City Manager Steve Pinkerton and his lap dogs on the City Council should be reprimanded for foolishly considering converting the 391-acre Leland Ranch east of Davis into a business park. The land was purchased in 2010 as per the Open Space and Habitat Commission’s plan and with council approval, using Measure O funds earmarked for open space acquisition and conservation.
Is securing land for a business park with parcel tax revenues earmarked for conservation good planning? No. Is it legal? No. Is it ethical? No. Is it what the residents of Davis want? No.
More problematic is the best use of Measure O funds. Passed in 2000 to ease the community’s collective guilt for ousting owls from Mace Ranch and Wildhorse, it generates nearly $500,000 a year by assessing each parcel about $50. Has this tax outlived its purpose? One thing the council does well is raise revenues, recently for water and trash disposal.
Phasing out Measure O is about as likely to happen as spotting a heron in a business park. Why not use these funds to backfill the cuts made to the city’s parks and tree maintenance program? I would rather see healthy trees, mowed grass for soccer and safe play areas, than conservation lands threatened by the greed of a few.