Council Ends Mace 391 Speculation, Votes to Continue Putting Parcel into Ag Easement

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The meeting was packed with folks, many of whom lined up to speak on the issue of the Mace 391/Leland Ranch Ag Easement.  A large number of them came out in support of moving forward with the easement, though members of the business and tech community offered powerful counter arguments.

In the end, the handwriting was on the wall and despite people providing strong questions about the actual impact on the closing efficiency of the city and Yolo Land Trust, the council was simply unwilling to take that chance and voted 5-0 for option one – finalizing the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) conservation easement.

The option would allow for 27 acres of the parcel to be retained as a community farm.

“This is exactly the type of presentation that I wish we had a year ago,” Councilmember Brett Lee commented.  “The June meeting was not a good meeting for a variety of reasons.  I think the key one is that it felt very rushed.  The information was flipped: we can go with the plan, but we don’t have any time to talk about it because we have to decide by Thursday.”

“That (process) didn’t do justice to our responsibility,” he said, either their fiscal responsibility or their responsibility to make good decisions for the community.  He felt that the presentation that staff gave on Tuesday was what the council really needed.

For Rochelle Swanson this was an issue tied to the city’s fiscal health.  “It’s heart breaking to tell 85 employees” that there had to be budget cuts as the council did when they made the decision earlier in the evening to impose the Last, Best, and Final offer on the Davis City Employees Association.  “To see a gentleman with tears in his eyes because he thinks he’s going to lose his house over this,” she said.  “That’s hard.  We do have a fiscal responsibility and I think turning this into a black and white, us versus them – no matter which side you’re on is just wrong.”

“That’s not the Davis way, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” she added.  “We have to look at these things at a wholistic level.  We don’t have anything else but revenue to get us out.”

In the end it was the letter from NCRS that proved pivotal.

A letter dated November 12, 2013, from the US Department of Agriculture’s State Conservationist, Carlos Suarez, addressed to Mayor Joe Krovoza, indicates that the consequences would be serious and grave.

The letter notes that the NRCS has agreed to provide $1.125 million in grant funding to assist the Yolo Land Trust to purchase the conservation easement, and that the deadline to complete this transaction has been extended twice.

“If the City chooses to reconsider the merits of the Mace Curve project, it’s important to understand the potential consequences of returning the FRPP [Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program] grant funding,” Mr. Suarez writes. Should the City decide to no longer pursue the easement, NRCS would be required to return the $1.125 million back to the U.S. Treasury.”

“Unfortunately, this funding cannot be used for other NRCS conservation projects, nor can the funding be used for a modified conservation easement proposal under consideration now or in the future by the City or Yolo Land Trust,” he notes.

“Closing efficiency,” Mr. Suarez explains, “is a measure of a conservation partner’s ability to complete an easement in a timely manner. Closing efficiency can affect future fund allocations to California NRCS and its conservation partners.”  He notes, “A good closing efficiency is also important for our conservation partners to remain competitive on future easement applications. Closing efficiency is one of several criteria considered by NRCS when ranking applications for funding.”

He continued, “If the City decides to not protect Mace Curve/Leland Ranch with a conservation easement at this time and FRPP funds are returned, both the City and the Yolo Land Trust will continue to be eligible to apply for future FRPP grants – although each entity’s closing efficiency will be affected based on the guidelines set forth in FRPP policy.”

The letter was backed up on Tuesday by comments from Michele Clark of the Yolo Land Trust and Lana Kieger of NRCS.

Michele Clark noted that the city of Davis and the Yolo Land Trust have over the years closed 17 conservation easements for nearly 3000 acres of land.

Ms. Clark explained that the NRCS Grant program “is a highly highly competitive program.  Part of the reason we are successful in obtaining those funds is because the degree of trust that NRCS has with both the Yolo Land Trust and the city of Davis, that we can get the projects done.”

She noted that the YLT has closed all of the projects that they’ve done to date.  She noted that the majority of their projects are not in the city of Davis.  “The fear that we have is that if this money were returned to NRCS, if the council decided to abandon this three year process, and we had to actually return the funds that that could impact our ability not only for the projects within the city of Davis, but the projects that we have outside… where we don’t use the city money,” she said.

She added, “The allocation in 2011 (for Leland Ranch) was about 30% of the allocation for the whole state of California.”

These facts and figures led Matt Williams during public comment to compare the closing efficiency to a batting average.  He noted that Ms. Clark set the number of Davis projects at 17 and that Davis was less than the majority.

Based on that, he noted that their batting average might fall from 100% to 97% which he felt would still be a strong closing efficiency.

Ms. Kieger of the NRCS said that she could specifically address how this might impact the YLT since it would be on the next application, and it would be based on overall rank.  “If there were 15 applications and this drops them one point below where they were, it could make a difference or it could make no difference,” she said.  “It is in comparison to the others that bid.”

“The closing efficiency,” she explained “is did it cost us extra money to close?  Did it cost us extra time and expense to the government?  Did it fail to close completely?”  Those are all things that are factored in to their consideration.

While some would argue that the actual impact on the YLT was uncertain and perhaps remote, it was clearly a risk that even the most ardent supporters of economic development on council were not willing to take.

Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk said that the issue of economic development in our community “has reached a tipping point” and all sides in this contentious debate recognize that “we do have a need for economic development in our community.”

“The difficulty is that… this council has already made commitments back to 2010 to walk down the path of committing to conserving this property,” he continued, “and as I said the last council, the fact that our decision in rejecting that grant or rejecting this easement… could affect the very lifeblood of the Yolo Land Trust (or) permanently hurt the Yolo Land Trust is something that I just cannot do.”

“The Yolo Land Trust is that critical to me, it’s that critical to our community,” he added.

Lucas Frerichs made the motion to support Option 1.  The motion was seconded by Joe Krovoza.

Councilmember Frerichs argued that this was not an environmental versus business issue, “I am very much in favor of economic development in this community.”

He lamented the fact that he has consistently called for much more public outreach in this process and we did not do that – at least not in June.

Councilmember Frerichs noted that he does support one of the sites that the Innovation Parks Task Force analyzed and noted that, just to the west of the Mace 391 and to the east of the curve lie two parcels, one the Bruner Trust and the Ramos-Oates tract.  These would both require Measure J/Measure R votes and he also noted that Mace 391 would provide a nice ag buffer to those sites.

Mayor Joe Krovoza, who was the only member of council to even oppose having this discussion, noted in his comments that he also supports the Innovation Parks Task Force Report.

The council’s decision was ultimately 5-0 to go forward with the agricultural easement, and those supporters of a business park could take solace in the general support from the community for a business park option – at least in the abstract.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

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

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208 thoughts on “Council Ends Mace 391 Speculation, Votes to Continue Putting Parcel into Ag Easement”

  1. Frankly

    [i] the council was simply unwilling to take that chance and voted 5-0 for option one – finalizing the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) conservation easement.[/i]

    I am going to do some more digging to confirm what I think I know about the actual RSCS impacts to the Yolo Land Trust that would have resulted from the grant going unused. I think the impact would have been de minimis at most, but inconsequential in their quest to keep adding to their list of accomplishments. At this point my opinion of the people running the Yolo Land Trust has dropped precipitously considering they exploited a false emotive to get their way. And I will publish what I find out because, if I am correct and the grant-ranking process is such that one failure on closing efficiency due to a city action has little to no statistical influence in grant awards for a requester, the Yolo Land Trust and RSCS people need to be held accountable for their embellishments.

    If they thought they would be harmed by a council decision to bypass the easement and move forward with a fiscally-prudent decisions to leverage the value of our asset to solve our mounting fiscal problems, then consider how they will be harmed by a tarnishment of their otherwise pristine reputation for honesty.

    And for every additional city employee impact and service impact, I will be sure to remind everyone how the actions of the Yolo Land Trust caused them REAL harm.

    In the end, the city just spent $90 million dollars in opportunity cost just to prevent the Yolo Land Trust from a miniscule risk of harm… a risk that most likely does not even exist.

    Ironic that that move was the same night that the council lamented that city workers had to face cuts due to a lack of revenue coming in. I guess these poorer city workers can find solace in knowing that Davis will be surrounded in a farmland moat.

    Just shaking my head in amazement that even the smart people of this city are incapable of fiscal prudence. I fully expect Davis to file for bankruptcy in 5-10 years.

    But again, we will have that farmland moat as an asset to gloat about.

  2. Don Shor

    Seems to me you could put that energy into organizing the business and tech communities to work on developing one of the ITF-identified sites, identifying the hurdles, and working together with the community to move it forward.

  3. Frankly

    The Yolo Land Trust just identified themselves as one of the hurdles that needs to be re-calibrated.

    ITF caved on Mace-319 because of them.

    The no-growth, NIMBY, stacists will come out in force to block any and all ITF-identified sites, and calling them and their collaborators on dishonest tactics has to be a key part of the effort to get anything done.

    But the loss of a $90-million dollar asset is a separate issue from ongoing economic development. That was a very expensive decision by the council for very dubious and suspect reasons at a time when we absolutely could not afford it. I think it will come back to bite the city like all other fiscally-unsound decision making by previous council.

    Think about it… we keep mounting up acres of preservation while we are mounting up our unsustainable financial circumstances. The two are completely linked. So, at this point, those pushing a continuing crusade of open space and farmland preservation are enemies of those defending the city from heading to future bankruptcy. With respect to our city’s future, one is absolutely more selfish and destructive than the other.

  4. Davis Progressive

    after listening to the comments and the response from clark and also the nrcs, i’m not convinced that frankly is wrong. i think there was an over abundance of caution. if the ylt really has a 17 for 17 track record and a 33 for 33 record in the county, you’re going to tell me that one grant that the city sent back for good cause would kill them? even the nrcs rep couldn’t say that was the case.

  5. Frankly

    If I was a member of the Yolo Land Trust, and I lived in Davis, and I knew the extent of the fiscal problems facing the city, and I could see the help that this one-time, unique-situation, property-acquisition, opportunity would provide the city, I would have altered my course to help the city while looking for other parcels to protect.

    Given that about 630,000 acres of Yolo County’s 660,000 acres are still undeveloped and there is about 20,000 outstanding acres currently wanting agriculture easements.

    But then again, I am more prone to working for our kids and future generations than padding my own list of accomplishments at their expense.

  6. B. Nice

    [quote]In the end, the city just spent $90 million dollars in opportunity cost just to prevent the Yolo Land Trust from a miniscule risk of harm… a risk that most likely does not even exist. [/quote]

    If that 90 million was a even close to a sure thing I’d be more sympathetic to your argument, but at this point it’s highly speculative. I think Lucas made a good point, what developer was going to want to sink any time, energy, money, into potentially developing that land when they knew an ugly Measure R vote stood in their way.

  7. Frankly

    One of the options was for the city to develop the business park. Of course the city would need to hire the designer and developer. That way we would design it so that the residents got everything they wanted. And we would include that 200% of open space that Measure J/R requires.

    I think it would have easily passed a Measure R vote given all the goodies it could have provided.

    Again, because we own it, we could have controlled it.

    I think the NIMBYs knew this and were afraid of it for this reason and worked extra hard to make sure it would not happen.

  8. Don Shor

    If that’s all true, then the city should by the Ramos/Bruner properties and develop them. Should be worth about $45 million based on the numbers above. So I’m sure those property owners will be happy to sell for a reasonable price.

  9. Frankly

    The Leland Ranch situation was unique because it was a foreclosure sale. If the city wants to purchase and develop the Ramos/Bruner property, how much do you think the owners would be willing to sell it for?

    Of course that is a rhetorical question, because you know it would be only offered at a premium if the owners had any idea that the city wanted it for a business park.

    The point is that we had a unique, probably once in a lifetime, opportunity with the Leland Ranch purchase that was just squandered.

  10. Don Shor

    We had a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to protect some great farmland. There are other sites for business parks.
    [quote]how much do you think the owners would be willing to sell it for? [/quote]
    I don’t know. Why don’t you ask them? If the situation is so urgent, and the tech businesses are so anxious for a place to stay, I seriously hope that meetings are already underway with the owners of some of those alternate sites.

  11. Frankly

    [i]We had a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to protect some great farmland. [/i]

    That is an untruth.
    [quote]Yolo County has the most acres in production and rangeland at 486,321 in the Sacramento region. Yolo County has 653,549 acres with 32,325 making up the four cities. Of those remaining 596,354 unincorporated acres, 96 percent are designated for farmland and open space in the 2030 General Plan, according to Senior Deputy County Counsel Phil Pogledich. Fewer than 5,000 acres are designated for new urban development.

    Michele Clark, Yolo Land Trust executive director, said 9,727 acres are in conservation easements, which are contracts that permanently restricts use of land to agriculture. More than 75 landowners with land amounting to about 22,000 acres have contacted the land trust about conservation easements but the funding is not available, Clark said. “Most landowners want some sort of financial incentive,” she said. [/quote]

  12. B. Nice

    [quote]I think it would have easily passed a Measure R vote given all the goodies it could have provided. [/quote]

    Passing a Measure R vote is challenging under the best of conditions, which this, even with “goodies” would be far from.

    In your scenario, where the city maintains ownership of the land, how/when would the Measure O Funds be refunded?

    Where would this $90 million come from?

  13. Don Shor

    [quote]That is an untruth. [/quote]
    If the opportunity to develop the site was unique and once in a lifetime, as you said, then the opportunity to protect that site was unique and once in a lifetime.
    [quote]Where would this $90 million come from?[/quote]
    I believe this magical number was Matt’s extrapolation of the full value of the site when it is built out.

  14. B. Nice

    [quote]I believe this magical number was Matt’s extrapolation of the full value of the site when it is built out.[/quote]

    Maybe I’m confused about this, doesn’t Matt’s plan propose that the city sell the land?

  15. Frankly

    [i]If the opportunity to develop the site was unique and once in a lifetime, as you said, then the opportunity to protect that site was unique and once in a lifetime.[/i]

    Don’t be silly Don. There is over 600,000 acres to protect. There is 22,000 acres already requesting easements.

    The city OWNS the land as acquired from a foreclosure sale at a price per acre that was discounted even for farmland. You don’t need to own the land to secure an easement. There was/is nothing unique and once in a lifetime about securing that easement when there are hundreds of thousands of acres available that could be secured without a problem.

    But, if you don’t own the land, you cannot develop on it without first purchasing it. And if you do to purchase land with the intent to develop on it, the land owner will raise the price per acre knowing what it will be worth.

    So, we had a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop it at a great profit.

    There is nothing at all unique and once-in-a-lifetime about using it for farmland preservation. And acre of class-1 farmland soil is an acre of class-1 farmland soil, correct? Careful here, or you might slip into NIMBY territory.

    The $90 million number is actually less that what staff included in their analysis for options 4 and 5. And this did not include the long-term revenue stream from taxation of the business activity derived from the park. The magic is your continued ability to deny it.

  16. Don Shor

    [quote]Don’t be silly Don. There is over 600,000 acres to protect.[/quote]
    Don’t be silly, Frankly. There are other sites for business parks. They can be developed by private enterprise. I’m still surprised you have a preference for the city going into the land speculation and development business with the taxpayers dollars.
    [quote]An acre of class-1 farmland soil is an acre of class-1 farmland soil, correct?[/quote]
    Location, location, location.

  17. Frankly

    Location, location, location.

    So here we have it. Don is a NIMBY!

    So, it wasn’t about the farmland, it was about blocking development in Davis.

    I knew it all along.

    I wish you people would just come clean about your anti-growth stacism instead of hiding behind the love of puppies and kittens.

    And on the other point about having copious choices for farmland preservation, and nothing close to the same opportunity to develop a business park and fill city coffers in the process… well you are either too dense to understand it, or you are two biased to admit it. In either case, it is not worth my time to debate you on it.

  18. Don Shor

    No, Frankly, I have been consistent about this from the start. The priority for land conservation is sites that are likely to be developed and likely to spur development pressure on nearby sites. That is the basis for the actions preserving land around the Kidwell overpass, and it is why the Mace 391 site is a good candidate for preservation.

    And since I have supported development of other specific sites, your statement that “it was about blocking development in Davis” is false. It is a falsehood that you have uttered countless times, in spite of the obvious evidence otherwise. And, as I’ve said before, when someone repeats a known falsehood in the face of clear evidence otherwise, that is called lying.
    Moreover, obviously I’m not a NIMBY since Mace 391 is not in my back yard.
    I am not anti-growth and have repeatedly made that clear.

  19. Don Shor

    Here is just one of my replies to you as recently as Nov. 10 on the subject of growth and easements:
    [quote]Others who are anti-growth may not share my view on this, but to me the purpose of ag easements is to direct development to other areas. It’s not to prevent growth on all edges of town. And the foundation for deciding where the ag easements (and other tools of an urban limit line) would be used would include the quality of the soil and the proximity to other good soil sites. 


    So the way this works is: an easement on Mace 391 prevents likely development further east. Thus the property to its south (Ramos/Bruner parcels) can be developed because they are not likely to spur development on adjacent parcels. On the other hand, if you develop Mace 391 it is a near certainty that Ramos/Bruner will also be developed. 

    Putting an easement on Mace 391 also redirects development planning to the northwest quadrant, the other site already identified by the ITF. The particular parcels there do not instantly increase development pressures around them, but there would remain a large block of land directly to the west of them that is already within the Davis sphere of influence. Nothing would preclude that land from further development over the next few decades.
    Development could even possibly occur up along Highway 113. Davis officials need to meet with Woodland officials to understand the new General Plan the Woodland council just approved. The two cities probably need to plan together for both development and open space between the communities. 


    So in the long run, putting an ag easement on Mace 391 would lead to better urban planning and would not prevent further economic development for future generations. It would simply tell developers: go there, not here, because these east Davis soils and sites are better for their current and historic purpose of farming.[/quote]
    Nobody could construe those statements as anti-growth or NIMBY.

  20. Frankly

    Don, that is bunk. You work in Davis, and as far as I can tell, you call Davis your city. Davis is certainly your backyard.

    And you cannot win this argument wearing a badge of a farmland preservationist if all you care about is the narrow band of land immediately surrounding Davis.

    This “pressure” argument is just hype. What are you even talking about? Look at the “pressure” we had for the Cannery (that almost failed and may yet), and Covell Village, and now Mace 391. It is just bull to make the case that one adjacent parcel causes another to be developed. That argument has no basis in fact or rational thinking. There is no slippery slope of cascading land development. Each development will be a dog fight. And it will be the standard no-growth, NIMBY, stacist, change-averse folk fighting ever single proposal. They will stop at nothing to ensure they stop all development progress while ignoring the looming fiscal train wreck.

    And I will not accept their smokescreen as having some higher moral motive. Ya’ll need to be labeled what you are based on how you act and what you say and do. For example, the Yolo Land Trust people are dishonest and selfish in their pursuit of bragging rights about the number of acres they lock up. They lost their merit of higher morality with their tactics to win at all costs.

    If you cared about farmland preservation, you would only value preserving as much acres of high-grade soil as possible no matter where it was located in the region. Since you don’t, you don’t get to wear that higher moral purpose badge you claim to deserve.

    If said it before, never trust the person looking for his nickel in the pretty park when it was lost it in the dark cave.

    It is really a big bunch of bullcrap that we have some risk of sprawl and run-away development. But I see that that irrational fear works for you and other slow and no-growthers.

  21. Frankly

    [i]if you develop Mace 391 it is a near certainty that Ramos/Bruner will also be developed. [/i]

    OMG. What do you base that opinion on… your life in a sixth-dimensional universe?

    How can you EVER make a case that there is near certainty for any peripheral development?

    I think you are just a fear monger on this. But one with no basis in facts or evidence… just emotives.

    It is MUCH more likely that since we developed Mace 391 the citizens would demand that adjacent properties be kept open space.

    Have you forgotten about the 3-1 open space easement requirement? Or is that just an inconvenient truth?

  22. Jim Frame

    [quote]I wish you people would just come clean about your anti-growth stacism [/quote]

    Getting closer! Try it this way: “stasism.”

    [quote]But I see that that irrational fear works for you and other slow and no-growthers.[/quote]

    An observation: He who so often describes others as fearful might actually be the fearful one.

    As to Mace 391, I think its future as protected open space makes passage of a Measure J/R vote for some sort of business park on the Ramos/Bruner acreage much more likely. It’ll have to be a well-crafted proposal, with good numbers to back it up, but being surrounded by protected ag land removes the development contagion argument from the equation.

  23. Frankly

    The ONLY things I am afraid of are…

    1. Being corrected by Jim Frame for my misspelling of “stasist”.

    2. A crappy future for my children and other young people.

    3. Becoming disabled or sick and dependent before the age of 80.

    Other than that… not much. Well a bit of public speaking fear when I am not the complete expert on the topic… which means I have a bit of fear most of the time.

  24. Frankly

    [i]As to Mace 391, I think its future as protected open space makes passage of a Measure J/R vote for some sort of business park on the Ramos/Bruner acreage much more likely.[/i]

    I agree.

    I think ultimately that is what the ITF is counting on.

  25. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”We had a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to protect some great farmland. There are other sites for business parks.”[/i]

    Don, I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the chances of a Ramos-Bruner Innovation Park passing a stand alone Measure J/R vote are somewhere between 3% and 5%. The reason I believe that played out in the Men’s Room last night as I was facing the wall. The gentleman next to me was one of the people I presented my “grand bargain” to over the past several months, and his bottom-line was that, [i]”This is something worth making compromises for. It provides value to me as a citizen that offsets the loss that I will personally feel if there is anything east of the Mace Curve other than farm fields.”[/i]

    As we stood there whiling away our time I asked him, [i]”Given the decision that Council just made, would you vote yes or no now in a Ramos/Bruner Innovation Park Measure R vote?”[/i]

    His response was instantaneous . . . [i]”Absolutely not! There no longer is any value that I will receive in exchange for any loss east of Mace. Your grand bargain gave me something. Council’s decision took that something off the table. I definitely vote no now and I will encourage everyone I know to vote no as well.” [/i]

    I believe he represents a huge block of thousands of highly motivated Davis voters. The same voters who carried the day in the Measure P vote.

    I asked him about the West Innovation Park and he did his best Margaret Hamilton imitation before uttering three letters, [i]”D O A”[/i]

  26. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”Where would this $90 million come from?

    I believe this magical number was Matt’s extrapolation of the full value of the site when it is built out.”[/i]

    No, it wasn’t. The Staff presentation last night provided numbers that were as low as $3.8 million for Option 1 and as high as $1.6 billion in the full buildout scenario for Options 4 and 5. The streaming video will show in my public comment last night what number I selected from the many different numbers that Staff presented to Council.

    $90 million was one of the lower numbers as I remember Mike Webb’s presentation.

  27. Jim Frame

    [quote] I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the chances of a Ramos-Bruner Innovation Park passing a stand alone Measure J/R vote are somewhere between 3% and 5%.[/quote]

    Plus or minus 50%?

    A Measure J/R contest will never be a slam dunk, but if a proposal for Ramos/Bruner can convincingly be shown to:

    1. Not raise the specter of runaway development (done deal with Mace 391 locked up);

    2. Not impose a significant traffic burden on residential neighborhoods (no residential between Ramos/Bruner and the freeway, so pretty much done);

    3. Accommodate UCD innovative business generation (the focus of the park?);

    and

    4. Provide substantial additional revenue toward repairing the city’s structural budget problems;

    then I think the odds of passage are well into the feasible zone.

  28. Matt Williams

    Frankly said . . .

    [i]”As to Mace 391, I think its future as protected open space makes passage of a Measure J/R vote for some sort of business park on the Ramos/Bruner acreage much more likely.

    I agree.

    I think ultimately that is what the ITF is counting on.”[/i]

    For all the reasons I explained above, I think you both you and Jim are 100% wrong. There simply is nothing to include in an answer to the “What’s In It For Me?” question that Davis voters will be asking themselves.

    With the above said Jim and Frankly (and anyone else who cares to jump in), if you were talking to a group of Davis Senior Retirees about what is in it for them to vote yes on Ramos/Bruner, what would you tell them? Same question for the young UCD grad students whose voices were heard last night in support of proceeding with the easement. What’s In It For Them?

  29. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”if you develop Mace 391 it is a near certainty that Ramos/Bruner will also be developed.”[/i]

    Frankly replied . . .

    [i]”OMG. What do you base that opinion on… your life in a sixth-dimensional universe?

    How can you EVER make a case that there is near certainty for any peripheral development?

    I think you are just a fear monger on this. But one with no basis in facts or evidence… just emotives.

    It is MUCH more likely that since we developed Mace 391 the citizens would demand that adjacent properties be kept open space.

    Have you forgotten about the 3-1 open space easement requirement? Or is that just an inconvenient truth?”[/i]

    Frankly, on this one I agree with Don 100%. You were a little bit too quick on the trigger in your response IMHO. The reason is that the access to Mace 391 is easiest if it goes through the Ramos/Bruner property. Therefore, if Mace 391 actually does get developed, then it truly is a near certainty that Ramos/Bruner will also be developed. They would almost surely be combined as part of a single master plan.

  30. Frankly

    Matt, after last night, I think I am more apt to see things your way.

    The what’s in it for them message needs to be a vision of city decline as a result of insolvency combined with a vision of benefits they would receive with business park development.

    The students are easy except for that liberal brainwashing that swims before their eyes. But just let a few more years of Obamanomics and Obamacare sink in and the job will become easier.

    The seniors are a different nut… especially those that are baby-boomer age. I don’t think we can do much to sell them benefits. Only to help them get the vision of decline and maybe pinch them while you are showing it so they understand it will cause them pain too.

    But I am sad to say that baby boomers that are in the senior age group, those children of WWII and depression-area parents, are the very people that have wrecked the national economy, so why would we be surprised that they would do the same to Davis’s economy. They helped bring back the work narcissist as part of our standard vocabulary.

    I think a measure to allow all students to vote is a first step for saving the city.

    Albert Brooks was on to something writing 2030. Except that it might happen sooner.

  31. Mark West

    Jim Frame: [i]As to Mace 391, I think its future as protected open space makes passage of a Measure J/R vote for some sort of business park on the Ramos/Bruner acreage much more likely.[/i]

    I doubt it very much. The same people who argued the loudest about protecting Mace 391 will just continue with their fear mongering arguments directed at the next parcel, and the next, until there are no parcels left to develop. The goal is not to prevent ‘leap frog’ development as they claim, it is to block all development of any kind. If a project is proposed for the Ramos/Bruner parcel (or any other peripheral parcel) the same opponents will simply continue their mantra that there are better places that should be developed first. Ramos/Bruner will not be developed anytime soon.

    The decision on Mace 391 was a political one, supporting the ‘needs’ of the well connected and therefore politically powerful Yolo Land Trust, over those of the citizens of Davis. This was a failure of our elected officials to act in a fiscally responsible manner to protect the interests of the people they represent. Those of us who live and pay taxes in town will feel the brunt of this failure as the City’s financial situation continues to deteriorate, our taxes continue to rise. and the quality of our lives diminish in turn. It will be a few years however (if ever) before the residents in town figure out just how much we have been screwed by this decision. By then, most of the members of the City Council will have moved on and will thereby avoid facing any consequence for this irresponsible decision.

  32. Frankly

    Matt – sorry, I wrote the previous before your last post. I don’t agree. How can you get Ramos/Bruner passed after Mace 391 is somehow magically approved to a business park. And I don’t see how you can make the case that without a Mace 391 park there is only a 3-5% chance, but with Mace 391 there is, what… a near certainty?

    Didn’t staff show Ramos/Bruner as being part of the 3-1 easement in the Mace 391 business park options?

  33. Matt Williams

    Jim Frame said . . .

    [i]”Plus or minus 50%?” [/i]

    I could live with “plus or minus 50%.” That would change my 3% to 5% chance of passage to 1.5% to 7.5% chance of passage, with 1.5% being half of 3% and 7.5% being half again higher than 5%. Having a maximum chance of passage of 7.5% makes passage still an incredible long shot. Accommodating your plus or minus 50% makes a 20 to 1 bet a bit less risky at 13 to 1.

    Jim Frame said . . .

    [i]A Measure J/R contest will never be a slam dunk, but if a proposal for Ramos/Bruner can convincingly be shown to:

    1. Not raise the specter of runaway development (done deal with Mace 391 locked up);

    2. Not impose a significant traffic burden on residential neighborhoods (no residential between Ramos/Bruner and the freeway, so pretty much done);

    3. Accommodate UCD innovative business generation (the focus of the park?);

    and

    4. Provide substantial additional revenue toward repairing the city’s structural budget problems;

    then I think the odds of passage are well into the feasible zone.” [/i]

    Your number 1. doesn’t provide a positive answer to What’s In It For Me? It only addresses the downside risk of What’s Not In It For Me?

    Your number 2. doesn’t provide a positive answer to What’s In It For Me? Further, I was in a meeting with two Yolo County Officials this morning talking about last night’s events, and they brought up the subject of the current impact of Sue Greenwald’s and Julie Partansky’s successful fight to make the Mace Overpass on ramp only have one lane. That effort on Sue and Julie’s part was to create an infrastructure constriction that would inhibit the possibility of growth. Even with the current levels of morning traffic at that onramp the traffic backs up significantly. So the traffic burden isn’t imposed on a residential neighborhood, but anyone who crosses the Mace Overpass will be burdened instead.

    I wholeheartedly agree that your number 3 can and will provide a positive answer to What’s In It For Me? for a proportion of the davis voting populace. However, the important caveat to that is a reasonable estimation of what proportion of the voting populace will personally experience that positive answer. The truth is that in selfish terms, very, very few of us will even know one person who will be directly impacted by your number 3. There will be lots of positive answers to the question What’s in it for davis, but precious few positive answers when you change the word “Davis” to the word “Me” and after all, we almost always vote our personal self interest.

    Which gets us to your number 4 and the strengths and weaknesses of that argument are capsulized in the same logic/concern that propmpted B. Nice to question how believable the land valuation numbers are. Some voters will see your number 4 as a a positive answer to What’s In It For Me? but many more will say, [i]”I’m from Missouri. Show me.”[/i]

    t only addresses the downside risk of What’s Not In It For Me?

  34. Matt Williams

    Frankly said . . .

    [i]”How can you get Ramos/Bruner passed after Mace 391 is somehow magically approved to a business park. And I don’t see how you can make the case that without a Mace 391 park there is only a 3-5% chance, but with Mace 391 there is, what… a near certainty?”[/i]

    The reason for that is very simple. In the Mace 391 scenario n the City would have a War Chest of approximately $12 million that it would deploy to put the upwards of 3,000 acres of conservation easement in place around the Urban Fringe of Davis. In the Ramos/Bruner only alternative there is no such war chest from selling the Mace 391 parcel. As a result there would be no conserved acres other than the lands that Ramos and Bruner currently own for their 2:1 mitigation, and none of those acres that they own are in the Urban Fringe.

    Said another way, the one scenario has a HUGE carrot at the end of the stick, while the second scenario has NO such carrot.

  35. Jim Frame

    I don’t share the gloom-and-doom perspective put forth by Mark and Frankly. (Though I’m not sure what to make of your last post, Frankly — I can’t tell if you’re saying development of Ramos/Bruner is more likely or less.)

    The “what’s in it for me” argument should be pretty easy to make: budget stabilization. Until that happens the hole gets deeper and service cuts will continue to accrue, and after awhile even the most oblivious will begin to notice them and wonder what’s going on. The project proposal — assuming one eventually comes forward — will have to be crafted and analyzed properly to make certain that the development has a better-than-reasonable chance of achieving its aims, or it’ll deserve to die.

    There will always be a no-growth-no-how-no-where element, but I don’t believe they’re as numerous as the pessimists think. The great middle that has voted so many times to increase their own taxes to make the city a more livable place is open to rational proposals to improve the city’s situation as long as core values aren’t sacrificed. I think that’s doable at Ramos/Bruner now that Mace 391 is secure. It’s a long ways from a sure thing, but I believe it’s within reach.

  36. Don Shor

    If the face of the Ramos/Bruner project is Schilling and Marrone, I think it will be an easier sell to the general public. Once Mace 391 is in an easement, it’s also easier. Basically, all the arguments you were making on behalf of Mace 391/421 prevail, and there’s none of the baggage that developed around that site. No Measure R vote is a guarantee. But if I were ranking them, I’d say Measure R is more likely to succeed at Nishi and Ramos/Bruner, then Northwest Quadrant, in that order.

  37. Frankly

    [i] I can’t tell if you’re saying development of Ramos/Bruner is more likely or less.[/i]

    I think that the ITF and other leading movers and shakers in the business community have their target on Ramos/Bruner. That probably started about the same time that it was realized that the Yolo Land Trust was working up their disingenuous sob story and the council was wilting like a wax flower under a heat lamp over it.

    I think it will never happen… at least until the financial problems of Davis really start to grind on those that vote to protect the status quo… or unless we can get all those campus-living young people to vote in city elections.

    But I think it would be even less likely to happen if Mace 391 became a business park.

  38. B. Nice

    You would have thouht by the way people were talking last night that the development of a business park at Mace was the only answer to the cities financial problems, and not allowing it meant sure finical ruin.

  39. Jim Frame

    [quote]I could live with “plus or minus 50%.” That would change my 3% to 5% chance of passage to 1.5% to 7.5% chance of passage, with 1.5% being half of 3% and 7.5% being half again higher than 5%[/quote]

    My math is additive — as with poll statistics — not multiplicative. In other words, 53% to 55% chance of passage on the plus side. (The negative side isn’t even worth considering.)

  40. Frankly

    Here is what we start to look like…

    [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/15/us/crime-rises-in-san-bernardino-after-bankruptcy.html?_r=0[/url]

    [url]http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/imran-ghori-headlines/20130923-san-bernardino-city-takes-residents-suggestions-on-bankruptcy.ece[/url]

    [url]http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20130323/workers-fleeing-san-bernardino-in-droves-since-its-bankruptcy[/url]

    I suppose this is the solution that the no-growthers favor…
    [url]http://californiacitynews.typepad.com/californiacitynewsorg/2011/10/road-work-san-jose-weighs-a-parcel-tax-for-street-maintenance-600-million-needed.html[/url]

  41. Mark West

    B. Nice: “[i]You would have thouht by the way people were talking last night that the development of a business park at Mace was the only answer to the cities financial problems, and not allowing it meant sure finical ruin.[/i]”

    Raise taxes, cut services, increase sales tax revenues by growing retail and/or increase business development and jobs. The answer will be some combination of these, with service cuts and higher taxes being the only real short-term solutions, with business development and more jobs being the best long-term ones. We had an opportunity to leverage a City asset to make that long-term solution a real possibility. The decision last night takes that option off the table, leaving us with higher taxes and slashed services as our most likely future.

    Building more houses at Cannery will increase the City’s cash-flow in the near term, lessening some of the immediate impact of our finances, but that is only a band-aid solution as the long-term effect of developing more houses is a net negative impact to the City’s finances.

  42. B. Nice

    “We had an opportunity to leverage a City asset to make that long-term solution a real possibility. “

    This is where I feel I’m missing something. What do you mean by “leveraging” the property? Selling it? trading it?

  43. Frankly

    [quote]How did we get here?

    •It is obvious that we have over-committed pay and benefits to city employees.

    •It is obvious that the Great Recession has impacted tax revenue.

    •But the primary reason we find ourselves in such fiscal dire straits is that we failed to give our economy the same attention as open space preservation.

    •Our tax revenue is about 50% lower than comparable cities. We have significantly fewer firms per capita. Our sales tax revenue per capita is only about 65% of the state average, and about 25% of what the like-sized college town of Palo Alto takes in.
    [/quote]
    How do we get back to trajectory of fiscal solvency?

    From what I can tell…

    We have already cut city staff to the bone. The wage and benefit concessions for DCEA and the FF are still on the table and will help to delay the day of reckoning by some unknown amount of years. But the expectation is that CalPERS will increase contribution requirements and wipe out much of these gains.

    If the inevitable $.0025 sales tax increase passes, that will help delay the date of insolvency for 5 years or so.

    Neither of those replenish our road fund.

    So, what we have left is to grow our tax receipts through economic development.

    Economic development requires land. Davis does not have enough land to develop. Locking up peripheral land into permanent agriculture easements comes with a tremendous opportunity cost and it prevents future generations from deciding their own values and solving the budget problems that we adults have passed to them.

    Locking up this valuable Leyland Ranch / Mace 391 asset in effect, gave away tens of millions, if not over one hundred million that would otherwise be used to solve our immediate and long-term financial problems.

  44. B. Nice

    Ok B. Nice. You are on. What are your alternative solutions if not increasing tax revenue by growing the economy through business expansion?

    I’m not arguing against economic expansion, what I don’t understand is why the it all seems to hinge on Mace 391.

  45. Frankly

    [i]This is where I feel I’m missing something. What do you mean by “leveraging” the property? Selling it? trading it?[/i]

    The city owned it. Paid somewhere around $3.5MM for it.

    The city value of that land as a business park is somewhere between $70-$120MM. That is not including the ongoing tax receipts from the business activity in the park.

    Leveraging the opportunity value of that asset, the city could have realized real monetary gains.

    Now that opportunity is gone.

    Just consider the same for yourself. Say your family owned a 400 acre ranch and you could develop it as a business park and eventually pocket $100MM. You had a $70MM road maintenance deficit, and you needed to fund other things you had been wanting to do and take care of. Also, your rents had increased and you where looking at having negative cash flow beginning in about five years.

    But someone knocks on your door and start crying that they would have their reputation harmed if you don’t concede to making your land a permanent ag easement. You do it.

    They lied.

    But you still no longer have any asset or leverage to realize a return.

    Except for the good will between you and the liar that pushed you toward the easement.

  46. Frankly

    [i]How much does the fact that the city owns the land play into the “this is the ideal spot for a business park” argument[/i]

    Three things.

    1. The monetary potential for the city for any other parcel does not come close to this one because we don’t own it. The money could be used to actually buy off some of the opposition with goodies that would make them support the project.

    2. The location is very, very good for business because of access to the freeway and a stretch of Mace that is not surrounded by homes and structures and is clearly able to handle the traffic.

    3. We own it and could design it to meet our needs. If someone else owns it, like we see for the Cannery, they will want to call many of the shots on design and we will have less in the way of goodies to buy off the negative Nellies.

  47. Frankly

    BTW, the community farm idea on Mace 391 sucks given residential and connectivity access difficulty. You gonna ride your bike there with your Burley cart to haul manure and veggies back and forth? I don’t think so.

  48. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”If the face of the Ramos/Bruner project is Schilling and Marrone, I think it will be an easier sell to the general public. Once Mace 391 is in an easement, it’s also easier. Basically, all the arguments you were making on behalf of Mace 391/421 prevail, and there’s none of the baggage that developed around that site. No Measure R vote is a guarantee. But if I were ranking them, I’d say Measure R is more likely to succeed at Nishi and Ramos/Bruner, then Northwest Quadrant, in that order.”[/i]

    I agree with your assessment of the likely approval of a Nishi Measure R vote, but only if there is no access through Olive Drive. The Housing Element Steering Committee discussions around the impact of adding vehicle trips to the Richards/Olive traffic interchange were direct and forceful DOA.

    Further, if the access is under the UP tracks to the area between Mondavi and Hyatt Place, there will be no negative impacts on the lives of Davis residents due to the considerable number of additional housing units.

    None of those positives exist for either Mace/Bruner or Northwest Quadrant. They very simply do not have any “selling points” for those Davis voters who either don’t care about Schilling and/or Marrone, or don’t even know what Schilling and/or Marrone are.

    Those same people are very likely to know what Measure O is.

  49. Matt Williams

    [IMG]http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h321/mwill47/FY201314GeneralFundFive-yearForecastTable_zps58aabc1c.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h321/mwill47/FY201314GeneralFundFive-yearForecastGraph_zpse3535c56.jpg[/IMG]

    [b]NOTE: None of the above numbers include any dollars for addressing the Streets maintenance Backlog, which will be funded through the sale of bonds and incur an annual debt service amount of a bit over $3 million more expense per year for the next 30 years.[/b]

  50. Mark West

    Frankly: “[i]Locking up peripheral land into permanent agriculture easements comes with a tremendous opportunity cost and it prevents future generations from deciding their own values and solving the budget problems that we adults have passed to them.

    Locking up this valuable Leyland Ranch / Mace 391 asset in effect, gave away tens of millions, if not over one hundred million that would otherwise be used to solve our immediate and long-term financial problems.[/i]”

    In effect, we have once again taken money from our children (opportunity costs) to ‘pay’ for something we want today (land preservation). Isn’t that a perfect example of our selfish behavior?

  51. Frankly

    Thank Matt!

    Too bad we don’t have a forecast out the next decade. That would be a great shock-and-awe picture!

    [i]In effect, we have once again taken money from our children (opportunity costs) to ‘pay’ for something we want today (land preservation). Isn’t that a perfect example of our selfish behavior[/i]

    Absolutely!

    Mark – I need a Pliny Elder. I’m buying. You have time any afternoon or evening this week? I will come with a disguise to ensure your reputation is not tarnished by association!

  52. Mark West

    B. Nice: “[i]This is where I feel I’m missing something. What do you mean by “leveraging” the property? Selling it? trading it?[/i]”

    If you paid attention to the Cannery discussion you should understand that development deals are really a series of negotiations between the City, the developer, and in some cases the electorate. As the property owner of Mace 391 we were in a strong position to negotiate the best deal for the City as we could dictate the terms for that development. As we learned with Cannery, waiting for the property owner to bring us a proposal forces us into a much poorer negotiating position with the result being a much poorer outcome for the City. Our leverage was that we owned an outstanding piece of develop-able land in a prime location for a business park. We just threw all that away last night and the taxpayers of Davis are much poorer for it.

  53. Robb Davis

    I will acknowledge some real confusion over what Matt, Frankly and Mark are saying here today. Let me try to lay out some points/questions:

    1. Matt says that the probability of passing a Measure R on Bruner/Ramos is 3-5%
    2. Mace 391 could, according to the staff report, generate up to $1.6 billion in the full buildout scenario.
    3. Because Mace 391 is going into an easement we lose the ability to develop economically because (per Frankly) “Economic development requires land. Davis does not have enough land to develop.”

    So here are my questions and comments:

    1. What would the probability of passing a Measure R on 391 have been had the easement grant been given up?

    To calculate the true “opportunity cost” of the loss of 391 to development you must multiply any hypothetical gain by this probability. So, if Matt says Bruner/Ramos is less than 5% what would be the probability? I would assume that it is probably near or at zero. Zero times 1.6 billion (or a trillion or a gazillion) is zero. People need to stop acting like 391 was an ATM that was just waiting for us to show up with a cash card and take the money out. It was not that at all.

    2. Why did the innovation task force not identify 391 as critical to the financial health of the city if it was? What exactly do you mean Frankly that there is not enough land to develop? The ITF certainly felt we had three good sites to develop.

    3. Why haven’t we yet seen even a back of the envelop projection of what Ramos/Bruner, Nishi and the Northwest Quadrant properties might yield in terms of economic development?

    Since the situation is dire (and IT IS), then why haven’t we seen any movement on these properties? Why all of a sudden is the sky falling because of a lack of development of 391 but it was not falling in May when 391 was not on anyone’s horizon? Why hasn’t staff started the process necessary to develop the other sites? Are you saying, Frankly, that you KNOW that their development will not yield what is necessary to deal with the City’s short and long-term fiscal problems? How do you know this?

    As I watched the discussion last evening I became convinced that the seed of unity around economic development had been planted with the decision to keep 391 in an easement. If you could convince me that this property is the last, best hope for economic development in Davis then I would feel differently about the decision but no argument has been made to that effect.

    I respect the three people named above a great deal but it seems that it is time to move beyond this (yes, less than 24 hours after the decision) and discuss how we can develop the ITF sites ASAP. I will also note that a CC that is united about the importance of developing these sites is the BEST hope we have of getting a Measure R passed there. We have that now and we should build on that. I am personally committed to moving forward on these sites (unless you are telling me it is a complete waste of time).

    When I see Jim Frame and Don Shor saying what they are saying here about a willingness to move forward on these sites I say there is an opportunity before us to bring a broad coalition of people together to start planning.

    I will repeat what I said above: Our fiscal situation is DIRE. We need solutions starting now. We have an opportunity now so let’s seize it.

    (I also feel that the rhetoric about Michelle Clark is really misplaced here. She used no scare tactics in her presentation. She laid out her perspective which I would expect her to do.)

  54. B. Nice

    [quote]As the property owner of Mace 391 we were in a strong position to negotiate the best deal for the City as we could dictate the terms for that development.[/quote]

    This land was not bought by the city so it could be used as leverage in a development deal.

  55. B. Nice

    I’ve been trying to come up with the best way to express some of my thoughts, then I read Robb’s posts, and realized he did a much better job articulating then I could have:

    [quote] What would the probability of passing a Measure R on 391 have been had the easement grant been given up? [/quote]

    Matt I’m still waiting for your answer to this one;-)

    [quote]Since the situation is dire (and IT IS), then why haven’t we seen any movement on these properties? Why all of a sudden is the sky falling because of a lack of development of 391 but it was not falling in May when 391 was not on anyone’s horizon?[/quote]

    I will add to this, if this is the only ideal site why was no developer ready to snatch it up when it went into foreclosure?

    [quote]If you could convince me that this property is the last, best hope for economic development in Davis then I would feel differently about the decision but no argument has been made to that effect.[/quote]

    [quote]I also feel that the rhetoric about Michelle Clark is really misplaced here. She used no scare tactics in her presentation. She laid out her perspective which I would expect her to do.[/quote]

    The business community participated in their fare share of fear tactics.

  56. Frankly

    [i]how we can develop the ITF sites ASAP.[/i]

    I feel like this is a dream statement given what we just went through. Just because the ITF recommends these sites does not mean that we can race to get them done. I wish!

    [i]I also feel that the rhetoric about Michelle Clark is really misplaced here. She used no scare tactics in her presentation. She laid out her perspective which I would expect her to do.[/i]

    I’m sorry, but I don’t judge a sheep by its clothing. It appears that the entire justification for continuation on the path of easement was the risk of damaging the YLT ability to get future grants. That was a very trumped up concern… in fact I think it was a disingenuous move. That was a wolf bite.

  57. Frankly

    [i]how we can develop the ITF sites ASAP.[/i]

    I feel like this is a dream statement given what we just went through. Just because the ITF recommends these sites does not mean that we can race to get them done. I wish!

    [i]I also feel that the rhetoric about Michelle Clark is really misplaced here. She used no scare tactics in her presentation. She laid out her perspective which I would expect her to do.[/i]

    I’m sorry, but I don’t judge a sheep by its clothing. It appears that the entire justification for continuation on the path of easement was the risk of damaging the YLT ability to get future grants. That was a very trumped up concern… in fact I think it was a disingenuous move. That was a wolf bite.

  58. B. Nice

    [quote]It appears that the entire justification for continuation on the path of easement was the risk of damaging the YLT ability to get future grants.[/quote]

    I disagree. There were plenty of other justifications. It was the nail in the coffin.

  59. B. Nice

    [quote]It appears that the entire justification for continuation on the path of easement was the risk of damaging the YLT ability to get future grants.[/quote]

    I disagree. There were plenty of other justifications. It was the nail in the coffin.

  60. Frankly

    [i]I disagree. There were plenty of other justifications. It was the nail in the coffin[/i]

    Well there were three city council members ready to vote on the financial future of the city until the “letter” came. By the way, it was a letter from a lower level staffer and “stamp signed” by the director.

    Of course those three might have been pandering to the business group, or there was other horse-trading that went on at the last minutes… and then the letter just became some cover to hide behind.

    The bottom line is that the letter and related concern over YLT harm was the main reason given for why three did not vote to decline the easement.

    And that letter and alarm of harm by YLT and RSCS was 99.9999% embellishment. I know how these Federal people roll. I have had to give back grant money for another USDA program and the director was willing to do almost anything to prevent his numbers from slipping. But he does not have much of any influence in the next grant request, because that next grant request would be based primarily on its own merits and it vetted in an objective rankling process that is largely out of his hands. Now, if I squandered a high percentage of grants, then sure it would be a probable issue. But the YLT had gone to bat 17 times and hit home runs each time, and now the coach was just asking them to sit one out. And by sitting one out, they claimed that their batting average would fall so far as to make them a less attractive batter. Right. Closing efficiency is a very tiny criteria in a long list of other criteria. 50% of the criteria is federal and closing efficiency is in the state area.

    The impact would have been de minimis to non-existent. Yet it was trumped up as a BIG DEAL!

    It was materially a lie. And I don’t like liars at all.

    [i]I will add to this, if this is the only ideal site why was no developer ready to snatch it up when it went into foreclosure?[/i]

    So, you think a random developer has a better chance of getting the city to approve a development than does the city itself?

  61. Frankly

    [i]I disagree. There were plenty of other justifications. It was the nail in the coffin[/i]

    Well there were three city council members ready to vote on the financial future of the city until the “letter” came. By the way, it was a letter from a lower level staffer and “stamp signed” by the director.

    Of course those three might have been pandering to the business group, or there was other horse-trading that went on at the last minutes… and then the letter just became some cover to hide behind.

    The bottom line is that the letter and related concern over YLT harm was the main reason given for why three did not vote to decline the easement.

    And that letter and alarm of harm by YLT and RSCS was 99.9999% embellishment. I know how these Federal people roll. I have had to give back grant money for another USDA program and the director was willing to do almost anything to prevent his numbers from slipping. But he does not have much of any influence in the next grant request, because that next grant request would be based primarily on its own merits and it vetted in an objective rankling process that is largely out of his hands. Now, if I squandered a high percentage of grants, then sure it would be a probable issue. But the YLT had gone to bat 17 times and hit home runs each time, and now the coach was just asking them to sit one out. And by sitting one out, they claimed that their batting average would fall so far as to make them a less attractive batter. Right. Closing efficiency is a very tiny criteria in a long list of other criteria. 50% of the criteria is federal and closing efficiency is in the state area.

    The impact would have been de minimis to non-existent. Yet it was trumped up as a BIG DEAL!

    It was materially a lie. And I don’t like liars at all.

    [i]I will add to this, if this is the only ideal site why was no developer ready to snatch it up when it went into foreclosure?[/i]

    So, you think a random developer has a better chance of getting the city to approve a development than does the city itself?

  62. B. Nice

    Frankly you contradict yourself

    You said :

    [quote]How can you EVER make a case that there is near certainty for any peripheral development? [/quote]

    and this:

    [quote]I think it would have easily passed a Measure R vote given all the goodies it could have provided.[/quote]

  63. B. Nice

    Frankly you contradict yourself

    You said :

    [quote]How can you EVER make a case that there is near certainty for any peripheral development? [/quote]

    and this:

    [quote]I think it would have easily passed a Measure R vote given all the goodies it could have provided.[/quote]

  64. Mark West

    Robb Davis: “[i]1. What would the probability of passing a Measure R on 391 have been had the easement grant been given up?[/i]”

    That would completely depend upon the design of the project and the effectiveness of the efforts to educate the public on the need and desirability of the project. No Measure R proposal will be an ‘easy sell’ in Davis, especially with the well entrenched negative voices that have been prevalent of late, but there is no reason why Mace 391 was less likely to pass than a development at any other peripheral location.

    [i]”2. Why did the innovation task force not identify 391 as critical to the financial health of the city if it was? [/i]

    I don’t know. I expect it was because there was a faction within the City staff that were hoping to lock it up in a conservation easement before the public was aware that we owned it.

    [i]”What exactly do you mean Frankly that there is not enough land to develop? The ITF certainly felt we had three good sites to develop.[/i] “

    A few weeks back Don Shor did a ‘back of the envelope’ calculation in a comment on this blog, of how much business growth we would need to cover the road maintenance deficit alone (counting expected increases in property and sales taxes revenues from new businesses, and not considering any other budget shortfalls) and determined (much to his dismay I think) that we would need to develop 400 acres each at Mace 391 and Northwest Quadrant, plus all of Nishi to meet our needs today.

    “3. [i]Why haven’t we yet seen even a back of the envelop projection of what Ramos/Bruner, Nishi and the Northwest Quadrant properties might yield in terms of economic development?[/i]”

    We have. The numbers will be very similar to Mace 391, less the profit we could have recovered from using an asset that we already owned. The big difference is we have very little influence over how those other properties are developed since we cannot dictate what projects the land owners propose or when those projects fit into their needs (see the Cannery).

    “[i]Since the situation is dire (and IT IS), then why haven’t we seen any movement on these properties?[/i]”

    The situation for the City is dire, but is going to get much worse in the next few years. Why would a land owner propose a project now when their negotiating position will be that much stronger the closer the City gets to insolvency?

    “[i]Why all of a sudden is the sky falling because of a lack of development of 391 but it was not falling in May when 391 was not on anyone’s horizon?[/i]”

    Most of us didn’t know about Mace 391 until David Morris brought it to our attention at the end of May. The more important question is why didn’t our leaders bring it to our attention before? Were they ignorant of the potential, or were they trying to hide the consequences for some reason?

    “[i]If you could convince me that this property is the last, best hope for economic development in Davis then I would feel differently about the decision but no argument has been made to that effect.[/i]”

    Not the last option, but certainly the best if your interest is bringing the most money into the City’s coffers. The potential benefit to the City for any development is greater when the City owns the land.

    “[i]When I see Jim Frame and Don Shor saying what they are saying here about a willingness to move forward on these sites I say there is an opportunity before us to bring a broad coalition of people together to start planning.[/i]”

    I have every reason to believe what Jim Frame will be a positive influence on any future economic development project proposed for Davis.

    I have no reason to believe that Don Shor will act any differently than he has of late.

    Don Shor: “[i]When you get over your tantrum, let us know.[/i]”

  65. Mark West

    Robb Davis: “[i]1. What would the probability of passing a Measure R on 391 have been had the easement grant been given up?[/i]”

    That would completely depend upon the design of the project and the effectiveness of the efforts to educate the public on the need and desirability of the project. No Measure R proposal will be an ‘easy sell’ in Davis, especially with the well entrenched negative voices that have been prevalent of late, but there is no reason why Mace 391 was less likely to pass than a development at any other peripheral location.

    [i]”2. Why did the innovation task force not identify 391 as critical to the financial health of the city if it was? [/i]

    I don’t know. I expect it was because there was a faction within the City staff that were hoping to lock it up in a conservation easement before the public was aware that we owned it.

    [i]”What exactly do you mean Frankly that there is not enough land to develop? The ITF certainly felt we had three good sites to develop.[/i] “

    A few weeks back Don Shor did a ‘back of the envelope’ calculation in a comment on this blog, of how much business growth we would need to cover the road maintenance deficit alone (counting expected increases in property and sales taxes revenues from new businesses, and not considering any other budget shortfalls) and determined (much to his dismay I think) that we would need to develop 400 acres each at Mace 391 and Northwest Quadrant, plus all of Nishi to meet our needs today.

    “3. [i]Why haven’t we yet seen even a back of the envelop projection of what Ramos/Bruner, Nishi and the Northwest Quadrant properties might yield in terms of economic development?[/i]”

    We have. The numbers will be very similar to Mace 391, less the profit we could have recovered from using an asset that we already owned. The big difference is we have very little influence over how those other properties are developed since we cannot dictate what projects the land owners propose or when those projects fit into their needs (see the Cannery).

    “[i]Since the situation is dire (and IT IS), then why haven’t we seen any movement on these properties?[/i]”

    The situation for the City is dire, but is going to get much worse in the next few years. Why would a land owner propose a project now when their negotiating position will be that much stronger the closer the City gets to insolvency?

    “[i]Why all of a sudden is the sky falling because of a lack of development of 391 but it was not falling in May when 391 was not on anyone’s horizon?[/i]”

    Most of us didn’t know about Mace 391 until David Morris brought it to our attention at the end of May. The more important question is why didn’t our leaders bring it to our attention before? Were they ignorant of the potential, or were they trying to hide the consequences for some reason?

    “[i]If you could convince me that this property is the last, best hope for economic development in Davis then I would feel differently about the decision but no argument has been made to that effect.[/i]”

    Not the last option, but certainly the best if your interest is bringing the most money into the City’s coffers. The potential benefit to the City for any development is greater when the City owns the land.

    “[i]When I see Jim Frame and Don Shor saying what they are saying here about a willingness to move forward on these sites I say there is an opportunity before us to bring a broad coalition of people together to start planning.[/i]”

    I have every reason to believe what Jim Frame will be a positive influence on any future economic development project proposed for Davis.

    I have no reason to believe that Don Shor will act any differently than he has of late.

    Don Shor: “[i]When you get over your tantrum, let us know.[/i]”

  66. B. Nice

    [quote]So, you think a random developer has a better chance of getting the city to approve a development than does the city itself?[/quote]

    No I’m asking, if this was such an ideal site why didn’t a developer snatch it up when it went into foreclosure?

  67. B. Nice

    [quote]So, you think a random developer has a better chance of getting the city to approve a development than does the city itself?[/quote]

    No I’m asking, if this was such an ideal site why didn’t a developer snatch it up when it went into foreclosure?

  68. Frankly

    [i] Frankly you contradict yourself

    You said :

    How can you EVER make a case that there is near certainty for any peripheral development?

    and this:

    I think it would have easily passed a Measure R vote given all the goodies it could have provided.[/i]

    Different context.

    I think that one of the things that motivated such opposition to this Mace 391 property is the fear that the city could end up with a “grand bargain” and “grand design” plan that provided just enough goodies (the “what’s in it for me” things) to get it to pass a Measure R vote.

    So, to clarify, if we own it we have a better chance to make it appealing to the voters and get it passed.

    If we don’t I have about zero percent confidence that we will ever get it done.

    I think most that have opposed Mace 391 as a business park that claim to support other locations know full well that all those other locations are DOA… and they are happy about that.

  69. Frankly

    [i] Frankly you contradict yourself

    You said :

    How can you EVER make a case that there is near certainty for any peripheral development?

    and this:

    I think it would have easily passed a Measure R vote given all the goodies it could have provided.[/i]

    Different context.

    I think that one of the things that motivated such opposition to this Mace 391 property is the fear that the city could end up with a “grand bargain” and “grand design” plan that provided just enough goodies (the “what’s in it for me” things) to get it to pass a Measure R vote.

    So, to clarify, if we own it we have a better chance to make it appealing to the voters and get it passed.

    If we don’t I have about zero percent confidence that we will ever get it done.

    I think most that have opposed Mace 391 as a business park that claim to support other locations know full well that all those other locations are DOA… and they are happy about that.

  70. B. Nice

    [quote]but there is no reason why Mace 391 was less likely to pass than a development at any other peripheral location. [/quote]

    I disagree, we would have had some angry “NIMBY”S doing everything in their power to block approval of a measure R vote. I think there is a much better chance of gaining their support, if not their active protest, now.

  71. B. Nice

    [quote]but there is no reason why Mace 391 was less likely to pass than a development at any other peripheral location. [/quote]

    I disagree, we would have had some angry “NIMBY”S doing everything in their power to block approval of a measure R vote. I think there is a much better chance of gaining their support, if not their active protest, now.

  72. B. Nice

    [quote]Well there were three city council members ready to vote on the financial future of the city until the “letter” came[/quote].

    Here is what I don’t understand about this argument. If the financial ramifications of going with the easement were so dire, how could a “letter” from a lowly staffer convince council members to vote in a way that dooms the city to financial ruin?

  73. B. Nice

    [quote]Well there were three city council members ready to vote on the financial future of the city until the “letter” came[/quote].

    Here is what I don’t understand about this argument. If the financial ramifications of going with the easement were so dire, how could a “letter” from a lowly staffer convince council members to vote in a way that dooms the city to financial ruin?

  74. B. Nice

    [quote]I think that one of the things that motivated such opposition to this Mace 391 property is the fear that the city could end up with a “grand bargain” and “grand design” plan that provided just enough goodies (the “what’s in it for me” things) to get it to pass a Measure R vote. [/quote]

    Jeez, do people really think and operate this way? I don’t know, I’m not ready to attribute such deviousness to a group of people who are working, altruistically, for open space preservation.

    [quote]I think most that have opposed Mace 391 as a business park that claim to support other locations know full well that all those other locations are DOA… and they are happy about that.[/quote]

    I hope, for the sake of the finical future of the city, you are proven wrong on this.

  75. B. Nice

    [quote]I think that one of the things that motivated such opposition to this Mace 391 property is the fear that the city could end up with a “grand bargain” and “grand design” plan that provided just enough goodies (the “what’s in it for me” things) to get it to pass a Measure R vote. [/quote]

    Jeez, do people really think and operate this way? I don’t know, I’m not ready to attribute such deviousness to a group of people who are working, altruistically, for open space preservation.

    [quote]I think most that have opposed Mace 391 as a business park that claim to support other locations know full well that all those other locations are DOA… and they are happy about that.[/quote]

    I hope, for the sake of the finical future of the city, you are proven wrong on this.

  76. Jim Frame

    Frankly actually put in writing:

    [quote]And that letter and alarm of harm by YLT and RSCS was 99.9999% embellishment…I know how these Federal people roll.It was materially a lie. And I don’t like liars at all.
    [/quote]

    Know a good libel attorney?

    Mark West wrote:

    [quote] Why would a land owner propose a project now when their negotiating position will be that much stronger the closer the City gets to insolvency? [/quote]

    There won’t be any improvement in bargaining position as time goes on. The key hurdle — as intended — is the Measure J/R election. If the project isn’t beneficial to the city, it fails. The only way a J/R vote comes out yes is when the project is convincingly a win for the city.

    As to all the tut-tutting about the loss of a potential for a city-owned business park, I have just about zero confidence that such a venture would be successful from a city revenue perspective. Land development is a high-risk undertaking, and the people who are skilled at it don’t work for public agency salaries. By the time the city contracted out the expertise — or worse yet, created an in-house development team — I think the likelihood of the city ending up with either a marginally profitable venture or a dreadful financial albatross is startlingly high. Those tantalizing returns come at great risk, and it’s not the kind of risk a municipality the size of Davis should be undertaking.

  77. Jim Frame

    Frankly actually put in writing:

    [quote]And that letter and alarm of harm by YLT and RSCS was 99.9999% embellishment…I know how these Federal people roll.It was materially a lie. And I don’t like liars at all.
    [/quote]

    Know a good libel attorney?

    Mark West wrote:

    [quote] Why would a land owner propose a project now when their negotiating position will be that much stronger the closer the City gets to insolvency? [/quote]

    There won’t be any improvement in bargaining position as time goes on. The key hurdle — as intended — is the Measure J/R election. If the project isn’t beneficial to the city, it fails. The only way a J/R vote comes out yes is when the project is convincingly a win for the city.

    As to all the tut-tutting about the loss of a potential for a city-owned business park, I have just about zero confidence that such a venture would be successful from a city revenue perspective. Land development is a high-risk undertaking, and the people who are skilled at it don’t work for public agency salaries. By the time the city contracted out the expertise — or worse yet, created an in-house development team — I think the likelihood of the city ending up with either a marginally profitable venture or a dreadful financial albatross is startlingly high. Those tantalizing returns come at great risk, and it’s not the kind of risk a municipality the size of Davis should be undertaking.

  78. Don Shor

    [quote] I think the likelihood of the city ending up with either a marginally profitable venture or a dreadful financial albatross is startlingly high.[/quote]
    Stillwater Business Park in Redding is a good example.

  79. Don Shor

    [quote] I think the likelihood of the city ending up with either a marginally profitable venture or a dreadful financial albatross is startlingly high.[/quote]
    Stillwater Business Park in Redding is a good example.

  80. B. Nice

    [quote]I think most that have opposed Mace 391 as a business park that claim to support other locations know full well that all those other locations are DOA… and they are happy about that.[/quote]

    I’m going to share a personal story. Last year concerns were raised by parents regarding some disparages between the two programs that exist at my kid’s school. When a meeting was held to discuss these concerns I came to the table with a solution based approach, but the people I was trying to work with could not get over their preconceived notion (based on I’m not sure what) that I all my suggestions to address their concerns had some ulterior motives that were meant to benefit my kids over theirs. They misconstrued the things I said, and attacked me publicly. I got anger and bitter and I became what they accused me of being. I ended up acting in ways that were destructive to my kids program and the entire school. It took things getting really bad to make me realize the damage I was doing and to stop.

    My point, don’t assume the “NIMBYs” are all extremist with ulterior motive who aren’t willing to help find solutions to the city’s finical problem, doing so might end up creating exactly that.

  81. B. Nice

    [quote]I think most that have opposed Mace 391 as a business park that claim to support other locations know full well that all those other locations are DOA… and they are happy about that.[/quote]

    I’m going to share a personal story. Last year concerns were raised by parents regarding some disparages between the two programs that exist at my kid’s school. When a meeting was held to discuss these concerns I came to the table with a solution based approach, but the people I was trying to work with could not get over their preconceived notion (based on I’m not sure what) that I all my suggestions to address their concerns had some ulterior motives that were meant to benefit my kids over theirs. They misconstrued the things I said, and attacked me publicly. I got anger and bitter and I became what they accused me of being. I ended up acting in ways that were destructive to my kids program and the entire school. It took things getting really bad to make me realize the damage I was doing and to stop.

    My point, don’t assume the “NIMBYs” are all extremist with ulterior motive who aren’t willing to help find solutions to the city’s finical problem, doing so might end up creating exactly that.

  82. Mr.Toad

    “2. Why did the innovation task force not identify 391 as critical to the financial health of the city if it was? What exactly do you mean Frankly that there is not enough land to develop? The ITF certainly felt we had three good sites to develop.”

    Because the open space commission didn’t engage with the public about its plans until they had this deal with the feds and the Land Trust all locked up. If you listened to the council last night you heard them express much dismay about the process. The Council was sandbagged by the Open Space Commission and left to sign off on a fait accompli without being able to consider if there were any better options.

    There is going to be a joint meeting soon of the Open Space Commission and the City Council. Should be quite an interesting meeting.

  83. Mr.Toad

    “2. Why did the innovation task force not identify 391 as critical to the financial health of the city if it was? What exactly do you mean Frankly that there is not enough land to develop? The ITF certainly felt we had three good sites to develop.”

    Because the open space commission didn’t engage with the public about its plans until they had this deal with the feds and the Land Trust all locked up. If you listened to the council last night you heard them express much dismay about the process. The Council was sandbagged by the Open Space Commission and left to sign off on a fait accompli without being able to consider if there were any better options.

    There is going to be a joint meeting soon of the Open Space Commission and the City Council. Should be quite an interesting meeting.

  84. B. Nice

    [quote]Because the open space commission didn’t engage with the public about its plans until they had this deal with the feds and the Land Trust all locked up.[/quote]

    Are you claiming they actively worked to keep this information from public until it was “locked up”?

    [quote]If you listened to the council last night you heard them express much dismay about the process.[/quote]

    Didn’t council have to approve the deal with the feds thus making them part of this process?

    [quote]The Council was sandbagged by the Open Space Commission and left to sign off on a fait accompli without being able to consider if there were any better options[/quote].

    How was Council sandbagged by the Open Space Commission? Does the Open Space Commission have authority to act on land deals without council approval?

  85. B. Nice

    [quote]Because the open space commission didn’t engage with the public about its plans until they had this deal with the feds and the Land Trust all locked up.[/quote]

    Are you claiming they actively worked to keep this information from public until it was “locked up”?

    [quote]If you listened to the council last night you heard them express much dismay about the process.[/quote]

    Didn’t council have to approve the deal with the feds thus making them part of this process?

    [quote]The Council was sandbagged by the Open Space Commission and left to sign off on a fait accompli without being able to consider if there were any better options[/quote].

    How was Council sandbagged by the Open Space Commission? Does the Open Space Commission have authority to act on land deals without council approval?

  86. Matt Williams

    Robb Davis said . . .

    [i]”1. Matt says that the probability of passing a Measure R on Bruner/Ramos is 3-5%

    So here are my questions and comments:

    1. What would the probability of passing a Measure R on 391 have been had the easement grant been given up? “[/i]

    The answer to your question is provided by a slicing and dicing of the Davis electorate based on their various answers to the “What’s In It For Me?” question.

    The [u]economic sustainability[/u] segment of the Davis population will be somewhat indifferent to the two alternatives as long as they both are able to demonstrate their economic viability in understandable terms. Call that group the “default yes” voting bloc.

    The [u]Measure O Means Achieving a Permanent Urban Limit Line[/u] segment of the Davis population will see the two alternatives as stark contrasts. The Ramos/Bruner only alternative will provide a permanent urban limit line only in one place . . . the north-south border between Mace 391 and Ramos/Bruner. It will not produce any permanent conservation of the purple areas in the graphic below. Why? Because there will be no war chest of dollars created from the private sector only transaction. Taxes will be generated, as well as impact fees, and the 185 acres will have 2 for 1 mitigation with existing lands currently owned by Ramos/Bruner none of which are in the purple areas north of I-80. So the “What’s In It For Me?” answer for the [u]Measure O Means Achieving a Permanent Urban Limit Line[/u] segment of the Davis population is [i]nada, absolutamente nada[/i] and 100% of that segment falls into the NO vote column. On the other hand, there will be an approximately $12 million war chest created in the “391 plus” scenario. That $12 million will be directly used to acquire a substantial inventory of permanent conservation easements in the purple urban fringe parcels. Why/ Because the “391 plus” scenario will be a public-private partnership, where the private portin makes a business decision that purchasing certain rights to the City-owned Mace 391 lands gives the private partner the controlling say on how development decisions are made in the combined Innovation Park subject to the constraints written into a contractual development agreement. So the “What’s In It For Me?” answer for the [u]Measure O Means Achieving a Permanent Urban Limit Line[/u] segment of the Davis population is the achievement of a very real urban boundary/limit line, and the transformation of a huge portion of the Measure O goals from dream into reality. As a result of that very selfish calculus close to 100% of that segment falls into the YES vote column.

    I could perform a similar analysis on other segments, such as the [u]Fiscal Sustainability[/u] segment, to show how the “391 plus” scenario does a better job delivering the bacon to that segment, but I think you get a sense of the analysis through the example above.

    Key to any election is the “great unwashed” who look to their friends and/or Bob Dunning for their guidance when voting. The key to determining how the great unwashed will vote will be how well a “buzz” is created in the segments of the community that truly do have a connection to the “What’s In It For Me?” drivers. If they are celebrating the positives the vote will more than likely succeed. If they have nothing to celebrate, as I believe is the case in the “Ramos/Bruner only” scenario, then just as happened in the Measure P vote regarding Wildhorse ranch, the NO forces will dominate the airwaves and the vote will be similar to the Measure P outcome.

    Robb, does that answer your question?

    B. Nice, I think it also answers your question about how and why the City’s ownership of the Mace 391 parcels creates a unique set of fiscal realities.

  87. Matt Williams

    Robb Davis said . . .

    [i]”1. Matt says that the probability of passing a Measure R on Bruner/Ramos is 3-5%

    So here are my questions and comments:

    1. What would the probability of passing a Measure R on 391 have been had the easement grant been given up? “[/i]

    The answer to your question is provided by a slicing and dicing of the Davis electorate based on their various answers to the “What’s In It For Me?” question.

    The [u]economic sustainability[/u] segment of the Davis population will be somewhat indifferent to the two alternatives as long as they both are able to demonstrate their economic viability in understandable terms. Call that group the “default yes” voting bloc.

    The [u]Measure O Means Achieving a Permanent Urban Limit Line[/u] segment of the Davis population will see the two alternatives as stark contrasts. The Ramos/Bruner only alternative will provide a permanent urban limit line only in one place . . . the north-south border between Mace 391 and Ramos/Bruner. It will not produce any permanent conservation of the purple areas in the graphic below. Why? Because there will be no war chest of dollars created from the private sector only transaction. Taxes will be generated, as well as impact fees, and the 185 acres will have 2 for 1 mitigation with existing lands currently owned by Ramos/Bruner none of which are in the purple areas north of I-80. So the “What’s In It For Me?” answer for the [u]Measure O Means Achieving a Permanent Urban Limit Line[/u] segment of the Davis population is [i]nada, absolutamente nada[/i] and 100% of that segment falls into the NO vote column. On the other hand, there will be an approximately $12 million war chest created in the “391 plus” scenario. That $12 million will be directly used to acquire a substantial inventory of permanent conservation easements in the purple urban fringe parcels. Why/ Because the “391 plus” scenario will be a public-private partnership, where the private portin makes a business decision that purchasing certain rights to the City-owned Mace 391 lands gives the private partner the controlling say on how development decisions are made in the combined Innovation Park subject to the constraints written into a contractual development agreement. So the “What’s In It For Me?” answer for the [u]Measure O Means Achieving a Permanent Urban Limit Line[/u] segment of the Davis population is the achievement of a very real urban boundary/limit line, and the transformation of a huge portion of the Measure O goals from dream into reality. As a result of that very selfish calculus close to 100% of that segment falls into the YES vote column.

    I could perform a similar analysis on other segments, such as the [u]Fiscal Sustainability[/u] segment, to show how the “391 plus” scenario does a better job delivering the bacon to that segment, but I think you get a sense of the analysis through the example above.

    Key to any election is the “great unwashed” who look to their friends and/or Bob Dunning for their guidance when voting. The key to determining how the great unwashed will vote will be how well a “buzz” is created in the segments of the community that truly do have a connection to the “What’s In It For Me?” drivers. If they are celebrating the positives the vote will more than likely succeed. If they have nothing to celebrate, as I believe is the case in the “Ramos/Bruner only” scenario, then just as happened in the Measure P vote regarding Wildhorse ranch, the NO forces will dominate the airwaves and the vote will be similar to the Measure P outcome.

    Robb, does that answer your question?

    B. Nice, I think it also answers your question about how and why the City’s ownership of the Mace 391 parcels creates a unique set of fiscal realities.

  88. Matt Williams

    Robb Davis said . . .

    [i]”2. Why did the innovation task force not identify 391 as critical to the financial health of the city if it was?”[/i]

    Mark West replied . . .

    [i]”I don’t know. I expect it was because there was a faction within the City staff that were hoping to lock it up in a conservation easement before the public was aware that we owned it.”[/i]

    Robb, for me the answer to this second question of yours is embodied in the classic Cool Hand Luke line, [i]”What we have here is a failure to commuuuuuuuunicate.”[/i] We will never know why the information about the easement was never conveyed from the Sustainability staff to the Economic development staff as input to the Innovation Park Task Force (IPTF) process. All we know is that in all the copious documentation that led up to and came out of the IPTF never once mentioned the Mace 391 easement process or desired result. Given that the actual Mace 391 purchase never had a public hearing in Council Chambers, that really isn’t too surprising. The purchase was discussed in several closed sessions of Council and then on November 16, 2010 the purchase was approved by Council as a Consent Calendar item. It is interesting to compare that very quietly handled process in late 2010 to the major uproar that the June 11, 2013 Council handling of Mace 391 produced.

    What it says to me is that we as a community were simply not paying attention and that staff didn’t do anything at that time that caused us to pay attention.

  89. Matt Williams

    Robb Davis said . . .

    [i]”2. Why did the innovation task force not identify 391 as critical to the financial health of the city if it was?”[/i]

    Mark West replied . . .

    [i]”I don’t know. I expect it was because there was a faction within the City staff that were hoping to lock it up in a conservation easement before the public was aware that we owned it.”[/i]

    Robb, for me the answer to this second question of yours is embodied in the classic Cool Hand Luke line, [i]”What we have here is a failure to commuuuuuuuunicate.”[/i] We will never know why the information about the easement was never conveyed from the Sustainability staff to the Economic development staff as input to the Innovation Park Task Force (IPTF) process. All we know is that in all the copious documentation that led up to and came out of the IPTF never once mentioned the Mace 391 easement process or desired result. Given that the actual Mace 391 purchase never had a public hearing in Council Chambers, that really isn’t too surprising. The purchase was discussed in several closed sessions of Council and then on November 16, 2010 the purchase was approved by Council as a Consent Calendar item. It is interesting to compare that very quietly handled process in late 2010 to the major uproar that the June 11, 2013 Council handling of Mace 391 produced.

    What it says to me is that we as a community were simply not paying attention and that staff didn’t do anything at that time that caused us to pay attention.

  90. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”No I’m asking, if this was such an ideal site why didn’t a developer snatch it up when it went into foreclosure?”[/i]

    I don’t [u]know[/u] the answer to that question B. Nice, but I can hazard a few guesses.

    1) The Great Recession began in December 2007 and took a particularly sharp downward turn in September 2008 and then officially ended in the latter half of 2009. As I understand it the property was purchased from the Leland family about 10-15 years ago by a developer who somehow convinced a bank to loan him $10 million.That bank failed in the Great Recession and the First State Bank of NW Arkansas bought a bundle of “assets” through FDIC which included the Leland Ranch property. The three owners of the bank sent a friend from Texas to inspect the land since the bank had no idea what they had bought. The way the story goes, the man from Texas walked into the Lyon Real Estate office with a whole bunch of Texas Steaks and asked to talk to the man in charge of land. It defaulted to Howard Plank who agreed to put it on the market. Most private developers, like the Ramos family, were challenged enough dealing with the depressed value of their existing holdings and weren’t in a position tom take on any additional purchases. As a result the City found out about the depressed price of the property due to an incredibly weak supply/demand curve and the rest is history . . . or should I say an accident of history.

  91. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”No I’m asking, if this was such an ideal site why didn’t a developer snatch it up when it went into foreclosure?”[/i]

    I don’t [u]know[/u] the answer to that question B. Nice, but I can hazard a few guesses.

    1) The Great Recession began in December 2007 and took a particularly sharp downward turn in September 2008 and then officially ended in the latter half of 2009. As I understand it the property was purchased from the Leland family about 10-15 years ago by a developer who somehow convinced a bank to loan him $10 million.That bank failed in the Great Recession and the First State Bank of NW Arkansas bought a bundle of “assets” through FDIC which included the Leland Ranch property. The three owners of the bank sent a friend from Texas to inspect the land since the bank had no idea what they had bought. The way the story goes, the man from Texas walked into the Lyon Real Estate office with a whole bunch of Texas Steaks and asked to talk to the man in charge of land. It defaulted to Howard Plank who agreed to put it on the market. Most private developers, like the Ramos family, were challenged enough dealing with the depressed value of their existing holdings and weren’t in a position tom take on any additional purchases. As a result the City found out about the depressed price of the property due to an incredibly weak supply/demand curve and the rest is history . . . or should I say an accident of history.

  92. Mr.Toad

    I came into this recently but if you listened to the council they expressed dissatisfaction with how the deal went down. Brett wished they had all the options laid out for them six months ago instead of being presented with a done deal with no time for deliberation in June. A majority of the council hadn’t yet been elected when most of this transpired. So yes, I’m saying that this CC was not well served by the Open Space Committee. We will know shortly because i expect the joint meeting to be a hot one.

  93. Mr.Toad

    I came into this recently but if you listened to the council they expressed dissatisfaction with how the deal went down. Brett wished they had all the options laid out for them six months ago instead of being presented with a done deal with no time for deliberation in June. A majority of the council hadn’t yet been elected when most of this transpired. So yes, I’m saying that this CC was not well served by the Open Space Committee. We will know shortly because i expect the joint meeting to be a hot one.

  94. B. Nice

    [quote]Brett wished they had all the options laid out for them six months ago instead of being presented with a done deal with no time for deliberation in June[/quote]

    I got the impression that Brett wished that the options for the business park/land swap had been laid out more clearly, six months ago, not the land easement option, which I believe has been pretty clear for a while now?

    [quote]So yes, I’m saying that this CC was not well served by the Open Space Committee.[/quote]

    It seemed that you were saying that the Open Space Committee was purposefully holding back information from CC. Thats different that not being well served. Again I question how much authority you imply this Committee has, my understanding is that they offer recommendations but have no power over any decisions.

    [quote]Because the open space commission didn’t engage with the public about its plans until they had this deal with the feds and the Land Trust all locked up. [/quote]

    I also believe that all Open Space Commission meetings are held in public and that agenda’s are posted on the city website.

  95. B. Nice

    [quote]Brett wished they had all the options laid out for them six months ago instead of being presented with a done deal with no time for deliberation in June[/quote]

    I got the impression that Brett wished that the options for the business park/land swap had been laid out more clearly, six months ago, not the land easement option, which I believe has been pretty clear for a while now?

    [quote]So yes, I’m saying that this CC was not well served by the Open Space Committee.[/quote]

    It seemed that you were saying that the Open Space Committee was purposefully holding back information from CC. Thats different that not being well served. Again I question how much authority you imply this Committee has, my understanding is that they offer recommendations but have no power over any decisions.

    [quote]Because the open space commission didn’t engage with the public about its plans until they had this deal with the feds and the Land Trust all locked up. [/quote]

    I also believe that all Open Space Commission meetings are held in public and that agenda’s are posted on the city website.

  96. B. Nice

    [quote]Given that the actual Mace 391 purchase never had a public hearing in Council Chambers, that really isn’t too surprising. The purchase was discussed in several closed sessions of Council and then on November 16, 2010 the purchase was approved by Council as a Consent Calendar item. It is interesting to compare that very quietly handled process in late 2010 to the major uproar that the June 11, 2013 Council handling of Mace 391 produced.[/quote]

    Some have implied that this was down quietly on purpose. I guess I don’t understand what motive CC would have in doing so. It’s clear that no one else was interested in this land at the time. The uproar occurred in June 2013, when another group suddenly, or seemingly so, became interested in the land just as the easement was about to close.

  97. B. Nice

    [quote]Given that the actual Mace 391 purchase never had a public hearing in Council Chambers, that really isn’t too surprising. The purchase was discussed in several closed sessions of Council and then on November 16, 2010 the purchase was approved by Council as a Consent Calendar item. It is interesting to compare that very quietly handled process in late 2010 to the major uproar that the June 11, 2013 Council handling of Mace 391 produced.[/quote]

    Some have implied that this was down quietly on purpose. I guess I don’t understand what motive CC would have in doing so. It’s clear that no one else was interested in this land at the time. The uproar occurred in June 2013, when another group suddenly, or seemingly so, became interested in the land just as the easement was about to close.

  98. B. Nice

    [quote]If they are celebrating the positives the vote will more than likely succeed. If they have nothing to celebrate, as I believe is the case in the “Ramos/Bruner only” scenario, then just as happened in the Measure P vote regarding Wildhorse ranch, the NO forces will dominate the airwaves and the vote will be similar to the Measure P outcome. [/quote]

    Okay Frankly get out there and start spreading the positive vibe. Use your powers of persuasion to convince voters that developing Ramos/Bruner will positively effect their lives! (try not to call anyone names, that just makes them mad).

  99. B. Nice

    [quote]If they are celebrating the positives the vote will more than likely succeed. If they have nothing to celebrate, as I believe is the case in the “Ramos/Bruner only” scenario, then just as happened in the Measure P vote regarding Wildhorse ranch, the NO forces will dominate the airwaves and the vote will be similar to the Measure P outcome. [/quote]

    Okay Frankly get out there and start spreading the positive vibe. Use your powers of persuasion to convince voters that developing Ramos/Bruner will positively effect their lives! (try not to call anyone names, that just makes them mad).

  100. Mr.Toad

    I think the CC members were lamenting that council had not been given the kind of briefing they received last night where many options including some presented by the public were open for discussion.

    We also had the woman from the YLT talking about how they like to conduct their negotiations quietly.

    Its hard to know what sins of omission occurred but my guess is we will know after the joint meeting what the expectations will be going forward. My guess is they are going to be different than they have been in the recent past.

  101. Mr.Toad

    I think the CC members were lamenting that council had not been given the kind of briefing they received last night where many options including some presented by the public were open for discussion.

    We also had the woman from the YLT talking about how they like to conduct their negotiations quietly.

    Its hard to know what sins of omission occurred but my guess is we will know after the joint meeting what the expectations will be going forward. My guess is they are going to be different than they have been in the recent past.

  102. B. Nice

    [quote]I think the CC members were lamenting that council had not been given the kind of briefing they received last night where many options including some presented by the public were open for discussion. [/quote]

    They were talking about the other option BESIDES the land easement. In June they were presented with a very vague plan for a business park and were asked then to turn down the grant money to explore these options more. (in a sense they were sandbagged by those purposing a land swap at the 11th hour) Brett in particular did not feel comfortable at the time voting to turn down the grant without more details of what a business park would look like and what economic opportunities it might provide for the city. Council was saying that they wished these other options (those involving the business park idea), which were presented last night had, been presented in June.

  103. B. Nice

    [quote]I think the CC members were lamenting that council had not been given the kind of briefing they received last night where many options including some presented by the public were open for discussion. [/quote]

    They were talking about the other option BESIDES the land easement. In June they were presented with a very vague plan for a business park and were asked then to turn down the grant money to explore these options more. (in a sense they were sandbagged by those purposing a land swap at the 11th hour) Brett in particular did not feel comfortable at the time voting to turn down the grant without more details of what a business park would look like and what economic opportunities it might provide for the city. Council was saying that they wished these other options (those involving the business park idea), which were presented last night had, been presented in June.

  104. B. Nice

    [quote]We also had the woman from the YLT talking about how they like to conduct their negotiations quietly.[/quote]

    That is absolutely NOT what she said. She said that most of the time she conducts business with private land owners so negotiations have to take place confidentially, and since it was unusual to be conducting business with a city that is was unusual to have these negations take place in a public forum.

  105. B. Nice

    [quote]We also had the woman from the YLT talking about how they like to conduct their negotiations quietly.[/quote]

    That is absolutely NOT what she said. She said that most of the time she conducts business with private land owners so negotiations have to take place confidentially, and since it was unusual to be conducting business with a city that is was unusual to have these negations take place in a public forum.

  106. Frankly

    [i]Okay Frankly get out there and start spreading the positive vibe. Use your powers of persuasion to convince voters that developing Ramos/Bruner will positively effect their lives! (try not to call anyone names, that just makes them mad).[/i]

    What ever happened to sticks and stones?

    I not that influential. Maybe I can get someone from the federal government to embellish some sob story for me to make me more convincing.

    I do know that Davis will be the greater butt of regional jokes for our prioritization of MORE open space at the expense of fiscal healing. So get ready for some outsiders calling us names.

  107. Frankly

    [i]Okay Frankly get out there and start spreading the positive vibe. Use your powers of persuasion to convince voters that developing Ramos/Bruner will positively effect their lives! (try not to call anyone names, that just makes them mad).[/i]

    What ever happened to sticks and stones?

    I not that influential. Maybe I can get someone from the federal government to embellish some sob story for me to make me more convincing.

    I do know that Davis will be the greater butt of regional jokes for our prioritization of MORE open space at the expense of fiscal healing. So get ready for some outsiders calling us names.

  108. B. Nice

    Matt, I curious of your opinion. Do you agree with Frankly that it’s the “letter” that influenced the final votes. And if so why did it have such a big impact on their decision.

  109. B. Nice

    Matt, I curious of your opinion. Do you agree with Frankly that it’s the “letter” that influenced the final votes. And if so why did it have such a big impact on their decision.

  110. B. Nice

    [quote]The way the story goes, the man from Texas walked into the Lyon Real Estate office with a whole bunch of Texas Steaks and asked to talk to the man in charge of land.[/quote]

    BTW Matt, love this colorful detail to the story;-)

  111. B. Nice

    [quote]The way the story goes, the man from Texas walked into the Lyon Real Estate office with a whole bunch of Texas Steaks and asked to talk to the man in charge of land.[/quote]

    BTW Matt, love this colorful detail to the story;-)

  112. B. Nice

    [quote]Maybe I can get someone from the federal government to embellish some sob story for me to make me more convincing.[/quote]

    If this is the case, maybe more of the blame should be put on the people that were so easily convinced by a sob story, then the ones telling it.

  113. B. Nice

    [quote]Maybe I can get someone from the federal government to embellish some sob story for me to make me more convincing.[/quote]

    If this is the case, maybe more of the blame should be put on the people that were so easily convinced by a sob story, then the ones telling it.

  114. Frankly

    [i]Matt, I curious of your opinion. Do you agree with Frankly that it’s the “letter” that influenced the final votes. And if so why did it have such a big impact on their decision.[/i]

    So, if Matt confirms it you believe it? Good thing I don’t get offended!

    The article in the Enterprise tonight confirms it.

  115. Frankly

    [i]Matt, I curious of your opinion. Do you agree with Frankly that it’s the “letter” that influenced the final votes. And if so why did it have such a big impact on their decision.[/i]

    So, if Matt confirms it you believe it? Good thing I don’t get offended!

    The article in the Enterprise tonight confirms it.

  116. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”Matt, I curious of your opinion. Do you agree with Frankly that it’s the “letter” that influenced the final votes. And if so why did it have such a big impact on their decision.”[/i]

    It varied from person to person. Joe hated the idea right from the git go. He didn’t need any influencing. Lucas wasn’t as adamant as Joe, but my meetings with him to discuss the “grand bargain” were never terribly comfortable, because acting on it put the City into a position of going back on its word, which clearly was not a place Lucas wanted to go. Rochelle’s vote was in support of the consensus of her colleagues. Bottom-line, I don’t think the letter affected any of those three.

    Brett is the hardest for me to read. I don’t think he ignored the letter, but my guess is that it really wasn’t a dominant part of his thinking, but that is purely a guess on my part. Dan definitely was affected by the letter in my opinion. It was the “outward and visible sign” of an important working relationship/partnership. The letter put Dan into a very, very difficult position. Since last night I’ve received a number of e-mails that have expressed varying forms of the following sentiment, [i]”Dan’s argument was the one that really pissed me off. He said that his action was to protect the Yolo Land Trust, when the job that Davis citizens are paying him to do is to act in the best interests of the citizens of Davis. He lost my vote with that argument.”[/i]

    The fact that the letter was very important was borne out in crystal clear relief by Luana Kiger, the NRCS State Conservationist, when she was asked whether a 3% decrease in Closing Efficiency was truly meaningful. If the letter was unimportant, she would have not worked so hard to duck the question. it is inconceivable that a person in her role would not know what was and was not a meaningful change in closing efficiency . . . and specifically whether a drop from 100% to 97% was meaningful. There is every appearance, in my humble opinion that she made a judgment that giving a non-answer was preferable.

  117. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”Matt, I curious of your opinion. Do you agree with Frankly that it’s the “letter” that influenced the final votes. And if so why did it have such a big impact on their decision.”[/i]

    It varied from person to person. Joe hated the idea right from the git go. He didn’t need any influencing. Lucas wasn’t as adamant as Joe, but my meetings with him to discuss the “grand bargain” were never terribly comfortable, because acting on it put the City into a position of going back on its word, which clearly was not a place Lucas wanted to go. Rochelle’s vote was in support of the consensus of her colleagues. Bottom-line, I don’t think the letter affected any of those three.

    Brett is the hardest for me to read. I don’t think he ignored the letter, but my guess is that it really wasn’t a dominant part of his thinking, but that is purely a guess on my part. Dan definitely was affected by the letter in my opinion. It was the “outward and visible sign” of an important working relationship/partnership. The letter put Dan into a very, very difficult position. Since last night I’ve received a number of e-mails that have expressed varying forms of the following sentiment, [i]”Dan’s argument was the one that really pissed me off. He said that his action was to protect the Yolo Land Trust, when the job that Davis citizens are paying him to do is to act in the best interests of the citizens of Davis. He lost my vote with that argument.”[/i]

    The fact that the letter was very important was borne out in crystal clear relief by Luana Kiger, the NRCS State Conservationist, when she was asked whether a 3% decrease in Closing Efficiency was truly meaningful. If the letter was unimportant, she would have not worked so hard to duck the question. it is inconceivable that a person in her role would not know what was and was not a meaningful change in closing efficiency . . . and specifically whether a drop from 100% to 97% was meaningful. There is every appearance, in my humble opinion that she made a judgment that giving a non-answer was preferable.

  118. Mark West

    I don’t think either the Open Space Commission, or the Yolo Land Trust, did anything wrong in this situation. They both did exactly what they should have done when an opportunity arose to protect land from development.

    What doesn’t make any sense to me thought is the idea that the Council and City Staff were unaware that there were other opportunities that could (even should) have been evaluated for the site. As Matt points out, the property purchase was discussed multiple times in closed session by the Council, and then was approved as part of the consent calendar. My understanding is that the City Manager generally doesn’t put items on the consent calendar unless all five members of Council agree in advance that they don’t have concerns about the item when he speaks to them individually before the meeting.

    It is worth noting then that the land swap proposal put forward by David Morris last June, with a staff recommendation to reject the NRCS grant so that there could be further discussions with Morris, was also placed on the consent calendar. Am I the only one who finds it odd that the five members of Council would presumably agree with the City Manager to have the land swap proposal placed on the consent calendar, and then turn around and claim ignorance of the proposal?

    I have heard a lot of ‘complaints’ about ‘process’ including a bit of grandstanding by certain members of Council in berating City Staff for not bringing forward the information in a timely fashion. But didn’t we purchase the property close to four years ago? Didn’t David Morris say he has been talking about the land swap idea to anyone who would listen for more than a year? Didn’t we have a series of meetings addressing the need for economic development, including identifying appropriate locations around the area for business development? Does anyone really buy the story that the City Council and Staff only learned about the interest in developing this parcel as a business park just prior to the June meeting?

    As I said earlier, “Most of us didn’t know about Mace 391 until David Morris brought it to our attention at the end of May. The more important question is why didn’t our leaders bring it to our attention before? Were they ignorant of the potential, or were they trying to hide the consequences for some reason?”

    Something here really stinks, and it’s not just the dog currently asleep on my feet.

  119. Mark West

    I don’t think either the Open Space Commission, or the Yolo Land Trust, did anything wrong in this situation. They both did exactly what they should have done when an opportunity arose to protect land from development.

    What doesn’t make any sense to me thought is the idea that the Council and City Staff were unaware that there were other opportunities that could (even should) have been evaluated for the site. As Matt points out, the property purchase was discussed multiple times in closed session by the Council, and then was approved as part of the consent calendar. My understanding is that the City Manager generally doesn’t put items on the consent calendar unless all five members of Council agree in advance that they don’t have concerns about the item when he speaks to them individually before the meeting.

    It is worth noting then that the land swap proposal put forward by David Morris last June, with a staff recommendation to reject the NRCS grant so that there could be further discussions with Morris, was also placed on the consent calendar. Am I the only one who finds it odd that the five members of Council would presumably agree with the City Manager to have the land swap proposal placed on the consent calendar, and then turn around and claim ignorance of the proposal?

    I have heard a lot of ‘complaints’ about ‘process’ including a bit of grandstanding by certain members of Council in berating City Staff for not bringing forward the information in a timely fashion. But didn’t we purchase the property close to four years ago? Didn’t David Morris say he has been talking about the land swap idea to anyone who would listen for more than a year? Didn’t we have a series of meetings addressing the need for economic development, including identifying appropriate locations around the area for business development? Does anyone really buy the story that the City Council and Staff only learned about the interest in developing this parcel as a business park just prior to the June meeting?

    As I said earlier, “Most of us didn’t know about Mace 391 until David Morris brought it to our attention at the end of May. The more important question is why didn’t our leaders bring it to our attention before? Were they ignorant of the potential, or were they trying to hide the consequences for some reason?”

    Something here really stinks, and it’s not just the dog currently asleep on my feet.

  120. B. Nice

    [quote]So, if Matt confirms it you believe it? Good thing I don’t get offended! [/quote]

    I never said that, just curious about his perspective. Geez, you are so sensitive.

    I’m inclined to agree with you both that the damage done to the land trust would be minimal. My guess is that council figured that out for themselves as well. So why would they let it play a major part in determining their decision. That’s what I don’t understand.

  121. B. Nice

    [quote]So, if Matt confirms it you believe it? Good thing I don’t get offended! [/quote]

    I never said that, just curious about his perspective. Geez, you are so sensitive.

    I’m inclined to agree with you both that the damage done to the land trust would be minimal. My guess is that council figured that out for themselves as well. So why would they let it play a major part in determining their decision. That’s what I don’t understand.

  122. B. Nice

    [quote]It is worth noting then that the land swap proposal put forward by David Morris last June, with a staff recommendation to reject the NRCS grant so that there could be further discussions with Morris, was also placed on the consent calendar[/quote]

    Wow, did they just think no one was going to care about this issue?

  123. B. Nice

    [quote]It is worth noting then that the land swap proposal put forward by David Morris last June, with a staff recommendation to reject the NRCS grant so that there could be further discussions with Morris, was also placed on the consent calendar[/quote]

    Wow, did they just think no one was going to care about this issue?

  124. Don Shor

    The conservation easement process was underway long before any development proposal was broached.
    The agencies involved have a long track record and a solid relationship with the city involving land dealings.
    The land swap/development proposal came out of nowhere, was not vetted in public, and the details changed from month to month.
    The principals involved in the land swap/development proposal have no track record and the funding was not clear, much less secure or fully vetted.
    It became increasingly clear that the funding for any land swap was questionable, since the secondary deal of ConAgra funding for CCV was suddenly made public. The fact of cash advances to David Morris made the land swap/development proposal seem even shakier in its foundation.
    It was clear the funds would be lost if the easement was cancelled.
    So on the one hand you had a process that played out in public, with funding fully accounted for, with reliable partners. On the other hand you had a nebulous deal with questionable finances, all based on a promise of great wealth further down the road. One was rock-solid, the other speculative.
    Choosing between the partners, the city council did the safe thing. Given that there was likelihood of some risk to the solid partners and our future dealings with them, they chose to avoid that harm. The information given by the Yolo Land Trust and the NRCS in response to inquiries was their best judgment about the impact of cancellation of the easement.
    There is a lot of rewriting of history going on by those who wanted the land swap. The characterizations of the land trust partners are especially unfortunate. These recriminations are misplaced.

  125. Don Shor

    The conservation easement process was underway long before any development proposal was broached.
    The agencies involved have a long track record and a solid relationship with the city involving land dealings.
    The land swap/development proposal came out of nowhere, was not vetted in public, and the details changed from month to month.
    The principals involved in the land swap/development proposal have no track record and the funding was not clear, much less secure or fully vetted.
    It became increasingly clear that the funding for any land swap was questionable, since the secondary deal of ConAgra funding for CCV was suddenly made public. The fact of cash advances to David Morris made the land swap/development proposal seem even shakier in its foundation.
    It was clear the funds would be lost if the easement was cancelled.
    So on the one hand you had a process that played out in public, with funding fully accounted for, with reliable partners. On the other hand you had a nebulous deal with questionable finances, all based on a promise of great wealth further down the road. One was rock-solid, the other speculative.
    Choosing between the partners, the city council did the safe thing. Given that there was likelihood of some risk to the solid partners and our future dealings with them, they chose to avoid that harm. The information given by the Yolo Land Trust and the NRCS in response to inquiries was their best judgment about the impact of cancellation of the easement.
    There is a lot of rewriting of history going on by those who wanted the land swap. The characterizations of the land trust partners are especially unfortunate. These recriminations are misplaced.

  126. medwoman

    MarkWest

    [quote]Didn’t David Morris say he has been talking about the land swap idea to anyone who would listen for more than a year?[/quote]

    [quote]As I said earlier, “Most of us didn’t know about Mace 391 until David Morris brought it to our attention at the end of May. [/quote]

    So I am also confused about the sequence of events. If David Morris had been talking about the land swap to anyone who would listen for more than a year, how does that reconcile with most of “us” not knowing. Who were these “anyone who would listen” and who are the “most of us”. Did David Morris take his ideas to the relevant commissions, to the city council in public session or as individuals ? Was he only engaged with the business community or certain segments of it.
    I have only been following peripherally, but am confused and would appreciate someone actually laying out a time line of what was proposed to whom, by whom, and when rather than a nebulous and seemingly contradictory accounting with vague references to who “must have known”. Is anyone well enough versed to spell this out for me ?

  127. medwoman

    MarkWest

    [quote]Didn’t David Morris say he has been talking about the land swap idea to anyone who would listen for more than a year?[/quote]

    [quote]As I said earlier, “Most of us didn’t know about Mace 391 until David Morris brought it to our attention at the end of May. [/quote]

    So I am also confused about the sequence of events. If David Morris had been talking about the land swap to anyone who would listen for more than a year, how does that reconcile with most of “us” not knowing. Who were these “anyone who would listen” and who are the “most of us”. Did David Morris take his ideas to the relevant commissions, to the city council in public session or as individuals ? Was he only engaged with the business community or certain segments of it.
    I have only been following peripherally, but am confused and would appreciate someone actually laying out a time line of what was proposed to whom, by whom, and when rather than a nebulous and seemingly contradictory accounting with vague references to who “must have known”. Is anyone well enough versed to spell this out for me ?

  128. Matt Williams

    Mark West said . . .

    [i]”I don’t think either the Open Space Commission, or the Yolo Land Trust, did anything wrong in this situation. They both did exactly what they should have done when an opportunity arose to protect land from development.

    What doesn’t make any sense to me thought is the idea that the Council and City Staff were unaware that there were other opportunities that could (even should) have been evaluated for the site. As Matt points out, the property purchase was discussed multiple times in closed session by the Council, and then was approved as part of the consent calendar. My understanding is that the City Manager generally doesn’t put items on the consent calendar unless all five members of Council agree in advance that they don’t have concerns about the item when he speaks to them individually before the meeting.”[/i]

    As the Staff report shows Saylor, Souza, Greenwald, Swanson and Krovoza met four times in closed session on this item July 20, 2010, September 1, 2010, October 5, 2010 and November 9, 2010 prior to the November 16 Consent Calendar approval. It is very reasonable to believe that all five members of Council agreed in advance that they didn’t have concerns about the item. The only flaw in that thinking was that as a result the net result was that the purchase had no public input before Council. Just as importantly, when the public reviews a Council agenda to decide whether there is anything interesting that they should pay attention to, it is only the Regular Agenda items that get looked at more often than not, with at best s cursory skimming of the Consent Calendar items. It would be very interesting to see a study of the City website clicks on Consent Calendar items versus Regular Agenda items. Council would have served its citizens better if it had “waved a flag” and overtly said “pay attention folks.”

    With the above said, when one looks at the timeline from the Staff Report information (shown below), it is the period between November 16, 2010 and early 2013 where I feel the most problematic communications breakdowns occurred. Where were the Council check-ins? Where in the public record is there even a hint of the fact that pertinent information was being shared? Here too the actions of Staff, and possibly even Council, should have served its citizens better if it had “waved a flag” and overtly said “pay attention folks.”

    [i][b]Feb/March, 2011[/b] — Yolo Land Trust and City partner to submit NRCS grant application.

    [b]April 18, 2011[/b] — NRCS Grant Award Letter – Grant awarded to Yolo Land Trust. Grant award includes deadline to close easement transaction by March 31, 2013.

    [b]July 5, 2011[/b] — City Council approves fee title purchase – presentation and resolution.

    [b]July 29, 2011[/b] — NRCS Cooperative Agreement signed (grant contract w/Yolo Land Trust.

    Note: Activity associated with the resale of Mace Curve/Leland Ranch slows in second half of 2011 and first half of 2012 to focus staff resources on resale of the Staib 72 property and easement acquisitions on the Eoff Ranch.

    [b]June-October 2012[/b] — City staff had several internal discussions about the potential for swapping privately-owned acreage identified in the evolving Innovation Park Task Force recommendations with some of the City-owned acreage on the Mace 391 property. — The concept that was discussed would have facilitated approximately 70 acres of the privately- owned 185 acres (the Brunner parcel), for an eastern edge innovation park to be relocated down along Interstate 80 where visibility and accessibility would make the land more desirable for a business park.

    [b]June-October 2012[/b] — Several meetings were also held with the Yolo Land Trust and the USDA NRCS about this swapping option.

    [b]October 2012[/b]– the NRCS responded that the swap of acreage was inconsistent with the grant award.[/i]

  129. Matt Williams

    Mark West said . . .

    [i]”I don’t think either the Open Space Commission, or the Yolo Land Trust, did anything wrong in this situation. They both did exactly what they should have done when an opportunity arose to protect land from development.

    What doesn’t make any sense to me thought is the idea that the Council and City Staff were unaware that there were other opportunities that could (even should) have been evaluated for the site. As Matt points out, the property purchase was discussed multiple times in closed session by the Council, and then was approved as part of the consent calendar. My understanding is that the City Manager generally doesn’t put items on the consent calendar unless all five members of Council agree in advance that they don’t have concerns about the item when he speaks to them individually before the meeting.”[/i]

    As the Staff report shows Saylor, Souza, Greenwald, Swanson and Krovoza met four times in closed session on this item July 20, 2010, September 1, 2010, October 5, 2010 and November 9, 2010 prior to the November 16 Consent Calendar approval. It is very reasonable to believe that all five members of Council agreed in advance that they didn’t have concerns about the item. The only flaw in that thinking was that as a result the net result was that the purchase had no public input before Council. Just as importantly, when the public reviews a Council agenda to decide whether there is anything interesting that they should pay attention to, it is only the Regular Agenda items that get looked at more often than not, with at best s cursory skimming of the Consent Calendar items. It would be very interesting to see a study of the City website clicks on Consent Calendar items versus Regular Agenda items. Council would have served its citizens better if it had “waved a flag” and overtly said “pay attention folks.”

    With the above said, when one looks at the timeline from the Staff Report information (shown below), it is the period between November 16, 2010 and early 2013 where I feel the most problematic communications breakdowns occurred. Where were the Council check-ins? Where in the public record is there even a hint of the fact that pertinent information was being shared? Here too the actions of Staff, and possibly even Council, should have served its citizens better if it had “waved a flag” and overtly said “pay attention folks.”

    [i][b]Feb/March, 2011[/b] — Yolo Land Trust and City partner to submit NRCS grant application.

    [b]April 18, 2011[/b] — NRCS Grant Award Letter – Grant awarded to Yolo Land Trust. Grant award includes deadline to close easement transaction by March 31, 2013.

    [b]July 5, 2011[/b] — City Council approves fee title purchase – presentation and resolution.

    [b]July 29, 2011[/b] — NRCS Cooperative Agreement signed (grant contract w/Yolo Land Trust.

    Note: Activity associated with the resale of Mace Curve/Leland Ranch slows in second half of 2011 and first half of 2012 to focus staff resources on resale of the Staib 72 property and easement acquisitions on the Eoff Ranch.

    [b]June-October 2012[/b] — City staff had several internal discussions about the potential for swapping privately-owned acreage identified in the evolving Innovation Park Task Force recommendations with some of the City-owned acreage on the Mace 391 property. — The concept that was discussed would have facilitated approximately 70 acres of the privately- owned 185 acres (the Brunner parcel), for an eastern edge innovation park to be relocated down along Interstate 80 where visibility and accessibility would make the land more desirable for a business park.

    [b]June-October 2012[/b] — Several meetings were also held with the Yolo Land Trust and the USDA NRCS about this swapping option.

    [b]October 2012[/b]– the NRCS responded that the swap of acreage was inconsistent with the grant award.[/i]

  130. Matt Williams

    (continued)

    [i][b]Late 2012/Early 2013[/b] — City staff was approached by several parties interested in swapping acreage within the Mace 391/Leland Ranch parcels for agricultural properties not previously included in the discussion. — A simplified explanation of one concept was to swap acres to allow for a larger business park than recommended by the Innovation Park Task Force on the eastern edge location for acreage on other nearby agricultural lands, thereby completing a longer conservation buffer along the northeast edge of the City. This concept of swapping acreage for greater boundary protection along the City’s edge had enough merit that City staff determined it was important to bring this concept forward to the City Council. — Due to time limitations in effect from an agreed upon final determination date of June 15, 2013 (the second extension granted by the NRCS for execution of the closing process), the Open Space and Habitat Commission was only cursorily advised of the concept of swapping. — They were unable to reasonably give effective feedback to the concept due to the ambiguities inherent in the discussion and lack of an official proposal.[/i]

  131. Matt Williams

    (continued)

    [i][b]Late 2012/Early 2013[/b] — City staff was approached by several parties interested in swapping acreage within the Mace 391/Leland Ranch parcels for agricultural properties not previously included in the discussion. — A simplified explanation of one concept was to swap acres to allow for a larger business park than recommended by the Innovation Park Task Force on the eastern edge location for acreage on other nearby agricultural lands, thereby completing a longer conservation buffer along the northeast edge of the City. This concept of swapping acreage for greater boundary protection along the City’s edge had enough merit that City staff determined it was important to bring this concept forward to the City Council. — Due to time limitations in effect from an agreed upon final determination date of June 15, 2013 (the second extension granted by the NRCS for execution of the closing process), the Open Space and Habitat Commission was only cursorily advised of the concept of swapping. — They were unable to reasonably give effective feedback to the concept due to the ambiguities inherent in the discussion and lack of an official proposal.[/i]

  132. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”The land swap/development proposal came out of nowhere, was not vetted in public, and the details changed from month to month.

    There is a lot of rewriting of history going on by those who wanted the land swap. The characterizations of the land trust partners are especially unfortunate. These recriminations are misplaced. “[/i]

    Don, the Tuesday Staff Report appears to contradict your first assertion and confirm your second assertion. The Morris land swap proposal in mid-2013 certainly post dates the events of June 2012 through October 2012 as reported in the Staff Report. I have two key questions for you.

    1) — When you say [i]”by those [people] who wanted the land swap,”[/i] who do you believe were “those people” in June 2012 when “City staff had several internal discussions about the potential for swapping privately-owned acreage identified in the evolving Innovation Park Task Force recommendations with some of the City-owned acreage on the Mace 391 property.”

    2) — Is there any reason why the public record of the Innovation Park Task Force proceedings and/or meeting support materials have not a single reference to either these internal Staff discussions or the concepts they embodied?

  133. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”The land swap/development proposal came out of nowhere, was not vetted in public, and the details changed from month to month.

    There is a lot of rewriting of history going on by those who wanted the land swap. The characterizations of the land trust partners are especially unfortunate. These recriminations are misplaced. “[/i]

    Don, the Tuesday Staff Report appears to contradict your first assertion and confirm your second assertion. The Morris land swap proposal in mid-2013 certainly post dates the events of June 2012 through October 2012 as reported in the Staff Report. I have two key questions for you.

    1) — When you say [i]”by those [people] who wanted the land swap,”[/i] who do you believe were “those people” in June 2012 when “City staff had several internal discussions about the potential for swapping privately-owned acreage identified in the evolving Innovation Park Task Force recommendations with some of the City-owned acreage on the Mace 391 property.”

    2) — Is there any reason why the public record of the Innovation Park Task Force proceedings and/or meeting support materials have not a single reference to either these internal Staff discussions or the concepts they embodied?

  134. Matt Williams

    medwoman said . . .

    [i]”So I am also confused about the sequence of events. If David Morris had been talking about the land swap to anyone who would listen for more than a year, how does that reconcile with most of “us” not knowing. Who were these “anyone who would listen” and who are the “most of us”. Did David Morris take his ideas to the relevant commissions, to the city council in public session or as individuals ? Was he only engaged with the business community or certain segments of it.

    I have only been following peripherally, but am confused and would appreciate someone actually laying out a time line of what was proposed to whom, by whom, and when rather than a nebulous and seemingly contradictory accounting with vague references to who “must have known”. Is anyone well enough versed to spell this out for me?”[/i]

    Your confusion is absolutely understandable medwoman. Part of the reason for that confusion is that Mark in his post has conflated two sepparate and different event timelines, and in the process even confused himself. To the best of my knowledge, what Morris had been talking about for more than a year was the CCV non-profit venture capital fund that included the contingent contribution from ConAgra as its first funding source, That timeline of actions that started not one year ago, but over three years ago is very different from the timeline of the Shriners land swap proposal, which did not take shape until mid 2013.

    As I noted in my posts above to Don and Mark, which include the whole timeline as reported in Tuesday’s Staff Report, beginning in June 2012 [i]”City staff had several internal discussions about the potential for swapping privately-owned acreage identified in the evolving Innovation Park Task Force recommendations with some of the City-owned acreage on the Mace 391 property.”[/i]

    The Staff Report goes on to say that [i]”in late 2012 and early 2013 City staff was approached by several parties interested in swapping acreage within the Mace 391/Leland Ranch parcels for agricultural properties not previously included in the discussion.”[/i]

  135. Matt Williams

    medwoman said . . .

    [i]”So I am also confused about the sequence of events. If David Morris had been talking about the land swap to anyone who would listen for more than a year, how does that reconcile with most of “us” not knowing. Who were these “anyone who would listen” and who are the “most of us”. Did David Morris take his ideas to the relevant commissions, to the city council in public session or as individuals ? Was he only engaged with the business community or certain segments of it.

    I have only been following peripherally, but am confused and would appreciate someone actually laying out a time line of what was proposed to whom, by whom, and when rather than a nebulous and seemingly contradictory accounting with vague references to who “must have known”. Is anyone well enough versed to spell this out for me?”[/i]

    Your confusion is absolutely understandable medwoman. Part of the reason for that confusion is that Mark in his post has conflated two sepparate and different event timelines, and in the process even confused himself. To the best of my knowledge, what Morris had been talking about for more than a year was the CCV non-profit venture capital fund that included the contingent contribution from ConAgra as its first funding source, That timeline of actions that started not one year ago, but over three years ago is very different from the timeline of the Shriners land swap proposal, which did not take shape until mid 2013.

    As I noted in my posts above to Don and Mark, which include the whole timeline as reported in Tuesday’s Staff Report, beginning in June 2012 [i]”City staff had several internal discussions about the potential for swapping privately-owned acreage identified in the evolving Innovation Park Task Force recommendations with some of the City-owned acreage on the Mace 391 property.”[/i]

    The Staff Report goes on to say that [i]”in late 2012 and early 2013 City staff was approached by several parties interested in swapping acreage within the Mace 391/Leland Ranch parcels for agricultural properties not previously included in the discussion.”[/i]

  136. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”I’m inclined to agree with you both that the damage done to the land trust would be minimal. My guess is that council figured that out for themselves as well. So why would they let it play a major part in determining their decision. That’s what I don’t understand.”[/i]

    Perhaps in time we will learn the answer to that question.

  137. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”I’m inclined to agree with you both that the damage done to the land trust would be minimal. My guess is that council figured that out for themselves as well. So why would they let it play a major part in determining their decision. That’s what I don’t understand.”[/i]

    Perhaps in time we will learn the answer to that question.

  138. Frankly

    [b]It is absolutely ridiculous to keep making the argument that the economic development use of this land was an idea too late to the table.[/b]

    It is a [b]primary[/b] responsibility of the council and city government to constantly consider opportunities to balance city finances for both the immediate and long-term. What we have here is very clear proof of a significant problem with our city governance and a very clear indication that our political leaders are failing in their duty to ensure our books are balanced and our obligations can be met now and in the future.

    Frankly, this is the same nation-wide crappy government performance we have witnessed for the decades leading up to the Great Recession, and the same that all of us supposed fiscal conservatives are supposed to be fed up with and demanding to change.

    But apparently those demands are hollow when it comes to each of our respective goodies.

    [b]Let someone else pay for it![/b] That needs to be a new tag-line for our country. Maybe we should replace “In God We Trust” to appease the secular extremists while we are at it.

    The Council punted on their primary fiduciary responsibility for political reasons. That, in a nutshell, is the primary problematic behavior of government and politicians that has got us into such a mess.

    My opinion of this political body dropped precipitously as a result of this decision. The only way they will be able to make it up for me is to move quickly and forcefully on pushing an economic development agenda. But the larger challenge they have handed themselves is perpetuating the myth that our financial house is not in such bad shape that we needed to take advantage of the Mace 391 opportunity in our lap. They also gave away the city’s leverage position as the owners of that property… one that could generate copious dollars needed to buy-off enough of the selfish special interests willing to stick it to anyone else to get their way.

    The reason I am so critical of the Yolo Land Trust is that a lack of honesty – including a lack of disclosure over our crappy financial circumstances – is rampant is politics. Those that fail to rise above it are no better than the bad politicians primarily concerned with their careers and wealth derived from popularity.

    The end absolutely does not justify dishonest means.

    It is time we start using the public forum to heap scorn on those that use dishonest means to manipulate political decisions toward their own selfish wants. Sorry, you don’t get a pass just because your cause fits into some liberal-progressive political correctness bucket.

  139. B. Nice

    [quote]What doesn’t make any sense to me thought is the idea that the Council and City Staff were unaware that there were other opportunities that could (even should) have been evaluated for the site[/quote].

    Maybe for the same reasons developer at the time seemed unaware of it’s opportunities.

    As Matt said, [quote]Most private developers, like the Ramos family, were challenged enough dealing with the depressed value of their existing holdings and weren’t in a position tom take on any additional purchases.[/quote].

    It does not appear that at the time the land was purchased that many other opportunities existed.

  140. B. Nice

    [quote]It is very reasonable to believe that all five members of Council agreed in advance that they didn’t have concerns about the item. The only flaw in that thinking was that as a result the net result was that the purchase had no public input before Council. Just as importantly, when the public reviews a Council agenda to decide whether there is anything interesting that they should pay attention to[/quote]

    Again, this was occurring at a time when there seemed no interest in the land for development purposes. In hindsight it seems a no brainer that this should have been put on the regular calendar. But at the time could it have just seemed not that big of a deal?

  141. Matt Williams

    Except for the fact that this represented a $4 million expenditure with substantial borrowing from the Roadway Impact fees funds, I agree with you B.Nice.

    With that said, for me the transparency of the handling of the events up through and including November 16, 2010 is really not the concern. it is the handling of the transparency of the events between November 17, 2010 and December 31, 2012 that is most bothersome.

  142. Matt Williams

    For the record . . . add to the timeline

    [url]http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/20121211/Agenda 12-11-12.pdf[/url]
    CITY COUNCIL AGENDA
    COMMUNITY CHAMBERS, 23 RUSSELL BOULEVARD, DAVIS, CA 95616
    TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2012

    Item 1 5:30Closed Session pursuant to Government Code §54954.5:

    B.Conference with Real Property Negotiators.
    Property: Agency negotiators: Under negotiation:
    Yolo County Assessor’s Parcel Numbers 033-290-058-0, 033- 290-001-0, and 033-290-004-0. Sustainability Program Manager Mitch Sears; City Attorney Harriet Steiner.
    Price and terms of payment.

  143. B. Nice

    [quote]Except for the fact that this represented a $4 million expenditure with substantial borrowing from the Roadway Impact fees funds, I agree with you B.Nice. [/quote]

    Maybe expenditures over a certain amount shouldn’t be allowed to go on the consent calendar.

  144. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”Maybe for the same reasons developer at the time seemed unaware of it’s opportunities.

    It does not appear that at the time the land was purchased that many other opportunities existed.”[/i]

    There is (at least on my part) very little questioning of the decision to purchase the property in 2010. A quibble here and a quibble there about transparency, but those are process quibbles, not questions about the wisdom of the purchase decision.

    However, unlike the outside public, any lack of awareness on the part of Staff should have completely evaporated when the concept of convening an Innovation Park Task Force was being discussed within the walls of City Hall. The City website provides us with the following information that gives us a sense of when that inside the walls awareness light bulb should have gone off.

    [quote]BUSINESS PARK LAND STRATEGY
    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    What is Davis’ economic future? Addressing this important question represents the overarching objective of the Business Park Land Strategy (BPLS): to better understand Davis’ long-term economic future and provide guidance for future decisions regarding community economic development goals for the 2010-2035 timeframe.

    The need for the BPLS was originally identified by the Davis City Council in December 2008, shortly after Lewis Planned Communities development application submittal for the ConAgra property at 1111 E. Covell Blvd – the last remaining large industrial zoned parcel in Davis. Lewis Planned Communities’ “Cannery Park” project application was primarily a residential development a portion of land dedicated for business park uses (approximately 20 acres). The City Council requested a better understanding of long-term business growth implications and land use tradeoffs should the property be rezoned for primarily residential uses. That is, how would Cannery Park affect Davis’ commercial land supply and long term ability to accommodate future business growth? This study’s original purpose was to answer these questions.

    As the project evolved, feedback received through business community interviews and the BEDC, made clear a need to also analyze the projected demand for and economic benefit of business growth. The City contracted with the Center for Strategic Economic Research (CSER) to conduct supplemental economic analysis in response to the following three key questions:

    1. What are the benefits of knowledge-based businesses in Davis?
    2. How much knowledge-based business growth is projected for Davis?
    3. What is the economic benefit/revenue potential of business park development?

    Though the original impetus for the BPLS was the Cannery Park application, this study addresses important issues relating to Davis’ economic future. Thus, the BPLS continued as a priority despite withdrawal of the Cannery Park application due to its importance for understanding the extent to which Davis’ existing land supply can accommodate economic growth.

    This study’s role is to serve as a technical background report facilitating discussion of Davis’ economic future and subsequent policy considerations for a future update of the General Plan’s Economic Development element. It will also provide guidance for future land use decisions affecting opportunities for business growth. Finally, the study confirms the value of business growth and its importance in contributing to local economic health.

    The timing is appropriate to assess Davis’ economic future. The General Plan is reaching the end of its analysis timeframe (2010) and the Housing Element has recently been updated addressing near-term residential land needs. In contrast, the BPLS addresses future business growth and accompanying land needs. It is important for Davis to plan and competitively position itself for desired business growth post-economic recession.[/quote]

  145. B. Nice

    [quote]The reason I am so critical of the Yolo Land Trust is that a lack of honesty.[/quote]

    What did they specifically lie about? Not closing the deal would effect their closing efficiency record, that is a fact. It would make them less competitive, that is a fact. You not sharing their view on just how negatively it would have impacted them does not make them liars.

    Your same argument could be made against the business community and yourself, who claim that this decision has drastic negative impacts on the city. Does this behavior show a lack of honesty because not everyone shares in this opinion?

  146. B. Nice

    [quote]However, unlike the outside public, any lack of awareness on the part of Staff should have completely evaporated when the concept of convening an Innovation Park Task Force was being discussed within the walls of City Hall. [/quote]

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a minute. Since the land was purchased with Measure O funds, is it conceivable that staff just assumed it off the table as a potential business park site?

  147. Frankly

    [i] Not closing the deal would effect their closing efficiency record,[/i]

    Sure, and walking outside on a rainy day increases your chance of being struck by lightening. But, if you say that you absolutely will be struck by lighting walking around on a rainy day, you are in fact, lying.

    [i]Your same argument could be made against the business community and yourself, who claim that this decision has drastic negative impacts on the city.[/i]

    Big difference. We are not at risk of losing farmland in this region. We are not short on land preservation win notches on the YLT bedpost.

    We ARE at SIGNIFICANT risk of our city going insolvent.

    The ONLY way to fix that problem long-term is to grow our economy.

    Said another way.

    – We are RICH in land preservation today.

    – We are POOR in city revenue sources today, and we have $70+ million less that what we need to fund our road maintenance budget.

    Yet, we gave preference to a decision to secure more land preservation over a decision that would solve our road maintenance deficit and would begin development of business growth to fix our long-term budget deficits and prevent the city from going insolvent.

    We kicked the can down the road to appease those selfish with their own purpose and ego pursuits. And they at least embellished their position to get their way… if not actually lying about their position.

    It is possible that the NRCS people did the primary lying and the YLT people just ran with it. But given their experience working together, I tend to think that they worked together to design an argument that they knew was WAY overblown… knowing that they could exploit emotions to get their way.

    What are their consequences for embellishing or lying?

    Seems pretty clear it got them what they wanted.

    And then folks like you come to their defense.

    Not a bad choice if you don’t have a problem with lying in politics.

    I have a big problem with it.

  148. B. Nice

    [quote]But, if you say that you absolutely will be struck by lighting walking around on a rainy day, you are in fact, lying. [/quote]

    Michelle said that it COULD effect their ability to obtain future grants.

    [quote]Big difference. We are not at risk of losing farmland in this region. We are not short on land preservation win notches on the YLT bedpost. [/quote]

    So “lying” is okay when the economic gains are high enough?

    [quote]We ARE at SIGNIFICANT risk of our city going insolvent. [/quote]

    That’s not what I’m debating. I don’t see why you think it’s okay for the business community to make claims about the potential impact of something and then accuse the YLT or the NRCS of lying when they do the same.

    [quote]It is possible that the NRCS people did the primary lying and the YLT people just ran with it.[/quote]

    Again, what did anyone lie about, not closing the grant does have a negative impact on their ability to receive future grants. How is that anymore of lie then claiming that a business park at Mace 391 will help solve the city’s economic problems.

    [quote]Not a bad choice if you don’t have a problem with lying in politics. I have a big problem with it.[/quote]

    Then stop doing it.

  149. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”What did they specifically lie about?

    Not closing the deal would effect their closing efficiency record, that is a fact.

    It would make them less competitive, that is a fact.

    You not sharing their view on just how negatively it would have impacted them does not make them liars. Your same argument could be made against the business community and yourself, who claim that this decision has drastic negative impacts on the city. Does this behavior show a lack of honesty because not everyone shares in this opinion?”[/i]

    One of the basic tenets of the “need to know” school of communications management is that it is not dishonest to withhold information if there is a reasonable argument that the people from whom you are withholding the information do not have a need to know that information.

    Frequently we as a society find ourselves very uncomfortable with the inadequacy of the dispensing of information. However, in such situations the word honesty is often replaced with the word transparency. I personally do not share Frankly’s opinion that Yolo Land Trust was dishonest. I fully agree with you when you say that you do not feel they told any lies.

    With that said, the testimony by Luana Kiger of the NRCS on Tuesday night puts your two asserted “facts” into context . . . and in the process causes me to strongly feel that only one of them is truly a fact.

    Failure to close the deal would indeed factually affect YLT’s closing efficiency score. It would decline by approximately 3% from its current 100% level to approximately 97%. The calculations of that decline are based on Michele Clark’s testimony.

    State Conservationist Kiger made it very clear in her testimony that whether that 3% decline would make YLT less competitive really depended on the other applications a YLT grant application was being compared to. If any of the other applications had closing efficiency scores above 97% then indeed a YLT application would be marginally less competitive on that one ranking criteria. However, Ms. Kiger was either unwilling or unable to say whether 97% was meaningfully less than 100%. For all we know, Yolo Land trust is the only agency in the whole state of California currently with a closing efficiency score of 100%. For that matter, YLT may be the only agency with a closing efficiency greater than 95%, and if that is the case, then the reduction from 100 to 97 would not in any way make YLT less competitive. They would still be at the top of the heap.

    I found it hard to believe that Ms. Kiger wasn’t able to address the question Rochelle Swanson asked her in any meaningful way. The information she provided was not an example of lying, but it certainly wasn’t transparent either.

  150. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”Again, what did anyone lie about, [b]not closing the grant does have a negative impact on their ability to receive future grants[/b]. How is that anymore of lie then claiming that a business park at Mace 391 will help solve the city’s economic problems.”[/i]

    Regarding your bolded words, State Conservationist Kiger’s testimony doesn’t support your assertion. She clearly said, [i]maybe it will, and maybe it won’t. It depends . . . [/i]

  151. B. Nice

    Matt, this is a good point, I would have liked to see these numbers put into context so that a better evaluation of negative impacts of backing out of the grant could have been determined. Did they leave out the context on purpose to make a stronger case? I think that’s a legitimate question to ask, and much more appropriate then accusing them of lying without any evidence to back it up.

    Off course a little, council was aware of this lack of context when they made their decision. It seems more appropriate for people’s angry be directed at them. If they wanted/needed more context they should have demanded it.

  152. B. Nice

    [quote]Regarding your bolded words, State Conservationist Kiger’s testimony doesn’t support your assertion. She clearly said, maybe it will, and maybe it won’t. It depends . . .[/quote]

    Which is an honest answer…but I get your point.

  153. Frankly

    I guess I need to repeat myself…

    Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 11 / Friday, January 16, 2009 / Rules and Regulations, Section 1491.6 Ranking Considerations and Proposal Selection, subsection (b):
    [quote]…establishes that such parcels will be ranked according to both National and State criteria. Within the State ranking criteria, the National criteria must comprise at least half of the available ranking points.[/quote]
    Here are those ranking critera:
    [quote][b] Federal Ranking Criteria[/b]
    (1) Percent of prime, unique, and important farmland in the parcel to be protected;
    (2) Percent of cropland, pastureland, grassland, and rangeland in the parcel to be protected;
    (3) Ratio of the total acres of land in the parcel to be protected to average farm size in the county according to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture;
    (4) Decrease in the percentage of acreage of farm and ranch land in the county in which the parcel is located between the last two USDA Censuses of Agriculture;
    (5) Percent population growth in the county as documented by the United States Census;
    (6) Population density (population per square mile) as documented by the most recent United States Census;
    (7) Proximity of the parcel to other protected land, such as military installations land owned in fee title by the United States or a State or local government, or by an entity whose purpose is to protect agricultural use and related conservation values, or land that is already subject to an easement or deed restriction that limits the conversion of the land to nonagricultural use;
    (8) Proximity of the parcel to other agricultural operations and infrastructure;

    [b] State Ranking Criteria[/b]
    (1) The location of a parcel in an area zoned for agricultural use;
    (2) The performance of an entity experience in managing and enforcing easements. Performance must be measured [b]by the closing efficiency or percentage of monitoring that is reported[/b]. Years of an entity’s existence shall not be used as a ranking factor;
    (3) Multifunctional benefits of farm and ranch land protection including social, economic, historical and archaeological, and environmental benefits;
    (4) Geographic regions where the enrolment of particular lands may help achieve National, State, and regional conservation goals and objectives, or enhance existing government or private conservation projects;
    (5) Matching funds requested from NRCS (50% is the maximum allowed and preferred program contribution)
    (6) Accessibility of easement parcel to agricultural markets
    (7) Entity’s farmland protection strategy and how the FRPP proposal corresponds to this strategy
    (8) Adequate water supply and other on-farm infrastructure
    (9) Demonstrated support for project from local community, government and non-government organizations[/quote]

    The definitive impact is for the YLT closing efficiency to drop from 100% to 97%.

    But what is the actual impact relative to their competitiveness for grants?

    It comes down to the objective ranking system. BTW, this is a system that is reviewed by the OMB and maybe the AG for compliance to prevent fraud and cronyism.

    First, we know that the state criteria (that includes closing efficiency) can only count for half of the ranking. It is highly likely that federal public policy goals for most grant rounds push the state criteria lower than 50%, but let’s just use that 50% for the sake of argument.

    Next we see that “closing criteria” is married with something called “percentage of monitoring” as a single criteria. Also, we see a disclaimer in this same line that years of an entity’s existence cannot be a factor. At the very least, we have quite a bit of ambiguity here with respect to how a drop from 100% to 97% would be a factor. It appears that stronger monitoring of existing easements is a mitigating factor. It also appears that the YLT might not be impacted from historical performance if other grant-requesters lack the same. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the drop from 100% to 97% closing efficiency is fully attributable to this criterion.

    There are nine state criteria. And these nine count for 50% of all criteria. So a drop of 3% of closing efficiency really translates into a statistical .17% of negative ranking impact.

    That is less than one-fifth of one percent.

    And let’s not forget that the City of Davis has primarily provided the YLT with that 100% closing efficiency to begin with.

    But here is the final point.

    I just explained this. None of the RSCS people, nor the YLT people explained it. They did not explain it because they knew the truth would wipe out their platform of unsubstantiated fear of impacts. They materially lied by not coming clean for what the ACTUAL impact would be… preferring instead to let people use their imagination.

  154. B. Nice

    [quote]None of the RSCS people, nor the YLT people explained it. [/quote]

    As far as I can tell this is a true statement.

    [quote]They did not explain it because they knew the truth would wipe out their platform of unsubstantiated fear of impacts. They materially lied by not coming clean for what the ACTUAL impact would be… preferring instead to let people use their imagination[/quote]

    Do you know this to be true, or are you using your imagination?

    [quote]That is less than one-fifth of one percent. [/quote]

    Out of context do you know if this significant or not? I’m really asking, do we know?

  155. Frankly

    [i]Do you know this to be true, or are you using your imagination?[/i]

    If you bring along your “expert” from the USDA office to help you make your case, and that “expert” cannot or does not explain this even when asked directly, then you either were complicit in a cover-up, or you were ignorant enough about the true impact that you should not have trotted out half a dozen people to make the case of impacts.

    I think you are making them out as victims of their own ignorance. I don’t buy it. If they were/are that ignorant, then they should not have used the argument.

  156. Matt Williams

    I’m going to take Frankly’s argument a step further. Yolo Land Trust (YLT) is an organization that has closed (based on Michele’s Clark’s testimony) 17 out of 17 transactions with the City of Davis and Federal partners, and that those 17 represent less than half of YLT’s total transaction closes in Yolo County. You don’t get to that level of accomplishment without being incredibly knowledgeable and skilled at what you do. S o the chances that they are ignorant on the topic are about as good as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ chances of winning this year’s Super Bowl.

    With that said, it is not 100% clear to me that NRCS wrote the letter to Council, or chose to show up on Tuesday night at the behest of the YLT. It is quite possible that NRCS chose to do that of their own volition without YLT’s knowledge aforethought.

    Bottom-line, regardles what the reasons/motivations were, the “expert” could not or did not or chose not to explain the objective, quantifiable basis for their case even when asked directly,

  157. B. Nice

    [quote]Bottom-line, regardles what the reasons/motivations were, the “expert” could not or did not or chose not to explain the objective, quantifiable basis for their case even when asked directly,[/quote]

    Which begs the question, why did staff and council think that the impacts of denying the grant were great enough that they based their decision to move forward on this claim. Were they unable to see through this apparently blatant misrepresentation of the situation?

  158. Frankly

    Oops. Wrong on my part.

    They have over 3000 acres from 17 easement in and around Davis. 10,000 acres total and 50 easements.

    My guess is that are a RSCS “certified” grant requester given the 25-grant requirement. And with that certification, they get another boost in their ranking and have a lower paperwork burden for grant request submissions.

    So, to Matt’s point… they are certainly unlikely to be ignorant of the ranking process and criteria.

  159. B. Nice

    Putting aside the debate over YLT and the NRCS culpability. Whose responsibility was it to fact check their claims? And if this was such a pivotal part of the decision why wasn’t it done before the council meeting?

  160. Frankly

    See: [url]http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs144p2_063813.pdf[/url]

    This is the NRCS FRPP grant application checklist.

    See here: [url]http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_042535.pdf[/url]

    This is the SOP for “Cooperating Entities” (YLT).

    Included in that text:
    [quote][quote]B. Evaluating FRPP Parcels
    (1) The State Conservationist, with advice from the State Technical Committee, will establish a weighted ranking process to prioritize all eligible proposals and parcels. Representatives from cooperating entities will not be involved in developing ranking criteria, assigning weights to the factors, or developing quantitative scoring criteria for the factors. Priority should be given to those parcels on which conservation easements that will protect the Nation’s prime, unique, and statewide and locally important soils or historic and archaeological sites on farm and ranch lands. Each factor will be assigned a weight and a system of scoring (points awarded for quantitative measures of each ranking factor) before ranking begins on the first submitted parcel. NRCS employees will conduct the ranking based on the system.
    (2) In evaluating proposals and parcels, at least 50 percent of the weight must be based on the national criteria. The national criteria are as follows:
    (i) Percent of prime, unique, and important farmland in the parcel to be protected
    (ii) Percent of cropland, pastureland, grassland, and rangeland in the parcel to be protected
    (iii) Ratio of the total acres of land in the parcel to be protected to average farm size in the county according to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture (http://www.agcensus.usda.gov)
    (iv) Decrease in the percentage of acreage of farm and ranch land in the county in which the parcel is located between the last two USDA Censuses of Agriculture (http://www.agcensus.usda.gov)
    (v) Percent population growth in the county as documented by the U.S. Census
    (http://www.census.gov)(vi) Population density (population per square mile) as documented by the most recent U.S.Census (http://www.census.gov)
    (vii) Proximity of the parcel to other protected land, including military installations
    (viii) Proximity of the parcel to other agricultural operations and infrastructure

    (3) The remaining weight will be applied to NRCS State criteria also contained in the State FRPP plan, approved by the State Conservationist. Such criteria may include the following:
    (i) Existence of a parcel in an agriculturally zoned area
    (ii) [b]Performance of the eligible entity in acquiring FRPP easements in a timely manner (percent of all easements enrolled in the previous 5 years that have been closed within 18 months) based on the FRPP database[/b]
    (iii) Performance of the eligible entity in monitoring FRPP easements during the previous fiscal year that were closed before the previous fiscal year (percent of all closed easements that were monitored and the monitoring reported to NRCS)
    (iv) Entities’ extensive experience in managing and enforcing easements
    (v) Multifunctional benefits, including social, economic, historical, archaeological, and environmental benefits
    (vi) Geographic regions where the enrollment of particular lands may help achieve national,
    State, and regional goals and objectives or enhance existing government or private conservation projects
    (vii) Diversity of natural resources protected
    (viii) Score in the Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) system. This serves as a measure of agricultural viability (access to markets and infrastructure)
    (ix) Existence of a farm succession plan or similar plan established to encourage farm viability for future generations[/quote]
    [/quote]
    So there is proof that NRCS keeps a database of grants per entity.

    However, we see that there are numerous other criteria, and there is a weighting of that criteria. I cannot find any information on the weighting other than the state criteria is 50% or less of the total. It seems that they would want to keep the weighting somewhat protected so that grant requesters do not try to game the system.

    However, it is highly unlikely that past closing efficiency would be given a much lower weighting than many other criteria listed.

  161. Don Shor

    Based on the reporting in the Enterprise and the Vanguard, the only councilmember who cited the impact on YLT as being ‘pivotal’ was Dan Wolk. I am not persuaded that there were 3 votes for abandoning the easement in the first place. What a council member says during public discussion doesn’t necessarily represent the totality of his or her thinking. A lot was moving against the land swap proposal over the last few weeks, and the reconsideration was not undertaken originally with any strong evidence of the easement being cancelled.

  162. Frankly

    [i]Putting aside the debate over YLT and the NRCS culpability. Whose responsibility was it to fact check their claims? And if this was such a pivotal part of the decision why wasn’t it done before the council meeting?[/i]

    The letter was an eleventh hour thing. Have to wonder if that was a tactical move.

    Staff should have vetted this. Just hop on Google. It is amazing what you can learn.

    Here is my sense:

    1. The YLT stepped in it and were caught, and the council instructed staff to give them cover, including asking the ITF to stand down.

    2. The YLT knew they were in possible trouble on the grant, and worked with NRCS staff to craft a strategy to get their way. They executed this strategy late enough that staff and others did not have the time to sufficiently check it out for validity.

    3. The council staff and ITF were all complicit in a tactic to beat back the business community using a strong emotive argument which this city full of “feel-before-think” residents tend to latch onto.

    4. The YLT and the RSCS staff embellished the story of impacts but felt that it was enough of a moral and ethical thing to do because they could always fall back on nuance that there is an impact (however miniscule), and the staff did not have time to verify the letter and accept it as the word, and the council accepted what staff reported despite the fact that neither the NRCS rep nor the YLT people could explain what the impact would be.

  163. Frankly

    Don, Thanks for the opinion. Unfortunately it does not match up with those that had actually been in conversation with various council members. Without that letter, it appears to me, based on what I learned from those that had actual conversations with council members, that Rochelle, Dan and Brett were onboard bypassing the grant and going to another option. Note that all of the options resulted in greater long-term returns for the city. And they still did not have to go with a business park at that location.

    I have another general comment that you are pretty reliable to change the discussion when it is not going your way. So now that the evidence mounts that the letter was a farce, we get to start discussing that it would not matter. Did you go to law school and train to be a litigator? Pretty slick!

  164. Don Shor

    [quote]“Closing efficiency,” Mr. Suarez explains, “is a measure of a conservation partner’s ability to complete an easement in a timely manner. Closing efficiency can affect future fund allocations to California NRCS and its conservation partners.” He notes, “A good closing efficiency is also important for our conservation partners to remain competitive on future easement applications. Closing efficiency is one of several criteria considered by NRCS when ranking applications for funding.”

    He continued, “If the City decides to not protect Mace Curve/Leland Ranch with a conservation easement at this time and FRPP funds are returned, both the City and the Yolo Land Trust will continue to be eligible to apply for future FRPP grants – although each entity’s closing efficiency will be affected based on the guidelines set forth in FRPP policy.”[/quote]
    There is no lie there. You disagree about the magnitude of the impact on future grants. Mr. Suarez acknowledges that it “is one of several criteria.”

  165. Matt Williams

    B. Nice said . . .

    [i]”Bottom-line, regardles what the reasons/motivations were, the “expert” could not or did not or chose not to explain the objective, quantifiable basis for their case even when asked directly,

    Which begs the question, why did staff and council think that the impacts of denying the grant were great enough that they based their decision to move forward on this claim. [b]Were they unable to see through this apparently blatant misrepresentation of the situation?[/b]”[/i]

    That milady is the $64,000 Question. In fairness to Staff, their opinion was provided in writing before the meeting began, and before State Conservationist Kiger ducked the question and before YLT Executive Director Clark provided the closing statistics for Davis and Yolo County that she did in her testimony. Staff was never asked if they stood by their recommendation of Option One after all the testimony was given and questions were asked. I suspect that Mitch, Mike, Rob and Harriet might not have had a unanimous voice if they had been asked. Council, on the other hand had full benefit of all the information before they decided.

  166. Don Shor

    Per Matt’s comment:
    [quote][b]If any of the other [/b]applications had closing efficiency scores above 97% then indeed a YLT application would be marginally less competitive on that one ranking criteria. However, Ms. Kiger was either unwilling or unable to say whether 97% was meaningfully less than 100%. [b]For all we know[/b], Yolo Land trust is the only agency in the whole state of California currently with a closing efficiency score of 100%. For that matter, YLT [b]may be the only agency[/b] with a closing efficiency greater than 95%, and if that is the case, then the reduction from 100 to 97 would not in any way make YLT less competitive. [b]They would still be [/b]at the top of the heap. [/quote]
    Note four points of ambiguity: [i]if … for all we know … may be … and would still be….[/i]
    Michelle Clark has made it clear in various statements that these grants are competitive and the fund totals are not high:
    [quote]“The allocation in 2011 (for Leland Ranch) was about 30% of the allocation for the whole state of California.”[/quote]
    If the dithering of the city council affects YLT’s ability to close on other deals, if the other land trust agencies have sterling track records and this puts YLT at a disadvantage in a competitive and shrinking grant pool, then going from 100% to 97% efficiency might be the difference between getting a grant or not.
    Nothing she said there is untrue. You disagree with her assessment as to the risk. I accept that you have some expertise on this. But if you are accusing them of not putting it in context, then please provide the context that answers whether other agencies also have 100% closing efficiency.

  167. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”Based on the reporting in the Enterprise and the Vanguard, the only councilmember who cited the impact on YLT as being pivotal was Dan Wolk. I am not persuaded that there were 3 votes for abandoning the easement in the first place. What a council member says during public discussion doesn’t necessarily represent the totality of his or her thinking. A lot was moving against the land swap proposal over the last few weeks, and the reconsideration was not undertaken originally with any strong evidence of the easement being cancelled.”[/i]

    I tend to agree with you Don. In effect the handling of the issue from early 2011 through June 2013 effectively poisoned the well, with the week of Keystone Kops events leading up to the June 11, 2013 Council Meeting being the cherry on top of a generous helping of opacity over the 30-month period.

  168. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [b]”If the dithering of the city council affects[/b] YLT’s ability to close on other deals, [b]if the other land trust agencies have sterling track records[/b] and this puts YLT at a disadvantage in a competitive and shrinking grant pool, then going from 100% to 97% efficiency might be the difference between getting a grant or not.
    Nothing she said there is untrue. You disagree with her assessment as to the risk. I accept that you have some expertise on this. But if you are accusing them of not putting it in context, then please provide the context that answers whether other agencies also have 100% closing efficiency.”

    Note your own points of ambiguity Don : if the dithering … affects … If the other agencies … have sterling track records

    Let me add another if … if Ms. Kiger had data that supported her argument she would have surely provided/brought it.

    I would like to say that there are plenty of dirty fingerprints to go around on this situation, and I disgree with frankly’s placing the lion’s share of the blame on Yolo Land Trust’s shoulders. I agree with you that Michele Clark has made it clear in various statements that these grants are competitive and the fund totals are not high.

    It is that last point that makes Yolo Land Trust’s position on this situation so bewildering. The war chest of money that leveraging the City-owned asset would have created would have been by itself approximately equal to the aggregation of four full years of the funding that NRCS has for all of California … and YLT and the City wouldn’t have had to compete with any other jurisdictions or agencies or Land Trusts in order to get that money. Their action is the epitome of penny wise and pound foolish.

  169. B. Nice

    [quote]But if you are accusing them of not putting it in context, then please provide the context that answers whether other agencies also have 100% closing efficiency.[/quote]

    I’d like to see this information before I start crying foul.

  170. Don Shor

    There are over 170 Land Trusts in California. It is unlikely that Yolo Land Trust is the only one with 100% closing efficiency. It seems probable that there are several, perhaps many, with 100% closing efficiency. So if, on the next grant application to a shrinking pool of funds, as Ms. Kieger said,
    [quote]“If there were 15 applications and this drops them one point below where they were, it could make a difference or it could make no difference,” she said. “It is in comparison to the others that bid.”[/quote]
    then a reduction of closing efficiency could have an impact. Again: there is no lie there.

  171. B. Nice

    [quote]The YLT stepped in it and were caught, and the council instructed staff to give them cover, including asking the ITF to stand down. [/quote]

    Staff takes orders from the YLT?

    [quote]The council staff and ITF were all complicit in a tactic to beat back the business community using a strong emotive argument which this city full of “feel-before-think” residents tend to latch onto. [/quote]

    What motive does council and staff have to beat back the business community?

    To the rest, it is quite the conspiracy theory.

  172. Frankly

    [i]But if you are accusing them of not putting it in context, then please provide the context that answers whether other agencies also have 100% closing efficiency.[/i]

    That is not the question. The question is what is the material negative impact of a 3% drop in closing efficiency based on the ranking process.

    And I absolutely disagree with your guess that other agencies have 100% closing efficiency. There is more blind conjecture in that statement than anything I have written on this subject. If we are going to guess, then I would guess that 100% closing efficiency is highly unusual. I would guess that there are a percentage of grants that get derailed over tile issues that don’t come out until around the close of escrow on the transaction. That is very typical with commercial real estate… even farmland.

  173. B. Nice

    [quote]The question is what is the material negative impact of a 3% drop in closing efficiency based on the ranking process. [/quote]

    Doesn’t that depend on the ranking of the competition? The higher your score the better your chance of beating out the competition.

  174. Don Shor

    [quote]That is not the question. The question is what is the material negative impact of a 3% drop in closing efficiency based on the ranking process. [/quote]
    Which is answered here:
    [quote]“If there were 15 applications and this drops them one point below where they were, it could make a difference or it could make no difference,” she said. “It is in comparison to the others that bid.”[/quote]
    It all depends on who they’re being compared to.
    [quote] If we are going to guess, then I would guess that 100% closing efficiency is highly unusual.[/quote]
    Great. Prove it. You’re the expert.

  175. Jim Frame

    [quote] The war chest of money that leveraging the City-owned asset would have created[/quote]

    My turn to add another “if”: the millions — nay, billions — of dollars alleged to start pouring into city coffers upon removing Mace 391 from consideration as protected open space comprise another huge “if.” Might have happened, might never have happened. With bad enough management it might have produced a drain instead of a spigot.

    While others spend their time reading (or misreading) the tea leaves attached to the NRCS and YLT statements — I use that analogy in preference to the one about angels dancing on the head of a pin, because the latter inevitably leads one to the word “pinhead” — some of us are content with the bird-in-the-hand result of Tuesday’s vote: an eastern edge to city development surrounding 186 acres of freeway-close land ripe for helping Davis reap the promised benefits of a business/innovation/tech park.

  176. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”There are over 170 Land Trusts in California. It is unlikely that Yolo Land Trust is the only one with 100% closing efficiency. It seems probable that there are several, perhaps many, with 100% closing efficiency. So if, on the next grant application to a shrinking pool of funds, as Ms. Kieger said,

    “If there were 15 applications and this drops them one point below where they were, it could make a difference or it could make no difference,” she said. “It is in comparison to the others that bid.”

    then a reduction of closing efficiency could have an impact. Again: there is no lie there.”[/i]

    Don, while I agree with you that Frankly has gone a bridge to far in his “lies” label, your sole focus on Frankly’s choice of words causes a de facto overlooking of the opacity and evasiveness of Ms. Kiger’s testimony. She made the decision to insert herself in the middle of a City of Davis policy decision. The City didn’t ask her to come. Then she shows up like the emperor in new clothes.

    How do you feel about the sufficiency of her testimony?

    Who in that room on Tuesday night was better able to provide the kind of objective data that Council needed in order to make an informed objective decision.

    What possible reason could she have had to arrive only armed with a shrug of the shoulders when asked a simple question about the risk of damage?

  177. Don Shor

    Do you believe she has access to the data regarding the closing efficiencies of other land trusts? In the absence of that information, her statement that it depends on who they’re being compared to with respect to a specific grant application answers the question.

  178. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”There are over 170 Land Trusts in California. It is unlikely that Yolo Land Trust is the only one with 100% closing efficiency.”[/i]

    I have been told (which makes what I am about to say hearsay) that of the 170 Land Trusts in California, in recent years virtually all the applications with merit come from only 2 of the 170 . . . Solano Land Trust and Yolo Land Trust. It is rumored that the YLT is a “kick ass” competitor when it comes to applying for grants.

  179. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”Do you believe she has access to the data regarding the closing efficiencies of other land trusts?”[/i]

    [b]ABSOLUTELY[/b] Is there even a smidgen of doubt?

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”In the absence of that information, her statement that it depends on who they’re being compared to with respect to a specific grant application answers the question.”[/i]

    Don, we aren[‘t talking about a piddling little agency of a backwater jurisdiction. She is the State Conservationist of the US Freaking DA. She has that data at her fingertips on the computer on her desktop. She has a group of minions who report to her, all of whom can get that data for her in a matter of seconds. One of those people who reports to her wrote the letter that her boss Carlos Suarez nominally set to the City.

  180. Frankly

    [i]Frankly has gone a bridge to far in his “lies” label[/i]

    I waffle between the label of “disingenuous” and “lies”. I guess after the left made such a point of claiming Bush lied, I considered that the definition had become quite loose.

  181. B. Nice

    [quote]I think we are a generation off on our Bush-isms.[/quote]

    I think you misunderestimate our ages. There are some things though I’ve tried to forget…

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