Guest Commentary: Housing Shortage – Yes on L Offers Housing Choices

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by  David Taormino

Davis is one of only a few cities in California that has a self-inflicted shortage of homes and apartments.  A massive housing shortage exists in the Bay Area because of the lack of land and tremendous job growth.  The same problem occurs in Southern California.

Davis needs more housing of several types: for seniors, locally based employees and more student complexes on campus.  At least student apartments have made progress, but none for seniors and others.

The Cannery, has been criticized heavily because 75% of buyers are from out of town or out of the U.S.  The New Home Company has advertised state-wide to draw out of area buyers to their development.  That’s why we created the Davis Based Buyers’ Proposal.

The expensive homes, narrow streets, tall and crowded looking urban design are generally unappealing to Davis residents.  Yet, the No on L leaders think it’s a terrific design: the model for future Davis neighborhoods.  I recommend readers “drive” to the Cannery and stand in front of the four-story “lock and leave” condominiums being advertised in Sacramento and San Francisco and imagine the new Davis housing model and your place in it.

By my count, for over 18 years the people in the No on L group have led campaigns to veto 1,800 homes and 2,600 student apartments.  How is it possible that in one of the most educated and relatively wealthy cities in the U.S., with a renowned University that only one student apartment complex has been acceptable to them in 18 years?   Not one single-family home, on any size lot is suitable.  Does that make sense to you?

And now, even housing for Davis seniors can’t escape their wrath.  For the last two months the extreme side of the No leadership has attempted to eviscerate every aspect of West Davis Active Adult Community.  The good news: several past members of the No group objectively evaluated the neighborhood and support yes.

According to the No side’s propaganda EVERY DESIGN CONCEPT of this mixed-density, single-family, single-story neighborhood is fatally flawed.  Not to end there, they write this about our elected City Council:

“… impact fees are not fair or equitable and represent egregious violations of the public trust.  This is an abusive developer give away and funding amounts to the subsidizing of developer profits by Davis taxpayers…” (Handout from Alan Pryor, CIV Energy Forum 10/14/2018) emphasis mine

Typically, “egregious violations of the public trust” and “abusive” are words commonly contained in criminal indictments of public officials.  Is there no limit to their outrageous claims and downright meanness?

No mention of 18 Davis Commissions and City Council hearings where legitimate concerns of good-hearted persons were addressed.  Their real goal is preventing, yet again, needed housing, until Davis voters capitulate to monolithic, four-story glorified apartments like the Cannery or something similar.

The No leadership holds the one perfect view of what Davis housing designs are allowed for others and fiercely attack anyone who suggests anything remotely different.  There is only one way and it’s their way.

So, let’s get back to the basics of West Davis Active Adult Community.

First, 380 well-designed cottages, bungalows, condominiums and single-family homes on lots varying from 1,280 sq. ft. to 5,200 sq. ft. with an average lot size of 3,600 sq. ft.  Perfectly designed for seniors to age in place.

This will allow eight percent (8%) of the current Davis senior homeowners to comfortably age at home in a specially designed environment for their years 70 to 95.  92% of Davis seniors won’t have these same choices.  There’s no space.

76 of the 380 homes will be sized and affordable for young families, new UC Davis faculty and staff and other locally based employees.

Second, 150 very affordable senior apartments providing room for roughly 170 seniors.  Based on statistics from other Davis senior apartments, 70% of residents are typically single senior women and approximately 37% are minorities.

Many of these seniors have incomes ranging from $1,000 – $1,500 per month or less, about what a UC Davis student now pays for a “bedroom” in an apartment in West Village on campus.

Third, three acres for a senior oriented facility, likely assisted living and Alzheimer’s care along with other senior services.

Yes on L offers housing choices.  No on L offers Davis nothing.


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42 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Housing Shortage – Yes on L Offers Housing Choices”

  1. Rik Keller

    David Taormino:

    1) Davis has seen a housing unit growth rate almost identical to the greater region and California as whole. The idea that there is a “self-inflicted” housing crisis is not supported  by that data and when looking at clear evidence that skyrocketing enrollment rates at UC Davis are the primary culprit.

    2) another culprit is the Chanber of Commerce backed by developers like you who killed the city’s Middle Income Ordinance in 2009 that was geared  to helping provide housing for the city’s primary identified need: workforce housing.

    3) Estimated price points for your market-rate units if they were on the market today range from $510k (1200 sf) to $770k (1800sf). Your houses on custom lots will be at even higher pricepoints. You are targeting a high-income/wealth clientele: the very people whose housing needs are already provided for most in Davis. Low density luxury sprawl with exclusionary restrictions is not the answer.

    4) while you pledged to eliminate the offensive phrase “Taking Care of Our Own” from your campaign, you continue to use slight variations of the phrase in your materials, and you continue to post images on social media of campaign material showing that very phrase. Your own son seemingly could not keep himself from saying the phrase “taking care of our…” repeatedly in the CivEnergy forum.

    5) you have tried to promote the idea of “diversity” and “inclusion” by using generic stock photo images as the centerpieces of your campaign rather than images of Davis residents who you say you will be serving. This cynical and exploitative use of imagery serves to highlight the irony that the models/actors in the photos (not to mention the categories of people they represent) would not be able to buy into the 90% of the housing that you are limiting to Davis residents and those with a Davis connection with your exclusionary and discriminatory restrictions.

     

  2. Eric Gelber

    The New Home Company has advertised state-wide to draw out of area buyers to their development.  That’s why we created the Davis Based Buyers’ Proposal.

    Let me understand. The problem with the Cannery was that it was advertised state-wide, so your solution was to institute an exclusionary buyers’ restriction? The more obvious solution would be to limit marketing to the local region. Instead, you chose to concoct a discriminatory buyer restriction program.

    One factor in determining if the Davis Based Buyers’ Program violates fair housing laws is whether there are viable alternatives that would not have a discriminatory impact. You have conceded there are.

    1. Craig Ross

      It seems to me one factor in determining if the program violates fair housing laws would be to determine if the program indeed has a disparate impact – in other words – the housing make up that is substantially different from what it would look like without such a program.  Seems like the universe they are allowing is fairly broad – those living in Davis, those who have attended (not graduated from but attended) the university at any point in time.  I wonder if such a broad program can be seen as restrictive at all.

      1. Eric Gelber

        Keep in mind that we are primarily talking about seniors, back when Davis and UCD were even less diverse. Seniors who attended UCD decades ago, for example, would be whiter than even the current senior population of the region.

        1. Craig Ross

          They’ve tried to make this into a black and white issue.  court cases rarely are. That’s why they go to court.  The city wouldn’t be contesting this if they thought it was black and white – they’d change it.

        2. Rik Keller

          Don, these stats emphasizes how “expanding” the “Taking Care of Our Own” beyond the discrimination by zipcode–that the project proponents have already admitted would be illegal–does not gain diversity.

          First, these stats do not provide a breakdown by age, and it is certainly the case the older employees have a lot less diversity than these overall current stats.

          Secondly, the population of the city of Davis is only about 14% Hispanic/Latino currently, a drastic under-representation compared to Yolo County and California as a whole. In the stats you provide, with only a 8.5% share, Latinos are even more underrepresented among “total academic” employees at UC Davis compared to the city of Davis. They are more represented among “total non-career staff” at 21.1%, but this is still far below the Latino share of the population in the region and state. Combining the two categories, Latinos make up only 13.6% of all UC Davis employees, almost exactly the same low percentage of Latinos who are Davis city residents. 

          Finally, note the extremely small amount of representation of Latinos in higher-paying UC Davis positions who could possibly afford to buy into the expensive homes in WDAAC. For example. Latinos only make up 7.3% and 6.8%, respectively of the “Mgrs & Sr Professionals” in both the career and non-career staff categories.

           

          1. Don Shor

            Don: the largest racial/ethnic group in California as well as Yolo County is Hispanic/Latinos

            Asians don’t provide diversity? So your measure of any housing development is going to be how many Hispanics are going to buy homes there?

        3. Rik Keller

          Don: the largest disparity in racial/ethnic representation in Davis is among Hispanics/Latinos. This is the exact reason that Jason Taormino stated:

          [9/14/2018; Davis Vanguard]: “…I did not see any methodology to provide preferences based upon being a current Davis resident or being related to a current Davis resident because the demographics of Davis are not reflective of the regional averages.  Our legal counsel agreed with this opinion.”

          [10/9/2017 Project FAQs document on the City of Davis project website]: “…we all recognize that the legality of discriminating based upon zip code is questionable…”

          You have helpfully provided data that demonstrates that the same exact disparities exist among UC Davis employees. Case closed.

          1. Don Shor

            You have helpfully provided data that demonstrates that the same exact disparities exist among UC Davis employees. Case closed.

            Let the record show that 57.3% of UCD employees are ‘persons of color’.

        4. Craig Ross

          Keller is pretty dishonest cutting pieces out of that quote to make it say something it didn’t.
          Here’s the actual full quote: “Initially, I did not see any methodology to provide preferences based upon being a current Davis resident or being related to a current Davis resident because the demographics of Davis are not reflective of the regional averages.  Our legal counsel agreed with this opinion but suggested we should focus on a broader goal.  We could provide preference to a group of people as long as that group was large, inclusive and non discriminatory.  UC Davis and the Davis Joint Unified School district are non discriminatory organizations.  If you or a close relative have ever attended or worked at a Davis school or the university then you are eligible for the preference program.”

        5. Rik Keller

          Don Shor said “Let the record show that 57.3% of UCD employees are ‘persons of color.’”

          The record/table shows nothing of the kind. It shows that of the 23% of UCD employees (8,195 of 35,900) who are “non-career staff” (i.e. overall, the lowest paid positions with the least job security), 57.3% are persons of color.

          Your false statement should disqualify you from commenting on statistics in the future.

          1. Don Shor

            Corrected: the percent of non-academic employees who are ‘persons of color’ is 48.53%, and if you include academic staff the number of ‘persons of color’ is 44%.
            http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/UCD%20demographics%20employees%202016%20all.png
            But evidently the only numbers that you are concerned about are in the column on the right.

        6. Rik Keller

          Don: the largest disparity in racial/ethnic representation in Davis is among Hispanics/Latinos. This is the exact reason that the project is being sued. The UCD numbers that you point to show that the exact same disparity applies. Therefore, the project’s attempted extension to UCD in an attempt to avoid disparate impacts to this population does not pass muster either. Like I said, case closed.

        7. Rik Keller

          Don,

          As shown in this analysis, the city of Davis was 55.6% white in 2016. However, the Hispanic/Latino population made up only 14.3% of the total population, a huge disparity compared to Woodland (46.1%), the remainder of Yolo County (34.5)%, and California (38.6%).  The numbers you presented show that UCD employees  are 56% white and 13.6% Latino, or almost exactly the same as Davis.

          I know humor is not allowed on this forum, but it is quite funny that you unintentionally presented data that shows the exact opposite of what you thought it did. UC Davis has the same severe under-representation of the Latino population as does the city of Davis. So Jason Taormino’s statement about the program illegality still holds [9/14/2018; Davis Vanguard]: “…I did not see any methodology to provide preferences based upon being a current Davis resident or being related to a current Davis resident because the demographics of Davis are not reflective of the regional averages.  Our legal counsel agreed with this opinion.”

        8. H Jackson

          Rik Keller: “As shown in this analysis, the city of Davis was 55.6% white in 2016. However, the Hispanic/Latino population made up only 14.3% of the total population,…”

          The DJUSD portion of the student population that is Hispanic/Latino is 21%.  This suggests that there is a smaller percentage than 14.3% of the senior population that is Hispanic/Latino.  The percentage growth of the Hispanic/Latino population in DJUSD is about .5% annually in the past decade.

  3. David Thompson

    At WDAAC 27% of all the doors in the entire development will be opened by low income seniors with a number being extremely low income seniors.

    That’s the most low income apartments as a % of any development ever proposed in Davis.

    Of those 150 apartment doors, 37% will be opened by minorities.

    The No on L people have no alternative to offer. There is no other future site for the low income seniors in Davis.

    The two sites No on L wish to give us (not their land to give) will not have or be giving five acres of free land valued at $4 million dollars to DSHC. The City and the School District will wish to get the highest and best use of those two sites for their own purposes.

    Seniors have nowhere to go if you vote No.

    Vote for a better life for our Davis seniors. Vote Yes on L.

    David Thompson, Neighborhood Partners. LLC

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Rik Keller

      David Thompson: your characterization of opponents of Measure L/WDAAC as being against needed affordable housing for low income seniors in Davis is fundamentally dishonest.

      Critics of the project point out that the affordable housing component is not guaranteed (true) and that the project developers are not even close to meeting the actual affordable housing obligations required by City regulations. We estimate that the project is only meeting its obligation for about 50% of the affordable housing component that it should, and your team has privately admitted as much to us. You also provide no evidence of the land valuation figures you cite that overstate the contribution the project developers are making.

      At a minimum, you should be advocating and lobbying the project developers to meet their fair share of affordable housing requirements rather than pushing this Trojan Horse of a proposal wherein the 5% of the project site area for the affordable component is being touted in an attempt to push through a primarily low-density high-cost luxury housing development on the vast majority of the site. Ideally, you would be advocating for projects that are targeted to a much wider range of housing needs than a small affordable component and the rest luxury homes.

      1. Richard McCann

        ” your team has privately admitted as much to us.”  

        That’s definitely a way to burn your bridges and to ensure that you will never gain any allies in your side. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER repeat in public what was relayed to you in private settlement discussions. Only idiots who have no idea of how the real world works and pull this kind of stunt.  (And I have nothing to do with either side of this issue–I just recognize the fools when I see them.)

        1. Rik Keller

          “Private settlement discussions”?!  What kind of accusation is that, man?

          This was public discussion/argument outside of council chambers that anyone within earshot could hear. Greenwald did, for one.

        2. Rik Keller

          There was no mischaracterization. There was a phone typo. I clarified and you doubled down.

          You leapt to about 10 conclusions all of which were false.  Seriously, what is wrong with you? Do you regularly make false accusations with no data or knowledge of a situation, or is this just a weekend night thing for you?

  4. Eric Gelber

    David Thompson keeps going back to the affordable apartments and disregards the flaws with the major component of the development—the 325 for-sale houses. We’re being bribed to vote for a large, restricted residential development with the offer of 150 affordable senior apartments. With a more thoughtful development plan, we could have both affordable senior apartments and inclusive, relatively affordable for-sale housing.

  5. Tia Will

    Does that make sense to you?”

    Although I believe that the burden of proof for the desirability of a project lies with the developers, not with skeptics or opponents, I am happy to share what makes sense to me. A project should be:

    1. Part of a comprehensive land use management plan. This project is not.

    2. The best use of the land in question. For me a project with this type of inefficient use of the available land is not “best practice”.

    3. Be of demonstrated maximal need in the community. For me this would mean that the need for elder housing not only exists, but that it is a greater need than other forms of housing. I specifically asked the developers what evidence that had used to determine that this was the greatest need and did not receive an evidence or statistically based answer.  Only anecdotal evidence and assurance that the people who lived there would be “happy” there .

    4. Have a greater percentage of affordable housing for all comers, not just seniors.

    1. Eric Gelber

      4. Have a greater percentage of affordable housing for all comers, not just seniors.

      This is a particularly important and, I believe, overlooked point. Even if it is true that seniors make up the largest category of people in need of affordable housing, on an individual basis, a qualifying senior’s need is no greater than a qualifying non-senior’s need.  Why are we categorizing and separating people based on irrelevant criteria?

      1. Craig Ross

        What I don’t understand is that if there are multiple housing needs, why it is not okay to address just a few in each projects rather than attempt to address them all at once.

        1. Eric Gelber

          Craig – The problem is excluding people with the same housing needs based on irrelevant criteria, like age. Some people other than seniors need single story, accessible homes—e.g., non-seniors with disabilities. Why exclude them based on age? Some people other than seniors need smaller, relatively affordable homes—e.g., local workforce, first-time home buyers. Why exclude them based on age?

      2. Jeff M

        I think this is not a fair question unless housing needs are the same across all demographics.  They are not.  Hence a development to be attractive would need to be all things to all people… which does not make any sense in terms of design and building economies of scale.  In other words, this would make development more expensive and create much more difficult challenges to build affordable.

        Student housing and senior housing is not housing I am interested in.  But it is housing in demand and hence it needs to be built.

  6. Richard McCann

    ” your team has privately admitted as much to us.”  

    That’s definitely a way to burn your bridges and to ensure that you will never gain any allies in your side. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER repeat in public what was relayed to you in private settlement discussions. Only idiots who have no idea of how the real world works and pull this kind of stunt.  (And I have nothing to do with either side of this issue–I just recognize the fools when I see them.)

    1. Rik Keller

      Oh, so you’ve posted this twice? You owe me two apologies now for this bizarre allegation.
      This was public discussion/argument outside of council chambers that anyone within earshot could hear. Greenwald did, for one

        1. Rik Keller

          It was a discussion out in the public outside of council chambers where a member of the affordable housing team cane up and started arguing with me. You were there.

          Richard McCann has leapt to conclusions, accused me of violating confidentiality in some sort of legal proceeding that does not exist, and called me names. One wonders what sort of “real world” experience he has that would lead him to do these bizarre and out-of-line things.

      1. Richard McCann

        The double post happened because of a bug in the Vanguard website (along with the difficulty of logging in through Facebook and not going directly back to the article to make a comment.)

        1. Rik Keller

          Somebody came up to me and started having an argument in front of a reporter. That’s the least private conversation one could have.

          The bug is in your brain: falsely accusing someone of “relaying private settlement discussions”. when: 1) there are no legal talks, 2) there wasn’t a private conversation, 3) nothing was “relayed to me”. What is wrong with you?

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