Davis City Council Questions – Question 2

This is our second of eight questions. The candidates get exactly 250 words.  The answer is due at 9 pm on Thursday.

What do you see as the biggest problem facing Davis?


District 2

Will Arnold, Davis VanguardWill Arnold

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our entire world and deeply impacted our community. We are ensuring that City decisions, communications, and combat strategies adhere to the Federal, State, and County regulations and represent best practices known at the time.

We are maximizing collaboration with UC Davis, the centerpiece of which is the Healthy Davis Together project, a joint effort between the City and campus to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while facilitating the return of UC Davis students. This project will increase COVID-19 screening and contact tracing, and provide protection, resources, and support services to keep our community healthy.

We have also instituted Open Air Davis, which provides regular weekend street closures to support downtown businesses and create safe community activity. We are developing strategies to combat general community mental health, like pandemic fatigue, and a COVID ombudsman program to help businesses navigate rules and programs. We are also taking seriously our responsibility to provide testing and have opened our civic spaces as testing sites.

The City also embarked on a successful Project Roomkey effort, to provide non-congregate shelter options for people experiencing homelessness and minimize strain on our health care system. We are exploring short and long term alternatives to the IRWS for this winter and options to address those experiencing homelessness who are at highest risk for serious illness.

I believe in following the science and advice of medical experts, regarding COVID and everything else. That is exactly what your City leadership is doing.

Dillan Horton

This has been a year of multilayered crises for many Davisites. There is obviously the global COVID-19 pandemic, the related economic crisis, escalating tensions around racism, and a climate crisis ravaging our region like never before. In many ways these crises aren’t new, but they are the lingering effects of neglect in our society.

COVID-19 is new but for a long time many people, disproportionately people of color, have lacked adequate access to quality healthcare. This contributed to shortcomings in testing and treatment efforts across the nation, and right in our own neck of the woods. This particular recession is new, but what’s been with us for a while is how difficult it has been for many families to make ends meet, and how local governments have strained fiscally to provide essential services. Today’s protest movement is unique in many ways but it references near word-for-word the calls of countless previous generations for structural change. Our current fire season is the largest and most destructive we’ve ever seen, but at the time so was the 2018 fire season. The times we’re in and the problems we’re facing require us to develop some new leadership and bring in some new ideas. I also believe the city council could govern better by listening more to its residents when campaigning for office and particularly when developing policy.

District 3

Larry Guenther

A lack of genuine community engagement. Davis has many problems; the budget, housing, public safety, our roads and bike paths, homelessness, our environmental impact, updating our general plan to describe how and at what rate we intend to keep growing, increased divisiveness, and – of course – the Pandemic. Robust community engagement would help us achieve better outcomes for all of these problems.

I believe our community is the best consultant team available to develop creative and elegant solutions to our issues. Our community gives input, but I do not see a real desire in City leadership to truly engage our community to solve these problems. I want to put community engagement at the center of our problem solving.

The update of the Downtown Plan was a great example of input versus engagement. When it came to building height, we were reminded that the committee wanted to be bold. Yet when it came to the topics we wanted to address boldly – sustainability, resiliency, accessibility, and affordable housing – we were told those were too expensive.

I do not know of a project by the City that would not have been improved with better community engagement.


District 5

Josh Chapman

The biggest problem facing our city right now is the notion that maintaining the status quo will lead our community through these unprecedented times. The pandemic, racial and social injustice, declining trust in government, and the city’s fiscal challenges have made it clear that we are in a new normal. Local priorities must reflect the groundswell that calls for meaningful and effective change. Any attempts to argue for maintaining the status quo are simply tone deaf.

Constituents I talk to are eager for real change and innovative thinking in local decision making and they do NOT believe that having fresh perspectives on the Davis City Council is a “distraction” or “nonsense” (as a current Councilmember publicly opined this week).

If you think a lack of transparency is okay

If you think the perpetuation of systemic injustice is okay

If you think our roads and greenbelts are okay

If you think the Mace Mess is okay

If you think the BrightNight agreement is okay

If you think not building libraries and community spaces in South Davis is okay…

Then support those candidates that will bring the same solutions, experience, and ideas.

However, I believe that we should strive for a better Davis and not settle for the idea that continuity equates to a solution for new social, political, and economic challenges. We should advocate for diverse viewpoints to make our community more resilient rather than using fear to insinuate that change is inherently bad.  Our town, and our community, deserve better.

Rochelle Swanson

In my opinion, currently the pandemic and its unknown economic impacts on City operations, the local economy and residents is the most critical issue facing Davis. Will our business community survive? Will the City have enough revenues to deliver municipal services? While there are many things outside the City Council’s control, there are actions we can take. It’s time to substantially improve the transparency of how decisions are made and expand efforts to keep residents informed about looming challenges and opportunities. We need a uniform process to analyze issues and create sound policies for Davis reflective of our economic reality and a diversity of voices. Local leaders have a responsibility now more than ever to foster inclusiveness. District 5 comprises freeway, commercial, retail, Olive Drive, affordable housing and a mix of single-family homes divided from the rest of the city by I80 and the railroad tracks. Historically, South Davis has felt it provides revenue to the City and gets little in return. Davis, as a whole, needs to unite our various neighborhoods to meet the challenge we face effectively. It’s impossible to predict how Davis will weather this crisis but with sound leadership, a diversity of voices at the table, and experienced City staff, I have confidence we can do well. I am ready to bring my experience from the last recession and recovery to the table with even more energy, compassion and optimism.

Connor Gorman

There’s a lot of issues in Davis at the moment.  However, there’s also a lot of common themes and intersections between them.  One such theme that I would say is the biggest problem in Davis is the City Council ignoring or dismissing the interests of certain groups, especially the needs of marginalized communities.

Remedying this problem requires two key components.  First, there must be ample opportunity for community input and suggestions on issues and proposals affecting the City, both during City Council and Commission meetings as well at separate town halls with a more conversational format that allows for back-and-forth discussion.  Similarly, surveys should be distributed broadly as well as specifically to those who are the most impacted.  Every effort should be made to actively seek out feedback by meeting people where they are rather than putting the burden on them to attend pre-scheduled events.

The second key component is making decisions that address people’s needs while centering the most marginalized.  In other words, getting input isn’t enough and doesn’t really mean much if it’s not acted upon.  I think our community should pursue potential ways of allowing people to have more direct power over their lives. On top of this, until that power is distributed, City Council and staff should be ready and willing to act on feedback from Commissions and the public. Furthermore, City Council and staff should especially listen to experts — in the conventional sense (academics, policy wonks, etc.) and the often overlooked area of lived experience.

Kelsey Fortune

Climate change. There are many problems that may seem more pressing, including the Covid-19 pandemic, deadly fires across the western U.S., public safety reform, fiscal shortfalls, housing shortages, homelessness, and crime. However, climate change will be the defining issue of our generation, and action begins with us.

As individuals, we must recognize, learn, act, and educate. There are many ways to contribute, driving less, introducing drought-tolerant landscaping, transitioning from natural gas to electrical energy, composting, taking shorter showers, eating less meat, limiting electricity use during peak hours, supporting businesses that follow best practice, and working together with our neighbors. We must use our energy to normalize actions that push people and businesses to put the planet before themselves.

Local government must lead by building, legislating, and collaborating. We need a commission on the climate. We need to implement proper incentives to encourage the reduction of our collective environmental footprint. We need to set high standards for new development. We need to invest in green infrastructure.  We need to work with other cities to promote these policies beyond Davis.

Many issues face us, but nearly all are exacerbated by climate change. We need a Green New Deal for Davis, and we need it now.


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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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64 Comments

  1. Keith Olsen

    What do you see as the biggest problem facing Davis?

    Climate change?  Social justice?  Seriously?

    Without a doubt the biggest problem facing Davis and cities everywhere is COVID and its resulting impact on the economy.

    1. David Greenwald

      We just had a month of smoke, I don’t think that’s so far-fetched

      You are making the mistake of taking a subjective assessment acting as though it were objective fact.

    2. Ron Glick

      In fairness she does follow climate change with the pandemic. Of course if you are young Covid is a lot less of an issue than for us old geezers that haven’t been to Misckas since March. Then again there isn’t much a member of the CC can do about either beyond  some fiddling around the edges.

      Sadly, this has long been a problem of the CC, a willingness to engage with the issue de jour rather than a laser focus on the real responsibilities of the CC, providing services; water, sewer, trash, roads, parks, public safety, housing supply, business development and balancing the city budget.

      1. Keith Olsen

        real responsibilities of the CC, providing services; water, sewer, trash, roads, parks, public safety, housing supply, business development and balancing the city budget.

        And that we can agree on my friend.

    1. Keith Olsen

      That’s the thing, the question is about the “biggest” problem.

      COVID and its effect on the economy is without a doubt the “biggest” problem right now.

      1. Ron Glick

        You are probably correct that the question is more about issues that, because of the overwhelming impact of Covid, fails to inform the public about the candidates views on the day to day governance issues that the CC is responsible for addressing.

  2. Tia Will

    I think Josh Chapman provided the best answer in the sense that the most critical issue is a failure to provide transparency and leadership in the areas of core management of a city as enumerated by Ron Glick with the addition of public health under the heading of “public safety” as the pandemic has so clearly indicated.

    Without transparency, community involvement with respect for, not disregard of public input, especially that of experts in their fields in which this community abounds, we will not have adequate representation. While I understand we have a city with a weak mayoral format thus relying heavily on the city manager and his team to accomplish goals, I would note that it is the City Council members that we vote for as our elected leaders. I expect them to do exactly that…lead. Not defer to the city staff and prominent interests to shape our policy as well as implement it.

    I especially appreciate Josh’s comment that “we are in a new normal”. The confluence of issues we are facing represents a “perfect storm” of health, economic, and environmental crises. I do not believe that council experience, alliances that previously functioned to maintain the status quo or even council experience will be adequate to face these new challenges. I am hoping our city will choose those candidates most likely to embrace significant change to adapt to our current unprecedented barrage of problems and not those likely to try to restore our previous norms which have proven inadequate to the current circumstances, especially for those in greatest need.

    1. Matt Williams

      The most critical issue is a failure to provide transparency and leadership in the areas of core management of a city as enumerated by Ron Glick with the addition of public health under the heading of “public safety” as the pandemic has so clearly indicated.

      I would note that it is the City Council members that we vote for as our elected leaders. I expect them to do exactly that…lead.

      Well said Tia.  Very well said!

  3. Matt Williams

    Everyone will read the seven statements through their own personal lens, but for me personally the statements (Lucas Frerich’s and Colin Walsh’s seem to be missing) can be summed up by the excerpts below. 

    What strikes me is that none of the eight candidates focused on the fact that Davis is a ship without any clear direction … a rudderless ship … a community with no Vision of what it wants to be.  Richard McCann’s comment in yesterday’s article is 100% on point from my perspective. “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 a hint of that vision from our City’s leaders. This should be the centerpiece of this year’s election campaign.”  

    =============

    “We are maximizing collaboration with UC Davis”

    =============

    “This particular recession is new, but what’s been with us for a while is how difficult it has been for many families to make ends meet, and how local governments have strained fiscally to provide essential services.”

    =============

    “Our community gives input, but I do not see a real desire in City leadership to truly engage our community to solve these problems. I want to put community engagement at the center of our problem solving. The update of the Downtown Plan was a great example of input versus engagement. When it came to building height, we were reminded that the committee wanted to be bold. Yet when it came to topics we wanted to address boldly – sustainability, resiliency, accessibility, and affordable housing – we were told those were too expensive.”

    =============

    “The biggest problem facing our city right now is the notion that maintaining the status quo will lead our community through these unprecedented times.

    If you think a lack of transparency is okay

    If you think the perpetuation of systemic injustice is okay

    If you think our roads and greenbelts are okay

    If you think the Mace Mess is okay

    If you think the BrightNight agreement is okay

    If you think not building libraries and community spaces in South Davis is okay…

    Then support those candidates that will bring the same solutions, experience, and ideas.”

    ============

    “Will our business community survive? Will the City have enough revenues to deliver municipal services?”

    ============

    “I would say is the biggest problem in Davis is the City Council ignoring or dismissing the interests of certain groups, especially the needs of marginalized communities.  Every effort should be made to actively seek out feedback by meeting people where they are rather than putting the burden”

    ============

    “Climate Change will be the defining issue of our generation, and action begins with us. As individuals, we must recognize, learn, act, and educate.  climate change will be the defining issue of our generation, and action begins with us. As individuals, we must recognize, learn, act, and educate.”

    ============

    1. Richard McCann

      Thanks, Matt. You beat me to posting my own comment! ;^)

      Tia’s comment also is spot on. The City will best resolve the issues that Ron G lists by developing this broader vision. Right now the City is too focused on solving those individual issues that pop up without looking at the bigger vision as to where we should be headed.

      1. Matt Williams

        Right now the City is too focused on solving those individual issues that pop up without looking at the bigger vision as to where we should be headed.

        Paraphrasing Richard’s comment above … The City’s approach to addressing its issues is “patch, patch, patch.”

  4. Don Shor

    My opinion is that the responses by Will and Rochelle indicate clear understanding of what the city council actually does and provide pragmatic answers with respect to the issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on city revenues, those with fewer resources, and the business community which provides much of the city’s income.

    Will’s answer is outstanding. Rochelle gives clear indication of how she would function as a city leader. The other answers are more aspirational and lack specificity, focus more on process than outcomes, or veer off into the irrelevant as to local governance.

    1. Richard McCann

      I disagree on what encompasses “local governance.” Being able to address climate change, economic developmennt, discriminatory housing policies are ALL actions under local government purview. The limited vision about just providing services reflects an individualistic perspective on the role of government versus one that sees us as whole community that needs to a collective set of actions to address our problems.

      1. Alan Miller

        Being able to address climate change . . . are . . . actions under local government purview.

        Not so much.  I mean, I’m all for doing our tiny tiny part to reduce air pollution, but we aren’t a pimple on an elephant’s arse, and these are global issues.  And no, Davis is more “laughed at” than an influencer on the national stage, but mostly unknown.  So relax thy britches, all.

        If I were to draw this as a political cartoon, I’d have a Volkswagen split-window Microbus labeled “Davis” and covered in flowers, the Earth labeled as “Pre-Industrial Revolution”, the flight path as “climate change”, and space as “Climate disaster”.  The various stages of the rocket could be labeled “China Energy & Environmental Policy”, “India Energy & Environmenal Policy”, “US Energy & Environmental Policy”, “Expanding of Countries into First World Nations Using First World Energy/PerCapita”, “Brazilian Logging Practices”, etc.  And little Davis with it’s VW Bus of Climate Change action being blasted off into Space.

        I think the best thing we can do is 1) our tiny part; 2) adapt to the New Hell.  It’s far too late to reverse.

  5. David Greenwald

    Don: My only problem with your comment is that look at how much we were impacted the last month by the smoke.  If that is in fact – and I believe it is – an offshoot of climate change, then I think we are going to have a lot of local governance issues that have to address the impact of climate change.

    For example – the last month, the city had to coordinate cooling centers and clean air centers. We also have emergency responses to take into consideration. And there could be more. Climate change also impacts planning decisions, energy, and much more.

    1. Don Shor

      then I think we are going to have a lot of local governance issues that have to address the impact of climate change.

      The current council moved forward on a solar farm. Most of the non-incumbents appear to be critical of that process. Which will get a solar farm producing energy to meet the city’s climate goals faster: the council majority’s action, or the process entailed in the criticisms by the challengers?

       the last month, the city had to coordinate cooling centers and clean air centers.

      It is to the credit of the current council that swift action has been taken in cases of extreme heat and smoke issues to protect the public.

      Mostly I see climate change being used to block projects. If you can see how it will be a factor in, say, getting affordable housing built faster, by all means please explain that.

      1. Kelsey Fortune

        People use many arguments to block projects, that does not mean policy will do so. Those who use climate change to argue against any development are often not motivated by climate, but an aversion to change. As long as policy is not written to reflect this underlying motivation, they would encourage mixed use and infill development that move people close to where they work.

        The city must lay out what we are looking for in new development through an updated general plan that includes climate policy. For example, we still have parking minimums for new projects. This is not green and increases the back and forth time between the community, commissions, city, and developers. Better policy could actually increase development by shortening this long process.

        Just because climate change will be difficult to address, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing at every level.

         

        1. Don Shor

          I do not support DISC for exactly this reason. Creating 5000 new commuters is the opposite of creating green jobs.

          The DISC proposal is the result of a decade-long planning process that involved many hours of input by Davis citizens. It is the culmination of an economic development policy that sought to identify peripheral locations that could support a business park, as well as developing an overarching strategy of enhancing economic development within the city limits. The voters rejected one of them (Nishi in the first iteration) and the development team for the second one left for Woodland. This is what remains of that policy.

          It is the nature of any job-creating development that it will create commuters, unless there is housing on site or elsewhere nearby. Hence the housing on site. I have my reservations about that personally and would prefer that housing for workers at DISC be developed elsewhere nearby in a normal neighborhood, but this is what the developer has brought forward. But saying that you oppose it because it causes commuting just ends up being a way of blocking job growth. There isn’t enough commercial space in the city limits for a significant business park. Ultimately, opposing a business park on that site becomes a recipe for stasis, financial decline, and decay of city services.

        2. Ron Oertel

          The voters rejected one of them (Nishi in the first iteration) and the development team for the second one left for Woodland. This is what remains of that policy.

          Nishi 1.0 was not a “real” business park.  It was primarily a way in which to avoid Affordable housing requirements, and to screw-up an intersection (Richards/Olive) which was already “beyond repair”.

          There is no “policy” which caused MRIC to fail, or which caused the Davis Innovation Center to move to Woodland.  (Where it may not even be viable, there.  Or at least, no announced commercial tenants some 3 years or so after “moving” to Woodland. Even with some 1,600 housing units planned.)

          The site of the Davis Innovation Center was “converted” to a senior housing development, putting to rest the fake claims that Measure R caused its demise.

          The fact is that Davis has more jobs than it needs, in the form of UC Davis (not to mention Sacramento).  That’s why there’s already a net inflow of commuters.

          It’s totally irresponsible to advocate for even more commuter jobs. That’s EXACTLY what creates “housing shortages”, unnecessary traffic, and greenhouse gasses.

          1. Don Shor

            It’s totally irresponsible to advocate for even more commuter jobs.

            I don’t. I have repeatedly stated that I believe Davis needs another housing subdivision and I have laid out the basis for how it should be planned and developed. You, on the other hand, have never explained how Davis should pay its bills or provide for its future.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Here’s what “Interland” is (below).

          For what it’s worth, I consider the latest University Research Park proposal (which they own) to (also) be a “fake” commercial development.  Mostly, it’s an ugly apartment building proposal (on a site zoned for commercial, I believe), without Affordable housing.

          https://localwiki.org/davis/Interland%2C_LLC

          If you have a point to make, then do so.

          1. David Greenwald

            I wish you would simply answer a question straight on. Interland when it was purchased was the exact same size as the Innovation component of Nishi 1 – 300K square feet. You seem to conflate real with exclusive. Nishi 1 was not exclusively commercial, but it had a sizable component to it. URP’s proposal is primarily a supportive proposal – housing to support the existing park. That’s not fake either. That will be my final remark on this topic.

        4. Ron Oertel

          You, on the other hand, have never explained how Davis should pay its bills or provide for its future.

          Seems to me that you, David, and some others think that young workers should “pay those bills”.  I don’t think that’s viable in the first place.

        5. Ron Oertel

          I have repeatedly stated that I believe Davis needs another housing subdivision and I have laid out the basis for how it should be planned and developed.

          Almost certainly, DISC would lead to more calls for sprawl.  It already is.

          Now, whether or not that would occur is another matter.

        6. Ron Oertel

          It’s far more likely that (even if another sprawling development was approved in Davis), many DISC workers would seek housing in nearby communities.

          Seems to me that Kelsey understands this. Truth be told, I think EVERYONE understands this – whether or not they “admit” it.

          Look to The Cannery, as an example. (And yet, I kind of like The Cannery, especially considering that it helped save the Covell Village proposal from going forward.)

      2. Richard McCann

        Don

        If you had followed the details of the BrightNight deal and the mistakes that have been made, you would know that the answer would be that the Council should have asked the Commission these questions a year and a half ago and we would have had a solution by now that will cost the City $25 million. If you think we can excuse a $25 million mistake because somehow it meets a certain goal more expeditiously, that’s problematic.

        As it is now, there’s evidence that the City has made a serious error in the transaction that will lead to its abrogation, so the project won’t be built quickly. More on that soon. And wait till you see the cozy relationship with the developer.

        1. Ron Glick

          I would like to know what cozy relationship exists?

          I also want to remind people that it wasn’t the City Council that voted for the contract it was the  City Council majority. Lucas voted no.

        2. Matt Williams

          Don, if you go to the City’s California Public Records Act (CPRA) portal, available to the public, you will find the proof you need in black and white that dispels any thought that Richard’s assessment was/is innuendo.

          If you need instructions on how to access and navigate the CPRA portal, the City Clerk will be happy to help you.

          1. Don Shor

            Don, if you go to the City’s California Public Records Act (CPRA) portal, available to the public, you will find the proof you need in black and white that dispels any thought that Richard’s assessment was/is innuendo.

            If you need instructions on how to access and navigate the CPRA portal, the City Clerk will be happy to help you.

            Sorry, Matt, but if you and Richard have a specific accusation to make, I suggest you make it here in public. Otherwise I have no idea what either of you are talking about. By definition, you have both now engaged in innuendo.

      3. Matt Williams

        Don Shor said . . . “The current council moved forward on a solar farm. Most of the non-incumbents appear to be critical of that process. Which will get a solar farm producing energy to meet the city’s climate goals faster: the council majority’s action, or the process entailed in the criticisms by the challengers?”

        .
        It is not just the process, but just as importantly the outcome. Unfortunately Don hasn’t grasped the fact that the solar farm will not actually move the City forward on its climate goals because all the power produced by the solar farm will go out on the Cal ISO grid for public consumption.  None of the power is directed in the agreement to go to the City of Davis.  In addition, the Wastewater Treatment Plant’s (WWTP) power is currently being provided by “a solar PV system installed at the WWTP in 2010, which consists of 3,500 solar panels, covering about six acres and produces 1.7 million kWh, enough to run most of the plant’s electricity demand per year.”  

        No usage of the renewable power in the city limits and/or the City’s facilities means no progress toward the City’s Climate Action Goals.

        1. Bill Marshall

          There are some real errors in your arguments.

          ‘Climate’ in Davis is independent of what the City does… unless you’re talking ‘political talking points’ climate (CAG?).  Climate, as Davis experiences it, is affected nearly 100% as to what all CA, all US, all Asia, all Europe, all Africa, etc. does.

          As much as some folk don’t want to believe it, Davis is not in a hermetically sealed bubble…

          Your arguments as to the propriety of the lease/contract, value received, etc., are valid points of contention…

          But the reality is that whoever generates the solar electricity, and who/where it is consumed, is not real, as to real climate.  With the new JPA, etc., Davis folk can opt for more solar, renewable, non GHG sources… the vast majority of which is NOT generated locally

          Just saying…

        2. Matt Williams

          Bill, the term used was “the city’s climate goals”  

          The formal/official climate goals of the City of Davis as stated in the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan are for “a net zero carbon city by 2050.”

  6. Ron Glick

    “There are many ways to contribute, driving less, introducing drought-tolerant landscaping, transitioning from natural gas to electrical energy, composting, taking shorter showers, eating less meat, limiting electricity use during peak hours, supporting businesses that follow best practice, and working together with our neighbors. We must use our energy to normalize actions that push people and businesses to put the planet before themselves.”

    Quite an agenda. I would point out that some people should be taking longer showers and that the impact  of the new water system on the price of water is disincentive enough. Also planting food producing plants instead of drought tolerant plants is a far superior way to reduce energy use. Composting  generates lots of methane so without methane capture composting adds to global warming.

    Finally, on the topic of meat it depends on how the animal is grown. As an example grass fed beef aggregates energy that would not otherwise be available while grain fed feedlot beef consumes food that could be used to feed more people. Of course our problem here in California is not the production of food its how we distribute it.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Also planting food producing plants instead of drought tolerant plants is a far superior way to reduce energy use.

      Davis:  Home of the $10 home-grown tomato (given the cost of water).  😉

      Increasingly true of other cities, as well.

    2. Ron Oertel

      I would point out that some people should be taking longer showers and that the impact of the new water system on the price of water is disincentive enough. 

      I think you were making a joke, here. 😉

      Regardless, there is no disincentive for those living in apartments – unless cost is allocated to them (individually) based upon usage.  (It is not, to my knowledge.)

       

        1. Ron Oertel

          Appreciate the response.

          As a side note, I understand that this would (still) be a problem, regarding the “rent-by-the-room” (megadorm) apartments. Even if they allocate the cost to the “unit”.

          But, too late now. Maybe in the bigger scheme of things, it isn’t all that critical.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Kelsey…

          Submetering should be one of many common sense requirements for new development.

          I respectfully suggest you do some research with PW and Finance staff before you espouse “submetering” on water use.

          Costs:  additional plumbing; meters, and meter maintenance/replacement; who reads the submeters; who does the tracking and billing of the submeters.

          Some commercial properties have installed tenant specific meters, but they take on all the costs and responsibilities.

          Some multifamily units either have unit specific meters (or are plumbed so they could be added), but to my knowledge they are all condo units, not rental units, per se.  There are many good reasons for this.  Do some research.

           

      1. Richard McCann

        That’s not true universally. Many apartments have individually metered water in town. In addition, almost all have individually metered natural gas, which is the primary means of heating water. The cost of gas for hot water approaches the cost of water itself. Since most indoor water use is heated, apartment dwellers still have an incentive to save. (I did this calculation 30 years ago reviewing a study on EBMUD.)

        1. Ron Oertel

          Many apartments have individually metered water in town. 

          Do they actually charge tenants based upon water usage?  (Again, this presumably wouldn’t apply toward “rent-by-the-bed” apartments, regardless.)

        2. Ron Oertel

          And unless each “bed” also has its own gas and electricity meter, that also wouldn’t apply for “rent-by-the-bed” apartments. One would be dependent upon roommates (generally strangers), to “do their part” if they charged by the unit.

          Sounds like a recipe for conflicts (and waste).

          I assume that selection of roommates in this type of apartment is not necessarily controlled by the tenants, themselves.

        3. Alan Miller

          In addition, almost all have individually metered natural gas, which is the primary means of heating water. The cost of gas for hot water approaches the cost of water itself.

          What means of heating water would you use that is free?

        4. Bill Marshall

          Many apartments have individually metered water in town.

          Curious… can you name a few that are not condos?  If there are, who reads and bills for the water?  Feel free to enlighten me…

    3. Richard McCann

      Ron G, there isn’t a way to raise meat on a large scale that reduces GHG emissions below that of plant-based foods. Meat can be raised on a speciality basis at a much higher cost in a manner that reach similar emission levels.

      Your other assertions similarly are in error. As a member of the NRC and as a consultant who has worked on climate change issues since 1990, I’ve seen many of the studies that refute your assertions. I won’t spend the time here documenting those, but I leave it to you as the initial proposer of your solutions to provide the documentation that demonstrates your claims.

      1. Ron Glick

        Ouch!

        I agree on large scale meat production that I described as grain based but where animals aggregate energy from the environment by grazing is, in my humble opinion, energy that would  otherwise not be captured by our food chain. And yes it does cost more. It is also more humane than a feed lot. Do animals produce methane? Of course. Should we get rid of animals? Of course not. I mean dogs and dog food are a huge source of GHG but I wouldn’t suggest running for office on getting rid of pets. The biggest thing we can do is convert to non-carbon energy sources in the long term and less carbon dense energy sources, like substituting natural gas for coal, in the short term as we transition. More GHG’s can be saved by solar panels and wind that power electric cars than by probably any other source.

        On another point I raised are you suggesting that backyard compost doesn’t generate methane?

        As for water I was talking with a farmer who told me he uses more water when he tests his pumps than my household uses in a year. Most of the water in California is used by farmers.

        If people grow their own food the energy used in transportation, processing and marketing is saved. The water we use in our households isn’t lost from the water cycle. It is cleaned up and returned to the environment. For the most part only water converted to sugar in photosynthesis is lost from the water cycle so this entire notion of saving water in your household is a little overblown unless we are in a drought.

        Gardening in Davis has long been an important part of the culture. I think where you live Richard there are large gardens and communal fruit trees and vines. Are you suggesting we should replace that with a xeriscape. Probably the biggest waste of water in Davis is in evaporation from swimming pools. Should we get rid of swimming pools?

        I think my issue here is that Ms. Fortune is telling people what they shouldn’t do. I would prefer people who lead by example and incentivize getting people to do the correct thing. As an example, I thought the most productive part of the discussion the other night on leaf blowers, was the part about an incentive program to get people to convert to electric leaf blowers. I think the same should be done for lawn mowers too. Those small gasoline power tools are huge generators of pollution. Converting that technology would be a great improvement to the environment but to get there we should use carrots instead of sticks.

        1. Kelsey Fortune

          While I do suggest there are many things individuals can do, my point is that there are many ways the city can incentivize these behaviors, and that they should.

          I also think that I read the question differently from other candidates. I took biggest to mean biggest. If we are talking about most important issue for the city to address immediately, my answer would’ve been different.

  7. Ron Glick

    “First, …, both during City Council and Commission meetings as well at separate town halls with a more conversational format that allows for back-and-forth discussion.”

    Its true more community discussions would be helpful. The city should have engaged in such a process before putting measure D on the ballot. This process was used for reforming the Cannabis ordinance to great success. I have also seen it used for updating the housing element.

    It seems that the current council has not employed this enough.

  8. Tia Will

    Don

    Two points about your 4:43 pm post.

    1. I agree DISC is the product of a decade long process. And unfortunately, it shows. What has happened in the 10 years since planning began, is our reality has shifted to a new paradigm in many areas including climate, housing, health care priorities and economics. The project does not seem to have adjusted to these new realities.

    2. “nearby in a normal neighborhood” – again, I do not believe what was “normal” in the past even 2-5 years ago adequately reflects our current and possibly our future reality. I believe we are not going to be able to prosper with the paradigms of even our recent past and are going to have to embrace a new reality to thrive in the future. I do not pretend to know what that will look like, but I am certain it will not look like the past “normal”.

         ,

    1. Don Shor

      again, I do not believe what was “normal” in the past even 2-5 years ago adequately reflects our current and possibly our future reality. I believe we are not going to be able to prosper with the paradigms of even our recent past and are going to have to embrace a new reality to thrive in the future. I do not pretend to know what that will look like, but I am certain it will not look like the past “normal”.

      You’ve made this point before, and at this point I respectfully reply that I have no idea how you believe it informs the planning process (which is what I was discussing in the comment you replied to. People will need jobs and houses, students will return to college and school as soon as it is deemed safe, activities will resume. I don’t understand what you think this uncertainty you keep describing brings to the discussion of building commercially-zoned property, developing housing, etc. Yes, things are uncertain. But business owners and college administrators and school districts and transportation agencies and all those related entities are planning for how things will look in the next year, two, five, ten, or more. Perhaps you can explain how you feel planners should incorporate this uncertainty into our actions now.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Don… ironically, really good planning includes flexibility for changing circumstances, yet some want planning rules to be in stone, unchangeable, guaranteed in perpetuity, and perhaps coming from a mountain in the middle east (after full participation from the public, of course!).

        It is what it is…

  9. Ron Glick

    Wanted to add one thought that escaped me earlier. Probably the biggest thing people can do to reduce their carbon foot print is to not get on a jet plane. You can do everything in your power to reduce your personal carbon footprint based on Ms. Fortune’s list and then take a single long distance flight to someplace far away and it will blow your emissions reduction efforts to bits. So let’s focus on the big things we can do individually.

    I have this friend who lives in Davis who has had an almost 50 year career as an environmentalist starting at the grass roots level and working his way up to the highest levels of the some of the largest environmental groups in the country. He tries to live by example. He is a vegetarian and has an energy efficient home with solar panels and an electric car.

    We were out together driving one day and he told me he had gone to a conference in Europe.

    I told him the flight had wiped out all his personal GHG reduction efforts.

    In response he replied “Guilty as charged.”

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