Vanguard Talks with City Council Candidate Daniel Parrella

Parrella-DanielIn December, Daniel Parrella, who describes himself as “a solar entrepreneur,” announced that he will be running for the Davis City Council in June 2014.  In a press release he said that he “announced his candidacy via a crowdfunding kickoff. He will be pursuing one of the two open seats this election cycle.”

Mr. Parrella was born and raised in Davis, attending four local schools before graduating from Leonardo da Vinci High School in 2009. “While in high school he spoke in front of the school board in protest of layoffs and was an active Debater,” his release notes.

This week, he became the fourth council candidate following Sheila Allen, Rochelle Swanson, and Robb Davis to sit down with the Vanguard for an interview.

“Probably the biggest reason that I’m running is that I think that the young families in this town are getting driven out by the number of taxes that have been passed in the past ten years,” Daniel Parrella said.  “I think that if my parents were having kids today, I would have probably grown up in a peripheral town.  I think that my experiences growing up would not have been as pleasant as they were living in Davis.”

“Unless we make the real changes we need to balance the budget and economic development to prevent new taxes from being raised, I think that we’re going to have a town that’s split between college students who have parents who are rich enough to live in this town and aging boomers who commute to work from Sacramento,” he continued.

He listed, as his biggest issue, the need for a business park in Davis.  He sees three ways of balancing the budget: cut costs, raise taxes, or provide economic development.

In the long term he sees economic development as the best way to do it, but he added, “In the short term I don’t see any way we can do it without raising taxes, unfortunately – as much as it pains me to say that.”

“I think that economic development in the long term is the way to go,” he said.  “I think a business park could generate the revenues necessary to close the budget gap without having to have permanent long term taxes.”

“There are still some cuts to be made in the budget, the problem is that politically it’s extraordinarily difficult,” he said.  “Depending on how this election goes, who gets elected, I think that those cuts won’t ever happen.”

“I do think a public utility company is a good long term investment for the city to make,” he said.  He prefers the Community Choice Aggregation method that Marin County adopted, to the city’s preferred alternative of the POU.  “We’re kind of throwing ourselves into a public utility company in Davis with the Davis municipal utility division, where we actually break away from PG&E.”

“I don’t think that we’ve accurately looked at the risks involved with that,” he said noting, “I think we’re going headfirst into something that hasn’t been done in many decades in Northern California, and I’m concerned that we could jeopardize how well the residents and businesses get electricity in Davis.”

Therefore, he thinks that the Community Choice Aggregation would be the better way to do that.  It requires less, he said, working with PG&E but giving the community the option to better manage its own resources.

Daniel Parrella is concerned about the decline in voter turnout in Davis, which he ascribes to “the changing demographics in town.”  He noted that in 2004, 20,000 people voted in the city council election but by 2012, that number had declined to a little more 14,000.  “If we don’t find a way of getting the students to vote and getting the people moving into town to vote, we could become a city (that has low participation).”

“I think that Davis won’t be Davis if we have that low voter turnout,” he said noting that this issue is never touched upon.

He cites the fact that he was born and raised in Davis and spent his entire life in Davis, with the exception of two years where he went to UC Santa Barbara.  “I’ve experienced the school system, I’ve gone to Farmer’s Market many times throughout my two decades of life here,” he said.  “I’m also a small business man, I created a profitable business in the solar industry when I was 20 years old.”

Based on that, he’s supportive of “Davis Roots and spinoffs, getting young people to start business here and staying here.  That’s what I am, that’s what I did when I was at Santa Barbara and I came back here to start my business.”

“I think that if we’re going to get out of this budgetary mess that we’re in, businesses really need to be a key part and I think that I have experiences that the other candidates don’t have,” he added.

Mr. Parrella was relatively unfazed by the notion that people might not take him seriously due to his youth.  He told the Vanguard that he encountered a lot of that at age 19 when he was attempting to sell solar panels.

“I think that once people get to know me, they’ll see that I’m not just…” he said.  “I know there have been other young candidates who run who just do it as a resume booster or because they’re propped up by the political machine in town.  I do think I understand the issues in Davis.  I’ve been following issues in Davis since I was 15 years old.”

The first issue he said he really paid attention to was the 2006 election when voters had the chance to bring SMUD to Davis.

“I’ve followed the issues since then, I do know what’s going on,” he stated.

On land use, he stated, “I don’t think we need any more residential developments for the next few decades.  I think the land use needs to focus for now on business.”

“Part of my big problem with the Cannery is long term it goes red,” he said.  “All developments that we should be focusing on should be short and long term profitable for the city and have the revenues to sustain it.”

He added, “I really don’t want Davis to become a metropolis.  I don’t think we should ever hit 100,000 people.  I think we can create a city that has all the amenities that we need without having to expand too much further out.”

If the city does a business park, he supports the city establishing an urban fringe and “buying land around the area to make sure that Davis stays the town where we all know it is.”

On Nishi, he acknowledged the “nightmarish connectivity issues” but said “I would support a business park there. I think it would be a good spot for high density housing.”

He added, “Being as old as I am, I do sympathize with the students who have to deal with ridiculously high prices for rent.”  He said, “I think we need to provide high density housing for them and I do support a mix on the Nishi land.”

In the downtown, he said he supports densification and infill.  He argued for beneath-ground parking as well as building upwards.

In terms of a business park, “For now I’m really just focusing on east of Mace.” He said when Mace 391 was on the agenda, “I actually made a public comment saying that I was in favor of a business park.  I regret doing that now, because of the Ramos-Oates and Brunner Tracts, I like the fact that it’s surrounded by Mace 391, the freeway and Mace Curve and I like the fact that we can’t sprawl outwards there.”

“That’s what concerns me about the west innovation park, I don’t think it’s as good of a spot for a business park in general because there’s the risk that we can sprawl outwards,” he stated.  “And frankly it’s going to be a real tough battle to get the east one to pass a Measure J vote and right now I just want to focus on that one.”

On the Parking Task Force recommendations he said, “Everyone supports like 17 of the 19 recommendations or something.”

He said he’s leaning toward a no on paid parking.  He said, “I’ve spoken to some business people and it seems as though the paid parking may not be the way to go.”

“Even the parking garage recommendation that they have, it troubles me that they’re willing to spend $50,000 per spot on a parking garage when the one on G Street has 50 percent occupancy most times of the day,” he said.  “That does trouble me.  If the parking problem in Davis was a simple supply and demand problem – yeah, I would support a parking garage unanimous.  My problem is I don’t think supply and demand is the issue, I think that distribution is the big problem where the employees go during the day.”

Fixing the distribution problem would include having employees park in long term parking in the parking garages.

The discussion moved back to creating a long term sustainable budget, which Daniel Parrella sees as the economic development piece.  “The bottom line is the city doesn’t generate enough property taxes, doesn’t generate enough revenues right now to sustain the services that the people of Davis have come to expect,” Mr. Parrella stated.

He doesn’t see the number of employees that the city government has right now as the problem.  He noted the decrease in employees from 464 to 361 since 2007-08 and said, “I really don’t think cutting another 100 employees from the city government is going to be a long term solution and I think it will affect the services that the people of the city of Davis have come expect.”

“If Davis is going to continue to be the place where people want to move to, we’re going to have to go the economic development route,” he said.  “In my mind it’s the only way of balancing the budget and creating a sustainable economy.”

Mr. Parrella noted that there are two taxes being proposed, a sales tax and an infrastructure parcel tax, and he said that he would support “limiting employee compensation because if we don’t deal with the pensions and the road repairs this year…”  He added, “We need to rip the bandaid off, we really do, I hate the fact that we’ve been kicking it down the road for the next 15 years.”

“The priority now is not increasing employee compensation, the priority right now is fixing our roads and finding ways to fund our pensions,” he stated.

“I won’t say I’ll hold the line in 20 years on those (future) MOUs,” Mr. Parrella clarified.  “But I will say, it’s not my priority right now.  My priority is paying for the unfunded pensions and the roads.”

We also discussed the city’s fire service.

Daniel Parrella said he was supportive of what the city did in the last year on this issue and said, “That’s why I came out in support of Steve Pinkerton.  I know he’s not perfect but I thought he did a good job of holding the line against the fire union.”

“Those are the kind of tough cuts that have to be made in a fiscal crisis,” he said.  He said that from a fiscal standpoint, he does not believe that boundary drop or the shared management services are going to make a huge difference in the long run.  “The only one that made a difference was the fire staffing cuts.  We saved a significant amount of every year.  I think you reduce the overtime that the firefighters have and really, when I look at surrounding cities, there are just not many that have four people per engine rather than three.”

The election will be in June.  There are two seats that are up for election.  Joe Krovoza declined to run for reelection and is instead running for Assembly.  Rochelle Swanson is running for reelection and there are three challengers, along with Daniel Parrella.  They are school board member Sheila Allen and Robb Davis.

The Vanguard has interviewed now all four announced candidates, having previously sat down with Sheila Allen, Rochelle Swanson, and Robb Davis for interviews.

The filing period opens on Monday, February 10 – will anyone else emerge other than these four?

—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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77 Comments

      1. SouthofDavis

        David wrote:

        > The problem is that given the quality of life in Davis, Davis housing
        > would be just as expensive in a far bigger city.

        It sounds like David needs to take an econ 101 class (or maybe just Google “supply and demand” and take a few minutes to understand a basic concept of economics). The “main” reason Davis homes and apartments cost ~50% more than Woodland and Dixon is the lack of supply. The “quality of life” (and UCD) does have something to do with the higher prices, but I’m wondering if anyone that posts to this site other than David thinks that adding thousands of nice new homes and apartments to the vacant land around Davis will result the sale price and rent of the current older homes and apartments being “just as expensive”…

        1. David Greenwald

          Except that in Econ 102, you also learn about inelastic demands and in the case of Davis, I question whether building additional housing – even a lot of additional housing – will lower the price of housing Davis by any real measure.

          1. SouthofDavis

            David wrote:

            > I question whether building additional housing – even a lot
            > of additional housing – will lower the price of housing Davis
            > by any real measure.

            Can you name a single city that added thousands of units of homes and/or apartments in a short period of time and did NOT see a drop in prices and rents?

            P.S. I saw a great graph of Phoenix from 1950-2010 like a roller coaster rents and home prices would rise, then building permits would rise and rents and home prices would drop, when rents and home prices started to rise again the building permits would start to rise again and as the new homes and apartments were completed rents and would drop again…

          2. David Greenwald

            The question is whether the demand for Davis is elastic, I don’t think it is. I think the pent up demand for housing in Davis plus quality of life will keep housing profits up.

          3. Grassroots

            I am originally from San Diego where thousands upon thousands of residences were built and the prices of housing did not go down until the housing bubble crisis emerged. Compared to other areas it has had a fairly quick housing recovery.

        2. Don Shor

          The question that comes up, and has been asked on this blog dozens of times before, is how many houses would have to be built in and around Davis in order to equalize the prices of Davis homes with those of the surrounding communities.

          The “main” reason Davis homes and apartments cost ~50% more than Woodland and Dixon is the lack of supply.

          You could also note that the ‘main’ reason homes in Woodland and Dixon cost ~50% less than those in Davis is a surplus of supply. And since that differential used to be about 15 – 20%, evidently the surplus of supply has increased over the last few years. Davis, Woodland, and Dixon are pretty much one big housing market. The other two communities have, historically and increasingly in recent years, provided the needed lower-cost housing in the area.
          So how many homes would Davis have to build? What would Davis look like if it did that? We know Mr. Toad’s answer: a city the size of Visalia here would be just fine with him. And that would be a city that merged with Woodland on the north, covered large areas of farmland to the south, and would expand all the way to the Yolo Causeway to the east.

          1. iPad Guy

            “The other two communities have, historically and increasingly in recent years, provided the needed lower-cost housing in the area.”

            The best argument yet for giving up on the well-meaning, but unsuccessful and corrupt, efforts to develop “affordable home ownership” in Davis.

  1. Doby Fleeman

    I think it’s exciting to have a younger person in the room – particularly one who seems so engaged on the substantive issues.

    After all, it is they who will be receiving all the bills we have been unable or unwilling to address. It only seems fair that they should have more say in how we go about curing the problem while the Boomer generation is still around to help pick up their share of the tab.

    1. Tia Will

      I agree with Doby that it will be very interesting to see the perspective and ideas that Daniel Parrella brings to the election. I also think it is important not to make the assumption that because he is young, that he would be representative of the “youth voice”. From meeting many young women daily in my practice, I see a wide variety of views just as I do in the remainder of the population. Some see Davis as a cute friendly small town where they are bored, some see it as an ideal place to slow down, concentrate on their studies and consider raising their family.
      There is no reason to believe that our young folks are any more homogenous in their views than are their seniors.

  2. wdf1

    I, too, appreciate that Parrella is running and adding his voice to the mix. But at first glance I think some of his statements need clarifying:

    Vanguard: “While in high school he spoke in front of the school board in protest of layoffs…

    and then

    “Probably the biggest reason that I’m running is that I think that the young families in this town are getting driven out by the number of taxes that have been passed in the past ten years,”

    A number of those taxes that were passed were school parcel taxes to prevent the kind of layoffs that he protested. I also think an appeal to younger families moving to Davis is more stability and opportunities in the schools here than in neighboring communities.

    Vanguard: Daniel Parrella is concerned about the decline in voter turnout in Davis, which he ascribes to “the changing demographics in town.” He noted that in 2004, 20,000 people voted in the city council election but by 2012, that number had declined to a little more 14,000. “If we don’t find a way of getting the students to vote and getting the people moving into town to vote, we could become a city (that has low participation).”

    The 2004 CC election included 8 candidates, 7 of whom were quite strong — Sue Greenwald, Don Saylor, Stephen Souza, Michael Harrington, Stan Forbes, Donna Lott, and Lamar Heystek. Greenwald, Saylor, and Souza won, but in any other typical election, Harrington, Forbes or Lott could have won. Heystek’s support in that election probably wouldn’t have been strong enough. But overall, more strong candidates, more viable choices, more voters participating. But also, 2004 was the year of a contested race for the Presidential nominee for the Democrats.

    The 2012 CC election had 5 strong candidates — Sue Greenwald, Stephen Souza, Dan Wolk, Lucas Frerichs, and Brett Lee. And this election year did *not* have a contested race for the Presidential nominee for the Democrats.

    Given all that context, I’m not prepared to bemoan a natural decline in voter interest

    1. Daniel Parrella

      wdf1,

      If you want the honest truth I had no idea what the hell was going on back then. My favorite teachers had been pinkslipped and myself and the rest of Da Vinci High were on a self-righteous crusade to right the wrongs made by the evil school board. Susan Lovenburg had just been elected and im sure she has fond memories of us booing the decision to continue with the pink slips.

      I would have campaigned door to door for the parcel taxes back when I was 17/18. Now I would go door to door against another one. Ive changed alot in 5 years, let me tell you.

      And honestly I think the appeal for young families to move to Davis has been squashed every since we have started letting hundreds of students from neighboring cities bolster our ranks. You can get cheap rent in Woodland, not pay the parcel taxes that contribute to great schools in Davis, and still send your kids here.

      As for the voter turnout. You are absolutely that the field of candidates plays a factor. Also the unions and the developers were very active and Don Saylor managed to raise over $70,000, (I think that was the year he set the record).

      However, I still think demographic changes play a major factor. We have more college students than ever before who dont vote, a trend that will continue as the university grows. Our 25-44 year old demographic is fleeing in droves and we have boomers moving in who usually vote in Federal/State elections but I am not sure they care all that much about local elections.

      I appreciate your comment wdf1, let me know if you need more clarification. If anyone wants to meet with me for coffee or talk on the phone my number is 530-219-5998 and my email is DanielforDavis@gmail.com. Thanks all!

      1. growth issue

        Daniel Parrella
        “I would have campaigned door to door for the parcel taxes back when I was 17/18. Now I would go door to door against another one. Ive changed alot in 5 years, let me tell you.

        And honestly I think the appeal for young families to move to Davis has been squashed every since we have started letting hundreds of students from neighboring cities bolster our ranks. You can get cheap rent in Woodland, not pay the parcel taxes that contribute to great schools in Davis, and still send your kids here.”

        This young man is much wiser than his years. He totally gets it. I’ll vote for you Daniel if you start showing some traction, if not I’ll have to vote for someone else as to not waste my vote.

          1. growth issue

            Not really, if I see that he’s doing well in the polls I’ll vote for him. DP, it’s not all that hard to comprehend.

          2. growth issue

            LOL Matt, I’m getting over a cough and you just made start laughing and coughing at the same time. That’s hillarious on two fronts.
            Your good buddy,
            Fear Uncertainty and Doubt

      2. wdf1

        Daneil Parrella: And honestly I think the appeal for young families to move to Davis has been squashed every since we have started letting hundreds of students from neighboring cities bolster our ranks. You can get cheap rent in Woodland, not pay the parcel taxes that contribute to great schools in Davis, and still send your kids here.

        In order to attend one of the regular (non charter) schools in Davis as an out-of-town resident, one of the parents has to work in Davis. That happens to be the same rule (a state law) that also allows DJUSD teachers, living out of the district, to enroll their kids in Davis schools.

        Shortly after 2008, when the initial wave of cuts hit the district, the Da Vinci community and DJUSD mutually agreed that a charter school arrangement for DV was the most viable arrangement. For charter schools, enrollment is open to those living outside the district. But charter schools do not automatically get school parcel tax money. As it is, DV students take advantage of some elective options at Emerson JH and at DHS by some reimbursement arrangement between DV and the district.

        My view is that California schools are governed too much from the state level. Decades ago there used to be more local control, especially for funding local schools. Part of the reason for the shift from local to state control was well-meaning — some communities were better able to fund their districts than others. But the downside is that state control typically doesn’t reflect local interests. A state legislator from Bakersfield or Redding ends up determining what’s best for Davis schools. Gov. Brown has reorganized school funding under what is called the “Local Control Funding Formula” (LCFF). Next year is the first budget year that it will run. It is supposed to allow for more local control, but the state still sets the parameters.

        Other commenters here will disagree with me, but I think you would find that Davis schools are about the best that you’ll find in the area, and it has to do with more stable funding (assisted by school parcel taxes) and a parent population that is willing and able to support the schools. A lot of that parent support is behind the scenes to most students (PTA meetings, music/sports booster meetings), but one of the most tangible examples of parent support in the schools is Grad Night. I don’t know of too many other communities that could pull that off.

        If schools are degraded, then young families may as well live in neighboring communities and attend their schools. Also, local taxes funding local schools makes the district more accountable to the community to try to make things work.

        We shopped around for different places to live, and schools were our top priority. For several years we lived in apartments in Davis. Now we live in a duplex that we bought into near the peak of the housing bubble. It was a tight squeeze for raising kids at the time, but we managed. We had opportunities to buy a bigger house elsewhere, but the schools were iffy.

        Also the unions and the developers were very active and Don Saylor managed to raise over $70,000, (I think that was the year he set the record).

        Sue Greenwald finished on top in that election, and she definitely wasn’t known as one who was in the pocket of the firefighters union or developers.

  3. Michelle Millet

    Daniel is clearly an intelligent young man that has taken the time to educate himself on the issues facing our city and come up with thoughtful solutions.

    Regardless of the outcome of June’s election I hope he stays active in Davis politics, he clearly has a lot to offer and and I see him as an asset to our community.

  4. Mr. Toad

    Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. After getting a good education in Davis schools this guy now wants to work against parcel taxes that made that education possible. He wants to shut out the children of the very people he claims to want to help by shutting the door on inter-district transfers for people who work here but can’t afford to live here as if its marginal taxes that make Davis unaffordable when in fact its lack of supply that is the big driver of the Davis premium.

  5. SouthofDavis

    Daniel wrote:

    > And honestly I think the appeal for young families to move to Davis has
    > been squashed every since we have started letting hundreds of students
    > from neighboring cities bolster our ranks. You can get cheap rent in Woodland,
    > not pay the parcel taxes that contribute to great schools in Davis, and
    > still send your kids here.

    The parcel taxes have not “squashed” the appeal of Davis for young families, it has just made it a little more expensive.

    Letting “hundreds of students from neighboring cities” has increased the numbers of teachers we need in Davis (and made many jobs safer thanks to LIFO).

    Speaking out against “inter-district transfers” and/or LIFO will put you on the “enemy” list of the teachers union that will do anything they can to assure that you have no chance of getting elected…

    1. iPad Guy

      I’m afraid you’re correct about the danger of taking on the massive influx of inter-district transfers. IMO, the high number of transfers reduces the quality of education here, but keeps one of our neighborhood schools from shutting down. This initiative and parcel taxes are seen by many as “solutions.”

      With the takeover of our single family dwellings by students for mini-dorms and the lack of interest in new family housing for Davis, Daniel’s concern about the drain of young families is legitimate. But, I can’t see a way out for decades.

        1. iPad Guy

          Increased class sizes. Reduced per student funding. More non-teacher support staff and management needed that we would otherwise need.

          It may be that the students coming from outside Davis bring benefits of increased diversity, but, I have no basis for this assumption.

          1. Don Shor

            Increased class sizes. Reduced per student funding. More non-teacher support staff and management needed that we would otherwise need.

            Interdistrict students are only allowed on a space-available basis. They do not reduce student funding. They do not increase the need for support staff and management.

          2. iPad Guy

            Without them, our class sizes would be smaller. Without them, we would have been forced to close another school (thereby reducing support staff and management as well as teachers).

            How do you account for the parcel tax that residents pay, but that inter district students do not? No one said that they “reduce student funding”–they reduce PER-STUDENT funding because only the state support comes with them, right?

          3. Don Shor

            I suggest you contact Bruce Colby and ask him whether interdistrict students are a net cost or a net benefit to the school district.

            Without them, we would have been forced to close another school (thereby reducing support staff and management as well as teachers).

            Um, yeah, probably, and this is a bad thing that we prevented the closure of another school?

            How do you account for the parcel tax that residents pay, but that inter district students do not?

            This is the most persistently specious argument that I’ve been hearing ever since the district tried to throw my kids out in the 1990’s. You realize, of course, that there is no correlation between who pays the parcel tax and who has kids in the schools here? Every property owner pays the parcel tax, regardless of where that property owner lives and regardless of whether that property owner has kids in the school (or at all).

          4. iPad Guy

            “Um, yeah, probably, and this is a bad thing that we prevented the closure of another school?”

            You can argue that we should keep operating schools when the district no longer has a within district reason to keep them open if you wish. And, we can keep teachers and other staff employed by recruiting students from outside, avoiding closing facilities which the Davis district couldn’t justify maintaining without them.

            All I’m saying is that one extra school comes at a price that includes more that just classroom teachers.

            I liked the general purpose elementary schools we had in every neighborhood forty years ago. But, new concepts and programs and changing demographics have parents driving their kids all over town.

            “Every property owner pays the parcel tax, regardless of where that property owner lives….”

            Not if the property owner lives in Dixon or Woodland or Winters. And these are some of the places from which the transfer come.

            Of course, not every parcel tax affected property has school age children living on it–so I agree with that part of your statement.

            I’m certainly at a loss to understand how that has anything with the point that outside students come to Davis schools without bringing along any parcel tax payments from the districts in which they live.

            This is a simple conclusion because only property owners within our district pay our parcel tax.

            I don’t meen to bug you about something that has an unpleasant personal history. But, does this explanation get me out the speciousness box?

          5. Don Shor

            No. I’ve been paying those parcel taxes for over three decades. I don’t live here. My kids went to school here via interdistrict transfer.
            According to census data, 26% of households in Davis have children under 18. So 74% pay the parcel taxes, one way or another, without direct benefit. Business properties pay them, regardless of where the owners live. There is so little correlation between property ownership, residency, and school status, that your point remains specious. For all you know, those parents may be paying parcel taxes in their districts of residence that are of no direct benefit to them. Finally, it is not legally possible to charge them the tax even if they wanted to pay it. We know, because we (collectively) asked if that would be possible when the district tried to throw us all out.
            An important point is that the parents of these kids are motivated to bring their kids here. They want their children in Davis schools. They clearly have an interest in their kids’ educational outcomes to the point that they will go the extra mile to get them here. So they are parents who have shown a specific commitment to their kids’ educations.
            I’m really tired of people dumping on interdistrict transfer students, implying that we are/were a cost to the district and somehow divert resources from resident kids. Overall I believe interdistrict transfers strengthen the school district.

          6. iPad Guy

            Your situation is hardly typical. How many inter district families also own property in Davis?

            How many inter district families are paying parcel taxes in their home districtsin Woodland, Winters, West Sac, etc.?

            That there is an occasional anomaly hardly means that the vast majority of outside students represent lower school funding levels than are brought to the table by Davis residents.

            It isn’t “dumping on” transfer students simply to point out this financial fact of life.

            No one questions the honorable desires of parents wanting to have their kids educated here instead of their home districts. Or that they might be willing to donate something to offset the disparity. Or the fact that every Davis student brings other value regardless of their address. Or, whether the trade off that transfer students allow us to forestall school closure decisions is bad or good.

            If you have a way of illustrating how ghe typical outside student doesn’t dilute the financial support that Davis residents provide to our school district, I’m open.

          7. Michelle Millet

            Without them would our classes be smaller? Maybe if an elementary school did not close down. But if one did these kids would be displaced to other school, filling back up those classroom.

            The best way to reduce the number of intra-district transfer and keep schools open is reduce class sizes back down to manageable levels. Over the past 10 years K-3 has gone from 20, 24, 31 students per class.

          8. iPad Guy

            Smaller class sizes would make a positive difference in the quality of Davis education, IMO.

            The number of students in classes has been going up since before the massive increase in out of district students. But, bringing in hundreds of students from outside while having to do more with less keeps us from improving the class size problem.

          9. Michelle Millet

            To clarify. Class sizes were not made bigger to accommodate out of district kids.

            There may be more room for them now that maximum number of kids allowed in K-3 is higher. It is supposed to be 29 (last year was 31, note my sons class this year started at 30).

            If we brought that number back down to 24, then fewer available slots may be available for out of district kids.

          10. iPad Guy

            My point, exactly. But, of course, we cannot reduce class sizes as long as we’re accommodating 500 out of district students. Unless we hire more teachers to deal with those who are here on a “space available basis.”

          11. Michelle Millet

            As I understand intra-district transfer are reevaluated every year according to available space. Just because they have a spot one year does not guarantee them one the next, say if class sizes went down making fewer slots were available.

          12. wdf1

            If you want to shut out out-of-district transfers, for whatever reason, then you will prevent DJUSD teachers who live out of district from enrolling their own kids in Davis schools. I think DJUSD functions much better when employees partake of their own product. They take a greater interest and commitment.

            Or you can give DJUSD employees raises so that more can afford to live in Davis, but I don’t think they will be getting big enough raises for that any time soon.

            In total, I think DJUSD benefits. I’m sure there is a point in which it would be justified to close a school, but I think we’re nowhere close to that.

          13. Michelle Millet

            I actually don’t have a problem with intra-district transfer. From what I understand they financially benefit the schools and the community.

            My argument was an attempt to point out that they are not the reason for increased class sizes.

          14. Matt Williams

            Michelle, did you mean inter-district or intra-district? I don’t think intra-district transfers would financially benefit the schools, because they would not affect ADA. However, each inter-district transfer would actually add one attendance unit to the District’s ADA.

    2. Daniel Parrella

      SouthofDavis & Mr. Toad,

      I was not as clear I should be, I have no problems with Inter-District Transfers. If either of you can show me where said I wanted to shut down inter-district transfers I will apologize profusely. I support that wholeheartedly, without them we would have to shut down more schools due to lack of attendance and lack of revenue. The point I was making was in response too

      “I also think an appeal to younger families moving to Davis is more stability and opportunities in the schools here than in neighboring communities.”

      I just think that appeal is gone, you can live in cheaper neighboring communities while simultaneously sending your kids to great schools here. I think its one of many reasons the young families in this town are a dying breed.

      I appreciate both your comments. I am new to this whole commenting thing and I look forward to becoming an active part of this blog.

      -Daniel Parrella

      1. Michelle Millet

        Daniel, I hope you do become become an active member of this blog. I think you can make valuable contributions and I look forward to engaging with you on issues facing our city.

        1. Daniel Parrella

          Michelle,

          Congrats on your appointment to the NRC by the way. I was able to figure out B. Nice identity just from that brief interaction we had while waiting to be interviewed.

          DP

          1. Michelle Millet

            Thanks.

            Glad I got a chance to meet you, looking forward to learning more about you during your campaign.

      2. wdf1

        Daniel Parrella: I just think that appeal is gone, you can live in cheaper neighboring communities while simultaneously sending your kids to great schools here. I think its one of many reasons the young families in this town are a dying breed.

        You are also looking at a demographic decline in births in recent years, most notably attributable to the recent recession. School districts around the state are seeing a decline in student enrollment in the lower grades, not just Davis.

        CNN Money, 9/6/2013: Baby bust: U.S. births at record low

  6. Mr. Toad

    “I think its one of many reasons the young families in this town are a dying breed.”

    But its not the biggest. The biggest is that there is a generation above yours that didn’t want to build driving up prices to levels where you need to be a doctor of some kind MD., Ph.D or J.D. to afford to buy here or inherit a bunch of money or live in your parents first or second house, If young people in this town are bummed about not being able to afford to buy here they should rightfully blame their parents generation of no growthers. Perpetuating the policies that created the imbalance that keeps your generation out is not the solution. Building a lot more housing is the answer. If Woodland can build enough to keep prices down so can we. All this nonsense about the Davis lifestyle is just that, nonsense.

    1. hpierce

      Woodland created too many ‘paper’ lots ‘on the come, then with the recession, values crashed. Good for new residents, bad for existing residents (particularly newer ones), developers and builders.
      IMO somewhere in between would be optimal for all.

  7. SODA

    I for one think it is refreshing to hear a candidate or elected official admit they have changed and/or changed their minds….doesn’t matter how old or young, I admire it as it is pretty rare these days….

    1. Michelle Millet

      Willingness to adapt an opinion on an issue after learning more about it and after gaining different perspective on it, is a quality I’d like to see in all my elected officials. (I don’t mean switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party to win say an assembly seat in a democratic district though).

  8. Michelle Millet

    Building a lot more housing is the answer.

    I would argue that building affordable housing is the answer. What is the average price of a house in the Cannery going to cost? Realistically how many of the people who came to council meetings begging for them to approve this development so that there would be houses in Davis that they could afford, will actually get the chance to buy one the relatively few affordable houses in the development?

    1. Don Shor

      I would argue that building affordable housing is the answer.

      Mandating affordable housing (not that you were advocating that specifically) never really has worked because the rental demand overwhelms everything else. The only way to achieve effective amounts of affordable housing is to build more high-density units such as apartments.

      1. Robb Davis

        Agree Don. I believe this needs to be our focus moving forward.

        Daniel – thanks for running. I expect to learn with and from you in the months ahead. Thanks.

        Here is what I have learned so far: 1) Beware of Toads, those who speak Frankly and anyone–and I mean anyone–named Harrington. 2) El Macero secretly wants to take over Davis. 3) David Greenwald is a conservative liberal. 3) I have no idea what “progressive” means (meet me for coffee to discuss) 4) There are some Vanguard posters who belong in a 12-step program (just note the insane hours of their postings). 5) Tia wants data. 6) Millet wants to nicely debate you without respite. 6) SOD is NOT SODA. 7) Shor and West agree on just about everything but pretend they do not. 8) Few people (amazingly) read everything Matt writes… 9) Under no circumstances must you write the number “391” in this space–for some reason that number is related to an unknown trauma experienced by many here. 10) Everyone says that no one reads the Vanguard but… everyone says THEY do…

        That’s it for now

        1. Michelle Millet

          Got one more, mention the word “school” and WDF1 will join the conversation.

          (Actually we already mentioned schools in this piece, WDF1 where are you, are you okay, if you don’t post soon I’m going to start worrying about you).

          1. Michelle Millet

            Never mind WDF1 I see you posted early in the day., I actually even read it earlier in the, at times my brain stops retaining new information.

        2. iPad Guy

          Daniel, I agree 100% with 83% of what Robb has presented for your benefit.

          For one thing, 391 is critical to acknowledge. No one interested in pursuing leadership positions in Davis dare forget the lessons of 391.

          It’s definite that 391 represents a number of ineffective processes and poor decisions that divided the community for a couple months.

          The resulting bad choice about 391 will haunt Davis residents in perpetuity as we approve more and more “temporary” taxes in order to avoid bankruptcy.

          Thank you for jumping in. Good luck on your campaign.

          1. Don Shor

            The resulting bad choice about 391…

            Except, of course, that many of us don’t feel it was a bad choice. So did you really want to reopen that discussion we had so vigorously here in September and October?

          2. iPad Guy

            Nope, it’s over and done with. Just encouraging Daniel to read his history if he isn’t aware of the way the divisive issue was handled and know there are lessons to be learned. Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock and the Golden Rule…and 391!

          3. Don Shor

            If it’s over and done with, why do you keep bringing it up? Some of us believe the council acted correctly, and that the mishandling was on the part of those who favored development of the site. We probably would find different lessons in both the process and the outcome than would those who favored the development proposal.

          4. Michelle Millet

            Daniel this is a small taste of what happens when the number 391 is written. Just hope Frankly and West don’t catch wind that these numbers appeared, that when it gets ugly.

          5. Matt Williams

            It isn’t just Frankly and West. There are some very interesting parallels between the sentiments that have been expressed here over the past few days about the Council’s decision to spend $1 million of POU investigation money and the Council’s 391 decision to sell a City-owned asset at a below market price that cost the City a whole lot more than $1 million.

            Don’s concern about the mishandling of the mid 2013 communication by those who favored development is well matched by the 2012 mishandling by those who wanted the land conserved at all costs. Now we find ourselves asking why the POU issue has caught “everyone” by surprise.

            This pattern is indeed a pattern that Daniel does need to pay attention to if he truly does want to be a member of City Council.

            Don is right, the lessons learned would be different for different people, but does that mean we shouldn’t robustly embrace the lesson learning process? Isn’t that what transparent government is all about?

      2. SouthofDavis

        Michelle wrote:

        > I would argue that building affordable housing is the answer.

        We don’t need to build “affordable” housing we just need to build “new” housing and when people move to the new stuff (rather than expand or remodel) their old homes (that often need a remodel/updating) will become “affordable”.

        > What is the average price of a house in the Cannery going to cost?

        The price of a “new” house, “new” Honda minivan or “new” Trek bike do not have anything to do with the price of a nice “used”/”affordable” house, minivan or bike. As long as you keep building and selling new homes, cars and bikes the older ones will become “affordable” as people with more money buy the fancy new ones and sell the older ones to people looking for an “affordable” alternative to new. Guess what would happen to the price of minivans and bikes in Davis if the city did not allow any “new” ones to come in to town? (they would rocket up in price and politicians would be able to get politically connected bike shops and car dealers tons of money to help get “affordable” bikes and cars to the poor)…

        Then Don wrote:

        > Mandating affordable housing (not that you were advocating that
        > specifically) never really has worked because the rental demand
        > overwhelms everything else. The only way to achieve effective
        > amounts of affordable housing is to build more high-density units
        > such as apartments

        Don is spot on here. We can build a few “affordable” homes and let some politically connected contractors hit the jackpot (since nothing costs more per foot to build in California than “affordable” housing) or build an “affordable” apartment (like New Harmony that you can see from I80) and make a few contractors a ton of money. If we really want to provide more housing in town we need to build more (as Don says) high-density units. Most UCD students I talk to would rather have their own apartment than live in the converted garage of a Streng home with six others but are forced in to SFHs converted to “mini-dorms” (Bill Streng never built a 7 bedroom 2 bath home) because no apartments are available in their price range (the new West Village 2 bedroom apartments are renting for close to $2K a month!). What could be greener than having students living in high-density downtown where they can walk and/or bike to stores and school?

      1. SouthofDavis

        Michelle:

        See my post above, building “new” stuff always makes the older stuff “affordable” as people with more money buy the “new” stuff and sell the old stuff to people with less money at “affordable” prices…

        1. Michelle Millet

          I paid ALOT more for my house then the original owner, and it’s relatively new. We couldn’t afford some of the older houses in Davis, because they tended to by more expensive then the newer ones. I think your used car analogy falls flat in this town.

        2. Tia Will

          Yes, providing new “stuff” does make the older stuff more affordable. But what you are not stating is equally important to what you are. You are not mentioning that housing unlike the “stuff” you mentioned demands conversion of land from other uses and imposes other constraints on a community such as need for increased infrastructure and services. Also you do not mention that while there is no objective limit to the number of bikes and the like that we can accommodate, one cannot simply grow more housing units for ever as one will eventually run out of designated space.

    2. hpierce

      “affordable housing” has been a tricky term…. often equated with “ownership” units, I don’t think that should be the ‘standard’… we should consider rental units, ownership units, and manufactured housing (mobile homes where the resident owns the structure, but not the land beneath it) in a mix. Think Rancho Yolo was the last example of the latter, built in the early 70’s, but I’ve always perceived it as affordable, and quite a nice neighborhood.

  9. Mr. Toad

    If you were to ask John Meyer why there is a student housing shortage he would likely if he was candid put part of the blame on the delays caused by opposition to West Village by Davis residents.

    Until Sue Greenwald, Ken Wagstaff and Mike Harrington were on the council the university focused on building infrastructure for research and education while letting the city and its business leaders profit from providing much of the housing for students. After the no growth scene took over the university hired John Meyer away from the city and started to build infrastructure to house its students. But the university got sued by West Davis residents so its taken longer to get going. Student housing at Nishi is probably coming soon but will not be revealed for a few more days.

    Don is correct about the need for student housing but the same arguments can be made about housing for young families, seniors and middle income employees of local businesses. A deficit exists in many types of housing. Addressing it requires building a mixture of housing types because just as the root of the problem has had unintended consequences unwinding the pent up demand will take time and many types of solutions.

    As for Don arguing that 74% of parcel tax payers received no benefit he is incorrect. While they may have received no direct benefit those parcel taxes have propped up property values by making Davis a desirable place for families to raise and educate their children.

  10. SouthofDavis

    Don wrote:

    > Daniel: this is why “young families in this town are a dying breed”:

    Thanks for posting the link. When we rented our home we could have got much higher rent if we rented to four students from the Bay Area rather than a family (but we would have had to deal with re-renting it every year or two). Many landlords need to get as much as possible that makes the kids who pay more have a much better chance to rent than a family.

    P.S. Does anyone have any idea what is going on with the Pacifico Student Housing CoOp at 1752 Drew Circle (along the bike trail) that is owned by the city and had been sitting half empty (at best) for the past 10 (TEN) years!!! I remember reading a few years back in the Enterprise that the city was going to invest a million (it seems like the city always has a million bucks to blow, and I forget how many million the Twin Pines mess ended up costing) in the property but year after year nothing changes (other than different groups of sketchy guys hanging out by the one building that looks occupied)…

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