Entries categorized "Trustworthiness"

Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #12

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Vaitla Suggests Return to RoundUp Use in Davis Parks.

Spray picBy Nancy Price

I was stunned to read that Bapu Vaitla, who is a candidate for Davis City Council in District 1, is considering overturning the City's phase out of glyphosate (manufactured and commonly sold as RoundUp by Monsanto) instead of improving and strengthening the City's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. (see Question #2 at  https://www.davisite.org/2022/09/part-5-candidate-responses-to-the-sierra-club-yolano-group-questionnaire-for-the-2022-davis-city-cou.html#more). None of the other candidates made this audacious proposal.

Here is some background. The City decided to phase out glyphosate in 2017; finally discontinuing its use in 2020.  The process involved three City citizen-advisory commissions: Natural Resources, Recreation and Parks, and Open Space & Habitat. It took over a year and a half and involved a widely attended public citizens forum, a city-wide citizen survey, many individual Commission meetings, and a 3-way joint Commission meeting. Despite considerable stonewalling from staff, who attempted to derail and water down THIS [the] citizen-based effort, the measure was finally unanimously approved by the City Council. What passed in 2017 wasn’t perfect, but it was well-received by citizens. (For more details, see https://www.davisite.org/2018/07/bad-process-leads-to-mediocre-decision-on-pesticide-use-in-davis-and-not-without-wasted-time-and-eff.html). 

Around the same time, the city forced out its popular and highly respected IPM specialist (see https://www.davisite.org/2018/05/martin-guerenas-statement-city-of-davis-environmental-recognition-award-2018.html). Regrettably, that position still hasn’t been filled. But given the clear desire expressed by many staff to continue using non-organic pesticides over other less toxic weed management strategies, it is hard to see the ongoing long-term failure to fill the position as an unintended accident. 

Instead of advocating for hiring an IPM Specialist, Vaitla thinks we should go back to glyphosate because, he says, — “we cannot reasonably resort to mechanical weed management.

There are several problems here. One is Vaitla offering an opinion that either ignores or is ignorant of this recent controversial history of pesticide use by the City. A second problem is his complete dismissal and disregard of the work of the public and three citizen-advisory commissions which collectively devoted many hundreds of hours of work to this effort, most of which occurred prior to Mr. Vaitla's most recent move to Davis. 

A third problem is that, although Mr. Vaitla gives lip service to the Precautionary Principle, he doesn’t follow it. Notably, just this past June, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected EPA's analysis for determining that glyphosate is likely not carcinogenic to people and ordered EPA to conduct "further analysis and explanation." The science is far from settled, and since there are valid reasons to think that glyphosate is a human carcinogen supported by respected international authorities and agencies, we should avoid using it especially since we have other methods at our disposal. 

Vaitla's position is hasty, overlooks a long City history and the latest Court rulings, and lacks respect for the citizen and commissions-led process in Davis. And, most importantly, it fails to protect our health. This attitude generally does not bode well for the sort of Councilmember he would make. 


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #11

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Explaining what shouldn’t need explaining

PileofmoneySpending one million dollars is a sign of a mis-managed campaign

By Roberta Millstein

In his most recent apologia for the Yes on Measure H campaign, David Greenwald suggests that it is inevitable that developers will spend “exorbitant amounts of money” to promote their projects. 

But nothing forced the Yes on Measure H campaign, led by “Honorary Chair” Councilmember Dan Carson, to outspend the No on Measure H campaign by more than 14-1, as Alan Pryor reported.

In 2020, the Yes campaign spent around $323,000 to promote the DISC project. Let’s consider how the developers might have reacted to that loss.  They might have talked to voters to find out what, in their eyes, would make for a project that was better for Davis and modified the project accordingly. 

Instead, they polled Davisites to find out what would “sell” to voters and rushed a virtually unchanged project to voters (just cut in half) only a year and a half later.  Apparently, voters like parks, greenbelts, environmental sustainability, and affordable housing, so those are the features that they poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into highlighting, even though these aspects were at best incidental to the project and at worse deceptive. The graphic of the stand-up paddleboarder was perhaps the most egregious example of this.

And they dumped in almost three times the amount of the previous campaign – a campaign that had itself had spent large sums of money – in order to sell the project. That includes over $200,000 on a heavy-handed free-speech-squelching developer-funded lawsuit, which, bizarrely, Greenwald says is not a campaign expenditure issue.

Continue reading "Explaining what shouldn’t need explaining" »


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #10

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Legal Fees Owed to the Lawyers for the Six Defendants Sued by Dan Carson over Measure H Ballot Statements were Finally Paid on His Behalf by the Yes on Measure H Campaign Committee

PileofmoneyBut Numerous Questions Remain Unanswered

by Alan E Pryor

Executive Summary

 In the June 7, 2022 election, Davis voters were asked to approve the annexation of 102 acres of land off Mace Blvd into the City of Davis for the construction of a large industrial project known as the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus. The matter was on the ballot as Measure H and was resoundingly defeated by voters by almost a 2:1 margin.

Prior to the election but immediately following the submission of ballot statements to the City Clerk by the proponents and opponents of Measure H, Davis City Council member Dan Carson, as a private resident, sued the six Davis citizens who authored and signed the Argument Against Measure H alleging that their ballot statement contained numerous references that were false and misleading.

After ruling on the matter generally in favor of the defendants and making only very minor changes in the ballot statement language, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire also later ruled that Dan Carson must repay $42,209.25 in legal fees to the Counsel for the six defendants in the case. In his ruling he stated the defense by the six defendants "served a public benefit purpose...as the public in a democracy has a strong interest in political debate that is 'uninhibited, robust and wide open'." After the election, this fee award was finally paid on behalf of Council member Carson by the Yes on Measure H campaign committee.

Assuming no monetary or other consideration was given by Council member Carson to the Yes on Measure H committee, the payment of the fee award for Council member Carson, an elected public official, by the Yes on Measure H campaign is probably considered a "Gift" under California law. Any such "Gift" to an elected official in excess of $520 per calendar year is prohibited under California law and, if so determined to have occurred, is subject to administrative penalties of up to $5,000 per violation or three times the amount of the gift received.

Further, any such gift may also also subject to an Internal Revenue Service levy of income tax on the donor of the "Gift" rather than the recipient. In this case, the responsible party incurring that liability would be the Yes on Measure H committee, which potential liability has not been reported on their Form 460 financial filings with the City.

Background

On March 21, 2022, Davis City Council member Dan Carson, as a private citizen, filed a lawsuit against 6 Davis residents (including this author) who wrote and signed the Argument Against ballot statement supporting a No vote on Measure H on the recent June ballot in Davis. The lawsuit against the six individual ballot statement authors/signers (the "Real Parties of Interest") sought to suppress almost 1/3 of the language - over 80 words -  in the ballot statement, alleging the statements were "false and misleading". 

Dan Carson was a long-time supporter of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) project, which the Measure H ballot sought to approve and be annexed into the City. Of further interest, Council member Carson was part of the 2-person City Council subcommittee that negotiated the terms of the DISC industrial project with the developer on behalf of the City.

After he voted to put the project before the citizens on the ballot, Council member Carson also then became the "Honorary Chair" of the Yes on Measure H committee, further clouding the nature of his relationship with the Yes on Measure H committee and the managing partner of the development project, Dan Ramos of Ramco Enterprises..

On March 30, 2022 Judge Maguire ruled that only 2 minor changes needed to be made in the ballot statement - deleting the word "only" from one clause and changing the unit of measurement of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the project in another clause. The ballot statement was otherwise left unchanged and the functional intent of the language remained in place.

Shortly thereafter, Counsel for the six defendants, Strumwasser and Woocher, filed a Petition for Award of Attorney's Fees requesting reimbursement of their legal fees and expenses incurred by the firm defending the six Davis residents from the Carson lawsuit. Counsel for Mr. Carson subsequently submitted their own petition for award of attorney's fees from the six Davis defendants alleging that he, Dan Carson was, in fact, the "successful party" in the litigation and was thus entitled to reimbursement of legal fees from the six individual Davis defendants.

This was a highly unusual request because both Council member Carson and Dan Ramos had both previously publicly admitted that the Yes on Measure H committee had funded the lawsuit on behalf of Dan Carson. Payment of these legal fees to Mr. Carson's attorney's prosecuting the case, Nossaman LLP, was confirmed by the Yes on Measure H committee Form 460 financial disclosure filings with the City of Davis.

Thus, although Mr. Carson had not actually paid any legal fees himself, he still petitioned the court to order the six individual Davis defendants who successfully fended off his lawsuit, to reimburse the legal fees that were otherwise actually paid for by the developer through the Yes on Measure H committee.

After a hearing on the matter, on June 1, 2022 Judge Daniel Maguire ordered Dan Carson, as the plaintiff in the lawsuit, to pay $42,209.75 in legal fees to Counsel for the six Davis defendants. In his ruling Judge Maguire stated,

"As explained below, while both sides gained some of their objectives in this litigation, the Real Parties in Interest have achieved the greater share of success, and are awarded a net fees recovery of $42,209.75."

He further explained his ruling stating,

"Under the ‘American Rule,’ litigants in this country generally pay their own lawyers, win or lose. In contrast, under the "English Rule," the loser pays both lawyers...

There are exceptions to the American Rule, and one is the private attorney general doctrine. Its purpose is to encourage "meritorious public interest litigation vindicating important rights."...

The private attorney general doctrine accomplishes this purpose by awarding attorneys' fees to litigants who advance the public interest by successfully bringing or defending a lawsuit. (Ibid,) The aim is to incentivize legitimate public interest litigation, not to punish the losing side. (Ibid.) Without the prospect of a fee award, litigants may be unable or unwilling to undertake or defend litigation that transcends their own private interest, even when doing so would benefit "a broad swath of citizens."

"The Real Parties in Interest also satisfy this requirement, as the public in a democracy has a strong interest in political debate that is  'uninhibited, robust and wide open.'...Our society has a deep commitment to free speech, especially in political matters, and by defending their right to make their argument in their words, the Real Parties in Interest have also enforced an important right affecting the public interest."

In summary, Judge Maguire based his Award of Attorney's Fees on the finding that the six defendants, the Real Parties of Interest, were more "successful" than Mr. Carson in the outcome of the litigation and that the award "advanced the public interest" by "defending their right to make their argument in their words".

According to the most recent Form 460 financial filing by the Yes on Measure H committee, these required legal fee reimbursements were paid to their Counsel, Nossaman LLP, on June 21 for forwarding to Strumwasser and Woocher, the Counsel for the six defendants. However, Nossaman LLP did not forward any payments to Strumwasser and Woocher until July 26, telling Strumwasser and Woocher that the Yes on Measure H committee had not paid them until them.

Unanswered Questions Concerning the Payment of Mr. Carson's Legal Award Fees by the Yes on Measure H Campaign

1st Question - Is the Payment by the Yes on Measure H Campaign of the Legal Fees Owed by Mr. Carson Considered a "Gift" to an "Elected Official" Not Allowed Under State Law?

The California Political Reform Act restricts gifts, honoraria, payment of travel expenses, and loans in excess of $520 per calendar year to 1) elected officials and candidates for local elected offices, 2) most local officials, 3) judicial candidates, and 4) designated employees of local government agencies.

In determining whether the payment of the awarded legal fees by the Yes on Measure H committee on Mr. Carson's behalf is a non-allowable "Gift" to Mr. Carson, the following information is provided in the Fair Political Practices Commission publication FPPC Ed - Pro 046 10-2021, October 2021 (https://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/NS-Documents/TAD/gift-fact-sheet/LocalGiftFactSheet_Final_2021%20Version_2_Gendered%20Terms_Clean_Copy.pdf).

"What is a "Gift"?

A “gift” is any payment or other benefit that confers a personal benefit for which a public official does not provide payment or services of equal or greater value….(Section 82028.) (See Regulation 18946 for valuation guidelines.)"

The award of attorney's fees by Judge Maguire explicitly orders a payment by Petitioner, Dan Carson, to Counsel for the Real Parties (the six defendants). However according to the Form 460 reporting Yes on Measure H committee finances filed on July 28, 2022 with the City of Davis City Clerk, full payment for the obligation by Dan Carson was actually instead made by the Yes on Measure H committee. The payment was purportedly made by the committee on June 21 to Counsel for the six defendants, Strumwasser and Woocher, to the committee's Counsel, Nossaman LLP, acting as the payment agent for the Yes on Measure H committee.

Conclusion - In the absence of any recompense otherwise made by Mr. Carson to the Yes on Measure H committee, it would otherwise appear that this payment of Mr. Carson's obligation by the Yes on Measure H committee would be considered a "Gift" to him from the Yes on Measure H committee.

"Enforcement”

Failure to comply with the laws related to gifts, honoraria, loans, and travel payments may,

depending on the violation, result in criminal prosecution and substantial fines, or in

administrative or civil monetary penalties for as much as $5,000 per violation or three times the amount illegally obtained. (See Sections 83116, 89520, 89521, 91000, 91004 and 91005.5)".

Conclusion - If the payment of Mr. Carson's legal fees by the Yes on Measure H committee is construed to be a "Gift", it could result in criminal penalties in addition to imposition of administrative penalties up to $128,127.75 ($42,709.25 x 3).

Possible Exceptions - The primary exception to the restrictions and limitations on "Gifts" to elected public officials exists as follows,

"Existing Personal Relationship. Benefits received from an individual where it is clear that the gift was made because of an existing personal or business relationship unrelated to the official’s position and there is no evidence whatsoever at the time the gift is made that the official makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on the individual who would otherwise be the source of the gift. (Regulation 18942(a)(19).)"

However, this exception would seemingly not apply in this instance because Council member Carson has publicly declared on numerous occasions that he has no business or economic relationships of any kind with the Yes on Measure H committee, the developer Ramco Enterprises, or the DISC project itself.

Further, it is clear by by being part of the City Council subcommittee that negotiated the development agreement between the City of Davis and the project, that Council member Carson "makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect" on the principal developers of the project who, not coincidentally, are the principal funders of the Yes on Measure H committee. Additionally, because one of the developers of the DISC project, Ramco Enterprises, also has numerous other properties within the City in which Mr. Carson "makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect" on those properties, this exception to the restriction of a gift is not applicable.

Conclusion -  The payment of the award of legal fees by the Yes on Measure H campaign committee is seemingly not excepted by FPPC regulations regarding restrictions on "Gifts" and otherwise could be considered a gift to Council member Carson because it "confers a personal benefit (to Council member Carson) for which a public official does not provide payment or services of equal or greater value."

We assume in this discussion that Council member Carson has not provided or agreed to provide any past or future favorable treatment of any matters before the City by the developer by virtue of the developer's many other property holdings within the City. But if any such promises or inferences were otherwise made in exchange for the payment of the Mr. Carson's legal fees, it otherwise could be construed as a "Bribe" rather than a "Gift" for which much more substantial criminal and civil penalties could result.

2nd Question - Will any such "Gift" to Dan Carson of the Payment of His Legal Fees by the Yes on Measure H Committee Impose any Additional Income Tax Liability?

According to the Internal Revenue Service,

"The gift tax is a tax on the transfer of property by one individual to another while receiving nothing, or less than full value, in return. The tax applies whether or not the donor intends the transfer to be a gift. The gift tax applies to the transfer by gift of any type of property. You make a gift if you give property (including money), or the use of or income from property, without expecting to receive something of at least equal value in return."  (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/gift-tax)

"The donor is generally responsible for paying the gift tax. Under special arrangements the donee may agree to pay the tax instead." (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/frequently-asked-questions-on-gift-taxes)

In the present circumstances, the "Gift" to Dan Carson by the Yes on Measure H committee (by virtue of their payment of legal fees owed by Mr. Carson) would presumably generate an income tax liability on the part of the Yes on Measure H committee, as the gift donor rather than by Mr. Carson as the recipient of the gift.

In their most recent financial 460 report (through June 30) filed with the City in which the payment of $42,209.25 by the Yes on Measure H committee was noted, there was NOT any corresponding accrued expense noted to reflect the additional income tax liability potentially incurred by the committee by virtue of their "Gift" to Carson.

3rd Question - Why Does a Discrepancy Exist in the Reported and Actual Date of Payment of Awarded Legal Fees to Counsel for the Six Defendants?

The $42, 209.75 fees ordered to be paid by Mr. Carson to the Counsel for the 6 defendants was supposedly paid by the Yes on Measure H committee through Carson's Counsel, Nossaman LLP, on June 21 according to the most recent 460 campaign financial statements submitted by the Yes on Measure H committee to the City on July 28 for the period ending June 30, 2022.

However, the award amount was not forwarded by Carson's Counsel to the six defendants' Counsel, Strumwasser and Woocher, until July 26, 2022 and the delays were continually attributed by Carson's Counsel to ongoing delays in receipt of the payment from the Yes on Measure H committee. Perhaps there is an honest accounting error here but these discrepancies in timing have not been explained.

________________________________________________

Alan Pryor is the Principal Officer and Treasurer of the No on Davis Innovation and Sustainable Campus Campaign Committee and one of the defending Real Parties of Interest in the lawsuit brought by Mr. Carson.


City Seeks Public Comment on Davis Climate Action and Adaptaion Plan (CAAP)

Davis CAAPCommunity Review Period Now Open for City's 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

From City of Davis Press Release:

Post Date:August 08, 2022 4:06 pm

The City of Davis announced today that the community review period for the City’s draft 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is now open to the public for an extended 60-day period that will close on October 10, 2022. 

The CAAP establishes a roadmap for carbon reduction policies that will allow the City of Davis to achieve its carbon neutrality goal by 2040, five years ahead of the State’s 2045 timeline. This accelerated goal stems from a 2019 City Council resolution declaring a climate emergency in response to current and expected future climate impacts, including increases in extreme heat, drought, tree mortality, wildfire and flooding. In addition, the CAAP complies with California legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, address climate adaptation and incorporate environmental justice enacted since 2010, including Senate Bills 379 (2015) and 1000 (2018); Executive Order B-55-18; California Air Resources Board 2017 Scoping Plan; and Office of Planning and Research General Plan Guidelines.

“We all have a responsibility to take care of our environment as stewards for future generations,” said Mayor Lucas Frerichs. “Toward this goal, the CAAP will further develop and elevate the City’s commitment, advocacy and leadership to climate action and sustainability.”

Started in January 2021, the process for the CAAP is nearing the final stages of completion with this draft document community review period, to be followed by a finalized adopted CAAP and environmental review targeted for December 2022. Community engagement continues to be an integral component of developing and implementing the CAAP actions and have included multiple community workshops, presentations to community partners, ‘pop-up’ meetings downtown, online surveys, an online community forum, a dedicated City website and monthly progress reports to City Commissions. Additionally, an external Technical Advisory Committee met eight times over the last year to provide input and expertise on the process and content of the CAAP. Through these efforts, the CAAP’s project management team was able to be responsive to local experts, community suggestions, information requests and adjust products and schedules in response to public input, all indicative of the importance of the community-based approach in developing the CAAP update. 

The CAAP describes achievable, measurable GHG emissions reduction and climate change adaptation actions that align with the City’s goals and priorities. When implemented, these actions will reduce GHG emissions by 42% below 2016 levels by 2030 and set the community on a trajectory toward its 2040 carbon neutrality goal. The CAAP actions will also prepare the community for climate change impacts, improve public safety, address environmental justice and enhance the quality of life for residents.

To submit a comment for the community review period, visit: https://cityofdavis.org/davis-CAAP-survey. To read the CAAP, visit:  https://www.cityofdavis.org/sustainability/2020-climate-action-and-adaptation-plan-caap. Contact the Sustainability Coordinator Kerry Loux at: caap@cityofdavis.org.



Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #9

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place for YOU to comment on local issues and articles/comments from other local media.  Bring a can of gasoline and a source of ignition.  [See "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is" for Rulez.]

City of Davis survey results

How are you feeling about your city?

By Roberta Millstein

Recently, the City released the results of a periodic survey it does to take the pulse of Davis's residents.  The results are online here.

The survey was conducted April 12 – 19, 2022 using a a multi-modal methodology: telephone, text- and email-to-web.  There were 500 interviews with an estimated margin of error ±4.37 percentage points.

The staff report highlights some "key takeaways":

  • more than two-thirds of residents are optimistic about the direction of the City
  • more than 75% are satisfied with City services
  • affordable housing, homelessness and public safety are the top three areas of concern for residents
  • social media platforms and communications from the City are gaining popularity as a source of local news

Those are indeed interesting takeaways, although as always with the term "affordable housing," one wonders if people intend the legal meaning, or if they are unhappy with the affordability of housing more generally, or both.

Below are two panels of the survey that I found interesting.  In the first panel, only 23% of citizens are dissatisfied with city services but 39% are dissatisfied with the City Council.  So it seems that the dissatisfaction with the City Council is over and above the dissatisfaction with the provision of city services.  As for the second panel, as a longtime subscriber to the Davis Enterprise I am glad to see that it remains our top source for news.  I hope that people support it with subscriptions because there really is no other comparable source in Davis.

I'm curious to hear people's thoughts and reflections about the survey, so please leave comments if you'd like to weigh in!

City-satisfaction-ratings

Important-source-of-local-news

 

 


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #8

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place to comment on local issues and articles and/or 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".  Burn Baby Burn!

 


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

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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" »