Entries categorized "Politics"

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!" »


Thinking like a Little Tomato

What should Davis's Climate Action and Adaptation Plan focus on?

TomatoesBy Roberta Millstein

In March 2019, Council adopted the Resolution Declaring a Climate Emergency and Proposing Mobilization Efforts to Restore a Safe Climate which states that “the City of Davis commits to taking significant action to move toward net municipal and community carbon neutrality in the short term with maximum efforts to implement carbon reduction actions by 2030; and accelerate the existing 2050 Davis carbon neutrality goal to a 2040 target. The City of Davis and City Council will…accelerate a robust update to the Davis CAAP and integration with the City’s updated General Plan.” (emphasis added). https://www.cityofdavis.org/sustainability/2020-climate-action-and-adaptation-plan-caap

The City has asked for our input into a set of 29 draft action items for the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) that City could take to achieve its Climate Emergency Resolution.  Which should our top priorities be?  Should any of the draft actions be modified, eliminated, or combined?  Should any of the proposed actions that didn't make it into the "top 29" be promoted? 

I suggest that in order to answer this question, we must "Think Like a Little Tomato."[1]  In A Sand County Almanac, conservationist (ecologist, forester, hunter, professor) Aldo Leopold famously urged us to "Think Like a Mountain." In that essay, Leopold was concerned with the consequences of focusing solely on preserving deer population numbers, something that turns out to be at the expense of everything else on the mountain (the wolves, the plants and trees, the mountain itself).  Instead, he implies, we need to think about the entire land community. 

Now in Davis and surrounding areas, deer and wolves are not so much in play, but tomatoes (and other agricultural crops) are, as well as the other plants and animals who live in and around our urban and agricultural areas, some with dwindling numbers, like burrowing owls and Swainson's hawks.  This land community – our land community, since humans are very much a part – is increasingly threatened by severe climate change impacts: hotter summers, hotter and bigger and longer-lasting fires, smoky air, drought, flood.  Arguably, ignoring our land communities and their habitats is exactly the attitude that has brought on our climate emergency, and as we address climate change, it is the attitude that needs to change.

Continue reading "Thinking like a Little Tomato" »


Mining project needs to comform to Yolo County's climate goals

By Nancy Price

On Wednesday, November 10, the Yolo County Planning Commission holds a public hearing on the Teichert Shifler Mining and Reclamation Project to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the proposed 30-year Off-Channel Surface Mining Permit for industrial mining on the agricultural Shifler property. On December 14, the Board of Supervisors meets to consider final approval of the Permit.

At the time the Draft EIR was being prepared, on September 29, 2020, the Yolo County Supervisors passed Resolution 20-114 – A Resolution Declaring a Climate Crisis Requiring an Urgent and Inclusive Mobilization in Yolo County (“2030 Climate Emergency Mobilization Resolution”). This goal is stated in Yolo County’s 2011 Climate Action Plan and elements of the County’s General Plan.

A 6/31/2021 Press Release elaborates, the Supervisors “passed a resolution declaring a climate crisis requiring an urgent and inclusive mobilization of countrywide resources to initiate a just transition to an inclusive, equitable, sustainable and resilient local economy while also supporting and advocating for regional, national and international efforts necessary to reverse the climate, social justice, and economic crises. As an immediate goal, the Board voted to create a new Climate Action Plan for the County with the intent of reaching a carbon negative status by 2030.”

Given the magnitude of Teichert’s 277 acre industrial mining and reclamation project, the Supervisor’s must direct the new Yolo County Climate Action Commission to report on Teichert’s application and EIR documents, and that the ecological assessment called for in the “Climate Emergency Mobilization Resolution” be adopted and implemented.

Teichert must prioritize and commit to how they will achieve the county’s 2030 reduction goals such as solar-power generation at the Woodland Plant, conversion of vehicle fleets and other measures. The proposed carbon absorption capacity of reclaimed agricultural land on the Shifler property needs further study before this mitigation measure is considered viable. The proposed purchase of carbon credits to mitigate or offset Teichert’s GHG emissions is fraught with challenges in monitoring, reporting, and guaranteeing actual, quantifiable carbon reduction.

To conclude, the magnitude and scale of industrial mining for 30 years to 2052 runs counter to the County’s publicly stated climate actions goals and the process they have established to attain those goals by 2030.


DISC Traffic Problems and Associated Vehicular Emissions will not be Solved by the Proposed I-80 HOV Lane Expansion nor Near Term Adoption of Electric Vehicles as Proponents Claim

Myths and Facts about Impacts of Freeway Lane Expansions on Traffic Congestion and Adoption Rates of Electric Vehicles

By Alan Pryor

Executive Summary

Proponents of the proposed DISC project claim that the projected traffic congestion associated with the project will be solved soon in the future by the hoped-for I-80 freeway HOV lane expansion easing roadway congestion. The proposed freeway expansion project envisions the addition of one HOV lane on each side of the I-80 freeway freeway from from Hwy 113 on the west to the I-5/I-50 interchange in Scaramento and the I-80/Reed Ave interchange to the east.

Proponents also claim that the associated vehicular greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from the increased traffic to and from the DISC site will be substantially eliminated by the mass adoption of electric vehicles reducing tailpipe GHG emissions

Unfortunately, science shows us that the proposed addition of the two HOV lanes on the 20.8 mile stretch of the I-80 freeway expansion (one HOV lane on each side of the freeway) will actually induce further traffic and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) on this stretch of the freeway. Methodology developed by the UC Davis National Institute of Sustainable Transportation (NIST) shows this phenomena is due to both short and long-term driver behavioral changes including taking longer and more frequent automobile trips, route shifts, and transportation mode shifts away from public transportation. The cumulative impacts will result in no relief from the current plague of I-80 freeway congestion.

Further, mass adoption of electric vehicles will take decades to substantially replace existing aging fossil fuel-powered vehicles resulting in no near term decreases of the additional GHG emissions resulting from new traffic associated with the DISC project. These emissions directly threaten the Davis goal of carbon neutrality by 2040 and Yolo County's goal of net negative carbon emissions by 2030.

Myth #1 – The Proposed I-80 Expansion will Greatly Reduce Freeway Congestion for DISC Commuters Leading to Decreased Congestion for Local Drivers on Mace and Covell Blvd.

Continue reading "DISC Traffic Problems and Associated Vehicular Emissions will not be Solved by the Proposed I-80 HOV Lane Expansion nor Near Term Adoption of Electric Vehicles as Proponents Claim" »


Letter in praise of Anne Ternus-Bellamy

Thank youAs we "two steps forward, one step back" our way out of the pandemic, a number of people have been rightly praised for their contributions to the community. Today I write to thank Anne Ternus-Bellamy for her outstanding coverage of the pandemic. 

She has kept us up to date on all of the latest statistics; explained complicated facts about testing, vaccines, and best pandemic practices; and put that information into local, state, and national contexts.  She has explained a massive amount of information to us in a clear and accessible way. 

Having such a wealth of information available has meant that we could make informed decisions, decisions that may have even saved lives.  It hasn't always been good news, but there is nonetheless a comfort to knowing what is going on. 

I should add that she has found the time to fit in local political coverage as well, coverage that presents different perspectives on controversial issues in a fair and accurate way. 

The Davis Enterprise is lucky to have her and so are we.

Roberta Millstein


Comments for the Natural Resources Commission review of DiSC 2022

TrafficThe following comments were shared with the Natural Resources Commission at its meeting last night and are reposted here with permission of the author.

This is Alan Pryor speaking as a former 12-year NRC Commissioner. I think it's telling to review a comment made by a Planning Commissioner at a hearing on this project last year.

"You want this to be the most sustainable, innovative tech campus in the United States. But you have come to us with a car-dominated, auto-centric proposal on the edge of town, far from the capitol corridor station, not linked to good transit, with huge parking lots and parking structures. Widening Mace to accommodate more traffic is not the answer. It's going to induce more traffic."

Nothing has functionally changed with this project since then except its size is been reduced by less than half but the applicant is now proposing transportation features that are even less conducive to non- automotive forms of transportation.

For instance the applicant is now refusing to construct the previously agreed upon off-grade crossing to allow arriving pedestrians and bicyclists to safely cross six lanes of Mace Boulevard during rush-hour traffic. How is that possibly welcoming to bicyclists and pedestrian employees arriving on the west side of the street or to school kids living at the project trying to get to school and back each day without a parent driving them.

Also, the original proposal was an environmental nightmare in that it projected over 83,000,000 lbs of CO2 equivalent emitted each year. The new estimate is about  45,000,000 lbs of CO2 equivalent per year - or about 4.5% of the City's current carbon footprint for this one project alone. All of these emissions would have to be later eliminated for the City to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 but the developer has not proposed how they will do this.

Continue reading "Comments for the Natural Resources Commission review of DiSC 2022" »


Use of American Rescue Plan Funds (ARP) to obtain an Urban Tree Canopy Assessment and Report

Street-treesThe following letter was shared with the Davisite this morning.

Dear City of Davis ARP Subcommittee:

The City of Davis' urban forest is comprised of trees, gardens, green spaces and other natural areas. This urban tree canopy provides a myriad of benefits making our communities cleaner, safer and healthier while reducing the costs associated with many services. Managing, monitoring, and enhancing this important resource is critical to sustained economic development and environmental health.

I am requesting that sufficient ARP funds are dedicated to allow for: (1) A complete analysis of Land Cover and Urban Tree Canopy; (2) Assess an Ecosystem Benefits Analyses, including: air quality, energy, stormwater, and carbon; (3) GIS-based and other tools to model strategic tree canopy development scenarios; and (4) Complete training for Davis Tree Canopy Partners, such as Tree Davis and the Tree Commission, on use of these tools to accomplish management objectives.

Urban Tree Canopy Assessment and Report (UTCAR) would be a onetime use of ARP Funds and benefits all living animals and humans regardless of gender and group stereotypes, including race, age, ethnicity, ability level, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. An UTCAR would bring data from various studies to evaluate and understand the extent and value of the region’s trees and to provide a benchmark of the urban tree population, land cover, and the value of the current and potential future urban forest.

The data and tools produced will enable planners, managers, and commissioners to develop strategies for community development, air quality enhancement, energy conservation, stormwater management, and community forest management.

The UTCAR would be conducted in a manner that defines and quantifies various environmental and economic benefits of the region’s tree canopy, known as ecosystem services, focusing on air quality, energy use, stormwater, and carbon sequestration.

The dynamic modeling tools developed for this project would allow planners and managers to envision and plan their desired future urban forest. With these tools, users identify and prioritize strategic tree planting areas based on management objectives, and create alternative designs and cost/benefit scenarios at a regional-scale or for specific sites.

Though the City of Davis' urban forest is relatively young, it nonetheless provides substantial benefits that can be quantified, monetized, forecasted and enhanced over time with proper planning and management. To maximize the function and value of the urban forest resource, it is critical to target canopy increases strategically and to educate policymakers and citizens about the benefits of urban tree canopy.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Tracy DeWit


Letter to the Tree Commission re: DiSC 2022

Red leaves
One of Davis's urban trees

To Davis Tree Commission:

In regard to the DISC proposal (Item 6B on your agenda this evening),  I support your subcommittee's recommendations and encourage you to recommend them as a "baseline feature".

Given that the size of the proposal is already known, recommendation of a specific number of trees should be achievable (as it was during the previous iteration of the proposal).

I understand that the developer is proposing to satisfy shade requirements via the use of solar panels or trees. Unfortunately, this type of "choice" will increasingly be used by developers, as we've already seen in regard to Sutter Hospital's expansion. It may be that developers generally prefer solar panels, to help them meet other requirements (and to claim that a given proposal is "green", while simultaneously eliminating "greenery" in regard to trees).

At some point, the city itself will need to come up with a clear policy regarding the use of solar panels vs. trees for given situations. While either can be used in parking lots, trees (unlike solar panels) require soil and space to survive. As such, solar panels are suitable for a wider variety of locations (such as rooftops), while trees are not.

Until/unless the city comes up with a clear policy (supported by the tree commission), I would encourage the tree commission to not be distracted by an "either/or" choice, and simply focus its efforts on recommendations regarding trees and the benefits they provide.

Sincerely,

Ron Oertel


Credit Where Credit is Due

People PowerBy Larry Guenther

At Tuesday's meeting, (10/19/2021) City Council acted on recommendations made by a Council subcommittee, one of two subcommittees to look at the issue of "Reimagining Public Safety." Most of the discussion and credit for these changes was focused on the work the City Council subcommittee did. While the Council Subcommittee did do real work on producing these recommendations, there was a mere mention of the work done by a Joint Subcommittee of the Human Relations, Police Accountability, and Social Services Commission. Councilmembers and staff made almost no mention at all of the contribution from the rest of the Community.

The Joint Subcommittee did an enormous amount of work and research to make Nine Recommendations to City Council for changes that would create a more effective and just Public Safety system. Members of the Joint Subcommittee included: Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald, Dillan Horton, Judith MacBrine, Don Sherman, Susan Perez, Bapu Vaitla, Matthew Wise, Sheila Allen, Emma O’Rourke-Powell, and Judith Plank.

Additionally, many community members put in countless hours of work, research, and thought that laid the ground work for the Nine Recommendations and, in fact, created the roadmap for the path the City is taking. Yolo People Power and the Yolo Democratic Socialists of America were two community groups that took the lead on this issue. Julea Shaw, Jordan Varney, Morgan Poindexter, and Francesca Wright of Yolo People Power stand out. These women were instrumental in analyzing Police Data, researching non-traditional and successful Public Safety programs in other municipalities, and educating and organizing community members. 

If you see any of the people mentioned in this letter, please thank them. Their work has been instrumental in moving Davis Public Safety to a more effective and just system.

Innovation and change comes from the Community.


Comments to the Tree Commission concerning DiSC 2022

Screen Shot 2021-10-19 at 9.55.57 AMThe following was emailed to members of the Tree Commission this morning.  The Tree Commission is scheduled to discuss the revised MRIC/ARC/DISC project, now dubbed DiSC 2022, at its meeting this Thursday, Oct 21.  If you wish to comment on the project yourself, see instructions on the agenda for the meeting, located here.

Dear members of the Tree Commission,

I am writing to you as a former commissioner (10+ years) and Chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission (OSHC), having completed my term last December. I was involved in analyzing what is now being called the DiSC 2022 project in all of its iterations, so I hope you find my comments helpful in your discussions.

I think it's great that you appointed a subcommittee to review all the materials, given that the changes are more extensive than the City has stated – this is not just a project that has been cut in half, as your subcommittee's analysis shows. I endorse your subcommittee's recommendations and encourage you to adopt them as a body in the strongest possible language, remembering that the only way to guarantee that a promised feature will be in the actual project is for it to be designated as a "baseline feature." A cautious route would have you even recommend that the relevant ordinances be satisfied (this was something that the OSHC did last time), since there is a history of the City Council bending its ordinances, including ordinances concerning trees (it is my belief that they did this in the recent Sutter parking lot decision).

Continue reading "Comments to the Tree Commission concerning DiSC 2022" »


Yocha Dehe Joins The Sierra Club, Yolo County Farm Bureau, And Residents, To Demand Sensible Cannabis Land Use Policy

Tribe joins suit calling for changes to flawed Cannabis Land Use Ordinance

(From press release) In an effort to hold Yolo County accountable for developing fair and sound cannabis land use policy, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has partnered with the Sierra Club, Yolo County Farm Bureau, and local residents in a lawsuit to do precisely that.

The lawsuit does not seek to stop cannabis cultivation and related businesses in Yolo County, or to prevent County residents from profiting from the cannabis industry.  Rather, it would simply require the County to comply with California environmental law by evaluating the full and real impacts of cannabis cultivation, and mitigate those impacts, before adopting an ordinance regulating it.  Adhering to this process is what the California Environmental Quality Act requires, and indeed, these same requirements apply to every other regulated land use.

“The cannabis industry has a place in Yolo County, just as cannabis has a place in the medicine cabinets of many people in California,” noted the Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “But sensible cannabis permitting can’t happen until the County is clear-eyed about the problems overconcentration creates, especially in sensitive areas around schools, near cultural heritage sites, and in smaller communities like those in the Capay Valley.”

Continue reading "Yocha Dehe Joins The Sierra Club, Yolo County Farm Bureau, And Residents, To Demand Sensible Cannabis Land Use Policy " »


Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission needs a DiSC 2022 Subcommittee

Screen Shot 2021-10-12 at 9.28.28 AM

The following letter was emailed to the BTSSC this morning.

Dear members of the Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission,

I am writing to you as a former commissioner (10+ years) and Chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission (OSHC), having completed my term last December. I was involved in analyzing what is now being called the DiSC 2022 project in all of its iterations, so I hope you find my comments helpful in your discussions.

I understand that at your meeting this Thursday, Oct 14, you are only deciding whether to establish a Davis Innovation and Sustainability Center (DiSC) Subcommittee, with the meeting to discuss the project as a commission to come later.  I am writing to strongly urge you to establish a subcommittee now.  The OSHC reviewed the project last week and expressed frustration that there were many issues that they did not have time to discuss; see this report of the meeting.

Given the changes in the project – which you have not been fully presented with, but I believe that they are more extensive than you might imagine – and your commission's thoughtful and considerable recommendations from the last time, a subcommittee is absolutely essential for sorting through all the documents to figure out what has changed and how your recommendations might change as a result. 

I note that your packet for this meeting only includes a two-page description of the project.  The OSHC was given a more extensive project description that you might find helpful; see Attachment 2 of this document.

Here is an example of one large change that the BTSSC might be interested in commenting on and that a subcommittee could consider. The original proposal stated that "DISC will construct a grade-separated bicycle and pedestrian crossing on Mace Boulevard connecting to local and regional trails (see p. 14 of this document).  This was to be a baseline feature, meaning it was a guaranteed part of the project; indeed, the only way to guarantee that a promised feature will be in the actual project is for it to be designated as a baseline feature. 

However, in the current DiSC 2022 proposal, the developer promises only to "acquire and dedicate land to accommodate a future grade-separated bike/ped crossing of Mace Blvd to be located north of the Mace Drainage Channel" (see p. 18 of the document given to the OSHC that I linked to above).  As I read this – and I encourage you to ask the developer about this directly – if the project were to go forward, there may or may not end up being a grade-separated bike/ped crossing of Mace Blvd as part of it, since they are only promising to acquire land to make a crossing possible in the future, and it's not even clear that the acquisition of land is a baseline, i.e. guaranteed, feature.  If I am right, this would be a loss of a significant feature of the project, one that I expect your commission would want to weigh in on.

Again, this is just an example – I imagine that there are other such changes that a subcommittee could find, but that it would be difficult to discover if only one meeting is allocated to the issue, with materials appearing just a few days before.

So again, I urge you to vote now to form a subcommittee, to look at the materials I have provided, and to ask if there are other relevant materials that would help you in your decision making.

Sincerely,

Roberta Millstein


Report from the Open Space & Habitat meeting re: DiSC 2022

Screen Shot 2021-10-03 at 8.45.43 PM
The following was originally posted as a comment in response to the Davisite article Comments to the Open Space & Habitat Commission concerning DiSC 2022 and has been reposted here as an article with permission of the author.

By Ron O

In regard to the Open Space and Habitat Commission meeting last [Monday] night, here are some highlights:

The recommendation (from the article linked above) to request that the northern (approximately) 100 acres be established as agricultural mitigation was not discussed or considered by the commission. Two commenters reiterated this request. (The 100 acres was part of prior proposals.)

The commissioners proceeded to review and edit the recommendations made when the proposal included the northern portion of the site. The developer representative claimed that many of them no longer applied, since the northern site is not part of the current iteration. As a result, the commissioners edited and deleted large sections of the prior recommendations, on-the-spot.

As the meeting approached 9:00 p.m., the chair suggested that a second meeting be held, given the amount of work left to be done. However, several commission members were not able to attend an additional meeting prior to the October 18th deadline set by the council. The chairperson stated that the council put the commission in a "bad place", and stated that she was "very unhappy" about it. The chair stated that they had received the packet for review on the previous Friday afternoon (for this Monday meeting).

Continue reading "Report from the Open Space & Habitat meeting re: DiSC 2022" »


Comments to the Open Space & Habitat Commission concerning DiSC 2022

Screen Shot 2021-10-03 at 8.45.43 PM
The following was emailed to members of the Open Space and Habitat Commission (OSHC) on Sunday.  The OSHC is scheduled to discuss the revised MRIC/ARC/DISC project, now dubbed DiSC 2022, at its Monday Oct 4 meeting.  If you wish to comment on the project yourself, see instructions on the agenda for the meeting, located here.

Dear members of the Open Space and Habitat Commission,

I am writing to you as a former commissioner (10+ years) and Chair of the OSHC, having completed my term last December. I was involved in analyzing what is now being called the DiSC 2022 project in all of iterations, so I hope you find my comments helpful in your discussions.

To begin, I am pleased to see in the minutes from your last meeting the following: "[Ms. Reynolds] said the Commission also had the option of agendizing the Addendum to the project's Environmental Impact Report ("EIR") later this year if the Commission wanted to provide comments on the Addendum to the EIR. That meeting would have to happen before December when the project is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission, she said." I strongly urge you to do this. The OSHC has a history of productively discussing and giving comments on EIRs, as it did with earlier versions of DISC as well as Nishi and other projects, with the comments thoughtfully crafted from the Commission carrying more weight than comments from individual members. For example, you might wish to ensure that the biological surveys have been properly updated and that greater awareness of approaches to climate change are being taken into account, such as the lost opportunity for regenerative agriculture on the property if the project is built.

Another important piece of background: in the last iteration of the project, the developer kept insisting that Mace 25 was not part of project, even though it clearly was. This led to mistrust in the community. Because of that mistrust, people are now concerned that this smaller project without Mace 25 is just a foot in the door for the already rejected larger project to come later. I urge you to recommend that the developer state, as a sign of good faith, that this is not their intention — designating the ~100 acres to the north of the project as ag mitigation would be the clearest way to do that.

The rest of my remarks will focus on the Staff Report and related attachments, located online here.

Continue reading "Comments to the Open Space & Habitat Commission concerning DiSC 2022" »


Letter & motion from Tree Commission concerning Sutter tree cutting

Treecommissionmotion
This motion was approved unanimously at the Tree Commission's August 21, 2021 meeting.

 The following letter was approved by a unanimous motion of the Commission at their September 16, 2021 meeting and sent by staff to the City Council on September 17.  This issue will be in front of the City Council tonight.

From: City of Davis Tree Commission
To: Davis City Council

We are writing to request clarification and revision of the process for approval of tree removals from commercial property.

The resolution creating the Tree Commission (06-187) states that the purpose of the Davis Tree Commission is, "to act in an advisory capacity on tree related matters, including review and approval of tree removal requests."

Three large projects have recently had large numbers of trees removed without input from the Tree Commission. 205 trees in a two-phase project, currently in process (Sutter Hospital expansion & solar addition); 83 trees in a project to replace these trees with PV solar panels (Cousteau Pl.); 103 trees as site preparation for a new development (Bretton Woods).

These requests were never brought before the public or the Tree Commission, prior to being heard by the Planning Commission. They were also not brought before the Natural Resources Commission, or the 2-by-2 subcommittee between the Tree Commission and the Natural Resources Commission that is currently looking at the parking lot portion of the Tree Ordinance and how to maximize both solar arrays and tree canopy.

These three events alone total a loss to the City of 391 mature trees. These trees took one to several decades to reach maturity.

Tree Davis, working with the City of Davis, planted 379 new trees between October 2020 and April 2021. It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people to make that happen during the Pandemic.

Thus, in a year when a record number of trees were planted by the City and the community, the City of Davis has a net loss of trees for the year. It is especially disheartening in a time of Global Warming and in a city that prides itself on its tree canopy - a city that has qualified as a "Tree City USA" for decades. Add to this that the trees in these applications are mature trees, while the replacement trees will be small, and the loss to the community canopy is staggering. The Tree Commission believes strongly that we will not reduce our environmental impact by removing mature, established trees and reducing our tree canopy.

Surely there is a problem with our process when a community member is required to go before the Tree Commission to remove a single tree, but a corporation can remove any number of trees -including trees that were required for the approval of a development - without any Tree Commission or community input.

The Tree Commission respectfully requests that tree removals of twenty Trees, one Landmark Tree, or a project greater than, or equal to, five acres be subject to a similar process as for removals of City Trees. This request is consistent with recommendations made by this Commission regarding the update to the Tree Ordinance. The Tree Commission also respectfully requests that a process for tree removals by property owners be developed that is aligned with the City's goals regarding its urban forest and that the process emphasize transparency, accountability, and community engagement.

With respect,

City of Davis Tree Commission


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!!" »


Déjà Vu – Council and Staff Collude to Limit Review of the DISC 2022 Project by the City's Advisory Commissions...Again!!

Part 1 – A History of Staff and Council Circumventing or Ignoring Citizen Advisory Commissions in Davis

by Alan Pryor, Former NRC Commissioner

Introduction

This is Part 1 in a series discussing 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. 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.

This Part 1 in the series will discuss the history of City Staff and Council ignoring input by both the Advisory Commissions and the public in many other important City matters. It will be followed in Part 2 by a detailed examination of the means and schemes by which Staff and Council similarly intend to limit Commission review and input in processing of the DISC 2022 project.

Background

Francesca Wright, a founding member of Yolo People Power, had a scathing editorial in Tuesday’s Davisite concerning the City Council 's continued failure to meaningfully address police reform in Davis over the year (see https://www.davisite.org/2021/09/wanted-leadership-substance-on-public-safety-not-spin.html). Ms. Wright claimed this failure is still occurring despite unanimous approval of a 9-point plan for reform presented to Council by 3 different citizen Advisory Commissions and a petition signed by over 800 citizens calling for immediate action on the Commission recommendations. Said Ms. Wright about these failures,

It has been over a year that community members have been asking City Council to create meaningful structural change in how we address public safety. We have marched. We have sent public comments to City Council meetings. We have analyzed local police traffic stop and crime data, researched the underpinnings of public safety as well as examples of effective public safety practices.

...We have met individually with each council member. Over 800 people signed an open letter to the Council. Three council-appointed commissions unanimously supported nine recommendations on public safety.

...This may be the most public pressure exerted on any council in the 23 years I have lived in Davis California. And after all of this, how has the current city council responded? … they have not advanced Davis’ vision. This is not leadership. This is maintenance of the status quo.  To have meaningful change we need effective visionary leadership.

This is reminiscent of Staff and Council behavior in ignoring Commission and public input in many other important but questionable decisions unilaterally made by Staff and Council over the past several years and calls into question whose interests they are really representing behind the dais.

Continue reading "Déjà Vu – Council and Staff Collude to Limit Review of the DISC 2022 Project by the City's Advisory Commissions...Again!!" »


Wanted – Leadership Substance on Public Safety, Not Spin

Timeforthenine

By Francesca Wright

It has been over a year that community members have been asking City Council to create meaningful structural change in how we address public safety. We have marched. We have sent public comments to City Council meetings. We have analyzed local police traffic stop and crime data, researched the underpinnings of public safety as well as examples of effective public safety practices.

We have sent petitions. We have met individually with each council member. Over 800 people signed an open letter to the Council. Three council-appointed commissions unanimously supported nine recommendations on public safety.

Our former Mayor offered a road map of how to create a Department of Public Safety that could position the City of Davis to become a leader in evidence-based prevention and early intervention.

This may be the most public pressure exerted on any council in the 23 years I have lived in Davis California. And after all of this, how has the current city council responded?

We have witnessed performative rhetoric, an increased police budget, and the most modest changes possible. All while numerous other cities are taking progressive steps forward, the very kind we’ve been urging the City of Davis to take. Our “fair city” is falling farther behind the curve.

Continue reading "Wanted – Leadership Substance on Public Safety, Not Spin" »


DISC is back… and so is bad process

8E95805A-8A18-4D60-AE6F-0C4FDE0CA708
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 " »


We need critical thinking from our City Council on climate change

By Mike Corbett

Given an understanding of what’s in the recent IPCC 6th report what would you expect a rational city council to do in response? Humans evolved because of our critical thinking abilities. So if a current city council possessed those abilities what would they be doing right now?

 You would expect them to convene a special meeting so the city could begin taking urgent steps to stop greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere as well as steps to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They would make it a priority for their staff and commissions to find ways to take immediate steps to accomplish these crucial actions. 

 Since the Davis City Council declared a climate emergency two and a half years ago, little has been done. And as we approach the completion of the current climate action plan (CAP), our City's approach seems to be falling far short of what it should be. The recent survey of our citizens has revealed a very weak City understanding of all our options and what we should be doing today.  We need to employ more critical thinking.

 Critical thinking must first address the ability to find the most important thing or issue to focus on in any given moment or situation, from personal choices to issues within the global realm.  Additionally, critical thinking must start with the work of understanding a problem’s core by analyzing its depth and breadth. That means understanding the full context around the issue (in this case the IPCC report), and that means looking past biases or views that obscure the core of the problem.

Continue reading "We need critical thinking from our City Council on climate change" »


How to vote in the gubernatorial recall election? Step one – vote!

Wheretovote

By Roberta Millstein

If you are registered to vote in CA, you should have received your ballot for the election to recall Governor Gavin Newsom by now.   If for some reason you aren’t registered, August 30 is the last day to register to vote; after that, you can “conditionally” register and vote at your county elections office or polling location after the voter registration deadline, up to and including Election Day (Sept 14).

Voting is easy!  In Davis, there are several voting assistance centers and ballot drop boxes.  See the graphic at the top or this page for details.  Or you can mail in your ballot – it has to be postmarked by Sept. 14. Each ballot will come with prepaid postage. So no excuses not to vote.  If you're not in Davis, check out your local options.

And your vote really matters in this election – even more so than usual – so please take the time to vote!

The biggest challenge that Governor Newsom has to overcome is voter apathy – people thinking they don’t need to vote because Newsom is a slam dunk (how’d that work out for Gray Davis?) or who just aren’t that excited about Newsom.  Well, I have to admit I’ve not always been happy with his decisions, either.  But then again, I can’t think of any politician in my lifetime I’ve been totally happy with. 

Governor Newsom has done nothing bad enough to deserve a recall and the candidate everyone thinks will most likely win, Larry Elder, would be terrible.  Elder thinks that people who are concerned about climate change are “alarmists,” he supports overturning Roe v. Wade, and he wants to eliminate the minimum wage (link).  He would be terrible for California, especially if he had the opportunity to appoint a Senator if Senator Feinstein were to retire.

Davis tends to overwhelmingly vote Democratic, as does California as a whole.  So if we mobilize to vote “NO” on recalling Governor Newsom, we can help make sure that California doesn’t head down a dangerous path.  So please vote “NO” on question 1 on the ballot.

Continue reading "How to vote in the gubernatorial recall election? Step one – vote!" »