Monday Morning Thoughts II: Growth Wars Returning? One-sided View of Growth Offered by Local Paper

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Proposed Hotel Conference center on Richards
Proposed Hotel Conference Center on Richards

An amazing thing happened during 2010 to 2014 – growth and land use issues, which were of paramount importance in prior council elections, almost entirely disappeared over a three-election period covering five calendar years.

The reasons were varied, ranging from the collapse of the real estate market, the lack of demand for new housing and new projects, and the overwhelming defeat of Measure P in 2009 coupled with the overwhelming renewals of Measure J (in the form of Measure R) in 2010.

However, the times are starting to change. We have seen a renewal of interest in land use issues starting with Cannery, Mace 391, and continuing with a series of controversial infill projects ranging from Mission Residence to Paso Fino and, most recently, Trackside. Then there is, of course, the debate over Nishi and the Innovation Parks that has heated up this year, as those projects move toward Measure R votes.

The local paper argues that a “new building boom reaches across Davis,” “where the market for development in Davis is heating up right now… going all the way from residential building additions and remodel permits to large-scale commercial and mixed-use projects like the Mace Ranch Innovation Center and the Nishi Gateway proposal.”

From the paper’s perspective, the renewed activity represents a boom and, for the most part, seems to be a good thing.

The biggest drawback of the huge amount of resale applications is this: “As exciting a time as it is to be on the city’s planning staff during a building boom, the city must grapple with staffing issues. In a private business, hiring and layoffs are done on a more demand-based model, but with government accounting and budgetary processes, it can take several months to ramp up an operation to deal with sustained growth.”

The article quotes city manager Dirk Brazil who said it is not wise to start hiring permanent planning staff right now for fear that paying the new salaries and benefits that would be no longer needed “if the boom turns to bust in a few months, or a year or two.”

Whether this is really a boom is a question not really explored. The projects that the paper cites are the hotel conference center at the current site of the University Park Inn. There is Nishi which would require a Measure R vote. There is the Mace Ranch Innovation Center which would require a Measure R vote.

There is the already-approved Cannery. They mention Trackside as well.

Not mentioned are the Sterling Apartments, the Villages at West Creek, which were just discussed by council, and the Panattoni Center business park in South Davis. Nor was Paso Fino mentioned.

But is this a boom? What is interesting is that most of the projects are relatively small scale infill projects that will replace existing structures. There are few like Cannery, the Villages and Panatonni that are built on open land within the city.

However, the more puzzling part of the coverage is that the only problem elucidated seems to be the lack of planning staff.

The paper quotes Jim Gray at length – ironically, since they do not mention his projects.

The paper writes, “So from a Davis-centric point of view, things seem to be on the up and up. Not entirely, warns Davis resident Jim Gray, a developer and broker with DTZ, a global real estate investment firm. First, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley markets have been white-hot for a few years now, leaving Davis in the dust by comparison.”

The article continues, “Second, as he sees it, the early 2000s saw the growth wars in Davis produce things like Measure J (renewed as Measure R), which requires development on the periphery of town to be annexed only through a vote of the people. Although Gray never mentioned Measure R by name, he said the side-effects of those growth wars are being felt now.”

“’We didn’t foresee the consequences of not having income-producing commercial properties,’ he said, ‘adding that there are only a few places in the city where a mid-size company looking for 10,000 square feet of space could locate.’”

“Slow-growth proponents managed largely to fend off sprawl, or sprawling, suburban-style residential developments. And some have said not being able to have large commercial developments without a vote of the people reduces the demand for housing that comes with having a jump in local employment. But there’s ‘a squeeze coming’ because of that, Gray said.

“As UCD expands and adds more students, more and more of the brainpower coming out of the university goes elsewhere — out of Davis, out of the Sacramento region, perhaps even out of state or the country, Gray said. A large-scale commercial development could help stabilize that, but it would take the community coming to the realization that despite whatever traffic and other impacts that can’t be fully mitigated, commercial investment in Davis is a good thing for the graying city populace.”

“’It’s not should it be done,’ he said. ‘It’s needed.’”

Interesting, but hardly the only viewpoint in Davis. Where is the counter-viewpoint? In fact, where is the majority viewpoint?

In fact, there are two other viewpoints completely not covered in this article. And again, how do you interview Jim Gray without mentioning he has two projects pending, one of which was discussed last week in open council?

The first viewpoint is the classic Measure R viewpoint. The need to protect open space and agricultural land and preserve the character of the community.

There is also a middle view here, that I have increasingly advocated – on the main, the need to protect open space and limit peripheral growth, while recognizing the need for economic development and to alleviate pressure to grow that could result in a blow out of the city as we experienced a few decades ago.

But none of those viewpoints are represented in this article. It is remarkable that the paper can get away with such one-sided reporting.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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101 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts II: Growth Wars Returning? One-sided View of Growth Offered by Local Paper”

  1. Tia Will

    A large-scale commercial development could help stabilize that, but it would take the community coming to the realization that despite whatever traffic and other impacts that can’t be fully mitigated, commercial investment in Davis is a good thing for the graying city populace.”

    “’It’s not should it be done,’ he said. ‘It’s needed.’”

    On another thread, Anon challenged me saying that no one had said that growth should occur without regard to other impacts that can’t be fully mitigated such as traffic . Perhaps this had only been implied previously through actions. However, now Jim Gray has stated as much explicitly.

    So, yes, there is a school of thought in town that believes that growth should occur even if the downsides cannot be mitigated. As anticipated, this is the perspective of a developer. I understand his position. However, I do not agree. I do not believe that the potential revenue growth to the city necessarily outweighs the downside of increased population, increased traffic, increased need for city services. I simply do not buy into the “grow our way out of trouble” school of thought. I probably would if I were a developer. But as an individual who values a quiet, peaceful, harmonious way of life over ever increasing material wealth, I simple do not see it that way.

    1. Frankly

      I do not believe that the potential revenue growth to the city necessarily outweighs the downside of increased population, increased traffic, increased need for city services.

      This is hilarious and standard Tia Will stuff.

      Jim Gray at least acknowledges that impacts cannot be fully mitigated.  You on the other hand just gloss over the revenue problems we face.  Hands on hips, feet being stomped…  “I won’t accept traffic and more people, and I don’t care that the city cannot fund road and building maintenance and cover its city employee pension obligations!!!”

      That is the picture I get when I read posts like this.

      But as an individual who values a quiet, peaceful, harmonious way of life over ever increasing material wealth, I simple do not see it that way.

      First, you set up a false dichotomy here… but I understand the attraction to the standard leftist political narrative for good-vs-bad.   You are a good person living a low-materiality peaceful existence and you are fighting the good fight to prevent Davis from that bad bunch of wealth-seeking business types that will cause all that stress of population and competition in your community.

      The disconnect from you and other no-growthers is the failure to recognize or admit that the main reasons that you value the Davis lifestyle is that UCD y has enabled it to be this way.  What would be be if not for UCD?  So great, we got lucky in Davis.  But we blew it failing to keep balance between the benefits of UCD-supplied captive customers and the private local economy.  We took an extreme hand on hips, foo-stomping demand to prevent change and we put us in a deep financial hole for lack of business-generated tax revenue.

      Now that same university that enabled you to live the Davis life is growing.  It needs to pursue a new business model due to changes in public funding… changes that will likely continues because ironically the State has also blown it committing way too much to State employee retirement benefits.  UCD now needs its long-time city partner to pay it back in acceptance and cooperation for what it needs to do… and what it needs to do requires Davis to grow.

      Personally, I think, like a lot of risk-averse people, you just lack some capacity for envisioning a future state.  You are definitely someone that has to be painted a clear picture of finality before you are satisfied in support.  So, you are change-averse.  You amplify your fears and they dominate your senses for consideration of what might be.

      It reminds me a bit of a mother continuing to dress her growing and older baby in clothing too small only to demand her baby is still little and young.

      Davis is 72,000 people.  Davis is plagued with traffic and urban density.  Davis’s downtown is a traffic and parking nightmare much of the time.  Davis is in the middle of a growing metro urban area with freeway traffic that rivals the most congested urban areas in the country… in fact, it is estimated that even without significant growth in Davis that I-80 between Davis and West Sacramento will become the most congested stretch of freeway in the country.

      The baby has already grown.   You might need to start looking for a new baby if you cannot envision a positive experience living with that older child that is already here.  The only question is will that older child be sick, or be healthy.

      1. Don Shor

        UCD now needs its long-time city partner to pay it back in acceptance and cooperation for what it needs to d

        Actually, UCD needs to act like a partner instead of just acting unilaterally without regard to the consequences on the housing market, traffic, etc. Basically the city residents are being asked to mitigate what UCD has created by growing without providing sufficient housing.

        1. Frankly

          It is clear that UCD’s share of housing is low when compared to other university towns.  I think though that this narrative is a bit disingenuous in that UCD building housing impacts Davis the same way without the ability for Davis residents to demand design and amenities and collect property tax revenue.

          We can blame UCD for not doing enough to meet its own needs for housing, but then is it really in the best interests of those that decry growth and peripheral development to have UCD go off and do its own thing?

          The other way to look at this is that UCD is generous and sensitive to the highly sensitive Davis resident that feels so entitled to have a say in every single development project, and so they are giving those residents the ability to do it their way.  And instead those residents put their hands on their hips and stomp their feet and reject everything.

          1. Don Shor

            I think though that this narrative is a bit disingenuous

            Maybe, but it’s one I’m hearing a lot.

            in that UCD building housing impacts Davis the same way without the ability for Davis residents to demand design and amenities and collect property tax revenue.

            Somewhat, but not entirely. UCD housing is less auto-centric. They need to build more dorms. Basically UCD could work to house a larger percentage of their sophomore students. Freshmen come here without vehicles for the most part. Those living on campus can do fine without contributing heavily to the city’s traffic and congestion issues.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          I’m with Don here. More centrally located dorms, and I’d even consider a requirement that most or all were allotted to students without cars. We have record numbers of students applying for admission, and families complaining about costs … one major way to reduce costs is to come to college without a car. Bike, walk, take the bus. Renew our unique heritage.

          1. Don Shor

            It’s actually kind of a rule already:

            Parking Regulations
            Student Housing Residents Parking
            Residence Halls
            Students living in the residence halls are are not eligible to purchase campus parking permits. Residence hall students may not bring a car to campus and instead are expected to utilize public transportation.

          2. Matt Williams

            Don, what percentage of the housing that UCD provides on campus falls into the Residence Hall category?

          3. Don Shor

            UCD also guarantees housing to incoming transfer students which is what the student housing apartments (900 – 1000 students if I counted right) are for.

          4. Matt Williams

            Thanks Don, putting those 4,900 students into the context of your earlier post that listed 5,647 Freshmen, 4,880 Sophomores, 7,374 Juniors 9,664 Seniors plus 7,850 Professional and Graduate Students yields a Fall 2014 Total UCD Enrollment of 34,415. So, the 4,900 Residence Halls provide on-campus housing for 13.8% of that total enrollment.

            Segundo 1500 http://housing.ucdavis.edu/housing/segundo/
            Tercero 2400 http://housing.ucdavis.edu/housing/tercero/
            Cuarto 1000 http://housing.ucdavis.edu/housing/cuarto/

          5. Matt Williams

            I happen to agree with all of the points you make TBD, but the fact that you and I and lots of others feel this way doesn’t move the ball. The only entity that can accomplish those results is UCD itself.

        3. Frankly

          TBD – So I am trying to wrap my mind around your thinking on this.  With this comment, it seems that your one and only impact concern is the number of cars in town (e.g., traffic).  If you are fine with the university building more dorms, but not Davis building more apartments, and you rationalize support of this position with the assumption that the UCD dorms would, I guess, result in fewer cars per population (not sure how this would work as a student needing a car would not be able to live in a dorm that lacked parking, but let’s just assume for the sake of argument that you are correct), it would seem that the number of cars per population is your only concerning criteria.

          Note that your point about the expense-savings from not having a car is reasonable except when you consider that the high cost of college often requires the student to also work and work requires a car because Davis lacks enough jobs and many students must work outside of Davis.  Again, if a student needs a car, that student would not be able to live in a car-less dorm.

          Here is the calculation that we would need to make to back this position.  What greater percentage of UCD students would go without a car if UCD builds more dorms lacking a parking space?

          Now, if we build innovation parks with a lot more local employment opportunities, and expand our local public transportation and do well with bike connectivity, I can see this working better.

          One more point to ponder.  If you don’t like driving around Davis with more car traffic: will you like it any better with the same number of cars and more bike and pedestrian traffic?

          1. Don Shor

            What greater percentage of UCD students would go without a car if UCD builds more dorms lacking a parking space?

            Here’s the breakdown by class level from 2014:
            Freshmen 5,647
            Sophomore 4,880
            Junior 7,374
            Senior 9,664
            UCD houses the freshman class. After that, it’s on a space-available basis. A simple goal would be for them to house at least the equivalent of the sophomore class as well.

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          Frankly, I will try to address your concerns, and please note that I am not against an innovation center or infill. But I think this could be a part of keeping our character. For the record, I’m not against new apartment complexes, but I’d like to see if we can renew the Davis ethos with less impact.

          I’m OK with students who do need, or think they need, a car, renting an off-campus dorm (Web Em, etc) or an apartment. Life is about choices. I chose Davis for many reasons, including a better education, the town, and it was half the cost of private universities. Let’s say we can reduce the potential dorm cost by $500 per month, that’s saves a student $10,000 over 2 years, plus car costs. The campus saves money as cars are expensive, and parking garages are very expensive. I know the garages are mostly paid by fees, but they also take land, resources, and they obscure other valuable uses.

          I believe a lot of students still work on campus, but don’t really know that many students. I agree with you, a popular innovation center could also have a bus route via Unitrans. Make sure to include a “cool” coffee shop and wifi. I prefer bikes to cars, and a few successful destination points outside the core might alleviate a little downtown stress.

          When I was applying to colleges decades ago, there were schools that required freshmen to live in the dorms. I’m sure we can find creative ways to encourage on campus living. Cost and convenience are huge, and with a minuscule vacancy rate, I believe sophomores would naturally opt for this option. Can we add 2,000 in West Village, 1,000 in Nishi, and 1,000 somewhere else? (I was surprised by the costs of some of the new dorms which seem to have prioritized net zero energy over the cost to students.)

          (As an aside, I believe in the 90s we tore down some old dorms on the central campus and went with a lower density, and I believe there are low-density apartments across from The Pavilion. I think in both instances we should have opted for at least moderate density. I think we made poor decisions there.)

        5. TrueBlueDevil

          For argument’s sake, it might be worth it to add West Village as an off branch to a dorm count. It’s on university land, it directly connected to campus, and it seems to me it at least helps house another 2,000 undergrads. (Though many online comments seem to show students being very unhappy with the cost and service level… and … ‘parking issues’ / costs.)

          1. Don Shor

            Certainly West Village is part of the overall count. It’s being marketed to upper classes and grad students, and staff. It’s part of their ‘privatized apartments’ category, basically augmenting the apartments in town. It’s harder to get a count on the number of units in each of those. http://housing.ucdavis.edu/housing/apartments.asp

      2. Tia Will

        I don’t care that the city cannot fund road and building maintenance and cover its city employee pension obligations!!!””

        This is something that I have never said, nor implied. I completely agree that we should fully fund our road repairs, and anything else we want done. And I believe that we should pay for them ourselves instead of asking someone else, either new comers to town or our children to pay for what we would not.

        What would be be if not for UCD?:

        This is a moot point. Davis and UCD are inextricably tied together. The question that we should be addressing from my point of view is how we can best leverage this connection to contribute optimally to the region, not how we can best beat our some other community.

        I think, like a lot of risk-averse people, you just lack some capacity for envisioning a future state.”

        Well, I guess at least we share that, because that is very much how I see you. I see your ideas as a throw back to the successes of our past, not a vision for our future. You have advocated peripheral malls ( a thing of the past), you have advocated for big box stores ( some still viable, some a thing of the past), you advocate for more lanes, more cars. You cannot see options for change that is not “modeled some where else”. This is not leadership, this is blind following of already established and in some cases rapidly aging models.

        1. Frankly

          You cannot see options for change that is not “modeled some where else”.

          I know the difference between fanciful utopian dreams and attainable reality.  I know that there are a lot of communities that have dealt with and are dealing with the same challenges Davis has, and there are a lot of very smart and experienced people that have come up with solutions.  And we ignore those solutions with some irrational “ick” fit.  If something doesn’t exist or has never been done before then there are usually good reasons for this.

          You need to do a better job filling all the numerous holes in your vision instead of just throwing it out there for others to plug while you denigrate the existing standards… especially lacking solid examples.

          I appreciate your creative streak, but do you throw away all the working standards within your industry chasing some fanciful new model that has never been tried before?

          And don’t give me the song and dance that Davis is progressive.  We are liberal-conservative-reactionary.

           

    2. tribeUSA

      Seems to me UCD should build dormitories for a few thousand more students; low-cost (unlike West Village) and without parking (as are current dorms) to help out low income students; other than that I’m a slow-growther (<0.5%/year in town; higher rate on UCD campus property to keep up with student growth).

      It seems to me that larger towns have similar or worse city debt (per resident) problems as do small towns. I’ve no doubt that new development in Davis should bring in some revenue that could help the city offset some debt in the short term–obviously if it helped in the long term, then we would have a situation where larger towns had lower debt (per resident) than smaller towns; which is not the case, on average.

      So Tia, you’re on the right track with regard to long-term revenues/expenses; don’t let the self-serving fancy mumbo-jumbo eco(nomy)-speak of the pro-development interests influence your clear thinking–the empirical evidence of big city debt per resident as compared to small-town debt per resident supports a contention that growth does not generally help the debt situation in the long run (though I would concede that some types of ‘smart’ growth, including perhaps some types of innovation centers, can help marginally).

       

  2. Davis Progressive

    this is good actually.  tia has her perspective.  frankly has his.  but the question is why is the enterprise only covering frankly’s perspective when far more people in this community support tia’s or some middle ground?

    1. Frankly

      To cover Tia’s perspective the Enterprise would need to delve into the individual psychological challenges of change-anxiety and change-aversion… the emotional/irrational views that are hard to write about without causing emotional/irrational reactions.

      I don’t believe mine is a perspective.  Mine is just fact-based reality.  There are two alternatives:

      1. Peripheral growth to grow our economy to a level that is required for a city our size.

      -or

      2. More resistance to peripheral growth leading to greater population congestion and city fiscal insolvency.

      That’s it.  You pick the one you want and then defend it.

  3. Davis Progressive

    “The disconnect from you and other no-growthers is the failure to recognize or admit that the main reasons that you value the Davis lifestyle is that UCD y has enabled it to be this way.  What would be be if not for UCD?  So great, we got lucky in Davis”

    that’s an absurd point.  most people in davis wouldn’t be in davis without ucd, so it’s moot.  the question is what’s best going forward and a lot of people – myself included – do not want a davis that is much larger than it currently is.  i am willing to vote for an innovation park to secure the revenue, maybe some housing on those cites to avoid the hysterics of the frankly’s, but i’m not going to go much further.

    growth wars part II are likely to be on issues like density and infill because frankly already lost the peripheral argument.

  4. Anon

    A large-scale commercial development could help stabilize that, but it would take the community coming to the realization that despite whatever traffic and other impacts that can’t be fully mitigated, commercial investment in Davis is a good thing for the graying city populace…

    Vanguard: “Interesting, but hardly the only viewpoint in Davis. Where is the counter-viewpoint?

    Jim Gray was simply making a comment there was the need for economic development for the city’s long term sustainability.  The entire article was about the boom cycle Davis seems to be in for housing and economic development, which is a change from the past.  The article was not about Measure R or the need to save ag land, just noting the change in dynamics of the city as it moves forward.  I have no particular problem w the article, and I am a proponent of Measure R, voted against Covell Village, and am not in favor of economic development just for economic development’s sake.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i don’t think the problem is jim gray per se, it’s the lack of other perspectives there.  he certainly articulated the frankly school of thought well, but shouldn’t there have been other thoughts presented as well?

      1. Anon

        Why is there a need to talk about Measure R/ag mitigation in an article that is merely noting the change in Davis’s stance on residential housing and economic development growth?

        1. Davis Progressive

          not necessarily measure r/ ag mitigation.

          however jim gray closes with: “’It’s not should it be done,’ he said. ‘It’s needed.’”

          it seems to me that’s one perspective among many.

          let me ask you this question: do you think overall this article helped or hurt the cause of moderate development?

  5. Anon

    Tia Will: “On another thread, Anon challenged me saying that no one had said that growth should occur without regard to other impacts that can’t be fully mitigated such as traffic . Perhaps this had only been implied previously through actions. However, now Jim Gray has stated as much explicitly.

    So, yes, there is a school of thought in town that believes that growth should occur even if the downsides cannot be mitigated.

    How do you logically get from traffic impacts being implied through actions and now Jim Gray has explicitly stated it, to draw the conclusion there is a school of thought in town that believes that growth should occur even if the downsides cannot be mitigated?   One is not logically inferred from the other.

    Then you state: “As anticipated, this is the perspective of a developer. I understand his position. However, I do not agree. I do not believe that the potential revenue growth to the city necessarily outweighs the downside of increased population, increased traffic, increased need for city services.

    Huh?  The perspective of the developer is there are traffic impacts that cannot necessarily be “FULLY MITIGATED”.  He is NOT SAYING potential revenue growth to the city necessarily outweighs the downsides.  Don’t put words in his mouth that are not there!  Geeeeeeeeze!

  6. Anon

    Tia Will: “I do not believe that the potential revenue growth to the city necessarily outweighs the downside of increased population, increased traffic, increased need for city services. I simply do not buy into the “grow our way out of trouble” school of thought. I probably would if I were a developer. But as an individual who values a quiet, peaceful, harmonious way of life over ever increasing material wealth, I simple do not see it that way.

    In regard to your view that the city should not “grow our way out of trouble” – I have to assume that you would prefer to increase taxes, as you have said on other posts.  What if other citizens cannot afford the steep taxes that will be required, and are forced to leave town?  So only the wealthy get to live in Davis – is this your vision?  If not, how do you propose to address that problem caused by prohibitively high taxes for many?  If I am incorrect in my assumption you want to raise taxes to solve our fiscal problems, then what do you propose to address our huge fiscal problems of road repairs/building maintenance that have gone unaddressed for years?

    And by the way, I do not see economic development as increasing material wealth in Davis.  I see it as a possible solution to paying for the services/repairs/maintenance we cannot afford currently.  This has nothing to do with “amassing wealth”.

  7. Anon

    DP: “let me ask you this question: do you think overall this article helped or hurt the cause of moderate development?

    I don’t think it did much one way or the other for “moderate” development.  All I got out of it was the city is moving towards “more” development than in the immediate past, which is absolutely true.  It wasn’t an in depth article about the pros and cons of economic or residential development.

  8. Anon

    DP: “growth wars part II are likely to be on issues like density and infill because frankly already lost the peripheral argument.

    I am not following this one at all.  Why are “growth wars part 2 likely to be issues like density and infill”?  How did Frankly “already los[e] the peripheral argument”?

    1. Davis Progressive

      it seems like the fights on growth have been infill: mission residence, paso fino, now perhaps sterling and trackside.  on the other hand, even most growth proponents recognize that getting the community to support a new peripheral development for housing is a losing effort.

      1. Anon

        How many people and when exactly will people recognize that getting community support for a new peripheral development for housing is a losing effort?  At some point I would bet my bottom dollar we will have another peripheral housing development!  Will it be difficult, yes!  Will it happen eventually, I’d bet on it!

  9. Anon

    Don Shor: “Actually, UCD needs to act like a partner instead of just acting unilaterally without regard to the consequences on the housing market, traffic, etc.

    Don’t you think citizens of Davis need to take some blame here?  Remember the debacle when UCD wanted to discuss access from West Village onto Russell Blvd?  Some belligerent citizens had to be hauled away by the police at the meeting to discuss the issue, and UCD just threw up their hands in frustration and walked away.  There is no access from West Village to Russell, so the belligerent citizens got their way – but the Westgate mall is dying whereas appropriate access might have brought it more business; and UCD/Davis relations certainly didn’t benefit from such an ugly confrontation.  It takes TWO sides to cooperate.

    1. Don Shor

      Sure. It hasn’t been a very productive partnership for several years. I hear there’s more cooperation afoot nowadays. I think we’ll see with Nishi in particular.

  10. TrueBlueDevil

    There may be an option missing from this discussion. Might these be the rough choices we face?

    Vallejo / Stockton Model – don’t add businesses and needed revenues, don’t pay for services, dramatically cut services, don’t realistically plan, and see how things work out in 10 years.

    Tax Ourselves to Keep Davis, Davis – no innovation center, a few infill projects, Nishi / hotel, and a $240 tax per parcel tax ($20 per month). I haven’t seen the full infrastructure costs detailed, but would this yearly tax pay for the needed infrastructure and city pensions?

    Middle-of-the-Road Approach – add an innovation center, add moderate infill, tax ourselves $120 per parcel ($10 a month), and see if this balances the budget.

    Innovation & Infill – two innovation centers, all of the infill projects proposed, and a $60 per year parcel tax ($5 per month).

    Budget gurus can tell me if these parcel figures are closer to matching reality. It scares me that I have read so little on what the city obligations (costs) are to pay for city pensions, future pensions, and likewise, I don’t think I have ever read a proposal on ways to reduce or eliminate city pensions (some advocate switching municipal retirements to 401K-type systems, which are more predictable and less costly).

    This last one brings up an interesting conflict of interest. Are city staff / city leaders in a position to propose such a major shift away from pensions, when they themselves feed at the trough? Does the City Manager get a pension? If so, I guess the group that could advocate such change would be the city council, or an outside citizens group.

    1. Anon

      Nice summation.

      “Tax Ourselves to Keep Davis, Davis – no innovation center, a few infill projects, Nishi / hotel, and a $240 tax per parcel tax ($20 per month). I haven’t seen the full infrastructure costs detailed, but would this yearly tax pay for the needed infrastructure and city pensions?

      I suspect a $240 per year parcel tax would not nearly pay for all the road repairs/building maintenance that needs to take place, which still leaves pension liabilities to be addressed somehow.  That is what citizens need to understand.  The road repairs and building maintenance have gone neglected for many years (and if left longer, the costs will grow exponentially), and the employee benefits are a whole other problem.  My hope is the Finance & Budget Commission along with city staff can get a better handle on costs and just how much of a parcel tax is needed.  I’ll bet it will be a real eye opener.

    2. Frankly

      TBD – you have taken my two choices and added a third which is more taxation.   And then you offer up the choice of limiting growth by taxing the existing citizens more.

      I agree with you that increasing taxes is an option worth adding.  In fact, we can simplify the discussion of options and say that there are two options to remedy our budget deficits in consideration of our growing unfunded long-term liabilities: increasing taxation on the residents or growing the economy.

      But I think you are way short of the amount of additional taxation required to make up for the revenue needed that would come from economic expansion to put Davis on par with other comparable cities.  I think when the finally tally is done, we would need more than $500 per month in supplemental parcel taxes AND we would need to extend and maybe even increase the sales tax increase… if we are not going to do any peripheral commercial expansion.

          1. Don Shor

            My guess is there’s a fair number of people in town who would see $500 a year as a reasonable price to pay to avoid growth. Another segment of the voting public doesn’t see it directly, since they pay rent. It would be useful to get an accurate number or range of numbers as to what it would take per parcel in property taxes to cover the unmet needs.
            In talking with people about these issues, I find a lot aren’t aware of the condition of the roads, most have no idea how much that would cost or assume that it’s already budgeted. Since the likeliest scenario is some development and some taxes, it would be useful to people to know what the actual tradeoffs likely would be.

        1. Frankly

          My guess is there’s a fair number of people in town who would see $500 a year as a reasonable price to pay to avoid growth

          As I understand, the survey broke at $75 per year.  Remember, it needs 2/3 vote.

          And then you better hope that the schools don’t need to come back again to the public ATM and ask for more.

  11. Frankly

    Over the last two weeks, I have made six trips to Cable Car car wash at all different times of the day only to have to come back to work because the line was so long as to require a 30-45 minute wait… time I don’t have… apparently unlike the rest of the people in line… retired and/or working in the public sector.

    There is only one full service car wash in town.  Because there is nowhere else for another full service car wash to locate.

    I just crossed them off my list.  I will never go there again.   I will drive to Woodland or Dixon to get my car washed while I buy lunch there.  Just as I have crossed of Davis Ace and other downtown retail and service locations due to the lack of parking and lack of hours of operation and lack of choice in their products.

    Davis is a mess related to the low number of retail and service options per capita.  Those fearful of change causing a mess, are in fact causing this other mess.

    1. sisterhood

      Hi Frankly,

      My teenagers washed my car. They did a really really good job, too. It was part of the deal of them having a cell phone. Do you know any kid or student in your neighborhood that needs a job? They might love to wash your car or even mow your lawn or wash your windows of your home. Or take care of any pets you have.

      1. Frankly

        What will you do when your teenagers have moved out, or do you expect the job-constrained economy to keep them living with you well into the adult years where they can continue to wash your car for you?

      2. Frankly

        Apparently you need to contact all those other people lined up to get their cars washed at Cable Car.  I guess there are not enough teenagers that want to do a full inside and outside car wash for $24.

        1. Don Shor

          I’ve noticed quite a backlog of cars at Cable Car for the last couple of weeks. They were actually directing traffic at the entry the other day. I drive by there at least a couple times every week and I’ve never seen it so crowded. I think the 0.05″ of rain we got on June 10, which was just enough to congeal dust on surfaces, is largely to blame. I’d be surprised if the traffic jam continues there.

    2. Doby Fleeman

      Frankly,

      I’m sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time in your life.  I would be happy to walk over the two blocks to deliver your hardware purchases if that might change your attitude about convenience.  Sorry we haven’t adopted a model to accommodate your late night shopping runs, but we are open seven days a week for twelve hours a day.  I understand we can’t provide everything for everybody all the time, but we do provide on-line ordering capability and have multiple deliveries every week for special orders from Ace’s million square foot warehouse in Rocklin that stocks most things you would expect in a hardware store.   We do value your business.  Let me know if there is anything more we can do to help keep your business here in town.

      1. Frankly

        Doby – Davis Ace is a fine store and it is well managed with helpful and friendly employees.  The store hours and choice are de minimis issues for me… generally I know when I need to go elsewhere for building supplies, etc.   But there have been a few times where I was in the middle of a project and wished the hours of operation were earlier and/or later, or there was a greater selection.

        But there is the parking issue… that is the main issue.  And the main reason that I don’t shop at the main store often.

        What I did not include is that the satellite store on Covell keeps me a much more happy Ace customer since I don’t have to fight for a parking space at the down town store.

        I won’t go to Ace downtown unless I have to.  But I will frequent the Ace on Covell because there is ample parking there.

        1. Matt Williams

          Frankly, I’m surprised to hear you talk about parking problems at the Davis Ace main store. I’m a regular shopper there, and I can’t remember a time when finding a parking space was a challenge. My ex-wife shops there regularly too and she has never not gotten a parking space in either the H Street alley in front of the store, or in the small parking lot between Ace and the Enterprise off G Street. More often than not it is a zip in and zip out situation.

        2. Frankly

          Matt – in actuality 90% of the time I can find a spot pretty easily.  But 100% of the time I can find a spot at Home Depot… usually very close… and I can also drive my truck up to a space in front of the loading door for even more convenience when I have a big load of stuff.

          Some people are fine with the 10% of the time it being a challenge and having to drive around and play guessing game for who might leave first so you can get their spot.  I am not.  My most precious resource is my time.  I will pay more for not having to wait in line.

          Convenience has a material value.

          Where else do you know of where the only hardware and lumber stores in a town of 72,000 people are so hard to get to for most of the residents, and are so parking-constrained?

          If it takes me another 20-30 minutes of travel time to come downtown to shop given the alternative, then I generally do the alternative.

          Part of the problem is that I already have hit every damn red light on the way and it has already taken me 10-15 minutes to drive from West Davis to the parking lot.

          My point is that Davis is congested already.  Do you not agree with that point?

          1. Matt Williams

            I hear you Frankly, and a conversation on this very topic was how we got to know one another on the Vanguard several years ago.

            With that said, let’s tease out that 10% a bit. It is 4.6 miles from my old residence in El Macero to Davis Ace and 10.7 miles to the Home Depot in West Sacramento (12.9 miles to the one in Woodland). So your 10% of the time parking convenience can be solved by an additional 12.2 miles round trip drive … not exactly convenient. From my new residence in East Davis the numbers get worse. The drive to Davis Ace is now 1.0 mile , while the West Sac Home Depot drive is 12.5 miles and the Woodland Home Depot is 9.6 miles. As you say convenience has a material value … and a gasoline cost as well.

            No, I do not agree that Davis is congested, but I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and lived in a pastoral part of Dallas. Commuting in Davis is painless by comparison to most places with similar quality of life. We are very spoiled, but have little or no appreciation of how good we have it … from a congestion point of view.

          2. Don Shor

            Where else do you know of where the only hardware and lumber stores in a town of 72,000 people are so hard to get to for most of the residents, and are so parking-constrained?

            Hibbert Lumber has plenty of parking and you can drive right up to load your wood or pipe or other supplies, then drive out the back way if you prefer. Davis Ace has parking access on at least three sides. Most people would consider your complaints about this very trivial. You just like Big Box stores. You’ve said that many times, made it abundantly clear.

          3. Matt Williams

            That has been my experience as well Don.

            With that said, my past conversations with Frankly on this subject have caused me to believe that there is a euphoric connection that Frankly has with DIY projects, and it really bums him out if that euphoria gets disrupted … and we all know that euphoria is a subjective state that varies from person to person.

  12. sisterhood

    “Are city staff / city leaders in a position to propose such a major shift away from pensions, when they themselves feed at the trough? Does the City Manager get a pension? If so, I guess the group that could advocate such change would be the city council, or an outside citizens group.”

    Very interesting question. If I worked for the city at any job classification for years and was promised at the end I would get a pension, I’d be very very disappointed and frustrated if someone puled the rug out from under me at the 11th hour. I hope the workers who were already promised pensions get theirs. Maybe the new hires should re-negotiate. But the folks that may or may not have put up with crappy situations for years, thinking the City promised them some leisure time at the end, should not be punished.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Understood. But new hires, future hires, and even employees under 50 or 55 could be switched over to a 401k-style type system. In the last example, someone who has had 20 years with the city could receive that portion of their retirement from the pension system, and then let’s say from 50 – 65 from the new system.

      If this change is too much for them to swallow, they could choose to work elsewhere, the private industry, Woodland, or the State.

      It’s not fair to have 90% of the populace subsidize fat pensions while those same citizens struggle to make ends meet.

      (I’m surprised Frankly hasn’t weighed in.)

      1. Anon

        And I would also note if the city ends up going bankrupt there is the possibility no public employee will get any pension, as happened in a few other cities across the country.  I don’t think Davis is anywhere close to that, nor do I want to see us go that direction.  I am actually pleased that now at least the City Council is starting to grapple with these problems.  I just don’t want to see them backpedal and undo the progress that has been made.  And I want them to make serious inroads into the city’s ongoing fiscal problems.

      2. hpierce

        TBD… your hybrid system, part PERS, balance 401k (assuming with SS) would, under current law, have some issues, which perhaps could be resolved… any dollar from a public pension as the City has will offset a dollar earned as SS payment.  If  those issues can be resolved, I could see a hybrid system being “fair”.

    2. Frankly

      If I worked for the city at any job classification for years and was promised at the end I would get a pension, I’d be very very disappointed and frustrated if someone puled the rug out from under me at the 11th hour.

      Everyone with a brain and a calculator working for government these days absolutely knows how fortunate they are being committed a level of retirement benefits that put them in a unsustainable millionaire category.  So saying you would be “disappointed and frustrated” would be like feeling the same after finding out that the million dollars in cash that you found and hoped you could keep was from a bank robbery and had to be returned.

      The CalPERS model for projecting investment returns is unreliable due to the ongoing risk for economic cycles.  They average a rate of return as if the market will perform with a narrow standard deviation.  But as we have seen and will continue to see, the economy can and will crash AND THEN get overheated yet again… thereby causing a ratcheting of returns that invalidate the projected returns.

      Just think about it… if CalPERS is so accurate, then why all the press about the shortfalls resulting from the Great Recession?  Why has CalPERS had to ask cities to contribute more and more to the costs?

      Other than being tremendously unfair in comparison to what workers in the private sector get for retirement benefits, there are three glaring problems with defined benefit pensions.

      Funding Shifting without Representation – Because the unions and their political pals knew for sure that they were setting up unsustainable commitments, they got their lawyers to lobby for legal protection of the commitments for when it became clear to the public what was going on.  The legal protection puts the retirement benefits in superior position protected by the judiciary; while the legislative and executive branches are powerless to make the changes necessary to prioritize spending to meet the expectation of the electorate.

      Risk to Retirees – Obviously many people already retired lack the ability to increase their earnings to make up for drops in their retirement payments.   Nevertheless, it is the ongoing demand of existing employees to maintain their platinum millionaire retirement benefits that put existing retiree payments at risk.  We have seen this play out in Stockton.   It will play out more and more unless the benefits to existing employees are reduced.

      Job Locking Tendency Impacting Employee Satisfaction and Labor Quality –  When a private-sector employee with a defined contribution discovers he dislikes his job, he finds another job and takes the full vested value of his accumulated retirement account with him to his knew place of business.  When the government employee with a defined benefit pension discovers he dislikes his job, he notes the value of his ongoing vesting in his pension and decides to stick it out to get that golden retirement ticket.  And he is job-locked into something that he does not like and is possibly not a great fit for.  And his organization and his customers are less well served that they both might otherwise be.  And the employee is less satisfied in his professional career than he might otherwise be.

      As Social Security is a minimum defined-benefit pension plan, and since many government employees have opted out of social security to put all their eggs in their platinum millionaire government pension plan, I think a good model would be to develop a hybrid retirement benefit plan where the defined-benefits portion replicates social security benefits, and the remaining value of the plan is cashed out and rolled over into a 401k-style plan/account.   And the retirement age is increased to match the private sector.

      Then all is fair.

      All is well.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I’m curious, Frankly. What percentage of the California state pensions problem do you think Jerry Brown solved? Dems give him great credit for reforming the pension plan for new employees, but by leaving the existing employees alone, I bet he only tackled 5% of the problem.

        1. Frankly

          Jerry only did enough that the main liberal media could report that he took a bite out of the unfunded pension problem.  I would say 5% is generous.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Yikes. Niro played his fiddle while Rome burned.

          A German friend of mine claims that Margaret Thatcher made tough choices, and reformed the British retirement system 30 years ago, something the other European countries hadn’t done. Chile apparently has a very good retirement system.

  13. Anon

    DP: “but the question is why is the enterprise only covering frankly’s perspective when far more people in this community support tia’s or some middle ground?

    I strongly disagree with this statement.  I believe more people in Davis disagree with Tia’s  very narrow view that Davis should be like it was back in the 1960’s (I think that was what Tia said on another post).  I would agree that most people in Davis would probably be in favor of “moderate” growth, but that is a pretty loosey-goosey term and not well defined.  One person’s idea of “moderate” growth is another person’s “we want Davis to grow as fast as it can”.  To give an example, at one point Tia said she would be in favor of an innovation park that had artist’s lofts and the like (there were probably some other requirements as well).  However, if such an innovation park did not generate substantial tax revenue, I doubt many would consider such an innovation park practical.  So is such a vision “moderate” growth, or just an idea put forward that is so impractical it is viewed as obfuscation to prevent growth? (And by the way, I think the artist’s loft idea has a lot of merit, and is charming!)

    To assume you “know” what people are thinking is presumptuous to say the least.  I will bet you just about everyone has a slightly different idea of what they think moderate growth is, or what amenities they would like to see in an innovation park, or how much they would like the city to grow or not to grow.  I’m not trying to “pick a fight” with you, trust me.  Rather I’m attempting to keep the reasoning logical, fact based, and constructive.

    I do think there are some baselines that I believe most people could get behind:

    1. Innovation park that generates substantial tax revenue, and

    2.  Is well planned, and

    3.  Contributes to the community in a variety of ways, and

    4.  Sufficiently mitigates impacts so that the benefits far outweigh the downsides.

     

    1. Frankly

      I think we are all caught up on #4.  For some, apparently, the wiff of any additional traffic is all they need to cause them to plan feet firmly in opposition.  I get that, but I think they are largely conflating their existing dislike of moving about in a highly congested medium-sized population city with a concern about the future.

      The fact is, with a larger footprint town and more CRE options on the periphery, there will be less congestion in the core area.

      1. Anon

        I would argue they are stuck on #4 as a way to justify the city not growing at all.  The problem there is they have no good solution to the city’s fiscal woes.  They offer up more taxes as a supposed solution to justify no growth, but refuse to concede there are many people who cannot afford hefty taxation and would be forced to leave our fair city.

        1. Frankly

          Interesting.  I am a near 40-year resident of Davis.  Obviously I live here so I must like it.  But I don’t connect with these people so concerned about impacts that they would demand as the alternative the highest tax rates in the region… and maybe the state.

          I don’t get the inability to grasp or accept the positives and always fixate on certain negatives… while also ignoring the negative consequences for doing nothing.

          I look forward to more services.  I look forward to more business starts and more competition for commercial space which causes rents to decline a bit so more businesses can be successful.   I look forward to more good jobs available for young people, students and others that have the unfortunate commute in and out of Davis.   I look forward to more diversity in the town… to the energy of more young professionals and more young families.  I look forward to more corporate sponsorship to fund our school programs and to help with causes.   I look forward to a boost in the creative class… that helps Davis become world class and truly innovative, progressive, and not just reactionary.   I look forward to stronger partnership with the university… helping it be successful so that the city has a stronger partner and we both benefit.

          I don’t look forward to more traffic.

          But we already have a lot of traffic, so what is a little more?

          Really, if that is all I have to be concerned about… traffic… I would have moved away long ago.

          There is apparently a parallel universe that some Davites live in where they can avoid traffic or deny that it exists.

          Davis is no longer a relaxing small rural town.  It is a congested little city with people coming and going, and stop light after stop light, and cars backed up, the one and only car wash packed with cars all day, bikes and pedestrians coming from every-which-way, and too many people vying for too few parking spaces.

          My anti-growth friends are worried about more traffic making their lives less relaxed, and I am wondering if they ever leave the house because it is already quite chaotic.  And if they never leave their house, then why do they even care if we have a bit more traffic?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Good points. Have they been to Berkeley, Westwood, or Palo Alto of late? I’ve heard stories it can take an hour to take the central street through Palo Alto… but half the venture capitalists want to move there.

          If they want Davis circa 1965, doesn’t that exist in Arcata and elsewhere?

          Fact is, we no longer fund the UC, so the UC is looking for big bucks. California has tripled in size, we have a defacto open southern border, and we invite the world to live in our bread basket. Guess what. Some want to live here.

          Change brings much good and the loss of old comforts. We used to have pizza, burgers, and AJ Bumps (?); now it is Thai, sushi galore, noddle shops, fresh this and that, and more.

    2. Tia Will

      What if other citizens cannot afford the steep taxes that will be required, and are forced to leave town? “ I have spoken to this many times. I believe that those of us who can afford to pay more should do so. I believe that it would be possible to make some kind of allowance for those who would literally be forced to leave. I do not believe that those of us who can afford increased taxes but simply don’t want to pay them should be let out of paying their fair share. However, what has not been considered is the other side of this equation. The Cannery has not made much provision for affordable housing ( I do not consider housing in the 400,000-600,000 dollar range “affordable”). The new developments being proposed will also not be “affordable” for many. So you are choosing to look at only the theoretical possibility that some might not be able to afford their homes ( which I have already said that I would mitigate…..fully) while not considering that “helping” those who already can afford perfectly fine homes, will also price many people out of Davis.

      1. Frankly

        So your solution is a new means-tested progressive property tax system?  You can’t just throw stuff out there that does not exist and has no chance of ever existing and claim it is part of your solution… if you want your ideas to be considered worth debating.

        The property tax system is already progressive in that the more expensive and more recently purchased the higher the tax.  What else are you proposing to make it more progressive?  And how are you going to make it happen?

        Those that earn more already pay quite a bit more.  Do you pay more than what the government requires?  It would seem that you should given your admonitions.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          We already have a highly progressive tax system, where over 40% pay no income taxes while the top 10% pay a huge percentage of taxes. The growing chunk of people who don’t pay taxes, and who also get the new welfare system (the alternative minimum tax (refund)), is a problem, especially when 50% of the people can vote to take money from the other 20% or 50%.

          This reminds me of Warren Buffet saying his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does, when he designs his pay scale to come from unearned income. He could take it in salary, and pay a much higher rate! He is talking out of both sides of his mouth. (Some also claim that he is why Obama vetoed the Keystone pipeline, as he would lose money transporting oil by rail car if the pipeline was approved.)

  14. DurantFan

    http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/sunday-best/building-boom-stretches-from-downtown-to-city-limits/

    “…Projects Galore” (From the above Article) “…For the private sector, though, the sky seems the limit. Or at least six stories toward the sky…”

    What a “pie in the sky” comment!  Although the “sky”  (six stories in this article) may  be considered the vertical limit for future development within the City of Davis, the “true sky” (in the form of annual rainfall) will ultimately be the  limit for future development within the City of Davis.  

  15. Jim Leonard

    The Davis Enterprise has always been pro-local development. It’s not called the Enterprise for no reason: it’s a business venture. The most recent example is regarding the Trackside Center; there’s a puff piece by David Ryan with  no mention of the boost in Enterprise real estate just one block away. My advice: read the Enterprise for some kind of orientation but never fully believe anything the Enterprise has to say. It’s self-serving and dishonest; no surprise there.

  16. Tia Will

    Tia’s  very narrow view that Davis should be like it was back in the 1960’s (I think that was what Tia said on another post)”

    Tia has never said this. Frankly has said that Tia has said this many, many times. This is absolutely ridiculous. I have no idea what Davis was like in the 1960’s. I first saw Davis when I arrived for my medical school interview in 1983. What I have said is that my optimal population for Davis would have been around 50,000. However, since we are already past that, I obviously am not advocating going back in time. I actually would like to see us move dramatically forward.

    I would like us to develop the choice of at least one car limited neighborhood. I would like to see all of our neighborhoods achieve walkability indexes of over 75. I do not spurn the idea of development. I just would like to see us develop in close cooperation not just with UCD but with the surrounding communities so that each has their own strengths and makes their own distinctive contribution to the region rather than being in constant economic competition. I cannot think of what would be more change than to take on a collaborative rather than competitive stance to our neighbors. I am accused of obstructing change when in reality, I am proposing much more change than any of the so called “rapid growth” advocates would like to see.

  17. Tia Will

    I think they are largely conflating their existing dislike of moving about in a highly congested medium-sized population city with a concern about the future.”

    And I think that your ideas would be better served by you telling people what you think rather than speculating on what others are thinking. I have no, “zero” problem with the “congestion downtown”. I am perfectly fine walking a few blocks to my destination.  It is you who dislikes downtown because you cannot immediately park your vehicle immediately in front of the shop you wish to use. So you will drive out of your way, conveniently forgetting that this also takes time so that you can park immediately in front of your destination. That is certainly your right, but it does not mean that others share than point of view.

    I don’t want more cars because I see them as destructive of our health, of our environment, and of our social ties. The only thing that I can see beneficial about cars is their convenience, and even then, when there is a traffic jam or even a minor back up, that convenience is entirely lost. Think also about the accessory costs of automobiles. Think of the millions that we say are needed to maintain our roads at certain levels. Much less would be needed if we were not all so focused upon using our cars for every little trip we want to make. Cars are a very regressive, expensive, dangerous and unhealthful means of transportation and if we were really forward looking, we would be minimizing their use as much as possible.

     

    1. hpierce

      You do realize, or course, Tia, that buses and large delivery trucks or (at the other end) very low use of streets (AC) contribute more to pavement degredation than normal cars, right?

    2. Frankly

      I am perfectly fine walking a few blocks to my destination.

      What an elite comment.  You happen to live in the core area.  Most of us don’t.  And you oppose higher density apartment projects in the core area because they “don’t fit in to the existing feel of the neighborhood”.

      So what we are talking about is Tia’s selfish protection of her valued lifestyle at the expense of others.

      Oh, and I would like to see you carrying a bunch of garden supplies and construction materials in your few block walk.  Can you film that please!

      1. Don Shor

        I would like to see you carrying a bunch of garden supplies and construction materials in your few block walk.

        Local purveyors of such products have delivery services.

    3. TrueBlueDevil

      I believe horses were much more dangerous, and also contributed a lot of waste, Co2, other gases, and require grains to power their “motor”.

      Not everyone can live next to where they work and shop. We didn’t develop like Europe, which developed before modern times.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly and TBD

        Tia’s selfish protection of her valued lifestyle at the expense of others.”

        Not everyone can live next to where they work and shop”

        I have lived near downtown for three years. I have lived in Davis for 27 years. I felt the same way when I lived in Old North Davis and the same way when I lived in North Star. I didn’t just sprout my preference when I downsized to Old East Davis. I have never minded walking across town to my destination and as Don said, many businesses that sell bulky items will deliver.

        So when addressing my “selfishness” could one also not consider it “selfish” to defend one’s right to drive up immediately, with no delay, into a parking spot immediately in front of your preferred store in your “truck”. You have a preferred lifestyle that you promote, just as I do. Your preferred style affects the choices and environment of others also. So why is it only me that is “selfish”?  Oh….wait…..I forgot…..it must be because your way is objective and factual while mine is based on greed !  Did I get that right ?

  18. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Yes, I do realize that.. Volume in this case given the totality of its impacts on time, health, environment plays a bigger role in my mind than our delivery system, which probably could also be made much more efficient than it is now. Someone with expertise in delivery of goods might want to weigh in on the inefficiencies of our current system.

    I also realize the fallacy behind the juxtaposition of Frankly’s statements.

    I don’t look forward to more traffic.

    But we already have a lot of traffic, so what is a little more?”

    Well, then Frankly. If you are not concerned about “a little more traffic” then surely a few more of those cars will not further deter you from driving out of town ( clearly an expenditure of time, degradation of the environment, “smog” for those who prefer not to think about the broader implications of the use of fossil fuels) so that you do not have to take those few more steps towards a local business. Either the congestion downtown does bother you, as you said. Or it doesn’t bother you and won’t bother you as it gets worse, as you also said.

    I believe that minimizing harm is as important as accruing benefits. Both are equally important in my eyes.

  19. Tia Will

    Frankly

    I know the difference between fanciful utopian dreams and attainable reality”

    Just because you personally cannot imagine something does not make it a “fanciful, utopian dream” that is unattainable. If others had thought as you do, many concepts and realities that we have today would not have existed because they were “utopian” in their time. Some examples : The United States as a representative democracy, human flight, human space flight, the telephone, the internet, women’s right to vote, equality of the races…..all unthinkably “utopian”or too impractical at one point or another.

    Yes, I do tend to focus on our potential rather than our limitations. I very much favor change. Rapid, fundamental change in the areas of human compassion, equality, opportunity and health. And I see these as much more critical to our future than I do an outdated competitive model that pits individuals, families, towns and regions against one another instead of promoting success through collaborative effort.

  20. Anon

    Tia Will: “I don’t want more cars because I see them as destructive of our health, of our environment, and of our social ties. The only thing that I can see beneficial about cars is their convenience, and even then, when there is a traffic jam or even a minor back up, that convenience is entirely lost.

    I am curious, do you own a car?  Do you personally drive or walk to work?  Do you ever drive out of town?  How do you get to the airport?

    Tia Will: “I first saw Davis when I arrived for my medical school interview in 1983. What I have said is that my optimal population for Davis would have been around 50,000.

    Then clearly it does not appear you are in favor of any growth, which is fine.  But that still does not address the problems of how this city is going to pay for existing services, repair and maintenance.  Nor does it address the problem of a lack of jobs, lack of children in schools (remember the closing of Valley Oak?), the growing senior population (and the additional services they require), lack of economic development, over-dependence on taxation to generate enough revenue to pay for city costs, etc.

    Tia Will: “I believe that those of us who can afford to pay more should do so. I believe that it would be possible to make some kind of allowance for those who would literally be forced to leave.

    I wonder if you would really be willing to pay the steep price required for supporting everyone else if it severely impacted your current lifestyle?  I would be willing to bet such a tax vision would never get off the ground in Davis.

  21. Tia Will

    Anon

    I am curious, do you own a car?  Do you personally drive or walk to work?  Do you ever drive out of town?  How do you get to the airport?”

    I don’t believe that you are curious because you and I have had this conversation on the Vanguard several times. I own a hybrid. My goal is to eventually get to the point where I do not own a car. I purchased my much smaller home near central Davis specifically so I would not need to drive. At present,  I need the car for when I work in Sacramento at times that I cannot alter and are not bus or train amenable due to split days 1/2 in Sacramento, 1/2 in Davis. Yes, I walk to work when my schedule allows. My plan is after retirement to not own a car. I fly rarely and have used the Airporter most of the time if flying alone or with my kids.

    I have not even begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities for not using a private vehicle, but it is a goal of  mine that I will be much more likely to be able to achieve after my retirement. I am fully aware that we are currently so heavily invested in the car as our means of transportation that any change will of necessity have to be gradual. But I firmly believe that this is the direction in which we should be moving.

     

    1. Anon

      Thank you for being honest in your reply, because your response is important.  You want to achieve a personal goal of being “carless” when you RETIRE.  It becomes clear that a car is still an essential mode of transportation for you while employed for certain things, AND you happen to be lucky enough to live within walking distance of work.   Many folks do not have the luxury of living within walking distance of work, have places they need to get to that are not accessible via public transit, and/or may prefer to drive their own vehicle.  To limit a development project to “no cars” will drive many potential buyers away (pardon the pun).

  22. Tia Will

    I wonder if you would really be willing to pay the steep price required for supporting everyone else if it severely impacted your current lifestyle? “

    Now this is an interesting point. I see rapid growth as severely impacting our lifestyle in Davis. So yes, I would definitely rather pay if it impacted my personal financial lifestyle which is of less importance to me than is my environmental lifestyle. What we seem to have here is at least in part, a failure to appreciate that I  value my environment more than I value personal toys, new possessions or extravagant vacations. I would gladly give up a trip to Hawaii ( since that was what I was previously raked over the verbal coals for) and pay for another families tax burden in order to prevent what I consider as “excessive growth”.

    1. Anon

      Are you willing to pay such a steep price that it truly impacts your lifestyle in a serious way?  I am not talking about being able to afford personal toys or vanity destination trips, but rather the basics. There is a basic assumption in your viewpoint that all you would have to do is give up a few luxuries to help others. I would posit you are going to have to give up a lot more than luxuries to pay for 1) those less fortunate to stay here and 2) city services/maintenance/repairs that have gone unaddressed for years and 3) ongoing maintenance/repairs/services for the city.

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