Closing Thoughts on a Tough Fought Measure A Campaign



Dan Carson notes in his op-ed on Monday, “Unanimity – or close to it – is hard to achieve in politics and local government.”  He writes, “I’ve been impressed by the overwhelming number of local leaders who are supporting yes on Measure A. They represent different constituencies, and they’ve advocated different things in the past, but all of them understood how important the Nishi Gateway is to solving ongoing problems in Davis.”

I have a different take on it.  On the one hand, it is certainly noteworthy that not only are most current elected officials in Davis supportive of Measure A, but if you go back through our history, you only find two people who were elected officials at any point in time, at least publicly, opposing the project – that would be Michael Harrington and Sue Greenwald.

Unlike Mr. Carson, I’m not willing to ascribe nearly the amount of meaning to that.  We have recent history where a 4-1 council vote on Covell Village in 2005 led to a 60-40 trouncing at the polls.  Sure, all four candidates for city council are supporting Nishi, but clearly they don’t reflect the divide in the community on the issue.

As I wrote toward the beginning of the campaign, Davis has had a tendency to elect a much more pro-growth council than is reflected in the community’s willingness to support projects.  Perhaps that is because there are other issues, perhaps that is because the core of the progressive movement has aged out of serving in elected office, perhaps that is a more recent phenomenon, as Measure R frees the public from worrying about growth issues when it comes time to elect council officials.

The bottom line is that, while it is interesting that almost all elected officials are supporting Measure A, I don’t know that it is reflective of the outcome.

Rich Rifkin in a Vanguard post yesterday predicts that Measure A will be trounced by similar numbers to Covell Village – 59.3 to 40.7.

I could be wrong in my read of the situation, but I just do not see a large margin of defeat, if the project is defeated at all.  A person involved in the No on A campaign, tells me there are a large number of secret No votes.  I’m skeptical of the claim, for a variety of reasons I won’t get into here.

Here is what I see…

During Measure P – granted, a race that ended up 75-25 in the No column, the Vanguard comments were overwhelmingly negative and vitriolically so.  I just don’t see the level of negativism on the Vanguard that I did six year and a half years ago.  If anything, there is a slight lean to yes side – even by people who have traditionally been No votes on development.

The areas where I would expect a huge outpouring of No sentiment – letters to the editor and op-eds – have been fairly even.

As I have said before, I see a lot of signs around town on main thoroughfares, but getting off the main roads, I just don’t see a lot of signs either way.  The signs I see are fairly even.

Even with Hillary Clinton declared the winner of the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders still believes he can flip super-delegates and, therefore, I expect a big turnout of Bernie Sanders supporters from UC Davis, and I expect that a lot of those will vote yes on A.

The No on A supporters like to portray themselves as David against Goliath.  I suppose, in traditional campaign measurements – particularly money and resources – that is true.  But in another way, the political landscape is so heavily tilted away from development that, if anything, the odds would seem to favor the No side.

This race may come down to the ability to get out their vote.  The Yes side maintains they have identified thousands of supporters.  My early back of the envelope projection was that it would take about 9000 votes to win the election and the Yes side may well have identified more than three-quarters of those, perhaps up to 80 percent with 7200 identified voters.  The key question is, will they come out to vote?  That we will see.  But if the Yes is even remotely correct here, this is at the very least a close race.

Bottom line, I don’t see a blow out for the No side this time, and perhaps I see a narrow victory for Yes.  It all depends on who comes out to vote and how many of them.

—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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17 thoughts on “Closing Thoughts on a Tough Fought Measure A Campaign”

  1. Biddlin

    I hope A wins, although I realize that that only insures more poo-flinging from Harrington, et al.  I think folks realize the need for new development but fear change. Here is an opportunity to discover that it isn’t the end of the world, just a new source of revenue, ideas and neighbors, who bring them.

      1. Biddlin

        Not true. I hate to see such a nice place get rundown by greed and such nice folks hoodwinked into believing if they don’t build it, no one will come and nothing will change. They’re coming. If they can’t live there, they will drive there.

        Now as for the ribbing, I never swing unless thrown a fat pitch, and you guys throw a bushel basket full.

  2. Odin

    Any other crybabies want to chime in?  Let’s get it out of your systems.   Tell us how we were all wrong and how Davis is doomed.  Now’s your chance!

        1. Frankly

          I wish it really was adios amigos and you would move away.  Because you are not one that votes with the best interest of the city in mind.  You vote selfishly.

    1. Tia Will


      I am singularly uninterested in hashing over wins and losses. What I would be very interested in hearing are your ideas for addressing the lack of housing, need for more city revenue, and desire on the part of affiliates of the university for more jobs appropriate to their skills sets locally whether those skills are in some tech or STEM field, in the arts or social sciences.

      As an individual who has identified yourself as low income, what alternatives do you suggest or favor ?I have proposed mine repeatedly but have not heard alternatives from you. Where do we go now that Nishi has been defeated ?


  3. hpierce

    Odin is what Odin is…

    Looking at the precinct results, I firmly believe the outcome would have been FAR different on Nishi, had its W Olive Dr access been limited to bike/ped/EVA… not full access for MV…


    Remember what are reported today includes the votes cast in the precincts, and VBM ballots received as of a few days ago.  the Provisional and VMB ballots cast yesterday are probably not in the count yet, as they require verification of address, signatures, etc.  Given the number of those I observed at a single precinct, the total of the two are probably in excess of 500.  The margin by which A failed was less than 300 votes.  There is no reason to think the canvass, including all of the “cleared” votes, will change the outcome, but, it might.

    I voted No, on the single issue of full access to W Olive.  Had the access been limited, I would have voted a resounding yes.  I suspect the outcome shown by the precinct map may well had been different, as well.



    1. Frankly

      I really don’t get this.  You are a very intelligent dude, yet you and others seem to just switch off that part of your processor that does alternatives analysis.

      It isn’t Nish traffic changes compared to what we have today.  It is Nishi changes to what will be without Nishi Changes.

      Here is one scenario I could see play out.  The owners of Nishi sell it to UCD.  And the decision to connect that development to Davis roads is out of the hands of the voters of Davis.  Or let’s just say that Nish has its own entrance and exist through the campus… do you truly not see that there would still be additional traffic going down 1st street?

      Lastly, the population of UCD is still going to grow.  And we continue to not have enough housing and more of these students are going to be commuting… thus causing more gridlock.

      This point about you voting no because of the connectivity… will let’s just say that I am not impressed with your lack of deeper analysis.  And when we multiply this type of result it starts to explain why we cannot get anything done in this town.  Single issue shallow thinking instead of a broader trade-off analysis for what is right.

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