Monday Morning Thoughts: Should the Pandemic and Coming Recession Mean the End of Planning as Usual Locally?

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Prakosh Patel gives a presentation on certain features of Aggie Research Campus

For the first time in over a decade, we are headed for a recession.  We have seen nationally just how bad it figures to be, watching the stock market lose one-third of its value in a few weeks—wiping out all of the gains made during this presidency.  Jobless claims have soared.  Stimulus bills have at least temporarily stalled in Congress.

In times of hardship there is a tendency to want to stop business as usual.  We have done a remarkable job of doing just that, by bringing people home and ending many non-essential businesses.

The city is in the midst of its Downtown Plan—hoping to be able to re-invigorate downtown business and open it up for more mixed usage that would densify and bring more people into the downtown area.  We are also looking at the Aggie Research Campus as a way to bring high-tech commercial business into Davis and infuse the community with jobs and new revenue.

And, statewide, we have a housing crisis and homeless crisis, both of which figure to get worse as the economy plummets and people cannot afford to make rental payments—even if they are temporarily cushioned by eviction protection laws.

The city figures to lose revenue in the short term, which could mean more painful cuts.  And the school district could also be heavily impacted if the state has to cut funding for K-12 education.

The hardest question for our local leaders is what should they do in the wake of this.

The Vanguard received a copy of a letter from a community member asking the city to halt the planning process for the Aggie Research Campus. On some levels that makes a lot of sense—people are not focused on business as usual, and people are unable to come out to key meetings or to effectively campaign.

On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t make sense. The same folks asking for a delay are the same folks who were opposed to the project from the start. They are same folks opposed to most every project that comes forward.

The city has a need for additional housing that will not change with coronavirus and, if anything, will get worse. The city still needs high-tech jobs for the young people who graduate from UC Davis. It still needs revenue.

These problems won’t go away just because we are shutting things down. If anything they will get worse.

There is another key point to make here.  We are really still in phase 1.  At some point we will have made all of the changes we need to make.  And then it will be a twofold strategy—one to marshal the resources to help the sick, and, two, a waiting game.

Right now we see local government is busy making and implementing changes.  There is flurry of activity.  We are worried. We are planning. The city is preoccupied with emergency preparation.

But at some point we will have everything in place. What I would call equilibrium will occur and we will be in a position to wait and hold.

And then what?

One of the key points I would make is that, while it is better to hold meetings in person, given our technology and resources, we don’t need to.

The great thing about now is that we have the technology to have virtual public meetings. They are experimenting with Zoom and other technology for the council meeting on Tuesday.

We have instant messaging, social media, the ability to stream anywhere and anytime—the ability for real-time feedback in ways we have never really explored in the public realm.

In short, we could embark on a very different type of planning process where we will have a way to participate in the project every bit as much as before—perhaps even more so, since we have less to do.

The one thing I would caution is that the Downtown Plan and Aggie Research Campus are really not projects for today.  You could argue they are not even projects for tomorrow.  Rather they are projects for five to ten years from now.

By that, I mean we could pass and implement them today and not see the benefit for another decade or possibly even another generation.  In a way that’s our charge.  We plant trees and sow fields where we will never see the fruits of our labor or our sacrifice.  We do it so that the next generation will have the opportunity to see and enjoy and benefit from our foresight.

We have both a challenge and an opportunity.

The communities that are successful are the communities that are not going to stop and wait. We have a chance to plan, to make things better and be ready to really roll come the end of this crisis.

Housing is a more immediate crisis and a more immediate remedy.  Part of the reason we are where we are is that, during the Great Recession, the world stopped.  A lot of that was by necessity—the financial markets themselves collapsed.

On the other hand, this crisis is due not to instability in the markets but rather an exogenous shock.  We can and should continue to plan for a day when these restrictions have lifted.

The state understands this. When Governor Newsom shut down the economy on Thursday to slow the spread of the coronavirus, construction executives and leaders pushed to get construction exempted from stay-at-home orders.

Reports the Bee, “Industry officials said the mobilization was undertaken to prevent a repeat of the Great Recession, when housing construction went dead for several years, worsening a housing crisis that endures today.”

The Bee reports that Erika Bjork of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which worked with the construction industry, said “workers typically do not work close to each other on construction sites. They should be able to practice social distancing.

“We need to keep this engine humming, so when we come out of this we have housing,” she said. “We don’t want to see what happened in the recession.”

This is the right approach and we need to do it in the city of Davis as well. The only reason not to is that some people do not want projects. I get it. That’s why we still have Measure R.

—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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59 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: Should the Pandemic and Coming Recession Mean the End of Planning as Usual Locally?”

  1. Ron Glick

    “This is the right approach and we need to do it in the city of Davis as well. The only reason not to is that some people do not want projects. I get it. That’s why we still have Measure R.”

    Huh?

    1. David Greenwald

      In other words, I understand that you’re rabidly again Measure R, but it is a fail safe for many people to allow processes to go forward under less than ideal circumstances, knowing people can always vote No if they don’t like the process.

      1. Bill Marshall

        No… there are many of those who want not one, not two, but three ‘bites of the apple’… kill the project in the infancy of processing; kill the project during the process; if those fail, kill the project with a Measure R vote; if it passes, try to kill the project with litigation.

        That’s the reality.

        If measure R sunsets, they still have all those other tools.

        1. Bill Marshall

          OK… what sanctions does the City face if it does nothing to put the measure on the ballot (one way or the other)?  If no action, I believes it sunsets.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I assume someone could simply take the city to court and force them to put it on the ballot. At that point they would probably owe attorney fees.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Ahh… but there would be no “remedy” from the courts (which are basically closed indefinitely) before the deadline to get it on November ballot, so, it would lapse until another regular election (2022) or a special election in 2021.

          Interesting scenario…

        3. Matt Williams

          Interesting scenario Bill.  One option would be for Council to simply do the same thing it did in the Districting process . . . extend the term by a vote of the Council.

  2. Ron Glick

    I wouldn’t describe myself as rabidly anti R. Perhaps adamantly, consistently, patently,  doggedly, purposefully, assiduously, resolutely, determinedly, intently, earnestly and indefatigably but certainly not rabidly.

  3. Matt Williams

    I don’t believe planning should stop, but if a formal e-mail communication the Utilities Commission received yesterday is correct, the process of planning swill slow down considerably.  Here is what the City said to the Commissioners in that e-mail.  The portion that I bolded for emphasis is particularly germane to the theme of this Vanguard article.

    Good afternoon Commission Members,

    *  Future Commission Meetings – The City Clerk is preparing processes for Commissions to conduct meetings (assuming critical items make meeting necessary). The process is being worked out for Council and I would expect direction to be provided shortly from the City Clerk to Commission Liaisons. Most likely Commission meetings will be in Chambers as that is the only place being set up with technology for remote public meetings. This may mean that we will need to set a different date for meetings since multiple Commissions may be looking to meet. More to follow on this process. Please be patient.

    My reading of the two bolded sentences is that the process of having Commission meetings and public hearings will slow down because the City has decided to conduct those meetings in “single file” in only one location, Council Chambers.

    If that is indeed the plan, then the process of planning will inevitably slow down.  The Finance and Budget Commission’s review of the economic and fiscal analysis for ARC still has to happen.  For all past projects that economic and fiscal analysis review has taken place in two meetings.  If one takes the City memo above at face value, two meetings for the FBC, which historically have been able to be accomplished within 30 days of each other, may actually require closer to 60 days to accomplish . . . and when the first of those two meetings will actually happen is unknown.

    All sorts of processes are going to slow down.  Tax Day is a good example.  It is no longer April 15th, but rather July 15th.

    I don’t believe that Planning will grind to a halt, but it does appear that it will slow to a snails pace.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          I think a very small number of people care about that and a much larger number of people would be concerned about the major issues surrounding the project – traffic, revenue, affordable housing, etc.

        2. Matt Williams

          Two peas in a pod.  The commissions are the structural venue for getting traffic, revenue, affordable housing, etc. thoroughly discussed and vetted.

  4. Keith Olsen

    Really, businesses are shut down, people are out of jobs and citizens are disengaged while holed up in stay in place but ARC must go on?  I feel a timeout is not over the top or asking too much.

    1. David Greenwald

      But why?  And it wasn’t just ARC, it’s also the downtown plan.  We have needs that are long term and will not go away by this crisis.  In fact, in many ways, they will be further magnified by it.

      1. John Hobbs

        “But why?”

        Excellent question. I find that I am capable of watching the Covid 19 coverage, making meals, doing chores and seem to have more time for thoughtful planning lately. We all multi-task all the time and this crisis should not impair that ability. I expect politicians and civic leaders to be planning for a number of contingencies while still operating at their best capacity through this pandemic.

        1. Alan Miller

          I expect politicians and civic leaders to be planning for a number of contingencies while still operating at their best capacity through this pandemic.

          I expect a lot of politicians to sneak a lot of stuff through during a crisis, as they have often historically done.

      2. Matt Williams

        David, Heidi Tschudin stated in one of the DPAC meetings that it would be 20 years before the city would see any redevelopment under the provisions of an updated Downtown Plan.  If the planning process ends up being spread out and takes an extra 12 months to complete, is there any meaningful  difference between 20 years and 21 years before any redevelopment actually happens?

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          That’s not how I view it.  For one thing, it puts off the general plan off for another year.  For another, it bogs the current process down.  And for what good reason?  We can do most of what would happen in a public meeting series – perhaps more – going virtual.

        2. Doby Fleeman

          Matt,

          That’s an interesting observation – if that is what she meant.   And, using your math, it’s already going to be 21  years, given your math, owing the yet-to-be undertaken CEQA review “once the plan is actually approved”.

          My question would be “Why” she believes it would be 20 years before we see any redevelopment under the Downtown plan.   I don’t think that was the wish or intention of the Council or City Staff for it to take that long.

          Plans that would take 20 years before they even begin to implement seem like a complete waste of time.

          Perhaps you could clarify.

        3. Matt Williams

          I’ll respond to Doby first.  Unfortunately no one asked Heidi to expand on what she meant when she said it.  The meeting was on of the final ones where she was the lead staff person before handing the reins over to Ash Feeney.  Her comment came in the midst of the DPAC discussions about Matt Kowta’s assessment that nine of the 10 scenario alternatives he/BAE had analyzed did not pencil out financially.  Matgt had laid out a series of possible steps that could be taken to address/mitigate that bleak financial projection, but my own personal sense was that the DPAC process up that point had created a set of constraints that made actually putting any of those possible steps int reality was remote at best.

          Heidi’s comment came at a time shortly after the Planning Commission had expressed its concern that the draft plan update they had just heard had a significant disconnect with reality, and was likely to end up as a pretty binder that sat on a shelf looking good, but did not actually translate into action.  It occured to me at the time that Heidi said what she did, she was probably expressing similar thoughts to the ones the Planning Commission had just shared.

        4. Matt Williams

          David, I don’t disagree that a virtual public meeting series can happen, but if the City e-mail is correct, all the City’s public meetings will happen in single file using only Council Chambers, which will force Commissions that currently meet at the same time as one another in different rooms to get into that single file line.  That essentially means no more than five public meetings a week (10 meetings every two weeks), with the regular bi-weekly meetings of City Council and the DJUSD School Board and the Planning Commission taking up three of the ten.

        5. Mark West

          “Plans that would take 20 years before they even begin to implement seem like a complete waste of time.”

          Which makes the plan coming out of DPAC perfect for a community that fails to implement any of its plans.

          My view of the DPAC process and the plan that resulted is that it was never intended to encourage redevelopment, or economic development for that matter, but rather to protect the status quo. The reason why we won’t see any benefits for two decades is that it will take us most of that time to realize that we screwed up and finally agree to implement significant changes downtown.

        6. Doby Fleeman

          The reason why we won’t see any benefits for two decades is that it will take us most of that time to realize that we screwed up and finally agree to implement significant changes downtown.

          Beg to disagree on this point.  The plan, as it was presented and developed, is a “Form Based Code” plan to guide future development.

          What we probably do agree upon is the Plan makes no attempts or representations about how, why, when or what drivers will trigger such future development.

          From my viewpoint, this was part of the Fall 2018 message from the Planning Commission to the committee – essentially asking them to please get back to us with explicit acknowledgements and recommendations for a framework and corresponding strategy addressing the whys, whats, priorities and timing of how the plan will get us from here to there.

          I could easily have misunderstood, and perhaps the Planning Commission now intends to add this contextual overlay to the plan – in outlining  a set of  recommendations, priorities and public sector initiatives which they believe to be necessary if the plan is to moved from concept to implementation.

        7. Matt Williams

          My view of the DPAC process and the plan that resulted is that it was never intended to encourage redevelopment, or economic development for that matter, but rather to protect the status quo.

          .
          I tend to agree with Mark’s statement, and the first indicator that that was the case was the DPAC’s decision, with the full agreement of staff, to partition off the University Avenue / Rice Lane Neighborhood and say that the process does not apply to them … while still leaving that neighborhood’s representative on the DPAC with full voting rights.  That was a clear tip of the hat to the status quo.

        8. Matt Williams

          I could easily have misunderstood, and perhaps the Planning Commission now intends to add this contextual overlay to the plan – in outlining  a set of  recommendations, priorities and public sector initiatives which they believe to be necessary if the plan is to moved from concept to implementation.

          I don’t believe Doby misunderstood at all, but I also believe the chances of the Plannong Commission doing what he has described are so small they are nothing at all.

          [Moderator: You have now exceeded 7 posts on this thread. Thank you for your participation.]

  5. Ron Oertel

    From article, above:

    The Bee reports that Erika Bjork of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which worked with the construction industry, said “workers typically do not work close to each other on construction sites. They should be able to practice social distancing.

    I noted this claim in yesterday’s article (from a different source).  I also included a link to another related article, which showed that a freeway improvement was continuing.  And when I did so, one of the Vanguard’s resident commenters made this comment:

    Bill Marshall March 22, 2020 at 4:54 pm 

    Ron…
    First, a portion of the section shown in the picture is beyond repaving… (#1 lane) portion needs to be investigated as to serious issues as to underlying structural issues… and replaced, in any case.
    Second:  so… where is the $$$ going to come from?  Investigation, plans/specs, contract issuing, inspection… maybe from funds that could otherwise go to testing, investigation, treatment of covid-19?
    Third:  and so that is considered an “essential function”?  And those who investigate, prepare plans/specs/bids, the contractor, and inspectors, should not shelter, and expose themselves to contagion?

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/us-coronavirus-death-toll-rises-as-hard-hit-areas-restrict-testing/ar-BB11wD3I?ocid=spartandhp 
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/inside-the-effort-to-keep-home-construction-going-in-california-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/ar-BB11vRq8?ocid=spartandhp
    Also, remember “this guy”?

    Barry Broome, head of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, said he spent the day on the phone Friday calling builders and developers, encouraging them not only to maintain ongoing projects, but also to launch new ones.

    Money is a powerful motivator and political influencer.

  6. Tia Will

    “The city has a need for additional housing that will not change with coronavirus and, if anything, will get worse.”

    We have needs that are long term and will not go away by this crisis.  In fact, in many ways, they will be further magnified by it.”

    You have sounded this note several times. Respectfully, I would say, given the unknown temporal behavior of this virus, it’s potential for rapid spread, its lethality for certain groups, and the lack of effective treatment and vaccine at present, we have no idea what our actual short or long term needs are going to be. We do not know which types of communities are going to fare best. Large cities with more resources who are able to arrest the viral spread, medium-sized cities such as Davis, small cities or towns? Will communities of certain demographic groups fair better or worse? We simply don’t know. I would recommend a temporary slow down in planning until we have more information about what truly resilient cities look like. I believe we should be planning for the future, not the recent past, and that will involve some patience to determine what the future will best look like. I don’t think we can simply pretend we know that after the acute phase of this virus passes, all will go back to “normal”.

    1. Ron Oertel

      If anything, the current (and no doubt “lasting” financial impacts) will further reduce the already-questionable demand for commercial development.

      And no doubt, cities, counties, the state (and the entire country) will be searching and competing for that “miracle”, in which some other entity pays the bills while sales tax revenue / economic activity falls off a cliff.

      Good luck with that.  😉

      Something will give, and it may be unfunded pensions and benefits.

      1. Bill Marshall

        unfunded pensions and benefits unfunded (or underfunded) pensions and benefits

        Including Social Security (in all its forms), Medicare, private pensions (to the extent they still exist).

        Yeah, let’s ‘go there’!

    2. John Hobbs

      “we have no idea what our actual short or long term needs are going to be.”

      Perhaps you are alone in this belief. Public facilities and services, already stretched to and beyond their limits, will still need to be bolstered and increased to accommodate projected growth in population. Roads and transportation will still need to be repaired and improved.  These are not arcane concepts but hard realities.

      1. Doby Fleeman

        I very much respect Rich’s attention to and early warnings about unfunded municipal finances and their implications for both community and city staff.  From all recent reports, it seems inevitable the current market rout will take a further, heavy toll on funding avaialble to support these programs.

        Relative to this point (which I realize is far off topic from the original article) I would pose the question to each City. County, Agency and State in terms of what responsibility they bear, as as the employers offering and administering these programs, to actively assist in identifying and facilitating local, economic development initiatives aimed at bolstering their local economies and financial revenues (beyond simply raising local taxes) in ways consistent with the core competencies and strategic advantages of their respective communities and locales?

        In the recent past, I have seen comments that such forms of advocacy are “inappropriate” activities for our cities and counties to partake or promote.

        On the flip side, we spend countless hours imposing on local city staff to seek ever deeper cuts to staffing and programming in order to help meet budget obligations.   I understand that necessity and the role of watchdog groups and finance committees to oversee these efforts.

        By the same token, however, I do not understand why we would shackle our local elected officials, committees and staff from taking an equally aggressive role in review of their own, local economy – its demographics strengths and weaknesses, its geographic location and quality of transit, place and role in the regional economy, together with a top to bottom review of its strategic competitive strengths as a destination employment hub.

        Fact is, this type of top to bottom community SWOT analysis has not been undertaken in decades – if ever.   I don’t know if that’s typical, but it is the case in this community.

        I’m sure there is much precendent and good reason that public employers are discouraged from promoting programs – solely designed to increase their operating revenues, but when the conversation involves the larger community, its challenges and opportunities with managing future growth, its challenges with establishing and supporting local schools, social services and health initiative – why wouldn’t we want the full attention, support and engagement of our local public sector employers?

  7. Ron Oertel

    You’re building an innovation park for ten years from now, not today.

    Well, there’s apparently “no rush” to approve it, according to that argument.

    Given the compromised/shortchanged process at this time, I strongly suspect that it has less chance of approval if the city attempts to force this through now. Doing so would probably be a “gift” to opponents.

     

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      That’s always the cry for inaction.  The best time to do things was ten years ago, absent that, the best time to do things is now.

      1. Ron Oertel

        “10 years ago” would have been an appropriate time for cities (including Davis), counties, and the state itself to stop relying upon unreasonable stock-market returns to fund public employee retirements and benefits.

        “CalPers loses $69 billion in biggest market losses since Great Recession”

        The California State Teachers’ Retirement System likely experienced similar losses, but the system doesn’t publicly report its value as often as CalPers does.

        https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article241391841.html

        1. Ron Oertel

          Seems to me that a “different” Greenwald led that fight.  And as a result, “paid for it” with her political career.

          Either way, it obviously wasn’t successful in Davis (or anywhere else in the state).

          This is not surprising, as it will take a system-wide collapse before it’s corrected. edited

        2. Matt Williams

          In a Facebook post, Rich Rifkin had the following interesting observation,

          The coronavirus driven economic crisis will devastate cities and counties in California. It will lead to the further erosion of services, including even worse roads.

          My home city, Davis, has already cut its total staff by 50% due to the rising cost of pensions, medical benefits and retiree medical in the last 12 years. This will get much, much worse in the next 12 years.

          This virus recession will hit local governments and the state of California in two ways:

          First, it is going to reduce tax revenues. Keep in mind that income tax from the wealthy, including capital gains, is a major source of the state’s revenues. When the stock market goes way down, no one pays capital gains taxes. Sales taxes are important to fund local governments. With no one going to bars or restaurants, the sales taxes being paid is a substantially reduced. Revenues will be down for the next six to eight months at least; and

          Second, the public pension funds for most public employees, CalPERS, and for teachers, CalSTRS, were woefully underfunded before this crisis. They are going to be in much worse shape with the stock market down 30%. What that means is that cities and counties and the state will have to pay much greater contributions to cover these losses. (This might also affect school districts.) The money paid in contributions is directly tied to a reduction in services. So for example, money that would have gone to fixing a road or repairing a public building or hiring a new police officer will instead go to the pension funds.

          The next wave of pension funding increases needs to be seen in the context of dramatic increases in pension fund rates charged to governments that are already in place for the next 20 years.

  8. Don Shor

    There is no reason to stop the planning process. They do need to do it deliberately and safely, and provide for public input by whatever means necessary. The process will likely be delayed, and the net impact of the current events, if the project is approved by the voters, is likely to be a slower build-out period. But there is no reason city government can’t continue to function.

  9. Richard McCann

    We can use this respite to plan for what actions we’ll need to take to revive the local economy after this event. We can let the city fester as we did after 2008, or we can move to take the opportunity.

    1. Matt Williams

      Richard, I personally believe that in order to do that we need to have UCD come to the table as a full partner/participant in the planning. Absent that, nothing truly meaningful will get done.

      UCD’s core competency, the creation of intellectual capital, is our community’s greatest (and most leverageable) asset.  UCD is also the largest single contributor to the impacts on the community.

      In a personal e-mail conversation late last week, a number of really good questions were posed

      1a) What is UCD doing about “its fair share” to encourage/facilitate/demand “regional transportation planning”?

      1b) What is the County doing about “its fair share” to encourage/facilitate/demand “regional transportation planning”?

      2a) In connection with Spring Lake development, was there ever any “county level” EIR required which measured “projected traffic impacts” on Davis arterials and I-80 on-ramps?

      2b) In connection with on-campus UCD development, was there ever any “university level” EIR required which measured “projected traffic impacts” on Davis arterials and I-80 on-ramps?

      3a) If the County doesn’t want to do anything about economic development or jobs creation in the County (besides Agricultural uses and solar farms – see their most recent “Emergency Sustainable Environmental Declaration”) that’s their prerogative – but it would still seem they have a larger responsibility and obligation within their jurisdiction to concern themselves with the “fiscal and economic sustainability” of the individual cities and communities within the planning area.

      3b) If UCD doesn’t want to do anything about economic development or jobs creation in the City that’s their prerogative – but it would still seem they have a larger responsibility and obligation within their jurisdiction to concern themselves with the “fiscal and economic sustainability” of the individual cities and communities within planning area.

      One of the e-mails in the conversation ended as follows, I’m totally fed up with the City and County and UCD living their ostrich lifestyles and completely failing to take anything resembling a “city/county /university level regional” LRDP approach to transit and circulation needs within the community – it’s intolerable. 

      I personally had a hard time arguing with that sentiment., which is why I say we need to have UCD come to the table as a full partner/participant in the planning. Absent that, nothing truly meaningful will get done.

      Thoughts?

      1. Bill Marshall

        that in order to do that we need to have UCD come to the table as a full partner/participant in the planning. Absent that, nothing truly meaningful will get done.

        True, in the main… but if UC doesn’t choose to participate in the planning, we should do so anyhow, hand them the ‘plan’ and essentially say, will you partner in our plan (aka, “fish or cut bait”).

        We should make the offer to participate, but if not engaged by UC (make no mistake, it IS UC, not just UCD… UCD is pretty limited as to commitments, by UC…[if you have poor service with any entity, sometimes you need to say, “may I talk to your supervisor?”… often works wonders]), the City of Davis still needs to plan, and act.  Decisively.  And that willingness to make decisions, should be made clear and apparent, NOW!

        Anyone who plays poker?  If you have the strongest hand, you win… but there is much more to poker than that… if you think you may have the stronger hand, or want to convince the other you do, raise, and/or double down…

        and Matt, since you have ‘commented out’, feel free to connect by phone/e-mail…

        1. Matt Williams

          Bill, in principle I agree with you, but I believe a failure of UCD to fill its role in the community’s economic development is a “fatal flaw” in any plan for that development.  A metaphorical parallel is a grocery store without any vendors to provide products to stock the grocery store’s shelves.  The various forms of intellectual capital that UCD produces each year are the “products” that will fill any supply of work spaces that a regional economic development plan is likely to create.  Right now UCD is sending a message that they really don’t care whether their intellectual capital stays in Davis or goes elsewhere.

          Building a metaphorical grocery store with no vendors committed to supplying product for its shelves is not a good “plan.”

          And, with the exception of the short-lived Rob White tenure as Chief Innovation Officer, the City of Davis has shown no aptitude in either retaining UCD intellectual capital or bringing jobs to Davis.

  10. Alan Miller

    This is the right approach and we need to do it in the city of Davis as well. The only reason not to is that some people do not want projects. I get it. That’s why we still have Measure R.

     

    Paul Harvey had “The Rest of the Story”

    DG has “I get it.”

  11. Craig Ross

    People who want to stop projects are very good at finding excuses to do so.  The only job that the council should have here is to make sure we have a fair and open process.  Seems like they have done that.  We can’t shut down everything for six months and hope for the best.  We have an opportunity to seize the moment.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Ironically, if we are heading into a serious recession, as we begin to turn the corner, construction $$$ will likely be less, and with more spending on construction, will help to jump-start the economy in general… only time will tell…

      1. Bill Marshall

        Well, serious, saavy, investors will actually put money in the game towards the lows… they do not sell off… they look long-term… so yes, “never let a crisis go to waste”… buy low, sell high… 

        Not sure if it is true, but was told that the Chinese ideogram for “crisis” has a combination of symbols/words:  Danger, and Opportunity … have experienced that to a certain extent.

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