Commentary: Davis Tech World – Build It and They Will Stay

Share:

innovation-technology

Yesterday we laid out for the public, in the Vanguard‘s Sunday Commentary, the notion that Davis’ most important discussion is its economic development picture.

At that time, we closed by writing, if we want to preserve the great things about this community, if we want the community to thrive, not just survive, then we need to have this full discussion and we need to have it soon.

Growth and housing will always be an issue for Davis, but fiscal sustainability and economic development are at the core of the future of this community.

While we can have reasonable debates as to whether or not Davis can or even should become the Silicon Valley of the next wave of economic and high-tech university spinoffs, we need to better situate this debate.

This is not a field of dreams moment where we have to build it in order for them to come.  Instead, this is a moment where we have to decide whether or not to build it in order for them to stay.

The companies are already here.  Two weeks ago, in Matt Williams’ article, we posted the slide from Sarta, where Meg Arnold at a DSIDE (Designing a Sustainable and Innovative Davis Economy) meeting presented information on the current presence of technology companies in Davis.

Williams-Slide9

Think about that, without any kind of economic development strategy, Davis is already leading the way in high tech companies.  Only Sacramento, far larger than Davis has more.

Williams-Slide10

In this slide we see not only the present but the future – Clean Tech, Ag Tech, and Med Tech.

None of this should be surprising.  As Matt Williams wrote, “Most of us know that the UC Davis School of medicine is one of the best in the US, so it is no surprise that approximately a third of Davis’ Tech companies are in the Med Tech sector.  Nor is it a surprise that approximately a quarter of them are in Ag Tech.  Both of those sectors build on UCD’s core competencies, and with the increased commitment of UCD to transferring technology for the public benefit through InnovationAccess, we can expect both the Med Tech and Ag/Food Tech presence in Davis to grow.”

But it is worth emphasizing this point – by expanding our economic development, we would be enhancing the community not changing it.  We already have a top medical school, we already have a stake in the emerging ag tech field and we are a community built to be a pioneer into environmentally friendly technology.

We do not have to build a business park for this business to come, we have to build this business park so that businesses that are already here can stay and new businesses can rise up to take their place as the next wave of start ups.

It is ironic, but the loss of Bayer-AgraQuest may end up being the best thing to have happened for this community, because it is indeed a wakeup call.  Here was a company that was born in Davis, grew in Davis, wanted to stay in Davis, but could not find the land to make it happen.

While we are recovering from that blow, the threat to the next loss is already visible on the horizon.  In August, we learned that Bayer is not the only potential loss – another critical Davis company wants to expand, wants to stay in Davis, and has no place available to move.  They need 40 acres – 500,000 square feet under a single roof, in a single story.

No place in Davis that exists right now accommodates those needs.  Can Davis save this company or will they too move to West Sacramento?

We now know that this is Shilling Robotics.  As Tyler Schilling told the council in early October, “We’re going to approach 300 employees here shortly and we’re going to need a bigger facility probably within two years.”

He moved here at four years old in 1963 and said, “I really enjoy the quality of life here and it helps us attract and retain the kinds of employees that we really want in our business.  I must say that customers that visit us mainly from oversees really always comment on what a wonderful community it is that we have here.”

He wants to see Davis have options so that his company can stay in Davis and build a new and larger facility.

Or maybe the next company will be Cedaron.

As company representative Karen Bond noted in a letter to the city in support of Cannery, Cedaron was founded in 1990, and “our main goal has been to merge the cutting-edge vision and technical reliability you expect from a much larger company with a small company’s dedication to personalized, responsive customer service.  Cedaron is a marriage of entrepreneurial, medical, technological and marketing expertise headquartered in Davis.”

She added, “Cedaron currently has 30 highly paid employees and we plan to grow to over a 100 employees in the next five years as we are growing rapidly.  We are in Davis because there was available start-up space in south Davis and we could attract both young professionals just starting their careers as well as highly-trained people to meet our company’s needs to be successful.”

“Davis needs highly flexible space for office uses to fulfill a portion of Davis’ needs,” she writes.

They can envision their needs to be met within the mixed-use portion of the Cannery Project.

The Vanguard is calling for a community conversation.  It is worth noting that these stories about opportunity are running alongside stories about the continued need for the city to get its economic house in order.

It is worth noting that in our other story, the factfinders and the city analysts all agree that “is not in desperate financial straits like many other governmental entities in California” but they have “not much margin for error.”

While we believe that DCEA (Davis City Employees Association) should accept the current round of concessions like the other bargaining units, it is also worth noting that the membership of DCEA are not people making $150 to $200 thousand per year in total compensation.  These are people of modest means and their sacrifice – needed at this time – will cause them a good amount of pain.

Until the city of Davis can develop its own industrial and retail base, we are going to be living with no margin for error.  That means that the next shock to the system could push us into a crippling direction.

We are a community blessed with great city services that allow for parks, recreation, and community events, but if staff needs to be cut, if programs need to be slashed, if we cannot afford to pay for continued emergency services, where do we end up?

And what people really need to understand is that if things get bad enough – if we move toward bankruptcy, if we have to slash more programs, more employees, more services – at some point the people of this community will panic.

Panic does not produce smart policies – it produces quick solutions and knee-jerk responses.

We have the opportunity to avoid that with a series of smart moves that enhance and preserve the core values of this community.

The best part is, we don’t have to build it and hope that the business will come.  The business is here, we just have to give them the space to grow so that they will stay here.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Share:

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.

Related posts

62 thoughts on “Commentary: Davis Tech World – Build It and They Will Stay”

  1. medwoman

    [quote]And what people really need to understand is that if things get bad enough – if we move toward bankruptcy, if we have to slash more programs, more employees, more services – at some point the people of this community will panic.[/quote]

    Not so very long ago, the argument was that the city would be facing bankruptcy without prompt action. Now the argument you are putting forth seems to be that there is “little margin for error”. So far, the only thing that I see that might trigger a “panic” is the perception put forth by some in the media and some in the business community that if we do not act, and “act soon” that people will panic. I would suggest that this would be less likely if people were to realize that this gloom and doom scenario does not have to be the basis for assessment of need for growth, either economic or demographic. Could we not start with where we really are, rather than where we fear we may be ?

  2. David M. Greenwald

    The city took a lot of prompt action. Now they have no margin for error. That’s a good improvement but it wouldn’t be the case without a series of steps in the last two years.

  3. Frankly

    medwoman seems to be having a problem with the inconvenience of fact that the city’s finances are not sustainable. If she has some information to the contrary, she should share it. But, continuing to deny what has been posted over and over again is not useful. In fact, it appears that she has moved to conspiracy theory… that business and developers are lying about our fiscal situation only so they can build and destroy her lifestyle.

    Other than the fact that Davis’s budget is barely balanced today and for the next couple of years, we still have the city pension costs pushing us into greater red in later years. Also, we have unfunded city infrastructure maintenance.

    The facts are simple: we do not take in enough revenue to fund our city operation and lifestyle. We are living beyond our means. We need to cut spending… but there is not enough to cut that we all will accept. So, we have to increase revenue. There are two ways to increase revenue, raise tax rates or grow our private economy. Most people are already struggling to make ends meet with our county’s jobless recovery and federal and state tax increases. To continue to raise taxes is frankly mean, and ANOTHER unsustainable practice that bankrupts everyone.

    Those involved in the debate about economic development and wanting to block Mace 391 or any other tremendous opportunity for the city to increase revenue need to do research and get out their calculator and come forward with real quantitative alternative fiscal solutions. To date there have been none.

  4. Don Shor

    [quote]So, we have to increase revenue. There are two ways to increase revenue, raise tax rates [b]or[/b] grow our private economy.[/quote]
    “or” becomes “and” in any reasonable discussion of the options.

    [quote] need to do research and get out their calculator and come forward with real quantitative alternative fiscal solutions. [/quote]
    The same rationale for Mace 391 applies to other development sites such as the Northwest Quadrant.

  5. Davis Progressive

    strangely finding myself mainly agreeing with frankly. i don’t think we really can cut spending much more. so that leaves us with revenue generation.

    “Those involved in the debate about economic development and wanting to block Mace 391 or any other tremendous opportunity for the city to increase revenue need to do research and get out their calculator and come forward with real quantitative alternative fiscal solutions. To date there have been none. “

    good point. but i want to see the numbers in the other direction as well.

  6. Davis Progressive

    “The same rationale for Mace 391 applies to other development sites such as the Northwest Quadrant.”

    absolutely. i think a lot of us in the middle are agnostic as to the where. but i don’t think the city is fond of nw quadrant as a location. too far from i-80 where it sees the ideal location.

  7. Don Shor

    Another contribution to the calculations. This is the per-acre value of different agricultural crops. It is the amount that would be taken out of the local farm economy for each acre of farmland developed.
    [img]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/cropvaluesYolo.jpg[/img]

  8. Frankly

    Vacaville’s lower sales tax rate is a problem for Dave given the competition for auto sales.

    The issue with sales tax increases is not that it immediately changes consumer behavior (except for large purchases like new cars), but that it reduces the amount of discretionary income available at the end of the month that would be used for purchases. That family would go out to dinner one or two fewer times a month because they find their checking account balance too small. That family loses and the restaurant loses.

    That is the “meanness” of sales tax increases. It punishes families on the margins and existing business.

    It is not a sustainable solution. You can understand that by simply projecting increases sales tax to 100%. At some point between 0% and 100% sales tax we pass equilibrium of cost-benefit. It is not that .25% increase that causes the pain, it is the aggregate of ALL taxation that causes the pain… and that continued piling on in .25% increments that eventually becomes the straw that breaks the family’s financial back.

    Contrast sales tax increases to business development… instead of punishing that family, we provide opportunities for higher-paying jobs that help increase overall family income. Then that income can be spent in the community to generate more sales tax revenue. That is the true altruistic approach and one that provides a sustainable and long-term solution for sustainable city finances.

  9. Davis Progressive

    if my math is right, even on a $20,000 car, we’re talking about $50. i’m not going to the bank on my math skills, but i’m questioning your premise here.

  10. Growth Izzue

    [quote]Vacaville’s lower sales tax rate is a problem for Dave given the competition for auto sales.
    [/quote]

    Wherever you buy a car in CA you have to pay the sales tax of where you live, not where you bought the car. That stops people from buying elsewhere just to get a lower tax bill.

  11. Don Shor

    Rice = $1369.22 per acre.

    Frankly is vastly overstating the adverse impact of a .25% increase in sales tax. Obviously it wouldn’t have much effect on buying habits. And he frequently posts about how much lower Davis sales tax per capita is than surrounding cities. Well, the sales tax rate is one reason our per capita rate is lower.
    As I’ve said before, any sales tax increase should be time-limited with a sunset clause, subject to voter renewal, and should be tied to the other budget plans: reduced employee costs and economic development.

  12. Mark West

    Don Shor: “[i]Frankly is vastly overstating the adverse impact of a .25% increase in sales tax. Obviously it wouldn’t have much effect on buying habits. And he frequently posts about how much lower Davis sales tax per capita is than surrounding cities. Well, the sales tax rate is one reason our per capita rate is lower.[/i]”

    The 2007 per capita sales tax numbers that Frankly has posted several times shows the following:

    Folsom: $26,474
    Dixon: $21,742
    Woodland: $11,208
    Davis: $7,752

    Now if our sales tax rate had been 0.25% higher than it was (as Don advocates we do now), assuming no change in buying pattern, we would have brought in roughly 3.125% more revenue, which translates to a whopping $242.25 per capita increase. Hard to see the tax rate as a significant factor in our low per capita sales tax rate.

  13. Don Shor

    Yes. I said it was one reason. I’ve often stated the other reasons Davis has lower retail acreage and sales tax income than other cities. You’ve disparaged those reasons, so I won’t bother again.

  14. SouthofDavis

    Frankly wrote:

    > Vacaville’s lower sales tax rate is a problem
    > for Dave given the competition for auto sales.

    Then Growth Izzue wrote:

    > Wherever you buy a car in CA you have to pay the
    > sales tax of where you live, not where you bought
    > the car. That stops people from buying elsewhere
    > just to get a lower tax bill.

    The sales tax bill is based on where “the registration is sent” not “where you live”.

    If you have a friend or relative that will accept mail for you in Humbolt county (or another low tax smog exempt county) you will not only save 1%-2% in sales tax when you buy a car or truck but you will save ~$100 every two years since you only need to pay for a smog test and smog cirt. when you sell the vehicle in many rural counties.

  15. Growth Izzue

    Geez SOD, I guess one could set up a fake address different from their actual home address. One could do that for just about anything. My point was that the tax is not based on where you buy the car but where your home is or (just to make SOD happy) where your fake address is. Sheesh, feel better now SOD.

  16. SouthofDavis

    Don wrote:

    > Another contribution to the calculations.
    > This is the per-acre value of different
    > agricultural crops. It is the amount that
    > would be taken out of the local farm economy
    > for each acre of farmland developed.

    I’m wondering where Don got the “values” per acre he posted?

    The “values” seemed high for (taxable) “profit” per acre and it looks like Don’s “value” number for Almonds is about 500% higher than the estimate for a mature high yeild farm “profit” number I found in a 20+ page detailed 2011 UCD study of the cost of growing Almonds.

    I then noticed that the “value” for dry pasture on the list was $18.84/acre and I’m wondering how a dry field creates this “value”?

  17. Mr.Toad

    Don’s chart is informative. If you took out 1 acre each for all 11 commodities you would remove 11 acres and the local economy would suffer by losing about $23,000 annually. This is less than the money generated by one tech job. Say each tech job generated $69,000 annually, somewhere near the average income in Davis, that would be the same value generated by 33 acres of cropland generated by 3 acres each of the 11 commodities he cites. The economics of preserving a 19th or 20th century economy in 21st century Davis are quite costly.

  18. Don Shor

    [quote]I’m wondering where Don got the “values” per acre he posted?

    The “values” seemed high for (taxable) “profit” per acre and it looks like Don’s “value” number for Almonds is about 500% higher than the estimate for a mature high yeild farm “profit” number I found in a 20+ page detailed 2011 UCD study of the cost of growing Almonds.

    I then noticed that the “value” for dry pasture on the list was $18.84/acre and I’m wondering how a dry field creates this “value”? [/quote]
    Yolo County Agricultural Commissioner’s report, official title: Yolo County Crop Report for 2011
    It is the value of the crop, not the profit. Why would I be citing the “taxable profit per acre”? That would not be useful information, except to the farmer’s accountant. I’m telling you how many dollars per acre each crop generates: tons per acre x price per lb.
    The value for pasture is just dollars generated (e.g. from rangeland) divided by the number of acres in dry or irrigated pasture.

    Mr. Toad: [quote]This is less than the money generated by one tech job.[/quote]
    You’re taking money from the county to make money for the city.
    [quote]The economics of preserving a 19th or 20th century economy in 21st century Davis are quite costly.[/quote]
    19th and 20th century economics is how we grow food.

  19. Adam Smith

    Don rightly points out that there is a financial cost to changing ag land to a business park. Of course, the money that is lost from the conversion pales in comparison to what would be made by a successful business park. Mr. Toad pointed out the salaries, but in addition, there are product sales that would ostensibly be significantly greater than ag revenue, and taxes that would be much higher.

  20. Don Shor

    So why do we care what the gross revenues are from farming? Because out of those revenues, the farmer pays, among other things:
    — the landowner, if it isn’t him or her.
    — the farmworkers.
    — the seed or plant vendor.
    — the fertilizer and pesticide distributor.
    — the ag equipment supplier.
    — the bank that loans him or her the money to operate.
    — the crop insurance company, and agent.
    — property taxes directly to the county.
    — the irrigation district.
    — and a rather small amount to himself or herself.

    Some of that money trickles up to
    — the company that breeds the crop seed.
    — the manufacturer that develops new pesticides.

    Proponents of development are often quick to cite the ripple effect of new jobs provided by building a business park. Agricultural operations have ripple effect across the whole county. Look in your phone directory for how many firms in our area exist to service the ag sector.

    When you pave over farmland, you’re affecting more than just the crop production. The impact is less when you have lower-value crops being grown. So again: the logic of agricultural easements is to move development onto less productive, less profitable soils that are growing those marginal crops. Developing prime ag land has more negative impact on the county’s finances and the private ag-related industries than does development on poorer soils.

  21. Adam Smith

    Don –

    The same trickle up and trickle down impacts happen with the businesses associated with a business park – they just go to different folks. Landscape companies, janitorial services, business services suppliers such as accountants, lawyers, printers, sign makers, advertisers etc. Agriculture and business parks each add to the economy of the county….The primary difference is the magnitude of the revenues – higher for development, lower for agriculture.

  22. Frankly

    Advocating that we use the land for the business of farming is basically advocating for the status quo… because we are already surrounded by land being used for the business of farming.

  23. Don Shor

    The point I am making is that all of the discussion has been on the ripple effect of business and tech parks. And it’s important to note that land annexed to the city from the county affects the distribution of taxes.
    There is a narrow view represented on the blog discussions that I’m trying to balance somewhat. All of the discussion has been ‘what’s good for Davis’ — without consideration of ‘what’s good for Yolo County’ and, importantly in my opinion, ‘what’s good for the regional farm economy’.
    So when Frankly tells us that we [quote]need to do research and get out their calculator and come forward with real quantitative alternative fiscal solutions…[/quote]
    I want to make sure it’s not a one-sided calculation.

  24. Don Shor

    [quote]Advocating that we use the land for the business of farming is basically advocating for the status quo… because we are already surrounded by land being used for the business of farming.[/quote]
    In once case it is not ‘status quo’. Organic production is a new wrinkle, and I would like to see this dramatic trend continue. I think it would fit well within the ethic and character of Davis: [img]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/organiccropsYolo.jpg[/img]

  25. Mr.Toad

    The argument that by annexing and developing this property the City is undermining the fiscal integrity of the County is the dumbest argument of all time. By that standard no property would ever get annexed into any city. Further, no City has done more to preserve land from development and subsidize the County than has Davis. Davis pays the County millions of dollars each year to preserve land on the City boarder in the County with the pass through agreement. Of course if this land is preserved as open space the land probably end up being taxed at an ultra low rate. In the long run, with the end of redevelopment, a Davis that loses businesses to other jurisdictions instead of providing the infrastructure required for organic growth of these companies is less likely to be able to sustain its pass through subsidy to the county, ending up with the county getting less money in the end. It is the lack of dynamic thinking that assumes its all a zero sum game.

  26. Don Shor

    [quote]Davis pays the County millions of dollars each year to preserve land on the City boarder in the County with the pass through agreement. [/quote]
    Quick quiz, then, Mr. Toad: what was the source of the money for the pass-through agreement? Read Mike Fitch’s history and you’ll find the answer. Based on that, how much longer do you expect the pass-through agreement to prevail?

    By the way, I never said it was a zero sum game, or anything like that. I said that when we develop farmland, the county and the farm economy lose what farming provides for them, and for all of us. If you can quantify the benefits of a tech park on Mace 391, by all means give us the numbers. I gave you numbers. You give me rhetoric.
    When you develop farmland, you also stop growing food there. It’s worth noting that again. Yolo County is an important place for the production of canning tomatoes, almonds, walnuts, and other things people eat.

  27. Jim Frame

    [quote]They need 40 acres – 500,000 square feet under a single roof, in a single story.[/quote]

    Not sure what the intent of those numbers is, but for the record 500,000 s.f. is about 11.5 acres. Maybe they need a bunch of outdoor space too, but my first take was that they were looking for a 40-acre building. That would be one very big building.

  28. Don Shor

    Pass-through agreement could be jeopardized
    Jan. 26 2012
    [url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/uncategorized/pass-through-agreement-could-be-jeopardized/[/url]

    Will the Pass-Through Agreement Die with the End of Redevelopment?
    February 03 2012
    [url]https://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5057:will-the-pass-through-agreement-die-with-the-end-of-redevelopment&Itemid=86[/url]

    The RDA funds are encumbered, having been used by the city to float bonds, and are now in limbo.

  29. Mr.Toad

    Actually I used your numbers to show that the dollar value added to the community from farming on frontier property is dwarfed by the potential benefits from a tech park on a scale of a thousand to 1. I’ll give you numbers:

    $400 million, what Bayer paid for Agriquest.

    $363 million the market cap of Marrone Bio innovations after its recent IPO.

    $218 million what monsanto offered in 1997 for the 45% of Calgene it didn’t already own.

    FMC Technologies Inc. said Friday it will acquire a 45% interest in Schilling Robotics LLC for $116 million in a transaction expected to close no later than Dec. 31. From Market Watch 12-26-08. FMC has since aquired the other 55% of Schilling.

    The amounts from technology innovators dwarf the amounts from ag production. The notion that we shouldn’t provide infrastructure for companies with these types of potential in order to preserve an agrarian way of life where few prosper while many subsist requires the dismissal of any cost benefit analysis that is based on economics instead of preservation of culture. Of course what is most obnoxious is the demand that we preserve all the ag land when the amount of land needed is a small fraction of the land base of the region. The truth is we can have technology infrastructure that greatly enriches the community while only mildly diminishing the value of crop production or the traditional farming culture of the region.

  30. Don Shor

    [quote]Of course what is most obnoxious is the demand that we preserve all the ag land[/quote]Since I support developing on poorer quality ag land, as I have said repeatedly, then obviously I haven’t made that “demand.” Maybe you’re arguing with someone else. I urge that we minimize development on the highest-quality ag land, and avoid it on ag land where development would lead to pressure to develop adjacent ag land. Stephen Souza’s proposal neatly illustrates exactly what I am describing.

    [quote] when the amount of land needed is a small fraction of the land base of the region. The truth is we can have technology infrastructure that greatly enriches the community while only mildly diminishing the value of crop production or the traditional farming culture of the region.[/quote]
    And we can build our business park elsewhere than Mace 391, and still get those benefits.

  31. Frankly

    [i]When you develop farmland, you also stop growing food there.[/i]

    Sure. When UCD was developed on farmland, it stopped growing food there and started growing educated people that went on to develop science that improved yeilds for other land farmed.

    When Redwood barn was developed on farmland, it stopped growing food there and started providing garden and landscape supplys and services to area residents.

    Land is land. It can be used for many things that provides value to civilization.

    I think organic farming is a great use of land. But I don’t see much need to include the force-promotion of that into our land-use plan. Farmers go organic as the market provides support for more supply of organic produce. It will happen organically (pun intended).

  32. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”You’re taking money from the county to make money for the city.”[/i]

    Rest assured Don that the County will not lose a single penny to the City when all the dust is settled on this hypothetical example. The annexation process will establish a revenue sharing agreement between the County and the City that will fully account for the theoretical “loss” you have identified.

  33. Don Shor

    I would love to see the city incentivize the development of organic and sustainable farming on Mace 391 once the ag conservation easement is in place. It could be a real showcase for sustainable farming practices, very much in keeping with our image and ethics. But I realize that might make it harder to market the land.

  34. Matt Williams

    Jim Frame said . . .

    [i]”Not sure what the intent of those numbers is, but for the record 500,000 s.f. is about 11.5 acres. Maybe they need a bunch of outdoor space too, but my first take was that they were looking for a 40-acre building. [b]That would be one very big building.[/b]”[/i]

    Very big indeed!!!

  35. Don Shor

    [quote]Rest assured Don that the County will not lose a single penny to the City when all the dust is settled on this hypothetical example. [/quote]
    On what do you base this assurance? There is no such agreement to use as precedent, since we no longer have RDA funds.

  36. Mr.Toad

    “I would love to see the city incentivize the development of organic and sustainable farming on Mace 391 once the ag conservation easement is in place.”

    Sadly there will be no access to the public.

  37. medwoman

    “Sadly there will be no access to the public.”

    Do you, or any members of the public access this land now ? Would you or any members of the public be likely to access it if it were to be used for some kind of business or tech park ? I am not sure what you believe is the potential for loss is with your comments about public access.

  38. Adam Smith

    Medwoman –

    At the risk of speaking for Mr. Toad, I think his point is that his tax dollars being spent to create “open space” is a significant issue. The land today or as a tech park in the future, has no investment of Davis tax dollars to preserve something as open space. A extreme but similar corollary would be the city buying a conservation easement on several lots in the city limits, but then placing no trespassing signs on it.

  39. JimmysDaughter

    “When you pave over farmland, you’re affecting more than just the crop production. The impact is less when you have lower-value crops being grown. So again: the logic of agricultural easements is to move development onto less productive, less profitable soils that are growing those marginal crops. Developing prime ag land has more negative impact on the county’s finances and the private ag-related industries than does development on poorer soils.”
    I agree.We may also consider that many of the young I.T. folks who’re thinking about moving to the Daivis area are concerned about where their food is grown.

  40. Mr.Toad

    As a tech park the value added to the local treasury would be significant. As a park the community would have access to the land, something much needed as we densify. Yet as open space farmland the returns to the community in taxes or as a moat to protect us from the hoards of humanity are small or even perhaps negative, depending on your world view.

    I asked a friend who has lived here a long time but who pays little attention to civic matters if she was aware that her open space tax dollars is being used to buy land that the community does not have the ability to access? She was quite surprised. I think many in the community would be surprised to learn this. I think it would make quite a difference if the community was better informed about not being able to have use of the land we are buying and conserving.

  41. Don Shor

    [quote]I asked a friend who has lived here a long time but who pays little attention to civic matters if she was aware that her open space tax dollars is being used to buy land that the community does not have the ability to access? She was quite surprised.[/quote]
    Again: public access to Measure O properties is site-specific. There is nothing inherent in the process that either allows or prevents it. But farming is a business operation. You can walk onto most of those lands, as they are not fenced nor are they marked as ‘no trespassing’. But they aren’t parks. Nobody has ever purported that Measure O was going to create a ring of public parks around Davis.

  42. Growth Izzue

    I get much enjoyment by just being able to look out and see farms and open space that was paid for with my Measure O dollars. I’d much rather see this than buildings.

  43. medwoman

    GI

    On this we are in complete agreement. For some of us, there is real value in the presence of open space regardless of whether or not we will ever set foot on it.
    I wonder if this may not be a foreign concept to anyone who perceives the value of land only as a commodity or how humans can use it.
    I believe there is value in unaltered open space. I doubt I am totally alone in this.

  44. Mr.Toad

    “I believe there is value in unaltered open space.”

    So do I but farmland is not unaltered space. It is often times chemically intensive.

    Disregarding cost benefit analysis in favor of viewscape only serves to over value your personal biases. Don’t get me wrong views have value the question is if other values outweigh the value of the view. In this case its a no brainer the amounts of money are just too great.

  45. Davis Progressive

    “I get much enjoyment by just being able to look out and see farms and open space that was paid for with my Measure O dollars. I’d much rather see this than buildings.”

    i like that you’re honest about it – your position is about what’s best for you, what you prefer, not what’s best for the community. at least i appreciate your honesty.

  46. Davis Progressive

    “So do I but farmland is not unaltered space. It is often times chemically intensive.”

    but it’s still open space and not paved over and built up.

  47. medwoman

    “In this case it’s a no brainer the amounts of money are just to great

    I don’t see this as a “no brainer” at all. For me, that which is irreplaceable has value beyond “just too great amounts ” of money.

  48. Davis Progressive

    “The community already decided when they voted for Measure O.”

    no, the community decided to preserve some open space, they did not decide where to preserve it.

  49. Frankly

    [i]”I get much enjoyment by just being able to look out and see farms and open space that was paid for with my Measure O dollars. I’d much rather see this than buildings.”[/i]

    GI – Do you live on the edge of town adjacent to open space? That makes sense for why you don’t want to see development on farmland.

    Keep in mind that 98% of Davis residents cannot see any open farmland from their windows or yards. I don’t think measure O was intended to just protect the views of those lucky 2% of residents located on the urban fringe. I also don’t think it is fair to deny the city the opportunity to bring in budget-solving revenue just to protect those 2% views. Don Shor will sell you some great landscaping materials that you can use to create fantastic garden views out your windows.

  50. Don Shor

    Growth Izzue correctly identifies ‘views of farmland’ as one of the resource types being protected by Measure O.
    Among the five categories of land that the Open Space and Habitat Commission is supposed to focus on are:
    Urban Fringe, Agriculture, Community Separator, Scenic Resources, and Biological/Natural Resources.
    They are to prioritize and purchase land that protects resources in those categories.
    Views fall within:
    [b]Scenic Resources
    [/b][quote]Protect views of significant landmarks and community gateways.
    To preserve community identity through the protection of views of significant local and regional landmarks. These lands generally overlap the Urban Fringe and Community Separator areas identified above. Successful implementation of the Urban Fringe and Community Separators will satisfy acquisition objectives within this category. Important Scenic Resource areas not covered by the Urban Fringe and Community Separators include views south from the City along Montgomery Blvd. and the community gateway view for eastbound travelers in the I-80 / Capitol corridor of farmlands and remnant oak woodland south of the City. Consistent with this priority, in the event that urban fringe lands are approved for development, development plans shall incorporate design guidelines to maximize preservation of scenic resources.[/quote]

  51. Growth Izzue

    [quote]GI – Do you live on the edge of town adjacent to open space? That makes sense for why you don’t want to see development on farmland.
    [/quote]

    I do live on the edge of the town, but on a street with only views of my neighors. That said I enjoy the open land and farms that I drive, bike and walk by daily even if it’s just a short trip to the store. I love the views from Mace where on a clear day you can see downtown Sacramento. I thought that’s what my Measure O taxes were for.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for