Commentary: Measure R Isn’t Going to Go Away, but Neither Are Measure R Projects

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The ink was barely dry on the apparent defeat of Measure A a few weeks ago when bold assertions began making their way into the fray.  Some, like Enterprise Columnist Bob Dunning, argued that we would never see a Measure R project again while others inexplicably believe this will be the end of Measure R.

I disagree strongly with both views.  First, for the first time, Nishi shows that the Measure R process can work.  The opposition has called this the worst project Davis has faced.  The proponents see it as a modest but well-conceived proposal to bring housing close to campus and provide the community with much needed R&D space.

The reality is that the community is split on the issue of growth – in fact, much more split than it was just a few years ago.  A growing number of people – myself included – see the need for more housing and especially more space for economic development, startups and technology transfer from the university.

What brought Nishi down was not opposition to all growth – although certainly some of the leaders of the No on Measure A campaign oppose a lot of new growth.  But the average person, the swing voter on Nishi, likely saw a number of key flaws with the project that resulted in their voting no.

I believe Nishi will be back with some tweaks to things like the affordable housing provisions, the affordability of the units, and with more concrete proposals to fix Richards Boulevard and access to UC Davis.

I do not see that having this project with no Olive Drive access or as a University Project is viable.  We cannot have Davis citizens cut off from the city and, more importantly, cutting off Olive Drive may push more and not less traffic through the tunnel.

Likewise, I don’t see this as a university project.  One of the clear needs in Davis is for more R&D space that will allow for more tax revenue – making this a university project may help alleviate some housing needs, but won’t address the innovation space needs.

Bottom line – I think Nishi will be back and it won’t be the last Measure R project we see.  The close loss has convinced people that I know to suggest that there are some ways to pass a Measure R vote and produce a progressive, Davis-friendly project.  Some of those people by the way, voted for Measure A.

Another was Michael Harrington, who wrote that “the public has nearly always been in favor of good, reasonable housing and business projects.  We just have seen few of them.  For Nishi to ever win an R vote (and I believe it can), they are going to have to stop being so arrogant, and talk to the public about a plan that works for all of us in that quadrant.”

While I think using the term “stop being so arrogant,” is over-the-top, reading between the rhetoric suggests that even Mr. Harrington believes it is possible to put forward a proposal that can pass.  Heck, this one came pretty darn close – as bad as Mr. Harrington believes it to be.

That brings me to the second point – those who believe that Measure R is going away are kidding themselves.  I have heard it from a number of people – and it is wishful thinking – that people see the Measure R process to be broken.

The problem with that belief is it is coming from the people who voted for the project and lost, and not from the people who voted against the project and won.  More people were on the winning side than the losing side.

I fully support Measure R.  I believe that it saved us from what would have been a disastrous Covell Village that would have been implemented and half built when the market collapsed.  It was too big and traffic impacts were not nearly vetted enough.

I also believe that Cannery has been a poor project and would have been much improved with a Measure R process.

The voters overwhelmingly voted down a much smaller Wildhorse Ranch, that was poorly conceived during the heart of the recession, and they narrowly voted down Nishi – which, while much closer, certainly had realistic concerns.

For most people in town, Measure R has worked as it is supposed to and I fail to see a realistic chance that even a hard-fought campaign in 2020 will result in its defeat.

Michael Harrington and his crew have been trumpeting changes to the Measure R process.  We have not seen details of these changes but he has suggested the need for more certainty. One of his chief concerns has been the lack of specificity about mitigation land prior to the vote.

I believe that Measure R can been changed to strengthen projects and also reduce risks for developers.  I would like to see a modified proposal that would look at ways to reduce risks for proposing projects by reducing upfront costs to the developers and proponents.

Right now, an applicant has to go through the entire entitlement process – a project design, full EIR, go through all of the commissions, go through a council approval and then, if they get approved, go on the ballot and take the matter to the voters.

I have not received how much that process has cost the applicants in Nishi, but I know the figure is somewhere between $3 million and $4.5 million for Mace – a project that may never go.

I know a lot of people think developers are greedy and attempting to line their pockets, but they are just like any other business people – they are investing in projects that they hope to make money on.  But who wants to throw out $3 to $5 million, or perhaps as high as $6 or $7 million, and end up with nothing to show for it?

Is there a way that we can all work together to produce a development project the community wants without the investors having to risk millions on a project that might never be built?

There are a lot of people in this community who believe that they can design a project at Nishi or elsewhere that would result in an easy approval by the voters – what we need is a process that gets us to that point.

I am hoping that hard feelings and anger on both sides can give way to true dialogue and trying to put together a plan that will alleviate a housing crunch and the need for more revenue in a way that most people in this community can support.

Perhaps that is just more wishful thinking on my part, but the words of Michael Harrington yesterday lead me to believe that perhaps this is possible.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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70 thoughts on “Commentary: Measure R Isn’t Going to Go Away, but Neither Are Measure R Projects”

  1. Misanthrop

    “I fully support Measure R.  I believe that it saved us from what would have been a disastrous Covell Village that would have been implemented and half built when the market collapsed.  It was too big and traffic impacts were not nearly vetted enough.”

    You are still part of the problem for the housing shortage if you think like this. As long as Davis has Measure R it will never be able to deal with its housing needs. It will remain an island of opposition like a rock in the river as the tide of prosperity that UCD brings will find its way around us seeking the path of least resistance.

    But I have a different take on the failure of Measure A. It was actually a vote against infill. If  you look at the precinct map Measure A lost big in the core and passed or broke even on the periphery. While Measure A was an annexation it was close to the core, the areas that voted against it in the strongest numbers.

    So if this was a vote against cramming more people into a small space and as we see with almost every project from Measure A, Trackside and Paso Fino, that what Davis residents don’t want is increased density nearby, the solution is peripheral development. Densification was always a smokescreen for opposition to peripheral development so that the opponents of growth wouldn’t reveal their opposition to everything. It was a good argument until people began to take the city up on its rhetoric and the neighbors revolted. The vote I’d like to see would be on whether the residents of Davis would prefer whatever growth occurs to be up or out with a full blown discussion of the consequences for the community of what both mean for the human ecology of Davis.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “But I have a different take on the failure of Measure A. It was actually a vote against infill.”

      Problem with that theory is that the voters voted against Covell and WHR by far wider margins, so is this a vote against infill or a vote that shows that a close in project is far more likely to pass than other projects. Your theory fails to account for that dynamic.

      1. Misanthrop

        Its interesting all the bad mouthing that the Cannery has received while it also has received an award this year as the best master planned community in the nation from a home building trade association. This really does raise the question of if anything will ever be good enough for the voters of Davis.

        1. Ron

          Misanthrop:

          As I mentioned yesterday, I do enjoy your postings.  (Your posting today, regarding Davis being an “. . . island of opposition like a rock in the river . . .” was actually poetic.)

          I agree that infill has its limitations, as well.  However, the “problem” with your position is that peripheral development (in general) is probably the “last resort”, for most residents. (That’s my position, as well.)

        2. The Pugilist

          “Its interesting all the bad mouthing that the Cannery has received while it also has received an award this year as the best master planned community in the nation from a home building trade association.”

          How does one get nominated for such an award?  What are the criteria?  Who does the judging?  This fact in and of itself is meaningless to me.

  2. ryankelly

    Harrington’s demand for the identification of the mitigation land prior to the vote is problematic. It would require that the developer identify and purchase the land before knowing that the project could go forward. If the land was identified, but not purchased, then is unavailable for purchase, then selecting different land would be in violation of the approved project. The opportunity for the price of the land could be jacked up, knowing that the developer was obligated to purchase that land, is real.  Opposition to the project could demand certain parcels be purchased,etc.    If the project loses, which is a distinct possibility, the developer is left holding property that they never wanted.

    Harrington needs to quit making demands without explaining how it would work.

    1. Jim Frame

      It would require that the developer identify and purchase the land before knowing that the project could go forward.

       

      It would only require the purchase of an option, which is typically a pretty modest cost.

      1. ryankelly

        But what if Harrington is not satisfied with the land found?  This would require another search and another option purchased and on and on.  This should not be made a requirement of Measure R, which I believe is what Harrington is planning.

        1. Matt Williams

          ryan, you need to read the Ag Mitigation Ordinance (see Pages 7-14 of OSHC Staff Report) and Staff’s recent report to Council (see LINK).  The Ordinance very clearly spells out what land qualifies and what land does not qualify.

          You may also want to read about the LESA system (see LINK) developed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  The LESA system is used by governmental jurisdictions to:

          Facilitate identification and protection of important agricultural land.
          Assist in implementing farmland protection policies

          The LESA system provides a framework where land evaluation and site assessment procedures are documented before individual sites are considered. This process allows different individuals to evaluate sites consistently, without bias.  LESA utilizes soil survey information and interpretations that are well established for all the Yolo County and Solano County land surrounding Davis, as well as planning concepts and principles that are regularly used by community planners throughout the United States.

          To determine the comparability of two parcels, the ag mitigation process starts by comparing the LESA scores of the two properties.

        2. ryankelly

          No one is arguing that the ordinance should not be followed.   Harrington wants the land identified and secured before the Measure R vote.

        3. Matt Williams

          Ryan, you said in your comment above “But what if Harrington is not satisfied with the land found?”  That was the question I was responding to.

          The timing issue you now raise is really a non-issue.  The owners of virtually all the potentially developable land that surrounds Davis already have proactively purchased the mitigation land needed to comply with the provisions of the Ordinance.  It really isn’t a problem for them to announce their mitigation intentions on a more aggressive timeline.

        4. ryankelly

          The owners of virtually all the potentially developable land that surrounds Davis already have proactively purchased the mitigation land needed to comply with the provisions of the Ordinance

          Here’s the map.  It seems readily available when asked for.  So Harrington is making an issue out of nothing?

    2. Ron

      I’m intrigued by Mike Harrington’s suggestion, that the specific mitigation parcel be identified.  That way, we’ll know exactly what’s being preserved, by approving a particular development.  This would also probably increase the likelihood of approval, of any given proposal. And, it might help avoid another battle (on the preserved parcel), in the future.

      I’d like to know more about how this might work (e.g., perhaps an option – as mentioned by Jim Frame)?

      1. Matt Williams

        Ron, as I noted in my response to ryan above, most of the owners of developable acreage already own the additional mitigation acres as well.  Mace Ranch Innovation Center is one exception to that pattern, and they too would have the necessary acres if they hadn’t recently sold 125 acres adjacent to the City Limits to Angelo Tsakopoulos. The following is a graphic showing in yellow the land that Tsakopoulos currently owns near Davis.

        https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Tsakopoulos-Land-2015.jpg

        Mace probably already has identified optionable acres, so compliance with the upfront disclosure shouldn’t be hard for them.

        I agree with your point about increasing the likelihood of voter approval. Who knows, there might have been 350 votes in Measure A that were “no” because of the absence of a disclosed mitigation plan. If those 350 votes had swung over to “yes” then Measure A would have passed.

        1. Ron

          Matt:

          I must acknowledge that you are an excellent source of information.

          In reviewing the map, where are the 125 acres that the MRIC owners sold to Angelo Tsakopoulos?

          Also, I’ve heard that name before.  Can you tell us a little more about Mr. Tsakopoulos?  (He certainly owns an incredible amount of land around Davis.) (Not to bring up my criticism of David Greenwald again, but I wish that he’d report more, regarding this type of thing – e.g., the identity of developers and land that they own.)

          And – thanks for pointing out that most developers already own potential mitigation sites, as well.  (How did these people become so wealthy?)  (Sure beats working for a living, doesn’t it?  I guess some had a lot of foresight.)

        2. Ron

          Don:

          Thanks, but the information that Matt provided (regarding Tsakopoulos’ specific holdings around Davis) aren’t included in the Wikipedia site.

          I’m not running the Vanguard, of course.  However, I just learned more from Matt with one posting, vs. the Vanguard’s daily focus on the vacancy rate.  (Not discounting its importance, but there are other development-related stories to report, as well.)

          Some of the truly wealthy owners/developers are probably laughing (at all of us) in the background. (They probably don’t personally post comments, on the Vanguard.)

           

           

           

           

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron, I try not to only talk the talk of “evidence-based decision-making”  I try to walk the walk.  Bottom-line, its all about homework.

          Regarding Angelo Tsakopoulos, here is a LINK to a quasi-bio of him, and here’s a video  interview.

           

        4. Ron

          Thanks, Matt and Don.

          Wow – Conaway Ranch, as well?  I’ll look at that in more detail.

          Matt:  Not sure if you saw my question, regarding the 125 acres that MRIC developers sold to Tsakopoulos?  (Great – now I’m going to have to remember how to spell that name.)

          Seriously – I guess that some people just have more foresight regarding investments, while the rest of us struggle at work – and pay high taxes while doing so.)  Not that it’s easy to do either.  But, wise investing is exponentially more profitable.  I hope that Mr. Tsakopoulos becomes a philanthropist, at some point.  (And not just a donator of books, to Sacramento State.) (Especially regarding land preservation efforts.)

          1. Don Shor

            At various times his company has proposed a solar farm on land southeast of Davis (near El Macero), tried to make a donation of land to found a stem cell research institute — lobbying Mariko Yamada and others, offered to donate land east of town near the fruit stand for a business park. His company would very much like to develop the land east of the city, but it has to be annexed somehow or he’d have to build with county permission. So all of those gambits were probably intended to spark annexation and development toward the land they already own. Tsakopolous and his company are land developers who invest for the long term.
            Solar farm proposal, 2011: http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/tsakopoulos-eyes-south-davis-area-farms-for-solar-project/
            They were large-scale land developers in Natomas and Folsom.
            He is a major donor to Democratic party candidates in the state, a big backer of Phil Angelides in his failed gubernatorial bid a few years ago. And yes, major philanthropists as well.

        5. Ron

          In reading the biography from Matt, it appears that Mr. Tsakopoulos has routinely clashed with those who are attempting to prevent runaway land development, in the region.  (And, he’s already facilitated a lot of questionable development.)

          I now remember reading some of these stories, previously (e.g., the proposed college in Placer County, outside of urban boundaries).

          One thing I’ve realized is that “Democrats” don’t always/necessarily support land preservation efforts.  (However, they generally tend to do so more than modern Republicans, at least.)

          Regarding Tsakopoulos’ developments in Natomas, has anyone noticed that taxpayers seem to subsequently pay for “flood protection” while developers have already reaped the profits? (Not just taxpayers living in flood areas, either. And, if those efforts fail, taxpayers will help “bail” them out. Pun intended.)

        6. Jim Frame

          Most of Conaway Ranch is not suitable for development, being in a flood zone (much of it is actually in the Yolo Bypass).  If memory serves, only about 900 acres out of the 18,000 total has development potential, and I believe the owners are taking a very long view in that regard.

        7. Ron

          Jim:

          That’s what I recall, as well.  (Probably not much developable land at Conaway Ranch.)

          I also recall that Conaway Ranch has (river) water rights, and that (at one time), the city wanted it for that reason.

          I seem to recall that the city’s efforts failed. However, I’m not sure how that might have ultimately affected the water project that we got. (I guess it’s “water under the bridge”, regardless.)

          I wonder if the owners of Conaway Ranch now sell their water rights to another entity?

           

        8. Jim Frame

          I wonder if the owners of Conaway Ranch now sell their water rights to another entity?

          Do a search on “conaway ranch water sales” and you’ll find some articles on the subject.  The short answer is that in drought years water sales are big business.

           

      2. ryankelly

        Perhaps Harrington should identify land that would be acceptable as mitigation land in advance so this won’t be an issue in his campaign in opposition.

        Does anyone else find it weird that we are having to get Harrington’s approval for all planning in Davis?

    3. Michael Harrington

      As Frame says, options.

      The mitigation is part of the bargain, and as I have said for 16 years, a significant part of our analysis as to whether to oppose the project or not.

      Nice to see that for the first time, in this piece, the pro-growth types are commenting that “Wow, like, uh, maybe that mitigation might help sell the project.”  I love it when the clouds part and the heavenly rays shine down to show us the way.

      Now, Ryan, that you have the play book, go see if you can bang out a tune that does not sound like nails on a chalk board.

  3. nameless

    I disagree with much of this Vanguard article.  I think Measure R very well may be in trouble – I know I will not support it anymore and a lot of folks I have spoken with feel the same way.  Secondly I do not believe the Cannery was a poor project – people who are living there right now love it.  Third, I agree with much of what Misanthrop has said – infill is not well liked by a lot of people.  Fourth, the no growthers are controlling the message with underhanded tactics.  From Mr. Harrington’s words and actions, one would think he is running this town.  Fifth, even if Nishi were to make tweaks in attempt to satisfy the no growthers, they will most certainly trot out other defects to complain about – they are opposed to growth despite disingenuous words to the contrary.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      You are certainly are entitled to your opinion, but I will point out here: “Fifth, even if Nishi were to make tweaks in attempt to satisfy the no growthers, they will most certainly trot out other defects to complain about – they are opposed to growth despite disingenuous words to the contrary.” You don’t need to satisfy the no growthers. You need to satisfy the 350 people in the middle who voted No but could have voted yes had the project been slightly modified.

      1. Tia Will

        You don’t need to satisfy the no growthers. You need to satisfy the 350 people in the middle who voted No but could have voted yes had the project been slightly modified.”

        I think that David has this right. I usually don’t like to wade into the area of “people I have talked with agree with me” line of reasoning since most of us tend to hang out more and talk more with people with whom we share attitudes and it rapidly becomes an echo chamber. However, I do think that the conversation at a recent political gathering was telling. I was amongst the minority of folks there who had voted for Nishi. Everyone ( let’s say in the vicinity of 10-12 people with whom I spoke had voted against it. All agreed that it was a close call. Most of them are overall more pro growth than I am. And yet, each was able to state a specific sticking point for them with the traffic and the lack of “little a” affordable housing being the most common.

        I also see the Nishi vote as an indication that Measure R is working basically as intended and I do not see a major move to repeal it. I see it as our protection against “bad projects” ( acknowledging that bad is in the eye of the beholder) defined as those that would not achieve majority support but for which three votes on council could be obtained.

        1. Ron

          Tia:  “I think that David has this right.”

          I thought that you rejected labels, such as “no growthers”.

          Who exactly meets that definition?

      2. Michael Harrington

        David, LOL!  SLIGHTLY modified is going to get a win?  Yes, yes, go ahead and dupe the masses and convince them to follow your plan.

        I’d like to talk to the Nishi people as to a global resolution, but as they did for months before the election, they flat refuse.  Did it again yesterday.

         

        Is Ruff the strategist, or just the handsome guy charged with making the sales meetings?

         

        I think the partners with the money had better get into the discussions.

        1. The Pugilist

          It needs to modified enough that a few people on the fence who voted no, vote yes.  Mr. Harrington you are acting as though this was a massive defeat when in fact it was very very narrow.

        2. Ron

          The Pugilist and David:

          Somehow, I think it would be even more difficult to obtain a victory (the second time around), unless the primary concerns regarding traffic, air quality, and affordable housing are addressed.  Those are major concerns, not a “minor tweaking”.  (Some of those concerns may not be realistically fixable, unless the proposal is drastically changed.)  I think it becomes more difficult to dispute these same concerns, if the same basic proposal returns at some point.

          I like Mike Harrington’s suggestion to identify specific mitigation parcels, for any proposed Measure J/R development.

        3. ryankelly

          Mike Harrington needs to identify or describe the mitigation parcels that would satisfy him, rather than demand identification and then in every instance claim that something is wrong with the mitigation parcels with his campaigns in opposition.  The ordinance requires mitigation, but Mike doesn’t trust that City planning staff will be able to approve mitigation in line with the ordinance.  Mike wants either himself or the general public to approve it – I’m not sure which.

        4. Ron

          ryankelly:  “Mike Harrington needs to identify or describe the mitigation parcels that would satisfy him, . . .”

          I don’t understand this part of your argument.  Since Mike is knowledgeable and involved in these issues, I would welcome his input.  However, it would ultimately be up to all voters to decide (as it is, now).

          What if Mike and others “approved” of an identified parcel?  How do you think this would affect the likelihood of voter approval, for any given proposal?  (Did someone say “win-win”?)  Of course, there are no guarantees (and there may be differing opinions). However, it seems that (in general) reaching out to the “slow-growth community” in advance (e.g., regarding specific mitigation parcels) might result in better outcomes, for everyone.

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      ” I think Measure R very well may be in trouble – I know I will not support it anymore and a lot of folks I have spoken with feel the same way. ”

      11,700 people voted no on Nishi, did any of the people who will not support it anymore vote no on Nishi? I think we know the answer to that.

      1. Misanthrop

        Depends on turnout and other factors like if there is a campaign against renewal.  If you want to transpose the vote on Measure A into a proxy for the renewal of Measure R you only need a few more votes to defeat the renewal. Also if we now see the Davis Innovation Center get built in Woodland, Schilling build his new factory in West Sac or someplace else outside of Davis, the construction of the World Food Center in Sac and other economic losses to the city while we struggle to maintain our services and infrastructure there is a chance that things could change. Finally if more student apartments get built in the city and more students get to participate  in city elections a more realistic view of community sentiment might be voiced at the ballot box. An interesting question is would Measure A have passed if students on campus and people in El Macero were allowed to vote on it?

        When Eileen Samitz says she wants UCD to build more housing she is also saying she doesn’t want students to participate in Measure R elections. I wonder if she realizes this? Is that an intended or unintended consequence?

        1. The Pugilist

          “If you want to transpose the vote on Measure A into a proxy for the renewal of Measure R you only need a few more votes to defeat the renewal. ”

          Except for the problem that a lot of people who voted yes on Nishi will vote yes for renewal, whereas very few who voted no on Nishi, will vote no for renewal.

      2. hpierce

        I know of at least one… me… I oppose Measure R, but given my reservations on the particular project, I voted No on A.  Had the ballot had TWO measures, one in regards to the project, and one to overturn R/J, I would have voted to overturn A, and still voted no on the project.

        1. Misanthrop

          Back in the day I too voted for Measure J but now that I more fully understand that the process doesn’t work at the ballot box and become a process where even if something does get passed it will get bottled up with litigation I am opposed to its renewal. I also wonder what Ken Wagstaff thinks about it? When it passed Wagstaff was mayor and went out and campaigned for it using his prestige as mayor to get it passed. Now that Wagstaff endorsed Measure A only to see it fail I honestly wonder what he thinks about how Measures J/R have played out for the community and if he thinks the process needs to be changed.

        2. The Pugilist

          Does the process not work at the ballot box or have there just been a host of poor plans that have come up?  It seems like you don’t care if we have a crappy project.

        3. Misanthrop

          Well what if Measure R makes it impossible to create a project that is good enough for the voters. That is my concern. You can pick apart all three of the Measure R failures. You can pick apart Cannery too but the question that we should be asking is if Davis is better or worse without these projects. I think Cannery, whatever its flaws, is good because it provides housing that is much in demand. Or you could look even farther back at Mace Ranch, Wildhorse, Stonelake, North Davis Farms or Village Homes and ask yourself if Davis is better or worse with or without these projects. I’m sure the die hard no on everything people would say these were terrible or flawed projects but if you ask the people who live in these places I think the answer would be an overwhelming yes. I think the people who live in these places like their homes and believe that their construction was an overall positive for the community

        4. The Pugilist

          ” I think Cannery, whatever its flaws, is good because it provides housing that is much in demand.”

          I think that’s the problem.  You believe that housing by itself is a good thing, but ignore issues of affordability, sustainability and the like.  Cannery does very little to address the most pressing need – rental housing.  And it only provides 550 or so units on 100 acre site.  That’s not a good use of land that didn’t require a vote.

        5. Misanthrop

          Cannery won an award as the best master planned community in the nation from a home builder trade association earlier this year. If state of the art isn’t good enough for Davis we will never be able to address our housing shortage.

    3. Fred

      “Fourth, the no growthers are controlling the message with underhanded tactics. ” I hear this repeated alot but I never see good examples. I saw a lot of misinformation coming from the A campaign in the last election, I even saw un-attributed flyers spread on their behalf. From what I could tell, the no campaign didn’t have the resources to “control the message with underhanded tactics”

      1. Matt Williams

        Fred, you hear that repeated alot by one and only one person . . . nameless.  More and more lately, Nameless is employing a rhetorical style that is a whole lot like Michael Harrington.  They both are willing to throw anything they can up against the wall in the hope that it will stick.  For both of them the quantity/volume of arguments thrown against the wall was much more  important than the quality of the arguments.

        I have asked nameless repeatedly to provide concrete examples and his/her replies have been (1) that citizens whose vote was destined to be “no” had the audacity to come up to the “yes” table and challenge the “yes” representatives there to justify their position.  His/her argument was that once a person has made up their mind they should remove themselves from the public dialogue on the topic so that others who haven’t made up their minds can have unfettered access to the “yes” representatives.  He/she appears to be operating on a double standard . . . that he/she is allowed to passionately advocate for his/her position, but that others are not supposed to do so.  (2) that citizens have used abusive/disruptive language in Commission meetings.  I provided one specific example from two years ago, but to date he/she has provided no examples of his/her own.

        My personal observation from the front lines is that both the “yes” and the “no” sides used information that the other side disputed, and in most cases those disputes were ignored by the respective party.  It was a spirited campaign on both the “yes” and “no” sides, worthy of the soon to be waged Trump-Clinton battle.

  4. Fred

    “Nishi shows that the Measure R process can work.” Wile there were many specific problems arising from the disproportionate Yes on Measure A campaign, I agree with you that the Measure A election shows that a good project can pass a Measure R vote.

      1. Michael Harrington

        Fred is correct.  But Nishi was a completely twisted, unfinished, way over dense project for the challenging location.   Maybe next time they will plan it correctly, with the right mix of development.

  5. ryankelly

    I can understand why the Nishi developers have declined to meet with Harrington.  After reading his responses on this blog today, I can’t imagine that it would be a productive, nor pleasant, conversation.

  6. MAli

    “I’d like to talk to the Nishi people as to a global resolution, but as they did for months before the election, they flat refuse.  Did it again yesterday.”

    Mike Harrington is suing Nishi so the lawyers probably told them not to communicate  with Harrington without their own lawyers present. Or maybe they haven’t figured out what they are going to do next so there is nothing to discuss. Perhaps they don’t want to risk good money after bad and figure they have no reason to discuss anything with Harrington since they were telling the truth the day after the election when they said they would not return with a different proposal for another Measure R vote. No on A seemed to think that returning with a second proposal would be easy to do. They may have underestimated the difficulty and expense of doing so.

    1. Matt Williams

      Most of the issues in the lawsuit became moot when Measure A lost at the polls; however, it would be very good for the community to resolve the legality of Affordable Housing Fund issue.  Both sides of the Measure A campaign had their opinions about whether Council’s decision about Affordable housing at Nishi was legal, but until a court weighs in there will be uncertainty and (most likely) continued political turmoil.

  7. nameless

    nameless
    June 23, 2016 at 7:26 am

    “Fourth, the no growthers are controlling the message with underhanded tactics.  From Mr. Harrington’s words and actions, one would think he is running this town.  Fifth, even if Nishi were to make tweaks in attempt to satisfy the no growthers, they will most certainly trot out other defects to complain about – they are opposed to growth despite disingenuous words to the contrary.”

    Michael Harrington
    June 23, 2016 at 5:33 pm
    “David, LOL!  SLIGHTLY modified is going to get a win?  Yes, yes, go ahead and dupe the masses and convince them to follow your plan.”

     
    I rest my case!!!  What the Vanguard seems to be missing is my fourth point, that the no growthers are controlling the message, spreading a lot of misinformation, e.g “dupe the masses”, “city giveaway”, “toxic soup”, “traffic gridlock”, “over dense”, etc. ad nauseum. As long as the no growthers control the message, nothing gets built, no matter the tweaks.

    1. The Pugilist

      I’m not sure I agree that no growthers are controlling the message.  The developers here made some mistakes, but I heard a lot of concern about housing, student housing, and the need for economic development but that was mitigated by traffic concerns, and affordability.  Take away traffic impacts and the affordable housing concerns and this project passes.

      1. ryankelly

        The no growthers will only find something else that is wrong, such as the location and quality of the mitigation land.  As always, Harrington is purposely unclear – “I’d like to talk to the Nishi people as to a global resolution,…”   If he has any concrete ideas or solutions, he’s never, ever stated them.  No growthers are controlling the message because they’ve learned (like other politicos these days) that outrageous statements and lies work in a political campaign.

        However, we are talking about changing the minds of roughly 360 people.  Addressing the issues that people really had concerns about – financing, access/traffic, and affordability – the project would pass.  But the message would have to get through the Harrington & Co wall of sound.

        1. nameless

          ryankelly: “…No growthers are controlling the message because they’ve learned (like other politicos these days) that outrageous statements and lies work in a political campaign.
          However, we are talking about changing the minds of roughly 360 people.  Addressing the issues that people really had concerns about – financing, access/traffic, and affordability – the project would pass.  But the message would have to get through the Harrington & Co wall of sound.

          SPOT ON!

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