Commentary: (Measure) D Might Stand for Lack of Good Data

By David M. Greenwald

Rich Rifkin’s latest column is probably worthy of discussion—he says “Measure D” and the “D is for ‘disaster.’”  I would argue that the D might be better characterized as being for lack of good data.

For about the last two years I have been frustrated by the city’s unwillingness to do a deep dive into Measure J.  Other than Mayor Gloria Partida’s critical comments, the council itself has adopted the attitude such that I might have been concerned about Measure J, but the community passed the last two projects, so I’m less so.

For me that glosses over the impact.  We have no studies on the overall impact.  No second level data analysis.  And no plan for how the city plans to meet housing and growth demands into the future.

This week, for instance, there were some comments about the regional historic price comparison.  It shows a 20-year snapshot of the growth of housing costs.  At one view, Davis is seen to have a lower annual growth in housing costs than surrounding areas.

From that simple analysis, several people have concluded that this means that the data do not support the conclusion that Measure J has caused Davis prices to rise faster than surrounding areas.

But data are tricky.  There is a reason why robust statistical analysis rarely relies on a simple bivariate chart graphed over time.  Instead, if I were a researcher I would use a multivariate time-series regression analysis to examine this problem.

There are several problems here that we are not going to resolve.  First, we haven’t isolated variables.  We are only taking in one factor—Measure J or not Measure J, and we are not analyzing the totality of the circumstances impacting housing prices.  Second, we have not considered whether rate of growth is even the best explanatory variable.

One thing that stands out in the data—Davis started out in January 2001 with more expensive housing than any of the comparable cities.  Davis ends the period with an even greater cost differential than other comparable cities.  To cite an easy example, Davis’ homes were $125K more expensive in 2001 than Woodland’s and now they are more than $300K more expensive.  So even though Woodland technically had a larger growth rate, Davis expanded the differential in actual dollars.

The same is true comparing Davis to the state of California.  The growth rate in the state’s housing costs was larger than for Davis.  But in 2001, Davis’ housing was around $70,000 more than average, now it’s $150,000 more.  So it’s not like housing costs are closing the gap on Davis at the state or regional level.  None of the comparable points actually closed the gap on Davis, despite their all having a faster annual growth rate.

So is the growth rate more important than the actual growth?  That’s what the supporters of Measure D want us to believe.

Growth rate is a function not just of cost increase, but also the starting point.  The lower the starting point, the higher the rate of growth for relatively smaller increases.

But the truth is far more tricky.  Davis before Measure J was enacted was more expensive.  Housing costs have gone way up across the board over the last 20 years.  We know a big driver in cost inflation is scarcity—not just at a local level but at a regional level.  One of the drivers of scarcity in Davis is constrained supply.

Let’s pick a different example.  Gas prices.  We know there are state, regional and local impacts on gas.  If you attempt to fill up in a small, more isolated town, you will pay more than you would in areas where there are plenty of supply.  But you also pay more in big cities like San Francisco.  There are also factors that cause the price of gas to fluctuate on a regional and even national level.  The places where there are naturally higher costs for gas will rise and fall with these tides—they’ll always be more expensive at the high and low ebbs—but their percentage increase is probably going to be lower than for cheaper gas.  That doesn’t mean that scarcity isn’t impacting them, it simply means that there is a baseline cost for that scarcity that doesn’t rise and fall with external factors.

We may be seeing something like that with housing—but again we lack the analysis to tease out the effects, and we are painting too simplistic a picture by simply looking at a few variables.

Looking at these data I am not prepared to say that Measure J is “causing” Davis’ cost increases—in fact, I would argue on the contrary that is way too simplistic an analysis.  But I also don’t believe you can rule it out.  There is likely a “Davis premium” that exists over and above constrained supply.  But teasing out these effects requires much more robust statistical analysis than anyone has really attempted to employ.

Bottom line here: We need a more robust analysis and the city has to this point refused to provide it.

That gets me back to Rich Rifkin’s columns.

He wants to argue that Measure D (the renewal of Measure J) will lead to an increase in GHG emissions, more automobile traffic, less economic fairness, reduced student housing, exacerbation of systemic racism, a Davis less affordable for families, a threat to the viability of schools, etc.

Rifkin argues: “On its face, Measure D seems like an innocuous way for ordinary citizens to have their say on growth in Davis.”

Instead, he argues, “It’s not that simple in effect. The reality is that Measure D will be disastrous. In its guise as Measure J/R, it has been injurious to our environment, renters, students, lower-income minorities, diversity, families with young children, public infrastructure and municipal planning.

“No large housing developments have ever been approved by voters in Davis in the Measure J/R era,” he writes.  “As a result, Davis housing has become much less affordable.”

But wait, the data.  Rich Rifkin is making the exact same mistake as the folks supporting Measure J.  We lack good data.  We lack robust data analysis.  And without having it, we are not going to make informed decisions.

—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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58 Comments

  1. Matt Williams

    We actively deal with price premium every day when we pay sales tax.

    The amount of sales tax we pay is not an absolute dollar amount regardless of purchase, but rather a percentage of the baseline price of the item being purchased.

    It is really quite simple.

    1. Hiram Jackson

      Matt,

      I have a hard time interpreting what the lower graph means, but I do appreciate what you show in the upper table.

      One thing I did several years ago was to take the peak median housing values in Zillow for all the Sacramento area communities that I could find from just before the Great Recession and then the lowest housing values following the crash and look for a percentage loss of housing value.  At the time Davis showed the least loss of housing value, as a percentage, during that period of all communities that I could find.

      Although Davis housing values haven’t gone up at as rapid a rate since 2011 compared to other communities, Davis housing values also did not dip by as much as a percentage.  Point is, I think you have to factor in that the value loss was not as great for Davis as it was for other communities in your table.

      1. Don Shor

        Interesting to note that at one point at the bottom of that housing recession, there were over a thousand homes in foreclosure in Woodland, over a thousand homes in foreclosure in Dixon, and less than a hundred in foreclosure in Davis.

      2. Matt Williams

        Hiram, the graph shows 12 individual data points for each year (one per month) over 20.5 years, so 246 individual snapshots in a series.  The table only has 3 snapshots. So a graph of the table would look like the one below.  They tell the same story though.

        https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Screen-Shot-2020-09-23-at-10.45.51-AM.png

        That story is as follows.  In January 2001 the Woodland housing price index was 58% of the Davis housing price index, which means Davis housing had a 72% price premium over Woodland.  In January 2011, thanks to the differences in community-to-community impacts of the number of foreclosures due to the bursting of the housing bubble and the effects of the Great recession, the Woodland housing price index was only 45% of the Davis housing price index, which means Davis housing had a 122% price premium over Woodland.  Since January 2011 the impacts of the burst and the recession have slowly disappeared and in July 2020 the Woodland housing price index was 56% of the Davis housing price index, which means Davis housing had a 79% price premium over Woodland.   That 56% ratio and 79% premium have been steady in the data for the past 24 months.

        For Winters the price ratio dipped from 61% to 51% and then rose back to 63%.  The price premium rose from 64% to 96% and then fell to 59% … slightly lower than it was in 2001.

        For West Sacramento the price ratio dipped from 54% to 44% and then rose back to 55%.  The price premium rose from 85% to 127% and then fell to 82% … slightly lower than it was in 2001.

      3. Hiram Jackson

        Originally I was curious if there were a correlation between public school funding (with respect to local school parcel taxes) and local housing values.  The answer was ‘maybe.’  There are too many factors to know for certain.

        In addition to looking at Sacramento area trends for housing prices over time, I looked for similar trends in other college towns (UC’s in particular) in California — Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Chico, Santa Barbara, Riverside, Irvine, Claremont.

        Davis homes maintained a higher percentage of their value through the recession against every other city except for Berkeley.  It’s hard to make direct comparisons between Davis and other cities because there are many factors, but I found it interesting that Davis values held up so well.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I’m going to guess that (unlike other communities) few Davis houses even came on the market during the housing crash.  As such, I would assume that valuations during that time might not be as accurate as they normally could be.

          In other communities (which aren’t as stable), foreclosures flooded the market (as Don noted). Those properties were in effect, temporarily “underpriced”. As such, construction was pretty much halted, as well. (No profit to be made.) The construction industry was impacted for years, afterward. (Maybe still some residual impact, today.)

          A long time ago (e.g., probably prior to any impact from Measure J/R), a real estate professional told me that Davis housing prices don’t fluctuate as much as they do in other communities.

           

        2. Ron Oertel

          And of course, when properties are “underpriced”, so are the resulting property taxes. Assuming they’re even collected at all.

          That’s when cities go bankrupt (of which we have some examples in Northern California, I understand).

        3. Matt Williams

          Davis homes maintained a higher percentage of their value through the recession against every other city except for Berkeley.  It’s hard to make direct comparisons between Davis and other cities because there are many factors, but I found it interesting that Davis values held up so well.

          It is indeed interesting, but IMHO it is also pretty easy to explain.  The reasons are (1) that relatively fewer people in Davis lost their source of income in the Great Recession, (2) that the ownership tenure of homeowners in Davis is relatively longer than other communities, (3) which meant the typical Davis homeowner had built up enough equity in their home to not be upside down when the value of their home declined, (4) both the median and average household income in Davis is higher than other communities in the region, and (5) there are a significant number of homes in Davis that are owned by out of town parties and leased to UCD students. In those homes the rental income was sufficient to cover the mortgage payments.

        4. Bill Marshall

          BTW, Hiram, in the Great Depression, (1920’s-30’s), the impact to housing values, unemployment, etc., were much less in State College, PA than anywhere nearby, and PA as a whole… they experienced the Great Depression as a serious recession… but few were seriously ‘hurt’… funny… Davis and State College (home to Penn State) have been very similar, population, demographics, etc., for ~ 80 years… Dad grew up there… have been there more than a dozen times, most recently in 2001.  It still has a lot of the ‘feel’ of Davis, particularly its downtown (as of 2001)…

          Having a major University, joined at the hip, next door, is a ‘buffer’ (think chemistry, not physical barrier)… have heard Madison, WI, similar, but can’t really speak to that…

    2. Richard McCann

      I’ve made the same observation as Hiram over the years. Measure J protected the housing value in Davis compared to surrounding communities, so of course prices have risen faster on the rebound in the other cities. The other confounding effect in particular for Woodland and West Sac is the opening of large scale developments in each that provides a much larger set of housing stock with more amenities than the existing stock. West Sac in particular had nothing like Southport before (I lived in Southport before moving to Davis in 1996 and prior to the expansion.) This has accelerated the price rise in those communities. Measure J/R has precluded Davis from adding a similar type development, although Mace Ranch, Evergreen and Pioneer are similar, but those were finished prior to 2000.

      Economics tells us that absent some other condition constraining supply in the face of rising demand will lead to higher prices. And empirical market data confirms this principle over and over. If someone doubts this principle, they need to provide a complete rationale for why the particular situation is different and empirical contrary data. Otherwise, any simple assertion that this principle isn’t true must be completely discounted.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Measure J/R has precluded Davis from adding a similar type development, although Mace Ranch, Evergreen and Pioneer are similar, but those were finished prior to 2000.

        You’re forgetting about The Cannery.

        For what it’s worth, houses in The Cannery seemed to have more high-end features than houses in surrounding communities.  This is one of the factors that can impact median price (for comparable-sized houses).

        Economics tells us that absent some other condition constraining supply in the face of rising demand will lead to higher prices. And empirical market data confirms this principle over and over.

        The same argument can be made regarding purposefully increasing demand, via a development such as DISC. Though it’s not that simple, when surrounding communities are willing to absorb much of the demand.

  2. Ron Oertel

    Most of Rich Rifkin’s concerns would be better-applied to Measure B (DISC), regarding the creation of “housing shortages” (and the impact of commuters) in the first place.

    As a side note, the median house price (in California, as a whole) is now more than $700,000. Much of this is likely due to low (mortgage) interest rates, increased construction costs, etc. I read elsewhere that the cost of lumber has nearly doubled, as a result of the pandemic.

    https://www.ijpr.org/economy-and-finance/2020-09-20/despite-pandemic-median-home-price-in-california-tops-700-000

  3. Dave Hart

    Rifkin argues: “On its face, Measure D seems like an innocuous way for ordinary citizens to have their say on growth in Davis.”

    I don’t claim to know if it is “innocuous” or “wise”, but Measure J/R/D is certainly a way for us to have a say on what kind of growth occurs beyond current city limits.  The West Davis and Nishi property votes reflected, in my opinion, an attitude change from “keep it locked up and the way it’s always been” to “these particular locations are appropriate for this type of development”.   I think that’s as far as you can analyze Measure D.  I will simply assert, without high level statistical analysis, that prices in this town are subject to (1) regional housing and employment patterns, and (2) to the mystique of Davis schools and (3) university town demographics and amenities. Consequently, prices will always be higher until the city grows so much that it resembles Elk Grove or Roseville and becomes a boring (and cheaper) nowheresville to live.   Measure D is not driving it.

    1. Bill Marshall

      but Measure J/R/D is certainly a way for us to have a say on what kind of growth occurs beyond current city limits.

      And there are many others… influencing CC, referendum, are but two… and, J/R/D does zip/zero/nada as to growth, of ANY kind, beyond, yet adjacent to City boundaries, if a development application is submitted to the County… the ‘pass-through’ agreement, restraining development adjacent to the City, w/o annexation, is merely a ‘gentlepersons agreement’ at this point.  RDA’s are moribund, if not dead.

      It has no force of law.

      DISC has water… they can provide for themselves for ‘services’ if they need to… they can contract with the City for services… they have the rights of access to adjacent streets… the City would have no “right” to impose impact fees… they could ask that of the County, but the County would have the right to choose whether or not to ‘negotiate’… it is what it is…

  4. Ron Oertel

    In general (and not a comment regarding Davis in particular), I find the argument that housing prices (or vacancy rates) should be the determining factor regarding land use decisions to be outrageously unwise, and a recipe for sprawl (and those who take advantage of that).

    In addition, it doesn’t necessarily work to lower prices – as noted in places like Los Angeles and San Jose.

    1. David Greenwald

      Housing prices have to be the determination of land use policies, otherwise you simply add your allotment of single-family homes that are 2000 square feet and call it a day.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I don’t understand your comment regarding “2000-square feet” houses, but there’s a lot of considerations besides housing prices which (should) factor into land use decisions.

        Again, demand is largely “created” in the first place.  Especially for a place like Davis.

        Other factors to consider could include preservation of farmland/open space, ultimate size/boundary of a city, capacity of infrastructure/resources (such as roadway and freeway capacity, water supply), contributions to climate change, fiscal costs, etc.

        I’d start out with how large a city should be (e.g., the boundaries), and work from there. Otherwise, you’re just pissing into the wind, regarding the rest.

         

        1. David Greenwald

          “I’d start out with how large a city should be ”

          That probably explains the difference in our thinking. I’m thinking less about size and more about affordability.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Your approach is what leads to sprawl, with a false hope of affordability.

          Again, look at Los Angeles or San Jose.  Los Angeles (the “home” of sprawl) has an enormous number of homeless people (and higher costs than Davis).

          The free market is what determines price in our system, for better or worse.  There’s lots of people who are able to afford housing quite easily, which is why The Cannery was successful. For that matter, there’s lots of people with CASH, who are apparently beating-out those who nevertheless qualify for a loan.

          The basic problem (for some) is that their salaries aren’t keeping up with housing prices.  Then again, a lot of them are leaving for places like Texas, where costs are more aligned with salaries.  (I don’t see anything “wrong” with that, and it’s actually another example of the free market at work.)

          Of course, there’s always rent control (which I think is far more effective and flexible than Affordable housing).  For one thing, it is not based upon income, so individuals don’t need to worry about future earnings that may increase.

           

           

          1. David Greenwald

            Your approach leads to places where families can no longer afford to buy homes and live. My approach is actually very moderate – except in comparison to people who oppose (nearly) all projects.

        3. Ron Oertel

          The evidence does not show what you claim to be true.

          There are, in fact, wealthy families as well. Go check at The Cannery, or the guy who recently posted on here regarding losing a single-family house to an “all cash” buyer.

          Prior to today, you (also) falsely claimed that Measure J/R was causing the price differential to increase.

          If you’re concerned about supply/demand, maybe you should oppose DISC.

        4. David Greenwald

          It’s unfortunate that you didn’t read the article closely or you would see my entire argument here is that we lack good data to reach the conclusions that you have

        5. Ron Oertel

          I did read it, that’s why I said “prior to today”.

          Maybe you should read comments before responding.

          Or, we could stop harping on this, as if Davis is the only place in the world in which to live (or in which there’s a price differential, with any other community).

          How about comparing it to the Bay Area? (But even there, large price differentials exist between cities.)

          Honestly, I don’t know what the goal is, regarding those who want everything to be “equal” between all communities (or “how” equal they think it should be). Or, how to achieve that, given that some of the most sprawling places on the face of the earth are also among the most expensive.

          How about starting with “equal salaries”, given that line of logic?

  5. Ron Glick

    Matt’s data set begins in 2001. Measure J passed in 2000 so it could have already been discounted in 2001. I remember when Prop 13 passed in 78 and home prices skyrocketed quickly thereafter. It would be interesting to look at these data from the mid-90’s.

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron G, your statement above is a clear indication that no matter what evidence is put before you, you will doubt it if it doesn’t comport with your personal view.

      Measure J was passed in March of 2000 and the first data point in the data set provided in the table and graph is January 2001.  Can you explain what aspect of the laws of microeconomics as they apply to the housing market would account for the creation of a meaningful “discount” in the 9 months between March 2000 and January 2001?  In those 9 months what change was there in housing supply that would have affected Davis housing prices?  In those 9 months what change was there in housing demand that would have affected Davis housing prices?

      Bottom-line, neither housing supply nor housing demand in Davis substantially changed.  In addition, in the surrounding communities neither housing supply nor housing demand substantially changed.

      Further, if your premise were correct the price difference trend would continue to decrease (the price premium would simultaneously increase, but a quick look at January 2001 compared to January 2005 shows the trend was actually them opposite of your speculation.

      https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Screen-Shot-2020-09-23-at-5.46.09-PM.png

      1. Ron Glick

        You went from 2001 to 2005 I want you to go back to 1995.

        Anyway we are arguing the trees instead of the forest. Rifkin lists a lot of conditions that have been made worse by J/R most of them have been articulated by your’s truly over the years. Price premium is only one of those conditions. What you guys are focused on is debatable but what about the many other issues Rifkin raises? Which of those have been made better by J/R?

        Rent levels, declining enrollment, entry level affordability for young families, barriers to entry for projects, housing supply, project completions, vehicle miles traveled, land use planning. All of these conditions have been made more difficult by J/R. So if J/R have been so successful that they should be renewed for another ten years without serious modification on what basis are we judging that success?

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron G, in your 1:10 comment you say, “Measure J passed in 2000 so it could have already been discounted in 2001”  Then in your 8:11 comment you say,You went from 2001 to 2005 I want you to go back to 1995.”

          My question to you based on those two questions is, “What does 1995 data have to do with Measure J, which didn’t even come into existence until 2000?”

          With that question asked, let’s look at the second paragraph of your 8:11 comment where you ask, “What about the many other issues Rifkin raises? Which of those have been made better by J/R?”

          The obvious return question to you is “What about the many other issues Rifkin raises? Which of those have been made worse by J/R?”

          That brings us around to the premise of this Vanguard article … where is the data?

          Rent levels … there is no data that statistically shows the specific impact of Measure J/R on rent levels … either to the better or to the worse. As David said, we have a “lack of good data.”

          Declining Enrollment … there is no data that statistically shows the specific impact of Measure J/R on rent levels … either to the better or to the worse.  The number of non-J/R variables that are affecting enrollment are more numerous than the fingers on your hands.

          Entry level affordability for young families … that problem existed well before the year 2000 when Measure J/R was passed.  That is also a problem that exists throughout the majority of communities in California.  But to stay with David’s theme, we have not seen any solutions because we haven’t as a community taken the time to gather any data about the root causes of the problem.

          Barriers to entry for projects … that one I will grant you.  However, without those barriers what did our community get at The Cannery.  Did the Cannery address the declining enrollment issue?  Did the Cannery address the entry level affordability for young families issue?  Did the Cannery address the rent levels issue?

          Project completions … again I cite the Cannery.  How well has project completion gone there?  Or perhaps we should look at Mace Ranch.  How well did project completion gone there?  And as David might say, there is no data that statistically shows the specific impact of Measure J/R on project completionss … either to the better or to the worse.

          Vehicle miles traveled … there is no data that statistically shows the specific impact of Measure J/R on VMTs … either to the better or to the worse. Once again, we have a “lack of good data.”

          As Tia Will and Richard McCann and I have all said in our own words on numerous occasions, Davis, as both a City and a community, will best resolve the issues that Rich Rifkin and you have listed by developing a broad vision for the community and its future. Right now the City is too focused on solving individual issues that pop up without looking at the bigger vision as to where we should be headed.

          Davis is a ship without any clear direction … a rudderless ship … a community with no Vision of what it wants to be.  And as Richard said last Wednesday, “Of course, deciding what to do will require a vision of what the City’s [economic] pathway might look like. And we are currently missing any hint of that vision from our City’s leaders. This should be the centerpiece of this year’s election campaign.”

  6. Ron Oertel

    Rejection of DISC (which would increase demand for housing if it was actually built-out) would presumably also impact housing prices (or at least keep them from rising), according to the supply/demand articles put forth on here.

    So, I would ask the growth advocates to include that impact in their future “analyses” of Measure J/R, as well.  (Of course, they’re not “bloody likely” to do so, are they? They prefer to only look at the supply side of the equation, as this matches their agenda.)

    Of course, they’re also ignoring “regional supply”. So, they’re not even examining that half of the equation in full, in the first place.

  7. Ron Glick

    Your point is that there is no premium expansion. Going back to before J passed provides us with a before and after instead of an after and after comparison.

    Your claim or David’s is there isn’t data but my question put the shoe on the other foot and asked you to show me what has been improved by J/R. Can you name anything beside election spending?

    You mention Cannery. Cannery has provided the community with completed housing something J/R has yet to do. Anecdotally, we have friends who bought there. A young couple who are both professionals. We are waiting for them to be blessed with children. If Cannery isn’t going to improve school enrollment why did we go through all that misery about grade separated bike crossings?

    VMT’s you say there is no data but there are inter-district transfers. They have gone up significantly. There is the UC travel data. There is common sense that if more people who work at UC drive from surrounding communities VMT increases.

    Locking the community in for ten years before providing a General Plan update seems to put the cart before the horse.

    1. David Greenwald

      “Your claim or David’s is there isn’t data but my question put the shoe on the other foot and asked you to show me what has been improved by J/R. ”

      My argument is that we lack data both directions. The data that suggests that Davis’ housing costs grew more slowly looked simply at percentages and is bivariate. While the evidence in the other direction is similarly limited.

        1. David Greenwald

          Is there a disconnect here?  I’m calling for data so that we can properly analyze the impact of Measure J and you are asking what J has improved without going through that analysis.  Why is this such a difficult thing to understand?

        2. Ron Glick

          Because its such an obvious waste of time. You don’t need data to tell me how J/R have made things better. The only thing its done is protect the haves from the have nots.

          1. David Greenwald

            I think you should direct that question to Ron Oertel or Tia – they can provide you with an answer. I much more interested at this point in determining what the impact of Measure J in measurable and quantitive analysis that can inform future discussions.

        3. Alan Miller

          I much more interested at this point in determining what the impact of Measure J in measurable and quantitive analysis that can inform future discussions.

          I suggest giving this task to one group in favor of Measure D, and one against Measure D, so you can get conflicting analyses that people can argue the validity of.

    2. Matt Williams

      Your claim or David’s is there isn’t data but my question put the shoe on the other foot and asked you to show me what has been improved by J/R. Can you name anything beside election spending?

      .

      Asked and answered in my 10:00 comment

      Rent levels … there is no data that statistically shows the specific impact of Measure J/R on rent levels … either to the better or to the worse.

      Declining Enrollment … there is no data that statistically shows the specific impact of Measure J/R on rent levels … either to the better or to the worse.

      Project completions … again I cite the Cannery.  How well has project completion gone there?  Or perhaps we should look at Mace Ranch.  How well did project completion gone there?  And as David might say, there is no data that statistically shows the specific impact of Measure J/R on project completions … either to the better or to the worse.

      Vehicle miles traveled … there is no data that statistically shows the specific impact of Measure J/R on VMTs … either to the better or to the worse.

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron G, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  When you provide evidence that J/R has made things worse, I will provide balancing evidence J/R hasn’t made things worse.

          The ball is in your court.

          1. David Greenwald

            Keep coming back to this – both you and Matt are now admitting, neither of you have data. Shouldn’t we make decisions based on data and evidence?

        2. Ron Glick

          Certain facts are in dispute. A decision must be made, a vote cast. Sadly we must make our decision based on what we know.  Still, Alan Miller is the only one to name a benefit from MeasureJ/R, high home prices for existing owners. For me that is not enough for renewal.

          By the way, what findings did the CC make?

        3. Alan Miller

          Alan Miller is the only one to name a benefit from MeasureJ/R, high home prices for existing owners. For me that is not enough for renewal.

          Alan Miller has more benefits:  1) high rents so apartment owners can make higher profits — and thus higher value for their investment, so when they sell 2) they can make more money; 3)  Perpetual sunset views for the property owners along the west row of houses in West Davis;  4)  Saving the tree in the lot by the barn at the site of Covell Village — oops, it fell over.

  8. Ron Glick

    Here is an indisputable data point for you. In the 20 years since passage not one unit of housing has been completed under Measures J or R.

    The question I have is if you think that is good or bad?

    1. Don Shor

      In the 20 years since passage not one unit of housing has been completed under Measures J or R.

      Well, at least two housing projects have finally been approved by the voters. And I think the legal hurdles have been dealt with for each of those. The question I now have is whether a housing subdivision that features a range of housing types, including normal single-family homes, intended for any demographic, could pass a vote.

      1. Ron Glick

        If not for J/R both those projects would be completed by now. So would Covell Village and Wildhorse Ranch and possibly other projects that were never proposed. So how many more housing units would we have today if not for J/R. Not only that but Covell Village and Wildhorse Ranch would have been completed before the elimination of redevelopment and provided much more Affordable Housing  than what you get under today’s rules.

        1. Alan Miller

          It’s very important that everyone in Davis, everyone who could live in Davis, students, low income, and people of color, all pay dearly — so that those people in the westernmost last row of houses in West Davis (District 1) can preserve their view of the Sunset over the Blue Ridge Hills to the west.

        2. Matt Williams

          Ron G, all you appear to care about is quantity.  For you, it appears that quality is irrelevant.

          Here is a quality question for you … How many of the units in Cannery are priced to provide entry level affordability for young families?

          Here is another quality question for you … How many times has the Cannery come back to the City of Davis to renegotiate the Development Agreement because they miscalculated or failed to adequately plan or simply wanted to try and bluff more money out of the City?

          Here is a true false quality question for you … True of False, the Cannery miscalculations/planning failures/bluffs have cost the City of Davis taxpayers well over $20 million?

        3. Ron Glick

          I know one newlywed family that bought an entry level property in the Cannery. So there is at least one. I suspect that there are other Hurpes (hip upwardly mobile rural professionals) as well who have chosen to buy first homes there. Several have spoken at the CC over the years.

          The CFD for the Cannery was terrible why is this relevant?

          New Homes has returned to the CC several times for amendments. Why is this relevant? So has the Target shopping center. So has WDAAC.

    2. Matt Williams

      Here is an indisputable data point for you. In the 20 years since passage not one unit of housing has been completed under Measures J or R.

      It clearly is a data point, but there is no evidence that Measure J/R is the sole factor that contributed to the existence of that data point.  9/11 contributed to that data point.  The collapse of the Housing Bubble contributed to that data point.  The Great Recession contributed to that data point.  The failure of the Nishi 2016 team to submit a well-thought-out and executed proposal with its “i’s” dotted and its “t’s crossed contributed to that data point.  The failure of the Wildhorse Ranch 2009 team to submit a well-thought-out and executed proposal with its “i’s” dotted and its “t’s crossed contributed to that data point.

      Just one data point, but so many contributing factors.

      1. Bill Marshall

        9/11 contributed to that data point.  

        Yes… so did the Big Bang, passing of the dinosaurs, emergence of homo sapiens, the invention of the wheel, discovery of electricity, WW I & II, etc.

        Weak point… VERY!  Others you raised… those are at least somewhat plausible… but, as far as facts (as opposed to “data points”), no unit, subject to J/R vote, has been built and occupied… not a data point”, but a “fact”… will be open to any ‘fact’ to the contrary…

        1. Matt Williams

          I respectfully disagree Bill.  9/11injected uncertainty and a diminution of confidence into the overall financial system of the country, which made the financing of projects more challenging.  Those sentiments were very well expressed by David Lazarus vas the calendar turned from 2001 to 2002.

          America gets rude introduction to world everybody else lives in

          This was the year of living helplessly.

          From rolling blackouts and soaring energy costs to the ghastly Sept. 11 attacks, 2001 will be remembered as much as anything for the frustration felt by ordinary folk in grappling with circumstances well beyond their control.

          To find out recently, as we did, that the economy in fact was in a recession for most of the year only adds a kick in the teeth to the whole sorry 12 months.

          Yet I remain optimistic. The energy crisis is behind us (and will stay that way, fingers crossed), the roundup of Osama bin Laden and his henchmen continues, and all the prognosticators seem to agree that the economy is headed for recovery around the middle of 2002.

          I’d go so far as to suggest that a really nasty year like this one offers the perverse plus of shaking us loose from our made-in-America complacency. It reminds us that we are very much inhabitants of an all-too-unpredictable world.

          It’s easy to forget that. Our nation is so powerful, and so bountiful, that at times it seems as though we live on a different planet from those scary places that comprise the background static of CNN — places where hunger, thirst, sickness and other horrors are so wretchedly commonplace.

          And look at us now: blackouts . . . terrorism . . . recession. This was the year America joined the Third World.

          Feelings of helplessness stem primarily from this strange and unexpected juxtaposition of great wealth and great turmoil. We are, after all, the sole remaining superpower, as we have been told countless times by a global media utterly enamored and repulsed by our unique standing.

          Suddenly, we find ourselves looking skyward and wondering what could possibly come next. And the mere fact that we even ask the question underlines the uncharacteristic vulnerability that has become a part of our daily existence.

          Terrorism is frightening — the whole point of the exercise, of course — but there’s a randomness to it that, no matter how epic the nature of the attack, still makes one think, “Well, what are the odds of that happening to me?”

          For this reason, I believe the California energy crisis best captured the gnawing sense of futility that defined 2001.

          With rolling blackouts, we all received a number from PG&E, like standing in line at the deli. When your number came up, the lights went out, sometimes for an hour, sometimes longer.
          There was nothing you could do about it except wait your turn, be as prepared as possible, and then hope power would be restored before the milk in the fridge went bad.

          Oh, there were reasons for the blackouts — insufficient supply, freak weather, sneaky energy companies — but what difference did it make? One day you had juice, the next you didn’t. End of story.

          The sour economy also reinforced feelings of helplessness. It was bad — we all knew it was bad. The tsunami of layoffs in Silicon Valley made clear that this was no mere “slowdown,” as the pundits had been calling things until a darker word came into view.

          But this recession was different. It was like a flu that wouldn’t subside. After a while, you just shrugged and went about your business, ill but not incapacitated.

          The deep thinkers told us in November, eight months after the fact, that the economy had been in a recession since March, which I suppose was good to know but didn’t really change a thing. Maybe if things improve by mid-2002, as expected, we’ll find out officially by early 2003.

          And maybe by then we’ll be able to once again seriously discuss certain matters without being labeled a traitor (or worse).

          Is George W. Bush really president? A major media study concluded that maybe he is, if you counted votes one way, and maybe he isn’t, if you counted them another.

          But in a time of war, the issue was deemed inappropriate (I hate it when questions of democratic process get in the way of our elections) and was banished from polite conversation.

          Remember Chandra Levy? Stem cells? Safeguarding Social Security? Drilling for oil in Alaskan wildlife refuges? How about good old-fashioned civil liberties?

          We don’t talk about those things anymore. Or if we do, it’s not with any meaningful sense of purpose.

          It’s been that kind of year.

          Sometimes, especially of late, I catch myself feeling afraid — for myself, my family, the nation — and I don’t like it.

          In a time of powerlessness, we learn to live with our fears. We do not confront them. We do not overcome them.

          Perhaps the greatest damage caused by this year of living helplessly is a lingering sense of resignation that this is how things must be from now on — or, as people were recently so fond of saying, nothing will ever be the same.

          I don’t accept that. We may not be able to control the world around us — 2001 has made that much abundantly clear — but we can control our response to the unexpected, and we can rise above the misfortunes we encounter.

          What will the New Year bring? Who can say? But I do know we can either shape our destinies or be shaped by them.

          For 2002, I choose the former.

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