Guest Commentary: Some people want Davis to change … but change to what? 

by Matt Williams

On Friday the Vanguard ran an article that began by making the following statement, Change is inevitable and it happens whether you allow it to happen or not.”  The article then laid out a set of reasons Davis needs to change.  Then yesterday the Vanguard provided us with “A look ahead to some burning issues in Davis.”  And earlier in the week on Tuesday the Sacramento Bee ran an article “Davis is one of the most desirable places in the region to live. Why are so few moving there?”

What did all three of these articles have in common?  They all delved into the long list of challenges that Davis has brought on itself through its actions over the past 20 years. NOTE: I have excerpted that long list and appended it to the end of this article.  Please consider it as a work-in-process, and feel free to suggest any additional challenges/issues that you feel need to be on the list.

The other thing that the three articles have in common is that they pay a lot of attention to what the issues are, but they do not describe a coherent/comprehensive plan for addressing the issues.

It is easy to get bogged down in the details of any individual issue … or group of related issues … and in fact the past articles on and discussions of these issues haven’t dealt with the issues with a coherent/comprehensive (yes I’m repeating the same phrase) approach.

After my better-half … and she truly is much better than I …  read the Bee article, she asked me the following question, “Do the people in Davis who are advocating for change have an example of a city in California … or for that matter anywhere in the US … that is a model for what they believe Davis needs to or should be?

I believe that is an excellent question … one that has the potential to help us have some discussions about the forest rather than bickering about the trees.

For the many people in Davis … those who agree with the headline of the Vanguard’s Friday article “But Davis Is a Great Place, I Don’t Want It to Change” … the model for what they believe Davis needs to be is … Davis itself.

It will be very interesting to hear the answers from the people who believe it is Davis’ manifest destiny to embrace change.

I encourage everyone who takes up this challenge and provides a model city name (or names), to explain why they think that city is a good model for what they want Davis to become.

Thank you all for your engagement with our community.

———————–

As promised here is the list of challenges/issues that were covered in the three articles:

From Friday’s Vanguard article Commentary: “But Davis Is a Great Place, I Don’t Want It to Change”

  • Change is inevitable and it happens whether you allow it to happen or not
  • The median cost of housing is now over $800,000, which is unaffordable for many people who want to live in Davis
  • There is not a lot of open and developable space that exists in the city
  • Construction costs for redevelopment is prohibitive and might preclude housing in places like the downtown
  • Voters have been hesitant to reluctant to approve new housing on the periphery
  • The city lags behind many comparable communities in per capita retail sales
  • The city voters turned down a parcel tax to fund roads in 2018 and turned down DISC that would have provided economic revenue
  • Right now the community is running in the hole between $8 to $10 million per year—a figure likely to increase in the coming years
  • One way or another something will have to give here
  • Due to the failure to expand single-family housing over the last two decades, Davis is getting older, and the number of new students in the Davis School District is trending downward
  • The school district has greatly increased the parcel tax over the last 15 years from $100 a year to just under $1000 a year
  • Just like with city revenue, the district has the choice—raise taxes or cut programs. The third option is outside of their control—building more family-oriented housing in the city.
  • The schools are the lifeblood of the community. They add value to housing.  And the presence of children adds vitality to the community that would be lacking in a community that is moving toward bifurcation of seniors and college students.
  • UC Davis is likely to continue to grow
  • Davis has some amazing opportunities to utilize its position as the host city for a world class university.
  • For those who want to avoid Davis becoming an Elk Grove with runaway growth, there are middle grounds between virtually no growth and unrestrained growth. The city needs to find a comfortable middle course to help address some the issues that it faces while avoiding the trap of unrestrained growth.
  • the voters are going to have choices still, but it’s choosing between declining services, more development and higher taxes.

From Tuesday’s Sacramento Bee article “Davis is one of the most desirable places in the region to live. Why are so few moving there?”

  • Steadily rising home prices and a lack of new housing development are two of the main reasons Davis grew by only 2% over the last decade
  • Davis remains one of the Sacramento region’s most desirable places to live.
  • The schools are excellent, regularly sending students to the best colleges in the state and nation
  • Moving to the city is becoming increasingly difficult
  • The total number of housing units in Davis increased by about 1,200, roughly 4.6%. (NOTE: To double check the Bee’s numbers I pulled the per-year unit numbers from the ten annual Housing Element Progress Report filings by the City of Davis with the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).  For the 10-year period 2011 through 2021 the City reported the addition of 1,797 units.  That calculates to a 7.2% increase in units.  I’m not sure what the Bee’s source was for the 1,200 units and 4.6% numbers they cited.)
  • “This is actually a pro-housing Davis City Council” said Councilman Dan Carson.
  • The average rental cost for a 955 square foot apartment is about $2,400 according to Rent Café
  • “I have in my church some young professors I know that can’t afford to live here, so they moved to Woodland” said Jeff Irwin the pastor of Davis Lutheran Church.
  • “Families can buy more house in Woodland – bigger size, less cost, so families [in my congregation] live in Woodland more than live in Davis” said Jeff Irwin
  • “People like to keep the city within the framework of its culture” said Danny Lau, real eastate agent with Lyon Real Estate.
  • “Davis likes to keep itself relatively like a small town with easy access to big cities” said Danny Lau
  • Danny Lau predicts more potential buyers over the next 5 years will be millennials and the oldest of Gen Z”
  • Both Jeff Irwin and Stephanie Maroney would love to see more affordable housing and a more diverse population in Davis.
  • “People who work here should be able to live here” Jeff Irwin added.
  • “There are too many people who work in the city of Davis that can’t afford to live in the city of Davis, and we know we need to do better there.”
  • Recent Census data shows the city grew by 3,171 Hispanic residents and 412 Asian residents, while losing nearly 4,500 of its White residents
  • Dan Carson said, “Davis’ diversity is in no small part due to UC Davis and its students.

From yesterday’s Vanguard article “Sunday Commentary: A Look Ahead to Some Burning Issues in Davis.”

  • There are three issues that appear to be on the horizon that we should be talking about quite a bit in the coming weeks.
  • The first issue is the ladder truck purchase authorization.My main objection has not been the cost of the ladder truck itself, somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million—that’s a one-time cost and finding money for a one-time cost is feasible.  The ongoing staffing costs are more concerning—$600K to $1.2 million.
  • The second issue will be reviewing the DiSC 2022 project.
  • The last of the three issues is the Downtown Plan, which should go to the Planning Commission at some point for an EIR.  It has been now two years since the DPAC (Downtown Plan Advisory Committee) finished their work, and we have a whole new world.

About The Author

Matt Williams has been a resident of Davis/El Macero since 1998. Matt is a past member of the City's Utilities Commission, as well as a former Chair of the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC), former member of the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC), former member of the Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF), as well as Treasurer of Davis Community Network (DCN). He is a past Treasurer of the Senior Citizens of Davis, and past member of the Finance Committee of the Davis Art Center, the Editorial Board of the Davis Vanguard, Yolo County's South Davis General Plan Citizens Advisory Committee, the Davis School District's 7-11 Committee for Nugget Fields, the Yolo County Health Council and the City of Davis Water Advisory Committee and Natural Resources Commission. His undergraduate degree is from Cornell University and his MBA is from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He spent over 30 years planning, developing, delivering and leading bottom-line focused strategies in the management of healthcare practice, healthcare finance, and healthcare technology, as well municipal finance.

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40 Comments

  1. Ron Glick

    Westwood, Isle Vista, Palo Alto, Arcata, Cotati, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Irvine, Eugene, Corvallis, Boulder, Olympia, La Jolla, Ithaca, Cambridge, South Hadley, Amherst.

    1. Matt Williams

      That’s an interesting list Ron.  All of them are college towns.  I’m going to keep a running list of all the suggestions, as well as any reasons that the person believes their suggested city is a good model.

      You did not include any such reasons.  Are you willing to do so?

      1. Bill Marshall

         All of them are college towns.

        I’d say that would have to be “a given”, for the purposes of your inquiry…

        Some do not have a “town” feel, more of a ‘CITY’ feel… degree of ‘transit’ choices’ really stick out…

        If one did a ‘screen’ for ‘affordability’, it would be interesting… also, for demographics (social justice, for some)… another screen would be for uniformity of income… many other screens could be used…

        1. Matt Williams

          I agree on your comment about screens.  That would give us some insight, but personally I’m more interested in the successfully executed strategy/plan they used to get to the sustainable and resilient end state that they have achieved.

          Arguably Davis is a college town that has gotten to a current condition that it can’t “afford” to be just a college town any more.

          1. David Greenwald

            “Arguably Davis is a college town that has gotten to a current condition that it can’t “afford” to be just a college town any more.”

            That’s probably a fair take

        2. Ron Oertel

          That would give us some insight, but personally I’m more interested in the successfully executed strategy/plan they used to get to the sustainable and resilient end state that they have achieved.

          Have they?  All of them?

          Last I heard, many cities throughout California still faced significant, unfunded liabilities. Possibly “delayed” maintenance, as well. (Though I assume the recent federal money has helped with this, somewhat.)

          Of course, each city is very different (e.g., Davis is no “Santa Cruz” or “Palo Alto”. It’s not even a Cotati!) By the way, does Cotati get money from that new casino, other than money to help offset its own costs?

          Arguably Davis is a college town that has gotten to a current condition that it can’t “afford” to be just a college town any more.”

          Probably should thoroughly examine development approvals (and city decisions) which led to this point, before trying to “fix” it.

          And then ask yourself what would be “different” this time.

           

        3. Matt Williams

          I’ve begun to assemble a profile on each of the suggested cities, and interestingly enough the first two on Ron Glick’s list Westwood and Isla Vista do not have their own form of governance.  Westwood is a commercial and residential neighborhood within the City of Los Angeles.  isla Vista is an unincorporated portion of Santa Barbara County (lie El Macero, Willowbank, Patwin and North Davis Meadows.

          The next two on Ron’s list, Arcata and Palo Alto provide their own governance as incorporated cities.

          The expression I used … “can’t “afford” to be just a college town any more” is only partially true. If taxes are raised it can pay its bills, but that will make the city less “affordable”

    2. Alan Miller

      Yuk, NO:  Westwood (unless you mean the one in lumber country), Isle Vista, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Irvine

      MAYBE, KINDA:  Eugene, Olympia, La Jolla

      OK, YES:  Corvallis, Arcata, Cotati, (I would add: Sebastopol)

      Um:  Boulder (sure you want to include?  Also has a tight urban boundary that prevents expansion)

      Can’t comment, don’t know that east coast:  Ithaca, Cambridge, South Hadley, Amherst.

      1. Keith Y Echols

        Arcata allows students who live on campus to vote in municipal elections.

        I believe Humboldt University is in Arcata city limits.  So it’s not that they allow the students who live on campus to vote in municipal elections.  It’s that campus is in the city limits so students can vote in municipal elections.  The city gets it’s portion of on campus property taxes and all sales on campus are subject to any city sales taxes. University property is subject to city ordinances.

    3. Bill Marshall

      I’d add University Park (aka State College), PA… home of Penn State and has grown amazing like Davis (Penn State and community) since the 1950’s…

    4. Richard_McCann

      I would add Bellingham and Ann Arbor to towns I’ve visited recently of comparable size that are more dynamic than Davis and still have a small town feel.

        1. Matt Williams

          I’m going to rephrase Keith’s question to Richard … “Why is what Ann Arbor and/or Bellingham has as a city a model for what you want Davis to become?” 

          The natural follow-on question to that one is “How has Ann Arbor and/or Bellingham become that model for what you want Davis to become?  What steps have they takesn in their strategy/plan that got them to where they are?”

  2. Keith Y Echols

    Palo Alto…possibly to a lesser degree Berkeley.

    I’d like Davis to be able to have a nurturing environment for start ups and growing businesses.  To go along with that; amenities, restaurants and entertainment that go beyond those that mostly cater to students.   The fact that I have to go Winters for some decent local adult dining is still bewilders me.  C–ktails?  Davis has breweries (I’m not knocking breweries…I love them but I like wine and spirits too).   I know many love the funky college town culture in Davis.  But the truth is that it needs to grow up with the rest of the region.   I like a little college funkiness.  Sadly Antonio’s Nuthouse in Palo Alto recently closed.  I wonder what they did with the mechanical gorilla?

  3. Ron Glick

    Madison, Lexington KY., Raleigh, College Station TX., Bellingham, Missoula.

    There are plenty of places that have attributes Davis could look to for ideas.

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Or, it could look to itself, only bigger, more financially secure.

      Despite the folk to the contrary, we fell in love with this Community (and each other) in the early-mid 70’s as students… relocated here ‘for reals’ in ’79… at the beginning of 2022, feelings haven’t changed…

      The “newbies” are the ones who resist change, or have ‘special visions’ of what changes they want to see… there are those who want ‘stasis’… keep things exactly the way they are… and those who want to mold it to what it has never been… politically, economically meeting (or exceeding, for ‘the oppressed’) the state-wide demographics.

      I’m on neither end of the zealot spectrum.  Lived here too long… to me, Davis is still a small town, and we love it here, and are not “threatened” by others wishing to partake.

       

    2. Matt Williams

      Ron, I wasn’t looking for ideas, but rather evidence of a successfully executed strategy/plan for getting to the sustainable and resilient end state that those cities have achieved.

      1. Alan Miller

        Many of the cities listed (Missoula, Corvalis, Eugene, Bellingham) don’t have a metropolis on either side within an hour or much less putting great pressure upon them.  Perhaps the solution for Davis is to nuke Sacramento and the Bay Area.

  4. Ron Oertel

    Regarding “Why are so few moving there” (to Davis):

    People move into existing housing all the time, both rental and for-sale. All housing eventually turns over.

     

  5. Ron Oertel

    For the many people in Davis … those who agree with the headline of the Vanguard’s Friday article “But Davis Is a Great Place, I Don’t Want It to Change” … the model for what they believe Davis needs to be is … Davis itself.

    Sounds about right.

    It will be very interesting to hear the answers from the people who believe it is Davis’ manifest destiny to embrace change.

    I’ll go ahead and answer “for” them:  More development, of course!

    Ironically, some of those people are the very ones who DON’T want to embrace change (e.g., “right-sizing” the school district, etc.).

  6. Todd Edelman

    Middle course

    sounds nice, but what does it really mean? As far as I concerned, we’re way past this now. The evidence is clear if you look at modal share in transportation for anywhere except for close to Downtown, journeys to UC Davis, elementary school and junior high.  There are no bike shops in South Davis, none east of L St and nothing to the west or north – because there’s no demand. Probably 90% of journeys are by car, with the above-mentioned exceptions. Bretton Woods, DISC II and the housing on East Covell will not be any better.

    Cycling was mentioned once in the Bee article but for some reason not excerpted.

    Why no European examples? Aren’t we so abundantly bachelor degree’d that we should be mentioning some? There are many, but I would start with cities of a similar size along rail lines, and various districts of larger cities in northern, western and even central Europe.

    Last but not least, there are plenty of places to build UP within our existing footprint, many misseded opportunities to not build higher in recent projects… I am talking about greyfield sites – and why do not use this term more in local discourse? (Sure, there’s been some re-development  – or some planned – for example University Mall, and what became Sterling 5th, BUT all very automobile-dependent or enabling.) Because privately-owned parking lots are more sacred?

    Finally, we have a huge amount of the population living too close to I-80. It’s always a noise polluter, and sometimes less of a gas and particle polluter. It’s not healthy.

    We have a project mentioned by Dan Carson that supposedly involves imagination, but it most certainly does not. And then this whole interesting missive discusses examples from other places, but why don’t we invent anything ourselves any more?

    We need to change back to an imaginative place.

    1. Matt Williams

      Cycling was mentioned once in the Bee article but for some reason not excerpted.

      .
      Todd, which quote(s) from the Bee article would you add to the list of issues/concerns?  I’ll be glad to add to the list.

  7. Alan Miller

    I wish we could force people to ride bikes — but I’m against forcing people to do anything.

    Good point about European examples.

    Greyfield?

    What is the project that supposedly involves imagination but does not?

  8. Todd Edelman

     force

    Woah, dude. I don’t want to force anything, and I won’t. I am talking about encourage. Convenient, pleasant or joyous, safe and speedy long distance infrastructure for cycling does not exist in Davis. This is not a circuitous greenbelt path, it is not the path along I-80… to compare: Why would anyone who lives near Mace and Cowell drive surface streets to In & Out when the freeway is oh so much faster? People are encouraged to use this route by car…

    The project that contradicts its own name is this.

    1. Keith Y Echols

      Todd,

      While I do not believe that alternative transportation should hold up conventional and reasonable economic growth, I do empathize with you on the need for better bicycle paths in Davis.  My kids go to one of the specialized elementary schools so their school is not close by in their neighborhood.  Now, in a normal town in the United States, they’d have these things called school buses for kids to get to school.  But no…not in Davis….so we have to drive our kids to school in the morning before going to work.  This morning I drove my mom to the airport and then rushed back to get my kids to school on time.  I’d love to have my kids bicycle to school but I’ve seen far too many close calls and accidents with young kids, high school kids and UCD students on bicycles navigating near my kid’s school and around all the cars driving to UCD and dropping kids off at school.  I’m normally one that lets my kids do things on their own that some consider risky….but riding their bikes to school seems dangerous to me.  My older son may be ready to start riding to school…but that really doesn’t help me because I still have to drive my younger son.

      But like I said, I’m not going to hold up reasonable development because it doesn’t hold to an alternative transportation ideal.  But how about something that seems simpler than adjusting existing lanes in the road and screwing up traffic?  There are L (elevated) Trains in some US cities.  Why not L/elevated bike and pedestrian paths?  It seems to me that these kind of things get bogged down in cost.  But why do these things have to be major concrete structures?  They could start off with presumably less expensive wooden elevated path structures that could eventually be replaced by more elaborate concrete structures.  I dunno…I’m just spit balling ideas again.  But I’d love for the greenbelts to be connected with minimal use of the streets.

      1. Alan Miller

        Let’s elevate the Davis bike paths on elevated wooden structures, and make DISC II pay for it!

        (one problem you’d run into, literally, is overhead power lines, which would now also need to be relocated)

      2. Richard_McCann

        Most Davis parents don’t need to drive their students to school. Where there are buses, they are mostly to serve moving students from one neighborhood to a different school. Neighborhood school buses that you and I grew up with are largely non existent now. Having such a system in Davis would be very expensive. Instead we need to give our students more independence. My son rode his bike from West Davis to Da Vinci every day except in heavy rainfall.

        1. Todd Edelman

          Where there are buses, they are mostly to serve moving students from one neighborhood to a different school.

          Richard, as I understand it, there are Woodland and perhaps Washington school buses used for special needs kids; Unitrans serves schools but really only 4th and 5th graders and up are able to take it on their own.

          We have a lethal combination of Prop 13 cuts and school-choice. My understanding is that at elementary level, 20 to 40% of kids are not coming from the neighborhood. The result is dropoff chaos: The most dangerous time of day, which should be full of joy without worry.

          We have a bus driver shortage now, but normally there would be plenty of part-time Unitrans drivers who could take special extra training to be school bus drivers. Some time back the head of Unitrans said he would be open to DJUSD electric buses charging at their facilities. Two and a half years ago I met with Cindy Pickett when she was on the board about this (and lowering the age of bike share) and she was supportive, but the DJUSD board won’t even do a study for a possible return of buses.

          Certainly it’s possible to get more younger kids on bikes through better infrastructure (and training), but for older students it doesn’t help that parking at DHS is free. Voila! Cycling rates go down by about 50% once people reach high school. This drop doesn’t happen in more civilized places. If we are gonna make driving so easy, we have to make cycling way, way better, enough to get kids out of their cars. We have failed by half. Dependence on cars, masquerading as independence.

          People see the holy drop off as normal; as I don’t have kids and am not often around these here, when I do happen to see them it’s shocking. It’s violent. Other places do it differently. 

          Everything I write here as been mentioned to the DJUSD board at one time or another.

        2. Keith Y Echols

          Ah Christ…I gotta have this conversation again (with another Davisite/person)?  There are THREE SPECIALTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN DAVIS.  THREE.  If you don’t live in the immediate neighborhood, you have to drive there.

           Most Davis parents don’t need to drive their students to school.

          Go to the drop off and pick up curbs of those specialty schools on a school day at the start and end of school and tell me about parents that don’t dive their kids to school.

          My son rode his bike from West Davis to Da Vinci every day except in heavy rainfall.

          Yeah…I’d hope a JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL KID is able to ride their bike across town….so uh…give your kid a participation trophy or something.

          Instead we need to give our students more independence.

          I had my then 2nd grader walk home and the school called my wife at work to alert her.

          It’s beyond dangerous to ride to some of the elementary schools.

          Having such a system in Davis would be very expensive.

          I went to elementary school in a town where the coal mining jobs were fading away and the town shrunk in the decade I lived there.  Yet they could afford school buses.

      3. Todd Edelman

        elevated path structures

        A freeway is the ultimate elevated path structure and it only connects directly to a few points. There is no reason to do this for bikes There are perfect examples for bicycle infrastructure on the surface, but they might take space back from motorized transport.

        1. Keith Y Echols

           There is no reason to do this for bikes There are perfect examples for bicycle infrastructure on the surface, but they might take space back from motorized transport.

          Exactly.  You’re not going to easily and inexpensively take away from motorized transport.  I know you don’t like it or want to accept it but motorized transport is the primary means of transportation for most people.  That’s why bicycles are generally considered ALTERNATIVE means of transport.   So if motorized transport dominates the surface roads, then you have to find ALTERNATIVE routes for bicycles.  That’s why I suggested elevated paths for bicycles.

          I’m not sure what you mean by a freeway being the ultimate elevated path structure.  If you’re suggesting elevating local streets for motorized vehicles in favor of surface routes for bicycles…well then that’s not economically feasible.

    2. Alan Miller

      I wasn’t saying you were talking about forcing.  I said that because I am not sure how we get past the pitifully low mode share percentages for alternate transportation that you cited.

      This is not a circuitous greenbelt path, it is not the path along I-80…

      “This” being what?  No antecedent cited.

      to compare: Why would anyone who lives near Mace and Cowell drive surface streets to In & Out when the freeway is oh so much faster?

      Not sure your point, as both involve driving.  What does it matter?

      People are encouraged to use this route by car…

      Huh?  OK, it’s a hard route now, but will be pretty easy by bike when the Pole Line to Olive Connector goes in.  (Yes, the doesn’t solve the Mace Blvd bicycle crossing issue over I-80/railroad sücking issue, which is quite real and needs addressing.)

      The project that contradicts its own name is this.

      Contradicts “re-imagine” or “Russell” ?  I’m not sure what is contradictory here.  Yes, re-imagine is overused as a term in government planning and should be abolished, or re-imagined.

      But what is your issue?  It sounds like you want to eminent-domain a bicycle freeway east-to-west through Davis and take out about 800 houses, or ban automobiles from Russell.  But you aren’t being specific so I don’t know exactly what you are proposing or criticizing.  What is obvious to you may not be obvious to a single other living being.

      1. Todd Edelman

        This is not a circuitous greenbelt path, it is not the path along I-80…

        Alan Miller asked said: “This” being what?  No antecedent cited.

        Todd: Our mostly circuitous greenbelts are not THE best solution for bicycle travel within Davis.

        will be pretty easy by bike when the Pole Line to Olive Connector goes in.

        “Pretty easy” for whom? From Mace it’s a ride down Cowell, parts of which have fast motor traffic, and there are multiple stop signs, varied surfaces… and only a painted line for protection. Of course one could take the greenbelt from close to the south end of the Pelz bridge, but it’s narrow… none of this is optimized for e-bikes. And East Olive is a mess.

  9. Richard_McCann

    I’ve coauthored an article in the Vanguard in 2018 with an alternative vision for the Davis economy. (My wife also contributed to the Food and Economic Development plan.) I’ve contributed significantly to the Downtown Plan with a vision of improved livability there. And I will coauthor a new vision for Davis with reduced GHG emissions and more resilience in the forthcoming Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. There’s lots of thought out there on how to proceed. What we need now is leadership to seize those ideas.

    1. Matt Williams

      I hope you and your wife republish and broadly distribute that alternative vision for the Davis economy again soon.  I suspect it has faded into the rear view mirror of the people who read it three years ago … but even more importantly I doubt a meaningful percentage of Davis’ 66,850 residents know about the ideas you have put forward.

      Regarding leadership, one of the problems we have here in Davis is that we do not have any noticeable community leaders other than our elected officials.  You cited Ann Arbor as a town that you have visited that is more dynamic than Davis and still has a small town feel.  I suspect, but do not know, that al lot of that vibrancy comes from members of the non-elected portion of the Ann Arbor community that step up and lead without any concern for how their leadership actions will affect their political careers.  Since Davis does not have any leadership like that, we need to generate sufficient interest (buzz if you will) from within the community to cause our elected political leaders to pay attention … and most importantly act rather than just talk.

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