* Editor’s note: This column was submitted to The Enterprise shortly before the Davis City Council approved The Cannery on Tuesday. However, we believe the writer’s sentiments are worthy of public airing, even after the fact.
By John Perry
I’ll start off by saying that my wife and I are, were, 25-year residents of Davis, graduates of Davis High and UC Davis, professionals in our fields, a little left-leaning and proud parents of a young son — what you might consider prime examples of individuals raised in the embrace and with the values of this fair city.
Unfortunately, like so many of us born in the late 1970s and early ’80s, when the time came to purchase a home for our family, we had to make the difficult decision to leave our beloved town due to property realities that are well documented but rarely addressed.
I’m not sure how many of you are aware of it, but outside the boundary of this city sits an entire generation, of which I represent, raised by this town. We’ve watched as every chance for meaningful residential construction has failed, and unfortunately to the delight of many we know and once lived next door to.
Throughout The Cannery review process, we have all been inundated with facts, figures and opinions. This comes as no surprise, as Davis is a city that derives a great sense of pride from its collective knowledge. Unfortunately, this knowledge has yet to transform into much wisdom.
Once again, we find ourselves on sadly familiar territory, arguing over all manner of potential obstacles to stop this project. Altruistic concerns, perhaps, but unfortunately, trees don’t pay city bonds or put more children back in to the schools. We do. All of us understand the intrinsic and ecological value of our local plant life and the importance of safe transportation, but the reality is that this town is dying a slow and tragically avoidable death.
Look at the numbers: Every year more of us are leaving, with our families and our finances, to more affordable grounds and there is nobody to replace us. This city must decide which fate it is ready for — a rebirth, or a retirement.
So I implore each and every one of you to think beyond the intransigent viewpoints that plague this city, for one second, to consider the real people who could reside in these potential new homes. They’re your own children who have families of their own now and have grown tired of the hysteria and ultimate defeat of every attempt to build anything of significance in this community.
Eventually, a time will come when the next generation of residents must rise to steward this town and as of now, that generation is but a choir of whispers. There is something to be said for due diligence, but at a certain point that due diligence descends into absurdity and madness.
This is not simply a new community project, this is an opportunity for Davis to inject itself with an infusion of its own blood and experience the renaissance that comes with new life.
— John Perry is a former Davis resident who now lives in Woodland.