“One World Together at Home” concert to celebrate health care workers and WHO combating COVID-19, April 18, 8pm on major networks

By Eileen M. Samitz

While our community needs to shelter and place and practice social distancing, I am certain that I am not alone in wanting to help in some other way in the fight against COVID-19.  Thanks to a recent article in the Davisite, one way is to donate to any of our local charities which can be easily found via the webpage for the Yolo Community Foundation at their Covid-19 Initiative website at:  https://www.yolocf.org/news/yolo-covid-19-nonprofit-relief-initiative/.

The other way is to help globally by donating to the World Health Organization (WHO) which is working so hard to unite the forces of all countries, to help combat COVID-19.  One thing that is certain, is that we will only win this war against COVID-19 if we work together with the many other nations battling this terrible disease, by cooperating and pooling our knowledge and make efforts to help each other.

While this event happen is not a telethon to raise funds, we can help WHO by making a donation to them on line via their “COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund” at: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/donate or via their Facebook page for this fund at: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1564752357011737/

So, a nationwide televised concert is happening today, Saturday April 18th for the “One World Together at Home” is to celebrate the healthcare workers and World Health Organization. This undoubtedly extends to thanking the many essential workers who are helping to support our communities working hard daily to provided our essential needs including food and supplies, during this COVID-19 crisis.

There are dozens of well-known musical artists and actors who are participating including Lady Gaga (who helped initiate the concert), the Rolling Stones, Paul McCarthy, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Taylor Swift, Alishia Keys, John Legend, LL Cool J, Andrea Bocelli and Keith Urban so a variety of music and personalities like Oprah Winfrey, Amy Poehler and Ellen DeGeneres. The show is being produced by the well-known non-profit “Global Citizen” and co-hosted by late night show hosts Steven Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon.

The concert can be viewed this evening (Saturday, April 18th) at 8pm (PST) and can be view on all NBC networks, ABC, Viacom/BS networks, The CW and iHeartMedia channels. The concert started 11am PST (2PM EST), so it can be view live now or later via streaming on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Prime Video, TIDAL, Yahoo, Apple platforms and Twitch

Here is a link for more info about the event:

https://www.today.com/popculture/one-world-home-concert-how-watch-t179106

Meanwhile, stay in as much as possible, stay safe, stay well, and please help in this battle against COVID-19 by wearing a face-covering when out near others, wash your hands often and keep them away from your face, and practice social distancing.


City Misleads on BrightNight Deal - Part 2

Bright night blueThe City’s FAQ on the BrightNight lease option is misleading and factually incorrect – Part 2

By Alan Pryor and Richard McCann

At the last City Council meeting, more than 20 people called in opposition to the City of Davis entering a lease option agreement with BrightNight to develop a solar project on a 235-acre parcel next to the City’s waste water treatment plan. Councilmembers Lee, Carson, Arnold, and Partida all voted for the proposal. Only Councilmember Frerichs voted against the proposal citing his strong concerns about the lack of Commission involvement, the failure to follow normal City policy to procure open bids, and the lack of guaranteed energy sales to the City and Valley Clean Energy.

Continue reading "City Misleads on BrightNight Deal - Part 2" »


Send your neighbor to the Davis Farmers' Market for you...... doing business with local vendors

Dear Friends,

Are you going to the Farmers' Market today?  You can buy health promoting food there which also happens to be fresh and tasty.

If you can't go, maybe your friends/neighbors can ask a "Designated Shopper" to go for several families and make a number of purchases.

If we don't support the vendors there now, they might not be there when we are out of quarantine.  

See what you can do!

John


Blow, Virus! Blow!

Redefining the home as a workplace and school environment 

Battle_of_Yavin_2

The following was sent earlier this week to Dr. Ron Chapman, Yolo County Health Officer,  and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors:

“Dear Dr. Chapman and Supervisors,

This is a follow-up to my early queries and comments about advice on HVAC systems and ventilation of residences and more recently links I sent with evidence on how SARS-CoV-2 particles might be distributed even through normal respiration. It’s excerpted from what’s here.

Lately, many store workers in California have tested positive for COVID-19. There's now CDC guidance for essential workers that says to "... increase air exchange in the building.". The EPA also just sent out guidance on safety in school environments, which is still useful even though our schools are closed. It reminds schools to maintain their HVAC system. ASHRAE provides a link to an earlier version of the above-mentioned guidance from the CDC. Finally, there's also OSHA guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19. It's summarized here and says that the Engineering Control process includes "installing high-efficiency air filters" and "increasing ventilation rates in the work environment."

Continue reading "Blow, Virus! Blow!" »


City Misleads on BrightNight Deal

Bright night blueThe City’s Q&A document on the BrightNight lease option is misleading and factually incorrect – Part 1

By Alan Pryor and Richard McCann

Background

On Tuesday night, more than 20 people called into the City Council meeting to oppose the recent decision by the Council to enter into a no-bid lease option agreement with a solar development firm, BrightNight Energy. The option would allow the company to subsequently lease a 235-acre parcel of City-owned land next to the City’s waste water treatment plant for up to 49-years to develop a 25 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic project.

The decision to award the contract followed an unsolicited bid by the solar company to enter into an exclusive, sole-source lease contract with the City allowing it to build a privately-owned solar system on the land. To say this decision by Council (only Lucas Frerichs voted"No") was highly controversial is an understatement. The extensive citizen complaints centered on the following facts:

Continue reading "City Misleads on BrightNight Deal" »


Yolo Community Foundation Announces Historic Partnership to Create New COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Initiative

Yolo
Community Members Encouraged to Contribute Directly to Yolo County Nonprofits

Contact: Jessica Hubbard
jessica.hubbard@yolocf.org                                                                  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Woodland, CA — The Yolo Community Foundation is leading an unprecedented partnership with Yolo County, the City of Woodland, the City of Winters, the City of West Sacramento, and the City of Davis to create the new COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Initiative. These local jurisdictions are providing staff and funding to support the initiative’s three components: 1) a community-wide campaign to encourage direct contributions to nonprofits; 2) a relief fund to provide grants directly to nonprofits; and 3) technical assistance to help nonprofits through the crisis.

Continue reading "Yolo Community Foundation Announces Historic Partnership to Create New COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Initiative" »


Stanford University School of Medicine study on daily symptoms.... how are you feeling?

Dear Davis Friends:

A good friend of mine from the Bay Area who has had a long career in health care shared information about participation in a research opportunity sponsored and managed by Stanford University School of Medicine.

Below the dotted line is a copy of what she sent me.

FYI, I signed up, it was easy.  And the research team will send me a simple check-in reminder each day with just a couple of questions.

Gives me a good opportunity to contribute to the scientific effort being put together to study this epidemic and begin to compile the data to allow public health authorities to make evidence-based public health decisions.  

Will you join me?

John Troidl

=======================================================

COVID daily symptoms survey

Hi neighbors - Researchers at Stanford Medicine are conducting a daily symptoms survey, which will help inform the response to COVID-19. If you are not already participating, consider joining the survey. It’s really easy (the first survey takes less than a few minutes, and the daily check-ins take as few as a few seconds (literally...2 questions with populated buttons to select your answers) to a bit longer, potentially, if you need to go into detail about either of your answers. And they send you a daily reminder with a link that takes you to your personalized survey. Stay healthy. https://bw3gbcrs.r.us-east-1.awstrack.me/L0/https:%2F%2Fmed.stanford.edu%2Fcovid19%2Fcovid-counter.html/1/020000000dg30nn8-hqrj00ob-nbta-s04e-bt1q-j65fkvh7c6g0-000000/plz00nwIw5UuRzRn5CN2bsPDGjU=157

Stanford Medicine National Daily Health Survey for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Your involvement in the Daily Health Survey will hopefully help save lives. As a country, we are all in this together!

 
=======================================================

ARC Lacks Parks

The project got bigger, but the parks got smaller.
Arc park
Image provided by ARC developer

This letter was sent to the City of Davis Recreation and Park Commission meeting for consideration for their meeting about ARC tonight. The meeting is being held through zoom at 6:30PM and you can join the meeting and offer comment either by clicking this link:
 

Or calling these numbers: 
Dial: 1-669-900-9128
or 1-346-248-7799
or 1-253-215-8782
or 1-301-715-8592
or 1-312-626-6799
 
Webinar ID: 158 545 314
 
 

 
Dear Recreation and Park Commissioners,

I am writing to express my serious concerns on a lack of park space in the ARC proposal. 
 
The document from the developer included at the end of the tonights staff report  starting at page 34 has the following details (link):
  • The current ARC proposal only has 12.7 Acres of Parks.
  • The developer is required to provide 11.14 acres of parks for the 850 housing units under city code.
  • There is no mention of park requirements for the  
    • 1,610,000 sf of Office/R&D/Laboratory 
    • 884,000 sf  of  Advanced Manufacturing
    • 100,000 sf  of Retail
 
While it is true the developer is meeting the requirement for parks for the residential housing, there is little park land beyond that for the massive commercial properties. Apparently there is no specific requirement for parks for commercial use in City code, but the Rec and Parks Commission, Planning Commission and City Council can and should require sufficient park space to meet the needs of  the proposal. A major new development like this should certainly be asked to include enough park space so other parks in Davis are not negatively impacted. Considering there will be 5,800 employees on site here every day using the parks, it is just going to need more park space. 
 
The developer has specifically stated the ARC parks will be used by business park employees. Page 34 of the staff report also says the main 7.5 acre park "area is envisioned to serve the needs of ARC sports leagues (i.e., corporate softball) and other community leagues. The remaining three parks range from 1-acre to 2.5-acres and will primarily serve the needs of the residents and employees alike, though all ARC parks will be open to the public."
 
Clearly if 5,800 employees are going to be using the parks for "corporate softball" or other activities that will be a lot of park use. The configuration of the parks encourages this use by locating mixed use stores and restaurants around the main park and locating the transit terminal in the main park. (A small additional point, the transit terminal is located in the main park and appears to be counted as park land. It is .6 acres.)
 
By comparison, the previous MRIC business park proposal from the same developer that had no housing in it included 18.7 acres of parks. This can be seen in table 3-3 on page 3-31 of the MRIC EIR.  (link)
 it makes no sense that the developer would include more parks in a buisness only proposal, and then drastically reduce parks in the ARC proposal that has every bit as much space for commercial and adds 850 residences. Notably MRIC project description even had slightly less commercial space.
 
2020-04-15_12-34-22 MRIC space
This table is fromt he MRIC project description can be seen on page 3-20 of this document 
 
 
In conclusion, It makes no sense to increase the intensity of use on the development site, add 850 residences and reduce the park space. The developer invisions parks being used by the 5,800 employees of the commercial tenants, but is only meeting the minimal  requirement for parks based on the 850 residences. As a result the proposal has a significant lack of parks to serve the needs of both the residents and the business of ARC.
 
I recommend requiring the developer to provide significantly more park space as a baseline feature. 

Finally, I want to draw your attention to a recreation use of the current property that will be lost once this project is built. "The Davis Ditch" is a drainage area popular with the regional skateboard scene and is located in the south east corner of the property. You can read more about it here.  https://www.davisite.org/2020/03/skating-the-davis-ditch.html  

I hope this is helpful.
Colin Walsh

Why Lock Out Our Trees?

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan needs to address trees.

Cork oak
Giant cork oak downtown

The mature tree canopy in downtown Davis is an invaluable historic, environmental, and economic asset. It is a legacy we are fortunate to inherit and its future rests in our hands. Ideally, because of our informed stewardship the next generation will inherit a healthier and more extensive tree canopy resource.

The draft Davis Downtown Specific Plan (DDSP) allocates 25 pages of guidance to the design and placement of signage, but nothing to canopy conservation and the integration of new trees into downtown development. We do not believe that this omission reflects the level of value that our city officials, business leaders, and residents place on trees in our commercial area.

Tree Davis has submitted written comments that include these recommendations to bolster the inclusion of trees in the DDSP.

Continue reading "Why Lock Out Our Trees?" »


Hearing the straight story from the (public health) experts...... "Corona Virus, Science and Solutions"

Dear Friends,

This link leads you to a 90 minute Q&A session with the top public health faculty at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health who are on the cutting edge of research on the corona virus as well as other vectors for infectious disease.

A half dozen or so faculty with deep expertise answer questions asked by the public regarding the most current and best thinking on this epidemic.  From pathophysiology to public policy, from discussion of medications and treatments, to developing a vaccine.... and a bit of commentary about transferring the virus to your pet.... this is a fascinating session.  

Consider sharing with your family:

https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/03/30/coronavirus-science-and-solutions/

Enjoy,

John

PS  Wouldn't it be cool if we had a school of public health in the Capitol Region?? 

(Reminder:  Have been asked to share that I have training in public health and in management).

 

 


The ARC SEIR Transportation Impact Analysis is neither adequate nor complete

The following was sent to the Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) and the City as written comment by Matt Williams on April 8, the day before the BTSSC meeting.   The opinions expressed in the public comment are as an individual, and not as a representative of any organization.

First, I would like to thank Sherri Metzger, Ash Feeney, and Fehr and Peers for providing the Excel spreadsheet I requested containing the data from the tables from pages 42 through 161 of the SEIR Appendix F, Volume 2 – Transportation Operations Analysis Technical Appendix.

Second, my deep dive analysis of the intersection data in the spreadsheet produced the following substantial concerns.  At the end of this memo, I provide a Recommendation that I would vote for if I were a member of the BTSSC.

Continue reading "The ARC SEIR Transportation Impact Analysis is neither adequate nor complete" »


Public health lessons from others.... overcoming "American Exceptionalism".......

Many public health experts believe that South Korea responded to the corona virus properly.  A colleague of mine, the Clinic and Public Health Laboratory Operations Administrator at the San Francisco Department of Public Health shared this ~ 8 minute youtube video of South Korea's successful strategy and lessons for the US....it is quite well done and uses terrific graphics to make clear points. 

Probably something you want to share with friends and family members who are interested in understanding a reasonable path forward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE-cA4UK07c&feature=share

Regards,

John

(Like the Clinic and Public Health Laboratory Operations Administrator, I am trained in public health and health services management).


New CDC recommendations to help essential workers from COVID-19 exposure

By Eileen M. Samitz

In case others may not have heard this, CDC just announced Wednesday new recommendations to help protect essential workers. This has been so needed and likely helped Nugget to take action to provide face masks/ coverings for their employees.

Bravo to Nugget Market for recently implementing these CDC recommendations and I hope that the City and County circulate these new recommendations to have the employers provide these face masks/covering for their employees. Sadly, there have been some reports of essential workers elsewhere in the county succumbing from COVID-19 due to exposure to the public doing their jobs to serve us, without any type of facial mask or covering. So, this likely motivated CDC to finally come out with these needed recommendations. Even cloth facial coverings (since masks are better but the health care workers need them) are better than no facial covering to help deter exposure to the coronavirus.

Likewise, we as a community need to help by doing our part to wear a facial mask/covering to help prevent picking up or passing along the COVID-19 virus, since it is now known that many people can be carrying it, yet have not have symptoms.

Once again, thank you Nugget Market for taking action and setting the example of what our other local essential stores need to be doing for their employees.

Here is the AP article weblink with the CDC recommendations:

https://apnews.com/f2f80ae7f69376c21df6c8dc4cfb585b

New CDC guidance for essential workers during coronavirus outbreak

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines for essential workers, such as those in the health care and food supply industries. The guidance is focused on when those workers can return to work after having been exposed to the new coronavirus.

— Do take your temperature before work.

— Do wear a face mask at all times.

— Do practice social distancing as work duties permit.

— Don't stay at work if you become sick

— Don't share headsets or objects used near face.

— Don't congregate in the break room or other crowded places.

The CDC also issued guidance for employers in essential industries.

— Do take employees' temperature and assess for symptoms prior to their starting work.

— Do increase the frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

— Do increase air exchange in the building.


A little help?

On Tuesday evening when Dr. Ron Chapman, Yolo County Health Officer addressed the Davis City Council to provide an update for them on the Corona Virus situation in Yolo County, I went to the Yolo County Corona Virus Dashboard and looked up the number of CV tests that had been done to date in Yolo County. Here's the URL for the Dashboard:

https://www.yolocounty.org/health-human-services/adults/communicable-disease-investigation-and-control/novel-coronavirus-2019/dashboard-and-documents

It is a very informative dashboard! 

Back to the number tested in all of Yolo County:  That figure was 721 CV tests.

That means that 721/215,802 (2016) Yolo County residents had been tested.  That's less than 1%.  To be precise it is 1/3 of one percent.

Today I saw the figure of people tested in Yolo County has gone up to 885 people.  So, 885 out of 215,802 = 0.0041.  Or 40% of one percent of the population.  Still less than 1% of the Yolo County population has been tested.

Now I am NOT faulting the Health Department, they have been underfunded for years.  But we have presence from FOUR big health systems here in Yolo County:  Sutter, UC Davis Health System, Dignity, and Kaiser. Plus a small number of Community Health Centers.

Can't the City of Davis ask the Big Four to step up and help the Health Department with some significant level of testing?  Can't the City of Woodland City Council ask the same when Dr. Chapman presents to them next week?  

The Public Health Department can only do so much on its own (and I hope you paid your property taxes because that helps pay for County services!) so, can we have a little help from the big providers of care to assist with widespread CV testing throughout the county? 

And do it SOON so that the sooner we can get our arms around this problem the sooner we can respond properly and then eventually the sooner we can all get back to work/school/normal life?

Thank you for your consideration.

John Troidl 

(I am trained in both public health and in health services management).

 

 

 


Announcement for virtual watch party of "The Shock Doctrine"

Shockdoctrine-01While Americans worry about their health and how to pay rent, the Trump administration is giving corporations huge no-strings-attached bailouts and slashing environmental protections. What Naomi Klein calls "The Shock Doctrine" is in full effect: crises are exploited to push forward radical free-market policies that enrich the 1% at the expense of the working class. According to Klein, this is just the beginning. How do we prepare ourselves for what's next? What lessons can we learn from history? Most importantly, what is the positive vision for the future?

These questions are answered in the documentary based on Naomi Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine". Join the Yolo Democratic Socialists of America for a virtual watch party and discussion - our very FIRST event! Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/yoloshock. All are welcome!


Did Our City Council Just Agree to the Absolute Worst Deal in the City's History?

Cfe371da68ff6f4005d6e0b94b79fd20By Alan Pryor

Over $121,000,000 may have been left on the table when Council approved a secretive, closed-door no-bid, 54-year land lease option and agreement for a photovoltaic system on 235-acres of City-owned land.

How many miles of Street and Bike Path repairs per year would $121 million pay for? What was Staff and Council thinking ??? 

Continue reading "Did Our City Council Just Agree to the Absolute Worst Deal in the City's History?" »


Lessons from past plagues

10plaguesBy Alan Hirsch

The news cycle dominated by Trump and the virus plague will be interrupted midweek in some Davis homes by the Jewish holiday of Passover.

This is a recitation of the story of earlier plagues that lead up to the exodus from Egyptian slavery. Wednesday and Thursday nights are the first nights of Passover.

The 3,000-year-old Passover home ritual acts will seem strangely relevant this year. The ritual name “Passover” is to literally ask the plague to pass over our homes as we shelter in place.

We are asked to wash our hands twice. To dip our food in salt water. And to get over the plagues we’re asked to take two tablets — of the 10 Commandments. And go to Mt. Sinai — the real mountain not the hospital.

Continue reading "Lessons from past plagues" »


How long does it take to get results from a Corona Virus test?

Dear Friends,

Not sure how long it takes locally, but in Santa Clara County where they have tested 11,782 patients, it takes 2.27 days on average.  

On their dashboard, they call this "Average Days Turnaround Time".

Their dashboard is available at:

https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/dashboard.aspx?mc_cid=285873debc&mc_eid=a923074108

Regards, 

John Troidl


Bright Night Debacle

BrightWhat
This letter was sent to the Davis City Council regarding the March 24th Davis City Council approval of a solar farm. the original item can be seen here.



Subject: Please Rescind the Solar Lease Approval
Date: Tue, 7 Apr 2020 17:27:16 -0700
From: Alan Pryor 
To: City Council <CityCouncilMembers@cityofdavis.org>

To: Davis City Council
From: Alan Pryor
Date: April 6, 2020
Re: Failure of City to Perform Due Diligence on Bright Night Energy

Last Tuesday the Council approved an ill-advised no-bid, sole-sourced land lease option and contract to Bright Night Energy. There are many deficiencies in both the process and the underlying agreement accepted by the City. This communication, however, focuses on the experience and qualifications of the leasee, BrightNight Energy.

As part of the resolution authoring such a contract award, Council stated

Whereas, BrightNight is an energy company that focuses on delivering safe, reliable, high-value, low-cost renewable energy. BrightNight has developed, financed, constructed and operated more than 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy since 2009.

This information is completely false and Staff either knew this or should have known it. In fact, BrightNight is NOT a leading solar company as Staff otherwise represented to Council. They are actually a start-up company formed only a little over a year ago in January, 2019 as a Limited Liability Corporation in Delaware. It was only registered in California as a Foreign Limited Liability Corporation on February 11, 2020 which, perhaps not coincidentally, was the very same day that the Council reported out from Closed Session that they had directed staff to move forward to secure a preliminary agreement with BrightNight. BrightNight's website also only lists a residential home in El Dorado Hills as its sole US office and has no phone number listed.

Further, NONE of the projects listed on BrightNight's website (at https://brightnightenergy.com/markets-projects/) as evidence of their experience were projects in which BrightNight Energy had actually even participated as a developer or subcontractor. Nor could they have done so because BrightNight was not even in existence at the time the projects were completed!

For instance, under "Historic Project Successes" under the subheading of "One of the Largest Battery Storage Systems Providing Resource Adequacy", a massive battery storage project at Aliso Canyon in Southern California is listed. The write-up on BrightNight's website describes the system and implies it was done under the auspices of BrightNight but then only notes in a small footnote at the end of the description, "This project was developed by a BrightNight team member.". But they do not state the team member involved or the role they played in the project or which company that actually did developed the project.

Under "One of the World’s Largest Solar Power Plants", the 800 MW Mount Signal Solar Farm was discussed of which the first phase was operational in 2014. Mount Signal solar farm was developed by AES Solar and 8minute Renewables LLC not BrightNight as implied in their website. The nexus to BrightNight apparently is only listed as a footnote to this project description on the BrightNight's website stating that "This project was developed during Martin’s time as CEO and Founder of 8minutenergy Renewables, LLC". Martin Hermann is currently the CEO of BrightNight Energy.

Similarly, other solar projects touted on BrightNight's website as BrightNight projects were apparently otherwise also developed by 8minute Renewables LLC and NOT BrightNight Energy itself. There were no projects listed by BrightNight on their website that were actually developed by BrightNight Energy. In other word, it appears that BrightNight has never actually completed a single solar PV project which information Staff either erroneously or intentionally withheld from Council.

BrightNight also lists the logos of 40 large energy providers and utilities on its website under the banner heading "Our Experience Helping Major Players in the Energy Market" but does not disclose any actual services they provided to these entities or projects in which they participated. It would be useful to know exactly what goods or services, if any, were actually provided by BrightNight to any of these corporate entities or whether they are similarly claiming corporate experience where none actually exists.

These are not the makings of the experienced solar energy development company which is in direct conflict with the resolution passed by Council authorizing the execution of the land lease option agreement.

Further, one independent source, Strategic Solar Group, has one page on its website entitled "What are the Best Solar Farm Companies?" that list the following companies. Note that BrightNight is not listed:

 

BrightNight is clearly claiming experience and credit for projects for which they were not even involved. The deception by BrightNight in misrepresenting their corporate experience and capabilities is perhaps the most telling shortcoming of their application. The failure by Staff to report these shortcomings make it obvious that Staff has not even done the minimum requisite due diligence necessary to ascertain if BrightNight can even perform under the provisions of the solar land lease agreement.

Another discrepancy in the BrightNight due diligence performed by Staff is that under the Agenda for the February 11 Closed Session for the City Council meeting, the following parties are listed:

"Feb 11 Agenda

Closed Session pursuant to Government Code §54954.5:


Conference with Real Property Negotiators:
Property: APN 042-140-13 & APN 042-140-009
Agency Negotiators: City Manager Mike Webb; Assistant City Manager Ashley Feeney; Assistant City Manager Kelly Stachowicz; Public Works Utilities & Operations Director Stan Gryczko; City Attorney Inder Khalsa; Property Management Coordinator Tracie Reynolds
Negotiating Parties: Davis Energy Technology Center, LLC. or an Affiliate, in Either Case a Subsidiary of BrightNight, LLC (“BrightNight”)
Under Negotiation: Price and terms of payments" (Emphasis added)

However, Davis Energy Technology Center LLC is NOT listed on the California Secretary of States' website as a properly registered LLC in the State of California and execution of any agreement with such an entity by any municipality would therefore be a violation of California law and the contract itself would be null and void.

These misrepresentations by BrightNight are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the other legal and financial shortcomings Staff has obviously taken in their evaluation of this project's merits for the City compared to what should have otherwise been investigated and disclosed had proper due diligence and/or disclosure to Council been performed.

Other glaring shortcomings in Staff's analysis of the contract include 1) failure to obtain competitive bids for the land lease in violation of state law and 2) failure to investigate other solar financing opportunities (such as was done Yolo Co) which is in violation of just plain common sense.

These failures will potentially cost the City or its utility-using Customers up to tens of millions of dollars and possibly deprive Valley Clean Energy of the economical utilization of a local source of renewable energy for the use of their customers in Yolo Co.

Neither Staff nor any of the Council members have ever had any significant experience in negotiating a large solar leases of this type and their inexperience and the obvious potential harm to the City's financial returns are now apparent. All of these problems could have been avoided had Staff's and Council's hubris otherwise been tabled and the incredible specific solar and industry expertise of the City's Utility Commission and Natural Resources Commission been called upon to weigh in on the project's merits.

I just read that a number of members of the Utilities Commission and/or the Natural Resources Commission have similarly weighed in asking you to rescind the lease and reopen the process of evaluation. Given the obvious errors committed by Staff in reporting all the facts and circumstances to you, I believe this is the least you can do to try to rectify the problem.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Pryor

 
 
 
 
 

Request for Reconsideration of Solar Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet with BrightNight

Bright-night

The following letter was sent to members of the Davis City Council today.

We respectfully request that the Mayor and Council place an item on tonight’s or a future council meeting agenda to reconsider its approval of Item 9 of the March 24, 2020 Solar Lease decision. In its reconsideration we believe Council should (1) direct staff to research the fiscal, legal and business issues identified in this letter, and (2) pending the results of that research, rescind Council’s approval of the Item 9 resolution to allow the City Manager to execute the Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet (collectively, the “Agreement”) with BrightNight that will “give the solar energy company an Option to Lease up to 235 acres of city-owned land near the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant on County Road 28H for a Commercial Solar Farm and Solar Energy Testing Facility.”

Our review of the Agreement to date has uncovered serious concerns which we believe have not been fully considered by the City, and that the resolution and lease, as written, establish a legal arrangement that is harmful and disadvantageous to the City and residents in several respects. We, individually and collectively, stand ready to work with staff to facilitate their research of these issues. We are preparing a detailed document fleshing out each issue, which will be available shortly on request.

In summary, the issues are as follows:

Continue reading "Request for Reconsideration of Solar Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet with BrightNight" »