Commentary: Sometimes the Simplest Explanation Is the Best with Respect to Housing Views

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Lincoln40-5

At a council meeting for Lincoln40 a few years ago, students and others advocating for housing

By David M. Greenwald

Davis, CA – There is a tendency for people to violate the maxim that the simplest reasonable explanation is usually the correct one and that, while alluring, fallback to conspiratorial theories is generally not a great approach.

On Tuesday night, listening to almost an hour and 20 minutes of public comment, a few things became very clear.  First, that we were listening to dueling talking points.  But secondly, it quickly became clear that whether one believed that the Housing Element Committee (HEC) recommendations went too far or not far enough largely depended on the age of the caller.

No one under the age of 50, that we could tell, called in to oppose the HEC recommendations, while most people over the age of 50 called in to complain that the recommendations went too far or that the process was not transparent.

“Please oppose all eight recommendations of the Housing Element Committee. These recommendations do not respect the years of citizen input on growth issues or our local democratic process,” one caller said.

“I oppose the initiatives that are recommended by ‘YINDY’ – I oppose their initiatives and I hope we can draft a better plan,” another said.

Another said, “I am very disturbed at the lack of transparency and advanced notice of this agenda item. Putting it out on a Friday afternoon is not conducive to public awareness or consideration and it really limits the amount of, timely compliant details on these very important matters.”

Still another: “I’m discouraged by the ongoing attempts to undermine what voters have expressly chosen. If the latest pro-growth shenanigans … all the housing committee members appointed by the city council.  Sustainable Growth Yolo, the twisted attempt to disguise or housing and greener development process as a lofty renewable goal for society.  I urge you to firmly reject their subterfuge.”

On the other hand, students and young professionals worried that the proposal fell short of the housing needs of the community.

“The proposal as issued falls drastically short of the urgent housing needs for the city of Davis,” a student said.  “I personally know people who have experienced housing insecurity in this community and the housing element in its current form will do nowhere near enough to solve the worsening housing crisis that we face.”

A recent graduate added, “I recently graduated from UC Davis.  I just want to say that this housing situation in Davis is ridiculous.”

Another added, “The draft released a few weeks ago is terribly inadequate and does not address the needs of many Davisites including myself.  I cannot even afford to live in Davis due the mainly high rent prices.”

Students worried about housing security as students, and having places to live and work once they graduate in order to stay in town.

A couple of the comments really hit home.  One person said they just found out about the Housing Element discussion but found online summaries of the proposal.

“I am shocked to learn the radical steps being proposed, ending single family, housing zoning, and allowing development by right, seems like a really drastic measure. This would result in my neighbors’ houses potentially being purchased by investors, bulldozed and replaced with many apartment complexes all without even a public approval process or any notice to the neighborhood that would devastate our neighborhoods,” one said.

Never mind that he severely misunderstood the proposal.

Another resident was apparently stunned that the voices of students are given the same weight as other residents.

“I must say that I find it nonsensical and abhorrent that the voices of students are given as much weight as those of city residents in these matters.  Students are here for a short, limited time.  Whereas those of us who live in Davis have a much greater stake in determining the future of our city and our voices should consequently be given greater weight.”

One of my initial takeaways here was that there was simply a lot of misinformation about the process and the proposals themselves—not to mention the fact that this was not a final proposal in any way, shape or form.

It was clear from listening that there were two competing agendas here—one attempting to maintain a status quo and another attempting to create more housing opportunities.

There is really no rocket science here.  We have seen, over the years, an attempt to argue that students are being either bought or manipulated by development interests.  There is also an attempt to disparage long-term citizens as NIMBYs.  I don’t think either characterization is accurate.

Are there students who are working for various projects or even some developers?  Sure.  But that is probably not a driving force for their views.

There are three simple and relatively benign explanations for student support for development.

For the last several years, students have faced the housing crunch on a very personal level—soaring rents, scarcity of rental housing, housing insecurity, packing huge numbers of students into places designed for much fewer, and the need in more extreme cases for students to couch surf or even live in cars and sleep in the library.

Therefore, students would have a concern for housing supply.  Students started to activate and mobilize around 2015 and that coincided with the rise of the current housing crisis.

Students as a whole are supportive of more student housing, both on and off campus—they were also supportive of projects like DISC which could provide them with post-graduate jobs and they remain concerned about the potential for future housing to provide for those students who decide to remain in town with a place to live.

On the other hand, the people mostly concerned that the HEC and Draft Housing Element went too far, by and large, were older.  Many have lived in the community for decades and remember when it was much smaller, they already have their homes and many are retired and are worried about keeping Davis as they remember it—and believe that adding a lot of new housing would harm the character of the community.

Frankly, while it is not a position I share at this point, I can understand it.

It seems then that the common denominator is that current life experience—and whether one is housing secure or insecure, a renter or owner—is a clear dividing line on this issue.

There are a lot of complaints about the make up of the HEC and whether it is representative.  It is worth noting that five of the members come from existing commissions and another five were appointed by the council.

It is also worth noting, for instance, that there is actually a lot more variance that some would suggest.  For instance, Greg Rowe, who serves on the Planning Commission, has generally been on the slow growth side.  Darryl Rutherford, while not necessarily slow growth, has often opposed projects because they have inadequate affordable housing.

Georgina Valencia has been critical of the city’s affordable housing policy and also voted against the motion to add more housing over the RHNA total.

Furthermore, just three of the members of the HEC are under the critical age of 45.  That means that the group of residents most housing insecure were actually underrepresented on the HEC.

In the end, the HEC was probably far less important than many of the critics have made it out to be.

The council ultimately ended up rejecting most of the more radical proposals.

Having been involved in this since 2006, I find it interesting where the trends go.

I find it ironic that one person indicated the one percent growth cap was necessary for our slow growth policies—I remember in 2006 and 2007, the one percent growth cap was too fast for Sue Greenwald. It was the pro-growth council majority that instituted it. As far as I know, and staff elaborated on it, we have never come close to hitting it.

Council is not inclined do pre-approvals—which I think is a mistake, though I do agree with Dan Carson’s warning that “any controversial proposal would still be subject to voter approval under state law via a referendum.”

While true, the key is “controversial” and the other key is that it puts the onus on citizens to collect signatures, which means it truly would have to be controversial to trigger it. Nevertheless, it’s off the table but I am glad it was at least broached.

More interesting could be R1 Zoning, but I think staff and council dispelled the notion that this would have to impact existing neighborhoods, which I agree could become a serious problem.

As Vice-Mayor Frerichs put it, “this may actually already be something that’s taken out of our hands by the state legislature.”

The bill from Senate President Toni Atkins, SB 9, would automatically allow for duplexes on a single-family zoned lot. He said that was something that they may not find out until September though.

He was in favor of “up zoning” at the neighborhood shopping centers.

“Let’s allow for up zoning there,” he said. “There’s already a number of shopping centers in town (where) there’s already mixed use. That’s not a bad thing. There will be more of that in the future.”

So with all of that, we may get R1 changes if SB 9 becomes law and we may rezone neighborhood shopping centers, which we already were doing anyway.

And council supports “asking UC Davis for additional housing on campus.”

Bottom line—for all the concern about the influence of certain interests and all the concern about the process, the council took most of the more radical proposals off the table.  And the community not only got heard on Tuesday, but they still have time to submit comments, then there will be another public Planning Commission meeting and City Council meeting.

Unfortunately, I would argue the city really does have an impending crisis here on housing.  Where we are going to go to add housing, especially in the next cycle, is very much up in the air and in doubt.

For some residents, those who already have their homes and career, they probably are not that worried about it.  But for those who do not have secure housing or would like to stay in this community, that issue will become of greater importance still.

There is no rocket science here.  We are seeing simple demographics, home ownership, housing security issues driving the divide in this community right now and it will fall to council to figure out creative ways to thread that needle.

—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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31 thoughts on “Commentary: Sometimes the Simplest Explanation Is the Best with Respect to Housing Views”

  1. Ron Oertel

    And yet, you could have asked me the same thing (at any point in my life), and I would have told you the same thing.  Says this guy who was “priced out” of his original home. Even more so, since I left (due to the technology industry, and its impacts).

    Of course, it also depends upon whether or not you think that attending college away from home is a “necessity” or “right” – especially for all 4 years, and whether or not you think someone else (or some community) should pay for that.

    Perhaps this explains some of the difference, as it seems that the latter comprises a significant number of the local YIMBYs.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      ecological fallacy: “is a formal fallacy in the interpretation of statistical data that occurs when inferences about the nature of individuals are deduced from inferences about the group to which those individuals belong.”

      1. Eric Gelber

        On the other hand:

        Selection bias “is the bias introduced by the selection of individuals, groups or data for analysis in such a way that proper randomization is not achieved, thereby ensuring that the sample obtained is not representative of the population intended to be analyzed.”

      2. Keith Olsen

        I laugh at the irony of seeing that definition coming from you David.  There are so many instances where liberals/progressives do just that, make inferences about others deduced from the group/party they might belong to.

        1. Alan Miller

          That’s actually not exactly the same thing.

          It’s exactly the same thing.

          But this gets us far afield from the topic of the article.

          And let us not forget who started it.

          You’re like an arsonist who starts the fire, and then points the police at those of us who fan your flames.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I didn’t mention a certain ex-president in the least, so that’s completely false that I started it. It’s not the same thing because in one case you have a voluntary association based on defined characteristics and in the other case you have an involuntary demographic group with inferences about tendencies.

        2. Alan Miller

          in one case you have a voluntary association based on defined characteristics and in the other case you have an involuntary demographic group with inferences about tendencies.

          Uncle!  I’m not smart enough to understand what you just said.

    2. Richard_McCann

      Of course, it also depends upon whether or not you think that attending college away from home is a “necessity” or “right” – especially for all 4 years, and whether or not you think someone else (or some community) should pay for that.

      Students have a right to attend a UC campus, and due to the competition for spots on the various campuses, that means that they would be attending away from home. (What’s your proposed alternative for those students living in Los Angeles or the Bay Area?) In addition, part of the college education is learning to manage one’s life as an adult–it is not just about a classroom education.

      Education has huge spillover effects to the rest of society and the economy. We only need to look at the success of the US and how closely it is tied to the output from our college system to see that impact. (There’s many studies confirming this effect.) That means that we all benefit from investing in education for others. We thrive through cooperative investment of this type rather than leaving this to individualistic spending. Here’s an article on how leaving education to individual spending is counterproductive to society’s goals: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/04/private-schools-are-indefensible/618078/

      As I have said repeatedly, the residents of Davis benefit greatly from the state investment in UC Davis in multiple ways. We can see many other examples of what Davis would look like without UCD, Dixon being the most salient counterexample. That state investment not only brings benefits but also obligations and responsibilities. Providing affordable housing for UCD students is one of those obligations.

      Note that UCD attendance has hovered around 50% of the population of the City for decades, back to the 1960s. It has been remarkably stable. (I posted this data a couple of years ago here.) Today is not unusual compared to history.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        To follow up on Richard’s point, if we were going to have people attend college at home we would have to completely restructure how colleges operate and make them more like high schools. That’s way beyond the paygrade of city planners or even university planners. And all because some people don’t want additional growth of Davis?

  2. Keith Y Echols

     I would argue the city really does have an impending crisis here on housing. 

    What is this “housing crisis” you speak of?

    But for those who do not have secure housing or would like to stay in this community, that issue will become of greater importance still.

    So if you can’t afford to live somewhere…I dunno…maybe you should move like everywhere else in this country?  I’m not sure why Davis is so super special that people have some entitled right to live here.   Students?  Palo Alto doesn’t sweat if students can afford to live in town….that’s what Stanford campus, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose are for.    Does Davis sweat when Widget X company in West Sacramento has employees that want to live in Davis but can’t find housing options?  If any of us with houses suddenly can’t afford to pay our mortgages….do we go to the city and demand more affordable housing options….or do we move to where we can afford to live?   I have never lived anywhere and thought that community owed me affordable housing options…even when I was in college.

    As for affordable housing, I’m curious what the projected need in the city is and why.  I’m not debating it because I don’t know….but I’d like to know.  One of the major problems with affordable housing is that in the 1960’s affordable housing moved from the government directly funding affordable housing builders and local governments owning and controlling public housing to a policy of subsidizing for profit builders to build affordable housing as well as the pro-development policies that tacked on affordable housing as a necessary evil hurdle to for profit development projects (that just end up inflating the market rate homes).  Subsidizing for profit developers to create affordable housing is an inefficient use of funds.   I’ve always believed that inclusionary housing should be a specific band aid for affordable housing in a community.  Like housing for teachers, police or city/county managed homes for temporary housing for families in need.  But inclusionary housing will never be robust enough to solve affordable housing needs in most communities.

    I know my beliefs about development in Davis and being a NIMBY aren’t popular with a good portion of the readers here.   But hear me out because there are obviously plenty of us that impact local Davis politics.  Those shopping centers that are going to be “up zoned”…you know the local neighborhood NIMBYs are going to oppose them.  I’ve always stated that my belief is that growth should encouraged in Davis when it shows an tangible benefit to the existing residents.

     So make a case to the NIMBYs that there’s something in it for them.  Make a case for the tax money that goes into the city from development and show what that tax money will provide (I’d be cool with new housing nearby if I was told the property tax money would fund fixing Covell’s broken up pavement).  I say “tangible” because just saying the tax money from a project will go into some general fund to pay for needed projects doesn’t do much for convincing skeptics about the benefits of the development.  Show that the development will get the town a new splash pad for the kids.  Show that development will fund councilors that work with/for the police in addressing the homeless.  Show that development will fund creating shelters that can help get the homeless off of Davis streets (I know it’s not that simple but it’s a step in the right direction).  But to the pro residential growth crowd: stop making a pearl clutching “think of the children” case about how some people just can’t afford to live here.  Also, creating housing for people going somewhere else to work (like UCD) just so they can spend their money here isn’t a valid reason either.

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      always stated that my belief is that growth should encouraged in Davis when it shows an tangible benefit to the existing residents.

      One way of looking at it…

      I look at it more as “…  my belief is that growth should not be discouraged in Davis unless it shows an tangible detriment to the existing residents.

      Perspectives… ‘guilty, until proven a benefit’, or, ‘innocent, until proven guilty’…

      The inherent “I can tell others how to live”, “I rule!”, mentality, combined with the same folk often asserting “but no one should tell ME how to live!”, turns me off, big time…  selfish, and hypocritical…

      1. Keith Y Echols

        Well, let’s see….growth means more people.  More people means greater use of resources/infrastructure.  The need for more roads, road maintenance, fire and police services, more water (hmm….waters is getting to be even more important to communities these days) and sewer capacity usage.  More use of medical services in the community….more use of public recreation (ever see how crowded the pubic pools get during the summer?….at least back when they were still open?)  Or how difficult is it to sign up kids for city summer camp activities…..

        (pssst!  I’m a former developer….I used to be on the other side of this debate).

        The inherent “I can tell others how to live”, “I rule!”, mentality, combined with the same folk often asserting “but no one should tell ME how to live!”, turns me off, big time…  selfish, and hypocritical…

        How’s the that irrational self righteous indignation when trying to convincing others of your point of view working out for you?  But hey…if it makes you feel good about yourself…have at it.  Ya kinda missed the “stop the pearl clutching and thinking of the children” part of my comment.  Or maybe you just didn’t have a substantive reply.

        1. Keith Olsen

          Being NIMBY means that you are also a segregationist with racist biases.

          Hey David, does this count as an “ecological fallacy”?

          You’ve got to love Keith Y Echols response:

          Oh lord…spare me….this bizarro progressive garbage.  I haven’t brought up race.  You should be embarrassed that you have for no reason whatsoever. 

          The quote of the day…I give it a 99.9

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “Hey David, does this count as an “ecological fallacy”?”

            No. Why is this a hard concept?

        2. Keith Olsen

          No. Why is this a hard concept?

          I’m slow, it must be the Barack half of me.  I’m just going by your definition:

          ecological fallacy: “is a formal fallacy in the interpretation of statistical data that occurs when inferences about the nature of individuals are deduced from inferences about the group to which those individuals belong.”

          Because one is a NIMBY than the inference is you are also a segregationist with racist biases.   Kind of sounds like what’s occurring here.  But what do I know, I can see Russia from my front porch.

          Barck P.

           

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            For one thing an ecoological fallacy comes from inferences based on statistical data whereas the claim about NIMBY’s is someone’s opinion.

      2. Richard_McCann

        UCD is and always has been providing benefits to Davis. No UCD, and we look like Dixon. That means that we need to provide housing for UCD students and staff.

        Unlike Palo Alto, Davis is geographically isolated from other communities. It is very difficult and expensive for  students to commute from Woodland, West Sacramento or Winters to UCD. In contrast its easy to get from Menlo Park, Mountain View or Redwood City to Stanford. (Note also that Stanford owns a whole neighborhood to house its faculty and that Stanford is a private institution with a huge endowment that it can distribute to needy students.)

        Being NIMBY means that you are also a segregationist with racist biases. If you are unwilling to let others with less wealth into our community, that also means that you are discriminating against Black households that have only 10% of the wealth of white households and Hispanic households with just 20%.

        A belief in the right to be selfish with no obligations to others in society is at the core of our current political fracture. Those like Keith E believe that they have a right to protect what they have despite the fact that most of what they gained is through processes based on luck and embedded societal favoritism. Others like me want to break down those past barriers to those who have been less fortunate.

        1. Keith Y Echols

          No UCD, and we look like Dixon.

          No UCD?  So…if the city of Davis doesn’t provide housing for students…it’s just going to up and go POOF! and relocate?

          Unlike Palo Alto, Davis is geographically isolated from other communities. It is very difficult and expensive for  students to commute from Woodland, West Sacramento or Winters to UCD. In contrast its easy to get from Menlo Park, Mountain View or Redwood City to Stanford.

          Okay…that’s a complete joke!  You’re seriously comparing Bay Area traffic with traffic around Davis????   I commuted to Palo Alto and from Palo Alto at different times and it was 10X harder than any commute around Davis.  AND THAT WAS BACK IN THE 90S!  Also, most Stanford students don’t live in Menlo Park either.  More and more of them live in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and even San Jose.

          Being NIMBY means that you are also a segregationist with racist biases. 

          Oh lord…spare me….this bizarro progressive garbage.  I haven’t brought up race.  You should be embarrassed that you have for no reason whatsoever.  If a house goes up for sale in my neighborhood, I don’t care what race of people buy the house.  But please enlighten me on my racial biases….this should be fun.

          A belief in the right to be selfish with no obligations to others in society is at the core of our current political fracture. Those like Keith E believe that they have a right to protect what they have despite the fact that most of what they gained is through processes based on luck and embedded societal favoritism.

          I bet I’ve donated more than most here to “others in society”.

          Yes, I have a right to project what’s mine.  “Most of what they gained is through process based on luck and embedded in societal favoritism”.  You have no way of knowing that.  But I bet it makes you feel better to believe that.  I’m going to tell you a secret about the universe.  It’ll blow your mind and change your life forever.  Ready?  LIFE IS NOT FAIR.  I could complain about all the disadvantageous I’ve had in my life too.  I’ve had lots of advantageous too.  I’ll bet so have you.  We all do what we can to help.  The key term is “what we can”.  Taken to the extreme; should those with means (housing) convert their houses into multi-unit residences, live in a smaller unit and have lesser fortunate people live with them on their property? Obviously that’s an extremist example….but I hope you get my point….where do you draw the lines?  I’m open for a discussion on what would work.

           Others like me want to break down those past barriers to those who have been less fortunate.  

          Hey, that’s great.  Just don’t go virtue signaling all over the place.  Because right now it sounds like you’re spouting off your self righteousness just to make yourself feel better.  How about coming up with some solutions?  I’m open to hearing some.

          My initial post was an attempt to provide the NIMBY point of view and a way for the YIMBY’s to address the NIMBY’s concerns so that maybe both can get something done.  Or you could just write a post about how bad the NIMBY’s  are and how good you are…cause that’ll fix things.

        2. Alan Miller

          Being NIMBY means that you are also a segregationist with racist biases.

          No it doesn’t. But nice job taking an admission by someone that they are a NIMBY and throwing the baseball to “therefore you are a racist” home plate.

          If you are unwilling to let others with less wealth into our community, that also means that you are discriminating against Black households that have only 10% of the wealth of white households and Hispanic households with just 20%.

          You are saying one is discriminating simply because they live in this town, using the average wealth of racially-defined groups as your argument? By the way, the person you are talking to has no power to ‘keep others out of our community’; nor do I believe that is what they are saying.

          A belief in the right to be selfish with no obligations to others in society is at the core of our current political fracture.

          I would say the belief that government can fix these problems is at the core of our political fracture.  Removing discriminatory laws is one thing.  Changing people by forcing laws to enforce racial quotas is quite another.

          Those like Keith E believe that they have a right to protect what they have despite the fact that most of what they gained is through processes based on luck and embedded societal favoritism.

          Or maybe he worked hard.  But I assume he appreciates the judgement on his life 😐  Please describe how he could have lived his life better 😐

          Others like me want to break down those past barriers to those who have been less fortunate.

          One suggestion I have is to sell your house to a black family for 10% below market value, or to a Hispanic family for 20% below market value.  You will have done your part.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Also, creating (or allowing?) housing for people going somewhere else to work (like UCD) just so they can spend their money here isn’t a valid reason either.

      Let me guess… you were not a geography major…

      1. Keith Y Echols

        Let me guess…you have no concept of city limits or legal jurisdiction.

        Let me help you.  UCD is not in Davis city limits.  UCD is not subject to the city of Davis’ authority.  UCD does not pay city taxes or fees.  Living in Davis and working at UCD is about the same as working in Woodland as far as the city is concerned.

        1. Richard_McCann

          UCD does not pay city taxes or fees. 

          That’s false in two ways. First UCD purchases from and cooperates with local businesses that bring economic activity to the City, which in turn generates tax revenues. UCD also provides other cultural amenities enjoyed by City residents whether employed there or not. UCD also provides public safety services in cooperation with the City. Second, those working at UCD spend much more in Davis than if they commuted to Woodland and did much of their spending their around their work hours.

          Again, we only need to look at the differences in amenities and services in Davis versus Dixon or Woodland to see the impact of UCD.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          That’s false in two ways. First UCD purchases from and cooperates with local businesses that bring economic activity to the City, which in turn generates tax revenues. 

          My point stands.  It’s not direct tax revenue.  Please show me a business plan that shows “cooperation” as a direct source of revenue.  I’m sure it exists in some form.  But I’m not ready to call it a plus for city revenue.

          UCD also provides other cultural amenities enjoyed by City residents whether employed there or not. 

          Yes, but that’s not part of the discussion.

          UCD also provides public safety services in cooperation with the City. 

          There’s that “cooperation” word again.  I like words like “directly funds” or “provides resources for”…  What public safety services does UCD provide for the city that doesn’t involve their own revenue producing assets (students)?

           those working at UCD spend much more in Davis than if they commuted to Woodland and did much of their spending their around their work hours.

          I’ve said this before; residential housing costs resources.  So why encourage people to live in your city and work outside of it?  It’s like a store that says they should hire (and pay for) more employees so that the employees will spend their money in the store.

        3. Ron Glick

          So if the same unit of housing that is built on UCD is built in Davis instead there are revenues that accrue to the city that aren’t realized when that housing is built on campus.

          That is a large loss of revenue to keep college kids from voting in Davis city elections.

    3. Tim Keller

      Keith makes rational arguments, and I want to thank him for his intellectual honesty here.  ( This isnt sarcasm, its sincere, I think you know the alternative kind of discourse that Im talking about which we see all too much of in this forum)

      I want to respond to two of his points:

      So if you can’t afford to live somewhere…I dunno…maybe you should move like everywhere else in this country?  I’m not sure why Davis is so super special that people have some entitled right to live here.   Students?  Palo Alto doesn’t sweat if students can afford to live in town….that’s what Stanford campus, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose are for.

      This point is valid, but the communities are not apples-apples to compare with Davis.   Palo Alto doesnt have a CHOICE.   Like the San Fernando valley where I grew up, they have already grown to the point where there is no divide between their city and Menlo Park to the north, and Mountain view to the south… it is just a carpet of city.

      That is not the case here.  We have ample opportunities to expand to include more people in our community, we have just chosen not to, and that, I would say, is our loss.

      Which brings me to my second comment

      So make a case to the NIMBYs that there’s something in it for them.  Make a case for the tax money that goes into the city from development and show what that tax money will provide (I’d be cool with new housing nearby if I was told the property tax money would fund fixing Covell’s broken up pavement).  I say “tangible” because just saying the tax money from a project will go into some general fund to pay for needed projects doesn’t do much for convincing skeptics about the benefits of the development.

      I think this point is well taken.   We all know that people who work here, but go home elsewhere and do their shopping elsewhere means that property tax and sales tax revenues are NOT going into our city’s coffers.   And those of us who are intellectually honest understand that this is indeed a problem for the city… But it still just doesn’t FEEL real.

      We are already in a position where we are in a significant funding deficit, as a City – so when the campaign for DISC talked about helping to fill in the City’s revenue shortfall, it was just really trying to bring us back up to a status quo that we already take for granted.   There is no emotionally compelling hook there.

      The problem is that unless we can propose development that MORE than accounts for our current shortfall, then promising a new splashpad etc would be financially irresponsible.

      This would be partially overcome by something which I have advocated for in another post:   Revisiting the general plan and creating a cohesive plan for growth that not only fills in the economic shortfalls, but also demonstrates what we CAN afford to build to enhance our city beyond the maintenance of what we already have.

      Another option might be for us to develop a list of what would we have to give up if the city was forced to live within its financial means and couldnt endlessly borrow operating capital.   Would people be more willing to accept growth if they understood that it meant that we could keep more cops on the streets, or that we didnt have to abandon any hope of maintainig our bike paths, or that we would have to sell central park and Davis Community park because we cant afford their upkeep?

      1. Ron Oertel

        Since you keep bringing up DISC, while simultaneously stating that they “aren’t coming back”, which is it?

        As far as any fiscal analysis is concerned, this must include the long-term cost of all fiscal housing that would result – not just that which would be proposed at the site itself.

        As far as the students who are advocating for DISC (while simultaneously claiming a housing shortage, and claiming to be concerned about greenhouse gasses), they have no credibility whatsoever.  Nor does this sub-group even speak for all students.

        As far as David’s claim (regarding the “need” to restructure higher education, for those who remain at home while attending college), maybe he should tell that to all of those who have successfully done so.  Those who pursue a “specialty” degree (in the fields only offered by a specific UC) are likely a very small portion of the total student population.  And even those students can satisfy the majority of requirements for the first couple of years in almost any community around the state.

        For that matter, I understand that the UC system itself “steers” students toward “under-enrolled” UC’s, such as the newer one in Merced. With the bonus of lower costs and lots of growth [supporters] already in place, there.

        Never have figured out why the growth [supporters] pick the hardest battles. (Oh, wait – I DO know why $$)

        As such, the war will never end. Only the “arguments” change. Of which I am honestly in awe, at times.

        1. Tim Keller

          Since you keep bringing up DISC, while simultaneously stating that they “aren’t coming back”, which is it?

          You should start responding to what is actually written rather than what you suspect was written.  I brought up Disc as a recent example pertinent to the conversation.

          But to answer your question directly:  The only thing I know for sure is that they told me they had “no plans” to re-apply after the loss last year.    Will that change?  I HOPE SO.   But I have heard nothing official from them.   Given that they only lost by a small margin, I wouldnt be surprised if they came back… But I DONT know, and the conspiracy that is being alledged isnt actually real.  So your guess is as good as mine.  I dont know why that is so hard for you to understand.

  3. Ron Glick

    “Being NIMBY means that you are also a segregationist with racist biases.” 

    Maybe, maybe not. It can, however, perpetuate policies that result in similar outcomes.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Being NIMBY means that you are also a segregationist with racist biases.”

      Maybe, maybe not. It can, however, perpetuate policies that result in similar outcomes.

      It’s amazing how “quiet” the development activists were, when the Davis Buyer’s program was put forth. 

      As noted earlier:

      As such, the war will never end. Only the “arguments” change. Of which I am honestly in awe, at times.

       

       

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