Napolitano May Have Dealt a Blow to Davis’ WFC Chances

Earlier this week, it appeared there was good news with newly-elected Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry stating that she would support the UC Davis consideration for building the World Food Center “on its land and there are other parcels like the (on-hold) Mace Ranch Innovation Center proposal.”

She told the Vanguard, “I want to see Yolo County as a hub for ag-tech, including value added product manufacturing. AgPlus (Central Valley Food and Beverage Manufacturing Consortium) is one initiative I’m involved with that is a good model here.”

But UC President Janet Napolitano appears to have other plans.  She told the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday “that she hopes whoever gets picked as the new chancellor of UC Davis can pull off an expansion of the campus into Sacramento.

“I think there is a real opportunity to bring Davis over the highway, so to speak, and to do more in this general economic area of California,” Ms. Napolitano said Wednesday during a meeting with the Sacramento Bee editorial board. “What I am looking for in a chancellor is someone that has the capability of doing that.”

The Bee noted former Chancellor Linda Katehi’s vision for bringing the World Food Center to Sacramento “with Katehi’s resignation.”

But the Bee is now reporting “there is still plenty of interest at the UC level.”

The Bee added that Sacramento “could relieve the shortage of space on the Davis campus, especially as the university population continues to grow.”

The Bee also talked with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who told the Bee, “We want to invite the university to come across the causeway, because whether it’s food policy research, entrepreneurship around food and agriculture, whether it’s literally bringing some of their graduate programs across the causeway to Sacramento, I think we can be of great benefit to the university, and we need the university.”

The Bee reports, “The expansion could still include the relocation of the World Food Center, Napolitano said. The center was established in 2013 to increase the economic benefit from campus research, influence national and international policy, and to convene teams of scientists and innovators from industry, academic, government and nongovernmental organizations to tackle food-related challenges around the world.”

“It could take many forms,” she said. “I really think the next chancellor should be able to weigh in on that.”

However, there are still reasons why a World Food Center move to Sacramento may not happen.

Back in the spring of 2014, news leaked out that the chancellor planned to potentially put the World Food Center at the railyard in Sacramento.  However, from the start that was not a popular decision, either for the Davis community or for faculty that would have to relocate to Sacramento from the Davis campus.

The loss of a potentially $1 billion center from the main UC Davis campus was locally seen as a blow to the community.

Chancellor Katehi first mentioned the idea of a third campus in her annual State of the Campus presentation to the Academic Senate in that February. At that time, she said the campus would emphasize UC Davis’ commitment to education, research, clinical and policy aspirations with a focus on food, health and the environment.

“Because of our location, history and expertise, UC Davis is in a unique position to be an even greater positive source for California state government and policy than we have been in the past,” Chancellor Katehi said in a 2014 letter announcing her plans to create the advisory group to help crystallize the vision for a third campus.

“To take full advantage of that opportunity and raise the profile and reputation of the entire university, we have been thinking for some time about developing a third campus somewhere in Sacramento,” she wrote. “The time is now right to begin moving forward with this process.”

The key would appear to be the next chancellor of UC Davis.

That process will be slow.  According to the Bee report, Napolitano said eight or nine candidates are being interviewed and a recommendation could happen at the January or March UC Regents meeting.  March seems most likely, which would probably mean the new chancellor would not be on board until the fall.

—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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35 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    “I want to see Yolo County as a hub for ag-tech, including value added product manufacturing”

    I am quite concerned about Cecelia’s use of the AgPlus consortium as her model. I have quoted from the home informational page of AgPlus below.

    To advance the region’s agriculture-related manufacturing economy, targeting industries in the food and beverage manufacturing sector whereby raw agriculture goods are transformed into value-added products by core manufacturing activities.”

    The World Food Center as initially put forth by then Chancellor Katehi was to be in partnership with the Mars company, as in Mars bars, snack foods and pet food manufacturer. I would like to draw a distinction between “food” and “food products” or “value added food products”. Real food, not “food products” is what is needed by those in the world who are suffering from food insecurity whether they are the urban or rural underserved. What is needed is a clean, reliable, sustainable water source, not processed “beverages”. But if you read the mission statement of the Mars company, you will see that their mission is to increase the sales of processed “food products”.

    I am all for increasing the availability of food and water that is actually needed by the world’s population. I will strongly stand in support of any effort to provide nutritious food and clean water. I do not support the manufacturing of products that are not needed and in many cases are detrimental to the health of those targeted for consumption even if the ostensible goal is to increase local manufacturing and improve our economy.  These products  are labelled “value added” but I am not sure what “value” can be added to real food and clean water.

    I am not an enemy of profit. I am an enemy of  profit to the detriment of those who are sold products that they do not need. As an example, it was not so long ago that infant formula was marketed in many areas of the world as a superior way to feed one’s children. This resulted in malnutrition since formula, especially if diluted and if regular health monitoring is unavailable is not the best choice. Maternal milk is clearly the superior food for the vast majority of infants, and yet the manufacturers of infant formula had no problem selling their “value added” product long past our knowledge that formula was an inferior food product.

     

    1. Leanna Sweha

      According to the USDA, there are five ways to create a value-added product:

      1. Producing and marketing a real or perceived quality attribute (or characteristics).

      • Examples of a real quality attribute: low-phytate corn (low-phosphorus feed for swine), organic soybeans, large tomatoes
      • Example of a perceived quality attribute: A dairy markets an “Ozark brand” of cheese to create consumer perception of dairy farming in the beautiful Ozark mountains.

      and/or

      2. Reducing transaction costs.

      • Example: Thirty cow-calf producers join together to market feeder cattle as a group to one buyer rather than have the buyer transact business with 30 individuals.

      and/or

      3. Bundling products.

      • Example: A beef producer and a wood producer jointly market beef and flavored wood chips for the ultimate grilling experience.

      and/or


      4. Producing and marketing a commodity that improves operating efficiency somewhere up the supply chain.

      • Example: Producers use a new wheat variety that improves milling and baking efficiency so that processors up the marketing chain are willing to pay a higher farm price.

      and/or


      5. Producers owning assets somewhere up the supply chain for further commodity processing.

      1. Tia Will

        Thanks Leanna. I agree with hpierce that it is important to have commonly held definitions. I also appreciate your inclusion of at least one way in which the concept of “value added” can be used not to inform or clarify, but rather as a marketing tool without regard to veracity. It was this aspect that I was intending to highlight with my example of baby formula. I fully realize that there are also likely to be many legitimate uses of the term.

        I would much appreciate hearing more of your thoughts on this issue.

  2. Tia Will

    from the start that was not a popular decision, either for the Davis community or for faculty that would have to relocate to Sacramento from the Davis campus.”

    I continue to see this as a very myopic point of view. We are anticipating a large amount of increased numbers of undergraduates at a time when we are also experiencing a housing shortage. And yet, we object to eliminating some of the pressure by opening a third highly specialized campus in Sacramento. This makes no more sense to me that it would have made to protest moving the medical school to Sacramento. The “loss” to the Davis campus and City was clearly the optimal choice then, and I believe it may well be equally true for the WFC today.

    Yes, I understand that some members of our community such as professors and staff would be inconvenienced by this change. However, I would point out that for those that chose not to relocate, the train would offer an easy commute at least to the originally planned site. I know because my partner made that trip daily. I think that it is time that we thought more globally, not only about what will directly financially benefit Davis, but also about best fit in terms of surrounding enterprises ( the location of the capital), the size of the planned project, and what is best regionally as well as locally. I do not see a third campus as so much a loss for Davis as a gain for the region.

      1. Tia Will

        Yep. So you have said in the past. I see the concern. I also see that there may be other concerns that we do not see because of our limited view of what is best for the City of Davis. Again, I call your attention to the departure of the medical school which was clearly the right choice.

        1. David Greenwald

          I don’t know that the departure of the medical school was clearly the right choice. There are other considerations with the WFC – the possibility of tech-transfers from the university (WFC) to generate start ups in Davis and help to become a base for a research park. The proximity of agricultural fields to MRIC including the conservation easement that could be utilized by the WFC and spinoffs. A medical center in an urban area makes sense, a food research facility in an urban area makes less sense than it does near agricultural fields in my view.

    1. JosephBiello

      Great, so not only are Davisites expecting to micromanage UC Davis’ construction, but even research,  funding sources – how about admissions and education, while you’re at it Tia?

      I’m hopeful that the UC will ignore the self-appointed spokespersons of Davis – who constitute the vocal minority.   It would have been great to get the WFC in town – it’s not only about the facility, but the faculty, students, events and the ability of the Davis citizenry to interact with outreach programs at the facility.

      By micromanaging everything, will will push everything out of town and Davisites’ values will be rendered irrelevant.

       

       

       

       

       

  3. ryankelly

    Sacramento wants it.  The Davis community doesn’t.  Davis has active opposition to any building and someone who likes to file lawsuits.  Sacramento appears to be more than prepared to assist in any way it can.   Davis is forcing all housing growth onto the UCD campus, making it difficult to also build academic and research space.  Davis would like even more housing to be built on the UCD campus and appears to have little regard for the need for academic and research space.  Davis even has people that oppose the Center on moral grounds (see Tia’s post above).

    1. Colin Walsh

      Davis is not “forcing all housing growth onto the UCD campus”

      To be more specific, Davis is looking for better collaboration with the university and has formally asked the University to provide housing for 100% of enrollment increases with a goal of the University housing 50% of the student population by 2027. Davis is only asking that UC Davis do what all most all other UCs are doing.

      Davis is also in the middle of what the Enterprise described on Dec. 30th as a “New home boom.”

  4. Tia Will

    Joseph

    while you’re at it Tia?”

    Wow !  How did you get from me advocating for the university locating the WFC at the location it deems best for its functioning and contribution to the region, rather than what is parochially “best for Davis” to me attempting to micromanage UCD ?  Did you miss the part where I said that I thought attempting to keep the WFC in Davis  solely for the benefit of the city was myopic? I am not attempting to dictate where UCD locates the WFC. I am advocating for them making the best decision for the university whether that happens to be in Davis, or whether that happens to be elsewhere in the region.

     

  5. JosephBiello

    Tia, reread what you are writing in your first post – “you would like to see….”    Your whole first post is about what you think should be in the WFC.   That’s called micromanaging.

     

     

     

     

  6. Tia Will

    Joseph

    No. I do not agree that a statement of concern or preference equals “micromanaging”. That would only be true if I had any expectation or intention that my preference would be dictated. I am well aware that will not be the case, and am advancing it only as one perspective.  You have not stated whether or not you agree with the substance of my post. If you disagree, do you consider your own opposing view “micromanaging” ?

  7. Tia Will

    David

    A medical center in an urban area makes sense, a food research facility in an urban area makes less sense than it does near agricultural fields in my view.”

    I would say that this depends on the focus of the food research facility. If the focus is purely on agricultural methods and practices then I would agree that a location near the fields makes more sense. However, if the focus is going to be on “value added” manufactured products (which I personally do not favor, but realize I have no ability to affect) , then location in direct proximity to the fields may be less critical than other factors.

    What I would like to see is a thorough discussion of the scope of the WFC, what departments will be incorporated, what companies will be partnering with UCD, and how much emphasis will be placed on regional vs state and international  projects. Only by looking at the broad picture would it possible to determine the best location from the university perspective as well as just from the Davis perspective. I think that this would be a very good topic for a comprehensive article on the WFC itself as now being envisioned. I am in no position to write such an article, but would put it forward as one that I would like to see on the Vanguard.

     

    1. Mark West

      “What I would like to see is a thorough discussion of the scope of the WFC, what departments will be incorporated, what companies will be partnering with UCD, and how much emphasis will be placed on regional vs state and international  projects.”

      These sorts of discussions are happening within the University community, they just don’t involve (and rightly so) the noisy neighbors. We, as a city, can choose to be welcoming or not, but we have no place in determining the “the best location from the university perspective” or how the University chooses to implement a new researh Center.

      1. David Greenwald

        Part of the problem is that I’m not sure where at the university these discussions are happening. Certainly in silos, but without a chancellor, there seems to be a leadership vacuum. This would be a good time for the city to put forward an initiative to push for the WFC in Davis, but that idea seems to be slow to gain traction.

        1. Mark West

          There is nothing preventing the City from advocating for the WFC to remain in town and that advocacy does not require a permanent Chancellor on campus. The decision will ultimately be made by the Office of the President and the Board of Regents whether there is a new Chancellor in place or not. The place for the City to make an impact, however, is in the discussions between the City’s leaders and City Staff with their counterparts on campus, not from political proclamations made from the dais or comments made in ‘the press.’ We can be welcoming (or not), but anyone who thinks that the City (let alone and individual’s voice) has any place in determining what is best for the University is simply being delusional about our level of influence and import.

        2. Tia Will

          David

          This would be a good time for the city to put forward an initiative to push for the WFC in Davis, but that idea seems to be slow to gain traction.”

          But wouldn’t it be good to know exactly what we are “pushing for” before we start spinning our wheels ?  What if, for example, the emphasis was going to be on large scale manufacturing and international projects ?  Would it still make more sense to locate it near prime agricultural land, or might it be better placed near Sacramento ?  I do not pretend to know the answers, but do think that we would need to have some idea of just what the proposal is before we become very heavily invested in terms of time and energy.  As Mark rightfully points out, the decision is not ours to make, but that does not meant that we cannot have and share opinions on something that could have profound impacts on the city.

          1. David Greenwald

            Two things.

            First, we know what we are pushing for – we are pushing for the WFC to be located here in Davis. The specifics of that are way beyond our purview.

            Second, the decision is not ours to make which is why we have to come up with a proposed location and attempt to convince the powers that be that this is the best location. It may very well be that this will fail, but I think we need to try.

      2. Tia Will

        Mark

        We, as a city, can choose to be welcoming or not, but we have no place in determining the “the best location from the university perspective” or how the University chooses to implement a new researh Center.”

        “In determining”… I agree with you. But as previously stated, I was determining absolutely nothing. I was expressing a personal point of view.

        So is it equally valid from your point of view that no one in the city express their opinion about the “best location from the university perspective” even if they are in favor of it locating locally or if we would encourage local research ?  How far would you extend your “muzzle” on what citizens of the city are allowed to opine ( which is all that I did). Do you include yourself in the group of people who should not be voicing an opinion ?

        1. Mark West

          Tia – Why do you have such difficulty with reading comprehension?  Where did I say you shouldn’t opine?

          Have at it, opine to your heart’s content. Just don’t delude yourself about the import of your opinion. The University’s decision on the WFC will be based on the University’s needs, with absolutely no consideration of your individual wants.

           

  8. John Hobbs

    “Let’s see, we can locate to a welcoming, accommodating town or fight tooth and nail with little hope to get nagging approval to build in Davis. I think I know where to go.”

    1. Tia Will

      John Hobbs

      I would phrase this a little differently. If I were in a decision making position at the university ( which I most certainly am not) I would be looking at a number of factors including but not limited to “welcoming, accommodating” or not, when making a decision of where to locate.

      Cost, proximity to other companies and/or governmental offices, ready availability of housing for students and employees, ready availability of transportation and other support services, easy access to what ever resources that might be applicable to the specific agricultural and/or manufacturing focus of the WFC and probably a whole host of other items that would not occur to me to consider.

      The discussion generated so far today seems to have focused on “good for Davis” vs “not good for Davis”. I freely admit to what I do not know enough about the WFC and therefore would like to see a more factually based discussion of the issues involved.

  9. Jaroslaw Waszczuk

    I read the  two Sacramento Bee articles related to the World Food Center and ne UC Davis Campus in Sacramento
    The January 4, 2016 SacBee article  is  entitled  “UC president Napolitano says she wants UC Davis to expand into Sacramento” http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article124626619.html.
    The  January 5, 2016 SacBee article is entitled “UC Davis, Sacramento make a promising team”
    http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article124840579.html
     
    It is appears from the UC President Janet Napolitano’s statements  that Sacramento will be   the  future  location for the third UC Davis Campus and  the World Food Center and this is a done deal . Napolitano held the meeting with newly elected Mayor of Sacramento Darrel Steinberg  than it is the further assurance that  Sacramento is the Napolitano’s choice for WFC. Most likely the  potential investors into  WFC  project are pushing Napolitano’s to the Sacramento directions. Napolitano is in full control of UC Regents and any opposition from regents  to her decisions when , where and why is not expected .  Articles also shows that  Chancellor Emeritus Linda Katehi still in the picture and most likely nothing will happen until Katehi would  be completely eliminated from the UC Davis campus. Napolitano does not want Katehi to be around and see he being  involved in anything in UC Davis . Napolitano is probably mad like hell at UC Academic Senate that Senate did not backed her up to fire Katehi and she had to hire two former US prosecutors Melinda Haag and McGregor Scott to scare Katehi  and force her to  resign . Wondering what the Assemblymemeber Aguiar -Curry would say about Napolitano’s intention to abandon  Davis and build the  new UC campus named UC Sacramento . The Yolo County Supervisor Mr. Matt Rexroad opinion  would be interesting and what he thinks  about Napolitano’s  interviews with SacBee. Most likely Napolitano’s and Steinberg’s idea  is  to have  the  UC Sacramento on the University of California map. In addition to WFC Napolitano announced that students tuition will go up in 2017.  Is this means new uprising and protests on UC Campuses ?

      1. Jaroslaw Waszczuk

        David

        Don’t be naive .  If chancellors would  be making one billions dollars decisions than than  UCOP would not exist .  Reads the Regents minutes and read  how the decisions are made to go with the new projects in the UC system .

        1. Jaroslaw Waszczuk

          David

          Maybe you are right and maybe  the WFC is a history , but  the billion dollars to spend is not up to the  new chancellor who will learn  for next two years how to walk and talk in UC Davis Campus and finding out who is who  . Katehi and November 2011 is the best example what could happen when you find yourself in wrong place at the wrong time and when you are confused carpetbagger.

    1. Howard P

      From the article, saying UCD is too ‘crowded’…so where in Sacramento can land be acquired @ the price of say, MRIC, much less than the land that UC owns on the Campus, including Russell Ranch?  UCD does not lack for land… only buildings and will…

      Rhetorical question … not expecting an answer…

  10. Tia Will

    Mark

    Tia – Why do you have such difficulty with reading comprehension?  Where did I say you shouldn’t opine?

    Have at it, opine to your heart’s content. Just don’t delude yourself about the import of your opinion. The University’s decision on the WFC will be based on the University’s needs, with absolutely no consideration of your individual wants.

    We both seem to have difficulty with comprehension if misrepresentation of the other’s comments is our common marker. No where did I say that I believed that any decision of the university would be based on consideration of my “individual wants”.  And fortunately, neither of us needs the permission of the other to opine.

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