Sunday Commentary: The Nishi Silly Season Is Upon Us

Signs Signs, Everywhere Signs
Signs Signs, Everywhere Signs

Don’t mess with campaign signs – seriously, you might have better luck attacking someone’s religion in Davis than messing with their campaign sign.

First, let me get this out there – as a former social scientist, I have not seen a lot of evidence that campaign signs are meaningful or effective.  I know Davis swears by them, and people often look to see who has the most signs up and where, as indicators of success, but I haven’t seen the data to support that view, and anecdotally having been involved in some campaigns prior to my days on the Vanguard, I just think it’s a lot of fuss, a decent amount of buck, and not enough return.

Aside from the usual reports of stolen signs – by both sides – in various locations, the funniest story was the report that someone put up 23 No on Measure A signs on one of the Yes side’s campaign team member’s lawn.  Supposedly there are photos of this.

Of course, one of the No on Measure A leaders said this was preposterous.  They don’t have the signs or the manpower to be able to do that and to what end?

It seems quite possible that this was an internal prank, because as the No on Measure A person points out – to what end would they do this?  However, the campaign reports that there was a police report on this. They are taking this seriously, believing that this was a kid and his mom and sister targeted, and it shook them up.

The interesting thing about campaigns is, as the time ticks down, the rhetoric gets interesting.  Everything becomes a life and death epic struggle.  Have you ever heard of a presidential race that wasn’t the most important in our lifetime?

The Nishi project at the end of the race can’t simply be a bad project – it has to be the worst project ever created in Davis.  Or, as Michael Harrington has taken to write repeatedly, it is a couple of “local developers” who are trying “to enrichen themselves by wrecking the southern entrance to our city for up to 5-10 years of construction for a measly 660 units of non-affordable housing.”

He writes, “This project is as close to a scam as any I have seen.”

Earlier this week there was an interesting exchange. Bob Dunning made the observation that he sees a lot of “No on A” signs in front of apartment complexes, and he calls this “understandable.”  He writes, “I mean, if I owned a whole bunch of apartments or a dozen rental homes, I wouldn’t want the competition either … yep, let’s keep the vacancy rate at zero and make those UC Davis students commute to their classes from Woodland, Winters and West Sacramento … on their non-polluting bicycles, of course …”


As an aside, anyone else find it interesting that No on A has the apparent support of Jim Kidd and Dan Dowling, while Michael Harrington criticizes the city’s rental inspection program as unnecessary?

Bob Dunning then really gets under the skin of the opposition by writing, “No project is perfect, and some are downright bad, but I honestly think Nishi, despite some concerns, is one of the better ones.”

Jim Leonard, who is one of the dozen or so hardcore No on A people, responded to Bob Dunning, writing, “Bob, you are making an unsupported assertion here. Upon observation and analysis, I disagree with you. Can you provide specifics for your belief in the superiority of Nishi over the other built projects? I don’t believe you and question your judgement. Convince me.”

I thought, hey, here’s a good opportunity to the extend the debate, so I wrote Mr. Leonard and asked him, “other than Village Homes (which is too easy), name one peripheral development that you think was better than Nishi and explain why.”

After pressing him a bit, he stated that Nishi is worse than Wildhorse (which was a massive subdivision that was challenged unsuccessfully by a citizen’s initiative) and Mace Ranch (which was the subject of machinations by Frank Ramos that ultimately led to the pass-through agreement).

However, he didn’t want to submit an article on this, stating, “I’m not impressed with the way the Vanguard is going these days and don’t want to draw readership to it.”

What I find interesting is that he apparently has no problem drawing readership to the Enterprise, which endorsed Measure A.

Fine.  So I asked Michael Harrington on the record, do you believe Nishi is a worse development than Wildhorse or Mace Ranch?

He responded, “Overall, absolutely yes.  Nishi is a terrible location with lack of vehicle access and toxic air.”  He added, “And the CC completely bunged up the negotiations.”

Mr. Harrington continues, saying that “the 2-1 mitigation is a basic part of the public-private bargain for these new exterior developments, and this CC completely failed to ask, let alone demand, that the Nishi developers disclose their mitigation land.  Where it is?  What is the quality of the dirt and habitat for wildlife?”

Remember, this is the case that Nishi is worse that Wildhorse or Mace Ranch.  I wasn’t around for Mace Ranch and wasn’t involved when Wildhorse happened, but I don’t think either of them had 2 to 1 mitigation.  If I’m wrong on that, someone will certainly correct me.

He continued, “The CC intentionally has attempted to gut our Affordable Housing Ordinance to give away over $11.5 million in benefits to these rich developers.  This near-secret deal was intended to slip the money to the developers to quietly help them pay for the access to their property.  This was admitted on the DV by a CC member.  How nice if you can get free money  … the question is WHY did the CC think it was OK to give away money intended to help our poor and middle class live here?”

I seem to recall a big scandal involving affordable housing and Wildhorse, and I think it was Michael Harrington in the early days of the Vanguard who tipped me off to it, where the city had failed to keep affordable housing, affordable.  So what happened was a bunch of relatives of city staffers bought the units at affordable rates and then waited the required waiting period and then flipped them on the market for market rate, turning a huge profit.

“My theory is it’s the campaign contributions and the clubby social scene that the CC has become in their anxiety to be ‘collegial,’” Mr. Harrington concludes.  “I saw the same clubby group think that caused two disastrous sets of water rates, and initial support for a water project that was hugely too large before we forced them to downsize the project from 18 to 12 mgd.  Same group think process …. Is there a social psychologist in the house with experience analyzing why lemmings go over cliffs?”

As I reported last week, I think there are legitimate concerns about the project.  Mr. Harrington, for instance, uses rather colorful language to describe the traffic situation, but reading the EIR, they note that traffic will worsen with this project even with a connection to UC Davis.  The EIR puts forward some mitigation measures that they believe will reduce the impact to zero – but at the end of the day, that remains a subjective assessment.

I think people can reasonably argue whether the project makes traffic on a key stretch of town, Richards Boulevard, better or worse, and vote accordingly.  As someone who voted against Covell Village, that project would have been far worse.  I have a lot of problems with the Cannery, would have voted No on Wildhorse and believe that the process at Mace Ranch was abysmal.

To call for the voters to vote No on Measure A is entirely reasonable; to call it the worst project in Davis is not really defensible, in my view.

—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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152 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: The Nishi Silly Season Is Upon Us”

  1. nameless

    ““My theory is it’s the campaign contributions and the clubby social scene that the CC has become in their anxiety to be “collegial.”,” Mr. Harrington concludes.  “I saw the same clubby group think that caused two disastrous sets of water rates, and initial support for a water project that was hugely too large before we forced them to downsize the project from 18 to 12 mgd.  Same group think process …. Is there a social psychologist in the house with experience analyzing why lemmings go over cliffs?””


    “we forced them to downsize”?  LOL  And the WAC had nothing to do with it I suppose?  It is outrageous statements like these that undermine any credibility of Mr. Harrington IMO.

    1. Matt Williams

      nameless, I believe that if you check in with the members of the Council and WAC Chair Elaine Roberts Musser, you will find that the WAC was created as a direct result of the Initiative that Harrington and his supporters successfully gathered signatures for.  Once that Initiative qualified for the ballot, the Council acted and created the WAC.  The WAC did indeed do the heavy lifting, but only after it was created in the first place.


  2. The Pugilist

    I think people get tunnel vision in the heat of the moment.  Harrington is too close to this, has lost perspective.  He is missing a lot of positive things about Nishi.  I’m voting yes, but it’s a close call for me.

  3. Yes on A Fan

    Please add that the voters & citizens are also being sued by No on A which is costing us all money. Meanwhile, Yes on A is supported unanimously 5-0 by the City Council, and all council candidates, and neighborhoods concerned about mini-dorms, and is the City’s top economic development priority which will bring $1.4 million annually to the City and $400,000 to the schools.  Yes on A was planned in collaboration with the campus and was designed to meet critical needs of the City. I’m afraid the No on A’s future looks like that photo.

    1. CalAg

      If the City did a better job of processing applications, there would be no opportunity for Harrington to sue. This applies to both the Embassy Suites and the Nishi projects in their current forms.

  4. Alan Pryor

    Yes on A Fan – “…the voters & citizens are also being sued by No on A which is costing us all money.

    The voters and citizens are NOT being sued by the No on A campaign. Firstly, you can’t sue “voters and citizens” in a lawsuit of this type.Secondly, the No on Nishi campaign has nothing to do with this lawsuit although we believe the factual basis of the lawsuit is sound.

    It is actually Davis Citizens for Responsible Planning that is suing the City and Nishi Gateway with local attorneys Don Mooney and Mike Harrington acting as Plaintiff’s Co-counsel. The lawsuit alleges that CEQA process was violated in the certification of the deficient EIR and that the City violated its own Affordable Housing Ordinance.

    The lawsuit also does not “cost” the voters or citizens or even the City anything to defend as there is an standard indemnification agreement between Nishi and the City under which Nishi pays for all legal costs incurred by the City in the event it needs to defend itself in such litigation.

    Your facts on the lawsuit otherwise seem to be as confused as your facts on the Nishi project itself.

        1. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > I would use the term “Astroturf group” here

          Any idea if “Davis Citizens for Responsible Planning” have ever had even a single meeting open to people in Davis interested in “Responsible Planning” (or if there are any “members” of the group other than Mike & Don)?

        2. HouseFlipper

          Since I see this term has come up today, if there was ever an “Astroturf” group operating in Davis, it is the Spafford and Lincoln PR group running the Yes on Measure A campaign. Now that they have peaked my interest, 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?

        3. The Pugilist

          Flipper – what is you post supposed to prove?  Measure A hired a bunch of kids to run their PR.  They aren’t particularly good, but I don’t see anything hidden about it.

        4. HouseFlipper

          No they did not just hire a bunch of kids. they hired a former city council member, people connected to ASUCD, people who are running the student newspaper and people who work in a congressional office.

  5. Yes on A Fan

    Nancy Price is the plaintiff. She signed the No on A argument and you all share a booth with your lawyer. You are suing the City- the taxpayers need to pay the bill, they are the citizens and the voters.  I need to side with Robb Davis on this – he wrote an article about this and also talked about the misinformation.  Perhaps someone would share the link-please- so readers can read for themselves. We are all being sued, the City Council, our representatives, and the citizens who worked so hard on this project.

  6. Odin

    Oh, let’s just leave Olive Drive out of the equation.  That’s exactly why I’m on here.


    Nishi will just be the beginning of the end for one of the last affordable places to live in Davis.  This street is occupied by UCD workers, store clerks, hotel and restaurant workers, teachers, artists, gardeners, musicians, writers, and many other lower paying jobs; folks who serve local establishments and provide culture to downtown.  Olive is already being gentrified as we can see from:  The new hotel complex, Lincoln 40, and now the new brewery in the Ganesh building.  Developers are flocking to the area because they see great potential here (right off the highway, close to downtown) and Nishi is no exception.  Don’t believe me, then talk to folks in other gentrified areas taken over by high tech folks all over California sold on the idea that they will make their town better.


    So do we see Nishi as a big threat, YES, because it is.  Eventually it will lead to higher rents among a population of people who can’t afford it.  Here are some of the other things we will lose is Nishi is approved:


    • The Third Space Art Collective will be shut down.  Tim Ruff is buying the property so he can raze the building for the Olive extension.  It is one of the great additions to this town often overlooked by residents.  They have art shows there, concerts, fund raisers, auctions, garage sales.  Lose the Art Collective, displace many of the artists who provide culture to downtown and a great place to go for entertainment.


    • Redrum and other small businesses will be displaced.  A local establishment recognized by the Sacramento Bee as one of “10 great places to stop on your way to Tahoe”.  The city may offer a change in property to accommodate Nishi, but the owner isn’t necessarily big on the idea and may just prefer to shut down.  What’s to happen to all the other small businesses on the end of west Olive, will they think the same?


    • Richards/Olive will become a traffic nightmare.  So we now have possibly 300 additional commuters from Lincoln 40, additional cars heading to the new brewery, a new hotel complex, several thriving businesses at the intersection and they’re still telling us traffic will flow better after they “fix” it by adding Nishi?  No possible way can the wait times be shortened with all those additional cars, and people who have to wait >3 minutes for a traffic light race to make them before they change creating a very dangerous situation for those walking or on bikes.  This article even points out the nightmare caused by slow moving trucks during construction entering the intersection.


    • Our pollution will worsen.  We already accept the fact that our air quality isn’t the best here (we do because it’s affordable and because we like living in an urban forest), but add all this construction going on at the same time, more cars, more trucks and we’re talking about 5-6 years of dust and particulate matter added to the already toxic mix of diesel fumes, brake dust (from trains) and pollution from I-80.  Why should we want that to happen?  Then, even when all the construction is completed, then it’s just more and more cars, more pedestrians, more bicyclists, creating grid-lock most in north Davis won’t have to experience.


    • Great trees are being threatened.  Olive drive is home to the most majestic cork oaks you will find in the Sacramento region.  The oaks and olive trees on Olive are heritage trees.  Already stressed by the drought, how do you think the will respond from the radiant heat coming off of cars waiting for traffic at the Olive light?  On busy weekends we already see the cars back up to a quarter mile on west Olive as people think the Olive exit is a quicker route downtown than Richards.  One can’t even imagine how often this will happen during rush hour on weekdays during and once everything is built.


    • Trailer parks will be threatened as developers make huge $$ offers to convert them to more profitable ventures.  Where do you think many disabled, retired folks live in town?  Where do a large number of trailer inhabitants live?  Right here on Olive, and as land values skyrocket the property owners will be tempted by huge offers of $$.  Slatter’s Court’s owner Bob would probably fight any offers of $$, but he’s 88 and his kids may be more tempted by million dollar offers than he.  Why do you think developers want to build Sterling?  For much of the same reasons, property values around trailer parks tend to be less expensive that more “desirable” part of town and they’re out to make a quick buck by gentrifying.


    Now, we know the reality, some gentrification will happen.  We have no say in it.  But we DO have a voice on the Nishi project and believe it provide NO benefits to our community other than to raise our rents, create a traffic nightmare, and increase the toxicity of our air.  So for folks on here to state that this project will somehow benefit all of us you have it wrong.  Those of us on Olive are fighting for our lives and our livelihoods, and if we all get displaced there goes: much of downtown culture, housing for low income residents, and the town’s personality will suffer from the loss of Redrum and Third Space.  Nishi is the only project we have a voice on and leads the way for even more projects.  Developers always eyeball what other developers are doing and many of them are banking on Nishi being passed and that’s why they’re buying all the property around here.   We’re all willing to wait.  We know Richards/Olive will be fixed eventually and funding WILL be there to do it without Nishi so don’t give us this bull that Nishi is the only way to fix it!


    So do we have reasons not to support Nishi?  Damn right we don’t!  It’s a cash cow for developers who are back in town with their high paid consultants and marketing firms just like Covell Village promising what is great for our community when in fact it’s mostly just good for their pockets.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “The Third Space Art Collective will be shut down. ”

      I have been told this may not occur. I will also point out that when they rented the space, one of the main people involved, told me they knew it would be short-term and that’s one of the reasons they were able to afford the spot in the first place. Nevertheless, I am told that it may not be shut down if Nishi is approved.

      1. Odin

        Well, I’m being told it will be closed so am not willing to take the chance by voting yes.  I’d rather take my chances the other way by voting no.

    2. Napoleon Pig IV


      This is the clearest and most compelling argument I’ve read to vote No on Measure A. Thanks for taking the time to elaborate.

    3. hpierce

      Better watch out on the rental housing ordinance… those inspections might mean the razing of Slater’s Court and environs…  just saying…

    4. Frankly

      This is a very hyperbolic rant.  But suffice it to point out that it is basically a rant against change.  Change is difficult for some people.

      I feel bad for them.

      But I would suggest that they get smart about where they live if they are change averse.  Davis is not the place… Especially the downtown core and near core areas.

      And again, it is not that there are just developers pushing this on the city.  The source of the change is primarily the fact that almost 70% of California high school graduates are seeking a four-year college degree compared to 1980 when it was more like 15%.  A second contributor is the escalated cost of state corrections labor having led to reductions in contribution to state college funding… And the related need for the state colleges to seek other funding sources like those derived from technology transfer.   The third contributor is our Measure R… Preventing peripheral development that would otherwise relieve some of the pressure of the downtown core and near core areas from having to shoulder as much of the need to accommodate this growth pressure.

      Hpierce and others voting No are basically ignoring the bigger picture of the need to account for this pressure and the corresponding need to accept change.  They are allowing a more narrow and selfish focus to cloud their judgment.

      The repercussions of a failed Measure A are going to be quite damaging to the future of the city… And we will know who to blame.

      1. hpierce

        Although I’ve said repeatedly, MY ONLY strong opposition to Nishi is the motor vehicular connection to W Olive, exacerbated by those trying to sell the bogus myth that it will “relieve” traffic/delay @ Richards Olive.

        But you have eyes, but are blind to my many posts on that aspect, so to paraphrase the Bard, “rant on, McFrankly”… you keep sounding more and more like “the Donald”…

      2. Tia Will


        Change is difficult for some people.”

        On this point, we are in agreement.

        Change is especially difficult for those who wish to reinstate a largely imagined 50’s lifestyle where there was the romance of the “open road” as opposed to smog and gridlock. Where everyone knew that the United States was “exceptional” largely because we said so without ever bothering to look at the fine points of other societies that were actually having more success in areas other than wealth accumulation. Where the myth still existed that everyone who worked hard could succeed financially. Where to be white was unquestionably a privileged state. Where everyone was supposed to speak English and only English. And where, most pertinent to the issue of our economy, it was still believed that more always equated to better.

        Some are still locked in this paradigm and believe that every development is a good development even if based on a 25 year old model of “innovation parks”  rather than with a view to the future.



    5. Ron

      Some of the (threatened?) businesses on (west) Olive also provide much-needed “everyday-type” services for Davis residents (e.g, car repair, lawnmower/small tool repair, etc.).  What will happen to them, the services that they provide, and the financial contribution that they make right now toward the city?  (Unless you’d prefer that we only have “white-collar” businesses in Davis.)

      1. Frankly

        We need to build more space for those types of business.  They are already impacted by a lack of access.  It will only get worse.

        And if you don’t want to build on the periphery for those types of businesses in Davis, they can just locate to Woodland.

        1. Ron

          Matt:  “Ron, is there any reason why those businesses can’t exist on the first floor of a building that has 4 floors of residential above?”

          I don’t think this is likely.  For one thing, blue collar-type businesses (such as auto / small tool repair) often don’t mix well, with residential units above.  Also, unless these businesses own the building, it’s not likely that they’d want to (or be able to) afford the inevitable rent increase.  (This may also limit their choices to relocate elsewhere, in Davis.)

          I also don’t think it’s likely that these businesses would be able to (or want to) pay rent on newly-constructed developments/buildings, on the periphery of Davis.

          As Frankly suggested, these businesses may very well end up in Woodland (or elsewhere), taking their services, employees, and tax dollars with them).  And, that’s where Davis residents will need to go, to obtain such services.

        2. Matt Williams

          Ron, why don’t blue collar-type businesses mix well with residential units above?

          As I look at that site, I see student apartments with northside access to a bike and walking path to the existing Putah Creek bike path would seem to be very logical.  The business uses would have access on the opposite side of the structure from the residential uses … very little interaction.

          FWIW, the owner of the current buildings is Dowling Properties.

        3. Ron

          Matt:  “Ron, why don’t blue collar-type businesses mix well with residential units above?”

          Would you want to live next to an auto repair shop, even if was located as you suggest?  You don’t think there’d ultimately be some type of conflict between these vastly different uses?  (Assuming that the owner of the property would even consider this?)

          It may be possible, but it doesn’t seem likely.

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron, given the housing alternatives that exist for students here in Davis, my answer to your question would be, “Why not?”

          If I were a UCD student who had to walk down stairs into the asphalt courtyard in front of the repair bays, no.  However, if I’m that same student accessing stairs on the other side of the building after parking my bicycle in the bike rack, how does the first floor commercial usage differ from the first floor commercial usage of the Chen Building or the Rowe Building or the Lofts on E Street between 1st and 2nd?


        5. Ron

          Matt:  “. . . how does the first floor commercial usage differ from the first floor commercial usage of the Chen Building or the Rowe Building or the Lofts on E Street between 1st and 2nd?”

          I understand that there is a huge difference between the types of business that occupy the buildings that you refer to, vs. the types of blue-collar businesses that are located on Olive (e.g., auto repair, small tool repair, etc.).  The types of businesses located on Olive are not a good mix with residential uses.

          I would argue that Olive Drive is (currently) a good “out-of-the-way” place to house such businesses, which are needed by any city.  This will change, if Nishi is approved.

          It seems that motor vehicle access to Nishi (and the resulting impact on traffic) is the primary problem with Nishi.  A secondary effect is that it will also probably cause some blue collar-type businesses (which are needed by any city, and which also help support the local economy) to move to a location outside of Davis.  (I also suspect that the finance and budget committee did not fully consider this, but I could be mistaken.)


      2. South of Davis

        Ron wrote:

        > Some of the (threatened?) businesses on (west) Olive also

        > provide much-needed “everyday-type” services for Davis

        > residents (e.g, car repair, lawnmower/small tool repair, etc.).

        As less and less Davis residents drive old cars, mow their own lawns and own power tools there will be less demand for those business in town (and a higher demand in Woodland where the gardeners and handymen that drive to Davis every day live and can have their old trucks, lawn mowers and tools repaired).

        P.S. I live in Davis and drive an old car, mow my own lawn and have a lot of power tools, but out of the hundreds of (mostly well educated) people I know socially in town (through schools, kids sports etc. I can’t think of a single other person that does all three or even two of the three)…

    6. Tia Will


      I absolutely believe that Olive Drive and its current inhabitants matter. As someone who has always had an interest in affordable living ( little “a”) within our communities, I see this differently.

      1. “Nishi is no exception.”

      Actually I believe that Nishi is an exception. Precisely because to build on this site does not displace anyone. No residences will be torn down. No people living there having to find more distant housing. This is one of the major advantages that I see to this particular site. Housing here also does not directly impinge upon any immediate neighbors since there are none. No backyards being peered down into. No direct noise from delivery trucks, garbage collection, revelers.

      2. There is question about which small businesses will be “lost”. I think that both sides are attempting to spin this in their own direction with the proponents minimizing the potential for displacement and the opponents stating that more will have to move than will actually be displaced, except potentially by their own choice.

      3.”Richards Drive will become a traffic nightmare”

      Depending on when one travels this route, Richards is a traffic nightmare now. If what you most value is a few minutes of commute time, it may get worse. If what you value most is the safety to walk or bike this route, it will improve. If more people chose to get out of their cars, it would improve. This is a matter of personal values and I come down on the side of safety.

      4. “Great trees are being threatened.”

      I defer to the judgement of Don Shor on this issue. His support for Nishi was one of the factors that led to my eventual decision that the pros outweighed the cons.

      5. “Trailer parks will be threatened as developers make huge $$ offers to convert them to more profitable ventures. ” 

      I agree with this statement. However, this will occur with or without the approval of Nishi. I see it as more likely that the development of Nishi is actually more likely to fend off this prospect for a brief time interval as opposed to accelerating it. Someone more knowledgeable in city planning than I would have to weigh in on this prospect.

      6. “Why do you think developers want to build Sterling?”

      To make money, just the same as any other developer. This is their business. It is how they support themselves and their families.  They are not evil, any more than you are evil for accepting money for teaching, or I am evil for accepting money for seeing patients. Now I wish that they would present a balanced presentation of the pros and cons of their development, just as I would appreciate it if the No on Nishi folks would admit that amongst the “horrors of Nishi” there might also be some benefits. But that is not how we have chosen to structure our society of endless competition and adversarial relations.

    7. Matt Williams

      Odin said . . .  “[…] the beginning of the end for one of the last affordable places to live in Davis.  This street is occupied by UCD workers, store clerks, hotel and restaurant workers, teachers, artists, gardeners, musicians, writers, and many other lower paying jobs; folks who serve local establishments and provide culture to downtown.  Olive is already being gentrified as we can see from:  The new hotel complex, Lincoln 40, and now the new brewery in the Ganesh building.  Developers are flocking to the area because they see great potential here (right off the highway, close to downtown) […].  Don’t believe me, then talk to folks in other gentrified areas taken over by high tech folks all over California sold on the idea that they will make their town better.”

      I believe what Odin has described above is a dynamic that is going to play out regardless of whether Nishi exists as farmland or as a residential neighborhood.

    8. DavisforNishiGateway

      Odin, you have clearly presented why you want to vote no on Nishi. It seems like the it can be best described when you say, “those of us on Olive are fighting for our lives and our livelihoods, and if we all get displaced there goes: much of downtown culture, housing for low income residents, and the town’s personality will suffer from the loss of Redrum and Third Space.” I can understand your point of view. I grew up in a little town in Calaveras County where housing has become so expensive due to the influx of people moving from the Bay Area that it is tough for even doctors or lawyers to afford a decent place in town–much less the children of families who have been farming and ranching that land for generations.

      I really do understand that you and many other people on  the No side are concerned about the culture and community spirit of Davis. Whereas so many other cities and towns throughout the Central Valley have been paved over into sad shopping malls and subdivisions, Davis has largely managed to retain a high degree of community identity and vibrancy. That is something to celebrate and is worth fighting for.

      I also understand your concerns about displacing people living on Olive Drive, and the general unavailability and exorbitant price of housing in places like Davis. I know that it can feel like you are just holding on hoping you can withstand the changes that threaten to dislodge you.

      I also know that I am probably not going to change your mind [and if you have already submitted your absentee ballot, then it won’t matter if you do anyhow], however, I invite you and anyone else sympathetic to your views to chew this over for a bit and see how it sits with you.

      Like you, I am very concerned about the price and availability of housing in Davis. As someone just starting out with an adult job, it is daunting to try and find a decent place that I can afford in Davis. I think that most everyone can agree that Davis needs more housing. The university population keeps growing, as well as that of the state and region. Our housing supply has not kept pace, which is the main reason why rents are so high and rising so quickly–the available supply is insufficient. All housing, however, is not equally beneficial. Davis probably doesn’t need much more single-family subdivisions. The real scarcity is in rental housing that caters to students, young professionals without families, and retirees looking to downsize. Again, I think most everyone can agree with this, however, the devil is always in the details, isn’t it? The issue, as far as I can tell, seems to hinge as to whether Nishi is the proper site for dense compact apartments and flats, not whether or not this sort of housing is needed.

      A year and a half ago, I started looking into city planning and urban design because I wanted to educate myself as to whether I thought Nishi would be an example of good planning. I read Walkable City by Jeff Speck and Happy City by Charles Montgomery as a start to get a feel for what some of the latest ideas about city planning are floating around. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these two authors conclude that designing cities in such a way as to promote residents walking has a host of benefits (if you are interested, I highly recommend them. They are quite engaging and well-written). Davis has made it a priority to design the city such that residents can walk and bike quite feasibly to get around most places. One of the big problems that I see is that due to the constricted rental housing situation, many students, university employees, or people working in Davis have to commute from places like West Sacramento, Dixon, and Woodland (in fact, I used to rent a place in Woodland because I couldn’t afford a place in Davis). As a result, I-80 is jammed during peak commute hours, finding parking anywhere near campus can be a pain, and cities like Woodland are seeing subdivisions spring up like mushrooms after a drenching rain. Davis doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We need to find a way to build more housing in Davis that can get commuters out of their cars. Although I understand why someone in your position would be quite concerned to any changes that happen anywhere near Olive Drive, Nishi is quite remarkable in how well positioned it is for its residents to walk or bike to campus, downtown, or even to South Davis. If we build student housing at Nishi, then those student residents can bike and walk to campus and downtown instead of driving from somewhere else in Davis or from Woodland. Seniors living in the stacked flats can live a short walk away from engaging with the community and remaining connected instead of being entombed in some single-family mausoleum that requires a car to get anywhere.

      The arguments you presented are not the real reason I think you don’t support the project. For example, you mention Third Space Art Collective, but if you actually ask them, they will tell you that they are really happy about what this project means for them; specifically, it will actually let them sign longer term leases than they currently are able to, and they will be able to remain in their space. What’s more, Rocknasium, Rockband University, the Bike Depot, and a few of the other businesses have all endorsed the project. This is not a calamity for businesses on Olive Drive; it is a chance for them to have more customers located a stone’s throw away.  It is true that Redrum will need to be relocated, and I, for one, love their date milkshakes. On the other hand, I don’t think that we should forego this opportunity to create dense student and senior housing along with much-needed R&D space at the nexus of campus and downtown simply because Redrum will need to relocate–no matter how good their offerings are.

      With regards to Richards, again, I understand that you are someone who is deeply connected to the state of traffic at this interchange. Nevertheless, don’t you find the possibility of a new railroad undercrossing that can allow drivers (or pedestrians and bicyclists) going to campus to avoid the Richards tunnel intriguing? The EIR says that traffic will be mitigated to be less than significant, but at the very least, can’t you acknowledge that the new access point to campus along with the other millions of dollars Nishi will invest into fixing Richards could potentially solve a lot of the traffic issues that currently plague this particular intersection? We can’t deal with absolute certainties, but it seems to me that we should at least be willing to try something new if what we have been doing has resulted in a mess. As for safety concerns, perhaps the one thing you can be sure of when it comes to traffic at Richards is that, if Nishi passes, this intersection will become much safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike. It will allow drivers to avoid squeezing through the Richards tunnel, and creates a dedicated barrier-separated bike and pedestrian path that spans 80. This way, it eliminates the current dangerous conditions of bicyclists and pedestrians having to negotiate with cars trying to enter or exiting from 80.

      After mitigation efforts, the EIR concluded that the air quality impacts at Nishi would be less than significant. What’s more, building at Nishi means that fewer people will have to commute into Davis which is important in reducing traffic on 80. Nishi is committed to preserving all heritage trees. Again, however, I don’t think this is the real reason you are against Nishi.

      The real reason seems to be what you mention in your last argument: the displacement of people currently living on Olive Drive. I can understand why that would be so important for you. People don’t want to lose their homes. The dynamics at play are the same that mentioned earlier–a critical scarcity of housing in Davis. This is going to be a problem whether or not Nishi passes, but Nishi may help relieve some of the pressure that is keeping Davis’ housing market in an unhealthy state.

      I don’t know if any of this means anything to you, but I hope you can understand my perspective. As someone who has to keep a close watch on monthly expenses, more housing for students and seniors gives me more options for places to live in Davis. 325,000 square feet of R&D space means that people I know in Davis (heck, you can include me too) can find a job or find a better one. To me, it is a chance for Davis to continue to set an example as a community that incorporates the best ideas coming out of urban design. In my opinion, Nishi is a rather modest change that has the potential to deliver some significant benefits to Davis.

      1. CalAg

        It truly warms my heart to hear young people in Davis that are so deeply concerned about urban planning.

        Just kidding – this is more S&L astroturfing.

        1. DavisforNishiGateway

          CalAg, cynicism is most unbecoming. You know nothing about me, and yet you presume to tell me that I don’t care about urban planning. This is neither an elegant nor mature way to argue.

        2. South of Davis

          The Pugilist:

          > You’re misusing the definition of astroturfing

          I was thinking the same thing.

          Posting as “DavisSmartDevelopmentGuy” is astroturfing, posting as “DavisforNishiGateway” is NOT astroturfing (just like posting as “CaresAboutThe Emvironment” is astroturfing and posting as “ChevronPRDepartment” is NOT astroturfing”).

          P.S. CalAg should clink the link below:

      2. Odin

        My goodness.  This is gentrification, so let’s just call it what it is.  A lot of folks have money to be made off this project at the expense of many others.


        If all these folks are going to bike and ride around town then why the heck do they need an extension to Olive?  How the heck do you know the residents will be students and it will not become a bedroom community for high tech workers?  Many people would love to live in Davis that currently live in Sac.  You seriously think they won’t want to reside right next to I-80 and downtown to make an easier commute to Sac?  I trust something will eventually be done to fix the Richards/Olive exchange, I just don’t want it done at the behest of a developer when I know their true intent is to convert what they see as a dumpy part of town into one that guarantees a lot of money for all involved and displaces the residents this city should be fighting the most to keep.  My neighbor works as a custodian on campus, he’s in his late 60’s and doesn’t even have an internet connection.  Where is he supposed to go when he is displaced?  Why can’t he have a voice in this matter?  This is the wealthy displacing the poor and I plan on doing whatever I can to protect their interests since obviously no one else will.


        As far as R & D space, what a croc.  The same center the Yes campaign occupies on Olive has had a sign outside advertising R & D space for spaces that haven’t been occupied for years.  I ride down 2nd Street all I see are empty lots and “for lease” signs.  There is NO lack of R & D in town.  This is just another illusion by the Yes crowd as is the illusion that this development is somehow good for this town.

        1. South of Davis

          Odin wrote:

          > You seriously think they won’t want to reside right

          > next to I-80 and downtown to make an easier

          > commute to Sac?

          Do you really think that a lot of people that work in Sac will want to rent an expensive apartment in Davis and deal with nightmare of driving across the causeway every day (spending ~$400/month at the AAA average cost per mile).  Not a lot (if any) people will pay $1K more every month to “live in a Davis apartment” when they could have a much nicer life “living in a Midtown apartment” (and plenty of extra money to take a limo to Davis any time they wanted to visit).

        2. David Greenwald Post author

          “This is gentrification”

          Doesn’t gentrification require one group to be displaced? Definition: “the buying and renovation of houses and stores in deteriorated urban neighborhoods by upper- or middle-income families or individuals, thus improving property values but often displacing low-income families …” This is building on open land.

        3. Odin

          Gentrification come in many forms:  As you can see with the Nishi Development, many others are jumping on the “buy up cheap space” bandwagon and buying up land on Olive in anticipation that Nishi will pass.  This is evident in the hotel complex, Lincoln 40 and now the brewery.  The Nishi property itself may not displace people, but the speculation that others will profit starts the balling on the end of entire sections of towns.


          I’ve never said on here not to build Nishi.  We just don’t want it accessing Olive (which, if they say everyone will walk or bike, so shouldn’t be necessary).  It all reminds me of what happens in a rainforest when a road is built.  Before long people start buying land along it to convert it to farming and then the rainforest in the area is left fragmented and species perish.  The same could be said of all the low income folks who live on Olive.  Many of us will perish from this town if we get priced out by overzealous developers.

        4. DavisforNishiGateway

          The rental complex is going to be geared towards students. If you have the choice to live in apartments next to a bunch of students, or to rent somewhere else in Davis, I imagine that the overwhelming majority of people older than 25 are going to opt to stay away from the shenanigans that comes with living next to students. Of course, some people might decide to cope, but I don’t think it is too bold to say that this realistically won’t be a big issue.

          As for fixing Richards, I suppose that eventually something will happen there. The problem is that Davis is staring down the barrel of hundreds of millions in unfunded liabilities. Yes, the City may be able to cut back services even further and raise parcel taxes high enough to fund the necessities like Richards, but Nishi is an opportunity for the City to receive $23 million in private capital to go towards investing and improving the infrastructure around Richards. That money can free up the City to spend it on other needed areas and hopefully reduce further cuts to services or raises in parcel taxes.

          I can absolutely empathize with your concern for your neighbor’s plight. I do feel compelled to point out that Nishi is not going to displace anyone living on Olive Drive, so I don’t think your animus should be against Nishi per se. Nevertheless, I understand why you would be upset at the prospect of someone else buying up the lots in East Olive Drive and displacing the residents. This is a symptom of the unhealthy housing market that exists in Davis. Currently, there is enormous pressure to rectify the gap between the existing housing supply and the demand that is being driven by growth at UC Davis as well as population increases in the state and the region. Nishi is part of the solution to this problem. If we build more student housing, then the pressure to redevelop East Olive Drive will be reduced. Nishi will by no means eliminate the possibility of gentrification where you live, but it is a step in the right direction. At least, that is how I see it.

          The connection to Olive Drive is needed because there are going to be 1500 jobs generated by the R&D component, so there needs to be more avenues for traffic to flow. Smart growth says that vertical mixed-use projects tend to be better for cities. After the crisis starting in 2008, the City spent years discussing and planning what needed to be done moving forward. The Studio 30 Report was in many ways a culmination of the long discussions and debates, and this identified the need to create a dispersed innovation ecosystem. The report also identified Nishi as the best site for enterprise incubation due to its proximity to campus. The R&D component of Nishi isn’t an accident.

          I understand why you would feel that R&D space is not needed here in Davis, because, as you mentioned, there are examples of vacant spaces. The issue here is that Nishi is fulfilling a fundamentally different role than the empty lots and spaces with ‘for lease’ signs in the windows. It is provides space for companies who need more than say, what is available at the center where the Yes campaign is located. For example, Sierra Energy which wants to locate at Nishi is going to require more space than the singular empty lots or vacant businesses can offer. There is a need for a site that can host businesses that are a step up from a mom and pop storefront, but who don’t require as much space as somewhere like MRIC could provide. That is why the City spent years discussing and developing plans for creating sites that could allow companies looking to collaborate with the University to set up shop here in Davis instead of moving to Woodland or West Sacramento.

        5. South of Davis

          Odin wrote:

          > Well, many are buying up property at The Cannery

          > with worse access to I-80, so what’s your point?

          Lots of people with kids buy homes in the suburbs near great schools and commute to work.

          Almost no one (with or without kids) rents a super expensive apartment in the suburbs and commutes to work.

        6. South of Davis

          Odin wrote:

          > many others are jumping on the “buy up cheap space”

          > bandwagon and buying up land on Olive in anticipation

          > that Nishi will pass.

          I have talked to the people involved with the hotel, Lincoln 40 and the brewery and none of them really care if Nishi is developed any time soon.

          P.S. You must have a lot money than me if you consider $3.3 MILLION for a vacant lot next to the railroad tracks “cheap space”

    9. Rob White


      All very interesting, but speculation more than substance. Gentrification is a real problem, but this is a Davis citywide issue, not an Olive Drive issue. Don’t you ever ask yourself why people all over the city are paying 50 to 200% more for apartments and residential housing than neighbors in Woodland, West Sac, and Dixon? Simple answer (discussed on the DV ad nauseam), because housing of any significant size usually gets stopped in Davis, thereby jacking up prices. Cannery got through because it was already within the city limits. West Village had to go to the County.

      You want to stop gentrification in Davis, and along Olive Drive? The supply-demand equation is pretty straightforward, thereby leading to the obvious conclusion of building more housing – of all kinds.

      As far as your last comment of being ‘back in town’… these project proponents are not from out of town, they live here in the Davis area.

  7. hpierce

    Ironically, if A does not pass, am thinking it is NOT the No on A folk to be blamed… I’m of the opinion that the vote will be fairly close, one way or the other…

    A failure of A, I’d lay on the proponents who pushed for the June vote, rather than doing more ground-work, responding to concerns, perhaps making modifications as necessary to respond to those concerns, and making their case in time for November [and, no later than Nov ’16]… had they done so, I might have switched from a somewhat reluctant “NO”, to a supportive “YES”… we should know in ~ 3 weeks… the project, as currently described and articulated to date, was not ready for “prime time” in my view.

    1. Matt Williams

      I think that hpierce makes a good point.

      I would take his observation one step further.  I suspect that if No on Measure A prevails, there will be no revised project proposal until after the 2020 election.  The battle lines for that 2020 election will have been drawn very clearly.

      1. Napoleon Pig IV

        I agree that hpierce’s point is good. It doesn’t matter how long it took to plan or negotiate. What matter is how balanced the analysis is and how clearly and factually it is presented to voters. I never understood why June instead of November.

  8. CalAg

    “I think people can reasonably argue whether the project makes traffic on a key stretch of town, Richards Boulevard, better or worse, and vote accordingly.” @ David Greenwald

    It’s not really debatable if you look at the data.

    The project will severely degrade the traffic on Richards according to the city’s traffic study. This study is biased in favor of the project, so it understates the magnitude of the degradation. Here’s the source information again. If I knew how to post a picture of the summary table, I would.

    Repost from 5/21 –

    Traffic will get worse if the Nishi project is built – even with the connection to UCD.

    Here is a link to the Traffic Element of the DEIR:

    Look at Table 4.14-11 on page 4.14-45.

    The Richards/Olive intersection goes from LOS B to LOS F during the morning peak. It goes from LOS C to LOS E during the evening peak.

    The data under-represents the severity of the situation, but nevertheless speaks for itself.

    Just to be clear …

    Richards corridor traffic will get worse if Nishi is built.

      1. CalAg

        Richards traffic will continue to get worse if Nishi is not built … but that can be mitigated if the City uses its horde of development impact fees to make the Richards interchange improvements, correct the phasing of the lights, and implement the other improvements that have already been identified.

        If Nishi is built, the corridor will be wiped out. There is no comparison between the two alternatives.

        South Davis paid an enormous amount of development fees that were exported to other areas of town. It’s time that the City fix the primary link between South Davis and the downtown.

    1. Ron

      Adding up to 1,732 parking spaces (for Nishi alone) is not going to “improve” traffic (e.g, at Olive/Richards).  Also, plans to accommodate the increased motor vehicle access and parking (on the campus, itself) have not been established.

      CalAg was right, when he/she said that voting on Nishi at this time is putting the “cart before the horse”.

      1. DavisforNishiGateway

        Plans to accommodate the motor vehicle access and parking are part of UC Davis’ LRDP. The University has acknowledged and included Nishi in its planning. This seems less like putting the cart before the horse and more like two separate but related processes moving forward while consulting the other to make sure they are on the same page.

        1. Yes on A Fan

          The Nishi EIR did include full traffic analysis on both Old Davis Road and Richards- it studied all impacted streets and intersections. There is one improvement (mitigation) identified on campus – the roundabout West of the Mondavi which will need 1 additional lane on 25% of the roundabout. Next the campus will plug in its numbers based on its LRDP and conduct further tests based on their growth. Robb Davis, “all the answers are in the EIR, you just have to read it”… was then approved unanimously.

      1. Ron

        hperice:  “True, if a connection to Nishi includes a motor vehicle connection to W Olive.”

        Which, of course, it does.  (Just in case some readers don’t know this, already.)

      2. CalAg

        hpierce: I also would have supported the project with university-only vehicular access (posted this previously). But that ship has sailed due to the CC’s rush to put this prematurely on the ballot.

    2. Yes on A Fan

      Ho Hum,  talking about grandpa’s traffic model again of levels of service (LOS) instead of the more environmentally correct vehicles miles traveled which Nishi reduces in Davis and the region. If you want to focus on LOS it will get worse without Nishi- that’s what the EIR states.  Cars may have to wait a bit longer at the new I-80 interchange at a controlled signal to let bikes and pedestrians safe passage. Corridor improvements will also benefit South Davis. Vehicle miles travelled is the key because that is the measurement that best deals with climate change and is the strength of the Nishi project location- 80% built in bike ridership. Without it commutes, traffic, pollution, and GHG all will increase because the demand is not going away because we vote NO.

      1. Ron

        Yes on A Fan:  “Ho Hum,  talking about grandpa’s traffic model again of levels of service (LOS) instead of the more environmentally correct vehicles miles traveled which Nishi reduces in Davis and the region.”

        If you’re serious about this, how about eliminating the 1,732 parking spaces and/or motor vehicle access to Olive? (Must be a lot of “grandpas” planned for that development.)

      2. Yes on A Fan

        The reason that there is legislation proposed to replace levels of service (LOS) with vehicle miles travelled (VMT) when analyzing projects is because focusing on LOS discourages smart growth and infill projects.  Suburbia is the place for those focused on LOS- i.e. sprawl. The project has much lower parking ratio than any other project in Davis; including much lower parking ratios for students when compared with housing on campus such as West Village. I agree with smart growth and lowering parking ratios as you suggest. It can only be done in a few locations and lower parking ratios are related to fewer vehicle miles travelled.

        1. Yes on A Fan

          And the project already has 190 fewer parking spaces than studied in the EIR- and this is in the baseline project features with a goal of reducing parking further. So, LOS and VMT will both improve than outlined in the EIR- but VMT is the most important measurement for global warming issues.

        2. Ron

          Yes on A:

          Stating that you’re development is “not as bad” as it could have been (or compared to some other development with fewer access problems) is not really a very convincing argument.

          No other site has such unique (and unresolved) vehicular access problems as Nishi.

          Some are suggesting that they’d otherwise support the development, if (normal) motor vehicle access to Olive Drive (and/or 1,732 parking spaces) was not included in your proposal.

        1. Yes on A Fan

          Young and looking for opportunity for a home and job in the town I love? Yes, Spafford & Lincoln? no.  That’s all we can really ask for and I actually think Odin and I are in the same boat in that regard- but we are rowing in different directions. I don’t think rents will go lower without adding supply and I am angry that I am being told that I don’t need a job in Davis- because not everybody gets to spend their career with the University and earn a pension- which I do believe is hard earned; so I am sometimes curious why some would bash the University which provides so many benefits to our town rather than look for ways to collaborate with them. That’s why I am a fan. I guess my grandpa comment gave me away- sorry gramps.

        2. CalAg

          “sorry gramps”

          Not a gramps or a gran. Just calling you out for making a pejorative comment. You need to get a grip and check your privilege.

      3. CalAg

        VMT and LOS are abstractions.

        Just go look at the traffic backed up to the Chevron station on the south side of the freeway during one of the morning traffic jams and understand that it will be worse if the project is approved.

        1. Mark West

          Understand that it will be worse if the project is rejected, and will continue to get worse as there will be no money available to make the necessary changes.

        2. Mark West

          “Will be much worse if the project is approved”

          Nothing more than speculation on your part.  We know however from experience that the traffic has been getting worse over time and will continue to do so until we make changes to the interchange, the roadway, and the intersection.  How do you propose funding those changes given the City’s current fiscal shortfall?

        3. Matt Williams

          CalAg, to personally wrestle with the issue of northbound traffic flows on Richards I put to together the following dialogue points based on the graphic provided as part of the press release.

          — Starting with northbound traffic originating from South Davis whose destination is I-80 eastbound, those flows in the proposed configuration would appear to be less impeded than in the current configuration, because the I-80 eastbound on-ramp will no longer share the intersection with the eastbound off ramp.

          — For the relocated eastbound off ramp traffic, the number of northbound lanes on Richards will increase from two to three, which would appear to create less interaction/conflict between the one thru lane on the right side of Richards and the two left turn lanes on the left side of Richards.

          — Northbound traffic that originates from South Davis whose destination is Downtown (through the tunnel) will have an unimpeded thru-traffic lane that accesses the tunnel.  Traffic turning either left or right on Olive will have dedicated lanes for those purposes.  The resultant flows would appear to be similar to the way the thru lanes on 5th Street now operate.

          — Northbound traffic that originates from South Davis whose destination is Nishi or the UCD campus will no longer have to share a single northbound lane with the Downtown and East Olive Drive traffic, but rather will quickly segment off into the left lane on Richards, which will then expand into a two-lane protected left turn pocket as traffic approaches the Olive Drive traffic light.  No longer will northbound traffic, whose destination is a parking lot in the UCD campus have to go through the tunnel.  UCD students who are trying to get away with parking for free in the neighborhood streets around the UCD campus will continue going through the tunnel.  However, that problem can be mitigated through joint, collaborative sharing of license plate data between UCD and the City, so that parking enforcement technology can readily and rapidly identify those regulation-circumventing students

          — Northbound traffic that originates from the Richards off ramp will have two lanes on the ramp rather than the current one lane, and in addition, will not have to merge into a moving traffic stream.  The two exit ramp lanes will be accommodated by two lanes on Richards, the right one for vehicles with the Downtown tunnel as a destination and the left one with Nishi and UCD as a destination.  The left lane will quickly expand into the two lane protected left tur.

          Did I miss anything?  Those seem to be the changes that we will see in the current ad-hoc traffic environment, which has multiple points of disruptive interaction.

        4. HouseFlipper

          There is not enough money in the project dedicated to fixing the roads. They are only proposing giving 3 million towards the 11 million for the proposed olive Richards changes. I would rather do what we can without the 3 million and not have all of the people turning left across Richards to go to the new development. no contest. traffic will be better without the new development.

        5. CalAg

          Not speculation. Traffic model shows degradation of LOS from B to F if Nishi is built. The traffic jams that go all the way to Chevron (and sometimes beyond) will get worse. Same for southbound traffic jam on 1st St in the pm. The $10M currently in the roadway impact fee account is enough to do the Richards interchange/corridor improvements. The problem is not cash – its political leadership.

  9. Eileen Samitz

    Well David,

     It is pretty disappointing to see such a “hit piece” written by you, targeting the “No on Nishi” campaign. For one thing for all of the graphics being only ”No“ signage, and not one image or coverage about the “Yes” signage problems, is pretty blatant and unbalanced if the subject was about lawn sign issues.

    For instance, why not also show a photo of Whitcombe’s many (at least 14) Tandem Properties apartment complexes blanketed with “Yes” signs?  What about this article mentioning that no one has more to gain monetarily than John Whitcombe and his Nishi Gateway partners if Measure A were to pass?

    Also, covering this 23 lawns signs “prank” was not at all not at all funny to the “No on Nishi” campaign. I do not know who, or what group is responsible for this incident, but I have heard there are some unhappy former “Yes on A” workers who have quit or were fired. So perhaps this was a message from one of those former “Yes on A“ workers to that campaign?

    The additional problem for the “No on Nishi” campaign is having to figure out where all of these signs were stolen from to replace them. Not particularly funny to the “No on Nishi” side who have been working hard to provide these signs to residents who want them. As I have posted before, we have been getting many calls to replace stolen “No on Nishi” signs and now we know why 23 were stolen. As you can tell, I am not one who thinks any of this is amusing, but I can tell you also, that the folks whose signs are being stolen don’t think it’s funny either.

    So maybe you can be a little more even handed in future articles David, rather than writing articles like this which “tip your hand” on which side of the Nishi issue you are one since this one clearly was written to try to do damage to the “No on Nishi” campaign.

    1. Mark West

      “no one has more to gain monetarily than John Whitcombe and his Nishi Gateway partners if Measure A were to pass?”

      Why should they not receive the financial benefits?  They are the ones taking on the financial risk of putting the project together. Your personal animus towards the developers is not of any relevance.

      1. CalAg

        The developer is socializing the impacts on Richards and privatizing the profits. Close off Olive Drive vehicular access and the calculus changes.

        1. Yes on A Fan

          No one living or working on Nishi needs to use Olive Drive or Richards to access the property – they can conveniently use the new tunnel being built to Old Davis Road, paid for by the developer,  but through traffic can provide benefits to South Davis people travelling to downtown, as does the new transit service from campus to South Davis.

        2. Odin

          Exactly!!  We all know eventually the intersection will get fixed, but would rather not be at the behest of a developer.

          Today’s ad in the Enterprise is exactly why we know there is a lot of deception behind the Yes campaign and why many of us don’t trust it’s true intent.

          • “440 units for 1500 students”   –  BS.  By law they can’t prevent the whole thing becoming another bedroom community for folks that prefer to live in Davis, yet commute to other nearby towns.  1500 is a huge overestimate meant to sell us that it will solve our problems.

          • “More affordable than on-campus housing” – Since when?  I have a hard time believing a dorm room would cost more the a deluxe $2500 2 bedroom apartment next to start-up businesses in the newest part of town.

          • “Sustainable, bikeable, modern, a place we can proudly call home” – More BS.  Sustainable maybe by their terms, but will eventually cost the city money.  And seriously, a “place we can proudly call home”.  Who the heck is “we” since the article is read by folks already living in Davis?

          • “Mini-dorms are ruining Davis neighborhoods” – I’m sure I can find many neighborhoods in Davis NOT affected by “mini-dorms”.  Mini-dorms don’t exist because students from lower income families need housing near campus.  They exist because those students find it cheaper to rent a bedroom in a house that can hold 8 or more than a small two bedroom apartment.  Anyway, I thought we were all supposed to carry the burden of additional students, so this is a NIMBY argument no different than those of us in South Davis and Olive Drive who see it as detrimental to OUR neighborhoods.

          Sadly UCD students are being deceived.   They post a picture of students who won’t even be around if the project is completed.  Many of them are paid and easily influenced because they aren’t aware of the politics of this town and because they haven’t been exposed to the power of developers rampant on making quick $$.  I feel most sad for them.

        3. Ron

          Yes On A Fan:  “No one living or working on Nishi needs to use Olive Drive or Richards to access the property . . . “

          So, I guess there’s nothing preventing you from eliminating normal motor vehicle access to Olive Drive/Richards.  Can we count on you to do this?

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron, I was initially 100% in alignment with hpierce with respect to access to West Olive Drive.  I wanted EMT and Public Transit (buses) only.  I am no longer sure that that is indeed the best alternative.  The argument that automobiles could access the UCD campus from Richards by turning left on West Olive Drive, and then drive through Nishi, and then through the tunnel is at least worth studying.  What those volumes would be is unclear.  One possibility could be to make the Nishi/West Olive Drive access only one way, with automobiles having westbound access to Nishi from Richards, but no eastbound access from Nishi to West Olive Drive.

        5. Ron


          With all of those unknowns, it’s no wonder that you felt this vote was premature.  I’d start with a “guess” that adding 1,732 parking spaces at Nishi “might” make a difference, regarding traffic volume at existing intersections.  🙂  And, that the University has not made plans regarding how to handle another motor vehicle access point (or parking), and that such access has not been approved.

      2. Eileen Samitz


        Oh please. There is nothing personal about my comment. It is unavoidable to point out that the same developer who is a partner on the Nishi Gateway project has blanketed his many (at least 14) Tandem properties apartment complexes with “Yes on Measure A” signage. Yet, for some strange reason this was not mentioned or illustrated in any way in this article. It is pretty obvious that this article was clearly slanted against the “No on Nishi” campaign.

        1. HouseFlipper


          It is a sad state of affairs that there is no reliable news source in Davis for Davis politics. For high school sports and community events, the Enterprise is fantastic.

        2. The Pugilist

          Slanted?  It was clearly labeled as commentary.  You might have a complaint if this were a “news article,” but it’s not.  I never understood the need to complain when you have a chance to post your comment and respond or send in your own op-ED.

  10. Scheney

    Experienced an uncomfortable altercation in front of my house this morning over the lawn signs I had showing my support.  Angry person was merely walking by, but felt it was important to angrily tell me that he didn’t vote for any one I supported.  Since I’ve mailed in my ballot, I’ve now removed all my lawn signs and I’m done with the local election.

    1. hpierce

      You’re right… the machinations of UC trumps anything like traffic circulation, land planning, etc… it should be all about what “you see”… [pun intended]

  11. nameless

    This entire conversation is so disheartening and illogical.  Somehow if Nishi fails at the ballot box it is the Yes on A side’s fault; if Nishi passes at the ballot box pollution will worsen and trees will be threatened…

    The bottom line is if Measure A fails, there will be no more economic development in Davis for a very long time if ever – it will move up the road to Woodland or over to West Sacramento where it will be welcomed with open arms. As a result Davis will suffer the impacts of economic development without reaping any of the benefits.  Meanwhile City Council members will be asking for a whopping big parcel tax to pay for all the unmet needs still outstanding in this city, like road repair.  If voters refuse to give the City Council the whopping big parcel tax it wants, which is very likely, then the city will have to continue to allow the roads to degrade, services will be cut, and the quality of life in this city will not be what it has been.  No new jobs, no R&D space, no student housing, no tax revenue for the city or schools, no money for the affordable housing fund.  But by God it was all the Yes on A side’s fault for putting this measure on the June ballot – NOT! I call hogwash on that ridiculous laying of blame!  I know exactly who to blame, and it is not the Yes on A side.

    1. hpierce

      To be clear, it has nothing to do with facts nor logic… it’ll be about how people vote… the dichotomy is what propels Mr T on the “conservative” (not) Republican side…

    2. CalAg

      nameless: Nishi is not an economic development project. It is a high density housing project with major circulation challenges and a minor amount of commercial scabbed on to the periphery. The economic benefits of the commercial are offset by the revenue negative housing component. There is a glut of empty commercial real estate city-wide that can easily adsorb any company that might have theoretically gone to Nishi.

      1. nameless

        There is not a glut of R&D space of the size required in this town – that is the reality and businesses have said so.  And because of that, businesses will locate in Woodland (has already happened) or West Sac, so that Davis will suffer the impacts of economic development without reaping any of the rewards.

        1. CalAg

          Not true … there is a glut of existing commercial space suitable for R&D users that is competitive with the space proposed for Nishi. In addition, there are shovel-ready infill sites already inside the city limits that could easily accommodate 325,000 sq ft of new construction.

          The spin that there is not enough space for small-to-midsize companies and that these end users have been bypassing Davis for Woodland, West Sac. etc. because we don’t have something like Nishi is complete b******t.

          What is missing is an inventory of large parcels for larger companies. This includes new companies that might come to Davis in the future and move up opportunities for some of our bigger local companies – e.g. FMC if the oil services industry recovers and MBI if they can work through their problems and get back on a growth trajectory.

          As a consequence, the NWQ and Mace innovation park proposals made sense. Had they been approved, however, they would have had even more space that was competitive with Nishi (without the traffic and the student ghetto next door) – so it was important that they be “disappeared” by the city in order to pave the way for Whitcombe’s proposed apartment cluster.

        2. DavisforNishiGateway

          Nishi was identified by the Studio Report as the best site to be an incubator for businesses looking to locate in close proximity to the university. There is need for space for companies that are larger than a mom and pop storefront, but not as large as those who might locate at MRIC. That is what Nishi provides.

        3. CalAg

          S&L:  UCD is spinning out very few viable companies. The best ones tend to locate elsewhere for reasons that have nothing to do with the fact that there is no space next to UCD. The attraction of other companies to the region is poor, and the retention of our existing successful companies is poor.

          The embarrassingly low production and recruitment of tech companies, the vacant commercial lots, the vacant commercial space, and the withdrawals of tech park proposals is speaking clearly about a tech market that just doesn’t exist in Davis.

  12. Eileen Samitz


    Since you are asking about what is missing, what IS missing is what is NOT included in the illustration you posted from the “Yes on Measure A” campaign. How convenient it is that this “Yes on Measure A” campaign illustration completely ends before including the Richards tunnel in it to the north, and that all of this “stacking” and back-up of cars will funnel down into one northbound ingress into the downtown through the Richards tunnel. And then the back-up just continues throughout the downtown.

    So, gee… why would the “Yes on Measure A” campaign not want everyone to see what the real and complete picture is in their fancy illustration of where so much of that backed up traffic is heading towards –  which is to the one northbound lane through the Richards tunnel? To have this illustration really complete, they also need to add in the hundreds of cars stacked up in full gridlock for us to to get the real “picture”.

    1. Matt Williams

      Eileen, it is my understanding that that illustration is a City of Davis illustration from Public Works.  I called in to Public Works on Friday to get the official document.  I expect to hear back from them tomorrow.

      With that said, the portion of the corridor you reference is unchanged.  Its capacity will be the same with the project or without the project.  With that said, the concept of a Nishi-originating automobile crossing the Putah Parkway bridge, driving east on West Olive Drive, and then turning north on Richards to get to Downtown defies logic.  What person in their right mind would choose to drive that incredibly short route, and then fight for a Downtown parking space.  The much more logical transportation method for a Nishi resident would be to hop on his/her bicycle or walk.  So, outbound Nishi traffic is not going to make any meaningful incremental addition to the “one northbound ingress into the downtown through the Richards tunnel.”

      Similarly, a traveler from I-80 or South Davis whose destination is Nishi will not add any meaningful incremental volume to the “one northbound ingress into the downtown through the Richards tunnel.”


      1. Adam Smith

        Actually, it makes sense  that the traffic going through the underpass will be greatly improved in morning and afternoon traffic because of the the Olive Drive access to the university.    Many folks now going through the underpass to get to the university will now take the Olive Drive access.    Agree that the folks working or living at Nishi will walk or bicycle into town.  It will be quicker and easier.


        1. Matt Williams

          Roberta Millstein said . . . “And what will the backup at the Olive Drive light look like?”

          I’m not sure which direction of travel and on which street you are referring to, so I’ll step through them all.

          — The eastbound West Olive Drive traffic approaching the light will have three lanes, one for left turns (north on Richards into the tunnel), one thru lane to East Olive Drive, and one right turn lane (south on Richards).  My gut feel is that there will be virtually no backup in any of those lanes, because (1) very few automobiles will originate in Nishi with a destination of Downtown … they will walk or bicycle instead, (2) relatively few automobiles will have an East Olive Drive destination coming from West Olive Drive, and (3) the automobiles turning south on Richards will be able to make “right on red after stop” turns into the right lane of southbound Richards at all times that the light isn’t green for them.

          — The westbound East Olive Drive traffic approaching the light will be virtually the same volumes as exist currently.  If CalTrans insists on the closing of the Olive Drive exit of I-80 as a prerequisite to approving/funding the Richards interchange reconfiguration, then the westbound East Olive Drive traffic volume will probably decrease from its current volumes.

          — The backup in the four individual lanes of northbound Richards approaching the light might be as follows, (1) the right lane turning east on East Olive Drive will probably rarely have any backup at all, (2) the thru lane to the tunnel will have backup when the volume of Downtown traffic is particularly high, but if the UCD destination traffic no longer has to go through the tunnel to access UCD, then the only cars going through the tunnel will be the ones with Downtown destinations, (3) the two left turn lanes look like they will accommodate 6 cars each, and if the lights are computerized so that the left turn arrow is on by default until and unless a West Olive Drive car enters either the center thru or the northbound left turn lane, then any backup should be minimal.  The left lane of East Olive Drive would have a trip switch as well.

          Please accept the above as speculation.

        2. CalAg

          Roberta Millstein: The traffic model shows degradation from LOS B to LOS F. The roadway/interchange improvements (and the pretty pictures with no cars) will be irrelevant in a gridlock situation where traffic is creeping along and vehicles are stacked up in all the lanes.

      2. hpierce

        Left-turning movements take a HUGE amount of time out of intersection capacity… for many (but not all) intersections, that’s why roundabouts are superior to traffic signals… but that (a roundabout) is not a solution, on many levels, @ Richards and Olive.

    2. Rob White


      As history always proves out, those that complain the loudest are usually those that have the dirtiest hands… anyone who wants to look into the record would find that the reason the issue at the tunnel exists is because many of the same opposition on this project were previously opposition to widening the tunnel. Thus, the issue trying to be addressed now was created by some of the same no people back then. Interesting, huh?

  13. Adam Smith


    “And what will the backup at the Olive Drive light look like?”

    That is more difficult to answer, because there are more unknowns.   Many of the No on A crowd have crooned about the significance of the UCD’s preliminary LRDP.  If UCD is actually going to follow through on that, I believe UCD must improve the Old Davis Road entrance to the University.   And if that is completed, then I think there is little doubt that the Richards/Olive Drive traffic issue will be much improved over time.

    I have significant doubts that UCD will build the 6200 beds that so many No on A folks now believe are certain to be built.    If they don’t build them, its clear to me that the 1500 beds that Nishi adds are more important than whatever additional traffic issues might ensue at the Richards/Olive intersection.

    1. Roberta Millstein

      Adam Smith, you said, “Actually, it makes sense  that the traffic going through the underpass will be greatly improved in morning and afternoon traffic because of the the Olive Drive access to the university.    Many folks now going through the underpass to get to the university will now take the Olive Drive access.”  And so I asked, “And what will the backup at the Olive Drive light look like?”  You replied, “That is more difficult to answer, because there are more unknowns.”  But it’s the same issue, not a different issue.  The traffic going through the underpass will be improved only if there isn’t a big backup going north on Richards trying to turn left on Olive Drive.  If there is a big backup there, then the traffic going north on Richards will be worse.

      (To be clear, the traffic isn’t a make or break issue for me – as I have said already, air quality is.  But I am just trying to understand the claims being made by Yes on A, and they just don’t seem to add up).

      1. Adam Smith

        Roberta –

        I see them as completely different issues.   Traffic downtown vs traffic at the exchange.

        I understand from your previous posts that traffic isn’t your make or break issue.   Nor is it mine.   And, no surprise here,  many Yes on A folks believe  that the claims made by the No on A folks defy common sense and logic.

        In a few weeks, we’ll see how the people of Davis see this.


        1. Roberta Millstein

          Ok, look.  Here I am, getting off at the new I-80 interchange, turning onto Richards.  Now I am heading north on Richards, trying to get downtown.  Do I sail straight forward, passing the people who are trying to turn left onto Olive to get to Nishi or to campus?  Or, are those two left turn lanes backed up into my lanes, so that I cannot sail north to get to downtown?  Do you see how the two issues, traffic turning left onto Olive, and traffic trying to get downtown, are intertwined?

        2. Matt Williams

          Roberta, absent any volume data to the contrary, my sense is that it will work the same way as Fifth Street works now … the left turn pockets will be long enough and deep enough not to impinge on the thru lane to the right.  Further, should such an overflow backup of the two left turn lanes happen (at the point just above the center of the graphic below, then the thru lane traffic could merge to the right into the Olive Drive right turn lane to bypass the backup point and then, once the backup is cleared, merge to the left back into the thru lane leading to the tunnel.

        3. Roberta Millstein

          Absent any volume data to the contrary?  We just hypothesize, based on no evidence?  (It’s OK to do this for traffic, while dismissing actual evidence about air quality?)  We need to take into account increased traffic for Nishi in order to know if the situation will be better overall, keeping in mind that downtown traffic could block left-turning Olive traffic or vice versa.  Or are we supposed to assume that people working at Nishi transport there in some other way?

          As for your proposed maneuver popping into the right hand turn lane and then popping back into the straight-forward lane – not sure the DPD will like that one!

        4. Matt Williams

          Roberta, all I was doing was being upfront about the fact that I was speculating with respect to my answer to your question … acknowledging that I don’t personally have any data.

          And yes, we Vanguard posters hypothesize based on no evidence all the time. I doubt that comes as a surprise to you.

          I agree with your DPD comment, but if they aren’t there to see it happen, will they be able to lodge an objection. The current configuration sees cars regularly go up the right hand lane (the entrance to I-80 West lane) and then cut across the double line to merge into the Richards traffic at the Shell station. Doesn’t make it right, but they do it.

        5. Adam Smith

          If I’m already downtown, coming at this from the north instead of the south, it is completely different, because much less traffic comes through the tunnel.    Plus, it is completely plausible that if I am coming from the south that I sail completely past those guys turning left.

          There are other ways to deal with the traffic issue, if it proves to be difficult. Many companies will provide for altered start times to allow their employees to deal with traffic issues. Since Davis happens to be one of the smartest cities in the US, I am certain we can figure out how to use altered start times and the like, so that our city can thrive instead of die on the vine. We don’t have stay rooted in the past with traditions that are contrived — often times, there is a better way.

        6. Roberta Millstein

          Matt Williams, thank you for being honest.  Personally, I don’t have an intuition about whether it will be better or worse absent any traffic studies.  I was just trying to make sense of Adam’s Smith‘s claim (and other people have said the same thing) that the traffic under the underpass will be better.  It seems to me that the answer to that is “it depends” – it depends on how many people are heading downtown and turning left on Olive at the same time.  I just wanted to get an acknowledgement of that and find out if there was any basis for the claim that the traffic would be better.

          I don’t think our traffic flow should be based on a (potentially) illegal maneuver!

          Adam Smith, that’s three times now that you’ve tried to change the subject.  Perhaps that technique works with other people, but it doesn’t work with me.  I’m not talking about traffic going south; I’m talking about traffic going north.  As for your claim that it is “plausible” that the traffic will be better heading downtown, I don’t care what you think is “plausible” – that is a purely a matter of opinion.  And if were so easy to deal with traffic, we could deal with the traffic we have now.

        7. Matt Williams

          Roberta Millstein said . . .  “I don’t think our traffic flow should be based on a (potentially) illegal maneuver!”

          Neither do I Roberta, but you were looking at the situation from the worst case scenario, and I laid out  an ad-hoc solution to that worst case scenario.

      2. hpierce

        the traffic isn’t a make or break issue for me – as I have said already, air quality is.

        WOW! Viewing traffic as not related to air quality?  Going to guess, you’re a liberal arts major, or at least non-engineering/scientific?

        1. Roberta Millstein

          Of course, traffic is related to air quality.  My comment about “air quality” was specifically about air quality at the Nishi site.  But yes, let’s talk about air quality more generally.  If the “Yes on A” folks can’t show that the traffic on Richards will be improved, then Yes on A not only adds to air quality issues, but also adds a further contribution to global warming.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            The specific air quality issues that Cahill is concerned about is not related to traffic on Richards, but rather I-80 traffic combined with rail traffic.

      3. dlemongello

        Why would anyone drive through Nishi to get to Old Davis Road when they can just get on (or stay on) the freeway and get off there going at much higher speeds and encountering so much less traffic. Of course the question I keep asking is why have they not done that for decades.  Maybe finally Richards will be so bad they will finally use the completely underused Old Davis Road exit.

        1. The Pugilist

          Why are they driving through the tunnel now when they can exit on Old Davis Road?  This is the problem and it’s not Nishi’s fault.

        2. Roberta Millstein

          For awhile, David Greenwald was pushing better education about route alternatives as a solution to our traffic woes.  I haven’t seen him mention that in some time, however, not since around the time that Nishi discussions heated up.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I still support educating people to reroute how they enter campus.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            What I’d like to here is how the city is progressing with this since they have already promised to do it.

        3. South of Davis

          Donna wrote:

          > Why would anyone drive through Nishi to get to Old

          > Davis Road when they can just get on (or stay on) the

          > freeway and get off there going at much higher speeds

          > and encountering so much less traffic.

          The same reason that so many people get off on East Olive rather than Russell (they don’t know that the second exit is faster 90% of the time).  Just about every time I’m heading west to Russell I’ll see a car in front of me get off at East Olive and 90% of the time I’ll see him as I cross Olive heading in to the tunnel.

  14. Don Shor

    I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would run for city council in this town.  I don’t know why we bother having commissions. I’m not sure what the point is in having our elected officials develop an economic development strategy. I don’t see how Davis will ever resolve the long-term structural budget problem or the infrastructure issues.

    If Nishi fails, the city’s economic development plans developed by public commissions and actions of the councils over the last several years will have completely collapsed. There will not be any business development for years. There will be little or no private housing stock added. Nobody in their right mind would chance another Measure R vote, or invest the upfront costs of planning.

    It is easy to see that every form of local tax and fee will increase significantly, the housing shortage will continue unabated, and the amenities that Davis residents purport to value – the parks, bike paths, street trees, and recreation facilities – will deteriorate.

    The folks who oppose everything need to run their own candidates for council. They need to present a positive agenda for solving the fiscal and structural problems the city faces. Those of us who have attempted to support moderate growth and reasonable economic development balanced by conservation of open space and farmland are finding ourselves in the crossfire. Nothing is perfect enough, so nothing can go forward.

     We know what you don’t want. Tell us what you do want, and how we’re going to solve the problems the city faces.

    1. nameless

      I’m still waiting to hear the No on A’s solutions to the city’s fiscal problems, but the reality is they have none, other than to raise taxes and cut personnel, which is a nonstarter.  Folks in this town will not approve a huge parcel tax.  In consequence the roads and other services will continue to deteriorate.

    2. Roberta Millstein

      Don Shor, I can’t speak for others.  Speaking for myself, I want assurances that we are not sacrificing people’s health to try to get what the City needs.  Perhaps more time for study would have provided that, or perhaps it would have more definitively shown that no one should live on this site.  Otherwise I (personally) had no serious objections to Nishi and was in fact on the fence about it for many weeks.  I am not insisting on the perfect so much as I am insisting on not sacrificing the few for the many.

      1. The Pugilist

        I don’t know that you can get assurances.  What I see is a low level risk in a scheme of things and reasonable mitigation -filtration system coupled with the urban forest.  Shouldn’t that be sufficient?

  15. Alan Miller

    “I thought, hey, here’s a good opportunity to the extend the debate . . . “

    This same reasoning is what created the Davis Vanguard.

  16. 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.

  17. Rob White

    Maybe the most interesting part of this sign discussion is the constant outcry by the Nishi opposition that signs are being unfairly placed by the proponents… BUT, if you look at the big No banner on the Design House sign as you go north into the tunnel at Richards, you are witnessing a flagrant violation of the City’s sign ordnance. Signage ordnances that some of those same No people helped to put in place and constantly complain about if the signage doesn’t suit them. Like in downtown, where businesses are just trying to get by and need all the help they can get.

    And the No lawn signs on City property? Also a violation.

    So, if you’re going to complain that people don’t follow the rules and are breaking the known ordnances (policy) – like complaining that the City Council doesn’t follow the rules on affordable housing – how about you start with your own actions and stop flagrantly breaking the rules? Just a suggestion.

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