Commentary: Business As Usual in a Time of Crisis?

Sunrise-MRIC

The Vanguard for ten years has been an evolving project, but from day one until now, one of the chief things that I think the Vanguard brings to the community is the ability to ask questions that no one else wants to ask, and to address uncomfortable issues.

Since last week, one thing that has troubled me is that, while life has to go on after any major tectonic shift, the continuation of business as usual has seemed almost trite and petty.  We have begun new discussions, but we have also continued previous discussions on land use issues – the Russell fields, Richards Boulevard, etc.

I don’t want to say that those things are unimportant, but there are people in our community whose very lives may hang in the balance.  People are afraid.  Already there is talk about increasing deportations which will impact many in our community.

Yesterday came the news that the Trump team is now mulling over the idea of a  Muslim registry and the possible push to rapidly construct a Mexican border wall without additional congressional approval.

While I may remain opposed to new housing on Russell, Howard and Toomey Fields, it seems a much smaller matter in my life than it might have two weeks ago.

Last night the Davis Human Relations Commission unanimously pushed for the city council to reaffirm Davis’ status as a Sanctuary City.  That status was unanimously affirmed by the Davis City Council just two years ago on a 5-0 vote.

The language from that resolution included “the City of Davis supports a fair and just reform to the immigration process, where local funds and resources are not used to enforce federal immigration laws, and where the Davis Police Department has actively committed not to seek out and persecute individuals within the city limits because of their documented status.”

The language concludes, “BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council that the City of Davis once again reaffirms its declaration as a City of Sanctuary, recognizing its past commitment both to refugees and undocumented migrants to this country, and provides itself as a safe community until they can return to their homelands or until they receive federally-recognized residency in the United States…”

Davis would follow in the footsteps of cities like San Francisco who have committed to continuing their programs even the face of loss of federal funding. Davis has a somewhat different structure than cities like New York, L.A., and San Francisco, which do not hold undocumented inmates in jail at the request of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement unless the detainer request is accompanied by a judge’s order.

If the Trump administration wants to withhold funding from Davis it could impact things like transportation funding, grants, and CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds. But then again, such things could disappear under a Trump administration anyway.

Supporting things like the Sanctuary City are important – there is a growing immigrant population and last night the HRC pushed further to ask the city to encourage the school district to become a sanctuary school district.

Watching the video of Robb Davis’ speech at Central Park and the huge community showing at that event are certainly things to take pride in.

However, it also leads to questions.  The question is, if Davis is to become a safe place for people of color and vulnerable populations, and a sanctuary to immigrants – how do we reconcile that with our restrictive land use policies?

Are we saying to these populations – hey, Davis is a safe place for you, but sorry if you can’t afford to live here and sorry if there is no housing for you.  Go live over there, but we are friendly and inviting.

This is a question we need to struggle with.  What is our identity?  Are we simply an elitist community which stands up for principles when they are convenient and makes excuses when they are not?  Are we saying, hey we sympathize with the tired and huddled masses so long as they don’t try to live in our neighborhood?

I don’t have a good answer for this.  I have chosen to make Davis my home and my family’s home, despite the fact it may mean we never own a home.

For those who wish to end things like Measure R – it is not a black and white issue.  The issue of the need for productive farmland and food production is huge.  In the face of global warming and climate change, where we were just starting to make progress, we now put the fate of the world in the hands of a climate change denier.

UC Davis wants to be a leader in innovation, addressing issues like food insecurity and hunger, and here we are living on the edge of world-class farmland that has been under constant threat of development and those pressures will only increase.

So, I don’t have a good answer for how to reconcile a number of partially competing but equally important principles, but I am very much bothered by the disconnect between the ideals put forth in the sanctuary city resolution and our restrictive land use policies – that make it more and more difficult for refugees and immigrant populations to take sanctuary in our community.

But finally, for far too long we have allowed issues of land use to divide us among ourselves.  We may not be able to reconcile these great conflicts, we may not be able to agree on the best way forward, but somehow and in some way we have to remember that we have more in common than we have against each other, and we must figure out a way to put aside our differences and find a way forward.

The new world order no longer permits the luxury of petty differences and disputes.

—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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46 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    If the Trump administration wants to withhold funding from Davis it could impact things like transportation funding, grants, and CDBG funds.  But then again, such things could disappear under a Trump administration anyway.

    You don’t know that funding for things like transportation, grants, and CDBG could disappear.   Saying it “could” happen is not how policy should be shaped. That’s only an attempt to try and soften the blow of Davis losing funds that we direly need by saying we could’ve lost the funds anyway.  But we will certainly lose that money if Trump decides to stop federal funds going to sanctuary cities.  Are we as a city willing to lose that funding in order to protect illegals who commit crimes?

    1. David Greenwald

      Trump has said he will withhold federal funding from Sanctuary Cities, obviously the city of Davis needs to prepare for that possibility. “Are we as a city willing to lose that funding in order to protect illegals who commit crimes?” The Sanctuary city is broader than that.

        1. David Greenwald

          Under Obama half the people deported were people without criminal records, are you telling me that ICE under Trump is going to stop making those deportations? I doubt it. I believe the Trump plan is in addition to current policies, not instead of.

        2. Barack Palin

          Obama changed the deportation counting method to include people caught and returned at the border.  The numbers are so skewed that they can’t be taken seriously.

          1. David Greenwald

            Immaterial to the point. You believe that the only people deported under Trump will be those with criminal records?

        3. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > You believe that the only people deported under

          > Trump will be those with criminal records?

          I would be surprised if there is even a single illegal alien working for cash in America that is NOT involved in criminal tax fraud and paying not only social security and medicare but all the self employment taxes (and the fines for not having health care) that are due.

          P.S. Since all illegal aliens are not working for cash there are lots of them involved in criminal identity theft.  Years ago an illegal alien from Ireland stole the identity of a friend of mine and he went through hell with the IRS that kept his refund since he didn’t “declare” the “income” that the illegal alien was paid.

          P.P.S. Since “most” illegal aliens in California have brown skin they usually “steal” the identity of legal Americans with brown skin (who have names ending in “z”).  Just like Illegal aliens rarely take the job of a white person (it has been years since I have seen a white gardener or construction laborer in CA) they rarely steal the “identity” of a rich white liberal…

      1. Barack Palin

        Seriously, are we as Davis citizens who are already highly taxed going to be ready to pay even more taxes in order to replace lost federal funding so we can protect illegals who commit crimes?

        1. South of Davis

          BP wrote:

          > Seriously, are we as Davis citizens who are already highly taxed

          > going to be ready to pay even more taxes in order to replace lost

          > federal funding so we can protect illegals who commit crimes?

          We can add a “sanctuary city” parcel tax (with no senior exemption)  “and” another quarter percent to the sales tax and have a vote to see if “everyone” wants to pay for the illegal aliens (I’m guessing that less people in town will vote for this than voted for Trump)…

        2. Barack Palin

          That’s how I see it too.  We’ve already been hit with a higher school parcel tax, increased sales taxes and we all know a road parcel tax is coming our way.  Are we also going to be willing to tax ourselves even more in order to protect illegals who have criminal records?

        3. quielo

          “illegals with criminal records” Likely “legals” with criminal records too. Adding DUI, simple assault,  and Petty Theft or at least Petty with a Prior, will give ICE plenty to do. Of course if you added “identity theft” for everyone who offered someone else’s SS number that would dramatically increase the scope. Trump has also stated that gang membership alone should be reason for deportation.

        4. Chamber Fan

          People who are in the country illegally have always been deported for not having proper papers.  A Sanctuary City is important because if someone is a victim of a crime, you don’t want them fearful of going to the police to report it.

    2. Matt Williams

      At least for the moment we do not know whether disappearing funding is a problem or rather fear of a problem.  If we rush ahead to formulate a “solution” to that possible problem, the one thing that is a certainty is that the solution will be a guess at best.  We need to do our homework before jumping to conclusions.

      The Finance and Budget Commission (with input from the Council liaison to the Commission) formally discussed this threat to the City’s funding at Monday’s meeting.  We are going to work with staff to identify what federal funding might be at risk, and what portions of the City’s services would be impacted, and what the magnitude of those impacts could be.  Armed with that information we will be better able to make informed decisions when/if the possibility of cuts escalates.

      —————————-

      For the record, the sanctuary city issue wasn’t the only threat to the City’s revenues.  The looming likelihood of a financial correction in the economy was another.  The rapidly escalating loss of local sales tax revenues because of internet commerce was another.

      Staff and the FBC are constructing a computerized financial model that will use the impact on the City’s revenues from the 2008 Recession to project what revenues may be at risk in the next economic correction.   That same model can/will project the impact of continued reduction in sales tax collections.  Threats of federal funding losses will similarly be modeled.

      If you are interested in the FBC Revenues subcommittee’s discussion outline on Revenues, you can read it HERE  The upcoming potential threats to revenues were added as #6 to the discussion items as part of Monday’s meeting.

  2. Don Shor

    Trump is not a dictator and does not have specific authority to remove federal funding for unrelated purposes such as punishing cities over their immigration policies. I believe it’s a matter for Congress.

    The major sanctuary cities are all likely to reaffirm their status. The meaning of the term varies as to the level of cooperation with the federal immigration authorities. The reality is that this fight will probably occur elsewhere and not impact Davis all that much. But in any event, I think this is just one area in which opponents of the Trump administration policies will likely feel it necessary to take a stand. Perhaps cities will have to turn to the states to backfill funding. Perhaps those of us in blue states will have to tax ourselves more to pay for taking a stand. I’d bet a lot would be willing to. This is going to be a very turbulent and divisive four years.

    1. Barack Palin

      Obama often used the threat of witholding federal funds in order to get some of his policies implemented.  

      It’s clear that Obama and his Justice Department are not shy about using their power to withhold federal dollars to force states to obey their far-left agenda. Read more: http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/breaking-obama-just-made-massive-move-transgender-bathrooms/#ixzz4QHJT59Vz

        1. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > There’s a credible source

          Do you have any evidence that what BP posted is not true?  In the past week I’ve been noticing that more and more people are just saying that anything they don’t like is from a “fake” site…

    2. Mark West

      Don: “Trump is not a dictator and does not have specific authority to remove federal funding for unrelated purposes such as punishing cities over their immigration policies. I believe it’s a matter for Congress.”

       

      This is true to a point, but the Executive Branch does have the authority to determine where discretionary funds are spent through the various federal agencies. Congress authorizes so many hundreds of billions in funding for say, transportation grants directed at improvements to the Interstate system, then the agency responsible for granting the funds determine which projects are of greatest priority. It would be an easy thing to compare all possible projects with Sanctuary City status and change the priority score accordingly. Suddenly our grant application for the improvements of the Richards exchange may no longer be competitive. That sort of action does not require congressional approval, and won’t necessarily be obvious to the public because there are several valid criteria for judging the priority of a project that may be pointed to as the cause.

  3. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > Since last week, one thing that has troubled

    > me is that, while life has to go on after any major

    > tectonic shift, the continuation of business

    I have a lot of right wing friends that were upset about Obama getting elected yet when I push them they have a hard time coming up with a single actual thing (no “major tectonic shifts”) he did that changed their life.  Just like Obama didn’t let all the blacks out of prison I’m betting that Trump won’t be rounding up everyone with brown skin to send them to the border in boxcars…

  4. Mark West

    “Are we saying to these populations – hey, Davis is a safe place for you, but sorry if you can’t afford to live here and sorry if there is no housing for you.  Go live over there, but we are friendly and inviting.”

    I think this is a great characterization of what the ‘no’ crowd has been saying. We care, but protecting our quality of life is more important than helping you meet your basic needs. I’m not sure how inviting that really makes us, but we will be sure to act friendly so that everyone may feel good (especially us).

      1. Barack Palin

        So what’s your answer David?  Do you want us to remain a sanctuary city and keep our doors open to all illegals and build more housing for them while losing federal funding and having to raise our local taxes even more to support them?

        1. David Greenwald

          I don’t think I have “an” answer and I do not pose one here.  My commentary actually beyond undocumenteds, though certainly the Sanctuary City is a significant component of Davis’ expressed values.

        2. quielo

          It looks like David is looking for:

          1 a commitment to pay whatever it takes to protect an absolute principle.

          2: revisiting our land use policies along the lines of the White House memo released a few weeks ago. Though it is not clear how a relaxation of policy would benefit this population as there are a large number of people inline between the people who can afford Davis now and the demographic he is describing. That would imply either a huge number of new places, to satisfy all demand, or denying new houses to the people in between.

        3. Chamber Fan

          My read of this article is a little different.  what David seems to be arguing is that it’s easy to say you’re tolerant, but live on an Island where you are never confronted personally with the impact of your policies.

    1. Chamber Fan

      I agree with Mark.  It is easy for Davis residents to support things like Sanctuary Cities and safe spaces before we don’t have the direct threat – like competition for jobs, actually providing housing for real low income people, crime, etc.  So if Davis wants to be more than just an affluent, white, liberal town, it needs to really change its land use policies.

      1. quielo

        “So if Davis wants to be more than just an affluent, white, liberal town” By doing nothing it will become an affluent asian/white center-left town somewhat like Irvine, another UC town,  but perhaps less conservative.

        The Asian influence in the last school board election is really undeniable so expect a more conservative and isolationist path in the future. Interestingly while my FaceBook feed was solid for HRC my WeChat was solid for Trump.

        1. quielo

          Of course. If you look to irvine as a model the schools are 50% Asian while the board is 80% white. Asians in general and Chinese in particular, place a higher priority on policies rather than identity politics.

  5. Alan Miller

    I am very much bothered by the disconnect between the ideals put forth in the sanctuary city resolution and our restrictive land use policies – that make it more and more difficult for refugees and immigrant populations to take sanctuary in our community.

    Why don’t we ask San Francisco, a model sanctuary city that seems to have got it’s rent down low enough that refugees and immigrants are taking up residence all over town.

    1. South of Davis

      Alan wrote:

      > Why don’t we ask San Francisco, a model sanctuary city that

      > seems to have got it’s rent down low enough that refugees and

      > immigrants are taking up residence all over town.

      San Francisco may have rents that are higher but they are “greener” than Davis since their cleaning ladies and janitors take BART in to town while the cleaning ladies, janitors and gardeners almost all drive in to Davis to work.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-31/two-new-charts-prove-san-francisco-rents-are-out-of-control

    2. Matthew

      Um. Be sure to ask those same immigrants if their housing is habitable, up to code, if the units are even legally recognized by the city, and if there is space for beds for each person or if folks are sleeping on mattresses on the floor.

  6. Tia Will

    I am very much bothered by the disconnect between the ideals put forth in the sanctuary city resolution and our restrictive land use policies – that make it more and more difficult for refugees and immigrant populations to take sanctuary in our community.”

    And when someone proposes a way to make sure that newly developed housing is guaranteed to be available to these populations in need, you will see me strongly supporting such development. But the idea that we will build “luxury housing” and somehow expect that this will benefit the populations in need, I do not believe it and will not support any such developments that do not comply with existing, or modified, guidelines should the CC decide to promote changing the city zoning and guidelines in a revised General Plan.

    1. Mark West

      “when someone proposes a way to make sure that newly developed housing is guaranteed to be available to these populations in need…”

      So Tia is willing to support more housing in Davis, but only for those who meet her criteria of ‘need.’ Isn’t that much the same philosophy that was used to justify past housing discrimination, where we only allowed certain classes of people to have access to housing? It really doesn’t matter what criteria are used, it is still discrimination.

      “But the idea that we will build “luxury housing” and somehow expect that this will benefit the populations in need…”

      I image that to someone in need of housing, either of Tia’s Davis homes could be viewed as ‘luxury’ accommodations (compared to living in one’s car for instance). Should someone have prevented Tia’s houses from being built because they were not constructed to benefit one of Tia’s ‘populations in need?’

      Simply put, if we have a shortage of housing in Davis, we should be building more housing, of all types, and not discriminate against those who do not fit Tia’s criteria for acceptance. Housing discrimination is immoral and illegal, no matter which criteria are used to justify it.

       

      1. hpierce

        And, if everyone pays for such housing, in perpetuity…  particularly the developer, and if everyone else in town at a greater or equal rate/assessment than Tia… got it…

        We contribute 100’s [~1000] of $’s per year for Habitat for Humanity [one of several, nation-wide/world-wide], who have at least one, if not two projects in Davis… we do not expect others to do the same… but, it would be welcomed… wonder if some folk put their money where their mouth is…

        1. hpierce

          Was meant one level up… not directed to Mark, but to Tia, and/or others who are “liberal” with other folk’s resources… affordable housing, DJUSD, etc.  Easy for ‘rich folk’ to tell those in the middle class that they should “pony up”… indications are the new admin., will cut taxes on the affluent (200k or more), then guilt those in the middle class to fill in the ‘blanks’… some on this blog will probably avidly support that, while decrying the new admin.

          Historically, except for the Bill Gates, etc.[1%-ers or higher], the upper middle class are the weakest in charity… the truly rich tend to be charitable… as do the ones that are at less than $200 k per year…

        2. South of Davis

          hpierce wrote:

          > the upper middle class are the weakest in charity

          According to tax returns the upper middle class tend to give a slightly smaller “percentage” than the lower middle class bit “bigger” dollar amounts.  A guy making $250K who donates $100 week ($5,200/year) to charity may be considered “weak” if he “only” donates 2.1% of his gross income while a guy that makes $25K and donates $12 week ($624/year) is donating a “stronger” 2.5% of his income to charity.  If I was a charity I would rather have the $5,200 than the $624…

          It is also important that the IRS does not make you “prove” you tossed a $10 in the collection plate every week, but they will require written proof if you tell them you tossed $100 in each week.  Another thing to remember is that the ~$250K group has a lot of self employed people who not only get hammered by by health care costs and higher tax brackets but also pay the “extra” “self employed” 7.65% that works out to an extra $9K for everyone that hits the SS and medicare max income.

  7. hpierce

    Name one person in America (including ‘Native American’) who is NOT descended from immigrants…

    The ‘native americans’ came here with no documentation.  The early colonists had no “documentation”… there were no immigration laws…

    So, half of my lineage was “undocumented” (technically, my dad wasn’t either, as his birth records were destroyed in a fire in PA… although all his ancestors had been in the US for ~ 150 years)… the other half “immigrated” to the US before Ellis Island existed. Still, little or no ‘documentation’ except ship manifests…

     

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