Proposed Measure R Changes Already Drawing Controversy

NW-RFEI-4The Davis City Council on Tuesday night, during their long range calendar discussion, agreed to agendize a discussion of Measure R changes for the Mace 200 project. However, the proposed changes are already drawing concern, criticism and opposition, and not just from those who are necessarily opposed to the business park proposal.

Councilmember Brett Lee, for instance, remains a strong supporter of bringing in a business park, but not the changes to Measure R. The Vanguard has previously noted that Wildhorse Ranch in part was derailed over concerns that baseline project features that the developers agreed to during the Measure J process would not be binding unless included in the Developer Agreement.

We will learn more by the end of the day today as to what will be agendized for discussion for Tuesday, when Robb Davis replaces Joe Krovoza on the city council.

However, there is already an immediate impact on the process. John Hodgson, representing the Northwest Quadrant Development team, wrote a letter to Rob White on Thursday, where he indicated that “the process should ensure that the City is well positioned to implement the very best ideas for creating a world-class facility.”

He wrote, “Our suggested approach is to work collaboratively with the City, the County, the Davis community, UC Davis and interested technology companies to create a proposal that works well for everyone.”

He continues, “In our view, significant outreach to all parties within a reasonable period of time is needed to assure the best possible innovation Center, and we further believe that such an approach is consistent with the process the City initiated in its issuance of the RFEI.”

Mr. Hodgson indicated that, while he does not believe it is good public policy or strategically wise to place a ballot measure on the ballot at this time, if the city is inclined to consider that approach, they are requesting the same treatment as the Mace Innovation Proposal.

“We believe it would be in the best interest of the City to ensure both proposals are covered by any such Council action,” he wrote. “We respectfully request that our proposal likewise be advanced.”

“We do not, however, believe that placing any proposal on the ballot at this particular time is good public policy, particularly given the City’s very recent receipt of this information and lack of public input and consideration,” Mr. Hodgson wrote. “The purpose and intent of the RFEI process are sound, and we believe it would be unwise to abandon it. It is unclear what purpose the RFEI served if the City disregards those submittals and elects instead to immediately place a project on the ballot with little public discussion.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mace 200 Developer Dan Ramos read from a June 17 letter to Interim City Manager Gene Rogers. Mr. Ramos read, “One issue which has emerged as we have proceeded is how to comply with Measure R which, as you know, currently requires a vote of approval by the electorate following City Council approval for a project such as the one we are contemplating.”

He added, “We certainly support Measure R.” He added, “I want to emphasize that.”

Mr. Ramos continued, “However, we would like the mandated vote to occur earlier in the process. Why? Because it waits until too late in the process for us, the landowner, to ascertain whether the community supports our proposal.”

He added, “The same is true for local innovation companies which are currently seeking expansion opportunities.”

To this end, he stated, “We would like to request that the City Council place on the November 2014 ballot a slight modification to Measure R which would allow the mandated vote to occur prior to City Council action as opposed to after that action. In addition, we would further request that the modification measure actually act as a means of allowing the electorate to vote on our proposal.”

The letter continued, “These actions together will facilitate citizen input while allowing us to learn early in the process whether there is communitywide support for our proposal. They will also help assure the timely and efficient review of the proposed project.”

Some of the early feedback we have received has been negative – the majority of the people we spoke to are willing to support some business park alternative, but not with Measure R revisions. In addition to concerns about creating assurances for the voters, there is a general belief that any attempt to circumvent or appearance of any attempt to circumvent the Measure R process would be treated with suspicion by the residents, some of whom may otherwise be inclined to support the innovation park.

During public comment, Tyler Schilling of Schilling Robotics spoke as to the urgency of the issue.

“I am very interested, based on the rapid growth of our business, in seeing a Measure R vote as early as practical because of the time pressure our business happens to be under,” Mr. Schilling stated. “I’ve always considered myself a futurist, but unfortunately I’m only able to see 15 to 30 minutes into the future and didn’t anticipate our business growing as rapidly as it has.”

He continued, “We’re going to need a sizable parcel to build a new facility and I would dearly love to be able to do it here in Davis.”

Mr. Ramos is proposing the following ballot question: “Shall Ordinance no. 2530, commonly known as Measure R, be amended, as set forth in Ordinance no. _ , to allow for voter approval for a innovation, research and business park not to exceed 230 acres in size and to be located east of Mace Blvd and north of Interstate 80, and which involves no residential development, and shall this measure be deemed to constitute that vote?”

—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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  1. Barack Palin

    “Mr. Ramos is proposing the following ballot question: “Shall Ordinance no. 2530, commonly known as Measure R, be amended, as set forth in Ordinance no. _ , to allow for voter approval for a innovation, research and business park not to exceed 230 acres in size and to be located east of Mace Blvd and north of Interstate 80, and which involves no residential development, and shall this measure be deemed to constitute that vote?”

    Way too vague, I think we to have to at least be to the point where we can see a model of what the project will look like along with many of the particulars of the scope of how it will effect the community.

  2. Mr. Toad

    How much did Parlin or Covell Partners spend on development proposals? Who would incur these costs with the risk of being voted down by measure R. At least at Nishi the city and university took a piece of the action reducing the risk. I think in 14 years there have been only two measure J/R votes and both failed. The result is that measure J is working as intended by its authors to stop peripheral development. Now that the city wants to grow it can’t because nobody in their right mind is willing to fund the front loaded costs of coming up with something that can please the fickle and often conflicting whims of every voting constituency in the city then risk failure at the ballot box.

    Ramos is correct, have the vote first, then have the city negotiate the project if the vote is approved. Otherwise get rid of economic development as a solution to the budget mess and raise taxes to fund the quality of life Davis residents demand. Then again perhaps decaying and declining roads, pools, water quality, city services and schools is what Davis wants. It sure looks that way here in Virtual Vanguardland.

    1. Frankly

      I sort of agree with Mr. Toad here. With one major exception.

      The city did a lightweight request for interest. That is not enough to support a city vote on the project. What we need is a full blown RFP that includes all the vetted requirements resulting from a culmination of a citywide collaborative process. This then goes to the developer and the developer responds with a detailed proposal. That detailed proposal should be voted on.

      The difference here is that the city needs to take responsibility for the work to collect a detailed specification and set of requirements, and not the developers coming back with their vision only to have our population of professional critics tear it down.

      This process also needs significant input from prospective businesses that would locate here.

      Then the contract between the developer and the city needs a “material adverse change” clause that invalidates the Measure R vote if determined to be the case.

      The way this works is for the city and developer to agree on a cost in-lieu of compliance for each and every requirement for the project. If the developer flip-flops on anything, then the city has the authority for two options: 1 – Demand cash payment for the missed requirement, 2 – Invalidate the approval of the project.

      Likewise, if the city materially changes any requirement, the developer has the right to demand consideration for the cost by either dropping other requirements of a similar cost, or demanding some other consideration from the city to make it so.

      The key here is that the city needs to take more responsibility for specifying what it wants so the developer can do a feasibility analysis and decide if the project makes any sense. And then deliver a proposal that checks the most boxes.

      Just think about this as if you were building a custom house. If you just say propose something and then let me vote on it, unless the developer can read your mind and/or is very lucky and/or you are not that picky, surely you will find many things you will dislike and count criticize. That being the case, any developer would be foolish to deliver a proposal without your detailed specification and requirements.

      1. Matt Williams

        Very well said Frankly. Balanced and forward thinking at the same time.

        The development of residential housing is very different from what is proposed for Mace 200 in one important way … the matching of actual customer demand to design specifications. Within certain community goal paramenters, we know what the mix of housing is going to look like before a housing project starts. We also know that there is sufficient actual demand in the housing marketplace to build out the entire project to completion in a short timeline.

        Bottom-line, housing addresses a market whose desires are for reasonably well defined and homogenous needs.

        Any innovation park proposed for the Mace 200 site is different. Tyler Schilling has identified his company as “actual demand.” My hearsay understanding is that Schilling Robotics needs/wants 40 acres for their expanded facility. That only represents 20% of the site. For the sake of discussion, let’s say that there is another 40-60 acres of “actual demand” (Marone Bio Innovations and HM Clause being mentioned as possibilities). Those additional “actual demand” innovation companies are going to have very different requirements than Schilling does. As such, if we (as a community) want to be patient, and only select companies that leverage the core innovation and research competencies of UC Davis, then we will need to accomodate (oth for ourselves and the developer) that uncertainty in our planning process.

        In a word, we need to be “nimble” and the process Frankly has laid out allows us to collectively be nimble. Build a foundation built on trust, but include enough verification steps into the process to ensure that the end result truly does leverage the core innovation and research competencies of UC Davis.

    2. Tia Will

      Mr. Toad

      I have no idea how much money was spent on these proposals. However, my understanding of how a supposedly
      “free market” and private sector endeavors works is that risk is entailed. I understand risk both financial and professional. I chose to invest all the money I was able to make working full time while going to classes full time in order to try for a place in medical school. I knew that I was not guaranteed a spot. It meant enough to me to put in the investment of four years of my time and all of my money just for a chance at what I wanted to do.
      This is not how I would choose to structure things if I were in charge of our economic system, but this would appear to be what the majority of us are willing to accept.
      So please explain to me why, when virtually all jobs, business starts, and development within our system entail risk, is the community obliged to reduce risk for this particular group by approving a project before it is fully vetted
      when we do not guarantee that any particular individual will get into the program or profession of their choice if they meet certain minimal standards.

      1. Mr. Toad

        Problem is you can’t force them to take the risk so they are likely to pass on it without greater assurance of success. As for your willingness to pay for upkeep of the town we make two yes votes. Now you need to convince the other 2/3 of the voters and the election results and polling show that 2/3 of the voters don’t want to pay up so it looks like its all down hill from here. Hang on its going to be a bumpy ride.

        1. David Greenwald

          You’re correct you cannot force them to take the risk, but if they wish to develop a project, they have to do so. They had an alternative here which was to put an initiative on the ballot. There are a number of advantages to doing so including demonstrating public support. They were encouraged to do this, but declined to do so and instead are attempting a very politically risky move of circumventing Measure R.

          1. Good Government

            And if they can’t take that risk, or are not willing, Davis is left with nothing.

          2. David Greenwald

            Given that three teams lined up to take proposals, that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

        2. Tia Will

          Mr. Toad

          “Problem is that you cannot force them to take the risk”

          This could equally be said about people choosing to go to medical or other professional school or any other kind of entrepreneurial venture. In my opinion, the risk should be born by the individual who is proposing the change. Despite years of
          “no guarantee” and “no force” we seem to fill our medical school classes. I do not feel that we need to change the ground rules for these developers.

  3. Barack Palin

    How can voters approve anything unless they have a good idea of what the actual project will look like and end up being? And a big “NO”, I don’t trust the City Council and planning department to negotiate what the final project will end up being.

    1. Mr. Toad

      So there you have it. You don’t trust the city or the developers and reserve the power to decide yourself but don’t be surprised if the property owners aren’t interested in spending a lot of their own money trying to please you. Now back to the fiscal situation of the city. How do you propose to fix the roads and the declining water quality and worn out pools? Perhaps you would prefer we return to gravel roads.

      1. Tia Will

        Mr. Toad

        What I would prefer:
        A substantial parcel tax specifically dedicated to repair and maintenance of critical infrastructure and pursuit of an innovation park. I see no need to tamper with measure R in order to move forward. It would seem that we currently have three proposals. Why not move forward with consideration of those in the existing manner ?

    2. D.D.

      Since you don’t trust your elected officials, why don’t you run for office yourself, instead of being a pessimist and second guessing the hard working council.

  4. Tia Will

    Barack Palin

    We seem to have a rare moment of agreement on the first part of your statement. I see this change as asking the community to essentially approve a project with minimal idea of what they are approving. This would be akin to being asked to write a large check for an unspecified item that you might or might not want. I am not understanding how anyone would see this change as upholding the spirit of measure R.
    I do not agree that this has anything at all to do with “trust” for the City Council and planning department.

    1. Barack Palin

      “I do not agree that this has anything at all to do with “trust” for the City Council and planning department.”

      How can you say that when the voters have already turned down two projects, Covell and WHR, that the City and planning departments had given their stamps of approval to? Obviously the voters didn’t like what they came up with so why should we now trust them with the final product without any recourse?

      1. David Greenwald

        Is trust the same thing as agreement. There are people who I trust will think things through, consider things carefully, but ultimately may reach a different conclusion. That’s not a lack of trust, it’s a disagreement on the weighting of priorities or even a matter of taste.

  5. Tia Will

    Barack Palin

    I guess that we are using the word “trust” differently. An example from my work place.

    I trust my chief of department implicitly to do what she sees as best for the well being of the department and our medical group. I do not always agree with her decisions. However, she is the chief. I am an assistant chief. She was chosen to lead our group through a process that included input from all members of our department. She was selected as chief because a majority of us saw her as the best individual for the job and trusted her judgment even if we are not always in agreement.

    At the City Council level, I know from experience that when I vote, I will likely not agree with every decision that my favored candidate makes. This only means that we are different people with different perspectives on some issues. It does not mean that I do not trust them to do what they perceive as the best option for the entire city, if not for me personally, on any given issue.

    1. Barack Palin

      You totally contradict yourself Tia will. If you trust the city to always do the best option for the city then why do we even have a Measure R?

      1. Mr. Toad

        Measure J was spearheaded by people who wanted to block peripheral development. It has killed all peripheral development, beyond the limit line, to date. For those who oppose peripheral development this has been a success. Sadly it has also contributed, along with lack of fiscal discipline, to the city being unable to maintain its infrastructure. So what is your solution?

        1. David Greenwald

          I think Measure J was spearheaded by some people who wanted to block development, but other people who wanted the public and not the council to have the final say.

          1. Mr. Toad

            That’s nonsense. J was put forward when Wagstaff, Sue Greenwald and Mike Harrington were on the council. They were all vociferously anti-growth and still are.

      2. Tia Will


        I do not feel that I am contradicting myself. David said it more succinctly and clearly than I did when he differentiated between “trust” and “agreement”.

      3. Tia Will

        Mr. Toad

        I am making the assumption that you were directly your question to me.
        I already posted my proposed solutions. I would have favored a higher sales tax.
        I am in favor of a parcel tax. And I am in favor of using the existing process without change in measure R to evaluate the proposals that have been brought before the city.

        I fail to see how this represents “being against everything”.

  6. Frankly

    For all those people untrusting of the developer, or the process, the obvious favorite here should be the Davis Ranch location since the land owner is offering to donate the land to Davis. Davis would own the land and then would completely control what the project should look like and what requirements should be satisfied.

    The back of a napkin calculation is $5-8 million in revenue per year per 200 acre business park… once the park is fully developed.

    This city needs another $50 million per year in revenue to support our required and desired services and infrastructure maintenance.

    Note if you dispute this, Palo Alto… a city with about the same population as Davis has a $150 million general budget compared to our $50 million GF budget.

    Even with our sales tax increase and a $50 new parcel tax, we are going to need another $30-$40 million per year.

    So we are going to need all three of these parks and probably one or two more.

    It seems rational to start with the parcel we own. Since the CC screwed up on Mace 391, we should turn toward this generous offer from the Tsakopoulos family as our first priority. We can work on this specification and design as a model for future parks with land owned by others.

    In addition, the Tsakopoulos family is requiring that the proceeds from the sale of the land go into a trust that will be used for currently unspecified causes. That is another benefit we should all get excited about. Mace 391 would have filled our city coffers, but the Davis Ranch project would at least fill charitable cause coffers rather than provide profit to the developer. I don’t have any problem with land owners profiting from the use and/or sale of their land, but the Davis Ranch project has more value to the city.

    1. Don Shor

      Seems like you’re getting way ahead of yourself here. We have no idea what they are offering exactly, nor what the project developers are proposing. The impression I get is that they just wanted to get their proposal in, in outline form, before the deadline.
      I’d say the South Davis proposal is likely a 2015 discussion, and the others will be coming first simply because they are further along in the planning process.

      1. Frankly

        Seems like you are completely ignoring the points made above.

        I really hope you are not again digging in your heels for reasons that again make no rational sense opposing the option that has the most value to the city just to satiate your own singular demand.

        Do you not get the “we own it, we control it” point?

      2. Frankly

        I think a lack of support for the Tsakopoulos offer (by the way, this is not a big surprise… the patriarch is in his 80s and the family trust is in the process of divesting parts of their portfolio in a way that benefits the region and communities.)

        There is no hidden agenda there. They have already done similar things.

      3. Frankly

        Oops… I think a lack of support for the Davis Ranch option by those claiming to support economic development for Davis is a clear indication of a hidden no-growth agenda.

        1. Don Shor

          I haven’t said I support or don’t support the proposal. There is no proposal to discuss yet. No hidden agenda here. What’s interesting is your knee-jerk reaction supporting something that you don’t even have details on yet.
          Awfully quick on the draw there, pardner.

          1. Frankly

            What do you mean there is no proposal to discuss yet? There is no design, preliminary or otherwise, to discuss yet… because the proposal is simply the land. But there is a proposal.

            Do you not trust ourselves to design a great business innovation park?

            My knee jerk reaction was in response to your knee-jerk reaction.

            These projects are all subject to a Measure J/R vote, and it seems pretty clear to me that a city-controlled project should calm the anxiety of those worried about a developer-controlled project. That was the point being made above… the proposed revision to Measure R was being opposed because of concern about the developer not sticking to his commitments. If the Tsakopoulos family passes on the deed to the city, then the developer would work for us.

          2. Don Shor

            From the original article on this:

            Mr. Morris adds, “To augment this generous offer from the Tsakopoulos family, CCV reached out to Panattoni Development Company (Panattoni) to request that they collaborate with CCV and the City in making the Innovation Center a reality. In response to CCV’s inquiry, Panattoni has responded favorably and is very interested in working with the City as the master developer/builder of an Innovation Center on Davis Ranch.”

            So obviously the proposal is NOT “simply the land.” The proposal is that CCV work with a major developer to build an innovation center on land that Tsakopolous would donate.
            Perhaps the city would like to solicit bids from others than CCV and Panattoni for development of the site, but we don’t know if the donation includes any specificity with regard to that.
            Perhaps the city would do better to sell the donated land and buy something closer in to the city limits.
            Perhaps there are restrictions that the Tsakopolous family would like to put on the city’s disposition of the property.
            If you saying that a Measure R vote should just be an up or down as to annexation of the raw land, and not a specific development proposal for that land, then it could proceed in 2014 or early 2015. Otherwise, I’d guess the other site projects — at least Mace 200 — will go before the voters first.
            We don’t even actually know exactly which parcel is under discussion, though I’d assume it is the one just east of the soccer fields. Jim Frame has identified positive and negative aspects of that site. Who, just out of curiosity, owns the parcel just west of the soccer fields? Because any annexation and rezoning of the one site will instantly turn that other site into developable land.

          3. Don Shor

            In addition, the Tsakopoulos family is requiring that the proceeds from the sale of the land go into a trust that will be used for currently unspecified causes.

            Any idea what this means? That if the city chooses to sell the site, they can’t use the revenues for budget purposes or purchase of a different site?

          4. Frankly

            The Tsakopoulos family is not giving away the value of this land to the city just so the city can put it in their general fund or to run off and do another hairbrained permanent ag easement. The details of the requirements for what would be eligible use of these proceeds is still to be worked out, but what I understand it could be directed at social, environmental and maybe other community development causes/needs. This is pretty exciting stuff from my perspective. Maybe we can use the money to fund that fluoride van that would provide dental care to those 3 Davis kids that can’t seem to stop drinking soda and who’s parent’s can’t seem to access any of the free healthcare services we provide.

            But regardless of what these proceeds can or cannot be used for, it is only value add to the other proposals because they don’t include any transfer of land sales proceeds to the city.

            And then there is that “we own it, we control it” value add. Again, the other two proposals cannot touch that.

            You have these two value adds that the other two proposals don’t have.

            So what exactly is your problem with focusing on this one as a first priority.

            There is also a time table on this one. We snooze we loose…again.

          5. Don Shor

            The details of the requirements for what would be eligible use of these proceeds is still to be worked out, but what I understand it could be directed at social, environmental and maybe other community development causes/needs.

            Obviously you know more about this project proposal than what David has posted, so how about you give us all the details? It’s a little hard to judge based on early reports that are public. I guess they’ve already sold you on it somehow.

          6. Frankly

            Obviously you know more about this project proposal than what David has posted,

            Not much more. I am taking most of what I know from things that I have read and heard over the last couple of days. As you know I am in the business of economic development and so I probably rub elbows with a few people that are earlier to the game on this stuff.

            But I did talk to someone last night at dinner who knows of the Tsakopoulos family and other similar transactions in the region. So I am making some assumption based on the history.

            I am also making some assumptions based on the circumstances and what I know about the family. They are ardent pro-environment Democrats.

          7. Don Shor

            Interesting. Yes, they have a long and interesting history in the region and in Democratic Party politics. They were major backers of Phil Angelides, for example.
            Assuming we’re talking about the property just east of the soccer fields, it raises some of the same issues that Mace 391 did; soil quality and development pressure in particular. Flooding is a concern. And there would be some access issues, I guess, though those hardly seem insurmountable.
            The site west of it instantly becomes a development site; if you annex the one, you might as well annex the other (what does that landowner think?). But the Tsakopolous family might be in a unique position to help Davis bring some clarity to the planning of South Davis (which, I will add, has always been the completely neglected part of Davis with respect to planning). There would typically be discussion of mitigation for a project like this, though that might be moot if the city owns the land. But they might be willing to put some of their adjacent property into conservancy. It could be that an urban limit line for the southeast side of Davis could be created from this proposal.
            I think much depends on the conditions that they would be putting on the land swap, and the specifics of the proposal that CCV and Panattoni bring forth. Do you really think that team could have a clear enough proposal before the voters for the November ballot?

    2. Tia Will


      It would appear to based on the limited information that has been provided on the Vanguard. However, I agree with Don that it would be important to know what is in the details or the “fine print” of any agreement before jumping on board.

  7. Barack Palin

    Take the Bullet Train as an example. In it’s initial stages it must of sounded great because the voters passed it knowing little of the details. Now people are seeing what a boondoggle the project really is. 52% now want the project stopped and 70% want the option of another vote. Do we want Davis to get stuck in the same situation?

    1. Frankly

      BP – I get your point, but then you are presenting an example of a larger problem and one that is mostly a non-sequitur in relation to a city innovation park. Because you can vote on something and then politicians can tweak it and change it through all sorts of maneuvers… some clearly allowed, and some pushing the boundaries of ethics, rules and law… but done anyway because there are not enough private resources able and willing to challenge the actions. That is a universal problem. We used to rely on the press/media to do all the investigatory reporting. The press/media was the watchdog of and counter to these types of goings on. But the press/media is now a part of the political establishment. And 90% of it is left-biased politically and in the Democrat camp.

      But for Davis the citizens are resourceful and quick to do their own analyses. The problem we have had is that we don’t own the land and therefor we don’t have enough leverage to get what we want and get the developer to stick to every commitment. Any any case, if you own it, you generally control it.

      I agree that a Measure R exception is a risk for a parcel owned by someone else. But then the parcel owner is also calculating risk given the history of Davis on Measure J/R votes. It is a calculation of risk-returns. If the developer spends thousands of dollars on a comprehensive plan that does not check enough of the boxes for the myriad of features demanded by our diverse and demanding population, then his project is rejected and he loses all that investment. Who is going to take the risk?

      The thing is… Davis can mitigate its risk and also help mitigate the developer’s risk by providing a detailed specification and list of requirements that are bottom-up collected and refined from a citizen participation and collaboration process. We can include these in the agreement, and include material adverse change clauses and protocol to help incentivize the developer to stick to his commitments… and this also mitigates the out of control bullet train risk scenario.

      But ultimately we are always going to be in a better position developing the land we own. We own it, we control it.

  8. Mr. Toad

    “This is “our” city, why shouldn’t the people have the final say?”

    Well its not your land and its not your money so make all the demands you want but then don’t be surprised when the owners aren’t interested in taking the risk because the request for projects is too uncertain due to measure R. I think you have all missed what is going on here. Katahi is giving the city the finger with a third campus and the land owners like Ramos are likely feeling the same way. The anti-growth scene has won but the city remains financially upside down and we are going to have to lie in the bed we have made. The local landowners have silently watched what happened with Parlin and Covell. They saw the craziness over West Village. They watched the obnoxious demands for two grade separated crossings at Cannery and when they won those and every other demand Joe and Brett still senselessly voted against the project and it got through on a bare 3-2 vote and then everyone held their breath to see if a petition would cause a referendum. They watched the arguments over 391 and while most of you assumed all we had to do was snap our fingers and the remaining landowners would jump that isn’t what is happening. Instead you have the landowner of the preferred site of the innovation task force balking at spending money without better assurances from the community that they aren’t going to need to put up with that kind of nonsense. And who in their right mind would blame them.

    1. Frankly

      Okay… I have it from authority that this is the piece of property being proposed as the Davis Ranch donation to the city.

      Note I don’t know if there are going to be any stipulations for the use of proceeds if the city accepts this generous offer from the Tsakopoulos family. I was estimated this based on other similar transactions. However, I hope the family demands the parcel is used for a business park… otherwise here comes the Yolo Land Trust again and the CC will again fall to the land preservation extremists and give away yet ANOTHER valuable asset.

      1. Don Shor

        So if a business park was built on that site, it would be a clear case of leapfrog development. The voters will be essentially deciding the fate of not just that parcel of land, but the other parcels between it and the city’s current boundary.

        1. Mr. Toad

          Duh and everyone is acting like you can build hundreds of acres of business park with thousands of jobs but not build any housing for the workers. At some point there is too much pressure and the obstruction ends and AKT will be right there offering its land for workforce housing so get used to it or fight it but if you fight it you either need to pay up for the declining infrastructure or lower your expectations of what it means to have a “Davis” lifestyle.

          1. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            “if you fight it you either need to pay up for the declining infrastructure or lower your expectations of what it means to have a “Davis” lifestyle.”

            There are some of us who would be very happy to “pay up” to preserve the “Davis lifestyle” for our children and theirs. I have a question for you.
            I believe that you are a long time Davis resident. What is it that you find so objectionable about the “Davis lifestyle” that you continuously disparage those who find it worth preserving ?

        2. Frankly

          For some reason that I cannot fathom you maintain this fatalist view that we cannot ever develop any parcel except those directly adjacent to the city limit because we will fill in the open parcels in-between.

          Maybe we will, maybe we won’t.

          We have Measure R, so if the community does not want to fill in, we won’t fill in.

          Put an open field between developed parcels. I think people like that type of thing.

          Remember that the county only gets $3MM per year from the pass though agreement, if we don’t build it they will because the tax and fee revenue will exceed $3 million.

          1. Don Shor

            Remember that the county only gets $3MM per year from the pass though agreement, if we don’t build it they will because the tax and fee revenue will exceed $3 million.

            Interesting point. Somebody should ask Jim Provenza what he thinks of this proposal.

  9. Mr. Toad

    I don’t have a problem with the Davis lifestyle. I think we should open it up to more people. But you miss my point. The infrastructure is falling apart. The roads, wells, pools are schools are all in decline. Its going to cost a lot of money to maintain things. If we don’t pay up with taxes or grow our economy the decline will continue and get worse. Life here is dynamic not static we have 3 options grow, tax or decline. Your fight is not with me it is with entropy.

  10. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    Your designation of three options is overly simplistic. It is possible to utilize two of these strategies.
    For example, we could grow at a slower pace and tax ourselves more highly. Or we could grow rapidly and tax ourselves less. Each has its pros and cons. Because I want to live and retire in a smaller community, I favor the former. You apparently favor the latter.
    However, when you say that we “should open it up to more people” this ignores the fact that growth is in itself a form of change. So growth will not mean that we are “opening up” the same lifestyle, but rather offering a subtly different lifestyle with each change. Also, it is important to remember when counting on growth to “save us” that population growth will require additional infrastructure which we are already having difficulty maintaining.

    One other possibility. We may view “decline” differently. For example, I do not see the addition of the Target as a positive for our community. While I spoke with people who felt that we should have a Target using the argument, after all, all of the surrounding communities had Targets, so we should too for the convenience and sales tax. I do not mind, nor consider it essential to adopt the lifestyle of surrounding communities. I do not consider Davis “being left behind” as a bad thing if the alternative is adopting the practices that in my mind make other communities less desirable even if they have more “shopping opportunities” and a larger tax base.

    1. Frankly

      Tia – By this fine explanation of your views, your wants are exclusive and would come at the expense of less value for the majority. But it is a real alternative… a city that funds a high expectation of city amenities from a higher tax rate than for any other comparable city.

      Frankly, I don’t think you are connecting all the dots of a full economic picture. Did you ever take econ classes in college? Your high compensation that allows you to hold this view that higher tax rates are acceptable as a funding mechanism in place of the more common mechanism of business economic activity, is in fact, made possible by business economic activity.

      Somebody, somewhere has to start and grow a business that pays taxes and hires people and pays them wages so they can pay taxes and purchase goods and services from businesses that pay taxes and so on and so on. If you demand less than average business in your community, then you are essentially pushing the responsibility for adequate economic activity on others… basically saying “you take what I believe is a less attractive modern lifestyle so that I can retain my cherished village lifestyle.”

      The problem with your demands is one of two:

      1. You don’t yet understand how funding derives within a full and comprehensive economic lifecycle, or

      2. You don’t care… you want what you want and to hell with those that have to accept greater negative consequences in their communities to generate economic activity necessary to fund both theirs and yours.

      Here is a simple way to look at it.

      Davis has a GF budget of $50 million per year.

      Palo Alto – a same-sized college town with its own world-class research university has a GF budget of $150 million.

      Davis must grow our GF budget to at least $100 million per year.

      If we increase our business sector to provide this additional $50 million of funding, then we are still only 2/3 the size and scope of Palo Alto’s business sector.

      That is the compromise in my opinion. Davis is too far down the economic rat hole having our city agenda dominated by no-growth people for decades. That was a mistake. Now we have to catch up and correct for those mistakes. But we can still stop short of becoming the more urban city that you and others seem to fear or dislike.

      Davis cannot survive on 1/3 the standard for our local economy. We can do it at 2/3. And that should be okay with everyone except the most stubborn and selfish demands to not change.

  11. Jim Frame

    Davis cannot survive on 1/3 the standard for our local economy.

    This statement is predicated on the notion that Palo Alto is the standard to which Davis must conform. I think that the differences between the two situations are far too great to allow a direct comparison.

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