Entries categorized "Trustworthiness"

Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #7

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place to comment on local issues and articles/comments from other local forums that you may or may not have been banned from.  For the few Rule-ez at Al's Corner, see "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is".


Do NOT Change Noise Ordinance Standards nor Formulas

Recreation & Parks Commission,

I am highly concerned about the proposal to change the sound standards for the City of Davis.  My understanding from articles written by former mayor Joe Krovoza is that standards are in consideration to be changed in terms of duration, levels, and measurement of peaks.

I have aural nerve damage in one ear and so have had to, out of necessity, learn  how sound affects the human body.  Loud sounds can cause me splitting headaches emanating from the inside of the ear, severe ringing in the ears, internal ear pressure, disorientation, burning, aural misinterpretations, etc.  Sound frequency, duration, distance, peak-volume and distortion all factor into the severity of an 'event' as I have come to know them.

Though dependent on particular circumstances, in general shorter bursts of loud sounds are more damaging than longer duration of softer sounds.  That is why going with some sort of 'averaging' system would be a tragic mistake.  This would ignore the very real damage done by peak sounds.  My world-renowned ear doctor from Stanford Ear Clinic would back me up on this.  He has coached me on how to live with my condition, which is not treatable.

My ear doctor explains that there is a 'threshold' level at which the noise becomes damaging to hearing (in my case, the threshold is much lower than those with a healthy ear). The PEAK noise is almost always the problem. Therefore, changing the city noise ordinance to consider some AVERAGE measurement as the standard is not only unwise, it is INSANE.

To give an example of how unwise this is, an example everyone can understand - consider train horns.  A train horn -- at 100' in front of the horn -- ranges from 96 to 110 db.  Even at the low end this is painfully loud, and on the high end can cause ear damage in just a few seconds.  But, if you averaged the railroad noise around the tracks over a period of hours, it would show very low AVERAGE noise as over time there are few trains.  The PEAK noise is when the damage is done; AVERAGING OVER TIME would FAIL to CATCH the DAMAGING peak sounds.

While I am more bothered by sound than those with healthy hearing, ear disease is rampant and hugely under-diagnosed in this country.  There are many people with my condition and many other hearing diseases who are intolerant of various sound conditions.  This is not just about an annoyance, it is at times debilitating.

Another thing to consider is that those close to a noise source suffer from the exposure repeatedly and over time.  Those adjacent to noise sources are the people who must be considered paramount and above all else.  Let's say a nightclub with sub-woofers goes in next door to someone's house.  But ON AVERAGE less than 1% of the people in town even hear the noise.  The standard must be on how the noise effects those adjacent, not on the fact that 99% of Davis voters never hear it.  Another abominable use of 'average' exposure.

I urge the commission, the City, and the Council to retain current noise-ordinance formulas and standards, and reject any attempt to change the noise ordinance to be more allowing of harmful peak noise exposures.

Sincerely,

Alan C. Miller, District 3


City Hid Data to Justify New Locations for Arroyo Park Sky Track

 Quote 2by: Janet and Joe Krovoza

Regarding Arroyo Park’s Sky Track, here’s the latest reveal: data omitted from a March 1, 2022 noise report shows that for the three years of the Sky Track’s use, the apparatus has been in constant violation of the city’s noise standard of 55/50 dBA (day/night). This same data shows that alternative locations in Arroyo Park will violate the noise ordinance – day and night.

Last December, the city’s Acoustic Group, Inc. (AGI) consultants collected, but then buried, the relevant maximum (Lmax) noise data from the new March 1 report. With the Lmax data conveniently missing from its 40 pages, the AGI report continued the city’s bizarre use of average noise (measured in Leq) and the equally necessary policy assertion that “Maximum Noise Level (dBA)” explicitly stated in the ordinance really meant “average.” This theoretically allowed for a potential new Sky Track location in Arroyo Park to squeak by within .5 dBA of compliance.

Confronted again on its use of Leq and their it-says-maximum-but-means-average trick, staff refuses to own their mistaken decision and they are now asking the Rec and Park Commission to clean up their mess by endorsing a reinterpretation of the noise ordinance that will increase every noise maximum in the city by 20 dBA – huge increases on a logarithmic scale, with citywide implications. This 20 dBA increase would apply to residential, commercial/industrial, and high traffic corridor noise – all in the name of placing an amusement park caliber apparatus close to homes. We lay this out further below.  

Continue reading "City Hid Data to Justify New Locations for Arroyo Park Sky Track" »


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #6

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place to comment on local issues and articles/comments from other local forums that you may or may not have been banned from.  For the few Rule-ez at Al's Corner, see "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is".


An Open Letter to South Davis on Issues at Pacifico (January 2021, recycled)

Today the D. Vanguard recycled some old content from January 2021 in a 'new' article "Commentary: Long Troubled by Some of the Comments on Pacifico" and sprinkled in some recent content from an Anti-NIMBY Council-meeting public comment.

I, too, am disgusted by some of the comments on Pacifico, but the comments I find twisted are the opposite comments Greenwald is troubled by -- those by David Greenwald, Georgina Valencia and some much-DV-recycled comments by Gloria Partida . . . and the rest of the Usual Suspects of the "Anti-NIMBY" crowd.

My position remains immortalized in the following letter:

An Open Letter to South Davis (January 2021)

Hello South Davis,

I don’t live in South Davis, but I’m looking at District 3 100’ away out my window.

I share your problems and your concerns. There is a spot 200’ from my house where drug addicts / drug dealers / thieves camp outdoors. This is not a homeless encampment, it is a revolving crime den. In Spring 2020 I had three scary men on meth (I believe) approach me late at night and one threw rocks at me. There were numerous incidents of mental health outbursts. I slept little for two months as these people were up all night.

Our neighborhood mostly solved the problem *this time* eventually by having meetings with both the Police Chief and his Lieutenant, and relentlessly pestering the City Council. That took two months.

Your problems I have heard regarding Pacifico are similar, and thankfully also seem better but not solved. I am here with you in unity. We cannot participate in these issues only when the problem is next to us. We must support other Davis residents who have similar problems, as the problem is bigger than Pacifico, and bigger than the location next to me.

God Bless the people who are helping the truly homeless population that are in need. Those who spoke today on that are I believe sincere. However, the problem is not the needy, but the criminals. We cannot conflate these.

There have been times when residents, and subtly even our leaders, have shamed “the homed” for being “privileged” and not being sensitive to those in need. These are separate issues. We must recognize the needs of the truly homeless. We must also recognize that there is no shame in having a home and a roof over our heads, nor the need to protect our families and yes, our things.

When people talk of drug dealers and thieves, they are not talking about the needy homeless; we must not conflate the two as a rhetorical trick. We must recognize and acknowledge that shaming the ‘other’ and demonizing those with homes, and those without homes, will not result in constructive resolution. We must recognize the needs of all parties as legitimate. Except for criminals, they ‘need’ to be removed.

Alan C. Miller is a resident of Old East Davis


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #5

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place to comment on local issues and articles/comments in other local forums that you may or may not have been banned from.  For the few Rule-ez at Al's Corner, see "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is".


How Do You Die In a Sinking Submarine? Part 2 - The Vanguard

USS Carson copy

I haven't read the aftermath article that was no doubt in the Vanguard Wednesday morning.  I have grown yawn of the analysis/spin and the predictability.  I could write the article.  I will go read it for the comments, but without Alan Miller and Keith O., the comments have really become dull.  And Ron O., by his descriptions here, half his stuff is censhored.  How is censhored content either a discussion or entertaining?

But what has changed is that the key issues/peoples the Vanguard champions died last night.  Here's my prediction (or a post-diction since it's already been written):  the article will include Measure H, Chesa Boudin and Reisig.  Am I close?  The Vanguard lost, and all such progressive/woke initiatives are going down, like a sinking submarine.  They didn't just go down, they were all massacres.  Sinking massacres.  Mixed metaphors.

Measure H?  64% vs. 52% last time.  So it's getting worse, horribly worse, for the prospects of development.  Probably not ever going to be developed unless every taxpayer in Davis is bribed $1000 to vote 'yes'.  More voters would have mattered?  Doesn't matter, that's how it is.  Where were all those student voters voting 'yes' that didn't last time?  Not voting, as usual, as students don't.  In one of the Valley's most liberal towns, it went down.  Must be all the racists on the 'no' SIDE.

Chesa?  An initiative on 'defund the police'.  Doesn't matter what the stats are.  The public has had it.  In one of the countries most liberal cities.

Reisig?  He stooped pretty low with the child molester attempted link.  Then the lipstick-on-a-pig flyer came out.  OK now they both stopped low, so no moral advantage there.  But again, people in a Valley county with a super-liberal town/city, even Yolo leans law & order.  And for me, Reisig's dept. put a murderer behind bars who killed a friend's partner in front of them and their young child.  And the murderer should NEVER get out of jail, unless the living victim says so.  Period.  Majority of us don't believe in term limits for murderers.

MOOB!

 


How Do You Die In a Sinking Submarine? Part 1 - Carson

USS Carson copyWith a whopping 11,000 votes cast, Measure H was massacred, going down 64% to 36%, or nearly 2-1.  I was actually in favor of the project, slightly, and would have voted for it, had Carson not . . . well, no need to rehash here, you all know -- some of you fellow citizens know intimately/legally/financially.  With this scaled-back version going down like a rock, it is safe to ask . . . did the decision to bring on Carson and then sue Davis residents kill this project? 

I believe the project would not have passed anyway, based on a guess I pulled out of my ass while typing this.   But a reasonable question is, could 1500-2000 of those 11,000 Davis residents been so offended by what the developer and Carson did that they changed their vote or made a point of voting when they may not have otherwise?  I believe, also sourced from my colon, that the answer is yes, they could have.  What I do know is I talked to a lot of people who were very angry at Carson and thought he had made himself into a fool clown.  Nothing motivates one to vote like anger at a fool clown.

The main conclusion of the video 'How Do You Die in a Sinking Submarine?' is that you die instantly when the hull implodes.  Carson, on the other hand, is going down slowly through June, July, August, September and October.  Painfully listening as the political hull creaks and groans under the pressure of his own stupidity reflected back on him from Davis residents, until:  BOOM!  Or, rather, since submarines implode rather than explode:  MOOB!

Why am I being such a dick to Carson?  I want to send a clear message so that never again will anyone be so brazen as to:

  1. Hire a sitting City Councilmember to be your campaign chair, honorable or not (in this case not).
  2. Volunteer to be that Councilmember who becomes the campaign chair.
  3. Hire a proxy to sue Davis citizens over ballot language.
  4. Volunteer to be that proxy.
  5. Sue anyone over ballot language on a local issue in Davis ever again.

Personally, I found much of the NO on H ballot argument outrageous; I also found much of the YES ballot argument outrageous.  I doubt anyone on the NO side ever thought, 'hey I know, let's sue the YES side over their ballot language'!  No, they used media and lawn signs, like normal, decent people do.  This skull-f*ckery of suing Davis citizens over ballot language will stop.  Y'all should have been intelligent enough to see what a bad idea that was.  You weren't.

We all tend to have very short memories when politicians do stupid things.   I intend to keep the pressure on, keep the memory of the stupidity going, and hope the people of West Davis are more intelligent than Carson and the developer.  The sub is sinking; let's all keep the pressure increasing on the hull over the next five months until we see the bubbles on the surface.

MOOB!


Promises Made...Promises Broken!

Broken promisesHow Ongoing Complacency by the Davis City Council Allowed the Bretton Woods Developer to Renege on Many Election Commitments Made to the Voters of Davis

Part 1- A Specious Lawsuit by the Bretton Woods Developer, David Taormino as agent for the Binning Ranch Company LLC,  Forces the University Retirement Community (URC) to Abandon Plans to Construct an Enhanced Memory Care Facility at the Project Site. The Developer Proposes to Alternatively Construct 30 Detached Senior Homes which Seemingly Violates the Supposedly Immutable Voter-Approved Baseline Features of the Project but Which Could Result in Millions Dollars of Additional Profits to the Developer.

By Alan Pryor

Introduction

This is Part 1 of a planned series of articles discussing how the City Council is approving entitlements for the Bretton Woods project that violate the project's supposedly unchangeable Baseline Features. These Baseline Features were contained in ballot language presented to voters and upon which the voters relied when the project was approved at the polls in November 2018. The approved entitlements also completely change key provisions of Development Agreement between the Developer and the City that was also very prominently presented to the public prior to the vote.

Continue reading "Promises Made...Promises Broken!" »


Four Car Washes Near 80 & Mace?

Car wash center sign
Poorly-Photoshop'd modification of "Davis Auto Center" sign on Chiles next to I-80

I have been engaged for a couple of weeks on the subject of the proposed car wash at 480 Mace (at Cowell Blvd.), and have written about it.

I am not sure when the following items appeared on the City's website, but I see now that there's also a plan for a "new service station, a convenience store and carwash, a separate retail building, and related site improvements" at 4810 Chiles AND to "maintain the existing carwash [and] construct a new 2,832 square-foot convenience store" and implement related features at 4480 Chiles, which already has a car wash.

My concerns are:

1) The public notification and project documents for the 480 Mace proposal make no mention of the simultaneous process for 4810 Chiles, for which Mr Njoku says he's aiming a hearing on March 23, 2022, though I believe Sherri Metzger said at the PC meeting tonight that this was not guaranteed - nor for 4480 Chiles, which Mr Lee says will have a hearing "soon". This is two weeks after the re-scheduled Planning Commission hearing for 480 Mace. What's the CEQA comments deadline for 4810 Chiles? The sum of this seems to be that perhaps a week before the re-rescheduled Planning Commission hearing on 480 Mace, the residents of 4735 Cowell Blvd who received the 500 ft notice that proposed car wash will receive another for the second car wash at 4810 Chiles, as will other commercial addresses within the 500 ft radius BUT significantly also the Ellington Apartments, which have their main entrance on El Cemonte, and a small shared border with 4810 Chiles. Is the 4810 Chiles applicant going to be making the same mistake as 480's in regards to a lack of outreach. (The letter about the requested continuance from the 480 Mace applicant which was shown at the PC meeting tonight thanked Staff for circulating the announcement and mentioned they were doing similar on NextDoor. Nothing else.

Car wash plan mapOn the left the two existing car washes; on the right two proposed.
Note that proposed ones are directly adjacent.

2) The Traffic Studies for 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles make no mention of each other. I had already written about my concerns for the overlap for design and signalling changes for 480 Mace proposed mitigations and the Mace Re-Design non-approved plans, and this makes me even more curious.

3) The Traffic Study for 4810 Chiles seems to show egress from NB Mace, but it's not clear if it's open, one-way etc. The Study mentions no mitigations for it.

4) The available documents for 4810 Chiles include maps which marginally at best show El Macero Village and Ellington as "Apartments", not e.g. perhaps 500 people or more within 500 ft.

5) The documentation for 480 refers to the proposed buildings having visual elements similar to those nearby, but this is not inclusive of what's proposed for 4810 Chiles, which looks objectively remarkably different (and subjectively incredibly generic and ugly.)

Circle K
Proposal for 4810 Chiles... yeah, ugh...

6) I understand the current zoning, the district plan already referred to by Staff as "out of date", but don't see how it makes sense to have a total of four car washes in close proximity to each other (three mentioned and the one behind the Chevron station at Mace and 2nd St.) and why it's been encourage or allowed to be pursued. Given the very close timing of 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles including the lack of time and effort for community input for 480 Mace, it also seems like a race. Perhaps the Planning Commission won't approve them but what if it does, because...

7) Two of the proposed car washes are so close that their vacuums - or loud stereos played by customers - may be able to be heard by visitors to the other location, and more critically by the apartment complex that lies partially directly in between them, El Macero Village Apartments, where I live, except during the times that the sound of I-80 is louder, but then this all has at least a subjective cumulative effect.

8) Fehr & Peers has done the Traffic Studies for both 480 Mace and 4810 Chiles, and also the design plans for the Mace Re-Design. For the former two they are working for the applicants and for the latter for the City (and County?). It's not clear if their work for the City for the Re-Design of Mace has been used for 480 - or also 4810 Chiles - but it seems so as in the Study for 480 they suggest mitigations for areas - namely, the intersection of Mace and Cowell - for which they've also proposed concrete design modifications at the direction of the City. Is this all perfectly normal?


Developers deploy paid operatives

SpaffordandLincolnNote: The following comments made at the City Council's Feb 1, 2022 meeting.  The City Council, as expected, decided to proceed with putting the project on the ballot for voters to decide. 

By Rik Keller

I have provided a graphic illustrative of the corrupt local political environment. [Mr. Keller requested that this graphic be displayed during his comments, but unlike a pro-DiSC comment, his graphic was not displayed].  It shows self-promotional information from the local lobbying firm Spafford & Lincoln. In the bottom right corner you can see that they claim credit for deploying and managing 1,000+ operatives. As some of you may be aware, most of their business is done for the biggest special interest in town: real estate developers.

Developers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaigns to try to push their projects down our throats. This money flows through Spafford & Lincoln and then who knows where? There’s no regulation. It’s a dirty money slush fund.

One of their strategies is to pay operatives to call, and to organize other callers who often know nothing about the project, some of whom probably don't even live in Davis. It’s a classic “astroturf” maneuver. Ask yourself: how many times have you experienced these meetings being spammed and being played by these operatives reading from their scripts?

Continue reading "Developers deploy paid operatives" »


Letter from DISC developers to Davis Automobile Association

AutoCenter
It took some digging but I found a key letter from the DISC developers to the City of Davis Association of Private Motor Vehicle Sellers and Suppliers:

Dear CDAPMVSS,

Following are what we plan on the primary characteristics of DISC in regards to your organization’s mission:

1 – Most of the day a connection by private automobile to Downtown Davis, UC Davis and West Sacramento will be extremely convenient and fast.

2 – A private automobile will be required to conveniently and quickly travel to Pioneer Elementary, Nugget (on Mace) and surrounding stores, and of course to the Davis Auto Mall (identifiable by its bicycle logo from I-80).

3 – Travel by cycling and walking to Harper Junior High and Korematsu Elementary will be significant until a crossing guard is killed and two students are injured at the intersection of Alhambra and Mace. In response we plan to place small posters at bus stops in the area to direct drivers to slow down. We were going to pretend to compromise and pretend to return to our spoken-only agreement the construction of a grade-separated crossing of Mace but in the end the Council didn’t ask for it.

4 – Travel by automobile to schools outside of east Davis will be the majority mode, especially to Davis High School, and drivers will threaten students crossing E. Covell to get to Birch Lane Elementary, crossing F and 14th to get to North Davis Elementary and the high school.

5 – The TDM plan will determine that carshare is not interesting for nearly all residents who have opted to rent a parking place near their home.

6 – Caltrans has confirmed that they have no interest in assisting in building a safe and dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facility across I-80 in the vicinity of Mace, similar to their same position on the I-80 Managed Lanes project.

7 – Some residents will ride cargo bikes to Target and surrounding shops until a user is killed at the corner of Mace and 2nd.

8 – The Chevron station at Mace and 2nd will gain business.

9 – Mode share of the fare-free shuttle to Davis Depot and Downtown will be insignificant due to duration and inability to match fluctuating schedule of Capitol Corridor trains due to problems outside of their control, such as shipping traffic on the Carquinez Strait that requires bridge interruption.

Thanks, the DISC development team.


DISC 2022 Transportation - Planning Commission falls for Developer's Trick

TrapBacThe trap was set likely shortly after "DISC  2020" was defeated by voters.  When the developers of this peripheral sprawl - or I'll be nice and call it West West Sacramento - were planning to re-introduce it last year for a vote this year - they realized that a key demand was a grade-separated crossing of Mace. So they removed it from the Baseline Features... fully-intending to agree to do it as a concession.

Back story

The City Council-approved Street Standards (2016) don't mention e-bikes at all. What this means is that the width, curvature, and proper siting of infrastructure that would optimize the use of e-bikes - in particular the Type 3 variant that has assistance up to 28 mph - is totally missing in Davis, or more immediately in concepts, plans as well as development agreements and baseline features in current and near-future projects.

To address this, over two-and-a-half years ago when I was on the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Commission (BTSSC) I got support for adding an item to the long range calendar which would address it; this first appeared on the LRC in September 2019, with a possible date of December 2019 for the agenda. (It is abbreviated somewhat erroneously as "intersection design guidelines / standards"). It has been pushed back repeatedly since then, and the BTSSC did not support forming a sub-committee about it during 2020.

What this means is that significant concepts and projects which could alleviate transportation problems, such as Reimagine Russell, the new-ish Class I multi-user path on the south side of Russell (chronically and clinically-referred to as a "bike path) or smaller projects all over the city are not future-proofed for the increase of modal share for cycling we desperately need to improve everything from climate impacts to conviviality to fitness to transportation crashes. Our city is simply too large now in size to have a significant modal share with "acoustic" bicycles. Not convinced? Look at the low bike modal share from peripheral areas of town in the UCD Campus Travel Survey, which shows low share even for people with campus destinations where car parking is not always convenient, and not fare-free. It's not hard to extrapolate - necessary, as the City has essentially refused to do its own counts for years - that almost no one regularly rides from Mace Ranch or some other peripheral areas to Downtown for a coffee or beer - sort of the most normal thing in the Universe in a bicycle-branded cycling city.

SurveyCycling
UCD Campus Travel Survey 2019-2020 (pg. 30) - By bike, DISC is just over four miles from ARC, a central point on campus when considering agricultural facilities. This distance has about a 10% modal share for cycling, and includes mostly students, many who don't have their own cars.



However, as we can see from the example above, the faster type of e-bikes are quite expensive. I've seen nothing lower than just over $3,000. Though important - or all - major arteries in Davis - should be optimized for this type of bike - the idea is not only to optimize for them but make safe for all users, including on acoustic bikes - it cannot mean that this type of bike should be essentially required to live here and enjoy the purported high quality of life. Infrastructure optimized for fast bikes is also a significant improvement for all bikes, as it's direct, requires a minimum of stops, is not shared with motor vehicles... or pedestrians and dogs.

To be more precise, the goal should be the 15-Minute City. This is a relatively new standard or classification of a very, very old sometimes organic strategy to make key locations in a city within 15 min from anywhere else, for all means of transportation. This seems to also serve as a kind of proof of the bicycle modal share results in the Campus Travel Survey. It's definitely something that should be part of our new General Plan, or even worked on earlier by a joint Commission process (BTSSC, Planning... perhaps Natural Resources and Social Services...). I would argue that it should also be about effort, so a 5 or perhaps 7-minute walk is the equivalent of a 15 min bike ride. I've said that if kids can't walk unaccompanied 5-minutes from where they live to buy ice cream cones, it's a failure (and that's just one example, a single ice cream place or a truck at DISC doesn't make it sustainable.)

It's also quite important to be reminded that the City of Davis has for over four years not had a senior civil engineer with a transportation focus. Many projects have gone forward - sometimes to completion, often with significant flaws - without the benefit of this experienced and wise counsel.

 

Last Night

At the Planning Commission review of Disc 2022 last night - and early this morning - I was actually quite impressed by the comments from multiple Commissioners regarding negative transportation issues of the planned project, and even the general discussion about its unavoidable impacts and uncertainly of benefits from transportation demand management... well, at least earlier in the discussion. Commissioner Shandy was particularly right on with her criticism of planned widening of Mace - presented by the developer as a kind of unquestioned religious observance - contradicts claimed benefits for people cycling and walking. There were other positive and thoughtful comments by a majority of Commissioners.

I knew that the grade-separated crossing of Mace was a kind of sneakily-hidden prize and tried to point out in my sort of sloppy recorded comment that that a safer crossing of Mace would not on its own make DISC 2020 excellent for cycling (this is better than "cycle-friendly"), because of distance from Downtown and places further west, and besides that, safe crossings directly to the south along Mace across 80 would cost many millions and be very complicated (and at least in my head I know that Caltrans District 3 and the Yolo County Transportation District have withdrawn the earlier plan - it was supposed to be built first! - of a new bike and ped bridge across the Bypass as part of the I-80 Managed Lanes Project.)

Screenshot from 2022-01-13 02-14-21
Just an aside about the bandied about "globally-known sustainability of Davis": This was the air quality last night shortly after the meeting was over (via Purple Air)

 

 

The Trap is Sprung

Though it was fully-intended to be a positive thing and I will give credit to Commissioner Shandy, the discussion and lead-up to a vote turned sour when she proposed that a grade-separated crossing of Mace and a Class I trail across the undeveloped land south of Harper Junior High would make her feel better about the planned Mace widening and other traffic impacts. She suggested nothing about safe cycling and walking connections to other places, such as the Nugget and popular restaurants across 80. But the problem is that, for example, the area planned for housing at DISC 2022, on the north and eastern side of the project area, is more than 15 minutes away by bike from Downtown and at leat 20 to 25 minutes away from the UC Davis campus that is the raison d'être for DISC 2022! Moreover, the route has almost no optimized cycling infrastructure the whole way (varied from local streets to arteries, no protected bike paths, lack of priority at stops, etc... there is no proposal for any of this in any proposed development agreement or baseline features). But mainly it's too far by bike... never mind walking! Most of the time people - with free or with un-bundled parking - will take I-80 between campus and DISC, even more so to many facilities etc on the west side of campus related to agriculture. I-80 is such a fantastic route much of the day that nothing can compete with it, including shuttles and express buses, which I am sure will at best have a tiny modal share.  This creates huge challenges for any development more than 15 min away from key locations, and it means simply that they should not even be considered. (Oh, wouldn't it have been great if staff were directed to work on the General Plan and told the developers that there was no capacity to work on stuff that would very likely be in violation of a progressive outcome for it?)

So the Planning Commission has recommended the two elements mentioned above that are supposed to address problems on Mace to the City Council. My conclusion is that the developers will signal their intention to accept them - perhaps with a little drama - and the Council will praise them for doing so. But again, even with everything promised (e.g. shuttles, TDM) and not promised (e.g. e-bike-optimized infrastructure) there's still no place for DISC. Still no way to successfully do something better than I-80 via private vehicle for anything but a minority. There's really nowhere to walk to from DISC. Hopefully the voters will see through this ruse and others and reject DISC 2020.

Galadrieltempted
In the ALTERNATIVE timeline, Lady Galadriel was tempted by but in the end did not succumb to the Power of the Grade-Separation ring

 

Denethor
In the REAL timeline, Lord Denethor, Steward of Gondor, was consumed by the Grade Separation Ring and driven mad.

 

 

Question

Last night I was quite surprised when the developer said with much conviction that baseline features were not necessary to enforce the creation of certain designs and programs at DISC 2022, as these would be required by CEQA. Then why have baseline features as a solution for any of these things, in all the discussion for years up until now? If a reader could enlighten me I would truly appreciate it.

Afterword

I am all for more housing - for all income levels, but with a significant proportion below market and lower income - and workplace and related development in Davis. I have never said I was against these things in any local discussions, for example in the Davis Vanguard. But they have to be infill, they have to be on greyfields such as parking lots, industrial areas along 5th St - not only the PG&E yard - and in the eastern side of South Davis and other areas much closer to Downtown and especially for what DISC 2022 purports to be about much closer also to campus. With electric shuttles on fixed routes, optimized cycling infrastructure, a new connection across 80 around L St., mixed-use above (existing) parking lots and so on many if not close to all of the actual benefits of a project like DISC 2022 can be realized. It's not impossible, it's not rocket science, it simply requires conviction, creativity and less b.s. and false claims about sustainability. Hopefully Council, Commissions... local media... and organizations such as Bike Davis and Cool Davis re-direct the citizenry towards an alternative to DISC or a truly sustainable version of it... closer to and integrated with the City of Davis and the UC Davis campus.


Effects of Excessive Increases in City of Davis Employee Compensation from 2011 to 2020 on the City's Ongoing Budget Crisis

by Alan Pryor

This author previously published an analysis of annual compensation and raises given to City of Davis employees from 2011-2018 and compared them to a government-calculated inflation rate to determine the impacts these raises had on the City budget (see article here). This article updates those disclosures through the calendar year ending 2020.

I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

a. Summary of Increases in Total Compensation (Pay and Benefits)

The actual average total compensation (Pay and Benefits) in 2020 for City of Davis full-time, year-round (FT) employees was $163,244 (see Appendix B and below). This is a 10.7% increase from 2019 and far exceeds the annual rate of inflation of 1.5% in 2020 as determined by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for Bay Area Urban Wage Earners & Clerical Workers ("Bay Area CPI "- see https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CWURS49BSA0).

The average increase in total annual compensation (Pay and Benefits) for City of Davis FT employees has been 6.0% per year from 2011 through 2020.  This is more than twice the average annual rate of inflation of 2.7% during the same period as determined by the Bay Area CPI.

If annual total compensation increases to FT employees had been instead limited to the Bay Area CPI rate of inflation from 2011 to 2020 (i.e.2.7%), the average total compensation otherwise received by FT City of Davis employees in 2020 would have otherwise been $124,169 - or about 24% less than the $163,244 in average total compensation actually received.

b. Summary of Increases in Pay Compensation (without Benefits)

Similarly, the actual average annual Pay (without Benefits) paid to City of Davis FT employees in 2018 was $107,683. This is a 7.0% increase from 2019. The average increase in annual Pay (without Benefits) for City of Davis full-time, year-round (FT) employees has been 4.6% per year from 2011 through 2020 compared to the average annual rate of inflation of 2.7% during the same period as determined by the Bay Area CPI.

If annual Pay increases to FT employees had been limited to the Bay Area CPI rate of inflation from 2011 to 2020 of 2.7%, the average Pay otherwise received by FT City of Davis employees in 2020 would have instead been $92,439 - or about 14.2% less than the $107,683 average Pay actually received.

c. Summary of Impact of the Excessive FT Employee Compensation on the City's Budget

The annual differences (i.e. payroll savings) between the actual total Pay and Benefits paid by the City to all FT employees from 2012 through 2020 and that which would have been paid if annual increases had instead been held to the CPI is very substantial and ranges from $3.645 Million in 2015 to $12.387 Million in 2020.

On a cumulative basis, the City has paid in excess of $54 Million more to FT employees in Pay and Benefits from 2012 through 2020 compared to if annual total compensation increases otherwise been held to increases based on the Bay Area CPI. 

That additional $54 million could have been very beneficially used in the intervening years to resurface many additional miles of the Davis streets and bike paths in most need of repair while still providing adequate and fair annual increases in employee compensation to match inflationary pressures on their costs of living.

The most recent trend in accelerating employee salaries and total compensation is ironic given the current City Council's self-proclaimed fiscal responsibility and laser-focus on cost containment.

Continue reading "Effects of Excessive Increases in City of Davis Employee Compensation from 2011 to 2020 on the City's Ongoing Budget Crisis" »


Russell Sprouts Little Imagination

ReimagineInvertedDoes imagination require or at least benefit by transparency and a truly robust public process?

For a year or so the City of Davis, UC Davis and Yolo County have been working with the private consultancy Toole Design and the public to "Reimagine Russell Boulevard".  City of Davis staff plan to update the City Council at this Tuesday's Council meeting.

Following are comments I made on the survey which was planned to close on November 12th but is open as of this moment...

My comments are split into two parts: First I focus on the process, next on the design. Process, today. Design, tomorrow (or Tuesday morning).

*****

1 - The project inexplicably has two websites, one for "administrative" reasons. There's never been an explanation for this.

2 - On the admin. website there is a list of representatives of some sort from the city, the Community Steering Committee.  Two of them told me that they were not happy that it was only a sounding board and not really official - and there's no way specific way indicated to reach them. Additionally I was informed by a Committee member that they were not provided access to raw data from the first survey earlier this year. My impression is that the City learnt its lesson from the Downtown Plan process and decided to formally reduce democracy in the project. If no one visits the admin. website they won't even know about these people. At the very least the budget of nearly half a million dollars (!) didn't allow the consultants and so on to do more than a few public sessions over a year's time.

Continue reading "Russell Sprouts Little Imagination" »


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" »


Three petitions = three frustrated and unheard constituencies

Three-petitions

By Roberta Millstein

What do trees being cut down at Sutter Davis Hospital, the Mace Mess, and Cannery traffic safety have to do with one another?

At first glance, not much.  They are in three entirely different parts of town.  Two of them do have to do with traffic and safety in part, but each has its own features.  For example, residents near Mace Boulevard are concerned about the addition of over-engineered road structures they were not consulted on, and in light of increased traffic and other problems, would like them removed.  And neither traffic safety at the Cannery nor the Mace Mess seems to relate to the removal of mature trees done without any input from the relevant City Commissions.

But those who have been following the Davisite might have noticed a commonality: in all three cases, citizens felt strongly enough about the issue to create a petition, as described in the following articles:

When citizens are moved to create and sign petitions, it’s a signal that they feel that their voices aren’t being heard through normal channels, such as comments at the City Council or letters to the editor of the local newspaper. With a petition, citizens are trying to speak loudly, with one voice.

Continue reading "Three petitions = three frustrated and unheard constituencies" »


Call on City Manager to immediately BAN leaf blowing! RIGHT NOW!

AirNow080620212pm, Davis - The air is now nearly twice as bad as what requires a ban on leaf blowing. The City updates its notification as needed at 730am. This morning the air was good...

Yesterday weather forecasters predicted that the smoke from various fires to the northeast would circle counter-clockwise at high elevations and then slowly descend on the north Bay Area and our area.

YSAQMDwarning08062021
Yolo-Solano AQMD issued an alert in mid-morning.



DavisAir8620211015am
This morning the smoke was easy to see, but the AQI was still good here as the smoke had not reached lower elevations. It started to do so in the early morning in Lake County, then soon in Napa and west Yolo.

 

DavisAir8620211125am
Late this morning...
AirnowBryant0806202111am
Quite curiously the Airnow distribution of data from the same monitors showed a lower AQI by half two hours ago, and at about 2pm nearly the same, getting close to 200 AQI.on Purple Air...
CleanestAirinDavis
The consistently cleanest part of the area right now - at lower left, just south of West Village, earlier today. This is the location of the City's only official AQI monitoring station. This is what the City uses to determine a leafblowing ban.
Archerleafblowing2
It's been well over 100 AQI for at least two hours, and is the source of the image at the top. So why isn't the City issuing a ban? Click on image to read the City's explanation...

The Council and Staff would be singing us this fine song if we were making this up.... this threat to our health. But surely they realize that is extremely dangerous, a matter of equity, and of health as serious - at least temporarily - as COVID.

It's been nearly a year since the City issued conditions for a temporary ban on leaf blowing. I've asked and have never seen any data on how many warnings or fines were issued. The Natural Resources Commission's poll on leaf blowing only ended at the end of July, and they might not see what the staff has processed until late September, and might not make recommendations until late October, while we're already in the season of falling leaves... and four months into the wildfire fallout season :-(. (Oh, by the way... today is the 76th anniversary of the beginning of the first nuclear war.)

Leafblowersokay


What the HEC is Going On? Part III

image from davisite.typepad.comConflicts of Interest in the City of Davis Housing Element Committee

 by Alan Pryor and Rik Keller

 Note: The preceding Part II in this series covering Brown Act violations is here:

 “Housing Element Committee members are expected to remove themselves from all discussions and votes on matters in which they have any direct personal financial interest.

 

In gauging such extra-legal conflicts of interest and/or duty, each member shall exercise careful judgment and introspection in giving priority to the interests of fairness and objectivity; if there is any reasonable doubt that the member has a conflict, the member shall refrain from participation in the committee’s deliberations and vote(s).” – City of Davis Housing Element Committee Ground Rules (p. 4)

Continue reading "What the HEC is Going On? Part III" »