Five Council Candidates Give Us an Early Peek into Views on Nishi, Measure R Renewal

Back on February 28, the Davis College Democrats held a forum – but only five of the nine candidates were able to participate since participation was limited to registered Democrats.  Eric Gudz, Mark West, Linda Deos, Gloria Partida, and Mary Jo Bryan were there, but Dan Carson, Ezra Beeman, Luis Rios, and Larry Guenther were not.

The candidates were asked about Measure J (Nishi) as well as their views on Measure R renewals.  Here are their responses.

First they were asked if they would support Measure J:

Linda Deos: “Yes. I will be supporting Measure J.”  She said, “I am concerned, I have been hearing a lot about the air quality issues, I am satisfied that with the mitigation – the trees, the bushes, all of that, that helps me think it will be fine.  We need housing.  The location for student housing is perfect.”  She said, “As far as housing going forward, I’m much more comfortable, I’m going to support the mixed use housing – housing that can be accommodated for all demographic groups, not just students, not just seniors, not just any group in particular.  I’m also going to be advocating for more of the multi-unit housing.”

Mark West: “I’m voting for Nishi.  I voted for it the first time around.  I wish we had a better project than this one, but we need the housing and it’s an appropriate location.”

Eric Gudz: “Yes on Nishi in 2016, yes on Nishi in 2018.”  He also said he will work very hard to make sure the affordable housing “put into Nishi becomes the standard in the city of Davis going
forward.”

Mary Jo Bryan: “Yes I voted for Nishi in 2016, I will be voting yes on this one also.”  And, “I’m sorry that the first one didn’t go through, but there were some reasons, the people of Davis don’t like high density types of projects.  I was very surprised by my friends who voted no, I was sure that they were going to vote yes.”

Gloria Partida: “Yes and Yes.  Yes I voted the first time, and I will vote yes this time.”

They were then asked – Measure R will be on the ballot in 2020, will you support amending or repealing Measure R?

Mark West: “Measure R was the great lie of Davis.  It was put forward to say that we were going to protect farmland and it has not done so.  All it’s done is move development to Woodland or on the university campus.  Farmland is being destroyed anyway.  We have an ethos of protecting that farmland – so if we kept that housing in Davis, we would be able to control the density…  I think Measure R is a stranglehold on our ability to solve both our housing problems and our economic problems or fiscal problems and so, I plan on working to repeal it when it comes up for reelection.  We can talk about amending it, but I don’t think that’s the best choice.”

Gloria Partida: “I believe we need to amend it.  It has changed the entire character of our city.  For as much as we talk about how we want to keep Davis a certain way, what Measure R has actually done is change the whole make up of our city and it needs to be changed.  We have to grow very carefully, that’s the only reason I would say we have to amend and not just repeal.”

Mary Jo Bryan: “You have to know the history of Measure J and what it was trying to do at that point, the situation now is very different.  We’re not providing homes for people that live in Davis already, that work in Davis and want to live here.”  She then clarified her position, “Repeal it.  I have never voted for it.”

Linda Deos: “The whole Measure R thing… have created a difference between the haves and have-nots.  If you have it, great.  It you don’t have it, you’re screwed.  It also takes the power outside of us into the hands of developers.  We know what’s best for you, we’re going to tell you what developments going to be.  Here you vote it up or down.  I don’t like that.  I want to keep the power in with us.  It’s going to be very hard to take the vote away from people.  So we’re going to have to educate to get them to repeal it.”

Eric Gudz: “I’m a strong supporter of urban boundaries,” he said.  “Urban growth boundaries will actually save us in the centuries to come in the way in which we are developing our cities and towns.  We don’t want to sprawl out to the middle of nowhere.  We don’t want to be like San Jose.  However, this measure needs to be amended for it to reflect the realities of today.  It absolutely needs to be amended, we need to have an ability to figure out what’s best for Davis.”

(Programming note: Starting March 19, the Vanguard will have weekly questions for all the candidates to answer).



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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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75 thoughts on “Five Council Candidates Give Us an Early Peek into Views on Nishi, Measure R Renewal”

  1. Keith O

    Being that not one of these five candidates showed full support for Measure R everywhere from repealing to amending I’m going to take a a better look at the other four that didn’t show up to the forum.

    I believe that not being a full supporter of Measure R will hurt all five these candidates.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Or shows the shift that is occurring on the issue. I was surprised given where things stood last time Measure R came up for renewal.

      1. Keith O

        Maybe, but look at the vote totals for the last Measure R vote and the Measure R project repeals.  They were very lopsided if favor of Measure R and against the projects with the exception of Nishi.  I don’t think the close vote on Nishi is any indication on how much support Measure R actually has as Nishi was more of an infill project than a buildout on our periphery.

        Hell, I’m a strong supporter of Measue R and I voted yes for Nishi and I will vote yes for Nishi II.

        1. David Greenwald

          One of the differences between the 2000 Measure J vote and the 2010 Measure R vote (Measure J was competitive, Measure R was passed with 76 percent of the vote) is there was absolutely no opposition to Measure R.  The council candidates all supported its renewal.  The only opposition was a brief legal battle by Joseph Whitcombe that was quickly dropped.  So a good reason why Measure R passed so widely is it was effectively unopposed.  If the renewal is contested, it may pass, but it won’t be with anything close to two-thirds vote.

        2. Keith O

          I agree with you here, but I really believe that Measue R will pass again in 2020.  This town is already getting crowded, from traffic everywhere to trying to find a downtown parking place.  I don’t think the residents of Davis want to end up mirroring Elk Grove.  And yes, property values play a huge roll in this.  People won’t admit it publically but will definately vote to protect their investments.  Can you blame them?  If one just paid $900,000 for a Cannery home would one want the market flooded with more new homes most likely hurting their home value?

        3. David Greenwald

          Right now I agree that I think Measure R will pass.  But one reason we have as much traffic as we do is housing costs and shortages are forcing 28,000 people to commute into Davis each day.  I also view your point about the $900K home in Cannery as accurate but part of the problem.

        4. Ron

          Regarding traffic in the city, it depends upon point of origin.  For example, Davis residents living away from the core/UCD travel through the city, to reach campus.  Those exiting from Highway 113 do not travel through the city to reach campus.

          And, of course this doesn’t account for travel that’s not related to traveling to campus. (Someone who appeared to support more housing recently noted that about 2/3 of auto trips are not related to commuting.)

          No one is forcing UCD to pursue non-resident students who pay them $42K/year, in tuition. (Something that’s repeatedly ignored, by some.)

          1. Don Shor

            No one is forcing UCD to pursue non-resident students who pay them $42K/year, in tuition. (Something that’s repeatedly ignored, by some.)

            We “ignore” it because it’s irrelevant where the students come from. Makes no difference to the growth considerations, traffic issues, or housing shortage. So it’s weird that you keep repeating that they are “non-resident” at every opportunity, even when it has nothing to do with the issues.

          2. David Greenwald Post author

            I really think there is xenophobia underlying this argument. It is the only explanation that makes sense.

        5. Ron

          None of that disputes my statement. (By the way, does that chart only apply to students traveling to campus? Not staff or faculty?) I’ll assume that the chart is recent.

          Note that “congestion” includes bicycle and pedestrian traffic, as well. All of that impacts existing traffic.

          It will be interesting to see how traffic is impacted by Lincoln40, without a bicycle/pedestrian overpass in place.  Hopefully, this won’t also become a safety issue.

        6. Ron

          Actually, the chart shows that 37% of those living in Davis (e.g., within 5 miles of campus) drive alone to campus. Higher than I would have thought.

          I’m not disputing that those living at Lincoln40 would likely not drive to campus. However, they will drive elsewhere. And again, they’ll have to negotiate Richards/Olive when they travel to/from that megadorm, regardless of mode of transportation. (Without a bicycle/pedestrian overpass, in place.)

        7. David Greenwald

          Those who live in Davis but are 3 to 4.9 miles from campus, two thirds do not drive alone.  Less than 3 miles from campus only 12 percent drive.  That’s astonishing.  And a strong point for building housing near campus.

        8. Keith O

          It will be interesting to see how traffic is impacted by Lincoln40, without a bicycle/pedestrian overpass in place.  Hopefully, this won’t also become a safety issue.

          Funny you say that Ron.  A couple of days ago I took the Olive exit off I-80 in order to go downtown (I didn’t want to deal with Richards).  I get to the light at Olive and Richards and while trying to make a right I was totally concerned at how many bikers were there and how dangerous my turn was for them not only because they were piled up at the corner but also that they might decide to cross the same time I was turning.  I don’t feel that corner is safe at all.

        9. Tia Will

          Keith

          Are you sitting down? This is a landmark day for us. It is probably the first time that we are in complete agreement.

          I am a strong supporter of measure R – but would consider alterations to strengthen/improve it.

          I voted yes on Nishi.

          I will vote yes on Nishi again.

          Keith?  Keith?  Are you ok ?

        10. Jeff M

          Keith – Correct me if I am wrong, but without Measure R, Nishi-1 would have been approved and those safety issues would have been addressed by the project.

        11. Ron

          Jeff:  Covell Village would have been approved, probably MRIC with housing, Wildhorse Ranch, . . .

          Regarding Nishi 1.0, what a mess that would have been, at Olive/Richards.

          Regarding commercial development, even existing sites are being converted to housing. (Same thing with the Nishi 2.0 proposal.) Housing seems to be where the money is, for developers.

        12. Todd Edelman

          Over 50% over 3.9 miles drive alone: This is an excellent argument for incentivizing electric-assist bicycle* travel, carpooling and possibly point-to-point buses from the Cannery, northeast and southeast Davis, Dixon, Woodland, etc.).

          Just under 50% don’t drive alone: This is an excellent argument for not allowing residents within this distance parking permits for campus – both in development agreements AND for everyone (show proof of address when you pay for a permit…)

          * The JUMP e-bikes – which like all e-bikes can make mincemeat out of all Davis distances or make a painful ride for someone with e.g. knee issues into at least a tolerable one – have only enough storage for a single-shopping bag, on top of e.g. a laptop bag and so on.  So the laptop etc goes on the back, which is not optimal (sweaty, makes one top-heavy) and is the reason there’s a front rack in the first place. This is a serious design problem, that is easily overcome (bad photo of my $75 from Bike Forth bike with frame-mounted carrier; factory-version).

        13. Jeff M

          “Measure R we might also be looking a lot like Elk Grove these days.”

          I doubt it.  We still would be a representative democracy with a city council responsive to those that protest the most loudly.  And the anti-growth set in the community are always the most loud.

          I think the risk know is that the social justice argument for housing development will prevail.  So with that we won’t look too much like Elk Grove… but more like Berkeley surrounded by a thin farmland moat that is next to all the new development of Woodland and the county.

    2. Robert Canning

      Why didn’t the Vanguard get comments on Measure R/J from the candidates snubbed by the college Dems? City elections are non-partisan and for the college Dems to make this a partisan issue is not in the spirit of city council elections. Growth and how development proceeds in Davis is an important issue in this election.  Larry Guenther has come out strongly in favor of both rational densification for downtown and is also in favor of Measure R/J.

  2. Howard P

    Davis City Council is a non-partisan office, so I find,

     … but only five of the nine candidates were able to participate since participation was limited to registered Democrats.

    deeply disturbing, but reinforces my decision years ago to eschew all political parties.

    Their prerogative, their right, but will tend strongly to vote against any or all the candidates endorsed by that group… any will not bother to read anything the candidates that participated are quoted on here…

    I guess “college” belies an unwillingness to get ‘educated’ for this group… only comment I’ll have on this thread… promise [hearing cheers in the background]

    1. David Greenwald

      It does make sense for the most part that an off-shoot of the Democratic Party wouldn’t endorse a Republican or Independent even for a non-partisan office.

      1. Howard P

        David… might make sense to you… fine… partisanship is, IMHO, not a good thing… perhaps we should go towards making the CC district elections, and make it “partisan”?

        “College” used to mean seeking knowledge, divergent views… perhaps I’m a dinosaur…

        1. David Greenwald

          It’s not a matter of making sense to you/ me.  It’s matter of understanding their rules.  Partisanship may or may not be a good thing, that’s a subjective view but neither here nor there.  College Democrats are a sanctioned body of the Democratic Party, they have rules governing them.

        2. Howard P

          Acknowledged, and understood… I’d make a lousy “apparatchik”… [and no, am not saying Democrats are communists]… but I am always wary of “bullet voters”… Dad was life-long Republican… until I went ‘no-party’, I was a life-long Democrat… issues, candidates [whatever affiliation] we compared notes after elections, and we voted the same ~ 95% of the time… we actually thought about issues and candidates… based on principles, logic and merit… a rarity, to be sure…

          Just the way we were/are ‘wired’…

    2. Alan Pryor

      David – You can attempt to justify (albeit a bit weak-kneed) why the College Democrats excluded non-Democratic candidates from their forum, but there is no excuse why you did not reach out to the other candidates and include their responses in this article.

      It is not like this is “breaking news” that needed to be reported instantly. You had almost 2 weeks since the exclusionary Democratic forum to do so yet choose instead to just copy and paste responses from the forum and not include the responses from the other candidates. There is this neat new technology called “email” in which you could have also gotten almost instantaneous responses from the other candidates to balance this coverage…try it!

      In the interest of affording equal time to all of the candidates and ensuring no personal biases are displayed, I assume you will run an almost identical article in the very near future with responses to the same questions but ONLY include the responses from the other candidates not invited to the Democratic Party forum. I’m pretty sure the flavor of the responses will be quite different than those from these cherry-picked Democrats.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        Alan: Not justifying it. Just explaining it. I think it would be better if they did their endorsement process internally rather than in a public forum, but hey, I haven’t been in college for a while so it’s not my dime at this point.

      2. David Greenwald Post author

        As I explained at the bottom of the article, we’ll be starting up the questions next week, first question goes out tomorrow morning. Patience grasshopper

        1. Keith O

          Some questions that must be asked of all candidates:

          Will you support Measure R?

          How do you feel about peripheral development?

          What will you do to promote business and/or innovation parks?

          What are your plans for city fiscal responsibility?

          Are you going to stick to just local issues or will you use council time for national/international issues too?

          How do you feel about taxes like the beverage tax?

  3. Ron

    Keith:  “Being that not one of these five candidates showed full support for Measure R everywhere from repealing to amending I’m going to take a a better look at the other four that didn’t show up to the forum.

    “I believe that not being a full supporter of Measure R will hurt all five these candidates.”

    I strongly agree, Keith.  And, if David is right (regarding less support for the measure, as well as the possibility of organized opposition), then this question is even more important.

    It is truly “the” question that candidates must answer.  Hope that residents aren’t “asleep at the wheel”, regarding this issue. That’s exactly how it might lose, or become more “developer-friendly”.

    Actually, the candidates should also address how much infill they envision, and how they’d resolve concerns with neighbors. And, how they would deal with the fiscal (and other) impacts caused by densification or peripheral development that might be approved by voters (assuming that Measure J/R remains in place).

    And of course, they should spell out exactly how they’d deal with UCD, since it’s pretty difficult to conduct successful planning under the current “arrangement”.

    1. Jeff M

      Keith and Ron seems to come from two ideological perspectives on many things but yet seem to agree on this topic.  Thus together they provide a look into the stickiness of this uniquely Davis problem and why devises that turn over city planning and development decisions to the voting majority are not a good idea, and in my opinion, should be eliminated through state legislation.

      I have a good friend that moved from Winters where she had lived for 20 years to Esparto because she was unhappy with the increase in traffic and growth of Winters.    I have another friend that lives in Winters and the large empty parcel next to his rather high-end home was recently purchased and is being planned for 20 homes.  He says “What are you going to do?  Winters needs the homes.  Someone else owns that parcel and has a right to build on it.  If I don’t like it, I can move somewhere else.”  I have other friends in Winters that are excited about the PG&E training center, the new downtown hotel, the upgrades of the high school, and the future plans to develop more commercial and residential in the coming years.

      The point here is that these are the natural human differences in opinion and lifestyle interest that all growing communities deal with.  The unnatural situation is in Davis with Measure R.

      Measure R is like heart disease for the city of Davis.  It makes the city weaker while also causing damage to the various parts required for a vibrant and healthy body.

      And ironically, much of the problem of the inadequate housing supply in Winters (and Woodland, and Dixon) is caused by Measure R.    The view from these places is that Davis is spreading their problems to the region and putting pressure on them to increase the supply of housing.

      Irony #2… much of the anti-growth cohort in Davis are the bikers that want to keep the rural areas from being developed  so that the ride to and from the countryside remains as is.   But have you noticed the constant increase in traffic on all the rural roads leading in and out of Davis?  It wasn’t long ago that I could take off on a Saturday morning down several county roads and the automobiles I would encounter were few and almost all of them would be local farm workers.  Today those same roads are filled with commuters to and from Davis.

      There are other examples of the unintended negative consequences of Measure R.  It is clear that it has to go.

  4. Keith O

    Thanks, that’s good to know and smart of her to differentiate herself from most of the other candidates especially because it’s a winning position in Davis politics.

        1. Keith O

          ????   

          ????

          Another commenter posted a link to a linda Deos campaign site where she showed support for Measure R which got deleted for some reason.

          There, does that answer your 8 question marks?? ??? ???? ?

  5. Jim Frame

    [Measure R] also takes the power outside of us into the hands of developers.

    Well, that’s certainly a bizarre take on it.  Ms. Deos otherwise seems like a rational person.

    Measure R is a litmus test for me.  Any candidate in favor or repeal won’t get my vote.

    1. Michael Bisch

      Jim,

      It’s disappointing you’re making Measure R a litmus test given the number of extraordinary challenges confronting the community, especially when city council members have only 1 vote out of 68,000 when it comes to Measure R.

      1. Howard P

        Je d’accord… but I think that’s only the first “test”… reason to believe there are others, including fiscal responsibility by the City, for instance…

      2. Jim Frame

        It’s disappointing you’re making Measure R a litmus test given the number of extraordinary challenges confronting the community, especially when city council members have only 1 vote out of 68,000 when it comes to Measure R.

        You’re disappointed to learn that I won’t vote for a candidate promoting a position diametrically opposed to my own on an issue of great importance?  This is the very essence of representative democracy.

         

      3. Howard P

        Based on my knowledge of Jim, it might be a first “screen”, but he has posted about City fiscal responsibility, particularly employee compensation, and other matters… he is not a “one trick pony”…

        Although I often disagree with his views, he is analytical and has high personal integrity…

    1. Howard P

      Just curious… would any ‘tweaks’/revisions, far short of repeal, work for you?  Or is the process ‘perfect’? Honest question…

      [Either way… more or less stringent]

        1. Howard P

          On the topic… since I went off-topic (defending my statement), your response is doubly so… gotta’ love those “trolling motors”… you have a 10 HP?

      1. Jim Frame

        would any ‘tweaks’/revisions, far short of repeal, work for you?

        I’ve seen a lot of mentions of amending or revising Measure R, but so far I haven’t seen any specifics.  I’m open to constructive ideas, but will reserve judgment until I learn the details.  (My skeptical self will be on the lookout for proposed changes pitched as improvements but designed to gut the statute.)

  6. larryguenther

    I support measure R and I will vote for its renewal.  A) I support community involvement, B) in a representative democracy the City Council should be approving things that align with the values of the majority of the community, C) if we are going to exchange open space and/or ag land for development, the bar should be high and the development should address the City’s issues in a very robust way.

    1. Keith O

      I like that you support Measure R, if you are fiscally conservative and don’t get lost in the weeds on liberal social issues you’ll most likely get my vote.

       

  7. Ron

    Jim:  “My skeptical self will be on the lookout for proposed changes pitched as improvements but designed to gut the statute.”

    A question for David, or anyone else who might know the answer:

    Are voters dependent upon the new council to craft the “replacement” for Measure J/R, on the 2020 ballot?  And, at that point voters will only be presented with a “yes” or “no” option on whatever is presented?

     

    1. Howard P

      Are voters dependent upon the new council to craft the “replacement” for Measure J/R, on the 2020 ballot?

      No.  Weird question.

      And, at that point voters will only be presented with a “yes” or “no” option on whatever is presented?

      Yes.  Weird question.

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      No. The citizens could (A) create their own measure and submit to council or (B) could create a petition for their own measure. I understand there is some talk about in some circles about the latter.

      1. Ron

        David:  Thanks, but I’m not really referring to what “could” occur.  I’m referring to what is more likely to occur.

        For example, did the council craft the wording for the latest Measure J/R renewal language?

        1. Howard P

           I’m referring to what is more likely to occur.

          Who here is an oddsmaker, or clairvoyant?

          Weird.  But one of my favorite books and movies, ‘something wicked (weird?) this way comes’…

      2. Howard P

        Thank you for affirming half my response, David.

        The CC is under no obligation to act.  Measure J/R will “sunset”, and be of no force or effect if they do not act.

        To affirm David’s (B), if the CC does propose a measure that folk don’t like, citizens could have a “counter-measure” and the measure that gets the most votes, prevails.

        David’s (A) needs no affirmation… it is obvious to anyone who remembers HS civics, or who is cognizant [self-edited with that last word… was thinking of other words, phrases, but probably would have been moderated] knows that he is correct.

  8. Jeff M

    My vote will go to the candidates that are honest in acknowledging that Measure J/R has caused many more problems for Davis than it has solved unless your interest has been to keep property values artificially inflated and low income people from finding a place to live within the city limits.

  9. Ron

    David:  “I was not active in 2000, but I believe it was a citizens initiative originally but placed on the ballot in 2010 by council.”

    So, if a council decides that Measure J/R needs “adjusting”, then voters would only see the end-result?  In other words, voters would only have a “yes” or “no” vote to an initiative that could conceivably be gutted by the time it’s placed on the ballot?

    If so, then the position of those running for council really does matter.

    1. David Greenwald

      The council would act in a public process and get feedback from the community.  But it is in their purview to change the ordinance if they get three votes.

        1. Don Shor

          David: “But it is in their purview to change the ordinance if they get three votes.”

          That is a truly scary possibility.

          So just to summarize the process, as has been scattered through various replies here.
          The council can do nothing and let Measure R expire.
          The council can put Measure R on the ballot for renewal exactly as it is presently worded.
          The council can modify Measure R and put the modified version on the ballot.
          Either of the latter options would take place at a council meeting, agendized in advance, and debated in public.
          Any group of citizens can put a new version of Measure R on the ballot by initiative.
          Any group of citizens can put the current version of Measure R on the ballot for renewal.
          More than one version can be on the same ballot.
          Whichever version gets the most votes, wins.

  10. Richard McCann

    There’s a strong possibility that the state may take this into its own hands and override local control laws like Measure R. They already started this year with granting exemptions.

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