Chamber Surveys Membership on Support For Tax Increases

Pope-KembleJust two weeks after being criticized for surveying their membership with leading questions, the Davis Chamber of Commerce is back with a new survey that will ostensibly be presented to the Davis City Council this evening as representing the views of the business community.

Once again, critics have charged that the survey is not well constructed, and there are leading questions that lack adequate background and context.  Moreover, there is a stunning lack of questions relating to economic development or a business park.

The lead was: “The City Council of Davis will make a decision tomorrow, February 11th, 2014, regarding the city’s budget situation, including the potential for new taxes.  We need to hear the business community’s voice on these matters.  On January 28th, 2014, the Davis Chamber of Commerce polled its members regarding the City’s fiscal situation.  In response to that data, and with new revenue scenarios available from City staff, we ask that all members participate in a new poll regarding specific budgetary actions to put the City on better financial footing.”

Question 1, “A 12/17/2013 City report detailed how the City could cut expenditures across all departments (including fire and police) to close a projected $5 million General Fund deficit.  In response to the 1/28/2014 DCOC Member Poll, the Chamber has selected $1.5 million in General Fund reductions which would not impact safety or economic development service levels.  $132,000 – City Manager’s Office.  Eliminate Portion of funding for unbudgeted special studies.  Eliminate independent police auditor/ ombudsman.  $613,000 – Administrative Services Department.  Reduce subsidy from $1.3 million to $925,000 for the City’s recreation programming.  Contract out gymnastics, swim lessons and Vets Memorial Theatre operations.  Shift financial service costs to utilities.  $49,000 – Fire Department Reduce Overtime.  $81,000 – Police Department Increase records processing time, reduce front counter public hours.  $643,000 – Public Works Department Outsource more parks maintenance and custodial work.  Reduce overtime and city-owned vehicles for Staff.  DO YOU SUPPORT THESE BUDGET CUTS THAT TOTAL $1.5 MILLION ANNUALLY?”

Question 2, “ELIMINATE SUBSIDY FOR PARKS PROGRAMMING.  A further reduction to the parks programming subsidy could save another $1 million.  This would effectively increase consumer costs for low-cost youth swim, gymnastics, skate, and other sports lessons, recreation classes for disabled persons, adult fitness (aerobics, yoga, step, tai chi), adult group sports (softball, golf, flag football) and many senior programs.  It is likely that these programs could be outsources but with a higher cost to the individual.  DO YOU SUPPORT THESE REDUCTIONS THAT WOULD TOTAL $1 MILLION ANNUALLY?”

Question 3: “If the City reduced expenditures as described in #1 & #2 above, the deficit for FY2014/2014 would be $0 – $2.5 million depending on many variables outside of the City’s control.  DO YOU SUPPORT INCREASING TAXES TO CLOSE THIS POTENTIAL DEFICIT?”

Question 4: “If the City increases taxes, WHICH OF THESE SCENARIOS WOULD YOU MOST SUPPORT?”

Question 5: “SALES TAX.  Davis currently has a sales tax rate of 8% and will automatically reduce to 7.5% in 2016 unless renewed at that time.  Currently, Woodland is 8.25%, Sacramento is 8.5%, West Sacramento is 8%, Vacaville is 7.875% and Fairfield is 8.625%  PLEASE INDICATE THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF TAX YOU WOULD SUPPORT.”

Question 6: “SALES TAX SUNSET- PLEASE INDICATE WHEN AN INCREASE IN SALES TAX SHOULD END OR “SUNSET”

Question 7: “PARKS PARCEL TAX. All property owners in Davis pay parcel tax to support the public parks system.  Residential property owners currently pay $49/year.  The Parks Operating Budget is $6.8 million/year and the current parks parcel tax funds $1.4 million/ year of that total.  PLEASE INDCIATE THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF TAX YOU WOULD SUPPORT.”

Question 8: PARKS PARCEL TAX SUNSET – PLEASE INDICATE WHEN AN INCREASE IN PARKS TAX SHOULD END OR “SUNSET.”

Question 9: Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).  A special 10% tax on hotel rooms currently generates $1.13 million per year.  Currently, Woodland is 11%, Sacramento is 12%, Fairfield 10% and San Francisco is 14%.  PLEASE INCATE THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF TAX INCREASE YOU WOULD SUPPORT.”

The last presentation of Chamber surveys brought a strong rebuke by Councilmember Brett Lee.  The problem with these kinds of polls is that there is little context as to the impact of the cuts or the city services.  These are being considered in the abstract.  Cutting the parks programming subsidy simply shifts the costs from one to group to another.

At the last meeting, Chamber Executive Director Kemble Pope cited a survey of chamber members with more than half having no idea about this public shortfall and another 15 percent were only somewhat aware.  Only 14% wanted no further reductions.

“People are willing to feel the pain,” he said at least referring to chamber members.  “A good sixty percent said cut expenditures, keep cutting, we’re willing to give up services.  We’re willing to give up programs.  I don’t think that you understand truly the desire for the public to actually feel a little more heat rather than take on more and more debt for a bunch of goodies that people don’t think we actually need.”

He said to deal with the structural deficit and short term needs, “but this is, I don’t think, going to fly with the community.”

Councilmember Brett Lee would respond to these comments in a pointed way.

There was a suggestion by one of the commenters that housing was a revenue generator.  Councilmember Lee responded, “The Cannery Project for instance, we examined the long-term revenue impacts to the city on that and the Finance and Budget Commission working with the finance determined that it was roughly neutral, depending on how you vary the assumptions ever so slightly it came out over a twenty-year period to be slightly positive or slightly negative.”

“Housing development is not a big revenue generator for the city,” he added.

He then responded to Kemble Pope and suggested that of course the city should try to save money.  He then said, “Perhaps next time you do a survey maybe we can ask some specifics.  So when faced with a sizable deficit like the one we’re facing, perhaps you can ask your members if they would support closing a fire station and having a corresponding higher response time for various neighborhoods.”

“That’s the type of thing that would be required in order to bridge this deficit,” he continued.  “Or perhaps they would be willing to close all of the parks to stop all maintenance on them, close all the pools, and all recreation programs and see what the percentages are.”

“I think I could stand in front of the Safeway and ask people if they want a more efficient city government, I think I’d be surprised if I got many noes,” he added.  “I think on the other hand if I asked people if they were willing to pay more to maintain the current level of city services, such as fire and police, I think they would be supportive.”

So he suggested that the question be asked specifically to the Chamber Membership as to where people want to cut in order to save money.  Clearly the Chamber has now done that, although to what gain is hard to know.  Cutting back recreational programs would probably draw more protest in this community than a tax increase.

In asking the sales tax question, Mr. Pope failed to note, for example, that for each 1/8 cent increase, the city generates about $908,500 in additional revenue.  That context may well have changed the calculus of the respondents to his poll, but he failed to provide it.  The ideal of participatory budgeting only will work with a fully informed target audience; instead these survey respondents got only a limited amount of background on the scope of the programs cut and the impact of them on the public.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

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

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28 Comments

  1. Frankly

    I think the survey could have been designed better. However, it would have been good for the VG to have included the multiple choice answers, because for the first two questions – which appear to be a bit leading – there is the choice “Unsure, I don’t have enough information”. That option would tend to mitigate the problem of leading respondents to a black an white answer over a more complicated and nuanced set of choices.

    But if you think about it, this is really where our decision-point lays at this point.

    If you ask 1000 Davis voters to list the services they would support cutting, my guess is that you would end up with a list too small. So somebody has to put on the big boy pants and start making the case for fiscal sustainability. I do applaud the Chamber for that even as I want it to do a better job with these surveys in the future.

    I am disappointed that the Chamber did not include any contrasting questions about a business park or economic development as this should be the primary focus on the Chamber… and because the continued repeating of that contrast is essential for moving the collective mindset of the population toward understanding the reasons for, and ultimately accepting the need for, business growth as a remedy for what ails us.

    However, a previous survey clearly demonstrated the Chamber membership’s support for a business park and economic development.

    So, there is room for improvement and I expect the Chamber leadership will accept the constructive criticism and do a better job with survey design going forward. Regardless, I am still interested to hear the results of this last survey.

    1. Doby Fleeman

      Frankly,

      Your comments and criticisms, as usual, are thoughtfully crafted and should be well received by the business community.

      That said, why should it be up to the Chamber to ask these fundamental questions of the community? What about some leadership from the City and our electeds on this front?

      By any chance, have you seen a copy of the questions posed of the “representative sample” of citizens selected and surveyed by the City Council? Or the responses……..

      If the Chamber is to be serving as the “Chamber of the Community” (and I have not quibble with that notion), then perhaps the Chamber should be allowed the opportunity to frame the discussion and identify and suggest a representative group of community citizens and leaders to participate in that participatory budgeting process?

      Personal opinion only, but I think the Chamber would actively embrace the opportunity to participate as a convener of such a gathering.

      1. Don Shor

        “Unsure, I don’t have enough information” pretty much sums up, I would guess, where most of the public is at this point.

        If the Chamber is to be serving as the “Chamber of the Community” (and I have not quibble with that notion), then perhaps the Chamber should be allowed the opportunity to frame the discussion…

        The Chamber lacks credibility in attempting to serve that role. See Rich Rifkin’s comments on the previous thread. I completely agree with him. But that won’t surprise anyone at the Chamber, I imagine.
        The council and the commissions should frame the discussion. We have a Finance and Budget commission.

        1. Doby Fleeman

          Maybe we should have a copy of the Finance & Budget Commission’s findings and recommendations on the current budget debate? It is my understanding, limited thought that may be, they have not been charged with investigating or producing this type of report.

          Would it be your suggestion that the Commission be charged with this scope of purview?

          1. Don Shor

            Yes. As a publicly appointed commission, they reflect (to some degree) the will of the council. And they would do their job in public meetings, properly agendized, with opportunity for public comment.

          2. Doby Fleeman

            “As a publicly appointed commission, they reflect…..the will of the council.”

            With apologies for the edit, but I don’t know if I agree with that statement. I believe the Council has a will that we haven’t had the opportunity to hear…..because they have had their heads so buried in the details of contract negotiations and other disasters related to our unsustainable expense structure and need for deferred maintenance.

            There is a clear need for multitasking with a sense of urgency befitting the problem.

            It is a difficult issue we face, but the need for leadership in the conversation is essential and fundamental. How did we get to this place? What are our options? How are we going to navigate past these shoals?

            The city needs to step up and help the community to understand if there is constructive role for economic development to play in bettering our circumstances as a community.

            If there is no case to be made for economic development, then let’s move on. If we are stuck with either more cuts (as determined by whatever means you suggest) or more taxes – then let’s get on with that discussion.

          3. Don Shor

            Well, they reflect the will of the council only in the sense that each was appointed by the council. Nothing more than that. The Chamber and the ChamberPAC have earned a perception of bias. That doesn’t preclude them from sponsoring public forums, and I think that would be a good public service, but the discussion should really be run by someone else.

  2. growth issue

    What I like about the survey is the Chamber is showing there’s still a lot of areas that still can be cut and not have to close a fire station or lay off cops. I detest the fear mongering.

  3. Mark West

    “In asking the sales tax question, Mr. Pope failed to note for example that for each 1/8 cent increase, the city generates about $908,500 in additional revenue. That context may well have changed the calculus of the respondents to his poll, but he failed to provide it. ”

    David, you failed to include the answer portion of Question 5 in your quotation above, which clearly shows the ‘context’ that you claim the Chamber left out.

    —-
    5. SALES TAX. Davis currently has a sales tax rate of 8% and will automatically reduce to 7.5% in 2016 unless renewed at that time. Currently, Woodland is 8.25%, Sacramento is 8.5%, West Sacramento is 8.0%, Vacaville is 7.875% and Fairfield is 8.625%. please indicate the highest level of tax you would support.
    · Sales Tax – no increase
    · Sales Tax – 1/8% increase = $902,000 annually
    · Sales Tax – ¼% increase = $1,805,000 annually
    · Sales Tax – 3/8% increase = $2,707,500 annually
    · Sales Tax – ½% increase = $3,610,000 annually
    · Sales Tax – ¾% increase = $5,415,000 annually
    · Sales Tax – 1% increase = $7,220,000 annually
    —-

    The same is true for each of the other questions regarding taxes, where the projected revenues for the specific tax levels are incorporated into the answer options. Unless you are claiming that you did not have this information, which seems more than odd since you have quoted all the questions accurately, your choosing to omit that portion of the survey that directly negates your attack is more than a bit dishonest.

    1. Matt Williams

      Mark, this is the information Kemble sent to Council in his e-mail

      29% – Sales Tax – no increase
      8% – Sales Tax – 1/8% increase = $902,000 annually
      29% – Sales Tax – 1/4% increase = $1,805,000 annually
      3% – Sales Tax – 3/8% increase = $2,707,500 annually
      17% – Sales Tax – 1/2% increase = $3,610,000 annually
      8% – Sales Tax – 3/4% increase = $5,415,000 annually
      5% – Sales Tax – 1% increase = $7,220,000 annually
      100% Total

        1. Matt Williams

          iPadGuy, here is the entire e-mail sent to the Council Members:

          Chamber Members, Thanks to all who participated in our poll over the last 24 hours. Below, please see the outcome of that action, a letter to the City Council reporting the results of the poll.

          Actively yours,
          Kemble

          PS – Unfortunately, I’ll be unable to attend the meeting tonight as I’m leaving now for a previously scheduled personal trip. I hope that many of you will be able to go down to City Council tonight (Public Comment is at 7pm) or email the Council members.

          ————————– Mail Original ———————

          From: Kemble Pope
          Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 4:26 PM
          To: Joe Krovoza (jkrovoza@cityofdavis.org); Rochelle Swanson; Lucas Frerichs; dwolk@cityofdavis.org; Brett Lee (blee@cityofdavis.org)
          Cc: Steve Pinkerton (spinkerton@cityofdavis.org); ‘rwhite@cityofdavis.org’; Mike Webb (MWebb@cityofdavis.org); ZMirabile@cityofdavis.org

          Subject: Davis Chamber Input on Tonight’s Council Agenda

          FOR THE PUBLIC RECORD.

          Mr. Mayor and Councilmembers,

          Economic Development Should Be Highest Priority.

          On 01/28/2014, the Davis Chamber of Commerce polled its members regarding the City’s fiscal situation. In response to that data, and with new revenue scenarios available from City staff, and input from the community, we polled our membership again on 02/10/2014 to drill down into specific budgetary actions to put the City on better financial footing.

          Our members spoke loud and clear that our community desperately needs to dedicate more resources to economic development activities and jobs growth. The Chamber is ready and willing to support those efforts.

          01/28 Poll – Should the City dedicate more resources to Economic Development?

          72% – Yes, the City should immediately make more land available for new and growing businesses, actively utilize other economic development tools and dedicate more city staff to these efforts.

          19% – Somewhat, the City should make more land available for new and growing businesses in Davis and be more business friendly with current staffing levels.

          9% – No, the City should be business friendly but pro-active efforts are not necessary.

          Support & Celebrate Next Steps for the Downtown-University Gateway District.

          The Chamber’s top joint objective with our business organization partners for 2012-2014 in our interactions with the City of Davis is to entitle the Nishi/Solano Park/Gateway/Downtown as a mixed-use, innovation district that would provide space for start-ups and tech businesses, as well as much-needed high-density housing in close proximity to UC Davis and downtown. The Chamber is ready and willing to continue to support those efforts.

          More Expenditure Cuts Should be Made.

          Everyone has felt the pain during the past few years, and we recognize and applaud the City’s significant expenditure reductions. However, 86% of our members felt that more cuts should be made.

          01/28 Poll – Should the City further reduce expenditures?

          46% – Yes – expenditures should be reduced to meet the ENTIRE shortfall but should not affect Public Safety Service levels.
          10% – Yes, – expenditures should be reduced to meet at least HALF of the shortfall.
          30% – Somewhat – the City has made significant reductions and should continue to cut more but without reducing service levels or cutting programs.
          14% – No – the City has reduced expenditures enough and should now focus on increasing revenues.

          02/10 Poll – $1.5 million in General Fund reductions (attached), which would not impact safety or economic development service levels. DO YOU SUPPORT THESE REDUCTIONS?

          68% – Yes
          19% – Unsure, I don’t have enough information
          13% – No

          02/10 Poll – Eliminate Subsidy for Parks Programming. A further reduction to the parks programming subsidy could save another $1 million. This would effectively end low-cost youth swim, gymnastics, skate, and other sports lessons, recreation classes for disabled persons, adult fitness (aerobics, yoga, step, tai chi), adult group sports (softball, golf, flag football) and many senior programs. It is likely that these programs could be outsourced and largely kept in their current configuration, but with a higher cost to the individual. DO YOU SUPPORT THIS REDUCTION?

          61% – Yes
          12% – Unsure, I don’t have enough information.
          27% – No

          Balancing the City Budget with Taxes

          It is very clear that our members’ support of tax measures to close a deficit will be dependent upon a renewed and redoubled commitment to economic development efforts and the further reduction of expenditures.

          02/10 Poll – If the City reduced expenditures as described in #1 & #2 above, the deficit for FY2014/2015 would be $0 – $2.5 million depending on many variables outside of the City’s control. DO YOU SUPPORT INCREASING TAXES TO CLOSE THIS POTENTIAL DEFICIT?

          68% – Yes
          5% – Unsure, I don’t have enough information.
          27% – No

          What Combination of Taxes, How Much and How Long?
          *We did not ask about opinion on the timing of the ballots for new taxes.

          02/10 Poll – If the City Council increases taxes, WHICH OF THESE SCENARIOS WOULD YOU MOST SUPPORT?

          37% – Sales Tax & Parks Parcel Tax Increase
          27% – Sales Tax Increase Only
          24% – None, I oppose all local tax increases at this time
          12% – Parks Parcel Tax Increase Only

          02/10 Poll – SALES TAX – Davis currently has a sales tax rate of 8% and will automatically reduce to 7.5% in 2016 unless renewed at that time. Currently, Woodland is 8.25%, Sacramento is 8.5%, West Sacramento is 8.0%, Vacaville is 7.875% and Fairfield is 8.625%. PLEASE INDICATE THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF TAX YOU WOULD SUPPORT.

          29% – Sales Tax – no increase
          8% – Sales Tax – 1/8% increase = $902,000 annually
          29% – Sales Tax – 1/4% increase = $1,805,000 annually
          3% – Sales Tax – 3/8% increase = $2,707,500 annually
          17% – Sales Tax – 1/2% increase = $3,610,000 annually
          8% – Sales Tax – 3/4% increase = $5,415,000 annually
          5% – Sales Tax – 1% increase = $7,220,000 annually

          02/10 Poll – Sales Tax Sunset – please indicate when an increase in sales tax should end or sunset .

          32% – Sales Tax should not increase and should sunset in 2016.
          12% – 2 years
          24% – 4 years
          8% – 6 years
          4% – 8 years
          12% – 10 years
          8% – Never, the increase should be permanent.

          02/10 Poll – PARKS PARCEL TAX – All property owners in Davis pay a parcel tax to support the public parks system, residential property owners currently pay $49/year. The Parks Operating Budget is $6.8 million/year and the current tax funds $1.4 million/year of that total. Please indicate the highest level of tax you would support.

          41% – Parks Tax – no increase, tax should remain $49/parcel.
          14% – Parks Tax – $25 increase = $694,000
          29% – Parks Tax – $50 increase = $1,388,000
          2% – Parks Tax – $75 increase = $2,082,000
          6% – Parks Tax – $100 increase = $2,776,000
          3% – Parks Tax – $125 increase = $3,470,000
          2% – Parks Tax – $150 increase =$4,163,000
          0% – Parks Tax – $175 increase = $4,857,000
          3% – Parks Tax – $200 increase = $5,551,000

          02/10 Poll – Parks Parcel Tax Sunset – please indicate when an increase in parks tax should end or sunset .

          42% -N/A & Parks Parcel Tax should not increase and should sunset in 2018.
          9% – 2 years
          15% – 4 years
          7% – 6 years
          2% – 8 years
          10% – 10 years
          2% – 20 years
          13% – Never, the increase should be permanent

          02/10 Poll – Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) – A special 10% tax on hotel rooms currently generates $1.13 million per year. Currently, Woodland is 11%, Sacramento is 12%, Fairfield is 10% and San Francisco is 14%. PLEASE INDICATE THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF TAX INCREASE YOU WOULD SUPPORT.

          30% – TOT – no increase, tax should remain at 10%
          20% – TOT – increase tax by 1%, raising an additional $113,000 annually
          29% – TOT – Increase tax by 2%, raising an additional $226,000 annually
          11% – TOT – Increase tax by 3%, raising an additional $339,000 annually
          10% – TOT – Increase tax by 4%, raising an additional $452,000 annually

          On behalf of the business community, thank you for your thoughtful consideration of these serious matters.

          Actively yours,

          Kemble K. Pope, Executive Director
          Davis Chamber of Commerce
          Third Street | Davis, CA 95616
          530-756-5160
          director@davischamber.com
          http://web.davischamber.com/external/wcpages/www.davischamber.com
          http://www.davischamber.com

          The Davis Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization whose mission is to promote, support, and advocate the general economic vitality of its membership and the quality of life for the community. Founded 1905.

  4. DT Businessman

    David, your daily criticism of KEMBLE POPE’S, KEMBLE POPE’S, KEMBLE POPES’S push poll is spot on. Did I mention it was KEMBLE POPE’S poll? Instead of creating his own poll to gather input from the Chamber members, KEMBLE POPE clearly should have directed the membership to the Vanguard, City, and/or Budget and Finance Commission polls, which are far superior to KEMBLE POPE’S poll.

    Furthermore, I urge you to continue your unrelenting attacks on KEMBLE POPE and the Chamber in this regard. KEMBLE POPE and the Chamber are clearly responsible for the City budget crisis and are responsible for the years long lack of transparency regarding the budget crisis. Daily bashing of KEMBLE POPE and the Chamber is undoubtedly the most effective response to the crisis. We can only hope the City Council chooses to implement your response this evening, David.

    PS: As I said, David, I fully agree with you that there must be some ulterior motive for KEMBLE POPE to so mislead the Chamber membership and by extension the City Council. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, I am not well versed in the incessant machinations underlying city policy and project. Please enlighten me in this instance.

    -DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch)

    1. Doby Fleeman

      DT Businessman,

      Obviously, I am not as astute as most readers of the Vanguard. I was worried you may have had too many lattes before this morning’s post. Clearly, I did not have enough.

      Please keep up the sarcasm.

  5. Doby Fleeman

    David,
    Stimulating and engaging commentary as ever. I’m sure you appreciate and respect the fact that the Chamber of Commerce – still has its job to do in terms of representing the sentiments and concerns of the business community.

    It seems that the Director has taken up, in earnest, the challenges presented in terms of better targeting the types of questions and issues that arose during the previous meeting of the Council. Presumably, the purpose of sharing those results is to provide a more granular and more accurate feedback regarding member concerns over increasing taxes.

    Implicit in some of these questions (which I had NO hand in crafting) is the essential question, often posed, of: “What is the central role of government within any community?” We go back to roads, post office, the court sysem, essential fire & safety. More recently, education and health care, and the environment have been added. Yes, there has always been a tradition reflecting a commitment to acquisition of public spaces and their maintenance.

    But if the conversation is to turn to a matter of tough choices, how should these choices be prioritized and which constituents should be more responsible for their funding? Implicit in the questions of the Chamber appears to be the questions of: “What is essential versus what is discretionary?” and “Who and how should we be paying for programs that fall short of essential?”

    Perhaps participatory budget is a good pathway to that end? But, for now, the question is how should we be assessing these competing, discretionary priorities.

    And, just to clarify – for the record. I am the commentator who asked the question about housing being a revenue generator for the community. I believe a review of the tape will indicate that my comment was clear framed as a request for the community and our leadership to acknowledge that our the leading source of Economic Development within this community over the past three decades ending in 2000 – was “the Homebuilding Industry”. Like it or not, that has been the leading “industry” of this community, complimenting our growth in the “education sector (respecting its preference not to be labeled an industry)”. I was lamenting the fact that we have not evolved a diversified employer base – namely the well-pay technology industries – that one might reasonable expect in a community which is home to one of the leading research universities in the world.

    Hopefully, that point is now clarified. Otherwise, I would agree with Brett Lee and Sue Greenwald that “housing is not a net, long-term income generator to a city” and I might add is all the more reason for a more robust engagement and discussion of the essential role for any community of a vibrant and diversified employment base.

  6. Day Man

    Is the survey leading and biased? Yes, of course. The chamber is doing their job of promoting their interests. There will be others lobbying the CC on these same issues, promoting competing interests. Are the CC members so naive as to take the Chamber’s word (or anyone else’s word) as the gospel? No, of course not. The CC is accustomed to getting lobbied, and they are grownups with their eyes wide open. I don’t see a real story here. Sure, it’s ugly, but this is how democracy is supposed to work.

  7. iPad Guy

    We need to remember that David has a self-proclaimed bias against KEMBLE POPE! as a person.

    We need to remember that Don has a longstanding disdain for the Chamber.

    We also need to remember that the chamber is not offered up as representative sample of the Davis population. It is an interest group that has the general well being of Davis in mind, but the advancement of downtown businesses as a focus.

    What we don’t need these nitpicking attacks every time KEMBLE POPE! and the Chamber poke their noses into city affairs. Davis citizens are smart enough to put Chamber initiatives in proper perspective and weigh them appropriately.

    Our city council members don’t need to be put on notice that survey questions are not valid (or that the organization lacks credibility), particularly if the “facts” are poorly researched. Going overboard and protesting too much just suggests that The Vanguard is promoting a contrary course of action.

    1. Don Shor

      We need to remember that Don has a longstanding disdain for the Chamber.

      I have no problem with the regular activities of the Chamber. It is a fine service organization. I was a member for something like 25 years. I don’t support the political activities of the ChamberPAC.

      It is an interest group that has the general well being of Davis in mind, but the advancement of downtown businesses as a focus.

      Not downtown businesses specifically. That is Davis Downtown. The Chamber represents the broader business interests in the community. A point I have made in the past is that the Chamber does not represent the retail segment well, and I still think that is true.

      What we don’t need these nitpicking attacks every time KEMBLE POPE! and the Chamber poke their noses into city affairs…

      If they continue to speak out and advocate on political issues, they not only can expect others to reply, they are inviting it. I doubt the ChamberPAC leadership is opposed to public discussion of issues or their positions. The problem with an organization taking public positions on issues is that they become closely associated with the politics and the controversies, often to the detriment of their public image. I believe that happened in 2012 with the actions of the ChamberPAC, which reflect badly on the Chamber. But evidently they intend to continue doing so.

      1. iPad Guy

        Thanks for correcting me. I meant that the Chamber focuses on advancing the special interests of Davis businesses, so why should anyone wonder if their work reflects some bias toward their objectives.

        If folks want to take issue with the positions taken by the Chamber, that’s expected and (as you suggest) probably is welcomed by both the Chamber and the ChamberPAC.

        I’m just against agonizing about whether Chamber surveys of its membership incorporate adequate “context” whether they qualify as “push polls” and whether Kemble responds quickly enough to messages.

        The whining comes across as a little too personal and aimed at discrediting people whose point of view is different than the one being advanced.

        1. Don Shor

          Well, I haven’t taken any of those positions, and have largely kept my opinion of Kemble Pope to myself for some time now. So I’m not sure why you included me in your comments. I just don’t think the Chamber is the body to take on the role that was being proposed for it as some kind of public arbiter of the discussion. Kemble and the ChamberPAC have led the Chamber into an advocacy role. Their choice, but it limits their usefulness in hosting public informational gatherings. I suggest that public discussions should be hosted and moderated by public commissions.

          1. iPad Guy

            I shouldn’t have fuzzed together my concerns about your past and current comments about the Chamber with my more serious concerns about how David is covering Kemble Pope and the Chamber. Sorry.

            Still, there are lots of organizations able to carry out worthwhile work while also having a political action arm. I don’t think we should write off the Chamber because it’s become more politically active through its PAC.

  8. Michael Harrington

    David doesn’t like the Chamber ? I thought he was promoting new exterior sprawl like the 200 acre business park? For Pope, what’s not to love about David and the Vanguard ? Sounds like a good subject for them over a beer?

    I like Popes opposition to the sales tax increase, but I don’t like the border busting sprawl he promotes.

    So Pope has two friends: me and David, depending on the issue. It’s politics.

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