Commentary: COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS NEED TO VOTE TO PROTECT DAVIS’ BORDERS

As I write this, we are mere hours away from the showdown between the city of Davis and Yolo County that seems to be so unnecessary. The County of Yolo has legitimate concerns about revenue and the level of service, however, this is not the way to approach those concerns. Many people in Davis have spent decades in an effort to control urban sprawl and protect open space and agricultural land. If three staff proposed study areas are approved by the county today, much of that effort will be placed in jeopardy. There are many people who will not sit back and allow that to happen.

The Vanguard opposed the notion of recall just last week citing a number of concerns, however, if the county goes forward and places these projects in the County General Plan EIR, the calculations will change dramatically. At the very least, the Vanguard hopes that the county will hit the pause button and sit down and discuss with the city of Davis the concept of the pass-through agreement which provides a large amount of money per year to county, and determine the best road to go forward for both governmental bodies.

Reading press accounts of this impending showdown along with reader comments, there is a fair amount of misperceptions about just how this process works and what is in it for the county and the city.

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial placed some of the blame for this battle on the backs of Davis growth policies:

“At the same time, Yolo County needs to end its confrontational approach with Davis. And the city needs to recognize its own culpability. By voting down housing projects such as Covell Village, Davis residents make it all but inevitable that county officials and developers will seek opportunities on the edge of town.”

There are several implications of this statement that need direct rebuttal.

First, there is the notion that Davis has somehow not taken on its fair share of growth. In fact, Davis is in some ways “compelled” to grow at 1% per year by LAFCO. Davis is in fact in compliance with that growth rate. So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.

Second, even if Davis had approved Covell Village, we would still be having these talks. Why? Because the county gets no revenue from the city based on housing developments or even growth. In short, we are having this discussion because of county level revenue shortfalls rather than because of city-based lack of growth.

Third, why is Davis the target for peripheral growth and a potential violation of the pass-through agreement? After all, Woodland and West Sacramento each have pass-through agreements and guess who pays the most to the county, by far? Davis. Davis pays far more than the other cities in the county combined to Yolo County. So why is the county putting the screws to Davis?

Fourth, there is a misperception that housing developments and growth in general equals revenue. That is fundamentally false. Housing developments in particular are net losses for localities. The city of Davis pays the county of Yolo far more in pass-through money than they would get if they developed on the periphery of Davis. It is that simple. The county of Yolo if it were to develop those three properties would get one-time developer fees in excess of the pass-through money, however, during the course of the agreement, the money from the pass-through agreement, estimated by the city of Davis to be $72 million far exceeds anything the county would get in development revenue.

We can see even in the initial county staff report doubt that development would produce the revenue that the county was looking to generate.

“On the residential side, staff is recommending against the addition of 2,100 residences within the unincorporated area near the northwest quadrant of Davis, as these units are not likely to have fiscal benefits for the county that would justify the growth given concerns regarding inconsistency with long-standing growth policies, provision of infrastructure and services, and effects on the city/county pass-through agreement.”

That is the county report written at the end of January. They recommended against Oeste on the basis of insufficient revenue. Yet six months later, it and two other proposals are on the table.

Look no further than the discussion on West Village and the amount of money it would cost the city of Davis or UC Davis. Why? Housing developments are not economic boons–they are costly in terms of services provided by the governmental bodies which far off-set any tax revenue generated. Counties such as Sacramento that have attempted to generate revenue by growth, have lost money. Cities like Fresno which have attempted to generate revenue by growth, have been stuck in sprawl cycles that they cannot escape because the only portion of the development that generates revenue is in fact the developer agreement. The result is a boon of uncontrolled growth with little in return for the cities and counties. This is not the answer to a revenue shortfall.

Why Davis? Because apparently Supervisor Thomson is angry that Davis has rejected a number of what she perceived as good developments and apparently Supervisor Yamada believes this a way to generate money for her priority of social services. She wants to generate discussions with the city about ways in which the county can increase its revenue. At the end of the day, we are hopeful that an agreement can be reached and held to allow parties to step back and reconsider the implications of going forward.

However, make no mistake, there are too many people in Davis that have worked too long to preserve open space and ag land, and they will not sit back and allow two supervisors from Davis to undo their lifelong struggle. Those are the stakes in this battle and we will find out today what direction we go forward with. Do we forge ahead together and try to resolve the concerns of city and county or do we engage in a long and destructive war that in the end, all sides will end up losing.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Stay logged onto the People’s Vanguard of Davis throughout this morning and possibly all day as we cover the County Board of Supervisors Meeting live from their chambers.

Author

  • David Greenwald

    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.

Categories:

Land Use/Open Space

64 comments

  1. The line has been clearly drawn. Today, Supervisors Helen Thomson and Mariko Yamada will either represent the vast majority of Davis citizens who oppose massive peripheral growth and urban sprawl or not. Thomson and Yamada will either oppose the three “study area” monster projects and support the wishes of their constituents or not.

    Doug Paul Davis and the People’s Vanguard of Davis have given our community insight into the dilemma facing Davis voters should their own supervisors choose not to protect our city and county from the devastating effects of this type of growth.

  2. The line has been clearly drawn. Today, Supervisors Helen Thomson and Mariko Yamada will either represent the vast majority of Davis citizens who oppose massive peripheral growth and urban sprawl or not. Thomson and Yamada will either oppose the three “study area” monster projects and support the wishes of their constituents or not.

    Doug Paul Davis and the People’s Vanguard of Davis have given our community insight into the dilemma facing Davis voters should their own supervisors choose not to protect our city and county from the devastating effects of this type of growth.

  3. The line has been clearly drawn. Today, Supervisors Helen Thomson and Mariko Yamada will either represent the vast majority of Davis citizens who oppose massive peripheral growth and urban sprawl or not. Thomson and Yamada will either oppose the three “study area” monster projects and support the wishes of their constituents or not.

    Doug Paul Davis and the People’s Vanguard of Davis have given our community insight into the dilemma facing Davis voters should their own supervisors choose not to protect our city and county from the devastating effects of this type of growth.

  4. The line has been clearly drawn. Today, Supervisors Helen Thomson and Mariko Yamada will either represent the vast majority of Davis citizens who oppose massive peripheral growth and urban sprawl or not. Thomson and Yamada will either oppose the three “study area” monster projects and support the wishes of their constituents or not.

    Doug Paul Davis and the People’s Vanguard of Davis have given our community insight into the dilemma facing Davis voters should their own supervisors choose not to protect our city and county from the devastating effects of this type of growth.

  5. The Vanguard opposed the notion of recall just last week citing a number of concerns, however, if the county goes forward and places these projects in the County General Plan EIR, the calculations will change dramatically.

    David, did you just come out in favor of a recall???

  6. The Vanguard opposed the notion of recall just last week citing a number of concerns, however, if the county goes forward and places these projects in the County General Plan EIR, the calculations will change dramatically.

    David, did you just come out in favor of a recall???

  7. The Vanguard opposed the notion of recall just last week citing a number of concerns, however, if the county goes forward and places these projects in the County General Plan EIR, the calculations will change dramatically.

    David, did you just come out in favor of a recall???

  8. The Vanguard opposed the notion of recall just last week citing a number of concerns, however, if the county goes forward and places these projects in the County General Plan EIR, the calculations will change dramatically.

    David, did you just come out in favor of a recall???

  9. Davis’ pass-through agreement was renegotiated just a few years ago and who came before our Council to praise it and the increase in Davis’contribution to the County coffers? Helen Thomson..It appears that the arrogance of power brings her to the conclusion that our pass-through agreement gives us the right to control growth on our periphery only AS LONG AS WE DO NOT EXERCISE THAT RIGHT.

  10. Davis’ pass-through agreement was renegotiated just a few years ago and who came before our Council to praise it and the increase in Davis’contribution to the County coffers? Helen Thomson..It appears that the arrogance of power brings her to the conclusion that our pass-through agreement gives us the right to control growth on our periphery only AS LONG AS WE DO NOT EXERCISE THAT RIGHT.

  11. Davis’ pass-through agreement was renegotiated just a few years ago and who came before our Council to praise it and the increase in Davis’contribution to the County coffers? Helen Thomson..It appears that the arrogance of power brings her to the conclusion that our pass-through agreement gives us the right to control growth on our periphery only AS LONG AS WE DO NOT EXERCISE THAT RIGHT.

  12. Davis’ pass-through agreement was renegotiated just a few years ago and who came before our Council to praise it and the increase in Davis’contribution to the County coffers? Helen Thomson..It appears that the arrogance of power brings her to the conclusion that our pass-through agreement gives us the right to control growth on our periphery only AS LONG AS WE DO NOT EXERCISE THAT RIGHT.

  13. Rumor has it that Jim Provenza will publicly speak at this BOS meeting on this crisis.. What he says will determine whether he sits on the BOS dais next year. Silence today will also doom his candicacy.

  14. Rumor has it that Jim Provenza will publicly speak at this BOS meeting on this crisis.. What he says will determine whether he sits on the BOS dais next year. Silence today will also doom his candicacy.

  15. Rumor has it that Jim Provenza will publicly speak at this BOS meeting on this crisis.. What he says will determine whether he sits on the BOS dais next year. Silence today will also doom his candicacy.

  16. Rumor has it that Jim Provenza will publicly speak at this BOS meeting on this crisis.. What he says will determine whether he sits on the BOS dais next year. Silence today will also doom his candicacy.

  17. Measure J gives the ultimate power to the voters of Davis. The genesis of Measure J was the Davis voters’ understanding that the make-up of our City Council was too often perverted by the overwhelming power of local developer interests. Covell Village was the first time that the will of the Davis voters,as they exercised their Measure J powers, came up against a Council Majority doing the will of their developer patrons. The result was that the will of the Davis voters prevailed. This is why we now have an assault on our pass-through agreement and, make no mistake, an attempt to neuter our Measure J powers following our 2008 Council election unless our current Council majority is changed.

  18. Measure J gives the ultimate power to the voters of Davis. The genesis of Measure J was the Davis voters’ understanding that the make-up of our City Council was too often perverted by the overwhelming power of local developer interests. Covell Village was the first time that the will of the Davis voters,as they exercised their Measure J powers, came up against a Council Majority doing the will of their developer patrons. The result was that the will of the Davis voters prevailed. This is why we now have an assault on our pass-through agreement and, make no mistake, an attempt to neuter our Measure J powers following our 2008 Council election unless our current Council majority is changed.

  19. Measure J gives the ultimate power to the voters of Davis. The genesis of Measure J was the Davis voters’ understanding that the make-up of our City Council was too often perverted by the overwhelming power of local developer interests. Covell Village was the first time that the will of the Davis voters,as they exercised their Measure J powers, came up against a Council Majority doing the will of their developer patrons. The result was that the will of the Davis voters prevailed. This is why we now have an assault on our pass-through agreement and, make no mistake, an attempt to neuter our Measure J powers following our 2008 Council election unless our current Council majority is changed.

  20. Measure J gives the ultimate power to the voters of Davis. The genesis of Measure J was the Davis voters’ understanding that the make-up of our City Council was too often perverted by the overwhelming power of local developer interests. Covell Village was the first time that the will of the Davis voters,as they exercised their Measure J powers, came up against a Council Majority doing the will of their developer patrons. The result was that the will of the Davis voters prevailed. This is why we now have an assault on our pass-through agreement and, make no mistake, an attempt to neuter our Measure J powers following our 2008 Council election unless our current Council majority is changed.

  21. “So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.”

    Is a 1% growth rate really fair?

    The population growth rate in California is about 5% and the growth rate of the central UCD campus is 2.2%. How did 1% become the magic number?

  22. “So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.”

    Is a 1% growth rate really fair?

    The population growth rate in California is about 5% and the growth rate of the central UCD campus is 2.2%. How did 1% become the magic number?

  23. “So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.”

    Is a 1% growth rate really fair?

    The population growth rate in California is about 5% and the growth rate of the central UCD campus is 2.2%. How did 1% become the magic number?

  24. “So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.”

    Is a 1% growth rate really fair?

    The population growth rate in California is about 5% and the growth rate of the central UCD campus is 2.2%. How did 1% become the magic number?

  25. DPD Commentary said:

    “Davis is in fact in compliance with that growth rate. So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.”

    Recently, Ruth Asmundson publicly fumed at Council meeting about the low number that LAFCO came up with that will meet Davis’ growth requirement. This effectively removed the LAFCO threat(although non-existent)that our Council Majority likes to “hold over our heads”.. another extortion strategy was needed..

  26. DPD Commentary said:

    “Davis is in fact in compliance with that growth rate. So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.”

    Recently, Ruth Asmundson publicly fumed at Council meeting about the low number that LAFCO came up with that will meet Davis’ growth requirement. This effectively removed the LAFCO threat(although non-existent)that our Council Majority likes to “hold over our heads”.. another extortion strategy was needed..

  27. DPD Commentary said:

    “Davis is in fact in compliance with that growth rate. So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.”

    Recently, Ruth Asmundson publicly fumed at Council meeting about the low number that LAFCO came up with that will meet Davis’ growth requirement. This effectively removed the LAFCO threat(although non-existent)that our Council Majority likes to “hold over our heads”.. another extortion strategy was needed..

  28. DPD Commentary said:

    “Davis is in fact in compliance with that growth rate. So to suggest that Davis has shirked its growth responsibilities is false.”

    Recently, Ruth Asmundson publicly fumed at Council meeting about the low number that LAFCO came up with that will meet Davis’ growth requirement. This effectively removed the LAFCO threat(although non-existent)that our Council Majority likes to “hold over our heads”.. another extortion strategy was needed..

  29. Councilman Saylor, Souza and Asmundson and Supervisor Thomson all feed at the same developr trough. We will see our Council majority mouthing a defence of Davis against Helen Thomson’s political arrogance. Those who have been around in Davis for a good while recognize this public posturing for what it is..

  30. Councilman Saylor, Souza and Asmundson and Supervisor Thomson all feed at the same developr trough. We will see our Council majority mouthing a defence of Davis against Helen Thomson’s political arrogance. Those who have been around in Davis for a good while recognize this public posturing for what it is..

  31. Councilman Saylor, Souza and Asmundson and Supervisor Thomson all feed at the same developr trough. We will see our Council majority mouthing a defence of Davis against Helen Thomson’s political arrogance. Those who have been around in Davis for a good while recognize this public posturing for what it is..

  32. Councilman Saylor, Souza and Asmundson and Supervisor Thomson all feed at the same developr trough. We will see our Council majority mouthing a defence of Davis against Helen Thomson’s political arrogance. Those who have been around in Davis for a good while recognize this public posturing for what it is..

  33. It looks like Helen Thomson has decided to make the Davis voters an offer they can’t refuse(to quote a Marlon Brando’s godfather character) when Whitcombe’s Covell Village project is resurrected by our Council Majority.

  34. It looks like Helen Thomson has decided to make the Davis voters an offer they can’t refuse(to quote a Marlon Brando’s godfather character) when Whitcombe’s Covell Village project is resurrected by our Council Majority.

  35. It looks like Helen Thomson has decided to make the Davis voters an offer they can’t refuse(to quote a Marlon Brando’s godfather character) when Whitcombe’s Covell Village project is resurrected by our Council Majority.

  36. It looks like Helen Thomson has decided to make the Davis voters an offer they can’t refuse(to quote a Marlon Brando’s godfather character) when Whitcombe’s Covell Village project is resurrected by our Council Majority.

  37. David Greenwald, who likes to write in the 3rd person by refering to himself as “The Vanguard” comments: “There is a misperception that housing developments and growth in general equals revenue. That is fundamentally false. Housing developments in particular are net losses for localities.”

    Are you certain that housing developments are losers for the county? That’s really the question here.

    Every time a new house — or any other real property development — is built, the amount of property taxes paid on a parcel goes up tremendously. Most county revenues are derived from property taxes. Because real estate values have gone up so dramatically in the last 7 years, county revenues have skyrocketted.

    Hence, if major new real estate developments are built in Yolo County, the county will get more money in its coffers.

  38. David Greenwald, who likes to write in the 3rd person by refering to himself as “The Vanguard” comments: “There is a misperception that housing developments and growth in general equals revenue. That is fundamentally false. Housing developments in particular are net losses for localities.”

    Are you certain that housing developments are losers for the county? That’s really the question here.

    Every time a new house — or any other real property development — is built, the amount of property taxes paid on a parcel goes up tremendously. Most county revenues are derived from property taxes. Because real estate values have gone up so dramatically in the last 7 years, county revenues have skyrocketted.

    Hence, if major new real estate developments are built in Yolo County, the county will get more money in its coffers.

  39. David Greenwald, who likes to write in the 3rd person by refering to himself as “The Vanguard” comments: “There is a misperception that housing developments and growth in general equals revenue. That is fundamentally false. Housing developments in particular are net losses for localities.”

    Are you certain that housing developments are losers for the county? That’s really the question here.

    Every time a new house — or any other real property development — is built, the amount of property taxes paid on a parcel goes up tremendously. Most county revenues are derived from property taxes. Because real estate values have gone up so dramatically in the last 7 years, county revenues have skyrocketted.

    Hence, if major new real estate developments are built in Yolo County, the county will get more money in its coffers.

  40. David Greenwald, who likes to write in the 3rd person by refering to himself as “The Vanguard” comments: “There is a misperception that housing developments and growth in general equals revenue. That is fundamentally false. Housing developments in particular are net losses for localities.”

    Are you certain that housing developments are losers for the county? That’s really the question here.

    Every time a new house — or any other real property development — is built, the amount of property taxes paid on a parcel goes up tremendously. Most county revenues are derived from property taxes. Because real estate values have gone up so dramatically in the last 7 years, county revenues have skyrocketted.

    Hence, if major new real estate developments are built in Yolo County, the county will get more money in its coffers.