What Does “Renew Davis” Mean to You?

Davis Mayor Dan Wolk has used the term “Renew Davis” on a range of policy goals and applications. Most recently, he invoked it as a means to resurrect a community sports park concept. However, the initiative brought questions and criticisms from some of his colleagues and questions from the community.

As Mr. Wolk explained in his January column, “We in Davis drink deeply from wells that we did not dig. That is to say, everything we have in this community — from the university to our downtown to our roads to our parks and pools — is due to the efforts of previous generations of Davisites.”

He argued, “We’ve been resting a bit on our laurels. We need to challenge ourselves to think bigger and to renew our commitment to what makes Davis Davis and to ensure that we leave our children and grandchildren with a stronger Davis than the one we inherited.”

For him, that appears to mean to further economic development, to reinvest in roads, parks and pools, to secure clean energy, to promote healthy families and to be better partners.

From our perspective, while the situation has definitely improved on the ground, we have clear needs. This is what we see as community priorities:

Fiscal sustainability. We have come a long way from the days of 2009 when Councilmember Lamar Heystek created his own alternative budget to illustrate the inadequacy of budget cutting efforts and the 2009 round of MOUs. But we are not out of the woods by any means. We need to create sustainable budgets that allow us to continue to live within our means, and that means limiting or holding the lines on employee compensation and continuing to find ways to deal with unfunded liabilities.

Reinvest in roads and infrastructure. We cannot renew Davis driving on potholed roads, walking on cracked sidewalks and dealing with grooves in bike paths. Before we can invest in new swimming pools and sports parks, we must fix our existing infrastructure problems. That means we need a parcel tax or another similar tax to fund roads first before we get to niceties.

Economic Development. We support the dispersed model of economic development. That means developing our downtown, fostering a startup culture, but also creating space for new companies to move into Davis and existing companies to grow and expand. The city is woefully short on tax revenue needed to pay for the services we have come to expect. We support a peripheral innovation park that fits into the community model we have adapted.

Slow and sustainable growth. Protecting our agricultural lands and heritage. One of the most glaring omissions is the commitment to preserve the small town character and appeal of Davis. Davis has a strong tradition of slow growth and has enacted numerous measures that protect and preserve agricultural land on the Davis periphery.   Davis needs to be able to continue to protect the environment from the pressures of sprawl development while being flexible enough to meet the needs of a changing economy and needs.

Environmental Sustainability. The city of Davis has long had a tradition of being on the cutting of edge on environmental issues. In 2015 that means the commitment to renewable energy, carbon reduction, solar, efficient energy and other sustainable features. These should be built into the codes so that all new projects, whether they be infill or peripheral, should be net-zero energy.   That also includes the need for clean energy and public power, whether it be Community Choice Energy or a POU.

Social Justice. Another glaring omission. We have a growing underclass in Davis, whether it is 24 percent of students in our schools who are Title One or a growing homeless population. We need to commit to things like health care, education, and other support for low income people, particularly children.  Along with social justice comes the need for affordable housing, and not to price working people out of Davis.  Given the environmental needs and land use protections, this becomes an intricate and delicate balancing act.

Civil Rights. Davis has a rich legacy of supporting civil rights through its own civil rights act. It gave early recognition of gay rights, anti-discrimination laws and support of same-sex marriage rights. At the same time, many people of color continue to complain about their treatment at the hands of the police, businesses, and others in town. We need to promote a culture of inclusivity that protects the rights of all.

Those are my planks of “Renew Davis” – it really starts with the budget and creating a healthy and sustainable economy and social system. What are you planks? What do you see as important? What would your platform look like?

—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. davisite4

    Slow and sustainable growth. Protecting our agricultural lands and heritage.

    Thank you for including this.  I also found it to be a glaring — and disturbing (telling?) — omission.

  2. Doby Fleeman


    Really?  All you have done is flesh out the laundry list.

    At least Dan starts with the premise that it is time for Davisites to “reinvest” (as in money) in the community.

    Keep your pipe filled and leave the financing to whom – exactly?

    You want to publish a list and get more great ideas to add to the list – that’s fine, and noble, benevolent and gracious.

    At least Dan is starting (playfields aside) with a manageable set of priorities and encouraging the community to seriously wrestle with the notion that it is now “our time” to figure out how to “finance” the next round of community enhancements.

    You got any gripe with those priorities?

    Do you see anyone here posting anything about “Here’s how we are going to be paying for these things”?

    Come on, let’s list all your wishes on a piece of paper and then put dollar signs next to each and every one.  Then let’s prioritize the list.  Then we can get down to the earnest business of what it means to match our rhetoric with our wallet.

    Seems like a fair conversation.  Let’s get started.





    1. David Greenwald

      Doby – my intention was not to criticize, but rather to continue the conversation as to what the priorities people on this site are as well as my own.

      1. Doby Fleeman

        And, more power to you.  This is all part of the process – necessary steps to identifying our priorities as a community.

        I’d just like to see some inkling of a recognition by our elected leadership that sooner, rather than later, they will be called upon to lead us through this list and come out the other side with a set of priorities as well as strategies for their achievement.  That assumes, of course, they wish to be recognized for more than their rhetoric.

        And, I’m certainly not suggesting that chore is any walk in the park.   That said, it’s almost June, and where are we on checking off the list of priorities established last Fall by the new council?  Next few weeks will be all about budgets and then salary negotiations, and pretty soon we’ll be into full bore campaign season.

        My purpose is not to be critical, but what I am asking is for some further delineation of the process by which they hope to bring our community together in understanding and consensus on a path forward.   This discussion of Innovation Centers, of itself, will be involved and long on technical analysis and site specific impacts.   But the larger conversation involving our strategy to manage their impacts – both positive and negative – on the community as a whole has thus far not been assigned – as near as I can see.

        Indeed, your list may prove helpful in their collective recognition of the need to consider the multifaceted value propositions they contain – as they begin to unfold the conversation surrounding the Innovation Center proposals.   At some point, it will fall to somebody to help explain the convergence between these dreams, their prospect for realization, and the resources it takes to make them into reality.

        Perhaps that process can begin on the Vanguard.

        1. Davis Progressive

          good thoughts doby.  let me just add my two cents that at some point there needs to be a discussion of the values: affordability, sustainability, protection of ag space, preservation of community character – as there are conflicts and the weighing of values.  while i think dan wolk raised some important issues – he missed others that need to be included in the conversation.

        2. Doby Fleeman


          Good thoughts.  Thanks for responding with thoughtful, ideas and constructive suggestions.  Would be refreshing to see more of that from the Vanguard community – then maybe we could keep moving the conversation forward.

  3. hpierce

    Ok… to re-new Davis we need to:

    Maintain 15% reserves in every single funding source… GF, utilities,transportation, etc.

    Pay down, as soon as possible, obligations already ‘on the books’, including transportation, other facilities maintenance/repair, pension, and other post retirement obligations.

    Before any new facilities/initiatives are implemented, identify the life-cycle costs and revenue stream to fund not only the “goodie” but what it will take to operate, maintain, repair, and ultimately replace it.

    That’s a starting point.

  4. Davis Progressive

    we don’t and that’s the problem because there is a segment of the community that is unaffected by this and hardly notices it and another segment that are deeply troubled by it.

    1. Davis Progressive

      neither of you guys have any clue as to what my daughter had to go through here.  she’s not victim, she’s going to a good school and excelling in a good and supportive environment.  we had a nightmare dealing with her, the bullies and the school district.  but no, it’s just all in her head and she’s being a victim.  [moderator] edited for language

      1. Davis Progressive

        i apologize frankly and bp.  i get hot under the color thinking about what my daughter went through in school and i think you need to think about the fact that there are real people that have real problems in the system and it’s not all in their head.  still, i need to watch my mouth.  or fingers.

      2. hpierce

        “… i get hot under the color…”  recognition is the first step towards getting healthy… am “:wonder bread” white.  My youngest son’s best friends in nursery school and beyond… one was Ethiopian/”white”, the other was Asian/”white”.  There are jerks out there.  They do not reflect society at large.  My son is 28.  All grew up in Davis.

      3. Davis Progressive

        hpierce: i don’t know what it means to be reflective of society.  what i see are a small number of jerks, a group of bureaucrats who don’t want to make wave and a larger group who witness the injustice who say and do nothing.  in the end, it doesn’t really matter if it’s two jerks or 50 is no one steps forward and says enough, this is wrong.

      4. hpierce

        Agree about jerks (or bullies, jerks of a more dangerous flavor), and the need to address by individuals and authorities… have personally dealt with both jerks and bullies (hint, they are two flavors of low self-esteem and basically cowardly individuals, except for the very small number of true socio-paths), and would expect our institutions to do the same, particularly related to children.  Yet, many “normal” people like to exhibit “jerk” behavior with public employees, and we were told to ‘suck it up’, but I often got ‘my licks in’ anyhow.

        Jerks/bullies need to be made clear that they are recognized for who they are, and stood up to (wouldn’t suggest that if dealing with a truly mentally ill sociopath, tho’).  In the 50’s and 60’s I was raised as “color-blind”.  So was my spouse.  Our children reflect that.  By example, not by lecture.

        That being said, and having great-great uncles/grandfather who actually ran an “underground railroad” stop, I resent the hell out of being hit by a broad brush about “white/entitled society”… kinda gets me “hot under the colour”.  If you get my drift…

      5. Alan Miller

        there is and will always be a percentage of people that are mean, ignorant, jealous, envious, etc…

        The basis of victim mentality, and far left economic politics, is envy.

        It is true that we cannot change others, we can only change how we deal with others.

        One way to change how “we” deal with others is to further tax those “we” envy, filter the tax money through unions and government, and sprinkle the spoils on the masses, who will then further vote for a death spiral of same, until California parallels Greece.

        1. Frankly

          Maybe Davis wants to be like Greece.  It sure seems that way.  Maybe we can simplify our priorities to just say we want to be more like Greece?

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      DP, you have no idea what I had to go through, what friends children have gone through, or what many have to deal with. Life is tough, life is not fair. I hope your daughter is well. Spank or banish the bullies.

  5. Frankly

    This list is out of order and obviously panders to the typical reactionaries in the community.  Below the top three items (which are in reverse order of importance), none of the rest should even register at this point because none of them are really “problems” at this point in time other than they are just part of the ongoing activist and crusader identity.

    This list demonstrates to me that Mayor Dan is primarily being a politician surfing that middle ground trying to keep his benefactors and supporters happy, while putting the “right things for Davis” leadership need in the back seat.  This is not really too big a criticism of Mayor Dan because he is just doing what typical politicians do.  It is just unfortunate that we have not elected anyone that will break out of the populist pursuit to focus on the true prioritized needs list for Davis.

    The standard MO of politicians can be described as the officers of a large and slow moving ship that is taking on water from hundreds of small leaks and heading toward a disastrous crash… but the officers know they will be reassigned to another ship before this one sinks or crashes, so they operate as if the leaks are less numerous and manageable, and the crash is simply too far away to be concerned about.


  6. Mr. Toad

    Who is “we” David? Are you writing for yourself, the Vanguard or someone else?

    As for protecting ag land we have done plenty of that and have a dedicated funding source to do more. On social justice and civil rights more can always be done.

    So these issues are not the most pressing for the community in a discussion about what economic development can do for the community.

    What I find interesting is that throughout all these discussions since the innovation park group bowed out is the lack of concern about trying to do something to help reduce the poverty level that is something like 30% in Yolo County. I find the complacency of many of the posters here toward helping people lift themselves up by bringing good paying jobs to the community hard hearted. What many seem to fail to realize is that these jobs likely won’t go to Woodland or Dixon if they aren’t housed here. In fact they might not even go to the region at all but instead to a place where there is a skilled workforce and a dynamic community. Austin and Raleigh come to mind. This is what I think our Congressman was trying to say when he reached out to Rochelle Swanson about needing Davis to lead on economic development. Of course many unskilled workers are needed in innovation parks too providing jobs for those with fewer skills or less training. Plus there are multiplier effects providing service jobs throughout the area. Davis has the highly skilled  and creative human capital to bring great wealth to the community and in doing so also lift many people here out of poverty.

    Somehow the desire to maintain the agricultural heritage of the community fails to recognize that this economy, going all the way back to the Bonanza wheat farms of the 1870’s, has always relied upon paying the lowest wages possible to the poorest workers available. When people talk about preserving that economic model at the expense of not providing the space for a more value added economic model they are, whether they know it or not, advocating for a model that provides poverty level wages to many. The desire by those who have more to protect what they believe as their own interests without regard to how giving a little on their cherished values might help lift others up saddens me.

      1. hpierce

        Nice… dismissive… adds greatly to the rational interaction.

        You say you are/were in the legal profession? that could explain a lot… yeah I know I’m falling into the same vortex, but…

    1. David Greenwald

      “Who is “we” David? Are you writing for yourself, the Vanguard or someone else?”

      Let me just say, it’s a bit of miracle if this piece came out halfway coherent given the circumstances under which it was written.

      1. Don Shor

        “editorial we:
        The first-person plural pronoun used by an editorialist in expressing the opinion or point of view of a publication’s management.” — American Heritage Dictionary

  7. sisterhood

    I’m sick & tired of white privileged people that never had to experience racism or sexism complain that it’s a victim mentality. I won’t bother commenting on any more threads that digress to this same old tired discussion VG commenters go into automatically whenever discrimination or salary inequity is discussed.

    And I agree with DP using cusswords, too.

    1. hpierce

      sisterhood… I have experienced racism and sexism… have been physically attacked by blacks because I was white… been discriminated against both for race and gender.  Didn’t like it, but worked around it.  I haven’t committed “sins” of sexism or racism… burns me when people use the broad brush to imply I (or my race/gender) do.  I’ve stood up, sometimes somewhat forcefully, when jerks exhibit racist/sexist behaviors.

      People are people… the them/us thing doesn’t work for me.  Put away your paint roller/spray paint device and talk about behaviors and individuals… I’ll listen more attentively when you do that.

  8. David Greenwald

    ALL: A comment got this entire conversation off track.  This was supposed to be a conversation about what Renew Davis looks like.  Barack Palin made a snide remark, and Davis Progressive retaliated, and most of the posts have nothing to do with the original topic.    We need to nip this in the bud in the future to keep these conversations on-track.

    1. Frankly

      Civil Rights. Davis has a rich legacy of supporting civil rights through its own civil rights act. It gave early recognition of gay rights, anti-discrimination laws and support of same-sex marriage rights. At the same time, many people of color continue to complain about their treatment at the hands of the police, businesses, and others in town. We need to promote a culture of inclusivity that protects the rights of all.

      So explain again why the comments are “off track”.   Is it that you demand your power of control as blog owner to post what you will and then censor certain points of view in opposition?  From my perspective, if these is warranted as being listed as a community priority, then you are “off track” for moderating and criticizing posts related to it.

      Personally, I think it is not a community priority except for a those that continue to struggle finding a new identity as a social justice crusader now that we can move to civil rights 2.0.

      1. David Greenwald

        The problem was the way in which the initial comment was expressed instead of inviting dialogue, invited an equally sarcastic response.

        “Personally, I think it is not a community priority except for a those that continue to struggle finding a new identity as a social justice crusader now that we can move to civil rights 2.0.”

        Which is fine and we can disagree on this which is why I invited others to post their community priorities.

        1. Barack Palin

          Really, this?

          We need to promote a culture of inclusivity that protects the rights of all.

          We already do.  NEXT!


          BTW, I accept DP’s apology.

          1. David Greenwald

            You posted it to raise a response. The point is the conversation got out of hand and it was your comment and DP’s inappropriate response that got it there.

  9. Topcat

    We need to create sustainable budgets that allow us to continue to live within our means, and that means limiting or holding the lines on employee compensation and continuing to find ways to deal with unfunded liabilities.

    Yes, the concept of “living within our means” should be first and foremost in everything the City Council does.  I know that this concept is out of fashion and very unpopular in today’s world.  Many people are used to living on borrowed money and credit.  Our federal government is one of the worst offenders in this deficit spending game.

    We cannot renew Davis driving on potholed roads, walking on cracked sidewalks and dealing with grooves in bike paths. Before we can invest in new swimming pools and sports parks, we must fix our existing infrastructure problems. That means we need a parcel tax or another similar tax to fund roads first before we get to niceties.

    Yes, I’m afraid that we do need some sort of additional taxation to renew our crumbling infrastructure.  Let’s make sure it goes for essentials and not niceties.

    1. Frankly

      Living within our means also includes the demand for city services and programs exceeding our revenue generation.  And since revenue generation derives from business activity, living within our means also requires we have a large enough local economy that can sustain us.   We DO have one of the highest local tax burdens of any comparable city.  We DON’T have a local economy that is large enough compared to all other comparable cities.

      So if we are going to really demand that we live without our means, we need to accept the means being part of the equation.

    2. Topcat

      So if we are going to really demand that we live without our means, we need to accept the means being part of the equation

      Fair enough.  I do see your point Frankly.  My concern is that the discussions we’ve seen recently have been one sided, focusing only on “economic development” and neglecting cost cutting and eliminating non essential personnel, programs and facilities.  I know that there will be howls of protest at any proposed cuts, but I think that it is the job of our Council members to educate people on the absolute need for cuts given the long term financial situation that the City finds itself in.

      1. Frankly

        I agree with you that there is likely more than can be done to streamline city business (hey, what about some of those robots!!!?), and eliminate non-essential jobs.  And I agree that there has been little discussion about it as of late.  The city plan had been to use the Pinkerton “reductions” (which were really just the elimination of some new currently unfilled positions, and some early retirement which reduced the current salary expense while ironically increasing long-term liabilities for retirement pay) to make the political case that we had sadly “cut to the bone” and cannot cut anymore.   That is BS.  There are a lot of really useless and questionably useful positions that we could eliminate.

        But just keep in mind that nothing really helps the pension liability unless we reduce the benefit commitment for existing employees (assume we will not touch existing retirees… something I would not want us to do)… and that isn’t gonna happen as Illinois Supreme Court just made sure those unions get all that we said they would… even though it was a lot more than we could afford.

        And the road and infrastructure maintenance backlog is so big that it is unlikely we can cut our way to funding what is needed.

        From my perspective every step we make with growth from an argument of needing to do it for fiscal reasons, needs to include some cuts in spending.

        However, from my perspective there is more than justifies some economic growth than just the city fiscal matters.   For one, the demographic shift away from young families and young professionals is problematic.  I know of many potential businesses that would like to establish here that cannot because there isn’t real estate.  The landlords downtown have a monopoly and rents are too high.  It is the reason that good restaurants like Tucos close and the others struggle.

        Adding more business people to the community will help in a lot of different ways.  They bring more private money to the community.  Pay for things for the public schools.  Help local charities.  Help add sophistication to our city planning and causes.

        And then there is the university.  We have a responsibility to support UCD in its mission because it in turn helps us enjoy this unique city life.

        I hate traffic.  I get grumpy commuting around town, and often go to Woodland rather than face the mess downtown.  Have you noted how much traffic flows on I113 and our country roads?  PG&E is building a new business park in Winters.  That will cause more traffic on 31/Covell.  Woodland is also growing and there is a lot more traffic coming up and down Poleline.

        We already have traffic.

        The I-80 corridor between the Bay Area and Sacramento will become the worst in the nation second to LA despite what Davis does or does not do.  We will need more lanes on the causeway.

        We cannot turn the clock back, and we cannot stop the increase in traffic just by constraining our economic development.  We are better off working on alternative public transportation solutions and require funding help from these innovation parks as a condition of their approval.

        1. Miwok

          PG&E is building a new business park in Winters.

          As the city grows, are there still non-essential people? Seems like they need more to get things moving.

          The I-80 corridor between the Bay Area and Sacramento will become the worst in the nation second to LA despite what Davis does or does not do.  We will need more lanes on the causeway.

          If Davis would have actually built something, how much would the traffic be reduced? In my eyes the traffic problem is something they created by denying businesses room to expand, rebuild, improve, Innovate. And build houses.

          We cannot turn the clock back

          Really? California just re-elected the Governor from 40 years ago. You think he hasn’t made a list like Mayor Wolk? Now we are on the bandwagon to elect a woman who was first in Washington 40 years ago, and wife of the Prez 20 years ago… And all the Press releases say we are moving Forward?


  10. Don Shor

    [moderator] Folks, I’ve removed over 20 comments so far today. Please keep on topic. Please try to keep to local issues when the subject is about local issues. Please be respectful of other Vanguard participants. Please keep your comments constructive.

    Thanks for your cooperation.

  11. DurantFan

    “One of the most glaring omissions is the commitment to preserve the small town character and appeal of Davis.”


    Amen !   Water shortages and increased costs related to the drought are making many Davis residents  hassled and harried right now.   Adding additional major, externally driven activities at this time (be they innovative or not)  only adds greater distraction and discontent  to the mix..   This is not a good time for phrenetic activity!  Brownian movement does not become us!

  12. Robb Davis

    Council Goals (scroll down to see the full set of Goals, Objectives and Tasks to be accomplished by 2016)

    At the Council retreat in November the following Guiding Principles were discussed and there was general agreement to adopt them but they have not received the same thorough treatment as the Goals. Still, they are indicative of the principles valued by the current City Council:

    Resilience: Implement actions that contribute to city resilience at all levels. Council should work to address issues of long-term benefit
    Diversity: Implement actions to diversify all city resources including human, financial and social
    Local Solidarity and Engagement: Problem-solve with others in Yolo County and the broader region and effectively engage relevant sectors in Davis
    Process Transparency and Efficiency: Build trust with community members and regional/sector partners through openness. Achieve efficiency through SMART goals. (SMART-specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound)
    Subsidiarity (pursue lowest level of decision making): Exercise local control of critical decisions. Aggressively involve staff in implementing strategic goals.
    Natural resource sustainability: Apply green concepts to activities and operations

    (I think we also discussed the key principle of “respect”)


    1. Doby Fleeman


      Are these 8 goals listed in order of priority?  I searched for the term “priorities” and first occurrence was under Goal 2, Item 4.

      My main points are that there is a lot of good stuff here, but how does the Council keep on track with its priorities and how do you measure your progress?


      1. Robb Davis

        We did not do a prioritization of goals Doby.  We have the goals on every Council agenda now (much like long-range calendar) so we can request updates and track progress.  It is up to staff to produce results based on the timelines they set.  We will do twice a year (or perhaps quarterly) full check ins to gauge progress as well.

    2. Frankly

      Good list… except “Subsidiarity” needs to augmented to not conflict with representative governance.  We do elect politicians to make some difficult decisions that not everyone will agree with.

      1. Robb Davis

        Part of this principle is to work with other jurisdictions to SEEK greater local control of decision making.  This also plays out in things like community choice energy–greater local decision making around electricity choice–and groundwater management.

  13. rfinch

    In the rush to “Renew Davis” (a euphemism for something in the mind of the speaker), that happened to the Master Plan? It’s obvious that Mayor Wolk, and many others, thought of these projects a long time ago and are only now telling us about them. So they have a pre-determined outcome in mind, with no thought to community discussion. Well, in America we don’t like dictators and we do like citizen participation, which we certainly aren’t getting.

    ALL the public editorials I’ve seen about “Renew”, so far, have been utterly biased and suspect, coming from developers, the conservative editor of the Davis Enterprise, etc. Hardly an impartial discussion, in forums that the community reads.

    As I said in a Davis Enterprise Letter, our city government seems to have become fairly dishonest in their dealings with the very educated residents of Davis. Am I the only one that believes this way?

    1. DurantFan

      Not at all, Ralph!   I use the  term “gotcha politics” to describe the more egregious recent examples of the City Council and other influential leaders who attempt to ride roughshod over the Citizens of  Davis when it is convenient for them and their cause(s).   Recent examples include: (1) scheduling the vote for final approval of our Water Project during the  week before Christmas, 2010,  when people were busy, unaware, or away; (2) forbidding public comment  regarding  the adverse health aspects (EMFs)  of  backing in the Crown Castle Distributed Antenna System throughout Davis prior to the projects ultimate approval in early 2012*; and, (3) attempting to back in fluoridation of the water to be generated by the Water Project after the Project was approved** .  The issue is TRUST!


      *While clearly soliciting public comment regarding the health aspects of fireplace emissions prior to  approving the Fireplace  Ordinance  in late 2011.  Hypocricy, thy name is Davis!

      **Clearly, the Project proponents knew that fluoridation was a net negative that could have jeopardized approval of the Project.

      1. Jim Frame

        (2) forbidding public comment  regarding  the adverse health aspects (EMFs)  of  backing in the Crown Castle Distributed Antenna System throughout Davis prior to the projects ultimate approval in early 2012


        Local agencies are forbidden by Federal law from considering the health effects of RF emissions when making decisions regarding cell tower siting.  Aside from wanting to avoid wasting time listening to testimony about which they could do nothing, the CC may have been concerned about civil liability had they entertained comments pertaining to health concerns.

        1. DurantFan

          David Greenwald’s Vanguard article back in 2012 titled  http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5237:public-remains-adamantly-against-crown-castle-project&catid=53:land-useopen-space&Itemid=86 
          captured the flavor of the adversarial City Council meeting, and the courage of many of the citizens who spoke about this loss of freedom (tyranny), violation of the Principles of Community by pitting neighbor against neighbor concerening the siting of the antennae, and the outrageous hubris of the Crown Castle  corporate grab. 

          It was not the role of the City of Davis to increase everyone’s electronic footprint in response to Crown Castle’s demand-driven communication equation. If it is politically correct to ask citizens to reduce their carbon footprint, why is it not politically correct to ask citizens to reduce their electronic footprint? With a Mickey Mouse sized carbon footprint and a “Goofy” sized electronic footprint, they will know us by our “limping”!

    2. Topcat

      As I said in a Davis Enterprise Letter, our city government seems to have become fairly dishonest in their dealings with the very educated residents of Davis. Am I the only one that believes this way?

      I think that the Council members should address the issues of long term financial viability and sustainability of the city.  I don’t think that all the “happy talk” about how things have gotten better and now we can start on a spending spree on a new sports complex is helpful.

      What I would like to see is some real cost cutting to get City government spending in line with our revenues.  All we hear about is growth and “economic development” without any concern for getting spending under control.  I’d like to see a more balanced approach than we’ve been seeing.  When are we going to see an article in the Vanguard advocating that we “Double down” on cost cutting?  Perhaps you can write one Ralph?

    1. Topcat

      Wineries and pot grows; plenty of green, and Green.

      Interesting thought.  Do we have a marijuana dispensary in Davis?  If not, perhaps the economic development crowd should facilitate getting one here. There is probably a lot of good tax money there.  Maybe something for the Chief Innovation Officer to work on?

  14. rfinch

    I’ll probably regret joining in here, but…

    as a 60-year old white guy, sometimes even angry, I am certainly privileged (as compared to many others, including non-Caucasians)…so that makes me a WPP, if you wish. Surely a little leeway can be allowed here for these phrases and acronyms?

    1. Topcat

      I’ll probably regret joining in here, but…

      Ralph, I hope you will write more about your views on economic development and ways that the City can cut expenses and move to a sustainable financial situation.  We have seen a lot of pro-growth, pro-development drum beating here, but we’ve seen almost nothing about ways that the City can economize and cut back on the nice but not essential expenses.

  15. Tia Will

    I am coming to this conversation very late, and perhaps that is a good thing since by now, anyone who knows what I choose to share electronically knows a lot about my vision for Davis. I would like to focus on the word “renewal” and process thereof.

    As humans, we tend to think of life in cycles. We follow the natural cycles of the environment around us with the new growth of spring, the growth and development during the summer, the harvesting of late summer and fall, and the dormant period of winter. We tend to think of cycles as predetermined and inevitable. And this is certainly true in individual lives, as we grown, mature, reach maximal capacities, decline and eventually die. But as humans, we have the rationale ability to alter this cycle in our communities. We do not have to accept boom and bust as the model for our economic pattern. We do not have to choose a harsh, nature like means of structuring our societies. We do not have to accept the precept that wanting to be free from hunger, or homelessness, or disease means that we are “envious” of those who have already achieved that state ( as one poster asserted), it merely means that we do not want to be mired in it or have our children mired in these conditions. We could choose a different path for our community. Renewal for humans does not have to be dictated by the laws of nature. We have choice.

    In thinking about what renewal means to me for Davis, I realized that I do not see renewal in terms of “the next wave” or the next big movement ( which ultimately mean that it too will become outdated and obsolete in time). What it means for me is prioritization, a step that appears to be well underway be the city council and a gradual, deliberate look at how each change that is considered will alter the entire ecosystem that is our community. What many portray as the trivial, or “non essential” issues taken up by the council, I see as of a great deal of importance to some members of our community. Otherwise they would not be before the council. Sometimes small changes have huge impacts on peoples daily lives which are not appreciated because they are quickly accepted as the new norm and people rapidly forget how things were previously and how this very small change improved some aspect of life in our city. One small example that has improved my life. I have occasion a few times weekly either to walk or drive along 5th street. I recall 5th street as a hot topic not so very long ago. From the user point of view,the changes that were made have turned out to be beneficial. I would like to see actual data on collisions and timing of traffic flow in this area to see if my subjective impression of improvement is born out.

    However, my bigger point in addressing our short memories, is that some act as though Davis has not experienced growth or change and is  somehow “stuck in a rut”. This totally ignores that during my time here ( the past 25 years continuously) there has been what I consider a lot of change. In the business sector there has been the addition of the Market Place shopping center ( new when I arrived), the Nugget shopping center, numerous business in South Davis.  Davis Commons was developed during this time interval.On the residential side there have been numerous housing developments ranging from the build out of the third phase of North Star which was just starting when I moved in, to the current Cannery development with many in between. Along second street between downtown and Mace, many businesses have been added to our community in this time interval including Mori Seiki and the cluster of business in and around the Target plaza. So to say that Davis has not changed, is in my view certainly not true and is a bit of hyperbole used to promote the idea that we are stagnant and thus should “grow as fast as we can”. My view is that growth should be slow, incremental and deliberate. It should not be driven be either fear or by desire for individual short term gain. Each change whether great or small should enhance the entirety of our community and should not be a matter of choosing “winners and losers” but should be a reflection that each idea should be judged on its own merits and not someone’s preconceived notion of what Davis should look like I ( neither small farming village which it clearly is not, nor 150,00 and growing tech driven sprawl which I hope it will never be).

    So I would urge that in thinking of renewing Davis, we set aside the hyperbolic message of fear that we must grow rapidly to survive. Clearly this is not the case. I would also urge that we do not see blocking every idea that might have some potential negative consequence for someone as a knee jerk reaction based on the fear of change. I would recommend that we acknowledge that change is inevitable, is occurring all around us, all of the time and that we not remain mired in our narrow view that economics is the only driver of change or that personal and societal health are not dependent upon health in our economy, but continue to focus on the inevitably interrelated nature of all aspects of our society and move slowly, incrementally, deliberately and continuously rather than in fits and starts to foster the ongoing well being of all members of our community, not just those who have the most economic, political, and social connections.

    1. Frankly

      You cannot measure change in a bubble unless you want to live in a bubble.  It only makes sense to measure change relative to the world around us.  We in Davis are not more capable and more intelligent about these things than are other communities.  In fact, from my perspective, we are much more ignorant of what we need to do as a community to sustain our community.  The reason that we have come so far in our ignorance is simple… we have UCD.  That is what is lost on many… we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done over the years creating this great community, and it really isn’t much of our doing.  It is more that we have been blessed with a successful university which has provided the town organic ingredients of change necessary to mask all of our ignorant mistakes.  We have only been lucky to this point.

      The problem with your view is that you draw a trend line from a perspective that we have done all the right things leading up to this point.   That is wrong.   We have starved our economic growth and now we are at a severe deficit.   So we have to accelerate change in that area to catch up and move the trend line to where it needs to be.

      It is really simple.  Davis does not bring in enough tax revenue to meet the needs of the city.  We have two choices, we can increase taxes ($400-$500 per year) on the residents already paying some of the highest local taxes in the state after having to pay more for their housing than most places in the state… or we can grow the local economy to double what it is today and also derive all the other benefits to the human condition.

      Yes there are other social goals we need to pay attention to.  But Davis is not in any deficit for those goals.  We can always strive to improve… but when the glaring problem is financial, that should be the primary focus to solve.  Everything else needs to take a back seat.

      1. Jim Frame

        We have two choices, we can increase taxes…or we can grow the local economy

        Or some combination of the two. *And* regain control of employee costs.


        1. Frankly

          Agreed.  So can we please discount the arguments of those that claim we don’t need to grow the economy with peripheral development?

          And related to this, I think the argument will be that:

          – We have raised taxes and we are already highly taxed… and we will likely have more school taxes pushed on us.

          – We have already cut city staff to the bone (I don’t believe this, but it will be the argument)

          – We cannot touch existing pension commitments

          – Our local economy is at least half of what it should be compared to all other comparable cities, and based on our financial needs.

          So although all three should be considered, and I would support considering all three, in terms of balance, it is the economic development deficit that is really the most glaring need of being addressed.

    1. Frankly

      I remember when the late grate (pun intended) Julie Partanski demanded that we not pave over some dirt alleys in town because the potholes in them were vernal pools that contained life when it rained.

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