By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – It was a hot afternoon Wednesday at the quad of UC Davis and there was a contingent of No on H people decked out with their orange signs, jockeyed for position behind the speakers with a throng of Yes on H supporters and people donning Mike Thompson signs. While the weather was hot, tempers for the most part stayed cool.
Both Mike Thompson and the stand in for Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry endorsed Measure H, both spoke on issues much broader than the local innovation center project on the ballot next week.
Newly-installed College Democrat President Frances Haydock said that their club endorsed Measure H back in January for two main reasons.
First, she said, “primarily because of housing. Housing as we all know is a very very big issue here in Davis. We are kind of at a crisis level, housing shortage, and Measure H is a project that will bring 460 housing units to Davis which will help to very much alleviate the strain that students and community members are feeling about finding housing.”
Second, she said, “The other reason that the DCD supports Measure H is because it will bring much needed new jobs and innovation spaces to Davis.”
Like others she noted that many students, once they graduate, end up “going to Sacramento or the Bay Area or SoCal, because there’s more funding and there’s more money and there’s a much better place to start a business here. But DiSC, I think will bring thousands of square feet of innovation and business space to really make sure that people, we can benefit from this amazing university and the braintrust that we have here and, and make sure that it stays here in Davis.”
This was a point that Councilmember Dan Carson also made, noting, “We have a brain drain in this community, in which we invest tremendous amounts of resources, especially for our STEM students, who often become among the greatest innovators in the country. They finish their degrees, and there are no jobs for them, and they leave.”
He said that “we’re losing an incredible asset for our community when you depart and don’t come back, we want to make it possible for you to stick around”
Rita Durgen, a Staffer from Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s office, spoke on the Assemblymember’s behalf as she could not attend. She read prepared comments from the Assemblymember.
She said, “(Cecilia) is proud to endorse Measure H.” She explained, “This project increases affordable housing and opens up job opportunities in the STEM fields for our university and community college graduates throughout Yolo County.”
She continued, “It’s environmentally smart and will serve as an invaluable extension to the world-class agricultural and environmental research that is done right here at UC Davis.”
Aguiar-Curry addressed additional issues of concern, namely the “assault on women’s reproductive rights.”
She said, “The leaked SCOTUS draft opinion to overturn Roe is an attack on a woman’s right to choose what is best for her body.” She noted that the Women’s Legislative Caucus “saw this coming and in January, they introduced a package of 13 bills to ensure that California would be a refuge state for women here and across the nation of these.”
Moreover, “She co-authored SB 245, which has already been signed into law by the governor. It removes cost barriers to abortion services by eliminating copays.”
Finally, reading directly from the comments, she read that “these are her words. What the hell are we going to do to stem the scourge of mass shootings? We are the only country in the world where the regulation of guns and gun ownership is treated with such callous disregard. We can’t go to the movie theater shop for groceries, go to church, or even go to school in peace.”
She added, “But before I am an assemblywoman, I am a mother and grandmother. (Speaking for herself she added: I’m a mother too, but not a grandmother yet).
“We should be busy celebrating our families, not burying our loved ones. She recently supported a package of legislation on gun control that will increase transparency and promote registration of and accountability for gun manufacturers. These measures will help, but we need more common sense leaders at the table with support from our federal counterparts like Congressman Thompson, we can and will keep dangerous guns out of dangerous hands.”
Congressman Mike Thompson said, “I support Measure H, but I’m not alone. Local and state elected individuals in our area support Measure H.”
He said, “I support it because of all the things that have already been said. We have a housing shortage, not just in Davis, but throughout Northern California. It has been exacerbated because of the fires that we’ve gone through. We have got to invest in more housing stock.”
Thompson noted, “I like the job component. All of you are going to graduate, and when you do, you’re going to need to get a job. It’d be good if you could pick where it is you are working, and the jobs that I have seen planned for this project are going to be good jobs that will in fact keep folks here in the area.”
He also noted that this will help the local tax base.
“I know some folks will say, well, you can’t solve all the problems by throwing money at it, but remember anybody who tells you that is talking about somebody else’s problems,” Thompson said. “You know, that it takes an investment to deal with everything that is a priority to us. If it’s the University of California at Davis, if it’s the roads, if it’s the curbs, the gutters, the sidewalks, it takes money to do that.”
He spoke to the people holding No on H signs as well. He said, “We may disagree on this issue, but the fact of the matter is we probably—there are probably more things that we agree on. Starting with everybody needs to get out and vote. They are big issues before us today, and every day, it, it’s seemingly a bigger challenge around the corner.”
Gun violence, he noted, has been his (focus) “ever since the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
He noted that the real problem is going to be the math in the Senate.
“There’s not a majority over there and it takes 60 votes to bring a bill up for a floor vote. And there aren’t 10 Republican Senators who have the courage to stand up and say, we’re going to protect school kids. We’re going to protect churchgoers. We’re going to protect people, uh, in communities. ‘Cause you can do it. It’s not a violation of the Second Amendment. You can do it.”
Finally, he talked about one of his proudest moments in the Congress—the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
He explained, “That’s when civil rights, workers in Selma, Alabama, were beaten some near to death on the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. I had the distinct honor of going to Selma, Alabama, with John Lewis, at the time my great colleague and great friend.
“And I walked across the Pettus Bridge with John Lewis and he sadly is no longer with us. But John Lewis was one of those people beaten on that bridge and he almost died. And on that bridge on that day, he told me, he said, Mike, I was beaten, bled, and almost died so people could have the right to vote, do everything you can to make sure they vote.
“So I’m appealing to you, do everything you can to make sure you vote, your family and your friends vote. This is important. This is about the future of our country. So thank you very much for being here. Thank you for inviting me and voting.”