Does Davis Really Want Economic Development?

A photo from the PayPal campus shows us the realm of the possible
A photo from the PayPal campus shows us the realm of the possible

Earlier this week, someone sent me an article from Governing entitled, “Do Cities Really Want Economic Development?

In it is presented the idea that cities and regions continue to struggle because they are getting “exactly the results they want” and, as they put it, “Maybe they actually don’t want economic development.”

The article recounts a joke from economist David Friedman: “Two economists walk past a Porsche showroom. One of them points at a shiny car in the window and says, ‘I want that.’ ‘Obviously not,’ the other replies.” As they explain, “That is, if the first economist had really wanted the Porsche, he would have bought it. Our choices tell us more than our words about what it is we really want.”

As they note, “The civic world is obviously more complex than this simple joke. But given the persistent failure to change the trajectory of so many places despite the enormous time and energy — not to mention vast sums of taxpayer money — spent on it, it’s worth pondering the possibilities.”

This brings me to a point made by one of our posters yesterday: “Agraquest would have liked to have stayed in Davis. They didn’t want to go but there wasn’t any place large enough to meet their needs in the Davis city limits. They were a victim of measure R. They would have spent lots more money to stay but the impediments to growing here were too great and much too time consuming. Agraquest was a huge loss for Davis. Deny it all you want but losing a $400,000,000 business is never good for your local economy. The sad part is the total lack of reflection on the part of the nimbys about what we might have done differently to retain that company. You just want to shrug and say it was inevitable instead of asking what should we be doing to prevent it from happening again. We are really lucky Schilling really wants to be here because otherwise we would be relearning about measure R the hard way.”

The more I see the Measure R blame, the more I believe it has become a crutch and an excuse rather than a justification. After all, we have been talking about business parks and economic development in Davis for a long time.

Just in the last five years we have seen D-Side, The Business Park Land Strategy, The Innovation Park Task Force, the Studio 30 Report, Bill McDonough, and most recently Rob White and the Chief Innovation Officer. There is a common thread here – we have talked the talk and, up until Rob White had the audacity and foresight to put out RFEIs and actually got applicants to the table, it has been just that… talk.

In October 2010, the City of Davis released its Business Park Land Strategy. It recommended three things: pursue development of Nishi/Gateway and the downtown; process the application for the ConAgra site and 20 acres of business park land; and move forward with peripheral sites for future business park developments. It also set up the Task Force that would become the Innovation Park Task Force.

Two years later, the Innovation Park Task Force recommended that the council accept the Studio 30 Davis Innovation Center final report which included most of the same recommendations that were contained in the Business Park Land Strategy.

That was November 2012, and by March 2013, the city hired Rob White as Chief Innovation Officer.

It is easy to blame Measure R for the fact that by the summer of 2013 there were few if any sites that could accommodate the needs of AgraQuest, but for several years we studied the issue and took no action.

You can argue that Measure R made it more difficult to advance from ideas to projects, but we didn’t even try. We have two examples of Measure J – the 2005 Covell Village project that was massive and failed to mitigate impacts for traffic, and the 2009 project that was mired in the heart of the real estate collapse.

We ignore that the city voted to allow Wildhorse to be developed and, in 2006, the voters narrowly approved Target.

You can question Measure R all you want, but really I think until the last nine months we were content not to develop economically. Measure R became a convenient crutch for not putting ideas into action. The fact is, we studied the issue to death from 2008 to 2012 and had zero to show for it.

So what changed?

The first catalyst was the loss of AgraQuest became a shock to the system. Immediately after the loss, the Vanguard interviewed Chamber CEO Kemble Pope and Davis City CIO Rob White.

As Rob White explained at the time, “I think it’s an immediate setback in the sense that we lose the impact of those jobs.  We lose the impact of having a large, global, national entity investing in our community.”

But the key, he said, is that we now need to find ways not to allow the loss to become more than it currently is, which is a company that could not find a spot in the city of Davis that served its needs.  What he wants to avoid is that the loss of Bayer comes to be interpreted as “the city or the region can’t retain investment of corporations like that.”

“Bayer in West Sac is fine,” Mr. White said.  “It’s not optimal for Davis, but it’s great for the region.  Bayer not investing regionally is problematic.”

The second key event was the failure of Mace 391. Ironically, I believe that the failure of the plan coupled with the community discussion that emerged convinced a number of people, myself included, that in fact we do need economic development.

I have put out this idea many times and it is a very simple one. If you look at the city’s finances, you realize something has to change. We have three choices going forward. We can cut city services, cut employee compensation, and lay off employees. That may help us in the short term, but I think it will also decrease the value of the city.

We can pass five year incremental tax increases and slowly price the rest of the middle class out of Davis.

Or we can put in a few hundred acres of business park land and take advantage of the economic engine of the university and develop a new revenue base, while keeping the charm and character of this community intact.

I think we can sell the public on this vision – as long as we have cool, innovative business parks to attract them to.

I think Measure R is a strength, not a weakness. While the Cannery is a decent project, I don’t think it would have passed Measure R. But had it come under Measure R they would have had to go to zero net energy, they would have had to put forward numerous more innovative features and I think it would have been a world class development that the community would have supported.

I believe we need economic development, but I think we need great projects too. So I am hoping the Measure R process forces the developers to really seek out what the community wants, find out what this city needs, and deliver that in a way that we can all proudly get behind the project.

That is how we move forward. But I think it took the setbacks to get us from the talking phase to recognizing that we were going to lose critical signature companies and their accompanying jobs if we did not get serious.

And it is amazing. Rob White’s RFEI did in one month what numerous committees, task forces and reports could not do in five years – get us not one but three projects coming forward. That was not a Measure R problem, that was a commitment from the leadership of this community problem.

—David M. Greenwald reporting 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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79 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    “Or we can put in a few hundred acres of business park land and take advantage of the economic engine of the university and develop a new revenue base, while keeping the charm and character of this community intact.”

    I think that this is a very optimistic and rosy view. I am not sure that we can “keep the charm and character of this community intact.” Now it may well be that the community decides that it is willing to sacrifice some of the “charm and character” for growth.
    But I think it is disingenuous to pretend that we will have “the same Davis” just bigger and better. I believe that what we will have is something much closer to the communities that have gone down this path and changed irrevocably.

    1. Matt Williams

      Tia, lets take you point and tease it out. What you are in effect saying is that having 300 additional Schilling Robotics employees working in Davis just to the east of Mace Boulevard will degrade the charm and character of Davis. What is it about the activities of those 300 workers that you believe will cause that to happen?

      In a related question, Chancellor Katehi’s 20/20 Plan calls for the addition of 5,000 UCD students (almost all in Research) and 300 additional Faculty. Do you believe that that addition will sacrifice some of the charm and character of Davis?

      1. La pace sia con voi.

        Increased traffic and emissions. Increased water & power usage, garbage service. More kids needing more daycare, more teachers, cops, firefighters, tree trimmrs, street lights, mail delivery, etc. Some will see this as economic growth. I see it as sprawl.

        1. Barack Palin

          Then you must also be against illegal immigration which will cause “Increased traffic and emissions. Increased water & power usage, garbage service. More kids needing more daycare, more teachers, cops, firefighters, tree trimmrs, street lights, mail delivery, etc. Some will see this as economic growth. I see it as sprawl.”

          1. Mr. Toad

            Without immigration most of us wouldn’t be here. I know I wouldn’t. Like so many no growth desgraciados you see only the costs but not the benefits of developing our human capital.

          2. Barack Palin

            I was just pointing out the hypocrisy of the left where they complain about the problems of overpopulation from growth but are all for illegal immigration.

          3. South of Davis

            BP wrote:

            > Then you must also be against illegal immigration which
            > will cause “Increased traffic and emissions. Increased water
            > & power usage, garbage service.

            Most (but not all) people in Davis are pro-illegal immigration and anti-real estate development.

            It is great to have more cheap nannies, cheap gardeners and cheap organic produce as long as they don’t actually “live” in Davis.

          4. Mr. Toad

            I agree that pro immigration and anti-growth positions are inconsistent. i have been making that argument for years. I’m glad to see people coming around on so many issues today.

          5. South of Davis

            David:

            It may be “general” but it is true (just like most on the right have a hard time when I point out that most “pro-lifers” support the death penalty).

            I don’t have a problem that Tia (and most of my neighbors) want to let thousands of people come to California but not build any more homes.

            I just hope we can have an honest debate and talk about the problems that those views might cause (or are already causing)…

          1. Matt Williams

            Toad, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say “Wow, I believe that is extreme.” Chocolate and Vanilla. Some people have said in the past in response to your posts, “Wow that is extreme.” The fact that something is believed does not make it a fact.

          2. Mr. Toad

            Obviously its my opinion. But more daycare bad, more teachers bad. Perhaps it was parody???????

        2. Davis Progressive

          it’s not really sprawl. sprawl is expansive and uncontrolled growth. davis has sound growth control policies in place to prevent sprawl.

        3. Matt Williams

          Fair enough D.D. so in exchange for avoiding those identified challenges you would be willing to have all Davis property owners and residents pay $500 to $1,000 a year in additional parcel/property taxes in order to maintain Davis’ crumbling infrastructure? Or would you prefer to see the quality of life in Davis ratcheted back a notch or two.

          How do you feel about UCD’s expansion of 5,000 students and 300 faculty members?

        4. Frankly

          Didn’t someone just write on this blog that we should not use the terms no-growth NIMBYs.

          World, let me introduce you to Tia Will and La pace sia con voi.

        1. Mr. Toad

          Depends on what is declining. If hunger is in decline because of innovation and research at UC Davis its good. If our schools, roads, trails and pools are in decline because we have lived beyond our means it is bad.

      1. Tia Will

        Mr. Toad

        “We won’t have the same Davis no matter what we do. Stagnation is not an option. Stagnation means decline.”

        It is all in how you frame the issue. I do not see this as stagnation vs growth. This framing leaves out the other viable option of equilibrium.

        1. Mr. Toad

          But we are not in equilibrium. Our infrastructure and community institutions are in decline. Our roads, schools, pools, city employees are in decline. Only our unfunded liabilities are increasing.

          1. David Greenwald

            We’re also coming off the great recession – a recession that was actually less severe in Davis than elsewhere.

    2. Davis Progressive

      come on tia, there is no way to avoid change in life. however, building some small facilities seems the best way to preserve what’s best about davis while making the city economically sustainable.

      1. DavisBurns

        “small facilities..” but are they ‘small’? what is small about 200 acres? I look at the Cannery and 100 acres seems vast. 547 homes–anyone know if that means houses or includes apartments? The project is huge, the increase in traffic on Covell will be substantial.

          1. Tia Will

            Substantial may not be the end of the world as we know it but it is likely to be the end of Davis as we know it. I know that is the goal of many of you . I do not share it. On another point of fact, cancer ( or uncontrolled growth ) is not the only deleterious form of growth. So are gigantism and acromegaly in which the body believes that it is regulating appropriately through growth hormone, but it is not, to the irrevocable harm of the individual.

        1. Frankly

          With respect to a development, small versus large is subjective unless done in comparison.

          Davis is only 10 square miles which is 6400 acres. 200 acres is only about 3%. So if we build all three business parks we would increase the developed size of Davis by about 9%. That is a material difference.

          Now contrast that to Palo Alto which is 26 square miles. Then the 600 acres of new business parks is only 3.6% growth, and not likely to appear like such a big change.

          Frankly, any new business park is going to seem big to our Davis perspective because we have done so well preventing growth for so long that we are too small to objectively compare.

          But business needs land. There is no way to get the benefits of local business without allowing there to be land for it to build on.

          1. Tia Will

            Frankly

            “Business needs land.”

            Demonstrably not true. How much land does Facebook take up ? Or Twitter ?

            “Any new business park is going to seem big. ”
            And that perception will be our reality. I understand that change is an inevitable fact of life. I understand also that you see these changes as positive and desire able. I do not . I accept that past financial decisions and the recession have led to the belief that the only way out is to grow our way out.

            I also understand and would like acknowledgement that for those of us who prefer slow growth this represents real, not theoretical loss. To say that we can put in three business parks and retain what makes Davis special is simply not true. Often when Frankly talks about Davis in comparison to other cities, it is with derision. He has suggested many times that we should be more like Folsom
            or pick whatever city you like with big box stores or more recently big box innovation parks. Frankly occasionally pays Li p service to the niceties of Davis, but his constant drive has been to push for change to make Davis more like other communities. But I don’t want to live in Folsom or any of the cities that Frankly wants to turn us into. There are lots to chose from. There is precisely one Davis. The current uzz words seem to be the DNA of Davis, or the essential character of Davis. What I can guarantee since I have seen it twice before is that if we rush into the development of three large business complexes ( these
            are not “parks”) then we will have forever altered Davis in ways that Frankly,
            Rochelle, Robb White and others find favorable. But I do not.

            So please, let’s really be honest. Let’s not sell this as a win-win, when to many it represents real, tangible, material loss,

      2. Tia Will

        Matt

        The answer to your question is yes, I do believe that population growth will detract from the
        “charm and character of Davis”.

        These are the ways I see that happening:
        1) Increased population will lead to increased cars, increased infrastructure costs, increased crowding, increased utilization of all services and a general degradation of the environment.
        I am not saying that any developer or pro growth individual is going to “say” that any of this will be the case. I am saying that I have seen it happen repeatedly. It happened in Berkeley,
        it happened in Orange County, it happened in my hometown of Gig Harbor, but I am not supposed to believe that this will happen in Davis ?
        2) Increased population leads to increased need for more services ( more cost to city), not fully mitigated in the long run
        3) More people working locally is going to drive demand for more housingl It is unclear where the correct balance for this lies. Obviously previous city councils did not estimate accurately the need for elementary schools, the need for infrastructure spending, and in my opinion settled for less lower cost housing and rental units than should have been designated at the Cannery project.
        What makes us think that we could not over react in this situation as has happened in the past.

        1. Matt Williams

          Tia, your answer restates the question and adds an interesting assumption. The question was “… having 300 additional Schilling Robotics employees working in Davis just to the east of Mace Boulevard will degrade the charm and character of Davis. What is it about the activities of those 300 workers that you believe will cause that to happen?”

          Your answer didn’t address the work activities of the Schilling employees, but rather the impact of “population growth.”

          One of the indicators of community health is the jobs/housing balance. Davis currently has a less than ideal jobs/housing balance … with too much housing in relationship to the number of jobs in Davis. There are two ways to rectify that statistical reality. 1) reduce the supply of housing for the existing jobs, which clearly isn’t going to happen, or 2) increase the supply of jobs for the existing housing. Given the substantial number of single family residences that are rented out as mini-dorms to UCD students, if we return those SFRs to family occupancy we can absorm a significant number of employees without adding to the population.

          Further, with the excellent public ttransit access that Davis has, many of the new Schilling workers could do as our Mayor does, commute by train to work.

          1. Don Shor

            if we return those SFRs to family occupancy we can absorb a significant number of employees without adding to the population.

            Which will displace that number of students into the rental market, which is already underbuilt. Where do you plan for them to go? Dixon? There is NOT “excellent” public transit access between Davis and the surrounding communities. Public transit into and out of Davis is utterly terrible unless you happen to be going to a point along the train lines.

            We shouldn’t use pointless metrics like “jobs/housing balance” as a basis for planning policy, since our housing market is overwhelmed by rental demand. The “imbalance” is the availability of rental housing for young adults, as Tia said and as I have said for years.

          2. Matt Williams

            Don, the issue of rental housing is indeed substantial, and the conversion of single family residences into mini-dormitories is a direct response to the rental housing shortage. Further, the rental housing shortage has a distinct geographic component to it … specifically close proximity to the UCD campus. The closer the rental housing is to the campus, the more it matches the renters profile of the typical renter in Davis … a student at UCD. Currently there are 26,000 residents in multi-family residences, with 16,000 of those being UCD students and 10,000 being non-students. We need to address the rental market in a way that does not further burden the non-student renters, who already are paying higher than average rents because of the supply/demand dynamics of the Davis rental market caused by the high number of students looking to rent.

            A substantial stride forward in addressing the supply of rental units should be an important component of the Nishi-Gateway project.

      3. Tia Will

        DP

        I agree that change is inevitable in life. I have come out in favor of developing one of these sites and then regrouping and re analyzing to see if it has provided the desired effect.
        I am not arguing for no change which is an impossibility. But one often doesn’t know if a change has been an overall good or an over all detriment until you have had the opportunity to analyze it. And I will stand by my statement that it is too rosy a projection to think that we are going to have this degree of growth and still maintain the essential character of Davis.

  2. Mr. Toad

    Cannery would have only been made better by a measure R requirement if you prefer it to be a fallow field forever like Covell nest door. If it needed a measure R vote no project would have been proposed. New Homes and Con Agra would have not risked millions of dollars in planning and election costs only to then face Davis’ fickle voters.

    Going to zero net energy, something I doubt you have in your own home, would have made the project too expensive and killed it. Only UC or other institutions that aren’t worried about return on investment from construction or are subsidized somehow can afford to go there. The energy conservation measures at Cannery get us most of the way there using state of the art construction materials without breaking the bank trying to reach 100% efficiency, something that generally defies the laws of thermodynamics.

    At least you are coming around on growth. Better late than never. We only needed to lose Agriquest and 391 with Schilling and Marrone on the bubble for you to wake up. Too bad you are still wedded to measure R claiming it doesn’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Perhaps you will admit it is strangling the goose and give some indication of how bad things need to get before you recognize a dead goose when you see one?

    1. Davis Progressive

      while a lot of people are coming around on the issue of growth (from your perspective), you’re not coming around on the issue of decorum or decency in your posting. perhaps you ought to worry more about your own plank.

    2. Davis Progressive

      “Going to zero net energy, something I doubt you have in your own home”

      that wouldn’t happen to be because it wasn’t available on his house, would it?

    3. DavisBurns

      “trying to reach 100% efficiency, something that generally defies the laws of thermodynamics.”

      Funny, it doesn’t defy the laws of thermodynamics at my house!

    4. Tia Will

      Mr. Toad

      “New Homes and Con Agra would have not risked millions of dollars in planning and election costs only to then face Davis’ fickle voters.

      Your use of the word “fickle” is interesting in this context since as I recall, the Cannery Project required a change of zoning. One might call the decision to allow that change to occur “fickle”.

  3. DavisBurns

    Can someone tell me what the vacancy rate for commercial property is here in Davis? We were over on Pena Drive and those office parks are virtually empty. I realize we are talking about larger businesses but what about the space ConAgra left? Are we doing anything to fill the commercial spaces we currently have open. In retail, I keep hearing “stop the leakage” why is it different for commercial? Small businesses are innovative, where is the effort to help, attract, and retain small businesses?

  4. Frankly

    I figured it out a few weeks ago.

    The conflict is the dynamist verses the stasis. And that is largely a conflict of those that see Davis as their perfect retirement destination and those that hold that as a lesser goal than economic sustainability and economic vibrancy.

    Yesterday, the senior very slowly crossing Fifth Street with her walker provided me a confirmation of this thought. I always try to have empathy for other opinions, so I was putting myself in her shoes and thinking how I might respond to the idea that Davis would grow and have more people and more traffic. And with that reflection I could understand the reasons for resistance.

    I think we need to be direct and honest about the conflict.

    On the pro-economic growth side we should be honest in agreement that the senior crossing the road might experience a drop in her perceived value of Davis as the perfect place to live out her retirement years.

    On the anti-economic growth side we should be honest in admitting that we don’t really know if our value perception will drop, stay the same, or even improve. It might be better in a lot of ways that mitigate some or all of what we feel we lost.

    On the pro-economic growth side we should be honest in accepting that there is an alternative of cutting city staff and services and raising taxes to get us to budget equilibrium. We should be honest in admitting that staying the same is a least an option.

    On the anti-economic growth side we should be honest in both the community value impacts and the social impacts from cutting services and raising taxes as the desired option.

    On the pro-economic growth side we should be honest that more business and more employees will increase traffic and increase pressure to build more housing.

    On the anti-economic growth side we should be honest that failing to take advantage of the UCD-driven opportunity to grow our business sector will help continue the demographic trends for a shrinking population of young professionals and young families, will reduce the regional opportunity for more good jobs, will cause us to have to cut city services and raise taxes, it will eliminate the opportunity for local community investment that local business tends to provide… and lastly, it will reduce the probability that the alternative location is as progressive and creative in design… since Davis will demand it be so and other communities will likely not.

    And both of these camps need to participate in the design of our final solutions because it is likely that change is inevitable and so we are going to need to work together to optimize the result.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      “On the anti-economic growth side we should be honest in admitting that we don’t really know if our value perception will drop, stay the same”

      Some of us do know because we have lived through it before. I watched it happening in Orange County. I watched it happen in my home town in Washington. You keep maintaining that the slow growthers simply don’t know what we prefer. My position is very solid on this, I do know, I do not want rapid growth not because I fear anything, but because I have been through this several times and I have no desire to do it again. This is not just about retirees as you keep claiming. You have nerve once addressed my son’s situation. You just basically want to pretend that this is about the elderly vs young families, but you are incorrect. There are some people who value the size and atmosphere of the town as it is now. My son is only one example.

        1. Tia Will

          Since the two involved are ages 20 and 22 they are still both students. Now before you pounce, say “aha, that proves my point , they have friends also 22 who work on farms, at the Co-Op, for a local mechanic, at restaurants. These are kids who are making a positive contribution in ways appropriate to their stage of development and maybe in ways that they will chose to stick with for life. You seem to think that the only “good job” is in high tech or financing or some such while I believe that all positive contribution is of value. Which brings us to another difference in point of view.
          I do not believe that every community has to excel in the same way. I think it is fine for Davis to house the university and serve as an incubator while allowing other cities in the region to house businesses that need more space. This fits with what I see as an entirely reasonable regional collaborative approach. Rather than competing with surrounding communities, I would favor a collaborative model that favors the entire region.

  5. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “And that is largely a conflict of those that see Davis as their perfect retirement destination and those that hold that as a lesser goal than economic sustainability and economic vibrancy.”

    Well that might be fine except that you are choosing to completely ignore the one demographic in your calculation.
    That is the group like my son and his friends who chose to relocate here from the Bay area specifically for the small town atmosphere. That kinds of blows your dichotomous thinking as I doubt retirement is uppermost on the mind of my 22 year old.

    1. Mr. Toad

      But aren’t those 22 year olds moving here exactly what you don’t want to happen? If they make a life here and give you grandchildren, may you be so lucky, it means all the things you don’t want to happen. Why the exception for your own family. I have a friend who is the grand pooh bah of all nimby’s. Hates subdivision. Grew up in LA. Thinks new houses destroy everything good about a community. What does he do? He subdivides his own land to let his son build a house on the other side because his son can’t afford to buy here since we restricted growth and drove the value of a house to the sky. I understand wanting to have your own kids around. I just don’t understand not wanting everyone else’s.

      1. Tia Will

        Mr. Toad

        I don’t know whether to award this weeks straw man argument award to you or Frankly.
        I have never said that there should be 0 growth. What I believe is very much what Don has stated again and again We are directly contiguous with a university. What we need is rental units. What we do no t need in my opinion are more subdivisions with their 400-600K houses.
        In my opinion, the families that can afford these houses are already affluent enough that they do not need our help. Just as I did not need any help when I bought my home in Davis.
        It is my opinion that we should be helping those truly in need. Not my son, not the son or daughter of someone who can afford to maintain two homes in Davis. I have no problems with apartments or very small houses. I have a lot of problems with the Cannery and similar developments. This is what you and Frankly and others who are found of name calling refuse to acknowledge.

        1. Mr. Toad

          Problem is that what you want doesn’t work financially so you are for the impossible while making an exception for yourself and your own family. Its perfect you can claim to be for something that won’t happen while railing against what can happen. Its easy to be for things that can’t happen its much harder to be for things that can happen.

          1. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            “I believe that as human beings we have the ability to make many things happen that people have previously claimed we’re impossible. Before the era of the .
            Wright brothers it was “impossible for man to fly”. Before the world was demonstrated to be spherical it was “impossible” to circumnavigate it.

            It is only when we become locked into the box of thought called “impossibility” that we stop being able to make positive changes in our world. I do not believe that rapid growth that is now being promoted is our only solution. I believe that it is the only solution only for those who consider material improvement as the only value that exists. I simply do not share that point of view. Sometimes smaller really is better. It certainly would be for the population of the entire world. I believe that slow growth is also better for Davis.

          2. Mr. Toad

            Amazing that someone with two homes is dismissive of the desire of others to improve their material condition as only one variable in the myriad complexity of human fulfillment while still advocating policies that dash the hopes and dreams of those with less material security and comfort. Your continuous failure is your personal conflict of what you want for yourself and your own family as opposed to what you want for others. Your failure is your lack of living by example.

            Building the kind of housing you claim is acceptable doesn’t make financial sense in today’s market. It might be possible someday but until that day arrives your vision will not come to fruition. Look no further than what UC is doing to rents with replacement housing and the conflict its creating with grad students who are looking at substantial rent increases. Look no further than the change in the affordable housing policy by the Davis City Council in the wake of the death of redevelopment. The City of Davis did what it could to get a variety of housing types at Cannery with some expensive homes subsidizing the construction of some inexpensive homes. The deal is constructed to average out near the current average price of a Davis home thus lessening the impact on the rest of the Davis market. It is a thoughtful and well designed project both economically and physically. Its easy to imagine a different model but as long as your model lacks the numbers that make it possible in today’s market its meaningless nonsense that just serves to make it look like you are not simply opposed to everything because you favor something that is not currently possible, new construction and cheap rents.

    2. Frankly

      Assuming we are not talking about the good job being here, there are probably some 22 year olds that would chose to live here. At that age there are still socially compatible with the college students. But get to 25 years old, and you will be living in a peer waste land… unless you are just want to hang with those few 25-30 year old Davisites with low social needs, and low drive to advance a career.

      And don’t discount the fact that mom lives here.

      1. wdf1

        Frankly: …unless you are just want to hang with those few 25-30 year old Davisites with low social needs, and low drive to advance a career.

        Like grad students, law students, med students, vet students, and business school students?

          1. Tia Will

            Barack Palin

            “They are just visiting for a few years”

            Wow, I guess that I am just delusional. I could have sworn that I have lived in Davis for 26 years. Likewise the at least 10 docs that come readily to mind who chose to stay here after graduation. Now multiply that number from my own group to all the other professional groups and you have somewhat less of an exodus than you are portraying.

          2. Barack Palin

            I should have said “most” are just visiting for a few years. Sure there are a few that stay, there’s also many that grew up here go to UCD and leave. If all these graduates stayed as you’re trying to portray our population would be swelling, but that’s not the case. The stats back me up.

        1. Frankly

          Med students are more likely in Sac, and both med and vet students make lousy friends because they are never available to socialize.

          How many other grad students 25 are over are we talking about?

          And without jobs locally you would not want to invest too much into the relationship because they are going to move away after graduation.

          1. wdf1

            I came here as a grad student and stayed in Davis, as did six other classmates that I can think of. Well, one moved away for a few years and then moved back, so strictly speaking, five.

          2. Frankly

            All I can tell you wdf1 is that I have a very hard time attracting and retaining young professional talent in my company. They don’t like the social scene at all. I don’t think there is enough graduates staying, and that is the problem.

          3. Frankly

            Well I don’t see us as being peaceful, and I really don’t see us as being rural.

            But if your point is that some people will chose a rural community to live in… I agree… but generally not young professionals. Young families, yes, but not young professionals that are single or without kids…. unless there is a large enough company or companies located close enough and there are enough shopping and entertainment venues. That is the thing we should target. A medium sized city that has the look and feel of a smaller rural city but with all the amenities of a medium-sized urban city. It can be done.

          4. wdf1

            My experience with Davis. Grad students (and law, vet, med, business students) are of an age and position in life where they are typically transitioning into settling down, maybe married, maybe looking at starting a family. In my time it was possible to live reasonably well, if frugally, as a grad student in Davis. That still seems possible. By the time I had a grad student budget figured out for Davis, it wasn’t that difficult to live in Davis once I had a full-time job. We lived in apartments. After a few years, we were positioned to buy a house in Davis. We don’t have any kind of super-fancy home, but we like what we have.

            Jobs may not always be available in Davis, but the Sacramento area provides plenty of job opportunities.

      2. Tia Will

        With the number of graduate students associated with the University, I sincerely doubt that the 25 year olds are going to find themselves in a “wasteland”. When I first got here I was 26 and certainly found plenty of grad students with whom to associate. At that time, I had no idea whether or not I would ever have children but I knew based on the small, warm, caring community that I would like to come back.

        I am having a very hard time seeing how you can be so committed to your one size fits all view of the millenials. Between us Robert and I have four children in this demographic. We have two who definitely prefer a more urban environment. My daughter views Davis as a “cultural wasteland”. One of Robers boys prefers the action of LA to Davis. Our other two are Davis to the core, largely because of it’s small town atmosphere just as I was at age 26. This demographic is no more monolithic and do not march in lock step any more than you and I do.

        1. Frankly

          Weird… I posted something and it disappeared. Did Don the Deleter delete it?

          I wrote that I see your point. But I am curious what those two Davis-loving kids do for a living?

  6. Mr. Toad

    They also don’t stay because of the high cost of housing. I’ve known lots of great people who left because they couldn’t afford to buy a house here so instead they bought in Sacramento or Woodland. Some got fed up and moved to the bay area figuring if they couldn’t afford a home they may as well be someplace with much nicer weather and more job opportunities.

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