We do have the full responses from Linda Parfitt. We are still waiting on the last five responses for Kerry Daane Loux. So the plan at this point is to have a fourth article with the rest of the responses plus links for the other candidates.
As we mentioned previously, the Vanguard asked each candidate 12 questions and asked them to limit their response to 100 words (some went over 100 words, but we decided not to edit). Given the complexity of the questions, that is not completely fair and their answers should be judged accordingly. However, breaking the questions into three groups of four, and having a full ten candidates respond, would produce a 4000 story at minimum, which is a lot for people to absorb.
So, we have done our best under the circumstances to provide the public with some information about these candidates, one of whom will become the fifth councilmember within the next month.
Here are the last four questions:
9. Would you be more inclined to cut city services or raise revenues through taxes or other means as a way to balance the budget?
10. How do you plan to deal with Davis’ road conditions given current economic realities?
11. What is your view of the proposed annexation of West Village into the City of Davis?
12. How would you deal with student rental issues?
10. In my view, maintaining, if not improving, infrastructure should be a priority in any budgetary triage scenario. Roads are a big part of the infrastructure that need maintenance and/or improvement. There are striking possibilities using new methods and new technologies for doing more with less.
11. I am told studies indicate that non-annexation would result in a revenue surplus for the City, whereas annexation – even to break even – would depend on extensive negotiations between City, County and UCD to convince them to bear some of the burdens associated with servicing the community. Until and unless I learn differently, it sounds like a bad idea that will put the City further in the red.
12. Students are a big part of our social and economic life. However, I am not sure there is a solution to the high rent situation beyond enacting some sort of rent control that would favor students as opposed to non students – and if that is the case, it probably wouldn’t be viable due to landlord protest. However, I am open to hear any ideas anyone might have.
10. I understand that the Public Works Dept maintains an inventory of road conditions and has developed a schedule for when they will receive treatment based on the current budget. We need to let residents know early in the FY when their street is scheduled. Potholes should be treated early and take precedence.
We should be certain that the specified street treatment will produce a good surface. The street treatment applied on Layton Drive, Grinnell Drive, and several other streets last year produced unacceptable results and should not be used again.
One of my visions is to seek improvements to the railroad crossing at 8th Street with the help of the Public Works Department and the Safety and Parking Advisory Commission to make the crossing bike friendly and minimize wear and tear on vehicles. Make it more like the 5th Street crossing. This effort would involve the cooperation of the California Northern Railroad which is owned by RailAmerica, Inc. based in Jacksonville, Florida.
11. We should continue to pursue efforts to forge an annexation like agreement with the University and the County regarding the West Village development.
Our efforts to reach a cooperative agreement with UC Davis regarding police and fire protection will help.
12. I would expect the City/UCD Student Liaison Commission to address any student rental issues and make recommendations to the City Council.
According to the annual survey report released by the UCD Office of Student Housing last December, the apartment vacancy rate was 3.4 percent. That helped keep the rental rate increase for a two-bedroom unfurnished unit to just $11 for an average of $1,237 per month. The rental situation will be helped even more when the new West Village opens 315 apartments with 850 beds next fall.
10. I think that the city has a responsible and efficient management plan for the upkeep of our roads that is responsive to our budgetary restraints.
11. There is not enough public information to take a formal view of this very complex issue. As I understand it, the issues include access to municipal services, impact on existing city infrastructure, tax flows, voter representation, and integration into our community.
10. Road conditions are two part: traffic conditions and road rehabilitation. The Federal Stimulus fund provides money for road rehabilitation. As funds become available, a review of existing needs should be completed by council with city staff input. Traffic conditions on Fifth Street and Downtown remain a problem. How to mesh vehicle traffic with bicycle traffic and minimize change requires open discussion by council members and residents. Recommended trial changes are a viable option (ie: a bike only street, one way streets in downtown) and can provide data on how to merge economic and safety issues.
11. Annexing West Village to Davis is an excellent opportunity for growth, increased tax revenue, and a unified bond between the City of Davis and UCD. Davis is not only a city for residents, but also as a destination for visitors. UCD is a university touting Davis as a primary reason to live, work, study, and play here. Annexation would bring the best of both entities together. Combining police/fire departments is an added benefit. The perception of spending tax dollars out of city limits would be removed. A strong, unified City of Davis and the University of California of Davis, not at, works for everyone.
12. Rental vacancy rates in Davis are approximately 3%; national average 5%. When enrollment increases at UCD, so does the need for student housing. Complicating the lack of student housing is city’s low growth policy. Supply and demand is the basis of our country; without supply, owners can demand high rents. Rentals exist in established neighborhoods, not just at apartment sites. Open discussion on allowing rental properties to build up and add bedroom space is needed. Now is the time for this discussion. Growth is inevitable; UCD will continue to increase enrollment. Davis needs to find a way to provide needed housing.
10. I think the condition of the roads are fine, obviously they need to be maintained and re-surfaced, a section of the city at a time depending on how much funding is available for this purpose.
11. If this area is annexed the residents and the developer(s) need to pay their fair share of city services—police, fire, parks, schools, lighting, roads, installation of traffic signals, utility installation, sewer, water, and other development fees.
12. The current Davis noise ordinance is useful if the student parties turn into rave events. I have had very few problems with student rental issues.
If students are planning a party it is a common courtesy to inform their neighbors.
10. I would ask the city employees who drive the streets every day to take note of the worst of the potholes and bumps, and tackle them first.
11. I view the annexation of West Village as a non-issue, since it is on UCDavis property. I view it as an expansion of UCDavis housing on campus, and it should be kept that way.
12. I have driven and ridden my bicycle around most of Davis, and I have seen many apartments available signs, so I don’t see any issue here.
10. Like many communities in this state, Davis’ transportation infrastructure, from its bike paths to its roads, is suffering. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama made infrastructure a top priority of his administration – and so should we. As an initial matter, the city should establish the cost of maintaining roads at a safe, basic condition. At a minimum, we should be providing that funding. The city should then explore ways of obtaining more funds. It’s my understanding that City staff is planning to bring this issue before the Council in the next few weeks and I look forward to that discussion.
11. The annexation of West Village is certainly a worthy goal. Having such a large community abutting West Davis not fully integrated into our community would be unfortunate. It should be part of the social fabric of this university town. Yet, there are significant challenges to doing so, most notably financial and political. We should continue to look closely at the issue and work with the university and the county to see if a viable plan for annexation can be achieved.
12. Although the most recent rental survey by the UCD Office of Student Housing showed that vacancy and rental rates remained mostly flat last year, we should be concerned about the rental market for students. The vacancy rate stands at a low 3.4 percent and enrollment at UCD rose to a record level last fall. The city, in collaboration with the university, should work on ensuring sufficient rental housing for students. This discussion should be a part of the larger discussion about affordable housing in the community I mentioned earlier.
10. Let’s me see… better road conditions, -or enough food for me and my children to eat: gas for my car to get back and forth to work/school with every day: and no eviction/foreclosure notices tacked on my front door at the end of the month? My decision isn’t difficult to make at all: the roads can wait.
11. I am not in support of the City’s annexation of West Village. On the other hand, I’m not opposed to it, either. It was (is) just one of those “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” kinds of arrangements between the City of Davis and it’s doppleganger on the other side of “A” street, the University of California, Davis. I question though, how many poor and/or unsheltered homeless people will ever have the privilege of occupying any of the 850-plus living units to be made available in West Village.
12. The University bigwigs need to reduce the rent that it charges UC Davis students for all university-owned apartment complexes. This cost reduction would stand as a verifiable means of compensating for the drastic increases in tuition (40 %) that the UC System has forced upon struggling students in the very recent past. For its part, the City of Davis needs to do more -much more- to increase the number of vacant apartments around town that are available to students of UC Davis as well as everyday, non-student, working people. For a long time, the apartment-vacancy rate in Davis has been hovering from between 1percent to 3 percent; this figure represents a housing botttleneck; one for which there is no excuse in a city of over 70,000 citizens.
—David M. Greenwald reporting