By David M. Greenwald
Davis, Calif. – Evan Cragin’s article caused a stir yesterday. He should have. I was there Wednesday last week when it happened. I was standing a few feet away and my recorder picked up his heckling and my transcriber picked it up like anything.
My immediate reaction was disgust. You want to protest against a policy or measure you oppose, go ahead. There was a small contingent of Non sur H people with signs at the rally last week. They mostly jockey with the Yes on H contingent for position and visibility behind the speakers. No problem.
I start having a problem when you start heckling. Not much happened though, the contingent behaved well, even civilians. Until the end, when the young woman, just after Congressman Mike Thompson talks about Pettus Bridge and Selma and crosses with John Lewis, when he’s finished, she shouts out loud, “D OK, Boomer!”
The comment was dismissive and insulting, but the timing only made it worse.
I spoke with one of the directors of No on H afterwards. She was apparently angry that neither Thompson nor her office had addressed her concerns by questioning Thompson’s support of Measure H in light of what she saw as Dan Carson attempting to break free. speech with his legal action.
So she became furious that he was touting his commitment to suffrage in light of this.
She thought that was hypocritical and blurted out, “Okay, Boomer!” but later realized “this was neither the time nor the place for it”.
that pretty much sums it up. Whether you agree with his beef or not, now wasn’t the time or the place to make that point, especially in this way.
As someone deeply committed to civil rights, I was moved by the congressman’s comments and greatly disturbed by his actions.
As Evan Cragin said, “As a political science student, I was overjoyed when I transferred to UC Davis, even though I knew I would be one of the very few black students. I identified with Davis’ political culture; his passion for youth participation, environmental sustainability and, above all, civil and informed discourse. Every campaign and local representative I have worked with has prioritized civility, social and racial justice, which is why I was so appalled when Congressman Mike Thompson came to Davis to not not be respected.
Cragin later wrote, “The No on H efforts are the same people pursuing almost every housing project this decade, disproportionately forcing the working class to compete for very limited housing. This coalition against new jobs and housing is unsurprisingly overwhelmingly white.
I’m a bit surprised that there hasn’t been more feedback on this – probably before the new comment policy generated more.
One person pointed out to me that the comment “pursue almost all housing projects this decade” is wrong. If we take the statement at face value, then they are correct, almost all housing projects have not been pursued.
But I didn’t take it as a literal statement. It was what I would call campaign hyperbole. Even so, five major projects since 2016 have actually been sued – Nishi (twice), Lincoln40, Trackside, West Davis Active Adult. Given that there have been all sorts of other lawsuits (two hotels have been sued) and a number of threats of lawsuits, the argument here that this has weighed on the working class trying to compete for very limited accommodations is correct.
Lawsuits have a cost, even when those lawsuits are understandable and justifiable, as was the case with Trackside. Lord knows that local investors have made a lot of mistakes in the management of the neighborhood and the eligibility process.
It took seven years, however, to get through the process and fend off legal challenges. They had to go to the Court of Appeals to overturn the Superior Court’s decision, and then it wasn’t over until the Supreme Court refused to hear it earlier this spring.
You may have noticed the sale sign. The Sacramento Business Journal reported last week that the fully licensed property is now for sale.
“After seven years of managing risk and overcoming more challenges and delays than we thought possible, this exit strategy is finally delivering financial return to our investors,” Kemble Pope told Vanguard.
He added: “If not for the legal deadlines, we would have built the project and it would have been busy for a while. Remember, I started the Meridian Place process about a year after Trackside and it was delivered in September 2018.”
The neighbors wondered if the building was too big for the location – and they had a valid point. I wondered if the intended clientele of empty nesters and/or professionals was the greatest need. But while these are valid concerns about the project, the fundamental fact is that it is yet another example of how difficult it is to build housing in Davis, and how expensive it is.
I am very concerned about these forces creating a Davis that puts Davis out of reach of the traditional resident and makes it difficult for families to settle in this vibrant college town.
I found Mayor Partida’s remarks yesterday very poignant.
“The loss of small town life or the charm of Davis is probably the most honest reason people oppose growth,” she wrote. She noted that opposition to new housing “means we are prepared to take people many miles for many minutes in order to gain a minute or two at a traffic light. This means that we are ready to eliminate the very community that makes our city what it is, namely the generations of families who know each other. It’s easier to be willing to emphasize these things when you add the virtue of environmental preservation as part of the motive.
The DiSC fight is of course coming to an end tonight. As I wrote yesterday, I expect it to be very close. I would lean towards No winning, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Yes won.
But then it gets interesting again. The subcommittee of Gloria Partida and Dan Carson are the two seats up for election in November. Both have been outspoken supporters of housing and DiSC. Partida, in East Davis where the project resides, could be vulnerable and Carson, with his target of his lawsuit, has earned animosity from those in the slow-growing community and perhaps beyond.
So stay tuned, things are only going to get hotter in Davis this year.