We are beginning to share a growing awareness that the preservation of
open space, much like the operations of our schools and libraries, is an
essential community goal which will not be accomplished without our
On Nov. 7, Davis citizens will have an opportunity to vote for Measure
O - a City of Davis ballot measure which will provide the funding necessary
to enable our city to participate in an international attempt to save our
Earth's rapidly shrinking wildlife habitat and workable farmland. At the
same time, we will be enhancing our own quality of life by creating
wildlife habitat reserves, with areas set aside where Davis citizens will
be able enjoy strolling, bicycling, bird watching and bringing their
children. And we will be slowly creating a green buffer to help define our
city limits. Davis citizens of all ages will have the opportunity to leave
a lasting legacy to future generations.
OUR CURRENT OPEN SPACE PROTECTION PROGRAM
When it comes to open space protection, the city of Davis has much to
be proud of. We have already protected, or partnered to protect, over
2,400 acres of sensitive wildlife habitat and farmland.
We have already established impressive habitat reserves along part of
the Putah Creek riparian corridor, and are in the process of completing a
magnificent and innovative wetlands wildife project at the waste-water
treatment facility north east of the city. (If you would like to tour it
now, you can contact Mike Conner at 757-7531). Additionally, we have
protected much farm acreage from development through the relatively
inexpensive technique of purchasing permanent conservation easements.
We been unusually successful at acquiring federal and state
matching funds and grants, and our open space acquisition program has been
so successful that we received a League of California cities award of
excellence in land use and environmental quality. Our Davis Wetlands
project has won the San Francisco Bay Estuary Project for the best
integrated conservation and management plan.
WHY WE NEED MEASURE 0
To date, our open space acquisition program has been funded by
development impact fees leveraged against grants. But impact fee based
funding is a treadmill effort. To get impact fees, you have to have
impacts, i.e., for every acre of land you save, you lose an acre to
development. Unlike impact fees, Measure O is not growth dependent.
Measure O is a $24 dollar a year dwelling unit tax which will, at
the end of 30 years, have raised $17.5 million dollars for the acquisition
of open space within the Davis planning area. Reductions will be available
for low income seniors and other low income individuals.
For only $2 per household per month, our open space acquisition
program will no longer be financially dependent upon the expensive and
undesirable treadmill of new development for its funding. For $2 per
household per month, we can continue our open space program.
HOW MUCH LAND WILL MEASURE 0 PRESERVE, AND WHERE WILL IT BE
Measure O will preserve wildlife habitat and agricultural lands which
are outside our city boundaries, but within the Davis Planning Area. The
Davis Planning Area extends between the Yolo by pass to the East and
County Road 96 to the West, and from Tremont Rd. on the South to route 92
on the north.
We currently estimate that the city will be able to protect and maintain
about 2,200 acres of open space with the proceeds from this tax. If more
federal and state matching funds become available, we could be able to
preserve more. The acquisition priorities are two-fold: 1) sensitive
habitat land, and 2) farmland and habitat adjacent to the city, which will
ultimately help shape our cities boundaries.
After years of work by citizens groups, the Open Space
Commission and by the past City Council, our current City Council voted
unanimously to place Measure O on the November ballot.
Measure O enjoys unusually broad support. It's been endorsed by all
five Davis City Council members: Major Ken Wagstaff, Mayor Pro-Tem Susie
Boyd, and councilmembers Sheryl Freeman, Sue Greenwald, and Mike
Harrington; both of Davis' Yolo County supervisors, Lois Wolk and Dave
Rosenberg; State Assemblywoman Helen Thompson, and many former mayors and
A wide array of organizations, including the Yolano and Mother Lode
chapters of the Sierra Club, the Putah Creek Council, the Trust for Public
Lands, Tree Davis, the Davis Democratic Club Executive Board, the Yolo
County Green Party, The Davis Professional Firefighters Association, and
the Davis Police Officers Association have added their support.
We are gratified to see citizens with such a diversity of interests
united in an effort to accomplish a mission of universal importance.
THE ONLY LONG-TERM SOLUTION TO OPEN SPACE PROTECTION
City Councils will come and go, but development pressures will never
Even if the citizens of Davis stand firm in the face of developers' well
financed campaigns which might result from measure J elections, we still
have only temporary control of the county's ability to develop on our
borders. And even measure J is subject to expiration or revocation by
The only guaranteed method of permanent open space protection is the
public ownership of open space land purchased from willing sellers, or the
public ownership of the development rights of that land, which is called a
Measure O is a modest step toward achieving a larger vision of
maintaining species diversity and environmental protection, without
sacrificing the ability to feed mankind.
Measure O is a modest step, but, as we mentioned in your ballot
statement, it is important to remember the example of the East Bay
Regional Park district. Most of us find it difficult to imagine the cities
of Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond if development had sprawled across
the rugged, unspoiled, breathtakingly beautiful hills of the East Bay
Regional Parks [Editor's note: Of which Tilden Park is a part -- Ry].
Yet the open expanse of the hills which make up the East Bay Regional
Park system did not come about by chance. Rather, a group of dedicated
citizens and businessmen, concerned about mounting development pressures,
put a tax measure on their ballot in 1936, during the depths of the Great
Depression. The wise and generous citizens of the region voted to pass
the tax, the communities started to the acquire open space lands. From
this modest beginning, the magnificent East Bay Regional Park system was
built. The citizens of the East Bay cities left a legacy to future
generations and began the process of shaping the future of their region.
We in Davis today are facing the same development pressures, and the
same choices that were faced by the citizens of the East Bay seventy years
ago. Let's begin to take control of our future. Let's take one tangible
step toward preserving our environment. Let's leave a legacy to our
children and grandchildren.
Please join us in voting YES ON MEASURE O.
Sue GreenwaldCity Council Member
City Council Member
[Please note that this op-ed by Sue Greenwald was published in the Oct 28, 2000 Sunday issue of the Davis Enterprise. Measure O did pass on Nov 7, 2000 with the popular support of the citizens of Davis. -- G. Richard Yamagata]