Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bob Dunning: Will Davis ever say yes?

BobDunning2W

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From page A2 | October 27, 2013 | 6 Comments

Given that Davis likes to vote on just about everything, a curious citizen asked me the other day if I thought The Cannery project would pass muster with the well-educated and well-heeled residents of Davis if it were put on the ballot.

A tough question, given that voting in favor of anything is rare in this town, with the exception of the very close and contentious vote to approve Target a few years ago.

Now, if they put messing with what we put in our bodies by adding fluoride to our water supply to a vote, that one would fail, just as it did by a whopping 61-39 percent margin recently in my hometown of Portland. I base that judgment on the fact that Portland is the city Davis leaders aspire to imitate — call it “Portland Envy” — so if Portland’s against it, we should be, too.

The about-to-be-enacted plastic bag ban is a close call, though I’m sure the many details of it, including the absolutely unexplainable requirement that stores charge everyone 10 cents for a paper bag, would fail miserably with the voters.

But The Cannery? Other than the usual suspects who come out of the woodwork to oppose anything that involves hammers and nails, I don’t sense much passion in town on either side of this issue.

I live within two blocks of the old cannery and I can’t get excited about it one way or the other. I’m sure it will increase traffic in the neighborhood to a degree, but not in an unmanageable way. And, for a while at least, it’ll probably knock down property values all over town based on that old supply-and-demand stuff we all learned in third grade.

It’s not surprising that property values would drop, given that it’s been a long time since we’ve had a brand-new development in town with a significant number of homes for sale.

Then again, for those of us who are happy with our humble dwelling and plan to occupy it until the End of Time, property values aren’t of much concern.

So the question of what the voters would do with this project if they were allowed to express their opinion in a binding measure remains unanswered.

But we don’t have to look very far into the past to realize that a much, much smaller project just a few blocks down the road — Masud Monfared’s Wildhorse Ranch — failed miserably at the polls, as did the very large Covell Village project, also very near The Cannery.

It was clear from both of those votes that homeowners were indeed concerned about what an increase in the supply of homes would do to their property values. They may not have said so publicly, but when they pulled the curtain on Election Day, they voted “no.”

I will say this: I like the name. The Cannery conjures up a gritty, blue-collar, grapes-of-wrath feel that’s distinctly missing in a town made up of Village Homes, Stonegate, Wildhorse, Mace Ranch, Lake Alhambra Estates, North Davis Farms, Oeste Manor, Redwood Lane and College Park.

The cannery itself was a visible sign of just how much our area was dependent on agriculture, humming 24 hours a day, attracting hard-working men and women from all over the county — many of whom could never afford to live here — and belching tomato soup-like fumes into the fall air for all of us to enjoy.

One of my older sisters worked the “line” at the cannery to earn money for college and still credits her experiences there for teaching her lifelong lessons about the value of putting in an honest day’s work.

If The Cannery can provide housing to meet the needs of a mix of old and new residents, I think we can all learn to live with it.

Build it and they will come.

— Reach Bob Dunning at bdunning@davisenterprise.net

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Discussion | 6 comments

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  • SteveOctober 27, 2013 - 7:03 am

    This is assinine - Dunning is the leader of no in Davis and now he wonders if Davis will ever say yes? No Covell, Wildhorse Ranch, Water, Zip Cars, Plastic Bag Ban, Wood Burning Smoke Ban, Police Oversight. What the hell has Dunning said yes to?

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  • ScottOctober 28, 2013 - 10:11 am

    He has said "yes" to voter approval of housing projects, equal treatment to ALL car rental agencies in town, choice of using plastic bags, and a choice of having a fire in one's fireplace.

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  • Alan MillerOctober 28, 2013 - 11:29 am

    "What the hell has Dunning said yes to?" -- I do not agree with B.D. on all these issues, but that's rather an odd comment considering you are saying he is saying "NO" to a BAN, when a ban in and of itself is saying NO. So really by saying NO he is saying YES, capisce?

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  • Alan MillerOctober 28, 2013 - 1:50 pm

    Bob, appreciate your comments here regarding voter behavior and Props. J/R. I believe there is a small contingency of Davisites who will vote on their principals regarding growth and development. However, when it comes down to individuals in the voting booth, I believe the bottom line driving force for voting decisions for most humans is money, especially on a personal, five-figure scale. If a voter (note that owners are more likely to vote) perceives that their plot of land in Davis is worth $360,000 today, and will be worth $375,000 in five years with a J/K project approval adding hundreds of units to the market, or deny a J/K project and keep the market tight and they may perceive their property may be worth $425,000 in five years, how will most anyone, even the most principled, vote? That is why I voted against J & K. I do not wish to see uncontrolled sprawl on the periphery of Davis. However, with J/K, I am doubtful that Davis will ever open up another residential parcel on the outskirts of Davis, even if otherwise "needed" and "desirable" in the context of the time.

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  • John POctober 28, 2013 - 3:49 pm

    You should see the passion of those of us on the onside looking in. Especially those of us who were raised here and can't afford to come back.

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  • MattOctober 28, 2013 - 8:05 pm

    Does the cannery bring jobs? I'm pretty confused about what the cannery is since it sounds like a place to work and live. Te project details make it seem like it's just a new residential area being developed. Davis isn't a place that has gerontology programs locally and most elder care services are best in the Sacramento area. Woodland Healthcare is the worst in Davis and Sutter is tryin to be better by adopting some stuff the Chinese community did in SF but I don't have faith in my generation to make it better here for the elderly. There are more millennials than there are baby boomers and my generation in Davis cares more about money, beer and weed than anything else. That's what I've gleaned from my year or so back being a full time family caregiver. The "long con" of Davis is that it's a good place to grow old.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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