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2004:  How Dare They!



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15 October 2005

We're about to vote in Ahhnold's multi-million special election.  The governator is hoping that all of us will give him the power to bypass the legislature, unions, and what-not and let him, in his great wisdom, make all the important decisions in the state by himself.

I don't think so....

Folks are so angry about the money to be spent on a special election (more than $54 million) that at one point our County Registrar of Voters said that she would refuse to send out any material on it if he went ahead with it--the state is in financial trouble to begin with, but he can't wait for the regular election and wants to spend all this money now.  Talk about demanding instant gratification.

Don't get me started.

But, since there is a special election scheduled, the town has to come up with a controversy to get everyone all fired up, and we have a doozy in Covell Village.

Several local developers want to take a 383 acre parcel of agricultural land and and turn it into a development that will include high and low income housing, apartments and "other dwelling units," retail space, an 11 acre park, a 34 acre nature habitat area, a fire station, community center, land for a school, transportation system, greenbelt, etc.

What's not to like?

Discussion on this issue has been hot and heavy.

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Signs are popping up all over everywhere, the newspaper is flooded with letters on both sides.  Local columnist Bob Dunning reported that there is a house with both a No and a Yes sign on its lawn and he speculates what dinnertime conversation must be like in that house.

It was recently reported that a tentative contract has been signed with Trader Joe's specialty retail grocery store to open an outlet in Covell Village.   People have been trying to get a Trader Joe's in this town for years.  Someone on the "con" side decided it was dirty pool to promise Trader Joe's if the village is approved.

My problem with Measure X is that I'm adamantly wish-washy.  I think it's inevitable that the land is going to be developed eventually.  I don't know that I'm eager to see it happen right away.  The developers are all guys that have been well known in Davis for years (one is the guy who designed and built our house).

Usually when I haven't made up my mind, my decision on issues like this are made by checking who is supporting it.  We have many like-minded, politically savvy friends in town, and so if most of our friends are coming out for or against an issue, that kind of pushes me in one direction or the other.

Unfortunately, this time we seem to have friends on both sides of the issue.  People whose opinion I respect seem adamant on both sides.

The current mayor is supporting the measure; two past mayors are opposing it.  I have liked and trusted all 3 mayors (well, maybe less so for the mayor who wanted to have potholes declared historic places that needed to be preserved).

Not surprisingly (isn't this the way it goes in every election?), each side is accusing the other side of distorting the figures.  The "pro's" point to the benefits for the town, the money for the schools, the addition of more affordable housing for the city, etc., etc.

The "con's" say nobody has taken traffic congestion and added pollution into consideration, that what the "pro's" consider "affordable" is above what the low income people in town can afford, that the money promised for new schools will come from additional taxes not from the developers, etc.

I have a difficult time with the traffic congestion issue, having come from the Bay Area.  I often look at what people call the "rush hour traffic" in and around Sacramento and just laugh.  It can't hold a candle to Los Angeles or San Francisco (except for weekends, when returning vacationers from Lake Tahoe clog the highway for miles).  But do I want it in my back yard again?

One thing that is inevitable is that when/if the land is developed, they will cut down the tree that I have felt a particular affinity to for the past 30+ years.

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Don't ask me why I like this half dead tree, but I just have always liked the look of it standing out in the field like that.  I assume it would disappear in the development of Covell Village (just like they cut down the big oak tree that Oak Tree Plaza was named for when the expanded the plaza!)

I haven't really decided how I'm going to vote.  Apparently I am not alone.  I guess that with war in Iraq, devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi, flooding in New Hampshire, earthquakes in Afghanistan, and blizzards in North Dakota it's hard to get all incensed about this housing development.

But I probably won't make up my mind until I'm actually in the voting booth.


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This will become a huge housing development, if Measure X passes


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