Unanimous Council Puts DISC on the Ballot for November

There are no guarantees in Davis politics — Nishi learned that in 2016 when a unanimous vote by the Council still ended up with a project rejection.  But the Council and developers lifted the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) proposal as far as they seemingly could at this time, and now it will be up to the voters to decide — in what figures to be a contentious election on a very crowded ballot.

For all of the complaints that the Council and City were ignoring the recommendations and concerns of Commissions, much of Tuesday was spent addressing the concerns of several — particularly the Natural Resources Commission and Tree Commission.

The applicant — Dan Ramos — took a huge step with a letter delivered to the city early on Tuesday that further addressed many of the concerns raised.  Council then further refined, before passing a motion by Will Arnold and Dan Carson to put the project on the ballot.

The commitments are now locked into the Baseline Project Features … for the most part.

The applicant addressed the issue of “shall” versus “commit.”  They wrote:

“We believe that, from a legal perspective, the terms ‘Developer commits,’ ‘Developer agrees,’ and ‘Developer shall’ in the context of a contract, all equally obligate the party to do whatever requirement follows.”

They were further agreeable to modifying all “commitments” in the Development Agreement to say “Developer shall” if that was the desire of the Council.

While the applicant did not get to the 4,000-tree level as the Tree Commission would have liked to see, they committed to 1,800 trees.  One of the issues would have been trying to maximize trees while at the same time fully committing to “maximize the onsite generation of power through the use of photovoltaics.”  In the end they settled on committing to no less than 1,800 trees and modified the language so that if it did interfere with onsite solar generation, they would plant trees offsite.

In a big concession to the NRC, they agreed, “Commercial buildings will be all-electric for the building envelope, i.e. those functions servicing the common areas such as HVAC systems and water heaters.  Natural gas may be provided to the building and made available to meet the needs of individual tenants.”

Councilmember Will Arnold saw this along with the sustainability features and all-renewable commitment as a huge win for the City in pushing the project forward.

At the behest of Council, the project added three additional onsite affordable housing units to bring the onsite percentage to 15 percent.  With 25 off-site units as well, the project will still go to 18 percent and be the largest affordable housing project in the city.

The issue of housing again was prominent.  Matt Keasling, attorney for the applicants, indicated that they believed going to off-cycle rentals would be a violation of fair housing laws since its primary purpose would be discriminatory intent.

Nevertheless, the applicants attempted to push forward with a commitment to make onsite housing at DISC, housing that will be “predominantly occupied by employees.”

They wrote the following language: “To further minimize transportation emissions and enhance the active live-work-play environment of the Project, the applicant and the Master Owners Association (MOA) shall ensure an introduction and establishment of a relationship between commercial tenants and the then active builders of on-site housing and/or leasing companies.”

This would include: “Establishing a direct relationship between employers and purveyors of onsite housing will maximize the number of project housing units occupied by individuals working onsite.”

They also plan to provide incentives “to commercial users such as offering a reduction in the annual Master Owners Association (MOA) fee based upon the number of employees living onsite. “

The applicants also opened the door for co-housing and cooperative limited equity housing, but attempted to slam the door on “dormitory-style housing” by limiting housing to micro units, studios, limiting it to three bedrooms or less, and allowing ownership cooperative housing, co-housing, condos and townhomes.

No home will include more than three bedrooms.

Finally they agreed to “participate in and contribute toward an electric shuttle service running weekdays from the AM to PM peaks, connecting commuters from DISC and 2nd Street to UC Davis and the Amtrak station.”

As Councilmember Will Arnold pointed out Mace 25 “is off the table” in that the City makes no commitment to provide an easement and the use for Mace 25 will be determined at a later point, separated from this process and with community discussion and input.

Traffic concerns are definitely significant and unavoidable.  However, Brett Lee pointed out this chart which shows the overall impact of traffic on the Mace corridor with and without the project.

“People are criticizing the project because of the idea that we would be approving a project that generates a substantial amount of traffic while we haven’t been able to solve the problem with the existing level of traffic,” he said acknowledging that a reasonable person would see a disconnect.  “What this slide shows is that there are a few years for us to get the Mace improvements in place to address … the impacts (that) were very real last year.

“It tells us that we do have some time to work with some of our partners to address the traffic challenges today,” he said, as well as the new challenges from the sizable development.

Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney noted that there were $113 million in fees generated by the project, including nearly $80 million in roadway impact fees to offset the impacts of this new development.

Dan Carson adding to the statement of overriding considerations, acknowledged the environmental impacts but also noted that the project was still worthy despite them.

The statement of overriding considerations  document, he explained, “contains four points that are all good and valid points.”  These included: the economic benefits, jobs from construction, additional housing in the city of Davis,  it increases the economic potential of UC Davis and creates long term jobs.

“These are all good, but there is so much more to this project than that,” he said.

“The project includes a vision that has been identified and studied by the city for more than two decades,” he said.  “It positions the city for post-COVID economic recovery stressing the importance of having shovel-ready sites.”

He pointed out it “assists the city in goal of achieving fiscal sustainability as we still have a significant funding gap.”  He added, “It provides a revenue source that will be used to maintain and enhance community amenities.”

In addition to several of Councilmember Carson’s proposals Mayor Gloria Partida added that it sets a precedent for sustainability goals in not just in Davis but our region.

Will Arnold said that this project has been “decades in the making,” noting the work of DSIDE and “other community-led organized attempts to identify ways to diversify our tax base in Davis.”

He noted that when they put revenue measures on the ballot, they are constantly asked “to please find other ways to generate revenue in the City that are not just increasing taxes.

“This is that,” he said.  He noted that this came out of a “community-led process.”

Regarding the community-led process, during the Great Recession, the need was identified to create viable strategies for a strong recovery, and as a result the City led a collaborative effort called Designing a Sustainable Innovative Davis Economy (DSIDE) with partner organizations including UC Davis, the Davis Chamber of Commerce, the Davis Downtown Business Association, the Yolo County Visitors Bureau and many leaders of private industry. Based on a significant amount of stakeholder outreach, this initiative led to several important reports and studies.

Councilmember Arnold also applauded the developer for making “sustainability commitments” including “new commitments that we were able to attain from them over the course of the last two meetings—I will call out the 100 percent renewable and the electric for every building.”

Councilmember Brett Lee noted, “I have a job, I have a house, why would I vote for something that increases traffic and makes the developers rich?”

But he said that attending a Greater Sacramento training session, Barry Broome talked about something that changed his mind.

“He said over the past four years, there have been 200,000 kids—African American kids and Latinx kids—who have left high school in California with no degree,” he said.  “What’s the plan?”  He said, “It then started to make sense.”  He noted that economic development isn’t just about high level professionals—“he’s talking about a broad spectrum of jobs that are available in areas that need those jobs.”

Councilmember Lee noted that those without degrees need access to entry level jobs.

“Davis’ response to statewide crisis of several hundred thousand kids without a high school diploma isn’t that we can’t do anything,” Lee said.  He said we can’t do everything of course, “but I believe it is inappropriate for us who have so much to say that we can’t do anything.”

Brett Lee argued “it isn’t a zero sum game” where, if we say no, “it will magically pop up elsewhere.”  He said “in many situations it just doesn’t happen, and so an opportunity is lost.”

The key then is to make sure that even with the impacts, Davis “stays a nice place to live.”  Brett Lee acknowledged that there will be more traffic and other issues, but argued “if we’re smart that money can mitigate impacts.”

Councilmember Lucas Frerichs acknowledged that he struggled in the past with the issue of a business park versus mixed use.

But he came to the conclusion, “I think that a mixed use path is really a superior choice” and acknowledged changing his mind on this issue.

He said, “I think there is sort of this false choice, that we think if we don’t build it in Davis that it doesn’t get built somewhere else.”  What he said though is that if we don’t build in Davis with the higher standards that we have, “a project of equivalency will get built somewhere else and the standards will not be anywhere as strong as we’re putting in place.

“There is a real need,” he said, for jobs and this type of project in Davis.

Mayor Gloria Partida said, “There is no question that the opportunities that would come out of the project are quite substantial.”

She added that while there is high vetting in Davis and standards that will not be asked for anywhere else in the state, the “opportunities come at a cost.”  That cost she said is that “traffic will increase” and “the flavor of our city will change some.

“That is the biggest concern to a lot of people,” she said, but argued that the overall benefits were worth it.

The council approved the motion on a 5-0 vote.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$USD
Sign up for

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.

Related posts

43 Comments

  1. Don Shor

    While the applicant did not get to the 4000-tree level as the Tree Commission would have liked to see, they committed to 1800 trees.  One of the issues would have been trying to maximize trees while at the same time fully committing to “maximize the onsite generation of power through the use of photovoltaics.”  In the end they settled on committing to no less than 1800 trees and modified the language so that if it did interfere with onsite solar generation, they would plant trees offsite.

    This perfectly illustrates the very adverse impact solar power requirements have on urban forests. Because of the mandate for solar energy production, the city is losing the generational impacts of 2200 trees. That is a significant adverse impact. It’s not the developer’s fault, it’s a fault with the policy.

    1. Bill Marshall

      So, to be clear, are you indicating that:  a) CC was wrong to put it on the ballot, as is; b) you recommend a ‘no’ vote in November; c) you have a problem with how the conflict between tree canopy/solar generation is proposed to be resolved; d) some combination of a), b), c)?

      Or are you just venting?  It is unclear as to your intent.

      For some, ‘solar’ is ‘god’; for others, ‘trees and canopy’ are ‘god’… and both are important values… but sometimes, as you seem to point out, there are “clashes of the titans”… you can’t always have your Kate, and Edith, too…

      I support “informed balance”… so, fully expect to get ‘hit’ by the two ‘extremes’… no problem…

      1. Don Shor

        a) CC was wrong to put it on the ballot, as is; b) you recommend a ‘no’ vote in November; c) you have a problem with how the conflict between tree canopy/solar generation is proposed to be resolved; d) some combination of a), b), c)?

        a) fine to put it on the ballot as is. Good luck to them.
        b) neutral.
        c) yes.

    2. Richard McCann

      Don

      Do you have any studies on the relative reductions in GHGs from planting more trees vs. adding solar panels?

      There are two important additional offsetting considerations. The first is the environmental damages created by large-scale solar in greenfields vs as part of local developments and the second is the wildfire hazard created by transmission lines to bring in distance renewables.

       

      1. Ron Oertel

        Trees vs. solar panels is “chump change”, compared to the GHGs generated by tens of thousands of car trips. What was that figure again, per day?

         

        1. David Greenwald

          That assumes that they are generating new car trips as opposed to simply shifting the location of where those car trips are taking place. They also assumes that this project is not more green than other projects in other locations. So it is not a simple calculation as you assert

        2. Ron Oertel

          I’m sorry – where did you say this proposal will be built, if not at the DISC site?

          Maybe in Woodland, for example (where they also don’t seem to be moving forward, with their own proposal)? (You know – the one that “moved” from Davis because it wasn’t viable.)

          I recall a figure of 24,000 additional car trips/day, as a result of the DISC proposal.

          Did they finalize the number of parking spots? Seemed to be a “moving target”, last time I heard.

          1. David Greenwald

            “I’m sorry – where did you say this proposal will be built, if not at the DISC site?”

            You don’t seem to understand – unless DISC is breeding new people and building new cars, they are simply transferring existing populations from one place to another and thus the only consideration is how green they are vis-a-vis other types of jobs and housing.

        3. Ron Oertel

          You don’t seem to understand – unless DISC is breeding new people and building new cars, they are simply transferring existing populations from one place to another and thus the only consideration is how green they are vis-a-vis other types of jobs and housing.

          O.K. – then maybe they’ll work in an already-developed location.  There’s plenty of them throughout the region and state, with MUCH less environmental impact.  Lots of vacancies, as well (with more to come due to coronavirus).

          Truth be told, there’s lots of sites within the city of Davis that could be redeveloped, as well. The net gain of commercial space regarding this proposal is only on the order of 100 acres or so.

          Then, there’s the space inside of the Mace Curve, for those who want undeveloped land.

          This thing is an embarrassment for a city like Davis.  I’m surprised that it’s even gotten this far.

          1. David Greenwald

            That’s the comparison point though – the replacement impact. And one of the things they analyzed, I forget where it came from, but this project does better than the Davis average of VMT.

            You are making a mistake of evaluating environmental impact in a vaccuum rather than in a rigorous comparative fashion.

            And remember, evironment is important but it’s not the main driver – jobs and revenue are.

        4. Ron Oertel

          That’s the comparison point though – the replacement impact. And one of the things they analyzed, I forget where it came from, but this project does better than the Davis average of VMT.

          That’s interesting (I doubt that it’s accurate), but really only proves the point that all development creates an impact.

          You are making a mistake of evaluating environmental impact in a vaccuum rather than in a rigorous comparative fashion.

          Sure – go ahead and “compare” the impact of infill, vs. peripheral development with thousands of parking spaces, adjacent to a freeway.  I’d look forward to that.

          And remember, evironment is important but it’s not the main driver – jobs and revenue are.

          Ah, selling-out environmental concerns for money.  (Sure sounds familiar.)

          Perhaps someone can explain how the city (and every other city) got themselves into these challenges, despite allowing growth and development. And how things would be “different”, this time.

          But again, existing residents (collectively) don’t need jobs at this site.  The city is already attracting a net inflow of commuters, to UCD. It’s entirely possible that very few Davis residents would get jobs at this site.

          We don’t even know who, or what would be there. How many commercial tenants do they have lined up? None?

          This thing would, however, exacerbate the “housing shortage”, on the order of 1,200 units within the city itself, and 1,700 outside of the city. Assuming that the commercial is even viable, beyond the phases in which they build housing.

          And by the way, the cost of those additional housing units (needed off-site) is not part of the fiscal analysis.

           

          1. David Greenwald

            There is no question that it creates local impact, but your initial claim was false because it asserted global impact and failed to recognize that people are not being created for the purpose of working at this location. So the impact of the cars is actually a trade off between this and other jobs in terms of the impact. I love your blanket denial of its accuracy when you’ve never even seen it, examined the assumptions and evaluated the calculations. It’s intellectually dishonest what you are doing.

        5. Ron Oertel

          ” . . . and failed to recognize that people are not being created for the purpose of working at this location.”

          Not something I said, either.

          “So the impact of the cars is actually a trade off between this and other jobs in terms of the impact.”

          That “tradeoff” has consistently favored one, over the other.  That’s why climate change is occurring, among other environmental concerns. (The impact goes beyond “cars”, as well.)

          I love your blanket denial of its accuracy when you’ve never even seen it, examined the assumptions and evaluated the calculations. It’s intellectually dishonest what you are doing.

          It’s dishonest to make claims (such as yours), without backing them up.  I’m encouraging you to do so.

      2. Don Shor

        Do you have any studies on the relative reductions in GHGs from planting more trees vs. adding solar panels?

        Reduction of greenhouse gases is not the only value trees provide. Any studies or models on that topic would be extremely complex. You address two of them in your subsequent comments. I can refer you to experts on this topic if you’re interested.
        I believe solar should be on rooftops, not in parking lots, and not generally on farmland (there can be reasonable exceptions on this). I think a reasonable policy would mandate maximizing use of rooftop area for solar power generation in any new commercial development. We have a clear problem with the current policy: decimation of our future urban forest, clearly quantified on this project at a rate greater than 50% loss of trees. That is a problem.

    3. Alan Pryor

      This perfectly illustrates the very adverse impact solar power requirements have on urban forests.

      Actually, this perfectly illustrates the ability of the developer to dance on the head of the pin while avoiding direct answers to questions. The Council specifically asked the applicant the following,

      5. Trees, how were 1000 trees derived? Why the number disparity from the 4000 trees recommended by the Tree Commission?

      The developers never, ever answered the question except to say their tree “expert” said they could not fit in the 4,000 trees recommended by the Tree Commission because of “solar”. Before, they said they could never do in excess of 1,000 trees because of  the required footprints of the buildings and bike paths and parking lots but that didn’t sit quite so well.

      So the Developer smartened up and last night they came back in and, instead of directly ansering the question, “How ere the number of trees derived?”,  instead just said they could do between 1,000 and 1,800 but no more because of “solar”. But they have never ever showed any calculations how they derived that number as asked directly by Council and previously by the Tree Commission.  They just said it was due to “solar” and everbody accepted the answer and swallowed it hook, linen and sinker without anybody ever asking, “Hey, just show me the damn calculations like we asked for, OK!”.

      So it is disingenuous for Don to say that the loss of 2,2200 trees was due to the solar “policy”  but then never actually providing the calculations to show that this is the case. The developer just very smoothly simply hide behind that “solar” excuse to disarm the critics without ever having to prove their point. And it apparently worked quite well on the Council. I mean, who could be against “solar”, right?  That’s the problem when everyone on our Council is so obviously either easily swayed by BS or so mathematically challenged they don’t even know the questions to ask . They just stick their heads in the sand and pretend all is OK.

      It is the same story with traffic. Everybody acknowledged traffic is a huge issue but nobody has sat down and calculated just what are the traffic delays going to be with all that that new traffic on Mace now nor did anybody ever say what they are going to do about it. Amazingly, the only answer was , “Yea, it could be really  bad but, hey, we have 20 years to fuigure it out.”  If they were honest, they should have just added, “But in the interim we’ll get buckets of construction taxes and impact fees to keep the City’s financial ponzi scheme rolling and we’ll just let our kids deal with it later because we’ll be dead by then“.

      No wonder our climate and planet is disintegrating around us.

      1. Don Shor

        So it is disingenuous for Don to say that the loss of 2,200 trees was due to the solar “policy” but then never actually providing the calculations to show that this is the case.

        Sorry to be “disingenuous” Alan, but I don’t have those numbers. So I suggest you direct your disparagement at someone else.

        1. Ron Glick

          How many acres is the project? Divide the number of trees by the number of acres. Or divide the number of trees by the (number of acres minus the acres of building footprint). Compare that to the number of trees per acre in an almond orchard. Its not a hard calculation to get a pretty good estimate.

      2. Ron Oertel

        I mean, who could be against “solar”, right?

        Michael Moore? (“Planet of the Humans”)

        Not really, but did point out that there are significant environmental impacts (including associated mining for rare earth minerals, as I recall).

        Not to mention the greenhouse gasses created by that, and by the overall production process and life cycle.

         

  2. Richard McCann

    Glad to see the Council responding to community input. These are big steps, but I haven’t yet decided if I’m supporting or opposing, or standing neutral, on the project. Unfortunately, the process to get to this point was much more arduous than it should have been, showing how our decision making process is broken and needs to be deeply revised.

    1. Alan Pryor

      Glad to see the Council responding to community input. These are big steps,

      Richard – I completely disagree that the Council and developer “responded to community input” nor do I agree that “These are big steps”

      What are the big steps they took last night?.

      1) They agreed to an all-electric commercial building envelope which the state would probably have required anyways inside of 5 years. But this it is hardly a big ticket item that produced signifcant GHG reductions anyhow, and.

      2) They agreed to…hmm…lemme see…I know there was something else big they agreed to.

      How about requiring employee occupancy in the apartments and homes?. Nope ! They did say they would agree to give a discount on MOA fees if employees resided in they apartments. but then they never said, how much the discount would be –  $1/mo/apt”, $10/mo/apt?, $100/mo/apt?, $1,000/mo/apt? You get my drift here?

      How about paid commercial parking to discourage driving?…Nope!

      How about phasing in projects based on demonstrated reductions in traffic?…Nope

      How about agreeing to ANYTHING that forces reductions in VMT or daily trips?…Nope, nada, zip?

      OK. So there is nothing else that they agreed to that is really big that impacts the biggest driver of GHGs of all…TRAFFIC! Traffic produces 78% of all the GHGs from the project yet the developer did not agree to one single thing that would materially reduce traffic impacts.

      OH yea…’scuse me… I forget they agreed to “work” with Unitrans and Yolobus to make the bus stope more convenient and attractive. But notice they did not commit to a single dime to help pay for the improvements that result from their “agreeing to talk“.

      The concessions agreed to last night by the developer were almost laughable but Council just sat there and lapped it up and they all talked about how all-electric commercial building shells were really “BIG DEAL” and Will Arnold couldn’t stop pandering about how he really appreciated what a “big risk” this was for the developer to take.

      Before the night began the project was expected to increase the City’s annual GHG emissions from about 7 – 8 % for this one single project because of all of the traffic associated with it. After the really “big” concessions by the developer, I’ll be they whacked that increase down byless than a 0.25% of the projected increase. Functionally, it was a throwaway.

      No wonder our planet is going to hell in a hand basket. Hey but at least we’re going to get jobs and revenue and Greenwald says that’s really important, right?…How freakin’ Trumpian is that? Tell that to his kids in 25 years.

       

       

       

  3. Ron Oertel

    As Councilmember Will Arnold pointed out Mace 25 “is off the table” in that the City makes no commitment to provide an easement and the use for Mace 25 will be determined at a later point, separated from this process and with community discussion and input.

    Translation:  It is absolutely NOT “off the table”. It is, however, outside of the control of voters if they approve this proposal. And, it’s not too difficult to predict what would occur.

  4. Ron Oertel

    In a big concession to the NRC, they agreed, “Commercial buildings will be all-electric for the building envelope, i.e. those functions servicing the common areas such as HVAC systems and water heaters.  Natural gas may be provided to the building and made available to meet the needs of individual tenants.”

    Truth be told, they’d better provide natural gas to the commercial buildings, to be at all competitive with other commercial sites.

    The financial analysis already shows that it would be difficult for them to complete the final phases of the proposal, after the housing is built.  Why add to that difficulty?

    And to be clear, not providing natural gas infrastructure is huge cost SAVINGS, for a developer.  It is in no way a “concession”.

     

      1. Ron Oertel

        Not “everyone”.  How many other buildings/sites (e.g., within cities such as West Sacramento) have natural gas, and are not “getting rid of it” anytime soon?

    1. Tim Keller

      Ron is right.  As someone who want to occupy a big chunk of the commercial space in this development, I would be pissed if natural gas is not at least piped to the building.

       

      1. Ron Oertel

        Thanks, but don’t you operate a very small company?  (I recall you discussing your operation, on here.)

        This site is not going to be affordable for the start-ups which share the space that you house.  Unless a special deal is made.

        There’s a TON of sites (even within the city) that could house an operation like yours – assuming expansion is needed. (With existing natural gas, to boot!) With (no doubt) much cheaper market-rate rent.

        1. Tim Keller

          No, that is the entire point of what we do.  Inventopia, the non-profit leases larger spaces and takes in startups as members so that they collectivley can get access to a space that they wouldnt be able to afford on their own.    We can afford expensive space, in fact, we kinda require it.

          And no, there are not a ton of spaces that could take inventopia. In fact there are zero that meet our needs. We are about to expand to a space that is 5x what we currently have, but we are making a lot of compromises even to get THAT done.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Tim:  Weren’t you previously housed at 1222 Research Park Drive, and forced into a smaller space temporarily?

          We can afford expensive space, in fact, we kinda require it.

          Never heard anyone seeking to pay higher rent, before. Especially those associated with startups (who already have to share space).

          We are about to expand to a space that is 5x what we currently have, but we are making a lot of compromises even to get THAT done.

          Sounds like you found a home (presumably after being forced out of Research Park Drive, for now).  You’re looking to move a third time?

          Also, were there safety concerns (in regard to your company, at the Research Park site)?

          Regarding space, do the startups that you house limit their searches to Davis?  (Assuming that they survive?) Are they also seeking to pay “higher rent”?

          As a side note, how might your status as a non-profit impact the fiscal impact for the city? (I don’t know the answer to that, in advance.)

           

           

           

      2. Ron Glick

        Many people are moving toward natural gas and away from coal.

        It depends on the application. Where was it in the Bay Area they banned natural gas and all the restaurants screamed? If there is going to be R&D or manufacturing there are many applications where natural gas might be needed. Natural gas for heating, like I have at home, is another question, one I’m trying to understand as to the cost benefits of modern electric heating technology versus natural gas.

        1. Tim Keller

          If the source of the electricity is on-site photovoltaic, then it is a lot different that if the electricity is generated at a natural gas plant off-site.   And the economics of photovoltaic is not something that I am qualified to weigh into…

          But I am specifically thinking of the kind of technologies that might call this place home.   There are countless companies in food processing, or alternative energy, or ag, that are helping to reduce our GHG emissions, but still need fossil fuels somewhere in their process stream.     A good example is Sierra Energy, a local alternative energy company.  They do clean gasifiction of biomass etc.. but they still need natural gas to “start” their reactors…    So a pilot plant for their technology (and a lot others) would be ruled out if there were absolutely no natural gas supplied.    And that would be a loss for the community and the project.

          Also, companies like origin biomaterials that make biomass-derived plastic… they still require heating for their process in many stages, and the chances of us winning them back to Davis from West Sac, would be really hard  without natural gas on site

          1. David Greenwald

            I believe you can request gas – they just won’t automatically supply it, if I understand the policy that was approved.

        1. Ron Glick

          I’d be interested in learning about the state of the art in electrical heating. Natural gas was much cheaper in the past but I’m not sure about the cost comparison today.

  5. Ron Oertel

    The issue of housing again was prominent.  Matt Keasling, attorney for the applicants, indicated that they believed going to off-cycle rentals would be a violation of fair housing laws since its primary purpose would be discriminatory intent.

    Translation:  Yes, it will house UCD students – several miles away from campus.

  6. Ron Oertel

    But he said that attending a Greater Sacramento training session, Barry Broome talked about something that changed his mind.

    He said over the past four years, there have been 200,000 kids—African American kids and Latinx kids—who have left high school in California with no degree,” he said.  “What’s the plan?”  He said, “It then started to make sense.”  He noted that economic development isn’t just about high level professionals—“he’s talking about a broad spectrum of jobs that are available in areas that need those jobs.

    Sounds like Broome’s “plan” is to have those without degrees function as janitors, etc., at the site. And, those folks are disproportionately people of color, who certainly wouldn’t be able to afford the market-rate housing.

    It’s unfortunate that Brett was “sold” on that plan.

    1. David Greenwald

      Why are you thinking janitor? A lot of coders don’t have degrees. A lot of tech people at least back in the day didn’t. Why are you limiting what people can do?

      1. Ron Oertel

        I’m not the one who is implying “limits”, disproportionately impacting people of color.

        He noted that economic development isn’t just about high level professionals—“he’s talking about a broad spectrum of jobs . . .”

        Are they going to be doing a lot of “coding” at this site?  Or, is it supposedly ag-based, generally requiring a science degree?

        As a side note, the technology industry is overwhelmingly white, Asian, and male.  Are you not aware of that, as it’s been reported-upon extensively? (But yeah – even the tech sites need “janitors” – assuming that this work isn’t increasingly shifted to people’s homes via telecommuting. Oh, wait – it is.)

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for