Guest Commentary: What Are Davis Residents Saying Against Measure L?

by Rik Keller

The Yes on Measure L/West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) campaign has been saying that opponents of the project are “against seniors” and has been making unsubstantiated claims that the No On WDAAC campaign arguments are “lies” [see:]. In the added context of the Yes on L campaign spending about $250,000 in this election cycle compared to about $7,500 for the opposition (as of reports filed 10/20/2018), this kind of messaging from deep-pocketed special interest groups who stand to make millions from cynical voter manipulation is offensive.

The following is a sampling of some Davis citizen comments against the Measure L/WDAAC project from social media posts that demonstrate that Davis residents are seeing through the blizzard of marketing money and the false charges of the project proponents. To my knowledge, none of these are from anyone working/volunteering on the No On WDAAC campaign, nor were they solicited by the campaign. It is notable that a significant number of the comments were posted on the Yes On L campaign’s own Facebook page posts/adverstisements.

*** “Building this is land used for wealthy sprawl. We end up with a sprawling high income suburb and no improvement in housing costs, especially for the lower income groups. Yes on this is a missed opportunity for affordable housing…. Essentially, we need to do it right because we can’t undo it. It’s there forever. Do we want sprawl that is for wealthy baby boomers and that has unpleasant racial overtones (and that won’t help the current housing market for those most affected) or so we want to pause and make sure that when that land is built on that it contributes to the Davis we want to see long term?”

*** “Measure L is just another “rezone some ag land and make millions” proposal floated by developers and realtors. You can see who’s behind by checking out the campaign contribution reports here:…”

***” There’s a lot not to like about this project (see existing comments) and a common counterpoint is ‘well it’s this project or no housing at all’. I disagree. We could vote this down and get a much better proposal in a year or two (not convinced Nishi v2 is better than v1 but you see my point). Also: it’s significantly harder to turn sprawl into smart development (leaving aside the other issues) then just build with some basic concept of smart density to start with.”

*** “what it comes down to is an attempt to keep Davis a white exclusive community!”

*** “Wealthy seniors move into luxury adult living and rent out their home at extortion rates to students who need to live somewhere while they better their lives, am I understanding this all right?”

*** “What about the student housing crisis or the fact there is in general a housing crisis here. Luxury homes for seniors isn’t the answer change needs to happen but something that can help everyone not the select few.”

***”Double down on the NO on L. I spoke directly with the developer – not no, but, hell no. Not affordable, no guarantees on any of their ‘promises’ besides the discriminatory aspect of this development. Don’t be fooled – do your homework”

“Why do we want mostly urban sprawl single family homes for the purpose of pure growth? Wouldn’t a copy of Rancho Yolo (for example) have been an actual low cost senior housing option? A true Davis success story actually worthy of expanding City limits. Not this one.”

*** “Not for the average Senior, on a budget. For the wealthy only.”

*** “This political cartoon could not be more indicative of what the harsh realty is like to find adequate housing in Davis! NO ON L! This is an insult to all young people trying to make a hard earned living in a place where discriminatory housing is rampant.”

*** “These buyer restrictions are a lawsuit (or, more likely, multiple lawsuits) waiting to happen. The question is how much it is going to cost the City (all of us) when it is named as a co-defendant for approving the project.”

*** [to Jim Provenza and Don Saylor]: “Wow Guys-Dynamic Duo now?

Who profits from the land sale,

What about traffic,

What happened to concerns about Davis earth for Agriculture-

I love my seniors- but this was not well vetted!

Both of you agreeing now- I am surprised.

Good Luck

I am on your side, but this is a mistake.”

*** “I am or soon will be the age L claims they will serve. Not one person in my age range is interested. There is the Village Movement, I will post their link. It’s about aging where you are, neighbors helping neighbors. In an older neighborhood near the Davis Senior Center, I know of 3 people who lived past 100, stayed in their homes, ate at the senior center, had meals on wheels. As I get older I welcome that which is familiar. A friend 15 years younger than I recently moved and said, “moving is hell, never, ever move!”

*** “I would like to see more density, more affordable homes, and more diversity, I’m voting no.”

*** “WDAAC: what a load of crap. There are plenty of infill locations where these types of facilities can be built that aren’t pristine farmland. The fact that all you can do is accuse me of not caring about seniors proves my point. It will take more than Trumpian style attacks to convince anyone to support this project. You have yet to bring up any reason to support this ridiculous measure other than “if you don’t support thus, you are against seniors”…which is, of course, a complete load of crap. Maybe we should pass a measure that holds crooked developers accountable when their products don’t perform as advertised.”

***  “If you can afford to buy a $425/sq ft home, those would start to go up next summer or fall. If you need the affordable housing that they pretend is the centerpiece of this development, that wouldn’t be available for at least 4-5 years, IF anyone decides to fund it. (source: Jason Taormino, via Nextdoor)”

*** [on the Jason Taormino/Yes on L  social media post/photo that “Pocohontas loves seniors”]:  Well, when you use terms like “taking care of our own” and do not follow through on promises to change such language AND THEN hire out of town people of color to advertise for said development (see our cities demographic of homeowners by race) AND THEN represent yourself with a culturally inappropriate costume AND THEN post a picture of said representative in the culturally insensitive costume with the statement “even Pocahontas approves” which has been a racist nickname given to a female senator who is challenging our criminally linked executive in chief, you MIGHT lose my vote. I can’t make this stuff up.

*** [on “Pocahontas”]: “Tone deaf barely begins to describe this…..”

*** [on “Pocahontas”]: “That is wrong on like a gajillion levels.”

*** [on “Pocahontas”]: “I mean…. they have been accused of being racially insensitive… then they do this… at farmers market… at their tent… and then the developer shares it on his own facebook page…. talk about a political tin ear. Yikes.”

*** “The traffic is going to increase on the road to that place and is going to be very dangerous. I’ve been riding my bike out there the last few days and cars are passing almost hit me cars they’re moving me off the road so if you don’t care about people safety then go ahead and vote for L. If you think that safety is of importance maybe you should reconsider.

[WDAAC response]: “Safety? Safety is why we want to put in NEXT to a hospital.”

So when a bicycle rider is run over they have a hospital nearby to try to save their lives…. good idea.”

*** “I weighed both positions. I even signed up to get more info about WDAAC. And, I’m decided. No on L.

Just the name alone “West Davis Active Adult Community” is a major turn off. What were y’all thinking? “Yes Harriet lives in the ‘active’ adult community. George? Oh George is on the slacker side of town.”

Some of the pro L campaign videos were incredibly elitist. In this one, WDAAC featured a guy who had lived here for 68+ years. OK. But, then he breaks into really scary code-speak. “Other projects tended to pull people in from outside the community.” (the horror) “this one won’t dilute the community.” translation: KEEP IT AFFLUENT AND WHITE These houses, if approved, would market today for 550-750+K. In other words, wealthy boomers who don’t want children in their neighborhood. I can’t think of anywhere else in town I would rather not live.

The 55 and over, exclusive “Davis-connected” buyers’ clause in this housing expansion proposal is nothing more than silver turning blue haired, sanitized segregation tryna come off all liberal ‘n sh*t. 90% of a preexistent predominantly white over 55 population base x the wealthy of all populations minus children = a neighborhood that is blindingly white, rich and stagnant where people stop playing together and flowers don’t grow.

When are we going to see real affordable housing options for seniors and families with kids and solo flyers? But, especially seniors who aren’t rich. Asking for a friend.

This town just keeps getting older and paler. And more economically bipolar. No on L.”

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About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Ken A

    When Rik wrote: “what it comes down to is an attempt to keep Davis a white exclusive community!” he added an exclamation point so I’m assuming that he really believes this and I’m hoping he can name the people who he feels were meeting in a smoke-filled room asking “what can we do “to keep Davis a white exclusive community!”  Is it the city council (including Gloria)?, the developers?, the affordable housing supporters? or does Rik feel that everyone who votes yes on L is a racist that thinks the goal of the WDAAC community is “to keep Davis a white exclusive community!”

    P.S. Why no bio on Rik at the bottom of this post?

    1. Rik Keller

      Ken: as the article states, these are direct  quotes from Davis residents. I just compiled them from social media posts. You should be able to find most of them on the Yes and No campaigns’ Facebook pages (except for those that have since been deleted from the Yes On L page).

      I didn’t include my bio because this isn’t about me. If you want my bio you can easily grab it from one of the in-depth articles I have written recently on this site.


      1. David Greenwald

        It is about you in the sense that you chose what to post and what not to post. Just as I choose in my article what to include and what not include. (Not passing judgment on that, just pointing out there is a judgment call).

        1. Rik Keller

          David: I clearly stated that these were quotes from people who are against WDAAC. The words are not mine.

          And yes, this was intended as some anecdotal information to consider after articles two days in a row from you purportedly about the chances of Measure L passing, one of which presented as “analysis” a piece that consisted primarily of series of long quotes from project supporters with a few expository sentences sprinkled throughout.

    2. Keith O

      In my opinion I don’t think Rik realises that this whole race gimmick in order to shoot down WDAAC was a losing angle from the start even though he stills pushes it.  If anything it turned people off.  There are plenty of other reasons why WDAAC is not the project for Davis at this time but racism was not one of them.  He would’ve done much better and people would’ve listened to him more if he had stuck to the core problems of this development instead of going off on this racism tangent.


      1. Eric Gelber

        Keith – It was never about “racism.” It was about the impact of an exclusionary policy that many believe, based on demographics, would perpetuate or exacerbate existing racial disparities. Discussions of diversity may be a turn-off for you; but for others it’s a significant Davis issue worthy of attention.

        1. Eric Gelber

          So is the University Retirement Community discriminatory and racist?

          Good question; although, I’ve addressed this many times. The answer is No. URC is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), that provides a continuum of services for seniors as their needs change, including assisted living and skilled nursing care. Age criteria are justified here. I’m not aware of any restrictions requiring prior connections to Davis.

          WDAAC, on the other hand, is not assisted living. It is not a CCRC. It is for “active adults”–i.e., not for those who need specialized residential services and supports. The only rationale for the age restriction is to exclude (discriminate against) non-seniors–those with disabilities, families with children, etc. The Davis-Based Buyers’ Program would, by its design and impact, disadvantage non-white potential buyers.

          And it is only you (and Keith) who continually use the deliberately inflammatory term “racist.” Try to be honest in describing the issue that has been raised.

          1. Don Shor

            And it is only you (and Keith) who continually use the deliberately inflammatory term “racist.”

            Hard to parse these selected quotes any other way:

            …. sprawl that is for wealthy baby boomers and that has unpleasant racial overtones

            *** “what it comes down to is an attempt to keep Davis a white exclusive community!”

            translation: KEEP IT AFFLUENT AND WHITE

            nothing more than silver turning blue haired, sanitized segregation tryna come off all liberal ‘n sh*t.

            a neighborhood that is blindingly white, rich and stagnant

        2. Jeff M

          Your generally well-tuned logic mind is defective on this topic.

          The “Davis Buyers” program is to ensure that existing housing is vacated/sold as local seniors move to WDAAC… thus making those homes available for ANY PERSON OF ANY RACE, ETHNICITY, GENDER or SEXUAL IDENTITY.  So, it is not discriminatory nor racist…  the project as designed with the policy in fact mitigates discrimination that would result from a higher percentage of non-local seniors (i.e., from the Bay Area) buying and bidding up the costs and preventing the turn-over of existing local housing… which would result in greater barriers for non-seniors to acquire housing in town.

          In other words, the Davis Buyers Program mitigates the very problem you claim it causes.

          And again, you are walking a smoke line on your defense of URC vs WDAAC.  You make the case that one project that is restricted to seniors is discriminatory and yet another is not.   And again, you dive into the granular details of project design and services as your de-facto basis when there are many senior development throughout the country that are as diverse as are the seniors that live in them.

          The bottom line is that if we have projects already built that are restricted to senior housing, then your criticism of WDAAC being discriminatory for the same is bunk.

        3. Eric Gelber

          You make the case that one project that is restricted to seniors is discriminatory and yet another is not.   

          No. They both are “discriminatory” in the sense that they are limited to seniors. The point is that in one case the age restriction is justified–because of the specialized services provided–and in the other case it is not. The WDAAC age restriction is solely for the purpose of exclusion of younger households with similar needs.

          I may be walking a “smoke line” (whatever the heck that means); but, you apparently have smoke in your eyes–unable to see meaningful distinctions even when they are pointed out to you.

        4. Eric Gelber

          Hard to parse these selected quotes any other way:

          Granted. But Facebook-type social media are not where one goes for reasoned discussion. The selected quotes are not representative of the position of those who have raised the issue of the discriminatory impact of the Davis-Based Buyers’ Program in public forums and discussions (including on the Vanguard, for that matter), or in the pending lawsuit. To claim that the opposition to WDAAC has characterized the developers as racist is an unwarranted misrepresentation. I certainly don’t associate myself with those quotes.

        5. Jeff M

          The WDAAC age restriction is solely for the purpose of exclusion of younger households with similar needs.

          No, that is twisting the purpose.  It is an intellectually dishonest claim.

          You can say The WDAAC age restriction is solely for the purpose of allowing the housing development to meet the specific needs of seniors.

          And… The URC age restriction is solely for the purpose of allowing the housing development to meet the specific needs of seniors.


        6. Rik Keller

          Don: you can “parse” all you want, but the comments you quote are addressing the fact that the project would discriminate against racial-ethnic minorities because of its exclusionary provisions. This is well-established by decades of fair housing law. Everybody from the Davis Enterprise to David Greenwald has commented that the project would likely be overwhelmingly white in its demographics, so this is a pretty common conclusion.

          Even the developers themselves have said the project would be illegal because of this issue of demographics.

          [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 FAQsdocument on the City of Davis project website]: “…we all recognize that the legality of discriminating based upon zip code is questionable…”




        7. Jeff M

          You prove my earlier point about your inability (or unwillingness) to see distinctions between situations that are not comparable.

          Eric, you can bend a rope into a pretzel, but it would still be a rope not a pretzel.

    1. Alan Miller

      Graphic courtesy of “Pancakes & Politics”.

      THANKS for not crediting Johnny Pancake & the Gang.

      And why not saying WHO said each quote?  Some are ridiculous, and it would help to know who so you can weed those out.

      And by the way, I’m voting NO on this cluster (because it’s low density sprawl disguised with a hook for the dim of ‘puppies & seniors’ and the developer is as much their own worst enemy as the writer (I’m sorry . . . “COMPILER” . . . ) of this article . the red-face is unbelievable . . . some people hurt their own cause, both sides).

      No one to root for here . . . just voting NO.

      1. Rik Keller

        Alan: you are mistaken. The article uses a No On WDAAC campaign graphic that the Pancakes & Politics guide subsequently borrowed.

        You can easily get on social media and find these quotes. I made a decision not to post  people’s names to avoid personal attacks like the Yes On L campaign has conducted throughout.

        1. Alan Miller

          ¶1 – My apologies, I hadn’t realized it was a borrowed graphic.

          ¶2 – Not sure I understand the logic re: personal attacks.  [and personally I can’t easily find the quotes on social media, as I am not on any social media.]

        2. Rik Keller

          Alan: No worries. The drawing did appear in the Pancake guide that is full of original drawings, so the confusion is understandable.

          You can still see the comments people are making on the Yes and No campaign Facebook pages even without a FB account: the pages are “public”. I made an editorial decision not to publish people’s names.

          I directly copied-and-pasted quotes in most cases. There were some on the Yes On L page that had been deleted or hidden where I had a previous screenshot, so I transcribed those exactly.

  2. Jeff M

    It is so funny to hear my liberal friends complain about the ugly and divisive us-against-them language President Trump uses at his rallies when I see them oppose a development by claiming:

    – Rich developer stealing from us and excluding poor people

    – Racist developer

    – Developer poisoning children

    – Developer murdering Murder Burger

    – Developer destroying farmland

    The REAL funny thing is that they generally type this drivel from the comfort of their home or office made for them by a developer.


  3. Edgar Wai

    That piece of land is next to a hospital. It seems such a waste not to develop it for people who would regularly go to the hospital (i.e. doctors, nurses, people with disabilities, people in long term rehabilitation program). Having a swimming pool would totally make sense.

    Probably one or two higher density buildings there would take care of such needs. If there is a need.

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