Vanguard 2022 Council Candidate Questions – Question 1

Every Monday from here until the Election, the Vanguard will ask all five of the council candidates one question which they have precisely 250 words with which to respond.

Dan Carson, Kelsey Fortune and Bapu Vaitla are vying for District 1 while Gloria Partida and Adam Morrill are squaring off in District 4.


Question 1: Identify your top three priorities if you are elected in November

Bapu Vaitla

My top three priorities are affordable housing, climate resilience, and community cooperation.

With respect to housing, I will: 1) accelerate the production of permanent supportive housing and create a community navigator program to assist the unhoused; 2) pass an Affordable Housing Ordinance that strongly incentivizes the construction of units; and 3) increase transparency around the cost of development to improve our negotiating position with developers.

With respect to climate, I will: 1) launch a carbon mitigation fund to implement our Climate Action and Adaptation Plan; 2) expand sustainable transit options, especially by increasing bus routes and creating a network of micro-mobility options; and 3) enhance local capacity to generate clean energy by piloting micro-grids throughout town and investing in larger-scale solar energy generation.

With respect to community cooperation, I will: 1) implement a professionalized civic volunteer program that mobilizes the talents, time, and goodwill of our residents; 2) create a “CityLab” research center in which the City and UC Davis together identify key policy questions and seek grants to pilot innovative programs; and 3) give City Commissions a clearer voice in policy formulation while raising expectations of Commission output.

Some of these reforms will need financing. In the short-term, new streams of housing- and climate-focused state and federal dollars, as well as public-private partnerships, will help. In the medium-term, Davis must generate revenue from economic growth, and we can do so by promoting our identity as a center of sustainable food and energy innovation.

Please visit bapu4davis.org for more details.

Dan Carson

  1. Our city faces a $5 million annual funding gap between projected tax revenues and the costs of maintaining basic city services that threatens the high quality of life we enjoy as Davis residents.
  2. A severe housing shortage is leading to homelessness and social inequality, too many commuters to our roads, and undermining of our economic progress.
  3. The profound negative impacts of climate change are subjecting us to drought, extreme heat events, dismal air quality from wildfires, and a risk of “super-cell” rainstorms and flooding.

I would simultaneously address all three challenges by completing and implementing our new downtown plan. This would generate additional jobs and tax revenues to help address our funding gap; add 1,000 units of housing for 2,200 persons; and reduce climate impacts by redeveloping a location where reliance on automobile use could be minimized.

The council’s legislative subcommittee on which I serve should work with our staff team to secure grant funding to fix city parks and infrastructure, build affordable housing, and fund actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our city has secured tens of millions of dollars in grant funding and more effort here could pay huge dividends.

I will fight to ensure we follow through on the $84 million ten-year plan I co-authored to fix streets and bike paths; implement innovative Housing Element policies to spur new market-rate and affordable housing; complete our new city climate plan and accelerate ongoing efforts at Valley Clean Energy to shift to 100% renewable power.

Gloria Partida

If re-elected my top three priorities would be:

Land use:

Smart land use policies are critical to ensuring our quality of life is protected. Ensuring we have clear directions on zoning codes will make it easier to find ways to create mixed use infill projects that create hubs of community, delineate a road map to a vibrant downtown and protect the safety of our children’s routes to school.

Economic Development:

Economic development will create ways for us to continue to upkeep our bike paths, parks and fund our public safety, without raising taxes. Having a more dedicated point person from the city with GSEC, our DDBA and chamber will need to be implemented.

Affordable Housing:

Affordable housing is the foundation for solving our homeless challenge. We must increase options available to provide creative solutions to this problem as well as work with our partners at the state and county level. An example is the Yolo County housing voucher program. The voucher program provides a way to incorporate affordable housing into the stock we already have and integrate people seamlessly into our housing community.  The city can help by providing security deposits and other assurances of low risk to landlords that participate. Our department of housing and homeless services will be instrumental in working toward sustainable solutions. Furthermore, our affordable housing report will give certainty to obstacles involved in building more affordable housing. Knowing what those obstacles are is powerful for working towards overcoming them

Kelsey Fortune

I am compelled to run for council because of the climate emergency we are facing, the lack of action at the city level, and Davis’ potential to be a climate action and adaptation leader.

Climate is my first priority, and it is difficult to disentangle anything from our goal of carbon neutrality. This includes completing the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), creating resilience centers, improving public and active transportation infrastructure, building affordable housing, and creating incentives for businesses and individuals to make changes.

Another priority is planning. The world is ever changing, and if we do not have quality plans for what we want for Davis, there is no way for us to realize the future we seek. I will prioritize implementing the Downtown Plan, completing the CAAP, and initiating a new General Plan. We have spent too many years responding to proposed projects rather than planning so we get the best for Davis.

Finally, fiscal responsibility is a priority. Our city continues to make decisions that will have permanent impacts on the city’s budget without considering the proper cost benefit analysis. Two recent examples that come to mind. First, the council placed DISC on our June ballot. Research shows that peripheral developments often end up utilizing more city resources than the tax dollars they generate. Check out Chuck Marohn. Second, the council authorized the purchase of a ladder truck for the city when sharing these costs with campus is fiscally prudent and makes our tax dollars go further.

Adam Morrill

1) Our roads and bike paths are crumbling

  1. Plan: Develop a GIS database of all streets and paths, assess their condition and devise a 10-year plan and budget to bring all roads and paths up to acceptable condition.
  2. Execute: Secure a ten-year contract, so all costs are known, with a large reputable contractor capable of delivering superior results, and investigate innovative materials and techniques in order to stretch the money as far as possible.
  3. Financing: Push for the adoption of a property tax linked to home value (this is protected from inflation and funding will increase over time) to fund municipal capital improvement bonds. Also negotiate with UC Davis for impact fees related to the obvious wear caused by Unitrans bus service.

2) Our urban forest is dying

  1. Plan: Divide the city into five zones and have a five-year rotation for assessing all city and street trees.
  2. Execute: Terminate the city’s current tree service contract, hire one city arborist to assess and plan tree maintenance, hire 6 tree service workers so that two crews can be operating within the city year-round.
  3. Finance: Utilize funds from terminated contract to fund positions and coordinate efforts with Tree Davis to supplement city staff’s efforts.

3) Lack of affordable housing

  1. Plan: Develop a new General Plan with extensive citizen input with a focus on workforce housing while emphasizing interconnectedness with the rest of the city to reduce private car dependent travel.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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27 Comments

  1. Keith Olson

    Bapu Vaitla

    With respect to climate, I will: 1) launch a carbon mitigation fund to implement our Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

    Would Mr. Vaitla please share how he plans to ‘fund’ this fund?

    1. Keith Olson

      And while we’re at it there are several expensive and robust feel good proposals listed by these candidates with no explanation of how they would be funded.

      Would they all please share how they would be funded?

      1. Bill Marshall

        Good question…

        In addition, more ‘concreteness’ on how expended would be good… right now, mainly bromides, vagueness, ‘feel good’ words… chances of that, is probably 1% or less… hope a candidate surprises me…

    2. Edgar Wai

      From his website:

      “Many of the ideas in the CAAP, however, will require funding support. A Climate Action Fund, modeled on the Housing Trust Fund and financed by modest carbon taxes linked to home and car fossil fuel use—with exemptions for low-income families—would ensure that the CAAP becomes a concrete reality, not just an aspirational vision.”

        1. Bill Marshall

          Except for “low income families”… yet to be defined…

          You are asking good questions, KO… go for it… you know I don’t opine so, often…

          Is it a “Climate Action and Adaptation Plan” (CAAP), or a bunch of “Climate Reactionary Aspirational Plan” (CRAP), which has no concrete solutions/proposals except as to taxation and implementation bromides.  Nothing concrete…

          KO, we are so different in views, but here, I find ‘common cause’ in asking the questions…

           

        2. Ron Oertel

          KO, we are so different in views, but here, I find ‘common cause’ in asking the questions…

          Why would you care, unless you’re in Bapu’s district?

          (Just bringing up the same type of point that you did on this very page – and previously, as well.)

    1. David Greenwald

      They did, Gloria’s response was published in the initial release, Morrill didn’t get his in until this morning, but I allowed a one-time grace period and his is now included.

      1. Bill Marshall

        OK… you changed ‘format’ since last analysis… had come to expect you’d group the district responses… so missed Patrida’s… and thank you for the ‘grace period’ for Morrill…

        Sidebar:  so far the candidates have been pretty ‘clean’ about issues vs. personalities… some of their supporters (surrogates?) not so much… can think of two in particular, who don’t even live in the districts they opine upon, who are ‘negative’… perhaps they hope that will bring ‘good fortune’ for a candidate…

  2. Bill Marshall

    Technical question… if there are more than 2 candidates in a district, and none get 50% +1 of the vote, is there a ‘run-off’?

    A simple referent to the applicable section of the MuniCode will suffice… couldn’t find it right off…

  3. Don Shor

    Appendix B of the Climate Action Plan is a 16 page list* of the 28 “priority actions” that would require up-front capital investments and/or ongoing funding streams. They list a number of grant sources but it is clear that some forms of ongoing revenues would be necessary for many of the proposals. As a general law city, Davis is limited as to which taxes it could raise (sales and parcel taxes, 2/3 vote required). Should the voters decide for Davis to become a charter city, many more forms of taxes would be available.

    It seems this situation leads to some questions that could be posed to the candidates.

    Do you support the Climate Action Plan as drafted?

    If so, how would you propose the action items be funded?

    Do you support becoming a charter city for the purpose of raising revenues?

    * https://www.cityofdavis.org/home/showpublisheddocument/17818/637955694425900000

    1. Keith Y Echols

      From a fiscal standpoint, becoming a Charter City is a no brainer.  Isn’t one of the issues with becoming a Charter city is that those in charge have more say in the way things are done.  So voters have to trust that the leaders aren’t going to abuse the system or let outside interests influence the system (the way things are done).  Do voters have enough trust in the city leaders to give them more direct control over city affairs?

  4. Keith Olson

    Adam Morrill

    Financing: Push for the adoption of a property tax linked to home value (this is protected from inflation and funding will increase over time) to fund municipal capital improvement bonds.

    This will be very unpopular being that the road parcel tax went down to defeat years ago.

  5. Keith Olson

    To David Greenwald, are you going to ask all of these candidates how they’re going to fund all of these pie-in-the-sky proposals?

    Are the local taxpayers/homeowners to be on the hook?

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      KO… I’d say “good question”, but Ron O would have a hissy-fit as I do not live in the district … like ‘he does’ (not!)… (I do live in one of the two districts electing a rep, so for District 4, I’m not out of line, despite someone’s inane assertion.)

      Guess some misunderstand the lyrics of an old song, and are just “trolling on a river’…

  6. Bill Marshall

    Why would you care, unless you’re in Bapu’s district?

    Back at you.  KO’s questions applied to all 5 candidates… two of who are running in the district I vote in… do you live in any City district?   Yeah, your right to privacy, and to troll, so no answer… or perhaps you view yourself as a righteous sniper… your sniping, trollish comments will likely remain… mine will be ‘moderated’ into the bit bucket… you win… good job.

    Why do you single out Bapu? I wonder…

    1. Ron Oertel

      Back at you.  KO’s questions applied to all 5 candidates… two of who are running in the district I vote in…
      Why do you single out Bapu?

      Your 12:52 p.m. comment (that I was responding to) was made in response to Bapu’s proposal.  Do you live in his district?  Also, have you made other comments (e.g., in regard to Kelsey – who is running in that same district)?  Such as the quote below? Also, would you like for me to look up other comments you’ve made about candidates who don’t represent your district?

      Your 9:19 a.m. comment:  Sidebar:  so far the candidates have been pretty ‘clean’ about issues vs. personalities… some of their supporters (surrogates?) not so much… can think of two in particular, who don’t even live in the districts they opine upon, who are ‘negative’… perhaps they hope that will bring ‘good fortune’ for a candidate…

      Seems like the point I was making has been missed.  You (and others) comment all the time regarding candidates who don’t represent your district.  And yet, you’re the one who seems to have a problem with that, not me.

      Let me know if you’d like me to find other examples of comments you’ve made in regard to candidates who don’t live in your district.

      Unlike you, I understand that candidates whom I (or other individuals) can’t even vote for impact the entire city – even non-voters. In fact, they sometimes have an even bigger impact than someone in your own district, who may have to recuse themselves from a council vote.

      And last time I checked, the Vanguard had no requirement that a commenter has to live in a particular council member’s district to “qualify” to make a comment. Any belief regarding that is a figment of one’s imagination, and is usually put forth with an intent to undermine arguments. (You’re not alone in doing this.)

  7. Keith Y Echols

    Bapu Vaitla

    1) accelerate the production of permanent supportive housing and create a community navigator program to assist the unhoused; 

    That sounds nice.  But with all new proposals, I think a source of income should be required for creating anything new.

     2) pass an Affordable Housing Ordinance that strongly incentivizes the construction of units; 

    Again, sounds nice; I’m all for adding affordable housing.  But under what conditions?  As is ever the case the devil is in the details.

    1) launch a carbon mitigation fund to implement our Climate Action and Adaptation Plan;

    I’m skeptical of this kind of thing.  Generally carbon mitigation allows people to pay out of actually having to cut carbon admissions and the actual cut carbon emissions often never happen.  As a developer; I’m all for streamlining the development process but as a local member of the community…not so much.

    2) expand sustainable transit options, especially by increasing bus routes and creating a network of micro-mobility options; 

    Yes, I’m all for this as long as it isn’t a proposal for wind powered star trek transporters, mag lev train or a hybrid bicycle/toad tunnel construct.

    3) enhance local capacity to generate clean energy by piloting micro-grids throughout town and investing in larger-scale solar energy generation

    Sure as long as it also brings down local energy costs.  How about  something at the county level?

    1) implement a professionalized civic volunteer program that mobilizes the talents, time, and goodwill of our residents; 2) create a “CityLab” research center in which the City and UC Davis together identify key policy questions and seek grants to pilot innovative programs; and 3)3) give City Commissions a clearer voice in policy formulation while raising expectations of Commission output.

    When I first read this I hoped “CityLab” meant creating a business incubator for prospective companies coming out of UCD; much like Roseville and Elk Grove have done.  But I read it again and it sounds like more planning to have a pre-meetings before an actual meeting so everyone can discuss not getting stuff done.  I mean, I get that it’s all part of the local government bureaucracy but you actually try to build something and then bureaucracy develop on it’s own. 

     Dan Carson

    Our city faces a $5 million annual funding gap between projected tax revenues and the costs of maintaining basic city services that threatens the high quality of life we enjoy as Davis residents

    He gets it.  All the good intentions stuff (environmental, social, infrastructure) has to be paid for.  I’d support Carson if I didn’t think he was politically inept based on his suing his Measure H opponents for legal costs.

    Gloria Partida

    Smart land use policies are critical to ensuring our quality of life is protected. Ensuring we have clear directions on zoning codes will make it easier to find ways to create mixed use infill projects that create hubs of community, delineate a road map to a vibrant downtown and protect the safety of our children’s routes to school.

    That all sounds nice.  But the reality is that infill development isn’t a magical solution for the city.  You can’t say “Abra-mixed-use-cadabra”!  and all of the city’s economic and housing development problems will be solved.  Developers have to want to build mixed use in your city.  Do they want to in Davis?  To some degree yes?  But the fights with the UMall and Trackside show how hostile and difficult getting things done in Davis really is.  Some peripheral development will be necessary.  The key will be how it’s done, integrated it, create a neighborhood community and mitigate it’s impacts.  I think Partida supported DISC (for all it’s flaws).  So maybe her words about planning and mixed use infill is to make the regressives feel better.

    Kelsey Fortune

    Climate is my first priority, and it is difficult to disentangle anything from our goal of carbon neutrality. 

    Yeah, people generally support the environment but vote with their pocketbooks (that’s how we have so many environmental initiatives that ultimately do so little….or in other words people are all for the environment but just don’t make me pay for it or do anything to increase the prices of things I buy).  Personally, I’m all for local environmental measures as long as you can prove to me that it makes a difference at the local level (Do those measures make a difference if Mr. Burns continues to pollute the atmosphere with his nuclear power plant in nearby Springfield?).  Or we could build a biodome over Davis to keep all the good environment stuff for ourselves…..hmmm….in “The Simpsons” the movie the government put a dome over Springfield for being an environmental disaster.  Maybe we should put domes on all cities so they can govern their own environment.  I think Isaac Asimov had some variation of that idea in “Caves of Steel”.

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