Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Mayor Robb Davis’ Explanation of his Vision-and-Goals Vote to Build Trackside Center (276)

One the months and even years there were dozens and perhaps hundreds of public statements for and against building Trackside Center.

Many were well articulated, but, to me, the most compelling was offered by Mayor Robb Davis the evening of November 14, 2017, just before the City Council voted 4 to 1 to build Trackside.

His statement was -- and is -- distinctive in being based on a serious and careful reading of the basic vision-and-goals documents that provide the legal and moral context for the Trackside decision. The more important of these include, of course, the Core Area Specific Plan and the Davis Downtown and Traditional Residential Neighborhood Design Guidelines.

I think his 21-minutes analysis is fundamentally correct and deserves the careful attention of all reflective Davis residents, not just because it is about Trackside, but because it is about the future of Davis itself.

Hoping to make his thoughts more available, I have copied the City video of his statement and placed it on YouTube, here:

I think Michael Bisch captures the generic structure of the decision-making conflict operating in the Trackside matter (and in the future-of-Davis debate) when he contrasts decisions based on “community goals and vision” with those based on “policy detail.”

Other and broader terms for this same distinction include the spirit versus the letter of the law, substantive versus formal rationality, and critical versus technocratic thinking.

Using a “policy detail” et al perspective, a group of Davis residents has mounted a court challenge to the City’s permission to build Trackside.

That challenge makes it all the more important for people to understand -- and to support -- the vision-and-goals perspective of people like Mayor Davis that informs the City’s Trackside approval.

And beyond that, this contrast in mindsets is at the heart of the emerging dispute over the character of Davis’ future.