Should Measure J Be Renewed in the form of Measure R?

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Measure-r

Last week, when the League of Women Voters held their forum, they not only had a candidates for with the city council candidates, but they also had the only discussion on Measure Q and Measure J.

Last week, we covered the candidate’s portion of the forum except for one question, which deal with Measure R.  Today we are going to cover that question and then the discussion between Mark Spencer who represented the Yes on R side and former Davis Mayor Jerry Adler who was opposing the renewal of Measure J in Measure R.

Originally the two representatives from the no side were going to be Joseph Whitcombe  and Janet Hamilton, representing CHA.  This was confirmed by the moderator Jean Canary.  However, when they bowed out at the last moment, former Mayor Adler took their place.

The candidates forum question was, “If Measure R passes, what effect positive or negative would it have on the schools?”

Jon Li went first.  “Basically the consequence is that we discontinue growing in Davis in terms of our land inside the city limits.  The consequence of that is (A) our population expansion and our school age population is disappearing.”  So he said, “the demographic that we’re seeing is an increase in population of people over fifty and people over 75.  Those have direct consequences in the kinds of services we provide in the city and consequences on the school district.”  He continued that we have fewer students in school and this has led to problems with ADA and funding.  He added, “Given the results of the Measure J votes we’ve had so far, I don’t think a Measure J type vote in the future will be successful and so the challenge now is to actually either (A) either live with the consequences of that reality… or (B) try to figure out the kind of project that could actually pass.”  His answer is infill, densification, and going to more stories on existing buildings to increase the population without requiring Measure J votes.

Daniel Watts, “I support Measure J not because I’m anti-growth but because I think the people of Davis should have maximum possible impact in the way that their city grows and the way that it develops.  Not that I’m against it being developed but I think that you should have input in the way it develops.  I think that the city of Davis is rational enough so that if a developer comes with a project that you approve of – that’s green enough, has the kind of housing that you want, that’s affordable, that’s connected to public transportation, that’s dense, that’s near downtown, that’s walkable to supermarkets and other entertainment areas – that you will approve of it.”  Then he discussed the issue of young people 18-22 who come here while in college but they do not stay here.  He argues that one reason is their treatment and the lack of friendliness they encounter while they are here leads them to leave Davis.

Joe Krovoza said, “The positives of Measure J are very real for this community.  We have been able to preserve large swaths of open space and that’s a value that we hold dear in this community.”  He said that Measure J “forces us to think about developing closer, using the land that we have.  There’s a whole new paradigm to development that will happen now in the face of climate change.  The closer we put people to where they work, to school, where they shop, it’s going to shorten trips, that’s also good for biking and pedestrians in this town.  So it has a lot of positives to offer.”  He continued, “Sometimes on the dais you have to lead and sometimes you have to kind of respect where the populace is.  It’s been very clear from the P and X folks that the people of this town want slower growth…  It’s been a little bit out of sync with city council.”  He said, he wants to the development in the community to be as driven by staff and community needs as possible.  He wants to focus on workforce housing and keeping the people who work in Davis, living in Davis.  He also talked about the need for greater density.

Rochelle Swanson, “I did support Measure J because I believe in the prioritization of ag land.  I don’t think that that results in there being a ban of projects, but I think it makes us think about smart and good projects.  And I do support Measure R.”  She continued, “I think the consequences are positive in that it gives our community time to really think about how we want to have projects.  I think that we need to think about quality growth, if we’re having to grow that it’s based on guidelines and design review that reflects our values.  I think it’s unfortunate all the efforts that have been put forth on the last two projects…  I think that’s an indication that we are not ready to have an open ended process.”  She said she believes that a very good, quality project could pass a Measure R vote.  “But I think it’s important that we have it there so that we have time as a community working with council and working with staff to really have those guidelines.”

Sydney Vergis said, “Well I came out in support of Measure J in 2008, not much has changed.  I’m supporting Measure R because I see it as an opportunity to get involved in something that affects all of us.”  She continued, “I would like to point out that we are in a recession.  A couple of hundred housing units have been approved, but are not yet built.  West Village is coming in, that’s certainly going to have an impact on our housing market.”  She continued, “Right now we should take a deep breath and start talking about how do we preserve our values in Davis.  Certainly we do live in wonderful bubble, but we’re not really exempt from what’s going on in the rest of the country.”  She said, “During this recession, we should take a deep breath and talk about whether we are providing a range of housing that our young families need in Davis.”  She concluded, “I think now in the slowdown is a good opportunity for those conversations.”

Mark Spencer represented the Yes on Measure R side during the issues debate.  Each side was given six minutes and then three minutes in rebuttal.

“Measure R” he said, “is the renewal of Measure J which is the citizen’s right to vote on open space and agricultural lands.  It’s main component is the right for citizens to vote once the regular planning process has run its course.  It’s one additional step at the end, where the citizens get to look at the project… and weigh whether or not the subdivision which is being proposed is appropriate for the city in a number of different areas – is it the right size?  is it too excessive?  is it located appropriately?  Are the larger market forces such that it would not be a burden on city services and fiscal stability?  Is it sustainable?  Does it have the components that make it a good development?”

He continued, “If citizens want to continue to have a say on the ag-urban boundary, then it’s really important for Measure J to be renewed.”

He also said that Measure J has a number of requirements that are not simply about the final vote.  He talked about the baseline projects requirement feature, “which is the feature of the project that goes before voters to identify key elements – design features, elements of phasing – important elements that the project is being sold to voters under. Those particular features cannot be changed significantly without the project going back to the voters again.  What it effectively does is that it ensures that the promises that are made as part of the planning process but also as part of the approval campaign that’s part of the public vote process, are going to be kept.”

Not only does this lead to an assurance that promises are kept Mr Spencer argued, but “it also leads to greater transparency throughout the entire planning process.”

He also mentioned exemption for parks and schools that do not have to go to a Measure J vote.  He also said that there is a sunset provision, “So I guess Jerry [Adler] and I will be back here in 2020 to discuss the issue again.”

Mr. Spencer added, “I think it’s the sense that it’s a moderate insurance that the citizens of Davis will be able to retain a measure of control over a community defining area that is the ag-urban boundary.”

“Measure J did not come out of nowhere,” he said, it came out of a context that is national, state, and regional in addition to local.  “The ag-urban boundary is a place where there is such a differential in land use values where the land on one side of the boundary which has no urban entitlements is measured in its value by the acre, when that entitlement is granted, it is measured by the square foot.” 

Mr. Spencer argued, “The enormous development pressure distorts the planning process.  This is why it is particularly important that there is an additional procedural step at the end of the planning process which is the public vote.”  He continued, “Citizens, unlike the planning professionals, even the council to some extent, are not part of the day-to-day process of negotiation of the project as it moves through the planning process.”  As the project moves through the planning process, he said, it gains a certain amount of momentum.  He sees Measure J as a final step that allows the public to view the entire planning process in its entirety.

The local history of Measure J is born out of the 1990s where there was an enormous amount of growth that Mr. spencer claimed, “didn’t really become apparent to voters until the end of that decade.”  Citizens brought this ordinance forward and he argues that it has worked in the last ten years, where two projects were brought forward where “there was obviously a disconnect between what the planning professionals and planning process produced and what the citizens thought was consistent with their vision of a safe, small town surrounded by ag and open space land.”

The magnitude of the votes, and differential from that of council’s vote, embodies that disconnect.  “This particular ordinance is really necessary to protect Davis’ sense of community.”

Jerry Adler made the opposition argument.  “Measure J as adopted was both unnecessary and unwise.  Measure J and other city planning processes have changed this community for the worse.”

He continued, “This city was at one point an uncontrolled growth community.  The 1965 General Plan called for the city of Davis to have 90,000 people by 1995.  Under normal processes, the Planning Commission and then the City Council changed that projection because it made no sense.  When we changed it at that time, we said we would have a new paradigm for the community.  The new paradigm would provide for the internal needs of the city of Davis.”

In the process, he said, the city adopted new restrictions on land use policy that restricted growth so that instead of projecting 90,000 by 1995, we projected 50,000 by 1995.  “We met it,” he said, “and we continued on that road of smart growth and smart planning until Measure J surfaced in 1999.  It surfaced because there was a glut of housing that had been approved for large developments with development agreements that had not been built for a multitude of reasons.  And all of sudden they came and were built.  The folks in the community were concerned and properly so.”

Mr. Adler continued,  “So folks in this community who had been opposed to growth, since I started on this issue in 1970, the people who called for growth no more than 35,000 by 1990, the people who said in 1986 that we should only grow as slow as is legally permissible.  The people who surfaced with referenda against council approved Mace Ranch and council approved Wildhorse, and others, joined together and we had Measure J.”

He said that in 1999 he was in the chambers until 1 am, the only other person there was Sue Greenwald, they were on opposite sides.  He said he told the council, “if you do this, you will be worried about growth on your perimeter, you will be worried about growth on campus, and you will be worried about growth in the county.  Well by golly, now thanks to Measure J and some other planning policies in the city, we have growth on the campus and we have impacts from the campus all coming up in West Village because we told the university basically, do your own thing.”

Mentioned the pass-through agreement enacted in 1987, said that we thought we had protection against county growth, but that protection is about to go away with the governor’s raid on redevelopment money.  “The redevelopment money will go to the state.  The city will have nothing to pass through to the county.  The county has nothing to gain by not developing in the city.”

“There will not be any successful Measure R vote or Measure J vote in the future.  Not when it costs millions of dollars to go forward with the processing.”

That is the basic arguments of both sides.  In the rebuttal, Jerry Adler would emphasize the point that there would not be successful Measur R votes in the future.  I think this is somewhat disengenuous.  A point I would have made up there is that we have already had successful Measure R / J votes prior to Measure J being passed.  The citizens attetmpted to call for a vote against Wildhorse, that campaign did not succeed and the people voted to approve the project.  Given the current housing market, that is unlikely in the next five to even ten years.  But at some point the market may change and the voters may be open to a project.  If the people do not want a project, should that not be their right?  Should they not have the right to decide what gets approved?  If the people do not want a project, why does Jerry Adler believe that he knows better?

That is just a quick thought.  Tomorrow we will discuss the debate on Measure Q.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

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

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44 thoughts on “Should Measure J Be Renewed in the form of Measure R?”

  1. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty: I’m still working on the response from Jerry Adler against Measure R (J), but I have a few quick thoughts.

    First, I think if you read the responses, you can see who is really committed to supporting Measure J/ R. There are some responses that are clear, articulate, and issue forth a strong endorsement. There is one in particular that pays lip service, but is vague and really non-committal.

    That said, it is really my sense if you look at the 5-0 vote on the council and the opinions expressed here, Witcombe, CHA, and Adler not withstanding, that Measure J is a settled issue, people recognize it will be here, and frankly the council member’s view on Measure J doesn’t matter because they have no say in it.

    Measure R will likely pass by 75-25 margin, which is far broader than the original relatively narrow passage back ten years ago. Everything else is window dressing because the council that will be elected in June will play no role other than in putting forth projects.

  2. davisite2

    We can expect to hear more populist campaign rhetoric from Sydney Vergis as she shifts gears [edit] to an advocate for the interests of the Davis electorate. Her “advisers” recognize that the supposed inevitability of her winning a seat on our Council has evaporated.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    Davisite: Stating my own view here, I don’t see anything particular populist in what Ms. Vergis stated. She said she was in favor of Measure J renewal, which she said in 2008. However, then she shifted gears and talked about development rather than Measure. She mentioned the economy is down, now is the time for a deep breath, discussion, and then the rest of her answered she spoke in terms of the same rhetoric from 2008 where she talked about a variety of housing options. I don’t see a particular populist bent there nor do I see a real commitment to Measure J principles. Rochelle Swanson mentioned a commitment to the priotization of ag land and good design, Krovoza talked about why he felt Measure J renewal was important. Tell me, why does Sydney Vergis support Measure J renewal? What does “an opportunity to get involved in something that affects all of us” mean? Maybe one of her supporters can explain this one to me.

  4. davisite2

    David: I agree with your analysis. Her campaign rhetoric now is vague and is NOT populist. There does appear to be some shift in that direction,however, as she continues to sink in popularity with the Enterprise failing to endorse her candidacy. I think we will see more of this as she attempts to appear more authentic, “connected” and interested in what the citizens of Davis want for their community….
    [edit — no name-calling please]

  5. Phil

    Vergis: “During this recession, we should take a deep breath and talk about whether we are providing a range of housing that our young families need in Davis.” She concluded, “I think now in the slowdown is a good opportunity for those conversations.”

    This is code for more development. Just as Republicans have code words for racism, Vergis seems to have a code that sounds populist but signals to her developer friends that she will do what she can to earn their support.

    Krovoza’s position makes the most sense to me and is consistent with the objections most of us in the No on P campaign raised. (Though Krovoza supported Covell.) Swanson’s support seems sincere but she also represents local businesses, many of whom would probably like to see Davis grow a bit. (I would if I were them.)

    The good news here is that X and P campaigns demonstrated that the City Council cannot just ram a project through and all of the new candidates get that. But if Vergis is elected I am afraid that she will try and find away to push development where it isn’t wanted.

  6. Ishmael

    “Her “advisers” recognize that the supposed inevitability of her winning a seat on our Council has evaporated.”

    Ruth’s magical coattails must not be working.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    I thought the strongest part of Joe’s statement was talking about the council being out of sync with the community and understanding that there is a time to lead and a time to take direction from the community. It’s a very tough balancing act to be certain, but I think it’s a point too often missed. There is middle ground between the politician who follows to polls for everything he does and the George Bush who says you are either with us or against us and I’m the decider. Oh and by the way, I still remember in Council chambers being there when Souza belted out that they’re the deciders or something to that effect.

  8. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Just as Republicans have code words for racism[/i]

    That is the most arrogant analogy that I have heard from a so-called “progressive” in Davis in a long time. If there are any supporters of Arizona’s SB1070 and its war on Hispanics — and I’m sure that there are some — Measure J has given them everything that they want. Most Davis residents sincerely respect Hispanics and they are at peace with Hispanics. Nonetheless, the outcome of anti-growth politics in Davis has been the same as if they were at war: ethnic segregation, and segregation of tax revenue.

  9. rusty49

    We know where Vergis is on developement and if Krovoza supported Covell that pretty much says where he stands too as actions speak louder than words.

  10. E Roberts Musser

    In Adler’s remarks, I caught a screaming contradiction. On the one hand, Adler was against Measure J because it took decision-making away from the city “experts” – City Council members and City Staff – and put it in the hands of an “uninformed” and ignorant electorate. Then he turned around and chastized the City Council for being stupid in approving Measure J! Which is it – the City Council are the experts/informed; or the City Council is stupid?

    Adler obviously doesn’t have a very high opinion of his fellow citizens. At times, I feel as if some of the electorate are better informed than the City Council and City Staff put together! Look at the cell tower debacle for example! Or the TANC fiasco! Or the Tahir Ahad mess!

  11. Ishmael

    Ironically, the core argument of the Measure J opponents was completely undermined by the Sue Greenwald train wreck. IMO, Adler’s contradiction reflects the dissonance between their idealized view of how the CC should be vs the reality of extreme dysfunction.

  12. Don Shor

    Moderator note:
    1. Please speak respectfully about council members and candidates. Focus on issues, not personalities.
    2. No more comments about racism, please.
    Don

  13. Greg Kuperberg

    Don, you may be right that people don’t want to discuss it, but I think that you’re cutting off an essential part of the truth from the debate. The candidates forum question was: “If Measure R passes, what effect positive or negative would it have on the schools?”

    I can tell you one effect that it will have on schools. Schools in Davis are 14% Hispanic and 13% socioeconomically disadvantaged according to district reports. Both are much lower than in the rest of Yolo County, the region, and the state, and I guarantee you that one effect of Measure R will be to help keep it that way. At the same time, schools in Davis — remember the question was about schools — spend a lot of time preaching tolerance. I’m sure that that message is sincere. But the goal, as I have explained to my own kids enrolled in these schools, is to leap sky high over a low bar.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”If there are any supporters of Arizona’s SB1070 and [b]its war on Hispanics[/b] — and I’m sure that there are some — Measure J has given them everything that they want.”[/i]

    War on Hispanics? War? Come on. You accuse others of arrogance and you make such hyperbolic, nonsensical, silly statements like this.

    I doubt you read my column on SB1070, but you should know I am not a supporter of it. Yet it’s nauseating when otherwise capable people are entirely incapable of making a reasonable comment and instead jump off the deep end and sound like an Al Sharptonite flame thrower..

  15. David M. Greenwald

    “I can tell you one effect that it will have on schools. Schools in Davis are 14% Hispanic and 13% socioeconomically disadvantaged according to district reports. Both are much lower than in the rest of Yolo County, the region, and the state, and I guarantee you that one effect of Measure R will be to help keep it that way”

    Are these numbers higher or lower than they were prior to Measure J.

    There are couple of problems with these claims:

    First, we really lack data on the impact of Measure J. There were two projects, one was a huge 2000 unit project which did not properly mitigate for traffic impacts and the other occurred during the worst economic downturn and real estate crash in recent history. N of 2 is suspect as it is, given the circumstances, I would hesitate to draw conclusions.

    We do know that the public in the 1990s was willing to pass de facto measure projects particularly Wildhorse Ranch. And while not housing, the public was narrowly willing to bring in Target. To make assumptions about future residents and growth based on two votes on different projects at different points in time does not make a lot of sense to me.

    As such I question your overall premise that Measure J/ R is ultimately going to inhibit the passage of projects. I think what we will see is developers learn what the public wants and how to cater to them to get projects passed.

  16. Don Shor

    “We do know that the public in the 1990s was willing to pass de facto measure projects particularly Wildhorse Ranch…”
    The voters also approved Mace Ranch.
    “…one effect of Measure R will be to help keep it that way…”

    No developer has proposed any project, inside or outside the city limits, that has had a significant proportion of lower-income housing in it. The voters don’t determine the content of the projects that are put before them.
    You seem to be blaming the voters for the demographic consequences of rejecting housing projects, but the only ones they’ve voted on have been high end. Neither Covell Village nor WHRanch would have changed the demographics of Davis toward greater diversity.

  17. Greg Kuperberg

    Rich, first, it’s already called the war on drugs, and what Arizona is doing with Hispanics is more or less the same thing.

    Second, what Arizona is doing doesn’t just involve SB 1070, and it doesn’t just involve illegal immigrants. It’s a culture war and a class war. Its attitude would be impossible in New Mexico, because there, more of the Hispanics can vote.

    Davis, obviously, thinks that Hispanics are just swell, as long as very few of them can afford to live here. I remember that some of the junior high classes have a trip to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. If they want to save money, they could make it Woodland instead. There is only so much material in Davis itself on the topic of tolerance.

    [i]No developer has proposed any project, inside or outside the city limits, that has had a significant proportion of lower-income housing in it.[/i]

    Don, you’ve made this argument many times. How is it that West Sacramento managed to build smaller apartments recently (Southport Apartments), and yet no developer wants to do it in Davis? You make it sound like the city is waiting for such a proposal, but you haven’t presented evidence that that is the case. In fact, there are even unrented offices in Davis that could in principle be converted to apartments. Is the city actually waiting for a proposal for these spaces that have already been built?

  18. David M. Greenwald

    “The voters also approved Mace Ranch. “

    Thanks I knew there was a second one as well.

    Good point on the lack of projects coming forward with lower income housing. When council approved new Harmony that increased the number of units available to families making less than $57,000 to just under 300, two-thirds of which are section 8 housing.

    People seem to believe that if you build enough the market will reduce the cost of housing, but supply is but one variable, the bigger variable in an inelastic demand. People always will be willing to move to Davis because of the quality of life and schools. Therefore you either have to reduce the quality of life significantly through development or you have to build tiny houses. People turned up their nose at the townhomes at WHR, but you actually need smaller townhouses sold at market rate to drop them into the $200,000 range. And you run up against problems of higher density and problems that you can buy a house twice the size or more for less elsewhere. There is no great solution here.

  19. davisite2

    I think we will see more of this as she attempts to appear more authentic, “connected” and interested in what the citizens of Davis want for their community….
    [edit — no name-calling please]
    edited “name-calling”:

    “apparachnik”…. a term, used in the Soviet system, to describe political bureaucrats who obediently follow their superior’s directions in adhering to party doctrine.
    “policy wonk”… a person who has a keen interest in studying the details of policy issues
    Both of these terms,IMO, are acceptable descriptive terms rather than “name-calling”.

  20. hpierce

    To claim a “cachet” as moderator, perhaps the “an Al Sharptonite flame thrower.. ” should be deleted/suppressed to avoid the inappropriate ‘calling someone a racist’ goal, which I happen to agree with {the goal}… Al Sharpton might be inappropriate in his views, but ‘painting’ someone as “him” is also “off the bubble”…

  21. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”It’s a culture war and a class war.”[/i]

    It’s neither, you know it, and you are letting your partisan blinders to obscure your vision.

    Instead, 1070 is a ham-handed response to a fictional increase in border crimes, blamed on illegal aliens. The reality is “violent crime in Arizona fell from 531 to 447 people per 100,000 inhabitants over the eight years ending in 2008. Nationwide, while the nation’s illegal-immigrant population doubled from 1994 to 2004, the violent-crime rate declined 35 percent,” from the Arizona Republic, May 2.

    SB1070 will have no noticeable effect at all on Hispanic Americans in Arizona. It’s just bogus to claim it is “a war on them.”

    It will, very likely, cause problems, over time, for Hispanics in Arizona who are undocumented aliens. In order for them to be reported to ICE by local or state police or sheriffs, they will first have to be arrested for some other offense or be stopped by police with probable cause (a Terry Stop).

    Just because it won’t harm Hispanic American citizens or Hispanic legal aliens does not mean its effect won’t be unduly felt by Hispanics. Why? Because a police officer who arrests someone has to have “a reasonable suspicion that his arrestee is in the United States illegally.” If the person has no legitimate ID and cannot speak English, that probably is a “reasonable suspicion” to process the case further. However, if the illegal alien is from British Columbia or Ontario, how the hell is a cop ever going to have a “a reasonable suspicion that his Candadian arrestee is in the United States illegally?” As such, the only people this net will catch is Latino illegals.

    It’s worth noting that the lower crime rates are felt all along the border, despite the drug war going on in Northern Mexico. From the LA Times: [quote] “Crime rates have dropped during past decade in other border states. The BJS data further show that violent crime rates and property crime rates in California, New Mexico, and Texas dropped from 1998 through 2008 — the most recent year from which data are available:

    •In California, the violent crime rate dropped from 703.7 in 1998 to 503.8 in 2008; the property crime rate dropped from 3,639.1 to 2,940.3 during the same period.
    •In New Mexico, the violent crime rate dropped from 961.4 in 1998 to 649.9 in 2008; the property crime rate dropped from 5,757.7 to 3,909.2 over the same period.
    •In Texas, the violent crime rate dropped from 564.6 in 1998 to 507.9 in 2008; the property crime rate dropped from 4,547 to 3,985.6 over the same period.[/quote]

  22. Greg Kuperberg

    Rich, as I said, it’s not just SB1070 and it’s not just illegal aliens. Arizona issued a separate directive this week that it wants to fire English teachers who have a “thick” accent, and replace them with teachers who “speak the language flawlessly”. If that’s not a cultural attack, what is? Because you can be your boots that they don’t have in mind a strong Irish accent or a strong Alabama accent as thick or flawed. And why, if they didn’t want it to look like a culture war, did they have to do both within two weeks?

    As for SB 1070, it is now a state crime for a [b]legal[/b] immigrant, not just an illegal immigrant, to walk to his mailbox without carrying proof of residency. It is a crime with a minimum fine of $500 and mandatory jail. Why, if it isn’t a culture war, would Arizona let people travel with unregistered guns, but make it illegal for immigrants to travel without their papers? Here again, don’t expect them to ever arrest an Irish immigrant.

  23. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]People seem to believe that if you build enough the market will reduce the cost of housing, but supply is but one variable, the bigger variable in an inelastic demand.[/i]

    David, if the demand truly were truly so inexorable, then that flyer that came out against Measure P would not have warned that the proposed houses would crowd the real estate market. It hardly needed to be said, but they felt compelled to say it anyway. This was a campaign that included two economics professors.

    Sure, in the long term, the prices would go back up. But as an economist would say, in the long term we are all dead. (An economist would also say that what you mean is that demand is elastic, not inelastic. Oil is an example of inelastic demand, which leads to wide price swings.)

    As for it the claim that Adler is “somewhat disingenuous” when he says that there won’t be any successful Measure R votes, Adler is probably right. Measure J/R is a game of rock, papers, scissors in which developers play first and growth opponents play second. It’s somewhat disingenuous to say otherwise.

  24. Mr.Toad

    This fantasy notion that there is something special about Davis (other that its schools) is truly tiresome. Of course supply and demand work in housing so if you build enough of it you can bring prices down. In Woodland due to overbuilding prices are now in the 100/square foot range, same thing in Natomas, Woodland and West Sac. Only in Davis have prices, because of supply constraints, not totally collapsed. Measure R will help keep prices unaffordable skewing the population here. As the woman said at the soccer game about selling her house and moving to a bigger one “There is something wrong when the only people who can afford to buy here as a residence or an investment are doctors.” I’m sure her statement was about what Davis has done to its housing market by restricting supply since she is married to,drum roll please, a doctor.

    Jon Li is right on this one, Davis will see the average age of its homeowners continue to go up and its schools suffer as a result of measure R unless the county is let out of the pass through agreement and builds on the periphery. This graying will be masked by the presence of university students, but, young families who want to come here for the schools and own a home will continue to suffer the drain that supply constriction places upon price. As my neighbor tells it he has to take on work he doesn’t really enjoy to keep his family afloat. So when you talk about the Davis lifestyle you need to talk about all its consequences.

    People incorrectly think that high prices for housing are a good thing, when in fact, they are a hardship for everyone except those who already own at a lower price and a drag on the resat of the economy. This is the conundrum that Davis now has created for itself, how do you protect those who have overpaid because of unwise policies of the past. Measure R is the answer. By continuing to restrict supply you perpetuate those same unwise policies into the future. Sadly, as Mr. Mortgage has observed, high end housing markets are the last to fall.

  25. David M. Greenwald

    “David, if the demand truly were truly so inexorable, then that flyer that came out against Measure P would not have warned that the proposed houses would crowd the real estate market.”

    The flyer was playing on people’s fears, that does not mean the flyer was accurate or that the fears were well-founded.

  26. rusty49

    The handwriting’s on the wall. Saylor to be a new County Supervisor and the Pass-through agreement in doubt opens the door for developement on our borders.

  27. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]The flyer was playing on people’s fears, that does not mean the flyer was accurate or that the fears were well-founded.[/i]

    As Elaine Musser said, the voters aren’t ignorant. It would almost look better if they were ignorant, but they aren’t. In particular, as you just implied, affordable housing is the last thing that voters in Davis really want. That is, they don’t want their own houses to ever be affordable.

    [i]People incorrectly think that high prices for housing are a good thing, when in fact, they are a hardship for everyone except those who already own at a lower price and a drag on the rest of the economy.[/i]

    That’s exactly right, Mr. Toad, but those exceptions are the strongest voting bloc in Davis. If you defy them, you defy The Will of The People.

  28. Rich Rifkin

    [b]GK:[/b] “If there are any supporters of Arizona’s SB1070 and its war on Hispanics …”

    [b]RR:[/b] “War on Hispanics? War? Come on.”

    [b]GK:[/b] “Rich, as I said, it’s not just SB1070 …”

    Greg, you explicitly said 1070 was a ‘War on Hispanics.’ You are now backtracking by conflating the issue with other laws.

    Further, you are overstating matters when you say, “As for SB 1070, it is [b]now[/b] a state crime for a legal immigrant, not just an illegal immigrant, to walk to his mailbox without carrying proof of residency.”

    Under federal law, some classes of resident aliens are required to carry I.D. That has been true since 1952. (See the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act–Section 211.) SB1070 does not change that*.

    In order for someone to be asked for “proof of residency status” under SB1070, the person [i]must[/i] have been detained by the police under the U.S. standard (used here in California, too) of a Terry Stop. That is, the cop has to have an articulable reason to believe the person he has stopped was in violation of the law, such as a motor vehicle violation or a criminal offense. No one can be stopped and asked for ID when he is simply on a “walk to his mailbox.”

    Once any “any lawful stop, detention or arrest” has been made by a law enforcement official, under SB1070 the officer must next determine if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien.”

    SB1070 says: “A person is presumed to not be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:
    1. A valid Arizona driver license**.
    2. A valid Arizona nonoperating identification license.
    3. A valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification.
    4. If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid United States federal, state or local government issued identification.

    (Note: My suspicion is, at this point in the process, if someone is arrested for a minor offense, such as littering, and he has no ID on him, if he speaks fluent English, no officer will check his immigration status. Why not? Because it will take too long. That is an example of the problem with this law–that illegal Canadians, as opposed to illegal Nicaraguans, will likely never be caught under SB1070.)

    If the person has none of these documents [b]and[/b] “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is … unlawfully present in the United States,” then the “person’s immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States code section 1373(c).”

    The amended statute adds: “A law enforcement official … may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.”

    The problem is because the vast majority of illegal aliens in the United States are Latinos and because the stereotype of the illegal alien in all border states is a Latino migrant, the only people under SB1070 where “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is … unlawfully present in the United States” are going to be Latinos.

    ——
    * What SB1070 does in this regard is it adds an additional state penalty if “a person is guilty of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document if the person is in violation of 8 United States Code section 1304(e) or 1306(a).” But no alien [i]who is required by federal law to carry ID[/i] can be detained or arrested for simply not carrying ID. Police cannot ask anyone for their ID, unless they are making a lawful Terry Stop. (FWIW, my brother is now living and working in Mexico. He told me that he gets stopped on the streets of Uruapan every once in a while by cops and they ask him for his ID, which by Mexican law all foreigners are required to carry. The difference in the US, of course, is that cops cannot just stop someone like that and ask for ID. And if they did it the way they do in Mexico, by picking out the white guy because he doesn’t look like everyone else, they would be guilty here of racial profiling.)

    ** If the person is from California and he shows his California ID, the law won’t accept that at face value as evidence of legal residency. Because of that, you could have further problems which would in all likelihood only affect immigrant Latinos, because if a white dude who speaks unaccented English showed a CDL, he would not be questioned further, but a Latino who speaks broken English who shows a CDL probably would.

  29. Mr.Toad

    Greg, I don’t condemn people for voting in their own economic interest. I do find all their rationalizations insufferable. The real question is how do we unwind what Davis has created by restricting housing in a way that irrepairably damages the fewest number of families? My guess is that a policy of higher growth rates and a target price/square foot of housing. The idea would be to slowly expand supply to keep prices from rising until inflation brings prices in line with the rest of the area. My guess is it would take 10-20 years but measure R will put Davis even farther behind and maintain the current trend of an aging population and heirs who don’t understand that those less fortunate are so through no fault of their own.

  30. nprice

    I am a strong supporter of Measure J/R.

    However, as we’ve seen in the last two votes, the city council – in a grand gesture to let the people vote – after all this is a democracy, put on the ballot projects that clearly needed further discussion and vetting by the Planning and other Commissions and by the City Council, especially fiscal analysis, before the Measure J vote. In effect, the City Council did not practice due diligence.

    Then the corporate developers poured great sums of tax-deductible business-expense money into the campaign to defend, while citizen groups raised what they could and poured hours of volunteer time/labor into the campaign to raise the questions, provide the data, etc., etc., that should have been done by the council, commissions, and city departments.

    The problem, then, is the corporate voice has the money to outshout the voice of the people. Maybe we need spending cap for any projects that come to a Measure J/R vote.

  31. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Greg, you explicitly said 1070 was a ‘War on Hispanics.'[/i]

    Actually I didn’t. I said, “Arizona’s SB1070 and its war on Hispanics”. What I meant by “and” was that SB1070 is a special case of the overall war.

    [i]Under federal law, some classes of resident aliens are required to carry I.D.[/i]

    That may be true, but it is a civil infraction with a $100 penalty, not a crime with a $500 penalty and jail. Moreover, federal agents have the discretion not to enforce this penalty, but SB1070 lets people sue a police department that chooses not to do it. Arizona did not have to pile the penalties higher, other than its [b]expressed intention[/b] to scare away immigrants. Of course, they say that they only mean to scare away illegal immigrants. But since it is an easy way to throw legal immigrants in jail and slap big fines on them, it scares them away too.

    I don’t know whether you’re right that Terry v Ohio would prevent police from stopping a legal immigrant who walks to his mailbox. Because, SB1070 itself criminalizes the act of walking around without papers. So any reasonable suspicion that SB1070 is the law being violated would be enough to invoke this $500 fine. The Terry stop rule is not at all the same thing as legalization or decriminalization. You can’t reason that it’s okay to carry around anthrax because there won’t be a Terry stop.

    [i]The problem is because the vast majority of illegal aliens in the United States are Latinos and because the stereotype of the illegal alien in all border states is a Latino migrant[/i]

    Well yes, Rich, that is a problem. What you’re not getting is that a lot of people in Arizona don’t mind that confusion, they think it all makes sense. There are a lot of illegal immigrants from Canada in Washington State, for example. The result of which is that Washington State doesn’t care all that much about illegal immigration. Arizona wouldn’t care much either, if it were Canadians.

    That’s why this issue has played out so differently in New Mexico than in Arizona. New Mexico views illegal immigration as an administrative problem, and not a foreign invasion. It would never want a law like SB1070. That’s because New Mexico voters think of Mexico more the way that Washington State voters think of Canada.

  32. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Greg, I don’t condemn people for voting in their own economic interest. I do find all their rationalizations insufferable.[/i]

    I totally, totally agree. But in debating this through with Don Shor, I’ve come to think that there might not be a good way to climb out of the hypocrisy ditch. Instead, it’s just going to drag on until some outside force changes it. That force could either be SACOG, or Yolo County, or the state government. Who knows what the future will bring.

  33. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]The idea would be to slowly expand supply to keep prices from rising until inflation brings prices in line with the rest of the area–Toad.[/quote]I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Davis housing prices will not be brought into “line with the rest of the area” until the perceived quality of our schools and our perceived quality of life are brought into line with that of the rest of the area.

    Our housing prices are higher not because supply is limited, but because our quality of life and our schools are considered better. People are simply willing to pay more for quality of life and schools, even if they don’t work in Davis and even if it involves commuting. That is human nature and we are not going to be able to change it.

    The demand for Davis housing is not merely a local demand, so building more houses is not going to “bring prices into “line with the rest of the area”.

  34. Mr.Toad

    If what Sue is saying were true then all the approved housing in Davis would be built. So why do developers hold off right now in Davis, because adding supply would add to a soft market and drive prices down reducing their margins. Davis got lucky because it didn’t build much during the go go years and as a result prices did not collapse as much as in the surrounding communities, although prices could still come down more going forward as the buyers credits stop stealing forward demand. I suspect that there will always be a premium to Davis real estate although building more housing would reduce it from its current 2.5:1 ratio. A number that is clearly too high. The sad part of the story is that Woodland overbuilt and Davis underbuilt causing the premium to expand. If both communities had acted more rationally both would be better off today. If going forward Davis added supply the premium ratio would shrink to a more reasonable ratio. The sad part is that building now would put many people farther underwater. The trick is to relax controls to slowly unwind the damage that has already been done to everyone who paid inflated prices without driving them deeper under water.

    Of course the quality of life issue Sue forgets is the one where people live on a mortgage tread mill if they bought in the last 10 years.

  35. David M. Greenwald

    “If what Sue is saying were true then all the approved housing in Davis would be built. So why do developers hold off right now in Davis, because adding supply would add to a soft market and drive prices down reducing their margins. “

    I disagree with you that that’s the reason houses aren’t being built. I think it has more to do with the fact that houses would be sitting on the market for a long time and also with the market being down, the purchase price would be far lower. The combination of those two factors make it more cost effective to wait.

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