Council Agrees to Allow More Discussion of ARC by Commissions – But Not Push Back the Deadline for EIR Comments

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One of the big questions during the middle of the COVID-19 crisis is to what extent can and should the city continue to conduct business as usual, and conduct a public process for the consideration of major projects—the most heavily controversial of which is the Aggie Research Campus.

Some opponents have argued that, during these times of crisis, it is unreasonable to ask community members to review and comment on the lengthy documents of such a project—even as they submit articles and writings, and make multiple comments during a council evening focusing on exactly that.

The council on Tuesday was pushed both to postpone what are deemed to be non-essential and non-emergency items, or at the very least extend the deadline to accept official comments on the record for the ARC EIR, which has its 45-day comment period deadline on April 27.

This week, two commissions, the Open Space and Habitat Commission, as well as the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) take up the issue.

On Tuesday, the council would not go so far as to extend the comment period; instead, they offered to allow commissions to meet an extra time for additional opportunities to discuss and weigh in on the proposal process.

Todd Edelman, speaking during public comment, noted that the BTSSC “has it on the agenda this Thursday for one hour and this is the first time we have seen it.”  He pointed out that other commissions have seen it before.

“It’s completely inappropriate to have so little time and only one meeting for the BTSSC to review the project.”

Mr. Edelman called for the council to extend the comment period and modify the process “so that we have certainly longer time to comment on this significant project during our city emergency and nationwide and global crisis.”

In response to a question in the comments portions of the Vanguard, Todd Edelman fleshed out his points.  He noted that other commissions, like Open Space, at least participated in a baseline features discussion last year, while it is their commission’s first time having seen it.

He noted, “We’ve been given one hour, so there’s pressure on those of who tend to have a lot of things to say.”

It is not clear from the agenda item whether they are simply estimating an hour with the option to go longer or whether that it is a hard deadline—often in commission as well as council meetings, items go far longer than scheduled.

It was only a few months ago, in response to some concerns by some members of the public about lack of public process, that the BTSSC, which is not required to hear this item, had a hearing on the Aggie Research Campus added to its calendar.

Mr. Edelman also noted that for four of the seven voting members of the commission this would be their first meeting.

“There’s a huge amount of material to go through, and it’s confusing… even for experienced Commissioners,” he wrote.

Furthermore, he added, “[t]he bandwidth in the community is low or at least quite uncertain.”

He pointed out that the public participation was not very high, “with a great share of the comments taking issue with the solar farm or ARC, in addition to those about citations for camping which Chief Pytel said were all based on a misunderstanding.”

Much of the scheduled portion of Tuesday’s meeting was taken up with informational items by the Public Health Official as well as an update on the city’s response to the crisis.

Most of the comments, as Mr. Edelman noted, were related to three issues not formally on the agenda.

The council on Tuesday acknowledged these issues, but their solution clearly did not satisfy the critics.  Dan Carson simply proposed that the council allow commissions to schedule an additional meeting as needed to discuss the issue.

He declined to extend the public comment period for the ARC’s EIR.  Instead, he offered that, while the comments which are officially a part of the public record need to be submitted by the April 27 deadline, nothing is to stop either the commission or individual citizens from making additional comments that the council and perhaps the Planning Commission would consider at a later point in time.

While the council was agreeable to this arrangement, it clearly did not sit well with Colin Walsh—who has consistently been a critic of both the project and the public process here.

From his standpoint, speaking during the long range calendar discussion, he saw this as the council “forcing” members of the commission to endure additional hardship and hold other meetings during this time of hardship.

This was unacceptable to him and he continued to argue for the council to postpone non-essential work until after the crisis.

While many of the people pushing for a postponement of the public process here are also critics if not outright opponents of the project, not all are.

In a comment on the Vanguard, Bob Schneider, a frequent supporter of at least some projects in town, noted that public participation on community issues “requires communication on many levels,” including the ability to meet in small groups.

He wrote, “While meeting places like zoom can help they are not a replacement for face to face.  Groups actively working on an issue need to meet.  This often occurs in kitchens or living room and again zoom is not a replacement.”

He wrote, “I would recommend a 6-month moratorium on non-essential issues.  Let’s deal with our personal essential matters of safety and health with all of our attention and we can learn about and get used to the issues involved with on-line meetings.”

—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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57 thoughts on “Council Agrees to Allow More Discussion of ARC by Commissions – But Not Push Back the Deadline for EIR Comments”

  1. Alan Miller

    I agree with RS & TE.  I don’t agree with the idea of this impossible difficulty in assessing what is ‘non-essential’, and I don’t agree with the motivations of the group clearly pushing this to further an agenda.  Todd makes some very valid comments on community bandwidth, and Bob makes some very valid comments about the community needing to get used to new communications in this new environment.

    Much as I hate to say it, if many people around us and those we know start getting severely ill and/or dying, putting aside non-essential items is going to happen anyway, but unplanned.  Much as Yolo appears relatively clear right now, we are not immune, and may be just later in the game to have our curve rise.  If this virus has any good values, it’s that it does not discriminate by skin color or social status (however, the virus should be brought up on federal civil-rights charges of ageism).  Let’s get 2-4 weeks past the initial Sacramento/Yolo region Covid peak and be on a clear decline in new cases, and then take up non-essential/emergency items again.

    This strategy I/we suggest isn’t to further any agenda, this is just level-headed sanity.

    1. Don Shor

      I don’t agree with the idea of this impossible difficulty in assessing what is ‘non-essential’,

      The same people who want them to only consider essential items, want them to re-open and revisit the solar farm issue. Should they go ahead and re-agendize that?
      What’s non-essential, in your view? What’s essential?

      I don’t agree with the motivations of the group clearly pushing this to further an agenda.

      I don’t agree with the motivations of those who are clearly pushing for delay to further their agendas.

    2. Mark West

       “If this virus has any good values, it’s that it does not discriminate by skin color or social status”

      Unfortunately, this may not be true.

      “Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services started releasing official data showing the racial breakdown of cases and deaths on April 2. That data showed that, although just 14% of the population of Michigan is Black, 33% of coronavirus cases and 41% of deaths were in the Black community.”

      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/black-people-are-dying-of-covid-19-at-alarming-rates-heres-why_n_5e8cdb76c5b62459a930512a

      We will have to wait for more complete data to see if this holds true elsewhere, but it is known that preexisting conditions (including poverty) do have an impact on someone’s overall health and consequently their survival from this infection.

      Off topic…sorry.
       

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        In fact, I would go further – it’s defintely not true. The people impacted by this across the board are those of color and socioeconomic disadvantage and for good reason, those are the folks less likely to be able to social distance.

      2. Alan Miller

        MW, I fully agree and understand that it is hitting some groups harder than others.  This may have to do with issues common to certain groups in certain areas, such as poorer health care, more dense living conditions, cultural distancing differences, information dissemination differences, and in some instances just bad luck as to where an initial contact was made.  I doubt the virus itself distinguishes by skin color, as such – that is the only implication of my statement.

        1. Alan Miller

          Put another way, the virus itself will gladly take host in anyone, regardless of race.  Our social dynamics, however, allow it spread more readily through certain communities.

    3. Tia Will

      Alan

      this is just level-headed sanity.”

      Level headed sanity, like common sense, is often in the eye of the beholder and is an expression of opinion, not necessarily reality. At one point in time, a flat earth would have been considered both common sense and level-headed sanity.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Davis is, pretty much… might explain a lot…

          Wasn’t  a local ‘paper’ known as “The Flatlander”?

          Oh… and for some, Davis=Yolo County=State=US=World=Univrerse…

  2. Tia Will

    To those who want us to suspend all “non-essential” city functions until after the viral crisis declines, what mechanism do you propose for deciding what is “non-essential”? Taking this approach would surely require some kind of consensus on what is “essential”, would it not? I am open to consideration is you have a recommended approach to reaching city-wide consensus.

  3. Ron Oertel

    It should be noted that the resolution from the Open Space and Habitat Commission (OSHC) to request an extension of time for EIR comments (to allow for consideration at the commission’s next regularly-scheduled meeting) has been declined, by the council.

    The commission did agree to hold a “special” meeting, in the event that the council declined their request (despite their concerns, regarding the process).

    The commission meeting this past Monday was not confirmed until last Friday.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Here is the actual resolution that was unanimously approved by the commission (but apparently rejected, by the council):

      “The Open Space and Habitat Commission requests an extension of time from the City Council that allows the relevant commissions a second regularly scheduled meeting to complete their reviews of the ARC SEIR and allows enough time for staff to collect and submit comments.”

      1. Bill Marshall

        Within the scope of their charge, wtf has changed on the proposal, since the original EIR, that would require two regularly scheduled meetings of OSHC?

        If they opposed it initially, they can recommend turning it down now…

        CEQA docs are disclosure docs… not approval docs… a clean CEQA doc is not an approval. Generally, a CEQA doc is required before a project a approved, OR REJECTED!

        Folk should fish or cut bait, and not hide behind a disclosure document…  bloody cowards… (or at least “wimps”) … said as someone who is OK with an approval, or a rejection… a position I take bravely… I have all the information I need to recommend, “whatever”…

        1. Ron Oertel

          Within the scope of their charge,  wtf has changed on the proposal, since the original EIR, that would require two regularly scheduled meetings of OSHC?

          Probably a good point of discussion (e.g., regarding the use of the city-owned 25-acre site to satisfy some of ARC’s requirements).

          As well as the 100-acre city-owned site, that ARC is planning to use for drainage.

          I understand that the OSHC commission reviews aesthetic, agricultural, biological resources, and drainage.  But then again, my knowledge is rather limited regarding the scope of their “charge” (and the topics themselves), compared to some of those on the OSHC commission.

          If only there was a community blog, willing to explore such questions.

          If they opposed it initially, they can recommend turning it down now…

          I don’t know what they did, regarding MRIC.  But apparently, they were allowed at least a couple of (regularly-scheduled?) meetings, to discuss issues, collate and revise comments for proposals such as MRIC and Nishi.  Those meetings did not occur during a time of emergency and adjustment.  (I understand that some commissioners and staff were unexpectedly “dropped” from the recent “Zoom” meeting due to technical difficulties – sometimes without anyone noticing.)

          Apparently, a 500-page document (plus hundreds of additional pages of attachments) is a lot to review, for a commission meeting that was confirmed last Friday afternoon.

          CEQA docs are disclosure docs… not approval docs… a clean CEQA doc is not an approval. 

          Thanks for that reminder.

          Folk should fish or cut bait, and not hide behind a disclosure document…  bloody cowards… (or at least “wimps”) … said as someone who is OK with an approval, or a rejection… a position I take bravely… I have all the information I need to recommend, “whatever”…

          Perhaps you could refer to (and comment on) the actual SEIR itself, before chiming in.  (Not sure about you, but it seems that most of the supporters made up their minds well-before the SEIR even came out, and are not interested in analyzing or discussing it.)

          However, I would have suggested that the OSHC completely reject the compressed timeframe that the council is allowing for review, rather than attempting to squeeze in another (non-scheduled) meeting during this challenging period of time – apparently driven by the council’s (and developers’) determination to approve this for a November vote.

          Ultimately, I suspect that this shortchanged process will actually work against proponents’ interests.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “As well as the 100-acre city-owned site, that ARC is planning to use for drainage.”

            You mean the 25 acre site?

        2. Ron Oertel

          No.  I’m referring to the 100-acre, city-owned “Howitt Ranch” site – where I understand the topsoil would be reconfigured (removed and partially replaced), to accommodate drainage for ARC.

          (It appears that this is discussed on page 3-21 of the SEIR.)

          I believe that the Howitt Ranch site came into city ownership as a result of Mace Ranch.

          Approximately 7 acres of the (other) city-owned, 25-acre site is proposed to meet other requirements, for ARC.

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            The Howatt Ranch site is actually about 774 acres. The city has held it for a long time and doesn’t know what to do with it. They have dating back nearly 20 years, looked to it as a potential sports park site, but it is too far out of town and there are concerns about children attempting to access it via bicycle.

        3. Ron Oertel

          I’ll assume that you’re correct, regarding the acreage. Apparently, you weren’t familiar with the issue at all, based upon your earlier comment.

          This thread started out by noting the unanimous resolution by the OSHC, requesting more time to review the SEIR (which is about 500 pages, plus hundreds of pages of additional attachments).  Due to the coronavirus, the Monday evening OSHC meeting was not even confirmed, until that previous Friday afternoon.

          That request was apparently denied the next day, by the council.

          Then, Bill chimed in, asking what had changed (in comparison to the MRIC EIR), and in regard to that particular commission’s “charge”.  I provided a couple of examples of the types of issue that the OSHC is examining.  (Apparently, neither he nor you were familiar with the EIR – or the issues that the OSHC was examining, before chiming in.)

          As far as the city “not knowing what to do with” the Howitt Ranch site, I’m not sure about that claim.  However – from my perspective, your claim appears to be an attempt to downplay the fact that this site (along with a portion of the 25-acre, city-owned site) may be “offered up” to satisfy the needs of the proposed development.

          Again, seems like the type of issue that the OSHC might examine. I’m sure there are others in the SEIR and its attachments, as well.

          Perhaps you and Bill might take more interest in the SEIR, and the issues that the commissions are attempting to weigh-in, on.  I’d suggest reading the SEIR, attending the commission meetings, and speaking with some of the commissioners as a starting point.  Even if you and others then continue your advocacy, at least you would do so from a more knowledgeable position.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            My only purpose here was to make sure there was accurate information. We’ll have plenty of the other information in due time – possibly as soon as tomorrow.

  4. Ron Oertel

    David:  “My only purpose here was to make sure there was accurate information.”

    Maybe we should both try again.  (Then again, I’m not the one running a community blog that’s supposedly examining these issues, in-depth.)

    Here is what is says in the ARC SEIR, on p. 3-168:

    The applicant has identified a potential off-site location, which is the easternmost parcel owned by the City of Davis, adjacent to the MDC and Yolo Bypass levee (APN 033-300-015  204 acres  see  Figure 3-14). Although this parcel is the applicant’s preferred location due to the fact that it is some of the lowest agricultural land in the area, the other two, City-owned parcels, between the ARC Site and the parcel adjacent to the Yolo Bypass levee, could alternatively be lowered to provide the necessary storage (APN 033-300-001: 248 acres and 300-650- 006: 327 acres).

    1. Ron Oertel

      And – more to the point (than the Vanguard’s lack of analysis), one can see just how challenging it is to clarify just ONE (still-unsettled issue) from the SEIR, on a blog.  Let alone trying to do it via Zoom with multiple participants, on a compressed schedule.

      Of course, none of that matters to those who support the proposal – regardless of what the SEIR says.

      1. Don Shor

        And – more to the point (than the Vanguard’s lack of analysis), one can see just how challenging it is to clarify just ONE (still-unsettled issue) from the SEIR, on a blog. Let alone trying to do it via Zoom with multiple participants, on a compressed schedule.

        I assume they have done their homework ahead of time, read the reports (I have) and have opinions that would enable them to make a specific recommendation as to which site has the most advantages or the fewest drawbacks. In a well-run meeting, that recommendation would not require a lot of time.

        Of course, none of that matters to those who support the proposal – regardless of what the SEIR says.

        I am unaware of anyone on this blog who has endorsed or announced support for the proposal.

      2. Ron Oertel

        I assume they have done their homework ahead of time, read the reports (I have) and have opinions that would enable them to make a specific recommendation as to which site has the most advantages or the fewest drawbacks.

        I don’t think that’s what they’re being asked to decide.  In fact, a decision hasn’t been made on this one issue alone, as noted in the quote above.

        I’m not entirely sure if the commissions are being asked to decide the adequacy of the EIR, or if they’re making recommendations regarding the proposal due to impacts that simply can’t be mitigated, etc.

        In a well-run meeting, that recommendation would not require a lot of time.

        It’s more difficult to discuss complex issues (such as EIRs), via Zoom.  I’ve already witnessed that, more than once.

        The SEIR is 500 pages long, with hundreds of additional pages in attachments. The artificial “schedule for approval” (for the sole purpose of qualifying for the November ballot) was already compressed – even before the crisis arose.

        I am unaware of anyone on this blog who has endorsed or announced support for the proposal.

        I assume that you’re either kidding, or are restricting your comments to those on the commissions.

        However, there’s clearly some folks who are supporters of the proposal, regardless of what’s in the EIR (or difficulties resulting from this crisis).  Just as there are those who are against it.

        Many of the reasons that some are against the proposal can be found in the SEIR, as expected.  (Perhaps a reason that a publication such as the Vanguard avoids discussing what’s in the EIR.)

        The part that I find truly unfortunate (regarding blogs like this) is that someone can’t express what they think is best, without enduring attacks. (That goes for all issues/sides.) But clearly, the Vanguard is “hostile territory” for slow-growth views.

         

  5. Ron Oertel

    Don: “I am unaware of anyone on this blog who has endorsed or announced support for the proposal.”

    I just took another look at this quote, and can hardly believe my eyes.  Have you not been paying attention to what David writes (and outright “says”), on an almost-daily basis?

    Or, for example, [Tim Keller]?

    Man, you can’t even admit this? Really?

    It’s not against the law to be a supporter.

    1. Don Shor

      I just took another look at this quote, and can hardly believe my eyes. Have you not been paying attention to what David writes (and outright “says”), on an almost-daily basis?

      Of course I have. David Greenwald has not, to my knowledge, endorsed or supported the ARC proposal.

      1. Ron Oertel

        David Greenwald has not endorsed or supported the ARC proposal.

        I believe that this is factually incorrect.

        Unfortunately, I believe it’s also “allowed”, even for a non-profit publication.

        1. Don Shor

          I believe that this is factually incorrect

          I obviously disagree. Maybe David will let us know. I also don’t know of any of the other regular participants here who have endorsed or supported the ARC proposal.

        2. Ron Oertel

          [Tim Keller] comes to mind.

          Now, perhaps some don’t literally say it, but it’s not difficult for anyone to understand.

          I’m not sure why anyone would avoid acknowledging something so obvious. Is there something to “hide”, regarding that?

          Clearly, David is a supporter. I’d be surprised to see anyone (including David) claim something different. (Although he may attempt to describe it in more general terms, for some unknown reason.)

          1. Don Shor

            I’m not sure why anyone would avoid acknowledging something so obvious. Is there something to “hide”, regarding that?

            Clearly, David is a supporter.

            Because David has not, to my knowledge, endorsed or expressed direct support for the ARC proposal that we are discussing. I don’t think he actually directly endorsed or stated support for it when it was MRIC either.
            General support for economic development does not necessarily mean one supports a particular proposal.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Why, exactly, would David avoid what is obvious to any reader?  (As you noted, this type of “squirrely” position is not new, regarding David.)

          Is David actually pretending that his constant advocacy is somehow unbiased?

          Are there supposedly “several other” business parks being proposed, in addition to ARC? Is this what you or David are now claiming, to avoid the obvious?

          If David is actually making a claim similar to what you’re describing, I’d like to know how the Vanguard’s board thinks this type of claim would fly, and why they support it.

          I’d also like to hear from those who support the Vanguard (financially, or otherwise), for reasons not related to development.

          That is, do they actually believe that David is “undecided”, regarding ARC?

          It’s really tough to retain any semblance of journalistic integrity, if that’s what’s being claimed.

          For what it’s worth, I’m pretty confident that (if I went back through all of David’s comments and articles), the evidence would be overwhelming – enough to conclude “beyond any reasonable doubt”. (For that matter, he might have even directly acknowledged it, at some point.)

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Interesting that you reached all of these conclusions without even talking to David. Don’s correct though on one point – I have not endorsed the project, but I have not been shy to say that I agree with the idea in concept. I would also point out to you that 95 percent of our financial support comes from lawyers and social justice organizations – most of whom do not post comments here. I know you pay attention primarily to development pieces, but that’s a very small percentage of what we actually do on a day to day basis.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Interesting that you reached all of these conclusions without even talking to David.

          It’s not necessary to do so.  Your articles and comments show this.  I doubt that this conclusion would be viewed as “controversial” – even among your most ardent supporters.

          Don’s correct though on one point – I have not endorsed the project, but I have not been shy to say that I agree with the idea in concept.

          Again, it’s obvious that you support the proposal, in your articles and comments.  Are you claiming that ARC doesn’t coincide with your “idea in concept”?  If so, why not?

          For example, are you concerned about the approximately 6,000 parking spaces?  (In the past, you’ve downplayed that, by comparing it to what occurs in the world, at large.)

          In any case, why do you shy away from a direct, honest acknowledgement?  This has been a pattern with you. Is there some legal concern, holding your back? Or, are you assuming that your readers are just plain stupid, and would believe a claim that you’re somehow “neutral” regarding the proposal?

          I strongly suspect that ALL your readers are too intelligent to believe that.

          I would also point out to you that 95 percent of our financial support comes from lawyers and social justice organizations – most of whom do not post comments here.

          Is that 95% broken down between “contributions”, vs. “donations”?

           I know you pay attention primarily to development pieces, but that’s a very small percentage of what we actually do on a day to day basis.

          It’s actually a large part of what you present on a daily basis, and often generates the most comments (not just from me).  Most of your articles regarding court cases, for example, don’t seem to generate much interest.

          However, I have concluded that there must be sufficient interest in your claimed “social justice” issues for others to overlook your support for development – even when those development proposals conflict with social justice (e.g., insufficient Affordable housing, discriminatory housing proposals, etc.).

          However, every once in-a-while, I’ve noticed that you do get some pushback from those who support your claimed social justice concerns.  However, it’s more muted and timid than what I’d expect, from a city like Davis.

          In the end, Davis will get exactly what it deserves – with, or without the Vanguard’s advocacy.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            There are changes I would like see to the project before it gets to the council.

            We run about seven or eight articles a day. At most, this subject takes up but a few of them.

            “Most of your articles regarding court cases, for example, don’t seem to generate much interest.”

            You’re only looking at comments – not things like facebook shares or page views. A lot of the court case discussion takes place on Everyday Injustice Facebook Group.

            “In the end, Davis will get exactly what it deserves”

            Weird comment.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Me: “In the end, Davis will get exactly what it deserves”

          David: “Weird comment.”

          Not really, if they actually believe what’s presented on here is in any way “neutral” or “balanced”.

          You engage in advocacy on behalf of the proposal, nothing more, nothing less.

          If voters are fooled (and influenced) by your claim of “neutrality”, well – that’s on them, ultimately.

          There are changes I would like see to the project before it gets to the council.

          Like what?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “Like what?”

            I’ve laid out some of it before… Will lay out more of it in the future. I consider the basic tone of your comments insulting not to mention wrong.

        6. Ron Oertel

          I’ve laid out some of it before… Will lay out more of it in the future.

          Not an answer.  Also, would you acknowledge supporting the proposal if they don’t incorporate your undefined changes?

          I consider the basic tone of your comments insulting not to mention wrong.

          I would consider your comments to be dishonest, if you’re claiming neutrality.  I’m serious, and this is not intended as an insult.

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “I would consider your comments to be dishonest, if you’re claiming neutrality. ”

            I’m not claiming neutrality, but I haven’t endorsed the project.

        7. Ron Oertel

          I’m not claiming neutrality, but I haven’t endorsed the project.

          What the hell does that mean, other than the influence of your political science degree?

          Since you’re unwilling to share what changes you propose, or whether or not they’re realistic, I’ll ask you again:

          If the developer does not incorporate whatever changes you have in mind, do you acknowledge your obvious support and advocacy for the existing proposal?

          That’s a “yes”, or “no” question.

          I do understand that significant portions of the proposal haven’t even been defined by the developer. (I suspect, however, that this isn’t a “deal-breaker” for you.)

          I think you’re undermining your own credibility, by failing to acknowledge and “own” your support.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            You taking lessons from Bill? My political science degree studied public opinion, has nothing to do with this.

            These are endorsements: https://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/our-view/our-view-back-measure-g-for-our-schools/
            https://www.sacbee.com/article239739133.html

            We don’t do that.

            At this point, I support the concept of the innovation center. When the final project comes around, I will decide whether I will support or oppose it. I probably will not make my decision public, just as you have no idea who I voted for for council in 2018 or even for Supervisor in 2020.

            There are things I support about the project and things I would like to see improved.

            I honestly don’t care if you view me credible or not.

        8. Ron Oertel

          We don’t do that.

          I see.  You engage in outright advocacy for the proposal, day-after-day, but (for some reason) don’t “formally endorse” proposals.  Perhaps you can explain the reason for that policy, at some point.

          There are things I support about the project and things I would like to see improved.

          Do tell.  Then again, I asked you a question regarding the proposed development, not a theoretical one.  I now understand that you’ll continue to decline to provide a forthright response, while continuing to advocate for the proposal. As you’ve done before (with other proposals), and no doubt will continue to do for future proposals.

          I have to admit that the times I find this amusing are when those proposals “conflict” with your claimed social justice interests – and others take you to task, for it.

          I honestly don’t care if you view me credible or not.

          I can tell.  In fact, it seems that there’s an entire segment of people whom you “don’t care” about, regarding their views of your approach.  But, it’s pretty obvious that you support and advocate for the proposal, on a daily basis.

          Ultimately, it’s a lack of forthrightness that irritates people, regarding politics.  (More than their actual position.)

          There are local advocates who come right out and state their support regarding various proposals, (and don’t try to hide it – while simultaneously advocating for it).  Ultimately, I find that far more respectable.

        9. David Greenwald

          I don’t think I’ve tried to hide anything.  But point out that we are at least three months away from council approval of the project – what happens if they put provisions on there I couldn’t support?  Why would I make up my mind now?

          There are things I would like to see in the project that have not been determined yet.  For example, rather than float the affordable housing proposal as they talked about at Social Services, why not dedicate a full 5 or 10 acres and turn it over a non-profit to raise the funds and develop the affordable housing?  That’s one example, I of what I would like to see.

          I have a whole list of stuff I would like to see.

          On the other hand, I certainly have not been shy about saying that we need economic development, we need commercial space to bring in high tech companies and Davis would benefit from a project of this sort.  I have not equivocated on that at all.

          But within the confines of that, very little has been settled.  This is an iterative process and give and take.  I want to see more than what we’ve been offered so far – a lot more.

          We still haven’t seen the fiscal analysis either.  One thing I would like to see after we get the sense for what the projected benefit is – is something like a per square foot CFD, that becomes a revenue generator for the city.  No one has even discussed that to date.

          Want to turn a $2 million revenue project into a $7 million one?  Add a $2 per square foot CFD on it.

        10. Ron Oertel

          Well, that’s a somewhat more complete response (e.g., regarding Affordable housing, etc.).

          On the other hand, I certainly have not been shy about saying that we need economic development, we need commercial space to bring in high tech companies and Davis would benefit from a project of this sort.  I have not equivocated on that at all.

          The way I’m interpreting your comment is that you believe a peripheral development is absolutely needed.

          Note that cities in the Bay Area haven’t added peripheral land for decades, and have done pretty well.  In fact, one of the planning commissioners noted an excess of available commercial space in the Bay Area – and that was prior to the coronavirus and economic crash.

          Of course, housing generally reduces fiscal benefits.  In addition to the 850 units, I strongly suspect that another peripheral housing development would find “new justification” if this proposal was approved.

          But within the confines of that, very little has been settled.  This is an iterative process and give and take.  I want to see more than what we’ve been offered so far – a lot more.

          I don’t think you will.

          We still haven’t seen the fiscal analysis either.

          Funny that you should say that, as it appears that a “fiscal analysis” of some sort was (for some unknown reason) “presented” at the BTSSC meeting.  Despite having nothing to do with its mission.

          One thing I would like to see after we get the sense for what the projected benefit is – is something like a per square foot CFD, that becomes a revenue generator for the city.  No one has even discussed that to date.

          It’s unfortunate that you’ve banned the one person who has challenged the fiscal promises, in detail.

          I wouldn’t “count on” approval of this proposal.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I believe what was written in 2012 still holds: ” Studio 30 wrote, “The current isolated and dispersed sites that are available and appropriately zoned are not adequate in terms of size, location, or configuration (and related constraints) to address the emerging market need of an Innovation Center.””

        11. Ron Oertel

          I’d like to see that report analyzed by someone else, at this point.

          You’ve already concluded that an innovation center is “needed” (and that there’s actual demand for it, other than for the housing).

          But again, this indicates your support.  There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with acknowledging it.

          But, regardless of what you, me, or anyone else says, there’s a good chance it won’t be approved. Perhaps the city shouldn’t count on it.

          The city has somehow existed to this point, without one.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            It indicates that I see a need. You seem to have come to the conclusion that seeing the need for a project is equivalent to supporting that project. In a sense, it’s a planning version of an ecological fallacy of inferring a specific from the general.

          2. Don Shor

            You’ve already concluded that an innovation center is “needed” (and that there’s actual demand for it, other than for the housing).

            But again, this indicates your support. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with acknowledging it.

            It does not indicate his support, or anyone else’s, for this particular project. This a syllogism on your part and is a simply false narrative, no matter how many times or how many ways you try to say it.
            The city went through a long, public planning process indicating the overall need for a peripheral business park and concluded that the best solution was a dispersed development strategy. That entailed requests for proposals for two sites, consideration of Nishi for commercial, and long-term discussion of redevelopment of the Fifth Street corridor. There was, and probably still is, a broad consensus among those who participated in that process that the site where MRIC/ARC has been proposed is suitable for development as a business park. That does not mean that everyone who supported that principle or the planning process specifically supports the project that is under discussion now. The proposed project includes a significant housing component, which may make it unacceptable for some who support the idea of a peripheral development in general.
            Clearly you disagree about the need for a peripheral business park. That has been discussed in great detail on the Vanguard over many years. I suggest you stop trying to impute advocacy for specific projects just because others disagree with your analysis about the need for economic development in general.

        12. Ron Oertel

          Sorry – I meant to say another “business park” – because that’s really all it is.  With housing as the main goal, for the developers.

          It’s also a creator of additional sprawl, with a long-term fiscal loss to the city. (Some are already advocating for that.)

          In the meantime, show us one company (other than Tim Keller’s tiny operation) that will locate there.

          1. Don Shor

            No company is going to commit to relocate to a planned development site that hasn’t even been through full review, much less the public vote. There’s no way for the developer to market it since it doesn’t exist yet and there’s no timeline for development of the site until it’s approved by the voters.

        13. Ron Oertel

          More excuses, Don.

          At one time, Schilling apparently “promised” to move into a site which didn’t exist.  So did Sierra Energy.

          You have expressed concern regarding the viability and wisdom of including housing at ARC.

          There are no other proposals, at this point.  They’ve all failed, or moved away.

          You tend to respond in a more straightforward (and somewhat more hostile) way, than David does.  (Probably partly due to your lack of a political science degree/background.)

          Since you’re continuing to push this, I’ll ask you the same question that David repeatedly sidesteps:

          Do you support the current ARC proposal?

          It’s a “yes” or “no” question.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “At one time, Schilling apparently “promised” to move into a site which didn’t exist. So did Sierra Energy.”

            You’re really conflating things – both companies were owned by local residents. I don’t know what you are talking about with regards to Sierra Energy, but with regards to Schilling, he held out as long as he could to keep the company in Davis. That’s not the same as a company moving to Davis with no community ties.

        14. Ron Oertel

          And – the more that you or David decline to provide a straightforward response to an exceedingly easy question, the more foolish it makes you appear.  No matter how many times you attack me, for highlighting the lack of response (while continuing with the advocacy articles for the only peripheral development “on the table”).

        15. Ron Oertel

          So, let’s try it again (for both David, and now Don):

          Assuming that there’s no drastic changes to the ARC proposal, do you support it?

          Again, this isn’t rocket science – to anyone other than a politician (or someone trying without success to hide their political advocacy).

          You’re going to lose this “argument” if you keep pushing back with nonsense, while avoiding the basic question (to which everyone already knows the “answer”).

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            You don’t seem to understand – there are things I want to see in the project before I will support it.

          2. Don Shor

            Assuming that there’s no drastic changes to the ARC proposal, do you support it?

            We’ll see. I support a business park on the site, but have reservations about the amount of housing. Which is what I’ve said for quite awhile now. Of course, I don’t vote here, so I wouldn’t be able to vote in the Measure R election anyway.

        16. Ron Oertel

          Thanks for the response, Don and David.

          I still see advocacy in David’s articles – including the focus of coverage of the two different commission meetings.  But, so be it.

          For me, I simply don’t think it’s necessary or desirable to expand the city beyond the Mace curve.  I’m also concerned about the traffic and sprawl that the development would ultimately cause – beyond the development itself.

          Truth be told, it’s difficult for me to imagine Davis voters approving a 6,000-parking space development on that site.  If it is somehow approved, I think the “image” of Davis would drastically change.  Pretty tough to lay any kind of claim to a “green” title, after that.

          I hope that that folks don’t “forget” the problems that occur there, which have temporarily abated (due to the coronavirus).

          I like the site the way it is, and I don’t look toward sprawl to solve the city’s fiscal challenges.  It’s never worked, in the long-term.

          In any case, the economy at large is not going to “snap back” anytime soon, and I don’t see any need to shortchange the process or make promises that have no basis in reality.

           

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