Commentary: Next City Manager Must Right City’s Fiscal Ship, Find Way Forward for Economic Development

City Hall

Following yesterday’s column, the Vanguard received some important feedback on the fiscal state of the city.  One problem that many failed to recognize is that the recession which started in late 2008 did not cause the city’s fiscal problems – rather, it exposed them.

The city’s fiscal problems were caused by a series of decisions starting in 1999 and 2000, when the council greatly increased retirement pensions and medical benefits and then, in the middle period from 2004 to 2009, greatly ramped up employee compensation.

However, the city was able to absorb those increases at the time, in part due to a booming real state market which produced annual double digit increases to property taxes and a 2004 half-cent sales tax increase.

But even before the recession, the Vanguard and others were warning the city that the situation was unsustainable.  It was only when the recession hit in late 2008 that that became evident.

The problem a lot of people miss is that, even during the recession, the period when the city had declining revenues was extremely brief.  For the most part, the problems were caused not by the decline in revenue, but because costs escalated faster than revenues.

As Robb Davis pointed out in August 2016, “Over the past 15 years, total general fund revenue has grown by 95 percent while general fund expenditures have grown by 92 percent.  Revenue appears to have kept pace with expenditures.”

Part of the problem was that, in order to balance the budget in the lean years, the city effectively took expenditures on things like roads, parks and city-owned buildings off the books.

The other problem is retirement benefits that are owed.  The unfunded liabilities we face are enormous.  Earlier this year, Robb Davis wrote, “The most updated analysis by the City-contracted actuary (done before the most recent reductions) indicates that even if employee salaries do not grow at all over the next five years, our required pension contributions across all employee groups (police, fire and miscellaneous) will grow by over $5.5 million.”

He added that “these extra millions cover ONLY pensions.  They do not include medical costs and non-employee cost increases related to City services. It is no exaggeration to say that over the coming 5 years (and beyond) we need $15-29 million each year to cover all these costs combined.”

Concluded Robb Davis, “[W]e have a dire fiscal situation in our city.”

The other way that we reduced costs during the recession was by reducing staffing.  But this too has been problematic.  For one thing, as Robb Davis points out, “we have reduced staffing by a quarter over the past decade but that downsizing has been done in a non-strategic way—via attrition primarily.”

But it is worse than that, as we have constrained our ability to deliver city services while not impacting the bottom line and restraining employee cost growth.  Thus, despite cutting our workforce by over 100 full-time employees, we are paying more in total compensation than we were in 2008.

As we pointed out yesterday, all of this was happening while the former mayor was declaring a balanced budget and fiscal resiliency.

It wasn’t the city manager who was able to identify these problems, but rather the work of the Finance and Budget Commission, through “Project Toto,” and the work of Mayor Robb Davis, who finally pushed City Manager Dirk Brazil to hire consultant Bob Leland who identified the $7.8 million annual shortfall.  Again, that represents a low figure for sure, but at least we have an understanding that the paper balanced budget is not a reflection of reality.

The correspondence notes that it was not Steve Pinkerton who got the city into this mess – in fact, without his work to cut staff and streamline city services, things would undoubtedly be far worse – and it isn’t the current city manager who is going to get us out of this mess.

In fact, I would argue that very little has been done between 2014 and now to address the city’s structural problems.

It wasn’t until earlier this year when Bob Leland’s report came out that the city even acknowledged what many have been saying for several years.

While a revenue measure would be at best a short-term band-aid on the city’s problems, it is worth noting that the only revenue measure that has been placed on the ballot was done so in 2014 while Steve Pinkerton was still city manager.

Since then the council failed to act on a follow up parcel tax for the November 2014 election, and failed to present any real revenue measure (they did put a slight increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax in June 2016) in 2016.  A revenue measure would not solve the city’s fiscal problems, but it would have cut into the $7.8 million shortfall.

The city has hired Bob Leland under pressure from the mayor and the Finance and Budget Commission, but has not developed a plan to deal with unfunded liabilities or infrastructure needs.  The current city manager notably lacks finance experience and the city has been largely operating without a finance director for several years.

Finally, the city had created a strategy to improve economic development several years ago as a means to diversify and increase tax revenue.  However, the proposed innovation centers have largely fallen off the radar.  The city has failed to double-down on the dispersed innovation strategy and, as one commenter noted to the Vanguard, since the departure of CIO Rob White, has not reconstituted the Business and Economic Development Commission.

Even with a string of bad luck, the city has opportunity in this area.  Nishi, with an estimated 300,000 square feet of R&D space was defeated, but MRIC (Mace Ranch Innovation Center) now at least has a pulse, and the city has seen the private development of both the Sierra Energy/Area 52 Innovation Area as well as the University Research Park.

The reality is that, while the city has challenges in this area, it also has huge opportunities but it needs leadership to push this through.  The areas of economic development and finance are going to be crucial to the long-range health of the city.

That vision needs to start with the next city manager hire – someone that can help to marshal our assets and put us on a strong course for fiscal resiliency.

But my sense from the start was that the current city manager never really understood until perhaps too late the severity of the city’s fiscal plight, and never really believed in the need for large-scale economic development projects.  That I think is where the city needs to focus its efforts in order to turn this ship around.

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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69 thoughts on “Commentary: Next City Manager Must Right City’s Fiscal Ship, Find Way Forward for Economic Development”

  1. Ron

    Some random articles (not screened, reviewed, or selected), for those who cling to the belief that this is a “Davis-only” problem:

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/California-s-400-billion-debt-worries-analysts-6812264.php

    http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-pension-unfunded/

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2014/01/26/californias-wall-of-debt-is-only-a-slice-of-its-liability-problem/

    http://californiapolicycenter.org/evaluating-total-unfunded-public-employee-retirement-liabilities-in-20-california-counties/

    http://www.ocregister.com/2016/05/25/oc-watchdog-unfunded-pension-debt-approaching-1-trillion/

     

     

      1. David Greenwald

        Pension reform is a statewide issue that Gov. Brown attempted to start addressing a few years ago – many believe insufficiently:    http://www.marinij.com/opinion/20171001/marin-voice-we-are-paying-the-price-for-lack-of-public-pension-reform

        Nevertheless, locally we made our share of mistakes to create our own problems.

        1. Ron

          David:  Not disagreeing with that.  But, your article implies that decisions made in Davis were the sole cause of the problem, which is affecting cities and counties throughout the state (as well as the state, itself).

          (I’ll try to refrain from “feeding the troll” below, for today. Glad that you find him amusing, though.)

        2. Howard P

          As did the others… many agencies were told by PERS that they were ‘super-funded’, and actually had $0 contribution for a few years… in Davis’ case, right before the changes to the pension formulas were negotiated… suspect Davis was not alone in that either… UCD had no employer or employee contributions required, for years…

          Then, ‘reality’ intervened… along with the GASB accounting protocols…

          Many of the gov’t entities had their own systems, independent of PERS… Orange County was classic…

          Oh, would be remiss to not again point out that SS & Medicare had/have similar issues…

           

        3. David Greenwald

          Ron:

          “But, your article implies that decisions made in Davis were the sole cause of the problem, which is affecting cities and counties throughout the state (as well as the state, itself).”

          The city of Davis’ council chose to put four on an engine.  Did other cities do so?  Yes.  Was Davis one of the last to move back to three?  Yes.

          The city of Davis voted to go to enhanced benefits.  Did other cities do that?  Yes.

          The city of Davis voted for 20 to 36 percent pay increases in 2004-05, again other cities ramped up pay/ benefits, but the council did this.

          The city of Davis chose to balance its budget through attrition and furloughs in 2009 rather than structural changes.

          The city of Davis chose to not invest money in infrastructure.

          Those five decisions were all made by the city of Davis.  And yes, it’s s true that the pension fund is underfunded due to PERS mismanagement, but all of our decisions have made the impact on the city worse.

          Does that help?

      2. Matt Williams

        for those who cling to the belief that this is a “Davis-only” problem

        Don’s response … “I am unaware of anyone who believes that this is a Davis-only problem.”

        I concur with Don’s response.  I don’t know of anyone who believes the pension situation is a Davis-only problem.
        With that said, the public employee pension problems in California have three major components.

        First, the return on investment “projected” (promised?) by CalPERS was overly optimistic.  That is indeed a problem that the State may well tackle on a state-wide basis, because a fair and ecumenical solution is possible, simply by injecting funds into CalPERS itself.  The net result for CalPERS member jurisdictions will be that they will not be asked to make increased annual “make whole” payments to CalPERS.

        Second, individual CalPERS member jurisdictions have granted their employees different benefit accrual rights.  For example, in 2000-01 the Davis City Council chose to raise Public Safety employee benefits to 3% per year and pension available at 50.  Non-Public Safety was 2% per year accrual and availability at 60 until 2005-6 when Council increased it to 2.5% and 55.

        By comparison City of Fresno is less than 2% and 55.  The result of that “restrained” granting of employee pension benefits means that the City of Fresno pension fund (within CalPERS) is fully funded (see LINK).

        In coming up with a statewide solution, the State is very unlikely to give “generous” jurisdictions like Davis money and not give similar money to “frugal” jurisdictions like Fresno.  That would produce a political firestorm.  As the old saying goes, “Your failure to plan does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

        Third, many individual CalPERS member jurisdictions have chosen to cut back (underfund) their contributions to CalPERS.  Here too the State is very unlikely to give jurisdictions who have “underpaid” money and not give similar money to jurisdictions who have complied with their obligations and not “underpaid.”

        So, gazing into the speculative crystal ball that some here on the Vanguard cling to regarding a statewide solution, Davis may see some relief on “make whole” payment demands from CalPERS, but Davis is highly unlikely to get any State help for the liability and cost of its “generosity,” nor will it get any help from the State to off set any past underpayments.

      3. Matt Williams

        One added wrinkle that will make the chances of a statewide solution more remote (even in the simple “First” scenario above) is the fact that many jurisdictions (Marin County for example) are not in the CalPERS system. If the state implements a CalPERS-only solution, then taxpayers from non-CalPERS jurisdictions will be shouldering the costs of “bailing out” the CalPERS jurisdictions without receiving any of the benefits of the “bail out.”

        On the other hand, many will argue that the failure of CalPERS to project reasonable Return on Investment did not affect the non-CalPERS jurisdictions, so why should the state extend any “bail out” to those non-CalPERS jurisdictions.

        How do you spell P-O-L-I-T-I-C-A-L  F-I-R-E-S-T-O-R-M?

        As they say the devil is in the details, and in this case a statewide “bail out” of CalPERS is likely to fall apart as a result of its particular details.

    1. Ron

      From the last article, listed above:

      “So if you don’t live in Irwindale, rejoice: There, even when you look at it through rose-colored glasses, public pension liabilities equal $32,447 for each and every household in the city.

      Slap on a skeptic’s glasses, and that load skyrockets to $134,907 per household.”

      1. Keith O

        I just talked with a fireman from near the Fresno area that stated in 8 years at the age of 50 he will have 30 years of service and be getting 102% of his pay in retirement.  That’s just crazy.

        1. Keith O

          He said he was on PERS.  He also said he’s had to pay 12% into it the last few years which upped it to 102%.  Ironically he said that upping their pay-in was supposed to be a money savings program but he said it will end up paying off nicely for him.

        2. Howard P

          You are correct David, as to the basic formula… if a FF’s agency treats their OT as ‘PERSable income’, it could be 102% of ‘base pay’… hard to tell given the ‘facts’ given by Keith.

          Otherwise, the PS formulae cap @ 90% after 30 or more years of service…

        3. Howard P

          Hadn’t seen Keith’s 9:42 post… explains everything… if the employee pays 12% of the employer’s share it can be considered “imputed” income… 90% + 12% = 102%… NOW I can see why the apparent disconnect… the way it should be calculated is 90% X 112% of base salary, which would be 100.8 %.

          It is a weird thing,but OK’d by IRS…

        4. Keith O

          hard to tell given the ‘facts’ given by Keith.

          Not ‘facts’ given by me, I was merely relaying what a friend of mine who happens to be a fireman told me at a party.  He has no reason to lie to me and I think he would be knowledgeable to what he has coming in retirement.

    1. Ron

      I’m not disagreeing with you.  However, I suspect that I’d likely disagree with you regarding the probable outcome.

      I think it’s going to crash and burn (statewide), in some manner.  (Perhaps during the next significant downturn in the stock and housing markets – both of which are about “due”, based upon long-term cyclical patterns.)

       

    2. Howard P

      The key is to separate out which decisions made in the past can get a “do-over”, and which decisions, moving forward, need to be made…

      As to Keith’s friend/acquaintance… with the reforms of 2013, it is arguable, that paying more towards PERS by the employee, is ‘income spiking’ (at least for pension calculation purposes) … that would probably need adjudication to sort out…

    3. John D

      David: Why do you continue to ignore the fact that the Davis City Council made decisions since 1999 that have failed to vigorously analyse, evaluate – and explain to the community – the influences of our dramatically changing population demographics, influences related to our rapidly depleting inventory of available land, peculiarities of our specific jurisdictional and institutional inter-relationships affecting tax receipts, and multiple other causes of our dramatically under-performing local sales and commercial property tax bases that have exacerbated our local problem?

  2. Ron

    Matt:  “In coming up with a statewide solution, the State is very unlikely to give “generous” jurisdictions like Davis money and not give similar money to “frugal” jurisdictions like Fresno.”

    Speculation.  For one thing, we have no idea if the (statewide) “solution” will come in the form of the state “giving” money to local jurisdictions. I suspect things are headed toward some type of statewide collapse, before “solutions” become apparent. (Especially if/when a significant downturn occurs.)

    And, when there is a downturn, that will also impact hopes for an “economic development” solution. (Especially if other jurisdictions are grasping at the same diminishing prospects.) (For example, we might hope there aren’t any “nearby” Innovation Centers being planned.)

    1. Howard P

      There will not be a “state-wide solution”…  if the State injects money into PERS, it will be to do the CYA thing as to State-service retirees/employees.  That is far more than speculation… let’s take the state “fix” for local agencies “off the table” from the discussion… ain’t going to happen… the State is not a ‘guarantor’… it would extremely likely be illegal on many grounds, including constitutional…

      A ‘speculation’ that is more likely, is that the Feds will tax the hell out of those either ineligible for SS or receiving pensions from State/local entities (most of whom are ineligible for SS), to prop up that definite ponzi-scheme.  I hope they instead just take the limits off the income-limit cap (a baseball player making 1 million a year pays the same dollar amount as someone making ~ $120k/yr.)

      As for Marin County,  https://www.marincounty.org/depts/hr/divisions/benefits/benefits/retirement

      Not PERS, but has reciprocity for service tenure…

      The “collapse” of PERS truly is ‘speculative’… the collapse of SS is at least as likely, if one wants to speculate.

       

       

      1. Matt Williams

        Howard, any thoughts about a statewide solution for CalPERS are 100% speculation.

        People who say such a solution is coming are speculating.

        People who say such a solution is not coming are speculating.

        It’s all speculation … and speculation that is highly subject to some very changeable political winds.

        With that said, the terms of each municipal jurisdiction’s retirement packages are memorialized in the public record.  The member jurisdictions that have been making “underpayments” to CalPERS are memorialized in the public record.  Those are facts that can not be speculated away.

  3. Ron

    Matt:  “One added wrinkle that will make the chances of a statewide solution more remote (even in the simple “First” scenario above) is the fact that many jurisdictions (Marin County for example) are not in the CalPERS system.”

    I believe that school districts in Marin are in the CALSTRS system (which is also experiencing the same unfunded liabilities issue).

    Not sure how Marin county invests retirement money for its employees.  (Perhaps also in the stock market?) 

    Also, not sure if all (or most) individual cities in Marin are in the CalPERS system. If so, then perhaps what the county does is a rather moot point, politically at least.

    1. Howard P

      Is it preferable that they (PERS) ‘invest’ the money in a coffee can?  Matress?  My mutual funds (stocks) have returned over 11% since Jan 1.

    2. Ron

      As usual, you’re reading more into my statements than what’s actually there.

      Relying upon the stock market (for a hoped-for rate of return) within a guaranteed pension system puts all the risk on employers (e.g., the pension system itself, state, counties, cities, school district . . .).  (Not to mention rising health care costs which are also often paid by such employers.)

      Even worse, when the pension system is run by an external organization which apparently doesn’t want to fully acknowledge/account for the underlying problem. Perhaps because they know that their “customers” (e.g., cities/counties) can’t afford to pay more.

      1. Howard P

        So, Ron, are/were you defined contribution?  Are you covered under SS? Did you invest and save (other than your residence)?

        Fair play:  I am defined benefit… I am not covered under SS… I invested and saved (despite it being a real stretch… we lived somewhat simply to make that possible)… as for a residence, that will be about 45% of our ‘estate’ if we “cashed in now”… “as usual” it seems to be all about you… and against “them”

        Even worse, when the pension system is run by an external organization which apparently doesn’t want to fully acknowledge/account for the underlying problem. Perhaps because they know that their “customers” (e.g., cities/counties/general public) can’t afford to pay more.

        Perfect description of Social Security… good point… that’s why million+ dollar athletes, CEO’s etc. pay SS taxes on ~ 130 k of their income…

        1. Howard P

          Actually, you are making it about a “class” of people… I assume you are not a part of that “class”… am just seeking to understand where you are ‘coming from’… I put my cards on the table…

          But then, again, am just a “troll”, so feel free to ignore….

        2. Howard P

          Which are both defined benefit… which many in the private sector abhor.

          Relying upon the stock market (for a hoped-for rate of return) within a guaranteed pension system puts all the risk on employers (e.g., the pension system itself, state, counties, cities, school district . . .).  (Not to mention rising health care costs which are also often paid by such employers.)

          See that sentiment regularly here…  valid from their perspectives/realities/choices…

          Please note that the risks of SS and Medicare costs will be placed on all taxpayers, unless those benefits are cut back, or re-apportioned… unlikely to put on employers, but that is just “speculation” from a known ‘troll’…

           

        3. Ron

          Of course, social security is in trouble, as well.  However, the federal government can theoretically raise (impose) taxes at will.

          I am not making a judgement regarding “fairness”, here. But, you’re apparently referring to systems which are funded quite differently.

      2. Ron

        (Basically, any system in which the government assumes the majority of the risk, but is simultaneously limited in its ability to raise funds to cover that risk.) That’s how things become a job for “Guido” (and his baseball bat).

  4. Ron

    Here’s an article (from 2014), which asks the following question:

    “Why does Governor Brown say CalSTRS’ unfunded liability is $80.4 billion and CalSTRS say it is $71 billion – which is correct?”

    (I don’t know which is “correct”, but it seems to me that either choice is not exactly “good news”.)

    On a related note, I believe that one of the earlier articles that I posted (above) discusses unfunded liabilities for the UC system, as well. (I barely skimmed those articles.)

    https://www.calstrs.com/ask-jack/why-does-governor-brown-say-calstrs-unfunded-liability-804-billion-and-calstrs-says-it-71

  5. Matt Williams

    David, the unfunded liability absolutely depends on a range of assumptions.  However, the unfunded liability isn’t the City’s most pressing issue when it comes to CalPERS.  What is much more pressing is the steep rise in the annual bill Davis will have to pay CalPERS.  The chart below shows that escalation … from $5.64 million in FY 16/17 to $10.98 million in FY 22/23. The City does not have any current revenue source to cover that $5.34 million a year increase in Pension expenses.
    http://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Screen-Shot-2017-09-19-at-10.59.48-AM.png

      1. Ron

        Well, I guess CALPERS will have to send “Guido” out to just about every city/county in California, to break their kneecaps.

        As you said the other day, the “future” will disappear.

        1. Don Shor

          What’s your point in all of this, Ron? That the city shouldn’t try to deal with the long-term fiscal issues because somehow the state will solve it for all the cities that are in trouble?

        2. Ron

          I wish I had an answer for you, Don.  The size/scope of the problem suggests that it won’t be “solved” individually by Davis (or the other cities/counties that are affected).

          I suspect that many of the other cities/counties are not “fortunate enough” to have the Vanguard telling us how bad things are, almost every day. And yet, even with that going on for some time now, the city has somehow survived another day.

          Instead of breaking our kneecaps, maybe they’ll repossess the bike paths one of these nights.  

        3. David Greenwald

          “the city has somehow survived another day.”

          Survived.  Yes

          but the downside is accruing additional costs down the line. Hundreds of millions of costs. How can you be so blasé about and see growth as such an existential crisis?

      2. Matt Williams

        David, it is pretty simple.

        On the pensions problem, where owning the local problem here locally produces a most likely solution that is is going to take substantial amounts of money out of his pocket, Ron is very willing to kick the can down the road to the next generation.

        On the the population growth problem where growth means more people coming to his local community, Ron says those added people will degrade the quality of his life, and that the people should be told to go elsewhere to live … and overall the world should stop populating like rabbits.

        In both cases the driving force for Ron is his own personal interest.

        1. David Greenwald

          That’s one way to look at it.  On the other hand, if it degrades city services, roads, parks, police response, it could impact his personal interests too.

          1. Don Shor

            I guess a question that could be asked if whether residents want to add 1 – 2% to the local sales tax and $500 – $1500 to their property tax bills.

        2. Howard P

          The other side of that question Don, is not what we WANT to do, but what we should do to solve the problems…

          There is at least one poster who wants to pay additional taxes, fees, etc.  Or at least wants others to, and is willing to participate equally…

          Most of us would be glad to not fund (pay for) anything… but you have to do what you have to do… for strangers, the common weal, neighbors, family, etc.

          Yes there are limits to that, unique to each of us… and how those costs are apportioned is a valid issue…

           

  6. Ron

    It’s actually the next generation that will have to deal with a failure to acknowledge that growth and development cannot continue indefinitely on a finite planet (or in a particular location, be it Davis, the valley, California . . .).

    Regarding this being a “generational issue”, I’m middle-aged, now.  But, it wasn’t long ago that development forces were older than me.  (Most still are.)

    If the cities such as Davis had listened to folks like “slow-growth” Sue Greenwald a long time ago, cities like Davis would be in much better shape, today.

    Regarding Matt’s personal attacks against me (which are unabashedly on pro-development side), perhaps this should be remembered when he’s presenting “objective” financial numbers.  It’s astonishing that the Vanguard allows personal comments, such as his.  (Further reflection on the integrity of the Vanguard, itself.)

     

      1. Ron

        Probably so.  Partly because all of the previously-approved housing doesn’t sufficiently pay for escalating costs.

        Again, this is occurring throughout the state.  Look at the articles (and amounts) listed in the articles I posted earlier, above.  (Note that one of the links lists the word “trillion”.)  Do you honestly think that all of these cities, counties, and the state itself is going to be able to pay these costs?

        And, if they’re all pursuing “economic development”, how successful do you think that will be?  (For example, innovation centers that are being pursued nearby.)

        In general, I have yet to see where ongoing growth/development is a good solution for structural problems.

        1. David Greenwald

          BTW, Ron, since you brought up Sue – Sue was one of the first people to warn the community our compensation practices were not sustainable.  She was warning the community of these problems back in 2007 and probably before.  She foresaw that the growth in compensation could not continue without having very serious repurcussions.

          Ongoing growth and development is not a good solution for structural problems.  However, no growth and development is also not a good solution for structural problems.

          You have to start with cost-containment, because without that amount of economic growth will help.  But you also have to figure out how to grow city revenues.

        2. Ron

          Structural problems “are” the primary problem.  (For example, CALPERS and CALSTRS, and the arrangements with individual cities, counties, and the state itself.)

          It reminds me of the relationship (or lack thereof) that the city has with UCD (and the student housing issue).

          In both cases, it’s difficult for an individual city to successfully “plan for” a solution.

        3. David Greenwald

          I listed five ways yesterday in which the city’s policies made things worse.  Sue was on the right side of most if not all of those.  Why do you keep deflecting city responsibility?

      2. Matt Williams

        David, why do you keep asking rhetorical questions?

        He has explicitly and repeatedly stated over and over again that the City taking responsibility for the financial mess it has created does not serve his personal growth agenda.

        He has also stated that fiscal responsibility is pro-development.

    1. Howard P

      So, Ron, you say,

       It’s astonishing that the Vanguard allows personal comments, such as his.  (Further reflection on the integrity of the Vanguard, itself.)

      But, it’s perfectly OK to call folk “trolls” if they challenge your “faux facts”, holes in logic, speculations, etc.  Got it

      You say,

      It’s actually the next generation that will have to deal with…

      So, you want to kick the can down the road, perhaps because,

      Regarding this being a “generational issue”, I’m middle-aged, now.  But, it wasn’t long ago that development forces were older than me.  (Most still are.)

      Hypocrisy.  You say the problem is older than you, but it’s to future generations to deal with… the “I’ve got mine” view. Got it.

      Yes, this may be interpreted as personal comment, but the basis is evidenced by your own words… says the one you call a habitual “troll”  which of course, as you see things, ‘factual’ based on my posts, but clearly not a personal comment!  Got it…

      1. Ron

        Howard:  You’ve managed to insult just about everyone on the Vanguard, at one point or another.  (Usually, several times a day.)

        You cut off the quote (and changed the meaning) of my statement regarding the “next generation”.

        Regarding “I’ve got mine”, I’ve been participating in development battles before I had anything, and before I moved to Davis.  I cheer and support other communities regarding these same types of battles (e.g., whether it’s in the Sierra, or in coastal counties).

        I’ve explained this to you repeatedly, and yet you continue to choose to try to present me in an entirely different manner.  Seems to me that’s very “troll-like” behavior.

        1. Ron

          Seems to me that you already think of yourself that way.  (Perhaps you could remind us again, of all the unselfish causes you support?)

          I honestly think you’re making inaccurate assumptions about the motivations and goals of those who support slow growth.  My comments on here have very little direct impact on my “personal” interest.  In fact, I think that Davis will remain a largely slow-growth (and “desirable”) community, regardless of what I personally say or do.  (Who knows, maybe my comments aren’t even helping that goal, and cause others to react against it.  Certainly, I see some anger and opposition almost every time I post.)

          Now, if you want to discuss something that I care even more about, it would be the land trust organizations that are helping to preserve large parcels of undeveloped land, throughout the state and beyond.  (Sort of a related issue.)  Again, nothing to do with my “personal” interest.

          As an adult, I learned a lot about the efforts of private citizens (often not government) to preserve a lot of the open spaces and parks that we need (and appreciate), today.

           

        2. Ron

          Note:  I made the comment above to Howard, in response to his comment (which was subsequently deleted). (Something about being as “pure” as the driven-snow.)

          What a waste of time it is, to try to defend oneself against ongoing nonsense. Maybe I’ll try to find something better to do, as well.

          Participating on the Vanguard often ends up being a “less-than-productive” activity.

        3. Keith O

          Now, if you want to discuss something that I care even more about, it would be the land trust organizations that are helping to preserve large parcels of undeveloped land, throughout the state and beyond.

          Hey Ron, my son-in-law works for such an organization.  Just recently he was involved in a huge deal protecting open space south of San Jose.

        4. Ron

          Keith:  Thanks for sharing that.  Please let him know that folks like me really appreciate it.  (I’ve personally helped support those types of organizations, when I can.)

           

        5. Keith O

          Yes it’s all non-profit.  It’s good for him too because once he gets in 10 years his college loans will disappear because it’s considered public service.

      2. Matt Williams

        Howard, based on the first sentence you have quoted above, it appears that Ron doesn’t like having his own statements repeated back to him.

        Here’s a simple question for Ron to answer, has he or has he not said that Davis should do nothing about its current pensions situation, and wait for the State to bail Davis out when the whole system collapses in the next economic downturn?

        Here’s a second two-part question for Ron to answer, has he or has he not said that Davis should restrict the number of people coming to Davis because those added people will degrade the quality of life in Davis?  … and that overall the world should stop populating like rabbits?

        David asked a simple question of Ron, specifically, “How can you be so blasé about and see growth as such an existential crisis?”  Ron’s own words, repeated by him often, very clearly answer David’s question.  Apparently Ron does not want anyone to repeat his words back to him. He sees that as a personal attack.

        1. Ron

          Have no idea what Matt’s talking about.  I objected to his words, not mine.

          Not too long ago, Matt repeatedly posted some misleading information about me, which the Vanguard removed multiple times.  (Each time it was posted, Matt would apparently re-paste it, again.)  I asked David and Don if this type of behavior was going to be addressed, but it never was (to my knowledge).

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