Commentary: Chamber’s Efforts Should Be Applauded But Scrutinized

Chamber-2012-Debate-2Vanguard Believes Chamber PAC Needs More Diverse Business Composition

At the start, we need to be clear that we completely support the Davis Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to become more involved and engaged in Davis City politics.  For too long, the Chamber has taken a secondary role on such matters, despite outspoken complaints from themselves, their members and many in the community that efforts to develop Davis economically have fallen flat.

Moreover, we believe that Chamber Executive Director Kemble Pope’s move for transparency is a strong show of faith in the process.  He has opened up the Chamber PAC’s books for weekly scrutiny.  And after a little prodding, we learned the composition of the Chamber PAC that voted on endorsements.

The Vanguard is a member and a sponsor of the Chamber of Commerce.  We may not necessarily agree with the Chamber on some key issues, but we believe that the more critical the voices that engage in the process, the better and more inclusive that process will be.

At the same time, on Monday we raised an issue of some import, both to the Vanguard and the Chamber.  When the Chamber launched their PAC back in late March, they did so with a concern about “significant structural budget deficits.”

They wrote, “Parcel tax measures and fee increases have been implemented with yet more proposals under consideration to fund remaining services.  Deferred maintenance on streets, water, and other vital infrastructure continue to accrue with no clear strategy to address these deficits threatening to further degrade our quality of life.  Yet many community opinion makers insist that we must maintain the status quo and abdicate our collective responsibility to effectively address these challenges to our quality of life.”

We then wrote about a disconnect between the stated Chamber position on the budget, which we still believe is the most important issue facing the city, and the voting record of Stephen Souza, a two-time incumbent running for a third term and now joining Lucas Frerichs and Dan Wolk as one of three endorsed candidates.

While the Chamber publicly released their financial backers, they did not release the voting members last week.  We thank Mr. Pope for doing that on the Vanguard yesterday.

Now we know the voting members are: Steve Greenfield, Kemble Pope, Gregg Herrington, Michael Bisch and Tom Cross.

The first thing that needs to be said is that I like each of these individuals personally and I think they are good people. They have the best interest of both the Chamber and the community at heart, though I may disagree with them at times politically.

I also want to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work they did in interviewing and meeting with the candidates in making their selection.

Nevertheless, we need to be critical here of the utter lack of diversity of business interests represented in this body.   If we look at the enterprises they represent, you see an engineering firm that works on construction, a developer, and two property managers.

Don Shor, himself a prominent business owner as well as member of the Vanguard community, has made frequent critical comments about this process.  His concern is that there is very little retail representation and many commercial and property-related businesses.

The Vanguard agrees with Mr. Shor’s concerns.

It is not a huge surprise that three of those five are personal endorsers of Stephen Souza. and Kemble Pope was his campaign manager in 2008.

But this is not about Stephen Souza.  This is about creating a process that represents a very broad and diverse group of businesses in Davis.

Don Shor makes some important points that should not be so easily dismissed.  He addresses Michael Bisch, who not only served on the PAC, but is co-President of the Davis Downtown Business Association: “The Davis Chamber does not represent retail well. Local retailers simply do not belong to the Chamber. I have demonstrated that statistically more than once. Your own organization’s retail members barely join the Chamber.”

Mr. Shor adds, “You really need to recognize this disconnect and stop trying to sell something that isn’t there. And to repeat: the Davis Chamber PAC should not be construed by the community as having broad support from the local business community, particularly the local retail business community.”

On the other hand, Mr. Bisch counters that retailers support this effort and there is broad-based community support for this effort.

He wrote, “Even David [Greenwald] appears to generally support this effort although he appears to disagree with the Souza endorsement aspect.”

We want to be clear here.  What we support is the Chamber’s efforts to become more involved.  We support their call for transparency.  And we support them on most of the issues that they enumerated in their various press releases.

However, we believe there is a serious disconnect with the Chamber’s position on the city budget, again in our view THE MOST IMPORTANT issue facing Davis.  Because if we do not fix the budget now, the city may in fact go bankrupt and that would severely damage economic development prospects.

Stephen Souza, to be very frank, does not have a good track record on the budget, as we laid out on Monday.

Second, we believe that Don Shor is correct.  The make-up of the PAC demonstrates in very clear terms – property and construction interests are not retail, not high tech, not restaurants, not other types of business, and that is what we see.

For the Chamber to accomplish its goals, it needs to become a much more diverse organization.  It needs to seek out leadership for a broad array of interests.

This is just step one for the Chamber and at least it got us talking about the council race.  One of my growing concerns is, given the gravity of the issues at stake in the city, there has not been nearly enough discussion of the race itself.

—David M. Greenwald 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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86 Comments

  1. Dr. Wu

    [quote]Stephen Souza, to be very frank, does not have a good track record on the budget, as we laid out on Monday.

    [/quote]

    Its hard for a PAC to argue it favors fiscal responsibility and then endorse the least fiscally responsible candidate.

    Unless I see evidence to the contrary, I will assume that this PAC is a front for developers and their interests in Davis and not representative of other downtown businesses.

    If we want our town to look more like Roseville or Elk Grove and less like Davis, then perhaps we should listen to this PAC. If we want to preserve what is unique about Davis I suggest we look elsewhere.

  2. DT Businessman

    David, great reporting. Board diversity in any organization is something to be strived for. Fortunately, it’s something we’ve done a pretty good job of achieving on the DDBA board, although there’s still room for improvement. That said, you have to play with what you have or sit around on the sideline watching the other players play the game. Anybody that knows me must realize I’m not one to sit on the sideline twiddling my thumbs.

    A weakness in your piece above is you’ve under-reported the significance of the DDBA liason to the PAC, Janice Lott a prominent downtown retailer, the paticipation of a DDBA co-president, myself, and the participation of another DDBA co-president, Rosalie Paine, another prominent downtown retailer, at the PAC-sponsored debate (she was on the debate team sitting right next to Kemble). There can be no doubt that downtown interests, retail/restaurant interests, professional service provider interest are reflected in the objectives that the PAC is achieving. The sector that is under-represented is the tech sector although I have high hopes that is about to change.

    In response to your city budget comments, the PAC focus is on fostering a sustainable community. The budget is an incredibly important component of a sustainable community. That said, we are not working at filling a council slot. We are working at forming a council that can effectively address community challenges to foster a sustainable community. The council has 5 slots, not 4. We have 5 candidates, not 10, 15 or 20. We have an election immediately before us and another one in 2 years. Although desirable, not all council members must be strong in all aspects of community sustainability. But the council AS A WHOLE must be strong in all aspects of community sustainability. For those that have a strong background in competetive team sports, they will understand this concept.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  3. DT Businessman

    Dr. Wu, based on your comments on this subject the past few days, no amount of evidence to the contrary will dissuade you from your baseless charges. You clearly don’t even know the difference between the DDBA and the Chamber. You have made factually incorrect charges repeatedly. Your charge that I am a shill for developers is absurd. Anybody that is familiar with my Vanguard postings, my numerous comments before the council, or my activities as a DDBA Co-President would laugh at the notion. Are you entirely incapable of debating the merits of the PAC’s objectives and the strenghts and weaknesses of the 5 council candidates?

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  4. Matt Williams

    Dr. Wu said . . .

    [i]”Unless I see evidence to the contrary, I will assume that this PAC is a front for developers and their interests in Davis and not representative of other downtown businesses.

    If we want our town to look more like Roseville or Elk Grove and less like Davis, then perhaps we should listen to this PAC. If we want to preserve what is unique about Davis I suggest we look elsewhere.”[/i]

    Dr. Wu, did you grow up in France or Louisiana? The reason I ask is that the justice system in both those places operates on a “guilty until proven innocent” basis rather than the system of “innocent until proven guilty” in the rest of the US.

    Economic vitality and sustainability is supported by a wide range of demographic groups beyond developers. Why do you insist on painting all people who are for economic vitality and sustainability with a single brush. The next time you are purchasing a product and/or service in Davis ask the person serving you what they think about economic vitality and sustainability.

    In closing, you may want to ask yourself the following questions. 1) When was the last peripheral development approved in Davis? 2) When is the next peripheral development likely to be approved in Davis?

    We have very powerful tools passed by the voters (and reaffirmed by them numerous times) that ensure that Davis will not “look more like Roseville or Elk Grove and less like Davis.” Why is it that you do not trust those powerful tools?

  5. Matt Williams

    Michael Bisch said . . .

    [i]”I am working at forming a council that can effectively address community challenges to foster a sustainable community. “[/i]

    Brian responded . . .

    [i]”The key question that you have not answered Mr. Bisch, is how do you claim you are doing that when one of your picks helped create a mess so bad that we may end up having to declare bankruptcy. How does that create a sustainable community? What happens to business if that occurs?”[/i]

    Brian, I think your point has merit, but it does suffer from a bit of hyperbole. Can I suggest that rather than focusing on how and why you think that the PAC’s endorsement of Souza is wrong, that you focus on the reasons you think that there was a better alternative to Souza. Who knows, you might even cause the PAC to dig deeper to get to know one of the other candidates better.

  6. DT Businessman

    Matt, Brian’s point only has merit to an extent. I’m going to take another crack at this issue which you’ve carried over from another thread. My bookkeeper can’t sell worth a lick. My salesman has no patience for property management, my property manager doesn’t know a balance sheet from an income statement. Yet we have a successful company. Would I prefer each worker were strong in each aspect? Yes, because then we’d have greater depth. But we do with what we have, not with what we don’t have. The key is we don’t allow the weaknesses of any one team member drag down the operation. If that were the case, we’d have no choice but to let the team member go.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  7. Matt Williams

    Well said Michael. That is in essence the same message that I was trying to convey in my reply to Dr. Wu. Its about the whole picture.

    With that said, what were the characteristics that differentiated Steve Souza from the two candidates the PAC didn’t endorse?

  8. DT Businessman

    Matt, I won’t be discussing the 2 candidates that weren’t endorsed to eliminate the inevitable and unreasonable charge of negative campaigning.

    I’m going to take a crack at another point raised on a related thread. Some have said the PAC should only have endorsed 2 candidates for lack of a qualified 3rd. Doing so would have been silly. If I need to hire 3 employees, receive 5 applications, none of whom meet all of the desired qualifications, I don’t hire just 2 of them and allow a stranger to hire the 3rd one for me.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  9. 2cowherd

    DT Businessman: You would prefer that your workers be strong in each aspect.

    And I would prefer the same about the City Council. In my case I can see that there is a better alternative than Stephen Souza – and that would be Brett Lee. Brett is quite capable of bringing his analytical skills to craft a solution to our budget problems. He is clearly the “depth” we need on the next council. Maybe the problem he represents to the PAC is he hasn’t taken any developer contributions.

  10. DT Businessman

    2cowherd, once again a failure to debate the merits; instead resorting to the underhanded attack. I’m pleased to see that Brett hasn’t followed your lead.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  11. DT Businessman

    Well, the overwhelming consensus in the postings since last Saturday is agreement with the PAC on 2 of the 3 endorsements (Wolk, Frerichs) and no discernible consensus on who the 3rd councilmember should be. As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, the PAC has either achieved or is close to achieving all of its objectives.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  12. DT Businessman

    Jesus, is there no one out there wishing to engage in a meaningful debate on this issue? Well, I refuse to give up. Let’s try this. Who wants to take a crack at listing five VIABLE projects or policies designed to generate jobs and increased economic activity that EACH of the candidates is currently advocating for? Hard pressed to come up with 5, OK, let’s try 3. Each candidate, 3 policies/projects. Who wants to go first? Remember VIABLE, not pie in the sky stuff.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  13. nprice

    I am all for the current transparency claimed by the Davis Chamber. But, let’s widen the discussion. Since the National Chamber of Commerce has lobbied for free trade for decades and endorsed and contributed to political candidates that do, I wonder if the Davis Chamber wouldn’t as well. Free market and free trade and all….

    Have you heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement? Probably not. The TPP is the first trade agreement negotiated by Pres. Obama’s administration and trade representatives of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, and now Japan, have been meeting behind closed doors.

    The next round of secret talks is May 8-18 in Dallas, Texas. Negotiators, the U.S. Chamber and the Business Roundtable, strong advocates for free trade, and about 600 corporate lobbyists have access to the text – but the ordinary 99% do not. As all previous free trade agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA, etc.)the TPP will offshore millions of American jobs, undermine food safety, further deregulate Wall Street, end Buy Local and Buy America policies, impact access to lower-cost medicine, decrease environmental protections, and more.

    As in all “free” trade agreements, corporations of every signatory country will be able to lodge a corporate investor complaint against the U.S. for any law considered to harm its “investor rights” – that is harm their future profits. If they win in the international trade court, either the U.S. government pays a huge multi-million fine using tax-payer $$ or must strike the law passed by our local, county, state or national representatives. In 1999, before the gathering in Seattle, the Davis City Council passed a resolution against the World Trade Organization and free-trade deals.

    If I knew that the leaders of the Davis Chamber of Commerce, who endorsed the CC candidates, separated themselves from the National and supported fair vs. free trade, I would have more confidence in their choice of candidates.

  14. David M. Greenwald

    “My bookkeeper can’t sell worth a lick. My salesman has no patience for property management, my property manager doesn’t know a balance sheet from an income statement. Yet we have a successful company. Would I prefer each worker were strong in each aspect? Yes, because then we’d have greater depth.”

    Michael, I want to respond to this point because I think it’s critical to why you are having problems communicating with others on here.

    Imagine you have an employee who makes decisions that end up costing your company huge amounts of money and end up nearly getting you into bankruptcy. Maybe he’s a good guy, maybe he answers your phones well, my guess is that it would be difficult given his stack record for you to hire him again.

  15. Don Shor

    I am really curious what the ChamberPAC means by “fostering a sustainable community.”

    Simply envision Davis the way it would be if each candidate achieved his or her planning and growth vision.

    In the case of the incumbents, we have a track record.

    In Stephen’s case, we would have 1300+ more homes on the north edge of town. Because of his policies, we have lost some downtown businesses, traffic is down 22% to neighborhood shopping centers, and those centers have substantial vacancies. Because of his votes, our city’s budget is in dire straits. His urban planning and fiscal policies have yielded very poor results, and would have been even worse were it not for the voters.

    In Sue’s case, we would have a much better fiscal condition if her votes had prevailed. She has voted and advocated for the kind of city that preserves its downtown core and neighborhood shopping centers. If you are looking at ConAgra, her efforts to retain the business zoning would seem to be more appropriate to economic development than those who wish to develop it for housing.

    Our record with Dan is shorter, but he seems to hold responsible fiscal positions. As to housing growth, his votes to move forward on residential planning for ConAgra are unfortunate from the standpoint of economic development, since it would take business land out of zoning. But he keeps emphasizing that those are process votes, not his definitive position on the proposal. Brett seems to have a vision for the ConAgra site that is more balanced. Lucas has, as Mr. Toad noted on another thread, emphasized his support for infill.

    I think all of the candidates would vote to proceed with the Nishi project in one form or another. The parking garage seems mired in local political infighting.

    Really, all of the rationale presented seems to keep coming around to personality; the business leaders want someone they find easier to work with, someone predisposed to commercial development in principle if not in practice. But all of their rationale is undercut by their endorsement of Stephen Souza, because his track record is very poor on fiscal and growth issues.

  16. psdavis

    David: I’m by no means defending Steve Souza, but this assertion that he should be disqualified because of the fiscal mess is not fair. First, and foremost, the economic collapse changed the playbook. Second, he only had one vote out of five. Third, any bad decisions were influenced by a complex matrix of forces, not the least of which were the city staff and the polarized dynamic of the city council.

    In my opinion, with respect to the specific issue of economic development/sustainability, we have two strong consensus candidates (Wolk/Frerichs), two candidates with significant problems (Souza/Lee), and one candidate that by broad consensus is not worthy of further consideration (Greenwald).

  17. Don Shor

    Actually, psdavis, I kind of agree with that. But neither does developing it into housing with a tiny retail component. I would have to go back through and look at the different candidate statements, but I seem to recall Sue proposed a 50/50 split. There was once a proposal for an “equal-weight EIR” but Lewis backed out.
    The real obstacle on the cannery site is the landowner.

  18. Don Shor

    Here’s a Vanguard article on Stephen’s 2008 reelection campaign:[url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=353:councilmember-souza-running-for-reelection-pledges-to-balance-the-city-budget&catid=50:elections&Itemid=83[/url]

  19. David M. Greenwald

    I agree, he should not be disqualified on the basis of this and it was not my intention to argue that he should be.

    However, I think you are overestimating the role of the economic collapse in this.

    Basically over the course of the last decade, we saw salaries and compensation increase much faster than tax revenues. Moreover, we saw the voting for enhanced public safety benefits.

    Basically we were able to stay afloat last decade because of the real estate bubble and the half cent tax increase. We saw double digit property tax increases that enabled us to barely keep up.

    Bottom line is that the economic recession forced us to come to terms sooner than we might have, but the salary / compensation increases were unsustainable and we were riding the real estate bubble.

    The nice thing about a series of 3-2 votes is that it enables us to actually hold individuals accountable for their actions because it is not merely, he or she is one of five, but rather each contribution is pivotal to the outcome.

  20. Don Shor

    psdavis: that is only true if the landowner refuses to consider anything except housing. And as long as they think that is a likelihood, they have little incentive to accept anything else. What we have is a landowner that wants a particular zoning, won’t accept anything else, and therefore somehow anything else is “code for no project?” That is what we call developer-driven planning.

  21. Matt Williams

    David M. Greenwald said . . .

    [i]”Michael, I want to respond to this point because I think it’s critical to why you are having problems communicating with others on here.

    Imagine you have an employee who makes decisions that end up costing your company huge amounts of money and end up nearly getting you into bankruptcy. Maybe he’s a good guy, maybe he answers your phones well, my guess is that it would be difficult given his stack record for you to hire him again.”[/i]

    That’s a good question as far as it goes David. However, Steve was not the sole decision maker in those decisions, so holding him solely accountable is perhaps a bit extreme.

    With that said, the concern that I have about Steve is the (in)consistency of his voting pattern. There was a perfect example of that late in last night’s Council meeting. A vote had been called for and it was clear that the other 4 Council members were split 2-2. Steve said, with seeming reluctance, “I guess I’m the swing vote on this.” He almost sounded like he felt trapped. Feeling that way is very human, and I’ve felt that way lots of times in my life. So I can empathize with his feelings; however, I would prefer that he not make it all the way to a vote on the dias in that kind of ambivalent state, especially when the vote of his colleagues were not the least bit surprising. It would be ideal if he would be more proactive in those kinds of situations and not wait until the last moment to make up his mind. It comes across as wishy-washy when it happens.

    With that said, Sue Greenwald is the antithesis of wishy-washy, and I have said numerous times that I wish she were more of a consensus-builder and more collaborative, so I guess somewhere out there there is a happy medium.

  22. psdavis

    David: I don’t disagree that we were on an unsustainable path, but so were most public and private organizations. Perhaps that is why very few people have been held accountable. Everyone was guilty to varying degrees.

    I’m glad you brought up the 3-2 votes. This is the problem with a hyper-polarized council. It is very difficult to craft a middle ground; and extreme positions tend to prevail. In addition, this is the main reason that Sue needs to be “termed out” by the voters. After 12 years, it is pretty clear that it will be impossible to have consensus-based leadership on a Council that includes Sue.

  23. psdavis

    Don, it’s called economics-driven planning. If the zoning on a piece is not economically viable, the property will sit fallow. That’s not a good economic development strategy.

  24. Dr. Wu

    [quote]In Stephen’s case, we would have 1300+ more homes on the north edge of town. Because of his policies, we have lost some downtown businesses, traffic is down 22% to neighborhood shopping centers, and those centers have substantial vacancies. Because of his votes, our city’s budget is in dire straits. His urban planning and fiscal policies have yielded very poor results, and would have been even worse were it not for the voters.

    In Sue’s case, we would have a much better fiscal condition if her votes had prevailed. She has voted and advocated for the kind of city that preserves its downtown core and neighborhood shopping centers. If you are looking at ConAgra, her efforts to retain the business zoning would seem to be more appropriate to economic development than those who wish to develop it for housing. [/quote]

    Don Schor provided a better rebuttal to the attacks on me above than I could have. I hardly see that pointing out that the Chamber of Commerce PAC is heavily weighted towards those with interests in development is “baseless.”

    Rather than reply to these claims some people prefer to engage in character assassination.

  25. Matt Williams

    psdavis, I would add one drill down to your “economics-driven planning” concept. In the supply/demand economics of housing, we have an excess of demand because demand for Davis housing is regional and the supply is only local. In the supply/demand economics of jobs growth through an expansion of the business base, we have a severe lack of demand. This reality produces two important effects.

    1) For developers, housing is “low hanging fruit” when compared to commercial/business park alternatives. Until Davis (Davis – UCD – Yolo County) begins to seriously concentrate on the demand side of “economics-driven planning we will continue to be lots of talk and little action.

    2) Because of Measure J/R if the the voters only see A) more proposed housing with no matching growth in jobs, and/or B) business park proposals that are all about “build it and they will come” the voters will continue to say “No” when asked to vote.

    On the other hand if Davis – UCD – Yolo County shifts its focus to the demand side of economics-driven planning, and courts companies that have existing or potential synergies with Davis’ academic and research strengths, then both 1) and 2) above will no longer apply, and the Davis – UCD – Yolo ecomomy will improve substantially . . . and sustainably.

  26. Rifkin

    PSD: [i]”First, and foremost, the economic collapse changed the playbook.”[/i]

    As David Greenwald noted above, all of the decisions which put us on an unsustainable fiscal path were taken before the economic collapse. If you were reading my column in The Enterprise or similar reports in the Vanguard you would know that many of us believed, with good reason, that the huge upfront expenses and the even larger future liabilities built into the labor contracts (almost all of which still exist and have yet to be reformed) were pushing Davis toward bankruptcy.

    That said, most of the unsustainable aspects of the labor contracts pre-dated Stephen Souza’s arrival on the Council in 2004.

    In my opinion, it is fair to hold Stephen accountable for the votes he took and for the reforms he failed to push for in this regard. But it should be understood that he inherited the failings of the Wagstaff, Harrington, Greenwald, Freeman and Boyd Council which started us on our road to ruin.

    [i]”Second, he only had one vote out of five.”[/i]

    That is a reason why it’s not entirely fair to put all the blame on him, as he was just one of three in the majority making matters worse or failing to understand what a rough road we were headed toward.

    I also think that it’s not entirely fair to hold all the mistakes an incumbent made if the incumbent has realized the error of his ways and now holds a different point of view, one which will hopefully get Davis on a sustainable path.

    I know that Sue Greenwald’s record on fiscal sustainability in her first term on the City Council was terrible. She voted in favor of the enhanced pensions (3% at 50 for public safety) and much higher salaries and she voted yes on all of the contracts before 2009-2010. She may have been much stronger behind the scenes, but as far as I know, every vote on every labor deal up to 2009-2010 was unanimous, before Lamar and Sue voted no and lost on a 3-2 vote.

    But since the 2005 and 2006 contracts were signed–that is when the firefighters got a 36% raise–Sue became a public champion for fiscal responsibility and has been so ever since.

    I think it would make no sense now to hold it against Sue for mistakes she made a long time ago. That cannot be changed. I care what her positions are now and what she will do over the next four years.

    And I think Stephen Souza deserves equal consideration in that respect.

    [i]”Third, any bad decisions were influenced by a complex matrix of forces, not the least of which were the city staff and the polarized dynamic of the city council.”[/i]

    This comment makes no sense to me. If a decision was bad, it was bad. Future votes will also be influenced by complex matrices of forces. What voters need to do is decide whether they think Stephen or any of the other contenders will rise above complications and make good decisions on behalf of the people of Davis.

  27. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”psdavis: that is only true if the landowner refuses to consider anything except housing. And as long as they think that is a likelihood, they have little incentive to accept anything else. What we have is a landowner that wants a particular zoning, won’t accept anything else, and therefore somehow anything else is “code for no project?” That is what we call developer-driven planning.”[/i]

    Don, for all the reasons outlined in my post above, there is really no business reason for a developer to seriously consider anything other than housing.

    I’m not saying that is either right or optimal for our community, but it is what it is.

  28. DT Businessman

    “If I knew that the leaders of the Davis Chamber of Commerce, who endorsed the CC candidates, separated themselves from the National and supported fair vs. free trade, I would have more confidence in their choice of candidates.”

    nprice, you should have lot of confidence in the Chamber PAC’s choice of candidates because:

    “The Davis Chamber of Commerce and Davis ChamberPAC are not affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce or the California Chamber of Commerce.”
    -endorsement press release

    “DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  29. DT Businessman

    “But I look at the totality of a candidate’s positions on things like the budget, ConAgra, and the water project, with some strategic considerations (Sue is a lone vote on water issues, otherwise I would be less likely to support her).”

    Don, you made this comment on a related, but slightly older thread. You’ve made it pretty clear that you don’t agree with Sue’s position on the water project at all. Did you mis-type or did I get lost in the convoluted sentence?

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  30. DT Businessman

    Hm, still no takers on the 3 pro economic development policies/projects challenge? Really? None? Or are you all still scrolling through public statements and votes? I’ll give it a few more hours and answer the question myself if there aren’t any responses in the meantime. I should add one more caveat, the policies or projects have to be directly related to economic development, not indirectly.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  31. Adam Smith

    I am really curious what the ChamberPAC means by “fostering a sustainable community.”

    Sustainable includes environmental issues, but just as importantly, includes fostering a healthy business environment that creates jobs, taxes and incomes to provide the sustenance to remain a viable community. For Davis, it means we have to raise tax revenues through via positive economic development, and especially we must improve Davis’ retail sales number of roughly $7500 per capita if we are to retain and improve the services we desire for our community. Our downtown should seek to emulate Palo Alto and San Luis Obispo. We should, in no way, be content to say “we’re better than Dixon or Woodland”.

    I can’t speak to what the PAC envisions, but I hope it is similar to my vision, which includes:

    1. Higher Density downtown: 3-4 story architecturally interesting buildings, with ground floor retail, and upper levels with single or multifamily housing (perhaps some second floor business services – accountants, lawyers, title companies etc). This precludes voting for Sue because she insists that the current look of downtown be maintained.

    2. Pedestrian malls with wider sidewalks and outdoor eating areas: Think Santa Monica Third Street Promenade ([url]http://thirdstreetpromenade.org/visitors[/url], but scaled to Davis.

    3. Additional Parking – needed already, but it will become an imperative when you commit to number 2 because we will lose spaces to the pedestrian mall and there will be significantly more traffic drawn to the downtown core.

    4. Zoning and business policies, accompanied with economic development outreach from the city and chamber, which attract businesses that are symbiotic with UCD to locate and grow their business here.

    5. An approach to working with business owners and UCD which fosters cooperation and accomplishment of mutual objectives. When our council fails to work with UCD, they simply do what they need without us, and we lose control of the buildings and tax revenues – Think West Village.

  32. Adam Smith

    [i]Because of his policies, we have lost some downtown businesses, traffic is down 22% to neighborhood shopping centers, and those centers have substantial vacancies.
    [/i]

    Don – I think I know the study you base this conclusion on – I don’t believe that the study isolates the impact of Target vs the impact of the recession. Can you cite specifically that Target is the reason. Further can you categorically state that sales tax revenues or jobs for the city of Davis have declined BECAUSE of Target? My family, and many others, shop at Target, formerly in Woodland, and now Davis. In that regard, Davis is capturing many more sales and tax dollars because of Steven Souza’s policies.

    [i]Because of his votes, our city’s budget is in dire straits. His urban planning and fiscal policies have yielded very poor results, and would have been even worse were it not for the voters. [/i]

    Rich has provided background which shows that this path was started by Harrington, Greenwald, et al, not Souza. I don’t believe you can make the case for the urban policy decision either. I think it is just as plausible that Sue’s urban policy of refusing to increase the density of downtown and refusing to cooperate with UCD has been more damaging to the city of Davis than Steven’s urban policy venues. It is often easy to determine the cost for someone who does something; it’s much harder and therefore less common, to consider the cost of doing nothing. But that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been a cost.

    Please don’t read this as an endorsement for Souza – I haven’t arrived at a conclusion yet. However, it appears that the attacks on Souza in this space and topic are not well developed or based on facts, and ignore hard to calculate, but very real costs that are attributable to other candidates.

  33. Davis Enophile

    Don and Adam Smith

    I participated in the transportation survey you are referring to. It was horrifically worded. Lucky for them, I took the effort to try and understand what they were asking. From my recollection there were no questions pertaining to the recession. I wouldn’t put too much stock into that survey.

  34. Don Shor

    Adam Smith: It was the transportation study. Interesting to get the feedback from Davis Enophile. But a 22% reduction in traffic to non-downtown locations in Davis (see below) is significant, and this was a study specifically designed to determine the effects of Target. How it directly translates into tax revenues I can’t say yet.

    I’ve been waiting for sales tax numbers in specific categories from the city, but since Paul N. was my contact I suspect I will have to start my inquiries again as he has now moved on to Woodland. My expectation is that sales tax numbers for Davis will not have increased or declined due to Target, and that the impact from Target vs. the recession will be very hard to discern. I base that on the curve of sales tax revenues which mirrored the state numbers pretty closely. But remember, sales tax was supposed to increase from Target.

    So building Target had winners and losers. The losers are retailers in the neighborhood shopping centers and some downtown merchants. The winners are Target Corporation and the Davis residents who prefer to shop there.

    This is taken from a powerpoint presentation by the authors of the transportation study:
    [url]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/Targetimpactautotrips.png[/url]

    Here are a couple of sales tax graphs:
    [url]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/citysalestaxwtarget.jpg[/url]
    [url]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/statesalestaxchart.jpg[/url]

  35. Don Shor

    [i]” I think it is just as plausible that Sue’s urban policy of refusing to increase the density of downtown and refusing to cooperate with UCD has been more damaging to the city of Davis than Steven’s urban policy venues”[/i]

    Then your candidates would be Wolk, Frerichs, and Lee.

    The basic problem I have with Stephen’s growth policies is that he has advocated for a very large peripheral housing project and a large peripheral retail project. In the latter case, at least, he was a strong advocate for it, right out front in touting the benefits and minimizing the impact.

    I have no problem with the sustainable economic growth policies you have outlined. I am curious as to how the promenade would be planned and built and with what funds.

  36. psdavis

    Matt: I generally agree with your points about the need to focus on creating demand for commercial (particularly tech) development. A key part of this equation is that we need to be taken seriously by the business community. As long as we’re debating an innovation park on the ConAgra site, we’re sending a clear signal that we’re really not serious.

  37. David M. Greenwald

    “As long as we’re debating an innovation park on the ConAgra site, we’re sending a clear signal that we’re really not serious.”

    Aren’t what we’re doing is sending the signal that there are opposing viewpoints in the community? which is true?

  38. psdavis

    Rifkin: Your points are well taken. I’m not sure, however, how voting no on everything qualifies one as a public champion of fiscal responsibility. I would withhold that label for someone that successfully builds consensus around fiscally responsible policies.

  39. David M. Greenwald

    Actually I would argue she did. When she first started she was on a 4-1 vote, but then it was a series of 3-2 with the last council, and now the majority on the council supports fiscally responsible policies.

  40. psdavis

    David: Yes. “Oppossing viewpoints in the community” and “signals that we are really not serious” are not mutually exclusive.

    We need to get on the same page if the people that control risk capital are going to invest significantly in this community.

    In addition, whatever strategy we land on needs to be credible and it needs to happen quickly (well before the current economic cycle starts to peak).

    The ConAgra business park proposal is neither credible nor achievable (assuming we could even find a commercial developer stupid enough to give it a try) in the current business cycle.

  41. David M. Greenwald

    I think it’s a naive view to think that there’s ever going to be a consensus or people will be on the same page. I don’t think that’s realistic and frankly i think it’s healthy to have debate and discussion.

  42. psdavis

    David: There’s a big difference between building consensus and extracting concessions to get you to stop being disruptive. I would argue that the current focus on fiscal responsibility is world-wide and, on the local level, has very little to do with Sue.

  43. Don Shor

    Matt (and presumably psdavis): [i]On the other hand if Davis – UCD – Yolo County shifts its focus to the demand side of economics-driven planning, and courts companies that have existing or potential synergies with Davis’ academic and research strengths, then both 1) and 2) above will no longer apply, and the Davis – UCD – Yolo ecomomy will improve substantially . . . and sustainably.[/i]

    Where would you suggest they locate?

  44. David M. Greenwald

    I really don’t think, based on this and your previous comment that you really understand the history of what happened in Davis and when it happened. And yes, the economic collapse certainly helped, but go back over earlier articles on this site, we were laying this stuff out well before the crash of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

  45. Don Shor

    The previous link I provided, where Stephen announced his bid for reelection, was March 2007: “I would like to see an urban transition zone. I would like to move toward reducing our global footprint, provide police and fire with the tools they need to keep us safe, and balance our budget completely.”
    Also from that Vanguard article:
    “as the Davis Enterprise reported on March 14, 2007: City leaders, led by you guessed it, Stephen Souza, have proposed “building, equipping and staffing a fourth fire station, something that would cost $5.2 million to get off the ground and $1.7 million per year to operate.””

  46. psdavis

    “I think it’s healthy to have debate and discussion.”

    David: I agree 110%. However, at some point the debate and discussion needs to translate into decisive forward action by leadership. That’s where the process breaks down in Davis.

    The need for a tech business park has been debated and discussed (and repeatedly studied) for over 15 years. As you say, there’s never going to be a consensus. In my opinion, the leadership has had plenty of input and it’s now time to decide.

  47. Don Shor

    As noted on a previous discussion a couple of years ago, the best locations for a tech business park are likely to be on university property.

  48. Mark West

    Re: Tech Business Park

    One item that never seems to get discussed is that high tech business leaders expect high-end housing. Imagine you are the owner/CEO of a high tech company. Where do you live in Davis? Where do your senior executives live? There is more to issue of enticing new business development than simply having available space.

  49. Matt Williams

    Don Shor asked . . .
    [i]
    “Where would you suggest they locate?”[/i]

    Depends on the company’s size needs. There is a significant amount of space on 2nd Street. Doby Fleeman and Jennifer Anderson just opened up the area between 4th and 5th just east of the railroad tracks. They have. Nishi should be one of the “hubs” supporting UCD’s I-Hub initiative . . . most likely the Ag/Food Hub because of the close proximity to the Mondavi Food Center. UCD is working on locating Seed Central on the north side of Old Davis Road between the I-80 Exit and the Food Institute. Seed Central will result in an expansion of the already existing distributed seed growing operations (Campbell on Mace, Harris on Mace, etc.).

    If the I-Hub concept truly does gather momentum then the space demand it creates would dictate where the next step might be.

    Here’s a question for everyone. Imagine that a company like FMC who just purchased Schilling Robotics approaches the City/County and says they want to locate a Mori Seiki-sized operation in Davis. Where would you propose putting them?

  50. Matt Williams

    psdavis said . . .

    [i]”David: I agree 110%. However, at some point the debate and discussion needs to translate into decisive forward action by leadership. That’s where the process breaks down in Davis.”[/i]

    I completely agree psdavis.

    psdavis said . . .

    [i]”The need for a tech business park has been debated and discussed (and repeatedly studied) for over 15 years. As you say, there’s never going to be a consensus. In my opinion, the leadership has had plenty of input and it’s now time to decide.”[/i]

    I respectfully disagree psdavis. The only thing we have studied and debated is the supply side (entitlements, developer profits, etc.). There has been very little effort put into coming up with the actions necessary to fill whatever is built. If we decided now to entitle a business park near I-80 or CA-113, either one of two things would happen, 1) the property would join Con Agra as an entitled empty parcel, or 2) if the developer decided to build buildings on spec with the hope of filling them (“if we build it they will come”), the buildings would join the large inventory of available commercial/industrial space in the metropolitan Sacramento area.

    That doesn’t need to happen though. If we leverage the strong draw of UCD we can identify and approach companies that would realize a win-win by establishing or expanding a relationship with UCD/Davis/Yolo.

  51. Don Shor

    Anybody interested in reviewing the sites under consideration should go to the minutes of the Innovation Park Task Force for January 19 2012 and look at the five alternatives.
    [url]http://cityofdavis.org/meetings/agenda.cfm?c=38[/url]

  52. Rifkin

    PSD: [i]”I’m not sure, however, how [b]voting[/b] no on everything qualifies one as a public champion of fiscal responsibility. I would withhold that label for someone that successfully builds consensus around fiscally responsible policies.”[/i]

    DG: [i]”Actually I would argue she did. When she first started she was on a 4-1 vote, but then it was a series of 3-2 with the last council, and now the majority on the council supports fiscally responsible policies.”[/i]

    I think it is a fair argument that with better shmoozing skills–more salesmanship and less bluntness–Sue might have got her way more. That is just not her nature. She is frank. But some people cannot be convinced no matter what. Sue faced a serious problem with her colleagues: That they seemed to be in bed with certain labor groups and cared much less about the taxpayers of Davis.

    Also, it is wrong to just say Sue “voted no” and did nothing more. Most importantly, she asked staff (and her colleagues) the hard questions. She did not routinely just accept the conclusions or statements presented in staff reports*, which can sometimes be wrong and other times include errors of omission which distort reality. Sue works extremely hard at getting the facts right. When she thinks I might know something, she calls me up. When some better expert is to be had, she calls that person. Others on the Council do this, too. But what distinguishes Sue is her ability to see through the b.s. and find out what is true and what is not.

    *Arguably far more important than anything Sue has done on questions of our labor contracts was her dogged determination to discover if there was a better option for the sewage treatment plant. A combination of our public works staff and their consultant, West-Yost Assoc., had locked into the idea that we needed a $200 million (or so) plant. Sue never accepted that on its face. Everyone else on the Council–I’m not quite sure where Lamar was on this to be clear, but certainly a majority–took West-Yost at its word: That we had no other choice. They all refused to listen to the folks from UCD that Sue had been talking with. Having faced a brick wall from her colleagues on the Council–who should be ashamed of their behavior toward Sue for refusing to listen to her–it was finally the city manager, Bill Emlen**, who heard Sue out and sagreed the city needed to hear the advice of Sue’s experts, Schroeder and Tchabanglous (sorry about the spelling). S&T then, in a very short period of time, got the rest of the Council to agree that we could get by just fine with a $95.5 million sewage treatment plant and with that the public works department and West-Yost were overridden. Sue’s sole efforts ended up saving the ratepayers of Davis about $100 million. How many other members of the Council can say that? You can disparage her for her lack of ability to win votes. (She is no Lyndon Baines Johnson or Willie Brown.) But you should be very positively impressed with her courage, hard work and intelligence when it came to the sewage treatment plant.

    You might say that Sue lost a lot of 1-4 and 2-3 votes due to some inability to persuade Don Saylor or Ruth Asmundson. But many of those were just because her colleagues closed their minds to her. They were overly convinced that they were right and she was crazy. And it turns out they were wrong and Sue was not crazy.

    David credits Sue for the fact that now a majority of the Council believes in fixing our labor contracts. I don’t credit Sue for that. I credit her for always speaking up about where we were headed, always informing the people of Davis what needed to be done. Then the people elected new members who now form a majority. (It’s yet to be seen, of course, if this Council will hold strong.)

    **I could be wrong about Emlen playing this role. It may have been Paul Navazio. Sue can correct me if she reads this.

  53. Matt Williams

    Mark West said . . .

    [i]”Re: Tech Business Park

    One item that never seems to get discussed is that high tech business leaders expect high-end housing. Imagine you are the owner/CEO of a high tech company. Where do you live in Davis? Where do your senior executives live? There is more to issue of enticing new business development than simply having available space.”[/i]

    Mark, there are 10 vacant lots in El Macero. Until early this year there were 30 empty lots in Willowbank 10. Scattered throughout Davis are lots of lots that could provide lots of creative opportunities. Add to that lots of available already built homes for resale, and the supply for a first wave of new business employees/executives is more than adequate. With that said, if we bring jobs, then housing will be inevitable. If we get innovative and creative with our infill we can address some of the added demand. Cannery presents opportunities out on the periphery. Inside the Mace Curve does too. Look at the Housing Element Steering Committee Final Report for more.

  54. civil discourse

    I was hoping for more specifics in this article.

    How will local PAC’s change how campaigns are run? What are the rules? What are the political advantages?

    It seems to me debating who 5 people alone (the Chamber PAC) decided what is most “sustainable” for Davis simply gives them the influence over the conversation they are looking for.

  55. psdavis

    Mark: You raise an important issue. Do we really have high-end housing and/or lots that would entice successful tech executives that live in places like Woodside or Los Altos Hills to come to Davis? In my estimation, the answer is almost none. However, worrying about housing to recruit executives for companies we don’t have in a tech park that is not entitled is putting the cart before the horse.

  56. Matt Williams

    psdavis: Why would Ag or Food Tech executives be coming from Woodside or Los Altos Hills? Are any of the Mori Seiki executives coming from Woodside or Los Altos Hills?

  57. psdavis

    Matt: I said places [i]like[/i] Woodside or Los Altos Hills. In other words, very rich communities that are home to successful tech executives. I could have picked numerous other examples from across the country. Our ability to attract execs that are living in high end properties in high end communities is currently very limited.

  58. Matt Williams

    I understand/understood your point. My counterpoint is that the leverageable strengths of UCD/Davis/Yolo are in Ag/Food Tech and those executives are not going to be coming from Silicon Valley. I realize I could be 100% wrong.

    To take this point a bit further, imagine that we were successful in getting ConAgra to be a lead tenant at a UCD Ag/Food Hub on Nishi. Where would their executive likely be coming from? Omaha

    Or imagine that we were successful in getting Monsanto to expand its presence in Davis and be another lead tenant at a UCD Ag/Food Hub on Nishi. Where would their executive likely be coming from? St. Louis

    Or imagine that we were successful in getting Bunge to follow up its purchase of Anheuser Busch Rice and establish a rice research presence in Davis and be another lead tenant at a UCD Ag/Food Hub on Nishi. Where would their executive likely be coming from? St. Louis

    I think you get the picture.

  59. psdavis

    Don: Do you mean we don’t want those sorts of people in our town?

    Matt: You’re over-thinking the issue.

    Rifkin: I hear what you’re saying. I’m just not buying into the whole heroic narrative, although I’ll concede that she may deserve more credit than I’m giving her. Plus she’s been dead wrong on tech economic development, which is my point of reference.

  60. Don Shor

    Gosh, no. Some of them might remember me.
    My point is that lack of very high-end housing hardly seems like a concern at all. They’ll end up in North Davis Meadows, El Macero, Lake Alhambra, or Stonegate. And they’ll be amazed by how much house they get for the money. Deans of medical schools seem ok with the paltry homes they have to settle for in El Macero.
    I think you’re way over-concerned about housing for the people who aren’t short of it, and way under-concerned about housing for the ones who are.

  61. psdavis

    Don:

    Actually what I said is that it will only be an issue down the road if we can successfully grow the local tech economy. Right now it is a complete non-issue. So we’re in agreement on that one.

    Regarding rental housing, I’ve already laid out an executable solution that would have a meaningful impact. Eliminate the “business park” on ConAgra and use the additional land to build rental housing up to the maximum project density recommended by the Housing Element Steering Committee.

    What about it? Can you get behind this idea?

  62. Don Shor

    I think the way to grow the local tech economy is to expedite some kind of project on or near campus land, and I really hope Nishi can become something of that sort. That would help build our reputation as a place that wants innovative small businesses, and it could help the downtown.
    I would support high-density housing on the ConAgra site as you describe, even if it meant abandoning the business park idea.

  63. Matt Williams

    psdavis said . . .

    [i]”Matt: You’re over-thinking the issue.”[/i]

    I respectfully disagree. I would say I am target-thinking about the kind of tech companies that are likely to feel it makes sense to come to Davis. There are huge portions of the tech marketplace where the only reason we are going to get a company in that tech sector is because the leader/leaders of the company have a [u]personal[/u] reason why they want to locate in Davis. That was the case for DMG’s leaders, and once DMG located here the next step was for Mori Seiki.

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”My point is that lack of very high-end housing hardly seems like a concern at all. They’ll end up in North Davis Meadows, El Macero, Lake Alhambra, or Stonegate. And they’ll be amazed by how much house they get for the money. Deans of medical schools seem ok with the paltry homes they have to settle for in El Macero.”[/i]

    I agree 100%

    [i]”I think you’re way over-concerned about housing for the people who aren’t short of it, and way under-concerned about housing for the ones who are.”[/i]

    This is a key issue for the line workers at any tech company that locates here. As you point out above, the executives will have plenty of housing choice, but like it is for Davis’ present line workers, housing for those not making executive salaries will be very tight . . . and expensive.

    Mark West said . . .

    [i]”Re: Tech Business Park

    One item that never seems to get discussed is that high tech business leaders expect high-end housing. Imagine you are the owner/CEO of a high tech company. Where do you live in Davis? Where do your senior executives live? There is more to issue of enticing new business development than simply having available space.”[/i]

    Circling back to Mark’s original point, If Davis/UCD/Yolo successfully create and fill an Innovation Hub with businesses that generate jobs and taxes that help balance the City’s Budget and customers who spend their money at Davis’ retail and service businesses . . . there will be a need to plan some peripheral housing growth in a thoughtful, respectful way, ideally on land that doesn’t have prime soils and isn’t producing crops.

  64. DT Businessman

    Don, I’d support both of your pro-economic-development proposals (ConAgra high density housing and Nishi tech park development). It would be good to know whether the candidates would actively support both of them over the next 2 years.

    DT Businessman (Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  65. Dr. Wu

    [quote]Our ability to attract execs that are living in high end properties in high end communities is currently very limited.[/quote]

    Interesting point. My sense is that building large McMansions would not go over well politically in this town. It would increase our tax base though.

  66. JustSaying

    Come to think of it, why would ANY company choose Davis–let along a dozen or whatever it would take to fill up a “high tech business park”?

    Worker and executive housing availability? Access to other related companies, support businesses, raw materials and high tech recruiting sources? Meeting and conference facilities? Long term tax waivers? Free or low-cost building sites? Funding for development grants, no-interest loans, etc.? State-of-the-art electronic communications infrastructure? Low personal income taxe rates? A growth-supportive government atmosphere and populace? A financially healthy municipal government? Recreation, arts and shopping centers? A tiny, funky downtown with adequate pizza and Thai eateries?

    We know our town is unique. But, with every community in California and tax-free Nevada in the hunt, how are we competitive?

  67. Matt Williams

    “… how are we competitive?”

    JustSaying: UCD and immersion in the agricultural economy of the Central Valley. For me proximity to Silicon Valley is of some, but minimal value. The key asset Davis needs from Silicon Valley and the Bay Area is a local presence of one or two of the venture capital firms that are based there.

  68. Rifkin

    [i]”My sense is that building large McMansions would not go over well politically in this town.”[/i]

    Have all of you seen the new, 20,000 sf home that was just built on Road 104 (Mace), maybe a mile south of El Macero? It’s the one with the cool copper details over the chimneys and a new walnut orchard planted all around it. … Speaking of walnut orchards: I’ve noticed that in the last 10 years (since Hunt Wesson closed?) hundreds of farms which had been planted in tomatoes (or other row crops) in our area are now walnut orchards. My guess is that the global price of walnuts (due to China?) and the lack of local tomato processors has caused this shift.

  69. DT Businessman

    Over 5 days we’ve had 2 or 3 articles from David devoted to the Chamber PAC’s effort to elevate the community conversation regarding the need to foster a robust local economy and to encourage our political leadership to focus on economic sustainability in addition to social and environmental sustainability. After hundreds of blog postings, it’s clear that save for a handful of individuals, most posters would rather:

    -engage in handwringing over the PAC’s activities;

    -question the right of the PAC to advocate politically;

    -attack the PAC’s effort for being under-represented by retailers (but refusing to engage in a debate to determine whether the PAC’s objectives are supportive of local retail interests);

    -debate over the merits of the 4 year-old Target project;

    -debate over the candidates votes and positions on the city budget;

    -demonize, engage in personal attacks and innuendo, and speculate over nefarious plots and motives.

    Where’s the substantive debate on local economic policies and projects? Perhaps David will be more successful with upcoming articles in spurring a debate on local economic development policies and projects and which ones the 5 council candidates intend on actively supporting over the next 4 years.

    DT Businessman (Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)

  70. Don Shor

    Rich: walnuts are reliable. They don’t need bees, they bloom after most rains are past (i.e., right now), the price is stable, the export market is reliable, and with the new spacing techniques the yield per acre is higher and comes sooner. Nearly every field near me that used to be in processing tomatoes is now in walnuts, except for the few that are in sunflowers. Overall, it is certainly an aesthetic improvement at least.

    As to housing, I think it will be necessary for any tech park to provide at least some workforce housing for the lower-paid employees such as dorm-style, or small units, on the site. Nishi could provide that. Executives will seek homes elsewhere in the region.

    Matt: [i]”there will be a need to plan some peripheral housing growth in a thoughtful, respectful way…”[/i]

    That seems totally unnecessary.

  71. Adam Smith

    [i]Have all of you seen the new, 20,000 sf home that was just built on Road 104 (Mace), maybe a mile south of El Macero? It’s the one with the cool copper details over the chimneys and a new walnut orchard planted all around it. ..[/i]

    It is a beautiful home…although it is much closer to 8000 sq ft instead of 20,000. And those are pistachios in the orchard. If you watch closely, you’ll be seeing more and more pistachios planted around now…in fact, an pistachio orchard was just planted last week on the NE corner of 29/113.

    DTB – Sorry for straying away from the topic for a moment. I’m encouraged to see this group supporting economic development. We have some inherent advantages b/c of UC Davis, but we need a city council that will work proactively with companies and UCD to build on our advantages. Davis is not recognized as a business development friendly company — we could have Genentech, as an example – this will have to change.

    With respect to politics of the council race, I think all candidates get what needs to be done with respect to the budget. Sue may have been earlier than some others on this, but now everyone knows it and gets it. What we need now is a vision for moving Davis forward economically, and we need council members that can lead, work together and collaborate with many other constituents to so that the city can effectuate a plan to become sustainable, environmentally and economically. Sue has proven that she is a very difficult partner as a council member and in dealing with important constituents like UCD. IMO, she can’t help lead us to the future we need.

  72. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]With respect to politics of the council race, I think all candidates get what needs to be done with respect to the budget. Sue may have been earlier than some others on this, but now everyone knows it and gets it. What we need now is a vision for moving Davis forward economically, and we need council members that can lead, work together and collaborate with many other constituents to so that the city can effectuate a plan to become sustainable, environmentally and economically.[/quote]

    Nicely said!

  73. David M. Greenwald

    “Nicely said!”

    It may be nicely said, but I don’t think it’s particularly accurate. I’m concerned with several of the answers I heard coming from council candidates last night on this issue.

  74. DT Businessman

    David, which issue are you referring to? All candidates understand what needs to be done on the budget or working together to effectuating a plan?

    “DT Businessman (Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez, Chamber PAC member)”

  75. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I’m concerned with several of the answers I heard coming from council candidates last night on this issue.[/quote]

    Enlighten us so we can better understand where you are coming from…

  76. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]It may be nicely said, but I don’t think it’s particularly accurate.[/quote]

    What is not accurate?
    1)”I think all candidates get what needs to be done with respect to the budget.” If not, which candidate doesn’t get what needs to be done?
    2) “What we need now is a vision for moving Davis forward economically”. We don’t need a vision for moving Davis forward economically?
    3) “we need council members that can lead, work together and collaborate with many other constituents so that the city can effectuate a plan to become sustainable, environmentally and economically”. We don’t need council members that can lead, work together and collaborate?

  77. David M. Greenwald

    “What is not accurate?”

    Because at least two of the answers I heard on the budget were inadequate and show that perhaps they do not get it on the budget.

  78. Kemble Pope

    The Davis ChamberPAC is committed to complete financial transparency. In addition to the required state and local financial disclosure reporting periods, it will release financial reporting information every Friday until the election on June 5th, 2012.

    The Davis ChamberPAC has endorsed Lucas Frerichs, Stephen Souza, Dan Wolk and Yes on Measure D for the June 5th, 2012 Statewide Primary Election in Davis, California.

    Contributions are limited to $1,000. Please send contributions to 604 Third Street, Davis, CA 95616. More information and donation options will soon be available online at http://www.davischamberpac.com

    Financial Disclosure as of Friday, May 4th, 2012

    Business Amount
    Aguilar Janitorial Service $ 100.00
    Alyce LLC $ 1,000.00
    Brooks Painting $ 300.00
    Business Credit Card Systems $ 250.00
    California Statewide Certified Development Corporation
    $ 600.00
    Davis Commcercial Properties $ 100.00
    Doug Tolson Construction $ 100.00
    El Mariachi Taqueria $ 20.00
    Fleet Feet Sports $ 300.00
    G.T. Construction Co. $ 200.00
    Haute Again $ 25.00
    Jason Taormino Real Estate $ 200.00
    John Natsoulas Gallery $ 100.00
    KetMoRee Thai Restaurant & Bar $ 200.00
    Langstaff & Wan, Inc. $ 250.00
    M.C.’s & Sons $ 100.00
    Mother & Baby Source $ 100.00
    nestware $ 20.00
    Newman Associates $ 100.00
    Newsbeat $ 50.00
    Purves and Associates $ 250.00
    Red 88 Noodle Bar $ 200.00
    Robert Family LLC $ 150.00
    Star-Crossed Group $ 500.00
    The Avid Reader $ 100.00
    University Hospitality Group $ 500.00
    Varsity Theatre $ 100.00
    Village Pizza & Grill $ 100.00
    West Yost Associate $ 1,000.00

    Individuals Amount
    Ashley Prince & David Moore $ 100.00
    Bob Bockwinkel $ 25.00
    Charles Cunningham $ 200.00
    Charles Roe $ 200.00
    Daniel Tomasello $ 25.00
    G. William & Karmen Streng $ 100.00
    George Barden $ 20.00
    Greg McNece $ 500.00
    Janice Foley $ 40.00
    Jon & Diane Parro $ 50.00
    Lynne Ferda & Scott Daugherty $ 100.00
    Sinisa Novakovic $ 100.00
    Steve Cohan $ 100.00
    Theresa & Steven Greenfield $ 100.00
    William and Amy Habicht $ 50.00

    Committee Donations Amount
    Saylor for Supervisor 2010 $ 50.00

    Expenditures Detail
    $876.00 City of Davis: Community Chambers Rental Fee
    $326.25 The Secretariat
    $ 75.00 Davis Chamber of Commerce: e-Blast
    $1,277.25 Total Expenditures 2012

    TOTAL DONATIONS 2012 $ 8,775.00
    STARTING BALANCE $ 2,394.00
    (less) TOTAL EXPENDITURES $ 1,277.25
    CASH ON HAND $ 9,891.75

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