Barry Broome Pushes Economic Development Opportunities for Davis, Notion of Davis 2050

Barry Broome, the CEO from Greater Sacramento came to Davis City Council on Tuesday night and delivered a presentation on the possibilities that Davis possesses for economic development and becoming a leader in high tech development in the region.

A key point he made is that Sacramento has an overreliance on Government jobs which both provides stability but also limits the growth potential of the region.

“When you lay out Davis to a venture capitalist, you get a much different reaction than if you were to say Sacramento,” Mr. Broome explained.  “Sacramento is viewed as a government town in Silicon Valley, but Davis and UC Davis is viewed as an untapped resource.”

“I like to refer to Davis as the front door to the Silicon Valley for the region,” he said.  Davis, he explained, helps to pull other communities along in the minds of Silicon Valley investors.

The Davis workforce is regional.

“29 percent of Davis residents work in Davis,” he explained.  While we have pointed to the high number of people commuting in and out of Davis, as it turns out, that number is the highest in the region.

He noted only 17 percent of Roseville resident work in Roseville.  Even with that number, Davis is still getting 71 percent of our jobs in other communities – pointing to the interdependence and inconnectivity of the region.

The numbers show ten percent of Davis residents work in Sacramento, 8 percent in Woodland, 3 percent in West Sacramento, and 2.8 percent in Vacaville.

“When communities get parochial over jobs and investment,” he said.  “It’s really an inertia.  It throws sand in the wheels when in fact, they’re all sharing the same success story.”

“It’s really important to have that cooperation, because no one community can host its economy,” he said.

Economic development, he explained, “if you do it right, it’s a profitable proposition.”

2050 is a key year.  By 2050, the world’s population is expected to be 9.1 billion.  Food production, therefore needs to increase by 70 percent between 2005 and 2050 to keep up.  He said, changes in temperature and precipitation threaten agricultural productivity and the capacity to feed the world’s population.

Davis has the ability to help solve the world’s food security, farming and climate change problems.

Mr. Broome noted that UC Davis has been planning a research park since 1994.  There are 174 universities that have research parks and UC Davis is still not one of them.

“It’s a bit of a frustration that we haven’t been able to figure out how to take this research park forward between the city and between the university,” he said.  He noted that even though Woodland is doing their own park, “they’re not going to really capture innovation – that’s eight miles away.”

“Innovation has to be within 200 yards,” he said.  “If you look at these successful research parks… the exchange between industry, commercial technology and important solutions like how do we feed the world in 2050, that is a point blank range relationship between the industries that are trying to solve the problems, the faculty that are developing contemporary research and the students that are being trained to go into the industry and solve that problem.”

He explained that you need to have a triangle between the industry, the students, and the researchers building the technology models.

“If you don’t set the stage for them to interface closely together, it basically thwarts innovation and it hurts the ability to achieve this,” he said.  “UC Davis has the opportunity to be among the most impactful universities on climate change, farming, food security.”

Davis is a community that doesn’t want to be impacted by growth and development.  Barry Brown said that we need to do, “is empower ideas that match the values of the residents of Davis.”

He suggested that we look toward proven models of success and points to the University of Wisconsin Madison as a key comparison point.

He noted that both UC Davis and Wisconsin have Ag, Engineering, Vet and Med on the same campuses, they are the only two west of the Mississippi with all four.  The faculty is resistant to this comparison because academically and scholarly, UC Davis has a much higher standing.

But Mr. Broome suggested that we look at economic impact instead.

Wisconsin  has a $1.16 billion R&D budget (6th in the US) compared to $742 million, 27th in the US for UC Davis.  Wisconsin has created nearly 200,000 private sector jobs compared to just 72,000 for UC Davis.  They have a $2.7 billion endowment compared to $1.1 billion for UC Davis and a $15 billion annual economic impact, compared to $8.1 billion for UC Davis.

“Not nearly as attractive as California and not nearly as attractive as our region,” he said.  He sees this an “incredible missed opportunity.”

The Research Triangle Park is another comparison point.  Here he compares Duke, UNC and NC State to UC Davis, Sac State and UC Berkeley.

“I think we need to think more about capturing Berkeley, they’re 60 minutes away, there’s Berkeley graduates all over this community,” he said.

Barry Broome noted that “the number one goal of a UC Davis graduate is to stay in this community.  That used to be like ten percent nine years ago.  That’s now in the high 40s.  If you ask a UC Davis graduate where you want, they say, I want to be here.”

“When we don’t produce economic outcomes, we lose our college graduates,” he said.  “We’re actually last in capturing our college graduates, which goes back to that economic model.  Tradable sectors suffer.  Innovation suffers.  Inclusion suffers.”

Research Triangle Park is famous across the world from an asset standpoint.  “If we capture Berkeley, not even in our league.”  The numbers show $296 million in R&D investment compared to $134 million for UC Davis- Berkeley.  $12.9 billion combined endowment compared to $5.45 billion.

The question is how do you take Davis 2050.  He noted, “There’s a lot of talk about Aggie Square.”  He sees Aggie Square more about biomedical research and novel therapies.

“This is the community that’s going to host the technology and ideas that are going to help us with climate change, food and agriculture, new energy policies and things like that,” Mr. Broome said calling them “very complementary developments.”

Later in responding to a question about the importance of Davis hosting an innovation center.  He said, “You can always manage economic prosperity if you do it right.”

Barry Broome explained, “I would love to see the city of Davis have a global reputation as a city and a community.  We have a great reputation inside California, but I would like to see that resonate nationally.”

He added, “It’s always good to build a tax base” and he said you don’t need to build a Wal-Mart to build a tax base.  “What people don’t realize is that two-thirds of the tax base is the disposable income of the people in your community.”

“Even if you took 500,000 square feet, which would not change the whole eco-system here or one million square feet of really sophisticated innovation labs which we could get done.  We could put 2000 or 3000 really elite jobs there, collect the income, not impact your bikes, not impact your greenspace, not impact your housing…”

“In my opinion these companies will succeed more successfully in their mission if they have better infrastructure in the city of Davis.” He said, “I don’t think they can do that by hopscotching into Woodland.”

He explained that the first step out the door, the 500,000 to 1 million square feet, “you have to create this experience within a stone’s throw of the university research labs.”

—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. John D

    Kudos to our City Council for recognizing the significance of this conversation and its untapped potential to further goals of both the community and the university.

    Special thanks to Mr. Broome and the leaders of GSEC for the candor of his presentation and the clarity and optimism of the underlying message.

    1. David Greenwald

      What he suggested – and I didn’t put it in there – was the location of the initial 500K to 1 million park was located near Mondavi ideally and then the secondary ones being URP and MRIC.

      1. Don Shor

        “Near Mondavi” means it would have to be on campus.

        He explained that the first step out the door, the 500,000 to 1 million square feet, “you have to create this experience within a stone’s throw of the university research labs.”

        1,000,000 square feet = 23 acres.

        1. David Greenwald

          Probably more, as the 200 acre site is envisioned as about 2.4 million square feet.  He acknowledged it wasn’t realistic (which is why I didn’t print it), but that illustrates the concept that in his view, the mesh point is close in – Davis not Woodland.

  2. Ron

    “29 percent of Davis residents work in Davis,” he explained.  While we have pointed to the high number of people commuting in and out of Davis, as it turns out, that number is the highest in the region.

    Except for this, apparently:

    “He noted only 17 percent of Roseville resident work in Roseville.”


      1. Ron

        What that means is that Roseville has a significantly higher percentage of outbound commuters.  (83%, to be precise.)

        Yes, I see that this is what was meant. (The wording confused me, initially. Especially given the tone of the article.)

        1. David Greenwald

          Everywhere in the region has considerably more outbound commuters – probably because of the university’s presence in Davis. Even so, 71 percent is still very high and not environmentally ideal.

        2. Ron

          Davis already has a net inflow of commuters, due to UCD.  Adding more commercial development will increase this imbalance, whether or not housing is included.

          Adding housing would also increase the number of outbound commuters.

          I commuted to Sacramento from Davis for years, using fully-subsidized public transportation. So did many of my neighbors.

          Compared to my co-workers, I had one of the easiest and most environmentally-friendly commutes.

        3. Jim Hoch

          I would suggest that Davis has a higher number of home based workers, like me. We also have a high number of students who are not employed at all so that would skew the results if not accounted for.

        4. Alan Miller

          Everywhere in the region has considerably more outbound commuters

          Maybe it’s because people don’t want to ruin their weekend by running into someone from the office.

  3. Ron

    Let’s be honest, here.  Davis doesn’t need more jobs, nor does it need to enhance its reputation.

    As usual, this is all about money.  And, if housing is included, then service costs increase as well.

    1. Ron

      As a straight-out reporting of what was said, I see no problem with it.  It certainly coincides with your views (as well as past and future articles that you’ll write).

      If I was reporting on it, I’d probably try to find out how he was invited (or otherwise chose to appear), along with more background regarding exactly what his function is.

      Ultimately, I don’t see this as a particularly important article. It is not an analysis.

    2. David Greenwald

      I don’t know exactly who invited him, but he is a big deal.  Greater Sacramento is the regional economic development agency, you can google Barry Broome and find him very prominent in regional circles.  To me it suggests along with a host of other factors that Economic Development is going to be a much more prominent issue than it was the previous two years following the demise of the innovation center proposals.

    3. Ron

      Actually, how does one get 40 minutes to speak?  (Other than on the Vanguard.)  😉

      I hope that any economic development is objectively analyzed (and isn’t simply assumed to be positive, for the city). There seems to be a blind mantra developing, regarding this topic.

      Ultimately, the only way that economic development directly contributes to city coffers is through property taxes (which are hopefully greater than the increased costs to the city). And, the city only gets a portion of those taxes, to begin with.

    4. Rik Keller

      David Greenwald said “Greater Sacramento is the regional economic development agency,”.

      No they aren’t. The Greater Sacramento Economic Council is just a private business funded by other private businesses. They’re a mouthpiece for large company CEOs. 

      It’s no surprise that big money supports big money. Look at what Broome said about Katehi three years ago (from the Bee):

      “In a statement issued Friday Broome said, “Chancellor Katehi has been and continues to be a dedicated leader and a valuable partner within the Greater Sacramento community. It’s common practice for university presidents to serve on corporate boards. I’m surprised that something so prevalent among university leadership has generated this reaction.”

  4. PhilColeman

    Several reactions and feelings pop up after reading this column. Perhaps the most notable is this Barry Broome fellow sure has his act together. Personally, being only casually engaged in talk of economic growth for our community, Mr. Broome brought forth points I’ve never heard said before. He gave a strategic long-range blueprint for the Davis economy that is very intriguing. And Broome implied that Woodland is stealing our lunch money.

    If anybody is aware of the motivation for Mr. Broome’s appearance before the Council, please share. Broome is at least somewhat motivated by personal and professional self-interest–and that’s fine. He correctly said economic growth for the region benefits everybody in that region.

    The last observation to note is that there is an embarrassing question some folks will ask. Among the numerous economic interests in Davis, the Council, the County and City Chamber, the DDBA, how come we have to hear this from Sacramento instead of you?

    1. David Greenwald

      His motivation is that his organization is an economic development organization, Davis is part of it, and Rochelle Swanson serves on their board (not sure if that should be present or past tense).

      On your last point – it’s a message that’s been delivered at various times locally too. Rob White probably most prolifically. Rochelle Swanson as well. The new Chamber CEO introduced herself last night, she has a background in economic development. To me this was a reminder that economic development is still on the table and Davis still has a prominent role to play.

    2. Jeff M

      how come we have to hear this from Sacramento instead of you?

      First a disclosure that his predecessor sits on my board of directors.  She is a Davis resident and has been for years.  Her kids attended Davis schools.  She retired to other endeavors.  She was a board member when she previously headed SACTO.

      …and she and I asked this question over and over and over again.

      The answer is a lack of qualified leadership in Davis combined with the elite science resistance.

      Davis is under-represented in business leadership, and over-represented in non-business science and government-policy/worker brains that lack understanding and sophistication for these topics… yet for some reason they have convinced themselves that they got it, and also, I think, they think the business stuff is sophomoric, chaotic, and subordinate to their marvelousness.   They dabble in the subject matter… but I think in their dinosaur brains they recognize their insecurity in knowledge and hence resist growth in the thing that causes them this discomfort.   Think about it… we would have had commercial space at NISHI #1 that would have satisfied this 200 yards recommendation and yet the science resistance came at it with an absurd toxic air claim.  The other blocking mechanism is the scientific theories of man-made global warming, and also the intellectually dishonest meme of disappearing farm land… and perpetually granular alarms about destruction of natural habitat.

      It is science against the economy.

      Unfortunately these science people lack the complete understanding of where the funds come from to pay for their salaries, pensions and research.   Maybe they know of a type of tree that grows money and have been hording the knowledge and cash.

      1. Richard McCann

        Jeff M,

        Whoa, I didn’t realize that you were so anti-science! I assume that you are a creationist who doesn’t believe in evolution and you think that cell phones run on magic, because that’s the only way that you can be so dismissive of the scientific work that underlies all of those findings and projections. Even if you don’t accept that climate change is human-caused and inertially inevitable, you have to be foolish to bet against Pascal’s Wager and deny that there is any risk. If on the other hand you are rational and you accept that there is risk, the potential catastrophic consequences must lead you to taking the same actions as you would if you were certain of the outcome.

        As usual, your broad characterizations are off base (and you got the opposition to Nishi 1.0 and 2.0 mixed up–air quality came up the second time–Nishi 1.0 lost on fiscal impacts and traffic–not exactly “scientific” issues). Again, you’re not John Galt ready to step in and save Davis with your singular business acumen.

        I have been disappointed in the inability to bring a functional research park to Davis, but I see the problem more from the lack of support from UCD. There needs to be a strong “town and gown” coalition that highlights the strengths of such a facility rather than having just the city carry the promotional burdens.

        1. Jeff M

          Whoa, I didn’t realize that you were so anti-science!

          Nope.  I am anti politicization of science.  I am any science playing outside their scientific lane.  I am anti anti business.  I am anti NIMBY.   I am anti hypocrisy.  I am also anti intellectual dishonesty… especially that demonstrated in the name of science.  I am anti folks like you that come across as all knowing about all things they clearly don’t understand.   You should ask more questions… you are clearly still in development mode.

        2. Richard McCann

          Jeff M, your proclamations were anti-science, not anti politicization. Each of those items you listed are backed by significant scientific research. Not all of them are necessarily correct (and as part of science, findings are often reviewed and altered) but the preponderance of the evidence weighs in favor of those general findings as of now. Now, you may have a problem with proposed policy responses to those scientific findings, but you have provided NO evidence (and cannot) to refute those findings, as inconvenient as they are to your general position that no one should be held responsible for harming someone else unless that other person hold clear individual property rights.

  5. Ron

    Strange, how there’s so little concern about the conversion of existing commercial sites for residential usage.  (“Wrong” location, size, shape, whatever.)

    Like Goldilocks, the only one that’s “just right” happens to be on prime farmland, outside of city limits.  And, will include housing, because the theoretical workers are demanding it – according to the developers.

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron, my personal opinion is that the issue with the current sites in the City is critical mass.  None of those sites (with the exception of the dream of the PGE yard) have sufficient size to leap over the “critical mass” threshold.  Some of the existing sites are along Second Street, and as such are part of an existing critical mass, but the majority of the sites are not.  That was the drawback to the Families First site, and is the drawback to the Chiles Road site.  Even along Second Street you need look no further than the challenge FMC-Schilling faces in its long-term plans.  There simply isn’t any room for expansion of their existing facility.

      1. Ron

        Matt:  Some of those sites were pretty large (6-7 acres).  I’m not sure that there’s many that need 200 acres.  And, if there are, they’d likely leave Davis, regardless. Other locations are going to be cheaper, and easier to deal with. Other cities (which don’t have a UC) “salivate” over this kind of thing. (Reminds me of the race-to-the-bottom, with Amazon.)

        I understand that (from a developer’s point of view) potential commercial markets and locations are examined regionally, not necessarily by city.

        1. David Greenwald

          You saw what happened when the Chiles site attempted to do what you seem to be suggesting – it didn’t work. They even brought Barry in to help them, it wasn’t for lack of effort.

        2. Ron

          David: If true, I’d say that this speaks to lack of market demand for commercial development space. (Ultimately, the same reason that the innovation center proposals failed – combined with the greater profitability of housing development, for developers at least.)

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron, for a single company 6-7 acres is more often than not a sufficient parcel size.  For example the current DMG Mori footprint is probably that size.  FMC Schilling is also pretty close that size.  Recology is a bit smaller.  But there is very little room, if any, for those companies to expand their businesses.  FMC Schilling was clear that its preference was for 40 acres for their new footprint.

          But those parcels only work if the company’s business operations are concise.  The building/labs footprint for HM.Clause on South Mace Blvd is pretty close to that size, but it is immediately contiguous to their research fields. PG&E’s operations on Second Street cover 25 acres.  FMC Schilling was very clear in the MRIC discussions that it was looking to occupy 40 acres of the MRIC campus.  When Monsanto consolidated its disparate Yolo County facilities (including its Fifth Street facility in Davis) at the centralized location in Woodland, the facility footprint became more than 6-7 acres, and like HM.Clause, Monsanto has additional research fields that expand the 6-7 acres substantially.

          Each of the above examples do not accommodate the “synergy” desire that many companies prefer to have … as described by other posters in this thread.

          Bottom-line, it isn’t just the quantity of supply, but also the quality of supply with respect to commercially zoned parcels in Davis.

        4. Ron

          Matt:  If existing companies are looking for more space, than it seems that their existing space may go unoccupied.  It defies logic that there’s no demand for mid-sized parcels, and that the only demand is for larger ones.

          Regarding “synergy”, I’m skeptical.  There is no location within Davis that’s truly isolated from any other.  There’s large amounts of undeveloped commercial property in Davis (projected to satisfy market demand for the next 40-65 years, according to EPS – as discussed in the historical analysis for 3820 Chiles Road).

          If there was truly a market demand for innovation centers (which are really just business parks), they would have popped up all over the region, by now.  If anything, the MRIC site is more isolated from existing businesses (and UCD, itself) than anything else near Davis.

          All innovation center sites/proposals have failed, with 2-3 converted entirely to housing.  (Nishi, WDAAC, and the Cannery).  Some try to blame Measure R for that, even though housing is supposedly more difficult to win approval for.

          And again, I understand that commercial markets are looked at from a regional point of view, not necessarily by city. And, those other cities are likely more desperate for jobs, and willing to “make a deal”. (For one thing, I don’t believe they have the same mitigation requirements.)

        5. Mark West

          There is another aspect that is missing in this discussion…the inventory of commercial land in town is not just sitting there waiting to be ‘homesteaded,’ it is currently owned by some private entity. Companies looking to develop must first find a willing seller (or potential partner). Many of the parcels in town are undeveloped simply because their owners are unwilling to sell at a price that is feasible for the proposed project. Measure R exacerbates this issue as it restricts the available inventory of land, thus driving up the price further.

    2. Richard McCann

      Last year, I wrote an article here that summarized a journal article that the cost of assembling a number of small parcels into a larger one sufficient for a research park would add 15% to 40% to land cost of development. That would wipe out most of the expected returns to an investor. So those commercial sites are more viable as smaller residential parcels.


      1. Ron

        Yes, Richard.  We all know that the only businesses that are viable are the ones located in a sprawling, peripheral development (which will also include housing).

        I sure hope that there will be an objective analysis which compares the portion of property taxes that the city would receive, vs. the extra costs for serving such a development.

        Let’s see a proposal arise that wouldn’t include housing – just to test the theory that there’s actual demand.

        1. Richard McCann


          I didn’t say that, so don’t be so sarcastic at trying to put words in my mouth with a gross generalization that I didn’t say or imply.

          I said that it is much more expensive to collect the parcels closer to the core of the city needed to build a larger innovation center of 200 acres than it is to build a series of smaller residential developments across the same acreage of disparate parcels. Smaller commercial developments may go on those parcels as well, but they won’t be part of a viable innovation park.

          As for the economic contribution of such a park to the city’s fiscal health, it goes well beyond just property tax revenues. There are also other direct revenue sources, as well as the other taxes generated from the new ancillary economic activity.

          Under your operating premise in your comments, EVERY business in town is a fiscal money loser, so we should close ALL of them down. And since residential also is a money loser, we should force EVERYONE to move out of town. It’s just damn surprising that ANY city can function in your view of the fiscal world!

  6. Matt Williams

    “29 percent of Davis residents work in Davis,” he explained.  While we have pointed to the high number of people commuting in and out of Davis, as it turns out, that number is the highest in the region.

    The numbers show ten percent of Davis residents work in Sacramento, 8 percent in Woodland, 3 percent in West Sacramento, and 2.8 percent in Vacaville.


    The really interesting thing about the jobs numbers Mr. Broome shared is what he didn’t discuss. He was only talking about half of the jobs.  Why was that?  What does the other half tell us?

    Jobs in Davis = 29%
    Jobs in Sacramento = 10%
    Jobs in Woodland = 8%
    Jobs in West Sacramento = 3%
    Jobs in Vacaville = 2.8%

    When you add those five numbers up you get 52.8%, which means

    Jobs not in Davis, Sac, Woodland, West Sac or Vacaville = 47.2%


        1. Jim Hoch

          Source? I am working from the quote which says “29 percent of Davis residents work in Davis,” Therefore the universe is adult residents. Do you have something different?

          1. David Greenwald

            I wouldn’t assume that’s the case. He didn’t define it, but I took it to mean of those working, not of all residents.

        2. Matt Williams

          Good point.  It would probably be useful if Mr. Broome clarified whether he is referring to all residents, adult residents or working residents.  it would be meaningful to know  whether Broome’s stats include residents who are DJUSD-age or younger.

          All of which bring me full circle back to my original comment, “The really interesting thing about the jobs numbers Mr. Broome shared is what he didn’t discuss.”


        3. John D


          A detailed demographic employment profile – similar to those produced annually by Metro Portland and other model cities referenced in the Davis Visioning seminars that lead up to the DPAC – was requested prior to DPAC’s launch and again during its early stages.

          To date, I don’t believe any statistics have been compiled.

          There is a lot of new data from the work done by BAE and Joe Minnicozzi’s firm – all of which is illuminating for anyone interested in taking the time to review.  But the city – as an entity – remains in the dark concerning its current status as a well-paying, technology employment hub.    Seems there is very little curiosity or appreciation as to why this information might be relevant to the conversation at hand.

    1. Rik Keller

      Interestingly the “cleanup” involved deleting Greenwald’s giant blunder that the Greater Sacramento Economic Council is “the economic development agency” for the region, when in reality it is a private company that gets 80% of its funding from a collection of about 40 large companies in the region (the remaining 20% from about 20 city and county jurisdictions) . It is a marketing mouthpiece for these companies; really, just a regional Chamber of Commerce-type entity.

      It is also interesting that the Davis City Council is perfectly comfortable providing this CEO 40 minutes to talk, but does not do the same for representatives to discuss the needs of the 50% of Davis workers who make under $40,000 annually (old stats in the City’s General Plan).

      [Moderator: the comment went because it was in reply to another comment and gets deleted automatically.]

        1. Rik Keller

          David: you called them the economic development agency for the region. There is no sense of that that is remotely accurate. A small portion of their budget is from marketing funds from local governments, while the vast majority are from a small number of giant money interests. They are they mouthpiece for giant corporate interests.

  7. John D

    Perhaps Mr. Broome’s most thought provoking comment:

     “You can always manage economic prosperity if you do it right.”

    I would posit this as the sentiment most lacking in discussion of this critically important issue.

    Fundamentally, the community has lost its confidence and capacity to discuss this proposition.

    The notion that such a proposition might be problematic is the biggest hurdle facing the community.




    1. Howard P

       “You can always manage economic prosperity if you do it right.”

      You can always manage climate and weather, and results of a poker game…  if you do it right…

      Whose economic prosperity?  All?  Select few?  Any suggestions from the person quoted as to how we can reach “utopia”? The quote is a throw-away bromide… “a trite and unoriginal idea or remark, typically intended to soothe or placate. “feel-good bromides create the illusion of problem solving””

    2. Matt Williams

      John, while I agree with Mr. Broome’s comment, I believe the issue here is Davis is even more fundamental . . . specifically that there is no clear agreement within the community about whether economic prosperity is desirable.

      That goes back to a comment I made in the week before Thanksgiving.  Davis as a community has long seen its identity as “a University town” and its economic prosperity was driven by the prosperity (economic and otherwise) of UCD.  For a substantial proportion of the community, that was all the economic prosperity that was needed. It was somewhat like a Ponzi Scheme, in that as long as UCD and the community continued to grow at the same proportional rate, the economic prosperity was sufficient to “pay the bills.”

      But times change, and for many in the community, UCD’s prosperity grew to be  unwieldy/detrimental.  As a result, the community growth rate dropped off and the Ponzi Scheme no longer was self-sustaining.

      As Sharla C said on 11/17 “no one seems to have a clear vision of how Davis should grow.”  I would take her comment a step further.  I personally don’t believe that there is a clear vision of either what Davis is, or what it will be.  Some want to hold on to the illusion that nothing has changed.  Others are willing to hold onto the University Town identity and deal with the collapse of the Ponzi Scheme by paying the additional taxes needed to cover the costs of the City’s services to which they have become accustomed. The trajectory of that second alternative is (A) a community that is more and more expensive to live in, and (B) an ever-shrinking number of students in the local school system.

      The challenge for Davis is to (in the words of James and Deborah Fallows) give its citizens “a sense of how today’s efforts are connected to what happened yesterday and what they hope for tomorrow.”

      1. David Greenwald

        “there is no clear agreement within the community about whether economic prosperity is desirable.”

        That is largely correct. Look no further than Ron’s comment questioning whether we need to add jobs.

      2. Rik Keller

        Matt Williams stated: “But times change, and for many in the community, UCD’s prosperity grew to be  unwieldy/detrimental.  As a result, the community growth rate dropped off and the Ponzi Scheme no longer was self-sustaining.”

        I disagree partly. What happened is that Davis has continued to grow at about the same rate as the surrounding greater Sacramento region and California as a whole (about 0.5% housing growth annually in recent years), while UC Davis has had a massive acceleration in enrollment growth. This has increased UC Davis’ prosperity greatly while they have not taken responsibility for meeting their fair-share obligations for this growth by, for example, providing adequate housing on campus.

        1. Matt Williams

          Rik Keller said . . . “What happened is that Davis has continued to grow at about the same rate as the surrounding greater Sacramento region and California as a whole (about 0.5% housing growth annually in recent years), while UC Davis has had a massive acceleration in enrollment growth”

          Rik, as shown in the table below, from 1970 through 2000 Davis consistently grew at a rate that was higher than both the State of California and the Nation as a whole, with population change over that 30-year period of 257%, 170% and 138% respectively.

          During the same 30-year period UCD enrollment grew pretty much in lock step with the City for the first 20 years, with a dip in the final 10 years.  The overall UCD enrollment change for the 30-year period was 194%.  That calculates to a compound annual growth rate of 2.23%. From 2000 thru 2017 UCD’s compound annual enrollment growth rate was 2.45% … essentially a continuation of the historical trend.

          Looking at City of Davis over the same period, the compound annual population growth rate from 1970 through 2000 was 3.20%.  From 2000 through 2017 the City’s compound annual population growth rate dropped to 0.80%.

          During those same two periods the State of California grew at compound annual population growth rates of 1.78% and 0.92% respectively, and the Nation grew at compound annual population growth rates of 1.09% and 0.87% respectively.

          Bottom-line, Davis grew substantially faster than the State and the Nation from 1970 through 2000, and grew at a slightly faster rate than UCD from 1970 through 2000. Then from 2000 to 2017 Davis growth plunged, while UCD growth continued at its historical levels.

        2. Rik Keller

          Matt: I believe I produced that table you posted, so I am familiar with the data. You aren’t interpreting it entirely accurately.

          For example in the last (almost) 40 years, Davis had a population growth rate almost identical to California for 3 out of the 4 decades. Davis growing faster than California is an anomaly that only happened during one decade out of the 4 (1990-2000).

          On the other hand, UC Davis enrollment has skyrocketed past the city and the state’s growth rates in the past two decades, just as I described earlier.

        3. Matt Williams

          Rik, you are absolutely correct, the data table was created by you.

          With that said, both the 2000-2010 period and the 2010-2017 period show California growing more than Davis, which is wholly consistent with the point I was making.  Also the 1970-2000 period shows Davis growing substantially more than California … at almost double (179% to be exact) the compound annual growth rate (3.20% for Davis and 1.78% for the State).

          Two things happened in the 2000 to 2010 decade (1) the collapse of the housing bubble, and (2) the passage of Measure J.  Compared to California-statewide, factor (1) affected housing prices, housing availability and proportion of foreclosures in Davis very little, but the overall lending atmosphere certainly suppressed new residential construction (both SFRs and Multi-Family).  Factor (2) did not affect California, only Davis, but the combination of both those factors produced the four-fold drop in Davis (3.2% to 0.8%), while factor (1) produced a two-fold drop at the state level (1.78% to 0.92%).

          UCD enrollment was not affected by either factor (1) or factor (2), and as a result its historical annual growth rate of 2.23% continued on its historical trajectory, rising a modest 10% to 2.45%.  There simply has not been any “skyrocketing” of UCD enrollment growth.  To put that change in everyday life terms, would you consider an increase in your car’s speed from 50 MPH to 55 MPH to be “skyrocketing.”

          So bottom-line, UCD’s immunity to the effects of factors (1) and (2) meant no change, the State’s vulnerability to factor (1) produced a two-fold drop, and the combined impact of factors (1) and (2) on the City produced a four-fold drop. To put that change in everyday life terms, how would you characterize a decrease in your car’s speed from 50 MPH to 25 MPH?  How about 50 MPH to 13 MPH?

          In closing, UCD did not change . . . the City did.

        4. Rik Keller

          Matt: I did the table but did not invent the data. Your interpretation of the data seems willfully myopic: you are treating Davis as existing in a vacuum, when its growth rates have been almost identical to the larger context of California for 3 out of the 4 last decades. You are acting like population growth in the 1970s is the natural order of things.

          It is perfectly reasonable to say that UC Davis enrollment rates have skyrocketed compared to statewide population growth in the past two decades, and especially in the last 8 years.

          1. David Greenwald

            It is reasonable for you to come to a different conclusion than Matt on the interpretation of the data, but there is no reasonable way to claim he’s treating Davis as though it’s in a vacuum when he situates it within the context of both both California and UC Davis as well as the national economy.

        5. Rik Keller

          David Greenwald: you have often treated Davis as a vacum which is why I put together this table in the first place. Both you and Matt seem to share the similar misguided opinion that Measure R caused a huge plunge in Davis growth rates, when the larger context shows this to be completely false.

          We have a two decade trend of annual growth rates in the U.S. and California below 1%. Davis mirrors that almost exactly. And demographics projections call for more of the same for decades. We aren’t going back to 3-4% or even 1.5-2%. Meanwhile UC Davis enrollment has skyrocketed to more than 3% annually in the past 8 years at almost 4 times the statewide (and Davis) population growth rate. That is the larger context that you seem to want to ignore.

        6. Matt Williams

          Rik Keller said . . . It is perfectly reasonable to say that UC Davis enrollment rates have skyrocketed compared to statewide population growth in the past two decades, and especially in the last 8 years.

          It is equally reasonable to say that City of Davis population change rates have plummeted compared to the continued steady-state, 48 years and counting, enrollment growth trends at UC Davis.

          When looking at two trends relative to one another, one of the first steps is to determine the consistency of the two individual trends.  Have either of those trends changed over time?  When one trend has not changed, and the other trend has substantially changed, there is a very clear message.

          The data is the data.  It speaks for itself.  An individual can choose to ignore the objectivity of the data, and replace it with subjective interpretation/messaging, but the individual needs at least be honest about that choice.

        7. Rik Keller


          You are not being completely  honest if you make the statement as you just did that UC Davis enrollment has been steady state. It has deviated greatly over the years. You are also not being completely honest when you say that the city of Davis has not kept up with campus growth rates only recently without taking into account the context long-term growth trends in the U.S. and California.

        8. Matt Williams

          Well Rik, I will ignore your ad hominem indictment of my honesty and deal solely with the substance of your comment.  You seem to relate to our interchange as a battle rather than an intellectual discussion. I relate to it as the latter.

          As I said to you via e-mail, the  conclusion you have reached is only “straightforward’ if enrollment is actually a function of population.  Is it?  My personal belief is that enrollment is independent of population, in much the same way that automobile sales are independent of population.
          I also believe that from a pure numbers perspective there is no clarity whether spiked to 4x” is really/actually “fell to one quarter.”  When you look at the raw numbers in your table, how do those numbers explain any causality between population and enrollment?

          You seem to believe there is a natural/organic linkage between population trends and enrollment trends,   That  linkage you propose is one that I do not see.  You appear to be saying that university/college/school administrations make enrollment decisions based on total population.  If that is the case, what is your suspicion about the approximate value of the multiplier is between total population in California and total enrollment of California universities/colleges/schools?  Does the multiplier vary from institution to institution?  How does the multiplier seal with out-of-state and out-of-country populations and out-of-state and out-of-country students?

            Is there a magical formula that calculates a specific percentage of the state population for UC enrollment?  I do not believe there is any such formula.  I’m all ears if you have evidence that I am unaware of.

        9. Rik Keller

          Matt, you said (my emphasis) “but the individual needs at least be honest about that choice.”

          My discussion of honesty is merely mirroring your bringing up the phrase.

          And, honestly speaking, you keep trying to bring up strawmen as proxies for what I have actually said.

        10. Richard McCann


          What does this mean:  “increased UC Davis’ prosperity greatly”? UCD does not have an independent “prosperity”–it’s a state government agency with no profits that provides both an educational service and promotion of economic and scientific development that benefits state (and national and global) residents. It does not act independently of state policy and it brings direct prosperity to Davis residents.

          Your premise is simply wrong and has no basis whatsoever, unless you believe that we should withhold education from those who don’t yet have a college degree because their presence in Davis inconveniences you. Given that the UC system is the most effective single institution in this nation in increase economic mobility for less privileged socioeconomic demographic groups (I’ve posted the NY Times articles that show this several times on the Vanguard), it’s ironic that you protest increased UCD enrollment with out accommodating your wishes for continued privileged living in Davis in the segregated neighborhoods that you also decry. You can admit your selfishness and continue to rant on this point, or you can reconsider your position in light of the very research on racial discrimination in this community that you published here.

    3. Rik Keller

      Howard P  highlighted the John D. supplied “You can always manage economic prosperity if you do it right.” comment.

      Clearly Katehi & Broome didn’t always manage economic prosperity the right way…

      “Also showing support for Katehi is Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council.
      In a statement issued Friday Broome said, “Chancellor Katehi has been and continues to be a dedicated leader and a valuable partner within the Greater Sacramento community. It’s common practice for university presidents to serve on corporate boards. I’m surprised that something so prevalent among university leadership has generated this reaction.”… Broome finished his statement by saying of Katehi, “She deserves nothing less than our full support.””

  8. Richard Seyman

    Almost certainly the main reason Davis has the highest number of residents (of any city in the region) actually working “in Davis” is that they count the UC Davis campus as being “in Davis” (although actually it is ADJACENT TO Davis AND this multi-billion dollar enterprise, the second largest employer in the entire Sacramento metro region, does not pay any taxes to the city AND its campus residents, UC undergrads and grads students who live on campus, are, by that very distinction, NOT residents of the city and not able to vote in city elections. SO…. main point, our regional economic reality is a transportation-climate-change disaster.

    Now, to the other, far greater, horrendous falsehood Broome is guilty of passing off as a self-evident truth, UC Davis and any and every other center of technological innovation is NOT going to create the solutions for avoiding the cascading disasters due to climate change– not WITHOUT a radical change in the economics and the political, social and environmental culture of our entire nation. (I will make a further comment with links to the scientific experts upon whom I base this assertion.) Broome is nothing other than one more  advocate for business-as-usual, one more chamber-of-commerce-style boosters, trying to cheerlead people into continued accelerated consumption and continued financial and political investment in free-enterprise, the system more responsible than anything else for creating and maintaining the massive reliance upon fossil fuels and the consequent, disastrous alterations of the biosphere that threaten the entire existence of life on this planet.

    1. Todd Edelman

      Broome said:

      2050 is a key year.  By 2050, the world’s population is expected to be 9.1 billion.  Food production, therefore needs to increase by 70 percent between 2005 and 2050 to keep up.  He said, changes in temperature and precipitation threaten agricultural productivity and the capacity to feed the world’s population.

      Curious if he is factoring in both extreme distribution inefficiency and the related Farm-to-Fork-to-Landfill situation – both of these at a national and global scale. My first response would be that – if he’s not – it’s because improving those things doesn’t really do much for the members of his organization…

    2. Rik Keller

      Richard Seyman said “Broome is nothing other than one more  advocate for business-as-usual, one more chamber-of-commerce-style boosters…” 

      Agreed. Look at who he represents:  some of the the largest companies in the region who ponied up $100,000+  each to his company. It is pretty telling that the event where he was introduced in 2015 was held at the construction site for the Sacramento Kings arena, one of the biggest economic boondoggles ever in the region:

    3. Ron

      One of the “downsides” (regarding a top-level university town) is that they don’t automatically buy into arguments from Chamber-of-Commerce types. (At least, from a developer’s point of view.)

      In the “old days”, Chamber of Commerce visitor sites were good for travel information and coupons.  Other than that, they’re kind of harmful. (One of the reasons that there’s nothing but strip malls between the Bay Area and the Sierra, along I-80.)

      1. Ron

        (And, Highway 50, as well. From Sacramento toward Folsom.)

        Oh, forgot the auto dealerships, along I-80. And the big-rig traffic, if I make the mistake of venturing out there.

        But, maybe it will get better next year. 🙂

      2. Rik Keller

        Ron said: “One of the “downsides” (regarding a top-level university town) is that they don’t automatically buy into arguments from Chamber-of-Commerce types.”

        So true! And some of the nefarious university types even have memories and/or can use the internet!

        Broome’s first actions in the Sacramento area were to cozy up to Kevin Johnson and Linda Katehi. That guy really has an instinct for picking winners! [sarcasm].

        Well, at least he can count on the so-called “The People’s Vanguard of Davis”  to misrepresent the nature of his “agency” and write uncritical puff pieces.

        And at least he didn’t let the door hit him on his way out of Phoenix!

        “At the time he arrived at GPEC, the Phoenix economy was cresting with the housing boom. He leaves as Phoenix and the state as a whole have recovered more slowly from the Great Recession than the nation as a whole. Broome supported the state’s 2011 corporate tax cuts and incentives package intended to make Arizona more enticing for manufacturers.”


        1. David Greenwald

          It’s worth noting he was talking about the development of next generation alternative fueled cars, food technology, medical technology, green technology and the like – oh the humanity.

        2. Rik Keller

          David: He talked about a lot of things in the Phoenix area too. But what he delivered were primarily low-wage jobs in back office call centers located in suburban “business parks”. Oh, and the blackmail/fleecing of the City of Glendale to pony up even more money to support their failing hockey team to the tune of $15 million per year.

        3. David Greenwald

          There are varying opinions as you well know.  The article you posted noted that Broome was credited with bringing more than 260 companies and more than 50,000 jobs to the Phoenix area in his decade there.

          To me focusing on the personality is less important than focusing on some of the key points he raised and the overall policy we need to implement here in Davis. Throwing in attacks against Broome, Kevin Johnson, and Linda Katehi, really don’t move my needle here.

        4. Rik Keller

          David: the article I posted quoted Broome’s own promo material that that’s what he did. You should dig a little deeper, rather than write these naive uncritical puff pieces.

        5. Richard McCann

          Of course Phoenix recovered more slowly from the Great Recession than elsewhere. Along with Las Vegas, its economy was more dependent on the single biggest industry slammed the hardest–residential home building. Both cities were relying heavily on building for newcomers who were going to build for more newcomers. It was a Ponzi scheme destined to collapse. Those two cities were in the deepest holes left by the recession, and they had the shakiest bases to start rebuilding from. Broome cannot be assigned responsibility for the slowness of the recovery in Phoenix based solely on that statistic.

      3. David Greenwald

        One of the upsides of these proposals is that he is talking about the need to “empower ideas that match the values of the residents of Davis.” I became a convert when I visited the PayPal campus near San Jose and realized that it was a perfect match for the values of this community – in fact, their campus looked like it could be an extension to the UC Davis campus.

        1. John D


          Thanks for repeating your story about the Pay Pal campus visit.  It is an important aspect in helping to elevate the conversation and assists with better imagining the possibilities when talking about Davis.

          But I would ask, who within the city is truly ready and willing to support such a premise – i.e. the notion that we might find a pathway to improve/enhance Davis through the process economic growth and development?    It is a far, far different conversation – when talking about a holistic model of a fiscally and culturally sustainable community – from that of the form-based code approach to discussing options for the Downtown.

          Going deeper yet, who would the city engage to help frame, manage and facilitate such a conversation – i.e. a strategic, reality based approach reflective of sentiments recently voiced by a majority of the Planning Commissioners?

          1. David Greenwald

            I think you ask good questions here – John. When you say “who within the city” – are you talking about the city of The City? The Council? The City Staff? or the citizens of Davis? I’ll say this – I see positive signs of movement on this regard. I really wish people would stop fearmongering on this – but that’s probably too much to ask.

        2. John D

          We’re talking here about leadership and advocacy.

          But more importantly, we are really talking about the level of willingness to collaboratively and transparently explore the topic of economic development and “why” such activities should be viewed as critically important to the ongoing health of the community and the university.

          In the past, economic development has primarily been approached from the perspective of a potential income generator to address the city’s $8MM annual operating deficit.   It has not been approached from a holistic standpoint in terms of what it can do – more broadly speaking – as a mechanism to improve the community.  Apart from addressing the obvious cost drivers associated with unfunded compensation related benefits and deferred infrastructure costs – coming back to haunt current budgets – there hasn’t been any concerted exploration of the city’s existing revenue components and the factors affecting community level revenue generation versus a number of other high-performing university communities mentioned by Mr. Broome.

          The Planning Commission, with their 2017 State of the City report seriously tried to provide some comparative background information (for what they deemed as comparable communities) that might have launched this conversation, but sadly no conversation ensued and the opportunity was lost.  This example is one reason I question the appetite and willingness of the community to explore the underlying issues.

          More recently, in connection with existing conditions related to the DPAC reports, requests for basic information concerning City of Davis Commercial Property receipts (a proxy for commercial business employers) and associated Tax Exemptions have not been forthcoming, just as is the case with requests for retail sales taxes generated by on-campus taxable sales and purchases.

          1. David Greenwald

            Part of the problem we have is that there are real challenges to even doing anything. Look at the comments here. We have people questioning whether we really need to add jobs. People questioning the type of jobs or businesses. People who are opposed to growth in general. People who don’t want housing included in any project. Part of the problem is that while Barry Broome singled out Sacramento for over-reliance on government jobs, Davis suffers the same thing. A lot of people here are not impacted by economy or quality of life issues.

            For me, the question has always been how to move forward and focusing on revenue is one path forward that might work in Davis when other avenues may not move the needle as much as you would like.

        3. John D

          Focusing on revenue is a great idea, with my point being that we always start by talking about expenses – not the quality, character or per capita levels of our revenues or lack thereof and what accounts for same.

          Do you support discussion of concerns expressed by the planning commission?
          What about calls for detailed disclosure on commercial property tax receipts and exemptions – similar to what Berkeley includes in its annual reports?
          Compiling and sharing of sales tax leakage resulting from jurisdictional taxation boundaries associated with the UC Davis campus boundaries?  
          How about the introduction of Amazon fulfillment centers on campus and its impact on retail sales for the city of Davis?
          What about Mr. Broome’s refreshing reminder that current UCD students are very interested in landing post graduation employment opportunities in Davis?  We hear ad nauseam about the need for more student housing – housing insecurity – well, what about at least one article covering the student’s view of employment opportunities in their host community?

          Like it or not, all of these issues have direct bearing on the city’s revenue picture – and yet they are literally never discussed.  Larger goals and longer-term aspirations, achievable through coherent, well-conceived and well-executed plans of economic development stand to benefit the entire community as well as our partners at the university and throughout the region.

  9. Rik Keller

    Broome: “Woodland is doing their own park, “they’re not going to really capture innovation – that’s eight miles away.” “Innovation has to be within 200 yards,” he said.

    Also Broome: look at Research Triangle Park in NC as a model.

    Guess what?: RTP is located roughly equidistant from UNC, NC State, and Duke at about 6-10 miles from each. He didn’t explain how innovation manages to happen more than 200 yards away.

    1. Ron

      I don’t think that MRIC proposal is “200 yards” from UCD.  If anything, MRIC would encourage driving right through town, more than the Woodland site.

      Yeah, innovation can only happen in designated centers, and only when there’s both (more) housing and synergy. 🙂

      Thanks for the information regarding the background of this speaker.  A somewhat different picture, than what David provided.

      1. Rik Keller

        Ron: you’re welcome! And I haven’t even yet sketched out the sordid story of the Glendale (now Arizona) Coyotes hockey team and the arena scam/fleecing. These guys just move from town to town with stale ideas revolving around corporate welfare.

        1. Rik Keller

          Alan: well, for one, the city of Glendale was on the verge of selling City Hall and leasing it back in order to pay for the hockey team to stay.

          “It is essentially the same as mortgaging the family home to pay your debts, which in this case is the $50-million the previous Glendale council agreed to pay the NHL in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, to cover part of the Coyotes’ losses and operate Arena.

          Glendale, it turns out, has already depleted its landfill fund ($21 million), sanitation fund ($4 million), and water and sewer fund ($15 million) to pay off past Coyotes subsidies. So to replenish those and raise even more money, the city is now looking at selling City Hall and leasing it back, which will earn it absolutely nothing in the long run, but will get it some quick cash now in exchange for lease payments later.”
          As it ended up, the City just ponied up an additional $15 million per year in arena lease payments until this summer:

      2. David Greenwald

        Ron – the 200 yards comment specifically refers to the first the phase of innovation or “where innovation starts”

        “innovation can only happen in designated centers”

        The EPS report I published on Tuesday is illuminating here: they note with regards to 3820 Chiles: “one reason the site is not viable for office/R&D/Flex development is that it is not located in a larger innovation or research park or district, such as the Interland Research Park (Now University Research Park) or along 2nd Street. The City will be better able to attract new office/R&D/Flex users in available space in these existing or new innovation park/ districts.” “Commercial real estate brokers on the team argued that R&D and office tenants prefer to co-locate with similar uses and with service providers in a “campus” environment. This resonated with UCD’s second reason for leaving the site, its isolation.”

        1. Ron

          In the other article today, I noted that the site at 5th and Pena was converted to semi-residential usage, even though it’s in a commercial zone.  The Families First site (which was zoned as industrial is a very short distance away, as well.  And, has businesses and a post office surrounding it.) Seems like there was sufficient “synergy” at these locations, if commercial demand actually exists. (Plaza 2555 might fall into this category, as well.)

          The report that you’re apparently referring to notes that commercial rents are relatively low in Davis, and the region.  It also notes that the specter of MRIC is influencing requests to rezone from commercial to residential (such as the site at 3820 Chiles Road). I’d call that “counting your chickens, before they’re hatched”.

          All evidence shows that developers want to build housing, not commercial developments.  This includes the 2-3 innovation center sites (Nishi, the Davis Innovation Center, and the Cannery) that have now been converted to housing. Excuses to convert sites to residential are put forth which defy reality and logic, including claims regarding synergy, requests from non-existent employees to build housing, etc.

          1. David Greenwald

            ” It also notes that the specter of MRIC is influencing requests to rezone from commercial to residential (such as the site at 3820 Chiles Road).”

            That’s misstating what it says. The report argues that high tech businesses want to be in a campus like setting rather than as a standalone. That’s also the underlying analysis in the Studio 30 report which found that the dispersed commercial sites were insufficient for the type of needs that we were talking about in 2010 and Barry Broome was talking about now.

            “All evidence shows that developers want to build housing, not commercial developments. ”

            That’s also a misread of what is happening here. Part of what is driving the need for mixed use, is the statement that was made by Dave Nystrom – companies don’t want to move to Davis is their employees will have to have long commutes because they lack housing. That’s why Fulcrum is investing its millions first in housing and then commercial densification.

        2. Ron

          Again, here is what the historical analysis states regarding 3820 Chiles Road:

          “In addition to tying up millions in infrastructure, this exacerbates risk by making the project vulnerable to any new, larger research park approved in the interim, like the Mace Ranch Innovation Center”.

          Regarding what developers tell you, I can’t imagine accepting that at face value.  There is plenty of new housing within 6 miles of Davis, with much more to come.  I’m not claiming this is a “good thing”, but it is a reality (and will occur regardless of what Davis does). Also, regardless of what might be built within an innovation center, there’s nothing to prevent new workers from living a few miles away and commuting to their jobs. Nor is there anything preventing occupants of an innovation center from commuting elsewhere.

          However, we’re also entering a period of declining housing sales, which will likely slow the rate of construction everywhere.  And, will put downward pressure on prices.

          Nevertheless, developers want to build housing in Davis because it commands a (relatively) premium sales price.

          If there was truly a demand for a commercial development, that’s exactly what you’d see proposed.  In fact, MRIC was provided with an opportunity to do so, but withdrew their proposal.

          Now, we might see some kind of “deal”, where developers put forth a proposal that includes a sweetheart deal, for some commercial interest (to appeal to the council, and voters). But again, developers’ primary interest remains housing.

        3. Ron

          And, when housing is included, service costs go up.  Costs have to be compared with the (portion) of property taxes that Davis would receive from such a development.

          If such a proposal also includes a large-scale land dedication site for Affordable housing, that would also have to be factored in.  (Affordable housing is exempt from property taxes, but still costs the city money to serve.)

          Perhaps the site (consisting of prime farmland) could simply be left in its current state, forming a logical boundary for the city.  It’s unfortunate that some cannot accept that, and are (once again) looking at sprawl for an answer to whatever concerns that they think such an approach will solve. (Generally from the same people who keep promising that development solves such problems, but which actually digs the hole deeper while devouring prime farmland.) Nothing ever seems to change, for some. As always, it’s all about money (for some).

    2. Richard McCann

      Funny, I didn’t realize that there was another major research university north of us! Maybe Chico State is getting into the act!

      More to the point, of course RTP is located at a compromise distance between 2 of the most prominent research universities in the Southeast. And more importantly, RTP is funded directly by several federal agencies, including the US EPA. I don’t see an outside angel coming here.

      1. Rik Keller

        Yeah, I think that is a very important point: there was (and continues to be) a LOT of government money pumped into RTP for almost 60 years now that made it viable. I’m not sure that the location did it any favors–it just seemed like a weird characterless commuting non-place.  When I was at UNC there certainly didn’t seem to be much integration into campus life (that could have just been the fields I was involved in though).

        This article from a few years ago talks about some of the problems with the “quintessential exurban office park”:

        “In Silicon Valley, a place that likes to think of itself as America’s epicenter of innovation, three tech icons—Facebook, Apple, and Google—are doubling down on suburbanism. The firms are all busily planning expansions into single-use corporate playgrounds. Sure, they’re full of free massages and micro-kitchens, but they’re utterly cut off from the communities around them.

        Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, in North Carolina’s research triangle, America’s quintessential exurban office park is trying to execute a 180 in the opposite direction…Underlying the trouble was a significant change in how corporate research and development works: Companies don’t make the same kinds of long-term investments that they used to, preferring instead to lease space as needed for big projects.”

        1. David Greenwald

          The future of economic development is the coalescence of public-private partnerships – Aggie Square is the confluence of the university with government and the private sector in order to transfer technology from the research labs of a university (funded by both private and government grants) to the private sector.

        2. Rik Keller

          David Greenwald said “the future of economic development is the coalescence of public-private partnerships…”

          You mean like the 70+ years of history post-WWII in Silcon Valley made possible by federal  government-funded weapons and electronic intelligence research? Yeah, it’s the “future”. Nice insight.

          For folks like Broome, how public-private “partnerships” often play out is trying to keep Katehi ensconced in corporate board money, and fleecing cities for sports arena subsidies.


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