Analysis: Which Candidates Are Most Realistically Supportive of New Housing?

A reader wrote in and asked an interesting question – which candidates are realistically most supportive of new housing?  They are looking for “realistic support of real housing” not “those who might support theoretically perfect housing projects that would never happen.”

In order to break that down we have four key criteria: (1) Nishi; (2) West Davis Active Adult Community; (3) General Housing; and (4) Measure R.

Ezra Beeman: (1) Opposes Nishi; (2) “No, as currently proposed. This project is evolving and it should be part of a comprehensive general plan update to see if the community supports the project”; (3) From what we can tell he has opposed most major projects; and (4) “I support Measure R without reservation.”

Mary Jo Bryan: (1) Supports Nishi; (2) “Yes, the development provides housing to meet an internal need of housing in the city”; (3) Has favored most projects except for Sterling; and (4) Has opposed Measure R in the past and may be willing to change it in the future.  “For me the General Plan Update and the 2020 voter decision about Measure R share similar timelines, and also should share a similar future.  They both need broad citizen input through public meetings and workshops.”

Dan Carson: (1) Supports Nishi “because it would provide housing for 2,000 residents in a location next to campus and near downtown that would not create traffic or other problems for our existing city residents”; (2) Has not taken a position on WDAAC, but did say: “I am supportive of the concept behind this project because of the shortage of housing for our aging population”; (3) He has supported most if not all major projects; and (4) Supports Measure R.

Linda Deos: (1) Supports Nishi “because of its close proximity to UCD, the type of housing proposed (including the affordable component), the mitigation being done to address the air quality issues, and the traffic flow through campus”; (2) “I support developing the site proposed for the WDAAC if there are more of the smaller homes built or other entry-level type housing with only single car garages”; (3) Told me that she determined her support for housing project by project; and (4)  “I support renewal of Measure J/R in 2020.”  However, she did tell the Vanguard that if Nishi and WDAAC failed, we would have to reevaluate things.

Eric Gudz: (1) Strong supporter of Nishi; (2) Inclined to support; (3) Has generally favored new housing and has made it a centerpiece in his campaign; and (4) He is favor of renewal, but says, “We should consider some adjustments that give project proponents a better idea of what kind of development we want on our periphery – like setting certain standards for projects to qualify for a Measure R/J vote.”

Larry Guenther: (1) Opposes Nishi, arguing it needs to be more dense and provide more housing; (2) Has the same view of WDAAC; (3) Was a strong opponent of Trackside; and (4) Strongly in favor of Measure R in its current form.

Gloria Partida: (1) Supports Nishi; (2) Unsure; (3) Has generally supported housing projects and has expressed concerns that current housing policies have changed the community and made it difficult to afford to live in Davis; and (4) Has consistently stated that she supports Measure R but “I do believe (it) needs to be modified.”

Luis Rios: (1) Supports Nishi; (2) Supports WDAAC; (3) In general supports housing for students, seniors and retirees in the appropriate locations; and (4) Has supported Measure R.

Mark West: (1) Supports Nishi; (2) Does not support WDAAC “as I don’t support age restricted housing or the addition of a new subdivision of detached single family homes on the periphery”; (3) Overall a strong supporter of housing and believes we need more of it; and (4) Only overt opposition to Measure: “I believe Measure R is a major impediment to meeting our housing and fiscal challenges. It has resulted in leapfrog developments south of Woodland and on campus, thereby failing to protect farmland as promised, and has been used to block all housing and commercial development on the periphery, leading to our housing shortage and severely limiting economic development. I cannot support the continuation of a policy that significantly harms the majority of residents in town, and believe that Measure R should be repealed.”

Overall analysis

It is hard to ferret out answers for nine candidates.  However, we can probably establish the most pro-housing candidate and the two least pro-housing candidates.  Mark West is clearly the strongest advocate for housing.  He is the only candidate who is outright opposed to Measure R and believes it harms the community.

On the other end, only two candidates oppose the current Nishi project – Larry Guenther and Ezra Beeman.  I would probably say that Mr. Guenther is a bit more pro-housing than Mr. Beeman.  Mr. Guenther seems inclined to support a more dense Nishi, while it’s not clear that Mr. Beeman would.  Clearly, the slow growth community is backing those two candidates.

That leaves six in the middle.

Eric Gudz has been a very strong supporter of Nishi and the need for more housing.  He sees students and workers being priced out of Davis.

Mary Jo Bryan was a strong opponent of Sterling, but has been a longtime supporter of more housing in Davis.

Gloria Partida has been a strong supporter of housing overall and is inclined to look at ways to change Measure R.

Dan Carson is a bit more cautious – he has set up criteria for supporting projects including fiscal impacts, has not taken a position on WDAAC, and has unequivocally stated he supports Measure R.

Linda Deos is generally regarded as more moderate – there have been projects she has opposed.  She has kind of waffled a bit on Measure R – currently she supports it but would reevaluate it if the current projects fail.

I would probably rank the next five in that order.  Luis Rios is harder to characterize and we don’t believe he has much of a chance to win, although he does claim to support the projects and Measure R.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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. Todd Edelman

    I suggest everyone reading does a Candidate Me:

    Todd Edelman: (1) I-80 is our bête noire du déni. If every car travelling east on I-80 through Davis on weekdays was charged $2, it would gross $60 million annually. This is roughly 120 times more than what SB1 will contribute, and 15 times more than the combined parks and roads parcel taxes. With this income we could fund amazing projects that would significantly reduce harm of I-80. Proximity to campus is amazing and will lower VMT overall, though will add vehicles on weekends. I don’t think that potential tenants realize that buildings will sealed with the intention of meeting air hygiene requirements, and that the technology currently does not exist to meet these requirements; (2) No. WDAAC is to sustainable development what Jeff Reisig is to ethics. (3) I support 4 to 7-story infill projects, with required-for-construction removal of roads – or excessive street width – instead of trees, and in which it is not permitted to build car parking in the same footprint where apartments for humans could be built instead. City should consider suing UC Davis if necessary to stop increasing enrollment until vacancy rate in town is 5%. There should also be housing built over most of the below-grade section of 113. (4) Measure R needs an educational component. The citizens of Davis are not yet on board with the advantages of building up instead of out.

  2. Matt Williams

    David Greenwald completely missed the boat on this quote “Mary Jo Bryan was a strong opponent of Sterling, but has been a longtime supporter of more housing in Davis.”  David, you need to get the wax out of your ears and truly listen to what Mary Jo has consistently been saying for years.

    Mary Jo, who has supported social services organizations all her adult life … so much so that for eight years of her life she was a practicing nun personally delivering social services full-time … supported the continuing usage of the Families First facilities on the site to deliver social services to the Davis and Yolo County community.  DavisWiki lists over 250 Non-Profit Organizations.  Mary Jo strongly felt that some of those Non-Profit Organizations could have better served the community if they had the “roof over their head” stability that the existing Families First site facilities could provide.

      1. Matt Williams

        Point out in full disclosure, Matt has endorsed none of the nine Council candidates, and is only Mary Jo’s Treasurer, filing her FPPC reports.  Mary Jo’s advisors are Betsy Marchand and Diane Sommers and Dorothy Place.

        Point of full disclosure, Matt has offered to be an objective source of information of fiscal issues to all the campaigns.  Ezra Beeman and Larry Guenther and Gloria Partida and Linda Deos and Mary Jo Bryan and Eric Gudz have all taken advantage of that offer. Mark West and Dan Carson and Luis Rios have not.

        For the record, I believe six of the nine candidates have shown me the potential to be good for the City. Three of the candidates have not done so to date.

      2. Howard P

        A) Matt speaks truth on this.

        B) I know, since Matt has steered three of the candidates my way, and I have offered each knowlegable background, and made clear that I would candidly do so, within the areas of my expertise, without implying any “support”… a neutral resource, nothing more, nothing less.

        C) Have met two other candidates, as they canvassed my neighborhood… same offer, after a candid discussion… 5-10 minutes, each, at least

        Matt and I have strong disagreements on many topics… minor disagreements on many more… we get along great, as neither cares to “sway” the other… but we trust each other to be open and honest.  That’s enough to build a friendship on. We speak our piece, listen, and then come to our own conclusions.

        Full disclosure… pointed out.

        1. David Greenwald

          Full disclosure I haven’t supported anyone this election cycle in the city council election. I finally in the last week decided who I’m going to vote for. I don’t disclose that.

        2. Howard P

          Full disclosure… you ignored “advise”… as to “support”, I asked, you answered… fair enough… I do not doubt you… yet you have not retracted,

          Matt is a supporter and advisor of Mary Jo.

          Despite Matt’s statement, which is true, based on my knowledge of/conversations with Matt.

          Matt was straight-forward… dealt with “support”and “advise” aspects… you ‘deflected’. A “half-response”, as it were…

          As to who we choose/have chosen to vote for, I agree… like a confessional, what goes into the ballot box, stays in the ballot box… unless one freely chooses “to share”…


        3. Matt Williams

          Interesting observation in your last paragraph Howard.  In my experience two years ago during my campaign for City Council, I made that very point regarding my position on Nishi.  I said that my individual Yes/No vote fit into the “what goes into the ballot box, stays in the ballot box” category.  That was roundly rejected by almost everyone as unacceptable.

          I argued that as a candidate what really mattered was how I would have voted on any decision to put Nishi on the ballot … because in such a decision I would be “representing” the public within the provisions of a representative democracy.  That to me was what was most meaningful to voters.  I saw my “one vote” as no more meaningful than any other voter’s “one vote.”

        4. Howard P

          Matt, et al.

          I said that my individual Yes/No vote fit into the “what goes into the ballot box, stays in the ballot box” category.  That was roundly rejected by almost everyone as unacceptable.

          I do not doubt that the bolded comment has as many kernels of truth as a jar of Orville Reddenbacher (I love popcorn!).  More is the pity…

          Funny how many of those who argue for “the people’s voice”, often want to squelch, remonstrate, etc. those voices that disagree with their views… the seeds of the end of a democratic/republic system… seeds of pernicious/pervasive weeds… reminds me… got to get another bottle of “Round-Up”.

          We all need (if we vote) to take responsibility for our vote… particularly when the result goes the way we wish.

          However anyone is inclined, issues or candidates, if eligible, please vote… or shut the hell up!

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