Sierra Club Yolano Group 2018 Council Candidates Part 6 – Other Environmental Issues and Financial Support

By Alan Pryor

The Sierra Club Yolano Group recently provided a questionnaire for Davis City Council candidates in which we asked for written responses on a wide range of environmentally-related issues of importance to our local electorate and our members in the following general categories:

An introductory article in the Davis Vanguard  explaining the process and listing all of the questions together can be found at http://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/04/sierra-club-yolano-group-2018-questionnaire-davis-city-council-candidates/.

Because of the extraordinarily large number of candidates vying for the 2 available seats and the amount of space it would require to report all of the responses in a single article, we are reporting the answers in one or two general categories per day. This is the 6th and last in this series and will have questions and answers on Other Environmental Issues and Financial Support.

This article asks questions about the following issues in order:

  • Other Environmental Concerns
  • Candidates’ Financial Contributors

Previous Vanguard articles with questions and candidate answers in other general categories can be accessed by clicking on the link following the category in the list above.

This candidate responses are in the same order for each question to facilitate review. The order in the first article on Land Use and Housing Development was originally arranged alphabetically by last name. The first two names were subsequently lowered to the last two slots in subsequent articles which practice continued throughout the series.

Sierra Club policy only allows endorsements of candidates up to the number of seats being contested – or two in the case of the current Davis City Council race. Given the obviously strong environmental credentials of most of the candidates, and in all fairness, we are unable to limit our support to only two candidates from this very qualified field in this election. Thus, the Sierra Club Yolano Group must take “No Position” in this race. That said, there are some notable differences between the candidates in general and on specific issues so we provide Davis voters and our members with the questions and the candidates’ responses for their consideration.


Issue – Other Environmental Related Issues #1

Question

Davis will face threats to infrastructure, operations, and quality of life as climate change impacts become more apparent including extreme heat events and drought, or excessive precipitation.

What would be your strategy for making Davis more resilient in the face of coming issues related to climate change?

Answers

Mark West –

There is nothing the City can do to significantly impact climate change. Therefore, the best way to make Davis more resilient to the coming challenges is to address our serious fiscal challenge. We will not be able to respond to the threats to our infrastructure unless we become a more fiscally sustainable City. Our approach should include serious City cost-containment to reduce future expenses, and increase sustainable revenues through economic development

Ezra Beeman –

Making Davis a world leader in sustainable planning, housing, energy, waste, water, etc. is my top priority, and would make it a more resilient community.

I would work to make Davis 150% renewable energy, 100% locally produce, again making it more resilient. I also have experience in developing energy efficiency and demand management strategies and programs, to minimize our energy requirements.

I have the knowledge and experience to guide Davis into being able to operating as a microgrid, which along with world class water conservation, will make us among the most resilient communities in California.

Mary Jo Bryan –

Increasing the amount of money and resources that the City devotes to infrastructure, operations, and quality of life, can only happen if the City increases its revenues.  Revenue can be increased by raising taxes, but every dollar that a citizen pays in taxes is a dollar that can’t be used to purchase goods and services from the businesses in our local economy. And raising taxes makes Davis, which is already an expensive place to live, even more expensive.  So, raising taxes should be used very carefully and sparingly.

To improve our city revenue we need to forge a stronger and permanent partnership with the university, built on trust and transparency. The employers who will be attracted to Davis are those that identify with the core research and development strengths of UCD, one of which is climate change science.  Recruitment of those employers will only succeed if we stop fighting with UC Davis and forge a better partnership with them.  The amount of intellectual capital that is created each year at UC Davis is immense, but because the City and the University have a relationship built on mutual distrust, none of that intellectual capital stays in Davis.  It goes to other communities.  Intellectual capital creates jobs.  Jobs create revenue.

Daniel Carson –

I support the two parcel tax measures on the June ballot for parks and streets and roads. These will make us more financially resilient and able to deal with the very real challenges to our infrastructure posed by climate change.

However, these two ballot measures address only $3 million of a projected $8 million funding gap faced by the city.  As a 17-year veteran of the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, who has served as a volunteer for four years (and is now chair) of the Finance and Budget Commission, I will pursue a balanced and comprehensive plan with additional steps, like cost containment and economic development, to develop a comprehensive and balanced solution to our fiscal challenges.

But there are also important policy steps that we must consider to increase our resilience to climate change.  The forthcoming work on a scheduled update to the city’s General Plan offers one specific opportunity to further address strategies for adaptation to climate change as well as strategies to mitigate GHG emissions that can harm our planet.

Climate change concerns have implications for land-use, transportation, solid waste disposal and recycling, water, and energy policies that the City Council deals with on a weekly basis.  Climate change concerns mean we must maintain a conservation ethic in water use policies in wet or dry years, continue the city’s historic commitment to preserving trees and encouraging tree-planting for the shade they provide to protect against extreme heat, and maintain our streets and bike paths to prevent excessive damage from heavy rains.

I have the broad policy background from a 40-year career as a journalist and public servant to understand these challenges and to pursue effective and practical solutions to them.

Linda Deos –

1) Require that all new housing developments be microgrid ready.

2) Prohibit gas appliances and heating for all new developments

3) Require all new developments should be net-zero carbon

4) Learn from UCD’s experience in planning and implementing its West Village Energy Initiative

5) Build underground cisterns  to collect water run-off

Eric Gudz –

Being that education is one of our strengths in Davis, I would start there for sure. We need to ensure that every citizen understands the realities of climate change, our role in its process, and what we can do as active and engaged citizens to prepare for it. I would also greatly encourage that we work in climate change readiness assessments into our general plan update that establish key metrics that we can use to determine the state of readiness our city from the neighborhood level all the way up to a city-wide assessment.

Larry Guenther –

Improving tree canopy by planting more large, native, long-lived species.

  • Reducing impervious-paved surface.
  • Incorporating micro-grids to make our energy infrastructure more efficient and resilient.
  • Improve recharge of aquifers and reduce reliance on groundwater (some of which has been accomplished by the recent Woodland/Davis surface water project)

Gloria Partida –

I would look into recycling water use and maintaining our tree canopy for shade. I would also make sure our sewage system can manage runoff and re-capture.

Luis Rios –

I support Davis planting more trees, plants and vegetation throughout the City to ensure a cleaner and safer environment. I support recycling programs and working with the school district to ensure students are also committed to preserving the quality of life in the Davis community. We need to more united and stronger in the belief that we can do so much more on climate change, at the local level. The General Plan needs to be more clearer on this topic. We cannot plan for the future without regard to the environment and the green-based strategies to ensure our infrastructure, operations and quality of life are preserved.


Issue – Other Environmental Related Issues #2

Question

What are other environmental or climate change-related issues facing Davis and how would you propose the City address these issues?

Answers

Mark West –

See above

Ezra Beeman –

See above

Mary Jo Bryan –

Davis created a robust Climate Action Plan to address climate change-related issues, but it is only advisory. It lacks “teeth.”

We are currently in the process of updating our General Plan because our society and community are very different now than they were in 2000-2001.   This General Plan Update is an excellent opportunity to include an updated Climate Action Plan as an integral part of the city’s General Plan.  That will give the Climate Action Plan greater force of law.

Daniel Carson –

Three important regional initiatives have huge environmental implications.

I will work hard in the wake of the launch this June of the Valley Clean Energy Alliance (VCEA) to ensure that our move to clean energy is successful and affordable for our citizens as well as for the other communities in the region who have joined in this effort.  I will work to defend VCEA from state legislative or regulatory actions that periodically threaten to undermine our move toward electrical energy independence. VCEA is a valuable enterprise unto itself, but in the future could be a tool we could use to spur local clean energy projects that could be good for addressing climate change and as well as good for our local economy.

I will also pay close attention as a council member to ensuring the success of two other important regional efforts. The first relates to the protections of wildlife habitat via the Yolo Habitat Conservancy (YHC) and the other pertains to regulation of the use of groundwater via the Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency (YSGA).

YHC is finally nearing completion of the drafting of a regional wildlife habitat conservation plan.  The YHC plan offers to provide better protection for 12 endangered species based on scientific criteria while streamlining regulatory procedures.

Poor management of groundwater resources in the Central Valley from over-pumping of aquifers has led to economic disruption and damage to infrastructure from ground subsidence.  Coordination among local water agencies and better management of our aquifers is needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of both agricultural, environmental, and municipal water supplies.  The YSGA was created to ensure compliance with state laws to address these problems.

The city of Davis is an official partner in all three of these efforts, and has a voice in ensuring our environmental values are reflected in their future decisions.

Linda Deos –

As discussed previously, we need to work toward making Davis more resilient.

Eric Gudz –

Preserving open spaces and reexamining our policies around conservation easements; banning the use of plastic straws and all forms of disposable plastic.

Larry Guenther –

It seems to me that the biggest environmental issue facing Davis and California as a whole is water.  We have planned for an amount of available water that we do not and will not have.  We need to aggressively reduce our water usage.

Gloria Partida –

I would look at what we are doing for our farmworkers with regard to heat protection and health monitoring with regard to pesticides.

Luis Rios –

As the City plans for the future, especially its downtown area, we need to plan smart with consideration on walkable areas, public spaces, green spaces, energy-efficient modes of transportation and sustainable energy-based businesses.


Issue – Your Financial Contributors

Question

How much money have you collected overall to date and how much and from which unions, developer or real estate interests, or other entities doing business with the City of Davis?

Answers

Mark West –

My vote is not for sale, nor am I a windsock responding to the amount or direction of hot air in the room. I will make decisions that I believe are in the best interests of the city following evaluation of all the available data and input, using my values as a guide. Consequently, I do not care where my support comes from, and will accept financial support from anyone who offers.

Ezra Beeman –

Government is supposed to serve the interests of the community. A conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict arises when taking money from groups or individuals with desires that are contrary to the interests of the community. Hence, I am taking no such contributions whether from city employees or associations, developers, or those with city contracts.

Mary Jo Bryan –

Approximately $7000.00

I have received no money from unions and I have received two developer contributions of $150.00, specifically from Dave and Jason Taormino and John Whitcombe.

Daniel Carson –

I collected about $13,000 for my campaign effort as of the end of the most recent reporting period, Dec. 31.  Less than 2 percent of that amount came from developers. The whole point of the city’s strict $150 per person campaign donation limit, of course, is to avoid any party from having undue influence.  I have assembled a broad coalition in support of my candidacy that includes many current and former elected and appointed officeholders; leaders of local business and environmental organizations and community activists; and various members of city commissions.  An updated list of my endorsers can be found on my website, www.carson4council.com.  I am honored to have the trust and respect from many of the people in the City of Davis and from around the region, many of whom I’ve worked over the years.

Linda Deos –

I have collected $13,000. I have not taken any money from developers, unions, or other entities doing business with the City of Davis. I’ve received one contribution from a real estate broker.

Eric Gudz –

We have raised approximately $6,000 for this race, and we expected to need at least $15,000 to win the race. We have only received a few personal donations from folks who work in the development industry (approx. $500 to date), and we have very minimal donations from non-personal entities. We will be seeking endorsements from a few labor communities and expect some contributions from them over the next 6 weeks.

Larry Guenther –

As of 31 March, 2018 my campaign has collected $8,560.

$5,560 in contributions.

$1,500 in a personal loan from me.

$1,500 in a personal loan from my treasurer.

I am not accepting any contributions from people doing business with the City Council; City employees, employee unions, developers, business applicants, etc.

I am also not accepting money from PAC’s.

Gloria Partida –

I have collected $7,000 overall. I have collected 200 from developers.

Luis Rios –

I do not believe in collecting donations from developer or elected politicians to run for city council. I am running a grass-roots campaign and I will be on the June 5th ballot. I brand myself as the education candidate with strong Davis ties, and a strong record in state government work.


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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