A Look Ahead to Mayor Davis

Davis Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis speaking on the soda tax at a rally in early February
Davis Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis speaking on the soda tax at a rally in early February

Two years ago, Joe Krovoza ended his lengthy tenure as mayor, where he had served from January 2011 until June 2014.  For some observers, the expectation was that there would not be a tremendous amount of change on the city council – after all, while the mayor would change, the membership on council only had one shift – from Joe Krovoza to Robb Davis.

While the two would not be the same, they were good friends and allies.  With a weak mayor system, the top vote getter becomes mayor and, for the city manager, management of city employees falls to the city manager, not the mayor or city council.

Nevertheless, most observers saw a far larger shift on council than the on-paper changes might imply.  We may have a similar shift now with Dan Wolk giving way to Robb Davis as mayor.  On paper, Will Arnold, the former campaign manager and close friend of Dan Wolk, would seem to be a small shift rather than a large change.  However, Will Arnold in person insists that, on a number of key issues, he will in fact be very different from his predecessor.

For his part, Robb Davis, as he heads towards the mayorship, wants to downplay any huge changes.

In agreeing to answer the Vanguard’s questions, he noted, “I would like to note that we have a ‘weak mayor’ form of government.  The mayor has no particular prerogative to lay out tasks to accomplish.”

He explains, “Indeed, we decide together the goals and priorities, and we set the agenda in a collaborative way.  This is why paying attention to our discussions of the long range calendar is important.  It is during this exercise that we actually put forward the specific items we, together, want to take up.  It is then up to the mayor and the city manager to program these items into a workable agenda, in a timely way.”

He adds, “Our biennial goal setting (which will take place in September if all goes well), will be our chance to define broader goals and objectives that will guide our agenda setting over the coming two years.  The long-range calendar is then our chance to focus on specific items to accomplish the goals and deal with unanticipated issues that arise.”

But, in a way, his caveat emphasizes some of the changes he may bring to the city council as he looks toward a more process-oriented and collaborative-based approach than in the past.

The Vanguard asked the incoming mayor what first five things he would like to do as mayor.

First, Robb Davis explained that he would like to “task staff and the Finance and Budget Commission with developing options for a comprehensive and strategic cost containment approach.” He explained, “I have offered options in this regard previously but would like a broad approach to consider highest impact options. “

There seems to be a push to have an update to the General Plan.  For Robb Davis that means, “Put into place a clear process that we will use to update to the General Plan. This will include defining the scope of the General Plan update (parameters/areas that will be covered/areas that will not be covered), a clear time-frame and guidelines for community engagement.”

This does not have to be and should not be a major undertaking, he explained.  The push will be for infill and efficiency of space as well as climate change.

He explained, “I do not believe a multi-year process is feasible or needed and I would argue that the focus should be on how we can accomplish more efficient use of space in the city first and foremost.”

He added, “Secondarily, it should focus on updating our climate action efforts as they relate to housing and transportation.”

One of the big issues in the last year has been the relationship between the city and university, especially on the issue of housing and their LRDP process.

Robb Davis wants to “formally engage the university, via a city council sub-committee, on their Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) process.”

He explained, “This engagement should focus on defining a set of jointly-agreed principles and lay out key community concerns (e.g. campus student housing, campus-city transportation issues, broadband, and campus growth impacts on city infrastructure).”

Robb Davis also wants to re-evaluate the city’s economic development goals.  He wants to “review the May 2014 economic development goals/objectives and relevant prior studies to re-launch a comprehensive economic development strategy for the City.  This strategy must build on the large amount of work that has already been done, be informed by recent efforts to develop innovation centers, consider how to better use city land assets, and evaluate the changes occurring in and around the downtown (i.e recent property sales).”

Finally, he wants to “fully implement a local restorative justice-focused diversion program via a collaborative citizen/police/DJUSD process to assure broad application of restorative principles and practices to juvenile discipline and crime issues in the city. “

The list actually goes on from there.  He explained that other items in need of attention include “implementation of a CCE (Community Choice Energy) JPA (Joint Powers Agency) and visioning concerning the CCE; evaluation of options concerning the Nishi project; MOU negotiations with two bargaining units; preparing the community for the large number of road/bike path projects on tap for this year; decisions related to student-oriented housing; decisions related to hotel projects; determining the scope of a broadband technical feasibility study RFA; decisions concerning a renters’ ordinance; begin to envision a new approach to dealing with affordable housing; defining a concise social services strategy for the city.”

The Vanguard has been critical of the lack of progress on a number of fronts in the last few years, but from Robb Davis’ answers, it appears that council will have a very aggressive and meaty agenda over the next two years.

The Vanguard asked the incoming mayor what regrets he has had over his first two years on council.

On top of the list, Robb Davis explained, was “not making a better case to the community and my colleagues for a sugary beverage tax.”

The councilmember may be overly self-critical.  The issue only came to council in early December.  The beverage industry immediately threw its weight and muscle to defeating it and Robb Davis was probably its most eloquent advocate, calling it “the public health crisis of our time.”  And he warned that sugary beverages are, quite simply, “a delivery mechanism” which brings “fructose to the liver in probably the most efficient means of doing so.”

The council and community were not ready for fast action on this item, but this will not be the last chance.  The issue has been introduced and framed.

Robb Davis said he also regretted not writing more op-eds in the Vanguard “to inform people about the many things we are doing to increase transparency and deal with city challenges.”

He further regrets, “Not spending more time on youth addiction issues.”  He also said, he regrets, “Not yet being able to find a way to move beyond our approach to affordable housing which appears stuck in the RDA (Redevelopment Agency) logic of funding to a new way that acknowledges that we are, in fact, in a post-RDA world.”

Finally, a big push will be on finding new ways to deal with homelessness, and he said he regrets, “Not yet finding a way to really articulate a syndromic approach to dealing with homelessness: mental health, addiction, trauma.”

In a weak mayoral system, a single change on council can shift the emphasis and direction and, if anything, the list of regrets and priorities suggests there will be a major shift there.  The question is whether he can get his colleagues to agree – but many of these goals seem aligned with those of his colleagues.

—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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62 Comments

  1. MAli

    “The push will be for infill and efficiency of space as well as climate change.”

    I hope they ask the community about infill because I’m not sure the community really wants infill. Infill sounds good in theory but runs into neighborhood opposition everywhere it is proposed. Infill has been touted as a solution to not being able to annex land because of Measure J/R but beyond the rhetoric is forcing infill into established neighborhoods what the community really wants? I hope the community gets to answer that question before the council takes action.

    1. David Greenwald

      So far I have been told:
      1. the community doesn’t want peripheral growth
      2. the community doesn’t want more taxes
      3. the community doesn’t want infill

      That leads me to the conclusion that the community also doesn’t want roads without potholes, housing for families or students, parks that won’t have the playground equipment that fall apart, schools that continue to be among the best in the state, and city services that continue to work. Because quite frankly something has to give. We do not have the resources to continue as we have without some form of revenue and probably multiple ones.

      1. PhillipColeman

        Yep. I’m tempted to cynically say, “An amazing grasp of the obvious,” but it’s not apparently all that obvious to many “consumers” of public services. Those same persons who condemn municipal efforts to generate additional revenue are also the first to complain about those potholes, rusty playground equipment, the fact that it took an hour for a police officer to come to their aid.

        Robb is not a dummy, far from it. He seems to be deliberately downplaying his potential influence with the rest of the Council and the community. Robb and his council colleagues intellectually know that to maintain–let alone raise–city services to an acceptable level, requires revenue enhancements.

        “Something has to give.” Yes, again. Either cut existing services even more to maintain a dwindling budget in balance, or start doing one or more of those enumerated “doesn’t” items noted above. The leadership role taken by Mayor Davis will determine which course will be chosen, and where the political will of a 3-person council majority will be seen.

  2. Tia Will

    Phil

    Those same persons who condemn municipal efforts to generate additional revenue are also the first to complain about those potholes, rusty playground equipment, the fact that it took an hour for a police officer to come to their aid.”

    I hear this line of thinking repeatedly that it is the “same persons” who complain about efforts at revenue generation being “the same” as those who complain about lack of services…..and yet I see no evidence that this is true. What I see is splits between the views of different individuals who have differing priorities and differing values. I often wonder where those who repeat the “same persons” idea have arrived at that conclusion when the patterns of differing values from different individuals are pretty clear at least here on the Vanguard and at public comment. Can you clarify that position for me ?

    1. hpierce

      Think you’re over-reacting to Phil’s words… I read nothing into them where he was talking about “groups” of people, nor no-growthers/pro-growthers.

      Having had a lot of direct contact with Davis citizens, the “I want more/higher service levels, and I’d damn well better get decreased fees/taxes” is a prevalent theme.  Independent of any views of ‘growth/no-growth’… even very intelligent folk need to think, at least once in awhile.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        I think that I took Phil at his actual words. He may or may not have meant exactly what he wrote. I have no way of knowing since he hasn’t responded yet.

        Again, other than your anecdotal take on what people have said to you, what is your evidence that ““I want more/higher service levels, and I’d damn well better get decreased fees/taxes”  is a prevalent theme ?” I know of only one poster here on the Vanguard who seems to consistently come close to this stand. That is BP. And even BP presents the means by which he believes this is possible. He is consistent in calling for increased governmental efficiency and wiser spending choices. I do not happen to agree that this will suffice to meet our needs, but at least he is consistent in his view point that there is an alternative to “more services” for “less money”. I simply am unaware of anyone who is making this rather naive claim. Can you give me an actual example ?

        1. hpierce

          Can you give me an actual example ?

          How complete?  A transcript of the actual words?  Name, address, phone# to verify?  Date and time?  Whatever… suffice it to say, you disbelieve that I am speaking truthfully.  I never said it was a “study”.  Believe what you will, Tia.

          Given that I was a public employee, given the fact that I did not record, nor take stenographic notes, given the ‘privacy rights’ of the individuals, etc., if I had the documentation I’d be loathe to share it.  I will say, this came up in over 100 conversations in over 15 years.  By contrast, it was rare to hear someone say “I’d be willing to pay more to get this fixed”… maybe twice in the same 15 years…

          So, just dismiss my observations as unverifiable tripe.  Good with that.  Next time you recount what women patients tell you, that you base your observations on, please consider holding yourself to the same standard that you seem to expect from others…  and don’t give us the patient/physician privilege dodge…

           

  3. Tia Will

    From the point of view of a 30 year clinician with a special interest in preventive and public health, I would like to suggest adding another perspective to two of Robb’s areas of emphasis. The public health crisis of our day is indeed obesity related illnesses. I agree that the consumption of sugary beverages is a major component of this problem. Another major component of the problem is the sedentary nature of our day to day lives. This lifestyle change has been enabled by the private automobile. Too many of us have turned exercise into something that we do on the weekend after driving to a park or gym instead of considering exercise as how we get from point A to point B as part of our daily lives.

    As a city, I would like to suggest that we consider small steps ( incentives and disincentives) to those habits that we know are deleterious to our health.

    1. A soda tax ( non punitive since no one ever “needs” a soda).

    2. More housing in the core area ( especially “little a ” affordable housing) since it is those with lower incomes who can least afford to drive long distances.

    3. Pass Nishi, especially if the developer were to help out a bit on the affordability issue

    4. Paid parking downtown.

    5. Work on improving public transportation through both traditional and non traditional means: ride sharing, increasing zip car usage, pedi cab availability as part of regular transportation options instead of just a picnic day feature , bicycle sharing, “leave your car at home day _maybe with downtown businesses offering coupons or incentives of some sort, making our downtown streets open to all means of travel ( cars, bikes, and pedestrian) as some European cities have done…. I am sure that there are many other programs that other communities have adopted of which I am unaware.

     

    1. Barack Palin

      A soda tax ( non punitive since no one ever “needs” a soda).

      There’s a lot of things that people don’t need, should we all be paying taxes on those things too?

  4. Jim Frame

    I’m happy to see the broadband RFA on Robb’s list.  It’s Step 1 toward delivering high-speed connectivity to the whole community, which is essential for successful economic development efforts.

    1. Tia Will

      BP

      There’s a lot of things that people don’t need, should we all be paying taxes on those things too?”

      We already do. They are called sales taxes. And yes, I believe that it is absolutely fine to raise taxes on what are essentially “luxury items ” in order to fund educational, health and wellness, and infrastructure needs. For me, once one has reached the conclusion that sugary beverages are not “food” items ( since they have essentially no nutritional value for the general population) one can reasonable conclude that they are discretionary or “luxury items” and tax them accordingly.

      1. Barack Palin

        A soda is a luxury item?  Try that line on the public when you and your fellow social engineers try and bring back the soda tax.  That will go over well.

  5. Barack Palin

    making our downtown streets open to all means of travel ( cars, bikes, and pedestrian) as some European cities have done

    Ummm, I think our downtown streets already are.

    1. Tia Will

      BP

      You may not be aware of a major difference which I did not make clear. I don’t mean divided into street vs sidewalk as we now have. I mean the entire street open to all means of transportation. This slows cars to the speed of the slowest moving user on the street thereby discouraging the use of cars when other modalities will suffice while still allowing the disabled or others who actually need to use a car, to access the area and park near their destination.

      1. Barack Palin

        Terrible idea.  We don’t need to be mixing cars with pedestrians.  Keep it the way it is, pedestrians have ample sidewalks to walk on and leave the streets to the cars and bicycles, what they’re meant for.

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          “Terrible idea”

          Why dismiss out of hand a concept that you may not be familiar with ?  Have you taken a moment to consider how it works in those cities that use it ?

        2. Barack Palin

          I’ve done a lot of travelling through Europe.  Yes they do have parts of towns where the  streets are mostly blocked off to autos, but those districts are in the older medieval parts of town where they’re likely to have narrow cobblestone streets so it makes sense.  It doesn’t make sense in downtown Davis.

  6. Nancy Price

    I am not so sure that the community does not want peripheral development or infill. What the Nishi vote and the debates over Trackside and Sterling indicate to me, at least, is that the community wants a much better process and wants to be included in planning.
    Why should Old North Davis have Trackside plunked down in their neighborhood without warning and over the specific plan guidelines in height? Why should Sterling get a pass on a full EIR? 
    As for Nishi, when in July 2014 the innovation park proposals were announced several of us spoke at the City Council meeting to say that we hoped the site and building plans would be as innovative in sustainable design as the R & D. Along the way, comments were made the Guiding Principles needed to be more than aspirational before they were adopted in Dec. 2014. Why if not demanded by the City Council would developers really try to meet them if their bottom line were too impacted.
    As for Nishi, from February to November 2015, with time out for the summer, the Nishi Working Group met with each City Council member at least twice and with Tim Ruff maybe 5 or more times to try to make Nishi more “green and sustainable” to have it meet the highest LEED platinum standards and even consider the Living Communities Challenge that cities across the US are using as guides now. In the end, some of this working group supported Nishi as the best we could get and others did not because we could do better.  
    Those who made up the Nishi Working Group are not nimbys, constant “nattering nabobs, folks wanting to protect property values, or old geezers or octogenerians (though a few of us are in our 70s), but let’s be honest, some in Brett Lee’s campaign group and supporting Nishi are just as old or older) – age has nothing to do with this. The students were split – what does that tell us?
    And let’s remember back to 1986 when the City Council voted to make Central Park a 3-tiered shopping mall and a small group, including some of us now old geezers, rose up to challenge the City Council vision and offered our own…thank goodness Save Open Space won and we now have Central Park, the Farmers Market and Wed. family picnics, food vendors and music – a real public community commons – a great accomplishment that almost the entire downtown local business community supported then and supports now. 
    By updating the General Plan, as Robb Davis has described and others advocate, and collaborating with UCD, infill and peripheral development proposals can probably succeed, but not without an open, transparent, inclusive community and democratic process, and not without recognizing that the highest standards of green, sustainable, resilient and creative development must be met, if we as a community are to set an example and also to make our contribution toward mitigating global warming and climate change for the sake of current and future generations. .  
     

      1. Nancy Price

        Hi Ryan, Why don’t you describe for readers the extent of community participation in the planning of Nishi and what process you would envision?

        Thanks, Nancy

        1. ryankelly

          I’m not the one complaining about the current process.  Don’t say that the process needs to involve the community more, but don’t have any idea what that would look like.  It’s easy to sit around and complain. Much harder to come up with a constructive suggestion. I realize that a significant part of opposing development is complaining about the process, but you don’t have to be so obvious with your deflection of a true question. If you have no idea how to improve or change the process, then you should say so.

    1. Tia Will

      Hi Nancy,

      I agree with all of your substantive points regarding the importance of community involvement in planning. Just one small factual correction.

      The location of the Trackside project is in Old East Davis, not Old North. Both communities have the good fortune to have strong neighborhood associations, that while supporting change and growth, also support respect for and adherence to zoning and planning guidelines until such are changed by a community wide process.

       

  7. WesC

    Added sugar is ubiquitous in everything we eat and a soda tax might just have the unintended consequence of making us feel like we can declare victory and not look at all the added sugar in all the other foods.

    For example a breakfast of a frosted strawberry pop tart, and a cup of sprite has 41gms of sugar. A breakfast of 1 cup Quaker simply granola, 1cup Horizon organic lo fat chocolate milk, and 1 cup Tilamook lo fat vanilla bean yogurt has 97gms of sugar, approx 76gms of which are added sugar. The yogurt/granola/chocolate milk breakfast has other nutrients but still has alot of added sugar.

     

    1. Tia Will

      WesC

      making us feel like we can declare victory and not look at all the added sugar in all the other foods.”

      I see no one claiming that this one step would represent any kind of “victory”. But no change is ever made without taking some steps forward. The health community has been using education as our first step forward for many, many years in what so far is a losing battle. As a doctor, I am always looking for another step. I see a soda tax as a good “next step”. What would your recommendation be beyond education and example ?

      1. WesC

        I am infavor of this tax even if the revenue just goes into  the general fund. I see it as just another sin tax on a product that does alot of harm and has significant costs to everyone. I would prefer that all of the soda tax revenue be used on a public health campaign focused on nutrition.
        The health community has done a miserable job on this.  In light of recent research that showed physician prescribing practices can be influenced by a free meal, maybe if a portion of the funds were used to give MDs a free healthy meal once per month they might do a better job educating their patients.?

        1. WesC

          I also think that given we are probably not talking about a significant amount of revenue with a soda tax, the education funded by this should focus on harm to health resulting from a diet high in added sugar and how to read nutrition labels on food packaging.

  8. nameless

    Robb Davis also wants to re-evaluate the city’s economic development goals.  He wants to “review the May 2014 economic development goals/objectives and relevant prior studies to re-launch a comprehensive economic development strategy for the City.  This strategy must build on the large amount of work that has already been done, be informed by recent efforts to develop innovation centers, consider how to better use city land assets, and evaluate the changes occurring in and around the downtown (i.e recent property sales).”

    IMO this will be THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE to address, especially after the results of Measure A and in light of the condition of our roads.

    1. Barack Palin

      I agree, that and fiscal restraint.  Let’s hope they don’t take their eye off the ball like the past councils are start wading into things like soda taxes and denouncing global trade deals.

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        I do not see any “ball” as being more important than the health and well being of our population. It amazes me that you cannot see that the consequences of chronic poor health are a major drag upon our economy for both private and public sectors.

  9. Tia Will

    hpierce

    just dismiss my observations as unverifiable tripe.  Good with that”

    Wow !  I must have hit a nerve that I had no intention to hit. I asked for an example….you took it as a dismissal of your point. I have no idea how you got from one to the other. I asked for an example of a scenario, not the name, address, email or social security number. I believe that when asked, I have provided specific examples of medical situations that I believed were relevant all without provision of a medical record number.

    1. hpierce

      Tia… OK… I did assume you meant you needed “facts” not anecdotal ‘accounts’… I’m fighting a ‘summer cold’, where I’m spending much of my time hydrating and sleeping/resting… has made me a bit “cranky” last couple of days (ask my spouse!).  So, I apologize if too much tone came out.

      Will try to give more specific examples, but not today… will clarify though, the vast majority of my public contact was neutral/favorable (some folk didn’t like the fact that the issue was beyond the City’s to solve, but got to acceptance, and taxes/fees didn’t even come up), or favorable, where the City was able to resolve the issue, and again, taxes/fees were not part of the discussion.

      But I was responding to Phil’s comment, “… persons who condemn municipal efforts to generate additional revenue are also the first to complain about those potholes, rusty playground equipment, the fact that it took an hour for a police officer to come to their aid.”   Those folk are definitely out there!  Gonna’ guess about 5-10%…

      Note that 5% is higher than the difference in the Measure A vote.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        I appreciate you taking the time to reply even when not feeling well. Summer colds are definitely “cranky making “. Hope you are feeling better now !

  10. Ron

    From the article:  “There seems to be a push to have an update to the General Plan.”

    I wonder who’s doing the “pushing”?  Hopefully, not the same folks who want to add housing on the periphery, or overly-large scale residential infill that overwhelms neighborhoods and the city.  (This would not help with economic concerns, either.)

    From the article: Robb Davis wants to “formally engage the university, via a city council sub-committee, on their Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) process.”

    Excellent! (Also – I appreciate Robb’s earlier effort, which appears to be working.) (Of course, Eileen deserves credit, as well.)

     

    1. hpierce

      My opinion is that there are “elements” (technical term) that are definitely in need of review/revision… things change.

      Other elements, in my opinion, should be left alone, or actually “rolled back” to previous GP’s.

      I think there should be a two-step process…

      One, to determine what elements need to be looked at/possibly revised/updated… obvious ones are the housing element, and I’m blanking on the other mandatory element that by State law have to be updated every so often.  We have elements in the city’s GP that are not mandated… perhaps we should look at deleting those…

      Two, to look at appropriate revisions… but at least one previous GP revision/update was labelled ‘Citizens’ GP, where staff input was actively discouraged/banned, even on technical matters.  Not an intelligent way to proceed…

      Imagine if there was a US (federal) constitutional convention called, where EVERYTHING including the constitution and ALL amendments were open to change.  The City’s GP has been characterized as the City’s “constitution”… a bit over-dramatic, but maybe a fair analogy… yet, the US constitution amendment process is far more rigorous as to voting/approvals than ANYTHING in the process of General Plan amendments.  If it were, GP amendment processes would be on super-steroids!

      I’d like to see any major GP Revision provisions subject to at least a 2/3, or 75% of a Measure J/R type of vote.

       

  11. Tia Will

    Ron

    As a member of the Old East Davis neighborhood association, I have a different perspective on the value of updating the general plan. I hope it is clear by now that I am not a developer or an investor and have absolutely nothing to gain financially from either the acceptance of denial of any peripheral or infill project. Having said that, the currently used alternative to updating the general plan has become that developers and investors design a project, either for themselves or others, and then try to gain the votes of three city council members to make allowances ( or to put it more bluntly changes to zoning or design guidelines) to fit their project. If there is controversy, they then fall back on the expression “doesn’t pencil out” without ever explaining what that actually means to get their way. Of interest is that most of these projects tend to be in someone else’s neighborhood, not their own and that there seems to be a tendency to not inform, or better yet to ask the immediate neighbors if they would like to invest and or participate in the project.

    Getting away from this completely non collaborative approach would be my major interest in revisiting and renewing the general plan.

    1. hpierce

      completely non collaborative approach…

      So, public notice, public hearings in front of multiple commissions, neighborhood meetings, etc. that has been the norm for decades has been COMPLETELY non-collaborative?

      Often, developers talked up their project with neighbors, known ‘resistance’ groups, etc., to get their buy-in (via “negotiations”) even before it was submitted to City staff… Covell Village was an example (Chiles Ranch was another)… as a result, staff was told to “work with it”, offer no changes except at their own peril, unless there were truly ‘fatal’ flaws.

      We all know what happened with CV… although I’d love to rescind R/J, even a stopped clock is right twice a day… CV was not a good project, particularly as it was not linked to the Cannery site, severely reducing opportunities to make more street connections to arterials, for both projects…

      What would “collaborative” look like, that differs from what exists?

      1. Ron

        hpierce:  “What would “collaborative” look like, that differs from what exists?”

        From my perspective, there may be an incorrect, initial “assumption” that most residents want to approve residential developments beyond current boundaries (especially if far from downtown and the University), or to “overly-densify” existing neighborhoods.  Therefore, any plans to do so may be headed toward failure, from the start. (Regardless of subsequent “outreach” meetings, commission recommendations, or council actions.)

        And yet, that seems to be what often “arises”, as a result of planning efforts. It’s almost comical, really.  Except for the enormous effort that’s expended by both sides, to influence the council (for large-scale infill), or voters (for development proposals beyond boundaries).

        Sometimes, as in the case of the MRIC, the proposal changes dramatically along the way.  And then, some “early supporters” turn into opponents.

         

         

      2. Tia Will

        So, public notice, public hearings in front of multiple commissions, neighborhood meetings, etc. that has been the norm for decades has been COMPLETELY non-collaborative?”

        No, the proposal of a fleshed out project with the idea of convincing three members of the city council to change zoning and/or waive design guidelines without consulting with or even informing immediate neighbors let alone the involved neighborhood is completely non-collaborative.

  12. Ron

    Tia:  ” . . the currently used alternative to updating the general plan has become that developers and investors design a project, either for themselves or others, and then try to gain the votes of three city council members to make allowances (or to put it more bluntly changes to zoning or design guidelines) to fit their project.”

    That sounds about right!

    Tia:  “Of interest is that most of these projects tend to be in someone else’s neighborhood, not their own and that there seems to be a tendency to not inform, or better yet to ask the immediate neighbors if they would like to invest and or participate in the project.”

    That also sounds correct.  (I didn’t realize that there was an effort to “recruit” neighbors, by encouraging investment.  This would marginalize those who cannot, or choose not to invest with the developer.)

    The bottom line:  The impacts of infill on surrounding neighborhoods should be carefully considered.  (For any/all neighborhoods.)

    I wish that planning efforts adhered to the Hippocratic Oath (that you’re familiar with):  “First, do no harm”.  (Unfortunately, it seems this is often disregarded.)

     

     

    1. hpierce

      A General Plan, is well, general… unlike what some may want, it is not produced on tablets of stone, with threats of cataclysm if it is not literally and narrowly followed… with no possibility of amendment/interpretation…

  13. Tia Will

    BP

    I think that you totally misread my post. I did not say anything at all about blocking off streets to automobiles. I was addressing the completely separate issue of streets that are accessible to cars, but which pedestrians, skaters, bicyclists and pedestrians can all use equally. Here we have chosen the route of segregation which too often pits one form of transportation against another. In these limited areas they have chosen to be all inclusive. Anyone can use the center or sides of the streets which necessitates more cooperatively and civility than we see on our streets.

    1. Barack Palin

      Pedestrians and the large number of cars that use our downtown won’t mix well and is a recipe for getting a lot of people hurt.  Where do you come up with these ideas anyway?

  14. Tia Will

    Ron
    “I didn’t realize that there was an effort to “recruit” neighbors, by encouraging investment.  This would marginalize those who cannot, or choose not to invest with the developer.”

    There isn’t. That was my point. As it is now, only those who are economically or politically or socially connected seem to have a voice in the type of project that is developed ( for someone else’s neighborhood). I fail to see how that this lack of inclusivity is any better than the potential for marginalization. I can see several different possible scenarios that might avert either negative effect of the current lack of consistent process.

    1. Offer the opportunity for individuals or groups or the neighborhood association for that matter to invest in the project.

    2. Offer these same individuals or groups to have input from the beginning before money has been invested in a project that is almost guaranteed to draw opposition from the neighbors.

    3. Even if neither of these routes is desired, at least inform the neighbors so that input can be given prior to making a public announcement about what you plan to do in someone else’s neighborhood.

    I can almost guarantee that a transparent and collaborative process would draw less opposition and be more likely to result in a win/win proposition rather than hoping to fly under the radar and then essentially kicking a hornets nest of opposition.

  15. Alan Miller

    THEY also say, “these documents are out-of-date“.  In fact, the neighborhoods worked on these guidelines for when infill came.  The immense pressure of land value due to zero vacancy due to no approval of J/R’s, thus infill projects proposed are no longer modest and within zoning, but massive in response to market pressure, thus neighbors not fighting infill as planned by city process, but massive, obstructive structures they want exemptions for, and that neighbors will reject.  And everyone’s house values and rental income grows due to no vacancy, and spirals to next level.  Davis has a stranglehold on itself that benefits homeowners large commercial property owners, the majority of voters, and thus they benefit from the stranglehold, and the students lose.  Subsidized housing is not the answer, as that brings in new residents from neighboring communities, not students who do not qualify.  We are Berkeley / Santa Cruz / Santa Barbara-ing Davis students to rental death.

    1. MAli

      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-most-unaffordable-place-to-live-in-america-is-2016-06-23

      Santa Cruz, Napa, Sonoma, SF, Marin, Monterey and San Luis Obispo (the place David always looks at as an example of what Davis should do) all made the list of the top ten most unaffordable places to live in America. What do these places have in common? Lack of supply, restrictions or opposition to growth, good weather (better than Davis), coastal climate influences. I wonder how Davis matches up in a comparison of median salaries to median home prices?

    1. Alan Miller

      Well, since I am in your head (have your attention): I’m only half kidding about the applause/booing — I don’t really think booing should be encouraged, but applause can be used manipulatively, and really depending on how something is wording, an audience can have an opportunity to express approval but not disapproval, which is rather odd as an opposite measure could “reverse the polls”.  So I believe applause is not simply a “positive”, but can be manipulative and fickle.  I encourage you to think through how this should be handled.

  16. Alan Miller

    More generally:  to Robb – kill the two minute “limit”.  Dan Wolk constantly violated his own limit, but mostly for friends, “important” people, or pushy people.  Go back to three (at least 2.5), a STICK to it for EVERYONE.

  17. nameless

    Ron: “I wonder who’s doing the “pushing” [for a General Plan update}?  Hopefully, not the same folks who want to add housing on the periphery, or overly-large scale residential infill that overwhelms neighborhoods and the city.  (This would not help with economic concerns, either.)

    If you are against infill and against peripheral growth, where does the city locate its fair regional share of housing and economic growth? Quite frankly it appears from your words (and I don’t want to put words in your mouth) you are opposed to growth?

    1. Ron

      nameless: “. . . where does the city locate its fair regional share of housing and economic growth?”

      Regarding “economic growth”, I don’t think that anyone is arguing against our “fair regional share”.  (I don’t think this phrase applies, regarding economic growth.)

      Regarding housing, we are already meeting/exceeding SACOG growth guidelines.

      The current plan already allows for infill, and some is being developed as I write this. (Apparently, that’s not enough for some.)

       

    2. Alan Miller

      The General Plan update for Davis is kind of like immigration reform is for the U.S.:  it’s great to talk about how it has to be done, but actually doing it is political suicide and community upheaval.  So both languish, forever to be fixed in the not-too-distant future.

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