Last Wednesday, over 100 people, including at least 67 students, showed up to the Vanguard Student Housing Townhall Meeting. In addition to our panel, we invited all nine candidates to participate – six of whom showed up.
After the event, we asked the six candidates for their reaction about what they learned from the event.
We had three of them send responses.
Dan Carson told the Vanguard: “The testimony by UC Davis students at the Vanguard forum on Wednesday night presented stark evidence of the acute shortage of affordable housing, such as the student I observed some months ago living in his car on a street just a block from my home.
“At that forum, I called for the City of Davis and UC Davis to work together to address the problem in a collaborative way to (a) provides the housing that students need on-campus and off-campus (such as by approving the Nishi apartment project now before the voters as Measure J) while (b) securing help from UC Davis to our city to deal with the significant impacts of campus growth, such as traffic congestion on our streets and roads, that would likely result from the new Long Range Development Plan proposed by the campus. We can and must work together to help resolve these issues.”
Gloria Partida stated: “The Student housing forum illuminated why housing is a social justice issue. In particular I was struck by the comments made by the young mother living in Solano Park. When I came to Davis as a single mother I also lived in Solano Park. It was the happiest time of our lives and proof that square footage does not make a home.
“Her comments regarding needs hit the crux of the matter regarding discussions around serving under-served communities, in this case the under-housed. Too often agencies and communities serve others with the attitude of being the ultimate word on any particular issue. It is a privileged view to assert that communities that need help don’t know what is good for them.
“It is true we don’t have to settle for subpar developments. We define our community as being thoughtful, socially conscious and having a high quality of life. However there is a point when these platitudes are truly just platitudes. If we do not listen to what the most vulnerable in our community need we will begin to move away from the very ideals we value.”
Ms. Partida added, “I am grateful to the Vanguard for allowing these voices to be heard.”
Larry Guenther stated, “I know the housing situation is bad – that was not news. Nor were the stories from students. While the particular stories I heard were terrible, I have heard similar stories from students, seniors, and young families for years. This strengthens my view about the true need we have for housing: i.e. that we need housing people can afford.
“One of my big issues with the ‘rent-by-the-bed’ format is that it is very inefficient with regard to use of available space and its increased expense of building costs. Where we get 4 bedrooms, each with its own bath, we could get 5 bedrooms with 2 baths. Additionally, bathrooms are expensive to build relative to a bedroom. A 5’x10′ bathroom costs more to build than a 12’x12′ bedroom. Thus we are getting ‘expensive-by-design’ units instead of ‘affordable-by-design’ units.
“I understand that housing in new construction will always be more expensive than existing housing, but we need to do a better job of making new housing as affordable as possible. When I was a graduate student, people could have built all the $1,000/month bedrooms they wanted – it wouldn’t have helped my situation at all.”
These answers give the community a flavor for a few of the candidates and their reaction to the Vanguard forum. We thank the candidates for participating.