Entries categorized "Land use"

15 mph DESIGN SPEED in Davis!

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

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

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


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!!" »


DISC is back… and so is bad process

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Staff and City Council favor developer interests over citizen input

By Roberta Millstein

This past Tuesday (Sept 7), the City Council formally set in motion the process to evaluate the twice-reborn industrial park/hotel complex on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, now dubbed DISC 2022. Readers will recall that this project was handily defeated at the polls less than a year ago. Now it is back again with half the acreage, fewer amenities, and a smaller proportion devoted to revenue-generating commercial uses. 

Also back again is staff acquiescing to the developer's extremely short requested timeline. 

There have been some improvements in process this time around. The project was made a regular agenda item, allowing for greater citizen awareness and discussion, though apparently a number of people were still caught by surprise. And all of the relevant commissions are scheduled to be consulted from the outset, something that citizens had to fight for the last time. 

However, staff's Tuesday proposal was that each commission can only evaluate the project once. Why? The developer wants this on the ballot by June 2022 and staff wants to comply with that, stating there is not enough time for commissions to have more than one meeting concerning the proposal. Why do they want to go along with the developer?  Well, you will have to ask them, but it is certainly not a timeline that favors citizen input, remembering that commissions are intended to be a conduit for citizens to give feedback to the City.

Continue reading "DISC is back… and so is bad process " »


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

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

By Robert Chianese

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

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

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

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

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

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


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"


Vague lanes solving regional pains?

Davis80
Not the Caltrans project! This is the author's concept for a bypass to and from the Bypass.

On July 1st Davis Vanguard covered the announcement of Federal funding of 86 million dollars for the Yolo-80 Managed Lanes project.

I appreciate most the comments of Alan Miller, Alan Pryor and Richard McCann. I hope I can add something below.

The MTC area gets a lot of income from its bridges, and uses it for public transportation. Consider that Davis and SACOG-area drivers pay into this when driving south to San Jose, west to Oakland and San Francisco, and so on, but people from those areas make no similar contribution our region – really, the east side of the Northern California Megaregion – when traveling to Davis or Sac or of course towards Lake Tahoe.

Caltrans dropped the long-promised new bike-ped bridge across the Bypass, replaced by some improvements on the west side of the Bypass. Combined with new infrastructure such as separated lanes and a lot of shade trees in West Sac,  the  whole corridor could be optimized for faster e-bikes and provide a good alternative for many, especially in east and the east part of South Davis. But… nope! Or so it seems.

The graphics in the Caltrans presentation on the Yolo 80 Corridor planned for the BTSSC meeting this Thursday show only buses in the managed lanes, which is not what’s really planned for the managed lanes. Nasty! The managed lanes are mostly in added lanes, and if these lanes are available for private vehicles off-peak, for a premium, or free for a carpool then induced demand happens - see also Alan Pryor's comment in the Vanguard article - and we eventually lose.

It’s also not clear how this project interfaces with the 80-Richards project.

It’s not clear how much congestion there will be during the long construction period.

It’s not clear if any general re-paving will decrease noise (new technology makes this possible).

It’s probably unlikely that Caltrans will support a discount on Capitol Corridor during the construction period.

But yeah, rail. What’s up with the future Capitol Corridor improvements? How does this project related to our impending new General Plan? My favorite idea is to build a highway bypass south of town and then put the railway below grade so that it also no long splits the City in two (in retrospect, it would probably have been better to not build anything south of the 80-rail corridor). Anyway, all the new space roughly in the center of Davis could be the location of a lot of new dense, mixed-use development which could facilitate low-vehicle ownership or at least use, as it would eventually be convenient to UCD and Downtown by bike, to both Sacramento and especially the Railyards, and to points to the west by rail. It would also be much quieter in parts of the City with this sort of ring-road solution. In general terms it would complement my concept for building above 113 roughly between Russell and Covell. I've also proposed a noise-mitigation and solar-generation project for the I-80 corridor through Davis.

Related to this whole thing and that next to last point, over three years ago when I was on the BTSSC I initiated a sub-committee on 80 and related. It never went anywhere and was dissolved as the other Commissioner who joined it moved to Sacramento and no one else on the Commission wanted to pursue this... route. Sigh. Please demand that BTSSC members ask some hard questions this Thursday!

 
 

You might be a YIMBY if...

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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.

 


Why eliminating single-family zoning is a terrible idea

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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" »


Big problems at BTSSC meeting tonight!

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

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

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

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

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


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" »


Letter from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation concerning the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

The following letter was sent to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors on May 4 and shared with the Davisite for publication.

Dear Chairman Provenza and Board of Supervisors:

On behalf of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, I write to voice our continued strong concerns about the manner by which the County of Yolo is proceeding with regard to its Cannabis Land Use Ordinance ("CLUO"). Our concerns are far-reaching and fundamental. We continue to believe the Environmental Impact Report the County commissioned is deficient under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), for all of the reasons stated in our prior correspondence and which we hereby incorporate by reference.  For reasons we cannot fathom, the County continues on a myopic course, refusing to supplement or expand an analysis to one that measures the actual environmental impacts of an industry the County unleashed four years ago as an admitted experiment, and without any CEQA analysis whatsoever.  On a matter of such great import, involving a land use policy affecting so many people's lives, we fail to understand why the County is unwilling to take the time needed to get it right, or meaningfully consider reasonable alternatives to  protect people and their property. Instead, the County seems dedicated to moving forward against this deficient record, and recommending final action on an ordinance that will establish legal rights for a problematic industry.

We implore the Board to step back and review the record. The comments from long­ time Capay Valley farmers and residents are generally consistent. Furthermore, County responses to people's grievances are revealing, as they are largely dismissive and conclusory, and protective of the cannabis industry generally. By this correspondence, we ask the Board to take corrective action and slow this process down to ensure CEQA is satisfied and that the best land use policy is developed. At the same time, we ask the Board to grant the Tribe's and our neighbors' request to protect the Capay Valley region, and in particular to, carve cannabis grows out of the rural residential communities west of Interstate-505 along State Route 16, which are simply not suitable to cannabis cultivation. As noted, the Tribe would help mitigate the impacts to growers who invested in the Capay Valley, by helping finance their relocation.

Our Efforts to Reach A Resolution That Would Protect Much of the Greater Capay Valley Region from Cannabis Cultivation.

Continue reading "Letter from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation concerning the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance" »


Capay Valley is Being Overrun by a Disproportionate Share of Yolo County Cannabis Farms

The Overwhelming Majority of the Owners of these Cannabis Farms are NOT Capay Valley Residents

by Alan Pryor

According to records provided by residents of Capay Valley opposed to the proliferation of cannabis farms in that rural and semi-rural area, there are 54 licensed pot farms in Yolo County with identified APN parcel numbers. Of these 54 farms, 27 (50%) are located in or near the unincorporated towns of Guinda, Rumsey,  Capay, and Esparto in the geographically short and narrow Capay Valley. The remaining 27 farms are located in other widely dispersed unincorporated areas of Yolo County. Based on land area alone, this is obviously a hugely disproportionate concentration of cannabis farms in this generally less wealthy area of the County.

Capay Valley Cannabis Farms

It is further noteworthy that of the 27 cannabis farms in the Capay Valley, only 7 (26%) have a person or business owner with an actual identified mailing address in the valley itself – everyone else is from somewhere else.. (Note: County records are incomplete or inaccurate so some property/business owner information was not released or otherwise unobtainable. As a result, not all information is currently available for all cannabis farms licensees).

Continue reading "Capay Valley is Being Overrun by a Disproportionate Share of Yolo County Cannabis Farms" »


Residents United to Demand a Cannabis Exclusion for Greater Capay Valley

The following group-written letter was sent to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, several of whom also shared the letter with the Davisite and suggested that other people concerned about this issue can contact the Board at: "Oscar Villegas, 1st" <oscar.villegas@yolocounty.org> "Don Saylor, Chair, 2nd" <don.saylor@yolocounty.org>, "Gary Sandy, 3rd" <gary.sandy@yolocounty.org>, "Jim Provenza, 4th" <jim.provenza@yolocounty.org>, "Angel Barajas, 5th" <angel.barajas@yolocounty.org>, "Patrick S. Blacklock, Co Admin’r" <patrick.blacklock@yolocounty.org>

[Updated to add signatories].

Dear Supervisors: 

We are residents of the rural communities along Highway 16 west of the 505 in Yolo County, with most of us living and some of us farming in and around Madison, Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and/or Rumsey. This area is a special one, renowned for the quality of its produce and sustainable farming, and variously called the “Capay Valley” or “greater Capay Valley.” We submit this letter to express our strong and united opposition to the cannabis industry in our communities.  

Since the County first began experimenting with the cannabis industry four years ago, and authorized cannabis cultivation without any prior analysis or environmental review, the greater Capay Valley quickly became overwhelmed with cannabis grows. As you stand ready to approve an Ordinance that will bring some permanence to this industry, we ask you to hear us.  While we recognize the County wants this industry because of the revenues it will generate, the Board needs to consider the real costs this industry poses to our way of life.  

Many of our families have lived in this region for generations. We have personally witnessed – and experienced – the harmful impacts of this industry. We want to make it clear to you, the elected Board of Supervisors, including our District 5 Supervisor Angel Barrajas, that we want the cannabis industry out of the greater Capay Valley, which needs to be protected from cannabis cultivation and related uses with an express exclusion or ban.

Continue reading "Residents United to Demand a Cannabis Exclusion for Greater Capay Valley " »


Letter: Don’t turn Capay Valley into a Sacrifice Zone

The following letter was sent to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and shared with the Davisite

Hello Yolo County Supervisors,

Allow me to be frank. Although each county supervisor is elected by the voters of their district, you represent all the residents (whether they voted for you or not) of the entire county.

That means your unspoken eagerness for pot revenue needs to be balanced against how the carpet-bagging influx of most pot grows being located mostly in District Five could undermine what was already here and growing.

“The “California Travel Impacts” report, prepared for Visit California by Dean Runyan Associates, shows visitor spending reached $454.3 million and supported 5,219 jobs in Yolo County in 2019.”

While our county’s three large cities get the credit, recreation in Capay Valley is also a significant factor, with river rafting, Almond Festival tourism, lavender farms and wine tasting, the Yocha Dehe Golf Club, Cache Creek Casino Resort, Séka Hills Olive Mill, Mother’s Day garden tours, and 3 decades of Full Belly Farm’s Hoes Down events drawing considerable crowds. The county took in $15 million in local tax revenue in 2019 from visitors.  https://www.dailydemocrat.com/2020/05/16/new-economic-report-highlights-importance-of-tourism-to-yolo-county/

Continue reading "Letter: Don’t turn Capay Valley into a Sacrifice Zone " »


Forthcoming book features women innovators in agtech in Davis

From Farms to Incubators Cover Award-winning journalist and filmmaker Amy Wu has written a forthcoming book “From Farms to Incubators: Women Innovators Revolutionizing How Our Food Is Grown,” that profiles dozens of women innovators and leaders in the growing sector of agtech. Agtech encompasses innovations including drones, sensors, artificial intelligence and blockchain that help growers with the challenges they are facing including severe labor shortage and loss of arable land. The book features a number of women in the Davis area including Thuy-Le Vuong, Pam Marrone and Fatma Kaplan.

  • Vuong is the CEO and founder of The Redmelon Company that extracts oil from Gac, a tropical fruit known to be rich in nutrition packed carotenoids.
  • Marrone is the founder of Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI) a bio-based pest management company that produces herbicides, fungicides and insecticides with plant-based or using naturally-occurring microorganisms with the goal of replacing chemicals in agriculture.
  • Kaplan is the founder of Pheronym a company creates biopesticides that use pheromones (chemicals capable of acting like hormones to impact the behavior of the receiving individuals) to control a wide range of agricultural pests.

The book will be published on May 4, 2021 by Linden Publishing (based out of Fresno) and is available for pre-sales through various outlets including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. This past February Amy was named one of Food Tank’s 15 Leading Women at the Intersection of Food and Technology. In 2020 Amy was named one of Worth magazine’s “50 Women Changing the World.” To learn more about From Farms to Incubators go to www.farmstoincubators.com.

Amy Wu is an award-winning writer for women’s ag and agtech movement who is bicoastal and splits her time between New York and California.


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.

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Better main shot cropped_REDCity is blocking bike lanes?

The City of Davis' only response to recent crashes in the vicinity of Pole Line Road and East Covell Blvd has thus far been Enforcement1. Actively, the Davis Police Department has been monitoring some locations in the area.  Passively, the City has placed a
radar speed sign on WB East Covell between Manzanita and Baywood Streets, right about here.

Why is the radar speed sign in the bike lane? The City places similar signs - and they and private contractors place various construction signs - off to the side on streets when there's space to do so, so they clearly understand the advantage of doing so. But when there's no space, they place the signs on the side of the street, and on most collectors and arterial streets in Davis this means it's in a bike lane.

"Putting a radar feedback sign on Covell to invite drivers to slow down: good. Putting a sign in bike lane: not good," says Nicolas Fauchier-Magnan, the President of Bike Davis, who usually goes by Nico.

"Obstructing the bike lane, on a street where drivers routinely go 50 mph or more is simply irresponsible. 

"Come on, City of Davis," continues Nico. "You should know better, and you can do better. Please fix this terrible blunder before someone gets hurt. There is plenty of space on the grass, outside of the bike lane, to safely place this sign."

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