Accusations Fly in Precursor to ARC Discussion

Colin Walsh speaks during public comment on Tuesday

They were supposed to be two basic items which were rightly placed on the consent calendar – one which created a council subcommittee to help expedite the processing of the application for the Aggie Research Campus – that would be Dan Carson and Gloria Partida.  The other was set to hire EPS (Economic & Planning Systems, Inc.) to do the fiscal analysis.

But that simple matter was transformed on Tuesday into allegations and finger pointing.

It started during the main public comment.

Colin Walsh said, “It’s unfortunate that these (items) wound up on the consent calendar in the first place.”  He called this project “low information” or “very controlled information.”  He said, “We see in a local blog that they’re slowly leaking information, that they’re bringing people in to write stories about it.

“Where is the city discussion?” he asked.  “There is just no information and this is a terrible way to govern.  We need information.  We need engagement.  Why isn’t this going to commissions?  When is it going to commissions?”

But, as the city pointed out, this is just the start of the process.  The project will go to commissions.  This item simply hires someone to analyze the project.

Mayor Brett Lee attempted to clarify: “What we’re talking about doing tonight is hire someone to analyze the economic and financial aspects about the proposal in addition to appoint someone to work with the staff to be more involved at the beginning of this process to better understand what the project is and isn’t.

“What we were asked to do tonight, on consent, does not seem to be controversial to me at all,” he said.

Dan Carson said, “Even if the council approves it, it goes before the voters who render final judgment…  Ultimately we think it will go to the people.”

Mayor Brett Lee may have declined to characterize the comment by Mr. Walsh, but Will Arnold did not.

“I’m baffled by it (the comments) frankly,” he said.  “Although it does make sense why this is happening.  We already have folks in this community who have decided they don’t like this project.  That’s their prerogative, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.  But one of the pillars of the no on whatever project it is campaign, is to attack the process and say the process is wrong.

“This is a rush job,” he said.  “You hear that at every opposition and you’re hearing it now.”

He said, “What we are approving here today is to study this and to appoint a subcommittee.”

He said as soon as the city got the information they put it out there.  “If that’s not transparency, if that’s not us doing our due diligence I don’t know what is.

“So the reason you’re hearing the criticism right now is because the folks, that have already decided they’re opposed to this, want to say the process was flawed.

“This is a good process,” he added.  “I’m proud to support a good process moving forward.”

The comments by Councilmember Arnold elicited responses during public comment from Roberta Millstein and Colin Walsh, who was a given a second bite at the apple.

Ms. Millstein said, “Yes I’m sorry, Will, there is a reason why we’re here and that was unclear and the response I got (from staff) did not clear it up.”

She said, “I take offense at the remark… I have opinions about the project and I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot about them in the future.”

She referenced the 391 project from 2013 which was placed on the consent calendar and “they tried to push that forward through.”  She said, “Forgive me for being once burned, twice shy.

“I had some friendly remarks here, but that’s what happens.  You bump it up Will and I’m going to bump it too.  Now I’m angry because there is another way to do this.  You didn’t have to first present this project under Item E on the Consent Calendar,” she said.

She said, “I’m sorry.  It looks underhanded.  It really does and it gives me bad déjà vu for what happened with Leland Ranch.

“It didn’t have to happen this way, I’m sorry,” he said.

Colin Walsh shouted that there are over 4000 parking places on this spot.  “How many tens of thousands of additional car trips on Mace Boulevard will this be?”

He asked why this wasn’t going to be analyzed by commissions on the transportation issue.

“Councilmember Arnold, my goodness, we’re talking about process.  The process going forward tonight was it going to be on consent calendar.  Pulling it from consent calendar was already an admission that the process was flawed,” he said.

“If this is the way council is going to approach it,” Mr. Walsh continued.  “If this is the rhetoric that we should expect from the council…”

There were also a number of students who came forward to support the project and argue for the need for good jobs to keep students in the community.

One of the issues that came up during public comment was about why there was mention of a possible need for a revised EIR if this was simply an item about the EPS fiscal analysis of the project.

Mike Webb would explain: “There is a statement of fact of prior actions.  The only action that the council formally took with respect to the prior MRIC [Mace Ranch Innovation Center] application.  We thought it was prudent to reference that action.”

“Moreover,” he said, “(there is) an acknowledgement that we need to evaluate for changed conditions since that EIR was drawn up and certified.”

He said they can’t assume “that that same EIR will go unchanged.”

Councilmember Arnold then apologized for the tone of his rhetoric, noting, “I probably shouldn’t have spoken while I was angry.  But I was angry at being told that this government was hiding something from the citizens when I think these items are doing the exact opposite for this project.

“This is more study, more work with the council that will bring more light to the community,” he said.  “That door of tone swings both ways, I will promise to do better next time.”

Lucas Frerichs added, “There’s never a lack of process in this community.  That’s one of the hallmarks in this community – the engagement and the public process.”

The council then approved both items unanimously and moved on.

—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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95 Comments

  1. Ron Glick

    “Lucas Frerichs added, “There’s never a lack of process in this community.”

    ARC formerly MRIC has been moving forward at a glacial pace since 2014. We are at five years and counting. One EIR has already been completed and a supplemental EIR of one sort or another is anticipated. The one thing that is not in short supply in Davis is process. 

    There is a housing shortage and a commercial space shortage but there is no shortage at all of process.

    1. Bill Marshall

      The one thing that is not in short supply in Davis is process.

      Friendly amendment, Ron, if you accept…

      The things that are not in short supply in Davis are process, rhetoric, and ‘righteous indignation’.

      If not, I say it completely on my own.  Not trying to put words in your mouth.

      For myself, would add disinformation, innuendo, and ‘deflection’ to items that are well-stocked (i.e., not in short supply) in the larder of at least some, as it relates to development issues in the community.

      Citizens have plenty of times to weigh in on the project, and then another chance to weigh in with measure J/R vote.

      The decision to put the items on the consent calendar was technically correct, but politically ill-advised.  Had it been on regular calendar, might have slightly ‘mitigated’ excess rhetoric and righteous indignation.

    2. Rik Keller

      Ron G said we have a “commercial space shortage.”

      Actually, we have the capacity for over 9,500 new jobs on vacant commercially-zoned land within the city. And that’s before we count underutilized properties, properties that could be redeveloped, etc. that enough for several decades of growth.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Rik… a bunch of that vacant commercially zoned land is very unlikely to get the FAR, employment potential, that you use in your math.  Let the disinforation begin! [oh, Rik has shown it already has]

  2. Sharla Cheney

    It sounds like they had their chance to have their say and they used it to complain about the process.  I think people are growing weary of the opposition’s process – attack the process, express outrage, attack the developer, spread distrust, come up with a inflammatory campaign slogan, then, in the end, sue the developer and the City.  I suggest that they find a way to engage in a true dialogue to address their concerns, if they want to participate.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Sharla… with all due respect… “attack the process” occurs more than once in the process… it occurs every time they think they are ‘not getting their way’ at any given step… a sign of zealotry, rather than valid concerns.

      “Weary” would be weak euphemism for my view.

       

    2. Rik Keller

      Sharla: the Council didn’t even set this forth as a discussion item, and you are complaining  about people using their allotted 3 minutes in front of Council to point this out? What sort of “true dialogue” did the Council make possible here?

      1. Sharla Cheney

        That’s correct.  It wasn’t a discussion item.  It was an item to approve a professional services contract for planning services related to the project.  It appears that the speakers either didn’t want this to happen – they didn’t say (hence, lack of relevant dialogue) – or they saw this as an opportunity to launch their now predictable attack on “the process.” Clearly, it was the latter.

      2. Ron Oertel

        Does anyone know if the council had a choice, regarding whether or not to proceed with the study?

        Because it seems to me that the first step would be to determine whether or not this new proposal matches the original intent of the “innovation center” effort.

        And, if the council is skipping this step, perhaps it should be acknowledged in a more forthright manner, rather than simply proceeding with the study.

        1. Sharla Cheney

          They were given an opportunity to speak to the agenda item.  They chose to use this time to complain about process. It was off-topic and disingenuous as there really isn’t a true interest in starting a process anywhere or in any way.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Sharla:  It apparently wasn’t on the agenda.  It was a “consent” item.

          Had it been an agenda item, I likely would have added my voice to those concerned.

          Putting it on the consent calendar (vs. on the agenda) appears to be one of the primary concerns.

          The council is already aware that this is a controversial proposal, which has been significantly changed since its inception (and original purpose).

          I’d suggest that there may not be an interest (on the part of the council) to determine if this proposal is something that Davis should pursue in the first place.

          1. David Greenwald

            ” It apparently wasn’t on the agenda. It was a “consent” item.”

            I believe you are mistaken as to process. A consent item is part of the agenda – it is considered simple and straight forward, but they always have the ability to “pull it off consent” and discuss it, which is what happened on Tuesday night. While I believe the city was in error not to have put a discussion of 391 on the regular agenda for a lot of reasons, putting an approval for a study is appropriate, it’s also appropriate to pull it and discuss which they did. I see no abuse of process.

        3. Sharla Cheney

          Then the speakers should’ve focused their comments on the controversy of the professional services contract, but they didn’t. It is not clear what they wanted.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Sharla:  Perhaps a more complete discussion regarding the difference between an agenda item, vs. a consent item would be helpful for all. (Or would have been, prior to the council making a decision.)

          I can tell you that a primary reason I didn’t attend is because it was a consent item.

          The fact that it was a consent item (vs. an agenda item) seems to be a primary concern in the first place.

  3. Rik Keller

    It’s interesting that the Vanguard took the opportunity here in this article  to back up the attacks by the Council on  people who dared bring up this issue in front of Council.

    Let’s compare to what the Vanguard was saying a couple of days ago:
    “Already we are seeing a complaint about a lack of public process.  In general, I agree with that complaint.”
     
    “Second, there are those who will argue that the city has failed to back up the proposal with professional studies about the need for commercially zoned property, the advantages of innovation center, the need for additional land, etc.There is a point to that criticism as well.“

    “In an ideal world, we would have studies, public engagement and good public process, [but election timelines keep us from having that…]”

  4. Ron Glick

    “In an ideal world, we would have studies, public engagement and good public process, [but election timelines keep us from having that…]”

    Yes, get rid of Measure R.

    1. Rik Keller

      Ron G.: Measure R does not prevent good process. I do agree that it could be strengthened to set forth more strict deadlines for advance public review so that developers don’t try to rush projects though.

  5. Rik Keller

    Two interesting tidbits  buried deep in the article:
    1) Will Arnold admitted that the process was flawed: “Pulling it from consent calendar was already an admission that the process was flawed.” 
    2)  “There were also a number of students who came forward to support the project and argue for the need for good jobs to keep students in the community.” Since this was just initially listed as a consent item for a prelim study, why would this even be on their radar? This smacks of an “astroturf” campaign by the developer. This is reinforced by the fact that the student were holding glossy promo fliers about the project, I would encourage the Vanguard to investigate who was behind coordinating the students to attend..

    1. David Greenwald

      “Councilmember Arnold, my goodness, we’re talking about process.  The process going forward tonight was it going to be on consent calendar.  Pulling it from consent calendar was already an admission that the process was flawed,” he said.

      Colin said that, not Will.

      1. Rik Keller

        Ok, thanks for the correction.

        So the Council did backtrack and pulled the item from the consent calendar? The article does not make this clear. That would seem to indicate that the Council did acknowledge a problem and that the concerns were valid.

        Will you be posting photos and names of the student who were recruited by the developer, just like you did for the College Republicans who spoke in favor of redistricting?

        1. Rik Keller

          Ron O.: meaning my comment? Or one I can’t see because I blocked the person (most likely for a history of insulting comments) or because it got deleted?

        2. Ron Oertel

          Rik:  I’m not sure what you’re referring to, as I don’t see a comment from me in this thread (above).

          I suspect that you’re seeing a different thread, than I am. (Perhaps because you have some commenters blocked.) In any case, I suspect that the comment you’re seeing from me was in response to someone else.

      2. Bill Marshall

        And Colin actually overstepped, lied in that.  Many times items are pulled from the Consent calendar so the public, or a CC member can add supporting info for the item… pulling an item from consent calendar is not an ‘admission’ of anything!

        A routine examination of what Colin said would diagnose that… I think there is a scientific/medical term for such an examination.

  6. Rik Keller

    If it weren’t for strong biases of the author of this article’s, a more reasonable headline could be:

    “Citizens urge open government and good process”

    or if you want a longer version:

    “Council members Arnold and Carson attack community members for urging open government and good process for massive new development. Arnold then recants and apologizes”

    1. Will Arnold

      I did not recant my words and I stand by them. My apology was only insofar as anyone felt personally attacked, and for speaking publicly when angry, which I try not to do as a rule. But I can no longer sit idly by while my personal integrity and the integrity of my colleagues is repeatedly denigrated as part of “politics as usual” in our community. So I will continue to call out that behavior when I see it.
      This will be my only comment here today.

    2. Craig Ross

      Those suggested titles would miss the essence of what happened.  My guess, and it’s only a guess a more reasonable approach by Colin and Roberta, we’d be reading about the district elections instead of this story.  But you’re never going to acknowledge that you guys are your own worst enemies and that’s why you’ve been losing these battles even when they get to the voters.

    3. Ron Oertel

      Seems to me that the comments in the video were pretty tame and reasonable – especially Roberta’s.

      Perhaps the Vanguard should have posted a video of whatever Will Arnold said, which drew a response. Perhaps Dan Carson’s comments, as well (since he was referenced in the video).

      Along with a video of the referenced student, who supports the proposal.

      But, the personal interaction is less important than the issues.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I’m aware that these are available.

          The point being that David’s article “spotlights” the videos that he wants (to support his views), and disregards others.  And, describes them in a rather biased manner.

          Also – note this from Rik, above:

          “Since this was just initially listed as a consent item for a prelim study, why would this even be on their radar? This smacks of an “astroturf” campaign by the developer. This is reinforced by the fact that the student were holding glossy promo fliers about the project, I would encourage the Vanguard to investigate who was behind coordinating the students to attend.”

          And yet, you’re apparently not troubled by this, and focus your attention on those concerned about the proposal, instead. (As usual.)

    4. Richard McCann

      No, a better headline would be “Citizens urge hindering the process by opposing further study and appointments to ensure closer scrutiny.” If Colin and Roberta were really interested in a full process they would have attended the FBC meetings where the consulting RFP was reviewed to ensure that their issues were covered, and then review the analysis done by EPS.  Unfortunately, they are not interested in a true process where other citizens might find out that their positions may not be justified. They’d rather just shut down discussion now.

      1. Ron Oertel

        The earlier EPS analysis analyzed the two “innovation center” proposals together (MRIC – without housing), and Nishi (with a commercial component).

        Without looking at it again, I recall some reference to a synergistic impact, from the two of them together. Which is now irrelevant, since both proposals have changed.

        And, with another “innovation center” proposal in Woodland arising since then, as well.

        Matt could probably weigh in, regarding previous FBC involvement.

        In any case, no one is claiming that the previous EPS analysis is still valid. Not sure why you even brought it up.

        1. Mark West

          “no one is claiming that the previous EPS analysis is still valid. Not sure why you even brought it up.”

          I don’t believe Richard is referring to the previous EPS analysis at all, but rather to the FBC’s discussion of the Request For Proposal for the analysis contract that was agreed to last night (and has yet to be performed). Anyone who wanted to see that their concerns would be addressed in the upcoming analysis might have taken advantage of raising those concerns in advance of the RFP. That is how ‘The Process’ works.

        2. Rik Keller

          Mark West stated: “…the FBC’s discussion of the Request For Proposal for the analysis contract that was agreed to last night (and has yet to be performed). Anyone who wanted to see that their concerns would be addressed in the upcoming analysis might have taken advantage of raising those concerns in advance of the RFP. That is how ‘The Process’ works.”

          Oh really? So you are saying that if someone doesn’t comment in a Commission meeting. It is invalid to later raise concerns in front of the City Council about the process? Is that how “the Process” works in your mind?

          And let’s check in on those Finance & Budget Commission meetings. ARC was scheduled on the July 9th agenda. But the meeting minutes state  [my emphasis]: “ii. Update on the steps and timeline for the processing of the Aggie Research Campus (ARC) reboot of the Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) application. No current update

          And then ARC was also on the Sept 9th agenda, but the meeting minutes don’t even mention it at all. That’s quite a “Process”!

        3. Mark West

          “So you are saying that if someone doesn’t comment in a Commission meeting. It is invalid to later raise concerns in front of the City Council”

          Rik – please show where I said that. Those are your words, not mine.

      2. Rik Keller

        McCann: the minutes of the last two Finance & Budget Commission meetings where ARC was supposed to be discussed (July 9th and Sept 9th) contain no record of any discussion of ARC at all. So, when was it discussed? And how were the citizens that you are criticizing supposed to to “ensure that their issues were covered”?

        1. David Greenwald

          According to my notes, October 14 is when the Finance and Budget Commission is scheduled to hear ARC. We’ll find out in a few days whether it’s on the agenda.

        2. Rik Keller

          Ah, so then with this FBC meeting in the future, part of “The Process” that both Mark West and Richard McCann are getting so incensed that citizens didn’t follow involves using a time machine to attend that FBC meeting in the future before commenting about the process at City Council last night. Or, alternatively, using a time machine in the future after that  FBC meeting to go back in time to comment at the Council meeting last night.

          It is all so clear now!

           

           

        3. Mark West

          “both Mark West and Richard McCann are getting so incensed…”

          I’m not incensed, not even a little peeved. Doubt Richard is either. I suggest you worry about yourself since you clearly have no idea what I am thinking or feeling.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Mark:  Maybe so, but it appears that the point you and Richard made regarding the FBC and RFP is completely invalid. Thanks to Rik (as usual) for researching what actually occurred, or more accurately – did not occur.

          From Rik to Richard: ” . . . the minutes of the last two Finance & Budget Commission meetings where ARC was supposed to be discussed (July 9th and Sept 9th) contain no record of any discussion of ARC at all. So, when was it discussed? And how were the citizens that you are criticizing supposed to to “ensure that their issues were covered”?

        5. Rik Keller

          Mark West:

          Richard McCann stated “If Colin and Roberta were really interested in a full process they would have attended the FBC meetings where the consulting RFP was reviewed to ensure that their issues were covered…They’d rather just shut down discussion now.”

          And then you chimed in that “Anyone who wanted to see that their concerns would be addressed in the upcoming analysis might have taken advantage of raising those concerns in advance of the RFP”

          But as it turns out, the FBC meetings that were supposedly going to have discussion about ARC in July and September did not have it. Pretty difficult to raise concerns there. So. what meetings are you referring to? And why are you both falsely and dishonestly claiming that people who are calling for more openness and discussion are trying to shut it down?

        6. Mark West

          “why are you both falsely and dishonestly claiming that people who are calling for more openness and discussion are trying to shut it down?”

          Once again, Rik, when did I say that? Seems to me, the person who is being dishonest in this discussion is the guy you see in the mirror.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Looks like Richard (not you) said the following:

          “They’d rather just shut down discussion now.”

          You were simply mistaken, regarding the FBC review of the RFP.  (As was Richard.)

          1. David Greenwald

            I would also point out it doesn’t make a lot of sense for FBC to review the project until EPS has its report, unless they reviewed it in advance for scope of work – my comment had no bearing on that, I was simply given a list of upcoming commission meetings, subject to change.

        8. Rik Keller

          OK, Mark, if you insist you are not incensed I believe you. Since you were chiming in with McCann and did not contradict his dishonest and disingenuous statement in that sub-thread about the commenters trying to shut down the discussion, I figured you were on board with that too. So, I’m glad to hear that you haven’t gone down that sordid road.

          So, I guess you are just REALLY CONCERNED with what citizens do with their allotted 3 minutes at City Council–so much so that you would make comment after comment about it, and state that if they REALLY wanted their concerns addressed, they should have attended some previous commission meeting that, for some reason, you have not told us when it actually happened. When DID this meeting happen? And if someone did not attend it, have they proven in your eyes that they really don’t want any of their subsequent concerns addressed?

  7. Ron Oertel

    As a candidate for council, I recall (via this blog) that Will Arnold previously noted that the inclusion of housing would virtually ensure that the proposal would fail.  I took that to mean that he would not support such a proposal.

    In fact, the developer was provided with an opportunity by the council to proceed with a commercial development. However, the developer declined to do so.

    I sincerely appreciate the efforts of those who brought up concerns, to the council.

    1. Ron Oertel

      If the council sticks with its original decision to only allow a commercial development, a divisive battle can be avoided.  (For one thing, the developer would not likely proceed at all, with a commercial development.) However, it appears that the council is quite determined to support this new version of the proposal, and foist yet another political battle onto the city.

      Seems to me that the council has a choice, regarding whether or not to do so. And, they’ve already made their choice.

      1. Craig Ross

        I guess that’s probably true – given that there wouldn’t be a project.

        I think any project is going to draw opposition.  And I think that the folks opposing it are in the decided minority.

        1. Ron Oertel

          There were, and probably are supporters of a commercial development.  At the time, I had (personally) decided not to be involved, if the developer proceeded with a commercial development.

          The lack of developer interest in a commercial development (which was the original purpose of these proposals) indicates a lack of demand.  So does the failure of 2-3 other “innovation center” sites, all of which have been converted entirely to housing.

          And now, the last remaining peripheral innovation center site is also morphing into a housing development.

        2. Bill Marshall

          And I think that the folks opposing it are in the decided minority.

          You nailed that term, Craig… along the lines of “Don’t bother me with facts, my mind is already made up!”

          Whether they are a ‘minority’, time will tell…

          We are dealing with folk who are concerned with one, and only one, thing… no project.  They may raise a host of other “issues”, and question process… but those are diversions.  Reminds me of a battered women’s shelter… neighborhood did not want “those people” anywhere near… but they “couldn’t say that”… so they raised traffic, crime, other “issues”… and as it looked like it would be approved, they then raised “process” issues… am seeing parallels… been there, seen that.

          Legitimate concerns should be reviewed… but some will NEVER be satisfied with such review unless end result is project disapproval.

        3. Craig Ross

          Ron: you are mischaracterizing the project.  The fact that there is ancillary housing doesn’t mean its not still a commercial development.  You are not going to succeed with such a project without housing attached – even your vaunted Woodland project has housing – why?  Housing is a problem across the state.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Housing appears to be the primary motivation, from the developers’ point of view.  I’m not a “fan” of the Woodland development (and its’ more than 2 million square feet of commercial space, and additional 1,600 homes), either.

          Based upon the failure of the 2-3 other innovation center sites in Davis, it appears that developers are not “fans” of the commercial components of their own proposals.

        5. Ron Oertel

          How is it a primary motivation when it’s a small footprint and coming in late in the process?

          Both are subjective statements.

          Again, MRIC was given a green light to proceed as a commercial development years ago.  They have elected not to do so.  As have 2-3 other “innovation center” sites, in Davis.

           

      2. Richard McCann

        “If the council sticks with its original decision to only allow a commercial development, a divisive battle can be avoided.” 

        BS, you know that’s not true. When the MRIC and Nishi were proposed at commercial developments they were opposed in the community. Don’t be disingenuous.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I was there, when the decision to proceed with a commercial development was made.  I (along with another attendee) were not opposed to a commercial development. Perhaps a better-way to put it is that I had decided to not actively oppose it, at that time.

           

  8. Ron Oertel

    From article:  “The council then approved both items unanimously and moved on.”

    Rik:  “So the Council did backtrack and pull the item from the consent calendar?”

    Hoping that David can provide further explanation. Will there now be an opportunity to weigh in, regarding the city council’s decision?

    1. David Greenwald

      The only decision that the council made last night was to go forward with the fiscal analysis. So I’m not sure what your question is about the opportunity to weigh in? About 10 to 12 people spoke last night.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Thanks. So, the decision has already been made.

        If this was an agenda item (instead of a “consent” item), it likely would have generated more input regarding whether or not the city should even proceed with the study at all, at this point.  For one thing, I probably would have attended, and added my voice to those concerned.

        By putting it on the consent calendar, it appeared that the decision had already been made to proceed, and that the council was not interested in any input.

        Here’s what I noted, above:

        ” . . . it seems to me that the first step would be to determine whether or not this new proposal matches the original intent of the “innovation center” effort.

        “And, if the council is skipping this step, perhaps it should be acknowledged in a more forthright manner, rather than simply proceeding with the study.”

        1. Don Shor

          more input regarding whether or not the city should even proceed with the study at all, at this point.

          Why would you not proceed with a fiscal analysis of a project proposal?

        2. Ron Oertel

          Don:  Why even ask the council to make a decision, then?  Why isn’t it automatically-approved?

          Again, isn’t the first step to determine whether or not a proposal matches the city’s original intent? And, as part of that, wouldn’t the city want to receive input from concerned citizens?

          Again, this proposal has significantly changed, since it was first given the green-light by the council to proceed (years ago).

        3. Craig Ross

          Because they are required to approve contracts over a certain amount by law.  It is an automatic approval, that’s why it was on consent.  It’s like people don’t understand how this stuff works and then they complain.  Amazing.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Because they are required to approve contracts over a certain amount by law.  It is an automatic approval, that’s why it was on consent.

          Thanks.  But again, are you stating that the council had no choice, but to approve it?

        5. Ron Oertel

          Quoting myself:  Again, isn’t the first step to determine whether or not a proposal matches the city’s original intent? And, as part of that, wouldn’t the city want to receive input from concerned citizens?

          Again, this proposal has significantly changed, since it was first given the green-light by the council to proceed (years ago).

          Ironically, this is similar to what some opponents of Measure R complain about.  (The council not providing leadership/direction, and ignoring input before making decisions.)

          Here was a missed opportunity to gauge support for a proposal, before restarting the process. (And perhaps “wasting” developer money, to boot.)

          But truth be told, some council members appear to be “boosters” of the proposal, already. (As long as it’s not on the west side of town, I guess.)

  9. Bill Marshall

    It apparently wasn’t on the agenda.  It was a “consent” item.

    Lie, or serious and/or incompetent misunderstanding… it was on the agenda… a consent calendar item… staff report and everything on City website.  All posted properly. Transparent and public.

    1. Ron Oertel

      A regular “agenda” item is handled differently than a “consent” item.  If I’m not mistaken, this includes differences regarding the opportunity to provide and receive public comment.

      If you, David, Rik, or anyone else would care to discuss all of the specific differences between an “agenda” item vs. a “consent” item, I’d like to hear about them. A learning opportunity.

      1. Bill Marshall

        If I’m not mistaken, this includes differences regarding the opportunity to provide and receive public comment.

        You are mistaken.  Except, perhaps, in nuance.  The opportunity is there… but someone has to assert their opportunity… very easy.  General public comment, or request to CC member.  Simple.

        1. Ron Oertel

          If it’s a regular agenda item, there’s a specific time set aside to receive public comment.

          Not sure if there are other differences, between an agenda item vs. a consent item, but I suspect that there are. It still hasn’t been discussed on here.

          Yes – one can speak about virtually any issue, during general public comment.

          1. David Greenwald

            Usually when authorizing a study, the item is placed on consent. The assumption is that it’s a simple issue and the council may not need a full discussion and staff presentation. But they have the ability to simply pull the item off consent and then it becomes like a regular item with public comment, presentation and discussion. At that point there is no difference.

  10. Ron Oertel

    From article:  “They were supposed to be two basic items which were rightly placed on the consent calendar – one which created a council subcommittee to help expedite the processing of the application for the Aggie Research Campus – that would be Dan Carson and Gloria Partida.  The other was set to hire EPS (Economic & Planning Systems, Inc.) to do the fiscal analysis.”

    Didn’t realize there were two items regarding ARC on the consent calendar.

    Also, can someone explain the justification for creating a council subcommittee to expedite the processing of the ARC application, and doing so via the consent calendar?  Along with the process used to select the two subcommittee members?

    Now that I’ve seen this, I’m more concerned than I was before.

    I’m starting to think that the supporters of this development (including some council members, I suspect) are actually creating a more difficult path for themselves. (Not that I’m “unhappy” about that, assuming that undecided folks are ultimately informed regarding what’s occurring here.)

    1. Rik Keller

      Ron O.: thanks to the efforts of Roberta & Colin, the Council took the item out of the consent calendar, and then the City Manager briefed the Council and the public on these issues and more (including the need for EIR revisions updates. This should have been the plan from the beginning.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Thanks, Rik.

        I think I’m getting more confused, regarding exactly what the result was.  No need to explain, as I can research it on my own as needed. Or, hear more about it later.

        But, whatever occurred, I appreciate the ongoing efforts of you, Roberta, and Colin.

      2. Mark West

        Rik Keller: “including the need for EIR revisions updates”

        The article does not indicate that the CM stated that revisions were needed, rather he is quoted as stating:

        Mike Webb: “we need to evaluate for changed conditions since that EIR was drawn up and certified.”

        That is quite different than what you, Rik Keller, have claimed previously, that the City determined that a new EIR was required. The CM appears to be stating that they need to evaluate whether or not the conditions have changed since the certification, which, if so, may require modifications to the existing EIR. Once again, your claims appear not to be accurate…

        1. Ron Glick

          This is boiler plate CEQA language by the CM because you always need to consider any new information but its doubtful that anything deemed to require a new EIR will ever be recognized by the city.

  11. Ron Oertel

    From article:  “They were supposed to be two basic items which were rightly placed on the consent calendar – one which created a council subcommittee to help expedite the processing of the application for the Aggie Research Campus – that would be Dan Carson and Gloria Partida.  The other was set to hire EPS (Economic & Planning Systems, Inc.) to do the fiscal analysis.”

    David:  ” . . . what are you confused about?”

    Again, why did the city create a subcommittee to expedite the application?  What’s the rush, on the part of the city?

    And, why did the city allow one of the biggest council boosters of the proposal (who has a history of creating “optimistic” fiscal analyses on his own in regard to development proposals) to be on that committee?

    Why did the city set out to approve these two items as consent items, when they already knew that the proposal is controversial and has been changed significantly, since it was first approved to proceed?

    Changing this from a consent to an agenda item during the hearing does not provide sufficient advance notice to those who would have attended the hearing, had it been an agenda item in the first place.

    No need to respond – but these are some of the questions/concerns that remain – even after all of the dialogue above.

  12. Ron Oertel

    Also, how does the need for an updated EIR (and new traffic studies) fit into this process?  Especially since conditions have drastically changed around Mace (and freeway access points/frontage roads)?

    Any idea, regarding the timing/timeframe of the new traffic studies? And, has it been established that there will, in fact, be around 4,000 parking spaces at the site?

    Might the updated disclosures ultimately result in even more changes to the proposal?

    In regard to the fiscal analysis, will it include the probable impact (competition) resulting from more than 2 million square feet of “innovation center” space, from the planned Woodland innovation park?

    Again, no need to respond, as these type of questions will likely arise repeatedly, until it becomes more clear.

    But, I am wondering why the Vanguard hasn’t published more information, regarding the proposal. (The “other” blog had already published a diagram of the proposal, several days ago. There didn’t appear to be a lot of detail, beyond that.)

    1. David Greenwald

      “But, I am wondering why the Vanguard hasn’t published more information, regarding the proposal.”

      Time.  Bandwidth.  The additional information was published on Monday and haven’t had a chance to circle back to it.  Same reason we haven’t run more stories about the governor signing criminal justice reform legislation.  Same reason we ran District Elections discussion today rather than yesterday.  I can only do so much.  Two articles is about my limit at this point to do personally.  Yesterday, I literally handed four stories to Danielle and four to Cres, I took District Elections and my longtime in the works piece on Anand and then raced off to San Francisco.

  13. David Greenwald

    I wanted to address a point raised here: Colin Walsh shouted that there are over 4000 parking places on this spot.  “How many tens of thousands of additional car trips on Mace Boulevard will this be?”

    Some have questioned why I described Colin Walsh as “shouting.”  And have stated that watching the video doesn’t show it.

    When I sat probably less than ten feet from him, I leaned over and asked the person next to me, “is he shouting?”  The answer was yes.  I agree it wasn’t full throated, but I checked with a number of people there and they agree – he had an elevated voice and was animated – in my view that’s a shout.  Hence the word choice.

    1. Ron Oertel

       “And have stated that watching the video doesn’t show it.”

      No – it doesn’t.  Nor does the article state what you’re now stating.

      And yet, you have time to “report” this, but no time to publish the diagram of the proposal – as noted in your other comment above.

      Nor do you apparently have time to determine how/why (a handful?) of students were reportedly holding glossy promotional flyers regarding the proposal, for a consent item.

      1. Rik Keller

        Colin wasn’t shouting.

        Also noted: the article fails to capture Will Arnold’s histrionics, including his dramatic chair spin, leaning way forward until his head almost touched the ground, then springing back up and spinning to face the dais again. And then there was his sorry/not sorry non-apology.

    2. David Greenwald

      As one person put it, who was there, “Yeah, He definitely had a raised voice and was clearly agitated ”

      Another, “He was shouting.”

      A third, “Yes. He does that often.”

      1. Ron Oertel

        Was that confirmed to you by the students holding the glossy promotional flyers? And, if it’s not in the video, was he just randomly “shouting” out-of-turn, before reaching the podium?

  14. Ron Oertel

    I think we’re now headed into territory that won’t survive on this blog.  😉

    Would have to disagree with you on one thing, though – David is a very good writer.  (And, an excellent photographer.)

    Overall, I don’t think it’s good when things become too personal on here.

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