My View: The Bottom Line Is Davis Is Not Sustainable

Over the years, those who have supported growth in Davis have always argued that Davis was going to change one way or another.  Their argument was that trying to keep a community the same as it is would inevitably lead to entropy and ultimate decay.

As someone who has decided at times against my best financial interests to remain in this community, I have always been skeptical of that argument.  For me the draw of the vibrancy of the community, the small town atmosphere, the educated and engaged public, and the quality of schools has caused me to remain in Davis, even if it means I must remain a renter.

While I still do not want to see Davis grow to the point where it becomes like other rapid growth communities in the Central Valley, it is becoming very evident that Davis as it stands now in 2017 is not sustainable and our choices going forward are both limited and constrained – and we must weigh the downside of a number of different pathways.

The fact of the matter is that Davis cannot remain the community it is without developing new sources of revenue, both for its city services as well as its schools.

A few years ago the city believed that the path forward for new revenue was economic development.  They had put forth what seemed a reasonable approach, a dispersed innovation strategy which sought to first utilize existing space, expanded with the development of Nishi – but they also recognized that existing space was limited and even Nishi was only going to provide at most half a million square feet of space.  For larger companies likely to produce real revenue, the city needed to develop some peripheral land.

The good thing about the plan was that it was fairly limited in scope.  We were looking at around 200 acres on the periphery to develop over a 50-year time horizon.  Even for Davis, that seemed workable.

But the plan soon hit snags – getting caught up in land use debates over housing and growth – and the financing became problematic and the ideas are on hold.

The council warned on multiple points in time that, without economic development and innovation parks, they would be forced to seek revenue measures for the ballot.  They actually managed to
delay the inevitable for four years, but the reality is that we need somewhere between $8 million and $16 million annually to pay for our existing needs.

It is not only the city’s fault, as federal and state funding for roads in the last decade has been limited, statewide crunches have reduced state funding for social services, nationally shifting priorities will limit funding going forward for social services – and may well impact access to health care as well.

The bottom line is that the city has needs and it requires funding to meet those needs.

There are those who believe we should be cutting first.  Well, the city has cut first, second, and third.  Can we do more for cost-containment than we have?  Absolutely.  Should we continue to find ways to save money?  Absolutely.

But the money we are talking about is not going to be realized through cuts.  We will have to at some point cut services in order to do things like pay for our roads and parks, as well as deal with the growing unfunded liabilities we face through retirement systems.

Yes, the future of our community can be one where we cut back on our recreation and our parks.  We can further reduce the size of our city staff, but at some point we will start to feel that, and this will no longer be the community that we have grown accustomed to.

That is the choice before us – yes we can do more cuts in the short term, and we will likely have to raise taxes, but at some point to maintain the community that we have we have to find a way to grow.

That means economic development, it means commercial development and at some point that is going to have to mean housing – because right now we are headed for a time when the only people who live here are retired and wealthy people on the one hand and students on the other hand.

Students have been facing a housing crunch due to the continued enrollment growth of UC Davis as they try to grapple with statewide shortfalls in funding, as well as the lack of new housing in the last 15 years within the city.

But families are facing their own crunch.  As we have pointed out recently, families will have an increasingly difficult time affording housing in the city.  There is a limited new supply of single family housing.  Affordable housing has been limited due to the combination of limited growth since 2000 in Davis and the loss of RDA (Redevelopment Agency funding).  There have also been limited new apartments built and, even when they are, the cost is outside of a typical family’s price range.

The combination of factors has led Mayor Robb Davis to find some creative ways to finance things like homeless services and affordable housing, and the city will look to generate a rather modest $1.4 million for such purposes, potentially next November, with a $50 parcel tax.

A variety of factors are also putting pressure on our schools, which many consider a key resource for the community.  This is a community that prides itself on its quality schools and it reaps the reward with increased property values.

But that is being threatened by a confluence of factors.  The local school district is disadvantaged through state funding by its formulas which prioritize districts with more at-risk students.  The district has successfully passed a number of parcel taxes to maintain existing programs, but they have done so at the expense of teacher compensation.

My niece was recently at our school’s PTA meeting and she watched the teachers’ presentation on the issue of teacher compensation and it was appalling.  The compensation that teachers are receiving is stunningly low and not sustainable.

Once again the short-term solution will be to ask the voters to pay more in local taxes.

I have mixed views on this approach.  On the one hand, I believe we need to find ways to pave our roads, maintain our parks, deal with the problem of homelessness, provide more in the way of affordable housing and pay our teachers reasonable salaries.

The reality is that we are not likely to be able to do so with cuts alone – although I strongly support a very robust cost containment plan at the city level and looking more closely at district spending priorities.  I think these are all well-needed services.

On the other hand, if we are really looking at $600 or more in combined additional parcel taxes, at some point the voters may throw up their hands in the air.

As a short-term strategy, I plan to support the taxes.  But in the longer term, I strongly urge both bodies to prioritize cost containment, if not outright cost cuts.

And I think we as a community have to look toward more development of commercial properties, of revenue-generating business, and toward reinvigorating the economic development structure.

While I remain reluctant to support peripheral development, some is going to be required in order to provide the space we need for additional economic development and limited housing.

For those who love this community as it is, I urge you to consider that the current community is not sustainable.  We are already straining and cracking our foundation by preventing reasonable growth.

We need to be slow and methodical with any new growth that we have, but if we do not allow this community to change in a planned and controlled manner, I do not believe this community will survive as it is now.

The choice before us is therefore not growth or no growth, change or no change, but is rather what kind of change we want – because change will happen one way or another and the only question is, really, what kind of change we want and whether we want to have a measure of control over that change.

—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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60 thoughts on “My View: The Bottom Line Is Davis Is Not Sustainable”

  1. John D

    It would be interesting to see a follow-on article addressing why, what has happened, how did we get here – without all the hystrionics, hyperbole and finger pointing that typically accompany such discussions.  Faced with some facts and a little more history, we might find more common ground than most people believe is possible.

  2. John D

    Point being, you’ve talked only about the cost side of the ledger.  Almost every community has been faced similar challenges.  But what of the revenue and commerce side, why our situation is so different, and what further changes the future is likely to hold?

    1. David Greenwald

      “And I think we as a community have to look toward more development of commercial properties, of revenue-generating business, and toward reinvigorating the economic development structure.”

      I see this as a byproduct of our restrictive land use policies

      1. Howard P

        Funny… not as in “ha-ha”, but as ironic…

        our restrictive land use policies

        What some see as too restrictive, others see as too malleable… as a community, politically, and practically, I suspect we need to find the “unhappy medium”… not the “stasis”, not the “anything goes”… I think we’ll know we’re there, when we are financially better off, and almost everyone at the extremes are extremely pissed off.

        Not an easy row to hoe…

  3. Leanna Sweha

    A few years ago the city believed that the path forward for new revenue was economic development.  They had put forth what seemed a reasonable approach..

    Not just seemed reasonable, was reasonable. Unfortunately, the unreasonable of the community prevailed.

    1. Keith O

      What happened was that an innovation park only was being put forward and the community seemed to be onboard but then as soon as housing got introduced into the project many in the community felt they were being played so they turned on the project.

      1. Howard P

        many in the community felt they were being played so they turned on the project.

        BS… maybe a majority of ‘activists’ who post on this forum, or show up at CC meetings for any issue about growth… strongly suspect 90+% of the “community” was either uninformed, or didn’t really care…

        VG folk are not representative of the “community”… self-selecting… neither are those who posture @ CC meetings… self-selecting…

        Reality is an inconvenient truth…

        1. Keith O

          Really Howard, the last 3 Measure R proposals that had housing got shot down by the voters.  I think saying that a majority of citizens likely turned on MRIC was because they intoduced housing later in the project.  That’s the reality.

        2. Howard P

          There was no vote on MRIC.  Fact.

          And word is, senior planning staff pushed MRIC to add the housing piece (in large part, to make the traffic analysis look better)… cannot say conclusively, but my sources generally know…

          1. Don Shor

            The way the housing component got inserted into the Mace Ranch proposal looked simply dishonest. I don’t know if it was staff or the developer. It really did look like a bait and switch. If it isn’t viable for this development team without housing then perhaps they should hand it off to someone else. Their credibility took a big hit during that whole process.

    1. Ron

      Also – I understand that any peripheral development would involve a tax-sharing agreement with the county, thereby further reducing the already-limited percentage that the city receives.

      It’s unfortunate that the city’s costs resulting from such developments apparently aren’t “shared”.

    2. John D

      Ron,

      Amusing?  Guess I’m missing the point of your comment.

      David is explicitly talking about other, perhaps necessary pathways and essential, even desirable, opportunities – for commercial development.

      As you consider the point, I would encourage you to reflect back upon your own career and life path.

      Commercial employers typically bring multiple benefits to the community:

      Property tax revenues (assuming they are not exempt), personal property tax revenues (assuming they are not exempt), additional sales tax revenues on their consumable purchases and/or taxable sales, purchasing activity from other local business enterprise, part-time job opportunities for those just getting a start, internship opportunities and school enrichment programs, monetary and non-monetary contributions to local K-12 schools and non-profits, often shared research opportunities and grant funding for local universities, potential career pathways for graduates of local universities, and pathways to commercialization for new technologies emerging from university research labs.

      Potentially, you might even concede that the absence, or constriction, of such commercial activities within a community could be described as missed opportunities.

      1. David Greenwald

        His point is to derail the conversation.  He is not addressing the central question – is the status quo sustainable, he’s simply suggesting that every solution put forward is not perfect.  We already know that.

        1. David Greenwald

          So maybe the start of the solution is to “make” (for lack of a better word) people think this through.  Yes, commercial development is not going to produce revenue in an efficient and direct way.  It’s also not a short-term solution.

          On the other hand:

          1. Commercial and economic development can generate large amounts of revenue

          2.  It does so without the harm caused by increases taxes

          3.  And by producing jobs, it creates a multiplier effect which means that the direct impact is not the end of the story

          4.  We can tailor the development to things that fit in with the Davis psyche and eco-system

        2. Howard P

          Good points, David…

          Except for the last..

          “the Davis psyche and eco-system”

          Good luck.defining, and getting consensus on, the terms… in item 4…

          Herding kittens would appear to be easier…

        3. David Greenwald

          What I mean by that is that we have a university that has excellent schools in ag, medicine, vet med, etc.  We have a strong legacy of green policies.  And therefore we can focus our economic development in those areas as opposed to other sorts of commercial development.

        4. Mark West

          “4.  We can tailor the development to things that fit in with the Davis psyche and eco-system”

          This implies that we can predict what types of projects will be successful and therefore are able to determine the winners from the losers in advance. We cannot, and any attempt to do so will screw up the process, which in part is why we are in such a sad position today. Remember, the Davis psyche today primarily involves driving elsewhere to find the things we want, because they are not available in town. Our history proves that our ability to identify those projects that ‘fit’ our ecosystem is demonstrably poor.

          What we should do instead is create a culture and mindset that favors the creation of new commercial opportunities (and new jobs) and see which of those thrive in the Davis ecosystem.

        5. David Greenwald

          “This implies that we can predict what types of projects will be successful and therefore are able to determine the winners from the losers in advance. ‘

          Not at all, my commnt does not imply going to that level of analysis.

        6. Mark West

          “Not at all, my commnt does not imply going to that level of analysis.”

          Sure it does. Once you say you can determine the developments that ‘fit’ you are declaring a mindset capable of determining the winning (ie. appropriate) ideas in advance. The projects that ‘fit’ are the ones that flourish in the local environment, not the ones you (or others) ‘think’ will flourish (before they are built).

      2. Ron

        John:  I was just noting the limited percentage that the city actually receives from property taxes (as discussed in the other article), and which is further reduced by tax-sharing agreements with the county for peripheral developments.

        Regardless, it seems to me that the city might (first) ensure that existing commercially-zoned sites (within the city) are not rezoned to accommodate UCD’s plans.  (Existing sites are not subject to tax-sharing agreements, either.)

        I’ve provided examples of several large commercial/industrial sites within the city that have been rezoned for residential development, or are under consideration for it.

        In addition, Nishi is a large site which could potentially house such commercial development, while simultaneously eliminating the concern regarding approval of housing in a site that might not be suitable for it (unless one believes that they know more than a UCD air quality expert).

        1. Michael Bisch

          What? Every site in the city, except for tax-exempt sites, has a tax sharing agreement. That’s what the tax-share map from the staff report was showing.

        2. Howard P

          Michael… I don’t think someone(s) understands Nishi is as much outside the City as MRIC or the Taormino et al.  proposal is… no accounting for myoptic ignorance…

        3. Howard P

          And Michael… as I recall, it was the formation of the RDA, and the threat of Mace Ranch moving forward in the County, rather than the City, that prompted the “pass-through” revenue sharing agreement…

          1. Don Shor

            Per Dave Rosenberg, the RDA was the vehicle that funded the pass-through agreement.
            Mace Ranch was the impetus. None of it ever had anything to do with blight or any actual need for redevelopment.

        4. Michael Bisch

          HP, I was referring to:

          “I was just noting the limited percentage that the city actually receives from property taxes (as discussed in the other article), and which is further reduced by tax-sharing agreements with the county for peripheral developments.” -Ron

          The city’s” limited percentage” is not “further reduced by tax-sharing agreements”.  That the city receives any percentage at all is the result of the tax-sharing agreement. Were it not for the agreement, the city would receive zero percentage. The county has been receiving its share all along. It’s not until the city negotiates an agreement that the city receives a portion of the county’s share. Every parcel was in the county before it was in the city. That is the case for every single parcel in the city including Ron’s parcel. I’m no expert in this, but I’m pretty sure Ron has everything backwards.

        5. Howard P

          Michael, to be clear, my finger was NOT anywhere near pointed at you…

          Don has confirmed my recollection…

          Some folk think Nishi is part of Davis… it is NOT…

          Sphere of influence, yes… corporate limits, NO… again, not aimed at you, but others…

        6. Howard P

          Michael… your statement,

          Were it not for the agreement, the city would receive zero percentage.

          is not true.  For certain.  Too late in the evening to quote chapter and verse as to State codes, but let it suffice to say the statement is untrue, as written…

        7. Ron

          Howard:  “Michael… I don’t think someone(s) understands Nishi is as much outside the City as MRIC or the Taormino et al.  proposal is… no accounting for myoptic ignorance…”

          Although this was posted under my comment, this would not describe me (nor most of the “regular” readers of the Vanguard, I suspect). Not sure what the purpose is, of making these types of comments.

        8. Michael Bisch

          HP, maybe I am mistaken. What are the City’s current property tax shares for West Davis Active Community, Nishi and MRIC? And what is the mechanism for changing the current split between the County and the City to some other split?

  4. Jeff M

    Davis’s problem is demographic… when compared to most other communities it has a higher percentage of voters who are:

    – Government employees lacking familiarity with the sources and requirements for general commmunity economic vitality.

    – Older, retired and prone to change aversion.

    – Younger and poorer students lacking both understanding and concern for long-term fiscal issues of the community.

    – Liberal progressive activists that have latched onto a righteous, low-materiality, environmentally-sustainable pseudo religion that they believe must be forced upon the rest of the population for the good of humanity.  But, the concepts are only half-baked in that they fail to consider the economic side of sustainability and also fail to consider that all funds needed to support their vision derive from private-sector economic activity that their demands tend to limit and even destroy.

    This demographic situation is exactly why a representative government is required and why direct democracy is disastrous.  When giving the decision keys to a population that includes a majority that simply do not have the capability nor inclination to accept the hard truth and make the tough decisions, we end up with sub-optimized “progress” that contributes to overall decline as opportunities for improvement are consistently squandered.

    Davis’s real problem here is a lack of quality leadership that has a growth-mindset vision and that understands that doing the right things for the community is going to initially piss off some of the voting demographic.  However, we know that these people are simply fearful of change that they don’t understand and cannot see.  Their fixed-mindset is preventing them from grasping a vision of positive smart growth… one where Davis becomes a leader in progressive development instead of a regional laughing stock of do-nothings with crumbling roads and perpetual tax increase measures.

    The fix starts with elections.  Also, the Supreme Court is soon going to decide on cases that might help communities make changes to city employee retirement benefits.  That might help the enemies of change make their case for more status quo.  However, somehow I think that most of them will not be supportive of those cost saving opportunities.

    1. David Greenwald

      If that’s Davis’ problem, then it’s not going to change.  But I don’t believe that’s Davis’ problem because other communities with similar demographics are better suited than Davis.

      1. Mark West

        “because other communities with similar demographics are better suited than Davis.”

        What other communities have you identified that have experienced the same sort of demographic shift that we have seen in Davis over the past two decades? How are those cities with similar demographics better situated than we are here in Davis?

  5. John D

    I’d say it has more to do with the reality that we really haven’t created a facility/process or forum to talk about these challenges, and how to best address the legitimate concerns of the community.   It seems that almost every conversation, to date, has focused solely in the consequences, results or symptoms – and then, issues by issue, beating the subject to death – rather than addressing the larger, systemic and underlying challenges and exploring the potential options and opportunities to find a better pathway forward.

    Many will say that our tendency to overanalyze has already paralysed the conversation.  I would counter that we have been parsing the symptoms while failing to address the larger issue of a shared vision for the community.  In other words, every conversation and analysis is forced to justify itself without any overarching context for which the community has expressed its support.

    1. Howard P

      Fair (and pretty much very good) points… but have concerns about how “the community” is represented… seems like most of the time, it is the two ends of the bell curve (second ‘deviants’, as it were, or at least outside the first deviants) who make the ‘noise’…

      Some will opine that those in the middle, unless they speak up, have “no place at the table”… whatever…

      1. John D

        Just my opinion, I believe it would have much to do with the convener, depth of advance preparation and content distribution by appropriate subject matter experts, efficacy of outreach and feedback mechanisms involved, how cogently the subject is presented and framed as a major community priority, involvement and support by a recognized and respected cross-section of civic leaders.

        1. Jeff M

          As someone that has participated in this topic discussion for more than a half decade, I have the perspective that we have already done as you suggest.  Much energy, ink and discussion with numerous experts has already occurred.

          My sense is that there are few if any extreme growth and development people in the community; but there is a well-funded and active group of no-growth and development people in the community.  And they are surrounded by another larger group of what I effectionaly refer to as our highly sensitive moderate reactionaries.

          Here is how it works/fails…. all the experts debate the projects on their merits, and the well-funded no-growth activists throw out fake reports about particulate toxicity from roads and trains, bikes and pedestrians will be killed by the increased traffic, and Murder Burger owners will be murdered by the new development… and then all the highly sensitive moderate reactionaries are sent to the polls to vote no.

          Again, these are people that don’t have the capacity nor the interest to understand the math and money sources required for community economic sustainability.  They are people easily fearful and easily critical, but hardly able to grasp a vision of a future state of change that would be positive.

          Change by committee is difficult enough when the committee is carefully constructed of diverse agents of change… but it becomes impossible when the committee is dominated by those with an agenda to block and resist change.

          The way I see it… Davis is having organic change demanded of it because of the growth of the region and the growth of the university.  Resistance of that change may not be futile, but it is disasterous as the consequences of not changing are much worse than will be the impacts from the change… and if we are smart about the change, the impacts will be significantly positive.

    2. Mark West

      “we really haven’t created a facility/process or forum to talk about these challenges, and how to best address the legitimate concerns of the community.”

      I completely disagree. Our problems did not come about from a lack of informed discussion, they arose from our failure to fully implement the ideas and plans that have come out of those discussions due to the backroom machinations of CC members, staff, and certain well-connected downtown property owners. Starting back with the 1961 Core Area Specific Plan, which was a prototypic community-based and informed plan if there has ever been one, we have allowed vested interests to block the will of the community to the detriment of us all. Rinse/repeat.

  6. Roberta Millstein

    What’s not sustainable is the growth scenario that the Vanguard has been pushing lately, whereby we attempt to build enough housing to get to some magic amount of available rental housing (5%?) in the face of incoming Bay Area residents (requiring a huge amount of new housing), then build large business parks that require us to build even more housing, not to mention the costs to increase police, fire, etc., to deal with all of this growth, when meanwhile it appears that our climate is changing toward periods of increased drought.

    A truly sustainable alternative is a slower, more careful growth scenario where we focus on housing where it is most needed (including on-campus housing for UCD students) and fostering smaller-scale commercial development, both of which densify rather than sprawl, together with targeted taxes.

    But alas, I am not yet seeing any City Council candidates step up to endorse that alternative.  Not flashy enough, I guess.

    1. David Greenwald

      Show me what an alternative looks like in policy terms – how do we generate the revenue to pay for basic services?  And how do we produce enough housing for students and families?  I’m not advocating for peripheral growth really outside of an innovation park at this point.  I’m not advocating for rental housing beyond the basic needs of our students.  I don’t really think that’s going to attract Bay Area residents.

      1. Roberta Millstein

        We are already attracting Bay Area residents.  Anything reasonably priced will attract Bay Area residents, since there is no longer anything remotely reasonably priced there.

        I have already said how we generate revenue and what we pursue in terms of housing.  What we should not do is make false promises and pursue unsustainable growth goals that will generate the same problems we’re trying to solve.

    2. Don Shor

      some magic amount of available rental housing (5%?)

      It’s not magic. 5% vacancy rate is considered a healthy market vacancy providing reasonable choice for tenants, moderate rent increases, and an acceptable return for investors. Anything below that leads to escalating rents and more limited selection, which has been the case in the Davis market for quite awhile. It’s been borne out by research on the natural vacancy rate.

      1. Roberta Millstein

        “Magic” because it’s not realistically achievable given the current economy and the surrounding housing pressures, unless Davis is to become a radically different place than it is now.

        1. Don Shor

          It is realistic and achievable; the city staff have told us how many apartments would be necessary. David posted that in a previous article.
          The current economy is very favorable for this type of development, as evidenced by the number of proposals that have come forward.
          Surrounding housing pressures are arguably no greater or less than they’ve always been.
          I don’t see how having more students in a college town is radically different. Nobody is yet proposing that the borders of the city be expanded, except for Nishi which is hemmed in on all sides and has no near-neighbor issues. The current housing proposals are not sprawl or sprawl-inducing, they are densifications. In short, they would simply continue trends that have been ongoing as to the increasing numbers of residents at the older and younger ends of the spectrum.

        2. Mark West

          “Nobody is yet proposing that the borders of the city be expanded, except for Nishi”

          Seems to be a prominent advertiser on this site whose project you are forgetting in your analysis.

          “The current housing proposals are not sprawl or sprawl-inducing, they are densifications.”

          With the exception that I have already noted, I agree.

        3. Roberta Millstein

          Surrounding housing pressures are arguably no greater or less than they’ve always been.

          That’s an assertion, not an argument.  Silicon Valley prices have skyrocketed significantly in recent years, and both ordinary folks and tech workers are being driven out of the market and are looking elsewhere.

          I don’t see how having more students in a college town is radically different.

          It means that there is an opportunity to build housing that is guaranteed to be for Davis students and thus guaranteed to help our housing problem, by housing on campus.  Other solutions are not guaranteed to help.  Yet some people, such as yourself, have given up on the university.

          Nobody is yet proposing that the borders of the city be expanded, except for Nishi which is hemmed in on all sides and has no near-neighbor issues.

          Well, there is the west Davis project, as already noted.  As for Nishi, I don’t consider sacrificing the health of residents to solve our housing problems to be a “solution.”

          The current housing proposals are not sprawl or sprawl-inducing, they are densifications. 

          And I am all for densification.  The issue at hand is how much, and what is the end goal that we are trying to achieve?  What will the consequences of achieving different possible be?

          1. Don Shor

            Other solutions are not guaranteed to help. Yet some people, such as yourself, have given up on the university.

            I have not “given up” on the university. I am realistic about what they are likely to do. Of course we need more housing on campus. 100/50 would be better then 90/40. I expect they will add more beds. But even if the university added a thousand more beds, we still need high-density housing projects in town to start moving the vacancy rate upward. So advocating strenuously for more housing on campus without acknowledging the need for more housing in town does not improve the situation for Davis renters.

            As for Nishi, I don’t consider sacrificing the health of residents to solve our housing problems to be a “solution.”

            Since you’ve obviously made up your mind on Nishi, then, I consider your frequent advocacy for further testing to be simply disingenuous.

            Silicon Valley is a hundred miles away and the price differential between the Davis/Sacramento market and the Bay Area market has always been high.

            And I am all for densification. The issue at hand is how much, and what is the end goal that we are trying to achieve? What will the consequences of achieving different possible be?

            One of the goals is to make a less constricted rental housing market. A good measure of that is the apartment vacancy rate. Another is the present rate of rent increases locally. The consequences of failing to deal with the present situation will be higher housing costs, or higher commuting costs, borne by those who can least afford them.

        4. Roberta Millstein

          I have not “given up” on the university. I am realistic about what they are likely to do. Of course we need more housing on campus. 100/50 would be better then 90/40. I expect they will add more beds. But even if the university added a thousand more beds, we still need high-density housing projects in town to start moving the vacancy rate upward. So advocating strenuously for more housing on campus without acknowledging the need for more housing in town does not improve the situation for Davis renters.

          On more than one occasion you have said that the university has already said what it plans to do.  That sounds exactly like giving up to me.

          Since you’ve obviously made up your mind on Nishi, then, I consider your frequent advocacy for further testing to be simply disingenuous.

          I am making the best judgment I can with the limited evidence available to me.  With better evidence, I could make a better judgement.  There is nothing disingenuous about that.

          Silicon Valley is a hundred miles away and the price differential between the Davis/Sacramento market and the Bay Area market has always been high.

          But the Bay Area has never been as unaffordable as it is now.  It’s ridiculous.  Even tech workers have trouble affording housing there, much less other sorts of employees.

          One of the goals is to make a less constricted rental housing market. A good measure of that is the apartment vacancy rate. Another is the present rate of rent increases locally. The consequences of failing to deal with the present situation will be higher housing costs, or higher commuting costs, borne by those who can least afford them.

          And I share those general goals.  The question is which specific goals are actually realistic.

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