by David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA -The Davis Chamber of Commerce and Yolo Area Realtors hosted a candidates forum on Tuesday. Running in District Four was incumbent Gloria Partida opposed by Adam Morrill. The forum was held virtually.
Question: What proposals do you have to address crime?
Adam Morrill: I think property crime has increased. I’ve talked to some business owners who’ve been hit by smashing grabs. I was a victim myself. We had our catalytic converter stolen right out of our driveway here. We’re not near the freeway, you got to drive to get to our house. So property crime is definitely an issue. I would in push for more the police department to really engage and promote a neighborhood watch program so that neighbors can kind of keep an eye on things and if they see something suspicious, I mean they can report it to police. And then we have, we need to have the police staffing so that they can actually adequately respond. Right now we only have four patrol officers on duty at any given time. If they have to deal with a violent transient that takes three off the streets and there’s only one left to take care of the rest of the city. I know talking to the Downtown Business Association that they’ve actually looked into just funding their own street safe streets program—which has been used in other communities. I would actually while on council assist with that and they shouldn’t have to foot the bill to take care of their own property security. Another thing I would like to see more police officers walking a beat in downtown just community engagement, just walking into stores, say, How’s everything going? Is everything okay? Are you having any problems? It not only decreases the propensity of property crime because there’s a presence there, but it also builds better trust between the community and our police services. And then to dovetail on what Dan Carson says, I drive around town a lot for my position and people are blowing red lights like you wouldn’t believe. I see three cars go through after it’s turned green for me. And, and I think we really do need to step up our traffic safety in and around the downtown and elsewhere near schools and things like that.
Gloria Partida: We keep track of those numbers pretty closely and have a lot of conversations with the police department. I actually meet with the police association on a monthly basis. It’s a real, it’s a real concern for a lot of our citizens. I think that we are still in a relatively safe community, but that is because we do the work to keep it that way. I know that we have through the ARP funds and, and other ways we support downtown in that safety. The police department comes out and meets with the businesses and does SEPTID training and figure so that we can give some suggestions for making our downtown safer. I’m on the two by two with the businesses in the chamber, and we have had conversations about cameras and how we can support having more cameras downtown. I think that that is a deterrent. And we recently started our department of housing and social services. And that is in part to take the pressure off of police so that they’re not responding to calls that they don’t have to, and that they can spend more time patrolling for speeding and spend more time dealing with people who are a real threats to our community. And as you know, the police department has indicated that they would like that assistance. They would like to have more free time to do that work. And I think that this department is going to help in that regard.
Question: A few jurisdictions statewide have used the point of sale of a home to implement certain changes or retrofits rather than requiring everybody to do it. Recently the city of Davis has begun discussing at a staff level requiring electrification of homes at the point of sale. You know, homes with gas appliances would have to electrify at some level. That hasn’t been determined yet, but would you support or oppose point of sale retrofits? Not necessarily specifically electrification, but in general.
Gloria Partida: I think I’m in line with everybody else on this one. And you know, as Dan mentioned earlier, this did come before city council and there was concern about that particular recommendation. There were a lot of recommendations in the climate action adaptation plan that I think are good. And I think that we do have to make some changes that, that are, are going to be necessary if we’re going to make some movement. But it’s important to not you know, as others have mentioned replace things that don’t need to be replaced yet, and put a burden on people that can’t bear it. And I think that oftentimes this happens for any changes in, in our society really, it’s the people who are least able to get through any sort of a crisis – and the climate crisis is one of those that are, that suffer the most. I don’t think it’s fair for folks who maybe can’t afford to have that placed on them when they, when they’re selling their homes. I don’t think this is a way to do that. I do support though finding ways to incentivize people to make those changes and to work with our governments, our counties and, and state governments to find ways to, to make those incentives.
Adam Morrill: I support point of sale requirements when they’re for safety reasons. I mean, we’re in earthquake country, of course, you need to strap your water heater. Things like that are important to pro protect buyers, potential buyers. In referencing the climate action plan, I think the mandates, and there are unjustified, the Natural Resource Commission advised against it, but the council passed it anyway. It doesn’t make sense going full electric if it’s motivated by greenhouse gas emissions, it’s like taking a sledge hammer to a flea. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions are coming out of the tail pipes of the cars driving around town. A better approach would be making a more bike and pedestrian friendly downtown to reduce those car trips. I live in an old Stanley Davis home, we’re topped out and we’re small house, 960 square feet elder auto model. And if we had to go all electric, we would have to upgrade our PG&E electrical service, which in our case would require trenching and doing the upgrade. And you’d have to probably redo the wiring in the house to prevent any kind of electrical fires for the added electrical burden. And I’ve, we looked into it because we thought maybe we’ll put a pool in later, it’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars just to upgrade your pg&e service. So putting that kind of onus on homeowners is really not the solution. And given our current electrical grid your gas range is going to be far more efficient in the grand picture of things than an electric range based on you’re cooking at nighttime.
Question: Your approach on addressing homelessness.
Adam Morrill: Well, in downtown specifically, I think there’s some better solutions to kind of moving people along who are continually problems. People who aren’t in interested in services. I would recommend deeding over the sidewalks to the landlords because then it results in a trespassing issue rather than just a camping issue. Totally different thing the police can ask them to move along. In the grand scheme of things though, the city shouldn’t be in the business of social services. The city does public works, public safety and parks. And we’re spending a lot of money hiring expensive management, the respite center. And these efforts are already duplicative of what the nonprofits have already been doing. Davis community meals was particularly irked by the opening of the respite center. We have the county that provides these services. If I was on council, I bring these people together and speak with them. You guys are in the trenches. You’re the experts. We have some money that we can give. How can we help? Because a nonprofit is going to stretch that money way farther than the government can. Government is not efficient at spending money.
Gloria Partida: I mentioned our Department of Housing and Social Services, and this was developed in part to address this, this problem. And the Respite Center which has connected people to some of those services that mentioned to VA services, if they are qualified for those services. The whole point is to get people to not become entrenched in homelessness. You have to present those services in order to get them moved on from that. The city partners with Davis Community Meals, we partner with community care. We had the rotating winter shelter where a number of nonprofits that served the homeless and that model was unsustainable. We cannot no longer continue to do this on a volunteer basis. The city is definitely trying to assist our community partners, our community navigators, and making sure that we are doing everything that we possibly can. The county is a great partner in that solution.
Question: What type of new residential development would you support in Davis?
Gloria Partida: Whenever our development conversations come forward I always advocate for the missing middle because that is an area where we don’t have enough housing. I think that for a long time we built, you know, lots of McMansions and housing was really big and unaffordable. It became unaffordable. And so I think the move back to building smaller units to building stack flats and condominiums and denser housing is the way to go for us because we have our downtown plan that advocates for that type of housing. I think that we need to think about densifying our neighborhoods as well. We are trying to make it easier to have ADUs for people to build ADUs. There is this easier streamlined process at the city for people to come in and, and be able to do that. But as far as the big “a” affordable housing you need the space to do that. You need nonprofits that are building that housing to, to have some locations to do that. And the city has taken an inventory of spaces that may be available for that. And, also we need to think about our inclusionary housing and finding a way to make that easier for folks to do.
Adam Morrill: I think there’s three questions that are most important. It’s what, where and when. You can’t build a nice big town home in the middle of what’s an existing single-family zone – it will bring down property values. You have to respect existing uses, but I definitely favor infill densification within the downtown general plan. With regard to any future peripheral development, which is going to be necessary. Davis needs to grow. We need to update our general plan to include those areas so that we don’t result in a patchwork of sprawl, unconnected communities. That’s just not sustainable. It’s not good policy. So in addition to updating a general plan, I would push for mandatory 35% being affordable as far as not big “a” affordable, but affordable for a certain price point within the community and pushing for townhomes, condos. But the most important part of that is they have to specify in the CCNRs that they must remain owner occupied so that they don’t fall into the rental market. So that way we maintain our housing stock for home buyers. we need to also lean on, on UC Davis to start building its own workforce housing that is affordable for their employees. Because right now there’s so many car trips for UC employees who can’t live in the community. If this, if the university could build workforce housing, they have the land, they’ve got the money, they could do it if they wanted to. They proposed it, what, 15 years ago, and it hasn’t been built yet.