Sierra Club Yolano Group – Davis City Council Candidate Questionnaire, Part 5

Candidates Forum on March 12/ Photo by Eunah Cho of Davis Media Access
Candidates Forum on March 12/ Photo by Eunah Cho of Davis Media Access

The Sierra Club will not be making a Davis City Council endorsement this year “since all candidates were perceived by our management committee as being equally qualified and all did very well in responding to our series of questions.”

The Sierra Club assessment of the Davis City Council candidates is as follows:

The Sierra Club Yolano Group has carefully assessed all of the answers submitted by the four Davis City Council candidates in response to our questionnaire. Although there are some minor differences of opinions between candidates and we do not agree with all candidates on all issues, we find all of the candidates are equally worthy of receiving Sierra Club endorsement for this elective office. All demonstrated a remarkable understanding of the general environmental pressures facing the City and our planet and all seemed genuinely cognizant of the necessary urgency in responding to this challenge. Indeed, in our opinion this is the most environmentally knowledgeable and committed slate of candidates to ever run for City Council in Davis. Unfortunately, Sierra Club rules prevent endorsement of more candidates than there are available open seats in an election so the Sierra Club Yolano Group must take a ‘no endorsement’ in this Council race.

This is the last of a five-part series.

17 – Recently, the City of Sacramento banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides by the City and City contractors on City premises due to the adverse impact these chemicals have on bees and on other pollinator species.

Do you support a ban on the use of neonicotinoids by the City of Davis and its contractors?

WillArnold2016Will Arnold:


Frerichs-Announce-2016-5Lucas Frerichs:

I wasn’t aware that Sacramento has banned neonicotinoids, but we should consider a similar ban, and I’m willing to work to make that happen.

Due to the ongoing drought, we have been doing a much better job as a City with replacing unused greenbelt turf and adding in drought tolerant and pollinator friendly landscaping in many sections of greenbelts throughout the City.

Lee-Brett-HSBrett Lee:

Yes.  I have been on record as supporting the elimination of these.

IMG-23Matt Williams:

I am not well enough informed about the use of neonicotinoids. .  I defer to the experts on this issue.

18 – Do you support or opposes oil trains traveling through Davis on the way to or from the Bay Are refineries or points beyond and/or do you propose limits on the size or speeds of such trains?

If you oppose these trains or believe there should be size or speed restrictions, how would you propose to limit or restrict them?

What other measure would you propose to increase safety in Davis if such trains travel through Davis?

WillArnold2016Will Arnold:

I support the amazing efforts of local activists from up-rail communities that continue to work on our behalf to ensure that our voices are heard in this important conversation. The Davis City Council’s strong actions, alongside other municipalities and SACOG, have certainly helped our local activists score some important victories for our safety.

As a Davis City Council Member, I would strongly support the actions necessary to keep our community safe from oil and coal trains travelling through our community. The railroad has a responsibility to our town to carry all of their cargo safely. And toward that end, I believe more must be done, including track upgrades and reconfiguring, enforcement of speed restrictions, safety upgrades to rail cars, and implementation of technological safety measures.

Frerichs-Announce-2016-5Lucas Frerichs:

No, I don’t support oil trains traveling through Davis. I spearheaded the efforts of the Davis City Council to have the City take an official position on this issue, just as I had done as a Member of the Sacramento Area Council of Govts (SACOG)…where I serve on the Rail Task Force. SACOG, Yolo County and Davis helped drive the public opinion in the region, and ultimately helped the Benicia Planning Commission reject the Valero expansion proposal- the same pressure is now being applied to the Benicia City Council.

Unfortunately, there is little remedy for local jurisdictions to tell the railroads (in Davis’ case, Union Pacific) what to do. We can engage in talks with UP and discuss setting slower speeds especially around the curve in downtown Davis.

Slowing down all freight trains (regardless of contents) is needed- especially through downtown Davis. Again, we need to work with UP to accomplish this.

Lee-Brett-HSBrett Lee:

I believe the size and speed of these trains should be more tightly regulated.  Unfortunately, we are not able to do this at the local level.

We have lobbied at the state level to support tighter controls.

As far as what we can control, we need to find a way to require the railways to fund the added first responder capacity required to prepare for an accident along the rail corridor in or near our town.

IMG-23Matt Williams:

This is a multi-layered question.

First, I 100% oppose oil trains travelling through Davis under the existing conditions.  Limiting their size and/or speed is insufficient to address the public safety issues.

Second, because of Federal law regarding Railroads, there is limited enforcement authority for the City of Davis.  We can speak out, as we have been doing, but our speech does not have the force of law behind it.

Third, the biggest public safety threat for Davis is the current “crossover“ track configuration of the UPRR tracks in Davis.  UPRR needs to upgrade the “crossover.”

19 – What are other environmental or climate change-related issues facing Davis and how would you propose the City address these issues?

WillArnold2016Will Arnold:

As laid out in the CAAP, I support the City completing regular sustainability audits to see where energy efficiencies and reductions to GHG emissions can be achieved. This includes our existing residential and commercial buildings, outdoor areas, and vehicle fleet.

Frerichs-Announce-2016-5Lucas Frerichs:

Climate change is occurring, so we need to focus on adaptation strategies.

I think that we also need to focus much of our collective efforts on changing the transportation sector- which is our largest share of GHG now and in the foreseeable future. Thankfully, we have an excellent transit system (Unitrans), and we can make Yolobus better- more point to point options are needed . The Capitol Corridor train is quite good, but we can improve that as well…more commuter service to/from Sac is needed.

Thankfully, I’m in a position to help with all of these, as I’m Davis’ representative to SACOG, Yolobus Board, and Vice Chair of Capitol Corridor board.

Lee-Brett-HSBrett Lee:

We need to make Davis more bike and pedestrian friendly.  We especially need to bolster our safe routes to school program so that parents feel encouraged to let their children walk or bike to school.

In addition, we need to encourage neighborhood schools and seriously take into account bikeability and walkability when we consider locations for playfields and city activities.

IMG-23Matt Williams:

Sterling Fifth Strreet Apartments needs to have no more than one parking space for every 10 beds.

20 – The Sierra Club has endorsed a phased-in $15/hr minimum wage.

Do you support a minimum wage of $15/hour in Davis and why or why not?

WillArnold2016Will Arnold:

I support a $15/hour minimum wage. I am interested in an exemption or extended lead-time for certain types of organizations, in particular nonprofit organizations and very small businesses. I plan to support the recently qualified State ballot initiative and prefer a statewide solution, though I am not opposed to the City acting alone should the State fail to do so.

Frerichs-Announce-2016-5Lucas Frerichs:

Yes. I support an increase in the minimum wage to $15/hour.

I signed on as an endorser of the SEIU/UHW statewide initiative- Fair Wage Act of 2016.

I do think that a minimum wage increase statewide is more powerful than raising it in Davis- the need exists throughout the state. Even at $15/hr, a full time employee will only make $31,200 before taxes…and that isn’t much to live on, especially in an expensive community like Davis. That’s why its imperative to continue to build additional affordable housing, as well.

I’m also heartened to hear that the Governor and Legislative have reached a tentative agreement on a legislative proposal to raise the min wage to $15, thus avoiding a ballot fight.

Lee-Brett-HSBrett Lee:

I support a $15/hr minimum wage for California.

If we do not take action at the state level, I am open to the idea at the local level but it would depend on the specifics of the proposal.

IMG-23Matt Williams:

Yes.  Such a minimum wage will contribute to the affordability of housing in Davis.

21 –  How much money have you collected overall to date and how much and from which unions, developer or real estate interests, or other entities doing business with the City of Davis?

WillArnold2016Will Arnold:

I have raised approximately $10,000 thus far from a wide variety of contributors. My family has been active in the Davis business community for three generations and it should be no surprise that a lot of my family friends are associated with local real estate, and I am as proud of their support as I am of every one of my supporters. I believe in the right of organizations and individuals, within reasonable limits and with full transparency, to participate in the political process. My campaign will be measured by who I bring to the process, not who I shut out of it.

Frerichs-Announce-2016-5Lucas Frerichs:

I’ve been fortunate to raise approx.. $15,000 – all from community members at $100 or less increments- this represents donations from approximately 300+ individuals- most of whom are Davisites. I’ve not received more than several hundred $ total from any/all real estate, developer or union interests. All my contributions are publicly available from the City Clerk’s office at Davis City Hall.

Lee-Brett-HSBrett Lee:

As of today I have raised about $6,000.  I have not received any union contributions or developer contributions.  I don’t think I have received any money from any people or entities with business before the city council.

I think I may receive a $100 from the carpenter’s union – they liked the fact that I support apprenticeship programs.

Jim Kidd may give me $100 even though I voted against his project.  He has no current issues in front of the council.

IMG-23Matt Williams:

I have a bit over $5,000 in my campaign bank account and $0 has come from unions, and $0 from other entities doing business with the City of Davis, and a total of $200 from Bill and Karmen Streng as personal/individual contributions.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. The Pugilist

    It is interesting that when the idea of $15/ hour minimum wage first came up, it was too large an ask.  Now everyone running for council accepts it and supports it.  That’s where the sugar tax and other things are headed.

    1. Barack Palin

      Only because the state went there, having Davis as a $15/hour island would’ve have been disavantagious to local businesses.  Same goes for the soda tax, the city won’t go there unless the state or many other CA cities go there first.

      1. Matt Williams

        I concur with BP.  The game changed when the issue moved from the local stage to the State stage.

        However, there is a big difference between the $15 minimum wage, which if enacted is 0% avoidable, and the soda tax, which if enacted is 100% avoidable.

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