Guest Commentary: 30 Downtown Business Sign Petition Opposing Measure B

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by Heather Caswell

The following signed petition was sent to the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA) by a group of downtown business owners expressing concern that the DDBA issued a statement in support of Measure B and asking that that statement of support be rescinded until the full DDBA membership can be polled in an open, transparent, and democratic manner.

Be Bold – Be an Agent of Change! – A Petition Opposing Measure B and DISC

We believe the heart and soul of Davis is our downtown core. And we believe we must protect it and nurture it to realize its long term, sustainable potential. We support he Downtown Development Plan as a viable means to rejuvenate and enhance the businesses and livability of the downtown core.

We also believe the development of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) on the far east side of Davis, with 2.6 million sq ft of commercial space including 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 160,000 sq. ft. of hotel and meeting space, will siphon business tenants and merchant customers away from our downtown coreadversely affecting affecting its viability and vitality.

We therefore are opposed to Measure B which seeks to approve the annexation of prime farmland into the City and the construction of the massive DISC project.

Respectfully submitted by the following Downtown Merchants of Davis:

  1. Avid Reader
  2. Bizarro World Comic Bookstore
  3. Cloud Forest Cafe
  4. Couleurs Vives Art Studio/Gallery
  5. Creme de la Creme Gift Shop
  6. Cultivae Frozen Yoghurt
  7. Farmers Kitchen Cafe
  8. Generations Family Footwear
  9. Himalaya Gifts
  10. John Natsoulas Gallery
  11. Skin Renewal Center
  12. MyLand Nails and Spa
  13. Natural Food Works
  14. Newsbeat
  15. Optical Phases
  16. Pinkadot Boutique
  17. Pomegranete Spa
  18. Sanctuary Salon
  19. Sarah’s Alterations and Eco Cleaners
  20. Shu Shu’s Clothing and Accessories
  21. Sole Desire Shoes
  22. Studio 355
  23. Tea List
  24. The Hotdogger
  25. The Mustard Seed
  26. The Wardrobe
  27. Tibet Nepal Gift Shop
  28. Treehouse Vintage
  29. Yeti Restaurant
  30. Z-1 Properties

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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18 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: 30 Downtown Business Sign Petition Opposing Measure B”

  1. Ron Glick

    “We believe the heart and soul of Davis is our downtown core. And we believe we must protect it …”

    Downtown businesses want protection. I don’t blame them for taking that self interested position but as a consumer I prefer having options. 

    With all the candidates wanting to densify downtown, while some want paid parking and others want to limit access to cars, I envision a future where people choose not to go downtown, myself included. So, from my perspective, having alternative retail options that don’t require me to go to Woodland, Sacramento or Vacaville is a plus.

    Target is a great example. I’m sure it makes being a downtown retailer more difficult but from a personal consumer perspective it reduces the number of trips to Woodland down from weekly to monthly.

  2. Don Shor

    DDBA has no business taking positions on political issues. “Membership” in DDBA is mandatory. It is a tax agency. You cannot resign your membership if you disagree with the leadership. This is the reason I felt in 2006 that DDBA should be disbanded, and if they continue to do this kind of thing they may find themselves in another internal rebellion as they did then.

    When I disagreed with the political activities of the Chamber of Commerce, I quit the organization. Simple. These folks cannot do that. So their leadership should not take positions on ballot measures.

    DDBA has a mission to promote downtown. The “dues” (tax assesssments) are mandatory for all businesses and property owners downtown. They should stick to that mission.  I have not taken a position on DISC, but I agree with the signatories that the DDBA leadership needs to rescind their endorsement of DISC. If they don’t, then the organization needs to be restructured so that membership is voluntary. I expect their revenues would plummet and their days would be numbered at that point.

    1. Keith Olsen

      This is the same objection that dues paying union members have to their union endorsing candidates that don’t fit their many of the member’s politics.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Beg to differ Don… DBID is a tax agency (mandatory) that collects assessments, and expends revenues, via the City… DDBA is different… as far as I know it is voluntary…

          If not, Keith is “on-topic”, in his post.

        2. Bill Marshall

          So, Don, in your 11:19 post, you tacitly agree that Keith’s post was NOT off-topic…

          And raise not a concern, as to topic, with with Richard McC’s 11:03 post… interesting…

          Guess it’s OK for DTA (and mother organization), Davis firefighters, other unions to be political, but not DDBA (your 8:38 post) [and 9:31 post re: raising a corollary]… I believe it is wrong for all, as far as ‘endorsements… particularly with mandatory membership, dues, that even ‘agency shop’ dues are oft used in politics, with a “wink-wink” that those dues are not (yeah, right!) for political purposes…

           

          1. David Greenwald

            “Downtown Davis is a 32 block Business Improvement District (DBID) formed in 1989. The DBID empowers business license holders in the defined area to self-assess annual fees to ensure the economic well-being of the district.”

            Link: https://davisdowntown.com/about-us/

            That said, I agree with Don, that the issues of unions are not germane to this article.

          2. Don Shor

            So, Don, in your 11:19 post, you tacitly agree that Keith’s post was NOT off-topic…

            And raise not a concern, as to topic, with with Richard McC’s 11:03 post… interesting…

            No, Bill, I believe they are all off topic, as is this one of yours. I do not “tacitly agree” to any such thing.
            The topic is the downtown business owners who are mandatory members of DDBA objecting to that organization’s endorsement of DISC.

            Guess it’s OK for DTA (and mother organization), Davis firefighters, other unions to be political, but not DDBA (your 8:38 post) [and 9:31 post re: raising a corollary]… I believe it is wrong for all, as far as ‘endorsements… particularly with mandatory membership, dues, that even ‘agency shop’ dues are oft used in politics, with a “wink-wink” that those dues are not (yeah, right!) for political purposes…

            I believe that it is wrong for DDBA’s board to take official positions on ballot propositions, and I would also consider it wrong for them to take positions on council races. What unions do is another topic and I will choose to weigh in on that when you or Keith write an essay about it. Other than that, it’s off topic IMO as to this guest commentary.
            The signatories have indicated that “that statement of support be rescinded until the full DDBA membership can be polled in an open, transparent, and democratic manner.” I’d say that there isn’t time for that at this point. So if I were in DDBA, I’d push for a quick and simple rescission of the endorsement, along with public announcement of that via press release, by the DDBA board.

          3. Don Shor

            It’s worth noting that the DDBA sent their letter of support to the Planning Commission in June. The DDBA board meets once a month and members are notified of the meetings, which are open to them (and to the public) to attend. Decisions are made by the board at those meetings. So presumably the decision to endorse DISC was made in April or May. Just a guess on my part, based on what was going on in retail in Davis in April and May: downtown Davis retail members were a little preoccupied then, since their businesses were either shuttered or barely functioning and the owners were scrambling to survive. You really need to go the extra mile in eliciting feedback from your membership in a situation like this.

      1. Richard McCann

        Union dues are the same as corporate shareholders being forced to contribute to political candidates. The situation is identical–if you want to participate in the economic opportunity availed by that organization, then you also must accept the political actions of that organization. You can switch your job just as you can switch your stock ownership.

        That said, I believe ALL such organizations, unions and corporations, should be required to gain approval from its members/shareholders for all political endorsements and spending. The autocratic methods used now are inappropriate.

        The DDBA differs in an important way as that it is geographically based. If you want to participate in an economic opportunity within that geographic zone, you must pay the dues. You can’t create another “downtown” somewhere else on your own. The DDBA should not be taking a stance on political issues.

        1. Bill Marshall

          That said, I believe ALL such organizations, unions and corporations, should be required to gain approval from its members/shareholders for all political endorsements and spending. The autocratic methods used now are inappropriate.

          Je d’accord… I agree… and, they should, in the case of unions, refrain from taking $0.o1 from agency shop only members, without full approval from that subset of the union… have no problems with individuals ‘taking  ‘stand’… have big problems with mini-groups speaking for the group, as a whole, unless they have overwhelming support…

  3. Richard McCann

    I agree with these businesses that the DDBA should not be endorsing DISC in the current economic environment. The pandemic has created substantial uncertainty about the viability of the current economic paradigm for downtown businesses and the City should be developing an new economic vision that incorporates this uncertainty plus the rising issues of sustainability and resilience.

  4. Ron Glick

    “The DDBA differs in an important way as that it is geographically based. If you want to participate in an economic opportunity within that geographic zone, you must pay the dues. You can’t create another “downtown” somewhere else on your own. The DDBA should not be taking a stance on political issues.”
    But that isn’t the argument they made. They made the argument that “And we believe we must protect it and nurture it to realize its long term, sustainable potential.”

    The question I have is why is that in the interest of non-merchant citizens?

     

    1. Mark West

      Protecting the downtown has been the primary focus of our economic development for longer than a half-century and the resulting ‘superlative’ per capita sales tax revenues and the City’s ‘sustainable’ fiscal condition both demonstrate just how successful that approach has been.

       

       

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