Monday Briefs

Mayor Sue Greenwald’s response to Davis Enterprise Article

The university is about to break ground on a new housing development for faculty, staff and students on campus land adjacent to our city. I would like to make some clarifications concerning annexation of that project, West Village, an issue I brought to the City Council last week. My motion was: “It shall be the position of the city of Davis that annexation of the university’s West Davis neighborhood is a goal that we strongly support in concept.”

In concept, of course — and as I made clear in the discussion — meant subject to fiscal analysis, university approval and a city-county tax-sharing agreement, among other considerations. This motion was seconded by Councilmember Lamar Heystek, but the council majority successfully blocked a vote on it by substituting a somewhat more ambiguous motion.

I asked to bring this item forward, as an item submitted by a council member, for an important reason. The current council had never had a serious discussion of the issue of the West Village annexation. I had made several requests of the city manager to place such a discussion on the long-range calendar, to no avail.

For years, the discussion of annexation had been relegated to a council subcommittee. I became concerned when our city manager and city attorney told me they believed the council’s stance toward annexation was “neutral to negative,” and that the staff analysis of the fiscal implications had assumed that the city would provide police and fire services. This fiscal assumption would kill the hope of annexation, since the council had voted that the project would have to be fiscally neutral to qualify for annexation.

This fiscal assumption was unwarranted. Since the university will provide police and fire services if the West Village neighborhood stays in the unincorporated county, the university could provide all or part of these, or other, services under annexation. For example, the university supplies police service to Aggie Village, which was built by the university and annexed by the city.

I feel strongly that the faculty, staff and student residents of this new neighborhood, which will be built adjacent to our city, be full participants in our community and its civic life, rather than an enclave in the unincorporated county. I am hopeful that future fiscal analysis will include various service provision options, and that the university will support annexation in concept.

And I hope the council majority will ultimately signal our staff that we are in support of annexation, in concept, because I believe annexation will never occur if we don’t.

Sue Greenwald
Mayor of Davis

Rexroad Readers Think I Ought to be in Jail

Matt Rexroad has occasional oddball polls on his site. This one I found amusing. Can’t say I’m really surprised by the result, I would think his readers share some company here in Davis. Must be doing something right.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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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44 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    As I recall, the design of the West Village community does not provide direct access to the adjacient Davis community. So the city of Davis wants to benefit from property taxes, but does not want to provide a school or any other necessary services. What does the West Village community get out of the deal?

  2. Anonymous

    As I recall, the design of the West Village community does not provide direct access to the adjacient Davis community. So the city of Davis wants to benefit from property taxes, but does not want to provide a school or any other necessary services. What does the West Village community get out of the deal?

  3. Anonymous

    As I recall, the design of the West Village community does not provide direct access to the adjacient Davis community. So the city of Davis wants to benefit from property taxes, but does not want to provide a school or any other necessary services. What does the West Village community get out of the deal?

  4. Anonymous

    As I recall, the design of the West Village community does not provide direct access to the adjacient Davis community. So the city of Davis wants to benefit from property taxes, but does not want to provide a school or any other necessary services. What does the West Village community get out of the deal?

  5. Vincente

    You’d have access to Russell through La Rue. Is that the point?

    Is the university going to provide schools?

    The West Village community for one thing would get to vote in city elections.

  6. Vincente

    You’d have access to Russell through La Rue. Is that the point?

    Is the university going to provide schools?

    The West Village community for one thing would get to vote in city elections.

  7. Vincente

    You’d have access to Russell through La Rue. Is that the point?

    Is the university going to provide schools?

    The West Village community for one thing would get to vote in city elections.

  8. Vincente

    You’d have access to Russell through La Rue. Is that the point?

    Is the university going to provide schools?

    The West Village community for one thing would get to vote in city elections.

  9. davisite

    Could the reluctance to openly support future annexation of West Village be related to it then considered a potential portion of the city’s growth numbers? Leaving it ambiguous allows the Steering Committee(Council) majority to attempt to finesse it in its formulations.

  10. davisite

    Could the reluctance to openly support future annexation of West Village be related to it then considered a potential portion of the city’s growth numbers? Leaving it ambiguous allows the Steering Committee(Council) majority to attempt to finesse it in its formulations.

  11. davisite

    Could the reluctance to openly support future annexation of West Village be related to it then considered a potential portion of the city’s growth numbers? Leaving it ambiguous allows the Steering Committee(Council) majority to attempt to finesse it in its formulations.

  12. davisite

    Could the reluctance to openly support future annexation of West Village be related to it then considered a potential portion of the city’s growth numbers? Leaving it ambiguous allows the Steering Committee(Council) majority to attempt to finesse it in its formulations.

  13. Anonymous

    16 votes for Doug Paul to go to jail, taking up 48% of the total.
    Uh, oh. Serious numbers. Good thing the jails are overcrowded. Just kidding.
    But some of those other blog guys Rexroad polled about ought to get busted by the what Herb Caen used to jokingly refer to as his
    Aprostrophe Posse (they started out wrangling errant punctuation marks and then moved on to grammar…)

  14. Anonymous

    16 votes for Doug Paul to go to jail, taking up 48% of the total.
    Uh, oh. Serious numbers. Good thing the jails are overcrowded. Just kidding.
    But some of those other blog guys Rexroad polled about ought to get busted by the what Herb Caen used to jokingly refer to as his
    Aprostrophe Posse (they started out wrangling errant punctuation marks and then moved on to grammar…)

  15. Anonymous

    16 votes for Doug Paul to go to jail, taking up 48% of the total.
    Uh, oh. Serious numbers. Good thing the jails are overcrowded. Just kidding.
    But some of those other blog guys Rexroad polled about ought to get busted by the what Herb Caen used to jokingly refer to as his
    Aprostrophe Posse (they started out wrangling errant punctuation marks and then moved on to grammar…)

  16. Anonymous

    16 votes for Doug Paul to go to jail, taking up 48% of the total.
    Uh, oh. Serious numbers. Good thing the jails are overcrowded. Just kidding.
    But some of those other blog guys Rexroad polled about ought to get busted by the what Herb Caen used to jokingly refer to as his
    Aprostrophe Posse (they started out wrangling errant punctuation marks and then moved on to grammar…)

  17. Brian J. Kenyon

    And some of those local yokel
    blogger cowboys are too habitually lazy to hit “Spellcheck” before sending.
    Unlike People’s Vanguard’s
    estimable author.

  18. Brian J. Kenyon

    And some of those local yokel
    blogger cowboys are too habitually lazy to hit “Spellcheck” before sending.
    Unlike People’s Vanguard’s
    estimable author.

  19. Brian J. Kenyon

    And some of those local yokel
    blogger cowboys are too habitually lazy to hit “Spellcheck” before sending.
    Unlike People’s Vanguard’s
    estimable author.

  20. Brian J. Kenyon

    And some of those local yokel
    blogger cowboys are too habitually lazy to hit “Spellcheck” before sending.
    Unlike People’s Vanguard’s
    estimable author.

  21. Rich Rifkin

    “I had made several requests of the city manager to place such a discussion on the long-range calendar, to no avail.”

    I didn’t understand this. Does one council member have the authority to make such a request of city staff? And if so, how could Bill Emlen ignore Sue’s request?

    It seems like either Sue’s request must be beyond her authority or that the city manager is being negligent: either way, it’s not good, though the latter is far worse than the latter.

    “I feel strongly that the faculty, staff and student residents of this new neighborhood, which will be built adjacent to our city, be full participants in our community and its civic life, rather than an enclave in the unincorporated county.”

    That’s a reasonable and understandable position. However, it must be said that the people who live in El Macero, the Binning Tract, near the Davis Golf Course, and in Willobank have for many years been in this same position, without causing problems (I assume) for themselves or the city.

  22. Rich Rifkin

    “I had made several requests of the city manager to place such a discussion on the long-range calendar, to no avail.”

    I didn’t understand this. Does one council member have the authority to make such a request of city staff? And if so, how could Bill Emlen ignore Sue’s request?

    It seems like either Sue’s request must be beyond her authority or that the city manager is being negligent: either way, it’s not good, though the latter is far worse than the latter.

    “I feel strongly that the faculty, staff and student residents of this new neighborhood, which will be built adjacent to our city, be full participants in our community and its civic life, rather than an enclave in the unincorporated county.”

    That’s a reasonable and understandable position. However, it must be said that the people who live in El Macero, the Binning Tract, near the Davis Golf Course, and in Willobank have for many years been in this same position, without causing problems (I assume) for themselves or the city.

  23. Rich Rifkin

    “I had made several requests of the city manager to place such a discussion on the long-range calendar, to no avail.”

    I didn’t understand this. Does one council member have the authority to make such a request of city staff? And if so, how could Bill Emlen ignore Sue’s request?

    It seems like either Sue’s request must be beyond her authority or that the city manager is being negligent: either way, it’s not good, though the latter is far worse than the latter.

    “I feel strongly that the faculty, staff and student residents of this new neighborhood, which will be built adjacent to our city, be full participants in our community and its civic life, rather than an enclave in the unincorporated county.”

    That’s a reasonable and understandable position. However, it must be said that the people who live in El Macero, the Binning Tract, near the Davis Golf Course, and in Willobank have for many years been in this same position, without causing problems (I assume) for themselves or the city.

  24. Rich Rifkin

    “I had made several requests of the city manager to place such a discussion on the long-range calendar, to no avail.”

    I didn’t understand this. Does one council member have the authority to make such a request of city staff? And if so, how could Bill Emlen ignore Sue’s request?

    It seems like either Sue’s request must be beyond her authority or that the city manager is being negligent: either way, it’s not good, though the latter is far worse than the latter.

    “I feel strongly that the faculty, staff and student residents of this new neighborhood, which will be built adjacent to our city, be full participants in our community and its civic life, rather than an enclave in the unincorporated county.”

    That’s a reasonable and understandable position. However, it must be said that the people who live in El Macero, the Binning Tract, near the Davis Golf Course, and in Willobank have for many years been in this same position, without causing problems (I assume) for themselves or the city.

  25. Brian J. Kenyon

    Rich Rifkin wrote regarding the
    City Manager not following up with
    a City Councilwoman’s request, or,
    he says, vice versa:

    “…it’s not good, though the latter is far worse than the latter.”

    I would ask, “And the devil take the hindmost?”

  26. Brian J. Kenyon

    Rich Rifkin wrote regarding the
    City Manager not following up with
    a City Councilwoman’s request, or,
    he says, vice versa:

    “…it’s not good, though the latter is far worse than the latter.”

    I would ask, “And the devil take the hindmost?”

  27. Brian J. Kenyon

    Rich Rifkin wrote regarding the
    City Manager not following up with
    a City Councilwoman’s request, or,
    he says, vice versa:

    “…it’s not good, though the latter is far worse than the latter.”

    I would ask, “And the devil take the hindmost?”

  28. Brian J. Kenyon

    Rich Rifkin wrote regarding the
    City Manager not following up with
    a City Councilwoman’s request, or,
    he says, vice versa:

    “…it’s not good, though the latter is far worse than the latter.”

    I would ask, “And the devil take the hindmost?”

  29. Anonymous

    Toward the west on the bike path, shaded by giant walnut trees on the noisy outskirts of Davis, a timeless vista sweeps to the Coast Range rising on the horizon. In late September, the furrowed fields have been harvested, and stubble is sprinkled across the warm, brown earth.

    It is a familiar sight for James Campbell, whose family owned this land–bordered by Highway 113, Russell Boulevard and Putah Creek–from the late 19th century until 1951. Campbell’s grandfather, also named James, planted the two-mile row of native black walnut trees in the 1890s.

    “We used to run sheep here after harvesting wheat and barley. They fed on the stubble and native fodder. We didn’t waste a thing. Farming can be such a gamble. You have to take advantage wherever you can,” Campbell said. “One thing for sure, though: We were blessed with some of the finest soil anywhere in the world.”

    Complex geological forces have shaped the amazingly fertile soil for thousands of years, but time may be running out. In anticipation of an influx of thousands of new students, faculty and staff, the University of California at Davis is considering plans to pave over the land in the course of building tract homes.

    Ironically, the UC Board of Regents legally condemned the Campbell farm in 1951 because the university coveted the rich soil for agricultural research. Legally speaking, “condemnation” is part of a process in which the right of eminent domain is exercised and enables a public institution to acquire private property.

    Basically, in such situations, the court decides that public use of private property would serve the public better and determines compensation be paid to the property’s owner. Campbell still remembers these events vividly. He said agents acting on behalf of the regents first approached his aunt Antonia to ask whether she’d sell.

    “They offered her a ridiculously low price: about $300 an acre, what my grandfather paid for that land in 1916. She was riled up to no end at that value. She turned them down flat,” he recalled.

    The regents soon took the Campbells to court. Two trials ensued and dragged on for many months. During the first trial, the Campbells opposed the condemnation and lost. However, at the second, the Campbells won much higher compensation than the regents had offered at the outset.

    “Turns out the regents based their valuation on soil north of Russell Boulevard,” Campbell explained. “The judge ordered an independent appraisal and discovered that that soil was inferior to the soil on our property. So, we ended up getting paid more than twice what the regents offered.”

    The fertility of the soil on the former Campbell property comes with an ancient, faraway pedigree. Forming the western border of the Sacramento Valley, the Coast Range rises astride the San Andreas fault, at which the Pacific tectonic plate has, for eons, slipped under the North American plate and caused the occasional earthquake. The Coast Range is sea bottom scraped off and built up on the edge of the North American plate.

    As local farmer and author Mike Madison said, “Before Montecello Dam was built, creating Lake Berryessa, Putah Creek flooded every few years for eons. Land that would become the Campbell farm is what is known geologically as an alluvial fan, which marks the extent of the floodwaters.” Madison’s book A Sense of Order: The Rural Landscape of Lower Putah Creek was published this year.

    The creek carried material that once had formed sea bottom down from the heights of the Coast Range to create well-drained sandy loam. Madison, who also farms land along Russell Boulevard, said he’s jealous of the university for owning the former Campbell farm. “They own soil the equal of any in California. Because, in addition to it being virgin soil, never farmed before settlers arrived a hundred years ago, you have that great drainage,” he said.

    The main problem plaguing farmers who own land beyond the Putah Creek alluvial fan, Madison said, is “hardpan,” a layer of clay that can lurk just a few feet below the surface. This virtually impermeable layer prevents water from dissipating down from the surface.

    “Within the city of Davis, just across Highway 113, the hardpan is so close to the surface that, during the winter rainy season, water will build up so much pressure that it will crack sidewalks and the concrete slabs prefab homes are built on,” Madison said. On farmland, though, surface-water buildup causes root rot in orchard trees and many types of crops.

    In its Yolo County Soil Survey of 1972, the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service determined that the Campbell property consisted of soil types that could support virtually any type of cultivated plant, from orchard trees to grass. So incredibly fertile is this soil that, back in 1905, it almost derailed efforts to locate University Farm (which became UC Davis) in Davis. As debate raged in the California Legislature that year, Eugene W. Hilgard, then dean of the UC College of Agriculture, came out strongly against the Davis site.

    He felt University Farm should be located in Alameda County. Hilgard felt that agriculture students, who eventually would be responsible for advising farmers around the state, ought to learn on land that offered a bit of a challenge. Writing about locating University Farm in Davis, Hilgard stated, “It is evidently intended to be land on which any fool can be a farmer, regardless of the real needs of instruction and experimentation.”

    Peter J. Shields, chief lobbyist for moving University Farm to Davis, waxed poetic–and, in retrospect, perhaps ironic, considering current UC Davis development plans–when he thanked the Legislature in a 1906 speech for its approval. “How fair is [this land] … covered with a miracle of green and laden with plenty, the winds of her perpetual summer will blow over her fields of perpetual bloom,” he said.

    Today, a fascinating and vital array of research projects occupies the former Campbell farm. Jim Jackson, superintendent of the Vegetable Crops Field Headquarters located in the center of the property, said UC Davis agriculture professors take full advantage of the fertile soil and conduct hundreds of long- and short-term research projects.

    “The sandy loam here is an ideal situation for the type of crops we’re experimenting with. There’s tons of things going on right now,” he said.

    Vegetables being studied on plots scattered around the property currently include tomatoes, celery, asparagus, artichokes, sweet corn, lettuce, broccoli and garlic. Other research projects include almonds, wheat and other orchard and grain crops. In addition, there have been a couple of promising experiments in re-introducing native grasses onto the former Campbell farm.

    Jackson believes the key to the property’s successful track record in developing crops that are more abundant, hardy and resistant to pests is the fact that “this is some of the most intensively studied and documented ag land in California.”

    The rich knowledge and fertility steeped in this miraculous sandy loam may be lost forever if current UC Davis plans for expansion are approved.

    Faced with a massive projected increase of students, which officials anticipate will bring the average student population during three quarters from approximately 22,887 in the 1999-2000 school year to approximately 29,500 by the 2014-2015 school year, UC Davis planners are considering several different development scenarios.

    UC Davis planner Carl Mohr has been involved with this process, officially called the Long Range Development Plan, since its inception several years ago. “As far as building on the ag land west of Highway 113 and south of Russell Boulevard, we are still evaluating its viability,” Mohr said.

    The university held public workshops last May at which it presented two massive “Neighborhood Alternative” plans for building dorms for students and building housing for faculty and staff on the former Campbell property. Since then, the university has come under fire from community activists and concerned Davis residents.

    Noting the alternatives cover either 378.1 acres or 259 acres of the fertile soil with housing for 6,250 or 5,250 residents respectively, Madison, who attended all the workshops, summed up what he described as many citizens’ concerns: “These alternative neighborhood plans are land-wasteful ideas straight out of the 1950s. The planners are kowtowing to the automobile once again. Those subdivisions they are promoting will be 40 percent asphalt. They need to boost that dwelling-unit-per-acre figure, factor out the automobile as much as possible.”

    Mohr said that, in response to the criticism, university officials’ thinking has evolved during the summer. He said campus planners are considering alternatives to building on the former Campbell farm.

    “That land is still in play, but we’re also looking at alternative scenarios to handle the projected influx,” Mohr said. “It’s a zero-sum game: For every acre we don’t build on that land, we have to find an equivalent acre somewhere else.”

    The problem is that few acres of soil on campus land are comparable to the wonderful soil on the Campbell parcel. Since last May, many agricultural researchers have made the value of the land known to planners. As Jackson said, with deliberate understatement, “Moving these long-term research projects would be disruptive.”

    Diverse forces and attitudes are driving planners to consider building traditional sprawling subdivisions for faculty and staff and to consider building low-rise student housing on the former Campbell farm. One perceived need has been to build on a scale that’s in keeping with Davis’ small-town ambience.

    “We don’t believe high-rises would work here for two reasons,” Mohr said. “With high-rises, we’d have to build so many parking structures that their cost would drive rents in the high-rises out of the affordable range.”

    Planners also don’t want to duplicate other schools’ experiences, in which high-density student-housing facilities become a magnet for destructive partying, something planners dubbed the “Isla Vista effect” after the notorious community of UC Santa Barbara students.

    Proximity is another consideration making it difficult for the UC Davis planners to let go of the idea of building on the former Campbell land. Since the beginning of the planning process, Mohr said, students, faculty and staff have made clear they want new housing to be close to the core campus, preferably within walking distance.

    Current thinking among UC Davis planners is based on the assumption that, with the housing crunch in Davis driving house prices higher and higher, not building west of Highway 113 would mean that most new faculty and staff would have to live elsewhere and commute. But critics contend the university should grow smart, instead of just sprawling out.

    “The ideal for 1950s subdivision planners was a car in every garage and a front and backyard for every house,” Madison said. “Do we really need to inflict that outworn model on a 21st-century campus if it means paving over this miraculous soil? Let UCD tap into the cutting-edge research being done by architecture and urban-planning faculty throughout the UC system and come up with alternatives to taking that land out of circulation.”

    Madison believes a less land-wasteful plan could be developed to accommodate the anticipated campus population increases by building on vacant land in the core campus east of Highway 113. The key, Madison said, is finding creative ways to build viable high-rises that fulfill UC Davis planners’ goals as stated by John Meyer, vice-chancellor for resource management and planning.

    Meyer said, “We want to grow in a way that preserves and enhances the best characteristics of our campus and community. Davis’ college-town character is an asset we don’t want to lose. The campus and the city both benefit when our students, faculty and staff live in and are part of the community.”

    Asked what he’d like to see done on the land that was formerly his family’s farm, Campbell said, “They took it for ag research. I don’t think they ought to change their minds now.”

  30. Anonymous

    Toward the west on the bike path, shaded by giant walnut trees on the noisy outskirts of Davis, a timeless vista sweeps to the Coast Range rising on the horizon. In late September, the furrowed fields have been harvested, and stubble is sprinkled across the warm, brown earth.

    It is a familiar sight for James Campbell, whose family owned this land–bordered by Highway 113, Russell Boulevard and Putah Creek–from the late 19th century until 1951. Campbell’s grandfather, also named James, planted the two-mile row of native black walnut trees in the 1890s.

    “We used to run sheep here after harvesting wheat and barley. They fed on the stubble and native fodder. We didn’t waste a thing. Farming can be such a gamble. You have to take advantage wherever you can,” Campbell said. “One thing for sure, though: We were blessed with some of the finest soil anywhere in the world.”

    Complex geological forces have shaped the amazingly fertile soil for thousands of years, but time may be running out. In anticipation of an influx of thousands of new students, faculty and staff, the University of California at Davis is considering plans to pave over the land in the course of building tract homes.

    Ironically, the UC Board of Regents legally condemned the Campbell farm in 1951 because the university coveted the rich soil for agricultural research. Legally speaking, “condemnation” is part of a process in which the right of eminent domain is exercised and enables a public institution to acquire private property.

    Basically, in such situations, the court decides that public use of private property would serve the public better and determines compensation be paid to the property’s owner. Campbell still remembers these events vividly. He said agents acting on behalf of the regents first approached his aunt Antonia to ask whether she’d sell.

    “They offered her a ridiculously low price: about $300 an acre, what my grandfather paid for that land in 1916. She was riled up to no end at that value. She turned them down flat,” he recalled.

    The regents soon took the Campbells to court. Two trials ensued and dragged on for many months. During the first trial, the Campbells opposed the condemnation and lost. However, at the second, the Campbells won much higher compensation than the regents had offered at the outset.

    “Turns out the regents based their valuation on soil north of Russell Boulevard,” Campbell explained. “The judge ordered an independent appraisal and discovered that that soil was inferior to the soil on our property. So, we ended up getting paid more than twice what the regents offered.”

    The fertility of the soil on the former Campbell property comes with an ancient, faraway pedigree. Forming the western border of the Sacramento Valley, the Coast Range rises astride the San Andreas fault, at which the Pacific tectonic plate has, for eons, slipped under the North American plate and caused the occasional earthquake. The Coast Range is sea bottom scraped off and built up on the edge of the North American plate.

    As local farmer and author Mike Madison said, “Before Montecello Dam was built, creating Lake Berryessa, Putah Creek flooded every few years for eons. Land that would become the Campbell farm is what is known geologically as an alluvial fan, which marks the extent of the floodwaters.” Madison’s book A Sense of Order: The Rural Landscape of Lower Putah Creek was published this year.

    The creek carried material that once had formed sea bottom down from the heights of the Coast Range to create well-drained sandy loam. Madison, who also farms land along Russell Boulevard, said he’s jealous of the university for owning the former Campbell farm. “They own soil the equal of any in California. Because, in addition to it being virgin soil, never farmed before settlers arrived a hundred years ago, you have that great drainage,” he said.

    The main problem plaguing farmers who own land beyond the Putah Creek alluvial fan, Madison said, is “hardpan,” a layer of clay that can lurk just a few feet below the surface. This virtually impermeable layer prevents water from dissipating down from the surface.

    “Within the city of Davis, just across Highway 113, the hardpan is so close to the surface that, during the winter rainy season, water will build up so much pressure that it will crack sidewalks and the concrete slabs prefab homes are built on,” Madison said. On farmland, though, surface-water buildup causes root rot in orchard trees and many types of crops.

    In its Yolo County Soil Survey of 1972, the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service determined that the Campbell property consisted of soil types that could support virtually any type of cultivated plant, from orchard trees to grass. So incredibly fertile is this soil that, back in 1905, it almost derailed efforts to locate University Farm (which became UC Davis) in Davis. As debate raged in the California Legislature that year, Eugene W. Hilgard, then dean of the UC College of Agriculture, came out strongly against the Davis site.

    He felt University Farm should be located in Alameda County. Hilgard felt that agriculture students, who eventually would be responsible for advising farmers around the state, ought to learn on land that offered a bit of a challenge. Writing about locating University Farm in Davis, Hilgard stated, “It is evidently intended to be land on which any fool can be a farmer, regardless of the real needs of instruction and experimentation.”

    Peter J. Shields, chief lobbyist for moving University Farm to Davis, waxed poetic–and, in retrospect, perhaps ironic, considering current UC Davis development plans–when he thanked the Legislature in a 1906 speech for its approval. “How fair is [this land] … covered with a miracle of green and laden with plenty, the winds of her perpetual summer will blow over her fields of perpetual bloom,” he said.

    Today, a fascinating and vital array of research projects occupies the former Campbell farm. Jim Jackson, superintendent of the Vegetable Crops Field Headquarters located in the center of the property, said UC Davis agriculture professors take full advantage of the fertile soil and conduct hundreds of long- and short-term research projects.

    “The sandy loam here is an ideal situation for the type of crops we’re experimenting with. There’s tons of things going on right now,” he said.

    Vegetables being studied on plots scattered around the property currently include tomatoes, celery, asparagus, artichokes, sweet corn, lettuce, broccoli and garlic. Other research projects include almonds, wheat and other orchard and grain crops. In addition, there have been a couple of promising experiments in re-introducing native grasses onto the former Campbell farm.

    Jackson believes the key to the property’s successful track record in developing crops that are more abundant, hardy and resistant to pests is the fact that “this is some of the most intensively studied and documented ag land in California.”

    The rich knowledge and fertility steeped in this miraculous sandy loam may be lost forever if current UC Davis plans for expansion are approved.

    Faced with a massive projected increase of students, which officials anticipate will bring the average student population during three quarters from approximately 22,887 in the 1999-2000 school year to approximately 29,500 by the 2014-2015 school year, UC Davis planners are considering several different development scenarios.

    UC Davis planner Carl Mohr has been involved with this process, officially called the Long Range Development Plan, since its inception several years ago. “As far as building on the ag land west of Highway 113 and south of Russell Boulevard, we are still evaluating its viability,” Mohr said.

    The university held public workshops last May at which it presented two massive “Neighborhood Alternative” plans for building dorms for students and building housing for faculty and staff on the former Campbell property. Since then, the university has come under fire from community activists and concerned Davis residents.

    Noting the alternatives cover either 378.1 acres or 259 acres of the fertile soil with housing for 6,250 or 5,250 residents respectively, Madison, who attended all the workshops, summed up what he described as many citizens’ concerns: “These alternative neighborhood plans are land-wasteful ideas straight out of the 1950s. The planners are kowtowing to the automobile once again. Those subdivisions they are promoting will be 40 percent asphalt. They need to boost that dwelling-unit-per-acre figure, factor out the automobile as much as possible.”

    Mohr said that, in response to the criticism, university officials’ thinking has evolved during the summer. He said campus planners are considering alternatives to building on the former Campbell farm.

    “That land is still in play, but we’re also looking at alternative scenarios to handle the projected influx,” Mohr said. “It’s a zero-sum game: For every acre we don’t build on that land, we have to find an equivalent acre somewhere else.”

    The problem is that few acres of soil on campus land are comparable to the wonderful soil on the Campbell parcel. Since last May, many agricultural researchers have made the value of the land known to planners. As Jackson said, with deliberate understatement, “Moving these long-term research projects would be disruptive.”

    Diverse forces and attitudes are driving planners to consider building traditional sprawling subdivisions for faculty and staff and to consider building low-rise student housing on the former Campbell farm. One perceived need has been to build on a scale that’s in keeping with Davis’ small-town ambience.

    “We don’t believe high-rises would work here for two reasons,” Mohr said. “With high-rises, we’d have to build so many parking structures that their cost would drive rents in the high-rises out of the affordable range.”

    Planners also don’t want to duplicate other schools’ experiences, in which high-density student-housing facilities become a magnet for destructive partying, something planners dubbed the “Isla Vista effect” after the notorious community of UC Santa Barbara students.

    Proximity is another consideration making it difficult for the UC Davis planners to let go of the idea of building on the former Campbell land. Since the beginning of the planning process, Mohr said, students, faculty and staff have made clear they want new housing to be close to the core campus, preferably within walking distance.

    Current thinking among UC Davis planners is based on the assumption that, with the housing crunch in Davis driving house prices higher and higher, not building west of Highway 113 would mean that most new faculty and staff would have to live elsewhere and commute. But critics contend the university should grow smart, instead of just sprawling out.

    “The ideal for 1950s subdivision planners was a car in every garage and a front and backyard for every house,” Madison said. “Do we really need to inflict that outworn model on a 21st-century campus if it means paving over this miraculous soil? Let UCD tap into the cutting-edge research being done by architecture and urban-planning faculty throughout the UC system and come up with alternatives to taking that land out of circulation.”

    Madison believes a less land-wasteful plan could be developed to accommodate the anticipated campus population increases by building on vacant land in the core campus east of Highway 113. The key, Madison said, is finding creative ways to build viable high-rises that fulfill UC Davis planners’ goals as stated by John Meyer, vice-chancellor for resource management and planning.

    Meyer said, “We want to grow in a way that preserves and enhances the best characteristics of our campus and community. Davis’ college-town character is an asset we don’t want to lose. The campus and the city both benefit when our students, faculty and staff live in and are part of the community.”

    Asked what he’d like to see done on the land that was formerly his family’s farm, Campbell said, “They took it for ag research. I don’t think they ought to change their minds now.”

  31. Anonymous

    Toward the west on the bike path, shaded by giant walnut trees on the noisy outskirts of Davis, a timeless vista sweeps to the Coast Range rising on the horizon. In late September, the furrowed fields have been harvested, and stubble is sprinkled across the warm, brown earth.

    It is a familiar sight for James Campbell, whose family owned this land–bordered by Highway 113, Russell Boulevard and Putah Creek–from the late 19th century until 1951. Campbell’s grandfather, also named James, planted the two-mile row of native black walnut trees in the 1890s.

    “We used to run sheep here after harvesting wheat and barley. They fed on the stubble and native fodder. We didn’t waste a thing. Farming can be such a gamble. You have to take advantage wherever you can,” Campbell said. “One thing for sure, though: We were blessed with some of the finest soil anywhere in the world.”

    Complex geological forces have shaped the amazingly fertile soil for thousands of years, but time may be running out. In anticipation of an influx of thousands of new students, faculty and staff, the University of California at Davis is considering plans to pave over the land in the course of building tract homes.

    Ironically, the UC Board of Regents legally condemned the Campbell farm in 1951 because the university coveted the rich soil for agricultural research. Legally speaking, “condemnation” is part of a process in which the right of eminent domain is exercised and enables a public institution to acquire private property.

    Basically, in such situations, the court decides that public use of private property would serve the public better and determines compensation be paid to the property’s owner. Campbell still remembers these events vividly. He said agents acting on behalf of the regents first approached his aunt Antonia to ask whether she’d sell.

    “They offered her a ridiculously low price: about $300 an acre, what my grandfather paid for that land in 1916. She was riled up to no end at that value. She turned them down flat,” he recalled.

    The regents soon took the Campbells to court. Two trials ensued and dragged on for many months. During the first trial, the Campbells opposed the condemnation and lost. However, at the second, the Campbells won much higher compensation than the regents had offered at the outset.

    “Turns out the regents based their valuation on soil north of Russell Boulevard,” Campbell explained. “The judge ordered an independent appraisal and discovered that that soil was inferior to the soil on our property. So, we ended up getting paid more than twice what the regents offered.”

    The fertility of the soil on the former Campbell property comes with an ancient, faraway pedigree. Forming the western border of the Sacramento Valley, the Coast Range rises astride the San Andreas fault, at which the Pacific tectonic plate has, for eons, slipped under the North American plate and caused the occasional earthquake. The Coast Range is sea bottom scraped off and built up on the edge of the North American plate.

    As local farmer and author Mike Madison said, “Before Montecello Dam was built, creating Lake Berryessa, Putah Creek flooded every few years for eons. Land that would become the Campbell farm is what is known geologically as an alluvial fan, which marks the extent of the floodwaters.” Madison’s book A Sense of Order: The Rural Landscape of Lower Putah Creek was published this year.

    The creek carried material that once had formed sea bottom down from the heights of the Coast Range to create well-drained sandy loam. Madison, who also farms land along Russell Boulevard, said he’s jealous of the university for owning the former Campbell farm. “They own soil the equal of any in California. Because, in addition to it being virgin soil, never farmed before settlers arrived a hundred years ago, you have that great drainage,” he said.

    The main problem plaguing farmers who own land beyond the Putah Creek alluvial fan, Madison said, is “hardpan,” a layer of clay that can lurk just a few feet below the surface. This virtually impermeable layer prevents water from dissipating down from the surface.

    “Within the city of Davis, just across Highway 113, the hardpan is so close to the surface that, during the winter rainy season, water will build up so much pressure that it will crack sidewalks and the concrete slabs prefab homes are built on,” Madison said. On farmland, though, surface-water buildup causes root rot in orchard trees and many types of crops.

    In its Yolo County Soil Survey of 1972, the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service determined that the Campbell property consisted of soil types that could support virtually any type of cultivated plant, from orchard trees to grass. So incredibly fertile is this soil that, back in 1905, it almost derailed efforts to locate University Farm (which became UC Davis) in Davis. As debate raged in the California Legislature that year, Eugene W. Hilgard, then dean of the UC College of Agriculture, came out strongly against the Davis site.

    He felt University Farm should be located in Alameda County. Hilgard felt that agriculture students, who eventually would be responsible for advising farmers around the state, ought to learn on land that offered a bit of a challenge. Writing about locating University Farm in Davis, Hilgard stated, “It is evidently intended to be land on which any fool can be a farmer, regardless of the real needs of instruction and experimentation.”

    Peter J. Shields, chief lobbyist for moving University Farm to Davis, waxed poetic–and, in retrospect, perhaps ironic, considering current UC Davis development plans–when he thanked the Legislature in a 1906 speech for its approval. “How fair is [this land] … covered with a miracle of green and laden with plenty, the winds of her perpetual summer will blow over her fields of perpetual bloom,” he said.

    Today, a fascinating and vital array of research projects occupies the former Campbell farm. Jim Jackson, superintendent of the Vegetable Crops Field Headquarters located in the center of the property, said UC Davis agriculture professors take full advantage of the fertile soil and conduct hundreds of long- and short-term research projects.

    “The sandy loam here is an ideal situation for the type of crops we’re experimenting with. There’s tons of things going on right now,” he said.

    Vegetables being studied on plots scattered around the property currently include tomatoes, celery, asparagus, artichokes, sweet corn, lettuce, broccoli and garlic. Other research projects include almonds, wheat and other orchard and grain crops. In addition, there have been a couple of promising experiments in re-introducing native grasses onto the former Campbell farm.

    Jackson believes the key to the property’s successful track record in developing crops that are more abundant, hardy and resistant to pests is the fact that “this is some of the most intensively studied and documented ag land in California.”

    The rich knowledge and fertility steeped in this miraculous sandy loam may be lost forever if current UC Davis plans for expansion are approved.

    Faced with a massive projected increase of students, which officials anticipate will bring the average student population during three quarters from approximately 22,887 in the 1999-2000 school year to approximately 29,500 by the 2014-2015 school year, UC Davis planners are considering several different development scenarios.

    UC Davis planner Carl Mohr has been involved with this process, officially called the Long Range Development Plan, since its inception several years ago. “As far as building on the ag land west of Highway 113 and south of Russell Boulevard, we are still evaluating its viability,” Mohr said.

    The university held public workshops last May at which it presented two massive “Neighborhood Alternative” plans for building dorms for students and building housing for faculty and staff on the former Campbell property. Since then, the university has come under fire from community activists and concerned Davis residents.

    Noting the alternatives cover either 378.1 acres or 259 acres of the fertile soil with housing for 6,250 or 5,250 residents respectively, Madison, who attended all the workshops, summed up what he described as many citizens’ concerns: “These alternative neighborhood plans are land-wasteful ideas straight out of the 1950s. The planners are kowtowing to the automobile once again. Those subdivisions they are promoting will be 40 percent asphalt. They need to boost that dwelling-unit-per-acre figure, factor out the automobile as much as possible.”

    Mohr said that, in response to the criticism, university officials’ thinking has evolved during the summer. He said campus planners are considering alternatives to building on the former Campbell farm.

    “That land is still in play, but we’re also looking at alternative scenarios to handle the projected influx,” Mohr said. “It’s a zero-sum game: For every acre we don’t build on that land, we have to find an equivalent acre somewhere else.”

    The problem is that few acres of soil on campus land are comparable to the wonderful soil on the Campbell parcel. Since last May, many agricultural researchers have made the value of the land known to planners. As Jackson said, with deliberate understatement, “Moving these long-term research projects would be disruptive.”

    Diverse forces and attitudes are driving planners to consider building traditional sprawling subdivisions for faculty and staff and to consider building low-rise student housing on the former Campbell farm. One perceived need has been to build on a scale that’s in keeping with Davis’ small-town ambience.

    “We don’t believe high-rises would work here for two reasons,” Mohr said. “With high-rises, we’d have to build so many parking structures that their cost would drive rents in the high-rises out of the affordable range.”

    Planners also don’t want to duplicate other schools’ experiences, in which high-density student-housing facilities become a magnet for destructive partying, something planners dubbed the “Isla Vista effect” after the notorious community of UC Santa Barbara students.

    Proximity is another consideration making it difficult for the UC Davis planners to let go of the idea of building on the former Campbell land. Since the beginning of the planning process, Mohr said, students, faculty and staff have made clear they want new housing to be close to the core campus, preferably within walking distance.

    Current thinking among UC Davis planners is based on the assumption that, with the housing crunch in Davis driving house prices higher and higher, not building west of Highway 113 would mean that most new faculty and staff would have to live elsewhere and commute. But critics contend the university should grow smart, instead of just sprawling out.

    “The ideal for 1950s subdivision planners was a car in every garage and a front and backyard for every house,” Madison said. “Do we really need to inflict that outworn model on a 21st-century campus if it means paving over this miraculous soil? Let UCD tap into the cutting-edge research being done by architecture and urban-planning faculty throughout the UC system and come up with alternatives to taking that land out of circulation.”

    Madison believes a less land-wasteful plan could be developed to accommodate the anticipated campus population increases by building on vacant land in the core campus east of Highway 113. The key, Madison said, is finding creative ways to build viable high-rises that fulfill UC Davis planners’ goals as stated by John Meyer, vice-chancellor for resource management and planning.

    Meyer said, “We want to grow in a way that preserves and enhances the best characteristics of our campus and community. Davis’ college-town character is an asset we don’t want to lose. The campus and the city both benefit when our students, faculty and staff live in and are part of the community.”

    Asked what he’d like to see done on the land that was formerly his family’s farm, Campbell said, “They took it for ag research. I don’t think they ought to change their minds now.”

  32. Anonymous

    Toward the west on the bike path, shaded by giant walnut trees on the noisy outskirts of Davis, a timeless vista sweeps to the Coast Range rising on the horizon. In late September, the furrowed fields have been harvested, and stubble is sprinkled across the warm, brown earth.

    It is a familiar sight for James Campbell, whose family owned this land–bordered by Highway 113, Russell Boulevard and Putah Creek–from the late 19th century until 1951. Campbell’s grandfather, also named James, planted the two-mile row of native black walnut trees in the 1890s.

    “We used to run sheep here after harvesting wheat and barley. They fed on the stubble and native fodder. We didn’t waste a thing. Farming can be such a gamble. You have to take advantage wherever you can,” Campbell said. “One thing for sure, though: We were blessed with some of the finest soil anywhere in the world.”

    Complex geological forces have shaped the amazingly fertile soil for thousands of years, but time may be running out. In anticipation of an influx of thousands of new students, faculty and staff, the University of California at Davis is considering plans to pave over the land in the course of building tract homes.

    Ironically, the UC Board of Regents legally condemned the Campbell farm in 1951 because the university coveted the rich soil for agricultural research. Legally speaking, “condemnation” is part of a process in which the right of eminent domain is exercised and enables a public institution to acquire private property.

    Basically, in such situations, the court decides that public use of private property would serve the public better and determines compensation be paid to the property’s owner. Campbell still remembers these events vividly. He said agents acting on behalf of the regents first approached his aunt Antonia to ask whether she’d sell.

    “They offered her a ridiculously low price: about $300 an acre, what my grandfather paid for that land in 1916. She was riled up to no end at that value. She turned them down flat,” he recalled.

    The regents soon took the Campbells to court. Two trials ensued and dragged on for many months. During the first trial, the Campbells opposed the condemnation and lost. However, at the second, the Campbells won much higher compensation than the regents had offered at the outset.

    “Turns out the regents based their valuation on soil north of Russell Boulevard,” Campbell explained. “The judge ordered an independent appraisal and discovered that that soil was inferior to the soil on our property. So, we ended up getting paid more than twice what the regents offered.”

    The fertility of the soil on the former Campbell property comes with an ancient, faraway pedigree. Forming the western border of the Sacramento Valley, the Coast Range rises astride the San Andreas fault, at which the Pacific tectonic plate has, for eons, slipped under the North American plate and caused the occasional earthquake. The Coast Range is sea bottom scraped off and built up on the edge of the North American plate.

    As local farmer and author Mike Madison said, “Before Montecello Dam was built, creating Lake Berryessa, Putah Creek flooded every few years for eons. Land that would become the Campbell farm is what is known geologically as an alluvial fan, which marks the extent of the floodwaters.” Madison’s book A Sense of Order: The Rural Landscape of Lower Putah Creek was published this year.

    The creek carried material that once had formed sea bottom down from the heights of the Coast Range to create well-drained sandy loam. Madison, who also farms land along Russell Boulevard, said he’s jealous of the university for owning the former Campbell farm. “They own soil the equal of any in California. Because, in addition to it being virgin soil, never farmed before settlers arrived a hundred years ago, you have that great drainage,” he said.

    The main problem plaguing farmers who own land beyond the Putah Creek alluvial fan, Madison said, is “hardpan,” a layer of clay that can lurk just a few feet below the surface. This virtually impermeable layer prevents water from dissipating down from the surface.

    “Within the city of Davis, just across Highway 113, the hardpan is so close to the surface that, during the winter rainy season, water will build up so much pressure that it will crack sidewalks and the concrete slabs prefab homes are built on,” Madison said. On farmland, though, surface-water buildup causes root rot in orchard trees and many types of crops.

    In its Yolo County Soil Survey of 1972, the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service determined that the Campbell property consisted of soil types that could support virtually any type of cultivated plant, from orchard trees to grass. So incredibly fertile is this soil that, back in 1905, it almost derailed efforts to locate University Farm (which became UC Davis) in Davis. As debate raged in the California Legislature that year, Eugene W. Hilgard, then dean of the UC College of Agriculture, came out strongly against the Davis site.

    He felt University Farm should be located in Alameda County. Hilgard felt that agriculture students, who eventually would be responsible for advising farmers around the state, ought to learn on land that offered a bit of a challenge. Writing about locating University Farm in Davis, Hilgard stated, “It is evidently intended to be land on which any fool can be a farmer, regardless of the real needs of instruction and experimentation.”

    Peter J. Shields, chief lobbyist for moving University Farm to Davis, waxed poetic–and, in retrospect, perhaps ironic, considering current UC Davis development plans–when he thanked the Legislature in a 1906 speech for its approval. “How fair is [this land] … covered with a miracle of green and laden with plenty, the winds of her perpetual summer will blow over her fields of perpetual bloom,” he said.

    Today, a fascinating and vital array of research projects occupies the former Campbell farm. Jim Jackson, superintendent of the Vegetable Crops Field Headquarters located in the center of the property, said UC Davis agriculture professors take full advantage of the fertile soil and conduct hundreds of long- and short-term research projects.

    “The sandy loam here is an ideal situation for the type of crops we’re experimenting with. There’s tons of things going on right now,” he said.

    Vegetables being studied on plots scattered around the property currently include tomatoes, celery, asparagus, artichokes, sweet corn, lettuce, broccoli and garlic. Other research projects include almonds, wheat and other orchard and grain crops. In addition, there have been a couple of promising experiments in re-introducing native grasses onto the former Campbell farm.

    Jackson believes the key to the property’s successful track record in developing crops that are more abundant, hardy and resistant to pests is the fact that “this is some of the most intensively studied and documented ag land in California.”

    The rich knowledge and fertility steeped in this miraculous sandy loam may be lost forever if current UC Davis plans for expansion are approved.

    Faced with a massive projected increase of students, which officials anticipate will bring the average student population during three quarters from approximately 22,887 in the 1999-2000 school year to approximately 29,500 by the 2014-2015 school year, UC Davis planners are considering several different development scenarios.

    UC Davis planner Carl Mohr has been involved with this process, officially called the Long Range Development Plan, since its inception several years ago. “As far as building on the ag land west of Highway 113 and south of Russell Boulevard, we are still evaluating its viability,” Mohr said.

    The university held public workshops last May at which it presented two massive “Neighborhood Alternative” plans for building dorms for students and building housing for faculty and staff on the former Campbell property. Since then, the university has come under fire from community activists and concerned Davis residents.

    Noting the alternatives cover either 378.1 acres or 259 acres of the fertile soil with housing for 6,250 or 5,250 residents respectively, Madison, who attended all the workshops, summed up what he described as many citizens’ concerns: “These alternative neighborhood plans are land-wasteful ideas straight out of the 1950s. The planners are kowtowing to the automobile once again. Those subdivisions they are promoting will be 40 percent asphalt. They need to boost that dwelling-unit-per-acre figure, factor out the automobile as much as possible.”

    Mohr said that, in response to the criticism, university officials’ thinking has evolved during the summer. He said campus planners are considering alternatives to building on the former Campbell farm.

    “That land is still in play, but we’re also looking at alternative scenarios to handle the projected influx,” Mohr said. “It’s a zero-sum game: For every acre we don’t build on that land, we have to find an equivalent acre somewhere else.”

    The problem is that few acres of soil on campus land are comparable to the wonderful soil on the Campbell parcel. Since last May, many agricultural researchers have made the value of the land known to planners. As Jackson said, with deliberate understatement, “Moving these long-term research projects would be disruptive.”

    Diverse forces and attitudes are driving planners to consider building traditional sprawling subdivisions for faculty and staff and to consider building low-rise student housing on the former Campbell farm. One perceived need has been to build on a scale that’s in keeping with Davis’ small-town ambience.

    “We don’t believe high-rises would work here for two reasons,” Mohr said. “With high-rises, we’d have to build so many parking structures that their cost would drive rents in the high-rises out of the affordable range.”

    Planners also don’t want to duplicate other schools’ experiences, in which high-density student-housing facilities become a magnet for destructive partying, something planners dubbed the “Isla Vista effect” after the notorious community of UC Santa Barbara students.

    Proximity is another consideration making it difficult for the UC Davis planners to let go of the idea of building on the former Campbell land. Since the beginning of the planning process, Mohr said, students, faculty and staff have made clear they want new housing to be close to the core campus, preferably within walking distance.

    Current thinking among UC Davis planners is based on the assumption that, with the housing crunch in Davis driving house prices higher and higher, not building west of Highway 113 would mean that most new faculty and staff would have to live elsewhere and commute. But critics contend the university should grow smart, instead of just sprawling out.

    “The ideal for 1950s subdivision planners was a car in every garage and a front and backyard for every house,” Madison said. “Do we really need to inflict that outworn model on a 21st-century campus if it means paving over this miraculous soil? Let UCD tap into the cutting-edge research being done by architecture and urban-planning faculty throughout the UC system and come up with alternatives to taking that land out of circulation.”

    Madison believes a less land-wasteful plan could be developed to accommodate the anticipated campus population increases by building on vacant land in the core campus east of Highway 113. The key, Madison said, is finding creative ways to build viable high-rises that fulfill UC Davis planners’ goals as stated by John Meyer, vice-chancellor for resource management and planning.

    Meyer said, “We want to grow in a way that preserves and enhances the best characteristics of our campus and community. Davis’ college-town character is an asset we don’t want to lose. The campus and the city both benefit when our students, faculty and staff live in and are part of the community.”

    Asked what he’d like to see done on the land that was formerly his family’s farm, Campbell said, “They took it for ag research. I don’t think they ought to change their minds now.”

  33. Rich Rifkin

    “Campbell’s grandfather, also named James, planted the two-mile row of native black walnut trees in the 1890s.”

    What is your source for this claim?

    The reason I ask is because I’ve read in two books that all of those trees were planted by Hugh LaRue, the man who built Arlington Farm, which is today’s West Davis, west of 113.

    Not only did LaRue claim to plant those trees, his house (owned by the Romani family), is still standing, right in front of those black walnuts.

    I’ve never before heard that the Campbells claim to have planted them.

    P.S. While I think it’s a shame to urbanize the Campbell farmland, too, it should be said that the main campus was once all farmland, sold to the UC (somewhat willingly, but not completely) by Martin Sparks.

  34. Rich Rifkin

    “Campbell’s grandfather, also named James, planted the two-mile row of native black walnut trees in the 1890s.”

    What is your source for this claim?

    The reason I ask is because I’ve read in two books that all of those trees were planted by Hugh LaRue, the man who built Arlington Farm, which is today’s West Davis, west of 113.

    Not only did LaRue claim to plant those trees, his house (owned by the Romani family), is still standing, right in front of those black walnuts.

    I’ve never before heard that the Campbells claim to have planted them.

    P.S. While I think it’s a shame to urbanize the Campbell farmland, too, it should be said that the main campus was once all farmland, sold to the UC (somewhat willingly, but not completely) by Martin Sparks.

  35. Rich Rifkin

    “Campbell’s grandfather, also named James, planted the two-mile row of native black walnut trees in the 1890s.”

    What is your source for this claim?

    The reason I ask is because I’ve read in two books that all of those trees were planted by Hugh LaRue, the man who built Arlington Farm, which is today’s West Davis, west of 113.

    Not only did LaRue claim to plant those trees, his house (owned by the Romani family), is still standing, right in front of those black walnuts.

    I’ve never before heard that the Campbells claim to have planted them.

    P.S. While I think it’s a shame to urbanize the Campbell farmland, too, it should be said that the main campus was once all farmland, sold to the UC (somewhat willingly, but not completely) by Martin Sparks.

  36. Rich Rifkin

    “Campbell’s grandfather, also named James, planted the two-mile row of native black walnut trees in the 1890s.”

    What is your source for this claim?

    The reason I ask is because I’ve read in two books that all of those trees were planted by Hugh LaRue, the man who built Arlington Farm, which is today’s West Davis, west of 113.

    Not only did LaRue claim to plant those trees, his house (owned by the Romani family), is still standing, right in front of those black walnuts.

    I’ve never before heard that the Campbells claim to have planted them.

    P.S. While I think it’s a shame to urbanize the Campbell farmland, too, it should be said that the main campus was once all farmland, sold to the UC (somewhat willingly, but not completely) by Martin Sparks.

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