By Michael Bisch
I’d like to think that I have a pretty strong public record of advocating for the triple bottom line approach to community policy and projects wherein one focuses, as a guiding principle, on social, economic and environmental sustainability. I also think of myself as a staunch advocate for transparency as well as fostering community dialogue. This perception may not be universally held, but since this piece is about sharing my perspective…I’m sticking with it!
Placemaking and community building are no easy task. It is a rare instance when a community is of a single mind. Community members have varying perspectives, understandings of the facts, motivations, and circumstances. This diversity is to be celebrated! And yet, this diversity poses challenges to reaching consensus on community policies and projects. The Nishi/Gateway project is certainly no exception.
I have supported the development of the Nishi/Gateway (Measure A) project, in general, as a walkable/bikeable, mixed-use neighborhood in close proximity to downtown and campus for many years. And I support the specific details of Measure A, negotiated between the city and the developer, because it advances many of the Davis community’s objectives. Measure A, for example:
- Discourages peripheral sprawl
- Supports Davis schools
- Fosters a vibrant downtown
- Reduces traffic congestion
- Promotes a walkable & bikeable community
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
- Increases public parks & open space
I DO NOT share the mindset of many in politics that the ends justify the means. Perhaps I am too naïve in this. But for me, the means are as important as the ends; i.e. the process is just as important as the project details. And here too, Measure A has earned my support. Running a positive, uplifting campaign that focus on appealing to the ideals and aspirations of Davis residents is challenging! The media market is fractured, many voters are focused on their families/jobs/personal interests, the Measure A details are complex…“No” is understandably the default position for many of my fellow residents.
If last Saturday’s Downtown Rally In Support of Measure A is any indication, the Yes on Measure A campaign has risen to the challenge. What a terrific rally attended by a diverse cross section of the Davis community. Characterized by positive energy, good cheer and enthusiastic chants of:
Yes On A!…Yes On A!…Yes On A!
This was Davis grassroots politics on display at its finest. The keynote speakers were Mayor Pro Tem, Robb Davis and local pastor and community activist, Bill Habicht. Robb shared with the rally-goers his perspective on the transparency and integrity of the Measure A process and Bill shared his thoughts on community building and fostering the common good.
We shall discover this evening whether positive, uplifting campaigning is rewarded by Davis voters. Yes On A!
The Downtown Rally in Support of Yes On Measure A was hosted by Armadillo Music, Davis Lofts, B&L Bike Shop, Davis Commercial Properties, Sophia’s Thai Kitchen & Bar, Davis Chamber PAC, and Presidio Companies.
Michael Bisch is owner Davis Commercial Properties, past president Davis Downtown, co-founder JumpStart Davis, co-founder Pollinate Davis, co-founder Radiate Art Collective co-founder. [Note: I have no financial interest in the Yes on Measure A campaign or the underlying project. However, Michael was the organizer of the Downtown Rally In Support of Measure A this past Saturday.]