Creating a Startup Culture

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi

By Linda P.B. Katehi

When I started as Chancellor at UC Davis in the summer of 2009, one of my top goals was to work with our faculty and others to create a robust environment for commercial startups that could be spun off from some of the sophisticated research conducted on our campuses in Davis and Sacramento.

Thanks to hard work from many devoted and talented faculty, students and staff, as well as support from partners in the private sector, I believe we are well on our way toward that goal and nicely positioned for great future success.

Such startups are valuable for a number of reasons. They create jobs and spark economic activity in our region. They can be a source of revenue for the university. And they can have a positive societal impact consistent with our mission as a land grant university of trying to improve the quality of life for people in our state and nation.

Consider the example of Tule Technologies, a still-small company based in San Francisco that develops and manufactures sensors to measure evapotranspiration in agricultural fields for water management.

Tule was founded last year by Tom Shapland, who fine-tuned the technology as part of his UC Davis PhD project. He worked with his PhD adviser, Kyaw Tha Paw U, who conceived the watering monitoring system.

Shapland also did his undergraduate work at UC Davis, majoring in viticulture and enology, so it’s no surprise that many of Tule’s customers are part of the California wine industry.

As California’s drought continues and our state’s farmers are under increased pressure to use water more efficiently, Tule seems poised for success. Its equipment is already monitoring irrigation efficiencies in farm fields up and down the state.

A Record Year for UC Davis Startups

The company was part of our record year for startups in 2014, one of 14 new technology companies whose origins are tied directly to UC Davis labs and research.  The number for 2014 was the largest ever for the university in one year and a near doubling from a year earlier.

Another exciting UC Davis startup is Molecular Matrix Inc., which is developing three-dimensional cell culture systems that hold great promise for regenerative medicine applications.

CEO and Molecular Matrix Founder Dr. Charles Lee discovered the potentially ground-breaking technology while working as a researcher and institute director at UC Davis. His company has six employees, and he also puts some 30 UC Davis student interns to work in the firm’s activities concerning research, clinical, manufacturing, finance and sales and marketing.

After Lee made his scientific discovery, he got assistance from UC Davis experts who helped him negotiate the patent process, intellectual property development, legal issues and how to attract investors. He also had help from our Venture Catalyst program, which we established two years ago in the university’s Office of Research to assist faculty with some of the entrepreneurial skills needed to get a startup going.

Another place would-be entrepreneurs can find help is at the high-tech business incubator associated with our College of Engineering.  It’s called the Engineering Translational Technology Center, or ETTC for short.

One of its first “graduates” was Dysonics, an audio technology firm founded in 2011 by UC Davis Professor Engineering Professor Ralph Algazzi; Robert Dalton Jr., a UC Davis graduate with a masters degree in engineering; and Richard Duda, a former research scientist at the university.

The company develops and manufactures wireless sensors to create 3-D sound through earphones. It plans to market its technology to a variety of users interested in superior audio quality.

After less than a year of being nurtured by the Engineering incubator, Dysonics was able to find its own investors who put up $750,000. That helped enable the company to strike out on its own.

New partnerships and collaborations are also being formed between the university and others dedicated to nurturing startups that can lead to wide-ranging benefits.

One recent example is the company DtoR, which developed a fast and powerful analysis of transcription, or copying DNA into RNA. According to the company started by Paul Feldstein, an assistant project scientist at UC Davis, the technology has a variety of potential applications, from use in biofuels to vaccines for certain viruses. DtoR was the first tenant within the university’s recently launched life-science incubator, a collaboration between Venture Catalyst and HM.CLAUSE, a Davis-based company.

The idea is to create and nurture enough of an innovation and startup culture that it becomes ingrained in the makeup of the university. Since 2003, we’ve had more than 60 startups based on UC Davis research breakthroughs, with recently formed companies resulting in hundreds of quality jobs in our region.

In additional to strengthening our technology transfer programs and adding incubators, we also established the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in our Graduate School of Management to provide leadership in some of these efforts.

I have no doubt that with the addition of such strong infrastructure and support programs, we will have more startups moving forward with impressive results and impacts for our region, the state and UC Davis.

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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86 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    Very encouraging update on university start ups by Chancellor Katehi. It is exactly these types of projects that I see as optimal for Davis. The university has the capacity for an unlimited number of such small ventures. These combined with a fresh approach offered by groups such as Jump Start Davis, Davis Roots and Pollinate Davis are what I see as the dynamic drivers of the intellectual and economic development most appropriate to Davis and its unique position within the region.

    1. Davis Progressive

      you do realize that the university is either going to build it’s own innovation park or will utilize innovation parks in the region.  small startups need space to grow.

    2. Anon

      And how do you propose the city of Davis pay it bills for road repairs and building maintenance, not to mention unfunded employee benefit liabilities?  I very much doubt startups alone will make a significant dent (altho I am in favor of encouraging startups in an overall dispersed innovation technology strategy that includes the downtown, startups and well planned peripheral innovation parks).  So without well planned peripheral innovation parks that generate substantial tax revenue, increased city taxes and new city taxes are inevitable.  But I very much doubt most citizens will be willing to tax themselves any more or continue tax extensions without some look towards long term fiscal sustainability through economic development. Would you prefer big box retail, more car dealerships, what exactly?  Citizens are maxed out tax wise, fiscally, emotionally, and politically.  If you don’t think so, just look to the data already collected on the chances of a parcel tax getting passed – 58%, far less than the 67% needed for a $100 parcel tax.  And now, with Rob White gone and Davis Innovation Park put on hold, I will bet you if you took a poll now, you would get even less support for a $100 parcel tax.

      1. Davis Progressive

        the vanguard’s analysis along with that of the finance and budget commission has really showed us that we are not in good shape with respect to the budget and the only way that will change is if we create a more diverse economy and that means putting larger developments in as anon says to generate the kind of property tax revenue and perhaps point of sales tax we need.

      2. Miwok

        And how do you propose the city of Davis pay it bills for road repairs and building maintenance, not to mention unfunded employee benefit liabilities?

        I think the lesson of Placer County and Roseville might be a good example: they “promised” a variety of companies they would build roads and infrastructure “if they would come”. As the buildings got built, the City backed up on its promises and HP and other businesses bailed out and the people who bought houses lost 30% of their value and their jobs.

        Fifteen years later it finally came together and the companies came back, but the growth is gone, and the companies who were big enough have left the area. HP/Agilent had less than 100 engineers when I last heard, and all that is left is warehouses and cheap labor jobs only hired for a year at a time and contracted to these companies around the Rocklin/Roseville area.But housing and retail has boomed, and they are all commuters.

        Davis can be that model, or keep falling behind. After thirty years of being in this mentality, everyone seem reluctant to grow, maybe the Chancellor is finally kicking it into gear. I wish I were there again, sounds like an exciting time coming!

        1. Doby Fleeman

          Or, an alternate scenario, and one which touches upon the key points being made by Anon above, is succinctly expressed by the following email received from one of our community’s best known technology founders:

          Subject: Read it and weep _____________________________________________________________

          http://www.seattletimes.com/business/new-juno-hq-sign-of-biotech-industry-thriving-in-seattle/

           

          Bottom line, and as Anon correctly observes, if we want to emerge locally as a recognized and viable location – with the private sector infrastructure necessary to support any significant population of incubator and entrepreneurial start-ups in this community – it will take a certain critical mass of local, larger-scale, technology employers.

          That the university is at last getting up to speed, in its efforts to encourage technology transfer opportunities, is all the more reason that its host community must respond in kind – if we are serious about capitalizing on the opportunities thus presented.

          Of course, we can continue to operate in an alternate universe, while at the same time Chinese companies continue to scoop up the latest hot prospects in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, figuring that we can simply gen up a few dozen, garage shops with the potential of Apple Computers and Googles – just as readily as the culture and traditions found in Palo Alto or Seattle.  But then again, the one example that the Chancellor clearly identifies is apparently located in San Francisco, on the one hand, while the attached article tells us that Davis’ own Novo Nordisk is now planning to double its R&D presence in Downtown Seattle.

          I’m no physicist, but critical mass is critical mass, and while I’d just be guessing – it seems pretty clear that we just ain’t there yet.

          1. Don Shor

            In what possible sense is Novo Nordisk “Davis’s own”?
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novo_Nordisk
            “Novo Nordisk is a Danish multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Bagsvaerd, Denmark, with production facilities in seven countries, and affiliates or offices in 75 countries.”
            To reach that critical mass you refer to, how big do you think Davis should be? What ideal population would put Davis in the running to compete with Silicon Valley or Seattle? Where do you envision these multi-national corporations locating here?

        2. Doby Fleeman

          Ooops!

          Don, you got me there.  There I was conflating Novozymes, another multinational bio tech company headquartered in Denmark, and local Glen Nedwin who served as President of its US Research Center in Davis until 2006.

          Well, the good news is that Novozymes hasn’t moved and its US research headquarters are still located here – despite the fact that it “is a global biotechnology company headquartered in Bagsværd outside of Copenhagen, Denmark employing approximately 6,500 people by the end of 2014.”

          With respect to your other points, and as you well know, Palo Alto’s population isn’t any larger than Davis and yet it supports some 100,000 daytime workforce jobs.   More to the point, Palo Alto wasn’t all that big when HP, IBM, Digital Equipment, Xerox and Fairchild decided to set up shop there back in the 70’s.  Point is, they did set up shop there and but for their influences over the years, it is difficult to say how many Apples, and Googles, and Facebooks would have come to being without those traditions, roots and generosity with the university (and vis versa).

          So, you could look at Davis, today, as a more sophisticated version of Palo Alto in 1970 and consider that as our starting point.  Then we could extrapolate how much better job we could do over the next thirty years (Innovation Parks buildout), learning from all of Palo Alto’s mistakes.  Of course, that would also mean that we might need to consider starting to make room for some of today’s equivalents of the iconic American companies listed above.

          But if such notions and concepts hold no interest for the community, our university partner and their legions of young graduates – then I’m kind of at a loss for words.

          1. Don Shor

            Palo Alto’s population isn’t any larger than Davis and yet it supports some 100,000 daytime workforce jobs.

            Palo Alto is part of a much larger metroplex consisting of several cities that are all contiguous with a combined population of hundreds of thousands. It is really not reasonable to compare Palo Alto to Davis, yet it is a constant refrain here.
            I think we would do better to focus on small and medium-sized businesses and not try to lure large international corporations to the Davis area. There isn’t the infrastructure here for what they need, and the cities in the region can’t interconnect due to geographical limitations and the complications of being in three separate counties (Davis/Woodland/Sacramento/Dixon). Not to mention, that sounds to me like a horror and I’d guess a lot of Davisites have no desire to have this city resemble the Bay Area.
            No, the notion of having Davis grow as the Silicon Valley did? Not the vision I have for this area. Maybe it’s yours. I doubt it reflects the views of the local electorate, given the way they’ve voted on growth issues in the past.

        3. Doby Fleeman

          Don,

          Do you think you could manipulate my response much more?  On second thought, don’t answer that –  I’m sure you could.

          Would Boulder be a more comfortable example?  Oops, I almost forgot about their powerhouse employers like IBM @ 4,700, Ball Aerospace @ 2,600, Boulder Community Hospital @ 2,400, and with four other major employers with 500-999 employees and six more technology employers with 250-499 employees?

          Not to put words in your mouth, but are you saying that Davis, with it’s 15,000 employee university whose housing policies you love to complain about, just isn’t up to the challenges of master planning and managing its way to a future, more diversified, more sustainable and financially resilient Davis, a Davis that can demonstrate it full potential to a world much in needs of its promise?

          1. Don Shor

            I almost forgot about their powerhouse employers like IBM @ 4,700, Ball Aerospace @ 2,600, Boulder Community Hospital @ 2,400,

            We couldn’t accommodate any employer that large without basically merging with Woodland.

            are you saying that Davis, with it’s 15,000 employee university whose housing policies you love to complain about, just isn’t up to the challenges of master planning and managing its way to a future, more diversified, more sustainable and financially resilient Davis, a Davis that can demonstrate it full potent

            We can’t even build a frigging apartment building within the city limits. So I’d say the answer to your question is pretty self-evident.
            But I don’t think that Davis aspires to be Boulder (population 104,000) or Palo Alto.
            I would say that you have correctly identified the critical mass that a city needs for what you’re describing: population at least 100,000, and/or part of a major metropolitan region. Put that before the Davis voters and see where it gets you.

        4. #me

          “We couldn’t accommodate any employer that large without basically merging with Woodland.” DS

          Davis is about 10 sq mi or 6,400 acres. In the unlikely event that the Davis voters were to decide to grow to a Boulder-sized population of 100,000, that would require about a 50% increase in both population and footprint (assuming development at the current average density). Accordingly, we would need to annex about 3,200 acres.

          We could easily annex the necessary 3,200 acres without breaching the Green Zone that begins at Road 29 or growing east of the Mace 391 easement.  The Green Zone begins about 3.5 miles from the Woodland city limit.

          To Doby’s point, Davis could theoretically (and easily) model itself after Boulder without growing to Woodland or becoming Elk Grove or Natomas. Boulder is about 25 sq miles and Davis would be a more dense 15 sq miles with it’s farmland urban limit and adjacent UCD acreage.

          1. Don Shor

            Growth occurs along traffic corridors. Housing would rapidly be proposed between Heritage Parkway in Woodland and Wildhorse in Davis, and/or along Hwy 113, with the latter the most likely. Growth of Woodland to the south is the most likely scenario. A large employer would locate here and nearly all of the employees would live elsewhere. Or perhaps you could tell me which 3500 acres you think would develop.
            I think Davis would do well to just try to annex and develop a couple of small business parks, rather than positing some larger vision of Davis becoming like those other cities. Mace 200 and Nishi will be enough of a hurdle.

        5. #me

          DS:  Doby keeps using Palo Alto as an aspirational example for Davis. I understand his position but agree with you that the comparison is meaningless.

          Palo Alto and Davis might as well be on different planets. Stanford alumni and faculty have created roughly 40,000 companies, currently generating about 6M jobs and almost $3T in annual revenue. That’s trillion. Since the 90’s, about 25% of the companies have been launched within 20 miles of the campus and 40% within 60 miles.

          When Doby responded with a realistic aspirational example – i.e. Boulder – you responded with a false claim about growing to Woodland. There is plenty of acreage south of the Green Zone, west of Mace 391, and East of Road 98 to grow to a population the size of Boulder (roughly 100,000) as well as set aside ample land for economic development.  The Green Zone prevents urban growth north of Road 29 and south of Road 27.

          http://www.inc.com/magazine/201312/boulder-colorado-fast-growing-business.html

          Can our community become anything like Boulder? Probably not. Davis is largely irrelevant in the technology economy and increasingly seems destined for a slow decline into mediocrity.

          1. Don Shor

            There is plenty of acreage south of the Green Zone, west of Mace 391, and East of Road 98 to grow to a population the size of Boulder

            Sorry, but you would really have to show me on a map exactly where you think this growth could occur. It’s 8 minutes to Spring Lake from my nursery. North Davis Meadows is five minutes from the southern-most part of Woodland now. Woodland plans to add thousands more homes in the next two decades. I have watched Vacaville nearly merge with Fairfield. The amount of farmland we would have to sacrifice for the vision Doby and others are pushing would be appalling. We don’t even have a place to house an employer of the size Doby is describing, much less their employees. And if they looked at the region, they’d instantly see lots of cheap land in Dixon and West Sacramento. This is all an academic and pointless debate, but persisting in it could harm the prospects for developing the 2 – 3 small business parks under discussion. The fastest way to kill those at the ballot box would be to keep touting the benefits of growing Davis like any other larger city.
            Davis should focus on the agricultural strengths and people should stop envying tech-based cities. UCD is an ag school. I don’t know why you see a “slow decline into mediocrity.” It’s a premier agriculture sciences university with a world reputation in various areas, particularly vit/enology and food sciences. I think people are obsessed with tech startups and information technology and all the Silicon Valley stuff at the expense of the real strength that UCD brings to the region.

  2. #me

    Only 62 UCD startups launched since 2003 is an appallingly bad track record for an institution like UCD. In addition, focusing on the number of startups launched –  without appropriate context and metrics – obscures the magnitude of the institutional failure. There are some great local success stories, to be sure, but the overall performance of UCD cannot be extrapolated from a few cherry-picked examples.

    By context, I mean the relative performance of our northern California peers (Stanford, UCB, and UCSF) as well as other top-tier R&D universities nationwide.

    By metrics, I mean relevant data such as (1) the number of startups that received venture capital, (2) the total amount of venture capital received, (3) the number of startups that had an IPO or M&A, (4) the geographic locations of the startups, (5) the peak number of employees, etc.

    It is critically important to have an accurate understanding of where we are in order to (1) decide where we want to be and (2) craft a strategy to get there.

    The idea that UCD is a tech transfer powerhouse is one of the fundamental assumptions in the debate about the Davis economic development strategy that does not seem to be supported by the facts.

    I’m not sure if the reports are public-record, but UCD’s recent internal reviews of it’s technology transfer efforts have been extremely negative.

    A final thought – looking back to 2003 is not a useful exercise. The startup world seems to be evolving at lighting speed right now, and what happened even a few years ago is probably not predictive in 2015. What’s most relevant to the city is to understand (1) how much traction the recent UCD startups are getting and (2) where they are choosing to locate post-financing. There are 21 companies that are recent launches that have had a reasonable amount of time to develop an initial track record (see link below). The 2013 class of 7 companies has had at least 2 years and the 2014 class of 14 startups has had at least a year.

    How are these 21 companies doing? How can we get access to the names of the UCD startups since 2013? Who got funded? Who left Davis? What does the 2015 class look like?

    http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10996

  3. Tia Will

    Davis should focus on the agricultural strengths and people should stop envying tech-based cities. UCD is an ag school.”

    I was speaking to a UCD student yesterday who had a revelation during the conversation that made me laugh out loud. She is a pre med student. We were talking about the past 30 year history since I graduated from UCD and earlier when UCD was almost exclusively an ag school. A light came on for her and she said “Is that why we are called the Aggies ? Such a simple realization and yet so illustrative.

    I firmly believe that what we should be focusing on is the strengths of our university since it is the driving force behind Davis. Our true strengths are agricultural and medical ( initially veterinary, but now to include human medicine). I see a core mission of UCD as to be the agricultural and veterinary world leader. This is our core and best strength for leadership in what is probably the greatest world need, namely food production. Note that I said food, not food products.  I agree with Don that we should focus on our strengths and not be so obsessed with competing in other areas no matter how bright and shiny they may appear at the moment.

  4. Jim Leonard

    I would love to see Katehi’s full vision before deciding whether to sign on to it or not. U.C. Davis is developing Nishi and it’s developing the World Food Center. Linda evidently wants a large amount of “small” start-ups as well. And there is the 6 story hotel conference center at the corner of Richards Blvd. and I-80, where there’s already a near continuous traffic jam. What does L.K. really want. It would be great, honest, and respectful to Davis if she would simply level with us. But, perhaps, that would be too risky. Maybe the current course of 1) developing the plan, 2) lining up the investors, 3) getting buy-in from the politicians, and 4) selling the public on whatever the plan is through slick P.R. is the course she is and will remain committed to. Please Linda, to quote John Lennon, “All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth!”

    1. Davis Progressive

      uc davis is not developing nishi.  nishi is owned privately and proceeding under measure r requirements.  uc davis may be developing the world food center, but more likely in sacramento than in davis.

      “there is the 6 story hotel conference center at the corner of Richards Blvd. and I-80, where there’s already a near continuous traffic jam.”

      which uc davis has nothing to do with.

      you seem to be conflating all developments in the area with uc davis which is inaccurate.

       

      1. #me

        You are obviously correct that UCD is not proposing to develop Nishi, but the proposed project has been widely marketed as a collaboration between the developers, city, and UCD to create a mixed use innovation hub serving the campus and the community.  Moreover, UCD controls the key piece of the puzzle (along with Union Pacific), which is grade separated vehicle access to the campus on the north. Without this, the project is effectively DOA, either by council action, failure of the Measure R vote, or lawsuit.

        I think the simple question:

        What does L.K. really want?

        is entirely fair and appropriate regardless of whether you are for or against the project.

        Hopefully, the Chancellor will clearly lay out her perspective in a future article.

         

        1. Don Shor

          I would say she wants to build and increase the world-class reputation that UC Davis has, and to stabilize the university’s finances.
          Chancellor Katehi has demonstrated that she can set clear goals and keep to them.
          It would be nice, as usual for any university town, if the campus officials would coordinate their planning better with the city and if they could work together to meet the city’s needs — needs largely created by the growth of the university. But meeting the city’s needs is not the Chancellor’s goal.

        2. Matt Williams

          but the proposed project has been widely marketed as a collaboration between the developers, city, and UCD to create a mixed use innovation hub serving the campus and the community.

          #me, you may be new enough to Davis to not have been here for the 2007-2008 Housing Element Steering Committee process, but in that process the City, not the University, made a decision to look at the Nishi site from two perspectives. The 17th ranked housing site (out of 37 total sites) was the “Nishi Property – Option With Access Via UCD Only” while the 25th ranked site was the “Nishi Property Option With Access Via Olive Drive” (see page 16 of http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/media/default/documents/pdf/citycouncil/councilmeetings/agendas/20080422/packet/06a-housing-element-update-steering-committee-report.pdf ). There were between 500 and 600 “Primary Sites” sites in the City Planning Area (ones that were “Currently Planned and Zoned For Housing”). The next 20 sites (which includes Nishi #17, but not Nishi #25) were identified as “SECONDARY SITES – Additional Sites Recommended For Housing (“Green Light”)” Nishi #25 was in the “Yellow Light” site list, which were only to be explored “Only If Needed” to meet SACOG/RHNA requirements.

          Why is that history lesson important? Because the only way to accomplish the Housing Element Steering Committee’s preferred option for Nishi is through “collaboration between the developers, city, and UCD.”

          Bottom-line, the University isn’t imposing any Nishi parameters on the City. The City is asking the University to accept and support Nishi parameters imposed by the City.

        3. #me

          MW: Maybe you know the inside baseball more than me. My take …

          The latest incarnation of the Nishi proposal grew directly out of the Chancellors 2011 request for ideas and concepts for an Innovation Hub. The Staff Recommendation to the Council was …

          “Work to form a partnership with Yolo County, interested property owners, local business community, and other stakeholders to submit a proposal for collaboration with UC Davis on the (re)development of Downtown – Nishi/Gateway as an integrated and dynamic mixed-use innovation district.”

          In my opinion, invoking the 2007 HESC recommendations is a strategy to justify a Davis-driven fast-track housing project rather than having to wait for UCD’s required long range planning process (required for the roadway connection to UCD north of the project) to run its course. I was told that this would add maybe a year to the Nishi timeline.

          Any project without a UCD roadway connection guaranteed in the baseline project features and development agreement is probably DOA.

          Some background links:
          http://www.davisvanguard.org/2011/02/city-looks-to-respond-to-call-for-innovation-hub/
          http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/city/nishi-land-eyed-for-ucd-hub/
          http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/city-proposes-ucd-innovation-hub-at-nishi/

          1. Matt Williams

            #me, at the time I was exposed to the background information that I’ve shared herein, I would characterize my participation as “outside baseball” (to torture your metaphor). My ex-wife and I were very regularly attending, as members of the public, the Housing Element Steering Committee (HESC) meetings that in the end produced the report I provided the links to. Our “selfish” interest was in the parcels to the southeast of Davis that reside in the County, but once those specific parcels were put into the “red light” category by the HESC, I felt it was important not to walk the walk of a NIMBY, and continue to attend/observe the full HESC process. It was a real education. The 15 members (with no alternates) were:

            Lucas Frerichs
            Jay Gerber
            Pam Gunnell
            Mike Harrington
            Donna Lott
            Eileen Samitz
            Ellen Shields
            Mark Siegler
            Maynard Skinner
            Mark Spencer
            Kristin Stoneking
            Bob Traverso
            Norma Turner
            Luke Watkins
            Kevin Wolf

            Given that each Council member got to appoint three of those 15, how can you say that “In my opinion, invoking the 2007 HESC recommendations is a strategy to justify a Davis-driven fast-track housing project rather than having to wait for UCD’s required long range planning process (required for the roadway connection to UCD north of the project) to run its course”? Those 15 citizens were representing the City, participating in a City process, discussing a City-planned property. How the University handles the planning process for its side of the UPRR tracks is a separate issue. If the University enters into negotiations about the underpass with UPRR, the City, the County and the Nishi parcel owners, isn’t that sufficient?

    2. Matt Williams

      What does LK (Linda Katehi) really want? It would be great, honest, and respectful to Davis if she would simply level with us.

      Jim, can I suggest that you take a moment or two to bring the above question down from the rather ethereal 80,000 foot level to something a bit more focused … say at the 30,000 foot level. As you have posed the question, it is almost impossible to answer with anything like the specificity that would satisfy the thrust of John Lennon’s quote.

  5. Anon

    It never ceases to amaze me how certain commenters on this blog can take an innocuous comment, twist it in such a way as to completely distort the meaning, to rationalize untenable positions.

    Not for one second do I believe there was any intention to make Davis another “Palo Alto” or “Boulder” or whatever.  Davis is Davis.  Nor do I care if UCD is a “top” generator of startups over other UC campuses.  UCD is UCD.  There is a golden opportunity here to create at least two (perhaps three) well planned innovation parks in Davis, with the possibility that they will not only generate substantial tax revenue which would help the city out of its fiscal problems, but add wonderful amenities to the community for all to share.  And there is a movement being created to encourage startups that may eventually locate at the innovation parks once the start-ups’ business takes off and needs to expand.  If all commenters want to do its kibbutz from the sidelines and quibble over perceived/nitpicky/irrelevant “problems”, then move out of the way while the rest of us try and find a way forward that will satisfy most citizens and be for the betterment of the city.  I don’t mind constructive criticism, but I am losing patience with destructive carping.

     

      1. #me

        I support the innovation park(s). Proponents trying to gloss over legitimate issues will not help the city reach an acceptable outcome. Our ecosystem is full of smart and educated – but often misinformed – opponents that have an agenda and a demonstrable ability to kill proposals.

    1. Don Shor

      You’re absolutely right, Anon. Doby and Frankly should stop comparing Davis to Palo Alto. And comments like

      Of course, that would also mean that we might need to consider starting to make room for some of today’s equivalents of the iconic American companies listed above.

      might be avoided if one wishes to adhere to your assessment that

      Not for one second do I believe there was any intention to make Davis another “Palo Alto” or “Boulder” or whatever.

      Nope. Not for one second was anyone making that suggestion.
      For the record, as you know, I support the peripheral business parks that have been proposed. And I think it will harm their prospects if any further comparisons to large metropolitan regions are put forth.

      1. Frankly

        Don, you nitpick away at every comparison.  You demand and yet you cannot point to any single example to justify your demand.

        Davis is different.

        Davis is unique.

        Right.

        The only thing different and unique about Davis is the attitudes like yours that we are wiser and more capable than these other communities that are all so much worse that Davis.

        1. Davis Progressive

          you just made the point that the rest of the region see davis as a city of fools which implies that davis is different and unique.  you’re contradicting yourself.  btw, i’m not sure that most of the rest of the region is beyond reproach.

        2. Don Shor

          You demand and yet you cannot point to any single example to justify your demand.

          I have no idea what you’re trying to say.
          Comparing Davis to Palo Alto is not just inaccurate, it’s probably counterproductive, yet you do it regularly. There may be some audiences that would like to see that as an aspiration, but those audiences are probably already predisposed to support the peripheral parks.

        3. Frankly

          Comparing a like-sized city with another world-class university with respect to tax revenue and economic circumstances is absolutely accurate, necessary, useful and valid.

          Again, what is the comparison you would use?

          Or will you simply keep deflecting on this… continuing to make your fantastic claims that Davis is unlike all others and so we should just bend over and accept it?

          72,000 residents makes Davis a medium-sized metropolitan area.  In fact, the USDA lists Davis as that… and part of a larger metropolitan region.  Based on the very federal agency that works to help lock Davis in a farmland moat, they basically put us as an urban city and region… not some sleepy little small rural farm town in a sleepy little agriculture region.

          What some Davis residents say they want is out of synch with what reality already is.  That is the point in comparison to Palo Alto and Chico and Santa Cruz and ???     All you do is take potshots at those comparisons as being invalid, and yet you cannot come up with a single community that you agree we compare with.

          If something is too good to be true, it is a lie.  Davis is living a lie… claiming to be something it is not other than being unsustainable.

          The point is not that we become Palo Alto, the point is that we need a larger local economy… much larger.

          1. Don Shor

            and yet you cannot come up with a single community that you agree we compare with.

            I would say Davis most closely resembles Chico or Corvallis. I’ve actually already given you the latter comparison before, more than once.
            Have fun with it.

          2. Matt Williams

            Chico and Davis have one very major difference. As the most populous city in Butte County, Chico is the hub of a regional economy. The 2010 City of Chico population was 86,187 at the 2010 census (up almost 50% from 59,954 in the 2000 census). The Chico Metropolitan area had a 2010 population of 220,266. Bottom-line, comparing Chico to Davis is a mismatch.

            The City of Corvallis is closer to Davis in size (54,462 in the 2010 Census), with 85,579 as the Corvallis Metropolitan area population, which is a portion of the combined 202,251 person population of the Albany-Corvallis-Lebanon, Oregon Metropolitan Area.

        4. Gunrocik

          Don Shor: ” I would say Davis most closely resembles Chico or Corvallis.”

          Ouch, Don!  I can’t think of any program on campus that aspires to downgrade their intentions to those average schools.  And I don’t think this community should either.

          Davis is the host community for the pre-eminent College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in the world.  And a world class University needs a world class community partner.

          I do hope that we are able to bring one of the innovation parks to a vote.  I have faith that the electorate of Davis is more forward thinking than those who believe that preserving a small patch of farmland adjacent to Davis is more important than promoting research and innovation that will feed billions of people.

           

        5. Frankly

          Don, thanks for the list:

          Davis

          – Population of 72,000

          – Surrounded by open space on three sides.

          – Has Target

          – Retail sales per capita from 2007 census was $7,752 and 5,263 firms.

          – Population density for city area is 7,200 people per square mile.

          – Yolo County is designated as Metro-1 million area by USDA

          – UCD is growing by 600 students per year, and is a world class research university.

          Olympia Washington

          – Population of less than 50,000

          – Prevented from peripheral expansion because the Puget Sound is on one side and State forests on the other.

          – Has a Target and Home Depot and Hobby Lobby and Total Wine and More and Big Lots, etc.

          – Retail sales per capita from 2007 census was $29,610 and 6,132 firms

          – Population density is 2,608 per square mile.

          – Thurston County is designated as Metro-1 million area by USDA

          – Evergreen State College is not growing by 600 students per year, nor is it a world class research university.

          Ames Iowa

          – Population 62,000

          – Is surrounded by farmland

          – Has Sams Club, Target, Best Buy, Walmart Super Center, Lowes, North Grand Mall (340,000 sq ft shopping mall)

          – Per 2007 census retail sales per capita (and remember, that this is Iowa) is $15,093 and there are 4,225 firms.

          – Population density is 2,435 per square mile

          – USDA designation of Story county is semi-Metro (250,000 population)

          Chico CA

          – Population 88,000

          – Is surrounded by farmland

          – Has Walmart, Costco, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Kmart, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Dicks Sporting Goods, Chico Mall, etc., etc., etc.

          – Per 2007 census per capita retail sales is $19,266, there are 7,478 firms and population density is 2,617 per sq mile.

          – Chico State is a good state school, but it is not a world class research university growing by 600 student per year.

          – Butte County is semi-Metro – 250,000 USDA designation

          Corvallis Oregon

          – Population of 54,600

          – Sits on the eastern edge of Oregon Coastal Range which prevents peripheral expansion in that direction.  The Willamette River on the other side creates difficulty for expansion because of the need for bridge connectors, but beyond the river is open farmland.

          – Has a Home Depot, factory outlet mall, Timber Shopping Center, Winco Foods, etc.

          – 2007 Census lists $12,367 per capita in retail sales, and 4,042 firms.

          – Oregon State is a world class research university.  It is about the size of UCD (30,000 students), but notes that it has hit capacity and is slowing and/or stopping growth.

          – USDA semi-metro with 250,000

          General Fund Budgets (FY2015)

          – Davis – $45.8 MM

          – Chico – $42.6MM

          – Olympia – $64.5MM

          – Ames – $118MM

          – Corvallis – $85MM

          So, after looking at all of this, you can certainly pick the low and/or high points from the collection and say that Davis is similar, but you cannot for any one.  The most glaring deficit for Davis is its population density and its dismal sales revenue per capita and its dismal lack of shopping and firms… especially given the endless amount of build-able land surrounding the city that could be used to grow the local economy.

          These places you listed are all nice places to live.  But they make Davis residents look like fools continuing to block development.

           

          1. Don Shor

            Though I think we resemble Chico more, I would pick Corvallis (it was my safety college choice, after all). And I would seek to add as many more boutique stores and restaurants in Davis as possible to generate more per-capita sales revenues.
            I don’t consider the population density to be a “deficit.”
            By the way, your description is a little inaccurate.

            – Surrounded by open space on three sides.

            should read

            Surrounded by farmland on three sides.

        6. Gunrocik

          Corvallis, Chico, Ames, Olympia and Corvallis are all illegitimate comps.

          We are a top tier major research institution within 30 minutes of a major metro area.

          The most legitimate comps are: Lawrence, Kansas (just outside Kansas City), Boulder, Colorado (just outside Denver) Ann Arbor, Michigan (just outside Detroit) and the Research Triangle, NC which is adjacent to Duke, Wake Forest, NC State and UNC.

          We aren’t comparable to small stand alone college towns. And we aren’t comparable to Palo Alto, Berkeley, University of Washington-Seattle, Arizona State, Ohio State or a dozen other major universities in the center of large metro areas.

          1. Don Shor

            Lawrence, Kansas (just outside Kansas City)

            Hadn’t thought of that one, which is a little embarrassing since there’s a building named after my great-grandfather on that campus!

        7. Frankly

          I don’t consider the population density to be a “deficit.”

          the point is how extremely far out of balance we are compared to these other communities that you compare us to.  it demonstrates the land and farmland preservation extremism that plagues us.

          By the way, your description is a little inaccurate.

          What do you mean?  This information is readily available if in different locations.

          The main point that you cannot escape is that we don’t generate enough revenue, and if it wasn’t for our artificially high property values, we would be in a terrible world of hurt.

          And with respect to our lack of revenue, it is because our local economy is too small… and our local economy is too small because of lack of available land to develop on.

          I had dinner at Ostero Fasulo last night and Leonardo said he looked at space downtown including the defunct Tocus and he said it was way too expensive and too small to make work.  There just is not enough commercial real estate available for a city our size.  Many tax-revenue-generating projects just don’t happen because of the lack of space.  Our population density is not an asset, despite what you and other might want to portray it as.  It is an indication of sever dysfunction in our city planning and development.

          You are pretty darn stubborn on this obvious problem we face.   I love farmland too, but we don’t need to strangle ourselves in extreme protection of it.

          1. Don Shor

            The main point that you cannot escape is that we don’t generate enough revenue,

            So annex and build Nishi, add Mace Ranch, redevelop Fifth Street and the city property, develop near the hospital, rezone near the downtown for mixed uses, and talk to a couple of the downtown landowners about renovating and redeveloping. Find out what it would take to upgrade the neighborhood shopping centers. A little more planning for parts of South Davis might help, too.
            As I said: more boutiques, more restaurants.
            What did you have in mind?

          2. Don Shor

            Just pointing out that the discussion was locations for startups and growing companies, not retail or open space or things like that.

        8. Frankly

          The most legitimate comps are: Lawrence, Kansas (just outside Kansas City), Boulder, Colorado (just outside Denver) Ann Arbor, Michigan (just outside Detroit) and the Research Triangle, NC which is adjacent to Duke, Wake Forest, NC State and UNC.

          Oh damn… Gunrocik why didn’t you chime in earlier to prevent me from doing all that work for those illegitimate comps?

          Let’s just summarize and admit that will find similar differences with that list.  All with larger economies, more retail, more firms and larger geographic footprints with much lower population density.

          Which then backs my point that Davis is broken and broke and needs to expand around the periphery for economic development.  And we have a fantastic opportunity to do it in partnership with that world class university in our midst.

          1. Don Shor

            needs to expand around the periphery for economic development.

            You are pretty darn stubborn on this obvious problem we face. I love farmland too, but we don’t need to strangle ourselves in extreme protection of it.

            Two proposals on the table, one set aside for now; I support those. That’s a few hundred acres. How many more do you want? Weren’t you saying it’s a 20-year buildout? Where do you want them?

      2. Doby Fleeman

        Don,

        Who do you think is going to populate most large Research Parks?   Is it fair to say that you don’t believe that many of the likely tenants would be derivatives and subsidiaries of iconic, well-known, well-financed national and international businesses?   Do you have some philosophical issues with large, well-run, well-financed companies that might prefer to establish operational clusters with 500-1,000 employees?

        If you were the speculative developer of these new sites, with aspirations for a 1MM square feet of first class office and wet lab space, would you bet the farm on the hopes you would find a large number of 20-50 person startups and 50-100 person development-stage companies as tenants?   You might, but as has been the case with large, magnet retail centers around the country (Frankly’s concept for Davis perhaps, but not mine), the developer tends to want stable, class A, credit tenants as the foundation for their larger investment strategy.

        Whether that building be Downtown or in a traditional Research Park, how many developers are going to create significant available space without the anticipated security of some larger, more established, more financially secure tenants?

        How would you address this issue?

         

      3. Frankly

        What did you have in mind?

        Immediate and strong advocacy to bring back the West Davis innovation center, build the Mace Innovation Center, Nishi as designed with UCD connectivity… all with a reasonable percentage of retail space… rezoning of the core area for more commercial including more high rises.

        I would also like to see a third innovation park.  I think 600-800 acres of new commercial development is needed.  Is due.  And is not extreme.  What is extreme is the continued demand that we stay the same or even close to the same.  Have you driven the roads lately?

        The redevelopment of the downtown will not happen until and unless there is alternative retail and other commercial space that creates competition for existing retail space.

        1. Don Shor

          Immediate and strong advocacy to bring back the West Davis innovation center, build the Mace Innovation Center, Nishi as designed with UCD connectivity… all with a reasonable percentage of retail space… rezoning of the core area for more commercial including more high rises.

          Well, we agree. I’m not sure what caused the West Davis center to be put on hold, so it’s an open question as to whether any kind of advocacy would bring it back in the short run. And if they’ve got some kind of an option on it, the city is kind of stuck on that one.

          I would also like to see a third innovation park.

          There is nothing on the table in that regard.

    2. Tia Will

      If all commenters want to do its kibbutz from the sidelines and quibble over perceived/nitpicky/irrelevant “problems”, then move out of the way while the rest of us try and find a way forward that will satisfy most citizens and be for the betterment of the city.  I don’t mind constructive criticism, but I am losing patience with destructive carping.”

      I do not consider the addition of thousands of people to the community as well as the attendant housing, traffic, most appropriate land use issues, and need for additional city services as projected by the developers, not me, to be nitpicking nor “irrelevant problems”. I see these as very relevant issues. It is no wonder that Frankly looks forward to more of this kind of comment since he shares the opinion that anyone who does not see the world the way he does should just “get out of the way”.

      1. Anon

        I am not talking about housing, traffic, land use issues – that are very real issues that need to be dealt with in a constructive way.  I’m talking about getting bogged down in discussions of whether someone should or should not compare Davis to Palo Alto, or if UCD is the “top” generator of startups.  (But then I made that quite clear in my comments.)

    3. Tia Will

      Incremental change that matches or complements the Davis character is much more likely to get public support.

      I think that Don is demonstrably correct with this statement. Perhaps I have missed something, but I have not heard any signifiant criticism of Davis Roots, JumpStart Davis, or Pollinate, and mostly constructive criticism of Nishi. I am one individual who firmly believes in change, and believes that it is possible to embrace change that respects not only the desires of those to profit from new innovations, but also those who value the non economic, non material benefits of living in Davis. I do not believe that I am alone in my preference for balance, and slow deliberate, well planned development rather than a rush to “grow as much as we can”.

        1. Tia Will

          “should grow as much as we can”.

          This is a direct quote from Rochelle Swanson, who confirmed to me in a private communication, that she had indeed said this but that it was taken out of context. It is true that I did take it out of context since I was quoting from what I believe was an Enterprise article on one of her presentations probably after one of her trips to DC. However, whether taken out of context or not, I think it is representative of a particular school of economic thought in Davis. Just as my belief that we should grow in as slow and deliberate  a manner is representative of a different school of thought…..and my comments like Rochelle’s are frequently taken out of context. So I guess that is just part of expressing different perspectives.

           

  6. Frankly

    It is so interesting to me to read posts that indicate the expectation of individual power to tell the university how it should be.  I guess the mindset is that with Measure R, the people of Davis can direct the university by blocking or approving developments.

    Stupid if I do say so.

    The university will go in the direction that the university sees as best serving the university.   And unless you are a decision-maker with the university, your opinion means squat.

    What is likely to happen is that innovation parks will go to Woodland and Solano county and impact Davis without any tax revenue coming to Davis and without Davis having a say in all the design and amenities Davis activists like to demand.

    People on the outside looking in at Davis see a city of fools.  As a resident of Davis demanding no change that might not bother you, but then you would have to accept being a fool.

  7. Robb Davis

    Just FYI: Reminding everyone what the City is focused on at this point in relation to creating opportunities of UCD-based startups and other companies interested in moving to Davis I will note the following:

    Currently staff is shepherding forward the EIR analysis, the fiscal/economic analysis and the design review processes.  The Draft EIR is scheduled for release in Late July and the fiscal/economic analysis report will be out soon after that in August.  My mid-September these various studies will be presented at appropriate city commission meetings including Natural Resource, Open Space and Habitat, Finance and Budget, and Recreation and Park. (Planning Commission is later).  The DEIR comment period ends in mid-September and then development agreement and City/County tax sharing agreements begin.  The final EIR will be released in late October and final development and tax/sharing agreements prepared.  All of that with a staff report on conditions, and baseline project features will come out in November and be reviewed by the Planning Commission before coming to the City Council early next year.

    In the meantime… Go here for an invitation to the first Public Workshops to be held at Nishi and the Mace Ranch Innovation Center sites, next Saturday from 9:00-11:30

    In addition to these actions on the innovation centers, the City Council recently took action to appoint a sub-committee to work with the Planning Commission to expedite a process focused on synchronizing guidelines, policies and zoning requirements related to the downtown to foster redevelopment there (downtown being an ideal spot to welcome new startups).

    As the sub-committee working on the innovation centers, Rochelle and I have been meeting with local investors, University staff and those promoting start-ups to problem solve and assure that those with great ideas can find a home here (no matter how mature they are in their formation).

    In addition, the City Manager, senior staff and I have been systematically moving City/University conversations forward to deal with mutual interests so we can deal with the growth that comes with a successful University and increased economic activity in town.

    Also, the City Council’s discussions on the CCE options focused on choosing approaches that hold out the best hope of lowering and creating more stable electricity rates for consumers and businesses.  The development of CCEs in Marin and Sonoma are demonstrating the ability of community choice energy programs to stimulate economic development as evidenced.

    My point is, no one is sitting still waiting for someone else to act.  We are working to move initiatives forward to further economic development opportunities in a holistic way.

    1. Frankly

      downtown being an ideal spot to welcome new startups

      Redevelopment to make space for startups will require either rezoning of residential to mixed-use or commercial, and also conversion of existing retail to other business-types.  Get ready for big fights with the current residents and property owners downtown.

      I was working on financing a project in Pasadena for a young existing tech business and the city shot it down demanding that that building remain retail.  The primary reason was that the city gets more tax revenue from a retail business that it would a tech startup.

      Here is my thinking on this idea that we make space for tech startups downtown…

      It is mostly DOA.  It will only happen if we create more commercial real estate opportunities and expand the retail and business footprint of the city beyond our small, and growing more student-service-centric, downtown.

      Instead we should focus on the peripheral business parks with retail space included.  And then overtime the downtown will transform including some redevelopment for startups.

      1. Anon

        Start-up space has already begun downtown with Pollinate Davis.  Yes it is small,  at the moment, but you have to start somewhere.  If Nishi were to come online, there could be a place for some startups right near downtown.  Don’t be so sure space for startups in downtown is DOA.  I believe the business community is very much behind the innovation parks, including startups.  And I know some who live downtown would not object to startups.

        1. Don Shor

          I think Nishi will augment the downtown very nicely in this regard. Some strategic rezoning as discussed on another thread could expand the areas available for mixed uses, and that’s part of the ‘ecosystem’ that others like to talk about.

  8. Anon

    Doby Fleeman: “Then we could extrapolate how much better job we could do over the next thirty years (Innovation Parks buildout), learning from all of Palo Alto’s mistakes.

    Don Shor: “Doby and Frankly should stop comparing Davis to Palo Alto.

    To Don Shor: Good grief!  Frankly never even mentions Palo Alto in this entire thread; and Doby is trying to say we should learn from Palo Alto’s mistakes.  I am not getting your point at all, at continually criticizing Doby and Frankly for expressing their opinions in a constructive manner.  Please help me understand how your criticisms of them are helping the conversation on how we can help well planned innovation parks become a reality.

    Frankly: “The university will go in the direction that the university sees as best serving the university.   And unless you are a decision-maker with the university, your opinion means squat.

    What is likely to happen is that innovation parks will go to Woodland and Solano county and impact Davis without any tax revenue coming to Davis and without Davis having a say in all the design and amenities Davis activists like to demand.

    Point very well taken.  Innovation parks are coming to the region, like it or not.  Davis can either join in and try and obtain benefit from the phenomenon, or sit on the sidelines and watch other communities gain all the benefits while Davis ends up suffering from only the impacts while gaining nothing.

    1. Don Shor

      Please help me understand how your criticisms of them are helping the conversation on how we can help well planned innovation parks become a reality.

      Simple. Stop emphasizing any comparison to large metropolitan areas. Stop talking ‘big’. These are actually small business parks by almost any definition, but they are going to seem big to many Davisites. Davis voters generally don’t like big development things. Incremental change that matches or complements the Davis character is much more likely to get public support.

      1. Anon

        By continually harping on the point, it would seem to me you are the one emphasizing the issue, which is counterproductive according to your own argument.  Secondly, Frankly never even mentioned Palo Alto in this thread.  And I would also point out that often in discussions on innovation parks, innovation park opponents frequently bring up the point “Just name one city that has been successful with building innovation parks so that it benefited the city.”  If I remember rightly, Sue Greenwald has proclaimed several times that innovation parks do not generate tax revenue for cities.  So it essentially forces those of us who favor well planned innovation parks to find examples that have worked.  So I am just not understanding your position…

  9. Tia Will

    Anon

    So it essentially forces those of us who favor well planned innovation parks to find examples that have worked.”

    There are many features that have worked in other communities that may or may not be applicable to Davis. A few examples :

    Seattle has the Pike Street Market. We have the Davis Farmer’s Market. I do not believe that anyone would be arguing that if we simply built more spaces for more merchants and maybe tossed a few more restaurants into the mix, that we would have a second Pike Street.

    Boulder has a very lovely central promenade with a car and bike free area. It has when I was there a nice mix of fairly upscale shops such as Patagonia, an Urban Outfitters, and number of nice clothing stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. And yet our downtown merchants do not seem to have seen the value of wanting to put in the money and effort needed to convert even a small area of our downtown into such an appealing space.

    Portland has a similar shopping area. Roseville has The Fountains which has an area of car free shopping just across from the Roseville Galleria.

    Vancouver has Granville island with open walking space and is a mixed use venue with a working cement plant and a number of small artisans and craftsmen. However, when I wrote about this, the concept of a true divergence from what we currently have was thoroughly derided as though I was suggesting that Davis try to become Vancouver, which was the furthest thing from my mind.

    So do you really believe that in a venue like the Vanguard where it is far more common for people to attempt to shoot down any idea that may be different from their own personal preference, that those who favor the innovation parks will not get some of their own back in the form of differences between the examples that they are siting and Davis as part of the counter point ?  Despite my preference to the contrary, we seem to cling to our adversarial MO rather than willing to hear each others point of view in a proactive, collaborative manner.

     

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I liked Granville Island but wasn’t sure if it would really work long term, this was 10 years ago. It seemed like a non-plastic tourist spot in some ways.

      Mike Corbett had some interesting ideas a few years back.

  10. Tia Will

    I think you just got called out on your standard hyperbole on this topic.”

    Anon asked me who had ever stated “grow as much as we can” and I gave her the answer. I don’t see any hyperbole in a straightforward honest answer to a direct question. And the speaker confirmed that she had said it. Where is the hyperbole ?

    1. Anon

      If something someone said is taken out of context, then restated as if it were not taken out of context, IMO that is being disingenuous/dishonest.  You conceded that Rochelle’s comment that Davis should grow as much as it can was taken out of context and Rochelle herself said it was taken out of context.  So to use such a quote to bolster an argument is not being honest in putting forth that argument.  Yet you tried to use this quote taken out of context to bolster your viewpoint.  This is the exact type of irrelevant/nitpicky/perceived issue that detracts from the innovation park discussion.

      1. Tia Will

        Anon

        I think that Rochelle has more than supported the validity of her comment many times through her votes and actions. Had she not,I would not have quoted her. Her actions have supported her comment. That is why I believe that this is not a matter of “twisting her words” but rather taking her at her word. Do you honestly not believe that she has been and remains a proponent of rapid growth ?

  11. Anon

    Tia Will: “So do you really believe that in a venue like the Vanguard where it is far more common for people to attempt to shoot down any idea that may be different from their own personal preference, that those who favor the innovation parks will not get some of their own back in the form of differences between the examples that they are siting and Davis as part of the counter point ?  Despite my preference to the contrary, we seem to cling to our adversarial MO rather than willing to hear each others point of view in a proactive, collaborative manner.

    1. “in a venue like the Vanguard where it is far more common for people to attempt to shoot down any idea that may be different from their own personal preference…”  You concede that the Vanguard comment section tends to be more destructive than constructive.  Then be a part of the CONSTRUCTIVE conversation (and stop using quotes taken out of context to bolster arguments)!

    2. “…those who favor the innovation parks will not get some of their own back in the form of differences between the examples that they are siting and Davis as part of the counter point…”  One commenter didn’t seem to even want any comparisons to be made between Davis and any other city, which is patently ridiculous – in light of the fact that innovation parks detractors have asked proponents to name even one successful city that has brought in innovation parks, also insisting that innovation parks don’t make any money.

    3.  “Despite my preference to the contrary, we seem to cling to our adversarial MO rather than willing to hear each others point of view in a proactive, collaborative manner.”  Yes, some commenters seem to be willing to use dishonesty (quotes taken out of context) and try and shut comment down (don’t compare Davis to other cities) rather than be collaborative and listen to other points of view, which was exactly why I called out those who were providing DESTRUCTIVE rather than CONSTRUCTIVE comments.  This sort of nonsense has been going on in public listening tours hosted by City Council members as well.

    I don’t mean to “nitpick” arguments here, BUT let’s keep the discussion CONSTRUCTIVE rather then DESTRUCTIVE.  It is perfectly reasonable to compare Davis to other communities that have tried the innovation park route.  It doesn’t mean Davis will necessarily be exactly like them, or aspires to be like any other community.  But as Doby Fleeman so wisely noted, we can learn from other city’s mistakes.

    It is not honest to claim anyone has said they want Davis to grow as fast as it can irrespective of the consequences, be it traffic, lack of substantial tax revenue generation, poor aesthetics.  I don’t think ANYONE has advocated for innovation parks just for the sake of economic development that gives no significant advantages to the city as a whole.

    As to why Davis Innovation Park pulled out – look to the message the city was sending out, either on purpose or inadvertently: our economic picture is rosier (perhaps we can even afford a new sports park); we are letting go CIO Robb White in favor of a less qualified individual; signals of a possible new utility tax proposal as a way to take care of paying for our road repairs and building maintenance.  The city needs to get its messaging clear and its priorities straight, period – IMO.

  12. Tia Will

    Anon

    1. I am completely honest about my preferences for Davis. To make the statement “we should grow as fast as we can” and then back it with action and votes from the dais, is a very clear statement. If anyone believes in rapid growth, they should own it and not back pedal. I give kudos to Frankly, not because I agree with him, but because he is consistent and owns his comments.

    2. “Constructive “seems to be highly subjective. I feel that to oppose what I see as not optimal, is constructive. I do not oppose all economic development. I do oppose those those that i do not see as beneficial for Davis. Just because someone is on the opposite side of a specific issue from you does not mean that their actions are not constructive from their perspective.

    3. “It is not honest to claim anyone has said they want Davis to grow as fast as it can irrespective of the consequences, be it traffic, lack of substantial tax revenue generation, poor aesthetics.  I don’t think ANYONE has advocated for innovation parks just for the sake of economic development that gives no significant advantages to the city as a whole.”

    And it is not honest to imply that I have ever made this statement. So if we are going to be casting out the charge of dishonesty, I suggest you check both my and your own posts first. You have just done what you claimed I did to Rochelle, only I have the evidence for my claim. The quote was only “out of context” to the extent that I did not have access to the full text of her quote. I did not quote anything that was not in the spirit of her comments nor anything that she has not backed again and again with her actions. You certainly cannot say the same.

  13. Frankly

    As to why Davis Innovation Park pulled out – look to the message the city was sending out, either on purpose or inadvertently: our economic picture is rosier (perhaps we can even afford a new sports park); we are letting go CIO Robb White in favor of a less qualified individual; signals of a possible new utility tax proposal as a way to take care of paying for our road repairs and building maintenance.  The city needs to get its messaging clear and its priorities straight, period – IMO.

    Bingo!

    1. Don Shor

      look to the message the city was sending out…The city needs to get its messaging clear and its priorities straight

      “The city”? Staff? Council? the public?

      our economic picture is rosier

      Why would an improving economy cause them to not want to develop? Do you (Anon or Frankly) have any special insight as to why they backed out? Something that isn’t being made public? For that matter, why did techDavis stop paying for the CIO’s salary? Might that be a factor in the decision to replace Robb White? It seems there’s a lot of back story here that just isn’t getting revealed.

      1. Frankly

        they pulled out because it became clear that additional investment in the project would be fruitless due to the messaging and actions of the CC and CM.

      2. Anon

        Don Shor: “Why would an improving economy cause them to not want to develop?

        The main reason for bringing innovation parks to Davis is to generate substantial tax revenue, which is desperately needed because of neglected unmet needs such as road repairs and building maintenance.  If the city’s economy is touted as “rosy”, then there is no necessity for economic development.  I am surprised you didn’t get that connection, which I thought was pretty obvious.

        Don Shor: ““The city”? Staff? Council? the public?

        Some City Council and city staff messaging.  The messaging needs to be consistent and come from both the City Council and city staff as a whole.

         

         

        1. Don Shor

          From the developer’s standpoint, an improving economy just means the business park would probably fill with tenants more quickly and they’d realize their profits faster. You seem to be conflating the city’s interests (tax revenue) with the developer’s interests (profits). An improving economy wouldn’t be a reason not to develop.
          This has to have been a judgment about the political chances of the Measure R vote based on some kind of feedback they were getting — perhaps from staff, or from the pushback from nearby neighbors, or from local political consultants. Perhaps they’ve just decided to wait through another couple of election cycles, since they haven’t walked away from the project.

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