Featured in Friday's Davis Enterprise Letter's to the Editor:
Council's action was the right one
On Dec. 12, the Davis City Council decided unanimously to keep its Senior Citizens Commission just as it has always been. It will not be merged with any other commission, but will remain in place as it has ever been since 1973. The City Council's determination also makes clear the decision will not be tabled, as suggested by staff, but is final.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to all those seniors who gathered signatures for petitions to leave their commission alone and to those who had the courage to put pen to paper in signing those same petitions. The City Council finally heard your voices, loud and clear. Senior citizens are considered a vital part of the Davis community, deserving of full commission status.
The Davis Enterprise was instrumental in getting the word out about our struggle to keep this commission alive. The groundswell of support began from an initial letter to the editor, and grew in momentum. Eventually we caught the attention of reporter Claire St. John, who covered the story in several articles, two on the front page. Much to my surprise, I discovered we were also being written about on the Vanguard Internet blog.
The light of day being shone on our local political process should have been a result of following our commission guidelines. Those guidelines include the all-important Brown Act — often referred to as the "sunshine law." It requires that all business conducted by local government be given proper notice to afford opportunity for public comment.
That process is there for a very good reason, and should always be followed to the letter. Not only does adhering to sunshine laws encourage honest and open government, it is a statutory requirement. For any part of a local administration to circumvent the requisite notice and opportunity to be heard does nothing but invite censure, antagonism and cynicism of our government institutions.
I look forward to far brighter days ahead.
Elaine Roberts Musser
Survey finds apartment vacancy down, rental rates up
On Thursday, UC Davis released a survey on apartment vacancy. It found that "the apartment vacancy rate in the city of Davis declined to 1.8 percent this fall, and rental rates rose by an average of 2.6 percent."
Moreover, the average rent for a two-bedroom apparent (44 percent of the units in the survey) rose from $1,092 to $1,112.
This is a stunning increase in the ten years that I have lived in this community. In 1996, when I moved here, I paid half that rent for a two-bedroom apartment that I shared with a buddy.
This study coupled with the study we cited on Thursday about the amount of money per hour it takes to be able to afford to live in an apartment in Yolo County provides startling evidence that Davis is pricing the average college student out of this community.
It appears that the No.1 priority of the new general plan should be focused on providing affordable apartment rentals for UC Davis students seeking go to the university. And second, that in order to continue to attract world class scholars to this university, we need to provide housing that young assistant professors can afford.
The City of Davis needs to take this issue much more seriously. And the university needs to step in as well and either provide housing for new faculty, as other universities do, or partner with the City of Davis to do likewise. The vitality of this community depends on this.
It seems fairly obvious that any new development project needs a much higher proportion of their units to be affordable to lower and middle income households than are currently mandated. This needs to be a priority in Davis if we are to maintain the unique flavor of this community.
---Doug Paul Davis reporting