The Opportunity is Ours

economic-developmentBy Doby Fleeman

Even as a relatively new member of a family with 100-plus-year-old roots in the Davis business community, I tend to take the long view. Having investments and a business in Davis bring with them certain responsibilities to family, employees, customers, fellow business owners, neighbors and vendors.

With a personal background in finance, and a keen interest in the long-term health of our personal business and the community at large, I have the motivation and the basic tools required to take a look under the hood — at what drives our local economy and pays for our city services.

Fellow contributor Rob White, chief innovation officer for the city of Davis, and I will be exploring the many ways a growing, knowledge-based economy can help create positive outcomes for Davis.

Over the horizon, our community faces some serious financial challenges. When the final numbers are tallied and reviewed by our City Council later this fall, a lot of people are going to be shocked by the magnitude of the city’s accumulated fiscal deficit. While Davis clearly is not alone among California cities, it seems appropriate to squarely face the challenge and create a collaborative community plan to address the issues.

If there is a silver lining from the fiscal challenges, it is the confidence that our community — together with the university — has the means, the resources and the skills to address them. Together, we can create long-term opportunities for the entire community.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have any simple solutions, nor do I profess to have the keen insights to know what is best for the community or what is our best way forward. I do, however, take it as a given that change is inevitable.

The distinguishing character of this community will be measured by how successful we are in addressing, exploring, resolving and directing the process of change to ensure that our future will be every bit as interesting, charming and unique as we are today.

In my opinion, the Davis community both deserves and demands this type of citizen engagement if it is to be plotting a course forward. Marshaling the civic and private financial resources to undertake this type of progressive, forward-visioning process is something that this community should take seriously.

Current efforts underway at the Nishi Gateway and the proposed innovation centers (research parks) are reflective of this community’s potential to emerge as a leading center for technology employment, one that is focused on meeting global demands for safe and secure food production, food processing and associated resource management.

The professional and creative efforts of these projects will go a long way toward helping us to envision how the future might translate in terms of new creative and productive spaces for our community. I hope these efforts can serve as an impetus and dovetail into a more comprehensive, parallel overview showing how such enhancements might contribute to achieving the larger visions and longer-term goals of the community.

With or without our support, UC Davis and the research that it has ignited are moving forward in fulfillment of the mission to feed the world. This community has benefited greatly in the past from being a host to the university, and the potential gains by fostering and embracing the research and development is there for the asking.

What Davis chooses to do with that opportunity and how the community chooses to leverage that relationship to foster a better, stronger and healthier local economy will — in large measure — determine the future social and economic direction for the community.

In future columns, I will be exploring the linkage between a community’s economic activity, and its ability to afford not only essential municipal services, but more importantly those special amenities — community parks, pools, recreation centers, bike paths, greenbelts and school facilities — that together help shape our quality of life and character of the community.

Doby Fleeman is a co-owner of Davis Ace Hardware. This editorial originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise and was submitted to the Vanguard by its author.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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43 Comments

  1. Frankly

    The lack of commentary, I think, is a sign that there is little disagreement with this well-written piece. The debate will probably increase with subsequent follow up articles.

    With or without our support, UC Davis and the research that it has ignited are moving forward in fulfillment of the mission to feed the world. This community has benefited greatly in the past from being a host to the university, and the potential gains by fostering and embracing the research and development is there for the asking.

    I think this is a great point… one that needs to be repeated.

    And related to this is a point about trust. And not only trust in our leaders and neighbors, but more importantly, trust in ourselves.

    Reactions in opposition to development are generally arguments in opposition to change. Humans generally resist change unless we clearly see what benefits we will derive from the change. And human tend to oppose change when they even perceive of any resulting negative personal impacts.

    But this change resistance and opposition tendency follows the thought pattern of change being put upon us… not change that we actually control. But change that is put upon us and change that we control are completely different… they are, in fact, opposites. Because change that we control is the essence of what derives progress.

    And progress is what we should be targeting.

    If Davis really a city of progressives, or are we more a city of reactionaries?

    I want to believe that we are the former. But for that label to truly manifest, we need to demonstrate leadership and control of the opportunities of progress.

    We need to trust our own capability to derive the best outcomes from change.

    If we don’t trust ourselves to do a good job managing change, then we will deserve the label of reactionaries. And that is not a complementary label… especially given the average education level of population.

  2. Matt Williams

    I agree with Frankly about the lack of comments.

    When you are building a house (as Doby is looking to do with this series) it is important that all agree that the foundation is well laid, and that it can support the structure that will be built on it. It would be helpful to the dialogue if members of the community like Mike Harrington, Pam Nieberg, Ken Wagstaff, Pam Gunnell, Steve Hayes, Jim Leonard, John Munn, Nancy and Don Price, Dick and Rachel Livingston, Sue Greenwald, Mark Siegler, Mark Spencer, Jan Troost and a host of others would weigh in on the concepts Doby has laid out in this piece. There are a whole lot more names in addition to the ones I have listed, but I think this is a representative sample.

  3. Doby Fleeman

    Thanks for your comments and support. I imagine there will be more comments with future articles, as more details and concepts are put forward regarding the possible points of intersection between an opportunity society and its implications for social, cultural, environmental and economic changes within the community.

    Hopefully, there will be a willingness to discuss future innovation centers and the jobs they represent in the context of the opportunities presented – both in terms of their potential benefits to future generations of employees but also in the larger context of what those new employers and new jobs can mean for the health and future prosperity of the community.

  4. DT Businessman

    The drumbeat for fostering a “knowledge-based economy”, an “innovation ecosystem”, a “diversified local economy”, whatever you want to call it, continues to focus on peripheral innovation parks while ignoring the critical role a robust start-up community plays in a successful local economy. It is not at all clear to me why there are those who choose to focus on the former and not both.

    We have had numerous speakers at local economic development confabs from Chancellor Katehi to Anthony Costello speak about creating an urban-based innovation ecosystem centered in and around downtowns. And there is a plethora of literature as well that supports these speakers. Entrepreneurs and their employees are drawn to the urban, trendy, creative vibe that can only be found in an urban setting with its coffee shops, bars, restaurants, live entertainment, art, etc. in close proximity to a university. It is this type of setting offering an opportunity for numerous interactions in and among risk-taking entrepreneurs that spawns high-growth startup after high-growth startup.

    Why so many “champions of economic development” continue to ignore this input is a mystery.

    -Michael Bisch

    1. Doby Fleeman

      Michael,

      Great points and good questions.

      From my limited perspective, it seems that these cultures of innovation ecosystems are typically found in communities which feature BOTH a robust technology employment sector (typically a fairly large base of established, at-scale technology companies) surrounded by a highly motivated collection of emerging, next-generation technology companies. In many cases, it seems, the founders of these “next generation startup companies are former employees of the larger, more mature technology companies.

      At present, in Davis, there are very few of these mature, at-scale technology companies. I would argue this is perhaps the single biggest challenge to younger companies having the opportunity and circumstances for a successful launch in Davis. In many cases, it is those larger companies which serve as the training ground for break-away new enterprises. In many cases, it is the very presence of these larger, establish, well financed, more mature companies which serve as the benefactors for collaborative university research, the training ground for creative new talent, and finally as the financial deep pockets who often help finance the emergence of aspiring new enterprise.

      These larger Innovation Centers would provide the necessary space, scale and flexibility for larger, stable, at-scale technology employers who would then form the missing piece of the foundation that might serve as the launching pad to full realization of the full potential for these young companies which you describe.

      Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion, but I would submit that this is valid argument in support of the need for and value of the Innovation Center concept.

      1. DT Businessman

        No, no, what you are describing, Doby, is not a startup community. It’s something else (I’m not saying it’s not valuable). Startup communities are dominated by entrepreneurs that are starting high growth startups that can rapidly scale up to 500 employees and far beyond. These are typically college students, recent college grads, bright individuals coming from campus that are not seeking to join the corporate world.

        Doby, you speak frequently about our poor jobs to residents ratio. You mentioned there is less than half a job per resident in Davis. The ratio in Boulder, CO is double at around 1.0. Davis is an under-performing startup community. Boulder is an acclaimed startup community. The Boulder startup community is centered in and around downtown Boulder. With a personal background in finance, you don’t see a correlation there? Jobs, wealth, entrepreneurship, innovation, progressive, urban, hip environment?

        This is not rocket science. There are templates on creating startup communities. Davis Roots is following the template. It would be great if we could focus some energy on this. Why not?

        -Michael Bisch

        1. Frankly

          Here is part of the answer.

          Boulder has more peripheral retail. Much more. Every community the size of Davis has more peripheral retail.

          Davis has resisted peripheral retail and instead demanded that we protect downtown retail.

          We also have core area residents that see that area as their special Sun City retirement village… and they are determine to protect it as such.

          The problem is competing downtown interests for a self-imposed much too small supply of land.

          In addition, we are talking about food and ag innovation primarily. So you have the additional challenge of needing open space for the R&D… either open fields or large greenhouses.

          Now maybe you are making a point that Nishi should drop the housing component and focus entirely on a business innovation park. I would be cool with that, but then again… those competing interests.

          You can facilitate much of this startup community synergy with smartly-developed peripheral innovation parks. I can tell you that San Jose’s downtown has only recently become more vibrant… a place where the innovators mingle in person and develop the next great idea.

          I view this more as a “build it and they will come” situation. You probably could not design a startup community if you were to sit down and attempt it. From my perspective, the very first step is an attractive and vibrant community where people want to live. Then develop the business parks and the business will locate here and the creative class people will seek each other out. The startup community develop itself. Davis already has the attractive and vibrant thing going for it. We just need the businesses and the creative owners and employees.

          And one last thing… although I agree that there is value in this vision of real physical startup community, don’t discount the move to the virtual community. Social networking is another key component that helps bridge geographic boundaries.

          1. Don Shor

            So you have the additional challenge of needing open space for the R&D… either open fields or large greenhouses.

            Those would be allowable uses in ag zoning, such as what might be adjacent to a peripheral innovation park.

          2. Matt Williams

            That retail is driven by the following two facts (1) The United States Census Bureau reported that in 2010 the population of Boulder was 97,385, and (2) the population of the Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area was 294,567.

            Boulder is a regional hub for retail, with twice as many people living outside the Boulder City Limits as live inside it.

            The 2010 population of the City of Davis has 65,622, with 5,786 residents of the UCD campus and probably another 2,000 to 3,000 in Willowbank, El Macero, Patwin, Binning Farms and North Davis Meadows.

            From a retail perspective, Boulder and Davis are worlds apart.

          3. Frankly

            Boulder made itself a regional retail hub.

            Davis did the opposite.

            And Boulder is not that terrible place to live that Tia so often claims Davis will become with peripheral development.

            Note that Boulder is 25 square miles compared to Davis’s measly 9.7 square miles.

            Boulder’s population density is about half of what Davis has “achieved”.

          4. Matt Williams

            Boulder isn’t on the shores of a major metropolitan area the way Davis is. Boulder is its own SMSA. It is the County Seat of its county. It has a region that it can be a regional hub for. Davis is part of the Sacramento SMSA for good reason. In 1950 when Davis’ population was 3,554, Boulder’s was 19,999. In 1960 Davis was 8,910 and Boulder was 37,718. In 1970 Davis jumped to 23,488, but by that time Boulder was 66,870. Those numbers are not in any way comparable, especially when you add in the fact that the Boulder SMSA population in 1950 was 48,296, in 1960 was 74,254, in 1970 was 131,889. Are you seriously going to compare 3,554 to 48,296 or 8,910 to 74,254 or 23,488 to 131,889?

            All that boils down to the fact that Boulder had a reason to become a regional retail hub, while Davis had no reason to do so. Sacramento is the regional retail hub for Davis.

          5. Frankly

            “Those would be allowable uses in ag zoning, such as what might be adjacent to a peripheral innovation park.”

            I believe you are wrong about greenhouses. At least Mace 391 cannot have any greenhouses the last I checked the regs.

          6. Matt Williams

            “I believe you are wrong about greenhouses. At least Mace 391 cannot have any greenhouses the last I checked the regs.”

            That is a Conservation Easement restriction, not a zoning restriction. If the Mace 391 planning process had anticipated the use of the land for the purposes of field trials and research greenhouses, they probably could have included those as allowable uses in the Conservation Easement terms. The people managing that planning process either didn’t think about that possible use, or thought about it and discarded it.

          7. Frankly

            Boulder is 25 minutes away from Longmont, CO, and 40 minutes out of Denver. Both Longmont and Boulder are about the same size in population and square miles.

            However, in 2007 Longmont registered $12,272 in retail sales per capita. While Boulder… registered $19,483.

            That’s right, the liberal college city was the one with the top retail per capita.

            Why?

            Because the leaders of Boulder have been smarter and less change averse than have the leaders of Davis.

          8. South of Davis

            Frankly wrote (without mentioning any names):

            > We also have core area residents that see that area as their
            > special Sun City retirement village… and they are determine
            > to protect it as such.

            The difference is that the people in Sun City, AZ or in the CA Rossmore or Del Webb communities in CA just seem to care about their own areas and don’t get upset if anyone wants to build a “big box” store miles away (well out of golf cart range), while we have many in Davis that want to stop ALL big box stores (even the ones they will never even dive past)…

          9. DT Businessman

            Frankly, you really should read the book, Startup Communities, by Brad Feld. The similarities in land use, retail and transportation policies between Boulder and Davis are STRIKING. Where we differ is Boulder embraces the startup culture, while Davis does not.

            Boulder, CO population: 101,808
            Davis, CA population: 65,993
            Boulder, CO total employment: 93,154 (.91 jobs per capita)
            Davis, CA: total employment: 32,000 according to John D (.48 jobs per capita)
            Boulder, CO host to large university: yes
            Davis, CA host to large university: yes
            Boulder, CO vibrant downtown: yes
            Davis, CA vibrant downtown:yes
            Boulder, CA liberal: yes
            Davis, CA liberal: yes
            Boulder, CO strong open space preservation policies: yes
            Davis, CA strong open space preservation policies: yes
            Boulder, CO companies outgrow facilities and forced to relocate: yes
            Davis, CA companies outgrow facilities and forced to relocate: yes
            Boulder, CO a leading startup community: yes
            Davis, CA a leading startup community: not so much

            -Michael Bisch

          10. DT Businessman

            Matt, your analysis is a bit off. The Boulder Metropolitan area is the same as Boulder County with a population of 294,567. Yolo County has 204,118.

            You really need to read Startup Communities by Brad Feld. The retail environment described in the book is strikingly similar to Davis. The the universities are about the same size. Where we differ is Boulder is a renowned startup community. Davis is not.

            -Michael Bisch

          11. South of Davis

            Michael wrote:

            > The similarities in land use, retail and transportation
            > policies between Boulder and Davis are STRIKING.

            I’m hoping that Davis can get more start ups, but we can’t forget that Boulder is the location of the best public college in the state and is only about a half hour from the biggest city in the state. UC Davis is doing a lot better but it was not that long ago that it was just know as the “farm school” for the best public college in the state and while it is possible to get to SF in a little over an hour with no traffic more often than not the drive is closer to two hours.

      2. DT Businessman

        From a Reuters article by Paul Smalera:

        “…Brad Feld, who is without exaggeration the godfather to the Boulder startup community, explained exactly why it is that Boulder feels like a town on the verge, and why it’s teeming with startups.”

        “Brad Feld’s four ingredients for thriving startup cities:

        1. The startup community has to be led by entrepreneurs.

        Everyone who’s not an entrepreneur, says Feld, “is a feeder.” Feeders can be useful, indeed even essential. Lawyers, bankers, shared workspace providers, venture capitalists, business services, city hall, even incubators, are all essential components. But if one of those groups get into the position of calling the shots on what the community should be, Feld thinks it won’t work.

        2. Take a very long term view of success; a twenty year view at least.

        If you took a look at a decade-long slice of Silicon Valley, and you took the the period from, say, 1992-2002, you’d have to assume that the promise of technology was a huge bust. But if you encapsulate the next decade, you’d get a better picture of how out of the ashes of the dot-com bubble bust, a new and perhaps more resilient approach to tech startups came about. It’s foolish, then, to assume that any startup city is going to have its ecosystem all figured out in a relatively short period of time.

        3. Be inclusive.

        Inclusive, says Feld, of anyone who wants to engage in the startup community in any way. And don’t try to box them into a hierarchical structure, where their activities are controlled by the “leaders” of the community. Assume good intent, and try to have everyone “lean in” to the work at hand. Though Feld didn’t say this in his talk, I got the sense behind the idea was a simple theory of the wisdom of the crowds. When people think up good programs or activities, they naturally will attract the attention of others; when they don’t, they won’t. There’s no need to bring rubber-stamping into the mix.

        4. Create activities that engage the “entire stack” of entreperneurs.

        Different startups are going to work on vastly different ideas. But they should still have a way to get together, almost a rallying point, to learn from and get to know each other. In Boulder, Feld thinks that rallying point is Techstars. Indeed, it’s hard to meet anyone involved in the tech community in Boulder who doesn’t have some connection to Feld or Techstars. A key distinction: Techstars, nor Feld is the “head” of the community; he and it are just the network node– the connector of connectors.

        In sum: give before you get”

        “For years now, we’ve been hearing statistics about how startups actually create more jobs in the U.S. economy than the big, established firms, which tend to shed jobs.”

        -Michael Bisch

      3. Doby Fleeman

        I don’t see anything incompatible between what we are saying. The entrepreneurial society has traditionally co-existed alongside older, establish business forever. It has traditionally been the older, established businesses – and their founders – which have typically provided the equity capital for the new enterprises to flourish. Admittedly, things have changed in recent years with the advent of capital formation through the mechanism of crowdsourcing. Being openly supportive and encouraging of new entrepreneurs is a wonderful thing and a great goal for the community – to become known as a destination for aspiring new entrepreneurs.

        That said, there is no denying the role of community infrastructure initiatives such as the Stanford Research Park and its role in fostering and accelerating the growth of aspiring new technology companies. Likewise, there was no substitute for the venture capital community which arose along the peninsula and their pivotal role in vetting these new enterprises and then providing access the patient capital essential to the incubation of these fledgling enterprises.

        Another important aspect of development in Silicon Valley was the role of traditional real estate developers and old farming families, who made choices to take on new risks, explore new frontiers of technology and make new investments. In one sense, they chose to invest in a new, high-risk enterprise – “growing” a new class of products – entrepreneurs – in the spaces once occupied by orchards and fields. Today, perhaps the question should be: “Could that process of transition have been manager better?” No doubt there was/is room for improvement. Whether those decisions prove to be good or bad over the long haul is most likely in the eye of the participants and beholders – but that such transitions occurred is now history.

        Similar things have happened in Boulder and other centers of innovation over the past several decades. Boulder has the added advantage, perhaps of being a largely “complete” economic eco-system – benefitting from its distinctive culture and independence, not operating directly in the shadow of Denver. As a regional economic hub community and a year-around tourist destination, it has enjoyed certain economic advantages not available to every community. To its credit, Boulder has taken the initiative and played to its strengths. There are now exciting new startups ranging from gluten-free bakeries to electronic gadget manufacturers.

        Part of what I hear in your comments is a plea for more support by the community for aspiring, young entrepreneurs in their efforts to get their ideas off the ground. Maybe I am just old school, but pursuit of this goal as a stated objective naturally leads to a discussion of who should be expected to finance these typically high-risk investments. In context of developing new, high-density Downtown office space, a similar question arises when talking about populating these spaces with fledgling new start-up companies. Who, what entities, do you see as stepping forward to finance these largely high-risk types of ventures?

        Where this conversation ties back to the peripheral Innovation Centers is several fold. As stated, the larger, more established technology companies offer additional new jobs and incremental new revenue and tax revenues to the community. They also serve as training grounds for the recently graduated. In addition, they are able to afford first rate laboratory, research and product development infrastructure from which aspiring young entrepreneurs might emerge. Lastly, they often times (or their founding stockholders) become a viable source of angel or development-stage financing. At this juncture, it seems we could use any or all of these resources to help make Davis a more viable and attractive place for the entrepreneurial society you espouse.

        These are just a few thoughts. I am in conferences most of the remainder of the week and vendor meetings in the evenings. I would be happy to discuss further when time allows.

        1. Bill

          “Who, what entities, do you see as stepping forward to finance these largely high-risk types of ventures?”

          Davis Roots is already taking the lead on this… finding investors and capital. If the community became more involved, however, this would only increase access to capital.

          1. Frankly

            This gets back to the point about innovation centers attracting the established business that contains part of the engine of startup entrepreneurial capital.

            It is not even a chicken and egg thing… it is cart and horse thing.

            A startup community lacking established business is a research park and it is tilted toward academia. An innovation park is a particular brand of business park that is tilted toward private free enterprise, but is likely connected to academia because academia can incubate ideas and talent.

            Innovation startup capital comes from a variety of sources:

            – Angels
            – Venture capitalists
            – Business partnerships

            There are also more traditional capital sources like bank loans.

            There are government programs. For ag-related business, the USDA has grants and direct loan programs. There is the SBA that backs private lender loans to startups because of their higher risk profile.

            Capital acquisition is the most important challenge for any new business startup. Without capital your best idea is only that… an idea.

    2. Anon

      To DT Businessman: I would think peripheral business parks would be a great boon to downtown businesses. It would bring many more customers to the downtown, just as Shilling Robotics and Mori Seiki have. I don’t think anyone has forgotten the downtown, we love it, and want it to continue being the vibrant venue it is, or even better. I think there will be a natural symbiotic relationship between an innovation park and the downtown, since the downtown represents the heart of Davis. 😉

      1. DT Businessman

        Thanks, Anon. I personally am not at all opposed to a peripheral innovation park. And as a DD board member, I’m not opposed to it either since it’s a joint DD/Chamber/YCVB/City priority. My comments had nothing to do with a peripheral innovation park. My comments were focused on creating a startup community. As I posted at the outset, I’m curious why the drumbeat for economic development focuses so heavily on peripheral innovation parks, but overlooks the incredible economic potential of startups. It’s a fair question. Why?

        By the way, when Doby responded to the question, he actually spoke about something entirely different. Innovation parks and startup communities are two very different things. But to be clear, they are not mutually exclusive. We can do both….or one….or the other. So why does the Vanguard commentary continue to ignore the clear benefits of fostering a startup community? What’s even more perplexing is why some of the anonymous VG posters cite unnamed sources disparaging startups without ever providing a rationale or data.

        -Michael Bisch

        1. Matt Williams

          Michael, I think part of the problem is that for the most part by their very nature, startups are very inwardly focused, and as a result are almost invisible to the normal citizen/resident of Davis. The very act of “becoming visible” takes time away from their core focused activity … starting up their business.

          With that said, do you believe there is an information hub that the media (Enterprise and Vanguard) could go to that would be able to point the members of the media to the otherwise invisible start ups?

          1. DT Businessman

            Last time I checked, the ED folks in the City Managers office were tracking the high-growth startups in Davis.

            -Michael Bisch

  5. Tia Will

    “The distinguishing character of this community will be measured by how successful we are in addressing, exploring, resolving and directing the process of change to ensure that our future will be every bit as interesting, charming and unique as we are today.”

    I cannot speak for David’s 4’s but I can express some of the caution that comes from being within the category he has painted as “threes”, those of us who are skeptical of the glowing terms, which I, unlike Matt, do not see even as the foundation, but maybe a first sketch of the blue print.

    Dobie is correct in stating that a critical element is trust.
    It is hard for me to trust that there is true interest in remaining as “interesting, charming, and unique as we are today” when many of the growth promoters have touted such additions to our community as the
    Target ( that certainly added nothing to the interest, charm and uniqueness of our community) or before that the area now inhabited by the Kasier clinic, the IHOP, Applebee’s etc…

    I am reserving judgement on the current proposals until I have actually heard them. However, I do not see that so far, Davis has had a particularly strong history of maintaining our “unique” character when someone wants to develop.

    1. Anon

      Sorry, but I like Target and it has generated some much needed tax revenue for this town. My guess is that in a few years, the entire area around Target will be very vibrant (it is starting to get there). Many of us like the area around iHop/Applebees/Safeway. And many Davisites enjoy the businesses located there. I didn’t care much for Davis when I came here in the early eighties. There were not very many restaurants to eat at, the downtown was not a happening place as it is today. Things were pretty dull in my book. To each his own!

      1. Tia Will

        Anon

        “To each his own”

        Except that is not what it will be. Yes, I have a preference for a smaller location. I chose Davis specifically for this quality. I liked the agricultural based university and community. So what this standardization of Davis with the growing, every town must have its own Target for the convenience of those who won’t plan their trips out of town, mentality does, is to forever change the nature of Davis.

        The problem that I have is not with change. It is with change to a model that I do not like, and that already exists all over California. There are many, many communities with Targets and areas like iHop/Applebees/Safeway. It is the homogenization of our culture. But there is one Davis. So what is really being said here is not “to each their own”, ( there will be no “my own” left ) but to each, exactly the same as is found everywhere else. And this I find a real shame.

        In a way, your comment illustrates my point. Doby and others are talking about keeping Davis unique, but all of the things that you have listed are not making Davis more unique, but rather more like every other community. Does that help you understand why I would distrust the comments about keeping Davis special and unique while discussing changes that will doubtless move it towards being like every other community one drives through ?

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > The problem that I have is not with change. It is with change to a
          > model that I do not like, and that already exists all over California.

          The people building Target stores “all over California” are not doing it to bother you, they are doing it because “most” people want a Target nearby.

          > Davis special and unique while discussing changes that will
          > doubtless move it towards being like every other community
          > one drives through ?

          Davis (just like EVERY city) is “special and unique” and adding a few more big box stores (even a Wal Mart) will not make it like “every other community one drives through”…

          1. Tia Will

            SOD

            I am well aware that there is no personal ill intent. And I would like to remind you that the vote on Target was 51/49. Hardly a resounding statement community desire for a Target. And as far as “nearby” there were already nine Targets within a 30 minute radius of some parts of Davis, and some parts of Davis are actually more quickly accessed than the Davis Target.

            With the rest of your comment, we will just have to agree to disagree based on your interpretation of “special and unique”.

          2. South of Davis

            Tia wrote:

            > And as far as “nearby” there were already nine Targets within
            > a 30 minute radius of some parts of Davis

            Why not just admit that you hate Target? Telling me how convenient it is to drive to another Target in another city you sound like the right wingers in TX (that won’t admit they hate abortion clinics) that say that every town does not need an abortion clinic since “it will not be a problem for anyone to drive to a “safer” one in another city”

            > With the rest of your comment, we will just have to agree
            > to disagree based on your interpretation of “special and
            > unique”.

            Living downtown why do you even care that Davis has a Target (that you never need to look at or shop at)? I can’t figure out why the Target ~7 miles from the NW Davis city limit seems to bother people more than the Wal Mart ~7 miles from the SW Davis city limit…

    1. Jim Frame

      Where is the mitigation land for the 200 acre comm park?

      There’s 700+ acres of Howatt Ranch available just a hop skip and a jump to the east. The city could sell a conservation easement on 400 acres of that to the Ramos/Bruner developer, getting mitigation land and cash in the bank at the same time.

  6. Matt Williams

    Matt Williams said:

    I agree with Frankly about the lack of comments.

    When you are building a house (as Doby is looking to do with this series) it is important that all agree that the foundation is well laid, and that it can support the structure that will be built on it. It would be helpful to the dialogue if members of the community like Mike Harrington, Pam Nieberg, Ken Wagstaff, Pam Gunnell, Steve Hayes, Jim Leonard, John Munn, Nancy and Don Price, Dick and Rachel Livingston, Sue Greenwald, Mark Siegler, Mark Spencer, Jan Troost and a host of others would weigh in on the concepts Doby has laid out in this piece. There are a whole lot more names in addition to the ones I have listed, but I think this is a representative sample.

    Michael Harrington responded:

    Matt: OK.

    1, No general vehicle access between Nishi and Olive Dr

    2. Where is the mitigation land for the 200 acre comm park?

    Michael, I think those are important issues that our community needs to wrestle with during the process. With that said, when I read Doby’s words above …

    The distinguishing character of this community will be measured by how successful we are in addressing, exploring, resolving and directing the process of change to ensure that our future will be every bit as interesting, charming and unique as we are today.

    With or without our support, UC Davis and the research that it has ignited are moving forward in fulfillment of the mission to feed the world. This community has benefited greatly in the past from being a host to the university, and the potential gains by fostering and embracing the research and development is there for the asking.

    What Davis chooses to do with that opportunity and how the community chooses to leverage that relationship to foster a better, stronger and healthier local economy will — in large measure — determine the future social and economic direction for the community.

    … I see Doby dealing with community issues that are much less “granular” than specific street access and specific ag land mitigation approaches.

    So with those two important issues “deposited” by you in the “bank” or as Jeff Baird used to say, put in the “parking lot,” what are your thoughts about the less granular concepts Doby has put forward?

  7. Bill

    Those are some good thoughts DT Businessman. I agree with your thoughts and also believe that these are not mutually exclusive issues. With that said, I we are certainly missing a tremendously important piece to the puzzle. As it stands now, the Innovation Park (in my view) is basically a real estate transaction… a Tech Park. It’s intended for companies that have already exited the innovation process. And it’s important, particularly in light of the City’s financial situation. But it really has nothing to do with innovation as a process.

    The piece of the puzzle we are missing is what DT Businessman points out… is the lack of investment in fostering an “innovation ecosystem.” The Tech Park will provide a nice financial boost to the city, but it will do little to promote innovation, nor will it help us keep the brilliant, innovative ideas arising from within Davis. I would love to hear from Davis Roots on the # of startups that have left Davis… not because there aren’t sufficient large facilities, but b/c there isn’t the right innovation culture nor mid-size office space in the downtown (and yes, it needs to be in the downtown).

    Here’s how it looks from my perspective:

    Innovative Startup Idea –> Davis Roots –> No office space –> Move to another city b/c no office space or innovation ecosystem –> Exit startup phase and become successful. Davis loses.

    Here’s what it should look like:
    Innovation Startup Idea –> Davis Roots –> Finds office space AND innovation culture in the downtown –> Stay in Davis! –> Exit startup phase –> Move into larger space in new Innovation Park.

    The innovation ecosystem and office space are key here. I’ve checked with Davis Roots and almost every single startup going through them has fled to another city b/c:
    a. The office space is insufficient
    b. There is no innovation culture

    This hurts us on 2 levels:
    1. We lose out on the innovative ideas
    2. We lose out on the huge opportunity to draw UCD students downtown b/c they want to be involved in the innovation ecosystem.

    Ultimately, I think we are missing the boat here.

      1. Frankly

        Thanks Bill. perfect points.

        It is like nursing seeds to baby plants and then not having any land to plant and grown. Why do the former if you don’t have the latter?

        1. Bill

          Good analogy Frankly. Again, it’s not that the Innovation Park is a bad idea. It’s that we need to start working as a community on the middle phase and creating an innovation ecosystem. I’d love to draw together a book group for initial discussion, maybe using “Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City” by Brad Feld as a starting point.

          I’d be curious is anyone here would be interested.

          http://www.amazon.com/Startup-Communities-Building-Entrepreneurial-Ecosystem/dp/1118441540/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

          1. Frankly

            Thanks for the book reference. Just ordered it for my iPad. Just need to finish the book on Grover Cleveland first. Then I will be happy to join that book group.

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