Some Thoughts from Wednesday Night’s Forum on Measure A

You Decideby Jim Gray

Just a quick word of thanks for hosting the “Measure A Nishi Forum” last night. I hope that your readers and Davis Voters take the opportunity to read the account of the meeting or see a replay of the forum. The forum made clear to me the choices that the Voter’s have. Here are a few of my recollections and thoughts from attending.

Tim Ruff, the Nishi Developer/Proponent and Mike Corbett, former Mayor of Davis and developer of Village Homes and solar and smart growth pioneer speak and answer questions in support of Measure A. Alan Pryor, Davis Resident and an Opponent of the project, speaks against the proposal. The forum and resulting discussion is well prepared and the participants and the audience get to ask tough questions.

The proponents make their positive points. A vote for Nishi is going to:

• Lead to traffic improvements and needed infrastructure at Richards Boulevard and I-80. A new off-ramp design and traffic configuration with enhanced bicycle safety will be built and it will create a safer, and better circulation for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. The plan Includes an enhancement of West Olive Drive with a bridge over Putah Creek south of the Arboretum and then a tunnel under the railroad tracks leading to campus close to the Mondavi Center. The proponents show detailed plans and answer questions about this creative configuration.

• An architecturally pleasing, compact mixed use community is planned that will provide a mix of housing, both for sale condominiums and multi-family rentals as well as the infrastructure/foundation for 300,000 square feet of office/innovation/Incubator buildings. This will create a supply of desperately needed housing and it will create office and lab infrastructure for companies starting or growing who are attracted by the research and talent at the University. The project will create more than 1500 jobs, and contribute to economic development, and long term tax revenue to support the City and the School District.

• The proponents clearly outline the features and attributes that will make for an enhanced/compact neighborhood that makes walking, biking, and public transit to the university and downtown Davis easier and thereby reduces car trips and related emissions/pollution/and greenhouse gases.

• Ruff and Corbett point out that the project has been being planned and vetted for more than 8 years. The proponents have gone through an exhaustive and burdensome process that gained unanimous City Council approval. They detail all of the public and committee hearings that they have participated in 35-40 meetings. They show thousands of pages or studies and reports.

• They present facts, show detailed drawings and plans, and answer questions directly while presenting their case.

The opponents make their case for no project. The reason to stop Nishi are:

• We have bad traffic at Richards and the Tunnel into town/Olive Drive is congested. So “let’s do nothing” because it will be better than this development and change.

• Pryor opines that we don’t need student housing at this site because there are plenty of other places for student housing. Then he points out “other options”; on the other side of Olive Drive –the old Calori Court Site – (same impacts on traffic at clearly an inferior site with greater impacts) or at the former Family First Site near the Post Office – which itself is controversial, embroiled in its own environmental review and controversy and of course on 5,000 acres of farm land owned by the University. He states that the University should be the developer of our housing. In my opinion his alternative sites are “alternative non solutions”.

• Pryor then shocks me and the audience by saying that “Davis doesn’t need jobs.” “The University provides us with more than our fair share of jobs.” No, I’m not kidding read the transcript or watch the replay. Vanguard readers should listen to Pryor’s negative rant – not once –but many times he states that we don’t need jobs here! He continues students should come to Davis, get an education, and then quickly leave town. His messages are delivered in such a selfish and mean spirited way. Absolutely nothing progressive about his thinking and argument in this regards.

• He makes his case that the Housing isn’t affordable to the low and very low income … so let’s not build any housing at all. Pryor and the opponents argue that the principles of supply and demand have been repealed and that what we need is an additional $11 million tax so we can claim that we are supporting the poor. I listened closely and I believe that his remarks in this regard were insincere, I heard a rationalization, a politically correct effort to not be discriminatory or exclusionary. Pryor and his colleagues are not really advocates for low and very low income residents. They are desperately looking for arguments.

• They argue that putting the housing here will defeat Davis efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gases. They argue that we should force the students, staff, and faculty to drive from distant communities and fill the entire region’s air basin with thousands of longer and additional trips with more cars spewing millions of additional tons of Carbon into the region. Gosh that is progressive and scientific thinking.

The forum was fairly well attended. The format and the dialogue was interesting. The choices were clear. Vote Yes for positive change and in support of good environmentally responsible planning. Vote No because you are grumpy, have yours already, and make false environmental and social arguments not supported by the facts!

Thank you Vanguard for hosting the Forum. I believe the presentation and debate make the choices that Davis voters face very clear. Good Planning vs Head in the Sand Selfishness.

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77 thoughts on “Some Thoughts from Wednesday Night’s Forum on Measure A”

  1. Tia Will

    Pryor then shocks me and the audience by saying that “Davis doesn’t need jobs.””

    I was a part of that audience, and did not find this comment quite as shocking as Jim.  I see it from a different perspective. If we look at this issue narrowly from an “it’s the economy, stupid” point of view, then yes, of course we need more jobs.

    But in comparison to adjacent communities, due to the presence of the university we have a plethora of good jobs. With the planned addition of 9000 more students to UCD , we will have even more jobs. Many of these will be “good” in the sense of high paying. But we will also see jobs across many different job categories including all the various support services.

    Dan and others have made the argument that we “need” to keep UCD graduates here in town. I frankly see no such need. I am fine with our top graduates enriching any location that is attractive to them be that in Davis or elsewhere, in the state of California or anywhere in the country or world from that point of view. Do we believe that the world is a worse place because Robb Davis spent years in rural Africa, or because I spent two years providing medical care in rural Arizona ?

    I am still awaiting a response from anyone proposing that “we need more jobs” or that “we need to keep our graduates in Davis” just how many, or what proportion of graduates would you feel Davis should optimally be able to accommodate and what, realistically do you see as the challenges that this influx will present ?

    1. Misanthrop

      How many young, vibrant, well educated, employable, tax paying people should we retain? As many as possible.

      What people seem to be missing is that Davis can be a jobs engine for the entire region. A region with a chronically high unemployment rate. The best way to raise people out of poverty is with the opportunity a job creates.

      I don’t know about where others like Allen have lived but where I come from more jobs for people is a good thing.

      I don’t know how Tia,  who claims to have grown up under modest circumstances and worked in rural Arizona, fails to understand the concept of people having jobs is a good thing.

      1. Tia Will

        Misanthrop

        How many young, vibrant, well educated, employable, tax paying people should we retain? As many as possible.”

        This would seem to me to be an argument for perpetual, unending growth.

        I don’t know how Tia,  who claims to have grown up under modest circumstances and worked in rural Arizona, fails to understand the concept of people having jobs is a good thing.”

        Well, I will be happy to explain my point of view so that you can understand whether or not you agree. We define “jobs” very arbitrarily as work that is done for monetary reward. This ignores the fact that many, many people make vital contributions to our society without their work being compensated in a manner than allows them to support themselves and their families. A few obvious examples. A parent who stays home to care for children, or an individual who cares for an invalid member of their family is doing a great service to our society in allowing care to be provided that would otherwise cost us much more. But they often receive no compensation a all.

        I do not believe that “good jobs” are the best approach to a thriving population even though that is what we have all grown up believing. I believe that for a wealthy society such as ours, there is a better way. It is not a new idea, nor is it ideologically exclusive. I believe that we should have some form of UBI. This would allow everyone a life of dignity beyond poverty for all and allow everyone to pursue their own dreams and interests which would lead to innovation in all areas of endeavor, not just the ones we cherry pick.

        The other reason that I do not see “more jobs” as the best solution is that we have based our economy on ever more consumption. I do not believe that “more jobs” with no specification as to in which fields, or to pick tech and manufacturing as the winners are conducive to providing for a clean, safe, healthy environment for future generations. But I do not believe that this has to be an either or. I believe that there can be a sustainable middle ground and would urge us to seek that instead of the unbridled growth that I see being championed.

         

    2. Dan Carson

      Tia,  Could you please point to any statement I made where I  argued for keeping some portion of UC Davis graduates in town?  I do think we need to provide good quality jobs in Davis, but that isn’t how I framed my discussion yesterday.  My point was that Alan’s claim that we don’t need new jobs in Davis was in error and that there are a host of important reasons why job creation here is important.  I would appreciate your correcting the record.

      1. Tia Will

        Dan

        Could you please point to any statement I made where I  argued for keeping some portion of UC Davis graduates in town?”

        I cannot. For the simple reason that I was not limiting my comment to what you might or might not have said, but was rather addressing the fact that I do not find what Alan said as “shocking” given the different perspective that I hold about our society’s very inequitable definition of what should be considered as a “job” worthy of renumeration.

    3. Mark West

      I am still awaiting a response…just how many…?

      Tia has asked this question many times, trying to nail down a specific number, whether it is jobs, new residents or new housing. In my opinion, the only reason for determining a ‘specific number’ is so you can limit your responsibility, so when that number is reached, you no longer have to care about the others in need.

      When we look at people who truly believe in helping others, they don’t ask how many and stop when they reach that point, they just keep working until the task is completed – even if it takes a lifetime. We need as many jobs as there are people in town looking for good jobs.  We will never reach that goal, but our responsibility is to continue working on the problem until it is completed, and not stop prematurely because we have met some preconceived limit that Tia approves of.

      1. Tia Will

        Mark

        the only reason for determining a ‘specific number’ is so you can limit your responsibility, so when that number is reached, you no longer have to care about the others in need.”

        I know that this is the only reason that you can see. But as I have also posted on numerous occasions, that is not how I see it at all. So once again I will try to explain it to you so that perhaps you can “see it differently” even if you don’t agree.

        Not everyone wants to live in a rapidly growing city. Not all of us that prefer slower growth are old. Many people who would like to live here, want to live here precisely because of the small city atmosphere. So I am choosing to look not only at today, but to my children’s future, and their children’s future and their children’s ….

        If we greedily gobble up all available open space available to us today with claims that “we need more money to pave our roads, or repair our swimming pools…..or whatever, or we claim that we need “more children to fill up our schools” or more people who can afford luxury apartments……or whatever” what we are also doing is to say that it is our right to usurp the right of our descendants from making any of these kinds of decisions for themselves. Slow growth, with gradual incorporation of more citizens allows time for more generations of Davis citizens to make their own development decisions.

        So Frankly is right in one thing that he says about me. What ever happens over the next 20 years will probably not affect my individual lifestyle very much. I am keenly aware that this is not all about me. I would like to think that we will take on the responsibility of paying our own way, cleaning up our own messes and allowing future generations to have the option of making some of their own land use decisions.

  2. Tia Will

    The forum was fairly well attended. The format and the dialogue was interesting. The choices were clear. Vote Yes for positive change and in support of good environmentally responsible planning. Vote No because you are grumpy, have yours already, and make false environmental and social arguments not supported by the facts!”

    Wow. And I thought that I had a difference of perspective before I finished the article. So here is my take on Jim’s conclusion.

    …..the choices were clear. Vote “Yes” because you believe the claims that Nishi will bring positive change and believe the proponents claims that this project supports good environmentally responsible planning. Vote “No” because you are happy with many aspects of Davis as it is, because you believe that your own children and their children should perhaps be left with some decision making ability with regard to  land use and the population of Davis and do not believe that our generation should fill every available inch of land to its maximum capacity, and you weight the environmental and social values differently from the supporters.

    I happen to fall in the “Yes” camp. It took me a long time weighing many factors to decide.  I truly dislike and do not respect the “disinformation” about the motives and values of those who are not in favor of this project.

     

    1. nameless

      The problem I see with your assessment of the motives of the No on A side is that it does not fit with what they are saying.  They have not said they are happy with the way Davis is.  They have not said they want their children to be left with some decision making ability with regard to land use and population.  Nor have they said they don’t want to fill every available inch of land to its maximum capacity.  You have provided them with reasons they have not espoused.  About all they have said is the project as proposed is not good enough – it is not clean enough, green enough, does not provide enough money to the city.

      1. The Pugilist

        That’s one of my problems with the no-side.  They argue that the project isn’t good enough, but don’t have a realistic answer for providing housing and jobs other than we don’t need jobs and UCD can provide housing.  Those are non-starters for me.

    2. DavisforNishiGateway

      Voting “No” has nothing to do with leaving “some decision making ability with regard to land use and the population of Davis.” Measure R/J will still exist. This vote has to do with what should or should not be done with this specific site. Neither is this vote about “fill[ing] every available inch of land to its maximum capacity.” This vote is about whether it is in the best interest of Davis to approve this project or not. This is a contained parcel that is essentially infill; I think it is a stretch to say Nishi would fill every available inch of land.

      You are describing the philosophical battle between “pro-growth” and “anti-growth” that has played out in Davis for decades. This is not, in my opinion, an accurate description of the choices that are at play in this specific vote.

       

  3. MidCentury

     

    • We have bad traffic at Richards and the Tunnel into town/Olive Drive is congested. So “let’s do nothing” because it will be better than this development and change.

    That’s not what voters are thinking. They’re thinking let’s do something different. For instance, why not put an offramp only on Westbound I-80 into the Nishi site and keep the existing bicycle and pedestrian only connection at Olive Drive. Eastbound traffic could use the underutilized Old Davis Road exit. That would provide even better access for the workforce traveling to Nishi, and would take existing pressure off of Richards by providing another central campus access. Yes, I know an offramp and onramp along the same stretch of road isn’t ideal, an example is the exit off I-80 East to I-5 North when going to the Sacramento airport, but it works.

    … so let’s not build any housing at all.

    No, they’re thinking that it isn’t right for a new development to not provide diverse housing opportunities including low income, as we know that integrating it into higher end projects helps prevent clusters of low income areas elsewhere in town. This requirement is just smart planning so how can a new project like this be exempt from the requirement. (I personally think in-lieu fees should be abolished and all projects should bear their fair share)

    1. Matt Williams

      MidCentury said . . . “it isn’t right for a new development to not provide diverse housing opportunities including low income, as we know that integrating it into higher end projects helps prevent clusters of low income areas elsewhere in town. This requirement is just smart planning”

      Back in 1979 I became the single parent of my 9 year-old son living in Ithaca, New York.  In choosing housing one of my considerations was what impact the makeup of the apartment complex residents would have on my son.  The residents of several of those apartment complexes were overwhelmingly Cornell students, and after an inspection of those complexes, it was crystal clear that inserting a 9 year-old boy into that milieu would be a less than desirable influence on him, and I chose to live in a non-student complex.  When I registered him for Elementary School the school administrators commented that they were glad that they and my son weren’t going to have to deal with the problems that other kids whose parents had chosen student-centric apartments were having.

      I don’t think my experience is unique, and I believe it also illustrates why your proposed solution has serious negative child development consequences.

       

    2. Dan Carson

      MidCentury,  Your idea of creating a new exit from I-80 directly into Nishi has some merit in theory and was raised with Caltrans. I asked city planning staff about this possibility early last year. I was advised that Caltrans was clear they opposed the idea.  They have pushed hard to have fewer exits and on-ramps along freeways because of safety and traffic flow concerns.  It’s their freeway, so there is really no chance the city would be able to overcome their opposition.  That’s OK. The tight diamond interchange being proposed by the city is a promising alternative solution if we can find the money for the project. Approval of Measure A would help make that possible.

    3. Eric Gelber

       

      … integrating [affordable housing] into higher end projects helps prevent clusters of low income areas elsewhere in town. This requirement is just smart planning so how can a new project like this be exempt from the requirement. (I personally think in-lieu fees should be abolished and all projects should bear their fair share)

       
       Agree. There is still a great need for affordable housing in Davis—including for low and very low income families—just as there was when the Affordable Housing Ordinance was enacted. Yes on A folks tend to be dismissive of the lack of an affordable housing component in the Nishi plan. Build more housing and housing costs will go down, they opine. In the meantime, let them eat cake. Increasing the supply of market rate housing is not going to help those living on fixed incomes—Social Security, SSI, etc. Supply won’t bring housing costs down enough to be affordable to families at 30% to 120% AMI. Even those opposed to Nishi tend to mention affordable housing only as an afterthought.
       
       It’s hard to blame the developers; they are just taking advantage of an unfortunate exemption in the AH Ordinance. In 2013, the Ordinance was amended in several ways to lower the bar for inclusionary requirements, including reducing the requirement for stacked condominiums from 25% to 0%. According to the staff report at the time, this was done as an incentive for infill and for smaller, more compact projects. Nishi is neither infill nor a small, compact project. Stacked condominiums, moreover, are among the best options for creating accessible housing. Unfortunately, the current ordinance limits the availability of this accessible housing option for many low income seniors and people with disabilities in Davis.
       
       The choice is not between including affordable housing or building no housing at all, as Nishi proponents claim. There is plenty of middle ground, if there’s the will to claim it.

  4. Misanthrop

    Its honestly shocking to me when I hear people being dismissive of generating more and better paying jobs. I wonder which presidential candidate such people identify with because I can’t think of any of the 20 or so original 2016 candidates that take that position. I use this example to demonstrate how far out of the mainstream of conventional political discourse such arguments exist.

    Only in Davis.

  5. Ron

    Wow – from the tone of this article, the “Yes” side is getting uglier.

    I hope that everyone remembers that regardless of the outcome, we’ll still need to “get along” with each other, after the election. And, I hope that Measure R-type votes are “few and far between”, in the future. (I wouldn’t count on it, though. Too much money to be made, as the real estate market recovers.)

      1. Ron

        Misanthrop:  “I can assure you that if Measure A fails there won’t be any other Measure R votes. I would even takes bets.”

        Really?  Over what time period? Forever?

        1. Ron

          nameless:  “I think if Nishi fails, there may be a huge reassessment of Measure R.”

          Translation:  “Vote for Nishi, if you want to preserve Measure R?”  (Sounds like a blackmail threat.)

        2. nameless

          To Ron: No, just a statement of what I believe will happen if Nishi fails.  There is already thought to whether Measure R is stifling economic development.  The failure of Nishi would only add fuel to that fire.

        3. The Pugilist

          I think there are ways that Measure R can be saved if Nishi fails, but it’s going to change and not in ways that Harrington is pushing.

        4. Ron

          nameless:  “There is already thought to whether Measure R is stifling economic development.  The failure of Nishi would only add fuel to that fire.”

          Commercial development may provide some economic benefit for current residents.  However, housing development proposals (which are only profitable for developers) are pretty much what we’ve seen, so far (e.g., Covell Village, Wildhorse Ranch).  The only commercial development that was presented to voters actually won (Target). Nishi is primarily a housing development, with questionable impacts on city finances and traffic at the primary entrance to the city (and on the campus, itself).

          The only other real commercial development (MRIC) was put on “hold”.  (Note that some slow-growth were involved with (and encouraged) the proposals to foster commercial development.)

          The problem with city finances originated from allowing large housing developments (without sufficient revenue to support such developments).  And, from failing to reign in cost increases (above the amount of tax increases allowed under Proposition 13).

          I don’t think there’s a “fire” (or even a “solution”), in pursuing endless development to solve the city’s financial challenges.  (Especially large-scale housing developments outside of city limits, which only worsen the situation under the current system.)

          It always seems ironic to me that the same individuals that facilitated the current challenges (by encouraging large-scale housing developments, without sufficient revenue) are pretty much the same ones who point to even more development as a “solution”.

           

           

        5. The Pugilist

          ‘Nishi is primarily a housing development, with questionable impacts on city finances and traffic at the primary entrance to the city (and on the campus, itself). ”

          On what basis do you conclude that?  They are looking at 1500 beds and jobs.

           

        6. Ron

          Misanthrop:  “Over the life of Measure R.”

          No – I won’t engage in a bet, regarding that.  (Measure R expires and is up for renewal, soon.)

          Perhaps a vote against Nishi would discourage more developers from attempting another Measure R vote, soon.  (Of course, this is not the best reason for voting against the development.)

          Someone else wrote that Nishi may be just the “camel’s nose, pushing through the tent flap”.  (I’m sure that many pro-development types are hoping that this is the case.)

          In any case, I hope that we don’t have another Measure R-type vote, very soon.

        7. Misanthrop

          It doesn’t expire for four years. With all the pent up demand you would expect another vote in that time frame unless the process was too onerous, which of course, it is.

        8. Ron

          Misanthrop:  “It doesn’t expire for four years.  With all the pent up demand you would expect another vote in that time frame unless the process was too onerous, which of course, it is.”

          I’d prefer very careful consideration of development proposals outside of our city’s boundaries. This won’t be possible, if we keep getting multiple proposals within short periods of time.  (Instead, it will feel like a constant assault/barrage.)  Given the monetary value of zoning change approvals (for developers), I suspect that they will keep trying to undermine the process.

          I view Davis as a pioneer, in the effort to make development work for residents.  (And, part of the goal is to ensure that any expansion of borders is very carefully considered.)

      2. Ron

        The Pugilist:  “On what basis do you conclude that?  They are looking at 1500 beds and jobs.”

        Interesting that you’d focus on the number of beds, when questioning why it’s primarily a housing development.

        Another strange argument (from those who advocate housing/commercial developments, in general) is 1) adding more residents, and 2) then creating jobs for those new residents.  (Or, perhaps jobs for commuters from outside the area.)  So, in other words, increase the size of the city, to the probable detriment of current residents.

        I don’t want to get dragged into a long argument regarding Nishi in particular, today.  Most arguments (for and against) have already been presented.

         

         

        1. Mark West

          “Another strange argument (from those who advocate housing/commercial developments, in general) is 1) adding more residents, and 2) then creating jobs for those new residents.”

          The vacancy rate in town is 0.2% and the jobs per capita rate is far below the State average.  We need to increase the availability of both housing and jobs for the current residents of Davis, not those who might move here in the future.

        2. Ron

          Mark:  “We need to increase the availability of both housing and jobs for the current residents of Davis, not those who might move here in the future.”

          Not sure how you can reserve housing or jobs for those who already live here.  (Of course, the University can reserve housing for its students.)

        3. DavisforNishiGateway

          Creating student housing for the incoming excess of UC Davis students is not about growing the city. Creating compact senior housing where the residents can walk downtown or to the grocery store is not about growing the city. Creating private sector jobs in a city that relies immensely on the public sector for employment is not about growing the city. It is about creating balance in a currently unbalanced situation.

        4. Ron

          DavisforNishiGateway:

          I was mostly responding to others’ comments regarding growth/development outside of the city’s boundaries, in general.

          Regarding Nishi, the arguments for/against have pretty much been flushed out.  However, I don’t think you answered my previous question, regarding how anyone can conduct an accurate traffic flow analysis, when you don’t know where motor vehicle commuters to the University will park – if using the new access points provided by Nishi. (And, how the traffic to Nishi itself would impact those commuting to the University.)

        5. Mark West

          Ron:

          You come up with some of the craziest interpretations of what other people are saying. I said we needed to add jobs and housing for the people who are already living here, and not as you seem to believe, as an inducement for others to move here.  I never said anything about restricting the jobs or homes.

          The housing and jobs needs are already present in the community, and all of your arguments are justifications for ignoring those needs.

        6. Ron

          Mark:  “I said we needed to add jobs and housing for the people who are already living here, and not as you seem to believe, as an inducement for others to move here.”

          How/why do you think that adding new housing and jobs will go to those already living here?

        7. DavisforNishiGateway

          Ron,

          I didn’t answer you, because this argument makes no sense to me. The EIR studied the impacts of the trips that would be generated to and from Nishi (based on the occupancy of the residential and commercial buildings along with traffic that would be diverted from Richards). The University is conducting its LRDP and the traffic component is being conducted by the same firm (Fehr and Peers). I would honestly welcome a more detailed explanation of your reasoning, because right now I am not sure what point you are trying to make.

        8. Ron

          DavisforNishiGateway:

          Are you playing games with me?

          One of the “selling points” of Nishi is providing new motor vehicle access to those commuting to the University, from other areas of Davis (and beyond).

          It seems that you don’t know where these commuters will end up, assuming that they pass through the Nishi property (or from Old Davis Road). And, it seems that you don’t know how many motor vehicle commuters there actually might be (using these new access points), or how this traffic would interact with those traveling to Nishi, itself.

           

        9. DavisforNishiGateway

          Ron,

          Won’t they just end up in the same place they currently already go, but now they can avoid going through the Richards tunnel and clogging it up for people driving from South Davis trying to go downtown? I honestly don’t understand the significance of what you are trying to argue–no games, I promise.

        10. Ron

          DavisforNishiGateway:  “Won’t they just end up in the same place they currently already go, but now they can avoid going through the Richards tunnel and clogging it up for people driving from South Davis trying to go downtown?”

          You’re asking me?  It seems to me that it would depend on where they can park now, and in the future – if additional parking is provided on the University to accommodate the new access points (and how easy it is to reach parking destinations, compared to other routes).  If this is unknown, how can anyone perform an accurate traffic flow analysis?

          Of course, Nishi will also generate its own traffic, as well.  (Some would no doubt commute to Nishi, itself.)

        11. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “I don’t want to get dragged into a long argument regarding Nishi in particular, today.  Most arguments (for and against) have already been presented.”

          I agree Ron with your statement above.  With that said, if Nishi does achieve 100% students filling the apartment beds, then there won’t be a need to create any jobs for those student residents, because their job is to get an education.

      3. Michael Harrington

        Misanthrop:  I agree, there wont be any more Measure “R” votes.  That’s because there will be a replacement soon enough, brought to you by your friendly local initiative team.

    1. Michelle Millet

      Ron-You have lost some credibility with me. You seem to defend the rights of those on the “No” side of this issue to behave badly. Why aren’t those on the “Yes” side given the same benefit of your  doubt ?

      1. Ron

        Michelle:

        I was simply pointing out that some have (only) impeached one side.  (I really don’t like misinformation from any side, regardless of the issue.  There’s plenty of legitimate reasons, to take a position.)

        However, I don’t understand why you can’t see the unnecessary negativity in the article, above (and in another article, today).  Unless, for example, you agree that one should:

        “Vote No because you are grumpy, have yours already, and make false environmental and social arguments not supported by the facts!” (from the article above).

        Regardless, I do enjoy hearing from you. Overall, your comments are civil.

        1. DavisforNishiGateway

          Please point to any specific contradictions or misinformation the Yes on A campaign has issued. I am so tired of people trying to equivocate the two campaigns. There is only one side that has consistently and deliberately spread misleading and erroneous claims–as Councilmember Robb Davis noted in his op-ed about a month ago.

        2. Michelle Millet

          Ron-As far as I can tell the Yes on A team has run a civil campaign. Jim Gray and  commenters on this blog may be supportive of the project but they do not speak for the campaign, nor should the campaign be held responsible for the actions of individual citizens.

          Mike Harrington and Alan Pryor are active members of the No on A campaign team. Their actions and behavior are a direct reflection of how the campaign is operating. Why you seem to be giving them a pass for spreading absolute lies and unfounded accusations, while criticizing the tone of this piece, which is a at worst a little snarky at times, makes me question your objectivity and  whether you truly want to promote civil discourse.

        3. Ron

          Michelle – I understand your point, and I will try to differentiate between commenters on the Vanguard, vs. official campaigns.

          One point (which is not intended as an excuse for anyone) is that one side has an enormous financial stake in the outcome (and can hire professionals and others to support their message), and one side does not (and is largely run by volunteers, who are not professional/hired guns). (This is also not intended as a comment regarding the accuracy of any official statements from either campaign.)

        4. Michelle Millet

          Ron-As a fellow “slow-grower” I believe it is in the best interest of our cause to distance ourselves as much as possible from the antics of Mike Harrington and Alan Pryor. In the long run they are doing us far more harm than good. We need more reasonable people holding the reigns. At this point I think Brett Lee is our best bet, I wish we could get him to be a more proactive leader in the public arena on growth issues. He would serve our cause well.

        5. Ron

          Michelle:

          I like Brett, as well.  But, I suspect that I’m a “slower-grower” than you.

          I’m tired of seeing these campaigns, which drive the city apart, costing everyone time, energy and money.  However, given the potential profits resulting from approvals, I suspect that we’ll see more battles in the future, whether it’s “outsized” infill developments, more Measure R-type votes, or an outright assault on Measure R itself.

          Seems to me that if we simply followed SACOG requirements, the city would automatically accommodate its “fair share” of development/growth.  (And, as even Misanthrop noted, the University will eventually respond by building a lot more housing for its students.  In fact, the University is the only entity that has the room and capability to do so.)  And, we wouldn’t have as many of these protracted, endless battles regarding development.

          Of course, the Vanguard might not have as much to report (or receive comments on), without engaging in these endless “battles”! (I’ve already noticed that it is rather addictive!)

          1. Don Shor

            Seems to me that if we simply followed SACOG requirements, the city would automatically accommodate its “fair share” of development/growth.

            No, because in order to grow you need land and a willing developer.
            Also, I urge you to do more research as to exactly what SACOG does. That’s really a topic for a whole article some day.

        6. Ron

          Don:  “No, because in order to grow you need land and a willing developer.  Also, I urge you to do more research as to exactly what SACOG does. That’s really a topic for a whole article some day.”

          I understand that we’re currently meeting the requirements, due to the Cannery, etc.  I also strongly suspect that we’d have no problem finding a “willing developer” (including potential sites), when we’re no longer meeting the requirements.

          But, you’re right – it’s something that I’m not that familiar with, and it’s probably better saved for another day.  I agree that it might be a good topic for an in-depth Vanguard article.  (Or, we can all continue fighting premature, incendiary battles, regarding the “right amount” of development.)

          I’m going to try to refrain from further responses.  (Like I said, it’s addictive!)

           

        7. Ron

          Michelle:

          (Last comment for awhile – I’m promising myself.)

          My earlier point was that perhaps by the choice of topic (e.g., endlessly focusing on the latest development proposals), the Vanguard “drives” the conversation to some degree.  And, the editors/moderators also participate via comments, which reveals their own biases (which seem to support development to a much greater degree than I would).

          I’m not necessarily using “bias” in a negative sense.  However, my “bias” might lead to the posting of entirely different articles/focus, if I ran the Vanguard and devoted as much time to it as the editors/moderators.  But, I might not be able to whip up as much conflict (and readership/comments), using that approach.  (In other words, I might fail if I tried it.)

          I’d like to see an in-depth article regarding SACOG requirements.  And, a discussion regarding using that as a “starting point” when considering development proposals. Same thing regarding current zoning requirements, when considering large-scale infill proposals.

          But – you’re right – no one is forcing anyone else to read or make comments.

  6. nameless

    Ron: “Wow – from the tone of this article, the “Yes” side is getting uglier.

    You mean the “Yes” on Measure A side has the audacity to point out the inconsistencies on the “No” side?

    1. Ron

      nameless:  “You mean the “Yes” on Measure A side has the audacity to point out the inconsistencies on the “No” side?”

      “Sure – that’s what I mean”.  (Not sure how to indicate sarcasm, in my response.)

      Of course, it has nothing to do with the ugly tone of this article, and other comments.  And this, after the “Yes” side has accused the “No” side of spreading misinformation!

      It’s apparently desperation time for the pro-development side.  Soon, desperate statements won’t even garner a response.

      1. The Pugilist

        Ron:  I don’t think you’re being very objective here.  There is the ridiculous claim by Alan that Davis doesn’t need more jobs.  But then there is the attack that the city violated their own affordable housing ordinance.  That claim has been attacked on here numerous times and the makers will not site any case law to support it.  How is anything the yes side is doing comparable to accusations of illegality without substantiation?

        1. Ron

          The Pugilist:  “How is anything the yes side is doing comparable to accusations of illegality without substantiation?”

          If you can’t see some of the evidence in the article above, I don’t know what else to say.

          Also, note that even I previously pointed out some inconsistency regarding the developer’s (apparent) intentions to use some of the commercial space for residential purposes, despite the city’s ordinance regarding “mixed use”. (There was a long, drawn-out discussion regarding that. And, some pretty ridiculous statements regarding the ordinance, itself.)

           

      2. Mark West

        Ron: “Of course, it has nothing to do with the ugly tone of this article, and other comments.”

        I believe that ugly actions should be responded to with a similar tone, and not glossed over in an attempt to allow everyone to just ‘get along.’ Jim’s tone is an appropriate response to the false and misleading statements of the ‘No’ side (in general) and Alan P. (specifically).

        False statements of fact should never be viewed as acceptable in a rational discussion.

        1. nameless

          I would prefer a discussion on smart growth, rather than slow growth.  To exalt slow growth as inherently good is a mistake IMO.  Sometimes slow growth can be a problem, just as fast growth can be a problem.  What we need is well planned smart growth, that is fiscally sustainable and contributes positively to the city.  Obviously there will be differences of opinion as to what smart growth entails, which is fine… but ultimately the city has to come to some sort of agreement what it wants in regard to growth.

  7. Marina Kalugin

    Some learn from problems of the past…and others do not…

    When the SAME people are giving the SAME song and dance and say they will be better this time around….some of us are skeptical….if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck………then….

    1. Michelle Millet

      Marina-it appears you decided a long time ago who you perceive the “good players” and the “bad players” to be. You don’t seem to want to give anyone room in your mind to be any different than how you have pigeon holed them.

      While not all developers have acted in ways I condone in the past, I see no evidence that this group in this instance have behaved badly. I will continue to judge people on how they act today rather than how they have behaved in the past or in other situations, and will decide whether or not to support individual development projects based on their own merit, not in the merit of those that came before them.

       

  8. Marina Kalugin

    and, did ANYONE answer MY questions….it IS the same people….miss Millet… or was THAT on the other Nishi thread…one would thinke there was nothing else happening in this town..     LOL

     

  9. Eileen Samitz

    Well Jim, since you are a commercial real estate broker, I can understand why you are advocating so hard for the Nishi project. After all it is in your best interest financially to support Nishi, so no one can blame you for taking that position. But since you can’t be objective, your article is far from being unbiased. And frankly, since this article is so packed with the same verbiage we have seen in all of the “Yes on Measure A” fliers and websites, I am sorry but it really sounds pretty “canned”.  So my first reaction is that this has been written by the highly paid public relations firm that the “Yes on Measure A” campaign has doing all of their PR stuff.

    But let’s get to the content and how you have tried to portray your version of what you would like others to believe happened at the Vanguard forum. It certainly goes to show how you and I had very different, in fact opposite, opinions on what the Nishi project “brings” to Davis, and how the audience reacted to the many significant negative impacts of Nishi. In fact, no “Yes” signs were taken by any of the exiting audience, but folks did take No signs home to display after the forum. So the impression of folks being convinced to vote NO seemed pretty darn clear to me of the majority of the audience.

    I clearly saw and heard how the Nishi project brings traffic, gridlock, costs to the citizens and unaffordable housing to students and non- students. I also clearly heard how the Nishi project housing would be exposing residents to unmitigatable health hazards. UCD atmospheric scientist and expert Dr. Cahill Ph,D has testified a number of times at City Council and Planning Commission on his strong opposition to the health, welfare, and safety of students or any residents at the Nishi project a there should be no housing at Nishi. I find it interesting that you did not mention this in your article.

    Your comments about the Richards “improvements” conveniently do not mention even with these “improvements” that the traffic on Richards will get far worse. So it is so disingenuous to imply that the traffic will get better because the traffic added by the Nishi project is far more than the Richards corridor will be able to handle even with the Richards “improvements”.

    You state as if it is a fact that we “need” Nishi’s 325,000 sq. ft. of R and D, yet you did not mention that our City already has plenty of commercial land within our birders now to accommodate this small amount of R and D space. Using this vacant land withing the city commercial zoned would be true infill and be more productive without all the problems and impacts such as trying to annex in the problematic Nishi land parcel. Nishi has no access and the barriers of being sandwiched between I-80 and the railroad tracts plus the additional problems of cost to our City, traffic and the unaffordable housing.

    Then you talk about the need for jobs, but the fact is that the acceptable range for Davis for jobs: housing balance ratio is 0.8:1 to 1.2:1, but since UCD is a main jobs provider for our City, that our jobs:housing balance ratio is 1.46:1 for the City with UCD, so we are actually a bit top heavy if anything when it comes to jobs. Plus UCD is expanding and more jobs are coming from the campus, but it needs to be recognized that additional housing pressures come along with more jobs. So this is not to say that we don’t want to add any new jobs, but it is a delicate balance of how many, and what type of jobs would actually help. The most important and desirable objective for our City is to figure out ways to gain more revenue, without bringing on costs which would be counter-productive.

    Finally, at the Q and A portion at the end of the forum, out of seven questions from the audience, three specifically asked the Nishi developers, “Why has not UCD build the needed on-campus housing that is needed”? I did not see you mention this in your article either.

    This is particularly important because it is the result of UCD’s negligence for almost three decades of them not building the promised on-campus housing.  That is the primary problem which is the main driver for all of these other growth related  pressures on our City. This  includes the Nishi project and other developers coming out of the woodwork to jam in enormous and incompatible, high density housing projects in our community  –  for UCD’s housing needs. Davis should not have to deal with this problem that UCD is trying to imposed on us.  Meanwhile, our community winds up paying the bill to basically subsidize UCD housing needs, if we build it in the City using our infrastructure and City services. It is time that our Cty let’ UV+CD know that this is not acceptable. Particularly because UCD has more than 5,000 acres and has no excuse why it has not produced this on-campus housing, and it needs to do so now since they are updating their UCD Long Range Development Plan currently.

    In any case Jim, sorry but my take on the outcome of the Vanguard forum was definitely “No on Nishi”. Plus, if I were you I would not be trying to accuse others of “selfishness”.

     

    1. Logical

      Funny that the same person obsessed with mini dorms ad naseum doesn’t want student housing built right next door to the university.  Call it whatever you want. Continue to delude yourself that UCD will address their housing mess alone and you will soon be ringed in by students crammed into every single family house in your neighborhood.  Not that there’s anything wrong with students, you were probably one, once.

  10. Eileen Samitz

    Logical,

    Sorry to see that your posting is so inaccurate and illogical. It is your right ti choose to support enabling UCD  to continue to be opportunists, which will continue to exacerbate the current situation of the housing impacts that UCD keep trying to deflect onto our community. However, our community is now understanding the problem that by allowing UCD to continue to neglect their responsibilities to their students and our community by not building the on-campus housing that they have committed to, that UCD is causing significant problems for their own students and our community, which is now at a point where UCD needs to be held accountable for the solutions that they can provide. This is an integrity issue regarding UCD and its reputation as well at this point.

    But that is your right to chose to retreat on this issue. Meanwhile, our community have a right to stand up to UCD to advocate for the on-campus housing needed NOW (not more empty “promises” as in the past from UCD) for the sake of the UCD students, and the sake of our community and neighboring communities also being impacted by UCD’s negligence. That is the true solution to this situation, not facilitating UCD’s negligence.

     

     

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