My View: Let the Voters Decide If Nishi Measures Up

Proposed Nishi Underpass to campus is a key traffic mitigation measure written into the project baseline features
Proposed Nishi Underpass to campus is a key traffic mitigation measure written into the project baseline features

To the surprise of probably no one, Michael Harrington and Don Mooney have filed a lawsuit once again on behalf of a group called Davis Citizens Alliance for Responsible Planning.  Among other things, the suit challenges the city on traffic mitigation, insufficient traffic study analysis, health impacts and violation of the city’s Affordable Housing Ordinance.

Our view is that it is unlikely that a judge will throw out the results of a democratic vote of the people in June on the basis of this suit.  More importantly, there is nothing alleged in the lawsuit that cannot be resolved in a political rather than legal process.  The voters can be made aware of these issues at the polls and determine for themselves whether the project measures up.

Bottom line is that if the voters believe that the project fails to address traffic mitigation or the other alleged shortcomings of the project, they can simply vote no.  The Vanguard believes that the voters should make this call – not a judge and not by lawsuit.

In their press release, Michael Harrington, an attorney and former city councilmember from 2000 to 2004, writes, “The City has basically tripped all over itself to rush this to the June ballot for no discernible reasons and given away over $11.0 million USD of value to the rich developer extended families who own or optioned the Nishi site.”

We would not necessarily disagree with him over the issue of the $11 million in value. The city of Davis, for reasons that remain unclear in a pre-development agreement from November 2012, agreed to a provision, “If residential density is greater than 30 units per acres gross, no affordable housing obligation or fees.”

Under the terms of the city’s affordable housing program, one-quarter of the 650 units should have been designated Affordable Housing units or the city should have received in-lieu fees that could have totaled somewhere between $6 and $11 million.  Instead, the city has received $1 million, which the council insisted on receiving during negotiations this year with the applicant.

The Vanguard believes that the city negotiated hard in the last few months to address many issues, and disagrees with the notion that it tripped over itself; nevertheless, the city council in November 2012 gave away the store on Affordable Housing.

However, this is not a legal issue, in our view. Michael Harrington, in a comment yesterday, writes, “Nishi was never exempted from the Affordable Housing Ordinance.  Therefore, the Nishi application the CC brilliantly rushed through for June does not conform to law.”

However, the Vanguard believes he is wrong here. The Affordable Housing Ordinance is a municipal ordinance, written into the municipal code. It can be changed with three votes and the council has the ability to exempt or modify on a case-by-case basis.

The voters of Davis can decide whether the city’s decision on affordable housing is acceptable, but a judge is unlikely to overrule a vote of the people on this basis.

Mr. Harrington writes, “The Project also fails to adequately analyze, discuss and mitigate the air quality impacts and significant health impacts to residents of the Nishi Project due to the location of the Project sandwiched between the congested Interstate 80 freeway and heavily used railways.”

Here there were extensive conversations about the impact of the location between the railroad and I-80. The city has opted to buffer the project with trees in order to reduce air quality impacts.  Is that sufficient?  Depends on whom you ask.

City staff believes that air quality concerns “can be substantively addressed by planting trees near I-80 earlier than previously planned and by planting larger trees. The Nishi Gateway is already designed to place trees and R&D [Research and Development] space as a buffer to residential units, with for sale units furthest back from the highway.”

However, the planning commission was concerned about the plan. Commissioner Cheryl Essex expressed real concern about the air quality issue. “I am really concerned that this is going to be a real unhealthy place to live, work, and play,” she said. “I wonder about that residential component more than anything. We need more residential – because if we don’t have more residential close to campus… then people are driving on Interstate 80 and creating more pollution as they come to town.”

She noted that tree planting “is not something that’s going to work right away, so the outdoor air quality may take some time to improve. It may never improve – it’s not a proven mitigation measure.” She noted that this might be possible if they delayed for sale housing until the tree mitigation is proven effective.

Likewise, Thomas Cahill expressed concerns about the health impacts of particulate matter, and opposed development of housing on the Nishi site.

Dr. Cahill, in his report in October, concluded that “in present conditions, it is my opinion that causing people, and especially vulnerable populations spending much of their time on the Nishi property, to move into a situation of such great potential harm is simply not supportable.”

Again, this is not an argument that the city has sufficiently addressed the issue, but rather an argument that this should be a campaign issue not a legal issue.

Finally, Mr. Harrington argues that the “project includes traffic mitigation measures that are inconsistent with mitigation measures for a previously approved project.”  Moreover, they add, “Documented evidence to support the traffic study’s analysis was not made available.”

Unlike the other two provisions, traffic mitigation is governed by state CEQA law.  However, while we can disagree over whether the traffic analysis is exactly one hundred percent accurate, everyone knows that the traffic is bad on Richards Blvd. – LOS (Level of Service) F, to be precise.  An EIR is a disclosure document.

The city council has put into the project baseline features provisions that could address these traffic impacts. On Richards Blvd. itself there is a corridor plan.  There are also mitigation measures. And the city needs to re-route traffic to the university to bypass the Richards Underpass, along with correcting long-problematic light sequencing. Building Nishi will also help, as traffic can flow through the project, bypassing the downtown altogether.

Crucial to this plan is that there is a connection from the Nishi Project to the university.

More importantly, construction and occupancy of the project is linked to both corridor improvements and the connection to the university.

Once again, reasonable people can and do disagree over whether this is sufficient.  However, we believe this is an issue that the voters and not a judge should decide.

Bottom line: if you think the city has shirked its affordable housing obligations, you can vote no on the project.  If you think that it has failed to address air quality, you have the recourse of voting no on the project.  If you believe that the mitigation measures are inadequate on traffic, vote no on the project.

What we don’t want to see is the project bogged down in the legal process.  We feel that is an abuse of the legal system and are disappointed in Mr. Harrington for taking this route once again, when we have a political process that can address each and every concern raised in the suit.

Finally, we urge the city not to capitulate to such tactics, but force the courts to render a decision and not settle and give up a dime of city money.  We already have a process in place here – the voters can decide and they have plenty of information to go either way.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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57 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    Under the terms of the city’s affordable housing program, one-quarter of the 650 units should have been designated Affordable Housing units or the city should have received in-lieu fees that could have totaled somewhere between $6 and $11 million.  Instead, the city has received $1 million

     the city council in November 2012 gave away the store on Affordable Housing.

    I was going to vote yes for Nishi, probably still will, but when I read the city gave away the store on affordable housing then one of our council members writes this:

    Robb Davis 
    March 25, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    BTW,  I am gratified to see so many people concerned about affordable housing in Davis.  Perhaps they will consider supporting my concept of establishing a parcel tax to create a Davis voucher program–a much more efficient way to get people into affordable housing than relying on one-off in-lieu fees and uncertain tax credits to build affordable-only buildings.  Why, with a parcel tax no larger than our open space tax we could immediately house an additional 85 families within existing units without having to build anything new.

    it makes me want to vote no.

    1. Robb Davis

      The really good news for you BP is that you would get to vote on ANY eventual parcel tax, which would have to pass with 2/3 of the vote. You and everyone else gets to participate in direct democracy California-style.

      I will respond in due course to the several comments from the other thread about such a tax. Valid points with straightforward answers. The point is, the current affordable housing approaches, evolving largely from RDA, simply no longer work (some would argue they never did but that requires a lengthier debate). I have merely been trying to figure out how to more efficiently provide more. Not a week goes by that someone  does not write me asking me to do something about the homeless issue in our city. Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t write me asking how to provide affordable housing for low income workers in this community. I’m just trying to figure out a way to solve some of those problems. This is not on the CC agenda at the moment and there’s no good time to bring it up, so since everyone seems scandalized by what happened at Nishi, I figured why not now?  I see the depth of everyone’s concern. I also see many who feel that our current approach to affordable housing is off track. So let’s talk seriously about the way to go. I actually like the way the discussion has started on the other thread.

      And I get it about the burden of taxes. A real problem. The good news is I have also laid out the beginnings (only) of a plan to reign in city costs. I expect full support from VG readers on that given what I see as most comments here.

      Finally on Nishi itself–and I am not going to defend this any further than what I write here–what was handed to me for negotiation was an already-constrained project. That included, but was not limited to, the affordable component. Even with those constraints, given it’s location, and it’s ability to provide a significant number of new housing units, I worked to make it as good a project as I could. I voted to put it on the ballot knowing it is not perfect but that it is good. People should have a chance to decide and then we move on, one way or the other.

      I know people are going to expect to engage me on these issues here but I am out for the day and the rest of the weekend. Contact me if you want to discuss any of this and I will sit with you any time: rdavis@cityofdavis.org. (530) 564-9861 (that is my personal number–leave a message if I do not answer).

  2. ryankelly

    The demand for cheap housing conflicts with the concerns about air quality.

    Until Mike and Don let the community know exactly who are members of the group they are representing, i will assume that the authors of the opposing ballot statements are all members and will benefit financially in any settlement.  If they are not, they should publically clarify their non-association.

    1. Alan Pryor

      Oh brother!…This is one of those low-brow, political “when did you stop beating your wife” statements. It is a cheap shot to disparage all people opposed to Nishi. Let’s turn this game around, shall we?

      The demand for cheap housing conflicts with the building of large and expensive housing at Nishi and the give-away of 154 units of Affordable Housing at Nishi. Until all of the City Councilmembers and Staff (and ryankelly) let the Community know exactly why they improperly exempted Nishi from Affordable Housing, I will assume all of the signers of supporting ballot statement the ballot are all on the take from the developer and will benefit financially in any project going forward. If they are not, they should publicly clarify they have not and never will accept a dime in contributions or profits from the developer and any affiliated parties (…and that they have stopped beating their wives!).

      (I also am leaving for the rest of today and tomorrow. But don’t worry, I promise Monday will be full of exciting disclosures..keep tuned)

      1. ryankelly

        That is exactly what Mike Harrington believes, that everyone is on the take and in the developer’s pockets.  Harrington is sure of it and just wants his piece.  So, Alan, thank you for your clarification.

      2. Robb Davis

        …I will assume all of the signers of supporting ballot statement the ballot are all on the take from the developer and will benefit financially in any project going forward.

        On the take: “trying to ​profit in a ​personal and usually ​financial way from a ​situation”

        I believe I received a $100 campaign contribution from Tim Ruff’s spouse (I would need to double check).  Beyond that, I am not aware of any contribution from anyone associated with this development.  If Alan wants to claim that this makes me “on the take”, so be it.

        I have not and will will not ever benefit in any way from this project or any that I approve.  I own no property here, don’t plan to, will pay rents that anyone else pays (as I do now to Chuck Roe, owner of the Lofts where I live).  I have zero economic interest in this or any development and make my decisions based on what I believe is best for the community.  I am willing to publicly reveal my income tax returns, will open all my bank account information and do whatever it takes to assure the public that I am not “on the take.”  I will agree today to sign disclosure forms in the 10 years after I leave office revealing my rent, to whom I pay it and any financial dealings with anyone in this town.

        There is, apparently, no level to which opponents of this project will not stoop to impugn my name.  I find that antithetical to any sense of community which I believe in.  It makes me sad.

        Go ahead with your revelations.  Make as many accusations as you want.  Dissimulate.  Infer.  Suggest.  I do not want, need, nor will I ever seek to financially benefit from this project.  In two years when I am gone from the Council I will continue to work for what I believe to be the good of the community and I only hope by then people will have not so besmirched my name with innuendo that I will be persona non grata in this town.

        What more do I need to say?

        1. SODA

          Robb, you do not need to say any more….for many of us who supported your campaign you have exceeded our expectations, so know that.

          We may not always agree with you (imagine that) but I for one continue to be impressed with your willingness to dialogue and your hard working preparedness for all topics.

          As my mother used to say ‘rise above it’ (!)

          Happy Easter.

        2. Alan Pryor

          Robb – Read my post again please. The comment I made was clearly a riff on ryankelly’s statement that all of the signers of the No on Nishi arguments/rebuttal were in on the lawsuit to make money. I noted the absurdity of it by simply turning the statement around to direct the same allegations towards the signers of the arguments for Nishi. Both comments were obviously ludicrous and I attempted to show the illogical stupidity of it in my own way. I apologize if you took it as an actual real challenge to your integrity. I know that is beyond reproach.  I’ll try to choose my words more carefully when I attempt humor in the future.

        3. South of Davis

          Robb thanks for doing the work you do.
          You are the first person I know of that has the respect of BOTH my way left friends and (more conservative than Frankly) right wing friends.

  3. Misanthrop

    “Our view is that it is unlikely that a judge will throw out the results of a democratic vote of the people in June on the basis of this suit.”

    Who is this “Our View?” A lawsuit by a group that doesn’t divulge its members evaluated by a blog fronted by a single by line. Welcome to the world of Citizens United in Davis.

    Anyway, just because you say so isn’t much of a legal opinion. Measure R projects must pass muster with CEQA so if the courts issue a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs does a vote become invalidated? Of course that will be Harrington’s contention and you can expect years of litigation and a large payoff somewhere down the line.

    Had enough of Measure R yet?

    1. David Greenwald

      Neither point has anything to do with Citizens United which is limited to campaign contributions not funding for lawsuits or funding for media.

      1. Misanthrop

        Of course not but all three have to do with transparency. Anyway your getting bogged down in the throw away lines.

        The real point is that we are now going to see litigation associated with Measure R and Harrington will probably file an request for injunctive relief, first against the election  and if Nishi passes he will ask for an injunction against any construction pending the outcome of the litigation.

        I doubt that even people who like measure R feel that using it as grounds for such litigation is what they had in mind when they voted for it. But here we are and if not including housing at MRIC, even though it made a better plan, wasn’t reason enough to get rid of Measure R, and, having the processing of the application for Nishi subject to the election time table wasn’t enough, perhaps frivolous litigation under Measure R will be the thing that finally gets this community to wake up and see that Measure R is a disaster.

        1. Don Shor

          I think you need to understand and accept that Measure R will NEVER be removed. It isn’t likely to even be modified. I don’t know anyone conversant with Davis politics who thinks it is likely that the voters will overturn or weaken Measure R.

        2. hpierce

          Don… am sure that many of the Founding Fathers believed that the US Constitution would never be amended, either.  Given enough time, enough circumstances, there is no doubt in my mind that R will be repealed, significantly amended, or replaced.

        3. Frankly

          I agree… Measure R will be at risk ironically as the demographics of the city shifts from what it is today to…

          1. More UCD students that vote.

          2. Fewer old Davis residents that vote (as we die off and move away).

          3. More young professionals that vote.

          Now #3 might be slowed significantly ironically from Measure R… if enough voters vote no.  But I expect the June and November votes to have a higher percentage of young voters and thus give Nishi and MRIC a better chance of passing.

          It is not looking good for those people tending to be change-averse, not wanting any development perceived in their own back yard, have no-growth attitudes, or are land preservation extremists… I would say either they need to get with the vision of a future Davis that is bigger, or start working on their exist strategy to live in a smaller city somewhere else.

          1. Don Shor

            1. More UCD students that vote.

            2. Fewer old Davis residents that vote (as we die off and move away).

            3. More young professionals that vote.

            1. They don’t.
            2. We have more old Davis residents, not fewer, if I understand the demographic trends.
            3. No place for them to live.
            I think the status quo is likely to hold for at least several more years.

        4. Ron

          hpierce:  “Given enough time, enough circumstances, there is no doubt in my mind that R will be repealed, significantly amended, or replaced.”

          Or – perhaps eventually adopted by other cities, as well? Heaven forbid that we let the “people” decide how cities should develop.

        5. hpierce

          Well Frankly, if I die, I will probably not move away, but more likely take up permanent residence in that place NE of the intersection of E Eighth and Pole Line… perhaps Davis will become like Chicago, and I’ll still be able to vote!

          [after all, I keep hearing about a ‘political machine’ here…]

        6. hpierce

          Heaven forbid that we let the “people” decide how cities should develop.

          That was an incredibly stupid statement, Ron.  All I said/implied was “the people” will likely revisit what “the people” want to do… heaven forbid the future “people” can’t change what the past “people” wanted to do.  That would certainly be “wrong” in your apparent view…

        7. Ron

          hpierce:  “That was an incredibly stupid statement, Ron.  All I said/implied was “the people” will likely revisit what “the people” want to do… heaven forbid the future “people” can’t change what the past “people” wanted to do.  That would certainly be “wrong” in your apparent view…”

          I find your statement somewhat confusing.  (Not sure what you mean by “wrong”, in my apparent view.)  But yes, the “people” will decide the fate of Measure R, and current and future development proposals.  Seems that some on this forum are attempting to spread fear, regarding the “vulnerability” of Measure R.

          It’s possible that measure R could be strengthened.  My hope (and expectation, really) is that some form of it will eventually spread to other cities.  Now that the housing market has  recovered, we’ll see a continuation of the sprawl that previously caused the backlash (which ultimately resulted in Measure J/R).

          As you can see from this forum, there are a broad range of views regarding development in Davis.  In general, some will vote for more development, some won’t (depending on the specifics of a particular proposed development).  But, at least we’re fortunate enough to have a means to make choices, at the ballot box.  Some would like to take away that ability, and will (no doubt) work hard to do so.

        8. Misanthrop

          I think you are wrong Don. Measure R will be either allowed to expire or seriously amended if it is renewed. Measure R sunsets in 2020 so the issue must be re-visited and I intend to do my best to make the case that it doesn’t work. In 2010 there was not any organized opposition to renewal of Measure J with Measure R. I am hopeful that next time will be different. Mike Harrington filing a lawsuit that cites Measure R in the complaint should be a wake up call for the community that Measure R doesn’t work as intended.

        9. wdf1

          Don Shor:

          1. They don’t.

          2. We have more old Davis residents, not fewer, if I understand the demographic trends.

          3. No place for them to live.

          I would take some issue on your third point.  Evidence for that comes from the annual DJUSD demographic report, which bases its projections on the annual births that take place for home addresses located in the DJUSD attendance area.  This comes from the county office, which issues birth certificates. That number has been steadily increasing.

          Trustees also will get this year’s set of enrollment projections, which were prepared by consultant Davis Demographics, based in Riverside. The company keeps a database that is updated annually to reflect new home construction, where current students live, births and other related data.

          According to the report, 2015-16 saw the second largest incoming kindergarten class during the past six years (572 students). An even larger class is expected in 2017 (603 students), based on births in 2012. The 10-year projections suggest that the district will see a very small, gradual uptick in enrollment, from about 8,500 students now to an anticipated 8,800 students in 2025-26. source

          But I think the choice for a family to live in Davis versus elsewhere depends in significant part on the perceived quality and stability of the school district.  If that perception changes to Davis’ disadvantage over time, then cheaper housing prices elsewhere will be the deciding factor.

        10. wdf1

          hpierce:  Well Frankly, if I die, I will probably not move away, but more likely take up permanent residence in that place NE of the intersection of E Eighth and Pole Line… perhaps Davis will become like Chicago, and I’ll still be able to vote!

          Always submit your absentee ballot the day it arrives in the mail.  Therefore, if you were to die before election day, your vote would still count, and you can die with a clear conscience that you did your duty as a citizen.

        11. Matt Williams

          Misanthrop said . . .  “Mike Harrington filing a lawsuit that cites Measure R in the complaint should be a wake up call for the community that Measure R doesn’t work as intended.”

          In my opinion there are two very interesting aspects of this lawsuit that have thus far not been discussed. 

          The first is the fact that the Measure J/R Baseline Features state “Construction of backbone infrastructure, including the central street, utility mains, and drainage improvements, may be commenced only after commencement of construction of both the connection to UC Davis and the reconfiguration of the Richards Boulevard interchange.”  Because of that language, it is likely that the legal process for the Harrington lawsuit will be completed long before construction of both the UPRR underpass and the Richards Interchange have commenced.  In most of Mike Harrington’s legal cases, time is his ally. It was that way in the water case.  It is that way in the hotel/conference center case.  In this Nishi case, time is a non-factor with respect to the leverage.

          The second is that under the CEQA rules, any legal case needs to be filed within a very short time window after the EIR is certified (perhaps as short as 30 days).  If Staff had handled this situation proactively, they would have brought the EIR certification action to Council at least 30 days prior to the February 16th ballot decision deadline.  That way the lawsuit window would have come to an end prior to Council having to make its decision about whether to put a Measure R vote on the ballot.

    2. Don Shor

      Had enough of Measure R yet?

      Actually, I’d guess a majority of Davis voters considers that Measure R is working exactly as they intended.

      Who is this “Our View?”

      Editorial voice.

      1. Misanthrop

        Reputable news agencies either use a by-line or the title Editorial Board. David uses his own by-line  and then writes in plural never explaining who  else he is speaking for. Its bad form and confuses the reader as to who is speaking.

  4. Anon

    According to a city staff report: ““The City’s inclusionary housing ordinance exempts both stacked-flat condominiums and vertical mixed-use residential, so the Nishi proposal would not be required to provide affordable housing under current policies…”

    Furthermore, on the issue of “affordability” in a more general sense, if the units end up renting out for $2400 each, as has been suggested by those opposed to Nishi as “unaffordable”, I would argue 4 students in a two bedroom apartment means each student pays $600 each – very affordable rent for students.

    Misanthrop: “The real point is that we are now going to see litigation associated with Measure R…

    Harrington would have filed suit regardless of Measure R.  The surface water project had nothing to do with Measure R, yet he did everything he could to obstruct the project, including a lawsuit – but didn’t succeed.

    DG: “What we don’t want to see is the project bogged down in the legal process.  We feel that is an abuse of the legal system and are disappointed in Mr. Harrington for taking this route once again, when we have a political process that can address each and every concern raised in the suit.
    Finally, we urge the city not to capitulate to such tactics, but force the courts to render a decision and not settle and give up a dime of city money.  We already have a process in place here – the voters can decide and they have plenty of information to go either way.”

    AMEN!!!
     

        1. Anon

          Good grief, what do you think students are paying per month in this town for a rental?  $600 is pretty average rental cost for a shared room.  Furthermore, low income students get student aid.  Middle and upper income students have parents who help defray the cost.

          1. David Greenwald

            That is a good question, but if they rent a house and split the rent six ways how much are they paying?

      1. hpierce

        If there was a “local political narrative”, that’s as it should be…  but there are some posting here who would love to tell folk outside what their “local narrative” should be…

        1. Ron

          hpierce:  “If there was a “local political narrative”, that’s as it should be…  but there are some posting here who would love to tell folk outside what their “local narrative” should be…”

          Development/sprawl is a regional (and beyond) issue.  (Unless one views their “own” local city as an island, immune to the effects.)  In the meantime, at least Davis has a means to address it.

          Other communities will eventually make their own decisions regarding how to reign in sprawl.  And, it will become more of an issue as the housing industry recovers.

           

  5. Michael Harrington

    I don’t get it.

     

    What we know:

     

    1) Nishi was never exempted from the Affordable Housing Ordinance.

    2) Staff and the CC continually represented to themselves, and the public, that Nishi was exempt.

    3) If they applied the AHO to Nishi, the value is about $11.0 million, or about 10 acres of land transferred in fee simple to the City of Davis for affordable housing.

    4) The Nishi project basically gives away that money that lawfully should be in the trust fund or land bank for affordable housing.

    5) The CC deal with Nishi (mostly not on the record, but now acknowledged by at least one CC member) was to give them the $11.0 m break in affordable housing contributions, so Nishi could pay for the tunnel under the RR to UCD.

    6) Nishi does not conform to the AHO, meaning it does not conform to law.

    7) Measure R requires that the proposal conform to all laws, and CEQA.  (GO read the language … it is black and white.)

    8) Since Nishi clearly does not conform to law, it should not be an R project on the ballot.

    9) From the admissions I am hearing, it seems that the CC actually knew Nishi was not exempt, but they did it anyway …

     

    It is completely amazing to me that the CC, with all of that education and smartness up there, can do something like this.  There is not even a fig leaf of cover.  And it appears they may have done it deliberately?

    So let me ask all of you  readers:  how in the world can any of you voters vote for any current CC members running for re-election?

    Don’t shoot the messenger, as so many of you do, over and over.  I couldn’t have made this Nishi process up.  And if I did, no one would believe me that these “liberals” in a liberal city, lovers of affordable housing, could possibly do such a thing.

     

    And then Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis actually comes onto the blog today and says he wants to use parcel taxes for affordable housing, while still giving away $11.0 m that he is now fully aware violates the law?

    Are we supposed to trust the CC with that parcel tax money after they basically gave away our trust fund money to two very very rich local developer families?

    I settled the water case so Mayor Wolk would have a clear shot at fixing the budget and getting a revenue stream going.  He did nothing.  In fact, he voted the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Week to give away more millions to staff raises ON CONSENT CALENDAR.

    To his credit, Robb Davis voted NO, although it was quiet and should have pulled the item and raised heck.

    Now, Robb Davis has voted to take $11.0 m away from housing for poor people and give it away to the elite, entitled class in town, in violation of the Affordable Housing Ordinance, and Measure R.

    And then the CC wants us to trust them with more revenue measures?  Not a bats chance in heck.

     

    So Robb Davis and the CC have pretty much screwed up the next two years of CC budget process, with a near zero chance of getting more money.

    I am dumb-founded that they cannot get a simple thing like a parcel tax for only roads, bike paths, and city building repairs.

    And how much road and building fixing could have been done with that “stolen” $11.0 million housing money, if it was been available for other uses?

    So disappointed.

  6. Michael Harrington

    David:  I am very disappointed in your conclusion that somehow what the CC did to take that money from housing for the poor is OK, and that even though the project grossly violated Measure R language, that somehow that is OK, and “let the voters decide.”

    You are the one who over and over pushes for housing for the poor, and you criticize the CC when it busts the rules and the public trust.

    But yet you want to give Nishi and the CC a pass on this “theft” just so there is a ballot vote?  In other words, reward them for two legal violations (housing and R), give this pig a shot at the June ballot?  Meanwhile, you know that the developers are going to pour money into this campaign, with the help of the City’s 5  CC puff piece on the ballot, and the “infomercial” pamphlet that the City is going to distribute to EVERY household in Davis?  You know it’s not a fair fight, yet you condone and endorse what these people did?

     

    I don’t really want to start a fight with the guy who has an unlimited supply of publishing ink, but I am stumped as to your reasoning for the conclusion in your article:  let the voters decide.

  7. Michael Harrington

    And for all you commercial interests in town who do business with the City:  here you have the CC giving away millions and millions to two rich local families, and the City doesn’t give you all the same gifts of public money?  It’s that unfair business competition?  B and P Code Sec. 17200, et seq.

     

    I’m sure the Patel Family would love a gift of a few million from the City;  instead all they got from the CC approving that neg decl was a lawsuit.

    Trackside partners?  How do you feel, the CC giving away millions to your competitors, and not even supporting your 6 story project, let alone not giving you even a dollar in public giveaways?  (BTW, I’ve suggested 3 stories for over a year, and I am sure that is all you are going to get.)

    Oh, and I don’t want to forget Dan Ramos’ feelings here.  Is the City giving him millions for his 200 acre “growth zone” project?  Not hardly.

    I am 100% for treating everyone fairly and the same, as they bring their projects to the city.

  8. Michael Harrington

    One more bit of information:  I called County Elections last week.  Although the hour is very late, and probably nothing can be done, this mess has not-quite-gone-to-print yet.  In other words, there is a small chance the City or the Nish people could try and get an emergency request to pull Measure A for the June ballot, and Elections might do it, unless there is a black and white cutoff for rescinding these things.  Maybe it’s too late?

    If Nishi wins in June, this case will go on for a long time.  I think the public has been totally screwed by what the CC has done, and I will see it through.

    If Nishi loses … then its “brand” will be basically damaged forever, and I hope they hang up their developer hats for another 40 years.

    (Whitcomb took a chance with the 2/1 acre remote mitigation with junk land in the County, rather than the mitigation we asked for on-site, and they lost Measure X 60/40, and 11 years later that land is still looking beautiful as the Class 1 farmland it is.)

    I really hate all this, and I wish the CC would follow the law, and have a clear, public transparent process as it goes about its business.

  9. noname

    An honest question – even if Nishi is exempt from the affordable housing ordinance, was there no effort by the CC to push for at least a small number of “affordable” units?

  10. hpierce

    Ron… I’ll make this simple for you… if there was a measure that would provide that Measure R could never, ever (50 year time frame) be modified in any form, unless it was to make it more restrictive [assuming it was legal, constitutionally, but then perhaps you’d like to change that, as well], would you actively support it?  Would you support a state-wide initiative that requires every City/County to adopt/comply with the Measure R requirements? [at a minimum]

    Mean as an honest question…

     

    1. Ron

      hpierce:  These are improbable, hypothetical questions.  However, in looking at the way you frame the questions/assumptions, I would have some concern regarding complete/total inflexibility. (I also don’t think there’s any way to implement something that can “never be changed”.)

      In general, I support giving communities more of a choice regarding large development proposals (e.g., outside of city limits), instead of leaving these decisions entirely in the hands of local officials (who may be unduly influenced by development interests).  I’m not sure of the best way to accomplish this, but I suspect it will become more of a concern for many, as development continues.  Not just for this generation, but generations to come.

       

       

       

  11. Misanthrop

    Harrington said “If Nishi wins in June, this case will go on for a long time.  I think the public has been totally screwed by what the CC has done, and I will see it through.”

    Have people had enough of Measure R yet?

      1. Ron

        Don:

        I appreciate your support of Measure R, even though you generally support development more than I do.

        That’s the beauty of it. Everyone gets a say – including those who generally support development.

      2. hpierce

        Don.. if I remember correctly, you do not live in ‘Davis’… your opinion as to how Davis voters should feel/vote might be relevant … as an opinion/judgement… nothing more/nothing less… please couch your verbiage that way…

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          your opinion as to how Davis voters should feel/vote might be relevant … as an opinion/judgement… nothing more/nothing less… please couch your verbiage that way…”

          Isn’t that really all any of us have to offer when discussing opinions rather than facts ?

    1. hpierce

      No, have not had enough of Measure R (although it has significant flaws), but have had more than enough of another ‘entity’… a ‘corrupt’ entity…

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