Monday Morning Thoughts: Is UC Davis the Cause and Thus the Solution to Housing Woes in Davis?

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By David M. Greenwald

Davis, CA – This may well be THE dividing line between those who are more slow growth and those who are more pro-housing.  In fact, I think both sides have some of this right.

When I started looking hard at this problem back in 2015, it was pretty obvious that UC Davis was negligent in providing sufficient housing on campus for students.  Critics could rightly point to the fact that UC Davis had either the lowest or second lowest rate of on-campus housing in the system.

In fairness to UC Davis, there was probably good reason for that – Davis was one of the more affordable host cities in the system (and on campus housing was markedly less affordable) and the two for decades were able to kind of grow in sync with each other.  Problems started to occur when Davis enacted Measure J.

And you could argue that UC Davis tried to respond to Measure J with West Village – but that entire process was sidetracked and delayed by West Davis neighbors who fought the process.

Even taking that into account, they hadn’t done enough and while originally resisting pressure to expand their share of on-campus, I think they would now acknowledge this shortcoming.

On the other hand, Davis is a host city for a major university.  UC Davis is THE major employer of residents in Davis.  It is heavily responsible for our high standard of living and our status as one of the most highly educated communities in the nation.

Where I differ with some of the slow-growthers is that while I can see the role that UC Davis has contributed to the housing crisis for students, but also the encroachment of students into single-family homes, I can also see the complicity of city residents.

Not only have we effectively locked in the current borders – with two exceptions  in the last decade – but from 2002 to this year, we had not opened a market rate, multi-family student housing complex (Sterling opened in the fall of 2020).

While some of that time, the city can be excused for not looking at new student housing – housing pressure declined for a five or six year period during the Great Recession, it was slow to act to respond to the crisis.

I have long supported Measure J as a growth management tool.  But it has swung the balance too heavily against peripheral growth.  That means it is incumbent on the residents to make a decision – do we continue to densify – which is going to only get more expensive or do we find ways and places to develop on the periphery.

I continue to believe that both the city and university can do more here.  The city is going to have to address housing needs for families and employees of UC Davis.  The university is going to have to get to 50 percent, the LRDP gets them I think to 48 percent of all students on campus and all new students.

Matt Williams analysis shows the university largely in compliance with the MOU.

He wrote earlier this week: “So the four years reported by UCD have deficits of 343 and 759, and surpluses of 117 and 751.  Slightly more deficit than surplus, but to be fair, the 2017 figures UCD included really predated the MOU.  If you exclude that first year, then UCD is actually providing beds for 100% of its incremental enrollment since the MOU was agreed to.”

Matt Williams also believes that housing a is a community problem and “should be solved by a collaborative effort by all three jurisdictions.”

I don’t have a problem with that in principle.  However, one thing I worry about, those in the community whose answer to housing problems is for UC Davis to build more housing.

I continue to support a 100/50 plan – that means the university accommodate all of the student enrollment increases this LRDP with housing on campus and getting up to half of the overall housing.

I could see it going past 50 percent to accommodate international students.  I definitely support students having on campus housing their first two years, in part because it avoids the 18 year old student, three months after arriving on campus having to find off-campus housing in the community.

But to start creating on-campus housing for third and fourth year (and beyond) students is a bridge further than most students want to  go.

I even more have problems with the notion of extensive faculty and staff housing on campus rather than in town.  We run the risk of creating a whole city next to our city.  That is a city that has the potential to have impacts without receiving tax benefits for them.  It also creates communities that are effectively disenfranchised from city decisions.  I don’t see that as a viable long-term solution.

There some interesting views in this community on students.  During the Housing Element Discussion on Tuesday, a public commenter argued that students being temporary residents should not have their views considered on equal ground with long term residents.

One resident stated: “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.”

Another view: “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.”

The problem with this view of course is that addressing it goes WAY beyond the scope of Davis or even UC Davis.  We are not set up to allow all or even most students to attend college at or near their homes.

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.

We would create this huge upheaval simply because people want to avoid additional growth in places like Davis?

Bottom line here: I am okay with UC Davis being part of a solution to housing, but at some point, the city is going to figure out how it can grow into the future.  We cannot simply create a 50,000 person city outside of our borders and go about our business.

—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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36 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: Is UC Davis the Cause and Thus the Solution to Housing Woes in Davis?”

  1. Ron Glick

    “I have long supported Measure J as a growth management tool.  But it has swung the balance too heavily against peripheral growth.”

     

    Where has all the housing gone, long time passing,

    Where has all the housing gone, long time ago,

    Where has all the housing gone, gone to tomatoes everyone,

    When will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn.

     

    With apologies to Pete Seeger,

  2. Ron Glick

    “I even more have problems with the notion of extensive faculty and staff housing on campus rather than in town.  We run the risk of creating a whole city next to our city.  That is a city that has the potential to have impacts without receiving tax benefits for them.  It also creates communities that are effectively disenfranchised from city decisions.  I don’t see that as a viable long-term solution.”

    So its okay to build student housing where they are excluded from city elections but not faculty housing. Its the same argument that public commenter made  “…that students being temporary residents should not have their views considered on equal ground with long term residents.”

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Notice what I said, “I even more have problems…” (tortured phrasing admittedly) – you’ve parsed my comment incorrectly.

  3. Edgar Wai

    UC Davis building housing is the easiest way to focus the housing for students and faculty (instead of investors and commuters).

    To make such housing affordable, it is easiestly done through state grants/funds.

    If you want to help housing AND not use political/legal process to override local autonomy, then building another city (whether it is in UCD or not) with a clear mission to support growth in the default answer.

    You could try convincing Davis residents to be more accommodating, but using other means, even if legal, would cross a line being authoritarian, because there is a clear solution to develop another city.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      “If you want to help housing AND not use political/legal process to override local autonomy, then building another city (whether it is in UCD or not) with a clear mission to support growth in the default answer.”

      This is just begging for all sorts of problems. I know people think they want this, but having a 50,000 person city next to Davis is not what I think people really want. I’m not sure why they are pushing it.

      1. Edgar Wai

         I know people think they want this, but having a 50,000 person city next to Davis is not what I think people really want. I’m not sure why they are pushing it.

        From their perspective, you are dismissing their choice to be left alone. They tell you they don’t want something where they are. You are insisting that they want what they don’t want and you could have built on campus.

        In such dynamics, you are the attacker of autonomy and they are the defender. Furthermore they are non authoritarian defender because there is viable alternative (there is land for others to build). While you are the authoritarian attacker (you are trying to deny their autonomy but asserting they don’t know what they want for themselves).

        1. Richard_McCann

          Edgar

          We’re pointing out that those Davis residents who enjoy all of the amenities and benefits delivered by UC Davis by state taxpayers over the last 100+ years also have responsibilities and obligations to the state residents to support the education and research mission of UCD. If anyone is unhappy with that arrangement, they are more than welcome to move communities that have been static such as Dixon or Williams (even Winters is more dynamic than Davis right now.) They do not have a choice of being left alone with they want to live in a place that others have paid for–it’s like the teenager who tries assert that their parents can’t force them to do chores and get out of the house.

          Trying to claim that UCD has a “governance” structure is simply incorrect. It has no elected democratic decision making process for residents. It has almost no non-student residents and very few over the age of 21. The original college structure was based on the premise that non-voting (under 21) students would be the primary residents and thus there would be little disenfranchisement. Of course that changed in the 1970s and universities have been skating on thin ice governance wise since then. That doesn’t mean that we should double down on a bad choice.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Actually, one could argue we already have the ‘second City’… its own water, sewer, storm drain systems, its own Fire Dept, and Police Department… its own ‘parks’, open spaces… its own engineering/public works, planning departments… its own transportation (including transit) authority… sure sounds like a City to me…

        The ‘other City’ has its own form of governance, laws/policies, etc.  Sounding more like a City…

        Davis is a ‘Municipal Corporation’… UCD is arguably an “Educational Corporation”…

        Perhaps we should be viewing UCD as another ‘city’, with contiguous borders…

        As to ‘enfranchisement’, residents of ‘the second City’ can vote in Fed, State, County elections… they don’t get to vote in the operation/policies of their ‘City’… not my problem…

        To push the analogy further, should folk living in Burlingame get to vote in Millbrae elections, even if they are affected as they spend a lot of time in Millbrae?  Even when the two cities are interdependent economically? And are contiguous.

        Just some Monday morning thoughts…

         

        1. Edgar Wai

          Actually I’m pointing out the unintended consequences of what they say they want.

          I am not against you pointing you the potentially unintended financial consequence. But I don’t really see a reason to believe that it is anything other than an intended choice. Then, the question becomes, if there is a crisis you want to resolve, why wouldn’t you choose to easiest way to build on land that can readily build? I would just ditch that strategy to convince a small town and just start building on campus and around, and ask the counties to redistrict more land as needed. UCD can just expand according to its mission, with no height or density restrictions on buildings.

          Actually, one could argue we already have the ‘second City”

          I agree with this view. In fact, I think that people are already used to having neighboring cities that are bigger. In Bill’s view about cities as corporations, City A having land to accommodating its population, but insist that a neighboring City B to accept City A residents, is a predatory behavior.

          The default meritocratic way to deal with this is to let whichever city that accommodates its residents more land to control. City B is not obligated to help others. But whichever city that helps gets rewarded.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Edgar… nothing new under the sun…

          city of industry ca – Bing

          Population of ~ 400… the CM total comp is over $400k… with pension ‘debt’, over $467 k (source: Transparent CA)

          UCD Chancellor… (arguably the CM of UCD Campus) … total comp just under $575 k… (source: ibid)

          Arguably, UCD is not just a city, but a ‘City of Educational Industry”…

          There are, to be sure, holes in my analogy here… yet, very obviously the City of Industry fully expects the surrounding communities to supply the housing for the workers at the companies/firms within it…

          City of Industry’s municipal budget is over $270 million… (source:  City of Industry website)…

          Even the Chancellor of UCD lives in Davis… (in a very ‘privileged’ neighborhood)…

          So, Edgar, appreciate your recognizing the similarity between the UCD/City relationship, and City of Industry, and its neighboring cities… but none of the surrounding communities can ‘demand’ City of Industry to house the employees who work in the city (public or private)…

           

           

        3. Edgar Wai

          So, Edgar, appreciate your recognizing the similarity between the UCD/City relationship, and City of Industry, and its neighboring cities… but none of the surrounding communities can ‘demand’ City of Industry to house the employees who work in the city (public or private)…

          A policy that “let each city have autonomy to decide whether it wants to build and who may live there, and reward those cities that are accommodating and hospitable” does not impose any demand. It is a purely carrot policy.

          Undet such policy, neither UCD or Davis have any obligation to house anyone. But whichever city(ies) that ends up housing people is reimbursed/rewarded.

        4. Edgar Wai

          But whichever city(ies) that ends up housing people is reimbursed/rewarded.
          How?  Mechanism? Reality?

          The easiest method in reality are grants/state funding, city boundaries, term-based access to public resources.

          Grants/state funding: The state pays whichever city for accommodating people (Full Carrot). If the state determines that a city is “at fault”, it could optionally fine or reduce funding to that city (Conditional Stick). Full Stick would be the state fines any city that is not in compliance but does not reward any city for doing good or better.

          City boundaries: The state redraw the city boundaries to let a city that is doing better take land from public or from a city that is not doing well. If UCD starts houses people to its capacity, it then have reason to expand around itself. Let whichever cities with good management expand.

          Term-based access to public resources: If the state has some kind of rare resources, the access/custody of those things could be set according to which city is doing well. This could be about public utilities such as a power plant, water resources, wireless bands, farmable land. The better a city takes care of its people, the more resources it may claim.

  4. Matt Williams

    I don’t consider myself a no growther, nor do I consider Keith Echols a slow growther, but he and I have consistently pointed to three key facts in arguing that (1) for at least the past decade UCD has been creating the vast majority of the additional housing demand in the City, (2) UCD has also been negligent in creating an incremental supply of student housing that matches the incremental demand that they have created each year, and (3) that the City has demonstrated no economic development plan to grow jobs within the City, so there would be no growth in local jobs (other than jobs on the UCD campus, which produce no tax revenues for the City) that matches the growth in housing.

    Housing very clearly costs the City more money (expenses paid to deliver services and maintain infrastructure) than it creates revenues.  Because the costs of adding additional population has been very controversial, the Finance and Budget Committee commissioned, and just last month received, a “Marginal Cost of Service” analysis comparing the costs of adding population.   The report delivered to the FBC does an excellent job of describing the costs per resident issue as follows:

    1 Issue

    The long-term1 cost of serving additional residents2 (i.e. marginal cost) is an important cost to understand correctly for the City of Davis (Davis), as it is used for a number of important calculations, including accurately determining the net economic contribution a proposed development project or long-term growth target will make to the City’s fiscal position in the long-term.

    2 Background

    It is current City policy to assume that additional residents will add 75% of average costs per resident for City departmental cost categories3. This assumption was adopted by Davis City Staff (Staff) when the issue was last debated as ‘splitting the difference’ between camps, whose views of long-term marginal cost per resident ranged from 0% to 100%, with most lying between 50% and 100%.4

    This assumption has long been contested within the Budget and Finance Committee (B&FC)5, and was once again contested by members of the B&FC during their review of the City’s assessment of the net benefits of the Mace Innovation Research Center (MIRC) project at their October meeting. 6

    At the B&FC’s December 2020 meeting, the Davis City Council (the Council) representatives to the B&FC expressed their desire for the B&FC to analyze the issue and provide guidance back to Council. At this same meeting, a draft report on improving the economics of major property developments identified the marginal cost assumption as being one issue for further investigation due to its potential fiscal impact on Davis’s long-term fiscal position.

    3 Analysis

    Research was undertaken to identify potential sources of data that could be used to estimate what the cost of additional residents would be to the City. This research effort identified a dataset from the California State Controller’s Office, which included costs and revenues per capita for 482 California cities from 2004-2017. It was concluded that this dataset could be used to assess the relationship between population size and average cost per resident, to provide a fact based estimate of marginal cost.

    .
    The City has used the “75% of average costs per resident for City departmental cost categories” for all the analyzed projects over the past six years (in both Nishi projects, MRIC, WDAAC, Sterling, and DISC to name a few examples). Their argument has been that some of the existing jobs and expenses are “fixed” and do not change when increased population is added, and that that phenomenon justifies using the 25% discount when analyzing the fiscal impact on City finances of new projects.

    The Marginal Cost of Service Analysis report, which can be accessed at this LINK , found that

    Based on the above analysis, the Marginal Cost Task Force (the Task Force) has concluded that the data does not support an assumption that additional residents will contribute only 75% the cost of current residents. Data appears to show that costs per capita rise on average with additional population for California cities between 50,000 and 150,000 residents13. The data is mixed for cities in the Yolo County and nearby regions over the 14 year period from 2003 to 2017, with Davis’s own trend rising, implying an increasing cost to serve additional residents over time.

    .
    They included the following graph that shows Davis’ population and actual costs per resident over time (the blue line), as well as the 75% costs over time (the orange line).  Very clearly the City of Davis’ cost per resident actually increase as population increases (are not 25% less than 100%, but rather somewhat greater than 100% for the incremental population).

    https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Screen-Shot-2021-06-21-at-6.46.57-AM.png 

    It is worth noting that two regional cities did achieve economy of scale with greater population … Roseville and Folsom

    https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Screen-Shot-2021-06-21-at-7.06.38-AM.png 

    That brings me, and others like Keith Echols, to the third point at the beginning of this comment. Specifically, that the City has demonstrated no economic development plan to grow jobs within the City, so there would be no growth in local jobs (other than jobs on the UCD campus, which produce no tax revenues for the City) that matches the growth in housing.  Absent a clearly articulated Economic Development Plan that shows a commitment to adding real jobs (not imaginary jobs) within the City Limits, there really is no reason to be adding housing other than to address the imbalance at UC Davis of enrollment to housing.

    Please note that the Studio 30 innovation park assessment in 2011, and the actions of the Innovation Park Task Force were only half an Economic Development Plan.  They did a good job of illuminating the supply side of an innovation strategy (the availability of physical space to house innovation companies), but did absolutely nothing to assess the demand side of an innovation economic development plan.

    So, until the City can demonstrate to the residents and citizens of Davis that it actually has an Economic Development Plan, we are simply a rudderless ship being randomly tossed about on the seas of time.

    We need our leadership … from City Council, from Staff, from the Davis business community, and from UC Davis Administration … to step up and actually collaborate on the creation of an Economic Development Plan for our shared community.

    1. Richard_McCann

      First, ditto on Alan M – submit an article!!!!

      What’s much more interesting about this analysis the contrast between Davis vs. Roseville and Folsom. Even with the strict growth controls that Davis has (probably nothing more strict would survive legal challenge), the service costs per capita are rising. This is unsustainable which shows why a “no growth” stance is unsustainable economically. The City will collapse in on itself if we try to cap any more entry. On the other hand, the two most dynamic cities in the region are improving fiscally. That illustrates what having a vision can produce. (We don’t need their visions per se, just a comprehensive workable vision.)

      As Matt points outs we are a rudderless ship (in contrast to his earlier claim that the Measure J/R/D votes constituted a “vision.”) Our leadership needs to step up and lay the choices before the citizenry and tell them the realities of those choices, including the spiral into fiscal bankruptcy if we try to enjoy our current amenities without providing the supporting economic activity.

      1. Ron Oertel

        This is unsustainable which shows why a “no growth” stance is unsustainable economically.

        If that’s actually true, we’re all in a lot more trouble than you might have intended with that statement.

        But as far as Davis is concerned, it could also be that employee benefits (including retirements/medical expenses) are greater, the city provides more services and has more facilities (e.g., bike paths, greenbelts, etc.). Including the impact of attracting homelessness.

        It could also be that Affordable housing (which isn’t subject to the same “contributions” toward expenses) has become more numerous in Davis, over time.

        It would be interesting to compare the deficit that each city has throughout California.  San Francisco has an enormous one (despite pursuing “growth”), and despite the temporary reprieve provided by the Federal government to cities throughout California.

        Bottom line is that you’re attempting to arrive at a conclusion, based upon threadbare facts. But if you are correct regarding that singular sentence, the entire system will ultimately collapse.

        California itself is no longer growing, for that matter. Birthrates have plummeted. Even Dan Walters acknowledges that California may not even reach 40 million people.

        So, I guess we’d better stop depending upon the Ponzi scheme, at some point.

        https://calmatters.org/commentary/2021/06/california-population-decline-zero-growth/

        1. Richard_McCann

          Ron O.

          You need to get out more. Visit Roseville and in particular Folsom. They have pretty much the same amenities as Davis. Folsom appears to have consciously followed in many of the planning paths laid by Davis. I haven’t checked but employee compensation across similar sized cities is pretty similar in the presentations I’ve seen. (You’re more than welcome to research this, but until then you’re blowin’ smoke.) Managing homelessness is actually mostly a County, not City, cost, and even then is a pretty small part of the budget and far from explains the difference. And without any significant growth in Davis, how could Affordable housing become an increasing expense–it’s not mathematically possible. (Plus Affordable housing is not a City expense once its built.)

          BTW, SF had a $125M budget surplus:

          https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-reports-125-million-budget-surplus-15947686.php

          I’m not necessarily arriving at a conclusion because these relationships need further exploration. However, what I’ve pointed out does contradict any conclusion that growth will lead to rising fiscal deficits. In fact, it appears the opposite might be true.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          Roseville didn’t just grow it’s population.  It grew it’s economy.  It attracted destination retail.  Lots of commercial real estate….lots of businesses located there and around there.  I’ve always said, grow the local economy and then supported it with residential housing.

        3. Matt Williams

          I’ve always said, grow the local economy and then support it with residential housing.

          .
          That is worth repeating.

          The local Davis economy is shrinking, not growing, and the City does not even have an Economic Development Plan.  No Vision (Richard’s version of that term).  No Economic Development Plan.  A declining/shrinking number of jobs.

      2. Ron Oertel

        And as far as Roseville is concerned, it might be interesting to see what impact Covid had (and still has) on that enormous series of shopping malls, there.  Along with the increasing impact of online shopping.

        And the resulting impact on city finances.

        That mall has been a regional attraction, for anyone not wanting to deal with places like Arden-Arcade.  (“Yikes”, regarding that place. It doesn’t even feel all that safe to me – even just driving around it.)

        I’ve often made a “day of it”, by going to Roseville.  No way would I stop at anything in Sacramento, in regard to a mall.

        1. Ron Oertel

          It might be more interesting if you presented information which had anything to do with the regional malls I mentioned, instead of some small businesses opening.

          In regard to Richard’s comment (regarding San Francisco’s structural deficit):

          San Francisco’s once whopping budget deficit projection has decreased to just $22.9 million on account of the federally-approved American Rescue Plan, a new report shows.
          The City was looking at a deficit as high as $653.2 million over the next two fiscal years, raising fears of potential layoffs and deep service cuts.

          The American Rescue Plan, signed into law earlier this month by President Joe Biden, will provide San Francisco with $636 million in one-time direct federal funding, according to The City’s updated Five-Year Financial Plan.

          “If we’re not responsible in this budget cycle, we could find ourselves right back here again in the coming years facing the same terrible choices we have been lucky to avoid this time around.”

          https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/federal-funding-shrinks-sf-budget-deficit-to-23m/#:~:text=San%20Francisco's%20once%20whopping%20budget,layoffs%20and%20deep%20service%20cuts.

          It would be interesting to know if Davis has received any of this (temporary) massive infusion of federal money, and if so – what it’s being used for.

          I believe this is my fifth and last comment.

        2. Richard_McCann

          Ron O

          You still didn’t present any evidence to support your speculation. David did so and it’s your turn to do the same. You’re not the arbiter of whether its sufficient–you’re just a participant in the discussion. If you’re unable to present any evidence, then you should acknowledge that as such.

      3. Matt Williams

        As Matt points outs we are a rudderless ship (in contrast to his earlier claim that the Measure J/R/D votes constituted a “vision.”)

        Richard, if you go back to those earlier comments, you will find that the argument that the Measure J/R/D votes constituted a “vision” was made by Don Shor.  He gave the readers his logic in making thast assertion.

        The opinion that Don shared is also the opinion of a substantial portion of the residents and voters in Davis. With that said, when I quoted Don I made sure to add the words de facto before the word vision.  Your sense of the word Vision is highly formalized and memorialized in legal documents … a Vision under the Law … a de jure Vision.  You also have argued that the City of Davis has no such formalized and memorialized Vision.  On that both you and I agree 100%.

        Further, I believe the series of decisions at the ballot box that Don listed were made (for the most part) by “gut feel” by both individual voters as well as collectively as a voting population.  For me, those decisions, made by gut feel, because of their consistency are in fact a “small V” vision.

        What’s much more interesting about this analysis the contrast between Davis vs. Roseville and Folsom. Even with the strict growth controls that Davis has (probably nothing more strict would survive legal challenge), the service costs per capita are rising. This is unsustainable which shows why a “no growth” stance is unsustainable economically.

        .
        I respectfully disagree with your “unsustainable economically” bottom-line. The shortfall between our General Fund’s fiscal “needs” for operations and capital maintenance is very well documented. The city of Davis can very directly go from its current :unsustainable” status to a “sustainable” status by passing an additional perpetual tax measure that generates at least $15 million per year of additional revenues for the City. passing such a tax would make Davis even less affordable than it already is, but it would eliminate “unsustainable” from the descriptive adjectives that apply to Davis.

        Such an incremental tax would solve the City’s fiscal sustainability issues, but to make the community fiscally sustainable, DJUSD would probably need to pass an incremental tax of its own for approximately $7,000,000 to $8,000.000.

    2. Tim Keller

      Matt…  I would REALLY love to understand what you are saying here, but you lost me in the weeds.   So I agree… submit an article!   Or if not… let me buy you a beer and pick your brain.     I’d love to understand the marginal costs per resident as well as the marginal revenues that occur with different types of development.

  5. Ron Oertel

    The problem with this view of course is that addressing it goes WAY beyond the scope of Davis or even UC Davis.  We are not set up to allow all or even most students to attend college at or near their homes.
    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.

    Why do you keep putting forth comments which have already been addressed?

    There are UCs, state universities, and community colleges throughout the state.  Many of which are experiencing declining enrollment, as part of an overall nationwide drop in demand for college.

    There are very few students who “need” to attend a particular UC (due to unique offerings), for anything other than their final two years. Anyone can attend a community college for the first two years, and THEN end up getting the same degree (at any state university or UC.)

    but from 2002 to this year, we had not opened a market rate, multi-family student housing complex (Sterling opened in the fall of 2020).

    Prior to Sterling, there were no “student housing” (rent-by-the-bed) proposals in the first place.  (This appears to be a relatively “new” product.)  Nor were there any “traditional” apartment complexes proposed.

    Your comment implies that the city denied applications, which isn’t the case.

    If you’re going to word your claims in such a manner, you might want to discuss what was proposed, and then compare that to other cities.  There was a dearth of apartment complex proposals in other cities as well.  (Probably because the rent wasn’t “high enough” to attract investment, especially when compared to the one-time profit of single-family development.)

    For example, I believe that there are sites in Spring Lake which are intended for apartment complexes, which still haven’t been built.  There is a subsidized complex that has existed for some time, however.

    1. Richard_McCann

      There are UCs, state universities, and community colleges throughout the state.  Many of which are experiencing declining enrollment, as part of an overall nationwide drop in demand for college.
      There are very few students who “need” to attend a particular UC (due to unique offerings), for anything other than their final two years. Anyone can attend a community college for the first two years, and THEN end up getting the same degree (at any state university or UC.)

      Ron O., if only you actually knew what you were talking about. First, as I pointed out in a comment last week, there are not enough seats in the UCs in LA and the Bay Area to accommodate all of the students there. (That’s also true of the state universities.) That means that they need to go to campuses away from home. Given the struggle to get UC Merced off the ground, building a new campus is out of the question–we go forward with what we have. Second, there are very large differences in the quality and type of education between the UCs and CSUs. (I see it in whom I consider for hiring and who I work with.) Are you really going to try to claim that taking physics at Sac St. is the same as physics at UC Berkeley with Nobel Prize winners? Having gone to three difference undergraduate colleges, I can tell you specifically about the differences (and much of those differences arise from the student body itself.) And third, the agricultural focus at UCD is unique and supreme as the university is the number one ranked agricultural college in the nation. Yes, students focusing on agriculture must come here to get the best education in that field. (BTW, the UCs are not experiencing a decline in enrollment and UCD just had a record wave of applications.) What Davis decides about community growth will have no impact on UC policies, so please put aside your fantasy that you will personally dictate to the Governor and Legislature.

      You’re right that community colleges are a good starting point (I got my AA), but UC has never fully implemented its Master Plan written in 1958 that calls for your fantasy. And UC isn’t going to implement it because of your selfish desire to somehow freeze Davis in an unchanging glass mold. If you want to live somewhere that is largely unchanging and unimpacted from people moving in from elsewhere in the state, I suggest that you move to a small rural community with little tourism like Dixon or Williams. Leave Davis to those of us who are ready to accept the world coming to experience learning and research as one of the greatest institutions in the world.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Ron O., if only you actually knew what you were talking about.

        This is a personal attack, as usual.  Do you honestly believe that making comments like this doesn’t reflects more poorly on you, than those you attack?

        First, as I pointed out in a comment last week, there are not enough seats in the UCs in LA and the Bay Area to accommodate all of the students there. (That’s also true of the state universities.)

        There are varying levels of “competition” to get into a UC.  A lot easier in Merced, for example.  And, a lot cheaper, overall.

        That means that they need to go to campuses away from home.

        Depends upon what they want to study, whether or not they attend community college for the first two years, attend a state university, or a more local UC, etc.

        Given the struggle to get UC Merced off the ground, building a new campus is out of the question–we go forward with what we have.

        Factually untrue.  It’s been “off the ground” for some time, now.

        UC Merced was tied for 40th “Top Public School” and tied for 97th in the 2021 rankings of “Best National Universities” in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report.[11] 

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_California,_Merced

        Second, there are very large differences in the quality and type of education between the UCs and CSUs. (I see it in whom I consider for hiring and who I work with.) Are you really going to try to claim that taking physics at Sac St. is the same as physics at UC Berkeley with Nobel Prize winners?

        No.  But apparently, perhaps even some Nobel Prize winners can only find jobs at universities.  Regardless, if you’re “dooming” all of those who graduate from state universities to a life of disadvantage, shouldn’t you be advocating for their destruction and replacement by the UC system?  Wouldn’t that make sense, from your point of view?  Especially given the enormous decline in demand for college education, nationwide?

        Particularly in this declining environment, why would you want to save an “inferior” system?

        I’d suggest that “what” you study is generally FAR MORE important than “where” you study it, overall.

        Having gone to three difference undergraduate colleges, I can tell you specifically about the differences (and much of those differences arise from the student body itself.) And third, the agricultural focus at UCD is unique and supreme as the university is the number one ranked agricultural college in the nation.

        Again, how large is the agricultural program compared to the entire student body?  And again, are you claiming that they could not complete the first two years of their education at ANY community college, throughout the state?  And save thousands of dollars in tuition and living expenses in the process?

        Yes, students focusing on agriculture must come here to get the best education in that field. (BTW, the UCs are not experiencing a decline in enrollment and UCD just had a record wave of applications.) What Davis decides about community growth will have no impact on UC policies, so please put aside your fantasy that you will personally dictate to the Governor and Legislature.

        I couldn’t care less about what the governor and legislature do, in regard to UCD’s needs.

        You’re right that community colleges are a good starting point (I got my AA), but UC has never fully implemented its Master Plan written in 1958 that calls for your fantasy. And UC isn’t going to implement it because of your selfish desire to somehow freeze Davis in an unchanging glass mold. If you want to live somewhere that is largely unchanging and unimpacted from people moving in from elsewhere in the state, I suggest that you move to a small rural community with little tourism like Dixon or Williams. Leave Davis to those of us who are ready to accept the world coming to experience learning and research as one of the greatest institutions in the world.

        Finally, a point of agreement (sort of).  But as far as “never implementing” the community college Master Plan, what are you talking about?  Are you claiming that there aren’t community colleges in reach for the vast majority of the population of California?

        And for that matter, isn’t it a lot easier to get into a community college (for the first couple of years), regardless? Not to mention MUCH cheaper for most, including amount of tuition and LIVING EXPENSES, for those living at home during that period?

        As far as UCD’s world-saving research is concerned, are you referring to the “wine institute” on campus?

        In regard to your “suggestion”, perhaps those who aren’t satisfied with Davis are those who should move.  (I’d make that suggestion to any development activists, who are attempting to change any community to suit their vision.)

        Regardless, it is not the city’s “mission” to support UCD, let alone house its students in a manner that disadvantages the city and other populations.  Get back to us when UCD doesn’t “discriminate” against non-students from living on campus.

        1. Richard_McCann

          We’re not going to debate whether the state should implements the Master Plan. And you better care about what the governor and Legislature think if you want to implement your fantasy about the Master Plan. Without their support your goal of cutting off UCD growth can’t happen. (This has nothing to do with UCD’s “needs”–its about what the state’s citizens’ desire.) The current system is what it is, even as they encourage more students to attend community colleges. Again what Davis decides on housing will not dictate to the state how it will mange its higher education system–we are truly the tail of the dog, not the other way around as you fantasize about. We will continue to get frosh and soph students for the foreseeable future and the City must plan accordingly, not for an alternative reality that is extremely unlikely. If you personally want to go the State Legislature and lobby for your particular solution so that you can preserve your mythological vision for Davis, you’re more than welcome to do so.

          That UC Merced has done as well as it has is a testament to how that campus can lean on the other campuses to deliver a better product. Regardless, it has failed to meet the targets initially set out and has difficulty recruiting and retaining faculty (as does UC Riverside). And UC Merced would need to be greatly expanded, and the surrounding community (which is significantly outside of Merced) would have to also be expanded, creating much more environmental harm than if we accommodate that growth in Davis instead.

          Is that really the best response that you can come up with as to why we shouldn’t offer different education opportunities to students in the state? State universities (and private colleges of varying types) deliver their services in important ways to varying population of students. I have no idea why you advocate for a single homogeneous post secondary education product when we offer a variety of other products and services of all kinds.

          You keep on harping on the decline in college enrollment without recognizing what’s actually happening–private school campuses are closing, which means that competition for public school spots is increasing. The enrollment decline, just like the population stasis, is not evenly smeared everywhere. Both happens in pockets and other places are still experiencing increasing demand. That’s why expanding the UCs is so important.

          And for undergraduates, who and where you study is much more important than what once you get past deciding between STEM or non-STEM fields. And in the case of UCD, its agricultural program is a substantial portion of its campus and the source of research and funding for its faculty. The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is housing here for a reason. So where these students study is very important and UCD’s position may be the most unique among the UCs, in a system that is paramount and unique among American universities, which in turn is the most unique and paramount research and education postsecondary system in the world as witnessed by the number of international students coming to this country.

          perhaps those who aren’t satisfied with Davis are those who should move.

          “Davis” isn’t a static place and its role and purpose is tied directly to UCD. Without UCD, Davis becomes Dixon or Woodland. If you view a place as being able to be static, then you should move to someplace like Dixon or Williams. I want to continue to live the dynamic place that I moved to a quarter century ago. Unfortunately, there are no other communities that are affordable that have similar dynamism to Davis, whereas you can easily afford to move to Dixon or Williams. So I’m sticking here and continuing to advocate for making this a healthier, more accepting place.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          Without UCD, Davis becomes Dixon or Woodland. If you view a place as being able to be static, then you should move to someplace like Dixon or Williams. I want to continue to live the dynamic place that I moved to a quarter century ago. Unfortunately, there are no other communities that are affordable that have similar dynamism to Davis,

          You responded the same thing to me….and I did a double take to make sure I read that right because it’s so disconnected with reality.   So…uh…if the city doesn’t support housing students….UCD isn’t going to magically go POOF! and disappear.

          Dynamic Davis?  LOL!!!!  I suppose 6 different pizza places in town, the handful of performances at the Mondavi center is a dynamic place to live for you????   If you had said, sleepy little college town that you moved to 25 years ago…I’d still disagree with you about student housing but at least your comment would have made sense.

  6. Keith Y Echols

    Davis was one of the more affordable host cities in the system 

    Uh..does that make UCD a parasite?

    On the other hand, Davis is a host city for a major university.  UC Davis is THE major employer of residents in Davis.  It is heavily responsible for our high standard of living and our status as one of the most highly educated communities in the nation.

    And here we go with the bizarro the city is indebted and has some sort of obligation to an organization that is outside of it’s legal and financial jurisdiction.  I suppose the City of Davis should be obliged to the state of California for all those that commute to Sacramento for work?  Do state employees need housing too?  Come on over to Davis!  The bedroom community of the region!

    Where I differ with some of the slow-growthers is that while I can see the role that UC Davis has contributed to the housing crisis for students, but also the encroachment of students into single-family homes, I can also see the complicity of city residents.

    What complicity of the residents?  Do they/we have some obligation to house UCD’s revenue producing assets?

    I have long supported Measure J as a growth management tool. 

    You should probably just stop your article there.  Inmates running the asylum….the belief that the unwashed masses should have DIRECT say in complicated matters like land use expansion as it impacts economic stability and development????

    However, one thing I worry about, those in the community whose answer to housing problems is for UC Davis to build more housing.
    I continue to support a 100/50 plan – that means the university accommodate all of the student enrollment increases this LRDP with housing on campus and getting up to half of the overall housing.

    WHY???  Why must the community continue to support UCD’s revenue producing assets?  If Amazon came to Winters to open offices but wanted open a warehouse distribution center in Davis and told Davis it needed Davis to support the extra traffic the shipping trucks were going to cause as well as approve the numerous warehouses….would that be okay???

     

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