Editor’s Note: Every week on Friday the Vanguard will send all five of the candidates a question that they will be asked to respond to by the end of the day on Thursday for a Friday publication. The answers are posted in the order that they were received.
Answers are limited to 350 words.
Question: There are some in this community who believe that Measure J/ Measure R were really intended to give residents the ability to determine whether residential and housing developments could go forward. Should we exempt business and innovation parks from required Measure R votes? And would you support amendments to Measure R to exempt the peripheral development of business and innovation parks at Nishi, Northwest Quadrant and Mace 200 from required votes?
While concerns about housing growth drove the development of Measure J, Davis citizens clearly desire an opportunity to engage directly in decisions about all peripheral development.
Business and innovation parks should not be exempted from Measure R votes, and I would not support amendments to Measure R to exempt the three innovation sites from such votes. A key pillar of my campaign is to assure that we carefully help steward the farmland on our periphery, because it represents a critical planetary resource for the growth of food and seeds.
I have also made it clear that I welcome the opportunity to examine all three innovation park sites and if any site has real potential for increasing City revenue, I will work with my Council colleagues to lay out clear guidelines for its development. This is why I have called for immediate implementation of the first recommendation of the Innovation Park Task Force:
Adopt a new fiscal model that accurately evaluates both the fiscal impacts and economic benefits of new innovation/research development for the community.
The use of this model will help the Council and the citizens analyze the potential of each site and transparently and clearly make the case about its value so that we can make a fully informed Measure R vote. If the Council can demonstrate the revenue and jobs potential of each site, I believe the voters will approve them.
I understand that some owners/developers of individual innovation park sites in question may want to use a citizens’ ballot initiative to more fully lay out their plans and reduce their own uncertainty. Because such initiatives would be fully within the spirit of Measure R and could even lay out a clearer picture of what is planned for each site, I would be open to supporting them (assuming, again, that the projected revenue stream is a benefit to the city).
I am committed to seeking a multi-pronged approach to expanding our revenue base. Examining the three sites is part of that approach, but citizens must be allowed to vote on each one.
I have thought about this question for a few days and am still having the same reaction – Where is this coming from? It has not been mentioned, even in passing, in any of my conversations with people interested in the City Council election.
And my answer also keeps coming back the same. No, this is just another bad idea. In June of 2010, Davis voters overwhelmingly approved Measure R, with nearly 77 percent of the total vote and a majority vote in every precinct in Davis, thereby renewing their authority to vote on proposals for changing agricultural and open space lands zoning to allow urban uses.
Measure R included specific mention of “economic development” on the “Nishi” property, so there can be no doubt about the Measure’s application or the voter’s intent in this case. Elsewhere, Measure R is clear about its requirements to preserve agricultural lands and agricultural land uses, which would certainly apply to the conversion of such lands to commercial uses.
Attempting to amend Measure R to exempt business park development would both fail in an election and distract the City from timely consideration of innovation park proposals. This is another instance where we should just say “no” and stay focused on solving the problems we already have before us.
Trying to make an end run around Measure R would end up covering a lot more time and distance than facing it directly with a well-designed development proposal.
I do not believe the public thought that business and innovation parks would be exempt from a Measure R vote. I support the community weighing in on an annexation questions. This process gives the city and the developer the opportunity to articulate the intended use of the land and the potential costs and benefits to Davis and its citizens.
With an innovation/business park it will important to inform the voters that such a use will bring immediate and long term, sustainable funding for the city. I support the work of Rob White and the Innovation Task Force and hope that the first park queues up in the near future as a part of the solution for our city’s financial challenges.
I would like to look at the Measure R process to assure that developer, council and voter decisions move along at a sufficient pace so we do not lose opportunities e.g.: some current businesses are interested in expanding now and would like to grow in the proposed innovation park. I would like to move the Measure R vote forward when there is sufficient understanding of the proposed project, but not so late in the process that large sums of money are invested before a clear green light is given by the council and the community.
I am not prepared at this time to support a broad reaching amendment to Measure R to exempt business and innovation parks but I would be willing to have that public discussion in the future.
No, I think the people of Davis should have the final say on any kind of development and I would not support amendments for a business park. I believe that measure J is the most powerful tool we have to force concessions out of a developer.
Davis has seen a radical shift in its politics. After the defeat of covell village running a “no-growth” campaign was all the rage to get elected. As of right now all five city council members and all four new candidates support some version of a business park. The community is not quite as unanimous, but I am confident that if the city presents the appropriate arguments we can push one or two business parks through.
I have been conducting my own poll as I walk precincts and the idea of a business park is far more popular than residential developments. No one wants to keep losing homegrown companies. Everyone wants local jobs for graduates. The most compelling argument of all is the idea of generating revenue through means other than taxation.
Honestly if we cant convince the people of Davis to support a business park it will largely be do to the cities ineptitude when it comes to PR. The city’s rollout of public power was absolutely FUBAR. Despite making significant strides towards solvency the public has very little trust when it comes approving Measure O or another parcel tax. The business park will be a crucial test for the city when it comes to listening to the community and assuaging concerns.
I think that the intentions of Measure J/R was to allow the public to weigh in on whether they supported the development of any ag land or open space parcels within, or near Davis. In light of this, I would have to say that I would not advocate for an exemption unless the public was in support of it. For example, I would consider a grassroots initiative that lays out some specific project or parameters for entitling a parcel or parcels of land.
Measure J and its renewal, Measure R, were enacted to ensure the public was able to vote on whether to develop a parcel with an agricultural or open space designation. I supported Measure J and Measure R and believe that there should be a public vote to determine if we use any agricultural or open space land for development.
While Measure J and R were primarily focused on controlling unbridled residential development, it included allowing the public to weigh in on non-residential development. As our city faces significant financial challenges, we need our entire community to weigh in on the choices before us and how we meet our fiscal challenges.
It is clear that an innovation park would not only provide significant and long term revenue for Davis, but it also help establish Davis as a world leader in agricultural research, which has always been the mission of UC Davis. We do not want to lose the spirit and character of Davis, yet we need to determine a sustainable fiscal plan for the future of our community. The best way to address this is by asking for any proposals for an innovation park to come forward now.