City Council Hears Complaints about Pacifico from Neighbors

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During public comment, a number of community members, mostly direct neighbors, came forward to complain about the conditions at the Pacifico housing project in south Davis.

The site was originally developed as cooperative student housing.  The city is currently in the process of transferring ownership of the Pacifico affordable housing complex to Yolo County Housing. “The site has undergone preliminary rehabilitation planning and design work to better enable the property to effectively support housing goals  related to preserving much-needed lower income units within the City,” city documents explain.

Matthew Lang, a resident of Davis representing Oakshade Commons, said, “Right now in my neighborhood we are being critically impacted by the Pacifico Co-op.  There has been a complete lack of transparency about plans that are being made to redevelop that housing facility into a mental health treatment facility.”

He called the city of Davis “a negligent landlord.”  He said, “I experience both public and private nuisance issues.”  Mr. Lang explained, “I have a loss of use of my property.  I cannot use my backyard, for instance, because there is regularly marijuana smoke blown over my fence in large quantities.  There’s constant vulgarities thrown back and forth – I cannot use my backyard.”

He complained about shopping carts being strewn around his neighborhood, arguing that this constitutes a public nuisance.

Another neighbor, Eric Johnson, a resident of Oakshade Commons, noted that while it still shown as student housing, “in its current use it is not student housing… This is an asset that is owned by the city,  in my opinion that means that the city residents deserve to have it used in its highest and best use.

“That means taking into consideration the needs of the city over all,” Mr. Johnson stated.  “But also the needs of the community members that border this project.

“Currently there are many issues that are disruptive to our family neighbor styles,” he said.

He described looking at the property on his bike and being verbally accosted by a man sitting on a park bench with several 40-ounce bottles of beer.  “I moved on,” he said.  “But that’s what we’re dealing with every day.”

Britt Ferguson asked the council to “look seriously at what (is) the best use of the space.”  He said that the residents were not aware that the city had owned the property and turned it over to the housing authority.

He said, “It’s sad that we learned that now…  This is a classic case of how public decisions should not be made.”

He noted that in the case of cannabis dispensaries there was a long public process that examined impacts and weighed risks.  “None of that was done in our case,” he said.  “We were not notified.  There was no outreach to the community.  It has a really significant impact on us and our families.”

Tracey DeWit also lives in the neighborhood.  “I have completely lost trust in the Yolo County Housing people,” she said.  “Because of their lack of transparency and the things that my family have endured over the years, I just don’t believe anything that they say.

“I just don’t feel comfortable with this company that you hired to manage this property,” she said.  “They have done a poor job with transparency.  They have done a poor job with managing.”

She described herself as a stay-at-home mom, “At times I’m afraid to leave my house because of the arguing that (occurs)…”  She described a time when a naked woman went into her yard, “completely high on drugs,” and jumped on her trampoline.  “My kids never jumped on that trampoline again.”

She said, “Most recently, a crazed man chased my daughter’s friend down.  He couldn’t leave the house for an hour.  I have no trust in Yolo Mutual Housing.”  (Editor’s note:  The speaker incorrectly refers to Yolo County Mutual Housing which no longer exists and was never involved, this property was transferred to the Yolo County Housing Authority by the city of Davis).

Jared Shaw, another resident of Oakshade and an employee at UC Davis, said, “I have definitely seen the changes over the years.”  He noted it appears that drugs and alcohol are not allowed on the property “because there’s this line of people who sit on the bike path immediately off the property – so that everyone has to pass by them.”

He described this as “day and night” – both early in the morning when he heads in to teach and in the evening when he comes home after a long day.

He said that he is undergoing a rapid education process about the property, noting that if he goes to the Davis Wiki, he sees a charming four buildings along the bike path.  However, he suggested that the page is out of date and doesn’t reflect current uses.

Jaqueline Conklin, also a resident of Oakshade Commons, stated, “I have watched in 14 years, how things have changed.”

She spoke to the safety of the children and students, “What I have noticed as Pacifico has been taken over by the housing authority (is) that we have an increase of people who are walking with shopping carts, who don’t provide an environment of safety, they don’t only go to and from Pacifico from Safeway but they also come to the park (Walnut Park).”

Walnut Park is the home to a number of pre-schoolers and other small children in close proximity.

She said, “That is not a healthy environment” for the small children “if you have people come over who have substance abuse problems.”  She noted a concern of people with mental health issues being mixed with people with substance abuse problems.  “When you put those together it is very dangerous,” she said.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

(Editor’s note: This article incorrectly referred to the Pacifico complex with its original name, Pacifico Student Cooperative Housing. Pacifico is not a cooperative, and we apologize for any confusion or incorrect association with local housing cooperatives.)


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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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23 thoughts on “City Council Hears Complaints about Pacifico from Neighbors”

    1. Jim Hoch

      With Housing First they would be able to drink and use in the apartments so no need to hang on the bicycle path

      “Few to no programmatic prerequisites to permanent housing entry – People experiencing homelessness are offered permanent housing with no programmatic preconditions such as demonstration of sobriety, completion of alcohol or drug treatment, or agreeing to comply with a treatment regimen upon entry into the program.”

      1. Jim Hoch

        More

         

        “–Housing First supportive housing programs should incorporate practices and policies that prevent lease violations and evictions among tenants. For instance, program policies consistent with a Housing First approach do not consider alcohol or drug use in and of itself to be lease violations

  1. Keith O

    Those poor neighbors having to put up with this.  And to think there was talk of a parcel tax which might have led to several halfway houses being located in different neighborhoods in town.

  2. Ken A

    I’m wondering if David saw the post from Ben Pearl yesterday where he wrote:

    “Ken, et al –  I have no argument with the underlying concerns you’re sharing here, but want to point out that Pacifico is not a cooperative.”

    For the last ten years I make sure my kids are moving at full speed when we pass behind Pacifico since there are always quite a few scary looking guys behind the two occupied buildings.

    We need some place to try and get the homeless off drugs and back to a normal life but just letting them do drugs next to a city bike path where they yell things I can’t repete to young girls on bikes does not seem to be working well.

    If the city got $500/month for each of the 112 beds at the property that would be $672K/year more than enough to cover the cost of managing the place AND funding programs that would actually help people with drug problems not just give them a place to live and do meth (and kill each other):

    https://fox40.com/2017/03/05/woman-found-dead-in-her-room-at-davis-housing-co-op/

      1. Alan Miller

        You could start by changing the name in the article first paragraph from “Pacifico Student Cooperative Housing”, a very dated reference, to its current name.

        The coops in town are awesome, healthy living spaces that provide low-cost community living for many people, both on and off campus.

        Associating cooperatives with this dumpster fire by using an outdated name that associates the complex with a long-outdated use does a terrible disservice to the strong cooperative community in Davis.

        1. Ken A

          The first line of this article says:

          “During public comment, a number of community members, mostly direct neighbors, came forward to complain about the conditions at Pacifico Student Cooperative Housing.”

          You could change this line to make it clear that at one time this was a co-op, but now it is a city owned dump where people scarrier looking than most actual homeless people hang out and drink and take drugs…

    1. Highbeam

      Ken and Alan, I have replied to you and Ben yesterday, and have just spoken with Ben  Correction has been made and editor’s note added to this article, and I will do the same for yesterday’s article. This was my error, in assuming that “Pacifico” in south Davis was called Pacifico Student Cooperative Housing, as it is still identified online. My apologies to everyone.

      cathy a

      1. David Greenwald

        I spent some time trying to get the latest information on Pacifico, and found it strangely lacking.  The complaints about the lack of transparency seem well founded based on this.

        1. Ken A

          David:

          A couple years ago mayor Robb had a link to a detailed city document about the plans to change the name to Symphony and spend a lot of money to convert many (might have even been all) the units from single rooms to more traditional apartments.  A quick search of the Vanguard archive didn’t find it, but maybe you can find it or ask someone at the city for the link to the .pdf to the plan to fix the place up.  It is painful to think how many MILLIONS in rent the city has lost by just letting this place sit over half empty for over a decade…

        2. Alan Miller

          plans to change the name to Symphony

          Wow, can you imagine the ridicule if it had got the name changed and was operating as it is and was known as The Davis Symphony Orchestra?  What would they play, a punk version of Innagadadavida with a large band on trash instruments?

          how many MILLIONS in rent the city has lost

          Not to mention how many people had to live in Dixon, Winters, West Sac and Woodland and commute rather than live in Davis.

  3. Alan Miller

    Pacificodumpsterfire (as accurate a name as this article gave it) is an example of housing first, as accurately stated by JH.  Allowing people subsidized housing with no restriction is what is called in 12-step programs “enabling”.  Except in this case the enabler is the government.  Although well meaning (like a mother giving money to her heroin-addicted son so he can get on his feet), this kind of “government love” kills people, and creates situations such as we are now seeing at Pacificodumpsterfire.  And for you extreme homeless advocates (such as our former mayor) shouting “where are they supposed to live???!!!” and poking the neighbors in the chest, I say:  “Go to an Alanon Meeting, a-hole, and send the government program with you”.

    1. Ken A

      More great advice from Alan.  It is sad that many families and people in government choose to do what is “easy” (giving money so people with problems so they won’t bother you knowing that they are slowly killing themselves and often causing problems for other people)…

      1. Jim Hoch

        Eric in a previous thread said that government should just give money to people with the “greatest need” rather than considering whether it did anyone any good.

    2. Don Shor

      Pacificodumpsterfire (as accurate a name as this article gave it) is an example of housing first, as accurately stated by JH. Allowing people subsidized housing with no restriction is what is called in 12-step programs “enabling”. Except in this case the enabler is the government. Although well meaning (like a mother giving money to her heroin-addicted son so he can get on his feet), this kind of “government love” kills people, and creates situations such as we are now seeing at Pacificodumpsterfire. And for you extreme homeless advocates (such as our former mayor) shouting “where are they supposed to live???!!!” and poking the neighbors in the chest, I say: “Go to an Alanon Meeting, a-hole, and send the government program with you”.

      12-step programs have very low efficacy. Relapse is very common. To mandate abstinence as a condition of residency simply creates a revolving door back into homelessness. Programs like Housing First address homelessness. Other programs, including 12-step for those for whom it might be appropriate, exist to address substance abuse. You won’t get people to those other programs if you insist on complete abstinence as a condition of aid.

    3. Jim Hoch

      “You won’t get people to those other programs if you insist on complete abstinence as a condition of aid.”

      So give them a place to smoke meth until the are “ready”? Might appear to be a good idea if you live in the boondocks. However the neighbors have a different perspective.

      And of course all the other people that would like to live here cannot because we believe in “Losers First”. I feel the enrichment of our community every time I ride my bike by.

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