An initiative led by Dan Urazandi of Bizarro World that would have prohibited paid parking and mandated an increase of 120 auto spaces failed to qualify for the ballot by the December 27 deadline.
In an email dated December 27 from Mr. Urazandi to City Clerk Zoe Mirabile, he wrote: “There is no reason to meet today at the police department. The supposed professional we contracted with did not deliver signatures, thus we will not have a qualifying amount.”
The initiative drive was launched with Title and Summary on July 1, 2019 and the 180th day was December 27, 2019. Under California Elections Code, “Signatures upon petitions and sections of petitions shall be secured, and the petition, together with all sections of the petition, shall be filed within 180 days from the date of receipt of the title and summary.”
The next opportunity to put such a measure on the ballot would not be until 2022 now.
Diane Swann of Bike Davis noted that the initiative “was at odds with the Davis Downtown Specific Plan, which has been over two years in the making and has benefited from broad public input. The consequences of this rigid and extreme FTP Initiative would have had profound negative effects on our downtown.”
She said, “By favoring the automobile, the Initiative was a step backward in flexible and equitable transportation at a time when forward progress–including alternatives to the automobile–is badly needed.
“The Initiative would have tied the City Council’s hands, by requiring another vote of the electorate to even amend it. Anyone tempted to sign a petition they do not favor ‘just to put it on the ballot,’ would be better off not pushing it forward.”
Finally: “UCD students living on campus and our school-age children are not eligible to vote in City elections. These people are most likely to ride a bike or walk and the FTP Initiative would have been to their detriment.”
The petition filed in July was a response to the council’s compromise vote which declined to put paid parking on surface streets but expanded it for surface lots.
The petition “[s]ets a baseline of 1888 auto parking spaces and 1888 bicycle parking spaces in downtown, an increase of around 120 auto and 240 bike spaces. It bans paid parking throughout Davis…”
They reason: “We started with the normal bureaucratic process. We talked with council and city staff, attended committees and made our argument clear. In return we were ignored and dismissed, so we have turned to the democratic process to go around the blockage of city hall.”
They argue: “Because the city has so grossly mismanaged the parking situation. While everyone was grousing about the lack of parking downtown, the city removed over 120 spaces. This can happen because the city never set a baseline for parking. Then after they caused the parking shortage they wanted to come in and ‘fix’ it by adding parking meters without even considering putting those 120 spaces back.”
Where would the added spaces go?
“The initiative doesn’t tell the city where exactly to put them, just that they need to add 120 vehicle spaces and 240 bike spaces downtown. The vehicle number was chosen to match how many spaces they have removed to put in bulb-outs, bike parking in the street, expand restaurant seating, repave 3rd St, etc. The bike number was chosen to make the amount of bicycle parking equivalent to the amount of vehicle parking.”
Had the initiative qualified, the city would have engaged in legal analysis. There are two portions of this that may have been legally problematic. The first would have been the cost without providing a funding mechanism. But the more serious would have been removing bulb-outs, which include ADA-compliant ramps.
The Vanguard confirmed that under ADA law, in general, new regulations only kick in when upgrades or repairs are implemented. But once in place, current ADA laws apply and therefore, while the city had yet to analyze it legally, there is a good chance that this initiative would have violated the law.
Mr. Urazandi did not respond to Vanguard questions and a request for comment. City Manager Mike Webb and several councilmembers also declined further comment.
—David M. Greenwald reporting