Monday Morning Thoughts: Disconnect between Voters and Council on Housing

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – Last week’s column speculated on why local government underproduces housing, and the researcher notes: “local governments – which will focus on the local, negative impacts of housing production – are less likely to produce housing than a larger-scale government.”

I started thinking about it again when the Chronicle blasted the supervisors for having “lost their minds on housing.”

The Chronicle writes: “What does San Francisco need even more than dense, affordable housing near jobs and transit? It needs a Board of Supervisors that won’t sabotage any and seemingly all earnest attempts to deal with this city’s housing crisis.”

I saw individual supervisors disputing the Chronicle’s depiction here, but the issue got me thinking about the fact that the housing crisis really isn’t one size fits all, and the problems in a place like Davis have less to do with local government and more to do with preferences of local citizens.

In Davis, we have seen consistently since probably 2004 that slow growth candidates have struggled to win seats on the city council.  In 2000 when Measure J passed, slow growthers had the majority on council, by 2004 there was just Sue Greenwald left.  From 2006 to 2010 it was just Sue Greenwald and Lamar Heystek and, after 2012, no one—which means that a slow growther has not won a seat on council since 2008.

On actual growth issues, however, the voters have largely but not exclusively opposed new developments.  Of the now six Measure J projects, voters have defeated four of them.

On the other hand, when it comes to measures on the ballot, only the 2009 Wild Horse Ranch project drew two votes in opposition.  The last four have all been on 5-0 votes, even as half those lost.

The only two contested votes on council for housing in the last decade was the 3-2 vote in 2013 for Cannery and 3-2 vote last year for University Commons.

When we look at the differential between slow growth policies (i.e. voting on Measure J projects) and voting for council, it is really stark.

Last November DISC lost by a 52-48 margin citywide.  In the two council districts where there was a clear cut pro-DISC against a clear-cut anti-DISC candidate, you saw that the pro-DISC candidates won overwhelmingly.  In a head to head match up, Lucas Frerichs doubled up on Larry Guenther in one race.  In the other, Will Arnold won more than his two opponents combined, and the candidate that opposed DISC, Colin Walsh, finished third.

In both districts the No on the DISC vote easily outpaced the vote for the NO on DISC candidate.

Clearly there are other factors in the vote—such as incumbency and the perception of the candidates on other issues.  That’s actually part of the point.  Incumbency is generally an advantage—familiarity and people knowing the candidates tend to work in their favor except where there are anti-incumbent modes.

One theory here was first espoused to me by former Mayor Sue Greenwald way back in 2007, when she pointed out to me that she thought Measure J—though she supported it—hurt progressives in Davis because it allowed voters to not have to worry about growth and housing when they voted in council races.

I have never taken the trouble to test that theory systematically, but I do think there is something to it.  I have seen polling that consistently shows that around 35 to 40 percent of the Davis voters oppose housing/development of any kind.

That not only demonstrates the difficulty of actually winning a Measure J race when you start out with 35 to 40 percent automatically in opposition, it also demonstrates that a sizable percentage of the voting population are voting for people who don’t align with them on housing—and while housing is not the only issue, time and again it has proven most salient for voters.

What it suggests to me is that, with Measure J in place, voters are willing to elect people based on issues other than peripheral housing, knowing that they get the final say on housing—if it is a conscious choice, which hard to know.

But I also point out that for those who have been arguing that the problem is Measure J, I would counter that Measure J is a symptom of voter preferences rather than a cause of housing stagnation.

Without Measure J, it is quite plausible that voting considerations would be far different and that each council election would be a replay of housing wars that we once saw in Davis and have now largely disappeared.

That said, while I think there is something to the Measure J factor, I don’t think that’s wholly the explanation.

I’m not saying we would have a slow growth council majority but for Measure J.  Part of the weakness of the candidates who run office on a slow growth platform is a function of the voting public itself.  The voting public itself, when polled, has shown a concern for lack of affordable housing and the need overall for more housing.

So why do Measure J votes fail?

From my perspective it’s actually more of a NIMBY factor than people want to let on.  People in general understand that we need more housing in the abstract, but when it comes to impacting their lives, they can turn against projects on an individual basis.

A key explanatory variable for passage of Measure J projects—traffic and near-neighbor opposition.

Covell Village turned on traffic issues.  Wildhorse Ranch on near-neighbor issues (plus traffic, plus it was during the housing market collapse, etc.).  Nishi 1 on traffic.  DISC on traffic.

The two projects that passed—Nishi 2 and WDAAC—had no traffic concerns and no near-neighbor concerns.

In short, it would appear that what drives opposition are impacts to people’s lives rather than a philosophical opposition to housing.  That might explain why people will support candidates for council who support housing overall even though they might oppose individual projects.

If Measure J went away, however, that calculation might radically change.  Pre-Measure J, we saw voters sign petitions to put projects on the ballot, we have seen petition drives on things like water, and we have seen lawsuits and other measures designed to stop individual projects.

This is another reason why I don’t agree with the anti-Measure J people that, but for Measure J, we would have more housing.  Measure J was not an accident and neither would the other barriers to housing that would crop up in its absence.

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.

Related posts

83 Comments

      1. Don Shor

        How is your housing preference of large peripheral single family homes leading to more diversity?

        This is based on a false premise.

        There is not a correlation between demographic diversity and housing style between Davis and Elk Grove. Elk Grove is much more diverse than Davis but has a much higher percentage of owner-occupied homes. And Elk Grove obviously has proportionally fewer multi-family homes than Davis. So the notion that single-family homes prevent diversity is provably false. It’s the cost of the housing and the minimum required for a down payment that leads to preponderantly white, wealthy, older communities.

        1. Don Shor

          The fact is that every community around Davis is more diverse, has a lower cost of housing per square foot, and has a higher percentage of owner-occupied homes than Davis.
          The way to get a more diverse community is to build the kinds of houses people want to buy at a price they can afford. Woodland and Dixon are doing stellar jobs of that. Every action Davis takes that makes housing more expensive to build here makes it less likely to achieve diversity with respect to ethnicity and especially age. The Housing Element, Downtown Plan, and Climate Action plans should all be reviewed with respect to their impacts on housing affordability and their impacts on diversity.

          1. David Greenwald

            I still find it ironic that in the pre-Measure J days, the big battle that was put on the battle was over Wildhorse – it narrowly passed in a brutal blood bath, and a few years later, Wild Horse residents were fighting against a far smaller Wild Horse Ranch project.

    1. Ron Glick

      When did I ever say large?

      At this point in California, where white people are no longer the majority,  more housing of any type equals more diversity.

      What I’m wondering at this point David is if  it conscious or unconscious bias that makes you support Measure J?

        1. Keith Y Echols

          David,

          Why would you like to end Single Family zoning?  People LIKE single family housing.  Spring Lake exists because people compare what kind of square footage they can get in Woodland compared to Davis.  If all you build is multi-family housing then the existing single family housing will just continue to increase in value.  Pretty soon even the upper middle class will begin to look elsewhere to live.

          When I was young and single, I was fine living in an apartment in the city.  Then when I had a kid I had to get more space.  And then more space.  Where I could live was directly impacted by what I could afford….(and then circumstances sent me here).

          I consider market rate and affordable housing to be related but mostly separate considerations.  I believe more affordable housing should be built and it should not only house the very poor but also targeted the working/lower middle socio-economic classes in a community.  Market rate housing should be whatever the market bears as long as it provides a tangible benefit for the existing community.

  1. Alan Miller

    Without Measure J, it is quite plausible that voting considerations would be far different and that each council election would be a replay of housing wars that we once saw in Davis and have now largely disappeared.

    In case you (DG) have not understood my stance, I oppose Measure J and am for Housing Wars and voting on candidates based on their stance on housing.  As I have said many times, I think Measure J is a destructive policy, but I’ll be at the forefront opposing any poorly-designed peripheral developments.  I’m neither anti- nor pro- growth:  I’m against sucky projects.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Your article is about housing.

        It is likely that some voted against DISC because it would create more demand for housing than it actually provided, if the commercial was successful.

        Said so right in the EIR itself. The EIR had specific estimates regarding the number of housing units that Davis (and the surrounding locales) would have been expected to absorb as a result of the proposal, in addition to those that DISC would have provided.

        So in this case, you’d think that the housing advocates would have been against DISC. Since most of them supported it, it seems that they just want growth – even if it creates a housing shortage.

         

        1. David Greenwald

          “Your article is about housing.”

          My comment was evaluating Measure J in that sections of the column.

          “So in this case, you’d think that the housing advocates would have been against DISC. So in this case, you’d think that the housing advocates would have been against DISC. Since most of them supported it, it seems that they just want growth – even if it creates a housing shortage.”

          You’re analysis as I have mentioned before is very narrow and limited. It assumes that the only thing housing advocates care about is housing. I can speak only for myself, while I would have preferred more housing on the site, I supported DISC because we need the space for economic development and the housing is better than the original proposal. Would I have supported DISC with zero housing? Yes, even though I don’t think that’s the best policy.

          For those against Measure J, you are making their argument that it produces suboptimal results. Without Measure J, we probably would have a park there with more housing.

          As someone who threads a lot of needles, you always have to pick the best of all of the suboptimal outcomes. In this case, it would have been a decent sized park (I would have also preferred greater density) with a fair amount of housing.

          To your argument, will add to housing demand in Davis? I don’t think it does for the reasons I have laid out previously that you disagree with.

        2. Ron Oertel

          To your argument, will add to housing demand in Davis? I don’t think it does for the reasons I have laid out previously that you disagree with.

          You don’t disagree with “me”.

          You disagree with the EIR.

          It’s disingenuous (and frankly, dishonest) for housing advocates to ignore that impact, and without specifically addressing how that additional demand will be met.

          In other words, the ADDITIONAL demand for housing that DISC would create, which would otherwise not exist.

          1. David Greenwald

            The EIR does a basic analysis to determine environmental impact. You took that analysis and drew a conclusion from it. I disagree with that conclusion.

            “It’s disingenuous (and frankly, dishonest) for housing advocates to ignore that impact, and without specifically addressing how that additional demand will be met. ”

            You might have a point – might – if the ONLY thing I cared about was housing. But as I pointed out, the real world is not black and white, you have to balance a host of factors including political realities which most people here seem to completely ignore.

          2. David Greenwald

            “In other words, the ADDITIONAL demand for housing that DISC would create, which would otherwise not exist.”

            As I pointed out before, the developers here are not creating people, so this is also a false claim. At most they are shifting demand for housing from one place to another.

        3. Keith Olson

          As I pointed out before, the developers here are not creating people, so this is also a false claim. At most they are shifting demand for housing from one place to another.

          Damn you like to spin things.  So if we take that further, when Dixon and Woodland add housing, they aren’t creating people, they’re just shifting people who might want to buy a house in Davis to Dixon and Woodland.

          1. David Greenwald

            I don’t know what your point is Keith. Certainly not one I disagree with. I’ll add, in other news the sky is blue.

        4. Ron Oertel

          As I pointed out before, the developers here are not creating people, so this is also a false claim. At most they are shifting demand for housing from one place to another.

          If successful, DISC would be adding more jobs than already exist in Davis and the region.  The EIR estimated the number of housing units needed to house people working at those new jobs.

          The amount of housing proposed at the site was not sufficient to house the people working at those new jobs.  Hence, the EIR noted how many housing units would be needed in Davis and the surrounding area, as a direct result of the proposal.

          If you don’t believe that jobs create demand for housing in a given locale/region, I’d refer you to Silicon Valley.

          1. David Greenwald

            Here we go… full on into the debate we have had three times before. Given the proposed buildout rate, I pointed out several times with numbers, most of the new jobs would be absorbed in the normally anticipated growth over the course of the next few decades. I know you disagree, but that’s my position, I have supported it with numbers previously and there is nothing disingenuous about it.

        5. Ron Oertel

          I pointed out several times with numbers, most of the new jobs would be absorbed in the normally anticipated growth over the course of the next few decades.

          You’ve presented no numbers whatsoever, in regard to the additional demand for housing that the proposal would create. The EIR did address that.

          Again, we’re referring to additional DEMAND for housing, as a direct result of the proposal.  Additional demand (above what is already expected) that would not exist, in the absence of the proposal.

          Again, this isn’t an “opinion” of mine. You are disagreeing with the EIR itself.

          You’re also putting forth arguments which make no logical sense at all.

          Why do you think housing prices have risen so much in Austin, Texas recently? (Much faster than in Davis, for example.)

          1. David Greenwald

            I did. You seem to be unable to pull out without going fully into the argument. But I have other things to do. So I’ll have to find my posts from the last article later.

        6. Ron Oertel

          Don’t blame me for responding, when you put forth disingenuous, illogical arguments that fly in the face of EIRs and common sense.

          In any case, Measure J “saved” Davis from exacerbating the claimed housing shortage, in regard to DISC. (Again, assuming that the commercial was actually viable.)

          So, maybe it’s time to stop automatically blaming slow-growthers for claimed housing shortages – and look at the underlying causes, instead.

        7. Richard_McCann

          Ron O

          As a resident of Woodland with no discernable stake in Davis policies, your opinion about what Davis voters and policy makers should or should not be doing are not important. You present no evidence to support your suppositions so you don’t provide any useful outside information to the discussion either.

        8. Ron Oertel

          Let me know when full disclosure of one’s possible connections to Davis is a requirement on here. I can think of many ways that someone might be connected to a given city, directly or indirectly.

          At that point, I’d also like to discuss exactly what your business is involved with, as well. It is, in fact, publicly-available information. There’s some questions I’d ask you, about that.

          In fact, I’d suggest that you write an article on this subject since you have a lot of interest in it.

          Your proclamation (on behalf of other readers or commenters) is nothing more than a sack of manure.

        9. Keith Y Echols

          Keith O,

          So if we take that further, when Dixon and Woodland add housing, they aren’t creating people, they’re just shifting people who might want to buy a house in Davis to Dixon and Woodland

          That sounds ideal to me.  More jobs in Davis (tax revenue for the city) and Woodland and Dixon willing incur the costs of providing residential services to the employees of DISC.

          Ron O,

          In any case, Measure J “saved” Davis from exacerbating the claimed housing shortage, in regard to DISC. (Again, assuming that the commercial was actually viable.)

          So, maybe it’s time to stop automatically blaming slow-growthers for claimed housing shortages – and look at the underlying causes, instead.

          What do you mean the underlying causes that aren’t slow-growthers?

          Economic expansion?  If so then there’s the question of why economic expansion and if it provides the quality of life we desire.

          Richard,

          I’ll ask you again, what freakin difference does it make where Ron lives. He’s a no/slow growther. His beliefs are shared by many in Davis. This is the internet…just pretend you’re talking to a Davis no growther.

        10. Ron Oertel

          What do you mean the underlying causes that aren’t slow-growthers?

          Economic growth/creation of jobs, beyond what a given community already has.

          There was a time when San Francisco and the peninsula, for example, was a place that actual middle-class families could afford.

          The subsequent “cause” of unaffordability had little to do with development restrictions. It had to do with pursuit of the technology industry.

          It’s actually a good thing that some of these companies are departing for places like Austin. And truth be told, nothing can really stop that, anyway.

          Just like finding cheaper labor in places like China.

          1. David Greenwald

            “The subsequent “cause” of unaffordability had little to do with development restrictions.”

            Says who?

        11. Keith Y Echols

          Economic growth/creation of jobs, beyond what a given community already has.
          There was a time when San Francisco and the peninsula, for example, was a place that actual middle-class families could afford.
          The subsequent “cause” of unaffordability had little to do with development restrictions. It had to do with pursuit of the technology industry.

          Okay…I’m speaking as a former 10 year resident of San Francisco and someone who volunteered for San Francisco Habitat for Humanity.   NIMBYism in San Francisco is stronger than just about anywhere.  What causes San Francisco’s high housing market prices are a mix of things.  Yes, the growth of the tech industry is part of it.  But honestly it’s not as big of a deal as some think (it’s more of an impact on the culture than anything).  San Francisco is restrictive due to geography more than anything else.  Yes you can continue to build up but it can only handle that in some specific mass transit corridors like downtown….MUNI buses aren’t great and MUNI rail is overloaded (in my 10 years the N line became almost unusable at times during commuter times).

          I was one of those people priced out of San Francisco (mostly because of a growing family….I still wish I had held on to my apartment and subletted it.  It was such nice place and a sweet deal).  That’s the way it goes.  Industries and people turnover in a city.  When the docks closed down some people stayed and most left.  When the garment district died; some stayed and most left.  When the hippies thing died out…some stayed (in Golden Gate Park in Sharon Meadows/Stanyan/Hippie Hill).

          The question for Davis is what does it want out of economic and residential growth.  I for one think in the very least the city should be fiscally sound (stop running on a deficit).  I’d rather not cut city services for the city to be fiscally healthier.  I’d rather increase tax revenue.  (I also want another city public pool and MORE police…yeah I know David will love that…).  Can we get these things without having to resort to unhindered sprawl?  Yes, I think there’s a balance somewhere to be had.

          1. David Greenwald

            “The question for Davis is what does it want out of economic and residential growth. I for one think in the very least the city should be fiscally sound (stop running on a deficit). I’d rather not cut city services for the city to be fiscally healthier. I’d rather increase tax revenue. (I also want another city public pool and MORE police…yeah I know David will love that…). Can we get these things without having to resort to unhindered sprawl? Yes, I think there’s a balance somewhere to be had.”

            Except for the police and the pool, I agree with this…

        12. Richard_McCann

          Ron O

          Yes it does matter if you have a connection to Davis when commenting as an uninvited interlocuter on City policies and actions. You are trying to impose your values on us despite the fact that you derive nothing in consequences if the City acts on them. I’m guessing that David is not willing to block you from commenting, but it is very important to disclose to everyone else that you have no stake and no voice in determining City policy, especially if you continue to fail to add anything more than your unsubstantiated opinion.

          My connections to Davis are quite public and you can easily find them, even on the City’s website.

        13. Richard_McCann

          Ron O

          Your reference to the article on SF housing prices is just a media article with no empirical research that supports cause and effect speculation.  The impact of regulation on housing prices was empirically shown as far back as 2000 and 2005:

          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0166046200000557

          https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/epr/03v09n2/0306glae.pdf

          https://urbanpolicy.berkeley.edu/pdf/QR_RegAER0406.pdf

          Here’s an exposition on factors affecting housing prices: 
          https://www.brookings.edu/research/whos-to-blame-for-high-housing-costs-its-more-complicated-than-you-think/

          This paper estimates that restrictive development policies added $400,000 to SF housing prices in 2019.

          https://realestate.wharton.upenn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Zoning-Tax-Paper-AER-Version-June-13-2020.pdf

           

  2. Alan Miller

    In short, it would appear that what drives opposition are impacts to people’s lives rather than a philosophical opposition to housing.

    You’ve also just solved the ‘crisis’ of the camping so-called homeless; people want to help those actually down on their luck, but they don’t want criminals and mass-litterbugs camping where it can impact their lives.  That drives the opposition to so-called homeless camps.

    Good luck siting that free camping area where it impacts no one’s lives.  Chico tried their airport and judge ruled it was too far away, after few used it anyway (it is miles from town).

  3. Ron Glick

    “I believe that the best way to improve diversity is through robust big “A” affordable housing and by ending single family zoning.”

    “We operate in a real world with political realities.”

    Obviously your second statement is refuted by your first statement.

  4. Jim Frame

    At this point in California, where white people are no longer the majority,  more housing of any type equals more diversity.

    Not if that housing is built in Davis and gets snatched up by wealthy white Bay Area refugees.  You’re never going to slake that thirst in our lifetimes.

    1. Ron Glick

      You’re probably correct. There is the chance that a majority would be white but the better bet is on them having money from somewhere coming in no matter what the ethnicity.

      The thing about Elk Grove is that they did one big thing and they got two positive results. They built as much as needed to meet demand and they have lower prices and more diversity as a result. For those that say its not possible to do that Elk Grove proves you wrong just as Woodland has done.

       

      1. Alan Miller

        I am against Measure J as is RG, but my reason is quite different.  I am in no way seeking to have Davis look anything like Elk Grove.  I believe Measure J is a terrible law and a terrible way to plan.  I am not for endless ugly suburbs like Elk Grove, nor am I anti-growth or anti-peripheral-growth.  I would vote for council with sane growth policies of neither extreme (assuming we can exterminate districts someday soon), and would fight like a rabid dog against ugly sprawl-burbs, the old fashioned way (pre-J).  Voters being able to keep property values artificially high by limiting stock is bad policy.  I know it didn’t start out that way, but it works!

    2. Keith Olson

      Not if that housing is built in Davis and gets snatched up by wealthy white Bay Area refugees. 

      So is that a bad thing?  Is there something wrong with white people buying homes in Davis?

       

      1. Ron Oertel

        Yes. 

        Leaving aside the program associated with WDAAC, was that a rhetorical question?  🙂

        By the way, new housing in Woodland (in response to Ron G’s comment) ain’t exactly cheap, either. 

        Personally, I think we’re due for a crash. Or at least, not a continuation of the nonsense. I read today that Zillow is offloading houses that it apparently owns.

      2. Alan Miller

        So is that a bad thing?  Is there something wrong with white people buying homes in Davis?

        Ah, BP have we not learned to always add the word disproportionately into the middle of every such sentence?  That’s what makes it wrong.  And don’t forget to slide ‘white supremacy’ and ‘systemically’ in there somewhere.

        1. David Greenwald

          My Alan Miller translator is broken so I’m not sure what you are saying here, but you may be correct that Keith made a bad error – the question is not whether it’s wrong for white people to buy homes in Davis – it’s not. The question is about whether having disproportionately white people buy homes in Davis is a problem – that’s the actual issue that we are talking about.

  5. Keith Olson

    At this point in California, where white people are no longer the majority,  more housing of any type equals more diversity.

    So if white people are no longer the majority I take it you might welcome white people buying homes?

    1. Alan Miller

      Due to years of white people owning homes, the gov’ment will make everything fair and equitable by making all the white people rent for a few centuries  😐

      1. Ron Oertel

        Except for their local support of the program associated with WDAAC, of course.

        Someday, we’ll all just admit that we don’t even care about our OWN skin color, in regard to any policy.

        It’s only when something impacts you personally (e.g., you don’t get a job or admitted to college because of your skin color). And today, some might argue that being white (or Asian) (and/or male) works against you, these days.

        Ask that local school board member who was pushed out due to skin color, despite having an acceptable gender.

  6. Jim Frame

    Is there something wrong with white people buying homes in Davis?

    There’s something wrong with building homes that will be bought by wealthy white people if your goal is to increase diversity.

    1. Keith Olson

      There’s something wrong with building homes that will be bought by wealthy white people if your goal is to increase diversity.

      I thought the goal was to house people.  If housing can somehow be more affordable that would be  great.  What color the people happen to be that buy those homes should never be considered in any  goal.  Isn’t that against fair housing laws?

      The Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq., prohibits discrimination by direct providers of housing, such as landlords and real estate companies as well as other entities, such as municipalities, banks or other lending institutions and homeowners insurance companies whose discriminatory practices make housing unavailable to persons because of:

      race or color
      religion
      sex
      national origin
      familial status, or
      disability.

      1. David Greenwald

        The goal Keith is to house people – that means giving people of color a chance to be housed not just wealthy white people as Jim pointed out. In effect because of wealth disparities, what you are arguing for by ignoring the racial component, is de facto segregation.

        1. Keith Olson

          If it was only framed in terms of having affordable homes so people of less means (regardless of race) could afford to live in Davis I would be fine with that.

           

          1. David Greenwald

            It was framed that we needed more diversity in housing in Davis – the inverse of that is less diversity, meaning more housing for wealthy whites, I can’t see why you would object to this. Decades after legal barriers were largely knocked down, segregated housing remains the rule rather than the norm (link).

  7. Bill Marshall

    The question is about whether having disproportionately white people buy homes in Davis is a problem – that’s the actual issue that we are talking about.

    Disproportionally to what?  Current Davis population?  County-wide?  Region-wide?  State-wide?  Nationally?  North America?  Globally?

    Hard to meet a “goal” (or ‘quota’) if it isn’t well defined…

    1. Bill Marshall

      And, what about proportionality as to income, sexual orientation, gender, gender-identification, religion, age, etc.?

      Or, is it all about ‘race’?

      Words, including ‘terms’, have meaning… even if those meanings are continually morphing…

  8. Jim Frame

    What color the people happen to be that buy those homes should never be considered in any  goal.

    I agree.  Notice that I said “wealthy white people,” describing the predominate group of people currently buying homes in Davis based upon my casual observations.

    My idea of desirable new housing — the kind that I could support in a Measure J project — is small “a” affordable, the kind that wouldn’t appeal so much to wealthy families because the homes would be relatively small and modestly equipped.  Unfortunately, the profit margins on such housing is less than on the McMansion “executive” homes preferred by developers and wealthy Bay Area types, which means no such projects are being proposed.  (The new Taormino proposal is interesting, but I haven’t seen enough details to know whether it hits what I envision or not.)

      1. Jim Frame

        So you meant “wealthy”, without the racial modifier…

        I meant wealthy white people, because that’s mostly who I see buying new homes.  It’s an observation, not a goal.  The goal is race-blind, but existing conditions are not.

        1. Ron Glick

          How often do you see who is buying homes?

          My point that led to this discussion about the socioeconomic of race and home purchasing was David asked me “How is your housing preference of large peripheral single family homes leading to more diversity?”

          My response was that “At this point in California, where white people are no longer the majority,  more housing of any type equals more diversity.”

          I also pointed out that I’ve never said large and agree that we need more smaller single family homes.

          I stand by that. In Davis we don’t need to do anything to increase diversity besides building more housing. The demographics will do the rest and Davis will continue to become more diverse over time. All this hand wringing about the socioeconomics of the upper end of the housing market is passe’. California is too diverse, it is a melting pot. There are plenty of people of all races with money in California who could afford the high end housing in Davis.

          Of course if you build a lot to meet demand like Elk Grove or Woodland have done you also get lower prices. The lower prices make it easier for demographics that have been historically absent from home ownership to get in and start building equity.

          I’m not opposed to David’s vision of big A affordable projects especially with Biden and Newsom throwing money at the problem on a scale that hasn’t happened since the 1930’s. Although the problem with big A is that it restricts the ability for people to build equity in their home, a traditional path to moving up the socioeconomic ladder.

          Where I think David is wrong is that he also supports Measure J that inhibits the construction of single family homes on the periphery, causing prices to increase prohibitively for young families that want the ever popular single family home to raise children, because he doesn’t want Davis to turn into the something like the more diverse and affordable Elk Grove.

           

        2. Alan Miller

          the goal is race-blind

          Well then you’ve come to the wrong place (the Davis Vanguard, not Davis)

          the more diverse and affordable Elk Grove.

          the more diverse and affordable and soul-sucking Elk Grove.

        3. Ron Glick

          “Soul sucking…”

          Wow. Perhaps a little projection there Alan?

          I hear this type of denigration about the Cannery too or all that Soviet-era Prague style construction at West Village but I don’t hear it from the people who actually live there.

        4. Alan Miller

          “Soul sucking…”

          Yes, I said that.

          Scene:

          I’m at an Elk Grove suburb on a fine spring afternoon to meet a friend at their house.  It’s about 6pm.  My friend is late, due to I-5 traffic, so I have about a half hour to wait.

          Every house is the same, with a front-facing garage.  There are no people on the street, no one outdoors, no children at play.  It’s a deeply-set residential street, so there are very few cars.  There are also few cars parked on the street.

          Occasionally, a garage door will open.  No human being in site.  Soon a car comes around the corner, a commuter coming home.  They drive straight into their garage, the door closes, they never come outside.  This happens several times.

          I later learn no one parks on the street so they don’t get their car broken into.  Probably because no one ever goes outside or looks out the window.

          Soul sucking.

          I’ve been to The Cannery and it’s actually a pretty nice layout and community setting.  And expensive AF.

          . . . and nothing beats it for abandoned pho-barns!

        5. Keith Olson

          I’ve been to The Cannery and it’s actually a pretty nice layout and community setting.  And expensive AF.

          Did you do a count on how many “wealthy white Bay Area refugees” live there?

  9. Ron Glick

    I would also argue that when David claimed he supported Measure J because he didn’t want Davis to be like Elk Grove or Natomas the other day, he was picking the extreme opposite model of Davis because, as Davis is full of housingophobes, Elk Groves is the housingophillic capitol of the region. He could have picked something more realistic and in the middle like Woodland or Dixon but instead he went to the extreme end of the spectrum. I found his argument to be quite revealing.

    1. Bill Marshall

      The other irony is that Elk Grove has appeared to be much more ‘diverse’ [Don Shor’s cite]…

      Still am waiting to hear what ‘diverse’ means in measurable terms (or goals, or quotas)… existing Davis, Yolo Co, Region, State, National, Global?  Crickets…

      Also still waiting on whether the definition is race only, economic status, gender, gender identity, etc., and I’ll add political affiliation and ‘philosophy’…

      I add the latter, as should we be focused also on attracting more Republicans, ‘conservatives’ [both?] to achieve “diversity”?  I would have no interest in that, but would not oppose that, either… unless someone expects me to expend money to do so…

  10. Ron Oertel

    Yes it does matter if you have a connection to Davis when commenting as an uninvited interlocuter on City policies and actions. You are trying to impose your values on us despite the fact that you derive nothing in consequences if the City acts on them. I’m guessing that David is not willing to block you from commenting, but it is very important to disclose to everyone else that you have no stake and no voice in determining City policy, especially if you continue to fail to add anything more than your unsubstantiated opinion.

    Richard:  Let me know when full disclosure of one’s possible connections to Davis is a requirement on here. I can think of many ways that someone might be connected to a given city, directly or indirectly.

    At that point, I’d also like to discuss exactly what your business is involved with, as well. It is, in fact, publicly-available information. There’s some questions I’d ask you, about that.

    In fact, I’d suggest that you write an article on this subject since you have a lot of interest in it.

    Your proclamation (on behalf of other readers or commenters) is nothing more than a sack of manure.

    My connections to Davis are quite public and you can easily find them, even on the City’s website.

    Since you bring up your business, I believe this topic could be explored further regarding the entities (clients) that your business has.

    http://www.mcubed-econ.com/regional-economics.html

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/byron-buck-a8222613/
    Director of Natural Resources, Conaway Preservation Group

    But really, I think it’s better to just stick with the issues discussed in the articles themselves.

  11. Alan Miller

    The other irony is that Elk Grove has appeared to be much more ‘diverse’ [Don Shor’s cite]…  Still am waiting to hear what ‘diverse’ means in measurableterms (or goals, or quotas)… existing Davis, Yolo Co, Region, State, National, Global?  Crickets…

    The friend I was meeting in the story in my 10:06am post was what some might classify as a “person of color”.  Is that anecdotal evidence of the diversity of Elk Grove?

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for