Davis's Pontac and Bailes Recognized in ABC 10 Segment

ABC10By Colin Walsh

Sacramento's ABC 10 ran an uplifting segment about long time Davis residents Ellen Pontac and Shelly Bailes on Monday June 10th. The 6 minute segment shares this long time Davis couple's story in their struggle for marriage equity. 

After years of domestic partnership that the state refused to legally recognize, Bails and Pontac were first married in San Francisco in 2004 but the marriage was invalidated by the California Supreme Court. The second time was the charm and in 2008 they became the first same sex couple to wed in Yolo County.

Bailes told me, "We think it was very sweet that ABC 10 did this. It was a fun interview because we got to talk about the past and reminisce."

https://www.abc10.com/article/news/this-davis-couple-had-a-long-road-to-marriage-equality/103-b0a1c094-dea9-4d79-bdc2-89476e95c9db?fbclid=IwAR0xMeUkG6EwS6RGo0zAzBPoNNcm1hZo4HdeePB9kVjOVn9jApd9FsiFRJE


Proposal Triples Size of Homeless Shelter

Pauls-place-renderingCurrent Zoning Does Not Allow for 4 Story Project

By Colin Walsh 

Paul’s Place homeless shelter was announced on the front page of the Davis Enterprise yesterday noting how the very rapid growth of the Davis homeless population has overtaxed the old H street facility. This 4-story proposal will include 28 units, 4 emergency beds, “program space to connect people with public benefits, housing and employment opportunities and health and human services, as well as the basic services needed on a daily basis by those living outdoors: food, clothing, showers, restrooms and laundry facilities.” (link)

With the increasing local homeless population there is little doubt that solutions need to be found. Paul’s place would replace the existing well-worn Davis Community Meals 12 bed shelter at 1111H St.

One hurdle the new shelter will need to overcome to be built is the size of the proposed new building. At 4 stories tall it would be the tallest commercial or residential building between 5th St. and Covell. It will be the building in a half mile radius and the current zoning does not allow for 4 a story building.

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Great Tree Search Update

Scarlett-oak
This scarlet oak on Antioch is a car magnet because of the cooling shade it produces all summer.

By Greg McPherson

Nineteen trees were awarded Great Tree status in Tree Davis’s Great Tree Search. Great Trees were designated because of their unusual size, species, form, or history. Awardees ranged from 12 to 380 years old, 11 to 129 feet tall and 1 to 20 feet girth. Fascinating stories on what made each tree special were captured in a series of Davis Enterprise articles this spring and can be found online at the Tree Davis website http://www.treedavis.org/programs/great-tree-search/.

Great-tree-necklace
Each Great Tree has a Necklace with species name, fun fact, and a QR code that points one to more information on the website.

Also on the website is a map with locations and fun facts on each Great Tree. A graphic design class at Sacramento City College produced unique Tree Necklaces that adorn each tree with species name, fun fact, and a QR code that points one to more information on the website.

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Pacifico's Naked Impacts on Neighbors

Pacifico
Comments provided by Abbie Dewitt to the Davis City Council 6/4/2019 published with permission.

Good evening. My name is Abbie, and I live on Evergreen Court, the first residential coul-de-sac closest to the Pacifico property, the entrance being about 700 feet away, to give you an idea. I have lived on this street my whole entire life, and I've seen how the community and neighborhood has changed over the past 20 years.

Growing up, I rode my bike to school with my best childhood friend who lived on the same street as me, via the bike path behind our house - the same one the residents of Pacifico use to access their living units. I remember the first day our mothers let us go alone in the 3rd grade, and how independent and mature I felt. Now, almost a decade later, a 3rd grade girl lives in that same house my best friend used to live in. I've babysat her since she was 5, and I know how much she would love to ride her bike to school, but her mother refuses to let her because of how dangerous that same bike path is now. Contaminated needles on the ground, garbage, and people screaming and cursing, to name a few concerns.

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City Council needs forward thinking on broadband internet

My understanding is that the major question in front of the Council is whether to continue to pursue a municipally-owned broadband network.  The Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF) says yes; staff says no.  I am here to support the BATF recommendation.

I was astonished to see Dan Carson's editorial in the Davis Enterprise. It would seem that he has already decided, in advance of today's staff presentation and  without hearing comment from the community and fellow Councilmembers that Davis should not control its own broadband network. I hope that he and other Councilmembers have an open mind on this. 

Everyone seems to agree that having municipally owned broadband would bring great benefits to the City, spurring economic development and small business, bringing in needed revenue, and provide fast internet to schools and low income households. Given that, you would think that this would be a no brainer. 

Yet Carson, following the staff report, worries about the costs. This seems to miss the point in multiple ways. To quote a recent article on the topic: 

“Cities invest in many facilities that are not designed to make a profit, from sports stadiums and convention centers to airports and museums. Cities are not indifferent to the economics of such projects, but the bottom line is not strictly enterprise solvency. Especially for infrastructure like broadband, the network effects and spillovers should contribute to the economic and social life of the community.” https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/a3np4a/new-municipal-broadband-map

Furthermore, as things stand now we are at the mercy of a monopoly. As coincidence would have it, Comcast raised its prices just this month. My household is now paying almost $80 for high speed internet. Our only “alternative” is to “pay less by paying more,” that is, by getting our internet bundled with other services we don’t want and wouldn’t use. We live in Central Davis, yet AT&T cannot provide high speed bandwidth to our household. We are at Comcast's mercy. This is not forward thinking. 

Carson compared City owned broadband to the bullet train. A more accurate comparison would be SMUD, a lost opportunity for Davis to control its own electricity. 

Let’s not make that same mistake again. Let’s do what over 750 communities have done <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/06/29/new-report-swings-and-misses-on-communities-and-next-generation-broadband/amp/> and control our own broadband network.  

Let’s be bold and act for the greater good of the community. 

Davisites, please come to City Council this evening and let the Council know that this issue is important to you. 

 


A response to Dan Carson's op-ed opposing a city-owned broadband network

There are significant economic reasons to have a municipal fiber project

Published by Matt Williams in the Davis Enterprise, reprinted with permission of the author

I respectfully disagree with Dan Carson.

As a member of the BATF I would like to share with the public the following list of reasons that explain why BATF came to the official conclusion in writing that “the emotion and passion around the concept of a municipal fiber project could not be any more intensified."

BATF officially chose not to include the detailed list in the current recommendation memo because the focus of the memo was limited to the two additional tasks Council gave the BATF in 2018. These reasons cover what was learned during the whole BATF duration from 2016 to 2019. It is important to note that there are some BATF members who might not personally agree with some of the listed reasons; however ALL of the reasons were actively discussed by the BATF. 

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Open Space and Habitat Commission visits new City open space area

IMG_5897On Saturday, the Open Space and Habitat Commission had an officially noticed "meeting" – really, a stroll through the woods – on City-owned land to the west of the Putah Creek South Fork Preserve.  This land, approximately 10 acres in total, was purchased with Open Space funds in 2017 with the goal of providing more open space access for Davisites.  Most of the trail is already there (recently cleared by volunteers); the City plans to make small improvements like signage, removal of invasive plants, etc.

This post is my unofficial impression of our morning as a commission member, as documented through my phone camera.  It was a lovely hike and I hope you enjoy these pictures from the City's "backyard," which you can visit yourself if you care to.

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Let’s Talk About Housing and Homeless in Davis

June Programs at Davis Methodist Focus on Shelter

(From Press release) Across California, affordable housing and homelessness is a huge and growing problem.  Yet solutions proposed by cities and non-profits are often met with neighborhood opposition.  How can we work together as a community to help our neighbors who are struggling to keep or find shelter?  As part of this conversation, Davis United Methodist Church is offering three programs on housing and homelessness on Sunday mornings, June 9, 23, and 30, from 9:45 to 10:50 at the church, which is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. 

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The need for cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth

Fiber-optics-internetBy Robert Nickerson

Sometimes it seems this town is trying to find its get up and go. If we were taking an auto trip we are getting a lot of constituencies into the car, Ag and Seed, BioTech, New Downtown, Innovation Center, are all getting in and closing the door, putting on our seatbelts, turning the key and not getting anywhere. To our dismay, we look down and see no tires. We are missing an essential element that forms the vehicle that drives our economy to growth, to speed us along our way, that thing is cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth. Businesses and their employees working in these fields that we are trying to bring to town, require access to the fastest and most reliable transport infrastructure available, fiber optic cable. For three years the City of Davis Broadband Advisory Task Force has been evaluating the feasibility of a community-owned fiber optic network. On June 4th they will deliver their recommendation that it is, and that the City should seriously consider pursuing this opportunity. We agree, and hope the City Council takes the next steps the Task Force recommends.

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Community Owned Fiber Optic Ring

DavisGIGGUIDING PRINCIPLES

By DavisGIG

The community owned fiber optic project will meet many specific economic and connectivity objectives of its community partners. More importantly its design is guided by certain principles and community values and brings direct substantial benefits to Davis residents. These benefits are referenced from and included in the Feasibility Study Report (FSR), the phone survey, and the DavisGIG online poll. Some of the current needs that the network is designed to address are:

  1. Digital Inclusion - Currently in the marketplace there are areas where residents have no choice, or poor connectivity. There are three specific areas in Davis1 where only one wireline provider offers any service considered by the FCC to have “Broadband.”2 A community owned network that covers all parcels, and methodically expands to future parcels ensures that all residents, regardless of income level will be connected to the network.3

  2. Digital Divide - The network, which will connect to every parcel in the community, can ensure that all residents regardless of income level have at least minimal level of wireline broadband service without data caps or restrictive transfer allowances that come with cell phone plans. Municipal ownership will ensure, through operational policy or specific vendor lease relationships to the municipal fiber, that a low income plan is available.4 Davis residents strongly believe Internet access on the fiber network should be available to all.5

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The Sustainable Living and Learning Communities

SLLCA future focused interdisciplinary institution grows from the deep roots of UC Davis’s alternative communities.

By Annika Forester and Colin Walsh

In the middle of Saturday afternoon at the 50th anniversary Whole Earth Festival a throng of die-hard festival goers left the UC Davis Quad and headed west. We gathered together with others at the Student Farm, a place on campus that showcases many of the values and ideals the Whole Earth Festival has celebrated for five decades. As special as the festival’s golden anniversary was, we were headed to something more important focused on the next 50 years.

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Making Biking Convenient

Is making driving worse our Bike-rack-1 only alternative?

By Roberta Millstein

When I read the Davis Enterprise op-ed on roads, driving, and biking last month (“Infrastructure, what is it good for?”), I was sympathetic.  After all, it does seem to make sense to call out the “operative principle” that “if only we make driving (or parking) inconvenient enough, then people will drive less, or slower, or somewhere else.”  Indeed, as the op-ed says, we surely don’t want to rejigger our roads and our parking spaces only to increase car traffic and cars idling if the goal is to reduce carbon emissions.

But now I am not so sure.

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UC Temporarily Suspends Glyphosate-based Herbicides

IMG-4152

By Nancy Price

On May 14th, 2019 Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, sent a remarkable letter to the Chancellors of all UC campuses, the Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the CEOs of all  the UC Medical centers announcing the “temporary suspension of the use of glyphosate-based herbicides.”

Napolitano cited “concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards, as well as potential legal and reputational risks associated with this category of herbicides.”

This may be a response to the mounting scientific research linking glyphosate to cancer, or it could just be that the UC system is worried about being named as a defendant in a glyphosate lawsuit like the three Monsanto/Bayer have lost over the last two years. The most recent lawsuit found Bayer responsible for damages of 2 billion dollars.

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Surprise! It's a Bike Party!

Tunnel swirlBy Carey Ann Hunt

As I biked through a wooded area on a path headed downtown from South Davis around sunset, I began hearing party music. The music and bright flashing party lights came quickly toward me and then zoomed right past. The speaker and lights were mounted to a bike and the rider was the leader of a long string of cyclists, many with brightly decorated and lit up bicycles. There were perhaps thirty of them that whizzed by me going in the opposite direction.

One of the bikers caught my eye and said as he past, “Psst, you’re going the wrong direction! Turn around, it’s a bike party”! 

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Honoring Dr. Thomas Cahill

Cahill programA man whose outstanding science was matched by his humanity

By Roberta Millstein

On Saturday, a packed St. James Catholic Church paid their respects to one of Davis’s most esteemed and well-loved sons, Dr. Thomas Cahill, better known to his friends and family as “Tom.”

Tom’s achievements were many; they are outlined in the obituary in the Davis Enterprise.  What most impresses me about his record was his dedication to doing science that mattered.  Trained as a nuclear astrophysicist, he quickly turned to the issue of air quality in California and was one of the small team that successfully advocated for the lead- and sulfur-free gasoline in the early 1970s.  His work on air quality continued throughout his career, even after his “retirement,” working on ultra-fine aerosols (including their impact on first-responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack) and aerosol impacts on global climate.

A few years ago, I was visiting at another university and met another faculty member who worked on air quality.  I asked him if he had heard of Tom Cahill.  The answer?  “Of course, yes!  Tom is the person to talk to about air quality issues.”

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Arroyo Zipline Opens

fixFirefighters to lock it up at night

By Colin Walsh

The City of Davis Parks department delivered as promised and the Arroyo Zipline is back up and zipping. Even so the Change.org petition to reopen the zipline permanently has continued to gather signatures.

This afternoon I found several Davis Parks employees restoring the zipline to operation. They reattached the swings and I witnessed them squirting large amounts of lubricant onto the tracks. Even Martin Jones, the Superintendent of Davis Parks, was there. They were smiling and clearly happy to be restoring the equipment.

Interestingly, the lock up mechanism is no more than a beefy chain and pad lock. Jones described the lock down plan for me. A City Parks Employee will unlock the zipline every morning and a Davis Fire Department Employee will lock up the zipline every night.

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Arroyo Park Zipline to Reopen Today

IMG-4119Noise complaints, a petition, and City response

By Colin Walsh

On May 20 the City of Davis disabled the large brand new zipline playground equipment in Arroyo Park apparently in response to noise complaints from neighbors. The substantial over 30-foot-long equipment was only just opened at the end of April but was already quite popular with parents and kids.  Since closure just 4 days ago, already a change.org petition titled “Permanently bring back the Arroyo Park ziplines” has received 248 signatures.

Neighborhood sentiment was easily visible on Facebook and Nextdoor with many posts urging the City to reopen the Zipline.

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Davis Vanguard Fundraiser Post-Mortem

Developers and Council Get Cozy with the Vanguard

By Roberta Millstein, Rik Keller, and Colin Walsh

After having raised concerns about Sunday’s Vanguard fundraiser in a series of articles (most recently here), we thought we should give a quick summary of how it all turned out.

The event was scheduled to begin at 5 PM.  The three of us arrived a bit earlier than that.  Rik ordered a large pizza, which we munched on throughout the event.  We sat just outside of the back area of Lamppost Pizza that had been reserved for the fundraiser. 

Lee-speaking
Mayor Brett Lee speaking

We watched people trickle in and mingle in the designated area.  The event finally got started around 5:30 PM, beginning with David Greenwald speaking.  Mayor Brett Lee spoke immediately afterward.  There was no amplification of their voices and so we couldn’t hear much of what was being said.  According to the Vanguard’s own account, Lee discussed homelessness.  At this point, the only other City Council member in attendance was Dan Carson.

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