Measure H Goes Down to Resounding Loss

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – Despite being a smaller project with a seemingly more favorable environment than in 2020, DiSC has apparently gone down to an overwhelming loss.  While it is not clear how many votes are still outstanding, by the end of tabulation on election evening, No had a 3000-vote margin out of 11,000 votes cast, and a 63.5 to 36.5 percentage lead.

Deferring comment was the Yes on H campaign as well as Councilmember Dan Carson, who found himself at the center of controversy when he filed the writ to change the ballot language for the No on H arguments—that decision looms pivotal in a campaign that saw a joint effort to secure attorney fees.

Neither side has issued a statement on the results—the Vanguard will have more as more information becomes available.

Elsewhere none of the local races were close.  Both the incumbent DA and sheriff, covered more fully by Robert Hansen, won easy reelection.

The other contested local race saw Lucas Frerichs take on Juliette Beck for Supervisor.

While there are still votes to count, Frerichs has a strong lead over Beck, 65 to 35 percent or about a 1400-vote spread with about 4700 votes cast.  There is still an outstanding precinct in that race.

The Vanguard will have more on these races.

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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43 Comments

  1. Keith Olson

    I applaud the voters of Davis, they saw through the hype and the antics of the YES side.

    But ultimately I feel it was the MACE MESS that DiSC couldn’t overcome.

    So are the Davis elected officials finally going to get on the same page as the voters?

      1. Bill Marshall

        Population, or registered, active, registered voters?

        I think I understand where you’re going with the question…

        To which I’d add, “what was the turnout %-age of eligible voters?”

        As to turnout, expect that many ‘ok’ with H, did not feel strongly in favor… most of the folk on the “hell NO!” side I think felt strongly against, with many feeling so, to the point of zealotry…

        Would be an interesting speculation that if the measure was worded oppositely, i.e., a majority vote was required to overturn a CC action (as in a referendum, remedy if no JeRkeD ordinance), what the numbers would have been… the fact is, as the Measure was worded/presented, for folk ‘unsure’, the default for a great # of people is ‘No’… so, a confused electorate will give any “No” campaign anywhere from a 30-40% advantage (which is primary reason that the referendum on the original Wildhorse measure failed to overturn the approvals), if the water is muddied enough… we’ve seen it time and time again.  That was the ‘genius’ of Measure J, under the guise of ‘vox populi’.  Many those who support the JeRkeD ordinance(s) cite the “spin” rather than the intent of the framers of Measure J.  Ironically (?) there is a certain former CC member/mayor who was on the Covell Village team, and a proponent, who “lost” on Measure X (killing the project), and is listed as an opponent of Measure H… an ‘epiphany’?

        Fact is, no matter how wants to analyze it, Measure H failed.

        I was ambivalent (somewhat favorable), so I’ll not cry, rant, nor cheer, gloat over the results… I just hope everyone ‘gets their wish’ as to the consequences of their votes, and the resultant outcome.

         

      2. Matt Williams

        Sharla,

        68,640 total population according to the 2020 Census

        15,209 are in the 0-19 age cohort, leaving a net of just over 53,000 over 19 years of age

        Of that subset 38,316 are registered to vote.

        The 11,116 votes counted so far is 29.5% of those registered.

        11,318 mail ballots were received by Yolo Elections by the end of the day on Monday, which probably correlates to the 11,116 that have been counted so far.  My guess is that another 2,000 to 3,000 were cast (or delivered) yesterday on Election Day, so the final tally will likely be somewhere between 13,000 and 14,000, which would be between 33% and 36% of the registered voters. and be approximately 20% of the 68,640 total population.

      3. Keith Olson

        10,000 voters.  What is Davis’ population now?

        What, are you saying only the NO side was able to get their voters out.? I read where the No side was out spent 10 to 1 and supposedly walked the precincts reaching out to tens of thousands of voters.  Maybe if there was a bigger turnout Measure H would’ve gone down even harder?

        1. Bill Marshall

          Some thoughts/questions:

          Do you think lawn signs and mailers actually influence more than a small portion of rational folk?  I think not… confusion, maybe, which tends to lead to No votes…

          Do you consider the majority of voters non-rational, where they vote based on lawn signs and mailers (you may have a point, there… but I hope not)?  I still want to believe that most voters actually thought was in their best interest, and some actually thought was in the best interest of the community as a whole as well… and weighed those.

          Just like the early vote tallies, except in tight races, are generally indicative of final results (probably more so with ‘early voting’, and everyone getting VBM ballots), I think if there had been a bigger turnout, the numbers would have been somewhat different, either way, but the result would have been the same with no extreme differences one way or the other in the tallies… so,

          Maybe if there was a bigger turnout Measure H would’ve gone down even harder?

          is basically gloating BS.

          A decision has been made and we need to deal with the good and/or bad consequences of that.   Those remain to be seen… I’ll deal with either… decisions are not a “game” to ‘score’…  they are decisions…  except for those who want to whine about/question them (2020) or ‘gloat’ that “they won”… I feel sorry for those two groups, and they are big annoyances…

           

  2. Keith Y Echols

    And this is why we can’t have nice things.  It’s also why Davis will continue to be more like Chico and less like Palo Alto.   More Podunk College Town USA.  At least Chico is nice and up in the mountains.

     So are the Davis elected officials finally going to get on the same page as the voters?

    The elected officials have to run the town.  To run the town they need money.  Davis doesn’t currently generate enough money for it’s ongoing expenses.

    The NO Campaign and the unwashed masses believe they can magically solve this fiscal problem.  If you say the word the power word “infill” and dance around a farm field naked enough times the eldritch energies of new urbanism will create demand for the flotsam of available space in town and the scraps of infill development available….cause hey putting something like DISC in the middle of town won’t effect traffic.

    1. Don Shor

      To run the town they need money. Davis doesn’t currently generate enough money for it’s ongoing expenses.

      Correct. The council now needs to begin a discussion about how and how much to raise taxes.

      1. Keith Y Echols

        The council now needs to begin a discussion about how and how much to raise taxes.

        and cut and/or delay some projects and services (road work, rec…etc…)

        1. Bill Marshall

          Yes… raising taxes, cutting/delaying services (and expectations thereof) or a combination of both are all in the ‘toolbox’… statis, doing neither, has its consequences, as well… law of thermodynamics… things trend toward the maximum state of entropy…

          Two axioms… you (should) get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get… choices.

      2. tim keller

        It has a very certain “end phase capitalism” or “last days of rome” kind of feel in my book.  Because we know that an increased parcel tax will ALSO fail… again.

        1. Don Shor

          Because we know that an increased parcel tax will ALSO fail… again.

          For the city to raise the types and amounts of taxes necessary, Davis would need to become a charter city. Then there would be many types of taxes they could raise.

        2. Matt Williams

          Tim, in 2014 the voters of Davis approved at the polls a water project and attendant water rate increase that raised water department revenues from a $8.7 million a year to over $22 million per year.  That is a $13.3 million a year increase in the amount Davis taxpayers/ratepayers approved to pay.  The problem with the parcel tax that failed is that the City Council at the time sat on its hands and did absdolutely nothing to show the voters the value they would receive if the tax ws approved. When Davis voters don’t see any value being delivered, it is easy for them to vote “no.”

        3. Keith Y Echols

          When Davis voters don’t see any value being delivered, it is easy for them to vote “no.”

          For many, when you start with the word “tax” you get an automatic “NO”.

          Me, I voted for school parcel tax in the last election (or was it two elections ago?).  But beyond that, I’m taxed out.  I know I’m not alone in that sentiment.   The city needs to generate more sales tax….give me reasons to spend money in Davis.  It should also have more businesses and jobs in Davis.  But of course it’s hard to create and develop those inside of Davis.

        4. Matt Williams

          The city needs to generate more sales tax  give me reasons to spend money in Davis.

          .
          The pessimist in me says that the reasons to spend money in Davis have been diminishing every year for the past 20 years.  That same dynamic is true in any town that is not a regional activity hub … both in California and throughout the United States.

          To generate sales tax here in California people need to buy “things.”  You can pretty much count the number of businesses in Davis that sell things on two hands.  Part of that is that Davis does not have a critical mass of customers that justifies a company that sells “things” coming to Davis to locate a store.  Not enough customers means no stores (think about all the ones that have left in recent years).  No stores means no transactions.  No transactions means no sales tax.

          With the above said if you could wave a magic wand, how would you like to spend your money in Davis?

           

        5. Keith Y Echols

          Part of that is that Davis does not have a critical mass of customers that justifies a company that sells “things” coming to Davis to locate a store.  Not enough customers means no stores 

          20 years ago, I worked for the largest North American DESTINATION RETAIL owner and developer.  Davis needs encourage, plan and support destination retail both in town and peripherally.  Destination retail draws people from out of town to shop.  Downtown merchants need to give up on the opposition to all external retail development.  More businesses in the area draw more people to the town.  In Palo Alto, the Stanford Shopping Center (which is within city limits) and the Town & Country shopping center are not major competitors to their downtown area.

          So more businesses both peripherally and even more so inside the city (these things must happen congruently).   This brings in more jobs, more tax revenue and more people that aren’t students that can afford to buy things.  Thus attracting better stores and restaurants.

          I’d also promote a student quarter that focused on student oriented retail and entertainment.  You’d have to make it mixed use; but at least you’d get all the crazy student housing advocates on your side.   That would suck up all the burrito, pizza and burger joints into one area leaving the rest of the city for more mature/sophisticated/elegant fare.  With a student quarter, maybe Davis would get a good bar (dive?) or two.  A venue for some good live music maybe?  Start to draw students and young folks from outside of Davis to join the UCD students socially in spending their money here.

        6. Richard_McCann

          To generate sales tax here in California people need to buy “things.”  

          Business-to-business transactions also generate sales tax revenue–we don’t need to focus just on retail. The former transactions still happen in towns.

    1. Bill Marshall

      That 38,460 # does not account for folk who are still on the rolls, but have left town (primarily students), nor the registrations that occurred 5/23/2022 to, and including, June 7 (we had at least a dozen same day registrations at our voting center.

      Hence, the 38,460 # is a pretty good snapshot in time, via a blurry lens… though it doesn’t justify 4-digits of accuracy… am thinking 38,000 is the best guesstimate, with it being maybe 2-5% high, given the ‘departure’ factor (when you leave town, you may be on the rolls for up to 10 years or so), and that many newbies don’t register right away… truth is, we don’t “know”…though

  3. tim keller

    This is both an educational and sobering development for our City.

    The fact that something like our decades-long drive to develop our own hometown economic base came down to this particularly ridiculous campaign season is something we need to look at critically and really ask ourselves what we are doing here.

    There are two main things I would comment on;

    1) The power of dis-information.    The No side started the campaign with a slate of “true lies”, misleading statements, and fear-mongering.   It never stopped, despite the lawsuit, in fact I watched as a number of false narratives seemed to blossom and gain traction as they were repeated over and over on nextdoor – despite the logical fallacies underlying them.

    2) In the face of this dis-information campaign, the Yes side fumbled – badly.

    The first proposal ALMOST passed.  In that campaign, the yes website had half a dozen papers about the necessity of innovation parks, it had renderings of what the build out would look like, and it discussed the necessity of our city’s economic development without apology.

    This time around, the Yes campaign tried to hide from the entire purpose of the development, and instead gave us lawnsigns with talk of parks, bikepaths, and climate change.    Why they did this baffles me.

    Davis voters are not stupid.   They saw RIGHT through the glib and vague statements of the Yes campaign, and that fact alone, is why I think this vote ended up where it is.   Because it played directly into one of the narratives proposed by the opposition:  that Disc was just a ploy from a “greedy developer” and it was going to hurt davis.    “If the proposal was so good for davis, why are they trying to pawn it off as bikepaths, housing and climate change”? they would say..

    The yes campaign’s approach allowed voters to trust their gut instinct and just say NO when something smells off.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Tim… in ~90 % agreement with what you posted… goes to the ‘inertia’ thingy, I posted about, earlier today… best way to get a ‘no’ vote is to confuse, and/or distract the electorate… that’s why Measure J was written in the way it was.

    2. Keith Y Echols

      They saw RIGHT through the glib and vague statements of the Yes campaign, and that fact alone, is why I think this vote ended up where it is. 

      I think the YES Campaign was the most poorly run campaign for an issue I’ve seen in years.  I mostly supported H and I disliked them.  Of their talking points, I could identify all but one that were essentially bogus statements.   About a month ago at the Farmers Market I talked to some of the YES Campaign at a booth.  I discussed their talking points and told them how many of them weren’t correct.  I walked away but was still within earshot and heard them discuss with another person listening at the booth about how “that guy thought he knew better”.  I walked back and said yes, I know better.  I know more about your campaign and development than you.

      Dan Carson must be the most ham fisted politician I’ve ever witnessed.  I sort of get having to sue to get some words changed in a voter’s document.  But was it worth it politically?  And then to sue for legal costs?  That’s like farting in a room of voters and instead of trying to say excuse me I couldn’t get to the restroom fast enough, waving it around to make sure everyone smells it.

      One of the things I commented on in a reply to Gloria Partida’s letter is that pro growth advocates need to give reasons why there should be growth in Davis.  What’s in it for the existing residents of Davis?  Because one of the things that the YES Campaign routinely did was play down the cost of growth and development.  Yes there will be an increase in traffic (trying to fix it in the future doesn’t mean there won’t be more traffic).   Yes it’s a peripheral development that is almost cut off from the rest of Davis (and a bike trail connector does not fix that issue).  Yes it’s a car centric.  Carbon neutral in 10 years?  You know what’s carbon neutral?  A FARM FIELD!  The YES Campaign needed to be honest and man (woman? people?) up and accept and admit the drawbacks of the project.  What they needed to do is highlight what the people of Davis get out of it?  Jobs?  So what.  Those are mostly for new people that will add to traffic congestion.  No, will this growth mean better city services?  Faster and better road repair and improvement?  Better law enforcement (homeless councilors?)…more surveillance to keep bikes from being stolen…or shootouts downtown?  More parks and rec services?  More swim lessons, open swim times?  Better/improved tree maintenance…so no more falling tree limbs.   More seniors activities.

      1. tkeller

        Totally agree.   What you suggest can and should be done.  This is where I agree with Matt Williams the most as well, although we disagreed on H specifically, we both agreed that “just building a commercial park” was not an economic development strategy, and that the city actually needs one.

        I’d like to see this community start over from scratch on this topic, and go back to first principles.   Lets ask that fundamental quesions:  What is the actual financial position we are in?  Are we over-spending or are we under-revenue?  ( or maybe both )

        If we DO have a revenue problem that we cant cut our way out of – how big is that deficit REALLY and what are our best chances to fix it?

        These are things that we think we know the answers to, but perhaps not directly, and certainly the initial reports that started the innovation campus projects is now at least a decade old…  has the pandemic changed things?  have other trends changed things?

        But I also want to start asking the less popular questions – ones that our politicians have been avoiding for the sake of political expedience for decades now:  How big should davis be?  What does it look like when our needs are balanced with those of the university, the enviroment and our ecomony?

        A traffic study using GPS cell phone location data I think is overdue.  We have some census data that suggests that 75% of our local workforce has to commute here from elsewhere, and I suspect that more people than we realize who own homes here actually work in sac, or telecommute…    We have the tools and technology to know what is really going on in our city… we should track down those facts before we try any other new developments and put our community through an election like this one again.

      2. Richard_McCann

        On Dan Carson’s role, most voters don’t follow campaigns and issues closely. They look for quick digests and indicators. The big news item in this campaign (late like the revelation on Clinton’s emails in 2016) was that Carson was ordered to pay $42k in legal bills to the No on H campaign. To a superficial read of the news, this sounded like a slam dunk rejection of the Yes on H arguments and full endorsement of those by No on H (regardless of whether that was true per David’s earlier articles). A voter trying to work quickly through a ballot (which why we shouldn’t be leaving these types of detailed decisions to direct democracy) had their single point indicator.

        I agree with Keith E’s point on the need for a community discussion on what do we want to get out of growth, and just as importantly, how do we plan to fund or not fund the services the City provides going forward.

  4. Alan Pryor

    The council now needs to begin a discussion about how and how much to raise taxes.

    Even more importantly, the Council now needs to begin a discuss about how to stop spending money like drunken sailors and practice true fiscal responsibility. Perhaps they can start by revisiting that stupid decision to purchase the ladder truck and how to control spiraling high-end salaries of the employees – not the pay to administrative assistants and maintenance employees, but those earning more than $150,000 per year in total compensation while performing services of dubious value.

    1. Keith Y Echols

      Even more importantly, the Council now needs to begin a discuss about how to stop spending money like drunken sailors and practice true fiscal responsibility. 

      You realize that aside from some inflated salaries that I guess could be cut (but ultimately are a red herring in term of significance when it comes to fiscal belt tightening)…that “stop spending money” means cuts to city services which ultimately means a diminished quality of life for the residents of Davis.

      1. Ron Oertel

        This might be a question better-answered by Matt, but how much of the city’s deficit is due to unfunded pensions and medical costs?

        That’s the primary issue for most California cities.

        Pretty difficult for a development to promise to pay-off any city’s “unfunded liabilities” as a “benefit” of that development. My first question is always, “how was that allowed to occur in the first place”?

        And of course, every time that they add new positions (e.g., staffing for a ladder truck, social workers, etc.) – that adds to salaries, pension, and medical costs as well.

        As a side note, I did hit a pothole in Davis yesterday, and was laughing to myself that some would say that a “DiSC is needed to fill it”. (No thanks – I’ll take the pothole, instead.)

        Now, if you could literally put DiSC into a pothole to fill it, I might find that more appealing.

  5. Ron Oertel

    Somehow, this is an even-more satisfying win than the first time.  Not quite at the level of Covell Village (in terms of personal fulfillment), but still significant.

    Turns out that someone yelling “O.K. Boomer” (at a representative who had no reason to weigh in) wasn’t the major campaign issue that someone purported it to be.

     

    1. Matt Williams

      Turns out that someone yelling “O.K. Boomer” (at a representative who had no reason to weigh in) wasn’t the major campaign issue that someone purported it to be.

      .
      Ron, I fail to see any redeeming positive aspetcs to your comment above, especially the bolded portion.  In my personal opinion, nothing constructive is accomplished by personal attacks of the Vanguard and David Greenwald like this one.  As my grandmother once said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” You would make the Vanguard a kinder and gentler place if you heeded that advice

      1. Ron Oertel

        This is where you and I differ.

        I don’t view pointing out the Vanguard’s politically-biased “reporting” as a personal attack.  However, attempting to make a campaign issue out of that incident was downright lame.

        Publishing a close-up photo of the possible “offender” might be considered a personal attack.

        I am not a supporter of the Vanguard, and have repeatedly witnessed how most of those with opposing views end up getting pushed off of the blog. (Not just limited to growth and development issues, either.)

        There’s reasons for that, and it does not have anything to do with “political debate”.

        There was a time in which I was “kinder”, but my experiences on here have tempered that. The difference with me is that I’m (so far) sticking around.

        1. Matt Williams

          You are right Ron.  You and I differ.

          I don’t view pointing out the negative tone of your posts.  I don’t see that as a personal attack.  Listen to my grandmother … “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

        2. Ron Oertel

          I don’t view pointing out the negative tone of your posts.  I don’t see that as a personal attack.

          I agree that your comment was not a personal attack, and I did not state that.

          I don’t think the Vanguard’s negative reporting (e.g., regarding that incident) should be (entirely) ignored.

          If you can’t see that the purpose of focusing on that incident was political in nature, I’m not sure I can help you to recognize it. (Keep in mind that it continued to be “focused on”, even after David said that he wasn’t planning to mention it further in his free subscriber newsletter.) It was a non-issue, and yet generated 3 articles, in total. (One of which was a “guest” article, from one of the people involved in the DiSC campaign.)

          Complete with a “photo” of the alleged “offender”, I assume.

          And this is without even getting into the spin that was put forth, some of which was far more negative (and not just limited to the person who made the comment).

          There’s a more important question I have for you above, regarding unfunded pensions and medical costs.  I’d rather not waste 5 comments debating something that isn’t as important.

           

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron, I commented on all three stories.  I don’t believe David was spinning anything.  His reports covered only part of the story, but that gave the story focus. Stories can’t cover the waterfront.  If they do, they lose their “punch”.

          But your comment didn’t focus on the message, but rather the messenger … or should I say the anger you have about the messenger. That anger or should I say sharing that anger here on the vanguard does nothing to advance the tone of the community discussion

  6. David Greenwald

    Apparently there are a lot of votes still to be counted – and while it seems unlikely the outcome would change given the margin – the Yes on H side told me that they are not going to put out a comment at this time.

  7. Bill Marshall

    Me, I voted for school parcel tax in the last election (or was it two elections ago?).  But beyond that, I’m taxed out.  I know I’m not alone in that sentiment.

    Nice thingy… when you are 65+, you can vote for a school parcel tax (as big as folk want it), and pay no additional tax, by taking your ‘senior’ exemption’… that way, you can vote “for the kids” (and teachers, admin staff, where much of the money goes to, directly, or by loosening up funds from elsewhere), and not pay any more than you currently do…

    Maybe that strategy (and, yes, it was/is a strategy to get previous/future measures passed, masked by wanting to ‘protect the seniors on fixed incomes’) that DJUSD has used, would be useful in passing a City tax measure…

  8. Ron Glick

    In November 2020, during the throes of the pandemic, there were 31,000 votes in the business park election and it almost passed. I believe the thinking was with the students back it would pass this time around. Sadly, the turnout was lower, despite the availability of vaccines.

    My guess is that going forward there won’t be any annexation votes in June. They will be held during November, if they are held at all, for the same reason the Democrats got rid of initiative votes in June. On the whole the voters who turn out in June are more conservative then in November.

    Anyway, the anti-growth record remains unbroken. After 22 years under direct democracy for annexation nothing has been built. For some that is total success for others total failure.

    1. Richard_McCann

      Yes, I don’t understand why developers keep shooting themselves in the foot on that. That students are much more focused on finals and getting out of town than voting doesn’t seem to occur to them.

      1. David Greenwald

        They finally learned not to do Special Elections.  One of the interesting things when you look at the polling in Davis, is you basically start out with almost 40 percent no vote on any project.  I always wanted to see how that correlated with the the “always vote” population.

  9. Ron Glick

    “Even more importantly, the Council now needs to begin a discuss about how to stop spending money like drunken sailors and practice true fiscal responsibility. Perhaps they can start by revisiting that stupid decision to purchase the ladder truck and how to control spiraling high-end salaries of the employees – not the pay to administrative assistants and maintenance employees, but those earning more than $150,000 per year in total compensation while performing services of dubious value.”

    A perfect conservative proposal, austerity and pay cuts. Next will be closing schools and not fixing roads. And for those who can’t afford housing, Hooverville.

     

  10. Bill Marshall

    Some thoughts/questions:

    Do you think lawn signs and mailers actually influence more than a small portion of rational folk?  I think not… confusion, maybe, which tends to lead to No votes…

    Do you consider the majority of voters non-rational, where they vote based on lawn signs and mailers (you may have a point, there… but I hope not)?  I still want to believe that most voters actually thought was in their best interest, and some actually thought was in the best interest of the community as a whole as well… and weighed those.

    Just like the early vote tallies, except in tight races, are generally indicative of final results (probably more so with ‘early voting’, and everyone getting VBM ballots), I think if there had been a bigger turnout, the numbers would have been somewhat different, either way, but the result would have been the same with no extreme differences one way or the other in the tallies… so,

    Maybe if there was a bigger turnout Measure H would’ve gone down even harder?

    is basically ‘gloating’ BS.

    A decision has been made and we need to deal with the good and/or bad consequences of that.   Those remain to be seen… I’ll deal with either… decisions are not a “game” to ‘score’…  they are decisions…  except for those who want to whine about/question them (2020) or ‘gloat’ that “they won”… I feel sorry for those two groups, and they are big annoyances…

    But, now is the time for whining or gloating… I abhor both… I had some winners, some losers… but, at the end of the day, am glad my mailbox won’t have so much stuff that goes directly to paper recycling…

    The results will be the results… and we have to deal with the results, and neither gloating nor whining are helpful in dealing with those resuts… my opinion…

     

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