October 7, 2018
Opponents of the West Davis Active Adult Community and Measure L argue that the WDAAC will perpetuate the racial profile of Davis that is skewed towards whites. I find this argument specious on two accounts: Davis’ racial profile is determined by other factors, and the WDAAC is racially indeterminate.
Davis certainly had a history of housing discrimination prior to the 1960s, and Davis’ racial profile certainly is more white than the rest of the county or state. Since the 1960’s our racial profile has been determined largely by three factors. First, the structure of job opportunities here is highly skewed towards high educational qualifications, where blacks and Latinos are underrepresented.
Second, house prices have consistently been substantially higher in Davis than in surrounding areas since at least 1970, and blacks and Latinos historically have had less wealth and fewer family financial resources than whites.
Third, the cultural climate in Davis is not friendly towards blacks or Latinos. Students of color in my classes at UCD often talked about racial profiling and harassment by police and shop keepers in town, making them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. The WDAAC will have no impact on these three factors that determine our racial profile.
As currently proposed, the WDAAC restricts many housing units (say, X of them) to people with ties already to Davis. If this were not the case, those X units would be available to people of any race. But if it remains true, people moving into those X units will vacate X other housing units in Davis, and those X vacated units will be available to people of any race. Either way, X units are racially open. If Measure L is defeated and WDAAC is not built, no additional units will be available to anyone.