Part 4: It Was Unanimous, a 5-0 Vote, Council Comments on DiSC

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – On Tuesday, the council voted 5-0 to place DiSC 2022 back on the ballot for June 7.  On Thursday, the Vanguard ran Councilmember Dan Carson’s brief presentation to his colleagues, “Why should folks vote for it?  The question is, what’s in it for me?”

“This has been a long time coming,” Will Arnold said.  “I know that in 2010 this was a community-led effort that led to the innovation park task force and the Studio 30 (report) and the Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI).”

He noted, “The idea that the folks who are going to be working here, wouldn’t be driving somewhere else for work, it just defies logic.  But that argument can and is brought up over and over again, that these are somehow all going to be new people that aren’t already polluting our environment driving somewhere for work.”

He said, “The difference is they’re driving somewhere and we’re not seeing the community benefits and the fiscal benefits of where they’re going and where this innovation is happening.”

Arnold said, “This is a modest project as these go nationwide.”

He noted that if 600 or so voters had flipped their vote, “the previous project would be built.”  He pointed out, “I respect democracy and the outcome of the voters. I know that’s something we used to not have to be explicit about, but now it’s worth saying that we respect that that election was lost, even though it was close.”

Arnold continued, “But it’s still respecting and honoring the democratic process to have folks come back to the drawing board and say, okay, well, what are the lessons learned? What can we present to the community that may be more in line with what the community wants? And I think scaling it down was part of that.”

Later he added, “What we have in town, unfortunately still, is a mismatch of jobs and housing.”

He said, “We have a lot of really expensive housing and a lot of low paying jobs other than the university itself, and a handful of other places. We have a mismatch. And what that mismatch causes is it causes a lot more travel. You got to go somewhere else. If you’re going to work a job that allows you to own a home in Davis, you’re hitting the road to get to that job. And so creating jobs, more jobs in Davis that allow you to be living in Davis is a good thing, and will likely have the effect of having fewer people having to travel outside of town for work.”

Lucas Frerichs noted, “I was fortunate to serve on the innovation park task force back in 2010 before I was on the city council.  It was a long time ago.”

He said, “I think the key in all of this is that the need is real.  The need is real to help capture innovation and tech transfer coming out of UC Davis to help create jobs and help bolster our community.”

He continued, “Also the need is real for housing, both market rate and big ‘A’ affordable housing.”

He said, “Some folks view this as a situation where they feel as if we don’t build it, if we don’t build it here, you know, we stop the development, we’ve won, right?  But it just gets built somewhere else. That’s the reality. And frankly, with lower standards and lower benefits than what we’ve negotiated with this proposal, and I think that is very important to keep in mind as well.”

Josh Chapman said that “for years, our community has talked about challenges related to economic development and related housing, related to the retention of talent that the university helps create.”

He said, “When I look at this project that’s here this evening, it has the potential and the ability to move the dial on those issues.”

He talked about the need for “diversity in our local economy” and said, “I think it’s huge also to add 460 residential units to a housing inventory that desperately needs it.”

Chapman ran for council at the same time as the project in 2020, and one of the issues that came up “was the amount of traffic and how we were going to mitigate that.”

He pointed out that “we had a public commenter earlier talking about how traffic is getting bad and takes X amount of time to get from point A to point B.  This project, yes, it’s going to add some more traffic, but it also adds a huge amount of money to help fix that problem that we’re experiencing now.”

Chapman, who is a downtown business owner, said he was “extremely happy with and appreciate the retail demand market study.”  He said, “That was a huge piece as a small business owner downtown, that some of my business colleagues were wondering how it would affect the downtown.  But I think that this a tool and mechanism to really help address some of those concerns.”

Part 3: Dan Carson – This Is Going to Pass Tonight, Why Should Folks Vote for It?

Mayor Gloria Partida said, “I continue to be in support of this project. I was in support of it the first time, I am in support of it this time as well.”

She acknowledged the concerns and hesitation of some in the community, but “the important question, as Josh mentioned, is balancing the benefits that we are looking at—are those benefits big enough to mitigate our concerns.”

“I do believe that they are, for this project,” she said.

Following Dan Carson she pointed out, “Innovations are where the future happens.  They are where the answers to climate change are found, as Dan mentio0ned.  They are where the vaccine to the next pandemic may be developed.  They are where the most pressing problems to our quality of life are solved.”

She said that “having spent 30 years in the lab on campus, I can say that one of the things that slows scientific discovery the most is not having adequate lab space. It’s not having access to collaborative equipment or to other people that, that you can bounce ideas off of. And this is why innovation centers really speed up the how quickly discovery can be made.

“As Lucas mentioned, we can say, it’s okay for this project to be built somewhere else,” she said.  “Nobody else will require the level of sustainability we’re asking for.”

Partida added that “there are a few places where there is as ready, a supply of talent and commitment to discovery as there is here.”  She said, “We have heard here this evening that there are many people who are graduating from our world class university that are wanting to stay here, who are wanting to further their careers here.”

Finally, she noted that from Village Homes to Central Park to Mace Ranch, “all of these changes have, all of these changes have deepened, the richness, our community, even though they were so fiercely opposed.”

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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2 Comments

  1. Alan Miller

    Part Four of what . . . 127 ?  [approximate number of days until the election].

    Has it occurred to you that you may be hurting your own cause?  Just like in the Presidential race, the only people who one has to target are the undecided.  I am a slightly YES hinging by the thread of my belief that the bicycle under-crossing will be built in a timely manner.  The anti-DISCers are trying to convince me that’s not true, while the developers will tell me it is. Who shall win the convince Alan C. Miller game?

    These pro-DISC city council cheerleading speeches that you have quoted have about the same effect on me as eating a pound of bad mackerel.  They make me want to urp.  Maybe consider that those who are on the fence are not going to be impressed with carp like that, and that it might do the project more good not to repeat it.

    Part of me wants to take every quote and expose it to the sun and rip it a new one in comedic political sarcasm.  But I thin I’ll cook an egg and sit on the front porch instead.

    Happy Saturday, Davis!

    1. David Greenwald

      “Has it occurred to you that you may be hurting your own cause?”

      I don’t view my job that way. I view my job to provide as much information as possible and people can make up their own minds.

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