil rights complaint, is the continuation of a racially imbalanced community and the exclusion of minority would-be purchasers in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

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How White Is Davis Anyway? A Comparative Demographic Analysis

Part Two in a series, this article examines historic racial/ethnic demographics in Davis compared to surrounding areas and California as a whole in order to determine what sort of effect historic patterns of discrimination may have had.

"The Past Isn't Dead. It Isn't Even Past"

By Rik Keller

The first installment of this series, “Why Is So Davis So White? A Brief History of Discrimination”, provided an overview of mortgage loan redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory housing practices in the U.S., with examples from Davis showing the extent of overt discrimination in housing practices that led to excluding non-white populations from specific areas.

The article concluded with a brief summary that described how In Davis—as in many areas of the U.S.—redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory practices effectively locked out minorities from being able to participate in one of the greatest mass opportunities for wealth accumulation in U.S. history: the post-WWII housing boom. And even as overtly discriminatory practices started to be curtailed, post-WWII municipal zoning practices in the 1950s— especially in fast-growing suburban areas—emphasized large-lot single-family homes as a way to exclude more affordable housing types and to continue patterns of racial/ethnic/income segregation. One common misconception when discussing housing is that discrimination in the U.S. ended some time in the 1960s. Davis is an example of how the wealth disparities that were accentuated by these policies and practices persist today with residential patterns and housing opportunities distributed along particular racial/ethnic lines, along with ongoing discrimination.

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The Spirit of the Davis Based Buyer Program for the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC)

By Jason Taormino

The spirit of the Davis Based Buyer program for the West Davis Active adult community is a focus on our community's needs. Nearly six hundred Davis families have joined our interest list for the for sale homes and there are more than four hundred additional individuals on waiting lists for affordable senior apartments. During our lengthy community outreach including more than seventeen city commission and council meetings we were asked for some methodology to ensure that we focused on this home grown demand rather than advertising in the Bay Area.

On dozens of occasions while dropping off or picking up my kids at Cesar Chavez elementary school I was approached by parents who were eager to move their aging parent(s) to Davis. From my perspective there are two clear segments of demand that our proposed neighborhood can serve from a market rate perspective - seniors in Davis who want to downsize and those who want their aging parents to come to Davis. Additionally, the affordable apartments and a memory care facility serve important needs. Without the senior restriction on 80% of the homes it is highly unlikely that seniors in Davis or bringing a parent to Davis would occur as a significant percentage of the total housing.

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Erroneous Assumptions and Hyperbole are Used by the Davis Vanguard to Justify WDAAC's Illegal Affordable Housing Program

By Alan Pryor


In yesterday’s column entitled “My View: Unintended Consequences – Will Anyone Go above the Affordable Housing Requirements Again?, David Greenwald made a number of unsubstantiated and erroneous claims about whether the City’s current affordable housing requirements were met by the West Davis Active Adult Community project.

Mr Greenwald claims these City’s minimum affordable housing requirements were more than met by the developer and chastised opponents of the project for making a number of “misleading” or “inaccurate” statements.

As reported by Mr. Greenwald in yesterday’s column,

What we see at WDAAC is that the developer would have been required to build around 84 units in order to reach the 15 percent threshold.  The developer could have avoided much of this kerfuffle by simply donating 1.25 acres of the land, the minimum required and then pumping additional money just like Sterling did to help them build the housing.

The result is that the developers would have met the minimum 15 percent affordable housing requirements.  They would have had a cash contribution in there to assist with building the project.  And this attack by the opposition would not have occurred.


“Instead of 1.25 acres, they’ve donated around 4.25 – which means by their calculation, they have made about a $2.7 million contribution over and above what they were required to do.

In addition, there will be an additional 66 or so affordable units (there were some differences in what number that was originally required, but we will use 74 for the purpose of this argument).”

The problem with David’s analysis is that it is just blanket statements of numbers presented as facts. There is no quantitative calculations to justify these claims nor references to the Affordable Housing Ordinance or the Development Agreement to substantiate these claims.

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Why it’s a problem that “Yes on L” is refusing to debate the WDAAC project

DebateThree days ago, Alan Pryor revealed on the Davisite that David Taormino was refusing to participate in two public forums on the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC), apparently because he particularly objected to debating Alan.  But maybe some Davisites don’t see why this is a problem.  After all, are developers obligated to participate in a public forum?

Yes, they are.  And they shouldn’t be able to select who their debating opponents are.

To see why, let’s compare a public forum for the Davis City Council with a public forum for Measure L. 

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Why Won’t David Taormino Participate in Forums or Debates on Measure L – What is He Afraid of or Hiding?

AfraidEmojiBy Alan Pryor

There is a long history of community forums and debates in Davis on important ballot measures that were hosted by various community groups. Indeed, every major ballot measure for the past 10 years has seen at least two or more such forums or public debates occur leading up to election day.

I myself have participated in a number of these debates on behalf of the City including two supporting passage of Measure D (the Parks Tax Renewal in 2012), six supporting passage of Measure I (the Water Project in 2013), and two supporting passage of Measure O (the Sales Tax Measure in 2014). I also represented the No on Nishi 1.0 campaign in 2016 in five forums or debates.

The campaign committee “No on Measure L – No on West Davis Active Adult Community” has offered to participate in any and all such public forums and debates on Measure L during this election cycle and we were rearranging our work and vacation schedules to make sure we were available to attend such events.

We thought we had a minimum of 2 forum/debates scheduled and were actively working to arrange to participate in others until late last week. Then we were informed that the two planned events sponsored by CivEnergy and Rancho Yolo were abruptly cancelled and simultaneously the phone lines went dead with prospective sponsors of other potential forums/debates.

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Why Is Davis So White? A Brief History of Housing Discrimination

Part one in a series on discrimination and housing in Davis, this article provides an overview of mortgage loan redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory housing practices in the U.S., with examples from Davis showing the extent of discrimination in housing practices that excluded non-white populations from specific areas. 

Sierra Vista Oaks (Miller Drive)-1950-detail
Image: detail of the deed restrictions for the Sierra Vista Oaks subdivision in Davis (Miller Drive & Ovejas Avenue north of 8th Street) from 1950. [source: Yolo County Clerk-Recorder archives, retrieved by the author]

By Rik Keller


In 1917, the Supreme Court in Buchanan v. Warley ruled municipal racial zoning unconstitutional. In response, private agreements—including restrictive covenants—started to be put in place to continue residential segregation practices: “Racially restrictive covenants refer to contractual agreements that prohibit the purchase, lease, or occupation of a piece of property by a particular group of people.”[1] These were legally-enforceable contracts put onto the deed of the property. They were enforced with the help of neighborhood associations, real estate boards, and other organizations. For example, the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB), started in 1908, promoted the use of racial covenants in new developments.

Typical language in these racially-restrictive covenants included statements such as “…hereafter no part of said property or any portion thereof shall be…occupied by any person not of the Caucasian race…[2] These covenants became so commonplace that “by 1940, 80% of property in Chicago and Los Angeles carried restrictive covenants barring black families.”[3]

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