Commentary: Will Berkeley Become the Straw that Broke CEQA’s Back?

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Berkeley, CA – The only thing more predictable than the ruling by the courts— which found the university’s proposal failed to comply with several facets of CEQA and thus compelled UC Berkeley to postpone the project until it completes another environmental review—is the reaction by leaders like Governor Newsom expressing outrage.

But, as our commentary last week showed, complaints about CEQA have been omnipresent, while actual fixes have been small and inconsequential.

The San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board called him out on this Thursday.  “Gavin Newsom is talking tough on CEQA. Let’s see some action,” they wrote.  They’re right.

Here we are in a housing crisis, and the court is putting “much-needed housing on hold” this time “for about 1,100 students and 125 lower-income and homeless people in historic People’s Park.”

The Chronicle noted, “That housing for a student population — that is by some accounts 10% homeless — could be held hostage by hypothetical concerns over party noise says everything you need to know about CEQA’s failure to live up to a contemporary understanding of environmental harm.”

The good news: some legislators have already stepped up to propose some fixes.

Even before the ruling, Assemblymember Josh Hoover, a Republican from Sacramento County, “introduced a bill to specify that population growth and noise resulting from a housing project cannot be considered an environmental impact under CEQ.”

Senator Scott Wiener has vowed to introduce legislation to prevent CEQA from requiring “evaluation of the type of people who will live in proposed new housing.”

For the Chronicle, “These are common-sense measures that should pass and be signed into law. But they are also the equivalent of Band-Aids patching bullet holes.”

Instead, they go much further: “CEQA requires sweeping, comprehensive reforms so that infill housing projects in urban, transit-friendly areas can’t continue to be bogged down by fraudulent lawsuits or weaponized by NIMBYs, labor and environmental groups to kill projects or extract unreasonable concessions.”

While Senator Wiener has certainly been a leader on housing issues in his time in the Senate, the Chronicle rightly points out that the state legislature needs to do more and that the person that needs to be a “champion for comprehensive reform” is Governor Newsom.

Again, as we pointed out last week, he’s said the right things.

He said, “California cannot afford to be held hostage by NIMBYs who weaponize CEQA to block student and affordable housing.”

He continued, “The law needs to change, and I am committed to working with lawmakers this year to making more changes so our state can build the housing we desperately need.”

As the Chronicle put it, “Bold and much-needed words. Newsom should put the might of his office where his mouth is by developing a robust package of bills to overhaul CEQA and shepherd it through the Legislature.”

This has been the frustration of the Newsom administration—they nibble around the edge, they talk a good game, but they have yet to deliver.

For instance, Newsom has laid out the need for additional housing, especially affordable housing, but has failed to deliver a mechanism to adequately fund it—you know, like a new RDA and Increment Tax.

He has talked about homelessness, but his budget proposals so far have been a faction of projected annual cost needed to really address the homeless population.

And now with CEQA reform, he has complained the last few years about CEQA abuses and litigation being used to stop needed housing project, but when it comes time to put his muscle behind the rhetoric, it has been absent.

As the Chronicle points out, the governor needs to push through legislation here.

They write, “The strategy would align with the governor’s recent focus on pursuing policy change through legislation rather than executive action.”

They noted that when he has taken that approach, he has been successful: “Despite the intense controversy, the Legislature passed CARE Court overwhelmingly. Lawmakers also approved five of Newsom’s six climate bills even though they were introduced with only about three weeks left in the legislative session.”

They point out: “The governor recognizes — and bragged about — his ability to shape legislative action.”

“I had to jam my own Democratic Legislature in the last few weeks of our session to get these … climate bills done,” Newsom said during an appearance at Climate Week NYC. “Had I not done that, all those special interests would have prevailed again to deny and delay.”

The Chronicle notes, “Newsom later apologized for those comments. But if he’s that confident in his capacity to prevent lawmakers from being swayed by special interests, all the more reason he should apply his talents to CEQA reform.”

Make no mistake, this is a difficult battle, as the Chronicle points out that “lawmakers have historically been wary of taking on sweeping reforms that could put them at odds with powerful groups, such as the State Building and Construction Trades Council, which have traditionally opposed CEQA streamlining bills that don’t come with strict labor requirements.”

None of this will be easy: “Any significant changes along these lines likely will be met with legal challenges, but that hasn’t stopped Newsom or the Legislature from pursuing other ambitious policies. And, although courts have historically interpreted CEQA broadly, increasing its powers and widening its scope, some have also acknowledged its limitations — and the ways in which it can be abused.”

The California Supreme Court, in a 2015 ruling—ironically, one dealing with another Berkeley CEQA lawsuit—argued, “Rules regulating the protection of the environment must not be subverted into an instrument for the oppression and delay of social, economic, or recreational development and advancement.”

As the end of the day, “By repeatedly failing to rein in CEQA and stand up to the groups that have wielded it in bad faith, California lawmakers have enabled the state’s housing crisis — forcing people out of the state or worse, onto our streets.  “

The Chronicle argues: “Legislators need to take bold steps to mitigate the impacts of their inaction. Newsom can and should force their hands to do so.”

Will they?  I’m less optimistic.  But one thing is clear—pressure is mounting in places that have traditionally been resistant to take on laws like CEQA.

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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60 Comments

  1. Ron Oertel

    Senator Scott Wiener has vowed to introduce legislation to prevent CEQA from requiring “evaluation of the type of people who will live in proposed new housing.”

    Probably the only concern I have, though there is a reality behind it.  Hence the concern regarding “mini-dorms”, vs. “families” occupying single-family housing.

    As the Chronicle put it, “Bold and much-needed words. Newsom should put the might of his office where his mouth is by developing a robust package of bills to overhaul CEQA and shepherd it through the Legislature.”

    If he did this, he’d likely endanger his own multi-million, multi-acre compound in Fair Oaks.  Not to worry, I’m sure that he’ll find another nice place when he’s no longer governor.  Perhaps in Montecito, which is reportedly getting a “pass” from the governor’s own, draconian housing requirements?

    https://calmatters.org/commentary/2023/02/housing-quota-montecito-enclave/

    The truly rich/powerful always find a way.  It’s only the middle class which gets this type of thing foisted upon it.

    But gutting CEQA might also impact locales such as where his previous, beautiful property in Marin was located.

    By the way, did you see where Newsom is proposing a cut in public transit (as part of a larger 6 billion dollar cut in climate change initiatives)?  Supposedly, one of the reasons for the increased RHNA requirements was to focus development around public transit hubs.

    Currently, public transportation agencies in California are facing a fiscal cliff. Federal COVID relief funds for transit operations are expiring soon, which could soon result in dramatic service cuts. Experts warn that such measures could trigger a death spiral for public transportation in California.

    https://calmatters.org/commentary/2023/02/transit-funding-california-budget/

    More evidence that the state’s RHNA mandates will fail.

    1. David Greenwald

      If the law isn’t working or being abused, why is attempting to fix it tantamount to gutting it? You have taken the same stance with reforms to Measure J.

      1. Ron Oertel

        If you look at my comment, the “law which isn’t working” is the RHNA requirement, itself.

        Why would a law be enacted which purposefully sets up cities to fail? What kind of a government does that?

        In contrast, Measure J works quite well (and has also resulted in two developments being approved).

        Measure J was also used to prevent a “housing shortage” in regard to DISC. (Not to mention avoidance of additional, local contributions to greenhouse gasses.)

        Regarding CEQA, the only “issue” I might have with it is that students were (apparently) singled-out. (Even though the underlying concern itself is based upon reality. Again, see “mini-dorms” vs. “families” occupying single-family housing. Something that you yourself have previously noted.)

        1. Walter Shwe

          You’re addressing your comment to “Davis”?  Really?
          Of the two of us, I’m quite certain that I represent “Davis” more than you do.  Nor do I want to disenfranchise voters, as you would.

          I and other commenters here actually represent Davis far more than Ron Oertel ever will. We are actually Davis residents unlike Ron.

        2. Ron Oertel

          I and other commenters here actually represent Davis far more than Ron Oertel ever will. We are actually Davis residents unlike Ron.

          Actually, Walter – it was brought to my attention that there is at least one rather-exclusive nearby residence (outside of Davis city limits, apparently backing to a golf course) that’s associated with you.

          I don’t know if you actually (or currently) live there, nor do I find it relevant.  (That is, unless you advocate for development that you wouldn’t support next-door to you, perhaps due to a belief that you’re “safe” from having it forced upon you.)

          I don’t believe that you’ll find any inconsistencies regarding my advocacy, nor do you know everything about me or what connections I may have with a given community. Just as I don’t, about you.

          But for sure, you and Richard don’t represent Davis regarding your desire to disenfranchise Davis voters. (It does, however, seem as though the Vanguard attracts those with this minority view.)

        3. Walter Shwe

          Actually, Walter – it was brought to my attention that there is at least one rather-exclusive nearby residence (outside of Davis city limits, apparently backing to a golf course) that’s associated with you.

          Wrong again Ron. I live within the city limits of Davis. You seem to get many things dead wrong these days. You need to conduct better research next time.

      2. Matt Williams

        CEQA was the excuse that was used in the Nishi 2018 project for the reduction of the 67 units per acre housing density in the 2016 proposal down to only 27 units per acre in the 2018 proposal.

        That “weaponizing” of CEQA by the City and the developer resulted in only 2,200 beds rather than 5,000 to 7,000 beds.  That “weaponizing” of CEQA actively and substantially denies housing to far more UC students than the cited Berkeley project does. Perhaps Josh Hoover and Scott Weiner should amend their proposed legislation to remedy the Nishi CEQA abuse as well.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Assuming that 5,000 to 7,000 beds are “needed”, shouldn’t CEQA examine the impacts of universities pursuing more students in a state with a declining population?

          And assuming it’s examined, who “approves” that plan – regardless of whether or not the impact is disclosed or mitigated?

          Isn’t this actually where this problem “originates” from?  In other words, the ever-silent “cause” of all of this?  The institution which receives state funding, but which somehow stays “above the fray” it causes for its own students, and adjacent communities?

          It’s quite a “hat trick” they’ve pulled off. With state officials clearly taking the side of the trickster.

          If I’m not mistaken, the governor himself is a member of the Board of Regents as a result of his position.

        2. Richard_McCann

          Matt

          CEQA was initially weaponized by the project opponents to raise unsubstantiated air quality objections, many of those debated on these pages. The original Nishii proposal is held up as a model for a sustainability plan that the City should adopt.

        3. Matt Williams

          Richard, air quality and its effects on health is indeed an environmental issue.  It was raised in the process and dealt with within the process.  There was no “weaponization” of the air quality issue.  Throughout that process dialogue, I personally felt that the gravity/impact of that issue was mitigateds by the transient nature of the residents … 100% renters, and most likely close to 100% students. Others did not feel that was sufficient mitigation.  However, regardless of what individual opinions were on that issue it was handled within the process.

          With that said, how does the point you have raised pertain to the use of CEQA to reduce the housing density of the project from 67 units per acre to 27 units per acre?  You appear to be arguing that two “wrongs” make a “right.”  Is that what you are arguing?

        4. Matt Williams

          Ron, sometimes you go off the rails, and your 9:20am comment is very clearly one of those examples.  Do you really believe that California residents should be denied a college education?  That is what you are saying when you say “shouldn’t CEQA examine the impacts of universities pursuing more students in a state with a declining population?”

          I suspect you have a college degree.  Why should you deny others the right to have the same opportunities that you have had?

        5. Ron Oertel

          I suspect you have a college degree.  Why should you deny others the right to have the same opportunities that you have had?

          Your question seems to conflate a “degree” with a “degree from UC”.

          In any case, see my other response (below) regarding “poaching” from other systems, student loan debt, etc.

          But to cut to the heart of it, no – I don’t think the public “owes” a free ride to every potential student in the state to attend a UC of their choice for all 4 years, with no cost for tuition or housing (and with no consideration of the impact this has on their own students, surrounding communities, or the declining value of the degree itself under this scenario). If that’s what you’re advocating, we disagree.

          Already, Biden is compelled to forgive student debt under the EXISTING scenario. Why do you suppose that is? (Is it because the value of the degree isn’t what students believed it would be, when they agreed to incur that debt?)

          Truth be told, “too many” people are attending college, these days. And not enough in trades where you can earn more money (or start your own business), without incurring student loan debt.

          Can you imagine the amount of debt that would occur if education wasn’t subsidized?

          1. David Greenwald

            “The average American with a bachelor’s degree earns about $80,500 per year, while the average American with only a high school diploma earns about $40,000 per year. College graduates earn more than double on average than those without a degree.”

            “A new report from the Lumina Foundation shows that the percentage of working age adults who’ve earned a college degree or other postsecondary credential reached 53.7% in 2021.”

            So those are data that in my view, dispute your claim that too many people are attending college.

        6. Ron Oertel

          The first thing that popped up from Lumina’s website:

          To realize this vision, Lumina Foundation works to ensure 60 percent of adults will have a college degree, certificate, industry certification, or other credential of value by 2025.

          I’ve discussed this issue, before (without any response).  Those without college degrees “disproportionately” include (for lack of a better word) “losers” – those who also wouldn’t make it in a trade.

          One really has to examine the source/methodology of these claims, including “where” these folks live.  For example, do college graduates disproportionately live in expensive areas, where a higher salary is required?

          And more importantly, does the impact of those with (for example) a computer science degree bring up the average, overall?

          Also, what does it mean to “earn”?  Does that include those who earn income from their business, or is it strictly based upon wage?

          Does this also account for lack of earnings, paying rent and tuition for 4 years (compared to a paid apprenticeship), for example?  In other words, the net difference?

          I’m skeptical, especially without examining the source and methodology of these claims.

          And for that matter, what type of degree are we referring to (not withstanding the major, itself)?  Is (for example) a computer science degree from a state university about as “good” as one from a UC?

          In short, blanket statements like this don’t account for cost/benefit to a level that’s useful.

          I’d suggest comparing what an electrician makes (while also accounting for “cost”), vs. someone with a bachelor degree in social “science” or English. Pretty sure I know which one comes out ahead.

          You have to compare “trades” vs. different college degrees (including cost of obtaining each) to arrive at any real conclusions. And I suspect that “trades” include a higher percentage of business owners – including housing developers, for that matter.

          What do you suppose the Tarominos or Whitcombes are worth? Or for that matter, the local “Arnolds?

          Do you think these types are relying upon college degrees?

        7. Matt Williams

          Assuming that 5,000 to 7,000 beds are “needed”, shouldn’t CEQA examine the impacts of universities pursuing more students in a state with a declining population?

          .

          Ron, help me understand how there is anything at all that is environmental in either your question or what your question is suggesting?

        8. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  It was in response to your comment, as follows.  However, the “declining population” phrase is probably not relevant (unless the housing results in an over-supply, in which case the environmental impact would not be as great).

          That “weaponizing” of CEQA by the City and the developer resulted in only 2,200 beds rather than 5,000 to 7,000 beds.  That “weaponizing” of CEQA actively and substantially denies housing to far more UC students than the cited Berkeley project does. Perhaps Josh Hoover and Scott Weiner should amend their proposed legislation to remedy the Nishi CEQA abuse as well.

          Certainly, 5,000 to 7,000 beds has a bigger impact than 2,200 beds.  For that matter, UCD itself might not have wanted that level of traffic passing through its property to access the Nishi site.

          I recall that David previously noted that UCD did not want “commercial” traffic passing through campus, to reach a “mixed-use” development at Nishi. Which was one of the reasons that it was dropped, for Nishi 2.

          In my opinion, the Nishi site is a “natural” for UCD to own and (directly) control.

           

        9. Matt Williams

          Certainly, 5,000 to 7,000 beds has a bigger impact than 2,200 beds.

          .

          Your logic is elusive rather than certain.  Can you explain how 5,000-7,000 beds for UCD students at the Nishi site results in a bigger environmental impact than 2,200 beds for UCD students at the Nishi site?

          Further, how is the impact you refer to, environmental?

        10. Ron Oertel

          Are you asking me a serious question, Matt?

          Traffic is one type of impact which is disclosed via EIRs.  And last time I checked, the traffic impact of 7,000 housing units is generally greater than 2,000 housing units.

          I’d suggest that you post all of the impacts that EIRs disclose, and how an increase in the number of housing units at a given location might change those projected impacts.

           

        11. Ron Oertel

          Though I believe that there’s been a switch from “congestion” (LOS) to vehicle miles traveled (VMTs).

          In 2013, California passed Senate Bill (SB) 743, requiring that jurisdictions no longer use automobile delay in transportation analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The State issued guidelines calling for the use of VMT, mandatory on July 1, 2020. Before July 1, 2020, LOS was the main measurement used to evaluate environmental impacts related to transportation.

          https://www.firstcarbonsolutions.com/blog/level-of-service-(los)-to-vehicle-miles-traveled-(vmt)/

          I suspect that this switch has resulted in an increase in greenhouse gasses (another environmental impact) – the result of cars being stuck in traffic.  Which causes me to suspect that this switch was more political in nature (e.g., to “force” infill), rather than science-based.

          In any case, I’d invite you to post the categories examined under CEQA, and to discuss how an increase from 2,000 housing units to 7,000 housing units might have an impact on those categories.

          It does seem that the governor and legislature are indeed setting out to weaken (“chip-away” at) CEQA at every opportunity. All part of the broader war they’ve declared on their own constituents, which at its most basic and crude level has “popularized” the term “NIMBY”.

        12. Matt Williams

          Traffic is one type of impact which is disclosed via EIRs.  And last time I checked, the traffic impact of 7,000 housing units is generally greater than 2,000 housing units.

          .

          Not when those units are car free.  The students living there will be walking and/or bicycling to their classes on campus.  You are so busy fighting your moral crusade that you often ignore the details.

          Further, if the additional UCD students over and above 2,200 don’t live at a “right sized” Nishi, they will almost all live at another site and have a longer commute to their classes and other campus activities.

          With that said, instead of answering the question posed to you, you have attempted to change the subject.  Your initial statement was:

          shouldn’t CEQA examine the impacts of universities pursuing more students in a state with a declining population?

          .

          And I repeat my question to you, “ Ron, help me understand how there is anything at all that is environmental in either your question or what your question is suggesting?

        13. Walter Shwe

          All part of the broader war they’ve declared on their own constituents, which at its most basic and crude level has “popularized” the term “NIMBY”

          I couldn’t disagree with Ron Oertel more strongly. It’s a war on the high cost of housing and the rights and dignity of the unhoused to affordable and safe housing. NIMBY’s are one of the primary factors that have lead to the high cost of housing in both urban and rural parts of California.

        14. Ron Oertel

          Not when those units are car free.  The students living there will be walking and/or bicycling to their classes on campus.  You are so busy fighting your moral crusade that you often ignore the details.

          Matt:  I never implied that they would not be walking or bicycling to class.  Is that the only place that students travel to?  Does that mean that they don’t have cars?

          I don’t recall a proposal with 7,000 units (which are also “car-free”).  Is that something you made up on your own? If so, do you believe that such a change would be exempt from CEQA?

          By the way, I believe CEQA examines “transportation” impacts in general, not just limited to cars.  If so, wouldn’t 7,000 “car-free” beds have an impact on travel in other ways?  For example, a need to increase passenger train frequency, so that these students have some way to get home (or to work in other cities)?

          Apparently, you’re so “busy” with your own presumptions that you attribute comments to me which I haven’t even said.

          Further, if the additional UCD students over and above 2,200 don’t live at a “right sized” Nishi, they will almost all live at another site and have a longer commute to their classes and other campus activities.

          Another presumption.  But more importantly, has nothing to do with what I said. However, CEQA does include an examination of “alternatives”, which may be more, or less-impactful than a given proposal.

          With that said, instead of answering the question posed to you, you have attempted to change the subject.  Your initial statement was:

          shouldn’t CEQA examine the impacts of universities pursuing more students in a state with a declining population?
          .
          And I repeat my question to you, “ Ron, help me understand how there is anything at all that is environmental in either your question or what your question is suggesting?”

          I did not change the subject in any way, shape or form, and I’ve already answered your question.  Traffic impacts, for example (apparently measured in VMTs these days) are examined as part of EIRs. I would have to essentially conduct an “informal” EIR on my own, to arrive at conclusions regarding how a given proposal would cause impacts under CEQA. Along with a comparison of alternatives.

          Just to be clear, are you claiming increasing the number of beds at a development from 2,000 to 7,000) creates NO impact that would be examined under the umbrella of CEQA?  If so, I suspect that you’re grossly mistaken.

          I’ve already invited you to list all of the impacts that CEQA examines, and to explore the ways that such an increase might impact each of those categories.  Rather than expressing any interest in that, you’ve instead doubled-down on a question I’ve already answered and are attributing meaning to other comments which I didn’t make in the first place.

          If you’re actually interested in discussing something of substance, you’re free to do so.

           

           

        15. Matt Williams

          Ron, you are nothing if not consistent.  Once again you attempt to change the subject … a subject that you yourself put on the table in your initial comment.  Please read that comment again … carefully this time.  Your explicit point was “shouldn’t CEQA examine the impacts of universities pursuing more students in a state with a declining population?”  My question to you was equally explicit.  I questioned what impact increasing the enrollment of California universities has on the environment.  So far you have ducked that question.  Maybe this time you will answer what I asked.   Ron, help me understand how there is anything at all that is environmental in either your question or what your question is suggesting?”

        16. Ron Oertel

          I questioned what impact increasing the enrollment of California universities has on the environment.  So far you have ducked that question.  Maybe this time you will answer what I asked.   Ron, help me understand how there is anything at all that is environmental in either your question or what your question is suggesting?”

          For the third time, Matt – I’ve already answered your question (potential transportation impacts, as just one example).  For that matter, transportation impacts can also impact greenhouse gas emissions. Your question had to do with increasing the number of beds at Nishi, and it appears that you’re now changing the question.

          But again (for the third time), I’d invite you to explore how an increase in the number of beds can impact all of the factors that CEQA examines.  Which so far you’ve declined to do. Below is a reference you can use, which describes the factors that CEQA considers.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Environmental_Quality_Act

          And again I ask, what “car-free proposal with 7,000 beds” are you referring to?

          Also, are you conflating the “natural” environment with the full scope of what CEQA examines? Per the reference above, CEQA is not limited to that.

          And again I ask, are you suggesting that an increase in the number of beds (from 2,000 to 7,000 beds) is exempt from CEQA analysis? If so, I suspect that this is “news” to everyone.

        17. Ron Oertel

          Below is your original question, Matt.

          Can you explain how 5,000-7,000 beds for UCD students at the Nishi site results in a bigger environmental impact than 2,200 beds for UCD students at the Nishi site?
          Further, how is the impact you refer to, environmental?

          Again, I’d ask you to explain the reason that this would be exempt from all of the factors that CEQA examines (including the example that I’ve provided three times, now). 

          I already provided a link regarding those factors, as well. Per that link:

          The lead agency must analyze project impacts to 18 different environmental resource factors detailed in Appendix G during their CEQA review.

          So just to be clear (again), you’re dismissing all of these potential factors regarding your imaginary 7,000 bed, car-free proposal at Nishi? I suspect that a lot of developers wish it was that simple.

          Maybe you can start your own CEQA analysis business, where you advertise that you can eliminate all of these factors via a post on a blog. It would certainly save developers a lot of money (while making you personally wealthy beyond belief), but I’m not sure that it would hold up in court.

        18. Matt Williams

          Ron let’s try one more time.  Your tenacity at ducking the question rather than answering it is taking on legendary proportions.

          Your initial question asked whether CEQA should examine the impact of the ever expanding enrollments of  universities in California.  Your question did not specify a specific individual university … referencing “universities” in the plural.

          You have referenced transportation impacts that should be examined.  Given that enrollment increases are spread over a substantial number of universities throughout the State and the residences of the students who make up the incremental enrollment numbers live in dozens, if not hundreds of different communities throughout the State how would CEQA even begin to determine, much less quantify, the transportation impacts of the additional students you have referred to as “pursued”?

          The amount of any incremental enrollment that universities have pursued has absolutely nothing to do with the number of beds a private housing development has.  So your attempt to shift the topic of discussion from incremental enrollment at universities throughout the State to another  topic is transparent and pitiful.

        19. Ron Oertel

          Ron let’s try one more time.  Your tenacity at ducking the question rather than answering it is taking on legendary proportions.

          There’s no need for comments like that.  Again, here’s the subsequent question you asked me (to which I responded):

          Your logic is elusive rather than certain.  Can you explain how 5,000-7,000 beds for UCD students at the Nishi site results in a bigger environmental impact than 2,200 beds for UCD students at the Nishi site?

          And here’s your question, now:

          You have referenced transportation impacts that should be examined.  Given that enrollment increases are spread over a substantial number of universities throughout the State and the residences of the students who make up the incremental enrollment numbers live in dozens, if not hundreds of different communities throughout the State how would CEQA even begin to determine, much less quantify, the transportation impacts of the additional students you have referred to as “pursued”?

          I see what your question is, now.

          I would think that the impact at each university would be examined, not as a “group” of universities.  If I’m not mistaken, this was done at UCD in regard to their growth plan. Impacts under CEQA are not restricted to transportation – as I already noted (and invited you to explore).

          The amount of any incremental enrollment that universities have pursued has absolutely nothing to do with the number of beds a private housing development has.

          This comment defies logic, assuming that the private development is intended to house an increasing population of students.  This is how “demand” is created in the first place.

          So your attempt to shift the topic of discussion from incremental enrollment at universities throughout the State to another  topic is transparent and pitiful.

          Again, there’s no need for comments like that.

          As a side note, the Vanguard is limiting my response to another commenter for unknown reasons, so I’m losing interest in participating on here – especially when the comments become rather hostile. And your generalizations about me are contributing to that commenting environment.

           

        20. Matt Williams

          There’s no need for comments like that.  Again, here’s the subsequent question you asked me (to which I responded):

          .

          You knew throughout your obtuse evasive responses in this exchange that two questions were asked. You willfully and maliciously chose to answer only one of the two.

          Further, only one of the two questions directly quoted your own words back to you.  Despite that you continued to play games with your answer(s).  So there absolutely was a need for “comments like that.”
          Now that you have finally provided an answer to the question, let’s look at that answer.

          I would think that the impact at each university would be examined, not as a “group” of universities.  If I’m not mistaken, this was done at UCD in regard to their growth plan. Impacts under CEQA are not restricted to transportation – as I already noted (and invited you to explore).

          .

          Perhaps you should have said that in your original comment.  But now that you have rephrased your question, it is relevant to note that for the UC system the “pursuing more students” (enrollment increase) targets are made at the Office of the President (UOP) level not at the individual campus level.

          Further, since that decision emanates from Oakland where the UOP is located, do you propose looking at the transportation impacts in the Oakland community?

          Also, the location of each incremental enrollee “pursued” is an unknown.  Will that person live on campus? Commute from their existing home residence?  Rent a residence off campus?  How do you propose to quantify, using CEQA protocols, the transportation impacts? Or for that matter, any other environmental impacts generated by that incremental enrollee?

        21. Matt Williams

          Ron, my response to you has now been up over 19 hours, but, no surprise, there is no response/acknowledgement from you.  I can hear the chickens chorusing now, “Don’t let the facts get in the way of crowing a political argument, no matter how far it strays from reality.

          With that said, let’s examine the Emperor’s Clothes of your other bogus statement.  specifically,

          Certainly, 5,000 to 7,000 beds has a bigger impact than 2,200 beds.  […]  Traffic is one type of impact which is disclosed via EIRs.  And last time I checked, the traffic impact of 7,000 housing units is generally greater than 2,000 housing units.

          .

          Here’s the fatal flaw of your statement.  The total number of UCD enrollees in the example put forth is 5,000 to 7,000, and all those enrollees need a bed somewhere.  If you only house 2,200 of them at Nishi, then the remaining2,800 to 4,800 have to find their beds elsewhere, and with the one exception of on-campus housing in a dormitory bed, the commute distance for each of the enrollees not housed at Nishi will be equal to or greater than it is at Nishi.  So the traffic impacts of only housing 2,200 enrollees at Nishi will be greater than the traffic impacts of housing 5,000 to 7,000 UCD enrollees there.

          Here too, you’re being hell-bent to make a right brain political argument has gotten in the way of conducting a left brain well considered evaluation.  Perhaps we have been referring to you with the wrong name all this time.  “The Ronald” seems to fit you political persona much better tha a simple “Ron.”

        22. Ron Oertel

          Ron, my response to you has now been up over 19 hours, but, no surprise, there is no response/acknowledgement from you.  I can hear the chickens chorusing now, “Don’t let the facts get in the way of crowing a political argument, no matter how far it strays from reality.

          I didn’t even see it. I just noticed your follow-up comment. I thought we were done with this.

          With that said, let’s examine the Emperor’s Clothes of your other bogus statement.  specifically,

          Certainly, 5,000 to 7,000 beds has a bigger impact than 2,200 beds.  […]  Traffic is one type of impact which is disclosed via EIRs.  And last time I checked, the traffic impact of 7,000 housing units is generally greater than 2,000 housing units.

          .

          Here’s the fatal flaw of your statement.  The total number of UCD enrollees in the example put forth is 5,000 to 7,000, and all those enrollees need a bed somewhere.  If you only house 2,200 of them at Nishi, then the remaining2,800 to 4,800 have to find their beds elsewhere, and with the one exception of on-campus housing in a dormitory bed, the commute distance for each of the enrollees not housed at Nishi will be equal to or greater than it is at Nishi.  So the traffic impacts of only housing 2,200 enrollees at Nishi will be greater than the traffic impacts of housing 5,000 to 7,000 UCD enrollees there.

          What argument do you think I’m putting forth? And what assumptions are you putting forth?

          Are you (for example) referring to increased enrollment, or existing enrollment? And either way, what’s the plan for them, in the absence of your imaginary proposal?

          As I recall (without scrolling up through the entire thread – which has gone on for a couple of days at this point), I believe this had to do with the need for an EIR in regard to such a change. In this case, for an imaginary proposal. Yes, I do think that such a change would likely need to be examined under CEQA. Is that what you’re disagreeing with?

          Here too, you’re being hell-bent to make a right brain political argument has gotten in the way of conducting a left brain well considered evaluation.  Perhaps we have been referring to you with the wrong name all this time.  “The Ronald” seems to fit you political persona much better tha a simple “Ron.”

          Uh, huh – how “clever”.

           

        23. Matt Williams

          As I recall (without scrolling up through the entire thread – which has gone on for a couple of days at this point), I believe this had to do with the need for an EIR in regard to such a change. In this case, for an imaginary proposal. Yes, I do think that such a change would likely need to be examined under CEQA. Is that what you’re disagreeing with?

          .

          As Ronald Reagan said, “There you go again …” changing the topic in order to avoid answering the question. This had to do, still has to do, and will always have to do with your statement at 9:20 am on March 3 “shouldn’t CEQA examine the impacts of universities pursuing more students in a state with declining population.”  That comment of yours set the topic as enrollment.

          Whether that enrollment is current or future is irrelevant. That is simply a matter of timing.  No matter when the enrollment happens it produces a specific number of enrolled students, all of whom will have a residence.  That number will vary from year to year, but it will always enrollment, not beds.  Further, as you correctly identified in your initial statement (which I questioned) that incremental enrollment will be pursued by universities (plural).  Further that enrollment will not be pursued by any individual housing development, or even a collection of multiple housing developments.  All housing developments can do is provide a place for the students to live … and then only if the students choose to live there.

          All of that led me to ask you, “ Ron, help me understand how there is anything at all that is environmental in either your question or what your question is suggesting?”  That is a question that you continue to duck.  

           

        24. Ron Oertel

          All of that led me to ask you, “ Ron, help me understand how there is anything at all that is environmental in either your question or what your question is suggesting?”  That is a question that you continue to duck.

          Again, I’ve answered all of your questions, already.  Several times, now.

          I’ve also asked you to define what you mean by “environmental”, which is a question that you’ve continued to duck.

          Actually, you’ve ducked all of my questions and suggestions, including an invitation to explore all of the components of CEQA, and how it might impact a proposal such as the one you brought up regarding Nishi. I’ve already brought up one for you, in response to your question.

        25. Richard_McCann

          Ron O

          You have not answered Matt’s question. Turning to Nishii isn’t relevant to answering his question.  Saying “I do think that such a change would likely need to be examined under CEQA” just regurgitates your incomplete previous answer. Under what provisions of CEQA do you proposed that system-wide enrollment targets be evaluated? It’s not Matt’s job to do your work for you. Be specific, otherwise withdraw your speculative statement.

        26. Richard_McCann

          David

          The advantage of a college degree in general isn’t as substantial as you state. Most of that salary boost is concentrated in the STEM fields. Engineers earn almost 50% more at graduation than those in the humanities: https://www.bankrate.com/loans/student-loans/average-college-graduate-salary/

          That said, the UCs are particularly focused on the STEM fields which makes enrollment at those campuses more valuable.

        27. Ron Oertel

          You have not answered Matt’s question. Turning to Nishii isn’t relevant to answering his question.  Saying “I do think that such a change would likely need to be examined under CEQA” just regurgitates your incomplete previous answer. Under what provisions of CEQA do you proposed that system-wide enrollment targets be evaluated? It’s not Matt’s job to do your work for you. Be specific, otherwise withdraw your speculative statement.

          Already answered that, as well.  Go back and read the comments, before responding. It’s not my responsibility to account for your failure to read.

          In addition to that question, I also responded to Matt’s question regarding Nishi.

          Matt has chosen to not respond to any of my questions, including (but not limited to) those seeking clarification. But at this point, I don’t care.

      3. Richard_McCann

        David

        Ron O completely understands the power behind the current absolutist versions of CEQA and Measure J to stop any type of accommodation for new housing or to bring new economic activity that leverages what Davis has to offer. He wants to make Davis into an image that he imagines even though he’s only a resident of another town. His unwillingness to acknowledge that the state has an obligation to educate its youth and that education is best done at high quality institutions (that are globally recognized) fuels his objections. For him, we can only allow for changing the status quo if we reach perfection in solutions first. Of course that’s ridiculous. What he asserts really has no bearing on what we in Davis need to decide.

        And BTW, we can’t measure the number of projects that have been steered away by not wanting to try to navigate through the political hazards of Measure J/R/D (which is probably illegal under current state law now.) That we haven’t had a second proposal for the most developable plot next to the City, at Covell and Poleline, is the poster child for the true failure of Measure J/R/D. The County wants a project there that includes farmworker housing. Who’s going to take that on with all of the uncertainty?

        1. Ron Oertel

          You’re addressing your comment to “Davis”?  Really?

          Of the two of us, I’m quite certain that I represent “Davis” more than you do.  Nor do I want to disenfranchise voters, as you would.

          His unwillingness to acknowledge that the state has an obligation to educate its youth and that education is best done at high quality institutions (that are globally recognized) fuels his objections. 

          So, everyone in the state needs to attend a UC (and for all 4 years) and communities need to automatically bend to that supposed obligation? Is that “agreement” documented, somewhere?

          Again, it’s the UC system itself which is creating this problem for their own students, and adjacent communities. They’re the ones pursuing growth in a state that has lost 500,000 residents, with millennials not even having children at a level to replace themselves.

          This is not unlike what DJUSD attempts to do.

          And in fact, both of these educational systems are “poaching” students from other systems. In the case of the UC system, probably avoiding student debt as as well.

          CEQA was initially weaponized by the project opponents to raise unsubstantiated air quality objections, many of those debated on these pages.

          The only actual “expert” regarding that debate is the one who substantiated that fact.

          The original Nishii proposal is held up as a model for a sustainability plan that the City should adopt.

          It was a “model” for avoiding Affordable housing requirements, by including mixed-use for which there was no commercial demand.

        2. Ron Oertel

           

          And in fact, both of these educational systems are “poaching” students from other systems. In the case of the UC system, probably avoiding student debt as as well.

          To clarify, a lot of these students would be better-served (and would avoid student loan debt) if they (at least) didn’t attend a UC for all 4 years of their education.

          When “everyone” attends a UC (and pursue degrees which have no value, while also incurring massive costs and no income), that’s when someone like Biden is compelled to step in to “forgive” student debt loads.

          The elimination of SAT scores is probably another sign of the declining value of a UC education. Many public school systems are not adequately preparing students in the first place.

          There’s also a conflict of interest when educational institutions (themselves) are in “charge of” publishing/advertising the value of a college degree.

          It’s the UC system itself which is creating problems for its own students and adjacent communities.

          On a related note, you could conceivably note the “value” of any industry, in regard to the contributions it provides to surrounding communities. (The difference being that most of those industries are not directly subsidized with taxpayer dollars.)

          Your argument is essentially the same one that was cited in reference to the auto industry (e.g., “what’s good for GM is good for America”).

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron, that is your opinion.  Others have different opinion(s) from yours.  At the end of the day they are just opinions, nothing more, nothing less.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  The need to relieve students (nationwide) of their crushing student loan debt is not something I caused, nor is it based upon my “opinion”. Presumably, it’s based upon their relative inability to pay it off on their own – using the degrees that they earned. I suspect that some of these students are unpleasantly-surprised regarding the path that they believed in.

          In fact, some of those who didn’t take out such loans (including other young people) resent having to contribute to that relief.

          I’m not seeing where any of that is my “opinion”.

          Other than that, this blog is primarily full of opinions – including Richard’s opinion, where he states that Davis “owes” an undefined responsibility to accommodate whatever growth plans UCD chooses to come up with.

        5. Ron Oertel

          That is an opinion pure and simple.

          Actually, it’s “not” an opinion, in the same light as claiming that all students are better-served by attending college.  In other words, there are some students who would be “better-off” (in more than one way) had they chosen a different path.

          Ultimately, it’s impossible to determine the result of the “path not chosen”.  But that’s not to say it doesn’t exist.

          For sure, one path that exists (for some students) results in crushing student loan debt.

          As Yogi Berra once said, when you see a fork in the road – take it. Or, maybe he said something about his interest in a pic-inic basket, with “Booboo” warning him regarding the consequences. I dunno, but Booboo seemed like a dimwit (in comparison to Yogi), to me. (But I haven’t seen either of these characters for decades, at this point.)

        6. Richard_McCann

          Ron O

          Given the overwhelming evidence I have that you live in Woodland and participate in that communities civic life directly there (which just fine with me), but not in Davis, any claim that somehow you represent Davis that I do, where I live and am engaged in both civic life and several local organizations, is quite a hoot. I’ll just leave it others to judge for themselves based on the factual evidence.

          I’m not sure what substantiated “fact” you’re claiming. We had an extensive discussion of the issue in this forum and it was clearly demonstrated then that the initial claim was incorrect, including an evaluation by another air quality expert who did not have a financial interest in forcing further testing.

          As for the rest of your Nishii statement, you haven’t presented any evidence that you knew the financials better than the developers themselves. Go out and take the risk of a project and then we might respect your opinion on the matter.

          BTW, opening up more spaces at UCD is not the same as asserting ALL students are better off going to college. The fact is that much of high student debt is caused by students being forced to attend more expensive private colleges because the less expensive highly rated public universities don’t have enough space. I absolutely agree that more students should go into vocational trades–e.g., we have a severe shortage of highly paid electricians. And I’m doing something about it in my volunteering in a CTE program, not just complaining about it.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Given the overwhelming evidence I have that you live in Woodland and participate in that communities civic life directly there (which just fine with me), but not in Davis, any claim that somehow you represent Davis that I do, where I live and am engaged in both civic life and several local organizations, is quite a hoot. I’ll just leave it others to judge for themselves based on the factual evidence.

          I’ve participated in both communities, and plan to continue doing so.  Perhaps it’s because I have connections to both communities, which I don’t care to discuss on here.

          Your views (regarding development in particular) are more akin to those found in Woodland, than Davis.

          Your views (in which you seek to disenfranchise some 82% of Davis voters) is not something I support.  Nor do I support mandatory conversions of gas appliances, which is another issue in which your views are clearly in the minority.

          You tell me, which of our respective views better-represents Davis.

          I’m not sure what substantiated “fact” you’re claiming. We had an extensive discussion of the issue in this forum and it was clearly demonstrated then that the initial claim was incorrect, including an evaluation by another air quality expert who did not have a financial interest in forcing further testing.

          No idea what you’re talking about.  I simply noted that a UCD professor (who was the only one with expertise on the subject) had concerns.  I don’t believe he was motivated by growth concerns, either.

          As for the rest of your Nishii statement, you haven’t presented any evidence that you knew the financials better than the developers themselves. Go out and take the risk of a project and then we might respect your opinion on the matter.

          No idea what you’re referring to, in regard to my comment.

          BTW, opening up more spaces at UCD is not the same as asserting ALL students are better off going to college.

          Is this related to something I said?

          The fact is that much of high student debt is caused by students being forced to attend more expensive private colleges because the less expensive highly rated public universities don’t have enough space.

          First I’ve heard of that.  Do you have evidence to support it?

          I absolutely agree that more students should go into vocational trades–e.g., we have a severe shortage of highly paid electricians. And I’m doing something about it in my volunteering in a CTE program, not just complaining about it.

          Congratulations.

           

        8. Walter Shwe

          I’ve participated in both communities, and plan to continue doing so.  Perhaps it’s because I have connections to both communities, which I don’t care to discuss on here.

          Your views (regarding development in particular) are more akin to those found in Woodland, than Davis.

          Your views (in which you seek to disenfranchise some 82% of Davis voters) is not something I support.  Nor do I support mandatory conversions of gas appliances, which is another issue in which your views are clearly in the minority.

          You tell me, which of our respective views better-represents Davis.

          Just because you share the opinions of many people in Davis doesn’t mean you officially represent them in any capacity. People often don’t take kindly to outsiders telling them how they should think.

          Don’t bother, Jim.  You’re not going to be able to deflect self-righteous indignation, or the war that the Wieners of the World have declared on cities.

          The self-righteous indignation is coming from highly selfish NIMBYS. The war of the Weiners of the world is focused exclusively on only certain selfish individuals, not on entire cities. Generous and giving people like David, Ron Glick and I will continue to fight the good fight.

          And the only way to do that is to band-together with other groups who are already fighting them in response to the war that these so-called representatives have declared.

          These so-called representatives were elected by the people of California. Many critics of elected officials like Wiener weren’t duly elected by anyone.

        9. Ron Oertel

           

          Just because you share the opinions of many people in Davis doesn’t mean you officially represent them in any capacity.

          Already shown (with examples) that I represent them more than you or McCann do.

          People often don’t take kindly to outsiders telling them how they should think.

          What “people” – you?  Richard McCann?

          I don’t consider myself an “outsider” in the first place.

          The self-righteous indignation is coming from highly selfish NIMBYS.

          They’re not the ones receiving campaign funds and advocating on behalf of business interests, with no concern for neighborhoods (or sprawl).

          The war of the Weiners of the world is focused exclusively on only certain selfish individuals, not on entire cities.

          Factually untrue, regarding unrealistic RHNA requirements.

          Generous and giving people like David, Ron Glick and I will continue to fight the good fight.

          Have at it.  You certainly have a home on (and represent) the Vanguard, at least.

          What I find “offensive” is the failure to accept that there’s more than one way that “generosity” can manifest itself.

          I’m proud of battles I’ve been involved in, to prevent sprawl, protect neighbors, and ensure that so-called “housing crises” are not made worse (e.g., by developments such as DISC).  I don’t get involved with any of those things due to self-interest.

          These so-called representatives were elected by the people of California. Many critics of elected officials like Wiener weren’t duly elected by anyone.

          That is true.  My theory is that the system itself (due to the massive campaign funds needed to run for office) “limits” the choices – and encourage a specific type of individual to run for office in the first place.

          And given the choices presented, someone like Wiener might be not even be the “worst” choice.

          I believe, for example – that I voted for Newsom, simply because the alternative was worse. Though I’m increasingly voting for “none of the above”.

          Not to worry, though. Wiener will run up against limits, himself.  And if he’s actually successful, he and others will experience a backlash, one way or another.  (This is how Proposition 13 arose.)

          Wiener and Newsom won’t be successful regardless, since the population is dropping in the very cities where their efforts are focused.  In addition, economic conditions (including dropping housing prices) will ensure that those efforts fail.  Not to mention the Affordable requirements which exist – even in the “builder’s remedy”.

          One only has to look at University Mall to see how residential developments aren’t penciling out.

          We’re in a downturn, and a significant one at that.

           

           

        10. Walter Shwe

          Already shown (with examples) that I represent them more than you or McCann do.

          Not by a long shot since you don’t actually live in Davis.

          I don’t consider myself an “outsider” in the first place.

          Whether you admit it or not, you an outsider since you don’t live in Davis. Merriam-Webster definition of an outsider: “a person who does not belong to a particular group”. If you are not, please describe why you are not an outsider.

          Factually untrue, regarding unrealistic RHNA requirements.

          Absolutely true. RHNA requirements are realistic, but just not in your own mind.

        11. Walter Shwe

          What I find “offensive” is the failure to accept that there’s more than one way that “generosity” can manifest itself.

          I am being generous and giving to the people that can’t afford the astronomical cost of housing in Davis and everywhere else in California due to very selfish NIMBYs.

        12. Ron Oertel

          Walter:  That’s one way to view it.

          It’s unfortunate that you can’t see how others view it.

          There is no shortage of continuing sprawl (even in this region). Even so, 500,000 (net) people have left the state.

          Opposition to sprawl is generally not associated with NIMBYism.

          However, when “economic development” is continuously pursued in locales which can’t handle the increased demand for housing (e.g., the Bay Area), the result is the one that you’re concerned about.

          One might think that someone with your concerns would have opposed DISC, and that the people who “supposedly” support “high housing prices” would have supported DISC.

          (And yet, the opposite occurred regarding the usual narrative.)

        13. Richard_McCann

          Ron O

          I’m not sure what you are implying by “disenfranchising 82% of Davis voters” since I’ve proposed a modification to Measure J/R/D that would be voted on by all Davis voters. On the other hand, you have proposed to disenfranchise a growing number of UCD students by forcing them to live on campus instead of in the community. You’re proposing a form of apartheid.

          As for electrification, if you had attended the City Council meeting in December, you would have heard the vast majority of call-ins calling for keeping the electrification action endorsed by the Natural Resources Commission along with the landslide of emails. It was only an organized opposition by a small group of Realtors (who hold disproportionate power) that delayed the implementation.

          The only evidence of your participation in the Davis community is being a gadfly here and on the Davisite, and kibitzing in local political campaigns. Give us more evidence before you can make a truly meaningful statement about your contributions to Davis and how you deserve a voice as a stakeholder. As of right now, you’re still an outsider who isn’t really in touch with what Davis wants.

        14. Walter Shwe

          There is no shortage of continuing sprawl (even in this region). Even so, 500,000 (net) people have left the state.

          This primary reason for so many individuals leaving California is the high cost of living including the high cost of housing. It’s ironic that you live in a community that contains quite a bit of urban sprawl. You are ducting my question to specify why you are not an outsider.

          1. David Greenwald

            He keeps ignoring that fact. His argument is that we don’t have a housing crisis because the population is declining even though the population is declining because we have a housing crisis. It’s weird circular logic.

        15. Ron Oertel

          He keeps ignoring that fact. His argument is that we don’t have a housing crisis because the population is declining even though the population is declining because we have a housing crisis. It’s weird circular logic.

          There is no “circular logic”, here.

          People and businesses leaving the state for better employment, housing, and tax break break opportunities.  Essentially the same “free market” at work that you normally advocate for.

          And the result is lower housing prices, as people and businesses leave.

          This is also the reason that folks from places like the Bay Area migrated to the Sacramento region in the first place.  Which is also part of the reason that housing prices have declined in places like San Francisco.

          I thought you liked lower housing prices, for those remaining behind?

          In fact, this is essentially the way it’s “supposed to” work. One of the factors in the supply/demand model is “alternatives”.

          Now, it does appear that alternatives outside of California are increasingly becoming more attractive than those inside of California, for some people and businesses. Failing to see the problem, here. And again, the result would seem to favor what you advocate for in the first place.

          Seems to me that the general trend is for communities to (at first) “welcome” growth and sprawl, but to ultimately turn against it when the drawbacks outweigh the supposed benefits. As such, you cannot “force” communities which haven’t (yet) reached that point to reject development and sprawl. (And perhaps some never will, not sure.)

          Phoenix, Las Vegas, and much of Texas come to mind as communities which haven’t yet reigned-in growth and sprawl. However, water availability (or other limitations) may ultimately “make that decision” for them.

  2. Ron Glick

    “Richard, air quality and its effects on health is indeed an environmental issue.  It was raised in the process and dealt with within the process.  There was no “weaponization” of the air quality issue.”

    How soon you forget. Air quality was weaponized in both the campaign and the CEQA lawsuit. The judge ruled that CEQA was supposed to protect the environment from the project and not the project from the environment when he ruled for the developers.

    Of course, while CEQA abuse is a real problem, the  problem at Nishi is that the owners gave up access to the project from Richards to pass a measure J vote. As a result, four years later, ground hasn’t been broken. Twenty three years after Measure J passed not a single unit of housing subject to the ordinance has been occupied. A total victory to date for anti-growth advocates. In Davis CEQA is a sideshow Measure J is the key to the kingdom.

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron, you have described perfectly “dealt with within the process.”  The judge’s decision was reached expeditiously, and did not delay the project even a single day.  The developer and the City were able to multi-task the “long pole in the tent” negotiations with UPRR and the various tasks/steps associated with the lawsuit … and the lawsuit is far back in the rear view mirror , while the UPRR negotiations are still in process.

      Discussions about Air Quality and its impact on the health of the proposed residents were indeed part of the campaign, but CEQA did not factor in those election campaign discussions … CEQA wasn’t even a sideshow.  The real show was conflicting “expert” testimony that was provided to the voting public, and armed with that information, conflicting as it may have been, they made their decision in the ballot box.  It was democracy in action … not democracy as you see it, but democracy nonetheless.

  3. Ron Oertel

    The judge ruled that CEQA was supposed to protect the environment from the project and not the project from the environment when he ruled for the developers.

    Another way of saying that it is too close to the freeway, and in a slight depression (as I recall) thereby exposing future residents to poisonous gasses from the freeway.

    And that this is “o.k.” under CEQA.

    Sounds like CEQA needs to be strengthened.

    And was “justified” on here by stating that they’re young people (and can “take it”) and won’t be there that long, anyway.  And, that the developer will be installing the type of filtration system that you might need in Calcutta. 

    (Slight exaggerations, here.)  🙂

    Of course, while CEQA abuse is a real problem, the  problem at Nishi is that the owners gave up access to the project from Richards to pass a measure J vote.

    Access to UCD (underneath the railroad tracks) was “required” for the original proposal, as well.  Building Nishi without access to UCD would be pointless (and a disaster).

    As a result, four years later, ground hasn’t been broken. Twenty three years after Measure J passed not a single unit of housing subject to the ordinance has been occupied. A total victory to date for anti-growth advocates.

    I wish. Actually, I wish that Measure J existed in every town that’s continuing to sprawl outward.

    But, Measure J was used to prevent a housing shortage that would have been created by DISC. You’d think that the “housing shortage brigade” on here would be celebrating that.

  4. Moderator

    We have been asked to clarify the 5-comment policy.

    If we post that the “5-comment rule applies”, then there is a limit of five more comments on that thread by any individual for the rest of that day.

    Until we post that, there is no limit on the number of comments an individual may post on a particular thread.

    Please keep your comments on topic and avoid personal attacks.

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