Monday Morning Thoughts II: Solving the Underlying Housing Problem



Earlier this year, the Vanguard argued that the city of Davis faces a crisis on two fronts – one is the massive $655 million shortfall in funding for infrastructure and other needs.  The other is a rental housing crisis, manifested by a 0.2 percent vacancy rate and a rapidly expanding university population that the university will not be able to accommodate.

The community got an interesting taste of the world of renters – renters who struggle to find available rental units, are forced to pay high rent, and receive, at least from some landlords, poor service.  We heard horror stories ranging from the inability to get a returned security deposit to substandard and often dangerous housing, with landlords refusing to repair windows, electrical wiring, heating and even stoves.

While the city is moving to address some of these issues through inspection, others have quite accurately pointed out that part of the problem is that the tight market disincentivizes landlords to maintain their property – after all, they can still make the same amount without investing in the property and they know their tenants have few resources.

As Mark West put it, “The best way to deal with the imbalance of power between the landlords and their tenants is to raise the vacancy rate up to 5% or so. Landlords lose their power when tenants have realistic options.”

By the same token, we have heard stories where mini-dorms have accommodated as many as 16 tenants at a time – due to the lack of space and to unaffordability.  The result is frequent complaints about noise, nuisance, parking and partying.

This is not a problem likely to go away simply with ordinances and monitoring – in part because students need a place to live, and landlords have an incentive to find ways to get extra money.  As one landlord put it, this is a business.  Interestingly enough, he expressed surprise to the council about the lack of ordinance or regulation.

Two weeks ago, the university in their LRDP (Long Range Development Plan) modified a previous stance about on-campus housing.  Back in October, the university claimed it would not be able to accommodate all of the new student growth – projected at more than 6000 over the next decade with as many as 9000 student, faculty and staff.  They have now stated that they will accommodate 90 percent of that student growth.

That has been trumpeted as a big victory for the community – and in some respects, it is.  At the same time, we need to acknowledge its limitations.  First, as we have noted, the university has attempted to grow through the development of West Village and the densification of Orchard and Solano Parks – but those efforts have proven difficult.

Second, while this is part of the preliminary LRDP, it is still early in the process.  The LRDP planning document is not even in draft form.  If this does get approval from the Regents, it won’t be finalized until 2017 and, as noted previously, there is no timeline for building the housing or guarantee that it will get built.

In short, while welcome news, the announcement from the university does not in and of itself solve the housing crisis.

Moreover, as people have noted, the current crisis exists now at current levels of enrollment.  We need to solve the problem as of now.  Even taking on 90 percent of the new students leaves 10 percent, at least, that need to be housed off-campus.  And 6200 students leaves another 2800 faculty and staff that will not be accommodated with new housing either.

Right now, voters are two weeks away from answering the question about Nishi, but even once that is resolved, there remain critical questions.  If Nishi passes, we still need to probably accommodate another few thousand beds.  If Nishi doesn’t pass, the number increases to perhaps as high as 3000 to 5000 beds.

Peripheral housing, even in smaller projects like Nishi or Wildhorse Ranch, has proven to be politically uncertain at best and possibly impossible at worst.  Infill, as we have seen from small projects like Paso Fino, and larger projects like Trackside and Sterling and perhaps Lincoln40, are fraught with uncertainties.  The fact also remains that there are simply not a lot of large infill sites left and those that remain are likely to trigger neighborhood and potentially community backlash.

It has been pointed out that the city is operating with an old and some believe outdated General Plan – there is push for a discussion here.  A key question for that process and any other visioning process is how we can deal with the issue of student housing in our community – and hopefully figure out a way to alleviate the pressure of university growth and the pressure that student renters are putting on single-family homes and the neighborhoods.

—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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112 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts II: Solving the Underlying Housing Problem”

  1. nameless

    The community got an interesting taste of the world of renters – renters who struggle to find available rental units, are forced to pay high rent, and receive at least from some landlords poor service.  We heard horror stories ranging from the inability to get a returned security deposit to substandard and often dangerous housing, with landlords refusing to repair windows, electrical wiring, heating and even stoves.

    Renters need to know their rights.  If a place is uninhabitable (must have hot and cold running water, heat and air conditioning, must not be overrun with vermin or cockroaches, must be waterproof, must have electricity), there are remedies, e.g. don’t pay rent until landlord fixes the problem, repair and deduct the costs of repair from rent (the landlord may start eviction proceedings, but if the premises are uninhabitable and the tenant has tangible proof such as photos, the judge will order the premises to be repaired and side with the tenant).  Tenants need to understand what their right are and how to exercise them.

    Right now, voters are two weeks away from answering the question about Nishi, but even once that is resolved, there remain critical questions.  If Nishi passes, we still need to probably accommodate another few thousand beds.  If Nishi doesn’t pass, the number increases to perhaps as high as 3000 to 5000 beds.

    More student housing is a good reason to vote Yes on A, not to mention $1.4 million in tax revenue to the city, $400,000 to DJUSD, new jobs, much needed R&D space for new business, $23 million in traffic improvements to the Richards underpass area.


    1. The Pugilist

      I’m troubled by your comment that wants to put this on renters to know their rights.  You’re expecting young students, sometimes barely in their twenties to assert their rights against wealthy and experienced landlords and their attorneys.  That just doesn’t make sense.  We need to create a system that protects them.  That said, that’s only a small portion of this article, which argues one way to protect them better is to increase supply which will allow them to option of moving out of troublesome spots, whereas now they are basically trapped.

      1. nameless

        Are you kidding me?  My comment in no way should be construed to mean I am expecting young students to know their rights. I thought I made it pretty clear that they “need to know their rights”!

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          I think his point was needing to know their rights is impractical – and it’s not just knowing their rights, it’s asserting them in a seller’s market that’s the problem.

  2. The Pugilist

    I’ll put this to the No on A people – do you guys even give a crap about students and where they will live.  It’s obvious Harrington doesn’t.  Or is your only solution to put it to UC Davis to supply more housing and wash your hands?  If not, what’s your solution?

    1. Frankly

      TP – I agree with you.  But even worse are those that are No on everything…  Trackside, Sterling, MRIC… Every peripheral development project.

      Virginia Postrel wrote about these people.  The title of the book is “The Future and its Enemies: the growing conflict over creativity, enterprise and progress.”

      These are the people with the stasis worldview.  They are wired in conflict with the modern world of dynamism.  They migrated to Davis at some point because they believed it was a stasis enclave… A place where they could be more comfortable in a changing world otherwise causing them so much stress.  They see risk in change while the dynamist sees opportunity.  They feel so anxious about potential personal impacts from change that they can only deny the corresponding evidence of impacts caused by lack of change.

      I value these people as contributing to the conversation leading up to a decision.  However, in Davis they are given the keys for decisions.  Measure R is their change-preventing atom bomb.

      Measure R is the problem.


  3. HouseFlipper

    Just because yes on A people say student every time they say housing when talking about the Nishi development does not make it student housing. The, freeway adjacency, train station proximity and ready access to the downtown make this new development an ideal place for I80 corridor commuters. The higher cost of the housing makes it more likely that young professionals will live there than students. Just look at the similarities between this project and the freeway adjacent commuter apartments and Condos along I80 in Emeryville. It’s a bummer because we need an innovative project that does a better job of affordable providing student housing.

    1. Matt Williams

      HouseFlipper said . . . “Just because yes on A people say student every time they say housing when talking about the Nishi development does not make it student housing. The, freeway adjacency, train station proximity and ready access to the downtown make this new development an ideal place for I80 corridor commuters.”

      There are no silver bullet answers to a lot of the questions that swirl around Nishi.  What the demographics of the tenants of the Nishi apartments is one of those questions.

      For me, the experiences of my life inform how I look at that question.  I start with a question.  How large is the number of I-80 corridor commuters who are looking for an apartment in Davis?  Then pare that number down to a subset … an estimate of the proportion of those commuters who would want to live in Nishi as opposed to other apartment locations in Davis.  Then I ask myself, if I were one of those commuting professionals, would I want to live in the middle of a bunch of rowdy UCD students.  My experience tells me that the answer to that question is “No.”  That would be even more emphatically “no” if I had a kid or kids.  College students carousing and drinking isn’t an atmosphere I would want to put my kid into.

      The same logic applies to seniors.  What senior in his/her right mind would want to live in a fraternity environment?

      So, based on human nature factors I think the 440 apartments are going to be very close to 100% students.

      The condos will be more conducive to your I-80 commuters, but the jury is out for me on that.  My crystal ball tells me that the Davis landlord community is going to be very interested in buying the 210 condos as student rental properties.  If that happens, then I fully expect the free market dynamics will work the same way in the condos as they do in the apartments.


      1. HouseFlipper

        Matt, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate that you are taking time from your busy campaign schedule to participate in this forum and I commend you on that.

        I do however think you’re missing a key point here – if the housing is majority commuter, the commuters will not be living among a bunch of “rowdy students” (which most UCD students are not by the way). We will not know for sure what the developers intentions are until we see the marketing but as you have agreed, there are no guarantees.

        What I do know is this housing is more like the freeway adjacent developments in the bay area than it is any other development in Davis.

        As to your assumption that this will be student housing because other complexes in Davis are student housing – it is fatally flawed. That would be like saying Mace Ranch attracted the same demographics as did Village Homes. The Developers and the Yes campaign regularly hold this development up as different than any other previous development in Davis. You can’t have it both ways –  if it is different, then it is reasonable to assume it could be populated differently. Thinking that this will be just students is a classic head in the sand Davis perspective. People from outside of Davis will look at this and see new commuter housing. To Mr. Whitcombe’s credit, some very desirable commuter housing (except for the air quality and traffic of course – but bringing in people from out of town will help overcome selling that). This is certainly the best hyped project he has ever proposed (although from a historical actual good development perspective I am partial to the Sun Tree apartments for their very early adoption of solar technology).

        The project certainly has other flaws as well, but relevant to this article, I just think we need more safe, affordable, student housing, not more commuter housing.

        1. Matt Williams

          Thank you for the kind words HouseFlipper.  With all due respect, I think your majority commuter scenario has as much chance of happening as a Ted Cruz presidential nomination this year.  Why would any substantial number of people want to have a 5-day a week regimen of get up in their apartment, then on the train in Davis early in the morning, ride to the Bay Area, then work a full day, then ride back to Davis, then crash in their apartment?  The reasons they would be willing to do that would be for the schools for their children.  So the real question is whether the Nishi apartments are going to be attractive enough to young couples with children to produce over 220 “We’re going to rent there” decisions.

          College students by definition are rowdy.  Just look at Picnic Day, or Fraternity parties, or the Mrak Hall occupation or the US Bank occupation.  They think of themselves as invincible and are very understandably self centered. They will smoke pot and drink alcohol in communal settings.

          The difference between this freeway adjacent housing and the Bay Area freeway adjacent housing is that there is no adjacent University within walking distance to the Bay Area examples.  That produces a different market dynamic.  For the most part groups of UCD students have more financial wherewithal than a commuter does, especially if/when those students are part of the 5,300 who are paying full tuition because they are out-of-state or out-of country.

          Your model rests on the assumption that more than 220 commuters will decide Davis is the best location to commute from.  When I look at that assumption I’m from Missouri.

          HouseFlipper said . . . “As to your assumption that this will be student housing because other complexes in Davis are student housing – it is fatally flawed.”

          Can you point me to the place where I said this will be student housing because other complexes in Davis are student housing?   I think you are confusing me with someone else.

  4. Yes on A Fan

    Robb Davis once said something along the lines of… “all the answers are in the EIR…you just have to read it” and it was passed unanimously by the Council and supported by all candidates. Included in there, I believe, is the assumption that 85% will indeed be students, very conservative, and based on surveys of nearby complexes. In addition all the traffic modeling was included for the connection to campus and the trips on Old Davis Rd;  also included were all the air quality questions and issues (and opinions) raised by Tom Cahill.  The City’s EIR consultant summarized, that, with all this information combined, looked at holistically,  the project will serve as a model of sustainability for the region. I think SACOG and the CA Strategic Growth council agreed and actually funded portions of the study because of the tremendous capability of this project to improve air quality for the region and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This was then certified unanimously by the planning commission and the City Council.  Pick and choose items to make your argument (that is not the purpose of the EIR- the EIR balances each argument) , but the answers to all questions and comments are contained in these documents.

  5. Odin

    If housing really is the problem then why the R & D space?  Why can’t the entire development be housing (without access to Richards as I’ve described before since they’re all “supposed” to ride or bike to work or classes)?

    R & D is a total BS issue dreamt up by the Nishi developers.  You can’t tell us they didn’t think how to make Nishi as profitable for them as possible by adding high paid workers (techies) and space for money making upstarts.  There is tons of space for R & D on 2nd Street (along the tracks) and there are “for lease” signs all along the road, some places vacant for years.  Why don’t we keep the high-tech belongs, on 2nd across from the tracks where it belongs (and definitely in easy bicycling distance from UCD)?  I could think of another 4-5 commercial spaces in town that have been available for years too.

    So stop it with the housing issue.  If Nishi was indeed intended to help solve our housing shortage to serve students then the whole development should serve just housing needs while building it affordable enough for them to live there!

    1. Mark West

      We have both a housing shortage and a commercial space shortage.  Nishi partially addresses both issues but is not large enough to fully address either alone. The proposed mixed-use project is an appropriate solution that was derived following years of community input and is an example of sound planning.

        1. Mark West

          “We don’t have a commercial space shortage – in fact we have a glut of unleased commercial space.”

          Not all commercial space is equal, and much that is empty may not be appropriate for a prospective business.  In addition, much of the commercial space in town has restrictive zoning limiting the types of businesses that are allowed. As an example, when I was looking to start my business in town, there were a half dozen or so possibilities (empty buildings within our size specifications), but when I spoke with the City, only two had the proper zoning and one in a desirable location.

          When there are limited options, the landowners have the power, just as is the case of rental housing. Commercial rents in Davis are high relative to the region, and the options are limited. As for the bare ground, most of that is not ‘available’ at a reasonable price. The combined effect is that we have a shortage of commercial space that is appropriate and affordable for new businesses.

        2. CalAg

          There is no shortage of unleased commercial space. There is no shortage of buildable lots.

          Let’s start with buildable lots.  Nishi is, at best, the fourth largest opportunity site I am aware of.

          1. Panattoni – 14.8 acres
          2. University Research Park – 12.4 acres (in 4 contiguous parcels)
          3. Mace Ranch – 7.1 acres (east of DTL)
          4. Nishi – 4-6 acres (per the Baseline Project Features)

          There are numerous other smaller opportunity sites spread around the City. It’s too much work to pull together a complete list.

          If the demand was anywhere close to what is being pitched to the public, then some of these parcels would already be in play (either by the owners or a buyer). Remember, we have been getting smoke blown up our collective a****s about a huge mythical demand for tech space since 2010. If it was real, we would have seen some tangible evidence by now.

          In my opinion, the need for large parcels to support recruitment and expansion of companies like FMC is legit, but the rest of the story is complete b******t.

          I’ll post on vacant commercial space later.

        3. Frankly

          There is no shortage of unleased commercial space. There is no shortage of buildable lots.

          Dude, there is a HUGE SHORTAGE of commercial space and build-able lots.   Again, you are talking about things apparently way above your pay-grade.  You need to stop unless you want to see your hard-earned credibility as thoughtful and informed poster degrade to crud.

          You really don’t have a clue about this.

        4. Ron

          CalAg:  “Remember, we have been getting smoke blown up our collective a****s about a huge mythical demand for tech space since 2010. If it was real, we would have seen some tangible evidence by now.”

          I’d have to disagree with you, regarding this.  There is, in fact, a huge “demand” for mixed use at Nishi, because it allows the developer to bypass affordable housing requirements! 🙂 (Unless, of course, it doesn’t withstand the legal challenge regarding the city’s decision to exclude the development.)

          Also, it seems that the developer literally interpreted the term “mixed use”, since there was already some discussion regarding “mixing” residential uses within the commercial space, e.g., laundry rooms). (Mark – that’s your cue to make some outrageous statement regarding the ordinance!)

          In all seriousness, I suspect that the developer would have preferred a completely residential development, if it wasn’t subjected to affordable housing requirements. (And, if the city wasn’t involved in pushing for an “innovation center” at this site.)

        5. Frankly

          CalAg – You cannot just drive around and count signs to come up with an opinion like this.  It would be like me counting the number of cool days this month to claim that there is no global warming problem.

          First, the commercial vacancy rates in Davis are very low compared to other comparable cities.

          Much of the space available in Davis is run-down and not well-suited. Redevelopment generally costs MORE than does ground-up development… especially in this age of hyper-environmental code requirements.

          The build-able lots that are available are strange-shaped, not zoned for the correct use… or near residential residents that have proven to be more than fussy and prone to oppose almost any change.

          You are wrong here… VERY wrong.  It is not a path you should continue on.

          And it is a weird path given your agreement with me that Davis needs 1000 acres of new commercial development over the next 30-50 years.

        6. Jim Gray

          Dear CalAg… I am a commercial and investment real estate broker ..representing landlords and tenants .. primarily in the office and lab market.  I am a Davis resident and have lots of great clients in Davis. I am called upon frequently to describe and support regional and local commercial real estate facts and trends.

          The facts are that there is a real a shortage of available spaces in Davis for many kinds of businesses.  

          Here is a broad overview;  the Sacramento Region has about 88 million square feet of office properties and less than 2 million feet in Davis and Woodland combined. The Davis market has a office vacancy of less than 7% and that vacancy is declining.  In addition the Sacramento Region has about 140,620,376 square  feet of Industrial Properties.  Davis has about 582,708 feet of Industrial.  The regional industrial vacancy is a little under 10% and the Davis Industrial Vacancy is under 1%.

          Here is a link to an office report that my firm produces that you can download and read;

          Here is a link to the Industrial Market information again that is available to download and read.

          My business partner and I produce a commercial real estate newsletter twice a year focused exclusively on Davis and here is a link to our last newsletter from the first of the year.  In that newsletter we make every reasonable effort to  describe market conditions for business real estate in Davis.


          By the way business owners and managers  consider a wide variety of variables including market conditions — as well as  wide number of objective and subjective measures before determining whether to locate or expand in a particular location.

          So … CalAg, I am sure that you are knowledgeable and an expert about something.  But I am convinced that it is not commercial or business real estate and maybe not in pursuing the facts.

          I am sure that you have expressed an opinion about commercial real estate availability that is not supported by the facts.

          I’d now encourage you to read the information and then call me names and allege that I am only self serving because that will be easier for you to do than defending your position with the facts.


        7. CalAg

          Thanks Matt for injecting more facts into the discussion.

          I would drop the superfund site as unbuildable. University Research Park totals 12.4 acres, so it looks like a parcel or two may be missing.

          It will also be useful to tabulate all the commercial space that is vacant.

        8. CalAg

          “I’d now encourage you to read the information and then call me names and allege that I am only self serving because that will be easier for you to do than defending your position with the facts.” @ Jim Gray

          Wow …

          Rather than posting your bona fides, it would be more helpful in promoting a fact-based discussion if you would just post a list of all vacant office and industrial space in the City of Davis.


        9. CalAg

          “Much of the space available in Davis is run-down and not well-suited. Redevelopment generally costs MORE than does ground-up development… especially in this age of hyper-environmental code requirements.” @ Frankly

          Frankly: We’re generally in agreement on tech park development but disagree on our existing inventory. Are you arguing that we shouldn’t expect the private sector to re-use R&D space that has been vacated? What do you think should now be done with the vacant Monsanto and MBI spaces? Should small to medium size tech companies expect that we accommodate them with green field development on ag land?

          1. Don Shor

            What do you think should now be done with the vacant Monsanto and MBI spaces?

            They should tear them down and redevelop that whole stretch of Fifth Street.

        10. Jim Gray

          Dear CalAg and readers.  You asked me to provide you with a list of the Office and Industrial Properties on the Market in Davis.

          …. it would be more helpful in promoting a fact-based discussion if you would just post a list of all vacant office and industrial space in the City of Davis.

          Assuming a company with a need for 25 employees, and 5 employees for every 1,000 square feet, that would be office/flex buildings larger than 5,000 feet.  Here is a list from the commercial data base/ like a Multiple Listing Service/ Loopnet.


          The report includes pictures, and information on the properties.  There are a handful of “real choices” and many listings that are vacant and available for a “reason”. … Functional Obsolete, Sublease, Upstairs without ADA Compliance, No internet access, etc for example.

          Again the facts and the data demonstrate that we have an extreme shortage of choices.


        11. CalAg

          I obviously touched a nerve, so let me me as clear as possible.

          My position is that we have sufficient existing commercial space and in-fill opportunities throughout Davis to serve our anemic small tech company market (which includes UCD spinouts and UCD affiliated startups) that the 325,000 sq ft of Nishi “innovation space” is supposedly targeting (according to the City and the developers).

          This is relevant because of the traffic study in the EIR. It states that if the Nishi project (which includes the UCD connection) is built, the key intersection at Richards/Olive will degrade from LOS B to LOS F. The intersection (as bad as it is) is currently only rated as LOS B/C during the traffic peaks, so I shudder to think what LOS F would be like. In my opinion, although having some class A space near UCD (which startups typically can’t offer) would be a nice-to-have, it is not worth trashing the Richards corridor to get it.

          The responses to me stating my position on tech space have been pretty hostile … some coming from professionals that know better. I’ll take that as prima facia evidence that I’m right.

          “you are talking about things apparently way above your pay-grade”

          “You are wrong here… VERY wrong.  It is not a path you should continue on.”

          “I am sure that you are knowledgeable and an expert about something … maybe not in pursuing the facts.”

          “You really don’t have a clue about this.”

          “I’d now encourage you to read the information and then call me names and allege that I am only self serving because that will be easier for you to do than defending your position with the facts.”

          In response to this last inappropriate zinger from Jim Gray, here’s a quote from his Davis Market Report published in early 2016.

          We have identified 32 buildings labeled as office or flex properties containing 44 suites currently on the market “for lease” accounting for ±122,900 square feet of space. There is a growing supply of co-working, executive office suites, including Pollinate Davis, Davis Roots, and soon a maker space called Area 52 that is under development in the former Moller Building.  It is our hunch that the growth in these alternative spaces and new efforts at incubating and supporting start-ups, not to mention all of the coffee shops with internet connections, has made the demand for small office suites decline and more difficult to lease-up. There are 26 spaces offered for lease between 1,000 and 2,500 square feet.  This is the size range with the greatest supply to choose from. Of note, there are six buildings in the downtown core currently seeking office tenants with a mix of suites from ±217 to ±1,183 square feet.

          The text speaks for itself, but I’m tired of debating the issue.

        12. Ron

          CalAg:  “The text speaks for itself, but I’m tired of debating the issue.”

          Yeap – some are counting on wearing opponents down (via insults, or by making ludicrous arguments), regardless of facts.  Some may have a direct or indirect financial interest in doing so.

          I’d like to thank you for your research, and for the logical arguments you make.  Overall, you make these points better than most on the Vanguard, and frequently bring up issues that others have not considered.  Please continue to do so.

          I also question the market demand for the commercial space at Nishi, and agree that it’s probably not worth trashing the primary entry point to the city, regardless.

    2. The Pugilist

      You guys have been arguing we have enough R&D space because you see some listing – how much R&D space do we have in Davis?  How many locations?  How much square feet?  How suitable is the space?  Time to stop arguing by anecdote.

      1. Odin

        As I stated in another thread.  Drive down 2nd Street near the tracks.  Count how many for lease signs and see all the empty lots.  Right at the front of the center, where the Yes campaign has their office, there is a sign that has been there for years advertising space for R&D.

        IMO 2nd Streed is where we should put our high tech startups and industries.  There is no better place in town.  I’d much rather see the developer pay for the clean-up of the superfund site to get zoning approval, rather than place it at Nishi.  Plus, 2nd street isn’t but a ten minute ride to campus by bike for those working with UCD.

    3. Adam Smith

      Odin –

      If the entire development was housing, then it would be financial drain on Davis, and would give the NO on A crowd something else to sell against the project.

      What do you mean the impact on Olive residents wasn’t mitigated?   What are the impacts you wish to see mitigated?


      1. Odin

        The financial impact of gentrifying a part of town without considering the cost of living increases for those who can’t afford it.  If they went into this without thinking it would impact how developers eye the rest of Olive (Come on here, let’s not play dumb.  Developers have been eyeballing the area since they see a cash cow if Nishi is developed and Richards is altered to meet their needs) then they made a major oversight.  But I doubt that because, as we are seeing all over the country, those who have money don’t really care what those without it think.

        1. DavisforNishiGateway

          Nishi is really not connected to what happens to residents living in West Olive Drive. It invests millions to improve Richards and make the intersection at Olive Drive safer–especially for pedestrians and bicyclists who currently have to negotiate with traffic headed on and off of 80. Nishi creates a barrier separated bicycle and pedestrian path that traverses 80. Nishi will not displace any residents, but it will create more housing that can help reduce the housing pressure you are worried about. The cost of living increases you mention would, if anything, be helped by Nishi.

        2. hpierce

          Davis4Nishi… I may be wrong, but sm pretty sure the only “residents” of West Olive are those ‘residing’ at the existing hotel, or the ‘homeless’.. can you clarify?

          ref:  “what happens to residents living in West Olive Drive…”

  6. Yes on A Fan

    The EIR does not mention the $1.4m to City annually and $400,000 to schools and the 1500 jobs. Those numbers were complied by other City consultants and fully vetted through commissions after listening to the No on A crowd (and Yes) who attended all the meetings and all 4 consecutive City Council meetings where entire agendas were devoted to this subject.  Once again, despite their testimony the City Council unanimously approved the project for the ballot and signed the argument urging voters to vote Yes on Measure A.

    1. Odin

      Something must have gone wrong with the disseminated of information about Nishi to the general public.  I swear many didn’t learn about the Richard/Olive access being part of the project until a few months ago.

  7. Yes on A Fan

    Odin, the maps have not changed in years. In 2014 – 3 alternatives were revealed after a year of land planning- all had the access as shown to both campus and Olive Drive.  It was also studied in the EIR that way. I think you are overestimating the impact- but I respect your opinion. This has been a clear and transparent process. In fact West Olive drive businesses and tenants and property owners met first in 2013 at one of the very first stakeholder meetings.

    1. Odin

      Olive extends much further than the east end, and we residents weren’t notified of any meetings on Nishi.  Maybe property owners were, but renters were left out of the equation, and most likely on purpose.

  8. The Pugilist

    Here’s my problem with all of this.  Some here are talking about yes on Aers as though it were a foregone conclusion that some of us would support this project.  I can tell you, I have not supported the other Measure J projects – Covell or WHR.  I am concerned about our housing and budgetary needs.  However, I was still persuadable.  But what has lost me here is the over-the-top rhetoric by the no side.   It’s unsupportable and gross hyperbole – we don’t need jobs, this is the worst project project, student ghetto, destruction of the south Davis entrance, gentrification, etc.  Sorry you lost me and any reasonable person reading these pages.

    1. HouseFlipper

      Fumy, what first lost me was the yes on A Astro turfing by Spafford & Lincoln. It really deserves a full investigation and it seems like my post yesterday is being ignored. I have looked into this company and their staff and associates. It is pretty interesting information which would beg the question of the Vanguard look into the genesis of this company and who is associated with it.
      For instance it was very surprising to me to see that former City Council member Stephen Souza is the “Vice President of Board of Directors” at Spafford and Lincoln Inc. yet he is constantly being put forward as a “citizen supporting the project”. How much is he being paid by Spafford and Lincoln to work on the Yes on Measure A campaign?

      Heeah Yoo is a “Graphic Design Intern” at Spafford and Lincoln, but is also listed on the Aggie website as a Design Director. That would seem to be a conflict of interest.

      Ryan Downer he is a “Field Organizer” with Spafford & Lincoln, also holds ASUCD positions and claims to be a writer for the Aggie.
      How many other people are being paid by Spafford and Lincoln help get Measure A passed? From what I can tell from looking at the Spafford and Lincoln videos and information available online, it is quite a few – some of them even work for members of Congress while also working at Spafford and Lincoln. Why doesn’t the Vanguard do some real investigative reporting on the Yes on Measure A campaign, and this very interesting PR firm behind it?

      1. Odin

        You forgot to mention Daniel Parrella, the name we find at the bottom of Yes campaign letters. He advertises himself as a “Living in Davis my entire life” without mentioning the fact he is a realtor for Carlille Properties and is sure to benefit from the project.

      2. HouseFlipper

        It seems like there are some very real conflicts of interest here. When a former council member might be pedaling influence for profit, and not a single local news source mentions they have a financial interest in the project something is very wrong.

        Your move Vangaurd – do a real investigative story on Astro turfing and influence pedaling by S&L.

        People who have a direct financial interest in this project benefit very directly. If (big if) measure A passes, the greatest benefit for the city of Davis is it demonstrates that Measure J/R elections  are not insurmountable obstructions and should be kept in place in perpetuity or even strengthened to protect the city from run away development.

  9. Misanthrop

    “I’ll put this to the No on A people – do you guys even give a crap about students and where they will live.”

    Of course they care. They want them isolated away from the community and where they can’t vote in city elections or on Measure R votes. They want them to live in the existing old worn out and overpriced housing stock of Davis that hasn’t kept up with demand growth at UCD for a generation that many of them own.  Finally they want them to live in Woodland and commute in so they can feel carbon superior by keeping Davis bike able. 

    What they don’t want is them to live on sacred tomato or alfalfa land.


  10. Eileen Samitz


    Well here we go again with another one of your pro-Nishi articles. So much for the Vanguard’s “objectivity”.  But what you continue to neglect to mention, is how our community winds up paying for the City services and infrastructure and enduring the many impacts of Nishi, if it were to move forward. And now it would potentially be impacts from even double the residents per your article. Yet, due to air quality issues as defined by Dr. Cahill, there should be no housing at Nishi, and student housing should be on-campus instead. It is disappointing to see you trying to diminish the good news about the UCD LRDP responding to our citizen-based efforts for the last eight months, clarifying to UCD the need for UCD to increase the amount of on-campus housing. This lack of this on-campus housing is the fundamental problem for any shortage of rental housing for the UCD students and our community.

    However, I am sure you will come up with more of these pro-Nishi arguments to promote Nishi on a daily basis. So much for the Vanguard “objective” articles by you. By the way, it is interesting that the placement of  “Yes on Measure A” campaign “banner” ad on the very top of the Vanguard daily. To many readers it would certainly seem to imply that the Vanguard is officially endorsing Nishi. Also, has the “Yes in Measure A” campaign donated any money for the Vanguard’s fundraising efforts?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      A. I don’t understand why you believe this is a pro-Nishi article. I simply laid out the housing scenario, provided a contingency if Nishi passes or fails.
      B. The reason that the Nishi ad is at the top is they purchased the ad space.
      C. Nishi has not made any donation other than the ads it has purchased.

    2. Rob White


      I realize that it is easy to be upset when the Vanguard lays out a logical, researched piece that goes against your own personal opinion… and it is even easier to then say David (and by proxy his editorial board) don’t provide an objective forum. The whole point of the Vanguard is to provide a place for many voices to discuss (and it appears even argue) for their ideas and views.

      But since you are a very well-educated individual who obviously cares deeply about Davis, I would ask that you please stop complaining about each and every person that doesn’t agree with you on this project. There are no bogey men hiding under the proverbial bed. Just a lot of well-respected and well-educated community leaders and citizens that have endorsed this project (and by a lot, I mean over 1,000 local, sustainability-minded individuals who have gone on record)! They just simply don’t agree with you, and are doing what they think is right for the betterment of the Davis community.

      So if you want to argue the merits of the project, please do so. But trying to accuse people of double-dealing or not being objective means there must be no more facts for the opposition to banter about… In which case, I say YES ON A!

      1. Ron

        Rob White, to Eileen:
        “I realize that it is easy to be upset when the Vanguard lays out a logical, researched piece that goes against your own personal opinion… and it is even easier to then say David (and by proxy his editorial board) don’t provide an objective forum.”

        For what it’s worth, I’m not upset by David’s article.  But, it’s not objective.  Using terminology such as “crisis”, and concluding “if Nishi doesn’t pass, Davis must add “3000 to 5000 beds” is not a fact-based statement.  It’s an argument – nothing more, nothing less.  But, it seems to demonstrate David’s support for the development.

        I can tell you that Eileen is still working hard to encourage the University to build even more housing for students.


  11. Eileen Samitz


    Actually the “No on Nishi” folks do give a crap about the students. That’s why we are objecting to them potentially being subjected to living on the Nishi site which would expose them to hazardous air quality. It is also why some of us have been demanding more on-campus housing for the last eight months, which resulted in a response from UCD in a positive way with the recent LRDP update announcement that UCD will be providing more on-campus housing.

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen, what makes the recent LRDP announcement any different from the 25% MOU commitment or the 38% UC Housing Task Force commitment?

      I really want them to make good on their commitment, but their track record does not inspire confidence.

      1. Mark West

        The University has proposed that it will make a promise (The promise isn’t even in ‘draft’ form yet) to increase on-campus housing to meet the needs of 90% of the expected increased enrollment.  If they were to somehow open all of that new housing before the students arrive, that means that there will still be 10% of those new students added to the number already here fighting for the limited existing rental stock.  That means that if the University actually follows through with their promise (oh, I’m sure they will, this time) the unmet demand for rental housing in town will be greater than it is now.

    2. Rob White

      An LRDP that makes a Nishi connection quite clear. And which also calls for redevelopment of the Solano Park site, for student housing… which should be noted by the opposition would also sit in this supposed ‘toxic air’ bowl, next to rail and freeway pollutants… and if you are claiming to have worked with UC Davis on this plan, didn’t you then help doom these same students to the conditions you are claiming now will be injurious at Nishi? I don’t think you can have your cake and eat it on this one… YES ON A!

  12. Yes on A Fan

    This is precious.  ASUCD has unanimously endorsed the project but hey, mother knows best. “put them on campus” like at Solano Park, a mere stones throw away from Nishi where the particulates magically disappear. Neighborhoods faced with increased mini-dorms are supporting the project.  A large percentage of No signs are on properties of unsuspecting tenants who have been told by their landlords (see yesterday’s news) they can not have Yes signs. City is in the midst of a renters rights ordinance to combat this behavior.  The business and finance commission states that the project will bring $1.4 million annually to the City after covering any service costs. Eileen, you have advocated for 100% R & D on the property but have complained about traffic on the current proposal; 100% R & D triples the traffic. Of course you would support nothing. The Davis Enterprise and the Vanguard have questioned the honesty of your campaign; as well as many others.

    1. Odin

      You exemplify everything wrong with the Nishi Development with talk like this.  How the heck do you know why renters are putting up No signs?  Now I see Yes folks nailing signs onto trees.  Don’t they have any idea that doing so harms those trees?    It just shows their lack of respect for the environment and others.

      And as for the honesty of the No campaign, if anything history has ever shown us is that greed motivates people to lie.  No one in the No campaign has anything to gain financially from this development, yet most of the names associated with the Yes campaign do, so stop it with your bs.

      1. Adam Smith

        Michael Harrington, the ringleader of the No on A campaign is  a downtown Davis landlord and surely stands to benefit from higher rents for his units  if Measure A fails.  In fact  we can thank the “No on Everything” group (in part)  for the lack of adequate housing and apartments which makes it so expensive to live here in Davis.

        1. Adam Smith

          I didn’t mean you necessarily (only you know if you are pro anything with respect to development), but the leaders of the No on Nishi campaign are generally No on Everything.    In some reasonable part, you can thank them for your high cost of living in Davis.

      2. Yes on A Fan

        Odin, this comment intrigued me so I did some checking around. Apparently the only spot where a sign is attached to a tree is at 7th and G street where they were being vandalized on a nightly basis. They were put in the tree to be out of reach. 7th and G is a tough spot for Yes on A lawn sign apparently.  Any ideas why?

      3. hpierce

        You bring up an interesting point…. if someone feels they have something to “lose” (high or higher and higher rents), that means they have nothing to “gain”?

  13. Eileen Samitz


    What makes it different is the UCD has been in the “spotlight” for a number if reasons lately and it since the State legislators are writing legislation to make sure UC starts responding to concerns by citizens of California, there is a lot more motivation for UCD to “step up”now. This includes the more than hundred letters that our citizens group to UC and UCD’s administration, our state legislators and our City Staff and City Council over the last eight months. And not to worry. We will continue to follow this issue to make sure that UCD follows through.

    I am sorry to say that you have been “sand in the gears” of this effort and continue to be so I see.

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen, I have been the opposite of “sand in the gears”  of your effort.  In fact I have exhorted you many times both publicly and in private e-mails (most recently in December) to step up and assume the leadership role in your effort.  You are the lynch pin. You are the beating heart.  You are the life blood. It will succeed or fail based on how committed and energetic you are in pursuing your goal.

      You have chosen to follow the path of passion.  I have almost always chosen the path of dispassion.  If that desire on my part to ask questions first rather than shoot first and ask questions later is “sand in the gears” from your perspective, then I will have to accept that label.  I don’t think of it as sand, but rather as due diligence.   I don’t think I am right in that approach, because deifferent people approach problem solving in different ways. I’m simply me, being me.

  14. Yes on A Fan

    By the way, we fully support your sincere efforts to have more campus housing and thanks for your advocacy for students in that regard. The fact remains if campus built all those units for 6000 students on Russell Blvd. and in West Davis , and next to the Nishi property (where additional units are now planned)  it would only account for 40% of the students overall and does not count staff- 2500 additional?  If they have plans to grow to 39,000 students, 60% = 23,400 students living off campus- and many students prefer living near, but off, campus. It does nothing to move the vacancy rate beyond zero.

      1. Frankly

        You should be ashamed.

        70% of high school grads are going on to get a 4-year degree.

        in 1980 it was about 15%.

        Where the hell are they supposed to go if you ____________ won’t let them have a place to live?

        Really, you are a teacher?

        [moderator] No more personal attacks, please.

      2. Adam Smith

        Odin –

        This is incredible.  For those of us who have kids that hope to get into a  UC at some point, I find this attitude to be very disheartening, especially from a public school teacher.

        1. hpierce

          Makes sense to me… Odin probably belongs to a “union” by choice, or not…

          The ‘union’ will likely play this up as a reason/argument to give teachers a 50% salary/benefit increase in the next 3 years…

  15. Eileen Samitz

    Yes on A Fan,

    Since you seem to be quite motivated on the “Yes on Nishi” efforts, I would like to understand more about whom I am responding to, particularly with your false accusations.

    1) Since you seem to be stepping-up your tone and accusations, you know my name, so what is your name?

    2)  Are you a member of the “Yes on Measure A” campaign”?

    3)  Since this has been brought up several times on this blog and is now of interest to me as well, are you working for the Spafford and Lincoln PR firm running the “Yes on Measure A” campaign?

    4)  Since this was also mentioned, are you also working or have you worked for any other state legislators, particularly any local legislators?

    Also, until Dr. Cahill’s information came forward during this Nishi process, I had no knowledge about the air quality issues so this is a new concern, but I have always had concerns about access and traffic regarding Nishi.

    Regarding the honesty issue, this is where you really overreach, and it is very clear to many that it is the “Yes on Measure A” campaign has made so many untrue claims and misleading statements just to try to get this project approved. One obvious issue is, why was it rushed to the ballot when it has so many unresolved issues?









    1. Rob White


      As you know full well, this project was anything but rushed to the ballot. It has been in the discussion stages between the project proponents, the city, the county and the university for over 8 years. I was even present at several community outreach meetings, which occurred back in 2014 and early 2015, of which very few people participated. In fact, you were one of only a handful of people that attended.

      The project has been heard at Council for updates several times over the last few years, going back at least as far back as spring of 2013. And the Nishi team have had a website up and outreach in place for at least 15-18 months. They have been asking for input all along the process.

      This project is anything but rushed. But the opposition is now in a hurry to kill off yet another chance for Davis and the university to have just a little bit of the opportunity it has earned. Having R&D space, student housing and tech worker living options in very close proximity to the campus are exactly what a knowledge-based community like Davis deserves.

      And to answer an earlier question you raised in another post, I would gladly live here… it’s not that different from where I live now, except that instead of Old Sac and Raley Field within walking distance, I would have the lovely opportunity to shop and eat in downtown Davis and go to events and forums at the university! I say bring it on… YES ON A!

  16. Eileen Samitz


    For months you have been saying, repeatedly, that UCD was not going to do anything regarding on-campus housing. Thanks to our citizens group’s efforts including public testimony, meetings, and more than a hundred letters sent to UC and UCD administrators, legislators, and City Council and City Staff, we have had this very positive response. So now that you were completely wrong on this, you seem to be trying hard to diminish the importance of this progress we have made. So please….

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen, they haven’t “done” anything as yet.  They haven’t even gotten as far as their commitment in the 25% MOU with the City, or as far as their commitment in the 2002 UC Housing Task Force.  I am very heartened by the recent discussions, but the road is long.  As I said to you back in December this is an effort that is Measure X-6.  Keep up the good work.  Your passion is powerful.

      2015/12/30 at 6:37 am … Matt Williams … In reply to Eileen Samitz.
      Eileen, the task you are advocating for (causing UCD to change both its housing pricing policy and its plan for building housing) is, in my opinion, as large a task as combining half a dozen Measure X campaigns.

      My questions to you are not inquisition, but rather looking to you as the most visible leader of this Measure X-6 campaign to lay out your game plan for  this campaign.  There is an immense amount of work to be done between now and September 2019.

      Why September 2019?
      The answer to that question starts with an acknowledgement that from a factual perspective you and I see the student housing issue the same way.  The difference that exists between our respective interpretation of those facts is pretty straight forward.  Your position is driven by the long term impacts of those facts, while I am looking more at the near term impact of those facts.  If I had confidence that UCD’s housing policy position could be turned in the next 9 months, it would still be over 3 years before any additional on-campus housing came on line to actually house students . . . September 2019. That date is also important, because I can’t see any additional apartments being added to the City any sooner than September 2019 either.  So September 2019 is where the impacts of a Measure X-6 campaign and a build more student housing initiative, have the potential to diverge.

      If the Measure X-6 campaign is still waging war with UCD at that time, then the student demand for housing will still be rising, but the supply of student housing will not be rising, and as a result the upward pressure on rental housing prices (driving single family renters out of Davis and replacing them with groups of students who have a greater ability to pay the higher rents), and the increased pressure for conversion of Single Family Residences into Mini-Dorms.  Those are the near term impacts that concern me greatly.

      So, as the visible leader of Measure X-6, do you see any way that UCD’s housing position can be changed during calendar year 2016?  If so, there are lots of people in Davis who are waiting to hear your plan.

  17. Eileen Samitz

    Students want affordable housing more than anything else and would live on-campus if they had the opportunity, particularly since it would be more sustainable and eliminate the need to commute. There is a endless waiting list for the on-campus domes.

    1. DavisforNishiGateway

      The student housing at Nishi will be comparably priced with the university housing and will be slightly larger on average. What’s more, one of the project’s best benefits is that students won’t need to commute because they can easily bike or walk to campus or downtown. Nishi helps alleviate the waiting list you mention by providing an excellent alternative.

      1. Eileen Samitz

        Thanks for this canned answer DavisforNishiGateway (or is it Yes on A Fan). If you are not the same person, maybe you are roommates, or related, or pen pals. Or maybe this is a changing of the shift today at the “Yes on Measure A” campaign.

  18. Yes on A Fan

    Yes on A Fan is a fan of Yes on A and supports Yes on A as an individual, so yes, I guess, I am on the yes on A campaign but no on 3 and 4 whatever you are talking about there.   The honesty reference was just a reminder to readers of respected 3rd parties who have written on the subject.

  19. Eileen Samitz

    Yes on A Fan,

    So since you were the one brought up the issue of honesty:

    1) What about question #1?

    2) Are you in any way associated with Spafford and Lincoln?

    3) Are you in any way associated with any legislators office?

    4) Are you being compensated in any way for your advocacy for the “Yes on Measure A” efforts?

    Of course, honesty, which I value, and which you seem to indicate that you value is important here.

    1. Yes on A Fan

      I have already answered your questions.  Are you related to CalAg, maybe just share a room upstairs, or just pen pals? You complement each other nicely, and often will spark a conversation together when no one else will bite.

  20. Eileen Samitz


    It is clear that your passion is endless on trying to make the case for Nishi, and resisting solutions in progress. What about your passion about how Nishi was put on the ballot prematurely? I am sure you can explain away how this project was not ready for a vote, yet you support it. Also, Nishi, if approved, would not have any housing for a minimum of at least 4-6 years out as well, maybe never if all of the other unresolved issues such as a County – City tax sharing agreement and access under the railroad tracks are not worked out.

    It is pretty disappointing that you keep on rejecting a good solution for more on-campus housing that is in progress. Since you are so resistant, it is unfortunate that you are running for City Council with all of this negativity toward UCD creating on-campus housing, which would be good for the UCD students and good for our community.

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen, I don’t reject the good solution for more on-campus housing.  I have said that very clearly in the past:

       2016/01/16 at 1:06 pm

      So how is the combination of UCD and the City of Davis going to deal with the increased housing demand that will come with those increases?

      For me, Plan A is for UCD to modify the LRDP to add a minimum of 600 incremental beds per year to the on-campus housing stock … ideally more than 600 per year.

      Plan B is to get UCD to not add the incremental students they currently plan to add each year between now and 2030.

      Plan C is to reluctantly recognize that (and do nothing about) the fact that UCD students have a fiscal advantage when competing for the current existing supply of rental units in the City of Davis, and as a result will be able to outbid the existing single family renters (mostly in the 25-54 year-old age bracket).  Because of that competitive disparity, the City of Davis will continue to see the shrinkage of both the number of 25-54 year-olds by 500-1000 people per year and the number of DJUSD age children by 250-750 children per year.  In addition we will see an acceleration of the conversion of neighborhood single family residences into mini-dorms of UCD students. Plan C does not increase the housing.  Plan C accepts the continuation (and likely acceleration) of the negative impacts of the well established demographic change trends that have occurred in Davis over the past 15 years.

      Plan D is to add the Nishi student housing, and in the process stem the shrinkage in the number of DJUSD kids and their parents . . . and reduce the number of conversions of neighborhood single family residences into mini-dorms.

      Plan E is a combination of Plan A, Plan B and Plan D.

      In all ordered lists A comes before C, so I’m also very clearly stating my opinion that in that ordered list Plan A is preferable to all three of the Plans that come after it.  Similarly, I’m also very clearly stating my opinion that while Plan B is less desirable than Plan A, it is at the same time preferable to the two Plans that come after it.

      I’m not discounting Plan A when I speculate on its likelihood of succeeding.  I’m simply sharing an observation based on the historical UCD actions to date.

  21. Eileen Samitz

    Yes on A Fan,

    Looks like you don’t want to answer my more specific questions, so that says a lot.

    On your questions, what I can tell you is that I don’t know who Cal Ag is, but I do appreciate that whomever they are, that they are on the same side of the issue as I am. Since I am not often around to post on the Vanguard, I have seen plenty of times when Cal Ag has posted and has articulate arguments that I wish I had thought of, or new information that is helpful for all to know.

    So nice try, but I welcome anyone posting who is also tuned into the many problems Nishi would bring and Cal Ag is not the only one by any means.

    Meanwhile, I just wanted to point out that you have avoided answering all of the questions that I last posted, particularly when I qualified them with the terms “any association” or “any compensation”.



      1. Eileen Samitz


        I find your comment hard to understand, since the attack was made on me to begin with and the No on Nishi campaign. So please do not expect me to not respond to those kind of accusations and attacks.

  22. Frankly

    No on A arguments:

    – Will cause gridlock – LIE

    we already have gridlock, the changes to the Richards intersection and overpass will stignifiantly improve the traffic situation including biker and pedestrian safety.

    – Will cause cancer risk from auto particulate matter from I-80 – LIE

    Existing residents at Olive Drive and Solano Park are as near to I-80 as will be the residents of Nishi, yet there were no complaints about the health risks for these people.

    Note that this is all they really have as arguments… two big lies.

    Yes on A arguments

    – We need improvements at the Richards crossing and overpass and the only we we can get it / afford it is by developing the area and requiring the developer to pay for it.  – TRUE

    – We need the housing – TRUE

    – We need more good jobs in the city – TRUE

    –  We need more tech-business space for UCD technology transfer – TRUE

    –  We need more tax revenue to the city and Nishi will provide it – TRUE

    Vote No, and join the liars. Vote Yes if you tend to value the truth.

    1. Odin

      Hi folks, this is the last time I post on here.  This is all a waste of time.  Numerous people trying to convince numerous people to change their minds, a number so insignificant it can’t possibly influence the election, has just become a major waste of time.  I’m not leaving because I have no argument.  I’m leaving because it has become one.  Bye, enjoy pissing each other off!!!

      1. Ron

        Bye, Odin.  Enjoyed reading your posts, and you brought up some things I hadn’t thought of. (For example, those large cork oak trees on Olive.)

        But, you’re right.  I’m thinking this is mostly a waste of time, as well.  (Especially this close to the election.) Mostly just increases animosity, towards each other. (Something about online posting seems to bring out the worst in everyone.)

      2. The Pugilist

        Actually I think a good idea Odin – you seem too emotionally vested to make rational argument.  I’m appalled at some of the things you’ve said given your professional discipline.

        1. Ron

          The Pugilist:  “Actually I think a good idea Odin – you seem too emotionally vested to make rational argument.  I’m appalled at some of the things you’ve said given your professional discipline.”

          I’d agree that Odin was emotionally vested (apparently due to the direct threat to his/her home – facilitated by the Nishi proposal), but I’d disagree regarding the rationality of most of his/her comments.

          I would like to see some “kinder” comments from everyone, overall. Too much character assassination.

          At this point, I don’t think that any comments will have much influence regarding the outcome of the election.

        2. The Pugilist

          That’s also the nature of two weeks out. Like I said earlier – I was a persuadable. I feel like there’s a lot of misplaced anger.

        3. Odin

          Okay, just one last time to shut you pompous sob’s up.  The overwhelming majority of the kids I teach can’t afford to go to college.  I do it because it means more to them to have me give them hope, than teaching in a town full of over-bearing parents.  Suck on that.

        4. Davis Progressive

          I don’t think you understand… I spent most of my career defending indigent defendants.  David Greenwald who runs the site, has adopted three under-privileged kids while himself living in affordable housing.  Perhaps if you took some time to get to know people rather than casting aspersions, you might recognize that we aren’t all that different.

        5. South of Davis

          Odin wrote:

          > Okay, just one last time to shut you pompous sob’s up.

          > The overwhelming majority of the kids I teach can’t

          > afford to go to college.

          Odin may have some kids telling him that they “can’t afford college” but they are probably just blowing him off and don’t want to say they are “too lazy to go to college”.

          ALL poor kids in CA get FREE tuition at Community Colleges, CSU Schools and UC Schools (including UC Davis).

          It sounds like Odin will be happier living in a smaller town and we can only hope that now that he is no longer posting he can look for a place where he can sleep every night knowing a developer does not want his single wide gone.


        6. Eileen Samitz

          The Pugilist
          “Actually I think a good idea Odin – you seem too emotionally vested to make rational argument.  I’m appalled at some of the things you’ve said given your professional discipline.”


          Was it not you a little earlier complaining about “nasty” comments?




  23. Ron

    Regardless of the amount of commercial space available in Davis, who exactly is planning to occupy the commercial space that is planned for Nishi (if it’s approved)?  (I’m referring to the 4-6 acre parcel.) Has this been settled? If so, approximately when can we count on receiving the promised tax benefits? For that matter, how much tax benefit would that parcel provide?

    My apologies, if this has already been discussed/established.

    1. Rob White

      The good news is, we will have several years to figure it out before the infrastructure is done.

      As a guide, my company (Sierra Energy) may take some of the space. And likely some of the more than 10 to 15 companies created in and around UC Davis each year will likely want some as well. And probably a few companies that had to move other places, or are hovering in areas right around campus due to a lack of opportunity locations in close proximity… things like seed companies, biologics, ag tech, med tech, med devices, nutrition companies, engineering, advanced manufacturing, and even venture capital and investment firms… just to name a few.

      1. Ron

        Thanks, Rob.

        And – the bad news is that it hasn’t been settled, it seems. Perhaps to be expected in this situation, where the (commercial) demand is apparently not driving the proposal.

        1. Frankly

          Ron – You don’t understand this stuff.  There are companies today that want to locate here and cannot because the space is lacking.  There are outside new companies and growing companies that will want to locate  here but will not because of the lack of space.  And there is the UCD tech transfer thing.  It is really just getting started.  There are several budding UCD-hatched business successes that need space today and there will be many more going forward.

          You are correct that we are not seeking to fill some large existing known demand.  Business does not work that way.  You don’t have companies sitting back waiting until folks like you finally get it and allow the space to be developed… When they need the space, if it does not exist where they want to locate, they will select the next choice down on their list.  They cannot put their business plans on hold just to wait.

          If you look at other cities hosting other half as successful research universities they are all futher along in their tech transfer progress.

          And of all people Odin should embrace this.  Because the success of UCD and other schools in earning some returns  from the ideas born in academia and launched into private business… Well those returns can be used for scholarships and other benefits for the kids that cannot afford the price of college.

  24. Jim Gray

    Matt Williams replied to Cal Ag’s claims that we have lots of opportunities for commercial real estate by posting a chart that lists potential lots or land sites for potential development.  Here is that chart.

    Matt Williams

    Building on CalAg’s buildable lots post, here is the whole list.

    Let’s look at the list for a quick moment.  Starting from the Top.
    1. 3501 Chiles the Landowner who is the family that developed the Willow Creek Residential subdivision and Panattoni are no longer in contract.   The property has possibilities but the buyer and the seller could not agree upon timing and terms for development. Landowner plans are uncertain at this time.
    2. 4009 Faraday, was purchased by Mori Seki for the future expansion phase of their R&D and Manufacturing in Davis. It is not on the market.
    3. 4699 Alhambra is zoned for a neighborhood retail center.  It will require a General Plan amendment and rezoning to do offices or lab here.  A few plans have been proposed here but to date this site has not been able to be developed.
    4. Fronteir Fertilizer.  This is a Federal Superfund Site.  Former Agricultural Chemicals and Fertilizers were dumped and tanks washed here in open lagoons. There is active environmental remediation taking place here and maybe 30-50 years from now a brownfield development might work.  No lender will provide private funds for this site.
    5. Anderson Farm is a site under the Mace Ranch Overcrossing to the West. Jack Anderson that the former owner, occupant recently passed away. The site has uncertain zoning and infrastructure and is probably best suited for highway commercial– uses.
    6. Interland.  This is a very good developable site.  Interland owns and leases more than 300,000 feet of office and R&D spaces. The owner developer of Interland passed away and it is now operated and managed by a charitable trust.  Very unlikely that they would build any speculative buildings but might consider a Build to Suit for a credit tenant.
     7. Second Street Superfund Site … See comments in #4 Above.

    8. Fermi Place.  At the Mace Second Street Intersection near Target and across from AM/PM Gas Station more likely a highway commercial or commercial service location.

    Etc Etc.. The rest of the properties are less than 2 acres.  It would be difficult under our current zoning and planning standards to build anything larger than 20,000 feet and provide parking, set backs, landscape, and consistency with community design standards.

    Scarcity such as this makes it difficult if not impossible to recruit companies to Davis and it is even harder to assist home grown Davis firms that want or need to grow.

    The available sites identified are good ones. But they are “alternative non-solutions” to our communities real needs. My apology if I have mis-stated any facts about these properties.  I did this from memory without doing an updated property analysis.

    1. Frankly

      Thank you Jim Gray.  It is good to put the myth of commercial space abundance to rest.

      I think folks should just consider that Davis is only 10 square miles and about 72,000 in population during the UCD school year.  And also consider that we have had no signficant commercial development around Davis for decades.

      We have been a city of scarce commercial space.

      1. CalAg

        Classifying our existing inventory as functionally obsolete in order to justify building more on a green field with major traffic impacts is not a solution. We have lots of vacant space in town and very few new tech companies. That’s the fact.

        Repost –

        “Much of the space available in Davis is run-down and not well-suited. Redevelopment generally costs MORE than does ground-up development… especially in this age of hyper-environmental code requirements.” @ Frankly

        Frankly: We’re generally in agreement on tech park development but disagree on our existing inventory. Are you arguing that we shouldn’t expect the private sector to re-use R&D space that has been vacated? What do you think should now be done with the vacant Monsanto and MBI spaces? Should small to medium size tech companies expect that we accommodate them with green field development on ag land?

        1. Frankly

          CalAg – your position here still does not make any sense to me.

          If there is a need for 1000 new acres to support business development then why wouldn’t those businesses be attracted to existing inventory?

          Either there is no demand, or the properties you are referring to are not suitable for some reason or reasons.

          You seem to accept that there is a long-term demand, but not the point that these existing properties are not suitable.  This does not compute.

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