My View: Council Did Right Thing on Compensation

Interim City Manager Gene Rodgers discusses the revenue options before council.
Interim City Manager Gene Rogers discusses the revenue options before council.

The council has clearly waded into perilous waters by increasing the salary component of the city manager’s total compensation, but it is not clear to me that they had much choice. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to read through the lines that if they are asking for the increase in the salary compensation level at this stage of the process, they otherwise were not going to get the city manager candidates they wanted.

Those who have posted and argued that there would be plenty of candidates at $188,000 need to stop it with those foolish arguments – if there were, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion, because the council would have a pool of solid applicants.

The data here speak for themselves. Davis is at the very bottom in the region in terms of salary. The consultants recommended a range of salaries that put Davis between the mean and the 75th percentile.

Clearly, Davis has smaller populations than some of the higher-end cities in the region in compensation – San Ramon, Citrus Heights, Vacaville, Fairfield, Roseville and Elk Grove are all larger to much larger than Davis.

However, factor in cost of living and what it costs for housing in Davis, factor in the political environment, the amount of work we ask a city manager to do, and Davis operates as though it were a much larger city.

There is also the fact that city manager is the most critical position in a city. Look at how the water project was managed prior to Steve Pinkerton’s arrival. Council rammed through on a 4-1 vote at the first meeting after Mr. Pinkerton arrived September 6, 2011, a project that not only was not publicly vetted but for which there was no rate study or real cost of service analysis backing.

Even if the voters had not risen up to revolt against those rates, they would have crumbled under their own weight. The post-Pinkerton water planning went nearly as poorly with Measure P passing and a confused process to reevaluate the rates.

But where Steve Pinkerton excelled was at saving the city money. The last round of MOUs saved the city about $5.7 million going forward. The savings derived from the cafeteria cash out alone would pay for a higher salary.

The city saved nearly half a million when it reduced fire staffing from 12 to 11, and saved at least the difference in the salary when it went to a shared management arrangement. None of those reforms would have been possible without Mr. Pinkerton’s laying out the process, studying how to save the money, and bringing together the stakeholders to get it done.

If the council is telling the public they could not bring in a strong city manager to lead the city at the previous level of compensation, then we need to listen.

We also need to remember that the $188,000 was established in 2011 – three years ago. It does not account for inflation. It does not account for the fact that the salary came on the heels of a depressed market.

However, at the same time let us not fool ourselves on this issue. It is fraught with peril. There is likely to be blowback from the public. Two comments jump out on the Enterprise site.

One said, “Hire a City Manager who already lives in Davis. I don’t want any more mercenaries like Pinkerton who are hired to do a particular job and then leave. The whole of Davis, not just the City Council, should impact him. NO MORE ANONYMOUS CITY MANAGERS!”

Another, “This amid the financial woes this city has found itself in? It comes as no surprise bankruptcy is imminent! Where is the fiscal responsibility?”

They would add, “$30k here and $30k there adds up very quickly. Throw in the proposal to hike minimum wage to $15/hr and watch businesses race to the exit. Bye bye sales tax revenue. Oh and then there are the exorbitant wages paid to our police and firefighters, who have pretty low-risk jobs when compared to other cities like Stockton, Oakland, San Francisco. My point is the City Council has a track record of financial mismanagement and a lack of accountability. Look at cities like West Sacramento, they are the future! Investing now in projects that will attract patrons and bring sales tax revenue to the city, managing finances properly and running at a budget surplus for more than the last decade, and implementing policies to welcome new businesses that create jobs, encourage consumer spending, etc. etc.”

But as we showed, a good city manager can overcome the small salary increase and be a net saver.

Rich Rifkin in the Enterprise argued, “There is no reason to believe that for an extra $30k, Davis will get a better city manager than we would if we paid, say, $30k less than Pinkerton made.”

There is actually reason to believe that, as the city has already waded into the candidate pool and they have determined that they cannot hire the people they want at $188,000.

Steve Pinkerton himself, however, did tell me on more than one occasion that if he had asked for more money back in 2011 that there would have been no way he could have settled with the bargaining units.

Times were different back then. On August 7, 2011, we wrote, “Pay Increase to City Manager Makes Delicate Situation More Difficult.”

I wrote at that time, “If all things were equal, my reaction would be to find the best guy you can find, and pay him or her what it takes to get here.  The City Manager is the most powerful job in the city.  And it is not even close.”

I would add, “The question is whether or not we could have paid less and gotten a comparable city manager. It is a critical question, because I really believe the raise that the city manager position got, and the raise Mr. Pinkerton himself got over his previous job will represent a problem.”

“In budget terms, $44,000 is not a tremendous amount. As others have brought up, a good city manager could ostensibly save the city millions, and $44,000 would be a drop in that bucket,” I wrote. “But we are not writing this number on a chalkboard and pushing numbers around the room, we are instead asking real people to take real pay cuts.”

So you ask, what has changed in the last three years? My perspective. Watching the difference between the predecessors of Steve Pinkerton and Mr. Pinkerton himself made me realize that the difference between a bad city manager, a decent city manager and a good city manager is more than just numbers.

It is about hiring someone who can come in and help lead the city. Mayor Dan Wolk and Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis published a piece where they talked about the need to prioritize employee morale.

That has clearly taken a hit – and under the interim city manager, the situation could implode on us if things go south.

Mayor Dan Wolk captured the tenuous line really well on Thursday. He noted that, “during a time of budget crunch and we are getting concessions from our existing employees,” he believes that employee perception of this will be critical.

However, in the end, he agreed with the consultant. “I will support this,” he stated. “Having a really good city manager can make a huge difference.   It is clear from the data that we are significantly below… other cities.”

“To get good people, salary is a critical part of that,” he continued. “Even though we’re in a period of tighter budget, even though we’re in a period where we’re making concessions… I think that it’s important that we have a good city manager at the helm.”

He said he hoped that the city employees would understand that a greater salary would give the city someone who can be a good city manager and be very good on employee morale issues.

Clearly, the council will prioritize a city manager who can improve morale and that was perhaps, despite all of the great work of Steve Pinkerton, where he was lacking.

The bottom line is that the data speak for themselves. Davis has the lowest compensated city manager, among the lowest compensated police officers, and among the highest compensated firefighters, particularly if you factor in workload.

Clearly there will be blowback on here and there may be unintended consequences, but as we watch the city adrift it is very clear that we are missing the strong leadership of a city manager – that is the big difference from last year at this time to now.

The council in the Vanguard’s view did the right thing and now they have to stay strong in the wake of a potential wave of criticism.

—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. Frankly

    So the CC agrees to pay top-buck for the chief, and then plans to tell the rank and file that they are over-compensated?

    This city creates its own difficulties from the lack of will power and lack of creativity to do things right once and for all.

    We could have the best CM in the world for much less than this price tag. Or we could make some of this total compensation tied to performance goals, so that we ensure a return for the large pile of cash.

    One more point.

    Part of the reason that we keep seeing the price tag for city labor go up is that tax rates keep doing up. Pay someone $200k, and at least 40% of that vaporizes as income and payroll taxes. And then another 10% or more vaporizes as other fees and taxes.

    Pay a person $100k and that tax rate drops to 25% and 7% respectively.

    So we spend $200k to provide $100k in real spending power, or $100k to provide $68k in real spending power.

    My point here is that higher tax rates put pressure to raise government employee compensation which then causes higher tax rates.

  2. D.D.

    “To get good people, salary is a critical part of that,” he continued.
    Dear Mr. Wolk,
    I would choose a different word than “good”. Sometimes very good people just do not care as much about money rewards. I think a person making $188,000 per year could probably afford a $700,000 mortgage and live very happily in the little village of Davis.

    1. South of Davis

      D.D. wrote:

      > I think a person making $188,000 per year could probably afford a $700,000
      > mortgage and live very happily in the little village of Davis

      A new city manager could buy Pinkerton’s house (that is currently on the market for $859K). With 20% down a loan of $687K will be ~$42K/year (with most of it tax deductible interest).

  3. Biddlin

    An irony rich stew, to be sure and a clear message to the already bruised and bloody rank and file city employees about how little their work is valued.

    1. South of Davis


      > An irony rich stew, to be sure and a clear message to the already bruised
      > and bloody rank and file city employees about how little their work is valued.

      I heard a similar comment from a friend (with a PhD.) who teaches at UCD (and makes under $40K/about the same as a Starbucks manager) when Janet Napolitano was offered over half a MILLION a year (not counting a lot of “other comp” of $100K for “housing” and $9K a year for “auto expenses”).

      Janet Napolitano was making ~$100K as Governor of AZ, ~$200K as head of homeland security. Did we really need to pay her over $700K to get her to come to run the UC system? She is a member of the “club” that includes “insiders” (from both major parties as well as some independents) who are (doing a great job) working to get as much money from the “rest of us”…

  4. Mr. Toad

    Perhaps they need to offer more because nobody wants the job. Why would anyone sane and qualified want to be city manager of Davis where it takes 3 years to set water rates and nothing has been annexed into the city in almost twenty years. Who wants to work where you’re going to get picketed over contract negotiations and have your job threatened by the usual suspects, sued by regressives opposed to everything, where the budget is perpetually upside-down, where a housing development needs two grade separated bike crossings within 1/2 mile of each other, where people want the services but not the taxes and where people think its no big deal if your largest private employer leaves town because of measure R.

    1. David Greenwald

      “Perhaps they need to offer more because nobody wants the job.”

      You mean it’s not because the city offers less than anyone else in the region?

      1. Mr. Toad

        Oh but you get to be the City Manager of Davis. That alone, if you follow the logic of those who think we are so great, should attract someone who wants to be here at that price. Of course the reality is that Davis has a reputation of being full of totally unreasonable people who are impossible to govern if you want to get anything done. Look at our history. We have had a long line of CM’s that bail out, not because of money but because of all the headaches of trying to do the job in a town that doesn’t want to grow at all but wants all the services of a place that has a sustainable budget.

    2. DavisBurns

      Mr. Toad, Someone who agrees with our efforts to control growth in Davis, and believes the challenges we face need creative thinking and budgeting instead of doing what West Sacramento does–grow, sprawl and have no limits. I think very few people who live in Davis want to live in West Sacramento. Or Sacramento greater metro area, Vacaville etc. Those places are easy to find. A place like Davis where citizens are involved (even if we are contentious) and we have a different vision of what a town should look like. We need someone who wants to work with us, not someone who thinks we need to build shopping centers and subdivisions from here to the outskirts of our neighboring towns.

      1. Mr. Toad

        People live here because of the schools k-doctorate not because of the environment. If you wanted to be somewhere because of the environment you would live in Winters, Incline Village or Bolinas. Of course there are exceptions but the no growth flaw is the idea that its the environment when its about education. The weird part is that we could have many more brilliant well educated people here with little effort if we just got out of the way and that would actually make this a better place to live.

        1. Don Shor

          People live here because of the schools k-doctorate not because of the environment.

          The schools are one factor. The ambience, the small-town feel, the attractive neighborhoods, living close to work (for those who work at UCD), and any of a number of other things draw people to Davis.

          1. Don Shor

            No, that is not correct. You are very negative about Davis. Others aren’t. I know people who have moved to Davis to retire, selecting this community out of dozens of others across the country because they like it. I know people who have moved here because they like the walkable scale, the bike paths, the big trees, the parks and greenbelts. I know people who cashed out their equity in the Bay Area and moved here because of what a good value housing is here by comparison.
            Davis is a very attractive community with a special ‘feel’ to it, something that you and others appear completely blind to.

          2. Frankly

            So Don, you want Davis to be Sun City… a retirement community? That is exactly what it sounds like. Is that the conflict going on… with all these people retiring early from pubic service, they have targeted Davis as their place and now want to keep it a retirement community?

            I think with this post you have really helped me understand where the disconnect is. People with this vision of Davis as a special retirement village.


            Too bad it is not financially sustainable.

            But the good news is that a Davis with an expanded local economy will still be a fantastic place to retire to.

          3. Don Shor

            So Don, you want Davis to be Sun City…

            NO, I was describing something. Not saying I “want” it. People like Davis because of the ambience and the things I described.

            I think with this post you have really helped me understand where the disconnect is.

            I think you have misconstrued my comments.

          4. Mr. Toad

            A few may live here as a retirement destination. I have a cousin who thought about living here in retirement but he was an academic and wanted to be near a university library so even then it was it was because of the schools. Still the reality is its about the schools. That is why families want to be here for the schools for their kids. That is why the university students come and why many want to stay. That is why those who work at the university come here and its even why many retirees come to be near family. The bike paths and parks are a draw but remember the arboretum is part of the university too. My guess is that many if not most of the retirees who come here do so to be near family and that family is here because of the schools.

          5. D.D.

            Don, yours are all the reasons I moved to Davis in the mid 90’s. I worked in Natomas & could drive from Davis to to my job, door to door, in 25 minutes. My co-workers in Elk Grove, Rocklin & Roseville used to spend a minimum of 45-50 minutes in their cars. The elementary school in my Natomas neighborhood was not exactly the best. So we could stay in Natomas & put our kids in private school, and buy a home, or move to Davis & rent.
            It’s unfortunate that the DACHA problem got out of hand. If I hadn’t lost my DACHA down payment, I might still be there.
            Most people would prefer Davis to Roseville or West Sac. Traffic around Roseville is bad; there’s no small town vibe there. And for all our disagreeing on this website, the folks in Davis are more polite, friendly & tolerant than in many other CA cities.

        2. Tia Will

          Mr. Toad

          Your view about the schools is far too simplistic. It is one draw, but only one.
          I did not come back to Davis because of the schools. I came back because I loved all the features that Don has outlined, including the small town feel. I stayed on for this same ambience well after my children had moved out. I am planning on retiring here
          and it is because of the environment and ambience. So maybe I just happen to be one of your “rare exceptions” but I know quite a few people who feel the same way and have no intention of relocating. My own son has moved back, not for the schools but because he also prefers the small town ambiance. He is one of our youth who will not be thanking us if we continue to increase the population more than is absolutely necessary.

          1. Mr. Toad

            DD factored in the schools. You came for the educational opportunities originally and then moved back. Your son came home for the lifestyle but I wonder if he wasn’t from here and had the fortune of choosing wealthy parents if he would be able to afford to live here? Also those born here obviously came here for other reasons but their parents certainly considered the schools in their calculations to come and decision to stay. Of course after you live in a community and establish social communities you stay after the reason you came has passed its shelf life.

            My point is that all the lifestyle choices are secondary the first and foremost draw of Davis is education. Deny it all you want but even Don Shor moved here for the university. So did David Grenwald, Bill Kopper, Eileen Samitz, Sue Greenwald, Mike Harrington, Nancy Price, Paul Brady and thousands of others.

            The saddest thing though is there is an entire generation of people like Tia’s son who grew up here and would like to live here but can’t afford to stay in the town they grew up in. Without continued support from their parents they can’t afford a home here. Those that don’t have that support buy elsewhere. Yes I know those are the economic realities but my point is it doesn’t have to be that way and that the thing that is first and foremost in binding this community together is not the environment that could easily absorb more growth but instead its education and the schools.

          2. David Greenwald

            “The saddest thing though is there is an entire generation of people like Tia’s son who grew up here and would like to live here but can’t afford to stay in the town they grew up in. ”

            And you think Davis is that different from a lot of other college towns? You can stay here and live here, but you have to be willing to live in a smaller rental home.

          3. Don Shor

            Ok, I misunderstood you. If you are including the university in “the schools” then yes, that is by far the biggest draw to Davis. I was thinking in terms of K – 12, as in what real estate agents tout.

          4. Mr. Toad

            It doesn’t have to be that way. Our conditions are self imposed and many who would otherwise stay and would be an asset to our community choose to leave.

          5. David Greenwald

            But you act like it’s a right of entitlement that people who want to live in a given location can and it doesn’t work that way.

          6. Mr. Toad

            “You can stay here and live here, but you have to be willing to live in a smaller rental home.”

            I know some young people who would read this remark and respond to your indifference to their situation or the situation of their friends with a string of expletives. Its a good thing for you the Davis Vanguard is largely an old, cranky, anti-tax, anti-growth conservative readership. Many young adults are locked out and looking in and like myself when I was in that position disgusted by such a remark.

          7. Davis Progressive

            so you believe that every community is required to provide housing for everyone who wants to live there? i don’t think the idea that there are tradeoffs is an indifferent remark so much as a realistic one. truth is there are tradeoffs with every choice we make – home location or whatever.

  5. D.D.

    If everyone else jumped over a fiscal cliff, would you, too?
    If every home in Davis has a high selling price, because Davis must keep up with other affluent communities, does that make it right?

  6. Tia Will


    There is “right” and then there are the realities of “the market”.
    From his posts, Frankly seems to believe that these two are synonymous. I do not agree with this position.

    1. D.D.

      Tia, re: Davis’ housing market crisis:
      It’s a shame that many old homes in disrepair have absent owners who can charge ridiculous rents to students. Clean students often move away after graduation and cannot pursue in small claims court their lost (stolen) cleaning deposits. The wealthy home owner makes out like a bandit.
      I advise any clean student with a bad landlord to not pay their final months’rents, if they paid big cleaning fee/deposit. They should make their greedy landlord take them to small claims court, instead of the other way around.
      (If one has a good landlord who makes repairs and also respects their privacy, then I’m not suggesting that.)
      If they are one of the spoiled students who trash their rental, that’s a different story.

      1. Barack Palin

        “I advise any clean student with a bad landlord to not pay their final months’rents, if they paid big cleaning fee/deposit. They should make their greedy landlord take them to small claims court, instead of the other way around.”

        And that is a great way for someone who’s just starting a new life after college to ruin their credit rating. I don’t know if Davis still has it but there used to be a resolution board that students and other rentees could go before to solve disputes. I’ve twice threatened landlords that I would go before this board on behalf of my chilfdren and the renters quickly backed off.

  7. dlemongello

    The whole thing is just a snowballing affect. When does it stop? When the snowball reaches the bottom of the hill, crashes into a tree and explodes, kind of like a housing or a stock market bubble?

    1. D.D.

      Also believe it’s not sincere to compare Davis to communties that have no U.C. system. Most of the student population is managed (fire, police, etc.) by UCD, not by the city’s manager. As evidenced by the students’ poor voting record.

  8. SODA

    This is meant for Mr Toad and David’s comments of this morning, a few posts up, but there does not seem to be a reply tab on my end for either of their comments:

    Yes, it is unfortunate that Tia’s son (and mine who is a HS teacher) might not be able to buy a home here in the near future, but ? in the moderate to far future….
    My point is that many of us are in the same boat, but have just forgotten. I grew up in a Bay Area town whose prices have eclipsed Davis’ several fold and my comfort level and (other than loving Davis!) would not want to try to afford to settle there. It is not the end of the world and happens …..

    1. Mr. Toad

      Its easy to say its not the end of the world but for those who leave its disruptive to their relationships with their friends. The difference between here and the bay area is that we have plenty of room to absorb the growth. Denying young people the opportunity to live and have a family here if they so choose is self imposed.

      1. David Greenwald

        People leave all the time for all sorts of reasons. I think you underestimate how the younger generation views the world. For me, I made a conscious decision that living in a community like Davis, with its schools and amenities was more important than buying a home. That’s what we’re talking about here. So anyone who values what you describe, can decide for themselves what is more important.

        1. Mr. Toad

          You have made all sorts of decisions found on the road less traveled David. Judging others by your experience maybe all you have but fort context but it is less than optimal for viewing the world as those who choose to leave see it.

          1. David Greenwald

            I’m not judging others, just suggesting alternative paths forward and the need to weigh priorities.

      2. South of Davis

        Toad wrote:

        > The difference between here and the bay area is that we have plenty
        > of room to absorb the growth.

        San Mateo County has a LOT of open space (almost no one lives in the coast) and there is plenty of room to grow, but like Davis they don’t want to grow.

        Like in Davis where people are happy that the crappy 3 bedroom 2 bath they bought in the 80’s for $80K is now worth $500K people in Burlingame are happy that the crappy 3 bedroom 2 bath they bought in the 80’s for $150K is now worth $1.5 MILLION.

        Like in Davis people say they “care about the environment”, but they really “care about home values” (since almost every boomer I know plans on the money from “selling the house” to fund their retirement)..

        1. Mr. Toad

          I agree people care more about their home value than the environment. We see this on the issue of densification as well where people can’t say they are against all growth so they say they are for increasing density instead of peripheral development. Yet when anyone proposes a project to increase density the neighbors become Nimby’s. I like to say densification is better in theory than in practice but the reality is that we are getting a community that the people who live in it don’t actually want.

          1. Davis Progressive

            most people i know in davis are here for life, so i don’t buy the home value argument.

          2. Mr. Toad

            My neighbor has lived in the same house since 1968. i don’t expect him to move as long as he is able to stay in place. Of course he is lucky that he lives in a one story home. Two story homes get harder with age. Anyway my neighbor is well aware of his home value even though he is unlikely to sell it unless his health fails and he needs the money. Even people with no intention of moving care about the value of their large assets.

          3. Davis Progressive

            aware of it is not the same as protecting it at all costs as you imply. you are argue that people care more about their home value than the environment, but your example doesn’t have any bearing on that claim. nor does it make any showing that it impacts people’s view of infill. from my perspective the bigger issue with infill is impact on things like character of neighborhood and sightlines rather than monetary value of home.

      3. Tia Will

        Mr. Toad

        Not everyone shares your exact values. I am speaking now for my son. He is 22. He has not yet finished his education but came back because of the relative peace, quite and ambience of Davis. Yes, it is sad when people do not get to live in the environment of their choice. But what makes the lack of availability of $400,000 dollar homes for the young professional who would like to move into Davis more important than the lack of availability of a smaller, quieter community for those for whom this is their primary value such as my son ?

        1. Mr. Toad

          You assume that more people will have a negative impact on the community and make it less livable. I don’t accept that. I believe that providing more educational opportunity and value added job dynamism is something to celebrate, something to be proud of, something to embrace. As FDR said “You have nothing to fear except fear itself.

          1. Davis Progressive

            fine don’t accept it, but in general more people means more problems, if for no other reason than the law of averages. bigger cities have more crime, more poverty, etc. if you want to live in a town 120,000 people i suggest elk growth or berkeley. a lot of us came to davis because we wanted to avoid that.

  9. Mr. Toad

    “I grew up two blocks from UCSD. Think I could buy a house in that area?”

    Maybe, I don’t know your financial situation but people live in all sorts of places for all sorts of reasons. imagine you had a garden business in a community with a much larger population. You might have a much bigger business and be able to afford Del Mar.

    1. Don Shor

      I grew up in La Jolla. My financial situation does not, to put it mildly, allow me to buy a house there.
      Yes — I could live in Del Mar (median home price $1.8 million)? Not likely. But using your logic, a person who wants to live near Davis but have a larger home for less money could live in Woodland or Dixon. It’s a pretty similar distance. And that’s what people are doing. We should focus on providing transit options.
      People who want affordable housing near UCSD live in University City, or further up the coast, or down the highway. Like Davis, La Jolla does not exist in a housing vacuum. It’s part of a regional housing market. As I’ve said many times, the housing that we need in Davis is for those who come here for college and other young adults: apartments and other high-density housing.

      1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

        “People who want affordable housing near UCSD live in University City, or further up the coast, or down the highway.”

        My first year in grad school at UCSD I lived in University City, and as you suggest, that is where a lot of young staff and faculty start out. I also lived in Clairmont, which (then at least) was a pit.

        A cousin of mine, who was a UCD undergrad and did her PhD in biochemistry at UCSD, lives in Rancho Peñasquitos. Although she is not a prof, she tells me the Highway 15 area, from Rancho Peñasquitos to Escondido is where many young families tied to UCSD live. They cannot, of course, afford La Jolla.

  10. Frankly

    Let’s separate home ownership from renting.

    Despite the stupid “Ownership Society” government junk, and CRA, and all the other junk that government has thrown at the economy so that people that have not yet reached an economic sophistication level that earns them the right to home ownership, owning a home is not a right or even a need. But shelter is a basic human need… and so we need places to rent.

    And we have a major problem with rents exceeding the means for people to pay. In a lot of case it is even more expensive to rent than to buy. That is asinine! And the only reason we allow that to happen is because we don’t want to build more rental properties.

    And if we are talking about S.F. where is is completely built out and up and there is very little opportunity to add more housing, that is one rent problem that makes sense.

    But in Davis surrounded by open land in a county that is mostly vacant and rural, it makes no sense except to label it as selfish.

    There is such dripping irony in those that argue that the US should just open its border and allow every low income person south of the border in so we can care for them, but then have these “caring” people make the argument that they moved to Davis because it was small and exclusive and they should be able to roll up the welcome carpet and shut the door behind them.

    “Do as I say, not as I do”.

    Not a respectable position.

  11. Tia Will


    Oh, my gosh. I was getting ready to suggest a party when I thought that you and I were twice in agreement in 48 hours…..and then you just had to drag your idealogical blinded side into the discussion.

    The point of agreement, we need more rental property and yes, I would support building it.
    What we do not need in my opinion are more of the 400-600,000 dollar homes that are a mainstay of the Cannery. I doubt you have too much to worry about regarding hypocrisy since I doubt that anything that the developers of such communities as the Cannery will be compatible with the income of those having entered the country for asylum which you do not seem to be capable of separating from those who merely want a materially better way of life.

    1. Mr. Toad

      Funny, are you suggesting we don’t need more housing like the type you live in?

      Frankly has it right. Its classic liberal tripe and I know I grew up with it. As Phil Ochs sang mockingly in the 60’s:

      “I love Puerto Ricans and negros, as long as they don’t live next door,
      So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.”

      You are all for being a humanitarian as long as it doesn’t impact your “lifestyle.”

      1. Tia Will

        Mr. Toad

        I don’t know what kind of home you think I live in. But I suspect you are totally unaware.
        I live in a 2000 square foot bungalow on J st. less than one block from the tracks. Unless there has been a dramatic change in the market since I purchased the house, it is not even close to the $400-600,000 range about which I am writing.

        I moved here largely because I wanted a more diverse neighbor hood.
        I think that you might be a little less haughty and caustic if you knew anything at all about me. Or maybe not, maybe that is just your MO ?

          1. Tia Will


            Could be. He usually doesn’t succeed, but the descent into trolling sucked me in this evening. Much more appropriate would have been just to call him out for the personal attack.

            As a member of the editorial board, I will attempt to do better.

        1. Mr. Toad

          You ought to look up the value of your own real estate. You whine about Cannery for building homes in the same price range or lower price range than what you live in. Its hilarious because its as if you never even bothered to listen to what New Homes is doing at Cannery because there are going to a wide range of home prices there including homes for under $400,000. You keep harping about something that isn’t true while describing your own situation as the thing that is wrong with this community. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

          As any economist will tell you the best way to lower prices is to add supply.

          1. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            And any environmentalist or ag. expert will tell you that building on some of the world’s most fertile ag land is probably not the best use of one’s resources. Experts frequently differ on the best solutions based on their perspective.

        2. Mark West

          According to Zillow, an 890 SF, 2 bedroom 1 bath home on J Street just north of the tracks sold in September 2013 for $347K. Chances are good your “2000 square foot bungalow on J st. less than one block from the tracks” is at the very least, well within the $400-$600K price range today.

          You may be right that Toad is ‘haughty and caustic,’ but it seems in this case he is also correct.

          1. Tia Will

            Mark West

            Actually not true. You forgot to factor in the condition of the property.
            This was and is a real “fixer upper” in my daughters words.

          2. Mark West

            You need to refresh your knowledge of the real estate values in your neighborhood Tia. Houses half the size of yours in beat up condition (student rentals) are selling in the high $300K low $400K range. That is what passes for a starter home in this town and they are priced in that range because few are available thanks to investors buying them up and renting them out. If the homes in Cannery end up selling in the low $400’s, then maybe houses around you (and me as I am only a couple of blocks away) will drop a little in value, but I won’t hold my breath.

            Bottom line, you are complaining about more houses in the same price range as the one you live in, just as Toad said.

        3. Frankly

          Tia – This big, bad, uncaring, money-loving, conservative dude lives in a house smaller than you do. And it is in dire need of renovation.

          That is the problem with moral equivalency arguments and classism. It never does fit well in the box.

          1. Tia Will

            Well Frankly, we have both made our choices. We could both have bigger, fancier, more upscale homes in other communities. And yet here we are both choosing to live in Davis.

            I see no hint of classism in my comments. As a matter of fact, I would do without “classes” or “tribes” entirely…..but you claim that is “collectivism”
            although I have never advocated for that. So I guess in a way, you are locked into the concept of the existence of “classes” as an inevitable part of the human existence. I do not believe that this has to be the case.

  12. Mr. Toad

    Exactly Frankly.

    Oh I meant La Jolla not Del Mar. Its been about 40 years since I visited there and I got them confused. But the question is why are properties so expensive there and why are they more expensive here than in neighboring towns. I don’t know the market there but I do know it here and I understand that the premium for Davis has widened since the nimbi’s shut down growth. I don’t think they shut down growth to jack up their own real estate values but I don’t think they mind it either and now they don’t want to lose their paper profits.

  13. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    “Many young adults are locked out and looking in and like myself when I was in that position disgusted by such a remark.”

    I was a “young adult” who couldn’t afford to live here after graduating from medical school. When I lived here there was a rental vacancy rate of 2% or so I was told by student housing. House prices in Davis were well beyond my ability to pay as a newly minted doctor. I certainly did not blame that on the people who already lived here. I understood that as I worked my way up my earning capacity would increase and if I wanted to come back, that I would eventually be able to buy here, especially if I was willing to buy a very small, old , inexpensive starter home and work my way up. I did not feel that the people already here were obliged to provide me with a house that I simply wanted or felt I deserved. Likewise, I know many people who like Davis, but whose desire for a larger home has meant that they have chosen to live in other communities and yet do not feel victimized
    ( as Frankly likes to say) by their free choice to buy larger elsewhere knowing that they could have afforded a smaller house in Davis.

  14. Mr. Toad

    Sure, you rage about Cannery and its affordability even though you live in a house in the same price range. Why is it okay for you to have a house in that range but not someone else? It is totally hypocritical to say others shouldn’t be able to do what you do yourself. Even if you are honestly unaware of the value of your residences you deserve ridicule for speaking out without an understanding of the facts. Cannery will have many types of housing for different family needs and economic situations with larger homes making it possible for smaller homes to be built . It is the average price that will be in the $400,000 range. You deserve ridicule for your blinded opposition to Cannery that you never actually considered its benefits to the community. You deserve ridicule for being such a great humanitarian about the border but don’t want to absorb these people into your own community because you believe they will impact your lifestyle. You deserve ridicule for having had the benefit of a UC education but don’t want to provide the infrastructure for the growing number of young people who would also be willing to work for that opportunity. You deserve ridicule for thinking you are living an environmentally sustainable lifestyle by living walking distance from downtown but support policies that make other people commute longer distances and results in a carbon footprint that is larger than if those people were able to live closer to UCD where they work.

    That is enough for now. I don’t know why you asked but you did. Oh, just one more. You deserve ridicule for trying to claim the supposed moral high ground of being a Vanguard Editorial Board member instead of debating the facts.

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