The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Thursday, February 01, 2007

General Plan Steering Committee Profile: Brenda Little

We continue with our on-going profile of members of the Davis General Plan Steering Committee by looking at Stephen Souza's choice, Brenda Little. Little is the director of property management for Tandem Properties. Tandem Properties is one of the largest property management companies in the city of Davis. It is owned by John Whitcombe among others. Whitcombe has consistently been one of the strongest supports of Stephen Souza.

Whitcombe and Tandem Properties was the chief developer involved in the proposal and construction for the failed Covell Village development project initiative. Voters in November of 2005 defeated the massive project by huge margins. And yet, here we are, having the developers of the Covell Village project on the General Plan Steering Committee.

What is clear is that while Councilmember Souza did not directly put John Whitcombe on this committee, he put a person with clear development interests instead. This is a person who likely stands to directly gain from new development and a more favorable general plan to development.

What is interesting is that Councilmember Souza who owns a pool cleaning company has in the past done business with Tandem Properties. At some council meetings, he has recused himself from weighing in on items directly effecting Tandem Properties. He did this during a Covell Village hearing process, but I believe later on, he got a ruling that suggested that his past dealings did not create a conflict of interest. Souza of course was a strong supporter of Measure X and Covell Village. Whether he had a direct business relationship with Whitcombe and Tandem, he has a strong political connection there.

The purpose of this is to suggest the interests of Brenda Little are squarely in the realm of the pro-development majority of council. Ms. Little will obviously continue to represent the interests of the largest and most powerful development and property management company in the city of Davis. It is clear where the priorities of this committee lie.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting