Students, seniors, low income workers, and numerous others are struggling because of a lack of housing in Davis. I support building more and denser housing in Davis. That being said, when developers bring projects to our city, we need to think critically about their plans. We must push developers to bring forward projects that address neighbor concerns, include strong environmental measures, are more affordable, and center the needs of marginalized communities.
The ideal way to build housing in Davis (and elsewhere) would be through democratically controlled and publicly funded projects. At the moment, however, most projects brought to Davis are private and for-profit. We can and must hold these projects accountable to the needs and standards of the city. It is often said that “perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of good,” but we must strive to make sure the housing projects we approve are actually good rather than using flawed reasoning to fight for projects that are bad. Similar to how workers can collectively win stronger protections from companies, we as a city and a community can use our collective and legal leverage to negotiate for better housing projects.
DISC – Measure B
I support the Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus (DISC) which will be Measure B on the ballot November 3. It is a good project that serves several needs in Davis from providing additional housing, to helping attain financial stability for the city, to providing jobs for UC Davis graduates and researchers. Furthermore, the city and community forced DISC to be substantially better on a number of issues including affordable housing and sustainability measures. If community members hadn’t pushed the developers on such things, we would have a significantly worse project that would also have a higher chance of being rejected on November 3.
Homelessness is increasing throughout our region and our state and will only be exacerbated with the impending eviction threat due to COVID-19 income loss. The best way to address homelessness is to provide people with safe, livable, and affordable housing as well as nearby services and programs. I believe in a Housing First approach, where people are housed even if they’re struggling with other issues, like substance use. Interventions around such things are more likely to succeed once someone is housed. Also, provided housing can integrate with other services and programs to help people regain stability.
I support the recent approval of Paul’s Place at 1111 H St. as well as the recently approved respite center at the Davis Corp Yard. Both of these projects provide needed shelter and services and I would be in favor of having more such projects throughout the city. I also support the homeless outreach coordinator and would like to expand this role from just one person to a larger team. I believe that all of these types of services would fit well in a new Department of Public Safety (check out the section on Community Safety for more details).
Black lives matter. Black trans lives matter. We achieve true freedom and equality by centering the most marginalized in our movements and communities. This not only ensures their safety and that their needs are met but also helps all other groups as well. There are many ways to combat systemic racism in the United States and addressing policing is a major part of this.
Violence by police has been part of the law enforcement system from the beginning; modern policing emerged out of slave patrols and strike-breakers. While the fundamentally anti-Black and racist nature of policing has been on full display in Sacramento and other cities recently, Davis police are no exception. Despite the fact that Davis has very few Black residents (which is itself a result of anti-Black structures and policies), the Davis Police Department (DPD) disproportionately targets and harms Black people.
There needs to be an immediate and rigorous review of officers in the DPD to ensure that no one with prior misconduct complaints filed against them is still employed. Additionally, police should be liable for their own misconduct settlements. Any currently used or proposed surveillance technology needs to be removed. The armored vehicle that the DPD purchased needs to be returned and the funds used to help start the Department of Public Safety (detailed in the next section). Davis police should be removed from routine traffic stops to avoid unnecessary escalation. This is just the first step in a long process of dismantling racist power structures.
Department of Public Safety
Davis police have also criminalized substance use and homelessness (as detailed in the presentation linked above). One of the first steps we can take as a community to address this harm is to create a Department of Public Safety (DPS) that’s separate from the DPD. This new department would provide services and programs that advance and promote real safety in our communities. It would cover outreach and emergency response to mental health crises, substance use, and homelessness along with such things as respite and community centers.
The DPS should be a separate department with its own budget and decision-making processes to ensure that there is separation of culture and hierarchy from the DPD. Funding from the DPD can be diverted to the DPS as well as moving the preexisting homeless outreach coordinator.
We need to expand upon the homeless outreach program in place and draw ideas from preexisting programs like Mental Health First in Sacramento run by the Anti Police-Terror Project and CAHOOTS in Eugene, Oregon. As a City Council member, I will start moving resources and funding from policing to public safety programs. This ensures that people who are trained in responding to public safety crises will be the first responders to the situation and that there is far less likelihood of dangerous escalation. Davis will be safer for everyone because we are taking the first steps to have a well-funded, well-trained Department of Public Safety.
City and Community Democracy
The community needs to have more options to be involved in decisions that affect them.
This is achieved in 3 ways:
- Providing residents with more information about all city project proposals
- Having more opportunities for community input
- Giving marginalized community members more direct influence over city decisions
I’m a strong believer in participatory democracy and local decision making. We might not be able to achieve full democracy yet but we can continue to improve upon the current system by increasing community engagement and power. As a City Council member, I will work with community members to brainstorm, refine, and implement policies and procedures that meet their needs and allow for more direct community influence over city decisions. I welcome any Davis resident or person who is impacted by Davis decisions to reach out with their opinions on upcoming City Council agenda items. While in office, I will have regular town halls to collect community feedback. I also commit to continue reading and educating myself on relevant topics while in office to best represent my constituents.
Renewal of Measure J/R – Measure D
I support the renewal of “Measure J/R” (Ordinance No. 2350 – the Citizens’ Right to Vote on Future Use of Open Space and Agricultural Lands) which is on the ballot November 3 as Measure D.
In the future, I hope to improve upon this measure, though I am happy it is in place now. I would like residents to have direct power over more of the city’s decisions, above and beyond the ballot measures for proposed rezonings of open space and agricultural land. I am in favor of weighting the voices of people who are disproportionately impacted by certain decisions more heavily than those who are less impacted. For example, neighbors and potential residents of a housing project or homeless individuals when it comes to homelessness outreach services. I also think it would be beneficial if we had a way for people who are strongly impacted by Davis decisions but are not Davis residents to have some degree of power in these decisions (e.g. people who cannot live in Davis due to housing costs giving feedback about proposed housing projects).