Monday Morning Thoughts: Neighbors and Impacts to the Community

External view with privacy screen/ rendering by HRGA
External view with privacy screen/ rendering by HRGA

On Sunday, Vanguard Board Member Tia Will put forth a very thought-provoking piece, offering a different perspective on development.  I find her piece interesting because, while I don’t agree with the core of her arguments or their practicality, she’s actually not that far off conceptually speaking.  Allow me to explain.

Dr. Will is critical of the process on Hyatt House, noting that while the neighbors were criticized by Will Arnold and others for failing to come forward with “workable compromise” – as Tia Will puts it, neither did the developers.  She argues, “There was no initial discussion with the neighbors about what use might be preferable to them.”

She continues, “An alternative would be to develop a project that from its conceptual onset has the backing of the neighbors.”

What is striking to me is that she later acknowledges, “I truly do believe that we should view every resident of Davis as our ‘neighbor.’ When seen in this light, we should all be concerned when our more geographically separated neighbors are being expected to ‘take a hit’ for the team that we are not being expected to take.”

As she explains in her piece, “I am not opposed to the concept of sacrifice for the greater good of the community. However, I am opposed to the concept of disproportionate sacrifice which is what I believe that we are seeing when we trivialize the concerns of those most directly affected. They are being asked to not only accept any overall adverse consequences such as decreases in service, congestion, more taxes, worse roads, but are also being asked to absorb the direct adverse consequences on their neighborhood.”

There are a couple of points I wish to make in response.

First, if we conceptualize neighbors not as people adjacent to the project, but as the community, we actually have a fix for this dilemma – the general plan process which would allow the community to decide priorities and determine the locations where those priorities would be addressed.

Given that we do not have a current or updated general plan, we are actually moving forward with a proxy for that process.  The proxy is that the elected representatives of the community – the city council – have come up with a list of goals, and at the top of the list is fiscal resiliency.

My second reaction is related to the first, as Matt Williams pointed out in a response, “The thing about being ‘neighbors’ is that it is a two way street.  You have described the neighbors in close proximity to the Hyatt as ‘taking a hit’ for the team if they agree to let the project go forward (against their better judgment).  What you haven’t described are how the ‘neighbors’ who are not in close proximity to the Hyatt will be ‘taking a hit’ for the team if they agree to not let the project go forward. “

Indeed, without revenue sources, the entire community would be asked to accept “adverse consequences such as decreases in service, congestion, more taxes, worse roads.”  The answer that the neighbors have to that is not to deny the impacts of no hotel, but to suggest that the hotel go somewhere else and become someone else’s problem.

So the neighbors’ response in the face of these arguments is, in effect, put the burden on someone else.

Given the urgency of the situation, while I would prefer probably a more systematic approach to land use and development that could be offered by a general plan, I am willing to allow our elected officials to serve as proxies for that process.

This is the problem I have with planning by litigation.  You would have to go back to 2008 to find the last elected official on the city council that opposed either Nishi or the water project.  And while John Munn ran in 2014 and came very close, he is actually the only major candidate again since 2008 that ran from the slow growth position of opposition to major projects.

For reasons that are probably complex, the huge numbers of people who voted against Nishi did not have a single candidate this time who supported their position.  In my view, this is not only a tactical mistake, but a policy mistake.  If the council does not represent the community, as one person pointed out during public comment last Tuesday, they have no one to blame but themselves.

As a final point to note, Tia Will cites Will Arnold’s comment regarding what some called a “workable compromise” that suggested that the hotel go to three stories and underground parking.

Councilmember Arnold stated, “My understanding is that underground parking is a no go and that going down to three stories would result in sacrificing a lot of the things that we find very beneficial about this project, including many of its environmental attributes,” he explained.”

Tia Will points to my comment that we do not know the expected margins, and responds, “This for me is the crux of the issue. We don’t ever really know ‘the expected margins.’ We are provided with the statement ‘we can’t do it.’  This would seem to me to be the classic ‘doesn’t pencil out argument.'”

While Dr. Will makes a good point about us having to take their word on all of this, I would point out that this issue came up at the beginning of the year when MRIC (Mace Ranch Innovation Center) asked the council to consider a mixed use alternative for the innovation park.

The council quickly said no, but the result of that was MRIC ended up pulling their proposal.  Some have argued that this was “bait and switch,” and others questioned why they did not know the financing would be a problem without housing from the start – but the bottom line from my perspective is there is a case where the developer said it would not pencil out without housing and, when the bluff was called, they pulled their project.

I get it that Tia Will and others would like some showing of proof that an added cost (in the millions) would make the project unviable, but, as we saw with MRIC, it does happen.

—David M. Greenwald

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.

Related posts

113 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    I get it that Tia Will and others would like some showing of proof that an added cost (in the millions) would make the project unviable, but as we saw with MRIC, it does happen.

    We were told Trackside and Paso Fino needed bigger projects in order to pencil out just to now see smaller projects put forward that I’m guessing also “pencil out”.   So what are we to take from that?

      1. Barack Palin

        They explained that parking has constrained how the project could be developed and it led to retail options to be able to afford to do the infill. There have been tradeoffs that have had to happen.
        As they explained, a brand new three story housing building with parking at grade would not pencil out.

        http://www.davisvanguard.org/2015/07/trackside-developers-tell-explain-their-project-rationale/

        He said, “It just feels like it’s a punish the developer. It feels like we did four before, we should do six. Trying to do a real estate development where I think it’s more likely that we lose money than we make money, that’s really the challenge that we face.”

        The above quote was when Paso Fino was being asked to go from 8 to 6 units.
        http://www.davisvanguard.org/2015/02/council-unanimously-backs-staff-report-pushes-for-six-unit-paso-fino-development/

    1. Mark West

      You would need to compare the quality of the construction and the list of amenities to really understand how the smaller versions ‘pencil out.’  Superficially, the smaller Trackside lost the underground parking and much of the community space found in the original design. I suspect there are significant differences in the ‘fit and finish’ to the project as well, changing it from an up-scale apartment complex to a more plebeian one.

      The neighbor’s demand for Hyatt House to build underground parking would add $3.5 – $4.0 million to the cost of the project, which would require reductions in other areas of the construction costs. Dropping the project from four stories down to three would remove roughly 30% of the rooms (many fewer rooms on the first floor relative to the upper three) which corresponds to 30% of the projected revenues, or a few million more per year. Not hard to understand how the smaller version would not be financially feasible. Instead of a Hyatt project, we might get another Motel 6.

      1. Matt Williams

        Mark West said . . . “I suspect there are significant differences in the ‘fit and finish’ to the project as well, changing it from an up-scale apartment complex to a more plebeian one.”

        Many people in Davis criticized the original Trackside proposal for its substantial luxury.  I suspect many of those same people are much happier with less up-scale and more plebeian.

        1. Mark West

          Yes, they criticized the luxury, and never acknowledged the loss of revenues to the City from the downscale change. More expensive construction results in a greater value assessment and increased property taxes to the City, something that would continue indefinitely. It also changes the expected clientele from well-off ‘downsizers’ likely to spend considerable time (and money) in our downtown restaurants and shops, to those looking share a decent place to live in a town with close to zero vacancy and who likely have little disposable income to spend. 

           

        2. South of Davis

          Matt wrote:

          > Many people in Davis criticized the original Trackside

          > proposal for its substantial luxury.

          Am I the only one that finds if funny when someone who owns over a million dollars in Real Estate who admits to making over $250K/year complains that a new apartment is too luxurious?

          Then Mark wrote:

          > Yes, they criticized the luxury, and never acknowledged the loss

          > of revenues to the City from the downscale change.

          Davis has some “nice” homes that sell for about $1 million each where “not that nice” homes sell for half as much (and pay half as much in property taxes every year).  An average apartment will pay twice as much in taxes if it is twice the size but three time the property taxes if it is twice the size and a “luxury” apartment.

          P.S. Another interesting thing I’ve noticed in town is that many of the same people that are happy the New Harmony apartments for low income people built with taxpayer money has granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances (and that the 20 year old Owendale Community funded by taxpayers on Albany behind New Harmony is currently being renovated so the low income people there won’t have to suffer without granite counter tops or stainless steel appliances) are upset when a developer using private investor money builds an apartment for rich kids from Hillsborough or Ross that has granite counter tops or stainless steel appliances…

           

    2. Matt Williams

      You raise a very good point BP, and the quotes you provided below to David support and illuminate that point very well.

      My personal read on the Trackside situation is that they really liked what having underground parking allowed them to do design wise above ground.  The problem with underground parking is the substantial cost it adds to a project, and the only way to recoup that increased cost was to have more revenue (more revenue generating units).  They had to emotionally let go of the underground parking possibility in order to get serious about what an at grade parking alternative could be.  Bottom-line, they were wrong in what they said.  They should have said, “We really haven’t looked at a three story alternative with at grade parking.  We need to look at that and get back to you.”  But unfortunately they didn’t say that.  They were like loyal 49er fans this season rooting for a 49ers win.  In doing so they are loyal to the cause, but they aren’t realistic.

      The Paso Fino quote is much clearer.  They don’t say they can’t do it.  They say it will be really challenging to do it.  One of the things the members of the FBC heard loud and clear from the EPS financial analyst on MRIC was that the standard industry expectation for a development project is a 20% return on investment.  I suspect (but don’t know) that when any developer talks about a project penciling out, they are including that industry standard 20% return as a project cost.

  2. Tia Will

    David

    the general plan process which would allow the community to decide priorities and determine the locations where those priorities would be addressed.”

    I see this as an argument for an update of the general plan with which the entire community could have a voice, and not an argument for the “proxy” process of development by exception which has generated most of the contentiousness.

    What you haven’t described are how the “neighbors” who are not in close proximity to the Hyatt will be “taking a hit” for the team if they agree to not let the project go forward. “

    Actually I did address this, just not directly. I stated that the distant and proximate neighbors would each be “taking a hit” in terms of decreased revenues and services, but that the proximate neighbors are asked to take a “double hit” if the project does not produce as much revenue as anticipated. They have the both the direct downsides and the lack of revenue whereas the more distant neighbors have only one potential downside.

    Given the urgency of the situation, while I would prefer probably a more systematic approach to land use and development that could be offered by a general plan, I am willing to allow our elected officials to serve as proxies for that process.”

    Here we do have a fundamental disagreement. I do not share your sense of urgency. I am an incrementalist by nature and am not willing to “allow our elected officials to serve as proxies” which I interpret as “counting to three” which clearly shifts the balance to those who are more affluent and/or better connected in our community. Now, please, before I start getting the angry and offended emails, I am not targeting any current or previous city council member. I truly believe that all of our current city council members have the best interests of our community at heart and are honest brokers. The problem is that our citizens are not united in what we perceive as the “best interests” of our community nor on the means to achieve the best possible outcome. I do not believe in development by exception and more than I would believe in letting a criminals conviction and sentencing be based on “exception”. If you want to change the rules or laws, then those should be changed with community input, not because a judge, or three of five elected officials want to make an “exception”.

     

    1. Adam Smith

      I do not believe in development by exception and more than I would believe in letting a criminals conviction and sentencing be based on “exception”. If you want to change the rules or laws, then those should be changed with community input, not because a judge, or three of five elected officials want to make an “exception”.

      This is a weak analogy.  Judges currently are given significant latitude to determine sentencing, within some minimum/maximum  guidelines.    Further, with respect to zoning, the same  elected officials make decisions with respect to General Plans and to requests for exceptions to those General Plans.   In both instances (General Plan and zoning exception request), the public has the opportunity to provide  input.    General Plans are very, very time consuming and cannot be undertaken  every year or even 5 years.   Community needs change more frequently than is reasonable/possible for revising General Plans, and therefore, exceptions to General Plans are the proper way to move forward.

      1. hpierce

        In the recent past (last 20 years) the GP revision process was not “run” by ‘the people’…  it was reflective of the “activists”/”zealots” among us… and ended up being a mish-mash of inconsistent “compromises”, made in the name of “collaboration”…

        1. Matt Williams

          Is that a surprise?

          Editorial Disclaimer: I have to plead guilty to being one of “the usual suspects” on a lot of community issues. Whether that makes me an activist or a zealot is subject to some debate, but I certainly qualify as vocal and persistent, and I do try to promote collaboration.

        2. Alan Miller

          the GP revision process was not “run” by ‘the people’…  it was reflective of the “activists”/”zealots” among us

          Yes, always better to let those who don’t participate or know the issues — decide.

          Like we do for president!

        3. Mark West

          “Yes, always better to let those who don’t participate or know the issues — decide.”

          You mean like all the folks posting here about how sacrosanct the words in the General Plan are, without ever having read the General Plan?

      2. South of Davis

        Adam Smith wrote:

        > Judges currently are given significant latitude to determine

        > sentencing, within some minimum/maximum  guidelines

        It is interesting to me that many of the same people that want to give a judge the power to not count the theft of some shredded cheese as a “third” strike if they feel it is a good decision don’t want to give the planning department the ability to OK a “third” floor if they think it is a good decision…

    2. Matt Williams

      Tia, if our community were committed to the ideal that you are describing in your final paragraph, they would not have allowed our existing General Plan to fall out of compliance with California Law.  Their commitment to the incrementalism you describe very well, would have informed each individual citizen that we were incrementally marching toward a condition where our General Plan was non-compliant . . . and proactively done something about it.  But the truth is that the vast majority of Davis’ individual citizens aren’t committed to incrementalism, and really aren’t even paying attention.

      You yourself, as committed as you are to incrementalism, illustrate the limits of incrementalism.  The unfunded liabilities hole (in deference to you I will not call it a crisis) that we find ourselves in, has been happening incrementally for well over a decade.  Your commitment to incrementalism could have (perhaps should have) informed you the the steps we were taking as a community were incrementally marching us toward insolvency.  But the truth is that the vast majority of Davis’ individual citizens don’t know enough about municipal finance and/or don’t care enough about municipal finance to be effective fiscal incrementalists . . . or, even worse they simply are not paying attention.

      Bringing those two parts of the puzzle together illuminates a very stark difference between land use planning and paying the community’s bills.  In land use planning it really is possible to just say “No.” In paying the community’s bills, just saying “No” isn’t a viable option.  When CalPERS raises the community’s annual pension costs, we don’t have the option of telling them, “We won’t pay.”  When the City’s employees are expecting their weekly paycheck, we don’t have the option of telling them, “We won’t pay.”   When the State of California and the EPA tell us that we have to come into compliance with wastewater treatment regulations, we don’t have the option of telling them, “We won’t pay.” And when the citizens get the opportunity to tax themselves at higher rates they actualy do have the option of telling the City, “We won’t pay.”

      1. Mark West

        “The unfunded liabilities hole (in deference to you I will not call it a crisis) that we find ourselves in, has been happening incrementally for well over a decade.”

        Read the General Plan. We knew in 1996 that we would not have the revenues to maintain our current lifestyle unless we expanded retail and added at least 250 acres of commercial development  We did neither, and that level of need did not take into account the extreme generosity our elected representatives showed to our public employees with subsequent pay and benefits increases. We ignored our fiscal issues with the last General Plan update, due to the group of ‘entitled’ residents looking to preserving their own ‘quality of life’ over the needs of the City. The attitude continues today, of particular note in Dr. Will’s missive yesterday, and to think they believe that developers are the ones who are acting irresponsibly.

        1. Tia Will

          Hi Mark,

          The attitude continues today, of particular note in Dr. Will’s missive yesterday, and to think they believe that developers are the ones who are acting irresponsibly.”

          You have done a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand here. You note specifically my article and then say “…they believe that the developers are the ones who are acting irresponsibly.” Perhaps you did not mean to include me in that particular “they” but it read that way to me. And, it is definitely not true.

          I do not believe that the Nishi developers, the Lincoln40 developers, or the Hyatt developers have acted irresponsibly. As a matter of fact, from lengthy personal conversations on several of these projects, I know that the developers were acting responsibly within what I see as a suboptimal process. What I have stated is that I do not believe that they, or the opponents are using best practices and that I believe that we can do better thus saving everyone a lot of time, money, energy, and frustration. I believe that an early onset collaborative model with complete transparency might prove to be one such improvement in process.

        2. Matt Williams

          Tia, with respect to your point I believe that the Hyatt House team stepped into a vacuum.  As we have noted in our restaurant/menu analogy, the menu was always there but no one had stepped forward to propose a restaurant to serve food.  The Hyatt House team chose to fill that vacuum.

          The Nishi team didn’t follow that model.  They were already in possession of the rights to the restaurant, and the community didn’t have any complaints about the menu.  The complaints fell into other areas.  Lincoln 40 is a bit closer to the Hyatt situation, and Odin’s comments have prompted me to go back and reread the Olive Drive Specific Plan one more time to specifically identify/understand the deviations from that Specific Plan that exist.

          One of the interesting things about the Hyatt proposal that has come to light as a result of the research that you prompted me to do, is that the landscaping plan for Hyatt may actually not be out of compliance with the PD #02-12 zoning, which reads as follows:

          Special Conditions — Landscaping . The existing landscape standard on the parcel is a minimum coverage of twenty percent of the site. The city’s standard landscape requirement for industrial zones is a minimum coverage of ten percent of the site (Municipal Code Section 40.26.250). Establishing this minimum on the parcel would be consistent with the landscaping standard for other similarly zoned parcels in the city. The parcel is approximately 3.37 acres, which equates to a minimum of one-third of an acre of landscaping, in addition to 50 percent parking lot shading requirement. City greenbelt provides additional landscaping to the south. If the parcel is split as anticipated, each lot would be required to meet the ten percent standard; the minimum amount of landscaping would not be aggregate All landscaping on the site would be evaluated during the design review. At a minimum, the nature and extent of landscaping that will be required between parking areas and buildings, between driveways and buildings, between buildings, adjacent to building elevations, at project entries, between parking areas and the street, at property boundaries and as a buffer to residential or other less intensive uses would be considered to ensure adequate landscaping.

        3. Mark West

          “landscaping plan for Hyatt may actually be out of compliance”

          Matt – Are you looking at the original landscaping requirements for the site, or that which was created (with GP and SDSP amendments) when the site was changed to allow for the Davis Diamonds facility? The landscaping and setback requirements for the larger parcel were changed when the gym was approved and the parcel was split. Make sure you are looking at the right set of requirements.

        4. Matt Williams

          Yes Mark, I am 100% sure it is from the right document.  That is why the specific reference to 3.37 acres is part of the language.  3.37 acres is the size of the PD #2-12 zone, which contains two parcels, the parcel with Davis Diamonds and the parcel with the proposed Hyatt House.

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “If I’m not mistaken, others have brought this up as well.”

          Thanks for that input Ron. Do you remember who brought it up?   I must have missed it.  Also, can you help me with a serious question?  Do you know why Grok is continuing to raise this landscaping issue in his public comments in Council Chambers if it is indeed a moot issue?

          Thanks.

          One other serious question: Was your comment below posted prior to the “others bringing this up as well”? Or do you see “green space” and “landscaping” as two different things?

          Matt:

          I forgot to add one thing.

          If I’m not mistaken, the Hyatt proposal might require more than a change of use (in regard to current zoning). For example, I recall seeing some comments on the Vanguard, in which the amount of required “green space” on the Hyatt site might be reduced to accommodate the proposal. (But again, I’m not certain about this, and I welcome any corrections to my understanding, and/or anything I’m overlooking.)

        6. Ron

          Matt:

          I believe that the issue regarding “green space/landscaping” was brought up a few days ago on the Vanguard, by someone who appeared to be a Rosecreek resident.  (Perhaps in a Vanguard article that was authored by some Rosecreek residents?  Or, around that time.)

          I recall a comment mentioning the percentage of green space/landscaping being reduced, to accommodate the proposal.  I believe that a concern was that parking areas would be located very close to the greenbelt (and therefore, residents’ homes) as a result of the reduction of areas dedicated to green space/landscaping.  (Something to that effect.)  (That’s about the same time that I started to see the value of considering an underground parking area.)

          In any case, I don’t have a clear recollection of the comment.  (Perhaps there was more than one comment regarding this, as well.)

          I posted my comment that you pasted above, more recently.

          Perhaps wisely, it seems that Rosecreek residents may be avoiding commenting on the Vanguard, for the most part.

          (Signing off for the night.)

           

        7. Matt Williams

          Ron, when you get to this after you get up . . . no rush.

          Your post above appears to indicate (like Grok’s public comment indicated) that there is still belief on the part of Grok and the Rose Creek neighbors that the parcel needs to get a zoning variance for the planned landscaping (for reference purposes your words above are “I recall a comment mentioning the percentage of green space/landscaping being reduced, to accommodate the proposal.” However, it would appear that given the wording of the PD #2-12 section on Landscaping (redundantly quoted below for ease of reading/reference), the proposed percentage of green space/landscaping in the Hyatt House aplication is actually in compliance with the zoning . . . and that on August 21, 2012 the zoning standard for PD #2-12 was in fact reduced from the level of the South Davis Specific Plan standard of 10% minimum coverage in order to be in alignment with the City-wide Industrial Zone standard of 10% minimum coverage.

          Special Conditions — Landscaping . The existing landscape standard on the parcel is a minimum coverage of twenty percent of the site. The city’s standard landscape requirement for industrial zones is a minimum coverage of ten percent of the site (Municipal Code Section 40.26.250). Establishing this minimum on the parcel would be consistent with the landscaping standard for other similarly zoned parcels in the city. The parcel is approximately 3.37 acres, which equates to a minimum of one-third of an acre of landscaping, in addition to 50 percent parking lot shading requirement. City greenbelt provides additional landscaping to the south. If the parcel is split as anticipated, each lot would be required to meet the ten percent standard; the minimum amount of landscaping would not be aggregate All landscaping on the site would be evaluated during the design review. At a minimum, the nature and extent of landscaping that will be required between parking areas and buildings, between driveways and buildings, between buildings, adjacent to building elevations, at project entries, between parking areas and the street, at property boundaries and as a buffer to residential or other less intensive uses would be considered to ensure adequate landscaping.

        8. Ron

          Matt:

          I see the point you are making regarding overall percentage.  (Again, I’m not super-involved in this.)

          What were you seeing, when you stated this? (Perhaps something about the location of landscaping, which also seems to be addressed in the “Special Conditions” that you quoted?)

          Matt:  “One of the interesting things about the Hyatt proposal that has come to light as a result of the research that you prompted me to do, is that the landscaping plan for Hyatt may actually be out of compliance with the PD #02-12 zoning, which reads as follows:”

        9. Matt Williams

          Ron (and Mark belatedly), that is the worst kind of typo on my part.  Somehow in my original 4:16 pm comment yesterday I omitted the word “not”.  It should have read

          “One of the interesting things about the Hyatt proposal that has come to light as a result of the research that you prompted me to do, is that the landscaping plan for Hyatt may actually not be out of compliance with the PD #02-12 zoning, which reads as follows:”

          I was much clearer in my followup 12:53 am comment today, which read (bolding added here for clarity):

          “However, it would appear that given the wording of the PD #2-12 section on Landscaping (redundantly quoted below for ease of reading/reference), the proposed percentage of green space/landscaping in the Hyatt House application is actually in compliance with the zoning . . . and that on August 21, 2012 the zoning standard for PD #2-12 was in fact reduced from the level of the South Davis Specific Plan standard of 10% minimum coverage in order to be in alignment with the City-wide Industrial Zone standard of 10% minimum coverage.”

        1. Mark West

          Tia’s approach to the City’s fiscal issues is much akin to a practice of medicine that focuses on treating symptoms once a disease is apparent rather than on preventive care intended to reduce the incidence of said disease.

      2. Tia Will

        Matt

        I agree with the content of your first paragraph as written but do not see how that informs us of a better way to proceed. I simply do not believe that we need to be held hostage by the lack of attention of some, or even the majority of voters. What I believe is that those who are interested should have a voice in shaping the future of the city. And I do not believe that this should be limited to those who have enough funds or influence to push their projects through against previous plans which I fully agree should have been updated. Unfortunately, we cannot go back and reverse the mistakes of the past whether incremental or not. But we certainly can modify the processes that we choose to move forward.

        1. Matt Williams

          Tia said . . . “What I believe is that those who are interested should have a voice in shaping the future of the city.”

          You and I are in agreement on that . . . and in the last election within the representative democracy of Davis, 23,909 Davis citizens (66.1% of the registered voters) exercised their “interest” at the polls, and chose Brett and Lucas and Will to represent them.  Two years earlier 14,614 Davis citizens (39.1% of the registered voters) exercised their “interest” at the polls, and chose Robb and Rochelle to represent them.  Bottom-line, we elect our lawmakers/representatives, and then hold them accountable for their activity within the Davis government.

          Jon Li’s campaign to change Davis to a Charter City could change that, but until it does, representative democracy is what we have chosen.

           

    3. Barack Palin

      I am an incrementalist by nature and am not willing to “allow our elected officials to serve as proxies” which I interpret as “counting to three” which clearly shifts the balance to those who are more affluent and/or better connected in our community.

      Tia Will 
      October 2, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Frankly
      “What pompous self-righteous elites they must feel they are to waste one second of the precious time we elected them for and pay them for to make political decisions on DAVIS ISSUES.”
      Perhaps you do not realize that our city council members do not sit around idly dreaming up items to “waste one second on”. These issues that you and many others do not see as relevant to our community are obviously of importance to other members of the community who bring their concerns to the attention of council members. Do you really think it is a good idea for council members to be arbitrarily deciding to totally ignore concerns which are felt to be legitimate by other members of the  community ?  They are elected to make this kind of decision. If you want to do so, perhaps you should consider running for city council and then your voice would be equal to each of theirs.

      So Tia, you seem to say here that we elect CC members to make decisions but then say that three CC members shouldn’t serve as proxies and count to three on decisions.  Which way is it?

        1. South of Davis

          Mark wrote:

          > Tia, BP does indeed ask you a very interesting question. 

          > I join him in looking forward to hearing your answer.

          Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer, despite following up this morning about some unanswered questions on Tia’s weekend post she has not bothered to answer any specific questions…

        2. Tia Will

          Hi Mark,

          The attitude continues today, of particular note in Dr. Will’s missive yesterday, and to think they believe that developers are the ones who are acting irresponsibly.”

          You have done a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand here. You note specifically my article and then say “…they believe that the developers are the ones who are acting irresponsibly.” Perhaps you did not mean to include me in that particular “they” but it read that way to me. And, it is definitely not true.

          I do not believe that the Nishi developers, the Lincoln40 developers, or the Hyatt developers have acted irresponsibly. As a matter of fact, from lengthy personal conversations on several of these projects, I know that the developers were acting responsibly within what I see as a suboptimal process. What I have stated is that I do not believe that they, or the opponents are using best practices and that I believe that we can do better thus saving everyone a lot of time, money, energy, and frustration. I believe that an early onset collaborative model with complete transparency might prove to be one such improvement in process.

        3. Tia Will

          BP and Matt

          you seem to say here that we elect CC members to make decisions but then say that three CC members shouldn’t serve as proxies and count to three on decisions.  Which way is it?”

          I agree that this is an interesting question. However, as is often the case, I do not see such questions as purely binary. Yes, we elect city council members to make decisions. However that does not mean that they do not have sets of regulations to guide them, and in my view the general plan is one such set of guidelines. I see this as similar to electing any public official. We elect them to lead, but if they want to play by a different set of rules, they have to change the existing rules first. For me, it is not ok to say, well we should have adjusted these rules a long time ago, but since we didn’t, we are just going to ignore them now. As our fellow Vanguardian Frankly has been know to say ( and I paraphrase)  If you don’t like the law, you should change it. But until it is changed it must be obeyed.

        4. Matt Williams

          Tia Will said . . . “However that does not mean that they do not have sets of regulations to guide them, and in my view the general plan is one such set of guidelines.”

          If our community had a current and compliant (with state statutes) General Plan, I would agree with you Tia, but through willful negligence, our community has allowed our General Plan to (A) fall behind the times (for example, I believe that we will find that nowhere in our General Plan are the terms “cell phone” or “cell phone tower” or “tertiary level of wastewater treatment” or “community choice energy” or “municipal fiber”), and (B) become non-compliant with California Law.  So in effect we have been driving above the speed limit, and we are now looking at flashing blue and red lights behind us in our rear view mirror.

          Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that can instantly bring our General Plan into compliance, so we are going to have a period of transition while we go through the open, transparent and inclusive community participation steps necessary to get to the point where we have an updated, compliant-with-the-law General Plan.

    4. Matt Williams

      Tia Will said . . . “I see this as an argument for an update of the general plan with which the entire community could have a voice, and not an argument for the “proxy” process of development by exception which has generated most of the contentiousness.”

      Tia, what your statement above appears to be arguing for is shutting down the planning process until a General Plan Update is completed.  The fact is that virtually every single planning application is out of compliance with the General Plan because the General Plan is out of compliance with State law.

      What you have described is a uncompromising commitment to the status quo; however, if you applied that same commitment to the status quo in medicine, we would have no new drugs, we would have no new breakthrough medical procedures, we would still be doing radical mastectomies and frontal lobotomies.

      You appear to be digging in your heels in support of an absolutist position that is inconsistent with the ideals of your chosen profession.

      In fairness to you you have clearly stated that you support moving forward with a community-wide effort to update the General Plan.  Drawing a parallel to medicine, many (but not all) of the medical break throughs happened as a result of individual specific actions that preceded the point where those actions were memorialized in the generally-accepted medical best practices (the General Plan of medicine).  Think about the amount of time that elapsed between the moment when the individual medical breakthrough first happened and the time when it was first taught in medical school.  The medical innovator often looks at the best practices of medicine and says, “They can be better.”  Often, at the same as the innovator is saying that, others in medicine are saying, “That idea is an abomination.”  That was what the practitioners of the Halstead Radical Mastectomy were saying when breast cancer innovators were coming up with the lumpectomy.

      Bottom-line, the period between when we recognize that our best practices are deficient until the point where those best practices are updated is almost always a period of rough sailing . . . sailing that is particularly hard for absolutist positions, because we can’t please all the people all the time.

      1. South of Davis

        Matt wrote:

        > Drawing a parallel to medicine, many (but not all) of the medical break

        > throughs happened as a result of individual specific actions that preceded

        > the point where those actions were memorialized in the generally-

        > accepted medical best practices

        Drawing another parallel to medicine for anyone that thinks we need neighbors to sign off every development should the priest and rabbi who live behind the single 20 year old woman get to OK her birth control prescription (knowing that more often than not single moms add costs to the community) and should Chip Northup been able to OK the anti-depresents that his neighbor Daniel Marsh was prescribed (knowing that many anti-depressants have black letter warnings that state increased risk of violent and/or suicidal behavior)?

      2. Tia Will

        Matt

        Tia, what your statement above appears to be arguing for is shutting down the planning process until a General Plan Update is completed.”

        Absolutely not. I am fine with projects that fall within the current guidelines until they are updated. I am also fine with exceptions if there is no objection to them. I see no reason that with a more collaborative process, development could not proceed in tandem with revision of the General Plan.

        What you have described is a uncompromising commitment to the status quo”

        You appear to be digging in your heels in support of an absolutist position that is inconsistent with the ideals of your chosen profession.”

        This is absolutely and demonstrably untrue. I favored Nishi, Lincoln40 and probably would have favored either of the major “innovation parks” if they had included housing. I came out as such publicly. Hardly an argument for the “status quo”.  So let’s see, proposing and asking for input on creative ideas is an “absolutist position” in your eyes ? And actually Matt, I am a little disappointed in your insistence on this point that you know both from multiple Vanguard posts and in person conversations  that this is not the case. Again, I am not arguing for or against any project currently on the table. I am speaking only to process which I think that anyone looking at our “development by exception and litigation” would admit it is not optimal. The problem as I see it is that both sides see the other as the “enemy” and are insisting that only the other need make any change.

        1. Matt Williams

          Tia said . . . “Absolutely not. I am fine with projects that fall within the current guidelines until they are updated”

          Odin has argued that Lincoln 40 is far, far more outside the current guidelines than Hyatt House is, but you have pretty clearly, in your “take a hit for the community” argument taken a position against Hyatt House, and in your post above have clearly come out in favor of Lincoln 40.  Those two positions appear on the face of it to be puzzling.  One is (my term) “absolutist” and the other is not.  Can you help me through understanding that apparent conflict.

          Note, nowhere did I say that you were universally “absolutist,” and I am guilty of assuming that since all the discussion in this dialogue has been about Hyatt House, I assumed (and made an a$$ of my self in the process) that you would understand the focus of my comment.  So, please accept my clarification that I was referring to the Hyatt House process when I used the term “absolutist” in referring to you.

           

      3. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        Once again you accuse me of not answering questions. And yet, I responded directly to every question that I encountered before going to bed last night just as I said I would on my articles. I do have a day job and other responsibilities and could have overlooked some comments. If there are specific questions from my article, please either restate them here, or be patient as I will go back and catch them as time allows.

        1. South of Davis

          1. Will you leave the lot where your WA state home is located vacant if that is what the neighbors want (yes or no question).

          2. You often say you want to pay more taxes, why don’t you just do it and stop saying you will only do it if others have to do it (I want my kids to be healthy so they eat healthy I don’t need to wait for some new law banning soda for me to start buying healthy drinks).

          3. Have you gone to Zillow to see that your Davis homes are worth over $1 million dollars (yes or no question)

          [moderator]: With re: #3, she discussed this with you in March here: http://www.davisvanguard.org/2016/03/57575/#comment-306729
          Do not mention her real estate holdings again. I have repeatedly discussed this with you. If you do, the whole comment will be pulled without notice. If you wish to discuss this, you can contact me at donshor@gmail.com.

      4. Tia Will

        Matt

        Bottom-line, the period between when we recognize that our best practices are deficient until the point where those best practices are updated is almost always a period of rough sailing . . . sailing that is particularly hard for absolutist positions, because we can’t please all the people all the time.”

        While I agree with much of your medical analogy, you are missing a critical point. When a medical procedure is in its infancy, or even when it has been determined to be a best practice and is widely accepted, you still have to get the permission of the patient to the procedure. Here we are saying that we are simply going to transition to a different treatment ( development by exception) without getting the permission of those who will be most directly affected. The medical equivalent would be, because I as a surgeon strongly believe that the procedure I am recommending will benefit your entire family, you will be forced to have it for the greater good even though you do not want to have it done. I really do not believe that many of you would feel that this is a valid way to proceed, and yet you seem to favor it if 3 of 5  of our CC members ( or panel of surgeons) agree.

  3. Ron

    Matt:  “The problem with underground parking is the substantial cost it adds to a project, and the only way to recoup that increased cost was to have more revenue (more revenue generating units).”

    I just started reading the comments today, and this statement immediately stood out.

    The statement appears to be untrue, at least as a general statement.  In general, costs might also be recouped by “waiting longer”, to recoup investments.  (In other words, the “break even” point might simply be pushed further into the future.  Of course, this depends on costs vs. revenues, over time.)

    Also, when determining costs of underground parking, for example, cost savings resulting from not having to build surface parking must be considered. (However, I am not implying that underground parking is less expensive than surface parking.)

    1. Matt Williams

      Fair enough Ron. The nuance that you are pointing out has a consequence. Extending the length of time on the construction loan will almost always increase both the interest rate of the loan and the total amount of borrowing costs, which pushes the payback period out even further.  Cause and effect.

      1. Mark West

        No, the change would more likely result in the loan not being funded. There is an expected rate of return that must be met before financing agencies are willing to get involved. No financing, no project.

        If you add $millions to the cost of a project to appease the noisy, you have to balance that either by removing costs elsewhere (solar power, environmental design) or with additional revenues (bigger project). Adding years to the financier’s payback will be a non-starter and no amount of community hand-wringing will change that.

        1. Ron

          hpierce:

          Are you convinced that you know the answer, in every case?  Are you also convinced that developers will always be completely forthcoming, regarding the feasibility of a particular proposed development?

        2. Mark West

          “Are you also convinced that developers will always be completely forthcoming, regarding the feasibility of a particular proposed development?”

          Developers are risking their own capital to improve our infrastructure, create jobs and add to the tax base that funds all the amenities that help create the ‘quality of life’ that we claim to love about Davis. They are the ones who know if their projects will provide the return on investment necessary to satisfy their financiers and investors. All you are doing here Ron is questioning their integrity. 

        3. Ron

          Mark:

          “Barack Palin” provided some links regarding other developments (at the top of this comment section), which seem to challenge your apparent belief that the city should rely upon developers to be completely forthcoming regarding the feasibility of a particular proposed development.

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron, it is foolish to expect any human being to be COMPLETELY forthcoming on anything that they have a vested interest in . . . whether fiscal or emotional.  If you have that absolute expectation you are living in a fantasy world.

        5. Ron

          Matt:

          You’re “reaching”, regarding your allegation of hyperbole.

          Also, your categories of interests (“fiscal”, or “emotional”) is not accurate, in my opinion. I’d suggest that a more accurate description would be “fiscal” or “not fiscal”, in which emotion can arise in either category.

           

        6. Matt Williams

          Ron, first, its not an allegation.  It is simply an observation that you willingly chose to insert the absolute word “completely” in your sentence describing what you appear to believe is the fundamental dishonesty of developers.  Using an absolute word in such a situation fits the definition of “hyperbole, which the dictionary defines as:

          Hyperbole (pronounced ‘high-purr-bo-lee’) is a figure of speech in which an author or speaker purposely and obviously exaggerates to an extreme. It is used for emphasis or as a way of making a description more creative and humorous. It is important to note that hyperbole is not meant to be taken literally; the audience knows it’s an exaggeration.

          For example:
          That suitcase weighed a ton!

          Your follow-up statement that “I have no such expectation” serves as clear, tangible evidence confirming the non-literal, hyperbolic intent of your use of “completely” in the sentence.

        7. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “Actually, a better and broader description of interests might be “financial” and “non-financial”, in which emotion can arise in either category.”

          If the intent of those words was dichotomous, then you would be right, but the universe of vested interests is far from dichotomous.  “Financial”, “non-financial” and “emotional” are all part of that far reaching universe of vested interests.  “Spiritual”, “Religious”, and “Parental” are other examples that quickly come to mind.

        8. Ron

          Matt:

          Really?  You want to focus on the word “completely”  (With all of the other statements on the Vanguard, every day?)

          How about this – I withdraw the word.

          I’d suggest that your use of the word “nuance” above is more misleading.  It’s not a “nuance” if a poor decision results as a result of over-reliance upon information provided by a developer.

          Regarding “financial” and “non-financial” interests, I’d suggest that the “average developer” is primarily concerned about the former, while the “average concerned neighbor” is primarily concerned about the later. (A generalization.)

          And again, “emotion” can, and does, arise on both sides.

           

           

        9. Ron

          Matt:

          Before this conversation goes off into a “nonsense, all-night/day cliff” again, I’d like to state up-front that there’s a limited amount of interest I have in it.  You might have to find someone else to play with, and to whom you might direct your loaded questions and baseless allegations.

          You might be “surprised” to know that I’m writing this with very little “emotion” (other than some budding annoyance). 🙂

        10. Ron

          Matt:

          Actually, I probably should have more carefully read the definition you provided.  (“Hyperbole” does not have as negative an implication as I thought.)  My apologies.

          And actually, I did intend to use the word “completely”, but not as hyperbole.

          But again, I really can’t participate all day/night anymore.  Please do not necessarily interpret a lack of response as concurrence.

        11. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “But again, I really can’t participate all day/night anymore.  Please do not necessarily interpret a lack of response as concurrence.”

          Ron, apology accepted.

          You have my solemn promise that I will never interpret your lack of response as concurrence.  I will simply interpret it as absence.

    2. hpierce

      Matt is letting you off too easily… if you knew anything about construction and all the implications of underground parking (need for sump pumps, water proofing, etc.), UG parking, space for space, will almost always far exceed the costs for at grade parking, unless the value of the land approaches that of the more expensive parts of SF, Manhatten, etc.

      I was actually surprised that UG parking was even considered for the Trackside project

      1. Ron

        hpierce:

        Please point me to any statement that you believe that I’ve made, in which I’ve suggested that underground parking is less expensive than surface parking. (However, in a more general sense, underground parking can sometimes provide opportunities to better-utilize a given space.)

        1. hpierce

          Also, when determining costs of underground parking, for example, cost savings resulting from not having to build surface parking must be considered. (However, I am not implying that underground parking is less expensive than surface parking.)

          First sentence implies that it may be cheaper or cost-neutral… the second is a weak CYA statement in case your first proposition is in error…

        2. Ron

          hpierce:  There is no such implication in my statement (or at least, none intended).  The two sentences you quote do not conflict, and there is no reason for a “CYA” statement.

           

        3. hpierce

          Ron… if you say so… only you can know your intent… I apologize if I connected dots incorrectly…

          Only time will tell if you give the same consideration(s) to others… and I’ll let others judge that…

      2. Alan Miller

        I was actually surprised that UG parking was even considered for the Trackside project

        I wasn’t, actually.  Unless you consider a straw man to be an actual “plan”.

        1. hpierce

          OK… perhaps “considered” was the wrong term… perhaps not “planned”… but you understand my basic point, right?  UG parking is generally a “last resort”… when other options are infeasible… for any reason… financial, political, etc.

        2. South of Davis

          Alan wrote:

          > I wasn’t, actually.  

          This makes sense since the engineering and structural work required to dig a big hole a few feet away from tracks that support 100-200 ton trains would be many times more expensive than an (already real expensive) underground parking structure…

        3. hpierce

          Alan… your 12:17 post… or, have “gas”… trust me, I have had to deal with “floaters”… organic or latex kind, when I had to deal with sanitary (not really sanitary, for most) sewage overflows… literally up to my armpit on one occasion… yeah, showered long after that…

          Suspect I understand your post as much or potentially more than you do… point still well taken…

  4. Ron

    Matt:  “The unfunded liabilities hole (in deference to you I will not call it a crisis) that we find ourselves in, has been happening incrementally for well over a decade.”

    It seems that the decade that Matt references corresponds with the housing crash and recession.  I wonder what impact that had on city finances (and cities throughout the state, as well)?  (Fortunately, this appears to be behind us, and its impacts may be reduced, over time.)

    In some nearby cities (not so much Davis), it seemed that the “crisis” (not so long ago) consisted of a glut of unsellable houses.

    1. hpierce

      Ron… “unsellable” at the prices asked… please think…  even in a good economy, if someone prices something at 3 X over value, only an idiot would buy…

        1. Ron

          Matt:  If housing is not turning over (and therefore not getting reassessed), and/or it’s selling for a reduced price, this reduces the amount of property taxes that would otherwise be collected.

        2. hpierce

          Ron, wrong again… if a house was bought 15 years ago, and the value dropped 10% during the 2008-9 period, and was sold today, the property tax would still be higher… you statement, “And, if prices are reduced, so are tax revenues upon sale.  Exactly my point.” is patently untrue except for the weird situation where a house was purchased in 2007, then sold in 2009 at a loss.  Then, and pretty much only then, would your statement be true, or your “point” valid… it’s the Prop 13 thing…

          If a house remains unsold, its assessments for taxes still goes up, unless a property owner asks for a re-valuation, and that result is below the acquisition price…

        3. Ron

          hpierce:

          If you go back to the beginning of my comments, you’ll see that I was referring to the lingering impacts of the recession (which put downward pressure on housing prices and turnover, compared to a more “normal” market).  You’re using a different comparison.

          I suspect that the housing crash also took many municipalities by surprise, and that they didn’t fully consider the impact until damage had already been done to city finances.  Had they foreseen the crisis (or the possibility of it), perhaps municipalities would have been more cautious regarding decisions that increased costs.

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . “I suspect that the housing crash also took many municipalities by surprise, and that they didn’t fully consider the impact until damage had already been done to city finances. “

          Ron as the graphic below shows, any municipality (anyone for that matter) who was taken surprise by the housing crash was simply not paying attention . . . and as a result practicing bad government.

          Since 1974 there had been 30 years of barely interrupted capital appreciation with the only correction of any magnitude happening in the 2000-2002 period.  A correction in the housing bubble was way, way overdue . . . and lots and lots of people in the world of Finance were raising the red flags.

    2. Mark West

      Ron – the seeds for the deficit started during the boom years of the ’90’s, not during the recession 10-15 year later. The City knew the poor fiscal situation we were in due to an analysis performed in 1996 to help the City with the planning for the coming General Plan update.  For the most part, the analysis was ignored and the problems allowed to expand.  You appear to want to continue that practice.

  5. Frankly

    There is a political/ideological connection here.  On the more left view of the world there is this frustration that capital and holders of capital have a level of control.  On the more right view of the world there is frustration that those without skin in the game leverage political power to try and extract more and more community value from other people’s money.

    The challenge for the those on the left view is that they are much more niave about private capital and business than the business side is ignorant of the processes of community governance.  So the left side makes a lot of policy mistakes that cause the law of unintended consequences.  Then they double-down in criticism to actually blame capital holders for bad behavior… not doing enough to benefit the community.

    As politics and political activism has become a profession, the people in political power are more often inexperienced in business and economics.  They tend to make a lot of mistakes not understanding the way the economy works or does not work.  But they never admit their deficiencies… they cannot because their entire professional identity is at risk if doing so.

    So, they have to be taken to task on this… to be made to be more uncomfortable in criticism of their ignorance and occountability for their streams of mistakes.  They will not change if we continue to ignore this and treat them like the righteous saviors of humanity that they like to believe they are.

        1. hpierce

          I could name several, over the last 35 years… either “right”, “right-leaning”, or at a minimum, “libertarian”… in fact, most would fit in one of those categories… except when they put on a “mask” to show how “liberal”, “environmentally conscious”, etc., they are… but it is pointless to label…

          Bottom line… developers take risks in the hope/expectation that their investment will lead to financial gain… nothing wrong in that… liberals/”lefties” do the same in regards to their property purchases, retirement investments, etc.  As do those in the middle of the bell curve…

          Unless they are truly clueless…

        2. South of Davis

          hpierce wrote:

          > Except when they put on a “mask” to show how “liberal”,

          > “environmentally conscious”, etc., they are…

          Out of the dozens of developers I’ve met I would say that most were more “conservative than me”, then again most have been older than me and most people older then I am are more likely to be more religious than I am less likely to have spent a lot of time in SF punk clubs in the late 70’s and LA underground Raves in the mid 80’s.  Like hpierce I’ve noticed that like politicians tell people what they want to hear so they are elected developers tend to tell people what they want to hear to get their projects approved…

        1. Don Shor

          The biggest land developer in Northern California is Angelo Tsakopolous, who prominently finances Democrats. I remember that then-Mayor Pete Wilson’s biggest development fights in San Diego were with Democratic-aligned developers (Wilson was slow-growth, at least by their standards). Major developers in our cities, such as those aligned with Mayor Bradley in LA over many years, were Democrats. I don’t know the party registration of Davis developers, but they all have ties to the local political establishment. Whitcomb is on record donating to Saylor, for example.

          I just don’t think you’ll find a predictable right/left divide on development issues. It was in Davis that I first heard the term “developer Democrat” — used disparagingly by someone from the slow-growth crowd. On political issues, slow-growth vs. pro-growth folks locally are probably not far apart.

          I know you like to frame things in this binary fashion, but I just don’t see it on development issues.

        2. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > The biggest land developer in Northern California is

          > Angelo Tsakopolous, who prominently finances Democrats.

          When you develop in areas controlled by Democrats you are required to pay off/make perfectly legal “donations” to Democrats (just like you have to pay off/make perfectly legal “donations” to Republicans if you want to develop in areas controlled by Republicans.

          Angelo (like all the Greek developers I know) is very active in the Greek Orthodox church and as far as I know the link below is correct when it says:

          “In his personal life, he has reflected the values and teachings of the Greek Orthodox Church”

          http://hellenicstudiescsus.com/about-our-doner-angelo-tsakopoulos/

          I don’t know Angelo well but many of his Greek American developer peers that I know better  that are big developers are not just VERY religious and conservative but VERY big donors to the Dem. party.  When I worked on campaigns in SF I got to know Joe O’Donoghue the president of the (mostly Irish decent) Residential Builders Association.  He was a big Dem. donor but also a Conservation Catholic (who swore like a sailor) that was not a big fan of just about any left of center issue (that often got him in trouble).

          Can you really name some “big” San Diego developers that are (out and proud) Democrats?  As I have mentioned before in my 20’s I spent a lot of time in Baja and when a friend of a friend was working for McMillin Homes in the early 80’s we spent a lot of time one one weekend with mega developer “Corky” McMillin and his family (who were in a Pre-Runing trip).  I never asked him what party he is registered in but I would bet he was a GOP guy (and not a big fan of just about anything that would be defined as liberal)…

           

           

  6. Marina Kalugin

    so was typing a response, and someone else was typing also…this was in response to something of hp…however too much to scroll though

    so here it is…
    though many of us, including me, loved Village homes and also Mike Corbett, and supported the cutting edge passive solar breakthroughs etc of that era of the earlier development of Village homes…..the Covell Village was the wrong thing at the wrong time.
    Perhaps if Mike and the partners had chosen to hook up with the owners of the Cannery land, the toxic dump site which used to be named Contadina and Hunts and perhaps other names, and actually worked with them to create his vision, the vision would already be in final phase.
    Unfortunately, though perhaps lovely,  Covell Village wasn’t needed and still isn’t…..doesn’t mean that some centuries later it may not be welcomed….
    Location, location, location…..and timing, timing, timing
    PS>    Curious, hp, which neigbbors were polled on that project…at that time there were no neighbors really… except the cannery on one side and a farmer on the north….

    1. hpierce

      Contadina was in Woodland, not Davis… error (lie?) one…

      Neighbors involved were “Green Meadows” (north of Covell, east of Pole Line), parts of Davis Manor, (to south) parts of Covell Park (to west)… one of those involved was a contributor to this site… so errors, (lies?) two and three… you are out of my further response on this, Marina… your untruths are just not worth further engagement.

       

    2. South of Davis

      Marina wrote:

      > Covell Village wasn’t needed and still isn’t…..

      needed if you already own a home in Davis.

      I don’t know of a single person living in Spring Lake (aka North Davis) who would not have bought a home in Covell Village if it was built out and had similar homes…

  7. Tia Will

    Hi Mark

    Tia’s approach to the City’s fiscal issues is much akin to a practice of medicine that focuses on treating symptoms once a disease is apparent rather than on preventive care intended to reduce the incidence of said disease.”

    I can see how you might interpret it that way, but unsurprisingly, I see it differently. We have a process that is repeatedly resulting in development by exception and litigation. The one thing that I think that we might all agree on is that this is a fundamentally unhealthy and unproductive chain of events. I see a fundamental problem as being the lack of transparency, trust and collaboration from both developers and opponents of development. I see trying a change in the order of operations, with collaboration from the very beginning as true prevention rather than making your proposal and then hoping the mitigations will fly, when you could possibly design a superior project that would not need exceptions and mitigations because it addressed the concerns of both sides from the beginning rather than allowing distrust and hostility to grow and ultimately dominate.

    1. Mark West

       ” I see it differently. We have a process that is repeatedly resulting in development by exception and litigation. The one thing that I think that we might all agree on is that this is a fundamentally unhealthy and unproductive chain of events.”

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with our process, it is time tested and functions well throughout the country. The basic problem (which causes the “fundamentally unhealthy and unproductive chain of events”) is the ‘entitled’ subset of Davis residents who lack a fundamental understanding of planning and development but believe that they have the right to dictate how those processes proceed. These uninformed and noisy citizens are ‘enabled’ by a City Council that lacks the fortitude to ignore the noise coming from the ignorant and make the decisions that are best for the City as a whole. In short, Tia, it is you and your cohort of entitled and willfully ignorant residents (with an assist from an impotent CC) who are causing the problems in Davis, not the process or the developers and city staff working within that process.

      The solution to the litigation is for the City to stop settling lawsuits. The suits will go away when they stop being a path to easy money. Once the City shows some backbone and starts winning cases the litigation will come to an end.

  8. Tia Will

    David

    Given that we do not have a current or updated general plan, we are actually moving forward with a proxy for that process”

    Please excuse me one insomnia driven comment. This idea of a “proxy process” has kept recurring for me since I read your response to my article. It has been bothering me, but I could not quite put my finger on it. So here it is.

    Our government, on all levels has systems of checks and balances. We have an executive branch, although at the level of the city we employ a “weak mayor system” so this function is diminished. We have our city council who are capable of making and shaping policy with a vote of three. And we have our legal system. While we have developed a “proxy” system of 3 votes for a  development by exception, opponents have also developed their own “proxy” system of  development by litigation.

    It is not the one side is playing by the rules while the other is not. It is that both pro and anti development factions have developed their own “proxy” play books. Perhaps some see this as the best that we can do. I do not. We have alternatives or have the initiative to design them. We just need to be willing to adopt collaboration rather than manipulation and system gaming as our operative model.

    1. David Greenwald

      The difference is one group of people are putting forth a process have the electoral backing of the people and the other group do not. In the end, the General Plan is a document that reflects levels of planning but ultimately support by the majority on council.

      1. Tia Will

        David

        The difference is one group of people are putting forth a process have the electoral backing of the people and the other group do not.”

        No dispute there. But then again, there have been many, many times in the history of this country where the courts have disagreed with the individuals with “electoral backing” and been on the “right side” of history. The Jim Crow South, especially in terms of school desegregation comes readily to mind.

  9. Tia Will

    Matt

    please accept my clarification that I was referring to the Hyatt House process when I used the term “absolutist” in referring to you.”

    Thank you for the clarification. And perhaps a clarification of my own is in order. Even if we were only to be talking about only the Hyatt project, I am not even an absolutist there. I have stated repeatedly that I am neither advocating for, nor opposing this project. Hardly an “absolutist” position.

    What I have said is that I do not approve of the trivialization of the concerns of the neighbors as different people will experience environmental factors differently. Since you have been in my house, you are aware of the impact of the trains. But you are only aware of it from your own perspective. The actual inhabitants of the house experience the trains very differently. Robert awakens and is disturbed by the sounds of the trains every single night. I blissfully sleep right through them. Would it be either accurate or right for me to tell Robert, “Stop whining. There is no problem from the sound of the trains” just because it does not bother me ?  This is what I see when I hear those who say “legitimate concerns” defined by their own perceptions over issues that will never impact them, but will very likely negatively impact the neighbors.

     

    1. Matt Williams

      Tia Will said . . . “What I have said is that I do not approve of the trivialization of the concerns of the neighbors as different people will experience environmental factors differently.”

      I read/hear your words Tia, but I feel you and I have a real disconnect.

      What I proposed on Sunday afternoon was a “scales of justice” approach where the competing local and community-wide interests (we discussed very generous with “other people’s values and life style” in one pan of the scales and very generous with “other people’s money” in the other pan of the scales.  I noted at that time that that approach illuminates the neighborhood interests comparison to the community-wide interests that should be at the core of this community decision process.

      Yet here you are saying that that approach is a trivialization of the concerns of the neighbors.  I’m having a hard time understanding where the trivialization in that approach is.

  10. Tia Will

    Please skip this if you honestly don’t care when or whether I ever post at all.

    Due to a stated concern that I dodge answering questions, I am announcing that I am now signing off for the day. I will not be back at home until after 8pm so I am not dodging, just engaging in living my  life.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Due to a stated concern that I dodge answering questions

      It is not a “stated concern” it is a “fact” that you are not answering many questions.  Have fun today (unless you want to pop back in and tall me I am lying yet again)…

  11. Ron

    Matt:

    A couple of technical questions, regarding editing and finding comments on the Vanguard:

    If I’m not mistaken, you were able to correct your acknowledged oversight on a previous post (above), by inserting the word “not”.  Is that correct?  If so, how were you able to do it?
    How are you so easily able to find prior quotes (from yourself, or others) on the Vanguard?

     

  12. Edison

    I’m logging in late due to spending 5 days visiting relatives in a Midwestern “red” state where I saw 10 Trump yard signs for every Clinton sign.  (FYI, I voted for Hillary.)  I think Tia’s proposal has some merit. It could not be any worse than the current process. The only thing I wonder about is whether any of the neighbors have any real world experience in the realm of investment, finance, real estate development, etc.   The neighbors could meet with the land owner/developer and propose something that has absolutely no chance of garnering enough revenue to meet expenses; i.e., it would not “pencil out”.  Being a university town, I venture to guess that many if not most Davis residents have spent most of their careers employed by government or other public  entities that don’t have to compete to stay alive, and have little experience in “real jobs.”  By real jobs, I mean working for organizations where the employees develop, make, market, and sell a product or service that people want to voluntarily buy and use (as compared to government services that one must pay for whether wanted or not).  My general finding after being in the workforce for over 40 years is that most people who’ve not worked in “real jobs” have little to no fundamental understanding of what it takes to take in more revenue than expenses; they seldom even know the difference between “revenue” and “net profit.”    That being said, I think that there’s nothing to lose by trying Tia’s proposed approach.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for