Guest Commentary: Measure A Has Earned Our Yes Vote

Nishi-Scene-1By Lois Wolk, Mariko Yamada, Helen Thomson, Brett Lee, Bob Black, Jerry Adler, Ken Wagstaff, Bill Kopper and Will Arnold

The Nishi Gateway project, on the ballot as Yes on Measure A, has been designed over several years with significant community input and in close collaboration with UC Davis. It is critical that we plan together with the campus as it embarks on its new Long-Range Development Plan.

Recently, the university announced plans to house up to 40 percent of UCD students on campus. While that is a good start, it is just a start in meeting Davis’ wider campus and community housing needs and providing for a better economic future for downtown Davis.

The Nishi Gateway meets a number of critical city needs, including dense and compact housing and new commercial and research space close to campus and downtown. The project is located next to the Arboretum, is connected to existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and is within walking distance of the train station.

The site provides a route for Unitrans double-decker buses into South Davis, a first for our city.

The city’s Finance and Budget Commission, after careful review, concluded that the project will provide an annual net fiscal benefit to the city of up to $1.4 million. Additionally, it will generate up to $9 million in one-time fees to the city and $400,000 annually for Davis Joint Unified School District.

The project cannot proceed until the Richards Boulevard interchange has been improved and a second access point to campus is established at Old Davis Road — paid for by developer fees.

Independent estimates indicate that the 325,000-square-foot research park will bring approximately 1,500 jobs to the city. It will generate $1 billion in economic activity and create a needed customer base for existing downtown businesses.

The project has been identified as our top priority for economic development through several city-sponsored studies. In addition to the business park studies, a citizens commission back in 2008 identified the Nishi project as a top infill site.

The project will provide 440 multi-family rental units oriented toward students at the edge of campus, erasing the need for car travel for residents and workers. It will provide 210 stacked flat condos near downtown for workers and seniors. All residential housing will be five to six stories with small units — filling a critical need.

In addition, the project provides student housing close to campus, taking pressure off the worrisome trend of “mini-dorm” development across Davis. The mini-dorm development is driven by the student housing crunch and is fundamentally changing existing Davis neighborhoods.

By providing a smart student housing complex close to campus, Nishi — and Measure A — will protect our neighborhoods and reduce the displacement of young families and renters.

Far from a typical development-driven process, the Nishi project was a partnership among the community, the city of Davis and the landowner from the very beginning. They agreed to split the pre-development costs of the project and collaborate on its design to implement a shared vision.

In recognition of this shared vision, the project received an award for sustainability from the state of California’s Strategic Growth Council to help complete an environmental plan of action.

The project includes extraordinary sustainability features that are model for the state: 4.9 megawatts of solar photovoltaics will supply 85 percent of electricity used on site, which may contribute to our Community Choice Energy system, providing renewable energy in the city.

Both the project site and buildings will be LEED-certified (or equivalent), demonstrating the highest level of energy efficiency. Low parking ratios and onsite paid parking, along with peak-hour exit parking fees, will reduce traffic impacts around the site.

The project has been endorsed by more than 1,200 members of our community, our state representatives past and present (Sen. Lois Wolk and our recent Assembly members Bill Dodd, Mariko Yamada and Helen Thomson), the entire current City Council, all council candidates, the Davis Chamber of Commerce, Davis Downtown business association, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, ASUCD and The Davis Enterprise.

This is a broad coalition almost unprecedented in our community.

We are all fortunate to live in a university town but we can’t take our good fortune for granted. We need to work together for a better future for our community, encourage our intellectual capital, invest in our schools, preserve our neighborhoods and encourage alternative modes of transportation.

We urge you to vote “yes” on Measure A.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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51 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Measure A Has Earned Our Yes Vote”

  1. Jim Leonard

    To all you self-declared important people:

    I just talked to a friend who was really upset that you did not even mention air quality issues in your article. She believes the first duty of public officials (even over making sure budgets balance) is to protect the health and welfare of the citizens. She was upset because she formerly believed in many of you and feels betrayed. She thought you were moral as well as political and was SHOCKED to discover you are merely political. I had to calm her down.

    I sympathize with her feelings but am now hardened since I have seen politicians actively harm the citizens they are elected to protect. I understand your reasons for choosing to be political instead of moral as well. She wins. You lose.
    Shame on yourselves.
    Particularly: Mariko Yamada, , Brett Lee, Bob Black, , Ken Wagstaff, and Bill Kopper.

     

     

    1. Dorte Jensen

      I am the friend who Jim mentions, and I thank him for standing up for me with this post.

      Let me ask a question of all of you:  How important is breathing to you?  I would say that it is more important than anything, since we can live only a few minutes without it.  Another question:  How important is your health?  As the saying goes, when you have your health you have everything.

      However, the air quality concerns at the Nishi site (according to the project EIR) are significant and unavoidable.  Therefore, it is wise to assume that the health impacts could be significant and unavoidable as well.  (Yes, I know that the air quality inside the proposed buildings will be fine, but what happens when you go outside/open your windows/etc.?)

      Why would anyone (especially those who hold or seek to hold the public trust) put anyone else at risk of such health impacts?  (The authors of this guest commentary have done so by not even mentioning the air quality concerns.)  What should be done now that they have done this?

      1. Matt Williams

        Dorte came to my table at the Farmers Market on Saturday to talk about this very subject.  She made a passionate argument that Health and Public Safety stand tall above all other considerations.

        One of the most powerful aspects of her argument was that she couched it in “worth fighting for” and “worth treasuring” terms, rather than “I’m right” or “They are wrong” terms.

        Roberta Millstein discussed the public health aspects of Nishi with Mark West here in the Vanguard last week.  I was impressed with both the civility and the tone of that discussion.  Even though there were substantial differences between Roberta’s and Mark’s respective positions, they never devolved into name calling, but also never abandoned persuasion.

        I personally would like to see more dialogue like that.

      2. The Pugilist

        The air quality issues if you read the actual risk assessment in the EIR, are fairly low.  The planned mitigation measures of air filtration and an urban forest should protect most people.

      3. Don Shor

        Hi Dorte,
        with regard to the air quality and health issues of Nishi:
        The autism argument has been rebutted elsewhere, so I won’t revisit that.
        Risk is a relative condition, not an absolute one. We all make risk assessments all the time as we shop, choose housing, make career choices, etc.
        With respect to toxins, there’s an old axiom we all learn when we work with them (pesticides, for example): the dose makes the poison.
        Second principle: the solution to pollution is dilution.

        The dose makes the poison:
        The apartments have been moved to the far end of the property.
        Extensive mitigation measures will be implemented to reduce exposure. Siting, landscaping, and interior air cleaning technology are part of the plan.
        Exposure is limited in duration because most people who live here will be short-term. This isn’t family housing (like, say, New Harmony across the freeway).
        With all of that in place, it seems likely that living at Nishi will be no more or less “toxic” than living elsewhere along the freeway.

        The solution to pollution is dilution.
        Wind dilutes and disperses the exhaust and particulate matter. The wind direction is, in fact, more dispersed and diverse than has been presented. What that means is that exposure to the exhaust and particulate matter is less than has been suggested, and probably not much different than living in homes on the other side of the freeway (like, say, New Harmony). Wind speed here is high compared to many other metropolitan areas. Bottom line: most of the time, the stuff will blow away.

        And in any event, the risk increase of specific diseases appears to be very low. Of course, it isn’t zero. It will never be zero. Risk is relative. So for those who look at those low numbers but don’t feel safe living there, the answer would be to choose to live elsewhere. We are not talking about living next to a refinery or pollution-belching factory, nor are we in an area of stagnant air and little circulation.

        So it is possible to look at the risk, even look at the opinion presented by Dr. Cahill, and come to different conclusions about whether it is reasonable to build housing there and live there. It isn’t a matter of morality or ethics or political calculation. It’s a reasonable risk assessment, and everyone differs as to what their individual tolerances for various risks are.

        1. Dorte Jensen

          Hi Don,

          Thanks for the lengthy reply.  Regarding risk assessment, I think that risks should be mentioned first if they are significant or if there is a concern that they might be significant.  The guest commentary authors are politically powerful people in the community, and as such they are/should be public servants.  Servants tell the master all the relevant information, and the master decides on the course of action.  In this case, the servants (politicians, whether past/present/future) did not tell the masters (the public) all the relevant information, including the most important piece for me, which is the possible health concern.  Hence my shock/dismay/distress/etc.  In other words, I am looking for responsible behavior, and I got manipulation.

    2. The Pugilist

      “She was upset because she formerly believed in many of you and feels betrayed”

      Did it occur to her that it might be she who is in the wrong here?  That the if you actually read the risk assessment closely, the increased risk is far lower than the baseline risk.

      1. Dorte Jensen

        Pugilist,

        Thanks for your post, since it made me go back to check the Final EIR:

        http://cityofdavis.org/home/showdocument?id=4942

        Environmental topics are contained on

        Table 2-1 Comparison of the Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives in Relation to the Project

        which can be found on page 39/242.  The air quality impact (as long as there is mitigation) is lower than baseline (the official indication is “<“, which to me means “lower” rather than “far lower”), and one of those mitigations (the planned urban forest) is of uncertain efficacy, as detailed in a letter from the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District (pages 44/242 to 50/242 of the Final EIR).

        Basically, my concern about the air quality at the site rests on two things.  If there were no significant problem:

        1)  Why would Prof. Cahill be asserting the opposite?

        2)  Why would the authors of this guest commentary not refute his claim or at least mention it?

        The alarms raised by Prof. Cahill and the silence ensuing from the authors of this guest commentary make me think that the latter do not want to face the issue.  This makes me think that they are negligent in safeguarding public health and safety.  I don’t care so much about them, however, as I do about those in the public who would be adversely affected.

        1. Mark West

          Dr. Cahill is an expert in the field and as such, his opinions should be viewed seriously. He is not, however, the only expert in the field and it is not clear that other experts agree with his theory about the potential health impacts of the air quality at Nishi. That said, the substantive issues that he raised were addressed in the EIR and appropriate mitigation measures will be implemented as a result.

           

           

    3. Tia Will

      Jim Leonard

      To all you self-declared important people”

      My views on the health risks associated with Nishi are well known, and I believe that I have established myself as an individual who does put health and wellness first in my decision making. I simply disagree with Roberta and Dorte on the findings and health implications for the residents. Here I wish to primarily address this form of address you have chosen.

      I do not believe that any of the named individuals have ever “self declared as important people. What all of them do seem to have in common is their willingness to put themselves forward as community leaders. For me this is a very difficult job and a close to thankless task in our very judgmental little town. There are not riches to be made on the City Council in Davis and yet many of these folks have chosen that role. Some have moved on to loftier publicly elected positions, some have not. But all have accepted the challenge and responsibility which many of the rest of us have not. I do not think that there is any shame in having come to a different conclusion faced with the same set of facts. And I believe that shaming is an incitement of emotion, not reason and should be judged accordingly.

      1. Dorte Jensen

        Hi Tia,

        You write, “I do not think that there is any shame in having come to a different conclusion faced with the same set of facts.”  I agree.  But those facts must be put forth so that everyone is aware of them, and the authors of the guest commentary did not do so, especially regarding the fact I find most crucial, i.e., that there is disagreement/concern over the air quality at the site.  In other words, there are sins of commission and omission, and this is the latter.  (As I remember, the word “sin” can be translated as “missing the mark”.)

        1. Tia Will

          Hi Dorte

          It would appear that we are crossing posts. I agree with your comment about “full disclosure” which I addressed in my most recent post prior to this.

        2. ryankelly

          Dorte, the issue of air quality at Nishi has been discussed at length.  I believe that it came down to a difference in opinion on where to draw the line on acceptable risk.  There was the extreme of “any risk is unacceptable.” Others felt that with mitigation steps to lower the level of exposure to average levels of exposure in other areas of Davis and weighing it against the higher risk of forcing people to drive from cities and towns into Davis, this was not a valid reason to oppose the project.

        3. Dorte Jensen

          Hi ryankelly,

          I wanted to respond to you but I pushed “Report comment” instead.  (There was no “Reply” button near your post, and I got confused.  Sorry about that.)

          I agree with your statement, “I believe that it came down to a difference in opinion on where to draw the line on acceptable risk.”  However, I believe that the guest commenters should have noted this somewhere (preferably early on in their piece), but they did not do so.  That is why I am distressed.

  2. Eskimo Pie

    Attention residents of Notre Dame Dr., Brown Dr., Acacia Ln., Brentwood Pl., Olive Dr., the entirety of Old East Davis, and anyone else with a house near a freeway: You are in DANGER, and your home is not worth what you think it is worth! According to No on Measure A, if you live near a freeway, you’re practically dead already.

    1. Odin

      You forget.  Many of us (renters) accept the trade off of poor air quality for affordable living.  Olive Drive is the only place I (we) could afford to live in Davis.  I hate the air quality, we smell diesel fumes from the trains throughout the day, but would I rather live in Woodland to live in a place I can afford?  Heck no, and neither would my neighbors who work in town.

      1. Mark West

        ” Olive Drive is the only place I (we) could afford to live in Davis.”

        This is the part that I don’t understand.  How does blocking new apartments at Nishi help you address your affordability problem? Increasing supply will help to relieve the excess demand, even if it won’t solve the problem completely. We cannot create more affordable housing options in town unless we are willing to build more housing options. Rents won’t come down until we see a significant increase in the vacancy rate. Continued scarcity is not a solution.

        1. Odin

          Lexington Apartments is a fine example.  They are the highest priced rents along Olive.  New apartments ALWAYS cost more to rent than old ones and I don’t anticipate Lincoln 40 will be much cheaper.  Property values soar, taxes go up, and soon to follow rents go up (many of us are already feeling the affects).  Nishi, meant to attract higher income students and workers, will do nothing to keep my rent down.  Just check out gentrified areas in other towns.  It does nothing more than put more money in the pocket of developers, the last folks who need it.

        2. Mark West

          The increase you see in your rents has little to do with ‘gentrification’ and almost everything to do with the extremely low vacancy rate. Stopping development won’t help the affordability problem.

      2. Dorte Jensen

        Odin,

        I am sorry that economic factors lead you to live in a place with bad air quality.  However, I am not sure that the air quality there (Olive Drive) is as bad as that at Nishi.  (We would have to compare the EIRs for the two places, and I don’t know that there is an EIR for Olive Drive.)  Suffice it to say that the EIR for Nishi states that the air quality problems there are significant and unavoidable.

      3. Tia Will

        Dorte

        Why would Prof. Cahill be asserting the opposite?”

        I would like to venture an attempt to answer this question although of course I cannot speak for Dr. Cahill. Perhaps it is because he genuinely sees the risks as high enough to warrant further study before action. Even if this is his firmly held belief, it does not make this belief correct or associated with the best course of action. In medicine, unlike many other areas of academic endeavor, “expert opinion” whether Dr. Cahill’s or mine in the area of fetal risk, or any other “expert” is not considered to be strong evidence. In fact, it is the lowest level of evidence. This does not mean that I do not respect Dr. Cahill and his work, only that I do not see enough objective evidence to formulate policy based on his opinion.

         2. “Why would the authors of this guest commentary not refute his claim or at least mention it?”

        Again, not speaking for anyone else but speculating on a possible reason. These issues have been addressed multiple times in multiple venues. Perhaps they simply feel that the issue has been adequately addressed and does not need to be reiterated in what is essentially their last minute advocacy pitch. This would be no different in my mind from the fact that the “No” advocates have not felt the need to publish detailed objective discussion of both the pros and cons every time they address the issue

        1. Dorte Jensen

          Hi Tia,

          You commented referring to Prof. Cahill, “I do not see enough objective evidence to formulate policy based on his opinion”; I would comment in the same manner referring to any expert(s) on the other side.  So it seems to me that both sides have an equal amount of evidence, and in that case the wise thing to do would be to err on the side of caution.  As you vowed when you became a doctor, “First, do no harm.”

          As for your contention that these “Yes on Nishi” people did not present all the facts, and the “No on Nishi” ones did not either, I would say the following:

          –Two wrongs do not make a right.

          –These “Yes on Nishi” people are very powerful politically, and with power comes responsibility.  They chose to ignore that responsibility in this commentary, and I will not vote for any of them now.  In other words, they have completely broken my trust.

      4. Tia Will

        Odin

        but would I rather live in Woodland to live in a place I can afford?  Heck no, and neither would my neighbors who work in town.”

        I realize that you see your statement as a reason to oppose Nishi. I see it from a different perspective. You have made the choice to live here in town, presumably because that is advantageous for you even though your location is not optimal. I see the Nishi development as an opportunity for others, primarily students and other UCD affiliated folks to make the same choice that you and I have made.

        I chose to live in Old East Davis because of its proximity to downtown and to the Kaiser in South Davis. The tradeoff was as you have stated the proximity to the trains ( 1/2 block from my house) and the freeway which can be heard continuously as background noise. I find those a small price to pay for my nearly car free existence other than the commute I now have to Sacramento. I feel that others might want to have this same choice as opposed to being forced to commute from Woodland or some other adjacent community. I do believe in providing choice and one of the reasons I favor Nishi is that we have almost no options in Davis that allow an individual to make a reasonable car free choice of lifestyle. Nishi comes as close as we have come to this model which I have long advocated with a walkability index of 94.

        1. Odin

          Just to make myself clear.  I am not opposed to additional housing.  I oppose Nishi because it doesn’t cater to the students who really need housing (lower income), does little to address the housing problem and because it creates a dangerous scenario for those walking and on bike at Richards/Olive.  I also completely object to small business owners not being invited to partake in Nishi discussions that directly affect their businesses.  Not a single one of them was offered input.  Yes folks keep saying “well you should have known and invited yourselves”, but most are too busy to pay attention to city planning and politics.  Most residents on Olive didn’t even find out about the plans for Richards/Olive until the last couple of months after the city council approved it for a vote.  We were too busy worrying about Lincoln 40 anyway.

           

           

        2. A Reality Check

          All West Olive businesses were part of the public outreach process and invited to meetings held at a location on West Olive drive 3 years ago. Only 2 businesses are affected and 3rd space rented their space month to month and acknowledged it would only be for a short term when they signed their lease. Both businesses have been offered relocation benefits and other incentives. I believe 3rd space was offered a permanent home nearby but instead chose to stay in their current location for a couple more years.  In addition, all West Olive Drive property owners were invited at the outreach meeting.  All owners and tenants were invited to participate in the 3-year public process. Your statements, with regards to West Olive Drive are false. As are your claims that any Oak trees on East Olive Drive are threatened.

    2. Dorte Jensen

      Eskimo Pie,

        According to Prof. Thomas Cahill (an expert on air quality):

      1)  The city of Los Angeles (which knows a thing or two about bad air quality) has adopted new requirements for homes/outdoor facilities built near the freeway:

      http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/letters/air-quality-puts-nishi-residents-at-risk/

      2)  The Nishi site is particularly problematic based on several factors:

      http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/pollution-at-nishi-site-makes-it-unfit-for-residents/

      In light of this, do you want to revise your comment?  If not, why not?

  3. Fred

    I just got this:

    Measure A would make the Davis housing crunch even worse.The Nishi developers claim the new “Innovation Center” business park will bring 1,800 new jobs. The people in the new jobs and their families will need housing. The Nishi condos and apartments include only 1,432 bedrooms. If you do the math, there is actually no new housing for students.1,432 bedrooms 1,800 new employees and family who need housing
    Equals net loss in housing availability

    this project does not actually create any new housing in Davis! this is scandalous.

    1. Michael Harrington

      Fred, That’s correct :  Measure A actually has a net loss of available housing.

      The developers get the cash, we get the traffic.

       

      Vote NO

  4. A Reality Check

    Dear Jim, thanks for your public service and intervention on behalf of your friend. It appears that she has found the forum to speak for herself now and I am sure she will exercise her right to vote. Meanwhile, have you ever considered running for office rather than just complain about and discredit those who who have invested their time to serve it?

    1. Dorte Jensen

      A Reality Check,

      I have known of this forum for a few years and have read it every day.  I commented on it regularly about a year ago (for some months) but stopped because I found many posts to be unkind, unfair, and unhelpful.  Your comment would fall into that category.  I decided to comment now because I consider Measure A to be basically/potentially a matter of life and death.

      1. A Reality Check

        Dorte,  how much of Davis would you suggest we evacuate immediately?  California?  Its hard to reconcile your life and death position with your readiness to dismiss conditions on East Olive Drive where housing is even closer to I-80 and RR (where Odin lives) with no mitigations in place and New Harmony which is on the freeway.

        Your statement: “However, I am not sure that the air quality there (Olive Drive) is as bad as that at Nishi”.

        1. Dorte Jensen

          A Reality Check,

          My response (in the order of your comments):

          –I won’t answer your question about evacuating all of California (too ridiculous).

          –I do not dismiss air quality conditions on East Olive Drive (in fact I said that I was sorry that anyone had to live there if the air was bad), but I said that I could not be sure that the air there was as bad as at Nishi (no EIR data for East Olive Drive to compare the two).

          –As for New Harmony, Prof. Cahill wrote the following letter about its air quality conditions around the time of approval:

          http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/letters/air-quality-concerns-mitigated/

          From Cahill’s letter, the big difference I glean is the following:  “Most important, New Harmony lies south of I-80, which is generally upwind of the freeway for much of the year, sharply reducing impacts.”  This location is also not bounded by the train tracks with the associated fumes (unlike Nishi), thereby reducing the impact of those fumes (if such an impact exists).

          My overall impression:  This is my first day commenting since I stopped a year ago, and you remind me of why I stopped.  Are you deliberately misinterpreting my words?  Why do you accuse me of overlooking concerns when you have not researched them yourself?

  5. Tia Will

    Hi Dorte

    Measure A to be basically/potentially a matter of life and death.”

    I happen to agree with you on this issue. I just see the risk/benefit ration differently than you. I definitely see the risk to health based on air quality. But it is a relative risk with uncertainties and proposed mitigations.

    This must be weighed against the alternative. The alternative for me is the risks associated with likely increased automobile usage on commutes which might have been avoided had housing at Nishi been available. With a walkability index of  94 we have an opportunity that is unique within the city. Namely the possibility of an essential car free lifestyle due to the proximity to the campus, downtown, and the train station. This for me is a lifestyle worth pursuing. I dislike putting anyone at risk. I also dislike not offering them what I see as a highly desirable and possibly even safer lifestyle.

    1. Dorte Jensen

      Hi Tia,

      If people living at Nishi have to walk to get everywhere (they have no car), they will be spending additional time outside, which means that they will be exposed to more effects of the bad air quality.  How can you call that “a highly desirable and possibly even safer lifestyle”?

  6. Tia Will

    Hi Odin

    I appreciate and share your feelings about more affordable housing and this is probably the aspect of Nishi that I disliked the most. I do not believe that we should have the “in lieu” option for developers. However, I do believe that Nishi will provide much needed student housing and housing for other individuals who will be needed on campus for the increased number of students. These folks would have to travel greater distances than those living at Nishi and perhaps more would be using this intersection without than with Nishi.

    As for the intersection, I do not agree with your assessment of safety. I believe that while it is likely that there may be a slightly longer wait time at peak travel times, I believe that the plans will make the intersection safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Since safety takes priority over convenience for me, I am in favor of these particular changes.

    1. Odin

      When traffic backs up, that’s exactly when it becomes the most dangerous.  As I mentioned here before, the longer people have to wait for lights to change, the faster they go to make the lights before they turn red again.  They often ignore walk lights in the process.

      Nishi will inject up to a 1000 more cars (and buses) using the intersection every day.  There is no way in hell all the additional cars from Lincoln 40, a 6 story hotel complex, the new brewery and then Nishi add up to shorter wait times.  Also, I notice the Yes folks keep saying construction won’t start until Richards/Olive is fixed, but that seems pretty stupid to me when all the new drivers from Nishi won’t even exist yet until the development is completed.

  7. Jim Leonard

    The battle over Nishi appears to be a battle over who we are willing to sacrifice.

    The “Yes on A, Yes on Nishi” folks appear willing to sacrifice mothers, children, and the elderly so that there can be a small amount of extra housing for affluent people who already have opportunities for housing near and around Davis. The “Yes on A, Yes on Nishi” folks are willing to risk greater traffic jams on Richards Blvd. and a gridlocked downtown to increase foot and bicycle traffic to the downtown. The “Yes on A, Yes on Nishi” folks are willing to sacrifice small businesses (Redrum, Third Space Art Collective etc.) , that are cultural treasures of Davis, in order to enhance (I find this a questionable assumption) businesses in the downtown.

    Although many of the “Yes on A, Yes on Nishi” folks are motivated by what’s good for Davis, I believe many of them are actually in the game for selfish reasons and only pretend to be interested in the general welfare.

    To”Yes on Nishi”: who else are you willing to sacrifice for your “protection” of the general good?

    1. David Greenwald

      Interesting comment, since you mentioned that the battle appears to be over “who we are willing to sacrifice” and then you spent your entire post talking about who you perceive the Yes side willing to sacrifice, but you didn’t mention who you are willing to sacrifice on the no side.

    2. South of Davis

      Jim wrote:

      > Although many of the “Yes on A, Yes on Nishi” folks are motivated by

      > what’s good for Davis, I believe many of them are actually in the game

      > for selfish reasons 

      Can you explain the difference between a developer working to make a profit and a hamburger place owner or artist working to make a profit?

      Why is a developer looking to develop property for a profit “selfish” while a burger guy selling burgers or an artist selling paintings for a profit a “cultural treasure”?

      Is it “selfish” for the majority of No on A supporters to want to increase the value of their homes and /or rental property?

      If the “supply” of housing in town does not increase when the “demand” for housing increases it will increase the “price” of housing (and make the No on A people FAR more money that the Nishi developers ever make)
       

      P.S. Zillow says the average home value in Woodland is $332K and the average home value in Davis is $594K (so Davis homeowners are already doing OK and will do even better when UCD expands but the number of homes does not)…

       

  8. Dan Carson

    Jim, 
    We met Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market, when, not knowing you personally, I asked if you had any questions about Measure A as you walked past our table. You quite respectfully advised me you were in opposition and some reasons why.  We parted on friendly terms, I thought.

    I wish your comments in this thread today were more in keeping with that tone. I object to your characterization of Measure A supporters as selfish persons who only pretend to be interested in the general welfare.

    I am one of a large number of volunteers for Yes on Measure A. I have no financial interest in the project, have not been paid a dime to campaign for it, and got involved only because the City Council assigned the Finance and Budget Commission, of which I am vice chair, to provide an independent review of the economic consultants analyzing the project. (My commission work is for free there too. To my wife’s amazement, this is my retirement hobby.)

    All of the members of our commission took our work seriously.  We reviewed thousands of pages of EIRs and economic analyses, asked hundreds of questions, and deliberated long hours — all in hearings held in public — over nine months.  All of the analyses we discussed are available on the city of Davis website by looking at our agendas from last summer through about March or so.  We welcomed and heard the objections of critics to the project and followed up with them in detail when they related to our fiscal mission. We have detailed analytical justification for our findings and calculations, all of which is contained in public documents provided in advance of our discussions.

    At the end of our deliberations, the commission overwhelmingly adopted a statement concluding that the Nishi Gateway project  would provide an economic lift to our community and significant fiscal benefits to city government, not to mention huge benefits to just about every other local government agency in the area.  We also sought specific commitments of benefit to the city, such as language guaranteeing that city taxpayers would not bear any costs for the  “backbone” infrastructure needed for the Nishi Gateway site.

    What we learned prompted the chairman of the commission and myself to personally endorse and campaign for the project.  However, we did not agree to an endorsement until the key promises to the taxpayers had been cemented into both the legally binding development agreement with the applicant and into the ballot language of Measure A. With those assurances, we have wholeheartedly supported the project.

    This project is not about community sacrifice. It is all about community benefits — fiscal benefits to the city and to the schools, high-quality jobs, badly needed student housing, traffic infrastructure that can help fix Richards, open space and park improvements. 

    We can continue to debate these findings, as you and others certainly have over the last months, as the time nears for the voters to weigh in. But please don’t disparage us personally.  My views about the project are sincere and your comments impugning us are unfair.  I much prefer the gentleman I chatted with briefly at the park on Saturday.

    1. Matt Williams

      Dan Carson said . . . “We met Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market, when, not knowing you personally, I asked if you had any questions about Measure A as you walked past our table. You quite respectfully advised me you were in opposition and some reasons why.  We parted on friendly terms, I thought.

      I wish your comments in this thread today were more in keeping with that tone. I object to your characterization of Measure A supporters as selfish persons who only pretend to be interested in the general welfare.”

      Dan, your comment above caught me totally flatfooted.  I did my level best to reconcile what you have said here with the tone of the recent Yolo County Taxpayers Association (YCTA) forum on Measure A.  If you are going to take Jim Leonard to task for the tone of his post here, then it would be both balanced and fair to take yourself to task for your own tone at the YCTA forum.

      JMHO

      1. Dan Carson

        Matt,

        I strongly defended the Yes on A position and the sponsors of the event thanked me afterward for my participation in the discussion. I argued facts and engaged in no name-calling, and said nothing that disparaged anyone else.

        1. Matt Williams

          Dan, your perspective is colored by the heat of the battle that night.  Strongly is an understatement.  I observed both name calling and disparagement.  If you hadn’t called out Jim Leonard for his comments, I wouldn’t have mentioned it, but you did, so I am.  Not to do so would have been practicing a double standard.

    2. Dorte Jensen

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your service on the committee, and thanks to the rest of your group as well.  A question:  Does your committee talk about anything other than money?

      I mean, consider the following:  Jim mentioned, among other concerns, the possible health risk to vulnerable populations.  When I spoke with a City official involved with the Nishi project, she said that renters/buyers would be informed of possible risks and (as I remember) would have to sign a waiver.  If this arrangement were not in place, I suppose that there could be massive lawsuits against the City/developer should there be health effects in the future.

      I know that hypotheticals are problematic (and that in debates one should not answer them), but what if the City/developer were not allowed to require waivers?  I mean, what if they were required to inform the public of the risks but were not protected should they happen?  Do you think that the City/developer would be keen on such an arrangement?  I think that the answer is no, which says something (at least to me) about the likelihood of those risks.

      Put another way, has the City of Davis/any developer in Davis ever had this kind of arrangement before (required disclosure of risks and required waiver for them)?  If not, what does that tell you?  Unless this arrangement has just recently been required by law, such an arrangement would tell me that something is wrong with this City and with this development.

      In other words, I think that Jim is speaking bluntly.  How does this part of his message sound with more words/explanation?

      1. Dan Carson

        Dorte,

        It’s OK and even admirable to speak bluntly on issues as important to the public as this one. My concern is with Jim’s assertion that those of us on the Yes On A side “are actually in the game for selfish reasons and only pretend to be interested in the general welfare.”

        When you and I chatted at the Farmer’s Market about Nishi a few weekends ago, we disagreed strongly on this subject and, indeed, spoke bluntly about our views.  But I never heard you disparage my reasons for supporting the project, and I have never doubted the sincerity of yours.

        And, to get to your further issue, I think the expert consultants who prepared the EIR carefully examined the air quality issues related to the site and that the EIR and the further agreements with the applicant provided appropriate mitigation. But our commission’s assignment was to focus on economic and fiscal issues, and that is what we did.

      2. nameless

        Dorte: “Thanks for your service on the committee, and thanks to the rest of your group as well.  A question:  Does your committee talk about anything other than money?

        The Finance & Budget Commission’s mission is to look solely at finances!  To weigh in on other issues of a project would be outside the purview of the commission.

        1. The Pugilist

          I really try hard not to be one of those people… But at the end of the day, people who don’t realize that the FBC only looks at finance issues are the ones voting on this project.

  9. nameless

    Jim Leonard: “The “Yes on A, Yes on Nishi” folks appear willing to sacrifice mothers, children, and the elderly so that there can be a small amount of extra housing for affluent people who already have opportunities for housing near and around Davis. The “Yes on A, Yes on Nishi” folks are willing to risk greater traffic jams on Richards Blvd. and a gridlocked downtown to increase foot and bicycle traffic to the downtown. The “Yes on A, Yes on Nishi” folks are willing to sacrifice small businesses (Redrum, Third Space Art Collective etc.) , that are cultural treasures of Davis, in order to enhance (I find this a questionable assumption) businesses in the downtown.”

    I am in support of Nishi.  I am not willing to sacrifice mothers, children, or the elderly as you claim.  I strongly believe all these groups will benefit from Nishi, which will bring in a projected $1.4 million in tax revenue, $400,000 to DJUSD, much needed student housing, R&D space, $23 million in traffic improvements, $1,000,000 to the city’s affordable housing fund, new jobs.  I do not believe the No side’s contentions that air pollution is unacceptable at that site are credible (the no site has taken positions for all housing and no housing on Nishi – which are internally inconsistent; Dr. Cahill had no problem with a low income development (New Harmony) next to a freeway yet disingenuously decided housing should not be built at Nishi because it is next to the freeway).  I do not believe traffic will become significantly worse because of Nishi, but may improve, since traffic going to campus would be rerouted away from the Richards underpass via an extension of Olive Dr. or Old Davis Rd.  Redrum was offered space at Nishi, but chose to oppose Nishi.

  10. Marina Kalugin

    ok…  I hope you don’t learn the hard way…if built…..if YOUR children or your parents get some diseases..which are increasingly shown as valid concerns in real-life scientific studies…

    do your own research on pubmed…..anyone with a @ucdavis.edu…

    did you know the latest science shows 1 in 2 men alive today and 1 in 3 women alive today will get cancer……

    TOXINS everywhere and no oversight by the likes of Obama, the FDA< the ADA the AMA ……toxins in the vaccines….toxins in our water…toxins in our food…..toxins next to freeways….

    no oversight by the revolving door of the Monsanto attorneys and the FDA…and even the supreme court…

    NO oversight by the likes of Dodo….

    OVERSIGHT and real issues by the likes of YAMADA>>>>

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