Nine to Run for City Council; Ballots Arguments for DISC; No Opposition to Measure J Renewal

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The nomination period for city council closed on Friday—even though Brett Lee opted not to run, and two of the districts have incumbents seeking re-election with the third having no incumbent at all.  This is the first election that will be run under the district format.

District 2

Brett Lee made the decision not to seek a third term.  However, Will Arnold, decided to run for a second term.  Will Arnold will face Dillan Horton, a former UC Davis student who has been very active politically as the chair of Police Advisory Commission and a former member of the Vanguard Board.  Colin Walsh is running as well—Walsh is a graduate of Davis High and serves on the Tree Commission.

District 3

Lucas Frerichs will run for his third term in November.  He will face Larry Guenther, who is running for a second time after finishing 5th in 2018.

District 5

The only district with no incumbent—there was no elected councilmember residing in this district.  However, two-term former Councilmember Rochelle Swanson is back and running after a two-year exit from the council.  She will face three opponents.  Josh Chapman is the past president of the Davis Downtown Business Association and owner of Armadillo Records.  Connor Gorman and Kelsey Fortune are both graduate students.

As Larry Guenther noted this past week, with district elections, no longer is it nine people running for three spots.  Now it is three districts where it is winner takes all, single-member districts—and that means to unseat an incumbent, you have to run against the incumbent.

The Vanguard is in the process of interviewing the candidates and will also be starting weekly questions shortly.


No Opposition to Measure J – or should I say Measure D?

The ordinance that will extend the sunset of Measure J—the Citizens’ Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Lands) to December 31, 2030, and makes minor technical changes to the Ordinance—has no opposition.


Measure B Ballot Arguments – Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC)

Argument in Favor of Measure B

We’re among the hundreds of residents and community leaders who have worked for over two decades to fulfill Davis’ vision of becoming home to a world-class, university-related research center. It will create a place to advance discoveries that will improve lives around the globe while providing sustainable local jobs, affordable housing, economic stimulus and millions of dollars of benefit to our city.

We’re enthusiastically voting Yes on B to approve the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) – the exciting culmination of years of planning.

Voting Yes on B will improve our local economy and quality of life by:

Confronting the city’s housing crisis with new residential units including the city’s single biggest investment ever in affordable housing.

Leading world progress on the environment – the first project of its kind in the nation to power all buildings with 100% clean energy while stimulating advancements in agriculture, biotech, green-tech, and food science research.

Creating many local, green and good-paying jobs onsite and new employment opportunities throughout the community for people with diverse skills and passions.

Generating more than $1.3 million annually in new revenues for the Davis Joint Unified School District, to enhance educational opportunities for our kids.

Adding a net $5 million annually to the City of Davis’ budget to support essential services and amenities like parks, greenbelts, and sports facilities without raising taxes.

DISC is unanimously supported by our City Council. Vote Yes on B to create jobs of the future that will retain our highly educated workforce, make the local economy greener and more resilient, build on UC Davis’ reputation as a cutting-edge global research innovator, and add new parks and recreational sports fields that make Davis a special and interesting place to live

Signers: Mayor Gloria Partida, Former Assemblymember Helen Thomson, School Board Member Bob Poppenga, Gerald Bruan, and Pam Marrone


Argument Against Measure B

The Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) is neither innovative nor sustainable. It is a massive, car-centric, sprawling business park that will forever change Davis for the worse.

Crushing Traffic Gridlock

DISC is predicted to add more than 24,000 daily car trips onto Mace Blvd. when completed. But instead of guaranteeing specific reductions of this huge traffic burden on an already overly congested thoroughfare, the City is only requiring DISC to create a future Transportation Demand Management Program. But “figuring it all later” is not a plan.

We already know how poorly the City managed the still unresolved “Mace Mess” traffic fiasco on Mace Blvd. that backed up traffic for hours. That gridlock was due to the addition of only 400+ cars/day. How can Mace Blvd. possibly handle another 24,000 cars/day without turning it into a parking lot?

Spiraling Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Directly resulting from this debilitating traffic, these greenhouse gas emissions will destroy our City’s Climate Emergency Resolution mandating carbon neutrality by 2040. The projected unmitigated emissions from DISC alone will increase the City’s annual emissions by 8% or over 83 million pounds/year!

Although the Developer promises DISC will be carbon neutral, this can only be achieved by buying cheap offsite carbon credits that do nothing to reduce the City’s real carbon footprint. It is unfair to burden our children and grandchildren with this legacy of harmful greenhouse gases for the sake of Developer profits.

Lucrative Entitlements on Prime Farmland

It’s bad enough this developer will gain lucrative commercial zoning entitlements to pave over 200 acres of farmland, destroying habitat for sensitive species like Burrowing Owls and our last remaining views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Sacramento skyline.

The Developer also proposes satisfying the City’s agricultural buffer requirement by encroaching on the Mace-25 Open Space purchased with taxpayer funds. This is a breach of the public’s trust.

Signers: Roberta Milstein, Nancy Price, David Abramson, Juliette Beck, and Alan Pryor

 

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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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30 thoughts on “Nine to Run for City Council; Ballots Arguments for DISC; No Opposition to Measure J Renewal”

  1. Alan Pryor

    I think this quote from a Planning Commissioner put it best

    You want this to be the most sustainable, innovative tech campus in the United States. But you have come to us with a car-dominated, auto-centric proposal on the edge of town, far from the capitol corridor station, not linked to good transit, with huge parking lots and parking structures…

    Widening Mace to accommodate more traffic is not the answer. It’s going to induce more demand. It’s going to make the people who currently choose other modes of transportation, choose other routes, choose other times of day …I think that we need to get serious about other modes of transportation…

    If you want to build this project and you want to be an innovator and bring value to this community, you need to do that right…and that requires outside partners and getting better transit to this site. Without more specific information and plans and guarantees on these things, I don’t know that I can recommend this project in good faith because this is going to be more of the same kind of development that has brought us – I don’t want to be melodramatic – but has brought us to the brink of climate emergency that we’re at.” (Emphasis added)

    – Emily Shandy, Davis Planning Commissioner, February 26, 2020

    1. Don Shor

      Interesting, considering that the Planning Commission voted unanimously to put the project on the ballot.

      “I’ve reached the same conclusion that other commissioners have reached,” said Commissioner Emily Shandy, who noted the many opportunities members of the community as well as city staff have had to weigh in and seek changes to the proposal by the developers.

      “At this point if this is the project they want to take before the voters and try their luck on the ballot, we should empower them to do that,” said Shandy.
      — Davis Enterprise, June 19 2020
      https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/planning-commission-recommends-council-put-disc-on-ballot/

  2. Alan Pryor

    “At this point if this is the project they want to take before the voters and try their luck on the ballot, we should empower them to do that”

    Hardly what you would call a ringing endorsement

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      But there is a difference between not “a ringing endorsement” and potentially misrepresenting her views. The view was expressed in February prior to a host of refinements and the current DA. Is that her current view? Do you know?

      1. Alan Pryor

        But there is a difference between not “a ringing endorsement” and misrepresenting her views.

        How can you possibly call a direct quote from her as misrepresenting her view?

        Gimme a break, David! You are clearly showing your biases here instead of behaving as an impartial journalist.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Because it was given in February, the project developed and modified since then, and we have no way of knowing whether that’s her current view. I did modify my post to say “potentially” since we don’t know her view on this as she did not express it in May.

      2. Matt Williams

        David and everyone, Emily Shandy’s June 17, 2020 comments can be listened to in the meeting video at https://davis.granicus.com/player/clip/1154?view_id=6  They begin at the 2 hour and 13 minute mark of the video.  I have transcribed her comments below:

        Briefly, I have reached the same conclusion that several other commissioners have voiced this evening that we have been debating this project for a while.  It has come before us multiple times We have provided an opportunity and a forum for the community to weigh in, and we, as commissioners, have listened to all that input, and elevated and poked at those concerns and questions that we really feel are important to push the applicant forward on to create a project that is going to be the best that it can be for the city of Davis.  My impression from this evening’s meeting is that both the City and the applicant have incorporated the changes that they are interested in incorporating at this point.  And so I agree with what the other commissioners have said, that at this point if this is the project they want to take before the voters and try their luck on the ballot, that we should empower them to do that.

         

    2. Bill Marshall

      No, Alan P, but what you are now accused of (called out for), is ‘cherry-picking’ quotes and implicit deception, to forward your views/proclivities…

      But I have to thank you… I was ambivalent before… you have totally solidified 1-3 votes (mine, perhaps household) in favor of the project… will burn some green firewood in the fireplace tonight to acknowledge your insights… might do so thru November elections…

      Again, thank you

  3. Alan Pryor

    When I tried to edit my comment above, the timer said I had over 3 minutes left. Yet when I clicked to send it, the response was “You can no longer edit this comment” Please fix this as it happens repeatedly to me and others.

    What I tried to add was something to the effect of  “If Shandy wants to come out and repudiate her earlier statements, then let her do that. But to otherwise try to spin what she is diectly quoted as saying and say that I am the one misrepresenting her views is unfair and misleading journalism on your part.”

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Here’s what we know:

      1. She made the comment in February
      2. The project was modified
      3. By May she did not make that comment again and voted to put the project forward.

      I would not assume that her comment from February still stands. You’re assuming it does unless she specifically repudiates it. That’s all. I fail to see how my view is unfair and misleading journalism – particularly since it was a comment not an article.

      1. Matt Williams

        By May she did not make that comment again and voted to put the project forward.

        The Planning Commission meeting with the vote took place on June 17th, not “in May”  and her exact words on June 17th were:

        Briefly, I have reached the same conclusion that several other commissioners have voiced this evening that we have been debating this project for a while.  It has come before us multiple times We have provided an opportunity and a forum for the community to weigh in, and we, as commissioners, have listened to all that input, and elevated and poked at those concerns and questions that we really feel are important to push the applicant forward on to create a project that is going to be the best that it can be for the city of Davis.  My impression from this evening’s meeting is that both the City and the applicant have incorporated the changes that they are interested in incorporating at this point.  And so I agree with what the other commissioners have said, that at this point if this is the project they want to take before the voters and try their luck on the ballot, that we should empower them to do that.

        .
        There is no repudiation there of her prior comments by Commissioner Shandy. My reading of her June 17th comment is that her words “we, as commissioners, have listened to all that input, and elevated and poked at those concerns and questions that we really feel are important to push the applicant forward on to create a project that is going to be the best that it can be for the city of Davis.” pretty much incorporate her past comments under the category of “elevated and poked.”

  4. Alan Pryor

    the project developed and modified since then

    There was actually very few changes in the project that changed the overall carbon footprint since February. The Developer said they would make the commercial buildings all-electric but the CEC is going to mandate that anyway…and probably within 5 years.

    But 78% of the carbon emissions are due to transportation and the Developer steadfastly refused any changes that would have driven down daily trip or VMT as recommended by the NRC. These included 1) mandatory master leasing of the apartments by employees, 2) all paid commercial parking (like at UCD and downtown Sac), and 3) demonstrable measureable reductions in daily trips before proceeding on subsequent phases.

    And their flimsy excuse for denying each of these recommendations was simply that it was “Not feasible” instead of actually providing a quantitative or legal basis for saying “No”

  5. David Greenwald Post author

    While I have you on here Alan Pryor, perhaps you can also explain this statement which you signed your name to:

    No on B claim: “The Developer also proposes satisfying the City’s agricultural buffer requirement by encroaching on the Mace-25 Open Space purchased with taxpayer funds. This is a breach of the public’s trust.”

    From the June 30 CC staff report:

    “A portion of the Ag Buffer was proposed to be located on the city’s property, known as Mace 25. There is no agreement on the project using a portion of Mace 25 as part of the agricultural buffer and the developer understands that they will be obligated to provide the buffer entirely on the DISC site if no agreement is reached in the future. The City is under no obligation to grant an easement on the Mace 25 for the project agricultural buffer. This is discussed in detail within Exhibit H of the Development Agreement.”

    So it is true the developer did propose it, but the city did not grant it.  Can you explain how the statement that you signed off is a completely accurate statement?

    1. Ron Oertel

      So it is true the developer did propose it, but the city did not grant it. 

      The phrase that’s missing is “so far”.  What’s to prevent them from doing so, if the proposal is approved?

      Without acknowledging this, can you “explain how the statement that you made is a completely accurate one”?

       

    2. Alan Pryor

      So it is true the developer did propose it, but the city did not grant it.  Can you explain how the statement that you signed off is a completely accurate statement?

      David, now you are just being silly dancing on the pointy head of the pin., Please read our statement again, “The Developer also proposes satisfying the City’s agricultural buffer requirement by encroaching on the Mace-25 Open Space purchased with taxpayer funds.“. Please tell me how that is inaccurate. Plus look at the map in the ballot language. Does not that show the agricultural buffer encroaching on Mace-25?

      And c’mon here. You yourself repeatedly made the argument earlier that the Devloper should pull that out of their proposal because opponents would attack it. So now I attack it and you bust my chops over it. This is completely hypocritical on your part. Please stop this nonsense.

       

        1. Matt Williams

          Alan, I clicked on the link and the map on the last page of Resolution 2011 is unclear whether the Agricultural Buffer is part of the DISC parcel or part of the City-owned Mace 25 parcel.

          However, if I had to guess, I would consider the dotted line to be the property line between the two parcels, and if that is correct the Agricultural Buffer is not on the City-owned parcel.

          You are correct that it was “proposed” and David is correct that any decision of that proposal is currently “deferred.”  So, it is in limbo.

          It is worth noting thast the last time we had a similar “deferred” decision was with respect to a CFD (Community Facilities District) at the Cannery, and the Cannery developer came back to the City one year after the Development Agreement was signed, and the City gave the developer an additional $8 million check that cost the Cannery residents over $21 million in additional tax payments over 30 years.  Bottom-line, those “deferred” decisions can come back to bite you.

      1. Alan Pryor

        Yes I do stand by it completely. And I am under no obligation to make their arguments for them.

        And while I am at it, are you preparing to be as hypercritical critical of the outlandish statements they are making in their Arguments? Such as their saying the project is so green while COMPLELY ignoring the enormous GHG emissions from the transportation impacts.

        …..

        still waiting…

        …..

        still waiting…How about some “fair and balanced” journalism here!

        1. Don Shor

          How about some “fair and balanced” journalism here!

          Ok. Most of the commissioners made favorable comments about the project at the June 17 meeting.
          https://www.davisvanguard.org/2020/06/planning-commission-unanimously-moves-disc-forward-to-council/
          Some expressed ambivalence and I might put Emily Shandy in that position. Evidently none of their concerns were sufficient for them to vote against sending the project to the voters.
          So personally, if I were opposed to this project, I probably wouldn’t use the planning commissioners’ comments to try to support my position. I do consider your use of quotes selective and not reflective of the commissioners’ actual views on the proposal.
          For the record, I am neutral on this project.

        2. Ron Oertel

          The part that I find amusing regarding Don’s comment is that he completely disregarded the planning commission’s unanimous rejection of University Mall, in a recent article.

          I could probably find that quote, if needed.  Pretty much a single sentence, dismissing the commission, the EIR, and neighbors’ concerns.

          Nor did the Vanguard explore the issues, and instead featured what I refer to as the “indignation articles”.

          1. Don Shor

            The part that I find amusing regarding Don’s comment is that he completely disregarded the planning commission’s unanimous rejection of University Mall, in a recent article.

            No, I found it curious in the context of this vote on DISC.
            I’ll save you the trouble re: University Mall (a project that I support):

            I didn’t find the planning commission arguments or the commissioners’ public comments very useful on this project. The fact that they voted unanimously against a project that is oriented to student housing, and then voted unanimously in favor of a project on the edge of town that contains hundreds of housing units oriented to young urban professionals, seems contradictory (to be polite).

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron and Don, the two Planning Commission votes are very, very different in terms of level of authority.

          In the case of the University Commons, the Planning Commission is making an official determination on the project.  Their decision is binding, just like a Superior Court decision is binding.  Just as a Superior Court decision can be appealed to the Appellate Court, the Planning Commission’s decision can be appealed to the City Council.

          In the case of DISC, the Planning Commission is not making any official determination on the project.  Because of the existence of Measure J/R/D that legal power has been removed from the Planning Commission.  All the Planning Commission can do in Measure J/R/D projects is give advice to the City Council.  Their unanimous advice on June 17th was (in the words of Commissioner Shandy):

          Briefly, I have reached the same conclusion that several other commissioners have voiced this evening that we have been debating this project for a while.  It has come before us multiple times We have provided an opportunity and a forum for the community to weigh in, and we, as commissioners, have listened to all that input, and elevated and poked at those concerns and questions that we really feel are important to push the applicant forward on to create a project that is going to be the best that it can be for the city of Davis.  My impression from this evening’s meeting is that both the City and the applicant have incorporated the changes that they are interested in incorporating at this point.  And so I agree with what the other commissioners have said, that at this point if this is the project they want to take before the voters and try their luck on the ballot, that we should empower them to do that.

          Note: the bold emphasis was added by me.

  6. Bill Marshall

    No Opposition to Measure J Renewal [From ‘headline’]

    As you correctly point out, David, no one filed a ballot argument… I just assumed someone would… otherwise, I would have written one…

    To say “no opposition” is incorrect… to say there is “no formalized/organized opposition, to date” would be closer to the truth… hence, no ballot argument…

    I oppose the renewal, as do the two other members of the household… all voters… I know many others who oppose a 10-year extension/renewal.  Time will tell…

    1. Rick Entrikin

      In all likelihood, staunch supporters or opponents of the Measure J renewal already have decided how they will vote on Measure D.  Still, I was surprised that opponents did not file ballot arguments to try and influence undecided voters.

      Having decided to vote “Yes on Measure D,” I can only speculate about why the opponents did not take advantage of the free opportunity to state their views to potential voters.  One likely possibility is that there simply aren’t enough of them.

      A more practical consideration, though, especially in the current political climate, is that opponents realized that an attempt to strip Davis residents of their right to vote would be indefensible.

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