Sunday Commentary: Why I Started to Change My View on the Need for Economic Development in Davis

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By David M. Greenwald

Think globally, act locally.  That has been the rallying call of the environmental movement for the last 50 years.  And, for the most part, I have supported the idea.  How do we call on our nation and our world to reduce its carbon footprint, if we are not willing to do so in our own backyard?

On one level, that’s the right thing to do.  But in a lot of other ways, it actually becomes limiting because we stop thinking systemically and start thinking in terms of small silos.

Back in 2005, I started getting active in Davis politics.  One of the first things I actively voted on was Covell Village.  Having believed that Davis had grown too fast over the prior decade since I moved here, I strongly opposed Measure X and, as I became active in local politics, I did so opposing peripheral growth—and, in general, large new housing projects.

When the city put Mace 391 on consent in the spring of 2013, it was an easy call for me.  Here we had already decided to put the parcel into a conservation easement.  And the city made the egregious mistake of attempting to put reconsideration on the consent calendar.  It was, in my view at that time, showing everything that was wrong with Davis city policies.

As it turns out, that moment really marked a turning point in my views—which evolved greatly over the next seven and a half years.

The first conversations I had started to re-orient my thinking on preservation of agricultural land.  For years, my view was we should protect our valuable agricultural land on our periphery.  Not only did I move and stay here because Davis was a small-sized city, but it seemed the environmentally responsible course of action.

What is now known as DISC, after all, is located on 200 acres of farmland that needs to be preserved so that we can continue to plant crops that can go to market and provide food.

But then I started talking to people who worked with world food and dealt with food security issues.  They asked me a very simple question—is the greatest value of that land to grow crops, or could it be more valuable, with land situated near a major research university, to provide the research that can help developing nations and the poor by creating technology that can help much of the world feed itself?

Think about this.  The World Food Center at UC Davis brings together academics, industry and more to help provide solutions to huge challenges of providing food and sustainability and meeting the challenges of climate change.

The question then became, is our best asset the 200 acres or so of land surrounded by conservation easement, or the fact that we are situated near a world-class university—the number one ag school in the nation located in a region committed to creating cutting-edge research that can help feed the entire world—rather than the limited yields from those 200 acres?

Looking at the situation through a different lens helped change my view.

Similarly, on climate change, the issue is far more complex than the opposition to Measure B lets on.  In fact, there are a number of considerations here.

Opponents point out that the passage of Measure B will make it more difficult for Davis to meet its climate goals.  But Davis meeting its climate goals is only meaningful if that is a means to reduce the overall climate emissions globally.

As I have pointed out previously, it is unclear that DISC will have an overall detrimental impact on such goals.

First of all, as noted previously, DISC less creates jobs and traffic than transfers jobs and traffic from one location to another.  This is important.  People are located on this planet and they have to work somewhere and travel to work through some means.  DISC does not generate new people out of thin air.

It is true that the unmitigated project adds GHG and 24,000 car trips, but that is a localized impact, not a global impact.

Indeed, the opposition fails to note that the required mitigation will reduce VMT, GHG, and car trips.  They fail to note that prior to the issuance of building permits, the Project “shall demonstrate consistency with the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan by demonstrating a fair-share reduction of GHG emissions towards an ARC Project-wide reduction goal of 37,684.1937,724.31 MTCO2e/yr, which would achieve carbon neutrality.”

But even if you are skeptical of the claims or ability to achieve carbon neutrality, the project is not purely adding a carbon footprint, it is transferring jobs and vehicle trips from one location to another, and if it can do it more efficiently with greater mitigation measures in place than the replacement site, then even if DISC were to make the city’s climate goals more difficult to achieve it may have a beneficial impact overall on the global carbon footprint.

However, once again, the bigger benefit from such projects is not what happens at the local level, but rather, whether providing space to take research to market can help develop new clean energy alternatives that could help change the world.

Opponents argue, “There is nothing green” about paving over 200 acres of prime farmland…  But that’s a limited view.  We are not going to solve climate change through spot reductions.

There is the potential for developing new technologies that can help feed the world and also reduce our carbon footprint.

Opponents of the project fail to recognize that we are not going to solve climate change at this point by making incremental local changes.  We need to do things on a massive scale—a global scale.  Huge reductions in carbon emissions will be required.  Those changes will be disruptive to the economy.  The people that will be harmed by those changes are likely to be the poor, the vulnerable, people in developing countries, people of color.

While some of that at this point might be unavoidable, we have allowed the problem to go too far.  One way that we can cushion that is through the development of new technologies—the production of new jobs, cleaner burning energies, less carbon-based processes—and that is the promise of DISC and places like DISC that connect the latest technology to industry and the private sector.

Ultimately there is a trade off here, but we can mitigate some of the downsides.  It does pave over farmland with the hopes that we can develop new technologies to help feed the world while reducing the impact of climate change.  It does add potentially to traffic impacts, but does so gradually with mitigation measures to hopefully ease the pain.

But, for me at least, the upside outweighs the risks.  The need for local revenue, jobs for recent graduates of UC Davis, and the untapped promise of green and clean technology, for me, outweigh the risks of growth and traffic.

—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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64 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: Why I Started to Change My View on the Need for Economic Development in Davis”

  1. Ron Glick

    Its taken you fifteen years to get to this point. What is the slope of that learning curve? I’ll grant you that it is more positive than many who haven’t learned anything since reading Paul Ehrlich in the 70’s but never got around to how his view changed in the 90’s. That is sort of how your thinking has evolved over time as well. Still you voted for renewing J. Go figure. Maybe in another ten years….

    We will know in another week. If B passes D becomes irrelevant. If B fails we will have sealed the financial fate of the city for another decade.

      1. Ron Glick

        2013 might have been an inflection point but the slope of the tangent still seem pretty small if you voted to renew J seven years after. Still if B passes D won’t matter.

  2. Tia Will

    I see this project through yet a third lens.

    “The World Food Center at UC Davis brings together academics, industry and more to help provide solutions to huge challenges of providing food and sustainability and meeting the challenges of climate change.”

    This statement is potentially, but not inevitably true. Much is made about bringing the products of such “solutions to market”. When one looks at one of the initially planned partners in the World Food Center one finds Mars, the candy maker. Now I have no objection to candy and pet foods, but looking at their products of 10 years ago, you will find an emphasis on “food products” as opposed to food on their own website. This reminds me of the manufacturers of baby formula who preferred cash to the well being of infants even knowing it was being diluted.   Now flash forward 10 years. Do we really think that “helping provide solutions to huge challenges” will inevitably win out over profit motives? I call attention to the tobacco companies, who with sales plummeting due to greater public awareness, fewer marketing opportunities, and the dying off of their most devoted customers, rather than developing safe products, merely moved their markets overseas. Do we really believe that the companies that will want to occupy disc are going to be devoted to global well being?

    I agree that it is important to look through different prisms. However, one of them should not be naivete about idealistic goals. There is no guarantee that will be the outcome of the development of DISC and I have heard no suggestion of plans to even attempt to move the business needle in the direction of lofty goals whether local or global.

     

      1. Tia Will

        David

        I agree there are good options. There are also bad ones with no way for the public to weigh in. When I invest personally, I ask my financial advisor to build my portfolio on what I consider responsible companies. We will have no such options, making this in my opinion more like hoping for Santa Claus.

  3. Ron Oertel

    As far as “waiting for the world” to address climate change – while purposefully ignoring local goals, that pretty much speaks for itself.  That’s why climate change (and all other environmental problems) continue. Yeah – “let the other guy do it”, or, “the worldwide government will fix it for us”. (How’s that working out?) Isn’t that pretty much what Trump said, regarding other countries not doing their part in regard to the Paris agreement?

    Regarding “local jobs” (and proximity to UCD), that’s pretty much addressed by the proposal some 7 miles up Highway 113 (where they’re also planning to build an additional 1,600 homes to house those workers).  That is, if it’s even viable, there.

    Regarding “green” jobs, well – I guess that depends upon how you view the companies that have left Davis for much cheaper, local locations (e.g., the one that makes undersea oil exploration equipment, or the one that makes RoundUp).

    For sure, it’s not green to try to create more jobs in a town that already lays claim to local housing shortages.  And it borders on lack of morality, for those who claim to be concerned about housing shortages.

    But in reality, this proposal doesn’t seem to be viable anyway, beyond the stages which are subsidized by housing.
     

  4. Jim Frame

    The question for me isn’t “should the DISC site be developed,” but rather “*how* should the DISC site be developed.”  As originally envisioned by early MRIC concepts it was to be all commercial/industrial.  I supported that, as the property seems ideally suited to those uses owing to its proximity to major highway and fiber infrastructure.  But in my view the DISC proposal is more about housing than commercial, which is a waste of the site and the reason I voted no.

    1. Keith Echols

      DISC (likely) can’t be built without the housing component.  So your alternative is nothing built.  Which means no additional revenue to the city to…I dunno…fix roads, improve/expand parks…more rec programs..etc…

      Thanks to measure J, the project needs to appeal to 1000’s of expert land planning and economic development professionals voters in the city of Davis.

      So the project must be crunchy green and good.  With cosmic solar panels, kale gardens, organic windmills and open spaces for cage free employees.   All these things are great…but they cost money and add cost to the project.  By itself, the business park would likely be too expensive to market and be financially feasible.  But with the housing component the developers can afford to add all that feel good green stuff to make the voters happy.   Also, the added housing makes the irrational…we need housing for the people…folks happy.

      I don’t like the housing component either.  But I just figure you gotta swallow it as a necessary evil to get the project approved.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        I guess I really don’t understand why people are so opposed to a housing component? It is a smart planning feature. We were at least living in a housing crisis. In 2013, it made sense not to have a housing component. In 2019, it did not.

        1. Keith Echols

          Housing is a cost to the community unless proven otherwise (there are specific situations in economic development when adding housing is financial benefit community).

        2. Keith Echols

          There’s an existing community.  You only expand if it’s a benefit to the existing community.

          Besides…(and I’m mostly/partially joking)…..the city of Vernon doesn’t need residents.

        3. Richard McCann

          One issue is whether significant manufacturing can be built at DISC if there is housing co-located. I prefer to have housing near employment, but this is a question that hasn’t been answered yet.

      2. Ron Oertel

        DISC (likely) can’t be built without BEYOND the housing component.  (In other words, beyond the early phases.)

        No – I’m not making that up.  That was the conclusion of some on the finance and budget commission.  A “fairytale”, one of them called it (among other things).

        There were also concerns regarding long-term infrastructure costs, which (flat-out) aren’t modeled or included in the fiscal analysis.  Those costs would eventually be paid by the city as a whole.

        Bottom line is that this proposal essentially “transfers” the cost to anyone unlucky enough to drive through that mess.  (That is, if Covid/telcommuting doesn’t render the thing obsolete before it even starts.)

        Then, there’s the cost of future housing proposals, to accommodate the unmet need that this dinosaur will create.  (Again, I’m not making that up, regarding the additional housing demand that this would create.) This latter issue is what I find particularly distasteful, regarding some of those on the “pro-development” side. The same people who constantly harp about housing shortages. It goes straight to credibility, if not outright morality.

        1. Keith Echols

          The traffic won’t hit all at once….but yes it will have to be addressed in the future.  But that’s going to be the case with pretty much all growth.  Infrastructure has to grow and it costs to do so.  That’s why infrastructure should grow with revenue producing profitable (for the city) projects.  Ideally they should do this WITHOUT the housing component.  As I said in my initial post it’s a necessary evil to get the biz park passed.

          Why does the city have to consider any additional housing demand?  Initially and ideally, workers come in and work and leave.  That’s the most financially beneficial ideal.  But as I’ve been saying at some point you can capture the housing need and make it a positive revenue producer (once infrastructure has already been expanded), first by added commercial to capture the worker’s spending money and then to house them to keep their spending money as locally captive as possible.

        2. Ron Oertel

          The traffic won’t hit all at once….but yes it will have to be addressed in the future.

          The entire region has been growing.  Infrastructure (e.g., expansion of freeways) NEVER keeps up, it’s always more expensive than initially estimated, and there are physical and environmental restrictions which limit expansion.

          How many “lessons” do we need, before we realize this?

          Of course, some of this has been interrupted by Covid, and some of it will likely be permanent (e.g., telecommuting).  Then again, the latter means far less demand for office/work space, as well.

          So again, why is this being proposed, with no commercial tenants, during a time of crashing commercial demand, and with another proposal some 7 miles away (which “moved” after it failed in Davis)?  It’s pretty simple – they don’t want to “waste” the money they’ve spent on the EIR (which is already getting “ripe”), and they can make money on the housing.

          But that’s going to be the case with pretty much all growth.  Infrastructure has to grow and it costs to do so.

          (See response, above.)

          That’s why infrastructure should grow with revenue producing profitable (for the city) projects.  Ideally they should do this WITHOUT the housing component.  As I said in my initial post it’s a necessary evil to get the biz park passed.

          Again, it’s not viable BEYOND the stages which include housing.  So, what’s the “gain”?

          Why does the city have to consider any additional housing demand?

          Pretty naive to think that the additional demand from this proposal wouldn’t become part of the arguments for yet another peripheral development (or more).

          Initially and ideally, workers come in and work and leave.  That’s the most financially beneficial ideal.

          The worst, environmentally.  Davis already has a net influx of commuters, to reach UCD.  This proposal would include 5,600 parking spaces.

          But as I’ve been saying at some point you can capture the housing need and make it a positive revenue producer (once infrastructure has already been expanded), first by added commercial to capture the worker’s spending money and then to house them to keep their spending money as locally captive as possible.

          This “plan” hasn’t been working very well for most cities throughout California (and beyond). At some point, we should probably call a Ponzi scheme for what it is.

        3. David Greenwald Post author

          They can only make money on the housing if they build the commercial.  People seem to forget that the high tech industry is actually doing really well.

        4. Ron Oertel

          People seem to forget that the high tech industry is actually doing really well.

          Their workers are increasingly dispersed, resulting in a lack of need for space.  You know this, already.

          One technology firm in the Bay Area recently paid approximately $90 million to break a lease for space that they decided they wouldn’t need, as a result of this trend.

           

        5. David Greenwald Post author

          That might be an issue (in terms of the office space) if we were building it for today.  You still need space for advance manufacturing, wet labs, and the like.

        6. Ron Oertel

          Here’s a portion of the quotes from the FBC meeting, regarding DISC.  I transcribed this to the best of my ability, and have deleted the names of the commissioners.

          Where is the question that addresses, “if investors behave – as investors should”? It’s based upon a “fairytale”, at the moment.

          If we were engineers looking to build a bridge, it’s like there’s no “foundation to the bridge”.

          This is “fundamental” to investments.

          So, are these assumptions regarding IRR’s are “not to be believed”?

          Response from Chair:  No – this is just “guidance”. We totally agree with your comment, and are suggesting that it be addressed in the development agreement.

          So, you’re suggesting that the developer be “bound” to make these investments, even though it’s a loss-maker on an incremental basis?

          Chair: No, push the housing out, maybe. That’s one of our suggestions.  (Which is one of the suggestions that wasn’t implemented.)

          So when it comes back to asking us if we support the proposal and that we think it’s based upon sound analysis, should we make that determination based upon the basis that they’re going to fix the “fundamentally flawed” analysis that is before us – through contract?

          (Chair deferred to someone else, at this point.)

        7. David Greenwald Post author

          For the most part, it seems reasonable that development of things like ag tech, bio tech, green tech, and clean tech are going to need physical space.  It’s hard to imagine them not.

        8. Keith Echols

          For 3 years it was my job to drive across the Central Valley and throughout Southern CA to talk to city managers, planners and local (land) real estate agents.  Yeah….pretty much no city grows in the way that I’ve described…at least not planned.  It’s almost always some haphazard way that meets some population growth projections over the next 10-20 years.

          I’ve argued about how I believe this is a convoluted project…it’s less than optimal.  You’re questioning the project’s viability as if it has a binary outcome; it’s either successful as the developer sees it or it will irredeemably crash and burn.   Yes, the biz park will probably struggle.  It may go into decline.  Maybe the biz park owner takes a serious hit and has to sell it at a loss.  But eventually business will populate it once the economics straighten out. So maybe they don’t get their projected leasing rates….the city doesn’t get $3.5M dollars in tax revenue but only $2.0M.

          The worst, environmentally.  Davis already has a net influx of commuters, to reach UCD.  This proposal would include 5,600 parking spaces.

          I always found the environmental argument to be silly.  So what if there are commuters.  Whatever companies that may of ended up at the biz park end up in West Sac, Woodland…wherever….it’s not like if the DISC doesn’t get built these companies disappear and leave no trace of their existence.  No they just find somewhere else to pay taxes.  So what has Davis gained?

          Please….enough of the Covid….yes companies are going more distance/virtual for now.  When you’re a big established company with infrastructure you can do that.  When you’re a 5 person start up..you can do that.   It’s hard to do that if you’re a growing small/medium sized business (which is what these kind of biz parks target).  Humans are social animals….they will congregate….they will socialize at work….it bonds them…it gets them to work together and harder ….if you think Covid will effect collaborative work for the long-term, then you’re betting against human nature.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “I always found the environmental argument to be silly. So what if there are commuters. Whatever companies that may of ended up at the biz park end up in West Sac, Woodland…wherever….it’s not like if the DISC doesn’t get built these companies disappear and leave no trace of their existence. No they just find somewhere else to pay taxes. So what has Davis gained?”

            Yes, thank you. This is one of the key points I made in this piece.

        9. Ron Oertel

          I don’t think you’re understanding the MASSIVE cost-savings that companies are pursuing through telecommuting.

          As far as what other communities do, they would have pursued this type of development a LONG TIME AGO, if it was viable. The one that failed in Davis (and moved 7 miles away) still hasn’t even started recruiting businesses, according to David.

          West Sacramento could probably accommodate 10 of these things, without even expanding their urban footprint.

          Anyone who supports a 5,600 parking-space peripheral development (adjacent to an already-impacted freeway) in a town that ALREADY claims a housing shortage is essentially arguing against almost every other point that they claim to believe in (e.g., regarding local contributions to climate change and housing shortages). (Not a comment for Keith, regarding this part.)

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            And I don’t think you’re understanding what your putting down here. There are certain things you can do from home. But what I am talking about – you cannot. Anything that involves R&D for ag or bio tech fields, anything that involves labs, anything that involves manufacturing. Why is this a difficult concept?

        10. Ron Oertel

          Seems to me that David would argue for an open-pit mining operation, on the basis of what “other” communities would do (if Davis doesn’t do it). At least, that’s the logical conclusion of his type of argument.

          But with one difference in that other communities already have the housing to support the open-pit mining operation.

        11. Ron Oertel

          Anything that involves R&D for ag or bio tech fields, anything that involves labs, anything that involves manufacturing. Why is this a difficult concept?

          Probably because it’s extremely expensive, and has a limited market.  As you noted, even your board member’s (tiny) research company that moved from Sacramento to Woodland is a “non-profit”, and is receiving public subsidies. Without those subsidies (and non-profit status), it’s not likely that it would be viable, either.

          How much unneeded office space is planned for DISC?

          And, why would a company seek expensive space on the outskirts of Davis (some 4-5 miles from campus), when another competing proposal (which also failed in Davis) is planned some 7 miles up Highway 113? (And apparently, hasn’t attracted any commercial tenants some 3 years after failing in Davis?)

          Again, DISC is subsidized by expensive Davis housing planned for the site (during the early phases, only). There’s been no demonstrated commercial demand for it, otherwise.

        12. Keith Echols

          why would a company seek expensive space on the outskirts of Davis (some 4-5 miles from campus), when another competing proposal (which also failed in Davis) is planned some 7 miles up Highway 113? (And apparently, hasn’t attracted any commercial tenants some 3 years after failing in Davis?)

          They wouldn’t.  But this is where I said I think you look at this as a binary outcome.  Either the biz park is successful as the developer has sold it to the city or it’s a complete bust.  But what will happen is that initially the biz park isn’t as successful….and then the biz park owners have to lease at a lesser price or sell it to another manager/owner who then leases it at a lesser rate.  The city gets less tax revenue….but it’s getting tax revenue.

        13. Ron Oertel

          Three of the finance and budget commissioners did not agree that it would create a “fiscal profit” for the city at ANY of the phases.

          NONE of them “endorsed” the figure put forth by EPS (which was acknowledged to NOT include long-term infrastructure costs).

        14. Ron Oertel

          Nor were the costs of the NEXT peripheral housing development included (which will no doubt use the demand from DISC as a “justification”).

          It is an endless Ponzi scheme.  The city is not going to “develop its way” out of fiscal challenges.

          Here’s another quote from an FBC commissioner (transcribed as best I could).  He was not the only one raising such concerns (regarding long-term infrastructure costs):

          ”Pay as you go. I take it that’s paid by everyone in town, not just the residents and owners, right? (Response – correct.) So, we’re deciding that everyone else is going to pay for this infrastructure, which is the way that it’s always been done. But, we’re facing $100 million or more in shortfall (from this approach). So clearly the system we’re using isn’t appropriate, which is sort of a logical conclusion.”

        15. Keith Echols

           The city is not going to “develop its way” out of fiscal challenges.

          That’s exactly how cities get out of their fiscal challenges.  Nothing’s free.  It takes investment.  So the biz parks require some infrastructure to support it.  It may take 5-10 years to pay for it but in the meantime the city is getting it’s tax revenue.  You may call it a “Ponzi” scheme but that’s how business is done…you borrow to invest for a future return.

          Now if you’re right and the fiscal budget and finance commissioners are correct about the the project being not profitable for the city…then yes…don’t approve it.  But you said only 3 members out of 7 said the project wasn’t financially feasible.  If the city is taking only $2M a year from the project, then it can budget to borrow for those improvements over X many years.  Those infrastructure improvements can also support future developments that can generate more revenue.  Where is the $100M shortfall that was mentioned in the quote you posted?

      3. Jim Frame

        So your alternative is nothing built.

        My alternative is nothing built now.  At some point the commercial/industrial value of the parcel will catch up to development cost.  Build then.

        1. Keith Echols

          Why is the housing component a non-starter for you?   I’m no fan of the housing component.  In fact I’m pretty firmly against it.   I just see it as a necessary evil.  The value of the parcel will have to go up to the point that it can support all the extra eco friendly unicorn haven stuff that will to get it past the voters.  It could take quite a while for that parcel to be developed….and the city sure could use that tax revenue sooner rather than later.

        2. Jim Frame

          Why is the housing component a non-starter for you?

          Because I think it’s an excellent site for commercial/industrial, and a poor site for housing, and housing doesn’t produce long-term net tax revenue.

        3. Ron Glick

          I don’t know because I get a property tax bill every year. Under Prop 13 new homes pay much higher taxes per square foot than older homes that haven’t sold in decades.

  5. Ron Glick

    “Housing is a cost to the community unless proven otherwise (there are specific situations in economic development when adding housing is financial benefit community).”

    In Davis we have all these extra taxes on our bills. I just got mine. Many of them fund the schools. People who have kids in DJUSD on inter-district transfer don’t pay many of those extra’s. I wonder where the break even net present value of taxes is for new houses? Also does the business park tax revenue combined with the housing tax revenue make it a positive overall for city coffers?

    1. Keith Echols

      Those are good questions.  As far as the DJUSD out of town kids being bused in….I guess the economic benefit (the district gets paid by the fed/state per student) is an over all financial plus?

        1. Keith Echols

          DJUSD.  And in theory the residents of Davis….the home owners.  Highly rated school districts are one of the biggest selling points (added value) to homes.

        2. Ron Oertel

          That’s what they tell us, at least.  Strangely enough, the money seems to flow from homeowners, rather than the other-way around.

          And if the little tykes are truly “profit centers”, then why is just about every school district across the state broke?

          And, if they are “profitable”, isn’t DJUSD “poaching” kids from other districts (which may not be as well-off)?

          And going back to your claim (which is often repeated by others), is this one of the reasons that other communities are cheaper than Davis? Which (ironically) results in families living there, instead? (And sending the little rascals to Davis schools, on the backs of parcel-tax paying homeowners in Davis?)

          But it’s getting off-topic, so let’s stop here.

        3. Keith Echols

          CASH flows from homeowners to the school system.  But actual wealth (asset appreciation in this case)?  That’s harder to quantify.

          Yes DJUSD is poaching kids from other districts.

          I’m going to hazard a guess that there’s some calculation of existing school district infrastructure and costs and a target optimal school population.

          And going back to your claim (which is often repeated by others), is this one of the reasons that other communities are cheaper than Davis? Which (ironically) results in families living there, instead? (And sending the little rascals to Davis schools, on the backs of parcel-tax paying homeowners in Davis?)

          Yeah…it’s great…the city doesn’t have to pay for the infrastructure required to house those families yet gets the revenue for the students.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Most of the students from other district are the children of employees at UC Davis who work in Davis, but don’t live here – and many of them started out living here and simply did not transfer out.

  6. Keith Olsen

    Maybe it’s just me, but in what world is paving over 200 acres of farmland considered good for the climate?  It’s amazing how thing can be twisted.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          There is a difference between building a home (20 years -plus ago) and building a tech park that is hoping to develop green energy, sustainable food, and is planning to be carbon neutral.

        2. Keith Olsen

          There is a difference between building a home (20 years -plus ago) and building a tech park that is hoping to develop green energy, sustainable food, and is planning to be carbon neutral.

          I felt that word “hoping” needed to be highlighted.

  7. Christopher Fraser

    Why is it that UCD wants nothing to do with this project and is instead building their own business campus in Sacramento? I would feel more encouraged if the obvious technology partner in Davis were interested. Without UCD this will project will fail in my opinion.

  8. Richard McCann

    Ultimately there is a trade off here, but we can mitigate some of the downsides.  It does pave over farmland with the hopes that we can develop new technologies to help feed the world while reducing the impact of climate change.  It does add potentially to traffic impacts, but does so gradually with mitigation measures to hopefully ease the pain.

    DISC MAY be making those tradeoffs, but the developers have not effectively made their case. Instead of a minimal EIR, they should have have gone over the top and expanded the cumulative impacts section to show that there was an overall environmentally beneficial outcome if that could be shown. The state only has minimal requirements under CEQA–it doesn’t prohibit making a stronger showing. Why are these types of projects making their cases if this can be a strong selling point? Otherwise, this is all speculation at the moment.

  9. jim thorne

    Hi –

    Once you pave it, it’s no longer usable for any other reason, like climate adaptation. This is a case of rosy financial projections and under-selling the risks. If the economy does not rebound, and do you think it really is going to (?) then the city of Davis will be saddled with providing additional services and be stretched even further financially. Regarding open space this is also the zone between the bypass and the town. Do we really want to be building right up to/close to the levees?

    vote no on measure B!

    Jim Thorne

    1. Keith Echols

      This is a case of rosy financial projections and under-selling the risks.

      That’s pretty much the case with any project that has to go through the Davis dog and pony show for approval.  How many things have you bought that gave you a debbie downer pitch…..other than maybe insurance?

       If the economy does not rebound, and do you think it really is going to (?) 

      The economy will likely take a couple years to improve…as will the biz park to get up and going….or it could be the end of western civilization!  I see those Visigoths coming over the horizon from Vacaville and some Vandals from Winters….but it’s those Huns from Woodland we have watch out for.

       Do we really want to be building right up to/close to the levees?

      It’s like a mile or so to the closest levee?

      1. Bill Marshall

        Ahhh… know the Lombards well… there is another side to them… the steep ‘up’ … when I bought my first manual transmission car (Dad helped), Dad required that I drive that street, stop@ the stopsign, and move on… had learned to use foot brake, clutch, gas pedal, and hand brake… car behind me was ~ 2 feet away… VICTOIRE!  Did it, and Dad gave me the ‘pink’, when I gave him the check… not sure I could do it today, but I still drive a manual… I was 22 at the time…

        There are also the Mongols… but all our referents have been euro-centric, to date, so we have to avoid the ‘white privilege’ thingy… so, we must disengage… and return to topic… but I did enjoy the diversion… have a great week…

      2. Keith Echols

        I was going with the Germanic tribes that brought down the Roman Empire (Western Civilization).  If I recall, the Lombards were named after the long white stockings they wore.  They came down and took over Italy after a war between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines.  About a hundred or so years later the Pope called Charlemagne to bring his Frankish super power army to kick out the Lombards….at some point later the Normans took over but now I’m really getting off topic.

        Nearly 10 years of living in the city and not once did I visit Lombard street.  I visited it back in the mid 80’s when I was visiting CA.  I learned on a stick and my first car was a stick.  I burned out two clutches in San Francisco.  I haven’t owned a stick shift in 15 years.

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