What is Your Vision for the Future of Davis?

Innovation-Park-example

In the next 12 months or so, the Davis voters will engage in a large discussion over one, two, perhaps three development proposals that may well culminate in a March 2016 vote on innovation parks.

The question that the Vanguard has raised in the last few days is what is the vision of Davis for the future.

In yesterday’s article we articulated a few possibilities.

  1. The Grand Vision. Davis becomes part of a Transformation of our region to take its place as one of the top four regional economies in the state of California. Davis becomes a leader in Ag-Tech, Med-Tech and pushes to become the Silicon Valley of Green Technology.
  2. Davis takes advantage of the opportunity now to develop the proposed 200-400 acres of Innovation Park Space, 7 million square feet but cedes the bigger and more grandiose vision to elsewhere in the region.
  3. Davis reclaims its place as progressive leader with new sustainability and innovation features.
  4. Davis stays roughly the same. It votes down the innovation parks and retains its current configuration with development limited to infill.
  5. None of these. Present your own vision for what you want Davis to look like.

We want to hear from you which vision you share.

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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40 Comments

  1. sisterhood

    I moved away so maybe I don’t have any business responding. My vision includes:

    1. Less cars. Wider bike lanes. More walking paths. No more parking structures downtown.

    2. Better schools. Davis schools are not innovative, yet we expect them to produce innovators. I’ve mentioned before, my son went through Davis schools and not one teacher figured out he had a learning disability. In junior high, I spent my own money for an evaluation at Sylvan. They discovered it immediately. I found out later, we qualified for that same service for free. Not one teacher ever advised us to have him evaluated! DaVinci is a good school. I wish there was even one elementary school that was as innovative.

    3. Re: bullying, zero tolerance in school. Real consequences for the bullier, not just a slap on the wrist. Suspension for the first offense, maybe removal from team sports, band, whatever the bullier is a member of, and community service.

    4. Rewards in school for wonderful behavior. Seems like we punish bad behavior but rarely notice exemplary behavior.

    5. If new homes are built, make an equal number of tiny homes for every mansion.

    5. Free sports for all kids. No fees to play sports.

    6. Serious fines for absentee or slum landlords.

    7. Somehow we need to teach Davis kids that there is more to life than material possessions. In my time in Davis, 1994-2012, it became much more materialistic.

    8. Free summer daycare.

    9. UCD are the Aggies! Make agriculture cool again. Davis should definitely have a community farm. Gardening should be taught in junior high and high school. Every campus should have a big garden, where kids could pick their own lunch. Fruit trees, too. Healthy cooking classes. For stress reduction, there should be more arts and crafts classes. Teach yoga in elementary school and junior high. Assertiveness training and anger management should be required curriculum in elementary and junior high. Self defense, too.

  2. Topcat

    My vision for Davis would be to maintain our small city.  I would hate to see Davis become a congested urban environment.  I’ve spent some time in Silicon Valley and I’ve seen how the cities there have grown together into one big urban sprawl. And don’t even get me started on Southern California which has grown into one big urban conglomeration.

    Our infrastructure was built to support the small city we have.  Our roadway system is at capacity in some areas and some times of day.  The Richards underpass and Olive drive area is the worst example, but there are many other areas that become congested.

    My vision for the future of Davis would include:

    * Focus on fixing our local issues.  The city council has no business meddling in foreign affairs or national politics.

    * Get city spending under control including city employee compensation, so that we have a sound financial base.

    * Fix the streets and roadways – not just patch up a few cracks like what was done recently in my neighborhood.

    * Maintain the parks, greenbelts, bike paths, and streetlights.

    * Encourage efficient water usage including conversion of lawns to low water use landscaping.

    * Encourage use of our excellent little bus system (Unitrans) by residents instead of using their cars to go everywhere.  It should not be necessary for parents to drive their kids to school as so many do now.

    * Provide more accessible services to help the mentally ill (this is largely a county and state function).

    * Better code enforcement to get negligent residents and landlords to fix up substandard housing. I have one example of a hoarder situation that has gone on for years without effective enforcement from the city.

      1. Alan Miller

        For real!  . . .  include fancy canoes for young lovers and Davis would become known as “The Venice of the Western Hemisphere”.

        . . . and at night the alligators would keep out the Republicans.

        1. Bill

          C’mon.  Alligators?  Crocodiles are much more aggressive than alligators.  And I assume that these canoes would be made of cork or something sustainable, right?

  3. Davis Progressive

    my vision is a small,  progressive town.  cutting edge of sustainability.  i’m willing to take on one innovation park, but only one innovation park.  no additional peripheral growth for at least the next twenty years.   fiscally sustainable – fix the city spending, compensation, streets, roads, bikepaths.

    1. Topcat

       i’m willing to take on one innovation park, but only one innovation park.

      This will have the consequence of bringing more people, more traffic, more congestion, more demand for housing.  In other words “More, more, more”.  I don’t see how building a big industrial park squares with the idea of keeping Davis small.

      1. Davis Progressive

        i’d actually prefer mixed use on the innovation park site.  but one innovation park is a very limited addition to the city, it deals with the fiscal issues bringing in one-time fees and ongoing taxes, it takes advantage of our position vis a vis the university but in the end doesn’t create a massive amount of growth or change.

        you seem to be arguing you either keep davis as it is or you blow it up, that there’s no middle ground.  i disagree.

        1. Topcat

          you seem to be arguing you either keep davis as it is or you blow it up, that there’s no middle ground.

          My point is that a big new industrial park will bring a lot of growth and problems that have not been talked about.  For every new employee it brings in there will be additional family members.  All these people will either need to be housed in Davis or they will be commuting.  I expect that almost all of the employees will drive to work adding extra traffic to our roadways.  The additional demand for housing will increase pressure to build more houses. All of these additional people will increase demand for more spots in school, more retail stores, more restaurants, and more municipal services.

          My view is that Davis is already at capacity.  Sure, we could accommodate more people; but what is the point? Do we want growth just for the sake of growth?

          For those that say that growth will bring additional resources, I disagree.  Along with some additional revenue, additional growth brings more demand for resources and puts additional stress on our already overstressed infrastructure.

          So, I guess my vision for Davis’ future is to keep it small, safe, efficient, and well maintained, with no more urban sprawl.

          1. Don Shor

            New business parks will bring some demand for housing. No housing is proposed nor is there any readily available site for housing, so new workers at those business parks will commute. They will buy housing in Woodland (growing rapidly toward Davis) or Dixon if they can’t find what they want in Davis. New business parks will increase tax revenues, and will cause some increase in demand for services. I assume, based on comments by others, that the revenues will out-pace the cost of new services. If you have evidence otherwise, by all means please post it.

            They will also allow some of our home-grown businesses to stay here as they get bigger, at least up to a point. When they get even bigger still, they will probably look for cheaper land in West Sac or Dixon. Or they’ll get bought up by much bigger multinational companies, whose planning decisions will have little to do with Davis policies one way or the other.

          2. Matt Williams

            Your final paragraph/statement puts you right in the middle of the conundrum that I discussed in my earlier comment below. Achieving “well maintained” has a price tag, which is all the money we are currently spending in the General Fund Budget plus approximately $25 million per year to get us out of the deferred maintenance hole we are currently in with respect to our existing infrastructure. There are approximately 16,000 single family residential (SFR) parcels and another 9,000 multi family (MFR) units. How do you spread that incremental $25 million cost across those SFRs and MFRs?

            In addition, there is the question I posed to Davis Progressive early in this thread about the fact that the UCD 2020 Initiative is going to add 5,000 students, most of whom are going to be looking to live as close to the UCD campus as possible . . . and the senior population (over 65 years of age) in Davis is expected to increase by approximately 1,500 by 2020. Where will the housing for those 6,500 people come from? If you keep the population the same as it is now, then the population of citizens between 25 and 65 years of age will decrease by 6,500. The people in that age group are what make retail thrive. UCD students buy lots of food and services, but not much retail. Same for seniors over the age of 65 … food and services, but not much retail.

        2. Topcat

          …so new workers at those business parks will commute. They will buy housing in Woodland (growing rapidly toward Davis) or Dixon if they can’t find what they want in Davis.

          My experience is that I80 is at capacity now.  At some times there are big delays on I80 going both directions from Davis.  Road 102 to Woodland can accommodate a bit more traffic, but not a lot more.  I travel around Davis a lot, and my subjective view is that the roads here are near capacity at some times of the day.  I am experiencing the problem of the left turn pockets of signaled intersections being too small to accommodate all the traffic that wants to turn left, thus causing cars to have to wait thru two light cycles. There are many choke points that I could point out where there are traffic problems.

          I have also found that some of our shopping center parking lots get filled up.  I’ve had times that I drove around University Mall parking lot and just gave up because there was no place to park.  The same goes for the downtown area.  I’ve had times I’ve driven around in circles and found NO parking spots.

          So, what is the big push for more growth? I don’t see that the “More, more, more” attitude is going to bail us out of our troubles.  In fact, I think it will just create more troubles.

          1. Matt Williams

            The conundrum Davis faces, Topcat, is that it needs to spend a bit over $200 million on road maintenance over the next 20 years, and probably another $30-50 million on maintenance of the municipal buildings and facilities. Add to that an unknown amount of millions of dollars on Parks/Pools and you can see that the bill for the maintenance of existing infrastructure is something on the order of $25 million per year over and above the existing budget with its existing revenue streams. That conundrum begs the question, “How are we going to pay for that incremental $25 million per year?”

    2. Matt Williams

      DP, correct me if I am wrong, but that vision appears to include a population that deviates very little from its current 65,000 residents. Is that correct?

      Here’s a conundrum that your vision appears to include. If we assume that the Under 25 demographic in Davis expands by as much as 5,000 residents because of UCD’s 2020 Initiative, and the Over 65 demographic in Davis expands by the same proportion it did from 2000 to 2010 (up from 6.6% of the population to 8.5% of the population) which would add approximately 1,300 to 1,500 residents in that demographic cohort, that means the population between the ages of 25 and 65 will have to shrink by approximately 6,000 residents. How will a shrinkage in that cohort (which is one of the key drivers of retail sustainability) help Davis be on the cutting edge of sustainability?

      From Wikipedia: In 2010 The population age and sex distribution was 10,760 people (16.4%) under the age of 18, 21,757 people (33.2%) aged 18 to 24, 14,823 people (22.6%) aged 25 to 44, 12,685 people (19.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 5,597 people (8.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25.2 years.

      In 2000 the city the population age distribution was 18.6% under the age of 18, 30.9% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years.

      1. Davis Progressive

        fair point.  my thinking as i expand on it – first, i’m not opposed to mixed use at the innovation parks.  i’m increasingly seeing it as a huge mistake.  i also think a dense student housing at the university opens up either rental or for sale housing within the city that would accommodate a younger cohort in davis.  but by and large, i think davis’ strengths are not in providing housing but rather in providing human capitol, money, resources and therefore a regional approach puts housing in woodland, dixon, west sac, and tech transfer and other start ups in davis.

  4. keithvb

    1. Fix the roads & bike paths

    2. Grow

    3. Be willing to accept art that doesn’t follow the incestuous style we love

    4. Stop being nauseatingly old style hippie

    5. Learn about the viable solutions to electrical energy

    6. Deal with the whole issue, not get bogged down by the details

    7. Don’t be bogged down by what seems to be important so that you miss the real issues

     

     

  5. Topcat

    Matt Williams wrote: … the bill for the maintenance of existing infrastructure is something on the order of $25 million per year over and above the existing budget with its existing revenue streams. That conundrum begs the question, “How are we going to pay for that incremental $25 million per year?”

    Yes, I agree that Davis has dug itself into a financial hole that will be difficult to get out of. I do not think that building a new industrial park which will bring in more people, more traffic, more demands for housing, more demands for service and more demands for schools is the answer to our problems. In fact, I believe it will make the problems worse.

    It’s going to take some tough decisions to get out of our financial hole. There won’t be a “silver bullet” solution.  Lots of little things will have to happen.  Getting City employee costs (including benefits) under control will be important.  Eliminating some of the “nice to have” but not essential functions within the City will help.  Some non-essential City positions should be eliminated.  Eliminating some projects that are not absolutely essential will help (Did we really need to build all those curb cuts and bump outs?).  We will have to live with some level of reduced maintenance of City facilities. Cost cutting should become a priority in city government.

    1. Matt Williams

      Topcat, if the fiscal analysis produces a bottom line that does what you project (makes things fiscally worse), then I agree with you 100%. If the fiscal modeling shows that your projected outcome isn’t going to happen, are you still opposed to the idea?

      Regarding your concerns,

      — Given that we do not have enough DJUSD students to fill the existing facilities, and the funding from the State is per enrolled student, I’m not sure that “demands for schools” rises to the level of the other concerns that you have raised.

      — More traffic I agree with.

      — Building on the point I made in my prior comment, more people, as long as they are in the 25 to 55 year-old population cohort, are necessary in order to avoid continued decline of Davis’ retail businesses … otherwise Downtown Davis is highly likely to become little more than a food court with a sprinkling of service businesses.

      — We already have a housing crisis in the multi-family residential market segment. Don Shor and others have been pointing that problem out for quite a while. That crisis will be made exponentially worse when UCD dumps the additional 5,000 Initiative 2020 into the Davis rental housing market. We have to deal with additional housing demand regardless. If we don’t, non-student renters will be driven out of Davis as monthly rental rates skyrocket in response to the vagaries of the supply/demand curve.

      With the above said, what do you see as “nice to have” but not essential functions within the City?

  6. Tia Will

    1.”Davis becomes part of a Transformation of our region to take its place as one of the top four regional economies in the state of California. Davis becomes a leader in Ag-Tech, Med-Tech and pushes to become the Silicon Valley of Green Technology.”

    3.Davis reclaims its place as progressive leader with new sustainability and innovation features.

    I do not see these two goals as mutually exclusive. I do not believe that to be a leader in the region in the areas of  agriculture, medicine and green technology that we have to buy into the concept that more is better. Technology has evolved significantly even since the days of the origin of Silicon Valley. It is entirely possible to communicate and share ideas and projects without being in the same space as your co innovators. More and more cross country collaborations are occurring in the field of medicine because researchers are able to share their findings in real time without being in the same physical space. I can foresee that this trend will continue.

    Over the past 20 years, progressively more and more of my work is being done by phone or electronically with more rapid gathering of information and near instantaneous reporting of results. While it is nice to share space with ones coworkers, I envision it becoming less and less, not more and more important to the generation of new ideas, completion and evaluation of studies and dissemination of best practices within the medical field. I suspect that other fields will be following a similar trajectory. Just because the “innovation park” model became popular about 20 years ago does not mean that it is the best model for the future.

    I believe that true innovation is entirely possible without large new business centers located in town geographically. I do not buy into the concept that more is always better or that we can “grow our way out of trouble”. I would prefer that we remain as small in terms of population and land use as we can while still partnering effectively with the university as an incubator for start ups generated by researchers and students . I do not believe that we have an obligation to businesses who want to grow ever larger to make space for their manufacturing needs which I see as better fits for other areas in our region. I would like to see Davis excel in agriculture and green technologies. I would like to see a truly innovative project with Nishi being my preferred site due to its location. I would like us to think about Davis much less in competition with and more as a collaborative partner with the other cities of our region. This would best be done in my opinion by selecting the most appropriate location for large businesses not based on a competitive model, but rather on a “best fit” model. I do not want Davis to be turned into another Vacaville, or Woodland, or Folsom, or Silicon Valley. Davis is unique within our region and I would like to see as much of its historically unique character maintained as possible.

    1. Topcat

      Tia wrote:

      I do not buy into the concept that more is always better or that we can “grow our way out of trouble”. I would prefer that we remain as small in terms of population and land use as we can….

      I do not believe that we have an obligation to businesses who want to grow ever larger to make space for their manufacturing needs which I see as better fits for other areas in our region.

      I do not want Davis to be turned into another Vacaville, or Woodland, or Folsom, or Silicon Valley. Davis is unique within our region and I would like to see as much of its historically unique character maintained as possible.

      I wholeheartedly agree with these thoughts.  I don’t think a big industrial park is a good fit for Davis and I especially agree that we can’t “grow our way out of trouble”.

  7. Anon

    Yes, I agree that Davis has dug itself into a financial hole that will be difficult to get out of. I do not think that building a new industrial park which will bring in more people, more traffic, more demands for housing, more demands for service and more demands for schools is the answer to our problems. In fact, I believe it will make the problems worse.

    It’s going to take some tough decisions to get out of our financial hole. There won’t be a “silver bullet” solution.  Lots of little things will have to happen.  Getting City employee costs (including benefits) under control will be important.  Eliminating some of the “nice to have” but not essential functions within the City will help.  Some non-essential City positions should be eliminated.  Eliminating some projects that are not absolutely essential will help (Did we really need to build all those curb cuts and bump outs?).  We will have to live with some level of reduced maintenance of City facilities. Cost cutting should become a priority in city government.

    If you don’t think innovation parks are the answer, then:

    1. How do we get City employee costs under control?
    2. What “nice to haves” would you eliminate?
    3. What non-essential positions would you eliminate?
    4. What non-essential projects would you eliminate (curb cuts were probably funded with federal/state SACOG grants)?
    5. What reduced maintenance are you willing to accept for our buildings and roads?  Remember, the more maintenance of our roads is deferred, the more expensive it gets to fix.

    It is easy to say cost-cutting is the answer, but a lot more difficult to implement.  Secondly, even if you were able to do some severe cost cutting, I very much doubt it would amount to a drop in the bucket in regard to how much is needed to fix our roads and buildings/facilities, that have been neglected for years.  No money was set aside for regular maintenance of these things.  Instead, previous city councils decided to conveniently lump maintenance and unfunded employee compensation in the “unmet need” category, wave a magic wand, and call the budget “balanced”. The current city staff and city council are trying to undo years of abject neglect of our city’s basic infrastructure, but it is going to take far more than simple “cost-cutting” to get us there.  That is the fiscal reality.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “It is easy to say cost-cutting is the answer, but a lot more difficult to implement.”

      it’s a good point.  we have probably close to maxed out savings.  the one thing starting to give me pause is the new direction in council and utilizing additional revenues to increase salary.  i really think we need to force the city to commit to holding the line if we are going to submit to the innovation parks.

    2. Davis Progressive

      “The current city staff and city council are trying to undo years of abject neglect of our city’s basic infrastructure, but it is going to take far more than simple “cost-cutting” to get us there.  That is the fiscal reality.”

      i don’t see any evidence of that.

    3. Topcat

      1. How do we get City employee costs under control?
      2. What “nice to haves” would you eliminate?
      3. What non-essential positions would you eliminate?
      4. What non-essential projects would you eliminate (curb cuts were probably funded with federal/state SACOG grants)?
      5. What reduced maintenance are you willing to accept for our buildings and roads?  Remember, the more maintenance of our roads is deferred, the more expensive it gets to fix.

      These are all excellent questions.  I don’t have enough expert knowledge of City functions and finance to provide detailed answers.  What I would say is that I elect the City Council members to take the steps to govern responsibly even though previous councils have been highly irresponsible.  I know that whatever cuts are proposed, there will be a terrible outcry from those whose ox is being gored.  I just hope that our Council members have the fortitude to stand up to the complainers and tell them the facts of life straight and true.

      1. Don Shor

        You do know that under CM Pinkerton the number of employees was reduced, departments were significantly cut, and services have been consolidated already?

        1. Topcat

          You do know that under CM Pinkerton the number of employees was reduced, departments were significantly cut, and services have been consolidated already?

          Yes, I do know that these steps have been taken.

  8. Tia Will

    f you don’t think innovation parks are the answer, then:

    1. How do we get City employee costs under control?
    2. What “nice to haves” would you eliminate?
    3. What non-essential positions would you eliminate?
    4. What non-essential projects would you eliminate (curb cuts were probably funded with federal/state SACOG grants)?
    5. What reduced maintenance are you willing to accept for our buildings and roads?  Remember, the more maintenance of our roads is deferred, the more expensive it gets to fix.”

    1. I don’t think that the innovation parks will have any effect on getting City employee costs under control. If anything, we will need more employees, not less.

    #2-5. I believe that we should be willing to pay for the amenities and services that we want, not pass the bill on to others whether they are newcomers to the city or our own children. I have stated this frequently. I would be willing to be taxed a great deal more, and would be willing to fund a portion of other’s bills rather than see the quality of life in this city deteriorate because we don’t want to pay for what we want. And it will deteriorate. Anyone who does not believe this is true has not thought twice about the traffic along Covell in the mornings and evenings and how it will be impacted by the Cannery traffic. Perhaps they have never driven at 20 miles /hr through one of the ever more common slow downs between here and Sacramento as we idle or crawl our way forward in our one person per car ( convenient) way of getting to work.

    1. hpierce

      With all due respect Tia, all the “amenities” you or others want, perhaps I care little, nothing about.  And would probably want my current amount of taxes/assessments/fees, or any increases thereof, to be directed to different places than you or others would.  But am hesitant to contribute more until I know that increase goes to MY preferred “amenities”.  Hope you respect that, the same way I respect your discomfort with having your current federal tax dollars go towards “military” and other purposes you may have issues with.  Not only tax dollars, but also what I pay for medical insurance premiums.  I belong (irony noted) to Kaiser.  There are some services Kaiser provides that I do not support.  Some, in your field.  Yet, at the end of the day, I’m good with my coverage, and the cost of it, but would not favor paying a bunch more for my coverage if it was primarily directed towards paying for things I don’t need, or, in some cases, abhor.

      But, I truly respect and agree with your implied/stated thought that we should not “kick the can down the road” (yet, one of my fondest memories is playing “kick the can” on a quiet street).

      I managed to never need to commute on a freeway.  Therefore, will not comment on that part of your post.

      Truly, Tia , best wishes for you and yours.  As much as we may disagree on things, I wish the best for you. And yours.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Likewise on the well wishing.

        I feel that one of the biggest advantages of the system that we have now is that we all have the equal right to advocate for the future that we prefer. Anon and I have frequently butted heads on the details of the Davis we prefer as have Frankly and I. Anon likes the convenience of our car oriented transportation system which I abhor and has written favorably about shopping areas that I see as nothing but purveyors of unhealthy food selections. We have very different points of view. I suspect that underneath we both respect the right of the other to have different opinions and to express them freely despite comments that my posting ability should somehow be restricted.

        For me, the point of reading and posting on the Vanguard is to open oneself to the views of those who do not hold the same opinions that I hold. I can readily find those of similar views to talk with and we can happily chatter away in our own little bubbles. Or we can reach out and attempt to understand the points of views of others, and hopefully find that our views are heard with an open mind, if not with agreement.

    2. Topcat

      Regarding the quality of life in Davis, Tia wrote:   And it will deteriorate. Anyone who does not believe this is true has not thought twice about the traffic along Covell in the mornings and evenings and how it will be impacted by the Cannery traffic. Perhaps they have never driven at 20 miles /hr through one of the ever more common slow downs between here and Sacramento as we idle or crawl our way forward in our one person per car ( convenient) way of getting to work.

      Yes Tia, Your observations are right on the mark.  Our traffic situation has deteriorated significantly in the past decade. Interstate 80 is at capacity for much of the day.  I dread going between Davis and Sacramento in the afternoon because of the daily slowdowns.  Going west toward Vacaville is also getting difficult.  In a few years I expect it will be horrible. The traffic situation on Covell is pretty bad as well as the situation on 5th Street and Russell Blvd for much of the day.

      I believe that Davis is at full capacity for the number of people we can comfortably accommodate.  The Cannery is clearly going to exacerbate the situation as all Cannery traffic will be dumped out onto Covell.  Building a new industrial park with make the situation much worse.  And since there isn’t going to be much new housing built in Davis, all those new employees will be hitting the highways.

      So, my feeling is that we should NOT approve any new industrial park in Davis no matter how attractive the developer makes it look in the conceptual drawing.

  9. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Fix the deficiencies while staying special.”

    Completely agree with this statement as written.  One small problem. Our lists of deficiencies and what makes us “special” do not seem to always be in accord. Funny thing about that construct we call democracy.

    1. Frankly

      But then there is a point of agreement to build on.

      I bet we can also agree on at least some of what we think Davis is deficient on:

      1. Budget sustainability.

      2. Infrastructure maintenance.

      3. 25-45 aged demographic and the trends for even just maintaining it.

      4. Good paying jobs.

      5. Supply of affordable housing.

      What else?

  10. Tia Will

    hpierce

    I managed to never need to commute on a freeway.  Therefore, will not comment on that part of your post.”

    This part of your post I will comment on separately. I do not believe that if you never commute on a freeway, that you should have to pay the same amount that I do for support of that freeway. Should you have to contribute something ? Probably, since you probably consume items that are brought into town on trucks that are dependent upon the freeway system. But should you have to pay the same amount that I do ? Since I commute two days a week into Sacramento, I believe that I, and everyone else who is using the freeway for our own profit or pleasure should be paying a direct fee for doing so. Namely, I favor toll roads. There is much precedent in this country for this form of payment for what you use and I strongly support it. I would however favor some form of subsidization for those who genuinely cannot afford to pay. One should not ever be faced with losing a job because one cannot afford the transportation to that job as one example.

    When I say “pay for what we use”, I am not limiting this to taxation. I would include reasonable usage fees for roads, bridges, and other expensive bits of infrastructure, especially those that lead to other deleterious impacts on the entire population such as deterioration of air quality ( smog) from exhaust fumes. When I talk about amenities, I fully respect that not all of us like or value the same items, but do need to pay for what “we” as a community, not necessarily “we” as individuals have decided upon through our votes, or through our failure to vote if we choose not to participate.

    1. Don Shor

      Since the gas tax is proportional to usage, and I recall about 90% of the gas tax revenues go to highways and roads, you already basically have a user tax. It certainly doesn’t cover 100% of the costs of roads. But it’s a direct tax on usage.

      1. Frankly

        Delivery and transport trucks tend to do disproportionate higher damage to the roads than do other modes of transportation.  They pay higher registration fees, but not higher fuel taxes.  But anyone that purchases products from local retain shares a part of that cause of road damage.

        Also, if we didn’t have so many bikes and pedestrians we would not need all that extra costly infrastructure dealing with them and we could use it instead for regular road maintenance.

        1. Don Shor

          Well, given their poor fuel economy, they use a lot more gallons per mile, so they do pay proportionately more taxes. Again, the best number I could find about the percentage that it covers was this from a blog:

          The gas tax covers only about one-third of the cost of building and maintaining our roads, plus expanding mass transit.

          So I suppose the legislature could raise the gas tax in California. Unfortunately, I recall they also raided those revenues at one point to help balance the budget.
          Source and more comments here: http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_22775595/roadshow-californias-gas-tax-and-what-we-do

      2. Topcat

        Since the gas tax is proportional to usage, and I recall about 90% of the gas tax revenues go to highways and roads, you already basically have a user tax.

        The gas tax is a reasonable way of funding our roads and highways.  The money collected is roughly proportional to the use of resources.  Hybrids and electric vehicles get a break since they use less gas and pay less tax.  Part of the gas tax is a federal tax and part is a state tax.  The federal tax has not gone up for many years and thus funding for highway maintenance (via the Highway Trust Fund) on the federal level is in trouble. Unfortunately, there is strong political opposition to raising the federal gas tax even though such an increase is clearly warranted.

        None of this helps Davis with our street maintenance since we don’t have a local city gas tax.

    2. Topcat

      Tia wrote:  I fully respect that not all of us like or value the same items, but do need to pay for what “we” as a community, not necessarily “we” as individuals have decided upon through our votes, or through our failure to vote if we choose not to participate.

      Yes, it makes sense that “we”, as citizens should pay for the goods and services that we use. Unfortunately, our politicians have found ways of hiding the costs and pushing them out to the future without the citizenry being aware of what they are doing. This is commonly known as “kicking the can down the road”. We see this happening at all levels of government including right here in Davis.

      When we kick the can down the road, we are eventually confronted with a pile of rusty old cans blocking the road. How we deal with that mess is what the City will be confronting in the next few years.

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