Commentary: Ultimately the Davis Residents Will Decide

In yesterday’s column, I wrote that the problem is that the action taken on Tuesday regarding certifying the EIR for the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) location doesn’t mean we are any more open for business than we were on Monday.  We still don’t have a project and we still lack major commercial space to expand our economic development.  That’s what we need, and nothing we did on Tuesday moved us forward.

In a comment, Tia Will writes that the commentary misses a larger point.  She writes, “While it is certainly the case that the majority of the city council (some more passionately than others) believe that more large scale commercial/industrial space is the best way to go, this does not seem to be the opinion of the majority of the community as reflected in the recent rejection of Nishi, a considerably smaller project.”

And, while councilmembers and developers and some business people agree with this point, Ms. Will writes, “I do not see the same zeal for larger scale development on the part of the voting citizenry. While David has opined on a number of occasions that this is due to a lack of understanding of our financial situation, I would like to propose that it is at least in part, because this is not how the majority of voters want our community to develop.”

I think Tia Will has an important point that falls by the wayside all too often in these discussions – there is a sizable portion of the Davis population that is opposed to any growth, any substantial growth, or any peripheral growth.

Their views may not be heavily reflected on the council but, as we saw with Nishi, all five members of the council ultimately voted to put Nishi on the ballot and supported it, but the community voted against the project.

Of course, it can and has been argued that Nishi was a very narrow vote (certainly compared to either Wild Horse Ranch or Covell Village) and it was likely decided on specific issues like traffic on Richards, perhaps affordable housing, and air quality.

And of course I am probably as guilty as anyone in believing that, if people just had the right set of facts and information and made an informed decision, they would make the “right” decision, whatever that happens to be at the time.

Tia Will’s point is that a majority of voters simply do not want our community to develop in this way.

Of course we don’t know that this is true because, if an MRIC got on the ballot, it would be very different from any other proposal in front of the voters.

One of the premises of Project Toto is that the developers of the economic model want to pull back the curtain to show the city and the citizenry what happens under different scenarios, not just for next year’s budget, but twenty years out.

At the same time, when presenting their model to downtown, I think they were caught off guard when the majority of people in the audience did not think that the roads in Davis were problematic.

Where does that leave us?

The voters/community will have a choice in the coming years as to the future of Davis.  And while there are going to be General Plan discussions and Core Area specific plan discussions, the future will be decided much more on a project by project, revenue measure by revenue measure, benign neglect by benign neglect approach.

The fact is that right now we do not have enough money to maintain our infrastructure and continue current levels of service.

So we have choices.  We can cut back on services.  We can reduce our infrastructure needs.  That means we can shut down parks and close down greenbelts.  Let roadway pavement deteriorate or maintain it at another level.

We can provide fewer services and lay people off, or we can rely more on outsourced labor.

We can raise revenue through taxes like the sales tax, a parcel tax, some sort of utility tax, or even something more out of the box like a cannabis tax.

We can expand our retail base, add big box or other retail.

We can build more hotels.

Or we can build innovation parks and do economic development.

Some will suggest we should do some of all of this.

Every approach will have tradeoffs.  Some of these will mean fundamental changes to our community.  Increasing the cost of living in Davis will make the community more gentrified and affluent, and push out people of more modest means.

Building more commercial, whether retail, hotels or innovation parks, will have an impact on the community.

Allowing parks and greenbelts to deteriorate, and roads, bikepaths and sidewalks to exist at a lower standard will likewise produce a lower quality of life.

At the end of the day, I have my preferred solutions that I have laid out here.  Others will have different preferences.  What I can only hope is that those decisions are made based on accurate facts that allow the public to make an informed choice about the benefits and risks of various approaches and what happens if we do nothing.

I worry about the current trajectory because all too often what we are doing is deferring tough decisions which will punt the problem to future leaders but will also limit our options down the line.

I believe that, while the challenges are great, the solutions do not have to be crippling to our community – but if we do not start making tough choices now, the consequences will increase, not decrease.

I don’t believe that a modest parcel tax, a few hotels, and an innovation park along with a healthy cost containment strategy will irreparably alter or harm our community.  For me the biggest threat is inaction and complacency.

But at the end of the day this is the citizens’ community and they will have to decide which way to go.  My job as I see it is not to lay out the path for the community, but lay out the options and the consequences for those options.

—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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  1. Tia Will

    Some will suggest we should do some of all of this.”

    I would strongly favor a comprehensive approach including all of the above. I would also greatly appreciate it if someone representative of the city whether council member, staff, commission members , engaged citizens….could look into designing an outline or scaffolding of what  such a comprehensive approach might entail in more than aspirational terms.

  2. Ron

    I have repeatedly put forth a series of comments and links to articles, which show that Davis is not unique, regarding most (all?) of its challenges.  Throughout the state, cities (some much larger than Davis), counties (some much larger than Yolo) and the state itself have long-term challenges with unfunded retirement benefits.  (I believe that the same challenges are being faced regarding roadway maintenance, as well.)

    The reason I mention this is because it seems likely that some of this will have to be addressed on a system-wide level (beyond Davis).  If Davis is somehow able to “resolve” all of these challenges for itself (on its own), it would likely be one of the ONLY communities to do so.

    For the past few years, CALPERS has been “adjusting” (artificially reducing) its expected contributions from cities that participate in its retirement program, which were struggling as a result of the recession.  CALPERS has recently required a greater amount of contributions from cities, as the economy has recovered.  (However, it appears that CALPERS is still not requiring a sufficient/realistic amount, to keep the entire system afloat.)

    I am not sure what will happen to the entire system in the long run, but Davis is not facing these challenges alone.  And again, I strongly suspect that some system-wide solutions will be needed to keep the entire system afloat.

      1. Ron


        Regarding per-capita retail sales, the types of businesses/development that are proposed for the “innovation centers” would not have any impact. Such proposals don’t include retail development that I’m aware of.


        1. David Greenwald

          There are several revenues from an innovation center – (1) construction fees and taxes (one-time); (2) enhanced property tax (capital equipment enhances property tax values); (3) point of sales tax

          MRIC at build out could have generated $7 million in tax revenue, perhaps a bit more if they did some sort of CFD.

        2. Ron

          Oh wait – I take that back.  If innovation centers are approved (and include residential development), per-capita retail sales tax might actually fall, unless the new residents do all of their shopping at existing retail centers within the city.

        3. Howard P

          David… there are also processing fees for project applications… you may have included that in your mind, when you refer to “construction fees”, but wanted to be clear that there is also revenue from additional approvals (review time, etc.)[actual development applications, ex. annexation, PPD, FRP, TM, FM, Building permits, etc., etc.]

          The ones I refer to generally reflect full recovery of the costs of actual staff time expended, and are in addition to “taxes”… be they one time or on-going.

          Meant as a clarification, not as a correction, per se.

        4. Ron

          Howard:  “Even if per capita retail sales stay constant, increases in “capita” = increased revenues… even a non-finance person should recognize that.”

          No argument, there.  (The referenced Vanguard article was referring to “per capita.”)

      2. Matt Williams

        Recurring Annual Revenues

        Property Taxes

        Property Tax In-Lieu of Vehicle License Fees

        Property Transfer Tax

        Sales and Use Taxes

        Property Tax in-Lieu of Sales Tax

        Transient Occupancy Tax

        Business License Tax

        Municipal Service Tax

        Franchise Fees

        Charges for Services

        Community Services Revenue

        Fines and Forfeitures



  3. James R

    From the article:

    Every approach will have tradeoffs.  Some of these will mean fundamental changes to our community.  Increasing the cost of living in Davis will make the community more gentrified and affluent, and push out people of more modest means.

    I think we’re already seeing this. I’m 25, and it’s gotten to the point where my salary is approximately the US median income for a single-earner, and yet when almost half of an entire month’s pay goes to rent, it makes it frustratingly difficult to still enjoy the amenities of the Davis community while still making ends meet. Younger people are being priced out of this community, and a lot of that appears to be the case because a vocal minority objects at every point to any new development. While any of David’s suggestions would come with tradeoffs, I argue that our continued inaction to grow has contributed the single biggest trade-off that no one mentions: people want to live here, contribute to the community, provide economic investments in small business, and make Davis great. But we cannot afford to live here because little residential growth pushes rent and housing prices ever higher, and pussyfooting with economic development, MRIC being an example, limits residential growth needs and opportunities.

    With Nishi it was argued that air quality could be poor for residential units. With MRIC it seems to be argued (and I don’t mean to trivialize any of the recent comments) that there are procedural hurdles. With Sterling it’s argued that there will be added congestion to roadways. But all of these arguments overlook that there are thousands of people who already live in Davis, who actively contribute in so many ways, but are being priced out because of lack of development and are actively looking to move to other communities that are growing and providing similar economic and communal opportunities to get involved.

    I don’t mean this as an affront to any of the Vanguard commenters, but I would argue that most of the regulars who contribute here (and show up to the recent Council meetings I’ve attended) are older, more educated, more affluent, and whiter than what is statistically representative of the Davis population. And they probably have lived in Davis longer than I have. I worry at times that some of us can get caught up in our own situations to look beyond what is in the best interest of the city and community. And frankly, it feels like these “no/slow-growthers” would like to turn Davis into a gated community of sorts in which you have to meet particular demographics to live here…”rich enough” being the biggest hurdle.

    1. Ron

      James R:

      I appreciate the sentiments you wrote above, and the polite manner in which you did so.

      I’m probably a little younger than the “average” commenter on the Vanguard, but older than you.

      There may be some generational divide, regarding how development (in general) is viewed.  However, when I was your age (and younger), I had the same views that I have, now.  I had already witnessed massive changes to the Bay Area (and beyond), and realized that this was neither sustainable nor desirable (for anyone, or any place).

      I’ve been essentially “priced out” of my own home town (or anywhere nearby).  There is no way I’d be able to purchase the home I grew up in.  However, I still don’t advocate “building our way” to affordability (if that was even possible), in any location.  Housing costs are not exactly “cheap” anywhere in our area, these days. However, it is somewhat less expensive in nearby communities.

      I didn’t purchase a house (or even consider it) until I was in my late 30s.

      For those who advocate more and more development, it seems that there’s no thought toward creating a sustainable and livable place to live.  In other words, it doesn’t seem to be a goal, for some.

      1. Mark West

        Ron Anon: “I didn’t purchase a house…”

        James was commenting on the cost of rent, not his inability to own a home. The severe problem in Davis is the lack of rental housing.


        Ron Anon: “it seems that there’s no thought toward creating a sustainable and livable place”

        Davis, as it stands, is not a sustainable place to live because we are not paying our bills or maintaining our infrastructure. You have made it quite clear you think someone else should fix that problem for us, but how exactly does that make Davis sustainable?

        If the only way we can continue to function is to tax others in the State (i.e. your proposed State bailout) to fund our lifestyle, how can we claim to be a sustainable community?  It seems to me that you are the one with “no thought toward creating a sustainable and livable place.”


        1. Ron


          I understood that James R. was commenting regarding rent.  I added the sentence regarding purchasing a house because it is closely related to the conversation.

          Once again, you’re taking what I wrote, and misstating it.  Frankly, it’s often not worth engaging in discussions with you.

          I hope that you keep advocating for what you want, and in the manner in which you’re doing so.  I’m sure it will win you a “lot of support”.  (The “sledgehammer” approach, for those whom you disagree with.)


        2. Howard P

          You raise an important point Mark… “affordable housing” is a whole different matter than “affordable home ownership”.  I, for one, do not think it should be a priority for the City to stress “affordable home ownership”… attempts to do the latter have led to shenanigans, in many cases.

        3. Mark West

           “Once again, you’re taking what I wrote, and misstating it.”

          I did not misstate your comment, Ron, that is something of a specialty that you favor.

          One of the critical components of ‘sustainability’ is economic viability. You cannot claim the City is sustainable if we cannot pay our bills. That is a simple fact based on the definition of sustainability.

          Changing our approach to development, including expanding our business sector, and building high-density, multifamily housing is a pathway to creating a sustainable future for Davis. Sitting on our hands waiting for a bailout is not.

    2. Keith O

      This has come up many times before.  There’s lots of expensive communities where I might want to live if I could afford to.  Is that the communities fault that they are expensive and desirable?  Is it the communities responsibility to supply affordable housing for anyone who might want to locate there?

      If that’s the case then it’s about time that the Palo Alto/Atherton area had better build some affordable housing so I can move there.


      1. Ron


        I agree.  For that matter, I’d like to be able to purchase the home I grew up in (or somewhere nearby).  But, I probably wouldn’t want to do so, if it became saturated with enough (vertical?) housing to significantly bring down the price.  (Actually, it is going up vertically, with no corresponding price drop.)

      2. Mark West

        This issue is not the lack of ‘affordable housing,’ it is the lack of rental housing. What we should be building is high-density multi-family housing that efficiently utilizes our available space. The problem is we don’t build that housing, we choose sprawling complexes of single family homes with $million price tags. Building low density, high-priced single-family homes increase the cost of living in Davis and exacerbates our current problems. Building high-density multi.-family housing, with an emphasis on mixed-use residential over commercial, will do just the opposite. Decrease the cost of living by lowering rents, while at the same time increasing revenues for the City.

      3. James R

        Keith, thanks for your comments on this. I didn’t mean to suggest that I (or my cohort) should be entitled to live in an area out of our affordability; I think that’s a little presumptuous (as much as I’d LOVE to live in downtown SF for a few hundred a month in a sprawling condo!).

        The challenge I was trying to allude to is that after graduating UCD, I’ve stayed in Davis because I was fortunate enough to find local employment, but the cost of living in Davis has outpaced wage increases to the point that even looking for affordable residence in surrounding communities (Winters, Woodland, West Sac, Vacaville, etc) is becoming challenging. I can vouch firsthand for close friends who would have enjoyed to stay in CA for employment, but instead have moved to other states where the cost of living is lower. That’s an important personal choice they had to arrive at on their own; but the true cost is that this is revenue another city is gaining…and it could have been us instead!

        I don’t believe it’s the community’s responsibility to supply affordable housing, but I do believe it’s a community’s responsibility to ensure that a community doesn’t become so uniform in its identity that it slowly transforms into what it was trying to prevent, by nature of poor growth choices.

        1. Ron


          I realize that you didn’t respond to me, but you’ve noted that housing costs in some of the surrounding communities have also outpaced wage increases.  And yet, those communities don’t have the same level of “growth control” as Davis, to say the least.


    3. Tia Will

      James R

      I worry at times that some of us can get caught up in our own situations to look beyond what is in the best interest of the city and community” 

      I appreciate the truth in your statement. Only I see it from both sides of this story having been here when I was near your age and not affluent, and now when I am one of the wealthy older folks you describe. All of us tend to see and evaluate from our own situations, and it looks to all of us as though we are seeing “what is in the best interest of the city and community”, just from different perspectives.

  4. Ron


    Again, I don’t know why you’re bringing up point of sales tax.

    Regarding the $7 million figure, I assume that you’re referring to some rough projections regarding a commercial-only development.

    We had some discussions yesterday, regarding the viability of a “duplicate” innovation center in Davis, assuming that the one (now planned for Woodland?) actually goes forward. (Since we haven’t heard anything lately, I’m wondering about the viability of the Woodland proposal, as well.)

    In any case, I would carefully scrutinize any figures coming from the finance and budget committee.  Frankly, there’s some pretty “optimistic” individuals on that board.  (The entire board disagreed with the city’s professional consultant, regarding how to allocate some costs related to Nishi.)

      1. Mark West

        It is a shame that we cannot access the sales tax data for the specialty manufacturing businesses in Davis. Most do not sell directly to consumers for use in their homes, but much of what they manufacture will be sold to other businesses with sales or use taxes applied. They also pay property taxes on all of the specialized (and extremely expensive) equipment they use to manufacture their products, in addition to their buildings and land. Many of the businesses intended to occupy an innovation center will become significant sources of new revenues for the City, as well as good jobs for the community.

        Some of the comments posted here demonstrate a severe lack of understanding, even ignorance, about the significance that businesses have on the fiscal health of the City and the community.

        1. Ron


          I agree that it would be good to have actual figures regarding the items you discussed.  For example, the amount/percentage of products sold between businesses that are tax-exempt, the role of depreciation on property tax collected for equipment, etc.


        2. Mark West

          “amount/percentage of products sold between businesses that are tax-exempt,”

          What is taxable vs. tax-exempt is a State/Federal issue. The only thing that matters to the City is the sales tax received. Every $1 in sales tax from a new company is a $1 that the City did not have before. My point in making the statement was to emphasize that the City receives sales tax revenues from many businesses in addition to the retail stores and auto dealerships that most people think about.    

          “the role of depreciation on property tax collected for equipment”

          Depreciation of equipment impacts State and Federal income taxes, but has no impact on property taxes. While depreciation is meaningful to the companies, it is mostly irrelevant to the discussion of the City’s revenues.

        3. Ron


          Personal Property. Personal property is property other than land, buildings, and other permanent structures, which are commonly referred to as “real property.” Most personal property is exempt from property taxation, including business inventories, materials used to manufacture products, household furniture and goods, personal items, and intangible property like gym memberships and life insurance policies. Some personal property, however, is subject to the property tax. These properties consist mainly of manufacturing equipment, business computers, planes, commercial boats, and office furniture. When determining the market value of personal property, county assessors take into account the loss in value due to the age and condition of personal property—a concept known as depreciation. Unlike property taxes on real property, which are due in two separate payments, taxes on personal property are due on July 3.

        4. Mark West

          Again, I understand that some business-to-business sales result in no sales tax collection.  Are you stating otherwise?

          Yes, ‘some’ business-to-business sales are tax exempt, but by definition, the rest are not. It all depends on how the product is used by the purchaser and where that purchaser is located. What matters to the City are the new tax revenues, not the percentage of total sales those new revenues were derived from.

        5. Ron


          You brought up sales tax (which Mark then chimed in on – and simultaneously added some incorrect information regarding property taxes collected, related to equipment and depreciation).

          A contrary statement (e.g., a conclusion that there “will be” significant sales tax collected) would also be premature, and would be subject to the conditions discussed in the thread above.

        6. Mark West

          “manufacturing equipment, business computers, planes, commercial boats, and office furniture. When determining the market value of personal property, county assessors take into account the loss in value due to the age and condition of personal property—a concept known as depreciation.”

          ‘Depreciation,’ with regards to taxation generally refers to the calculated loss in value of a fixed asset, following agreed upon schedules, as it relates to business income tax calculations. Unsecured property, for property tax purposes, may, in fact, lose value with age, but as far as I know, there is no defined schedule for calculating that change. You may request that the property is revalued for tax purposes, but it is not an automatic, defined, adjustment as is the case for income taxes. You are conflating two different, though related processes, that happen to use the same terms. They are not interchangeable.



        7. Mark West

          “However, the point being that there may be very little (if any) sales tax collected from an innovation center.”

          There just as likely ‘may’ be quite a bit of sales tax collected. It all depends on the specific businesses and what products they produce. The best way to estimate how much the City can expect to receive is by looking at the sales tax revenues from the other manufacturing businesses in town, and from similarly sized innovation centers in other locations. City Staff has that information.  I have no idea what the specific number will be, but I am certain it will be significantly greater than the tax revenues we currently receive from the property.

        8. Ron

          Quotes, from above:

          Mark:  “Depreciation of equipment impacts State and Federal income taxes, but has no impact on property taxes.”

          From source listed below: ” . . .county assessors take into account the loss in value due to the age and condition of personal property—a concept known as depreciation.”

          And yet, I’m the one who’s been called a liar, ignorant, etc., with no apparent “moderation”.

        9. Ron

          Mark:  ” . . .but I am certain that it (sales tax) will be significantly greater than the tax revenues we currently receive from the property.”

          Well, I guess so – since it’s currently farmland, outside the city (with no service costs for the city, either).  Pretty much meets the definition of the entire county, outside of existing cities.

          Do you think your statements can get any more ludicrous?


        10. Matt Williams

          Mark West said . . . “It is a shame that we cannot access the sales tax data for the specialty manufacturing businesses in Davis.”

          Mark, it isn’t at the granular level you might desire, but the newly released 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report provides the information in the graphic below.  What you see is that the value of Unsecured Property is $217.7 million.  Compare that to the value of real property used Industrially is approximately half of that at $109.9 million.  The $217.7 million comes predominantly from specialty manufacturing businesses.

        11. David Greenwald


          You wrote, “there will be little if any sales tax at an innovation center.”  Since you are so sure of that without provided supporting evidence, let me ask you, what was the square footage of the retail portion of MRIC?  What was the projected sales tax take at build out?

        12. Ron

          The chart that Matt posted is interesting.  If I’m understanding and calculating it correctly, it appears that “unsecured” property (which I assume means items such as equipment) generate less than 3% of total property taxes collected, prior to exemptions.  (Of course, I also understand that a large percentage of property taxes go toward the school district, instead of the city.)

          Interesting the residential generates the “lion’s share” of property taxes collected, but still (apparently) falls short of needs.

          Wondering what the “exemptions” consist of – perhaps the $7,000 exemption allowed for each homeowner, who uses their home as a primary residence?

          Also wondering why Matt didn’t compare the unsecured property to the other (non-residential) categories listed, such as “commercial”, “institution”, “professional”, etc.  (Why single out “industrial”, only?  Can an assumption be made that only “industrial” uses unsecured property?


        13. Ron

          David:   “Since you are so sure of that without provided supporting evidence, let me ask you, what was the square footage of the retail portion of MRIC?  What was the projected sales tax take at build out?”

          I’m not sure of anything, especially in the absence of a specific proposal.  Are you?


        14. Matt Williams

          David, correct me if I am wrong, but your question is about the MRIC proposal that was fiscally analyzed by EPS, with that fiscal analysis presented to the FBC.  Is that right?

          If that is indeed your question, then the answer is:

          $744,000 annual Sales Tax
          $502,000 annual Property Tax In-Lieu of Vehicle License Fees
          $248,000 annual Property Tax in-lieu of Sales Tax
          $680,000 annual Property Tax
          $398,000 annual Business License Fees
          $281,000 annual Municipal Service Tax

          1. David Greenwald

            My question, wasn’t really a question, I was trying to see if Ron knew what he was talking about when he was arguing that this thing wasn’t going to generate any sales tax or if he was talking out of his donkey. And of course the EPS report, while a handy guide to analyze sales tax revenue, represented a fairly low estimate of what the MRIC would generate in terms of ongoing city revenue. But three-quarters of a million for the sales tax was not insignificant.

        15. Matt Williams

          David, you have my condolences.  I thought your question was a real question posed to a real person.  Since the Vanguard system prevents me from seeing imaginary people, I couldn’t see who you were conversing with.  The system doesn’t prevent imaginary questions per se, but when those imaginary questions are posed by imaginary people, I am mercifully spared.

  5. Ron

    Mark:  “Decrease the cost of living by lowering rents, while at the same time increasing revenues for the City.”

    Good one.  (Never mind that neither of these work, and that those two goals conflict with each other.)

    Where were you, regarding the effort to encourage UCD to build more student housing to accommodate their enrollment plans (rather than foisting the costs and impacts of such housing, upon the city)?  (Oh yeah, you didn’t think it was important.)

    1. Mark West


      If you bothered to listen to something other than your own propaganda you might actually learn something of value. High density, multifamily housing (apartments, condos, and townhouses), especially as part of mixed use developments (residential over commercial) is one of the best methods for the City to increase net revenues. Not my opinion, but that of experts in the field that I have cited in the past. Facts, not propaganda.

      “Where were you, regarding the effort to encourage UCD to build more student housing…”

      Building housing on campus results in greater costs to the City (and therefore residents) and no new revenues to offset those costs. What a brilliant idea!  So very sustainable…


    2. Ron


      No evidence presented.

      Residential development has been proven (a number of times, without much dispute) to generally be a long-term money-loser, for cities.  However, I realize that including commercial within the mix can change the calculation (e.g., lessen the impact of the loss).

      Why do you think UCD is reluctant to assume the costs and responsibilities of housing its own students?

      I’m starting to think that if anyone actually listens to you (and implements your “propaganda” – as you put it), the city will grow uncontrollably AND be worse-off, financially.


      1. Mark West

        “No evidence presented.”

        The evidence has been cited and presented multiple times, you have just chosen not to pay attention. For some, protecting their worldview is more important than learning something new.

        I can’t help you, Ron, as long as you are uninterested in learning, but I will continue to post here in opposition to your propaganda in the hope that other readers will see the ‘lie’ inherent in your no change/no development agenda.

  6. Ron

    Mark:  One of the critical components of ‘sustainability’ is economic viability.

    I don’t disagree with that statement.  However, I suspect that the days of “growing/developing our way of challenges” is essentially over (perhaps throughout California).  The Ponzi scheme that we’ve depended upon in the past might be coming to an end.  (Note James R.’s comment, regarding housing affordability throughout California.)

    The impacts of unending growth and development are also impacting life, throughout California.  All of this new development depends upon the same number of roads/freeways, water sources, etc. that previously existed (with a much smaller population). And, it’s not necessarily making everyone wealthier or better-off (again, refer to James R.’s comments).

    In the meantime, open your eyes, if you think that California is not still “trying” to develop its way out of challenges. (Even in Davis.)


  7. Roberta Millstein

    James R wrote:

    With MRIC it seems to be argued (and I don’t mean to trivialize any of the recent comments) that there are procedural hurdles.

    Those are just the most recent discussions, because the most recent question was  a procedural one.  If the developer should actually put a project on a table, trust me, you will see a more substantive discussion of pros and cons.  We’ve had them before, back when there was a proposal on the table.  But personally, I don’t feel like discussing pros and cons until there is a proposal in hand.

  8. John Hobbs

    “That’s correct – a “non-answer”, for a “non-proposal”. 

    From a non-person. What is Ron’s real name?(If he exists, at all.) Why doe the Vanguard continue its duplicitous registration, when anonymous trolls are allowed to post and given privileges not afforded others?

    Oh sorry, you don’t discuss registration practices. Mea culpa.

      1. Howard P

        That snotty comment makes it tough for those who only have the choice to post semi-anonymously, [whose identity is known to several of those who have always posted under their full names] or not post at all… due to employment, and not wanting to blur those lines.

        I sense a ‘crackdown’ in near future, and if/when it comes may need to bid all adieu.

  9. John Hobbs

    “Coming from a guy who posted under an alias for years.”

    I posted under my stage name, which is a unique identifier. Try to find a picture of me under my “real name.”

    1. David Greenwald

      Why do you persist in violating our rules by continually asking? We have a system and rules, the person followed the rules that we set up. You’re not entitled to answers beyond that. Enough.

  10. Ron

    Interesting article (link below), regarding the (state-wide) challenges for road maintenance.

    From article:

    “And statewide? It’s a $500 billion problem. Easily.”

    Along with the vast sums required for future unfunded retirement benefits (also statewide), that, my friends, is one heck of a lot of “innovation centers”.

    Hmm.  The comments regarding “imaginary” commenters has me wondering how the “imaginary” innovation center is working out in “Welcoming Woodland”, so far (and which caused so much “hand-wringing”).  (You know, the one we want to duplicate in Davis.) (In all seriousness, I realize that it might take awhile, assuming it’s actually viable in Woodland.)

    O.K. – I’ll try to shut up, for awhile.  🙂

  11. Matt Palm

    Hard for me personally to take a stand on this one… The city really needs the revenue.  On the other had, VMT, VMT, VMT, and how many of these folks will bid up home prices in Davis?  I mean if this was near the train station it would be fantastic. It’s not.

    Is there a reason no infill innovation sites were selected?  Like one they could run a quick shuttle to from Amtrak?

    1. Howard P

      Might have to do with lack of interest from those who owned/had options on, vacant land in the vicinity.  MRIC is not that far a shuttle distance to the Amtrak station… nor was the NW quadrant site… neither were “infill”.  And there is almost no vacant land anywhere near the Amtrak site even close to being large enough to support a viable “innovation” site.

    2. David Greenwald

      No infill sites have enough space. The closest was Nishi (not exactly infill). There are two innovation type centers that are smaller – Area 52 and URP – but neither are large enough for housing a medium size high tech company.

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