Entries categorized "Politics"

ARC Project Recommended Sustainability Features

Recommended Project Alternatives for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-sustainabilityThe following comments were submitted to the City by The Aggie Research Center Working Group, an ad hoc committee of interested Davis environmentalists with experience in evaluating land use and planning issues in Davis, on December 7. The Group has collaboratively developed this set of recommended sustainability features for the project and submitted them to the developer in November, 2019. With his knowledge, these recommendations are now formally submitted as scoping comments to the supplemental EIR for the purposes of evaluating desirable sustainability alternatives for the project

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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I. SUSTAINABILITY PLAN

Functional Goal: Develop and implement a comprehensive Sustainability Plan and ensure sustainability commitments made in the Plan are embodied in the subsequent Development Agreement and implemented and maintained for life of project.

  1. Mandatory, measurable and enforceable.

  2. Equivalent in scope and detail to Nishi.

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Business park outside of Mace curve: More environmental review

Questions about traffic, area impacts, climate change

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-traffic-climateThe following comments were submitted by Roberta Millstein to the City of Davis. This is part 2 of 2; other comments submitted by Millstein and posted earlier addressed land use, parks/greenways and open space.  These comments serve as recommendations as to the scope and content of the supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the "Aggie Research Campus," a proposed massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, focusing on the changes in project and conditions from the previous Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) proposal.

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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The following questions need to be addressed by the Supplemental EIR for the “Aggie Research Campus” (please note that wherever I say “impacts” I mean “environmental impacts”):

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Business park outside of Mace curve: environmental review

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-landuseQuestions about land use, parks/greenways and open space

The following comments were submitted by Roberta Millstein to the City of Davis today. This is part 1 of 2; other comments submitted by Millstein to be posted later [edit: see here] will address traffic/transportation, area impacts, and climate change impacts/interactions.  These comments serve as recommendations as to the scope and content of the supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the "Aggie Research Campus," a proposed massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, focusing on the changes in project and conditions from the previous Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) proposal.

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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The following questions need to be addressed by the Supplemental EIR for the “Aggie Research Campus” (please note that wherever I say “impacts” I mean “environmental impacts”):

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Massive Mace business park comment period extended

Scope of environmental review is in play.

Buow-says-hunhBy Roberta Millstein, Colin Walsh, and Rik Keller

The period for commenting on the scope of the environmental review of the Mace business park, dubbed “Aggie Research Campus” (formerly Mace Ranch Innovation Center, or MRIC), a proposal to build a ~200 acre project on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, has been extended until December 9.  

Edit added Wed, 9 AM: We have learned from Ashley Feeney, Assistant City manager, that there is another change to the previously scheduled meeting Monday Dec 2 meeting, discussed below.  Instead of being a pure open house, "the planning consultant will be making a brief presentation at the beginning [of the] meeting on Monday further explaining the supplemental EIR scope and process. They will be available to explain process and answer questions throughout the meeting as well. The applicant will also have representatives there to answer questions about the project."

Here is some of the backstory and explanation about the comment process.

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Mace Mess: 11 Broken Promises

Mace mess2Squandered Trust

Comments given to the Davis City Council by Mimi McMahon

Trust is an important element when citizens elect officials to act on their behalf.  There is no room for special interests or personal gain.  A promise is a contract. The City has squandered the trust of Davis citizens and those affected by the Mace Mess you and your staff have created.  You have wasted millions of dollars of our hard-earned taxes. 

Broken and Unfulfilled Promises

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Unprofessional behavior from City staff and Councilmember Arnold

Poor communication continues; irregularities confirmed

Appl-received-aug-2019By Roberta Millstein

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, several Davisites and I showed up to give public comment about an item on the Consent Calendar, scheduled to be approved without discussion. The item concerned the environmental review for a new housing project proposal for Olive Drive.

We raised concerns such as: the fact that this was the first time the project was disclosed to Davisites, preventing any input from citizens prior to review; the failure of City staff to provide the project application and description, only providing them when Colin Walsh noticed that they were missing and requested them, with the result that Davisites had less than the required 72 hours to review (see article from Colin Walsh); and the likelihood that the project is not realistic as proposed, which would make the environmental review pointless at best.

This was the third time in recent days that we have had to raise concerns about items being on the Consent Calendar that should not have been, the other two times having to do with a proposed ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside of Mace curve.

Last time, Councilmember Will Arnold yelled at us.  This time, he compared us to Flat Earthers.

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Linda Deos responds to anti-Provenza op-ed

Supervisor race kerfuffle

Linda-Deos
Linda Deos, candidate for Yolo County Supervisor

By Linda Deos

Last week, the United States House of Representatives began impeachment hearings, focused on the President’s decision to withhold Congressionally approved military aide from Ukraine in exchange for dirt on his political opponent. This same week, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court indicated it might take away DACA, President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, threatening millions of young immigrants with potential deportation. These actions highlight the vast powers of the state, and the ways they can be wielded against innocent people.

We live in the City of Davis, often referred to with a bit of pride by longtime, liberal residents (and consternation by more conservative ones) as ‘The People’s Republic of Davis.’ But we are also the city that made national news a few years ago when protesting students were pepper sprayed by campus police. And now we are a city where a longtime Enterprise columnist casually referred to a group of Davis residents as “Trumpian” for writing an op-ed in the paper.

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Business park outside of Mace curve takes another step

Notice of Scoping Meeting and Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

RoughtARCmap-corrected
Rough map showing approximate outline of proposed business park - Corrected from earlier image, which did not show full scale of project

What follows is the official notice of a meeting that you can attend to give input on the Supplemental EIR on the so-called "Aggie Research Campus," formerly named "Mace Ranch Innovation Center."  The project would include not only offices and R&D space, but also housing and a hotel, with ~4300 parking spaces total.

Information on the project can be found on the City of Davis's website, here.

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Reisig Endorsement Raises Concerns About Provenza

As the race for District 4 County Supervisor begins to take shape, we are surprised to see incumbent Jim Provenza advertise that he is “proud to have [Yolo DA] Jeff Reisig's endorsement.”

To us, it doesn't feel that long ago that we were fighting to bring change to the Yolo DA's office, and so naturally we view Supervisor Provenza's embrace of DA Reisig with concern.

Lately (especially since the closer-than-expected 2018 election), DA Reisig has tried to fashion himself as a “progressive prosecutor.” We find this hard to square with his record of fighting progressive reform.

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Will the City press UCD for more, and more affordable, on-campus housing?

By Roberta Millstein

Middle earth. 2
Middle Earth Tower, UC Irvine: Opened Fall 2019, one 7-story building, houses 490 students

As Colin Walsh documented in his article on last week’s “town hall” meeting between UC Davis, the City of Davis, and Yolo Country, the meeting was unfortunate in a number of respects and failed to fully engage housing issues on UCD’s campus.  The event was followed by a pat-ourselves-on-the-back-for-a-job-well-done op-ed from Chancellor May, Mayor Lee, and Supervisor Saylor.

Last night’s Council meeting gave Councilmembers “another bite at the apple” – another chance to ask about on-campus housing – with a UCD Financial Overview agenda item.

What happened?

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Candidate runs for Yolo County Supervisor on a Local Green New Deal platform

IMG_4955My name is David Abramson and I am running for District 4 Yolo County Supervisor on the platform of a Local Green New Deal. A Local Green New Deal lays out a plan for local infrastructure, planning, and policy that will help us address the climate crisis we are in. It also aims to transform our economic system into one that supports ecological healing and true community wealth-building.

Growing up in Davis and living here most of my life, I know that Yolo County residents care about their communities. We care about each other, we care about our families, our neighbors, our schools, about the health and well-being of our workers, our youth, and our elders. We care about the health of our planet, and about the future we want for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

We hear the calls from the youth saying, "We want a future! We want our political leaders to step up to the challenge, to transition from fossil fuels, and to take the challenges that humanity faces seriously and fearlessly, and to spring forward into action!"

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City-County-UCD 2X2X2 “Town Hall” meeting Thursday Oct. 17th 6:30pm -8pm at Genome Center on UCD campus

This important semi-annual meeting is for updates from the City, County and UCD regarding UCD housing needs and impacts.

Genome-center
(Click to enlarge)

By Eileen Samitz

In case you are one of many who are not aware of this important semi-annual “Town Hall” meeting, there will be a City-County-UCD 2X2X2 meeting tomorrow Thursday, Oct. 17th at the Genome Center on the UCD campus in the first-floor auditorium. One wonders why this community meeting is not more conveniently located in the City as was publicly requested early on; the map attached explains where the Genome Center is. To get to it take Hutchinson Drive and turn south on Health Sciences Drive which will lead to a parking lot (see map above).

Since UCD is imposing enormous housing needs on Davis these meetings for updates are only twice a year so this is an important meeting to attend to give input particularly about the slow progress of any additional on-campus housing being produced and the overall deficiency of how much on-campus housing is being planned. For citizens concerned about the impacts on Davis due to UCD’s lack of on-campus housing for its rapidly growing student population, please attend. Anyone wishing to testify will be given 3 minutes to testify. The agenda can be viewed at:

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League of Women Voters/Civ Energy meeting. Topic: Housing

(From press release) The League of Women Voters Davis Area and CivEnergy are holding an educational meeting on the General Planning process in Davis. It is the first in a series of free, educational forums on housing that are open to the public. The meeting will be held at the New Harmony Mutual Housing Community, 3030 Cowell Boulevard in the Community Room from 6pm to 7:30pm on Wednesday October 16.

This series hopes to begin the discussion on a major community issue: Housing. This includes housing policy, affordability, homelessness and such issues. These events also give the City of Davis residents the opportunity to educate themselves and provide input on the issues above and help steer the housing element of the development of the General Plan update process.

Sign up for a free ticket at Eventbrite.

The League of Women Voters Davis Area was recently restarted in May 2019. They will be accepting donations at this event to offset costs for future educational meetings and forums.


Aggie Research Campus (ARC) Planning Considerations

ARC-map-Oct2019The following memo was sent yesterday to the newly-formed City Council Aggie Research Campus (ARC) subcommittee, composed of Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida and Councilmember Dan Carson, with cc's to City Manager Mike Webb, Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney, and Principal Planner Sherri Metzker.

By Greg Rowe

The following comments and suggestions are respectfully offered for your consideration, in the spirit of facilitating a comprehensive evaluation of the proposed ARC project.  The subjects are not arranged in order of priority or importance.  I full acknowledge and recognize, as stated on page 2 of the October 8 City Council report (agenda item 5E), that the project will be scheduled for future commission meetings.  I also concur that, as noted on page 9 of the same report, “In sum, there will be a series of subsequent entitlements at which time more definitive detail will be proposed,” and there is “…the potential for building locations or other features to shift during the final planned development process.”

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City Council makes promises about proposal for business park outside of Mace Curve

ARC-location-overviewGood outcomes in spite of bad process at Council meeting

By Roberta Millstein

As I and others had requested, at Tuesday’s meeting the Council pulled the items concerning the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC)/Aggie Research Center (ARC) from the Consent Calendar, meaning that there could be a brief presentation, public comment, and discussion and vote from the Council.  Unfortunately, it got personal and unpleasant at times (more on that below).  But there were a number of good outcomes from the meeting.

My main reasons for wanting the items pulled was to let more Davisites know that the City was moving forward with the ARC, to inform people that there was a project description available on the City’s website, and to get more information about what was going to happen moving forward.  Those goals were achieved on Tuesday.

In particular:

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City moving forward on 200 acre business park outside of Mace Curve

Aggie Research Center (formerly, Mace Ranch Innovation Center) on Tuesday’s Council Consent Calendar

ARC-location
Location of proposed ARC, with sunflowers and corn. Picture taken by R. Millstein 9/2019

By Roberta Millstein

Back in June, I noted that developers had asked the City to resume processing their application for a massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside of (i.e., to the east of) the Mace Curve.  Things were mostly quiet over the summer.  Now, with a pair of items on the Tuesday City Council Consent Calendar, the City is moving forward on this application before the project has even been presented publicly. 

The Council agenda notes, “All matters listed under the Consent Calendar are considered routine and non-controversial, require no discussion and are expected to have unanimous Council support and may be enacted by the Council in one motion in the form listed below” (emphasis added).

Item A on the Calendar concerning the so-called “Aggie Research Center” (or ARC; formerly Mace Ranch Innovation Center, or MRIC) authorizes “the City Manager to enter into a contract with Economic and Planning Services (EPS) to prepare an updated study of the market demand assumptions, the economic impact analysis, the fiscal impact analysis, and the financial feasibility analysis and public financing evaluation for the Aggie Research Campus.”  Item E on the Calendar appoints a City Council subcommittee for the project (Partida/Carson).

Yet ARC proposal has not been presented to City (at least not publicly), its Commissions, or its citizens.  The ARC proposal has been modified from the previous one – which was also not fully vetted (see link at the beginning of this article).  Why is the City planning on moving forward with the proposal without discussion and public input?

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City releases election district draft maps

Maps available here. Public input needed!

By Roberta Millstein

Today, the City of Davis released five draft maps for proposed districts for future City Council elections: three 5-district maps and two 7-district maps.  Recall from my previous post that it may be difficult to change the number of districts once the City decides, so that decision itself is as important, if not more important, than the maps themselves.

The maps are below, with their relevant data.  You can click on any image to enlarge it.

Important deadlines are coming soon for the City’s District Election process:

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Irony abounds at Davis City Council meeting: Armored Rescue Vehicle and Communication

ARVIs the City really committed to better communication?

By Roberta Millstein

At its Tuesday meeting, the Davis City Council received a detailed presentation about how the City can improve its communication.  Then the Council immediately threw that information out the window and approved an Armored Rescue Vehicle (ARV).

The presentation on communications was detailed and professional.  Among its recommendations was to make use of City Commissions whose members “are very engaged and are uniquely qualified to help serve as City messengers in the community and disseminate updated information.” The report also outlined many venues through which the City can communicate better with its residents, including communicating with residents that are otherwise difficult to reach.

The Council seemed to receive this presentation positively, asking only a few questions of clarification.

Then late in the meeting – around 10:30 PM – the City began the agenda item to discuss whether the City should acquire an ARV. After a presentation from Chief Pytel, the City took public comment. It was scathing.

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Davis rejected the MRAP - should it buy an ARV instead?

ARVThe following letter was submitted to the Davis City Council by email on September 23, 2019.

Dear Davis City Councilmembers,

I am writing to express my views on Item 09 of September 24th's agenda, concerning the obtainment of an Armored Rescue Vehicle.

After the huge outcry and discussion over the MRAP, I am extremely surprised to see that this is being proposed as a recommended purchase by staff. I would have thought that staff would recognize Davisites' great interest in such issues, and would have scheduled time for discussion and getting citizen input before making a recommendation. I urge you not to make a decision at the Sept 24 meeting but to instead use it to get input and discuss, allowing for further input after the meeting.

In the absence of that discussion, my own view is that the ARV is a MRAP-lite.

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Davisites, it’s time to draw your district maps

Productive Saturday meeting has some surprises

By Roberta Millstein

Yesterday I attended the first half of the Sept 21 Community Workshop on City Council District Elections. There were about 12 Davisites in attendance. 

Paul Mitchell gave a similar presentation to the ones that had he had given at two previous City Council meetings, but with two very positive and welcome changes: not only was there a bit more detail, but also we had the chance to ask him questions and follow-up questions. 

After the presentation, attendees were encouraged to try to draw their own district maps of 5 or 7 districts, using the principles outlined (see here), emphasizing especially the need to have contiguous districts of roughly equal size.  According to the procedure outlined, the demographer will take these maps into consideration when proposing draft maps for citizens and the City Council to look at. 

What follows is an assortment of things that were “news to me” and hopefully will be of interest to other Davisites, concerning: 1) combining North Davis with Wildhorse, 2) precinct-level data vs. census-block level data, 3), the importance of getting the number of districts right, and 4) possible consequences of 2022 re-districting.

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