My View: Measure R Battles Have Get This… Devolved into Campaigns

Alan Pryor (center) makes a point with Moderator Linda Deos (right) and Rik Keller (left)

Following last Sunday’s CivEnergy forum a number of observers lamented what they saw as the uncivil discourse by the Yes on Measure L side.  They were not wrong, but they missed the bigger picture.  The No on Measure L side from the start attacked this project as “the worst example of suburban sprawl proposed in Davis in over 25 years.”  They’ve said there is no “guarantee that the required low-income housing will be built,” have decried what they call “massive developer giveaways,” and of course portrayed the project as exclusive and discriminatory.

In short, the well had been poisoned long before the two sides ever met on Sunday and, while the No side was definitely more artful in their language, both sides threw barbs.

The bottom line is that Measure R campaigns have devolved into standard political campaigns.  The developers have learned a lot from early Measure R defeats and this has forced them to address community concerns.  The playbook for defeating a Measure R project is that you throw as much mud, as much uncertainty as possible against the project and hope that it resonates with the voters.  (There is a danger in doing this of course – some of these attacks are losing their resonance with voters, especially those who believe that, while these projects are far from perfect, housing is needed).

When you have projects that the voters fear will have large traffic impacts and appear to be missing key components (like Nishi 1 and its lack of affordable housing), that’s an easy task.  When the project has addressed most of these concerns, you end up with “weird red herrings.”

That brings us to the forum itself where we believe the Yes side did a nice job of articulating their vision for the project and why they wish to build senior housing.  However, that vision was much of the time overshadowed because they allowed the arguments by the No side to get under their skin.

Firing the first shot was Jason Taormino, stating, “Our opposition I think agrees that this is a good idea, because they’ve come up with no legitimate points, they seem to be taking a page from Trump’s book – throwing out big lies and little lies and trying to divide our community.”

David Thompson pushed back against the attacks on the affordable housing, calling them “preposterous and untrue.”  He pointed out their various successes, including raising $34 million for Creekside, and responded: “So the challenge that we can’t do it, we won’t do it, is just untrue, and should not be a part of this conversation.”

He added, “The sad truth of the No on L winning is this, that 150 apartments for seniors will not be built.”

Alan Pryor listed off eight points against the project.  Some of his key points: “The developer’s ‘take care of our own’ Davis-Based Buyers Program is inherently exclusionary. And we believe illegally.”  “The city has granted the developer massive giveaways and subsidies by reducing project impact fees by over $3.4 million compared to fees normally charged new developments.”

And, “Other than the four acre land donation on which someone else will actually build low income housing required for the project, the developer is not contributing any money to the actual construction costs for the low income housing units as has every major development in town in the recent past.”

The exchange over fiscal impacts was fairly tame.  Mr. Pryor argued that the developer was getting massive giveaways and listed a number of them.

Dan Carson, who chaired the Finance and Budget Commission prior to being elected to council, said that his commission, over five months, looked at the way the city evaluates projects and their fiscal impacts.  He concludes: “There is no giveaway on the one-time fees.  There was an adjustment on the development impact fees side of the ledger and more resources than that have been put back on the other side of the ledger in terms of what are called community enhancement funds as well as various amenities in the project that are being paid for out of the developer’s pocket.”

Later he responded, “You can play the cherry-picking game of one item that goes down, and then you ignore the other stuff that goes up and you can come to an incorrect conclusion. “

On the issue of affordable housing, the developers believe they have gone over and above their requirements.

David Thompson: “We can build 150 units on there.  We are allowed to build 150 units on there.  It far surpasses the city requirement – it is the largest piece of land that any developer has ever given for affordable housing in the city of Davis.”

Alan Pryor counters: “We believe that the developer is not even meeting the minimum requirements of the city’s low income housing ordinance by the donation of only 4.25 acres of land. “

The discussion heated back up again when they got to the Davis-Based Buyers Program.  After Rik Keller went through his litany of statistics showing, in his view, the history of housing discrimination in Davis, he concluded by quoting Gloria Partida’s op-ed: “There’s an op-ed recently in the Davis Enterprise that rightfully called out the terrible language used as the tag line for the project, taking care of our own, as ‘ringing with a distinctly Trumpian tenor that effectively delineates us from them.’”

Jason Taormino then responded: “I love Rik’s statistics, I’ve got some of my own that I’ve made up.  I think if you take his 800 square foot house, on his more than 8000 square foot lot, and you invert and multiply it by the co-efficient of the water content of bologna – you’ll find out one thing, they just don’t want to take care of Davis seniors.”

But Rik Keller, while more artful in his attack, pulled no punches.  At one point he said, “I would actually say, as insensitive and offensive as that is, as your father has said, that the actual results and the actual impact of the program is even worse.”

He called the project “a textbook example of an exclusionary housing program with locational restrictions, with clear, on the face of it, disparate impacts.  That is, these aren’t necessarily discriminatory by intent, but they are discriminatory effects.”

Jason Taormino also lost focus during one of the audience questions.  At one point he quipped that his opponents apparently saw “no good in the world.”

He later said: “I’m not exactly sure why they were opposed to student housing before and they were opposed to workforce housing before and they were opposed to senior housing now.  I’m not sure what they’ll be opposed to next time.  But they always seem to be opposed to something and never seem to be helping other people.  I guess it’s because their lives are so good and they’re afraid that if somehow somebody else has more, they’re going to have less.”

Is any of this helpful for those in this community trying to decide whether this project will help or hurt our future?  Probably not.  It is too bad, because there were moments of well articulated points on both sides, but too often this conservation devolved into attacks.  Attacks on the project by the opposition, and attacks on the opponents by the proponents.

It is easy to point the finger at one side or another depending on your perspective, but, from my perspective, this process is left wanting.  Focus on the question: will Davis be better off ten years from now if this project gets built – why or why not?

Measure R is a strangely iterative process, whereby past discussions and failures lead to improvements in proposals but also more coarse discourse.  Is this a process that is working or one where we would like to see things change?  That’s a question for two years from now when Measure R comes up for a vote.

—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. Tia Will

    will Davis be better off ten years from now if this project gets built – why or why not?”

    I think this is a valid question. However, it is incomplete. In addition, I think it is valid to reframe it to read : In ten years, will this project have benefitted Davis more than would a different type of project utilizing the same piece of land?

    This approach allows for the weighing of different needs, not just asking the question of whether some citizen members of a specific group will be better off.

    1. David Greenwald

      I think a lot of people would disagree Tia and argue that that is not the purpose of Measure R which is simply a yes or no vote on the current project.  The problem I have wiht it is that you can always come up with a theoretical better use and thus the perfect becomes the enemy of the good.

      1. Ron

        Below is apparently another very recent, previously-proposed use of the site.  The lower portion of the “T” appears to be the same location as the current proposal:

        Every time that a proposal is rejected, it seems that development activists then claim that there will never be another proposal for a given site. Then, they start complaining about Measure R (even before the vote, for that matter).

        It doesn’t work that way, especially when investor/developers own or have a connection to a property.

      2. Tia Will

        I think a lot of people would disagree Tia”.
        Doubtless they would. What is the point of posting a comment that most already agree with? My purpose is to present my ideas, not get pats on the back.

        that is not the purpose of Measure R which is simply a yes or no vote on the current project” 

        With this I strongly disagree. One should never forget when considering any project, one’s decision should always involve weighing that project against the potential for better options. Also to be considered in deciding one’s vote is whether the single project is part of a well delineated broader land use plan. I would argue this project is not. This is a 50’s-60’s model of development of individual projects in isolation that we should be moving away from not embracing.

        the perfect becomes the enemy of the good.”

        I know this is a favorite saying of yours. However, I see as equally valid the concept that the “good” can destroy the potential for the “better”.

        1. David Greenwald

          And I think ultimately that’s what people must weigh here – whether the good is good enough.  The chances of getting another proposal is better is small.  Even in the one case where a developer came back with another proposal, the result was only questionably better.

          There is also the other problem that you have here – better is subjective.  Some would argue that Nishi 1 was better than Nishi 2.  Some would argue that Nishi 2 was better than Nishi 1.  Neither was my preferred best project but at the end, I had to weigh whether we were better off with Nishi 2 and 2000 beds of students housing or a vacant field.  I chose the former.

  2. Rik Keller

    David Greenwald: as someone who has been a chief well-poisoner on this campaign, this article strikes one as the height of hypocrisy. You have decried a civil rights lawsuit against the “Taking Care Of Our Own” program–a program which you yourself have stated is likely illegal because of its discriminatory effects against protected racial/ethnic classes–as a “dangerous playing of the race card”. This is rhetoric that has a direct relation to sordid recent history right-wing attempted co-opting of that phrase and others like “race-baiting” that is noxious, disingenuous, and has no place in our civil discourse.

    May I also remind you that you were the person who sat down with the WDAAC developers over a weekend to develop their line of attack against various supposed “lies” about the project. This resulted in an embarrassing and ill-conceived document that was merely a highlighted markup with the accusation of dozens of  lies without any substantiation even these many weeks later. Tia Will rightly called out this same tactic in Jason Taormino’s opening statement at the CivEnergy Forum:  unsubstantiated accusations of “lying” in the Trumpian mold. This is something that you–David Greenwald–have directly facilitated and encouraged.

    Your examples at the start of the article about supposed well-poisoning by the No On Measure L/WDAAC campaign are unsupported by the evidence:

    1) Suburban sprawl

    You said yourself on 9/9/2018: “The first problem with this proposal is that it is basically a classic low-density, peripheral housing project.” There is essentially no daylight between your opinion and that of No On WDAAC (from the website): “WDAAC is a sprawling, unsustainable development… and opens up the entire northwest quadrant without any planning…. It does not meet any of the Sacramento Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Seven Principles for Smart Growth and clearly needs more density, different and diverse building types, and good transportation infrastructure.”

    2) No guarantees that affordable housing will be built: this is indisputably true. All the developer has committed to in the Development Agreement is the donation of 4 acres of land and provision of infrastructure to the site. They have no further obligations.

    3) Massive developer giveaways. This is well-documented. The developers, in contrast, have tried to claim credit for land valuation for the affordable hosing site that they have provided no documentation or evidence for.

    4) Exclusionary and discriminatory: you have said yourself that the program is “illegal” because of disparate impacts–discriminatory effects–under Fair Housing law. The project proponents themselves stated this:

    Jason Taormino [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.”

    Jason Taormino (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…”


    1. Sharla C.

      Rik, when I condemned Harrington for declaring the project as “facialy racist” you defended him.  This is a calculated strategy to shame the voter into voting to oppose, lest they be labeled racists.  (This is not much different than Nishi and a Yes vote was implied as supporting the poisoning of people by forcing them to breathe “toxic soup.”)

      Our vote is a yes or no on changing the zoning to allow for residential or commercial development.  This should not involve shame or guilt as a motivation.

      1. Eric Gelber

        Our vote is a yes or no on changing the zoning to allow for residential or commercial development. 

        No. Measure J/R gives voters final approval on specific proposed developments on agricultural land, not simply on whether zoning is to be changed.

        I, for one, don’t believe the developers had an intent to discriminate based on race. However, I understand how it’s not unreasonable to conclude otherwise. What would you think if you drove into a town in, say, rural Idaho, and the Chamber of Commerce had erected a sign that said, “Welcome to Podunk. We Take Care of Our Own”? Or, “Welcome to Podunk. If you don’t already live or work here, don’t plan on buying a home here.” Would that not raise red flags for you?

      2. Tia Will


        This is a calculated strategy to shame the voter into voting to oppose, lest they be labeled racists”

        This gets us into the trap of assuming we know the motivations of others. I see it as a “if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it situation”. While I suspect no racist motivation was intended, we really cannot know the intent of the developers, just as we cannot know the intent of the opponents. It truly does go both ways.

    2. Rik Keller

      Sharla: you did not understand what the term “facially racist” meant. There is prima facie evidence that the project would have a racially discriminatory effect. The developers have admitted as much.

      If you are fine supporting that, go ahead, but don’t pretend this is something as neutral as merely “changing the zoning to allow for residential or commercial development”.

      “In order to effectively combat the full range of contemporary housing discrimination, including its more evolved forms, such as predatory lending and discriminatory rezoning plans, plaintiffs must be able to plead Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) claims under the disparate impact theory…In an effort to afford plaintiffs the comprehensive coverage required under the FHA, all eleven federal appellate courts adopted the disparate impact theory over the course of four decades of FHA litigation. Unlike disparate treatment liability, which requires a showing of discriminatory intent, the disparate impact theory prohibits “practices that are not intended to discriminate but in fact have a disproportionately adverse effect on minorities.” Accordingly, a wider range of conduct is actionable under disparate impact than disparate treatment, as the latter can make it “virtually impossible to enforce antidiscrimination laws, since it can be very easy to conceal a discriminatory purpose behind neutral-sounding rules.Fundamentally, a prima facie case of discrimination is established under the disparate impact theory by showing that “the challenged practice of the defendant ‘actually or predictably results in racial discrimination; in other words that it has a discriminatory effect.’” []

      1. Sharla C.

        Rik, My reaction was not due to a misunderstanding on my part of what the term meant.  Harrington said that it made him nauseous  that Gloria Partida supported the “facially racist” project.  It’s the public shaming and condemnation that is directed at political opponents and voters as an strategic element of the No campaign that I believe is damaging to the community.

        1. Sharla C.

          I take issue with using the term “racist.”  I have always said that and you continue to defend its use.  Whether the policy to give local residents and employees a chance to buy homes before they are snapped up by wealthy investors from the Bay Area and Southern CA is illegal discrimination is something that will be have to be decided in Court. I wonder if you also think that giving school district employees preference in buying homes at the housing development on Grande was also discriminatory, since most of our employees are white.  Be careful that you and your friends don’t force curtailment of all efforts to meet local needs in your effort to stop all development around Davis. I personally have a greater issue with the age restriction on who can buy, but this doesn’t fit conveniently into your racial discrimination argument.

        2. Rik Keller

          Sharia: what is the difference in your view between something that is racially discriminatory and something that is racist?

          Do you take similar issue with the use of the word “racist” in articles like this:?:

          Or this:

          As long as we define social life as the sum total of conscious and deliberate individual activities, we will be able to discern as racist only individual manifestations of personal prejudice and hostility. Systemic, collective, and coordinated group behavior consequently drops out of sight. Collective exercises of power that relentless channel rewards, resources, and opportunities from one group to another will not appear “racist” from this perspective, because they rarely announce their intention to discriminate against individuals. Yet they nonetheless give racial identities their social meaning by giving people from different races vastly different life chances.” (George Lipsitz, “The Possessive Investment In Whiteness” in Readings For Diversity and Social Justice (4th Ed., 2018))

        3. Sharla C.

          There you go again – interchanging one word for another as meaning the same thing.   Do I think that the project is “facially racist?”  No.   Does that make it clear?  Is it illegal to offer preference to people with local ties?  Not sure.  Is it immoral to offer preference to seniors with local ties, especially low income seniors. My inclination is No.

        4. Rik Keller

          Sharla: you really don’t want to answer the question about the perceived difference in your mind between something that is racially discriminatory and something that is racist. Define what that is. I am interested in how you parse this.

          P.S. the project proponents have already admitted that the program would be “illegal” based on “demographics” if it were just applied by “zip code. The reason that it is illegal is that it would be racially discriminatory

        5. Sharla C.

          Rik,  I answered your questions.  If it is illegal, then it won’t happen.  This is something I don’t know enough about to decide.  I don’t know what you are pushing for.  Do you want a development that is just another Cannery with people with family and jobs in Davis competing with buyers from the Bay Area and Southern CA?

        6. Rik Keller

          Sharla: it’s a really simple question that you still haven’t answered: What is the perceived difference in your mind between a housing policy/program that is racially discriminatory and one that is racist? I am genuinely interested in how you parse this.

  3. Rik Keller

    David Greenwald: would you care to discuss how the following actions of yours fit into the idea of civil public discourse?: In your subscriber-only newsletter you floated information in which you tried to doxx the plaintiff in the lawsuit against WDAAC/City of Davis and published details about his supposed employment history, income level, family relations, and residences all to imply spurious motivations. This attempt to dig up dirt on him for political purposes is a disgrace.

  4. Eric Gelber

    Focus on the question: will Davis be better off ten years from now if this project gets built – why or why not?

    Define “better off.” For those whose only consideration is “housing is needed,” the answer is yes, we will be better off, and they’ll vote Yes. For those who think we can do better than this, it’s far more complicated. I happen to believe we won’t be better off by having segregated neighborhoods, where families with children, students, other younger households, and those without prior connections to Davis are not welcome.

    1. Jeff M

      So do you want the right to select a place to live that you like… that suits your individual needs and wants… or see everyone live in communes where we will have multicultural, multi-ethnic, demographic-diversity Kumbaya?

        1. Jeff M

          You did not answer the question.  And I think if you think more deeply about that comment you would recognize it as severely flawed.  Davis’s lack of poor Hispanic residents (let’s be very honest here about what is bothering Rik and others… because that is the only demographic that the Davis social justice warrior can complain about being under-represented).

          What you and Rik are really complaining about is that this development does not do enough to attempt to correct for all the decades of NIMBYism and academic elitism that has made Davis unattractive to poor Hispanics.

          From my perspective you and others are making the classic mistake focusing on immediate symptoms and not the bigger picture strategy for moving Davis toward a more perfect situation.

          True that Davis has fewer poor Hispanic residents than does Woodland.  Let’s ignore for the moment that Woodland is over-represented in poor Hispanics compared to the average small city in California… the bigger picture problem is that Davis lacks young professionals and young working families.  And that Demographic is slipping every year.  And it includes Hispanic families as like all people except for retired government workers, they need a source of income.  They need jobs… and those jobs don’t exist in Davis because of the direct democracy you value and defend.

          Certainly housing costs are a factor, but so his the lack of employment opportunities.  So, ironically it is your and others’ constant rejection of development projects in and around the city of Davis that is responsible for keeping Davis white and old.   You reject and then the problems grow larger and you reject again because they don’t do enough to fix the problems… which just keep making the problems grow larger.

          Davis is 10 square miles big with 80k+ people.  That is nasty, nasty urban-level population density.  Davis could develop another 2-4 square miles on the periphery and still be one of the most population-dense little rural cities in the nation.   And only by building a lot more housing and commercial will Davis solve its problem of being under-represented in poor Hispanics.. and also see a more integrated and demographically-diverse population.

        2. Craig Ross

          Yesterday it was pointed out that Davis had also excluded Asians and yet, that doesn’t seem to register with the opponents of this project.  They are using a single variable to measure exclusivity.  Even though the population that would be permissible due to the UC Davis component is quite broad and diverse.

        3. Jeff M

          Craig – I believe it is poor and uneducated Hispanics that is the current lament.  The diversity of UCD does little to satiate this particular longing of people like Rik.

        4. Craig Ross

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of Latino inclusivity as well, but ignoring the Asian population doesn’t make sense to me.  Especially when the Asian population was legally just as excluded in Davis and California in 1950.

        5. Jeff M

          Craig – Asian are not poor (as a general demographic measure) and are not under-represented nor over-represented in any negative social or economic outcomes.  Thus they are not an attractive subject for the social justice agenda.  In fact there is a bit of anger directed at Asians as they provide a very inconvenient cohort in conflict with the political meme of racist white America.

        6. H Jackson

          Craig Ross: “Especially when the Asian population was legally just as excluded in Davis and California in 1950.”

          There were Japanese families in Davis in 1950.  Granted that they were taken out of Davis during WWII, but when I look at DHS yearbooks from that time, there are students who appear to be Japanese and Asian.  Not a large percentage, but they were there.  What am I missing?

        7. H Jackson

          Craig Ross: “Especially when the Asian population was legally just as excluded in Davis and California in 1950.”

          Yolo at war: Internment changed many lives

          The list of Davis internees included members of the Nishi family, who had been active in agriculture. Records indicate  that Shizuo Nishi (born in 1891), Kikuyo Nishi (1896), Ellis Nishi (1919), Dick Nishi (1921), Aiko Nishi (1923), John Nishi (1927), Edward Nishi (1928), Goro Nishi (1930) and Bessie Nishi (1931) were sent first to a relocation center in Turlock, and then to an internment camp at Gila River, Ariz.

          Alice Nishi was born Alice Shigezumi in San Francisco; she was a freshman at UC Berkeley when she was sent to an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. It was after she returned to San Francisco following the war that she met her future husband, Dick Nishi.

          “We met in church; I was a member of a Japanese Presbyterian Church,” Alice recalled. “We got married in 1947, and moved to Davis.”

          Alice Nishi has been a longtime Davis resident and DJUSD school board trustee in the 1970’s.

          Elsewhere in the article, it suggests that Kay Ryugo may have lived in Davis around that time, 1950.

          The DHS class president in 1951 was a Chuck Sakurada.

        8. H Jackson

          Rik Keller: “If only someone had written an article about specific housing restrictions that were put in place in Davis in 1950….”

          I agree that there is strong evidence that there was discriminatory behavior toward blacks in Davis through the ~late 1960’s (and probably later), and housing practices do seem to be a part of the story.  On cannot find a single African-American student in the DHS yearbooks until maybe 1965. 

          But Davis HS students who seem to be Japanese and perhaps Chinese as well as Mexican have lived in Davis from at least the 1930’s onward.  How am I to understand their presence in Davis in the context of your article?

        9. Jeff M

          Jeff M.: “Davis is 10 square miles big with 80k+ people.  That is nasty, nasty urban-level population density.”

          Census Dept. estimates 68,986 for July 1, 2017.

          The population numbers from the US Census do not include the campus population that uses the other 10 square miles.  The actual number of people driving, walking, eating, shopping, hanging out… within the city limits, is more like 80k.

          1. David Greenwald

            It may be a good deal more. At 36,000 on campus, it is probably closer to 90 or 100K especially when you consider the out of town staff and employees during the day. That said, I don’t know that I would characterize the housing in Davis as urban, so there is a flaw in your argument.

        10. Jeff M

          That said, I don’t know that I would characterize the housing in Davis as urban, so there is a flaw in your argument.

          That is my point.  We think we are rural but we have urban-level density.  So we are schizophrenic in our impacts, demands and fears.

      1. Mark West

        “So do you want the right to select a place to live that you like… that suits your individual needs and wants… or see everyone live in communes where we will have multicultural, multi-ethnic, demographic-diversity Kumbaya?”

        I believe a community is stronger when we are intermixed, where we live in close association with those who are not like us, or who don’t think, look like us, vote like us, or who are of a different age. I think we should all be free to select the area where we want to live without being subjected to artificial impediments that discriminate between different classes of people for whatever reason. Mixtures of people living in a wide mixture of housing types together forming one community.

        Age restricted housing is discriminatory, whether legal or not. Artificial growth limits are discriminatory, whether legal or not. We have a severe housing shortage in Davis and the only way to address the challenge is to build more housing. That housing, however, should be inclusive of all, not exclusive for some.

        1. Jeff M

          Mark – the problem with this as I pointed out before, is that seniors have unique needs and wants that are different from say a young couple with children.  A planned development included models for that development and benefits from an economy of scale.  What you seem to be advocating for is a development of custom homes and smaller parcels that can be a mix of all types of different housing done by many different developers.  Or a single developer with some larger and more sophisticated self-contained planned community (the perfection goal I believe).   If not this, maybe you can help me understand what type of development you envision and where in the US are examples.

        2. Eric Gelber

           the problem with this as I pointed out before, is that seniors have unique needs and wants that are different from say a young couple with children.

          Jeff- But the housing that would be built in WDAAC would not meet needs that are unique to seniors. That’s my point. Many non-seniors also need smaller, single story homes. Many non-seniors need relatively affordable homes. WDAAC is not assisted living or a continuing care retirement community. It will not provide services or amenities that are unique to seniors. The only justification for age-restricted housing of this type is to categorically exclude younger households, especially families with children.

        3. Mark West

          “the problem with this as I pointed out before, is that seniors have unique needs and wants that are different from say a young couple with children.”

          So what? Why do you think that justifies an exclusionary development where only those who are ‘like them’ are allowed to live there?

          “What you seem to be advocating for…”

          I think I was quite clear with what I am advocating for so I do not see why you need to reinterpret it with your added slant. I want more housing that is not exclusionary. I want mixed neighborhoods, with different types of homes and apartments of various sizes and styles with no need for gates or moats around the development to keep the riff-raff out.

          “maybe you can help me understand what type of development you envision and where in the US are examples.”

          Much of the older sections of Davis evolved as this sort of development, with different sizes and types of housing intermixed, some original and some through later redevelopment. It has only been more recently that this type of evolution and development in town has been opposed, with increasing demands for ‘detailed plans in advance’ and a ‘seat at the table’ in order to ‘protect the character of our neighborhood’ and ‘maintain our quality of life’… and all the other forms of opposition to change.

        4. Jeff M

          Mark – I think comparing old neighborhoods to new development is a mismatch.

          I get your point, but again I would like to be pointed to an example.  Because if there are no examples then I think it is not feasible.

          Do you know of any other new housing developments that match your interest here?

      2. Tia Will

        do you want the right to select a place to live that you like”

        I do. As long as that place does not prevent others from also choosing to live there based on their race, nationality, religion, gender identification, sexual preference, etc. Do you see the problem in setting up this kind of binary question?

  5. Jeff M

    Measure J/R is a tremendous example of why we need the Electoral College.  Otherwise we would turn over control of the people’s political agenda to the easily frightened and uniformed voter that can be easily exploited by the angry resistance.

      1. Jeff M

        Fine Eric, but it has been proven failed design over and over again until our country’s founders figured out that representative democracy was the tonic.   Lack of affordable housing in Davis is an example of that general failure.

        1. Tia Will

          I am fairly sure our national founders did not foresee a time when an entire coast would be, in effect disenfranchised by the results of the electoral college.

        2. Jeff M

          LOL.  Oh yes they did.  Just like they noted an entire region disenfranchised on the topic of slavery and a majority disenfranchised on civil rights for minorities and women.  It took brave representatives to push for these unpopular changes because they were right and moral.

          They were much more concerned with tyranny of the majority.  The system was designed to prevent domination of less populated states and regions where lives and values are different.

          Here is what really frosts me about coastal liberals.  They have their states.  They dominate their states and make their states a liberal hive.  But that is not enough.  No they have to dominate everyone in the country.  Shove their unwanted coastal liberal values down the throats of others that don’t want them.

          Shame on you liberals.  Thank God for representative governance to prevent you from getting your selfish way at a national level.  You have California and New York to destroy and you should be happy with that.   And again, we can see the results of that selfish way locally with Davis liberal NIMBYs preventing housing development like Trackside.

        3. Jim Hoch


          The intent of the Electoral College and the Senate was to prevent large states from dominating small states. You could certainly make the case that it worked as intended this past cycle.

        4. Jeff M

          Measure R is a direct democracy instrument.   The Electoral College is a representative democracy instrument.  Electing city council members is a representative democracy instrument.   A city planning commission is a representative democracy instrument.

          Direct democracy advocates only support it because they believe they have the majority.  The would squeal in protest about it if it did not support their selfish interest.

          I guaranty that those big supporters of Measure R would turn on it in a heartbeat if the majority supported more growth.  They would just flip to demanding that the city council decide these things, and then attempt to load it with no-growthers.    I would prefer that the city council just decide these things with advice from staff and the planning commission.  THE WAY EVERY OTHER CITY IN AMERICA DOES IT.

    1. Tia Will

      a tremendous example of why we need the Electoral College”

      How utterly unsurprising. I see this as exactly the reason why we should not have the Electoral College and why I whole heartedly believe in Measure J/R as a line of defense from those who are affluent, well connected and arrogant enough to believe that they know better and should be deciding regardless of what the majority wants.

      1. Jeff M

        With all due respect Dr., you frequently opine strongly about topics way outside your level of expertise and life experience.  The elitism is mostly owned by people like you that believe you should have a say in every decision of governance even though you are largely uninformed about the consequences of those decisions.   Name any organization that operates well giving an equal voice to all constituents.  There are none.  Humans naturally organize into a hierarchy because we are biologically wired that way.  Not everyone is equal in their ability to lead.  Some people must follow, some people can lead… and the rest need to get out the way.

        You do not seem to factor the selfish part of human nature… I am sure because you believe you have transcended it in yourself with your strong advocacy for virtuous cause… but then you attack the same housing density you demand because it is in your back yard.  Doing what all humans do… to pursue their own selfish interest at the expense of others.

        One difference between you and me is that I recognize and admit my human nature of selfish pursuit.  And it is because of this that we need representative governance and not any direct democracy.   It is why Measure R should be scrapped.

  6. Don Shor

    < ![endif]-->

    Ok, let’s make a deal.

    Annex the whole northwest quadrant, all the way to a mid-point between roads 99 and 98 on the west, and up to the edge of Binning Tract to the north.

    Make provision for commercial and small retail near the hospital. Make the rest residential zoning. Mandate 35% of it to be affordable and/or low-income housing, including housing for very low income residents. The rest can be any mix of densities.

    No restrictions on who can buy.

    Davis diversity should increase, family and work-force housing is provided. Developers can make a profit on the bigger homes. Non-profits can provide the lower-cost housing.

    Everyone ok with that?

    1. Jeff M

      Why just the northwest quadrant?

      Yours is a good point though, because it would never be allowed with Measure R.  So here we are with the pursuit of perfect colliding with the resistance.

  7. Tia Will


    The chances of getting another proposal is better is small.”

    Two points.

    1. I don’t know why you say the possibility of a better project is small. Nishi was one case, not a rule. I think that there are many prospects, not just one, for a better project.

    2. I agree that “better” is completely subjective. That is precisely why I believe that  a vote is the best way to resolve the issue. It is also why I believe that voters should consider as many different perspectives and aspects of the project and alternatives before making their choice.

    1. David Greenwald

      “I don’t know why you say the possibility of a better project is small”

      Simple math.  How much does it cost to put forward a project?  So you’re then going to put forward another project, spend that money with an uncertain outcome?  I believe the chances of doing so are small.  The chances of doing so and it being a “better” project is even smaller.

      1. Rik Keller

        Here’s some simple math: A lot of people are watching this vote closely. If developers think they can get approval for bad projects that only pay the barest lip service to addressing real community needs, they will continue to propose such projects.

        1. Rik Keller

          David: you also believe that a civil rights lawsuit filed against a project that you have described as illegal for civil rights violations nonetheless consists of “dangerously playing the race card,” so your beliefs don’t have much credibility.

      2. Eric Gelber

        “I believe the chances of doing so are small.” ~ David Greenwald

        “Once you say you are going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.” ~ John F. Kennedy

        “Who you are is what you settle for, you know?” ~ Janis Joplin

      3. Tia Will

        Simple math”

        I think you are trying to make this a little too “simple”. I see your example of Nishi very differently. After the first Nishi was rejected, the developers did not withdraw. They tried again addressing the issues that had seemed to be prohibitive. I feel this could be prevented by bringing the concept of a project forward for community conversation at conception, long before it is solidified thus preventing the time wasting, expensive and contentious process we are currently using. I understand that developers do not want to change from the status quo of how they have always done business, but the current approach of proposal with subsequent attack is clearly not good process.

  8. Tia Will

    I believe that if this passes, there will likely not be another Measure R housing project for at least a decade – maybe longer.”

    I believe this depends in large part not on the pros/cons of Measure R, and maybe not even on community need, but largely on the overall economy. It seems to me that although there is a lot of controversy about the well being of the economy, there does seem to be a strong consensus that we are overdue for a “downturn” or “correction”. You will have to forgive me for not knowing the precise language. But we are not always going to be “riding high” and that will have an impact we are unable to judge from the present.

  9. Jim Frame

    I’m my view, the only appealing thing about this project is the affordable housing component.  (And I note that an unnamed but reliable source told me that they can get over 200 units on that site, not just 150.)  But whether or not that will be enough to sway my vote remains to be seen.

  10. Tia Will

    To Jeff and Jim

    How to miss a point completely. I understand the founders thinking as we interpret it today. I also know that they would not have foreseen a situation in which the election would be called and the news disseminated before the polling stations had even closed for large segments of the population.

  11. Keith O

    It all may not matter, existing home sales just hit a 3 rear low with the FED raising rates and killing the housing market.  What’s the FED’s goal, inflation hasn’t been a problem so far so what are they shooting for?  So far all they’re doing is harm to the housing and stock markets. If the current trends keep up even if WDAAC passes there might not be sufficient buyers.

    P.S., read my post quickly as they have a penchant for disappearing.


    1. Ron

      On the other hand, watch how fast the “housing shortage” disappears, as prices drop (and the economy starts tanking, again).

      There sure wasn’t much talk of a housing shortage during the multi-year recession. Lots of unoccupied/foreclosed houses throughout the region, state and beyond, though.

      How quickly we forget.

      1. Craig Ross

        I think you have it backwards.  The recession prevented people from purchasing homes which temporarily setback the market, but once the economy recovered, the market resumed on the previous trajectory.  As I think Jeff made the point yesterday, the market is always going up and down, land use policy needs to address housing needs, those are not going to go away even if they are temporarily disrupted.

        1. Ron

          Craig:  I was primarily referring to it as a political issue.  There sure wasn’t much talk of a shortage of housing, during that multi-year recession.

          Davis is already on track to exceed its regional housing requirements. It is not the city’s responsibility to accommodate developers’ goals.

        2. Ron

          There was a housing crisis, in the opposite direction.

          It would be interesting to find out what happened to the people who lost homes during that period.  I suspect that most still ended up with a roof over their heads.

          And strangely, the vacancy rate (in apartments) in the region and beyond was also not particularly low during that period, from what I recall of articles I posted.

          Overall, it seems that the housing “shortage” corresponds with strong economic conditions for a given area. When the economy tanks, the shortage disappears.

        3. Ron

          Yes – your article shows that some areas have still not recovered from the last housing crash.

          It also suggests that wages have not kept pace with the cost of housing – even in New Jersey.

        4. Ron

          Actually, in looking at that article more carefully, one might wonder how they ended up owing far more than $450,000 on a home that was purchased for $49,000, while making payments on it for 40 years. (Even when considering the renovations.)

          Seems like there’s more to the story, in this example.

        5. Ron

          Keith:  I was referring to the article that Craig posted (not David), in response to my comments.

          The example does beg the question, how many people got themselves into difficult positions as a result of their own decisions, e.g., by purposefully pursuing low-paying professions or low-profit businesses while also living in an expensive area, spending more than they should, etc.?  (Of course, that doesn’t mean that those people shouldn’t be helped.)

          I know folks like this.

  12. Jim Frame

    What’s the FED’s goal, inflation hasn’t been a problem so far so what are they shooting for?


    Freeboard.  The federal funds rate is only 2.25%, which leaves very little room for easing when the economy falters.  The Fed had a target of 3.5% by 2020.

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