Commentary: But Is There Common Ground To Be Found?

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – A comment from last week struck me at the time it was written and I have been pondering it for several days now: “If you want to work to build consensus to find solutions on housing with a broad coalition of stakeholders, it is a good idea to work to find common ground first. It is a bad idea to use pejorative phrases and insults that create an adversarial situation.”

It reminds me of calls for a community visioning process whereby the community can come together, put forward a vision, that can then be adopted by our city leaders.

All of that sounds great.  Who doesn’t want a more collaborative process that reaches consensus – but is that really realistic?

Since 2016, we have seen five Measure J votes – two on Nishi, two on DISC, and one on WDAAC.  Two of those five won fairly easily.  Two were narrowly defeated.  One was overwhelmingly defeated.  None of them were devoid of contention and acrimony.

If anything, moving to district elections is likely to make Davis politics more rather than less contentious.  We have already seen this during this round with constant attacks mainly on platforms like NextDoor, but even letters to the editor have become more pointed as in order to knock off an incumbent in a single member district, you have to attack that incumbent.

Things in Davis are probably not as bad as they are in the nation.  Probably.  Hopefully.  Not certainly.

I remember a long time ago reading Tip O’Neill’s book.  If you recall, O’Neill was the leader of the Democratic opposition to President Ronald Reagan in the early 80s.  They would fight contentiously over policy, but O’Neill was fond of going to the President’s ranch and chopping wood with the President.

When Joe Biden got elected, he had institutional memory from a bygone era where bipartisanship was still possible.  He talked during his Presidential run in 2020 of bringing both sides of the aisle together.  Whether that was sincere or empty political rhetoric I will leave for another day, but the bottom line – and you can blame both sides of the aisle, it proved impossible.

The nation remains divided as ever – probably more so.

And you could argue that it should be that divided.  There is no middle ground on the legitimacy of the 2020 or January 6.  When you have a majority of the Republican members of congress believing the lie of the stolen 2020 election, there is no place for common ground.

As I said, hopefully the city of Davis is not nearly as divided as the nation, but things are not headed in the right direction.

Let’s be clear: it may or may not have been a mistake to legally challenge the No on H ballot language.  It was certainly a mistake for Dan Carson to have been the one to do so.  It was even more a mistake for Carson to ask for attorney fees.

At the same time, I believe that the ballot language was in fact misleading if not false.  But the legal remedy was fraught with not only legal risk but political risk.  Contrary to the claims of the No on H side, the judge did not rule that their language was accurate, he ruled that it did not rise to such a level of falsehood that it compelled legal action.  The ruling on the field stood – the call was not confirmed – if you understand instant replay rules in sports.

I’m sorry, but my reaction to all of this is that if you want to complain about the use of the term NIMBY, perhaps you should look at the language used to demonize every single project that has come before the voters and many that came before council.

Developer has long been a four-letter word in Davis.  The motives of citizens who support housing projects are called into question.  Politicians are accused of being shills or “stooges” for developers (even in a letter published today).

And you want to complain about the use of the term NIMBY?  You want to talk about consensus?

That’s not to defend the conduct of either side in this debate.  Both sides have made mistakes.  But the well was poisoned long before those who believe that our lack of affordability in housing is permanently changing and altering the character of this community started to push back.

It is clear that the adversarial process for city planning is flawed.

Look no further than the University Commons project.  Brixmor purchased the University Mall – a dilapidated and antiquated facility.  The city pushed for them to include mixed use housing given the underutilization of the site and its proximity to the university.

But this is not Sim City.  There are actual costs to redevelopment that make it prohibitive (which is why we used to subsidize it through RDA money).  In order to pencil it out, Brixmor figured it would take about seven stories.  That was too tall for the neighbors – rightly or wrongly.

What transpired was the worst of all worlds, an adversarial process, a compromise on the dais, and an agreement that no one was happy with.  After attempting to make it pencil out for a couple of years, Brixmor finally conceded and will now not do the infill project.  Instead it will be commercial only.

For those asking for infll as our way out of the housing crisis – it was a blow.  To those arguing for consensus, it was a blow.

How do we move forward?  If you don’t like the term NIMBY, fine.  But what happens when every single proposal meets with the same response from the same people, over and over again?  When there are accusations of impropriety on every single project?

Expecting one side to stand down, is not going to work.  Is there a middle ground?  I don’t know.  I would to hear it.  But unfortunately, I think things are going to get worse before they get better.

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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31 Comments

  1. Keith Olson

    And you want to complain about the use of the term NIMBY?

    David, here’s the problem for you to be speaking out on the term NIMBY.  Even though I don’t find the term to be something that should be stifled, others do. In my opinion the only reason you allow it on your blog and use the term yourself is because of your bias in favor of most housing and development proposals.  I’d bet that your blog would moderate the term otherwise because some people find it offensive.

      1. Keith Y Echols

        You missed the point of the column which was situating the use of the term NIMBY within an ecosystem is disparaging language and accusations.

        I swear there was some nouveau class for liberal think and speak that I somehow missed in the past 10-15 years. (maybe on a subconscious level I intentionally missed it?).

        Your silly wording aside walking on egg shells when communicating has become the norm for the entire political spectrum in today’s society.

        Whatever happened to “sticks and stones”?  I’m kind of a NIMBY and I don’t give two @#$%s if some regressive non-growther calls me one.  I’ve been called worse (and with cause).  What happened to I’m too cool for whatever you say to bother me and you’re too cool to let anything I say bother you…so let’s not waste out energy tip toeing around verbal land mines and running for cover in our safe spaces?  If we stop getting offended by what the other side has to say and letting our feelings and egos get bruised; then maybe we can get back to communicating and coming up with solutions that neither side is satisfied with.

  2. Matt Williams

    And you could argue that it should be that divided.  There is no middle ground on the legitimacy of the 2020 [election] or January 6.  When you have a majority of the Republican members of congress believing the lie of the stolen 2020 election, there is no place for common ground.

    Those are specific events.  A Vision for the community that acts as a common understanding of where the community would like to go does not have the clear “edges” that the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection have.  There is very little or no nuance in those events.  There is a whole lot of room for nuance in a community coming together to articulate a Community Vision.

    Part of the reason for the polarization in the five Measure J vote processes is the lack of any “backdrop” context to put the individual proposals up against.  Agreement on what Davis currently is as a community is missing.  Agreement on where Davis is going is also missing.  Because of that, our City Councils have acted autocratically on a number of occasions, disregarding the clear messages their constituents have sent them.  They ignored the Planning Commission on the University Commons decision.  They ignored the advice of the Utilities Commission and community energy professionals in the Bright Night decision.  They ignored everyone, other then the Firefighters Union, on the ladder truck decision.  And they clearly ignored the November 2020 voters in rushing DiSC 2022 to the ballot with a truncated review process.

    When your elected leaders act as autocrats, is it any surprise that the huddled masses push back?

     

    1. Bill Marshall

       is it any surprise that the huddled masses push back?

      Or, even the “landed gentry” or ‘wannabe’ autocrats…

      Matt makes many good points…

      The answer to “is there common ground”, may well lie in the question, “is it all about me (and my ‘preferences’/personal philosophy), or is it all about the common weal (well being for the entire community [including me])?”

      That latter question has seemed to be seriously lacking… but ‘compromising’, for the sake of ‘compromising’, just leads to a “compromised situation”… more rationality, less ‘philosophy’/’political “science”‘ would seem to lead to ‘common ground’…

    2. Keith Y Echols

      And you could argue that it should be that divided.  There is no middle ground on the legitimacy of the 2020 [election] or January 6. 

      So I have a different take on this subject.  Yes there’s no middle ground on the simple question of election legitimacy.  But ultimately election legitimacy is  just a superficial symptom of the real problem if we’re talking about common ground and getting along.  The MAGA nation makes up a fraction of the Republican party.  If you polled Republican voters….even MAGA ones…a good majority will say they don’t even like Trump.  So the important question is why do they support a guy they don’t even like?  The answer is that they really don’t like the progressive agenda of the liberals who seem to have taken over the country’s culture and at times politics.  These guys are cultural conservatives.

      I sort of equate the situation to the older sibling constantly hearing from their parents about all the achievements the younger sibling is getting.  The older sibling doesn’t want the younger one to do badly but he/she/they would like their parents to shut up about the younger one and remember that they’re still doing good things.  So the older sibling is going to punch the younger one sometimes when he/she/they get too annoyed with them.   

      Conservatives don’t want pronouns shoved down their throat (many would be fine with people going by whatever they want…they’d be like..,”fine, whatever”…and many would make fun of those pronouns….but again sticks and stones) but hearing it constantly in the media is just going to irritate conservatives.  Every new TV show or movie has some character replaced by an actor of some other race, nationality or sexual orientation.  I mean inclusion and representation is a good thing but after a while it’s going to start to annoy many who normally wouldn’t care (I personally don’t care….but it’s gotten to the point where I notice it to the point of distraction and I know many who are annoyed).  Many in conservative areas are being told to get educated (re-educated), get new jobs…we’re doing away with yours (and yes from and environmental stand point it’s probably a good thing that some of those jobs are being phased out in the long run)…to what degree this is true is up for debate but this what they hear from liberals.   I’m usually considered left of center and I can hear the moral righteousness of the progressives and not an understanding message to the right of center conservative that is culturally and often economically being left behind.   If you’re being told how much you suck culturally and even economically, you’re going to double down in the one area you still have some control….politics.

      Agreement on what Davis currently is as a community is missing.  Agreement on where Davis is going is also missing.  Because of that, our City Councils have acted autocratically on a number of occasions, disregarding the clear messages their constituents have sent them. 

      Matt, you and I disagree on how this all should work.  IMO Davis politics is broken because the voters think they should have direct control over decisions  (Measure H, commissions that are ADVISERY) and that the “leaders” are simply pass through administrators of the voter’s will.  That’s not leadership.  Leaders campaign by telling voters what they want to do.  Then they do what they think is best.  If the voters don’t like it, they vote them out.   Vision for something doesn’t usually come from getting a bunch of people to get together to come to a consensus on what they want.  Vision generally comes from a person or group (those are leaders) that then sells the vision to the people.  The people then vote on if they want that vision or not and continue to vote if they still want that vision or a new one.

       

      1. Matt Williams

        Matt said: Agreement on what Davis currently is as a community is missing.  Agreement on where Davis is going is also missing.  Because of that, our City Councils have acted autocratically on a number of occasions, disregarding the clear messages their constituents have sent them. 

        Keith replied: Matt, you and I disagree on how this all should work.  IMO Davis politics is broken because the voters think they should have direct control over decisions  (Measure H, commissions that are ADVISERY) and that the “leaders” are simply pass through administrators of the voter’s will.  That’s not leadership.  Leaders campaign by telling voters what they want to do.  Then they do what they think is best.  If the voters don’t like it, they vote them out.   Vision for something doesn’t usually come from getting a bunch of people to get together to come to a consensus on what they want.  Vision generally comes from a person or group (those are leaders) that then sells the vision to the people.  The people then vote on if they want that vision or not and continue to vote if they still want that vision or a new one.

         

        Keith, I won’t try and respond here in the comments, but will put together an article that focuses solely on the issue you have raised.  You and I have items of agreement and items of disagreement.  The dialogue should be interesting.

      2. Richard_McCann

        Keith E

        I think the vision will have to come from leadership in the community, but not necessarily ELECTED leadership. This community has many examples of such leadership. I don’t think we need input from every single voter, but we do need to get input from the important groups within the community.

  3. Ron Oertel

    Of course “NIMBY” is a pejorative, as it implies that someone supports development – but just not in their “backyard”.

    I don’t believe that most people who oppose a particular development in their “backyard” are NIMBYs, unless they propose that the development be built in their neighbor’s backyard, instead.

    As far as “common ground”, DISC is an example in which those who supported it couldn’t even acknowledge that it would have created a housing shortage (and more commuting) – the very “problem” that they claim to be trying to solve.

    As such, no – there is no common ground.  Not even regarding what the “problems” are, let alone the “solutions”.

    For the vast majority of the people living in any community, there is no “problem” that’s going to be “solved” by more development. Including for those who believe that their housing costs are “too high”. (For that matter, this really only applies to renters, since those who purchase a house have already agreed to a set of fixed costs. Mortgage payments don’t change, unless you refinance.)

    I’d suggest that the city explore options to strengthen rent control, which should at least help long-term renters. This has been occurring in an increasing number of places – including those outside of major cities. (Antioch is one example.)

    1. David Greenwald

      “Of course “NIMBY” is a pejorative, as it implies that someone supports development – but just not in their “backyard”.”

      I think there are two points that are clearly missing in your treatise.

      First, NIMBY may or may not be a pejorative, but so too are terms like “developer shill” and its various incarnates.

      Second, you state it “implies that someone supports development – but just not in their “backyard”” but ignore that if not here, that development will occur somewhere else, so therefore in effect people do support development elsewhere if they oppose it in their neighborhood or their community.

      1. Ron Oertel

        First, NIMBY may or may not be a pejorative, but so too are terms like “developer shill” and its various incarnates.

        Did I say that “developer shill” wasn’t a pejorative?

        Second, you state it “implies that someone supports development – but just not in their “backyard”” but ignore that if not here, that development will occur somewhere else, so therefore in effect people do support development elsewhere if they oppose it in their neighborhood or their community.

        It could be that some folks don’t support much development anywhere.  There’s a pejorative name for them, as well.

        Or, perhaps they’re counting on “NIMBYs” in those “other” backyards to speak up for themselves.  As it is, it’s pretty difficult to fight something in your own backyard, let alone someone else’s.

        Often times, what we have are “solutions” seeking out “problems”.  Declining school enrollment fits neatly into a category of a “non-problem” for a given community as a whole. However, for a vocal, small minority of the population, it’s an “enormous” problem – and one for which they’d sacrifice pretty much anything to “fix”. Not sure if there’s an appropriate pejorative for them, yet.

         

         

        1. David Greenwald

          “Did I say that “developer shill” wasn’t a pejorative?”

          the point of my piece this morning was to situate the use of the term NIMBY within a broader framework.

          “It could be that some folks don’t support much development anywhere”

          Realistically that’s not how the world works. If you don’t build housing here, you build it somewhere else or someone else does. Hence the word “tacitly” or “in effect” – the impact of local opposition is to put the housing somewhere else. Housing doesn’t create people, it creates places for people to live. People have to live somewhere.

        2. Ron Oertel

          the point of my piece this morning was to situate the use of the term NIMBY within a broader framework.

          That’s what we’re doing, here.  Discussing pejoratives.

          Realistically that’s not how the world works. If you don’t build housing here, you build it somewhere else or someone else does. Hence the word “tacitly” or “in effect” – the impact of local opposition is to put the housing somewhere else. Housing doesn’t create people, it creates places for people to live. People have to live somewhere.

          You’re subscribing to the “toothpaste tube” theory – that if something isn’t built “here”, it will be built “elsewhere”.

          I don’t think there’s much evidence for that.  There are communities which pursue more people and development.  (In fact, that’s the “norm” in most places in America, and is still an underlying foundation/belief in regard to capitalism, itself.)

          Here’s an observation/question:  Younger generations are getting married later (if at all), having fewer children, etc.  I was just reading about that.  Part of this seems to be related to “lifestyle” choices, but part of it may also be due to rising costs.  Women also work these days, for the most part.

          What if rising costs actually contribute to having fewer children?  For example, a place like San Francisco has relatively few families.  Are high costs responsible for that, or are they simply leaving to have children?   (It’s probably a combination of that – fewer children than would otherwise be born, combined with some folks leaving to have kids.)

          In any case, there may be some evidence that higher costs (in general) is one of the causes for having fewer children.  And if you believe that restricting development leads to higher costs, doing so might actually lead to less underlying “demand”, as people have fewer children.

           

           

          1. David Greenwald

            “I don’t think there’s much evidence for that”

            Nonsense. People have to live somewhere. They are either going to live here, or somewhere else.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Nonsense. People have to live somewhere. They are either going to live here, or somewhere else.

          Sure – ignore everything I just pointed out, regarding how “demand” is created (and where new people “come from”).  (Not addressing immigration, here – just births.)

          The birthrate has been falling for a long time.  And ultimately, it has to.

          It is interesting, however – that rising costs may be contributing to a lower birth rate, at least in developed countries.

          In “truly poor” countries, the opposite may be true in regard to poverty. As such, does immigration “contribute” to a failure to address the birthrate in poor countries? In other words, allows them to continue avoiding dealing with the problems in their own country in regard to their own birthrate? (I don’t know.)

          I believe this is my fifth comment, already.

          1. David Greenwald

            You’re not arguing in the real world. In the real world, you are either building new housing here, or somewhere else. You block housing here, you are de facto putting it somewhere else.

            Also, birth rate isn’t the only factor, replacement housing and migration patterns following job creation is as well.

        4. Bill Marshall

          There’s nothing inherently wrong with “pejoratives”… sometimes folk have to be “called out” when they are “acting out”…

          But use of pejoratives don’t foster common ground… they can be useful for ‘shaming’, or ‘discounting’, but neither lead to “common ground”, which I (silly me!) thought was the thrust of the article, but recent posts have shown that there is a lot of impediments to ‘finding common ground’… technically “off-topic”, but go to show the ‘impediments’…

          ‘Tis a puzzlement”… particularly with no indication of ‘moderation’… I guess the exceptions prove the rule…

        5. Tim Keller

          I agree with Bill here.  The pejorative is necessary sometimes.

          Example, a couple of years ago I pointed out to a member of my extended family that a video they re-posted on facebook was racist.   ( it wasn’t overtly racist… but definitely had a bunch of dog-whistles that my family member was apparently not clued into )

          Did he take offense at me pointing out that his post was racist?  You bet!

          Was it the right thing to do?  Yes, because it caused him to look at what he posted through a different lens and understand what was really being said.  He “asked his black friends” and found I was right.  He ended up thanking me and deleting the post.

          Same is true for the word Nimby… the very person who is objecting to the use of this term the most here is literally the same person who repeatedly suggested that the businesses that were intended to go to Disc would be better off setting up shop in west sac or woodland… LITERAL nimbyism…  So if the shoe fits…

          Do I think that calling someone a NIMBY will cause them to reconsider their life choices?  Not really, but we can hope…

  4. Edgar Wai

    “But what happens when every single proposal meets with the same response from the same people, over and over again?”

    This is the problem with majority rule democracy. If a community wants to decide something using majority rule, there are fundamentally two main solutions:

    1) Show that their use of majority rule in that aspect is a violation of a human right, and propose an alternative way of making such a decision without violation.

    2) Show that the minority can reasonably break-off and have independence where their minority view becomes a majority after the break-up, so that their policies would pass.

    About (1):
    Land use is perfect for decisions based on autonomy by making decision power capable of running out per voter.

    Example: Divide land by the number of voters so each voter has x sqft of decision power. When a project is proposed, compute the total sqft it requests (including impact to traffic as converted to sqft). Let voters bank their decision sqft to the project. A project that gets its requested sqft passes. A person needs to spend decision sqft on where they are living and controlling. So when people move into that development, the new people must bank their sqft there, releasing the endorsement sqft of the voters. >> The larger your own home sqft is, the fewer decision sqft you have left to decide about the community. The more exclusive your community is, the less decision power you have left to decide about the rest of the world.

  5. Bill Marshall

    Nonsense. People have to live somewhere. They are either going to live here, or somewhere else.

    You miss a point, David… there are some who don’t want people, particularly ‘more people’, at all (except themselves of course)…  PERIOD! END OF STATEMENT…

    I do not share that view… but some do… and some of them post here… no immigration (documented or not)… no children… let’s shed the old and/or infirm, the homeless, substance abusers, etc. (they’re a drag on the economy)… THAT’s their mantra…

    Je ne d’accord pas…

      1. Bill Marshall

        There are those who fear (stupidly, IMO), “build it and they will come”… not excusing it, but ‘it is’ for those folk, and their fingers are firmly in their ears, and their “minds are made up”, don’t bother to confuse them with facts…

        Back on topic, those with “fingers in their ears”, or blinders on their eyes, will never come to the “common ground table”, so why bother to deal with them, if seeking “common ground”…

        [edited]

      2. Ron Oertel

        So actually, this is my fifth comment for the day.  (Not the earlier one.)

        You’re likely somewhat incorrect regarding your conclusion that “building more housing” doesn’t “create people”.

        Though I would word it differently, in that it facilitates people having more kids, encourages immigration, etc. So in that sense, it doesn’t directly “create” them – but it does facilitate the decision to have them.

        I recall this being discussed in an article.  That is, do high costs (e.g., in a place like San Francisco) cause people to have fewer children?  There’s evidence that it does – and that it does NOT entirely lead to people just going elsewhere to have kids. (Though as noted earlier, probably both things occur – fewer people having kids, and an exodus for those who are determined enough to have them.)

        Increased quantities of traditional single-family dwellings likely “facilitates” the decision to have them, more than any other type of housing. If this type of housing is increasingly out-of-reach, fewer people will have kids (no doubt).

        It also likely reduces immigration – perhaps forcing immigrants to remain where they are (and deal with their problems in their own country).

        But when measuring population, you’d have to define the scope (e.g., geographic area) that you’re talking about.  For example, a city, region, state, country, or the entire world.

        Pursuit of economic activity (as you noted) is what drives people to migrate to a given area.  (And again, that’s still the “norm” in this country – pursue as much growth as possible – both businesses and people.)

        As long as those places keep “wanting” this, why not just let them do so?  Again, you’re not going to be able to control what they do anyway.  For example, Davis can’t even control what Woodland, Natomas, or Elk Grove do.

        Good luck controlling the population size in India or Africa, as broader examples.  (And for that matter, let us know when you can stop the war in Ukraine, though I suppose this is probably decreasing that population – if anything.)

        Perhaps the best analogy is that of local contributions to climate change.  In the broader scope of things, it might not make much difference.  But if every community tried to limit its negative contribution, it would make a difference.  Which ultimately is another way of saying, “think globally, act locally”.

        By the way, did they “replace” DISC anywhere else?  I don’t think so.  Turns out that “squeezing the toothpaste tube” theory might just be a lot of nonsense.

        Ultimately, I suspect that the entire Ponzi scheme regarding capitalism may collapse.  Perhaps we’re already seeing signs of that, in regard to wages not keeping up with cost inflation.  (Which may cause folks to try even harder to “restart” the Ponzi scheme.)  But in the meantime, it seems to be contributing to people having fewer numbers of kids (at least in developed countries).  (And actually, some of those folks cite environmental concerns regarding that decision, as well.)

         

         

    1. Richard_McCann

      Bill M

      The person who posts here most consistently that he doesn’t want more people in Davis in fact lives in Woodland. Those who live in Davis have a more nuanced view.

  6. Richard_McCann

    Several thoughts;

    – As Matt and I (and others) have discussed, we can create a more cohesive vision that can allow for new development and create an environment that new businesses find more inviting. We have to both listen more carefully to each other and be more realistic in our expectations and how the world works. (I’m finding that on Nextdoor where concern about the City’s climate action plan has flared up, that if I present a deeper set of facts, most people are understanding how their issue of concern fits into the larger context of the state’s energy system and the CAAP.) And see my response above to Keith E about how community leadership need not come solely from electeds.

    – David, you start this column with a question about whether we can reach consensus but then deviate into a rather harsh commentary on those who have opposed developments in town. Even as someone who sees the advantages of new developments, we need to have balanced discussions to facilitate such consensus.

    – Commentary from an outside interlocutor who has no real roots in our community who tries to assert that his views reflect the interests of the community does not move this discussion forward. Why do his views matter when they add no information, but only irrelevant opinion? Providing a forum for someone like that is like allowing a heckler disrupt an important public debate. The Vanguard needs to consider whether it wants to be an key cog in achieving community consensus or being overly obsequious in allowing of freedom of speech. These can be in conflict.

    – Keith E, BTW I disagree with you about how you are characterizing the MAGA voters who are now the majority of the GOP, not a small group. The attitudes of most of those people are based in the same attitudes that led to the Confederacy and again the Jim Crow laws. It’s not racism per se but rather a desire to impose the privilege that they have long enjoyed but is now threatened by the combination of rising non-white, non-Christian populations and the decline of resource-exploitation industries being replaced by tech and services. They voice resentment in a way that really doesn’t show that they care for the well being of their “younger brother.” They want to dominate their “younger brother.” (Fortunately in Davis, this is a very small group.)

    1. Moderator

      Providing a forum for someone like that is like allowing a heckler disrupt an important public debate. The Vanguard needs to consider whether it wants to be an key cog in achieving community consensus or being overly obsequious in allowing of freedom of speech. 

      If a particular participant’s comments bother you, you can simply click on the button below. You’ll find it on the lower right side of that person’s comments. Then you will never be bothered again by them.

    2. Keith Y Echols

      I think the vision will have to come from leadership in the community, but not necessarily ELECTED leadership. This community has many examples of such leadership. I don’t think we need input from every single voter, but we do need to get input from the important groups within the community.

      Vision doesn’t come from the community.  Vision comes from people with stakes in the game.  From those that stand to gain or lose something personally.  In the case of economic and real estate development; vision and leadership comes from the person/people trying to bring a company into the city or build homes.  Those leaders are the actual businessmen and politicians trying to accomplish these things.  Vision and leadership isn’t planning.  Planning is just part of it.  But more often not vision comes through opportunities.  The planning comes from trying to piece together the opportunity and if it’s right for the people.  That planning begets more planning for future ventures.  You need leaders that are actively bringing in opportunities for the city.

      Let me put it this way.  All of the city council candidates when asked about economic development and housing brought up the downtown plan, infill, mixed use and form based code.  That’s like asking someone about their up coming trip.  You’d expect to hear where they’re going and what they plan to see and experience.  Instead you hear that they plan to buy the right right map, airline ticket and special international GPS.

      “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… *do* things.”

      -The Joker

      “Everyone has a plan, until they’re punched in the mouth.”

      -Mike Tyson

      “When you’re flying by the seat of your pants, nothing sounds better than a Plan B”

      -The Balladeer from “The Dukes of Hazzard”

      But if you get the community together to form a consensus about a vision; you’re just going to get a handful of factions that fight it out over mostly stupid stuff that most of them don’t understand anyway .  Heck even a specially picked advisory board is…well…advisory.  Again, who cares about advice unless there’s something tangible attached to it (like an opportunity).

       Keith E, BTW I disagree with you about how you are characterizing the MAGA voters who are now the majority of the GOP, not a small group. The attitudes of most of those people are based in the same attitudes that led to the Confederacy and again the Jim Crow laws. It’s not racism per se but rather a desire to impose the privilege that they have long enjoyed but is now threatened by the combination of rising non-white, non-Christian populations and the decline of resource-exploitation industries being replaced by tech and services. They voice resentment in a way that really doesn’t show that they care for the well being of their “younger brother.” They want to dominate their “younger brother.” 

      I really don’t think you know the typical conservative voter.  Most of them don’t care about what liberals do personally (other than maybe the abortion issue).  They just don’t want to keep hearing from the younger brother that they suck for being the older brother (conservative)….and progressives do like to tell others how much they suck….others being conservatives AND other liberals.  All that past stuff you brought up is irrelevant.  Jim Crow laws?  Yeah….that’s no, for most it’s not about keeping the non-whites down; it’s about not being told you suck.  So let all that past stuff go.  “Impose their privilege?”  I guess, if by privilege you mean a decent paying job that doesn’t require a 4 year degree and moving to a coastal city…. and again, not told how much they suck.  You know what would go over well as a symbolic olive branch from Hollywood to the conservative culture?  Bring back “The Dukes of Hazzard” and let the General Lee in all it’s non-PC awesomeness (remember what I said about people and not bothering to be offended anymore?) make car jumps again in Hazzard County.

      “You know what happens when a politician takes Viagra?  He gets taller.”

      -Uncle Jessie from “The Dukes of Hazzard” the movie.

       

  7. Tim Keller

    I think the answer to your question of “can consensus be made?”   Depends on the answer to the question of “consensus among whom?”

    It would be naive to assume that there is any possible middle ground that pleases everyone.  But is there a potential to getting to a plan which is acceptable to 51% of davis voters?  Absolutely.   And that really is what we should be focusing on.

    Anyone who reads these pages more than once knows that there are a handful of people who are already against the next development proposal.   They might deny it, (and I would be eager for them to prove me wrong,) but we all suspect its true.

    As one of the people who has called for a citizen-led process, I am under no illusions that we can get everyone to hold hands and sing kum-bye-ya…  But there are enough of us who are not absolutist / extremist in our view of growth that we CAN find common ground.    I had a great conversation just a couple of weeks ago with someone who had signed the No on H ballot statement, and we agreed on quite a bit, including ideas for how to move forward.

    So yes, so long as we are realistic with the extent to which we are expecting consensus, then I DO believe it is possible.  But we will likely not be getting there w/ the extremists, and thats going to have to be okay.

     

  8. Ron Oertel

    I want to expand upon my earlier comment, that increasing prices impacts decisions to have children.  (Not just rising housing prices, but all prices – especially those related to having children.) So if you believe that continued growth and sprawl is not sustainable (environmentally or otherwise), rising prices (including that for housing) is actually moving society in the “right” direction.

    I found the following article, as an example.  Keep in mind that this article was written from a perspective that declining birth rates are a “bad” thing, and the article took “special care” to single-out rising housing prices. (Actually, that was also due to the specific parameters I used for my “search” for articles.)

    Financial burdens, compounded by the high cost of housing, has knocked down the state’s fertility rate, according to experts. 

    The United States’ fertility rate is also dropping. It is at 1.82 per woman based on 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Myers said California’s has dipped more.

    In fact, the National Bureau of Economic Research contends there’s a direct link between housing costs and birth rates. A recent study by the nonprofit, nonpartisan group estimated that a $10,000 increase in home prices results in a 2.4 percent decline in fertility rates among people who do not own homes. But the study also suggested that same home price increase was accompanied by a 0.8 percent increase in fertility rates among homeowners.

    Yet another one is the cost of day care which she said will eat up more than half of her paycheck. “Childcare from zero to five in Southern California is as high as your rent,” said Anthony Ferreira, a San Diego financial planner with WorthPoint.

    https://calmatters.org/housing/2018/07/low-california-birth-rate-housing-costs/

    Here’s another article, which references rising costs (in general) in regard to the declining birthrate among millennials:

    Millennials Aren’t Having Kids Because It’s Too Expensive

    Millennials have been (unfairly) mocked as the generation uninterested in conventional adult life. They’ve been criticized for being slow to adopt everything from marriage to homeownership, so it’s no surprise that people in their 20s and 30s in the U.S. are also having fewer kids than ever.

    https://money.com/child-care-costs-declining-birth-rate/

    (Though it is interesting that the article notes that wealthier families have fewer children that poor families.)

    In addition to the population (which is actually DROPPING in California), one thing that David fails to note is that the existing population has been migrating out of urbanized/dense areas such as San Francisco and Los Angeles to more “affordable” areas (including the Sacramento/Davis region).  As such, purposefully-accommodating that shift is far more environmentally-damaging than encouraging those folks to stay where they are.

    1. Ron Oertel

      I take it that this “what is a NIMBY” article has been (let’s just say) “overshadowed” by some other news.

      In any case, this “reshuffling” of the existing population is actually what’s driving most of the growth in the region.  And when this reshuffling is accommodated in this region, it results in sprawl – especially when compared to the locales where most of the new residents came from.  The population as a whole is decreasing in California.

      That’s how The Cannery ended-up appealing to folks from the Bay Area, as well.

      So despite the state’s efforts, folks are moving out of dense locales (such as San Francisco) to less-dense, less-expensive locales (such as Davis and the Sacramento region).  And according to David’s logic, you’re a “NIMBY” if you don’t support that.

      It’s all relative – Davis is cheap and sprawling compared to much of the Bay Area. And Woodland is cheap and sprawling compared to Davis.

      I don’t know how anyone can prevent people from pursuing places where they get more for their money. As demonstrated during the pandemic (and the rise of telecommuting), people seem to choose “cheap and sprawling” at every opportunity. (Or more politely, “more bang for their buck”).

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