Letter: Yes on Measure B for Environmental and Fiscal Sustainability

by Chris Soderquist

I am writing in support of Measure B and the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC). I have resided in Davis for more than forty years and have been involved in advancing clean energy and environmental sustainability for most of my professional life. I support DISC because of the environmental and fiscal sustainability it will bring to our community, and respectfully request you join me.

The City of Davis faces significant long-term fiscal challenges; we cannot continue to provide the services and amenities that buoy our community’s high quality of life. To support these in the future, responsible economic development is imperative. Indeed, this need was the genesis for DISC when the City of Davis requested proposals for innovation centers in 2014. At buildout, DISC will generate more than $5 million in annual surplus to the City of Davis and $1.3 million in new revenue to DJUSD, without raising taxes.

What’s more, DISC will create many new jobs in research and development focused industries like ag-tech, bioscience, and clean energy. Think of friends, family and neighbors who live in Davis and, due to a lack of viable employment opportunities, commute to Sacramento or the Bay Area; they would love to bike to work. DISC creates these opportunities in industries working to advance the human condition and environmental sustainability.

DISC itself also advances environmental sustainability in tangible and important ways. It will be the first project of its kind in the nation powered by 100% renewable energy. It builds upon and continues Davis’ legacy in environmental sustainability by including bioswales to capture stormwater runoff, all-electric housing, and the largest concentration of electric vehicle charging stations in Davis. DISC also provides $77.5 million in funding to advance sustainable transportation in Davis and will create an annual fund of at least $250,000 to support transit, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

In consideration of Measure B, please apply logic, common sense and foresight for future generations. A yes vote for Measure B will increase Davis’ fiscal and environmental sustainability, and will enrich the quality of life we enjoy. Please visit www.davisforb.com to learn more.

Chris Soderquist is Owner of Repower Yolo


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9 Comments

  1. Keith Olsen

    What’s more, DISC will create many new jobs in research and development focused industries like ag-tech, bioscience, and clean energy. Think of friends, family and neighbors who live in Davis and, due to a lack of viable employment opportunities, commute to Sacramento or the Bay Area; they would love to bike to work. DISC creates these opportunities in industries working to advance the human condition and environmental sustainability.

    First of all how does anyone really know which type of businesses will actually locate to DISC?  Secondly, sure there will be some people who live and work locally to DISC, but how much new traffic and pollution will be created by new commuters drawn to DISC who live elsewhere?

    And the elephant in the room, the DISC effect on Mace traffic?

    1. David Greenwald

      There will be an impact on traffic.  But there is such a slow ramp up, I think there will be time for things like the Causeway expansion before people really notice it.

  2. Richard McCann

    This article has two problems.

    First, I respect Chris for his efforts to promote renewable energy development in Davis. But he was retained by Ramos to help design the solar power layout at DISC and came to appear before the Natural Resources Commission (and I expect elsewhere) on behalf of Ramos to describe the solar power and energy efficiency measures in the project. This article does not disclose his connection with the project.

    Second, while Chris has expertise in renewable energy, he does not have a particular expertise in overall economic development or in the City’s fiscal affairs.  He’s relying on others, as are the rest of us, to assess expected economic and fiscal outcomes.

     

  3. Matt Williams

    I too respect Chris for all his many contributions to the Davis community.  However, like Richard I am concerned with the objectivity of anyone who is a paid consultant providing opinions without disclosing their direct connection to the project.  This same thing happened on Sunday in the Enterprise, when Wesley Sagewalker, another paid consultant for the Ramos team, responded to Samantha McCarthy’s OpEd in which she said the following:

    In preparation for DISC development, it appears that the city took action to drive off the resident burrowing owls from the Mace 25. This past spring, the city’s wildlife resource manager kept the grass long around two active burrowing owl nests in accordance with his personal belief “that the city should be doing what it can to prevent the owls from using the site.”

    Well, his belief was realized as the owls are gone, most likely dead, the land free and clear of burrowing owls and ready for urban development. This is not wildlife resource management, but a shameful lack of stewardship, which leaves only a single nesting Burrowing Owl pair in the entire city.

    According to the city, whether the developer and DISC will be allowed to use the 6.8 acres that are part of the Mace 25 for its required agricultural buffer will be decided at a future meeting — after the project has been voted on (and obviously approved or there would not be a future meeting). The city and the developer both appear to consider this a done deal. Otherwise, why is the Mace 25 parcel shown on DISC project maps, including the one in ballot Measure B?

    This developer must not be allowed to do an end run around Measure O by using public open-space land purchased with hard-fought Measure O open-space tax dollars to satisfy another citizen accomplishment that requires an agricultural buffer around Davis’ urban development. Our Measure O open space land must be held “in perpetuity.” This thinly veiled shell game, if allowed, constitutes a breach of public trust in which the City Council must not be complicit.

    .
    His response, like Chris Soderquist’s article here did/does not disclose the paid nature of his relationship to the project.

      1. Matt Williams

        David, you miss the point, which wasn’t whether Samantha McCarthy or Wesley Sagewalker were respectively right or wrong, which is a subjective determination that is debatable no matter which side of the argument one takes.

        The point of my comment was factual, not subjective.  It is a simple fact that Wesley is a paid member of the DISC team (Yes on Measure B team), and he did not disclose that fact when making his comment in response to Samantha’s OpEd.

        It is interesting that Wesley in his comment uses the expression “… the reality is …”  In his debate with Kamala Harris on Wednesday Vice President Pence used the that same phrase “… the reality is …” more than a dozen times.  I haven’t personally seen the Fact Check report on that debate, but I suspect that many of those “… the reality is …” comments failed to get a passing grade when being fact checked.

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