Entries categorized "Trustworthiness"

Open Discussion: Bob Dunning Terminated by Davis Enterprise Owners (an Al's Corner Exclusive)

Adfc46d7-dadc-4553-a16a-0777ff3b922bIn a bozo move by the owners of the Davis Enterprise, Bob Dunning was terminated without so much as a thank you after 55 years of service to the paper (and Davis).

Shelley Dunning pays a very sweet tribute in a 7-minute video on her Facebook page:


She also outlines how cold the termination was.  I doubt that will sit well with the Davis community.

Bob's column will continue at: 


Please share your thoughts here in comments regarding this poorly-handled move by the owners of the Davis Enterprise.

Full disclosure:  Bob Dunning once wrote a column about how I should be on the City Council :-|

Note:  Pardon the pictured haircut, Bob, this is what A.I. gave me when I described the incident!

CTC joins Davis in rejecting science & climate realities and funds Yolo 80

CTC's $105M highway widening grant shows it has lost the plot when it comes to following Governor Newsom’s and the Legislature’s stated climate directives.

By Carter Rueben (NRDC) and Alan Hirsch

On May 16 the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved $105 million from the State’s Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP) to widen a stretch of Interstate 80 from Davis to Sacramento. In the room and on the Zoom feed, dozens of Davis and Sacramento-area and statewide advocates called in to ask CTC to reject the funding and push Caltrans to provide real congestion relief and reduced environmental impacts.

NRDC identified TCEP in a 2023 report, "Closing the Climate Investment Gap," as the state program that most heavily invests in highway widening in contravention of our state’s climate goals.

 A study commissioned by the California State Transportation Agency came to a similar conclusion. 

By NRDC’s latest estimate, CTC has granted over $2 billion total to more than 50 highway expansion projects since the TCEP program was created in 2018, even though the program is able to fund projects that are wins for both goods movement and the environment, like truck and train electrification projects and rail grade separation projects.

We're at a pivotal time when the state’s climate laws require the state to dramatically scale up rail lines, bus routes, and active transportation corridors, while investing in electrification efforts that zero-out tailpipe pollution. Yet, the TCEP highway widening projects are doing just the opposite – collectively adding hundreds of millions of additional vehicle miles traveled (VMT) across the state per year. This is a trend we can and must reverse, as our friends at NextGen Policy detailed in their report, California at a Crossroads.

The Yolo 80 project is indicative of the systemic issues at Caltrans and CTC and retro-thinking by Yolo County and city elected officials that reject their own climate action plans drawn up by 5 local citizen climate to enable Caltrans.

What makes the Yolo 80 highway widening particularly striking?

Continue reading "CTC joins Davis in rejecting science & climate realities and funds Yolo 80" »

Transparency is Part of Inclusivity & Diversity

YoloTD cac false equity 1

What message will the CTC send Thursday?

By Alan Hirsch

Letter to California Transportation Commission [email protected]

Chair Carl Guardino and Members,

CC  CTC Equity Committee  Chair William Walker

Re: Disagreeing Better on Transportation Projects


Mr. Guardino:


Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say:

    “You are entitled to your own opinions. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

The California Public Records Act (and the Brown Act) were designed so we work from the same facts---that there is sharing of information - so in dialog agencies don’t strategically withhold information to put electeds official as well as the public at an unfair disadvantage in reviewing projects.

Transparency is Inclusivity.

However, I want to bring to your attention a situation where Caltrans seems to be strategically withholding information from the public on a $1/2 billion project.

In June 2023 the CTC staff report recommended NOT to fund Yolo80 toll lanes out of TCEP funds, rating it medium priority. In that staff report CTC staff rated Yolo80 31st out of 48 projects.   Caltrans rated Yolo80 last in priority (24th) out of 24 of their projects. (extract from June 2023 staff report attached)

This of course raises question why it is now rated a priority for advance funding. In the CTC discussion on 5/16. Would not you and other commissions like to know? 

In fact 11 months ago, I tried to find out.

Continue reading "Transparency is Part of Inclusivity & Diversity" »

Yolo officials like Diversity & Inclusion-- except when big money is Involved

YoloTD cac false equity
By Alan Hirsch

DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) is given lot of lip service in progressive circles in Yolo County. But it can turn performative - especial if those in power have already made up their mind on a solution and don’t want to be contradicted- i.e. surface and take in to account diverse opinions.

That is what has been at play for Yolo County on Yolo80 widening with local electeds having made up their mind 3 years ago to add toll lanes to a 17 mile stretch of I-80.  After that they have worked to turn the legally required public process into a  check the box exercise, excluding diverse view point from being considered-- even when the diverse  viewpoints are backed by top transportation experts from UC Davis.

We are now at the end-stage where Davis Mayor/Yolo Transportation District Chair Josh Chapman is overtly discouraging public participation: he said openly it don’t matter what members of Davis public think -- hiding the fact the project is not yet fully funded and public input to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) can still make a difference.

This DEI hypocrisy in Yolo County will continue unless people call out the hypocrisy. The  public can be heard at the CTC’s Equity Committee meeting Wednesday. It is especially focused on this behavior like this by  in local transportation jurisdictions.

Emails are needed to the “CTC-EAC” (California Transportation Commission- Equity Advisory Committee) to note the performative nature of Yolo80 Environmental process (Caltrans District 3 and YoloTD) – and also to oppose funding the new toll lanes  until the process is made truly diverse and inclusive in the search for a solution.

Write to  [email protected]   Subject: Equity and: Funding widening Yolo80 with Toll Lanes.

Issues to note to the Equity Committee: (cut and paste into email?)


Continue reading "Yolo officials like Diversity & Inclusion-- except when big money is Involved" »

Final I-80 EIR released - an embarrassment of errors that sets up Caltrans for Legal challenge

I-80- causeway narrower lane cross section
By Alan Hirsch

On Wednesday May 1, the 1971 page (plus 345-page appendix)- final EIR for yolo80 was released. The 139 comments take up nearly 71% of the pages.   – 108 of the 139 were from individuals, not government agencies, cities or  environment groups with paid staff.  This highlights the  fact this science-defying proposal from Caltrans has become “the most controversial freeway project in the state.” 

 NOTE: The last chance to comment on the funding will be at California Transportation Commission Meeting Thursday May 16, By Tuesday send any comments. (esp inadequately funded mitigation plan, induced demand negates any congestion relief, no environmental justice plan for tolls)
to [email protected]
Subject: Widening I-80 with a Expensive Toll lane.
Pro-Tip: use 14 or 16 pt font for short email.


The EIR concluded that despite the widening the freeway will generate 158M more miles of driving (VMT) a year...equal to adding over 11,000 more cars to the road and should be built based on “Statement of  Overriding concern” as it has benefit to reducing congestion- Even  though everyone agree this is wrong as congestion will return within less than ten years.  It is also strange given  their VMT Mitigation plan only offsets 55 Mil VMT miles year of the additional driving and ignores the nearly 50Million of additional a truck.

Adding capacity via toll lanes only guarantee richest member of community- and groups of Tahoe travelers  never faces congestion.

The EIR also ignores any analysis of increased danger from narrowing lanes and permanently removing shoulders. (see diagram)   

The ability of the proposed mitigation plan to provide a carbon/VMT offset is taken to higher degrees of absurdity to somehow claim the project tolls will fund adequate mitigations- and have money left for a social equity/environmental Justice  program into perpetuity.

Public not told about public hearing on toll levels.

Continue reading "Final I-80 EIR released - an embarrassment of errors that sets up Caltrans for Legal challenge" »

Al's Corner - MAY the Farce be with Ewe

F0c1e298-a6b9-4787-8d01-7b930495390cWelcome to MAY on Al's Corner.  Where you MAY discuss the clown-show that is Davis politics.  At 5:30pm on Tuesday, the AWARDS will be given out.  Maybe we'll finally learn who the person nominated is who does "good" and "bad" according to at least one commenter, and what "bad" they did. 

But I doubt it.

So talk about anything :-|

Why Are People Dancing Around Some Unspoken Issue Regarding a Human Relations Commission Award?

Unspoken-BSomething scandalous appears to be going on with the choice of a Thong Hy Huynh Award by the Human Relations Commission.  If you're looking for the answer, you won't find it here.  But that's not because I'm dancing around the issue, it's because I honestly don't know what the issue is, and for some reason those who do know what it is only want to imply to the public that there's a issue, but they don't want to say what person they have an issue with, why, or give any details.

Continue reading "Why Are People Dancing Around Some Unspoken Issue Regarding a Human Relations Commission Award?" »

Mike Thompson's Bombs at Work

By Scott Steward

Stop the massacre
photo in front of Mike Thompson's (CA4) office in Woodland


Today will be Twenty Tuesday vigils. Five months 28,000 more Palestinians dead since the first Children's Ceasefire Vigil was held in front of Mike Thompson's office in Woodland on October 26th, 2023.   You can add your voice to Yolo4PalestinianJustice (Tuesday 4:30 - 5:30 pm) and demand Mike Thompson end the violence. 

Thompson can't seem to read, hear, or do much of anything but repeat his loyalty oath to the extreme authoritarian state of Israel. A state where this post would put someone in jail, get their house bulldozed, and likely they would be shot before they made it to interrogation.

A terrible attack occurred on October 7th, but why do we see no change in Thompson's words in his February  14th Enterprise letter, "the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust....raped women.....Hamas broke the ceasefire," It's been five months of complete war on an occupied territory.

Thompson says "No one wants peace more than I do." the same 5 month old platitude (his November 12th press release.)?  Those of us at the vigil, and around the world, don't believe in the sincerity of this representative.   As a representative of the most powerful nation on earth, you cannot want peace and humanity and fail to force the delivery of food, water, and medicine to a civilian population, a population at the complete mercy of your "ally."

Continue reading "Mike Thompson's Bombs at Work" »

Zero Sum Game? Council Member Vaitla on Commissions & Community Engagement

by Alan Hirsch

Transcribed remarks from  02 20-1924 Council Meeting... Link to Video:  https://davis.granicus.com/player/clip/1665?view_id=6&redirect=true   Time stamp begins at 1:40:06.

Davis counicl Bapu Vaitla
Councilmember Bapu Vaitla

Council Member Bapu Vaitla comments on community engagement he envision for the General Plan, and his plan to consolidate commission have been in the news including a paraphrased  interview in  Enterprise 2/24 and a critique by Elaine Roberts Musser.  I present this word for word transcript of his remarks. This is a more complete transcript than appeared in Vanguard.

1:40:26...  I mostly want to talk about the community engagement piece .(for general plan a process).  But I want to say a few words about the staff involvement.... Both during the commission restructuring process, of which there was extension staff engagement in fact,  and the council retreat, It became apparent to me that there actually aren’t that many opportunities for staff to participate in long term visioning. That primarily because they are working so hard all the time in an understaffed city to try to get the work done day after day after day.  So when you provide some space, given their professional experience, given their expertise, what could Davis look like, in our most ambitious vision, 20 years into the future. 50 years in to the future That’s a rare opportunity.

And I don’t think the community, the community (air quotes)  at large  is that worried about transparency about staff, I think  there is a small group of people who are always pointing fingers at staff, that is  not a community wide concern, I think when you do surveys about satisfaction with staff they regularly receive very high marks for their performance and their transparency. And their collegiality, their willingness to interact and answer questions to the community.

Continue reading "Zero Sum Game? Council Member Vaitla on Commissions & Community Engagement" »

Analysis of Vaitla’s Statements in Davis Enterprise Article on Merging Commissions

By Elaine Roberts Musser

If you parse through Councilmember Vaitla’s statements appearing in the Davis Enterprise, it shows:  a  lamentable  lack  of  understanding  about  how  commissions  work;  a  complete disregard  for  the  opinion   of  commissioners   who  are  the  ones  effected   by  merging commissions;  and  an  extremely  questionable  and  ill  informed  rationale  for  what  he  is proposing. Furthermore, because of his refusal to appoint applicants to commission vacancies, the FBC is no longer providing citizen oversight of the city budget. That, together with his proposal the city pay to create new city public health services that are the responsibility of the county, will sink the chances of any tax increase proposed for the November ballot.  

  1. Vaitla: “…either City Council is not proactive in asking the commissions what to do; or the membership of the commissions is such that people have interests of their own and they are kind of deviating from what Council is asking, outside of the authorizing resolutions of the commissions…
    • If the City Council is not proactive in asking commissions what to do, whose fault is that? The commissions cannot read the City Council’s collective mind. The City Council needs to be more communicative as to what information it wants.  Why should commissioners be punished by being forced to merge with another commission because of the fault of the City Council?
    • If commissions are deviating from their authorizing resolutions, city staff will rein them in if necessary.

Continue reading "Analysis of Vaitla’s Statements in Davis Enterprise Article on Merging Commissions" »

The Commission Subcommittee Song (Matchmaker Parody)








Sung at Tuesday February 21st City Council meeting, to the Tune of 'Matchmaker' from 'Fiddler on the Roof':

Parody Live at City Council (time - 20:15): 


Original Song: 


Continue reading "The Commission Subcommittee Song (Matchmaker Parody)" »

The Ever-Changing Justification for Widening I-80

Why can’t Caltrans Tell Yolo County the True Cost?

By Alan Hirsch

On Tuesday March 5th the Davis City Council will review and hopefully reverse the current city policy that endorses I-80  freeway widening for cars. This policy was set quietly in 2021 as two line buried  a 10 page policy  statement  on thing the city would lobby by an ad hoc committee of Lucas Frerich and Dan Carson.  But now I-80 has surfaced before council as a threat to the City Climate Change Plan its clear the current council needs to reexamine it if it want to be taken seriously on climate change.

The January 9th ye open staff report to reviewing the I-80 Draft EIR also heighten interest.. At that meeting,  Councilmember Will Arnold the former Caltrans Director Of Media Relations, shared Caltrans policy  which he  summarized:  believing  freeway widening will fix anything is the definition of insanity. (Link to transcript of Arnold’s remarks)

Every-changing Justification for I-80 Widening

Continue reading "The Ever-Changing Justification for Widening I-80" »

Dark, Anti-Democratic Forces Sue the Davis Vanguard




These dark forces are believed to be funded by the Dark Underbelly of Davis. 

In true Davis Vanguard journalistic style, no information on who the dark forces may be or why they are suing, but the Vanguard did ask for money to the tune of $100k.  Statement:

Continue reading "Dark, Anti-Democratic Forces Sue the Davis Vanguard" »

Petition to protest the City Council's merging/eliminating citizen commissions

The City Council needs to re-think and re-do its current plan

By Roberta Millstein

Elaine Roberts Musser has put together a petition protesting the City Council's recent decision to move forward with merging some commissions, which would reduce expert citizen input into City matters and effectively eliminate some of the issues that commissions currently are able to address.  The petition asks for the City Council to stop its current direction and to give the proposed commission merging a better,  more thorough, and more inclusive analysis. I have no connection with petition, other than having signed it myself -- I am just passing along the word.

The petition is located here: https://www.change.org/p/reverse-city-council-decision-to-move-forward-with-merging-commissions-1e9f0d8d-0697-4f45-85ad-6a7720e2b8b3

(There are more signers than it would seem from the webpage, as ERM was collecting signatures prior to putting the Change.org online).

If you follow the link, you will see the reasons given for objecting to the Council's decision.  The petition ends with the follow requests:

  1. Immediately reverse their preliminary action of approving moving forward with the concept of merging commissions;

  2. Then a) send the City Council staff report on merging commissions to each affected commission, b) to provide full and proper feedback on the merger plan to the City Council, c) so it could consider the merger plan in a future council discussion



Continue reading "Petition to protest the City Council's merging/eliminating citizen commissions" »

Council to Commit to De-Commissioning Commissions?

There's some metaphor here... ask the Council about it?











Today, January 30th, the City of Davis City Council will “Consider Recommendations Related to Commissions”. Please show up this evening - item 5 is scheduled for 7:20pm - or call the comment line at (530) 757-5693 before 4pm.

Let's look at some recent history first... and then tonight's meeting:

June 3rd 2021

“City Council Subcommittee and All-Commission Chair Meeting”. Video. 

This was a two-hour meeting between all Commission Chairs with then City Council member Lucas Frerichs - who chaired the meeting - and Gloria Partida.

It’s worth noting that two of the Commission Chairs - Bapu Vaitla and Donna Neville - are now on the City Council. Vaitla does not reference this meeting in the Council sub-committee proposal scheduled for this evening.

While the meeting is certainly worth a focused viewing, for now I will focus only on statements made at the meeting related to future activity (e.g. further similar meetings with Chairs, Council agenda items, etc):

“Hopefully not the last meeting” (Lucas, earlier in the meeting)

“Update to the City Council Coming shortly” (Frerichs @ 1:59:40 - it’s not clear if this meant any minutes from meeting would be passed along to Council)
“Hopefully on a regular basis” (Frerichs @ 2:00:00 - Referring to an intention for similar meetings with Chairs.)
“I’m sure that Kelly [Stachowicz] and Zoe [Mirabile] also will [...] put together some minutes.” (Partida - 2:01:00 - As no publicly-distributed minutes are taken, it’s not clear what this referred to. )

At the end Colin Walsh - the Chair of the Tree Commission -  asked about when there would be another similar meeting “in the not too distant future”.  Partida responded:  “It was pretty clear that that’s one of the main takeaways here… we will be setting that up”. She also said  “...What I heard was that people are we really wanting twice a year to meet this way…so I can [should or will be able to] confirm that”  (Walsh, Partida from 2:04:25)

Despite what Frerichs and Partida said or intended, there were no meetings - between Chairs and a Council non-quorum or in City Council - until February 2023, 20 months after the 2021 meeting. 


February 7th 2021

City Council Meeting. Community comments start at about 2:34. Some highlights:

* Alan Hirsch. gives a good comprehensive look at the overall poor state of things regarding respect for Commissions. 

*John Johnson - a member of the NRC -  talks about NRC not having enough time to do what it needs to

* Alan Miller suggests a great, truly-democratic and also streamlined idea for organizing the Council and Commissions. 

* Roberta Millstein makes clear the paternalistic functioning of Council and Staff

* Colin Walsh criticizes the generally low-quality process

Based on Colin Walsh's observation at the meeting, there were very few members of the Public at the meeting. This would indicate a likely lack of communication about the agenda topic. I also don’t understand why it was called a “workshop”, as it didn’t have this form.


Present Day:

Two pieces earlier this week in Davisite:

Council to Eliminate Tree Commission Tuesday

City Commissions Merger Proposals are Ill Conceived - Testify Tuesday


In the sub-committee report for today’s meeting: 

"The Council Subcommittee spoke with all AVAILABLE chairs (or vice-chairs) [emphasis mine] of existing commissions to receive their feedback on what is working in the present structure and what could be improved." [page 4]

"In reviewing the scopes and structure of each of the City's 14 advisory commissions, the subcommittee undertook the following research: [...] * Met with [ALL?] chairs and vice-chairs of each commission to gain a better understanding of what works well and areas of potential improvement, especially with respect to Council direction about what areas of commission activity would be most valuable; [page 7].

What actually happened? Did the Chairs and/or Vice Chairs coordinate with each other? Did they have the opportunity to e.g. get questions from Chapman and Vaitla and then get input from their Commission before speaking with Chapman-Vaitla?Are there minutes of these meetings?

The proposal would - in the long-run - have a total of approximately 28 fewer Commissioners than the current 98, so just under 1/3 less participation from the same city (and possibly expanding) population, with similar low to mid level staff, same senior staff and same council numbers, and still minimal involvement from youth (see below)

While there would be less staff hours, it's not clear if this will reduce staffing expenditure (I don't fully understand how staff gets paid when working evenings, etc)

The new language comes from state-mandates on General Plans, but it's clear that the "Element" names don't have to be included in the names of the related Commission.

We then have the proposed "Circulation and Active Mobility" - and they don't get the correct name for the BTSSC again!  - but I think that Circulation is a somewhat old-fashioned term which I believe - and not only superficially - relates to LOS (Level of Service)

The archaic and unusual name of "Circulation..." as the new name for what’s unfortunately and informally oft-referred to  as the "bike commission" with "....and Active Mobility" which in aggregate is… poor English (just like the current BTSSC, as “Bicycling” is a subset of “Transportation” (outside the sporting context) and “Street Safety” is mostly a quality of the situation, 

I would prefer e.g. “Efficient, Joyous and Safe Mobility Commission”, as it covers all forms of transportation using conveyances, walking, other means of travel, resources/climate change issues and the social sphere!

"The required Noise and Safety elements [of the Consolidation] are not listed; community engagement for these will be led by Staff.)" (page four) Seriously, what the actual f*ck?? Is there any actual logic for this or a similar and official mechanism in any other part of the proposal

There's a promise at the end that no one will have to leave, presumably Commissions will change as people term out, but will there will perhaps be more split votes for a long time due to math: 7 to 7, 6 to 6, 5 to 5, 4 to 4 votes (before Commissions "settle" again at 7 members.

There's NO proposal for a Commission of Youth Members/Youth Commission. About 90 cities and towns in California have these!  At the very least, there's no proposal for more youth OR age of minority-age ex-officios for ALL Commissions

There’s NO promise of more communications - via social media, the City’s website, etc - to encourage more attendance and attention of Commission meetings and ongoing work, inclusive of biographies of Commission members. One should not have to Google a Commissioner’s name to see their affiliations, job, a bit about their experience, etc.

Al's Corner - January --> 2024 is Going to Suck - Probably a Nuke Will be Detonated - "Though we do go after the Vanguard on here"

image from www.sparkysonestop.com

I'm tired of being optimistic about the new year.  Since Covid-19, we've all hoped the next new year would bring better times, but each subsequent year since 2020 has sucked, culminating with the October 7th Invasion & War and Increased Hatred of Groups of People.  And our City Council ?  NOT HELPING.

People suck.

But, as R.O. says:  "we do go after the Vanguard on here".  And that is the most important thing -- even more important than world peace.

Continue reading "Al's Corner - January --> 2024 is Going to Suck - Probably a Nuke Will be Detonated - "Though we do go after the Vanguard on here"" »

Mom's for Liberty Sues Yolo County Library - Let's Talk About It, Davis! (An Al's Corner Exclusive) Boogity Boogity

Yup.  It's happening!   Mom's for Liberty is suing the Davis Library for violating their first amendment rights.

And what better place to discuss it than on the free Davis bloglet that hasn't banned a bunch of people from its comment section:  Al's Corner!!!

Welp -- Unlike David Greenwald I'm not going to copy most of the article source material and nest that within a few badly-written sentences of my own.  Nope, I'm just gonna give you the link, and you can read it yourself :-|

Moms for Liberty-Yolo County v. Lopez


Mostly I wanted to scoop the Davis Greenwald on a major breaking local story.   And I don't even get the paltry drippings of a salary to do so.

But even More Mostly:  let's talk about it, Davis!   This is major shit.

Al's Corner - December 2023 (was some blah blah blah about "Taking Tuesday")

SUBJECT:  "Support the Vanguard on #GivingTuesday"  [Monday's Van Guard]

I have a rule for Taking Tuesday -- if someone asks me for money, or even uses the cringe phrase "Giving Tuesday", I never give them any money ever, and furthermore attempt to take money from them.  On Monday, the Van's Guard mentioned giving Tuesday, with open comments.  Did someone not consider that closing comments would be a good idea, given past experience?  Oh, yeah, you got rid of that pesky Alan Miller guy.  Still . . .

Continue reading "Al's Corner - December 2023 (was some blah blah blah about "Taking Tuesday")" »

I'm Heading Over to the Riley Gaines Shˆt Show

Go Free Speech!

Untitled 12








I love a good shit show!

I wonder how many cops in riot gear we'll have this time?   (I counted 100 at Charlie Kirk)

I wonder how many Proud Boys will show up?  (I didn't see any at Charlie Kirk)

I wonder how many protestors there will be?  (I counted 50 swelling to 100 at Charlie Kirk)

I wonder how much property damage and confrontations with the police there will be?  (I observed at Charlie Kirk protestors aligned with Cops Off Campus threw eggs at cops, taunted cops with chants against cops, blocks people from entering, insulted attendees as racists and bigots, threw objects such as water bottles at attendees leaving, and as captured on film, smashed in the glass windows on the doors to the RecHall

Across from the Mondavi Center - Protest begins in the grassy area at 5:30pm, Doors 6:15pm or earlier, Riley Show 7-9pm, After-Crap 9pm.

Go free speech!   Go non-violet protest!  Protest in any other color!

Do you also enjoy a good Shit Show?  See you there!


Did Caltrans Piece-Meal Plan for I-80 corridor violate CEQA, ignore Davis impacts? 

Caltrans failure to do corridor wide EIR negated transit, wastes billions and did not call out cut thru impacts

Piecemealing Map I-80 corridor

 by Alan Hirsch, Yolo Mobility  

Transit works best as a network- you won’t get transit ridership if you just build just 1 or 5 miles of light rail, or upgrade just a few miles of Amtrak to 100mph service. You need to have interconnected regional system, especially with our dispersed land use patterns.  

Below is a Caltrans map from the long-hidden corridor plan, the “I-80  CMCP” shows the many widenings has planned or started in the  I-80 Corridor. These types of corridor plans, first required by SB1 (2017) reveal for the first time “piece-mealing” of freeway widening, I.E., breaking a corridor widening into  many small separate projects.   Each separate project is studied separately thru alternative analysis/EIR process so to assure transit alternative are small stand-and never pencil. And many of  project are so small they don’t even require at EIR.   

If fact, this is why piece-mealing is a violation of California Environmental Law. It has been cited by many others including a recent hi level whistleblower as how Caltrans systematically gets around environmental laws designed to address climate change.  

The corridor plan for I-80 (I-80 CMCP) was not released to public on Caltrans website until May of 2023, over 9 months after the Yolo80 EIR alternative were selected. In fact, this corridor plan did compare transit  vs highway alternatives. It concluded upgrading the Capitol Corridor Rail service to 100 MPH is 15x more cost effective to move people than the entire bundle of freeway widening shown on map (see Vanguard article).  

With many of the widening construction already are underway, one can wonder how many billions (with a B) of dollars in taxpayer money are being poorly spend because of this setup by Caltrans to preordain a result ? What sort of set back does this represent on meeting the state climate plan that required us to reduce driving and well as shift to electric cars to reduce our GHG’s. 

One can also note the Yolo causeway “bottle neck” and cut thru traffic in Davis did not just happen:  it was created by Caltrans by widening freeway to the west and it impact on Davis section of I-80  s shown clearly in  traffic studies.   

As for collaboration with communities in the developing corridor plans, a public record request of Yolobus/Yolo TD found no records in its files it was involved in developing the plan, and Caltrans has never presented the final or preliminary report or involved YoloTD board or Davis City or its Commissions in its development in a substantive way. Yet Caltrans lists these entities, as well as citizens groups like Bike Davis as involved with its development. Caltrans neglect of considering community impact is shown by Caltrans failure to list “reduce cut thru traffic” as a goal/purpose/need for their proposed Causeway widening on its project website

SAVE THE DATE: A Freeway Teach-In Nov 8th  

Davis Futures Forum on the Future of the I-80 Corridor 

Wed, Nov 8th 7:00-8:30  Davis Community Church Fellowship Hall, 412 C street 

I-80 traffic congestion is frustrating even the most patient among us! The Caltrans proposed solution has been to increase the number of traffic lanes, however many Davis citizens have expressed strong opposition noting the need for transportation alternatives. Further, a high level Caltrans executive has accused her peers of violating environmental laws by underestimating the negative impacts of the proposal. And research at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies shows that attempts to address congestion by adding lanes only works for a short time before the lanes are filled again by new drivers. 

What is the solution? The public is invited to explore this question at a Davis Futures Forum talk and panel discussion. The keynote speaker is Professor Susan Handy, the renowned head of the National Center for Sustainable Development. Her presentation will be followed by a diverse response panel who will give us their thoughts about how best to move forward. The event will be held Wednesday, Nov 8th at 7pm in at the Davis Community Church. Please sign up in advance and you will receive advance material, a link to the real-time zoom and YouTube recording of the teach-in. 

It Does Pencil Out

2 + 2 = By Larry D. Guenther

We often hear from developers that a building required by existing zoning “doesn’t pencil out” and that they therefore must be allowed to build bigger. Several issues make this claim suspect.

First, developers never show the math they use to make this statement. Never.

Secondly, there appears to be no set building size that does ‘pencil out’. Proponents always ask for one more story. If the zoning is two stories, they insist it won’t work, but three will. If the zoning is 3, they need 4. If the zoning is 4, they need 5, etc.

Thirdly, there are plenty of examples that contradict these statements: the Roe Building on the SW corner of 3rd and C St. (3 stories, mixed use); Central Park West across from Central Park (2-1/2 stories, residential); Pizza and Pints (1 story, commercial); the most recent Ace Hardware addition on 3rd St. (1 story, commercial); The Arbors on C St. (3 stories, mixed use); the building on the SW corner of G and 5th St. (3 stories, mixed use), etc.

Fourth: developers site the increase in material costs as part of their reasoning (the number 15% is suspiciously common and has been cited before and during the Pandemic). While material costs definitely increase over time, they certainly increase far less than residential rents. Material costs are also a one-time expense, while rental income continues - and increases - for the life of the building.

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