Soroptimists working hard for women and girls

This Zoom screenshot shows Soroptimist International of Davis 2020-2021 officers wearing starry-eyed glasses for their installation. From top left are Heather Carpenter, Lynn Fowler, Wendy Weitzel, Maggie Memmott, Evie Wright, Kacie Woodward, Emily Ziser, Elaine Barratt, Katherine Hess, Karen Westphalen, Lori Hansen and Carol MacDonald.

(From press release) Soroptimist International of Davis isn’t letting the pandemic impede its work to improve the lives of women and girls.

The service club wrapped up its 2020-2021 year with its installation of officers on June 23. Also this spring, members stewarded a City Council resolution on women’s rights, gave grants to single moms, and awarded local scholarships. Below are a few highlights:

Resolution for women’s rights

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Valley Clean Energy makes new hire

R_Boyles(From press release) Valley Clean Energy is pleased to announce the hiring of Rebecca Boyles as its new director of customer care and marketing. In this position, she is responsible for all customer touch points, including outreach, marketing, programs, key accounts and customer policy development.

Boyles joins Valley Clean Energy after spending four years in progressively responsible positions in customer care and billing operations at MCE (formerly Marin Clean Energy). Her additional leadership experience includes chairing the Billing Operations and Customer Care Committee for CalCCA, the statewide community choice energy association, as well as directing social media for the communications team at the Women's Environmental Network.

Prior to working in the utilities sector, Boyles focused on stakeholder engagement at Future 500, a nonprofit that advises Fortune 500 companies on sustainable business practices and community relations.

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Davis Farmers Market open on July 4

July4IGpost(From press release) While the Fourth of July won’t have the traditional fireworks, the Davis Farmers will be open, featuring all of the flavors that make the holiday memorable.

On July 4, the market is open for its regular Saturday hours – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – in Central Park, 301 C St., in Davis.

Vendors will have all of the components for the perfect household barbecue, including farm-fresh corn, watermelon, tomatoes, meats, fish, breads and cookies and cheeses. Come stock up on produce, eggs, beans, rice, nuts, dried fruits and flowers. Fruit in season includes berries, melons and stone fruit. There are tons of veggies at the market, like cucumbers, summer squash, eggplants, Brussels sprouts and avocados.

There are also tortillas, pizza crust, pita breads and dips, baked goods, olive oil, jams, honey, kettle corn, almond milk and almond butter, fresh apple juice, juice pops, coffee, tamales, hot dogs and Indian food.

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Family-Friendly Father’s Day Walk in Davis to Protest Racial Injustice

(From press release) On Sunday, June 21, 2020, Parents of African-American Children - Davis (PAACD) is hosting a family -friendly walk in Davis to honor the victims of racial injustice and police brutality and highlight the importance of talking to children early about race and racial prejudice.

The walk will begin at 9 am at Playfields Park (2500 Research Park Drive) in Davis and continue on the bike path to John Barovetto Park (about 2.6 miles). At 11 am, at John Barovetto Park (4400 Alhambra Drive), the group will stand in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to remember George Floyd and all the victims of police brutality.

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Is the Proposed Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus a Land-Use Dinosaur Before It is Even Approved to be Put on the Ballot?

Is it a "Field of Schemes"?

FieldofschemesBy Alan Pryor


The COVID-pandemic has accelerated and likely made permanent huge increases in home-based, work-related remote telecommuting. This trend would dramatically decrease office space needs in sprawling business parks like the proposed Davis Innovation and Sustainability Center (DISC) (formerly known as the Aggie Research Campus (ARC), and before that, as Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC)).

In turn, this reduced demand for office space will drastically decrease rental income from such large office developments. Because property valuations are strongly based on rental income, reduced rents will reduce property valuations which will, in turn, reduce property tax income to the City. And if such property tax income is sufficiently depressed in the future and exceeds the costs to the City of providing essential services to residents and business park tenants, the DISC project could turn into a net drain on City coffers.

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Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market returns

Riffat Ahmad from Ahmad Farm sets up at the June 11 soft opening of the Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market. Debbie Ramming/Courtesy photo

(From press release) The Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market is back – with precautions in place to protect the health and safety of its vendors and shoppers. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 29.

Since 2010, the Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market has brought farm-fresh, local foods and produce to the hospital’s main entrance, 2000 Sutter Place in West Davis. Its soft opening was June 11. 

Hospital and farmers market leaders worked together to develop a plan that accommodates about seven vendors and includes the same precautions that have worked for the Wednesday and Saturday markets in downtown Davis: requiring face coverings to attend the market, social distancing of vendors, sidewalk markings to help with social distancing of shoppers, and hand hygiene stations. Sellers wear gloves and masks, and typically select the produce for the customer.

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Valley Clean Energy - 2 Years Strong

VCE(From press release) During these trying times, it’s more important than ever to take note of the good news that’s worth celebrating.

“Please join us as we mark the anniversary of Valley Clean Energy,” said Don Saylor, chairman of the board of directors of the not-for-profit public agency and a Yolo County supervisor. “We’re two years strong as of June 1, and it’s all because of you, the VCE customers who support us in taking charge of our clean energy future.”

People who suffer from asthma and other lung-related conditions have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, so cleaning up the air in California has become even more important for everyone.

“That’s just what VCE has been doing these past two years, by offering people cleaner, greener electricity and an option for 100% carbon-free power,” added Dan Carson, VCE’s board vice-chair and a member of the Davis City Council. “And we’ve only just begun.”

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The Planning Commission is being “played” by staff in order to ram through the DISC project under artificially imposed deadlines

01249638-444B-40A8-B2FD-E9FF09231DFBThe following was emailed to the Planning Commission today; it is reprinted by permission of the author.
Dear Commissioners -

Tonight you have before you a 1,000-page Final EIR for which you are being asked to recommend certification but you have had only a little over a week to review it. You have had a 600-page Staff Report before you for less than a week but you are being asked to approve Baseline Features for a project that is 4 times larger than anything the City has ever seen before.

So if you feel like you are being railroaded by the Staff to bum rush this project through without being given the time to carefully deliberate and properly consider the huge implications of this massive undertaking, you're exactly right!

But this is not accidental or due to the pandemic as Staff would have you believe. Staff and the Developer have intentionally planned (a less polite term to use would be "schemed") to get this matter to you at the last possible date to give you as little time as possible to review this project.

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BTSSC's Transportation Baseline Features for ARC/DISC

Sub-Committee will bring draft to full Commission meeting this week

MRICARCDISCfinalProposed Transportation Baseline Features for Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus:

Parking Lots and Internal Streets, Housing, Transportation Demand Management, Site Access and Traffic Mitigation Features and general Mitigation Features

The City of Davis (City) Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) met on May 8, 2020 and formed a sub-committee on transportation baseline features for the proposed Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus (DISC; formerly known as the Aggie Research Campus) Project (Project). These draft features will be reviewed with the full BTSSC on June 11, 2020 with any resulting vote submitted to the appropriate city bodies, with a recommendation for the revised features to be included in “Baseline Project Features” submitted for voter approval of the Project pursuant to a Measure R vote. The draft of this sub-committee discussion is below.

Information on the June 11 meeting, including how you can comments, can be found here.

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Should Davis defund the police?

By David Abramson

The City of Davis Finance and Budget Commission is meeting tonight at 6:30 to discuss proposed budget cuts, including that of the Davis Police Department.

Written comments can be submitted by 4:30 today to or can be given live during the meeting:

My guess is this will be on the 6/16 City Council agenda, and further comments will be needed directly to City Council, but the commissions are a good place to start.

See below for the letter I submitted.

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Not so much “community” in the BrightNight solar deal

47036D8C-C262-42A2-A15A-D4433024F394By Matt Williams

Intentions and goals are only words unless they are accompanied by accomplishments, and when it comes to accomplishments, especially in the realm of renewable power, City Hall is very good at "talking the talk" but not very good at “walking the walk.”

That is a bold statement.  Is it factual?  The answer to that is “Absolutely!” and the evidence of how little actual accomplishment the City has achieved is illuminated by looking at a side-by-side timeline of the City and Yolo County from 2011 to present.

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Black Lives Matter Protest at Davis Police Department


Protesters gathered in community park and marched through downtown and then on to the Davis Police station. Chief of Police Pytel was the only officer present for much of the rally. There were no officers in riot gear in Davis, unlike last week when a group of mostly highschool students were met by heavily armed police in riot gear. Photos by Rik Keller

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We have a problem in Davis

F7403023-8B59-4518-B391-D57E2C32E247By Emily Hill

White people of Davis, this is relevant here, too:

One of the fundamental things wrong with police culture is solidarity with violent colleagues. 

You may have seen the video of police in riot gear pushing over a 75 year old man who started bleeding from the head while the other officers present walked by him, seemingly unconcerned.

Two officers have been suspended and ALL 57 of the city's emergency response team resigned from the team in solidarity with their dangerous coworkers. There have been no consequences for the officers who stood by and did nothing. None of those 57 should be in any position of community authority, let alone with a service weapon.

This is not a problem "over there". This extends to Davis.

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Celebration of Abraham statement on killing of George Floyd

Celebration of Abraham (COA), a Yolo County interfaith organization for over 17 years, is saddened and outraged at the killing of George Floyd and expresses our deepest condolences to his family. We are anguished at the continuous violence black Americans have suffered throughout the history of our county—slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and the senseless killings at the hands of white vigilantes and law enforcement.

We understand that many in the law enforcement community, including the Davis Police Chief, are horrified and speaking out against the systemic racism and militarism in policing.

Celebration of Abraham encourages all to reflect and to take action so such acts of abuse of power are no longer the norm. "Othering," as discussed during one of COA's community conversations, is a divisive force that is among the roots of the problem. As humans, we are programmed to organize information we take from the world into categories. For much of recorded history, humans have used categorical differences to justify fear or power relations between groups. Our religions have within them the capacity to unite us, though there are those who use these traditions to divide us. Our Abrahamic faith traditions tell us to value the other.

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Davis Soroptimists present community grants

A baby gets a checkup at a Communicare Health Center. A Soroptimist grant will fund a new postpartum group for moms in need. Courtesy photo.

(From press release) This spring, Soroptimist International of Davis awarded $6,500 in funds to like-minded nonprofits through its annual Community Grants program.

The following organizations received awards:

  • Communicare Health Centers received $2,000, to supply a new postpartum group providing moms and babies with the best start possible through education, community support and health care.
  • Thriving Pink earned $1,500 for educational workshops to support local breast cancer survivors.
  • Yolo Diaper Bank received $1,000 to purchase the supplies needed to wrap and deliver 100,000 diapers over the year to agencies that distribute diapers to families that would otherwise not have enough.
  • Yolo Children’s Fund was awarded $1,000 to meet the needs of girls and teens who are abused or disadvantaged. It funds special projects, needs or educational enrichment that would otherwise go unmet.
  • Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee received $1,000 for legal documents to help individuals get housing, employment and aid, especially women who need to support their children or escape violence.

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Effects of Increases in City of Davis Employee Compensation from 2011 to 2018 on the City's Current Budget Crisis

Effects of Increases in City of Davis Employee Compensation from 2011 to 2018 on the City's Current Budget Crisis

by Alan Pryor


The actual average increase in total annual compensation (Pay and Benefits) for City of Davis full-time, year-round (FT) employees has been 5.9% each year from 2011 through 2018. This is more than twice the average annual rate of inflation of 2.8% during the same period as determined by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for Bay Area Urban Wage Earners & Clerical Workers. The actual average increase in salary without benefits (Pay) has been 4.5%.

The actual average annual total Pay and Benefits paid to City of Davis FT employees in 2018 was $144,115.  Compare that to the average annual total Pay and Benefits of $118, 640 that would have alternatively been paid in 2018 if annual increases in total compensation had instead been held to the annual CPI increases since 2011.

Similarly, the actual average annual Pay (without Benefits) paid to City of Davis FT employees in 2018 was $97,834.  Compare that to the actual average annual Pay of $88,324 that would have been paid to FT employees in 2018 if annual increases in payroll-only compensation had instead been held to the annual CPI increases since 2011

For comparison, median earnings for FT private sector workers in Davis was $63,125 in 2018. City employees thus received an average 55% greater Pay ($97,834/$63,125) and 128% more in Pay and Benefits ($144,115/$63,125) than FT private-sector workers in 2018.

The annual differences between the actual total Pay and Benefits paid by the City to all FT employees from 2012 through 2018 and that which would have been paid if annual increases had instead been held to the CPI is very substantial and ranges from $3.645 Million in 2015 to $7.668 Million in 2018. On a cumulative basis, the City has paid in excess of $34 Million more to FT employees in Pay and Benefits from 2012 through 2018 had annual payroll increases otherwise been held to increases based on CPI. 

That additional money could have been very beneficially used in the intervening years to resurface many additional miles of the Davis streets and bike paths in most need of repair while still providing adequate annual increases in employee compensation to match inflationary pressures on their costs of living.

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Photos from #BlackLivesMatter George Floyd Demonstration in Davis

Peaceful protest of the murder of George Floyd and countless others, Sunday May 31, Davis CA.

Photos by Rik Keler (

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Arts organizations work together to create good

RubAdubStencil 1
Artist Danielle Fodor created stencils to print in “places we can’t gather.” This one, talking about the importance of hand washing, uses mud as paint. (Danielle Fodor/Courtesy photo)

By Wendy Weitzel

The arts community is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. With shows, concerts, galleries and all public work halted, local artists are looking for other ways to connect with the community. That was the focus at the May 21 Arts Alliance Davis meeting, where artists from all mediums gathered virtually to collaborate and brainstorm.

Arts Alliance Davis typically meets every other month. This one was via Zoom. The group unites artists, civic and arts organizations, businesses, patrons and other community arts supporters. Meetings are open to anyone.

Many artists and organizations rely on grants as an income source. Rachel Hartsough, the city’s arts and culture manager, said the city of Davis will be extending the terms of its Community Arts grants, and allowing flexibility for artists to postpone or reinvent their projects.

But budget-wise, Davis – like most government bodies – is eyeing cuts. “It’s looking really tough.” She said to expect a substantial reduction in the arts budget.

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Happy anniversary, Valley Clean Energy!

Yvonne Hunter Machu Picchu
Yvonne Hunter, a longtime Davis resident and chair of the Valley Clean Energy Community Advisory Committee, proudly shows off her affiliation with VCE while hiking at Machu Picchu in Peru. Courtesy photo

By Yvonne Hunter

Chair, Valley Clean Energy Community Advisory Committee

As Valley Clean Energy reaches its two-year anniversary, memories of my role in its formation keep popping into my head.

Way back in 2002, it was my job as a lobbyist representing a statewide association of cities to advocate on behalf of cities before the California Legislature. This included the legislation that became law and authorizes cities and counties to buy electricity on behalf of their residents and businesses. These are known as Community Choice Aggregation (or CCA) programs. 

Little did I know that, 18 years later, this new law would blossom and flourish into 21 operating CCAs throughout California, successfully serving 10 million customers in more than 170 cities and counties.

More amazing to me is that the new law ultimately enabled my own city of Davis and my county, Yolo (along with Woodland), to form their own CCA — Valley Clean Energy. Frankly, this is a very humbling experience.

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Responsibility in the age of Covid-19

County's decision shifts the responsibility from government to individuals

Yolo-dashboard-5-26-2020By Robin Rainwater

I've been contemplating the rapidly shifting landscape in Yolo County heavily this week. Not just Yolo County, but in California as a whole. Over the last several months, the Covid-19 pandemic brings me to my data roots and plagues my change management heart. I've spent time using data to influence healthcare policy and over the last few months, I have immersed myself in the data on many levels. I have been helping people in my community understand the data and data trends so that they can make informed decisions for themselves, their families, and communities. I've felt an increasing need to inform more people as I've watched things beginning to unravel because of the balance between economy and preservation of life. A balance that is precariously tipping in a direction that frightens me.

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