Council Pulls Back From Mace Curve Land Swap in the Face of Overwhelming Public Criticism About Process

Share:

House-Greg

Councilmember Brett Lee may have epitomized the dilemma facing council on Tuesday night, evaluating a reasonable proposal to swap one piece of land in a conservation easement for another against the backdrop of a public process that quite simply failed to meet even the most basic standards of transparency and open government.

“I met with Capitol Corridor Ventures last week about the proposal and it seemed quite reasonable,” Councilmember Lee said.  Noting that we brought in a highly-regarded Chief Innovation Officer, “It does seem like we do have the possibility to develop kind of a robust job creation area – something that the people of Davis could be proud of.”

“But this backstory really makes it difficult to want to support this,” he said.

On the other hand, Rochelle Swanson would argue, “I’d hate to see bad process kill a good thing.”  She added that she really thinks that had this come before the council a few months ago, it is something that the community could get behind.

At the heart of the issue was whether to put a 391-acre property to the east of the Mace Curve into permanent agricultural easement.  Staff recommended reversing course.

Moving forward with the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) grant “would permit the Yolo Land Trust to secure agricultural conservation easements on the First Bank of NW Arkansas Property.”

On the other hand, “declining the grant would retain opportunities to explore options to leverage the property for additional or alternative urban agriculture transition area acquisitions, and potential furtherance of local economic development strategies.”

Measure O was passed by the Davis voters as a way for the city to have funding to purchase property around the city and put it into easements that would make it difficult to convert to urban uses and to diminish the propensity for landowners on the periphery to sit on land, speculate and attempt to pressure future councils into developing.

While that was the intent of the measure, most of the land purchases are well outside of the city’s periphery.  City Manager Steve Pinkerton argued that it is has been hard to buy property within a mile of the city, and this was an opportunity to leverage our resources to put a harder boundary around the city to create firm agricultural easements all around the city.

The intent of city staff was to give the council maximum flexibility in balancing the community’s goals for open space protection with those goals for economic development.

He noted that any project proposal that converts land to urban use continues to be subject to a Measure R vote.

Lucas Frerichs noted that during the Innovation Park Task Force process – a long, two-year process, “One of the key findings from that whole process, two years, was [to] initiate a community engagement process that incorporates the findings and recommendations of the Innovation Park  Task Force and is aligned with other economic development public outreach efforts to inform the community and solicit input on… proposed creation of new innovation centers…”

“That’s frankly the heart of it for me,” he said.  “This whole process has in my mind not been that transparent and it’s been very frustrating.”

Councilmember Frerichs would make the motion to support taking the NRCS Grant Funding.  Brett Lee seconded the motion.  While Councilmember Swanson contemplated a substituted motion, once Mayor Joe Krovoza indicated his support for the motion, she held back and the motion passed 3-2, with Rochelle Swanson and Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk opposing the motion.

Mayor Joe Krovoza made some rather pointed comments – in particular, a claim that this was part of the discussions of the Innovation Parks Task Force process.

“I sat on the Innovation Parks Task Force,” Mayor Krovoza stated pointedly.  “The entire time that that was going on, the entire time that that was going on, this easement was there, was in place, was approved by the council.”

“We never looked as the Innovation Parks Task Force, at that parcel outside the Mace Curve with the idea of abandoning that easement, period,” he said.  “We always looked at that with the idea that the parcel out there not owned by the city, that we weren’t proceeding with the easement on, would be the parcel that would be developed out there.”

“I just have to ask at this point in time that we stop pretending in any way that the Innovation Parks Task Force contemplated even implicitly that somehow this land would be converted over,” he said.  He noted that, without the thought of surrounding the developable land with conservation easements, the talks would not have taken place.

During public comment, the council got an earful from even some surprising sources.

Former Councilmember Stephen Souza noted that he was part of the team that negotiated what he called “this highly leveraged best purchased open space in the city history.”

He said “I would not give up that bird in hand” and “that is something that isn’t going to come along, I don’t think again.”

He argued that we already owned over 700 acres in the Howatt Ranch area that he argued would be better suited for development of a business park.  “We have Howatt Ranch, we don’t need to add any more land,” he said.

Most poignantly, he added, “If we are going to have a business park… we are not going to do it by beginning on this note, we need to do it in a concerted way with the community so that it will pass a Measure R vote, so that it doesn’t have a bad smell to it right from the beginning,” he argued.  “You don’t want that.  Believe me you don’t want that.  It’s something that I’ve gone through.”

Bob Schneider pressed the council to divulge who Capitol Corridor Ventures was.  Eventually, we found out it was run by David Morris and, currently, only run by David Morris.

“I can’t give a comment if I don’t have the information.  That’s secretive,” he said pointedly.  “That’s the part of the process that I get concerned about because a core value of Davis, a very core value is an open public process.  That’s the overriding consideration.  And that’s not happening here.”

Mark Hoshovsky, Chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission, strongly recommended that the city council not support the staff recommendation.  He said that the Commission reaffirmed its position on this, calling it a really excellent project.

“We think that there are other sites that can be used for this innovation center rather than this site,” he said.  “We have a strategic plan for how we’re doing open space conservation, it’s been around since 2002.”

He said they have completed about 30 to 40 percent of that strategic plan and called the parcel “a key piece.”

“This is essentially bait and switch of Measure O money,” Mr. Hoshovsky said.  He added that “we have been working on this for several years now and to have this suddenly come in at the last minute is very poor planning and sets a very bad precedent.”

He called it “a speculative deal,” where we have a really good sure deal right now.

Roberta Millstein, an alternate on the Commission, would add that Davis values open space and the voters passed it in order to make sure we preserve it.  She noted that, despite our support for it, agricultural land is under attack and much of it is taken away for developmental purposes.

She argued we have real opportunities, “but this opportunity is lost if we don’t go forward.”

Greg House, an organic farmer and commissioner on the Open Space Commission, sounded the initial alarm this weekend with a pointed email.

He said on Tuesday, “I was disappointed in the way that this turned out.”

“You put us in a real jam, you put yourselves in a real jam,” he added.  “The grant was announced two years ago.  So to blame it on the NRCS deadline is a red herring.”

Alan Pryor spoke, representing the Sierra Club.  “Our position on this is very clear.  The Sierra Club respects the will of the citizens and supports their wishes to preserve their productive agricultural land by taxing themselves.  We think that commitment must be honored by the city.”

They also support the use of agricultural easements to protect and preserve agricultural land.

Mr. Pryor added, “On a personal note, I have to admit that I’m really perplexed… we don’t know all of the facts here.  There’s a lot of confusion…  This is simply a process that hasn’t been transparent.”

Former Mayor Ken Wagstaff noted that he was mayor of Davis when Measure O was passed.  He called it “an achievement.”  “One of the things that has been disappointing to me is that some of the Measure O purchasing and arrangements that have been made (are) far from the city and perhaps not what some of the framers really intended.”

“Here have a parcel now with substantial research and a lot of effort,” he said.  He said that it is great to have the Chief Innovation Officer on board, but he noted, “with that strength there will be other options.”

David Morris acknowledged he is the CEO of Capitol Corridor Ventures and, “I’m the one responsible for this mess.”

He explained much more eloquently than staff how this process came about, and why he felt we needed this parcel to achieve the goals.

He said, “One of the things that became clear early is that we need to have a place to attract and retain larger companies to create critical mass.”

He argued there is only one place in Yolo County where that makes any sense, from a technology perspective.

“People can debate this, but that’s just the fact,” he stated.  “It’s Mace and I-80.  Looking at that site and the conservation piece, it became pretty clear that if that easement goes down it’s going to push that type of development into Solano County.”

“I think it involves Davis,” he said.  “I think it should be integrated into Davis with our bike system… with our community as a major revenue source.”

Michelle Clarke, the Executive Director of the Yolo Land Trust, noted that they’ve had “a remarkable partnership with the city of Davis for the last 20 years.”

She said there is some concern among YLT board about the Shriner’s property and its proximity to city limits.  “But any decisions on future projects are made by the board and not by staff.”

The city owns the parcel to the east of the Mace Curve, which will make YLT the sole recipient of the grant.  She said, “My concern tonight is really the impact that turning down that money might have on the Yolo Land Trust.”

The city posted a letter from James Gore of NRCS in Washington, DC, that said, “No hard feelings if you guys have to rescind your application.”

But Ms. Clarke disagreed, noting that one of the ranking criteria for these funds “is the closing efficiency of the entity that receives the funds.”  That means how long it takes to close the project after being granted the funds.  “We’ve already been granted two extensions on this project, and if the funds were to be turned back there is a risk that it would have an impact on Yolo Land Trust.”

Following the motion by Lucas Frerichs and seconded by Brett Lee, Dan Wolk spoke out against the motion, though acknowledging his support for open space and land preservation.

“I don’t like locking us into this because the process was bad,” Mayor Pro Tem Wolk stated.  “I just worry about the opportunities we might have should we go through with getting the easement.  It’s frustrating the process is bad.  I just feel like there’s an opportunity here for achieving both our goals of land preservation and economic development.”

Councilmember Swanson said, as noted,  “I would hate to see the bad process kill a good thing.”

She noted, “I really do feel that if this process would have come before us three weeks ago or two months ago, I think the community would have looked at more than just a bird in the hand.”

Ms Swanson added that she wanted conservation easements to the north and development along the freeway.  But she described that sentiment as “51-49” implying it being a close call and the “process being frustrating.”

Mayor Krovoza said that we have extremely talented city staff that we have built up over the last few years that are savvy and smart about how the community needs to move forward both in terms of sustainability and open space and in particular economic development.

“When this easement came up, I was thrilled, I could not have been more excited, this is a tremendous piece of property, this is exactly what Measure O was meant to preserve,” he said.  He said he worries that if the deal on the periphery always being better than the deal that relates to infill, “we will always choose the periphery, we will always find a reason to go to the periphery. We will never have the incentive to do the tricky harder, closer, denser, more livable projects.”

He expressed confidence that the staff would be successful focusing within.  He called this project “extremely seductive;” on the other hand, he said it’s “extremely speculative.”

He said it was speculative as to whether or not the community lets the city do this.  The project would require a Measure R vote and, while he thinks the community is more likely to support economic development, nevertheless losing open space might be a detractor.

He argued that he hopes to continue to work with the City Manager and CIO to find projects and opportunities, but on balance, “I can’t go this far, this fast.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Photo Caption: Open Space Commissioner Greg House speaks to Council during public comment Tuesday night.

Share:

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.

Related posts

105 thoughts on “Council Pulls Back From Mace Curve Land Swap in the Face of Overwhelming Public Criticism About Process”

  1. SODA

    Once again Joe was articulate and logical. I felt he outshone Dan once again, who seemed to stumble and not have real reasons for his vote and was pretty absent in the discussion. The CM role reminded me of the Jim Kidd-tree removal issue of a few weeks ago and did anyone else think Mike Webb seemed relieved after the vote?
    He seemed uncomfortable and uncharacteristically confusing in his presentation.

  2. Growth Izzue

    Joe Krovoza is a class act and a stand up guy, he blows Dan Wolk out of the water. Here’s to hoping that Wolk wins the county race so that we can keep Krovoza on our council in Davis where I feel he can do us more good.

  3. Michael Harrington

    DV wrote: Councilmember Brett Lee may have epitomized the dilemma facing council on Tuesday night evaluating a reasonable proposal to swap one piece of land in a conservation easement for another against the backdrop of a public process that quite simply failed to meet even the most basic standards of transparency and open government.

    “I met with Capitol Corridor Ventures last week about the proposal and it seemed quite reasonable,” Councilmember Lee said. Noting that we brought in a highly thought of Chief Innovation Officer, “It does seem like we do have the possibility to develop kind of a robust job creation area – something that the people of Davis could be proud of.”

    This is typical Brett: flops around with his analysis, and depending on the wind, he falls off the fence on one side.

    How can anyone say that the Mace Curve project proposal made any sense what so ever, given the Davis “point of view.”

    But Brett pretty much lied to most of us about his pre-election view of the surface water project.

  4. alanpryor

    [quote]This is typical Brett: flops around with his analysis, and depending on the wind, he falls off the fence on one side….But Brett pretty much lied to most of us about his pre-election view of the surface water project. [/quote]

    Wow…harsh words. My take on Brett is exactly the opposite. I think he is the most open of all the Councilmembers in signaling his initial views on a subject but he also always says he is willing to listen to both sides and his views are not fixed in concrete. Brett is also the most analytical and quantitative of the Councilmembers in terms of how he evaluates things. And he is completely upfront when he tells his constituents how he derived at a decision.

    I may not always agree with Brett and sometimes he infuriates me by playing the devil’s advocate when discussing almost any issue with him. But I have come to learn that this is just his style for rooting down to core issues on a matter. I otherwise have the utmost respect for his personal integrity and know that he will always vote his honest convictions based on a thorough analysis of every subject. What more could we really ask of a Councilmember than intelligence, openness, and integrity.

    I really think Brett is growing into a very fine Councilmember…and that you should move beyond old grudges on the water project, Mike.

  5. stevem

    Is it possible — now that the cat is out of the bag about Capitol Corridor Ventures — that we might get a public disclosure of the *initial* board of directors of techDavis? The board in place when the city signed an agreement with it?

    What do I hope we’ll discover? That techDavis was “comprised of current and former senior technology executives with close ties to UC Davis and/or the Davis community, as well as ex officio members from the government, academic, and business services sectors.” Just what was described in the staff reports and press releases when the deal was concluded.

  6. Matt Williams

    Michael Harrington said . . .

    [i]”But Brett pretty much lied to most of us about his pre-election view of the surface water project.”[/i]

    Care to expand on that Mike?

    To help everyone wrestle with Mike’s comment, here is the December 23, 2011 Vanguard article where Brett laid out his thoughts about the water project . . . thoughts that Mike clearly says were lies. [url]https://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4948:city-council-candidate-lee-puts-out-water-position&Itemid=79[/url]

  7. Don Shor

    stevem: [quote] was “comprised of current and former senior technology executives with close ties to UC Davis and/or the Davis community, as well as ex officio members from the government, academic, and business services sectors.”[/quote]

    I’m beginning to think that was wishful thinking on their part. Maybe they should have said “we hope it will be comprised of….”
    I’m also beginning to think techDAVIS and Capital Corridor Ventures is/are basically one guy.

  8. Frankly

    What a shame. The NIMBY, statist, no-growthers win again. Take stock of the situation kids. Run far away from Davis as soon as you can. The old fogies don’t want you to work here. They don’t want you to be able to afford a house here. The will stop at nothing to keep Davis economically unsustainable to all but the wealthy liberal elites, people on government subsidies and those able to make it work living off that soft UCD bread. They trashed a completely reasonable land preservation swap because, aghast!, it might lead to business expansion Those on the city council voting against this should be ashamed of themselves.

  9. Don Shor

    [quote]The NIMBY, statist, no-growthers win again.[/quote]
    To whom are you referring? Name names, please. I really want to know who these phantom people are that you’re always debating.

  10. Don Shor

    Matt from yesterday’s thread: [quote]davisite4 said . . .

    “The real issue is the building of the innovation park.”

    d4, you have said the above for a reason. Could you explain why you think this is the real issue?[/quote]

    From last night’s public comments, quoted above:
    [quote]David Morris acknowledged he is the CEO of Capitol Corridor Ventures and, “I’m the one responsible for this mess.”
    He explained much more eloquently than staff how this process came about, and why he felt we needed this parcel to achieve the goals.
    He said, “One of the things that became clear early is that we need to have a place to attract and retain larger companies to create critical mass.”
    He argued there is only one place in Yolo County where that makes any sense, from a technology perspective.
    “People can debate this, but that’s just the fact,” he stated. “It’s Mace and I-80. Looking at that site and the conservation piece, it became pretty clear that if that easement goes down it’s going to push that type of development into Solano County.”[/quote]

    At no time was this proposal actually about conservation. It was about moving forward on a business park on that site. davisite4 had it exactly right.

  11. Frankly

    Mr. Harrington is one. He has his following. Don Shor claims he is not, but I can’t bring myself to an expectation that he would support any significant development project based on his history of opinion. Just inventory the “concerned citizens” attending council meeting when there is any significant development item on the agenda. These are the motivated blockers of change.

    Personally, I see it as our responsibility to provide a level of city growth and economic development. I think those that block it are irresponsible and selfish.

  12. davisite4

    [quote]Councilmember Swanson said, as noted, “I would hate to see the bad process kill a good thing.”[/quote]

    This shows that Swanson doesn’t understand the purpose of a community-involved process. The purpose is not to convince us of her way of thinking. The purpose is to gain relevant input from the citizens of Davis. You can’t know if it’s a “good thing” or not until you’ve heard from the citizens.

    [quote]They trashed a completely reasonable land preservation swap.[/quote]

    There was no land swap. There were only various possible alternatives, one of which was singled out by staff only 24 hours before the meeting (the so-called “CCV Concept”). None of those possible land trades were analyzed, and all them could have fallen through if the relevant contingencies were not met. Meanwhile, the million dollars and the chance to preserve this parcel would have been gone.

  13. Don Shor

    [quote]Don Shor claims he is not, but I can’t bring myself to an expectation that he would support any significant development project based on his history of opinion.[/quote]
    As I have said and said and said before, I believe Nishi should be annexed and developed, and believe the site next to the hospital is a possibility. Maybe you’ve missed that? I’ve only said it dozens of times.
    I am consistent on this. Don’t annex prime farmland that is next to the city limits and that is adjacent to prime farmland.
    I don’t support a [i]big[/i] business park in general. I support developing land for small startups, smaller firms that would benefit from proximity to UCD. I consider low-cost (ie. rental) housing a much higher land-use priority at the moment for Davis. Firms that need more land can and will go to Dixon, as David Morris noted last night. When a smaller firm needs more space, they can move to the nearby communities that have shovel-ready property (driven down 113 through Dixon lately?), and thus churn their Davis sites for other startups.

    Not every city has to provide every business opportunity, or every retail opportunity. We are part of a region. We exist symbiotically with Woodland and Dixon, in particular. We would do well to pool our resources and provide transit between the three cities. And we should stop trying to be everything and be like everyone else.
    So I support reasonable growth proposals, I oppose peripheral annexation in general, and I believe the focus on a business park is misplaced. I particularly oppose taking an existing planned conservation easement and converting it for a speculative venture for a possible business park of the sort that we don’t even really need here. That was poor urban planning and violated Davis planning principles at several levels.

  14. Davis Progressive

    frankly, what actually happened was that staff screwed up the process and the council was stuck between a hard rock and an uncomfortable place. it didn’t work this time.

  15. Frankly

    If you oppose peripheral annexation, then 80% of what you claim to support is mute.

    So apparently you don’t care that business location and expansion options are very limited in Davis, and you are fine allowing them to locate to other cities. I think I can rest my case. Your nuanced position has so many disclaimers it is about useless.

    I completely disagree that Davis does not need a business park. And I agree that the Mace Curve area is a perfect location. Don, do you live in that area? Is this a personal issue for you? I really don’t get the hard stance you take on it.

  16. medwoman

    [quote]The will stop at nothing to keep Davis economically unsustainable to all but the wealthy liberal elites, people on government subsidies and those able to make it work living off that soft UCD bread.[/quote]

    Frankly, do you live in Davis ? I thought you did, but do not recognize you in the above description.

    [quote]Personally, I see it as our responsibility to provide a level of city growth and economic development. I think those that block it are irresponsible and selfish.[/quote]

    Yes, but then you seem to think that anyone who does not agree with your positions is irresponsible and selfish. I have a different sense of “our responsibility”. I see it as our responsibility as a community to act in such as manner as the majority envision as what is in the best interest of the community while still respectfully considering the view of those in the minority. To me, this is the heart and essence of democratic, representative government.

  17. Davis Progressive

    come on, when you have bob schneider on your case here, you know you’ve screwed up. he’s not an anti-growth person by any means. same with souza.

  18. Frankly

    Davis is not in need of more open space. A business park is not a material impact on our supply of open space. We need more business. More economic development. More tax revenue. People are obsessed and irrational in their fear of sprawl and change. But those obsessed seem to have energy to pursue their obsession.

  19. Robb Davis

    I have had to watch all of this from a distance but applaud the vote of Krovoza, Lee and Freirichs on this one. I also think that if I were a City Council member I would want Don Shor to be one (not the only one) of the key people advising me on land use issues. I work with and know several farmers around Davis and more than anyone else writing here Don captures their concerns. And by the way, these are not large, wealthy farmers but smaller ones who are most concerned with bringing food directly from their fields to our plates. They understand the value of the land we are preserving and they take a long view on the value of this land to do what it does best: grow food.

    Thanks Don for a reasoned view. Your alternative sites of Nishi (though it has many challenges) and the area around/near Sutter show that you are open on this issue.

    What has happened over the past couple of days shows a community that is struggling to juggle several huge challenges. There are never going to be easy answers to these things and there will be much disagreement. But whatever you think about this particular decision be glad that citizens who became aware of a very faulty process stood up and demanded that things be done right. That practice will serve all of our long term interests and (more importantly) needs.

  20. Matt Williams

    [b]Don Shor said . . . [/b]

    [i]”Matt, from yesterday’s thread:

    davisite4 said . . .

    “The real issue is the building of the innovation park.”

    Matt replied . . .

    d4, you have said the above for a reason. Could you explain why you think this is the real issue?”[/i]

    [b]At no time was this proposal actually about conservation. It was about moving forward on a business park on that site. davisite4 had it exactly right.[/b]

    Don, I wholeheartedly disagree. The proposal if and when it reached its anticipated conclusion would have resulted in 391 acres in conservation easement together with 234 acres owned/controlled by the City. The 391 acres in conservation easement would have been the combination of 234 acres of the Shriners property plus 157 acres of the two parcels closest to the Mace Curve (033-290-001 and 033-290-058) The remaining 229 acres of parcel 033-290-004 plus the 5 easternmost acres of parcel 033-290-058 farthest from the Mace Curve would have been owned/controlled by the City as the possible Innovation Park site, when and if real businesses demonstrated that they wanted to bring substantial numbers of jobs there.

    Bottom-line, the proposal was about 391 acres of permanently conserved land for urban farms [u]all[/u] of which either directly abut Covell Blvd west of the Mace Curve or are directly east and north of Mace Curve vs. 162 acres acres of permanently conserved land directly east and north of Mace Curve and 229 acres of permanently conserved land that is half a mile to one mile further away from the Mace Curve, and therefore much less convenient for citizens to use as an urban garden. If that isn’t “actually about conservation” what is it?

    You are approaching this from a Manechian Cosmology. In reality it is not a the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness.

  21. Growth Izzue

    Unfortunately it feels like we as citizens have to constantly keep an eye on City Hall to make sure they aren’t pulling any shenanigans. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

  22. Don Shor

    [quote]If you oppose peripheral annexation, then 80% of what you claim to support is mute. 
[/quote]
    That, of course, is not what I said. Two of the sites I support or could support are peripheral.

    [quote]So apparently you don’t care that business location and expansion options are very limited in Davis, and you are fine allowing them to locate to other cities. [/quote]
    I agree that they are limited, as I have said before that is for reasons of geography, history, and demographics. I am fine with Genentech going to Dixon. I think CalGene is suited to Davis.

    [quote]I think I can rest my case. [/quote]
    I think you hear what you want to hear.

    [quote]Your nuanced position has so many disclaimers it is about useless. [/quote]
    No, it allows for development and orderly growth. Therefore, if you again call me “no-growth” I will tell you, again, that you are wrong.



    [quote]I completely disagree that Davis does not need a business park. [/quote]
    Then we disagree. And it is possible that a business park will be developed here someday. Maybe next to the hospital.

    [quote]And I agree that the Mace Curve area is a perfect location. [/quote]
    I said Mace Curve should be off the table, for a number of reasons. It is now off the table. So I’m happy.

    [quote]Don, do you live in that area? Is this a personal issue for you?[/quote]
    No. I live on a small farm.

    [quote] I really don’t get the hard stance you take on it.[/quote]
    I don’t like bad urban planning.

  23. Don Shor

    [quote]Don, I wholeheartedly disagree. The proposal if and when it reached its anticipated conclusion would have resulted in 391 acres in conservation easement together with 234 acres owned/controlled by the City[/quote]

    But that was not the purpose of the proposal, as evidenced by David Morris in his public comments and the haphazard manner in which the land swap was put together. The purpose was to preserve the option on that land for a business park. There was a bit of a shell game going on here. The land swap was a distraction from the actual purpose.

  24. Don Shor

    I urge city staff and council members to review this list of basic principles from the California Farm Bureau Federation, with particular attention to principle # 7.
    [url]http://www.cfbf.com/issues/landuse/report5.cfm[/url]

  25. SouthofDavis

    Frankly wrote:

    > Don, do you live in that area? Is this a personal
    > issue for you? I really don’t get the hard stance
    > you take on it.

    Don has mentioned that he lives and works in Davis, but he wants others that live in Davis to drive to Dixon to work (not very green since it is hard to ride a bike to Dixon, while a CEO living in Lake Alhambra could walk to the Mace Curve office park, so could many others that lived in the homes, condos and apartments of Mace Ranch or just south of the freeway where there are even more affordable homes and apartments). I’m sure that Don and medwoman (with her home and two rental properties) are well aware that the average home value in Davis is ~$500K (more than double the average home value in Dixon and Woodland thanks in part to the restrictions on development).

    Frankly wrote:

    > They will stop at nothing to keep Davis economically
    > unsustainable to all but the wealthy liberal elites,
    > people on government subsidies and those able to make
    > it work living off that soft UCD bread.

    Then medwoman wrote:

    > Frankly, do you live in Davis ? I thought you did, but
    > do not recognize you in the above description.

    Anyone that says Davis had not been getting wealthier, better educated and more liberal over the past 30 years has not been paying attention. When my sister moved to a Davis rental house in the 80’s (after a year in the dorms and an apartment) about half the homes on her street were owned by people that didn’t go to college (the Dad at the house next door to her was a welder that worked in cars and mufflers at a shop here in town).

    I will be surprised if either Don or Medwoman will say that they want to attract more Republican guys with GEDs who work in the trades (and park fishing boats in their driveways) to town…

    P.S. Speaking of the “Mace Curve” I was heading down Covell toward Mace after 11 pm last night when my radar detector went off. A Davis cop was pulled over on the curve with his lights off trying to catch speeders (a 40 mph zone where the average car is going 55 mph)…

  26. Don Shor

    South:
    [quote]Don has mentioned that he lives and works in Davis, but he wants others that live in Davis to drive to Dixon to work (not very green since it is hard to ride a bike to Dixon,[/quote]
    Huh? No, I haven’t said anything like that. And it isn’t true, any of it.

    [quote]I will be surprised if either Don or Medwoman will say that they want to attract more Republican guys with GEDs who work in the trades (and park fishing boats in their driveways) to town…[/quote]
    That would be just fine with me. What makes you think otherwise?

    Frankly: [quote]Doing nothing or not enough is bad planning.[/quote]
    How about if we get moving on Nishi and all the economic development points you and Mark West and others and I have agreed on here in the past, and see how that goes?

  27. Matt Williams

    Don, as I said before you are approaching this from a Manechian Cosmology. In reality it is not a the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. It is a both/and situation where the proposal was about [u]both [/u] conservation and economic sustainability.

  28. Matt Williams

    davis progressive said . . .

    “frankly, what actually happened was that staff screwed up the process and the council was stuck between a hard rock and an uncomfortable place. it didn’t work this time.”

    Amen

  29. davisite4

    “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down; just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, in a most delightful way.”

  30. SouthofDavis

    Don wrote:

    > I live on a small farm…

    But forgot to mention that it is off I80 in Dixon and will be worth a lot more if development off I80 in Davis is stopped (the home in Dixon also explains why he so happy about the tippling of Davis water rates, the increase in Davis parcel taxes and anything that will stop non Davis residents from sending kids to Davis schools)…

  31. jrberg

    Don – I saw SoD’s post before you removed it. What is it with these people who attribute all sorts of nefarious, conspiratorial motives to people with no evidence whatsoever? They do not contribute to a rational discussion. And I agree with your removal of that post – it was way over the top.

  32. medwoman

    [quote]I will be surprised if either Don or Medwoman will say that they want to attract more Republican guys with GEDs who work in the trades (and park fishing boats in their driveways) to town…
    [/quote]

    Well then, I guess you will be surprised . Both of my “rental properties” are my family homes, one of which is in rural Washington state and are kept for the benefit of less affluent family members, not for profit.
    I myself downsized to a bungalow of 1000 square feet in Old East Davis because I did not like living in the typical “doctor” neighborhood in North Davis where I raised my family. My neighbors include two housing coops, two student apartment buildings, a local nursery employee, an agricultural worker and several blue collar workers. One neighbor keeps a trailer on the street. I have not felt so much at home since I was in rural Washington. Sometimes I have to smile at how far off the mark the generalizations are about what a “lefty doctor” must want. Sometimes, I must admit, I find it irritating that those of different political persuasions conclude what I must think or feel, rather than listening with an open mind to what I am actually saying.

  33. Frankly

    jberg, I am probably guilty of some colorful language and generalizations attempting to categorize people based on their positions. Sometimes I am just missing some point or perspective and I will be the first to say I was wrong and apologize. But mostly I know irrational when I see it, hear it and read it. “Irrational” in this case is any position that does not add up to a rational argument. Don certainly sounds and reads like one of the most rational people in the room, but going back over his positions on this, including his quick trigger-finger to demand “no” on this opportunity, I see someone with a fundamental agenda of blocking business growth in this town except on some narrow version of acceptability. Don is not the only one but he one of the most vocal on this. Medwoman too. Mike Harrington only pops his head in every now and then to poke the caboose.

    What irks me is the people that claim a big lapel pin demanding social justice and help for the lower income people. Yet, their action and positions on issues like growth and economic development tend to screw the little guy. To me it looks like people grabbing some politically-correct political identity while also pushing an agenda that is, in fact, quite hypocritical. That bothers me.

    I’m a mean old Republican dude and I can’t stop thinking about how damn hard it is for any young person or young family or people of limited means to live in this town. That bothers me too.

    I have lived her 35 years. My wife has lived her 47 years (even though she looks 40.) We like Davis, but we feel that it is in decline. It is stuck in some messed-up, messed-up baby boomer-conceived time warp. It is a city without an identity except being where UCD is located, and quirky. That is fine when we are taking care of business. For example, generating enough jobs and enough good jobs, establishing enough retail and entertainment venues that do not require freeway travel, and bringing in enough sales tax revenue to pay our bills. But we are not doing any of those things. We manage to keep our property values high. Yippee-Skippee! But that is all we really seem to know how to do.

    From my perspective there is a group of NIMBY, statist, no-growth (or only accepting a level of slow-growth to be considered no-growth), that have had their way and continue to have there way by harassing, complaining , whining and cajoling enough to frighten enough city leaders and voters to get their way.

    I am tired of it. Hence my language.

    Yes, staff screwed up. But everyone with any experience in the political ways of this town know that it would not make a damn bit of difference if staff had crossed every I and dotted every T… those blockers of change would still be out harassing, complaining, whining and frightening as many people as they could to maintain Davis in this weird 70’s time warp.

    It all brings to mind some Freudian or Jungian theories for what is going in the minds of these people. Really. Because their positions are so far out of whack with the rest of the world, I am thinking we might really have some issues with our well water.

  34. Davis Progressive

    except for one problem – had staff not screwed up the process lucas would have voted for the swap and it would have been 3-2 the other way

  35. Don Shor

    Economic development, the housing market, the rental vacancy rate, are all interconnected. They tend to be readily quantifiable. Other considerations, less measurable, are quality of life, community character, walkable/bikable scale, and environmental goals.

    The city’s affordable housing program does not meet its goals and doesn’t effectively serve those who need affordable housing. The most pressing issue for the city is reasonable-priced rental housing for the current population and sufficient to provide for the projected increase in UCD enrollment.

    The university needs to provide more housing for their current and projected enrollment. They should also be encouraged to provide housing for some or most of the increase in employment they are projecting to serve the larger student numbers. Current projects such as ConAgra can provide some of the needed housing, but clearly policies are not encouraging rental units there.

    Davis is not a suitable site for a business park geared toward large corporate entities. There is no ‘shovel-ready’ site for a big business park that doesn’t involve peripheral development. Nearby communities can provide that land at a much lower price. We should focus on smaller startups and expect them to move out (churn those sites) as they outgrow their startup locations. Peripheral development, in general, has undesirable costs and consequences and reflects poor urban planning. It should be a last resort, and should be guided by county-wide principles of planned urban density and protection of agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and open space.

    Economic development can be encouraged by the city by allowing greater flexibility in zoning, annexing Nishi, and possibly retaining a portion of the Cannery site for business uses. Other sites that might be considered, but which would require a broader community discussion, include the land near the hospital and the Covell Village site. I expect the latter would require a very comprehensive public planning process.

    The city should focus on near-term goals that are achievable. There is broad consensus on many policies. Unfortunately, it is always easier to annex land and build on it than it is to work with odder parcels already within the city limits. There is always pressure from adjacent landowners and land developers, ready to cut special deals. That takes the focus off of things we can do now within our existing borders.

  36. Frankly

    [i]Sometimes, I must admit, I find it irritating that those of different political persuasions conclude what I must think or feel, rather than listening with an open mind to what I am actually saying[/i]

    Fare enough medwoman, but then don’t you admit that your position on growth and development drives up real estate prices, makes people require a car to do their shopping, and provides very limited job opportunities and career opportunities for young people?

    Think of all those smart young people graduating from UCD. Don’t you want to see our community blessed with a strong population of them? As it stands today, unless they go to work for the university, or unless they want to be homeless or have their rent subsidized, they have to move away.

    Your approach seems similar to Al Gore… lives in a 28-room mansion that uses the energy of 12 standard homes, and flies a private jet, but he buys carbon credits to get a pass. Don’t you think a good bleeding heart liberal should be a good bleeding heart liberal all of the time, instead of accumulating the equivalent of carbon credits that you can use to defend your ideological identity?

  37. medwoman

    [quote]Fare enough medwoman, but then don’t you admit that your position on growth and development drives up real estate prices, makes people require a car to do their shopping, and provides very limited job opportunities and career opportunities for young people?
    [/quote]

    I don’t feel that I have to “admit” anything. I feel that my position and growth and development is consistent with my vision for the region much as Don said. I do not see Davis in isolation or necessarily in competition with the rest of our region. I believe that we are in a unique position by our presence adjacent to the university.
    This is what I would like to optimize. I, like Don would like to see more student appropriate housing and housing for those who truly need it. What I do not believe we need are $400-$600,000 houses which seem to be the focus of many developers. We have plenty of those but those seem to be the price underlying any major development with “affordable housing” and innovations tossed in much in the same way that Target promised to put in a few more trees to become a “green” Target.

    If you truly believe in what you say, then why should these young people not do what you and I and virtually every one I know has done. Live in less expensive housing, much as I am doing now by the way, until such a times as they can afford a mini mansion if that is what they want. Alternatively, they could also choose to live in cooperative housing or share housing to save money as my children are choosing to do. I am much less concerned about the young professional who cannot afford a four bedroom, 2.5 bath house yet than I am with providing ample apartments, duplexes and other less expensive housing options for those who are not focused on luxury homes.

    [quote]Don’t you think a good bleeding heart liberal should be a good bleeding heart liberal all of the time, [/quote]

    I think that what everyone whether a “bleeding heart liberal” or not would be well served by doing is to consider each issue on its own merits instead of prejudging an issue by whether or not it fits a preconceived version of what is the “right” way to think. As new information or different ideas or encountered, I believe that it is important to remain open minded enough to be willing to consider why another individual might see something differently. To do this, I think one must be willing to set aside labels, stereotypes and preconceived notions about what someone else must be thinking. It would seem that it is easier for some folks to fall back on name calling and their preset notions than it is to actually consider another’s view point. I simply do not see how this ever adds to a conversation.

  38. Jim Frame

    [quote]Where was Mitch Sears last night? [/quote]

    Mitch, the city’s Sustainability Program Manager, was in the audience; I was sitting right in front of him. The fact that he wasn’t sitting at the staff table which might lead one to conclude that the City Manager’s agenda wasn’t about open space.

  39. SouthofDavis

    I wrote:

    > I will be surprised if either Don or Medwoman
    > will say that they want to attract more Republican
    > guys with GEDs who work in the trades (and park
    > fishing boats in their driveways) to town…

    Then Don wrote:

    > That would be just fine with me. What makes
    > you think otherwise?

    and Medwoman wrote:

    > Well then, I guess you will be surprised…

    Funny that neither Don or Medwoman wrote:

    “I want to attract more Republican guys with GEDs who work in the trades to town”…

    > The city’s affordable housing program does not meet
    > its goals and doesn’t effectively serve those who
    > need affordable housing.

    Most of America has plenty of “affordable” housing because they allow new development and the older stuff becomes “affordable” as people with money move out of it and in to the newer stuff (and the owners of the older stuff lower the price to sell or rent it). In most of America this “affordable” housing is provided without a penny of taxpayer support. Here in Davis we spend millions of taxpayer money on “affordable” housing that the politically connected get to live in, build and manage (and in Davis with the case of DACHA get paid $300K+ even when you do a such a crappy that the city fires you or in the case of the Pacifico Student Housing Cooperative on the South Davis bike trail that had been more than half empty (in a town with under 5% vacancy) and sucking taxpayer money for more than FIVE YEARS)…

    I’ll at least admit that like living around well-educated wealthy people even if many of my close friends (really) are people that didn’t finish college that work in the trades (and have race cars, boats, snowmobiles and all sorts of other crap in their driveways)…

    There is nothing wrong with wanting your family to live in a bubble with low crime and a high percentage of people with advanced degrees. People that (really) want to live around working class poor people don’t live in Davis since you can pay a lot less for a home and get a lot more working class poor people many other places.

    The people that live in Davis and say they wish the city had more working class Republicans remind me of the people that say “some of my best friends are black” (and when pushed for a name mention the guy they worked with on the second Bradley for Governor campaign)…

  40. SouthofDavis

    Medwoman wrote:

    > What I do not believe we need are $400-$600,000
    > houses which seem to be the focus of many developers.
    > We have plenty of those…

    We know multiple families (some renting in Davis and others renting in Woodland and West Sac) that would love to buy a family home in Davis for

  41. SouthofDavis

    I used the “less than” symbol in my last post rather than write “under $600K and the post got cut off, below is a repost without the “less than” symbol..

    Medwoman wrote:

    > What I do not believe we need are $400-$600,000
    > houses which seem to be the focus of many developers.
    > We have plenty of those…

    We know multiple families (some renting in Davis and others renting in Woodland and West Sac) that would love to buy a family home in Davis for under $600K. I just looked on Zillow and it says 18 homes are currently on the market in the $400-$600K range and four of those are 4 bedroom homes. If you define “plenty” as more than three (and think that needing to spend $50K to $100K before you more in is no big deal) than Davis has “plenty” of homes for middle class families and we don’t need to develop anything…

  42. Don Shor

    I do not care if my customers are Republicans, I have no idea whether they have GED’s or any form of education, and lots of my customers “work in the trades.” I, in fact, having been a landscape contractor and PCO in the past, and a nursery professional, actually “work in the trades.” All I care about is that they garden, have questions, and want to buy stuff from me. I also don’t care about the demographics of my neighbors.
    This is one of the weirder accusations/assumptions/inferences you or anyone else have made here.

  43. JustSaying

    “The fact that (Mitch Sears) wasn’t sitting at the staff table which might lead one to conclude that the City Manager’s agenda wasn’t about open space.”

    Huh? Way too subtle for me.

  44. DT Businessman

    “Most of America has plenty of “affordable” housing because they allow new development and the older stuff becomes “affordable” as people with money move out of it and in to the newer stuff (and the owners of the older stuff lower the price to sell or rent it).”

    Hm, I’m not sure I’ve heard this vision before. Davis with a 10 mile radius with the rich living on the periphery, except for where it bumps up against Woodland, and the lower classes living in a decayed core. I choose not to buy into such a vision.

    -Michael Bisch

  45. jrberg

    [quote]

    jberg, I am probably guilty of some colorful language and generalizations attempting to categorize people based on their positions. Sometimes I am just missing some point or perspective and I will be the first to say I was wrong and apologize. But mostly I know irrational when I see it, hear it and read it. “Irrational” in this case is any position that does not add up to a rational argument. Don certainly sounds and reads like one of the most rational people in the room, but going back over his positions on this, including his quick trigger-finger to demand “no” on this opportunity, I see someone with a fundamental agenda of blocking business growth in this town except on some narrow version of acceptability. Don is not the only one but he one of the most vocal on this. Medwoman too. Mike Harrington only pops his head in every now and then to poke the caboose. [/quote]

    Not sure why you are responding to me, since I didn’t reference you directly in my last comment. However, I will say that you don’t, and can’t, know what I think and how I look at City issues. You are very adamant about projecting certain attitudes onto your “opponents,” most of which come from your own fevered mind.

    As to the issue at hand, did you attend the Council meeting last night? Did you make comments to advance your position on this issue? If not, why not? If you are as passionate as you seem to be about Davis City politics, you should be involved in more ways than this forum. I certainly am, and I welcome participation from all viewpoints.

  46. noname

    I watched the whole debate last night and I’ve got to say, the council doesn’t get a pass on this fiasco.

    According to Brett Lee, the council had discussed this land swap at least twice in recent months in closed session. On another comment thread, I believe someone said the parcel swap idea was broached at the end of last year. OK. So why was the public only made aware of the proposal on Monday?

    My more paranoid side wonders if it wasn’t just city staff playing hide-the-ball on the Mace Curve issue.

    Also, I’m a little tired of a don’t-call-it-a-business-park “innovation center” being touted as the city’s economic savior. Where’s the proof? Seems we were told the same thing about Target and sales tax. And is there really a demand for it? I suspect the much-coveted fledgling tech companies are heading to Silicon Valley for reasons beyond Davis not having a vacant tilt-up or two.

    Finally, I’m really concerned about Mr. Capitol Corridor Venture and his influence in City Hall. We know now that he has both a land option and an eye on development. And yet he and TechDavis (still don’t know who else is financing that) have persuaded city leaders — always complaining about a lack of money — to split the costs for an “innovation officer.” Sure seems like a potential conflict of interest to me. Or a partially taxpayer-funded lobbyist.

    And one last thing. Thanks to The Vanguard for alerting readers to this proposal. Without the public scrutiny I fear the staff recommendation would have been approved without discussion on the consent calendar.

  47. Jim Frame

    [quote]Huh? Way too subtle for me. [/quote]

    Mitch manages the Open Space program. If the agenda was open space, wouldn’t you expect the Open Space program manager to be at the staff table?

  48. medwoman

    I guess I also must have missed the point about Republicans with GEDs. Like Don, why would I care? My practice is with Kaiser. Many of my patients probably are Republicans. I wouldn’t know. I don’t ask. I only know the political affiliation of my next door neighbors, the rest of the neighborhood, I haven’t the vaguest idea, nor do I care.

    A quick look I just took at Trulliio told a different story. Rounding slightly ( less than 10,000 dollar variance up or down ) gave me approximately 40 homes in Davis for sale in the $400 -600,000 range. I didn’t actually tally up the 200 – 300,000, but it looked to be in the 30 to 40 range also and what looked like a slightly smaller number of homes in the 700,000 to 900,000 range. There was a smattering of lower cost homes and a smattering of homes in the 900,000 to over 1 million range. Now, I am certainly not versed in
    community planning or real estate, so I do not know if there is a number of homes considered to be optimal on the market at any given time for a community of 65,000, but unless someone can tell me what that number would be, and based on what concept, then the picture certainly does not look as bleak to me as you seem to be portraying it.

  49. JustSaying

    SouthofDavis, I rejoice with every no-growth decision that gets made here ’cause it’s a lot like a home-equity insurance program. I’ve got mine, but there’s no way we’ll have have affordable housing for anyone else again and no chance for jobs that could draw the riffraff to our community.

    I’m troubled that these policies have had some unforeseen consequences. As young families cannot afford to get in, we’re moving toward becoming Hamelin without the need for a piper. We would have lost another school with all those cute little kids running about, but we’ve staved that off by aggressiving recruiting hundreds of students from other districts. By subsidizing outsiders, increasing class size and approving more parcel taxes, we’ve pulled off a stop gap solution.

    I’m also concerned that our library and parks are suffering cutbacks and that other public services are on an unsustainable trajectory. Maybe some more parcel tax votes will solve that. Then there’s that pesky water/sewer/waste price hike.

    Well, as long as my real estate values are solid because of our no-growth supply and demand situation, I’m sittin’ in clover.

  50. Don Shor

    I believe you’re going to get a bunch of new housing shortly. Well, at least a site is probably going to be rezoned for that. Assuming it gets built out, do you think housing prices in Davis are going to drop?

  51. Mr.Toad

    ” I am fine with Genentech going to Dixon. I think CalGene is suited to Davis.”

    Stupid is as stupid does. Genentech a world class biopharmaceutical company now owned by Roche Holdings. It has a massive production facility in Vacaville where many Davis residents commute daily. Calgene, now a subsidiary of Monsanto, a company that just received world wide protests over their products and business practices has a small research office in Davis. Of course Genentech might want to have research facilities in Davis and we should be happy to get them to come here. The idea that preserving jobs on a tomato harvester or alfalfa bailer as opposed to bringing in a world class company like Genentech leaves me speechless. Choosing a company that breeds for herbicide resistance over one that cures cancer is just unbelievable.

  52. Don Shor

    CalGene was an example. Just curious, Mr. Toad — how’s Genentech doing in Dixon and Vacaville these days?[url]https://www.baycitizen.org/news/business/genentech-layoff-hundreds-bay-area/[/url]
    You may be speechless, but you need to stop insulting people. I mean it.

  53. jimt

    I would wager that even if Davis grew very rapidly, say at 4-5%/yr; housing prices relative to neighboring communities (even modest townhouse and condo values, relative to those in neighboring communities) would continue to be much higher; mainly because of the lower crime rate and absence of entrenched violent gangs; adding to a pleasant ambience to Davis that drives up its market value. However within a decade of such high growth rates (and don’t forget to add mini-mall strips, you nasty elitist no-growthers); I’d wager we would see the crime rates rise and a foothold on gang activity gained; Davis would start to lose its small town and safe ambience, and you would get your desired drop in home prices closer to those of Woodland, Dixon.

    I’m a bit worried that the higher water rates will lead to some level of desert-ification of much of the less affluent parts of Davis (and apartment complex grounds); not only does loss of vegetation make a less pleasant physical environment; it has been tied to increased human stress levels and other social ills (I’ll get references if time). So even if Davis manages to remain slow-growth, in accord with the will of the majority of the residents (incurring the wrath of the all-just and all-wise big business interests; would that they could dictate policy of all small towns), we may be hard-pressed to maintain our small town and safe (relatively) pleasant ambience.

  54. Don Shor

    A bit more about Genentech. What happens when staff drives decisions, and policies aren’t vetted.
    [url]http://dixon.patch.com/groups/bil-pauls-blog/p/bp–what-genentech-didnt-tell-us-when-it-came-to-dixon[/url]

  55. Mr.Toad

    So a guy who lives in Dixon thinks that Genentech is not suited for Davis but is fine in Dixon. I will say that i always find it odd when people say why don’t you move if you don’t like it here to people like myself and Frankly who take unpopular views, so I think we should all be free to voice our opinions, but without the snarky insults, Don please explain why you think it is okay for Genentech to be in Dixon but not Davis? Why is it okay for the town you live in but not for the town you work in? A town that houses one of the worlds best biological sciences research university in the world seems like a perfect fit for the company that was the first publicly traded biotechnology company in the world, a company whose stock symbol before it was taken over was DNA.

  56. Mr.Toad

    So I’m somehow mistaken and I actually have no interest in the whereabouts of your residence but i believe that you have revealed either directly or indirectly that you don’t live in town. For some reason I thought it was in Dixon so if I am incorrect I apologize. Still i don’t understand why you think Genentech is a good fit for Dixon but not for Davis? i am truly perplexed by such a notion???????

  57. JimmysDaughter

    “This is typical Brett: flops around with his analysis, and depending on the wind, he falls off the fence on one side.”

    I disagree. Mr. Lee analyzes all sides of an issue. Davis needs his thoughtful, intelligent approach.

  58. JimmysDaughter

    Wow. What an elitist attitude to assume anyone with a GED is Republican:

    “I will be surprised if either Don or Medwoman will say that they want to attract more Republican guys with GEDs who work in the trades (and park fishing boats in their driveways) to town…”

  59. SouthofDavis

    Don wrote (to Mr. Toadd):

    > You may be speechless, but you need to stop
    > insulting people. I mean it.

    When did having a different point of view become an insult?

    > I don’t live in Dixon, Mr. Toad

    Then why do you say you do on your Facebook page (That you posted on the internet for all to see)?

  60. SouthofDavis

    JimmysDaughter wrote:

    > Wow. What an elitist attitude to assume anyone
    > with a GED is Republican

    I did not assume that “anyone with a GED is a Republican” (I was just posing a question to two people that after reading their views over the years have a negative view of those without a lot of education and Republicans) and I’ve never been called an “elitist” (this past weekend I helped a friend who didn’t graduate from a 4 yr college put a new transmission in his spec. Miata race car)…

  61. davisite4

    [quote]Stupid is as stupid does. Genentech a world class biopharmaceutical company now owned by Roche Holdings. It has a massive production facility in Vacaville where many Davis residents commute daily. Calgene, now a subsidiary of Monsanto, a company that just received world wide protests over their products and business practices has a small research office in Davis. Of course Genentech might want to have research facilities in Davis and we should be happy to get them to come here. The idea that preserving jobs on a tomato harvester or alfalfa bailer as opposed to bringing in a world class company like Genentech leaves me speechless.[/quote]

    And I can’t think of anything more stupid than continuing to develop our farmland as though it were an infinite resource. It isn’t. This isn’t just about jobs; it’s also about feeding ourselves. We are lucky to be surrounded by land that can grow food for us, but we seem to forget that fact very easily.

  62. Jim Frame

    [quote]What a shame. The NIMBY, statist, no-growthers win again.[/quote]

    The gnashing of teeth is premature. There are 184 acres of land available that are even better situated for a business park, because they’re not 1/2 mile from Mace, they’re right on Mace, just north of Ikeda’s. Those acres will now be surrounded by dedicated open space, which makes the idea of developing them into a business park much more palatable to us NIMBY, statist, no-growthers. They’re identified as the East Site in the report produced by the Innovation Task Force.

    The East Site is privately owned, primarily (if not entirely) by big-name developers, who presumably know when the market is ripe for introducing a business park proposal. In contrast, the notion the Council toyed with on Tuesday was to create a city-owned (or partly-owned) business park in the hope that it would drive economic development. How’s that for statist?

    .

  63. Frankly

    jberg:

    [i] Not sure why you are responding to me, since I didn’t reference you directly in my last comment.[/i]

    I am responding to your post, not you specifically.

    [i]However, I will say that you don’t, and can’t, know what I think and how I look at City issues.[/i]

    When did I say that I knew how and what you think about city issues? I don’t care about that, I care about the issues.

    [i]You are very adamant about projecting certain attitudes onto your “opponents,” most of which come from your own fevered mind. [/i]

    There are plenty of fevered minds at work on this blog. There are just some that are not used to being called on their shit, and prone to a lack of introspection that I am happy to help them gain. I welcome them doing the same for me.

    [i]As to the issue at hand, did you attend the Council meeting last night? Did you make comments to advance your position on this issue? If not, why not?[/i]

    Nope, I was working late into the evening trying to keep my business successful in the hyper-competitive industry I work in so I can retain and hire more employees so they can afford their expensive mortgage, their high taxes to pay big pensions for pubic-sector unions, and their car expenses needed to drive to Woodland and Sacramento to shop.

  64. Frankly

    [i]And I can’t think of anything more stupid than continuing to develop our farmland as though it were an infinite resource. It isn’t. This isn’t just about jobs; it’s also about feeding ourselves. We are lucky to be surrounded by land that can grow food for us, but we seem to forget that fact very easily.[/i]

    I have never ever read a thing that says that California is lacking farmland. Hell, just check how much more land is being used for vineyards over the last 50 years. California, like many places in the world, is lacking fresh water for irrigation. But land is not the issue.

    This area is classified as a semi-desert because we get less than 20 inches of rainfall per year. It is not a wonderful place to farm because of the lack of water. Don Shor makes the case that these parcels along the Mace Curve have access to water. That is true, but then so does the central valley in places that get 12 inches of rain or less per year.

    So, farmland quantity is not an issue. But, if I’m not an Obama-loving ideologue, I would admit that this country and this state are severely lacking jobs. If we count the people that have stopped looking for jobs since the beginning of the recession and also counted the mass of people that have acquired long-term disability (the new way the government distributes entitlements so it is not counted as entitlements), the REAL unemployment rate is near 14% nationally. And, it is over 20% for people 18-26 years of age. California is in even worse shape.

    This opining to preserve farmland is just a proxy for those that want to block growth.

  65. davisite4

    [quote]I have never ever read a thing that says that California is lacking farmland. [/quote]

    See:

    [url]http://www.farmland.org/programs/states/ca/Feature Stories/PavingParadise.asp[/url]

    or

    [url]http://www.consrv.ca.gov/dlrp/fmmp/trends/Pages/FastFacts.aspx[/url]

    Or a gazillion other websites and news stories. If you haven’t read anything about this, it’s because you haven’t looked.

    [quote]This area is classified as a semi-desert because we get less than 20 inches of rainfall per year. It is not a wonderful place to farm because of the lack of water. [/quote]

    Have you spoken to someone who actually knows about farming about this claim?

    [quote]This opining to preserve farmland is just a proxy for those that want to block growth.[/quote]

    You have no evidence for this claim.

  66. Don Shor

    Some reading material for you: [url]http://www.farmland.org/programs/states/ca/Feature Stories/PavingParadise.asp[/url]

    [quote]It is not a wonderful place to farm because of the lack of water. [/quote]
    There is plenty of water in California for farmers. If your argument in favor of urban sprawl now is lack of water for farming on existing land that is already being farmed — which already has water rights, by the way — you have given up any semblance of rational discourse and are just throwing rhetorical points to try and see what sticks. .

  67. Davis Progressive

    “I have never ever read a thing that says that California is lacking farmland. “

    as i understand it that’s not the issue that we are dealing with here, it’s the prioritization of local land use – agriculture/ open space versus business land (ironically some of which may end up being agribusiness).

  68. Frankly

    Neither farmland.org link works.

    The other link is a government land conservation department resource. It lacks the contrasting facts about farmland increases. It is a biased resource.

    Example of farmland increases in CA:
    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscjeff/vineyardacreage.jpg[/img]

    Also, there is a myth about urbanization being bad for the environment.
    [quote]By far the greatest impact on the American landscape comes not from urbanization but rather from agriculture.

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farming and ranching are responsible for 68 percent of all species endangerment in the United States.

    Agriculture is the largest consumer of water, particularly in the West.

    Most water developments would not exist were it not for the demand created by irrigated agriculture.

    If ultimate causes and not proximate causes for species extinction are considered, agricultural impacts would even be higher. Yet scant attention is paid by academicians, environmentalists, recreationists and the general public to agriculture’s role in habitat fragmentation, species endangerment and declining water quality.[/quote]

    Don Shor wants Genentech to stay in Dixon to keep Davis a farming village. He also wants Woodland and West Sacramento to build most of the retail so Davis stays a retail wasteland where little competition exists for existing merchants.

    To put it bluntly, Don, you have an irrational position on Davis growth and economic development.

    The obvious question for Don… if his concerns are macro and not selfish, then why not just reverse this sentiment. For example, if Davis has Genentech and this prevents development on Dixon prime farmland, then on a macro level we have parity. However, Davis gets some good jobs for its residents.

  69. Mr.Toad

    Ag land preservation and fighting development are two sides of the same coin. They are the consistent position of the landed gentry trying to preserve a way of life. They are popular positions in Davis where the value added by and demand for development could bury every inch of soil under pavement. However, as Frankly points out, they are positions that don’t do much for the young and underemployed.

    As for the question about scarcity of water as compared to ag land Frankly is clearly correct. Throughout the west there is more land that can be farmed than there is water available to farm it. This is why each year the State Department of Water Resources allocates water use to farmers based on around 150 years of water law. The limiting factor for crop production in the western U.S. is water not available land.

  70. Don Shor

    Frankly: drive down Hwy 113 through Dixon and your question will be answered.
    Isolating vineyard land from total farmland is not even an honest reply.
    Your assertions about what I “want” are complete, total nonsense as usual.

    [quote]As for the question about scarcity of water as compared to ag land Frankly is clearly correct. Throughout the west there is more land that can be farmed than there is water available to farm it. [/quote]
    Which is a totally ridiculous statement when applied to farms near Davis.
    At this point you guys are an echo chamber. I’m moving on.

  71. Mr.Toad

    As an example John Garamendi recently made the case for not taking land in the Delta out of production to move water to the San Joaquin Valley to put land into production. Since ag consumes around 85% of the water in California it would be easy to re-shuffle the chairs on the deck of the titanic. Land taken out of production in one place can easily be replaced elsewhere. Even if you want to argue about soil quality, advances in technology and genetics can over come some decline in soil quality, thanks to advances that come from the research done in places like Davis that have contributed to our understanding of the genomes of crops such as wheat and rice among many others. In fact, when you put the value added by Davis research next to the value added by preserving ag land, research would win on almost every count.

    Preservation of farm land is a choice not a necessity.

  72. Frankly

    [i]Which is a totally ridiculous statement when applied to farms near Davis.
    At this point you guys are an echo chamber. I’m moving on.[/i]

    Don, what you don’t seem to understand is that I do not expect to change your mind here. I am just using your posting and position as a point of contrast for others reading that are not as dug-in on their position.

    When I stop having counter to points posted here, I will move on too.

    Really, there is nothing personal here. I respect your right to have an opinion as much I respect the rights of others to vehemently disagree with it.

    Frankly though, you have been almost completely silent and non-responsive to the point of jobs in Davis. That is why I see your position as having some irrational elements to it. Are you ignoring this point because you don’t believe it to be a problem worth addressing, or because it is an inconvenient truth, or for some other reason?

    One disclosure… my current job is focused on retaining and growing jobs in this state, Nevada and Arizona. So, I have a bias and a passion for jobs. You are a trained botanical scientist if memory serves. So, maybe this is why you are biased and passionate toward farming over other types of business. I’m just guessing here since you have not been clear on your position on jobs.

  73. Jim Frame

    [quote]Preservation of farm land is a choice not a necessity.[/quote]

    As is development of a business park. And I believe the Council made the right choice.

  74. Mr.Toad

    “Which is a totally ridiculous statement when applied to farms near Davis. “

    Unless of course the owners of those water rights choose to sell them as Conaway Ranch did recently. You could sell the water rights and move the water elsewhere. There would be no shortage of buyers LADWP and Westlands Water District come to mind. So the idea that we need to preserve ag land as if there isn’t an alternative, while unpalatable in the extreme, is not the only possible solution.

  75. Don Shor

    [quote]Frankly though, you have been almost completely silent and non-responsive to the point of jobs in Davis. That is why I see your position as having some irrational elements to it. Are you ignoring this point because you don’t believe it to be a problem worth addressing, or because it is an inconvenient truth, or for some other reason? [/quote]
    Historically the Federal Reserve considered +/- 4% to be the natural rate of unemployment. They now consider it to be about 5%.
    Here are the local unemployment statistics:
    [img]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/unemploymentlocal2013.png[/img]
    [url]http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/unemploymentlocal2013.png[/url]
    The university is the engine of our economy. The projection is for UC Davis to grow in this decade, adding students and hundreds of jobs. We are on our way back to the natural rate of unemployment locally, and compare very favorably to our neighbors. Some of the job growth you are proposing here would be at the expense of our neighboring communities. We are part of a region, not an island unto ourselves.
    So it’s not that I don’t care about jobs. It’s that I believe jobs locally will largely grow at a faster rate in Davis than in surrounding communities with very little effort on our part.

  76. Don Shor

    [quote]Unless of course the owners of those water rights choose to sell them as Conaway Ranch did recently. You could sell the water rights and move the water elsewhere.[/quote]
    In which case they can pump water from wells to continue farming the same land. Farmers locally have lots of water and plenty of options.

  77. Don Shor

    Specifically, UC Davis plans to add 5000 students, 300 tenure-track faculty, and the requisite number of graduate students and support staff for those increases by 2020.
    [url]http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10513[/url]

  78. Frankly

    What is the basis for the data on this graph? It is factoring the student population too, or only the permanent residents? It does not look right to me… especially talking to all the students that would like to find part-time work but cannot.

    In any case, I think we are getting somewhere understanding our perspectives on the jobs situation.

    However, my head is spinning a bit.

    Have you ever commuted to Sacramento from Davis or Dixon to your job? I did for 25 years. Pumped a lot of carbon into the air. Was stressed out from rush-hour traffic. Could not get home in time to help my kids deal with their crappy schools. Missed family events. Etc., Etc., Etc.,

    Also, do you know that Intel has done for Folsom and Folsom schools? Do you know what larger businesses tend to do in terms of community development and charity?

    Your concern about our neighboring communities is commendable. I think you live out of town, so you might have a better perspective for that. Let me tell you though, I know many people that live in these surrounding communities and they could not care any less if Davis dries up and disappears. There is not much love of Davis from these surrounding communities. Many people in Dixon blame Davis for killing the race track business that would have located there had not Davis spent thousands on the campaign to defeat it. Many people from the outside communities consider Davis as being full of snobs and stuffy elites.

    The other problem is a lack of diversity, a shrinking brain trust and a population growing much more long-in-the-tooth. We are moving toward a demographic make up of senior retired people and students. Why would a family locate here? Did you know that I have a difficult time hiring young professionals because of the lack of other young professionals living here?

    Everywhere I travel to that seems an appealing place to live is filled with young professionals. People in the beginning stages of their careers and young families. I think your opinion of jobs being a regional issue is interesting given your dogged advocacy for keeping our downtown and retail economy vibrant and successful. Bringing in business that hires professionals would provide more customers, would it not?

    With this contrast, I am really starting to wonder if you and others really do fear the political makeup of the town changing and that is why you don’t support significant business development. Is the issue that UCD will continue to inject reliable left-leaning voters and other business would not that is contributing to your position here?

  79. Mr.Toad

    “In which case they can pump water from wells to continue farming the same land. Farmers locally have lots of water and plenty of options. ‘

    But this is not the point. The point is, as everyone since John Wesley Powell has recognized, that there is more land to irrigate than there is water to irrigate with, so the argument that we must preserve ag land as some special precious limited resource at the expense of other priorities fails.

  80. Davis Progressive

    seems to me that you are arguing a point few others are arguing and once again trying to transform a local issue into a global one.

  81. Don Shor

    The source is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can find it through the Google Public Data Explorer.
    [quote]Have you ever commuted to Sacramento from Davis or Dixon to your job?[/quote]
    I live fifteen minutes away. I’ve been making that drive for more than 30 years. There is no such thing as “rush hour traffic” between Davis and Dixon or Woodland.

    [quote]With this contrast, I am really starting to wonder if you and others really do fear the political makeup of the town changing and that is why you don’t support significant business development. Is the issue that UCD will continue to inject reliable left-leaning voters and other business would not that is contributing to your position here?[/quote]
    This keeps coming up, first from SoD and now from you. I don’t care who moves here or why. But you sure do. You disparage the people who live here, and the kinds of people that UCD’s expansion is going to attract. You’re the one with the demographic bigotry, not me. You don’t like the people who live here, and you don’t like the kind that are attracted to UCD jobs. That’s your problem, not mine.
    I do support significant business development. Just not the kind you support.

  82. Frankly

    Don, I actually live here and have for 35 years. Before that I lived in Dixon for about 5 years. Before that I lived in several different parts of the US.

    Since I live here and have for 35 years, how can you make the claim that I don’t like the people that live here? And who do I disparage? By the way, my Dixon friends call me a stuck-up Davis liberal yuppie… go figure?

    I think you are mistaking that word “disparage” with simple disagreement. I just think that you are so used to people around you nodding in agreement, that it feels like disparagement when you hear a disagreement.

    I don’t have any demographic bigotry, but I think diversity should be a target. Not that superficial type of skin-tone and cultural preference that some like to bait society and politics with, but a diversity of thought, perspective and ideas. I hire that way in my role as a manager and it pays dividends. Get a bunch of people together that think alike, and everyone feels better while the things they are responsible to tend fall into decline from the lack of consideration and creativity. That is the way I see Davis. A population striving to feel better while they tend a city in decline from the lack of diversity in perspective and ideas. You appear to be ok with that (and you will of course deny that the city is in decline). Not me.

  83. Mr.Toad

    “seems to me that you are arguing a point few others are arguing and once again trying to transform a local issue into a global one.”

    What i am trying to do is dispel a local mythology that supports a view that favors a particular perspective.

  84. Davis Progressive

    you’re not. you’re simply trying to gyroflex into an ad hoc justification for demolishing open space and ag land on our periphery based on some global notion of water and land without considering local circumstances.

  85. biddlin

    Gyro-Flex Exerciser

    Therapeutic for hands, wrists, arms, biceps and triceps.

    – With new high performance design, the new GyroFlex gyroscopic exerciser is a fine precision instrument capable of speeds over 9000 RPM.

    – GyroFlex provides a relaxing and extremely effective way to strengthen your grip, wrist, forearm and biceps, as well as improving coordination without strenuous exercise.

  86. biddlin

    [img]http://g-images.amazon.com/images/G/02/uk-health-and-beauty/Philips/RQ1150_2.jpg[/img]
    Philips SensoTouch RQ1180 GyroFlex 2D Rotary Rechargeable Shaver

  87. biddlin

    [img]http://c.shld.net/rpx/i/s/pi/mp/13567/1107511911?src=http://www.downloadedimages.com/ImagesMarch/B002VSDUKGLL.jpg&d=5e02cb2584d328f58049a54652d6979427190743[/img]
    Alexander Innovation Wizard Alexander Innovation Wizard TH512 Gyroflex Wrist Exerciser:

    Description

    Hold on tight you`ll improve your coordination strengthen your grip build your forearms and really exercise your hands and fingers. The Gyroflex can do all that as well as prevent injuries from strain and carpal tunnel syndrome. To use simply pull the starter cord and put Gyroflex to work alleviating strain and stress. Secretaries computer analysts and athletes are just a few of the many people who can benefit from this magic ball. Build strength while improving coordination New easy grip outer sphere for better control and prolonged usage. Generates up to 32lbs of pressure when maximum RPM`s is reached Exclusive new design for ease of starting. Increases total arm strength Improves coordination Aids in prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome Reduces stress Challenging and fun Measures: 4 x 1.375 Weighs: 10 oz.

  88. Frankly

    Don, on your ideas about a regional economic development planning… is there such a thing? I know there are county-supported economic development companies (EDCs). I think Solano has one, but it does not include Yolo. I don’t think Yolo has one. What structures exist to build on a multi-country regional plan?

    I don’t disagree with you that there is merit looking at a regional plan, but there is currently little if any collaborative development that leads to any tax revenue-sharing. Dixon has $21,742 sales revenue per capita compared to Davis’s $7,752 (2007 numbers). But in 2007 Davis had a median home value of $560k, and Dixon $343k.

    I have been looking for a comparison to Davis for housing costs and sales revenue, but nothing comes close to Davis. For example, San Luis Obispo with 45k in population (compared to Davis’s 65k) has a $561k median home value, but $29,500 in sales revenue. Santa Cruz with its $695k median home value, has $15k in sales revenue per capita. Davis is so far out of whack with every comparable community, it appears we are economically sick.

    But if there is some model of a regional economic development plan with revenue sharing I would be interested to learn about it.

  89. Mr.Toad

    How does one demolish open space? You mean like what Marvin the Martian said about the Earth in an old Bugs Bunny cartoon “I’m going to blow it up it obstructs my view of Venus.”

  90. JustSaying

    Frankly, interesting stats comparing housing prices and sales tax receipts. Looks like we’re on our own, like it and will be for a long time. Our high house prices and the resulting property tax generation must have been carrying us. One would think that we’re not at all serious about looking for alternative ways to finance our unsustainable municipal services bills. After seeing your figures, it’s time to to stop blaming our troubles on the firefighters.

    What’s the source of the tax numbers?

  91. Pingback: My View: Speaking to All of Davis on Business Park Development Matters | .:Davis Vanguard:.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for