Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bob Dunning: Too bad Davis isn’t good enough for UC Davis


From page A2 | June 08, 2014 |

“UCD World Food Center in Sac?” asked the front page, above-the-fold headline over Cory Golden’s byline in this very newspaper one day last month before we all got temporarily distracted by our recent election.

“Railyards, West Sac are options for third campus,” read the sub-head.

“UC Davis is eying the Sacramento railyards and West Sacramento riverfront as possible sites for a third campus housing an extension of the World Food Center and focused on education, policy and clinical outreach,” Golden’s story begins.

“ ‘A lot of people have been talking to (Chancellor Linda Katehi) about the World Food Center. She is committed to having some kind of location in Sacramento,’ Luanne Lawrence, associate chancellor for strategic communications, said this week.”

So there you have it. UC Davis at Sacramento. Just like the Med Center.

Added Golden: “First announced in spring 2013, the World Food Center is meant to bring together experts at UCD and from around the world in food, agriculture and health to find ways to meet the needs of the world’s growing population.”

Given that most California crops are used to feed the world, not just Californians, one can assume that this will not be a farm-to-fork venture.

According to World Food Center director Roger Beachy, “We think that Sacramento — because of its growing importance as the capital of a state that has an enormous amount of influence in food and food policy nationally — seems to us quite logical to take on an increasingly international position, and UC Davis can help with that.”

That’s just peachy, Dr. Beachy, but what about locating the UC Davis World Food Center in, say, Davis?

Beachy added that the new campus will need large-scale “hospitality and conferencing capabilities, to bring the brightest and the best for symposia, and then to host relatively large national and international meetings that could be part of a bigger venue than coming to the campus.”

Translation: Davis is a cute little college town, but it’s certainly not up to hosting smart people from around the world.

My friend Dan Ramos, vice president of Ramco Enterprises, told Golden he “would like to see the new campus land in the Bridge District of West Sacramento or on 200 acres on the east side of Mace Boulevard in Davis, of which Ramco also owns a portion, but not across the river.”

Added Ramos: “I would just love to see it in Yolo County. Yolo County has always been the leader in the region, in terms of ag, and UC Davis has a strong commitment to ag, so I think it’s very important that it’s located in Yolo County. I don’t want to say it would be a slap in the face, but it would be a tough, tough loss for Yolo County.”

Actually, Dan, I’d say “slap in the face” sums it up nicely. In fact, while we’re at it, why don’t we just move the whole damn campus? There must be better locations for all this world-class teaching and research than this sleepy little backwater once known as Davisville.

It’s time to move the Mondavi to Las Vegas to be closer to world-class entertainment. Transfer the department of viticulture and enology permanently to Oakville and take the vet school to Churchill Downs where the important horses live, California Chrome notwithstanding.

The School of Law’s King Hall would really be better situated in Washington, D.C., where it would have close access to the Supreme Court, while animal husbandry can move to Coalinga to be near Harris Ranch, and avian sciences can merge with the Foster Farms plant in Livingston.

Let’s put Aggie football in the world-class Levi’s Stadium and see if we can’t win a national championship or two, and relocate the Aggie basketball team to the new Kings Arena in downtown Sacramento, potentially right across the street from Sacramento’s new World Food Center.

Picnic Day, meanwhile, moves to Chico.

It’s an idea whose time has come. Probably sooner than you think.

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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