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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Commentary: Voting by Mail

Yolo County Clerk-Recorder Freddie Oakley has a legitimate concern about the low voter turnouts in Yolo County this past election.

From a financial standpoint it makes a lot of sense for the county to go to vote-by-mail only elections particularly in elections where the voter turnout is likely to be very low. Ms. Oakley believes this solution could save the county around $150,000 per election. An amount which is not chump change, especially over time.

On November 6, nearly 60 percent of ballots cast were mail-in ballots and less than a quarter of those registered actually voted. There were polling places that had 10 voters cast ballots in an entire day.

While I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Oakley, I have an alternative suggestion that unfortunately is somewhat out of the hands of the Clerk-Recorder.

When I lived in San Luis Obispo, ironically in the first election I participated in, the voters voted to put all of the local elections on a single-ballot: the November General Election. That put all City Council and School Board Elections on the November ballot in even years when it would share a ballot with either the President or the Governor every single time.

The result is that except under very extreme circumstances (and there have some: the death of Congressman Walter Capps, the recall of Governor Gray Davis, and the ballot initiative that Governor Schwarzenegger put on the ballot), there have been two elections every cycle--the primary and general--and that is it.

Think about that from a cost saving point of view. Mail-in would save some money, but the marginal cost of having a few more items on the ballot is very small. Hey if school board doesn't want to be on the November General Election ballot, they can share a place with the City Council.

They may argue that they will get lost in the shuffle in a big election and they like the spotlight. I would suggest when 30 percent of the people show up to the polls, there is no spotlight. No one is paying attention. Other than the controversy involving stuffing envelopes on campus, school board issues did not generate a lot of interest on the blog either.

I am not opposed to a mail-in only election, but for me, I like to go cast my ballot on election day. I like to go to the polls, see what's going on in my neighborhood, go into that polling place, I used to like to punch my ballots before we went to the new system, and I especially like getting my "I Voted" sticker and wearing it all day, reminding others that it is election day and hopefully enticing them to also go to the polls.

From the standpoint of the Clerk-Recorder, moving an electoral date is somewhat out of the question. Moreover, I suspect that the school board somewhat likes the low voter turnout particularly when they want to pass parcel taxes. But if we are looking at this from a cost perspective, it makes more sense to consolidate elections.

The issue here is people are not interested in these elections, these issues. We have too many elections as it is. The election last month was the first of four in the next year, we have another one in February, another in June, and finally in November. People will come out for the big ones, so why not utilize that? Thus, I would prefer instead of going to mail-in only elections, we simply consolidate our elections to two a cycle--a general and a primary both in the even year.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Friday, November 30, 2007

School Climate Report

Last night at the city of Davis' Human Relations Commission, Mel Lewis, the Davis School District's Climate Coordinator with assistance from Pam Mari, Director of Student Services presented a brief overview of the results from the Yale School Climate Survey.

For those of you who are long time Vanguard readers, you will recall back in May, we were critical of the use of this survey for the purposes ascertaining school climate. There were four versions of this survey: Elementary and Middle School, High School, Parent, and Staff. Last May we were able to obtain the Parent version and post it on the Vanguard. Mr. Lewis informed us that the results of this survey are proprietary, and therefore they cannot post the results of the survey. This is basically a $30,000 survey purchased at public expense that cannot have the full results posted--a problematic aspect to begin with.

They were able to show us summary and graphical results.

There were 17 major categories of questions. The first graphic to the right shows the 17 categories and their distribution within the surveys. The first six are incorporated into the Elementary and Middle School Survey. Categories 2 through 7 are incorporated into the High School Category.

The big findings are represented on the second and third graphic. These pictorially demonstrate a consistent pattern that on most questions, "Black" and "Latino" students rate their school climate less than their "White" counterparts.

To Mel Lewis, this was clear and convincing evidence that the school climate was not perceived the same for all students and it was systematically more difficult for minorities than for white students, according to this survey.

Mr. Lewis stressed that this data will allow us to move away from assumptions to reality. In other words, we do not have to assume that these problems are here, we have evidence and we can now deal with them. As a result, we can improve communication and awareness. And this will help in the formation of various programs that we have discussed such as the Safe School Ambassadors program, the Unconscious Bias Training, among others.

One of the questions that had among the lowest ratings was the question: "I can talk to my teachers about my problems." Overall, only 42 percent of students agreed, that number dropped to 6 percent among black students at one Junior High, 15 percent at another.

Before I proceed with this, I want to stress, that to me Mel Lewis and Pam Mari are very sincere on this issue. They have concerns and I think they are sincere in wanting to address these concerns.

Nevertheless, even though I am sympathetic to the results of this survey, I remain troubled by some of the interpretations of the findings.

First, as a social scientist, I question the interpretation of the results. There is a consistent pattern that shows a difference between minority and white respondents across the board. However, without having the actual figures those differences appear small numerically. Furthermore, given the low sample size for minorities, I am not certain how robust these results are and how confident we can be that these differences are not due to mere chance and random variations.

Let me give a clear and simple example. Let us suppose that there were only 10 black students at a school and 7 told us that they did not feel they could talk to their teachers. That, would be 70% percent. A one student difference in the results would drastically change the results. If one extra student said they felt they could talk to their teachers, the number would drop to 60% or if one fewer student said they could not talk to their teachers, that number would rise to 80%. In other words, one random change in the responses could swing the results by 20%. Even if you have 19 students, as was the case in one of the surveys at a Junior High, small random variation can lead to drastic change in results. Are the differences in the results between whites and non-whites, large enough to overcome the potential for random variation? If they are, they are what we would call statistically significant. If not, then they are not. From the results that we see, it is difficult to tell if they are.

So again, while I might believe the results, I have difficulty having confidence in the process.

Secondly, while I think the results are instructive, I am still far from sure that they asked the key questions. As I was skeptical in May, there were few questions that I would consider actual climate type questions. Few that asked about racism. Few that asked about race relations. Few that talked about harassment, discrimination, differentials in punishment, bullying, etc. The key issues that we have faced over the past few years are not covered by the survey. So yes, we may have stumbled onto some results here, but we might still not be asking the critical questions that will really show us where the problems lie.

Finally, as several told me following the meeting, it is far from clear that the questions asked here are much different from what was found nearly 20 years ago. We do not necessarily need more surveys. We have had surveys. We have developed programs. What we have not done is follow through on these programs with any type of commitment. In May, we talked about the "Racial Climate Assessment Report" that was done nearly 20 years ago and yet could have been written today.

Long time activist Tansey Thomas asked the school district in May:
“I don’t know why we want to start over again, everything that was a problem then, is a problem now. It’s like we’ve gone nowhere… That we form another study group, start another cycle, and it goes nowhere.”
As one person said last night, we've studied this enough, time for action.

The key question is whether these programs will solve the problem and whether the new board and the new superintendent will have the tenacity to follow through with these reports and implement these programs and ensure that programs will do what we are saying they will do. Short of that, we are engaging in academic exercises for no apparent benefit.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Containerizing Green Waste in Davis

When I first came to Davis in the mid-1990s, I was very surprised that in a such a bicycle friendly community, indeed a community that prided itself on being innovative in terms of bicycle lanes and the amount of bicycle traffic, would put their clippings on the side of streets to be picked up.

The problem of course should be rather obvious, dropping large amounts of clippings on the side of streets often means that debris ends up in the bike lanes. Particularly on streets where there is no street side parking, this can become rather dangerous for bicyclists. What ends up happening is that bikers will have to move into traffic to avoid the piles of branches or leaves. This causes a hazard for both the bicyclists and cars, especially when the bicyclist does not fully stop or look before they swerve to avoid the green waste clippings. There is a further danger that often as a bicyclist may not see some of the clippings or notice the obstruction until too late--particularly at dusk and dawn.

This has been a problem for quite sometime, but the city is finally looking to do something about it. Here is a full description of what is being called the Green Waste Containerization Pilot Program.

It is a temporary program that is scheduled to begin in January to assess whether requiring people to put their green waste into 96 gallon containers is a good idea.

Here are the listed features of the program courtesy of the City of Davis website:
  • Each parcel will receive one 96-gallon, wheeled green waste cart at no additional charge. If you find one 96-gallon cart is not enough, a 2nd one may be requested free of charge. For each additional cart over 2, there will be an additional $2.16 per month. Cart distribution is estimated to be late January or February 2008.
  • Cart-only pick up between January 16 and October 14. Carts with green waste in them must be put in the gutter by 7 a.m. on collection day. January through October excess green waste cannot be put loose in the street.
  • Loose in the street-only pick up from October 15 to January 15. During this heavy leaf drop season, all green waste should be placed in the street. No carts will be picked up during this 3 month period.
  • All green waste pick up in the pilot area will be on Tuesday. For some, this means a change in the green waste pick up day; however, this change allows for the most efficient use of the trucks and crews needed to pick up the carts using an automated system. (NOTE: this change affects green waste collection only; your trash and recycling collection day will still be on your regular scheduled day.)
  • Once a week street sweeping will continue.
  • The pilot test will run for a minimum of twelve (12) months, and using carts is mandatory so the pilot can operate efficiently and bike safety is improved along the street.
Now this pilot program does not affect the entire city. The pilot program covers only 12 streets, all of which appear to be main north-south thoroughfares. I notice there are some problems areas such as Arlington Blvd, that they do not cover in the pilot program.

Like most things in Davis, of course, there is controversy. The Natural Resources Commission met Monday Night, and by a 6-0-1 vote rejected the pilot program. There were a number of objections to it, ranging from the difficulty of placing waste in the containers, to the amount of clippings from the old growth trees in core areas of town, etc.

To be clear, the Natural Resources Commission examines this from the perspective of natural resources rather than bicycle safety.

I am not necessarily wedded to the idea that the clippings must be containerized. Although I know a number of communities who have done it for years without much complaint or problem. Frankly I think some of the objection is due to the effort involved in breaking down the branches and placing them into some sort of receptacle. Some people at the meeting on Monday suggested that this would simply discourage them from upkeep on the old growth trees in the core of town.

Some alternative ideas did emerge such as striping the bike lanes, so that instead of a single line, they are double lined and that all waste much be placed inside of the inner line. That sounds like an interesting compromise but it presents its own problems. First, a number of streets do not have street side parking, so you could not place anything inside a second line because the bike lane abuts the curb. Second, the city would have to enforce the rules in order to gain compliance. Without enforcement residents would simply allow their clippings to run into the bike lane when it was convenient. Finally, even limiting the space to the clippings inside the bike lane runs into problems because often the clippings end up taking up parking spaces and parking is rather limited especially within the core area. So bicycle safety while important is not the only factor here.

As I suggest, I am not wedded to the notion of containerizing green waste, I am however, convinced that some of the alternatives are not workable on all streets. I remain open to other solutions. I am also somewhat disappointed that the pilot program is needed, this has been a problem for a long time and it does not seem like it should be a problem. Most other communities have found other ways to dispose of their green waste without it becoming a needless bicycle hazard.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

News and Commentary: City Council Goes Forward with Alternative 3 on Tank House

Depending on your perspective, nights like Tuesday are what make Davis interesting, boring, and/ or at the very least unpredictable. Fifty to sixty people filed into Council Chambers to discuss the future of the Tank House. Ordinary alliances are disrupted for that night and the dispute boils down to two alternatives to the main project.

Alternative 3 is the staff recommended and owner preferred alternative. This alternative calls for a two story building between the Varsity Theater and the Hunt-Boyer Mansion and the Tank House to be demolished, moved, and then reconstructed to the west of a building. Ultimately that project alternative won out by a scant 3-2 vote.

Alternative 5 became the other option on this night. This was Richard Berteaux's proposal. Quite frankly Rich Rifkin - and the artist rendering - sold me on this alternative, and it became my preferred alternative. This preferred alternative provided a greenhouse-type set up and the broader expanse of open space.

Sinisa Novakovic was allowed to speak at length. He made several interesting points. During one point he made he stated that people acted like it would be the "end of western civilization if the tank house is taken down." He then cited the length of time that nothing has been done in the community to restore the tank house or fix it up.

His choice was to restore it and put up a "beautiful building." He also suggested that Chuck Roe told him if he did not build three stories, he would not make money. This, he suggested, was evidence that he was putting up vast and considerable personal risk into this project. A claim that I have little doubt, is true.

Barbara King, a long time Davis resident during her comments pretty much summed up a lot of people's feelings on this project when she expressed regret that she had to oppose Mr. Novakovic and Mayor Sue Greenwald on this project.

In the end, I believed that Alternative 5 was a better project alternative than Alternative 3, that it kept more of the original intact and also created a better feel in a very small space. From the start, the idea of squeezing a building into that narrow space between the Varsity and the Mansion was unsettling.

Rand Herbert, the Chair of the Historic Management Resources Commission (HMRC) argued that the assessment of the impact of moving the tank house on the historic and aesthetic value of the site was opinion rather than fact. In his opinion, adopting alternative 3 would adversely impact two city owned landmarks in order to benefit a private economic entity and he did not feel that was the best approach.

Richard Berteux also spoke at length during the meeting citing the fact that he gave up his seat on the HMRC in order to speak freely on this issue and develop an alternative proposal. He has a strong sense of the value of the Tank House to the Hunt-Boyer Mansion and felt that we were not giving proper value to the importance of what we had there. He further said that he felt open space around both structures were vital and that down the road, the open space might be worth much more than developing this property. Alternative 5 was the best option in his view to preserve and protect this open space.

Tim Allis brought in a petition with 162 signatures as a means to protect the value of historic preservation and open space.

Councilmember Don Saylor was first among the members of the council to speak. Mr. Saylor suggested that some believe that the Tank House is not worth saving, but he called that view uniformed, suggesting that this was a very unique structure. He agreed with the project objectives and the idea of creating new retail commercial development and increasing the vitality on this block. To him it came down between both alternatives 3 and 5, which he suggested in his opinion (and stressed this was subjective) had merit. However, he saw moving the Tank House to the West Side of the building as the preferred alternative and that he believes in his subjective opinion that the Tank House is in a bad location at present. In his view, "alternative 3 is the best option to preserve the tank house in its historic form."

Councilmember Stephen Souza, in my view, has been consistent in his desire to preserve historic buildings. He was the deciding vote in saving the Anderson Bank Building from drastic alteration, and he lamented during several points in time the lack of historic buildings and sites in Davis--a number that in the core area is just five. He suggested that the historic nature of this site is unique, that nothing like it is in the rest of the city with two historic sites on the same location.

He felt that this project could be done on the other side of the building. While he did not express a preferred alternative, option 5 seemed to be the closest to what he wanted. He also felt that a one-story structure would have been more compatible with the site than a two story structure, which he felt took something away from the site as a whole. He hoped that the site remains in the hands of the city rather than private enterprise.

Councilmember Lamar Heystek spoke at length to this as his most difficult decision that he faced while on the council. He said that there were good people, people he considered friends and allies, on both sides of the issue and that he has kept an open mind throughout public comment. During his comments, it seemed almost as though he were stalling as he thought through his conclusion, but in the end he felt that our standard for economic development should be adaptive reuse on site of historic resources. Councilmember Heystek said that he believes that our neglect of this site--demolition by neglect he called it--was a great crime. He too was supportive of alternative 5 as the best option to hold to the standard of adaptive reuse on site.

As it turned out, Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Asmundson was the swing vote on this, since it was obvious to everyone that Mayor Sue Greenwald would be supporting this and she suggested this a number of months ago in various conversations. Mayor Pro Tem Asmundson was inclined for option 3, but she was adamant about the city retaining ownership of the property.

Mayor Greenwald supported alternative 3 as the preferred alternative. She felt this was a compromise arrangement and that it had adequate setbacks to avoid the encroachment on open space of other buildings. She wants this building to be a model of redevelopment and believes that any negative visual and historic impacts can be mitigated.

She then spoke at some length about her vision. She argued it was hard to imagine a vital downtown without independent theaters and independent coffee houses. I doubt anyone disagrees with that view. The only point in question was really what form this should take. Finally, she argued that the bigger threat to downtown and the core and our values was not by this project, but rather by the threat to tear down cottages in the B St Visioning Project. A point that I also wholeheartedly agree with.

In the end, it was a set of unique alliances that pushed this through. Don Saylor made the main motion for alternative 3 seconded by Sue Greenwald.

Stephen Souza made the substitute motion for alternative five seconded by Lamar Heystek. When that motion failed 3-2, the main motion passed 3-2 with Ruth Asmundson joining in. Once again the Mayor Pro Tem pushed for the city to leave open the ownership issue, an idea that was accepted.

In the end, I was swayed toward alternative 5, but on this issue it seems a subjective view as to what alternative best fit the needs for economic development and historic preservation. More troubling to me -- yet again -- is our neglect of historic buildings in Davis. The issue came up with regards to the Anderson Bank Building and the fact that the city was asked to bail out in essence a private owner who had failed to properly upkeep his property. In this case, as they say, we saw the enemy and it is us. It is us, the citizens of Davis and the city of Davis who failed in historic preservation to the point where the only way that we are able to preserve, is by destroying. This is not a "stomachable" option in my perspective. Our history and our legacy need to be preserved so that future generations can understand where we have come from. I urge the city and those devoted to historic preservation to never allow this to happen again.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Commentary: Atria's Increased Rents Imperils Seniors on Fixed Incomes

On November 24, 2007, Margaret Walker, President, associated residents of Covell Gardens, Davis, a senior living facility in Davis wrote a letter to the Davis Enterprise protesting the decision by Atria Senior Living company based in Lexington, KY to raise rent by 8 percent for the second straight year.

Ms. Walker writes:
"The residents of Covell Gardens senior living community are dismayed by the management's announcement of a rent increase of 8 percent, to take effect in January. This follows an 8 percent increase in January 2007. We are an economically diverse community and this increase will cause a hardship to many. Those on a fixed income will face a noticeable decrease in their quality of life as they struggle to meet these higher costs. The Social Security increase will be only 2.3 percent.

We feel we are part of the Davis community. Some have owned homes here, many have family living nearby. The pleasures of living at Covell Gardens are many, but we must protest the exorbitant proposed increase in cost.

The owner, Atria Senior Living, is a private company based in Lexington, Ky. It is legal but unethical for them to impose this burden on senior citizens who are living on a fixed income. "
Another resident, Arthur Zalkan was quoted as saying:
"We expected an increase... But we didn't expect Atria to gouge us--and that's what they're doing."
The facility's executive director, Robert Godfrey responded by citing increased costs and there is no doubt that is accurate.

The Davis Enterprise story quotes him:
"I'm certainly empathetic... But it's an unfortunate reality to business right now. Lots of people we do business with are now charging us fuel surcharges, for example."
To turn this around on Mr. Godfrey, while I am empathetic to your cost concerns and understand that you are trying to run a business and make a profit, you also have to understand that you are running a business geared towards seniors. And when you run a business geared towards seniors, you are acknowledging that the residents there are on basically a fixed income. That means that they get only a 2.3 percent increase in their income--not near enough to cover an 8 percent increase, let alone for two years in a row.

When you are a business that relies on seniors for your profits, you have to recognize that the downfall of that market is that you cannot do things the way you would do them in other sectors of the economy. You cannot increase rents by more than their cost of living adjustments. Otherwise, what you will do, is put elderly people on the streets.

This is not a knock on Atria. I am sure that Covell Gardens is a fine place, well run, but when you deal with people on fixed incomes, you must understand that large increases in costs put them in peril.

There are ways to deal with increased costs in the short term, and one way, is to instead of increasing the rent by 8 percent some years and likely zero in other years, use the years where costs are not going up to bank for when costs are soaring.

The second thing that comes to mind is that the city of Davis needs step in to protect the vulnerable--and the most vulnerable are people on fixed incomes, some of whom do not have a lot of savings, and many of whom are not in great health.

Again, the upside of the senior market, is that it appears to be a growth industry but the downside, is that sometimes if you serve seniors, you are the one that needs to bite the bullet during lean years because they cannot. Atria should have known that they could not get away with back-to-back 8 percent rent increases. That was never a wise plan.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Monday, November 26, 2007

City Council to Hear EIR on Tankhouse Project

Though it seems as though this issue has been on the table for a considerable amount of time, the city will finally hear and vote on the EIR for the Hunt-Boyer Tankhouse project.

The Final Environmental Impact Report evaluates the potential environmental impact of a proposal for Mishka's Cafe that would be located on a portion of the historic Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion at 604 Second Street in downtown Davis. This project would demolish the existing tank house structure and orange grove at 604 Second Street to accommodate the construction of a new three-story commercial building between the varsity theater and the Mansion, according to the Davis city staff report.

The owner of the site Sinisa Novakovic and the staff report however now support Alternative 3 to the proposal.

The third alternative would construct a two-story building in the location instead of three stories. It would remove the remaining orange trees "and disassemble, reassemble, and rehabilitate the Tank House on the west side of the Mansion for potential public use as a visitor information kiosk or private commercial use."

This alternative was voted down by the Historic Resources Management Commission (HMRC) by a 3-1 with a number of commissioners either absent or recused.

Richard Berteux, a former member of the HMRC wrote a letter to the Davis Enterprise in yesterday's paper pleading that the city not destroy the tank house.
"I believe it would be an indefensible proposition for the city to consider such a step. The General Plan makes it very clear the city should be a leader and example in historic preservation.

However, notwithstanding the value of the tank house, we are ignoring the longer-term view of what is best for the city and the community. This property belongs to the community, and our common benefit must remain the first priority, not private interests or financial gain. Certainly money is important, but should not be the most important consideration.

The most appealing cities have always provided wisely for open space. Here the mansion and tank house sit on a small but valuable patch of open space in the epicenter of the core area, which will only become much denser. Such a patch will be unaffordable in the future. This should be enough reason for preserving the site as it is."
As current member Rich Rifkin described earlier this month, Mr. Berteux favors alternative 5.
"A-5 would reconstruct the tankhouse, but move it slightly closer to the street, where it would be more visible and slightly closer to the mansion. Along the Varsity wall, Richard proposes an enclosed glass structure for all-weather seating for 50 people. There would be a glass breezeway connecting the side structure to the tankhouse, which would be used for food service and preparation. And there would be seating in the plaza for around 50 people."
Mr. Rifkin also described his interchange with Mr. Novakovic at the HMRC meeting:
"I asked Sinise a few questions. It was my question about his thoughts on the 2-story proposal which brought out the news that he now favors A-3 over the proposed project. I then asked him how he felt about Richard's "greenhouse" idea. Sinise said that it wouldn't work for him, because it has too little space for food preparation and storage.

However, I think the problems Sinise pointed out are resolvable. Because Richard is moving the tankhouse north somewhat, there is plenty of unused space on the property south of the tankhouse, which could be used for a larger food prep space and storage. I imagine it could connect with the tankhouse by yet another glass breezeway.

Sinise also told me that he didn't think my idea -- to use the mansion as a restaurant with outdoor seating on the plaza -- was workable, the big problem being the way it is off the street and without front-window exposure. He thinks the mansion might work for a high-end restaurant, but only one with an established clientele."
The illustration of Mr. Berteux alternative idea appears courtesy of Mr. Rifkin.

The Davis Historical Society has several notable critiques of the proposal including a lengthy response and critic of the EIR by Valerie Vann which is excerpted here.

Ms. Vann provides an analysis of the Alternative 5:
"Alternative 5 does, however, have some troubling aspects in terms of meeting the Secretary’s Standards as a re-use/rehab of the Tank House: the loss of the historic west side window; presenting a blank wall to the east bay window of the Mansion; being moved directly opposite to the bay window and much closer; the kitchen use, which will require plumbing, venting, probably fans and/or air conditioning equipment; a use that may produce steam and high humidity inside the structure. Previous occupancies of the Tank House with similar uses and interior alterations and utility requirements did not prove to be beneficial to the preservation of the historic structure and were probably overambitious considering the size, type of construction, and such characteristics as sloping sides of the structure. (Multiple opening in the siding compromised the structural soundness as well.)"
She concludes:
"Overall, however, it is difficult to see that Alternative 5 is less compatible with or has more impacts on the Tank House and Mansion than other Alternatives that propose moving the Tank House (which produces additional impacts in itself) and constructing a large modern building between the two Landmarks and unrelated to either one of them. The EIR seems to imply that it does."
There is a general lamentation of "Historic resources" as an "endangered species" in general and "in Davis far more so than in most other places our size."

She concludes with the following criticism of the project:
"All three of these EIRs evaluated proposed projects found to have Significant and Unavoidable Impacts (i.e. not possible to mitigate to insignificance) in multiple areas of concern, requiring that the City make findings of “overriding considerations”, that is, identify public interests that justify doing significant irreparable damage to the environment. Really good projects don’t have to have significant unavoidable impacts. Projects that do should be very few and justified by truly overwhelming long term public interests.

According to the General Plan (HIS 1.3-Actions), Davis is supposed be a leader in caring for historic and cultural resources. So why is Davis, of all places – where caring for all aspects of the environment is supposedly the city’s motto, not only allowing proposals for private projects with these kinds of unavoidable environmental impacts, but actually itself proposing such a damaging project for public property?"
To read several other critiques, please click here.

Once again, the City Council will meet tomorrow evening to discuss this issue and the city staff has recommended along with the property owner Alternative 3.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting