Commentary: In Need of an Evidence-Based Approach

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Parks

As we finally have a small but likely short-lived lull in the flurry of activity we have seen in the first two months of this year, I want to circle back to the inability of the council to put a meaningful infrastructure revenue tax on the ballot for June.

There has been a good amount of talk about moving the city council towards a more evidence-based approach to governance. Part of the reason for moving in that direction is that it moves influence away from the loudest voice in the room and towards a more detached and analytic approach.

Toward that goal, the Finance and Budget Commission generated a list of criteria by which the city council should examine revenue needs and potential revenue sources.

However, there is also another piece of the evidence-based puzzle, and that is the need to figure out what budget priorities should be. At one point, in the spring of 2014, Councilmember Brett Lee broke down these priorities into “need to haves” and “nice to haves.”

But as my board member, Tia Will, notes frequently, luxuries and necessities are actually a good deal more subjective than some of us would like to think.

How can we utilize an evidence-based approach when assessing budgetary priorities? One answer to that question is polling to see what the community wants. The advantage of that approach is that you are able to assess the desires of the entire community rather than just the people motivated to come to the room to speak, or who are from interest groups attempting to lobby and pressure the council.

The city actually has access to data that is at least somewhat recent. In 2014, it contracted with Godbe Research for approximately $24,840 to develop, implement and analyze a citywide telephone survey to 504 Davis residents. While this survey is now 20 months old, it is not clear that priorities are going to drastically change.

Facility-Priorities

What I find interesting about these results is that they are almost diametrically opposed to where community pressure seemed to point and opposite of how the council has actually conducted itself.

Recall that as the council was discussing potential revenue measures in June, July and later in 2014, that the swimming community came forward to lobby the council for either a rehabilitation of the existing swimming pool or the construction of a brand new 50-meter pool.

And yet as we see, in terms of the polling, the community puts swimming pools way down on the list and new facility is actually opposed.

We see the same factor at work with the sports complex. A group of citizens lobbied the mayor to get behind their effort to develop a new sports complex in the city. The polling shows that that group is not representative of the community as the community is opposed to the development of a new sports complex, it is the lowest priority item we have.

And yet, this fall, the council agreed to create a task force – not to measure the interest or need for such a project, but rather to plan how best to create it. The remarkable thing is that the only thing in nearly two years that has been acted upon in any way from this list of priorities is the thing that the community wanted least.

That action is the direct result of the very lobbying and interest group pressuring that an evidence-based approach would seek to avoid.

What are the community’s priorities? What I would call basic infrastructure. Tops on the list is bike paths, followed by parks and roads and then slightly down is greenbelts. The top three are almost indistinguishable as priorities.

So while the council created a sports park task force, what have they done on the top three priorities of the community? It depends on how you look at it.

In early February, the council decided not to put a revenue measure for infrastructure on the ballot. Mayor Dan Wolk and Councilmember Lucas Frerichs were willing to address one of the needs – parks.

Mayor Dan Wolk continued to push for a parks tax at the $50 level (over and above the current $49 parcel tax). He pushed for the Rainbow City Rehabilitation ($300,000), the Community Pool renovation ($2 million), Playfield Park turf replacement ($400,000), stating “I think these are things that are clear needs in our community that we have difficulty funding outside of some additional revenue.”

“We could do a significant amount of good for parks and this is funding that… is one time,” he stated.

Councilmember Lucas Frerichs said he was willing to support a $50 parcel tax on parks while perhaps extending the existing tax.

Councilmember Rochelle Swanson said that she could not support just the parks tax as outlined.

She added, “Some of the things that were listed (in the parks list of needs), I don’t feel they’re the top top priority.”

Councilmember Swanson added that what she is hearing is that people want the core infrastructure, while other things are important. It was suggested that a parks tax could free up other money in the general fund for roads. But Ms. Swanson said, “I can’t support that, because I don’t think it will pass.” She noted, “As hard as we have worked, there’s still a trust factor there and I think we’ve worked hard to earn it, but even a set of advisory, I think we’d be better off on the flip then to do it that way.”

Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis said that 80 percent of the expenditure needs is roads, while the remainder is parks and other infrastructure. The mayor pro tem, addressing Mayor Wolk, stated, “On the one hand, we made a mistake in not asking for enough on the (previous) parks tax, on the other hand, we’re not going to ask enough for the other infrastructure that we have.”

Mayor Wolk pushed back, “To focus on the roads piece… we’re doing quite a bit on roads now. Certainly we have to do more, but we’re putting $4 million into roads every year.”

While the Mayor is correct, we are spending $4 million on roads, he omitted the fact that we need to spend at least $8 million on roads annually (a number that still may be low).

An evidence based approach would suggest we look at the list of needs, we examine the priorities of the community, and then we put together a plan that will fund them.

In fairness to the council, part of the problem has been that the community, when polled has not been supportive of a parcel tax at the level of funding that seems necessary to fund these needs.

My response would be twofold: first, the council really needs to make the case to the public about these needs. That case, in my view is hindered, when we have flowery language coming from city hall about a “Davis Renaissance” at a time when we have over $100 million in infrastructure deferred costs.

Second, when the city solicited priorities about infrastructure and facilities’ needs, the voters from a list of eight prioritized it, and the council has only moved to look into the one that the voters considered the lowest priority.

It is clear that council has not been able to coalesce around a single approach. In part, that seems to be a function of the political pressure from various groups in the community. An evidence-based approach would help to reduce the pandering of various factions of council to the loudest voices in the room.

—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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55 thoughts on “Commentary: In Need of an Evidence-Based Approach”

  1. Misanthrop

    It would be interesting to break down the surveys by age and see if the graying of Davis skews the outcome or if the results were the same across the board. Also did the survey focus on voters or include cell phones? The demographics of age, voter propensity, the number of children in the home and type of phone might elucidate why a family man like Dan Wolk would lead in a direction that differs from the survey results.

  2. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > I can tell you my wife was called by the pollsters on her cell phone. 

    There are very few people under 50 that will answer their cell phone if the name of the caller does not pop up.  Most people in their 30’s and 40’s will call back a friend after you leave a voice mail (but few if any will call back a pollster), but most people under 30 don’t use voice mail and you will need to text them if you want a call back.  I bet half the people actually talking to phone pollsters today are old people home watching Wheel of Fortune with their cats…

    1. Don Shor

      I bet half the people actually talking to phone pollsters today are old people home watching Wheel of Fortune with their cats…

      Seriously. It would be nearly impossible for someone to reach me by phone for a survey, and there’s not a chance they’d ever talk to my kids by phone.

  3. The Pugilist

    This site drives me crazy with the tangents.  The key point made in this article is that the council went astray by focusing on pools and sports parks rather than parks, roads and greenbelts.  Dan Wolk attempted to defend his position by stating we were spending enough on roads when it wasn’t even half of what we need.

  4. Robb Davis

    The conclusion of this article is troubling to me:

    An evidence-based approach would help to reduce the pandering of various factions of council to the loudest voices in the room.

    This is a very simplistic reading of what went on during the several meetings on tax measures.  First, we had clear recommendations from the FBC that we do NOTHING (no new taxes) until we create greater accountability for how funds are spent.  Second, we have a need to focus attention, in a strategic way, on cost containment even as we think about new revenue sources.  Third, we had fundamental disagreements about size, duration, use (bond vs pay as you go approaches) of any parcel tax.  Fourth, if we are going to put a tax measure on the ballot we should seek and work hard to find a strong consensus.

    Given 1 and 2, I was willing to put off a measure for this year while we work on those issues.  Given 3 and 4 it was clear to me that the evidence-based (to borrow a theme) priorities in terms of total cost (streets and paths) were not going to get the kind of support needed to put a large enough tax proposal on the ballot.

    I would argue that evidence was used but that there were multiple variables that we considered as we struggled with this issue.  And I will get in trouble for saying it but I will add that I see little benefit in polling people to find out what they want.  We are elected to represent the needs of the community and we study the issues to determine priorities.  In considering everything I felt we must wait at this time.  Of course, looking at this as a multivariate analysis is not as entertaining as concluding it was all about pandering.  I, obviously, disagree.

    1. The Pugilist

      If I am reading this article correctly, I don’t come to the same conclusion as you.  I see that paragraph in reference to Wolk’s pandering to the sports folks rather than the meetings on the tax measures, but I could be wrong.

      1. Matt Williams

        Correctly?  I’m not sure there is a “correct” reading of this article.  Yours is clearly a narrow reading of the article . . . and a distrustful reading as well.  Robb’s reading of the article is considerably broader than yours, and his reading/response also focuses on the constructive dialogue that was the evidence behind the decision.

  5. Michael Harrington

    I thought when we settled the water case it would give Dan Wolk and the CC the ability to move on to fixing the city budget including a revenue measure for infrastructure.

     

    Neither happened.

     

    Now, Robb Davis is going to be Mayor, and he lacks a balanced city budget, has no plans for one that I have heard about, and couldn’t even get a revenue measure on the June ballot.  And now he and the CC are nearly out of time to put something on the November ballot.

     

    Instead, all five CC members are pandering to the developers.  Nishi?  just another big sink hole of a cost for development of ultra-high end housing that will never be affordable to students.

     

    Ramosville? Just more valley sprawl, another fiscal sink hole for the city, and a huge manufacturer of new demands for housing.

     

    So the CC is going to ram Nishi and Ramosville down the public’s throats, and make us spend thousands of hours of volunteer time to oppose them?  The CC can kiss off any new revenue measures for at least the next two years.  It’s the choice the CC made, and they knew it.

    1. The Pugilist

      Let’s see Nishi and MRIC could generate, $5 to $7 million a year plus a one-time influx of $10 million.  It seems the better approach would be for you to get out of the way and quit trying to legislate by litigation.

    2. ryankelly

      Since students seem to be able to afford $14,000 per month rent for your house on 2nd Street, why do you think that Nishi will not offer at least similar rents?  People are tiring of bombastic Trump-like politicking.  You really need to include actual facts in your campaign.

    3. Matt Williams

      Mike, you must have wax build-up in your ears.  Where were you when Mayor-To-Be Davis proposed the following?  Budgets are not balanced by focusing on revenue alone.  They are balanced by paying attention to both the efficiency and effectiveness of how costs are incurred and spent, and matching the resultant cost needs to balanced revenue sources.  When combined intelligently and well, revenues and costs produce a healthy and sustainable bottom-line.  That is the only way to produce fiscal resilience and sustainability.

       

      Cost Containment as an Element of Fiscal Resilience

      1a. Undertake a full staffing analysis to determine match between service delivery needs and staffing.

      1b.  FBC discussions have not only embraced a staffing analysis (building on John Meyer’s study last year), but we have also discussed the belief that a thorough Business Process Re-engineering engagement is necessary as well.  Staffing poorly designed, inefficient, ineffective service delivery processes makes no sense.  Einstein said it perfectly, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

      2. Based on 1, consider best ways to provide services going forward with focus on (a) training workers to take on multiple tasks (as is happening already) and (b) consideration of targeted and appropriate outsourcing of services.

      3. Examine all means to further reduce growth in compensation costs including analysis of OPEB options (as other CA cities are doing).

      4. Create more transparent and accessible accounting systems that enable a more precise estimation of costs of specific services—building on work done by the Fee Study consultants.

      5. Promote a more aggressive analysis with the County and other cities, via LAFCo, of shared bidding, service, and consulting options to reduce duplication and obtain scale efficiencies.

      6. Determine what current city programs might be candidates for reduction or elimination and which we want/must keep.

      7. Determine what current city infrastructure we could/should shed (buildings, properties) to reduce expenditures related to them.

      Though not a cost containment item, we should also receive an analysis of all non-enterprise fund balances to determine if/how we can use these funds to meet current needs.

  6. Alan Miller

    There has been a good amount of talk about moving the city council towards a more evidence-based approach to governance.

    I’m sorry, who’s evidence are we going to use?

  7. Michael Harrington

    Robb wrote:   “Fourth, if we are going to put a tax measure on the ballot we should seek and work hard to find a strong consensus.”

    You think anyone is going to support a revenue measure when so many people are going to the mat to knock down your disastrous sprawl projects?

     

    And whether the projects win or lose at the ballot, do you think anyone is going to be in the mood to talk about new taxes for years to come?

    1. ryankelly

      Mike, what’s your solution then.  If the City does your bidding and stops all consideration of Nishi and Mace, will you support and campaign for a new tax on residents?  Or would you oppose it too?

      How would you handle the ever increasing numbers of students and staff who are forced to live out of town and drive into Davis for work and school every day.

       

      1. South of Davis

        Ryan wrote:

        > How would you handle the ever increasing numbers of

        > students and staff who are forced to live out of town and

        > drive into Davis for work and school every day.

        No one is “forced” to live out of town.  Many students “choose” to save money and live with relatives or rent a cheaper place outside of Davis and many UCD staff members “choose” to rent or buy bigger home for less money outside Davis or live closer to their spouses place of work or kids private high schools.

        1. Don Shor

          No one is “forced” to live out of town.

          Given the current apartment vacancy rate, I think it’s reasonable to say that some renters are now ‘forced’ to live out of town. Particularly as more of the apartments are closed off to non-students due to contract agreements that landlords are making with UC Davis.
          From a UC Davis press release: “For transfer students, the campus is also in discussions with property managers to master-lease more apartment units in the community.”

        2. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > Given the current apartment vacancy rate, I think

          > it’s reasonable to say that some renters are now ‘forced’

          > to live out of town. Particularly as more of the

          > apartments are closed off to non-students due to

          > contract agreements that landlords are making

          > with UC Davis.

          Davis has a “low” number of vacant units but it ALWAYS has vacant units.  “Wanting” to rent a room for under $400 or a home with a pool for under $2K is not the same as being “forced” to live out of town.  A friend just bought the all new Prius since he thought the Tesla Model S was overpriced.  Was he “forced” to buy the Prius or did he “decide” to buy it and save money?

          1. Don Shor

            The number of available units is so absurdly low that you have just illustrated the classic rhetorical device reductio ad absurdum. Putting “low” in quotes is a nice touch.
            Non-student renters are being driven out of town by the current vacancy rate and ongoing policies of the university.

        3. The Pugilist

          This is the key point Don – the student housing is putting the pressure on families to leave Davis.  Harrington is talking about making Measure R permanent, but that could backfire on him and it could kill Measure R altogether.

        4. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > Non-student renters are being driven out of town by the current

          > vacancy rate and ongoing policies of the university.

          It is better to say that since so many people  in Davis (74.7% last time we voted) don’t want to build new homes and apartments in town that there is upward pressure on rents (just like every time demand increases and supply stays the same).

          Many people don’t “want” to pay what Davis landlords are asking so they “decide” to move (no one is being “forced” out or “driven” out of town) just like I was not “forced” to stop buying Turley Zins when they started to cost more than I “wanted” to pay.

          https://localwiki.org/davis/November_2009_Election/Measure_P?&redirected_from=2009-11-03%20election/measure%20p

          P.S. With Davis home prices going up MUCH faster than any city in the region with more development I don’t see Davis homeowners (including “slow growth” Vanguard posters TW & MH who own well over a million dollars worth of Davis real estate) voting for more homes and apartments any time soon.

           

          1. Don Shor

            It is amazing the extent to which people seem to want to go to deny that there is a serious housing problem in Davis. Next I suppose you’ll tell me that you aren’t denying it. That would also be correct. You are quibbling over the use of the term ‘forced’ and implying that it’s just a cost consideration that is causing people to live in nearby cities. No. When the apartment survey was done, there were 16 units TOTAL available among the surveyed properties. That is, in fact, forcing people to look elsewhere and it isn’t a cost issue. It’s an availability issue. Would you only accept the terms I used when there are literally zero units available? Or will you tell me that couples should start breaking up so they can go rent beds in houses somewhere?
            The city needs to work with UCD to get the apartment vacancy rate higher. And that includes pushing to eliminate the methods by which UCD is locking down housing in the private marketplace.

        5. The Pugilist

          I agree, I don’t think HOMEOWNERS will vote for more housing, but the majority of residents are renters and if they come out and vote, they can flip things on the longtime residents.

    2. Robb Davis

      Here’s the deal Michael.  You are disdainful of every CC effort–every single one.  You view our work as a “sell out to developers” and lacking in ideas about how to change things for the better.

      You clearly have an alternative vision (though I have no idea what it is).  You have sufficient energy.  You believe you have the solid support of people who agree with you.  Why don’t you just do the right thing and throw your hat in the ring for the June election?

      You obviously feel you helped lead the city through a period of prosperity, progressivism, and general well being.  So why not jump in and fix all the gross errors you see my colleagues and me committing?

  8. Michael Harrington

    Robb:  thanks for the invite to run for CC, but I do other things for the City in my own way.

     

    I like Davis as a small city.

     

    Measure R needs to be strengthened and made permanent, for example, so that is on the list.  I watched the hatchet job that was done to the process (voting to put it on the ballot when there is a very strong challenge coming to the traffic model).  CEQA compliance was supposed to happen BEFORE it was put on the ballot.

    Nishi and Ramosville are just ticky tacky Valley sprawl dressed up with green lipstick.  You wouldn’t even demand LEED gold level, or affordable housing in the rush to give these two rich families their extra wealth?   How embarrassing.  And not one word, not one, from the dais demanding to know where the mitigation is, the quality, or anything about it?

    But hey, it’s all your informed choices.  And obvious local and fiscal chaos from them.

     

     

     

     

  9. Michael Harrington

    Ryan:  my solutions are the same:  reduce City employee compensation;  trim budgets; and use a new revenue source to pay for the infrastructure disaster that has resulted from Saylor and Souza in 2005, and now Swanson, Wolk, Lucas, and Lee (can you believe it — Lee??) giving away more millions in city money to employees on Thanksgiving weekend, on consent?  At least Saylor and Souza took the money in the open.

     

    We are not that far off the mark to stabilize City finances, if Wolk and handled it right.  But instead the CC as a unified group are trying to use the budget meltdown that started in 2008 as an excuse to ram through sprawl “Growth Zones” as we call them.  And now we know that Nishi wont help the city balance its books, and there are serious questions as to whether Ramosville will be neutral, or hurt us.

    So no, I will not sit by while developers and real estate interests that support the CC to a huge degree use the fiscal mess in City government to ram through junk that will fundamentally change our little city and jam our streets as some sort of panacea to fix our roads and other pressing needs.  The CC made its choice to sleep with these two projects, and we sure as heck are not going to then turn around and throw property tax money at them.

    1. CalAg

      “… there are serious questions as to whether Ramosville …” MH

      That’s untrue. There is no credible question about whether there will be a fiscal benefit from MRIC. The only argument is whether the benefit will be on the order of $2.2M – as originally estimated by EPS – or some higher number being spun by project proponents.

      In my opinion the (1) local jobs, (2) UCD and technology sector synergies, (3) general fund revenues, and (4) economic multiplier effects are more than worth the impacts. And now that MRIC housing is appropriately off the table, I am confident that a majority of the voters will agree.

      If you need to try and blow something up, your efforts would be better spent focusing on Nishi. It’s fiscal benefits were overstated (and probably negative), and it will have devastating impacts on the Richards corridor – the front door to the City and primary link between South Davis and the core.

    2. ryankelly

      So, Mike, your solution is lay off City staff, cut services and raise taxes. That’s it.

      You then devolve into a pure vomit of blame. It’s just repetitive drivel.

  10. The Pugilist

    “So no, I will not sit by while developers and real estate interests that support the CC to a huge degree use the fiscal mess in City government to ram through junk that will fundamentally change our little city and jam our streets as some sort of panacea to fix our roads and other pressing needs.”

    “The CC made its choice to sleep with these two projects, and we sure as heck are not going to then turn around and throw property tax money at them.”

    You go from “I” to “we” mid-paragraph, who is “we”?

  11. Tia Will

    SOD

    I don’t see Davis homeowners (including “slow growth” Vanguard posters TW & MH who own well over a million dollars worth of Davis real estate) voting for more homes and apartments any time soon.”

    I am really tiring of your Trump style lying. Unless you are saying that Michael Harrington’s combined real estate worth with mine is well over a million which may be true, I have repeatedly corrected you with the fact that I do not own “well over a million dollars worth of Davis real estate”. And yet you persist. I also guess that you are conveniently overlooking the fact that I have stated on several occasions that I am leaning towards support of Nishi although not firmly decided. But please, by all means, don’t let the facts get in your way.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I have repeatedly corrected you with the fact that I do not own

      > “well over a million dollars worth of Davis real estate

      You are the one that has posted dozens of times that you own a home in Northstar as well as a home near the Trackside project.

      Did you ever go to Zillow (or ask a Realtor) to see what your two homes Davis homes are worth?  Even worst home in Northstar and the worst home in Old East Davis would have a combined value of over $1 million.

      I just logged on to Zillow and while I don’t have a an advanced degree in math (or a PhD.) but I get over a million when I add $586,000 + $784,000.

      Other “slow growthers” in town have had stories about them in the Enterprise talking about the properties they own that are worth a lot more.

      1. hpierce

        I’ll rise to Tia’s behalf… she may well not have “equity” in those properties exceeding $1mm… you all may be ‘right’… depending on definitions… it may be perfectly true, that if Tia’s properties were sold today, subtracting mortgages, ignoring taxes, commissions, that she’d not see $1mm…

        But, at the end of the day (which it is), this is trending grossly “off-topic”.  IMHO.

  12. South of Davis

    hpierce wrote:

    > But, at the end of the day (which it is), this is trending grossly “off-topic”.  IMHO.

    It actually “is” on topic because the “loudest voices in the room” that are often opposed to new development (that could generate income for the city) try and avoid a “more evidence-based approach to governance” so their $1 million + real estate portfolios continue to go up in value (remember that when you “own” $1 million + in in real estate and you can help it go up in value by just 10% by stopping development of new property your net worth increases by $100K + even if you bought the real estate with no money down).

    P.S. Another way to increase your net worth is to sue the city and/or your next door neighbor…

    1. Tia Will

      hpierce

      she may well not have “equity” in those properties exceeding $1mm… you all may be ‘right’… depending on definitions… it may be perfectly true, that if Tia’s properties were sold today, subtracting mortgages, ignoring taxes, commissions, that she’d not see $1mm…”

      This is correct and is the basis for my statement. It is also correct that the monetary worth of Mr. Harrington or myself or any other poster here on the Vanguard is off topic.  Further, there was no reason other than personal animus to bring me into the conversation. I had not posted on  this thread at all prior to being called by an anonymous poster. But my bigger objection is that, other than personal attack, there is no relevance to any speculation about personal finances of another poster unless they have a financial interest in a proposed project.

      1. South of Davis

        Tia wrote:

        > This is correct and is the basis for my statement.

        You called me a “Trump style” lair yet I never mentioned anyone’s home “equity” or “net worth” (go back and read what I wrote and see if you are still calling me a Trump style” lair).

        > It is also correct that the monetary worth of Mr. Harrington or myself or any other

        > poster here on the Vanguard is off topic. 

        I did NOT bring up the “monetary worth” of you or anyone else (you and others brought this up).

        If mentioning real estate holdings in town is “off topic” you should take a look in the mirror since you mention over and over on this blog year after year your real estate holdings in town (and even your OUT OF STATE real estate).  You should also talk with David at the next editorial board meeting since a week rarely goes by when I don’t here about specific property owned by Ruff, Ramos, Taormino and the 30+ politically connected people that own Trackside.

        P.S. To Tia If someone says you “own” a $25K Toyota they are not “lying” just because you happen to have a loan with Toyota Motor Credit that is not paid off.

        1. Tia Will

          SOD

          Lying can be done in a number of ways. It can be done directly or by implication. Had I not corrected you with regard to my real estate/financial situation in the past, I would not have considered this most recent post “lying”. Please note that in my previous post, I merely corrected you in what I saw as your faulty assumption. You then however, despite my comment decided to double down on your claim. You do not know me. You do not know anything about me other than what I have posted here. From those posts, you have decided that you know a great deal more about me and feel free to speculate about my interests, finances and motivations. You are certainly free to do so. However, when you make statements about me which which I know are either factually wrong, or with which I do not agree, do not be surprised if I respond. One of my properties here in Davis is actually an ongoing current  loss to me at this time precisely because I am choosing to rent at less than market and am certainly not gouging students by packing them in dormitory style. So do not be surprised if I call a repetitive misstatement that has been previously corrected a “lie”.

        2. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > Please stay on topic which is evidence-based

          > approaches to city governance.

          So if we should ignore that the “fact” that the millions in real estate owned by “slow growth” people in town is worth millions more than it was a few years ago will you now ignore (and stop posting about) the increase in value of real estate owned by Ruff, Ramos, Taormino and the 30+ politically connected people that own Trackside if it is re-zoned?

    2. Tia Will

      SOD

      try and avoid a “more evidence-based approach to governance”

      Since you are persisting in bringing my name into this conversation, when have you ever seen or heard me arguing against or “trying to avoid a “more evidence-based approach to governance ?” One can certainly argue about what constitutes valid “evidence” in any given case, but I think that you will have a very hard time making the case that I have ever argued against an “evidence based approach”.

  13. hpierce

    oh… this “evidence based approach” narrative is bogus on this blog…  on Second and Cantrill, there is one event, no “evidence” of previous crash history presented, just apocryphal narratives (in the face of “facts”)… on the AIM acceptance rates, many suppositions, assertions, little “evidence” as to ’cause and effect’…

    I guess ‘evidence based’ is in the eye of the beholder, and limited to certain issues…

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I find your comment misplaced. Last fall, when the changes were proposed on the AIM program, I repeatedly asked for the educational justification for changing the program, particularly the qualification score – the answer was there was none. I asked them what the impact on diversity would be – they had no answer. Now we have data that shows what happens to the program and what happens to black and Latino student participation in the program. The next question will be what they do based on that information – how is that not an evidence-based approach?

      On the second street situation, show me where I called for any specific solution? I think there is a problem based on my observations, but that doesn’t suggest at what the solution is to that problem.

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