YOLO SUN OPINION :
Sponsorship has recently been achieved for a municipal ballot initiative to require Woodland City Council elections be conducted at general elections in November of even-numbered years, beginning in 2016. Reasoning for such a shift is based on democratic principles of maximizing voter participation.
Turnout in city council elections held at primary elections is less than half of voter turnout at general elections. There is no legal or practical reason for using primary elections as venue for city council elections; the reason for doing so is purely political, to advantage conservatives on the basis of clear historical imperative: most voters prefer to vote in general elections and conservatives would rather avoid their participation.
This perverse political dynamic is on stark display within the recent primary election, where voter participation was sharply slanted toward the southwestern (wealthier, increasingly more conservative) portion of Woodland.
Of course, city council composition reflects this primary-election slant and will do so even more once municipal district-based elections are conducted in 2016.
Woodland must shift its municipal elections to general elections in November. Democratic values insist upon it; only tired conservative rhetoric resists it.
This ballot initiative should be filed with the city during June, with circulation from July to January (six months from date of city issuance of ballot title and summary, which is no more than 15 days from filing date).
[Editor’s note: These two ballot initiatives (see second just below) are now being delayed until September, since they are intended to concurrently proceed, and the second ballot initiative is still in a process of final refinement.]
Persons wanting to help with this effort should email: email@example.com
Circulation (jointly) of a second ballot initative is also being planned, with sponsorship remaining to be achieved for reason of its nature, based on a ballot initiative filed with the city in February, 2012. Circulation of this ballot initiative was subverted by the city refusing to issue a proper (lawful) title and summary. The city demanded that it be titled a downtown traffic “prohibition” ordinance and refused to include the initiative’s purposes in its summary.
Informal appeal to city council members for a just correction of these problems was to no avail. Seemingly, obstructing circulation of this initiative was the intent behind such an absence of city cooperation. Court action would have been needed to correct this unjust obstruction.
Comments are now being solicited regarding this second ballot initiative (below), in order that some form of basic consensus be attempted related to its details (whether to include mid-block crosswalks, how soon this proposed transition should occur, etc.), prior to achieving sponsorship.
Comments will be received at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting a regular comment on this blog.
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CIRCULATE INITIATIVE PETITION
(Pursuant to California Elections Code, Section 9200, et seq.)
Notice is hereby given by the person whose name appears hereon of their intention to circulate this petition within the City of Woodland for the purpose of enacting amendment of Chapter 14 (Motor Vehicles and Traffic) of the City of Woodland Municipal Code and amendment of the Woodland Downtown Specific Plan, Chapter 8.2, Specific Plan Policies — Circulation.
A statement of the reasons of the proposed action as contemplated in this petition is as follows:
Woodlanders: Our Downtown Specific Plan should be amended to help evolve community efforts for downtown revitalization.
With all its historic attributes, Woodland lacks an absolutely essential element of a successfully functioning small town: a city square.
Envision Woodland’s future with a multi-block long city square: Historic Main Street — where pedestrian values are elevated and motor-vehicles subordinated, creating an atmosphere and gravity of public attraction. Several times during most months, various portions of Main Street are occupied only by pedestrians involved with civic / cultural events.
Music and entertainment regularly stretch-out into common space of closed portions of Main Street, merchants’ doors are usually open; sidewalk dining is thriving; human conversations have equity with subdued motor-vehicle noise and pace; a festive atmosphere prevails; pedestrians have priority.
People confidently step into the street at intersections and crosswalks without awaiting permission from automated contraptions. Pedestrians possess priority, using it to inhabit downtown, its closest neighborhoods (in old town, at walking distance), Gibson Road to Kentucky Avenue, becoming the vanguard of a vigorous revitalization of our urban core, reclaiming municipal space as cultural conduit, as imperative, vibrant venue, our versatile and celebrated civic square.
Woodland’s (2009) Street Master Plan indicates viable options exist for re-routing motor-vehicle traffic, so that downtown Main Street might become transformed into an authentically pedestrian-friendly zone, with: 4-way stop signs, mid-block crosswalks, diagonal parking.
Downtown Woodland, with its historical proximity to residential land-uses and former state-highway route, became concentrated primarily along Main Street, less traveled Court and Lincoln Streets aside it.
Woodland’s Downtown Specific Plan — five years out of date — contains conflicting goals of enhancing pedestrian values and efficiently moving as much traffic as possible up and down Main Street, recently measured at 1370 daily trips, while Court Street carries only about 1000, both Streets being projected for declining usage.
Traffic on Gibson, Kentucky and East Main Street’s freeway interchanges will dwarf that on Main Street, now designated: “minor arterial” roadway.
Downtown is the only platform through which to achieve this essential identity of small town culture: a functional city square.
Traffic conditions on downtown Main Street, however, are incompatible with true pedestrian values, essential for our downtown to become a general public destination point, where people feel a natural gravity, key attractions, customary, commonly prevailing and comfortable access. Pedestrians then rule, with genuine downtown Renaissance as result.
For municipal policy, this challenge means: How is dynamic synergy between people, private commerce and public space to be optimized? The most powerful tool available for policy-making is design and use of our public space, Main Street, through establishment of downtown streetscape that also capably functions as our city square.
Downtown revitalization moves on its feet. Since pedestrian values and interests don’t yet flourish, neither does Woodland’s historic downtown, for decades in a chronic condition of blight. Atrophy of Woodland’s once proud downtown pedestrian scene clearly has occurred, fashioned by a modern history of unmitigated retail sprawl. Evolution of Woodland’s downtown is necessary for fulfillment of community values and destiny.
I hereby request the City of Woodland to prepare and issue a ballot title and summary for this proposed initiative measure.
Woodland Citizens’ Initiative Measure Text:
This citizens’ initiative measure is submitted to the people of the City of Woodland in accordance with the California Elections Code.
This citizens’ initiative measure adds an ordinance article to Chapter 14 (Vehicles and Traffic) of the City of Woodland Municipal Code and adds amendments to the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland.
SECTION 1. Article 16 is added to Chapter 14 (Motor Vehicles and Traffic) of the City of Woodland Municipal Code to read:
Article 16. Section 14 – 16 – 1(a) This citizens’ initiative ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the Woodland Downtown Traffic Circulation Ordinance (WDTCO).
(b)(1) The people of the City of Woodland hereby find and declare the purposes of WDTCO as being to:
(A) Evolve community efforts of downtown revitalization by optimizing dynamic synergy between people, private commerce and public space;
(B) Restore community engagement with the downtown area, reversing atrophy of its once proud pedestrian scene, adversely fashioned by a modern history of community development of unmitigated retail sprawl;
(C) Provide this community with an essential element of small-town culture and identity: a versatile and capably functioning city square;
(D) Elevate pedestrian values within this community’s downtown area, optimizing design and use of public space for downtown revitalization;
(E) Create enhanced community venues and proper access for civic and cultural events within the downtown area, to establish and promote it as a community and regional destination point.
(b)(2) Within 30 days of the date that WDTCO is legally effective, the City of Woodland shall initiate a comprehensive study to determine optimum means and methods of successful WDTCO implementation. This study shall be completed and its final report adopted by Woodland City Council within 120 days of the date of legally effective adoption of WDTCO.
(b)(3) The study and report completed and adopted under section (b)(2) shall be the basis of an implementation program of the City to ensure the performance and effectiveness of all amendment by WDTCO of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland. Woodland City Council shall annually review and, if needed, revise this program, consistent with WDTCO, to ensure full and continued effectiveness of such amendment of the Downtown Specific Plan and the WDTCO implementation program.
(b)(4) The study and report completed and adopted under section (b)(2) and annual reviews by Woodland City Council pursuant to section (b)(3) shall establish and maintain within the WDTCO implementation program an effective plan to optimize permit-applicant accessibility and practical efficiency for temporary road closures consistent with amendment (CIR-2.5) by WDTCO of the Downtown Specific Plan of City of Woodland.
(b)(5) The study and report completed and adopted under section (b)(2) and annual reviews by Woodland City Council pursuant to section (b)(3) shall establish and maintain within the WDTCO implementation program an effective plan to optimize means and methods for instituting viable options of voluntary diversion of motor-vehicle traffic from downtown Main Street consistent with amendment (CIR-1.6) by WDTCO of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland.
(b)(6) City of Woodland shall remove all traffic control systems existing prior to the date WDTCO is legally effective from all downtown intersections identified within CIR-1.5 of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland as amended by WDTCO.
(b)(7) City of Woodland shall by relevant evaluations and actions reuse, recycle or dispose of all traffic control systems, existing prior to the date WDTCO is legally effective, from all downtown intersections identified within CIR-1.5 of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland as amended by WDTCO, as directed by section (b)(6) to be removed from Main Street intersections identified within CIR-1.5 of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland as amended by WDTCO.
(b)(8) City of Woodland shall remove all street paint and associated roadway detailing material, existing upon Main Street prior to the date WDTCO is legally effective, except pedestrian crosswalk paint consistent with amendment by WDTCO of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland, from Main Street between and including its intersections with Fourth and Cleveland Streets and from downtown intersections identified within CIR-1.5 of the Downtown Specific Plan as amended by WDTCO.
(b)(9) City of Woodland shall install all stop signs, street paint and associated roadway detailing material consistent with amendment by WDTCO of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland.
(b)(10) Woodland City Council shall prioritize and expend all needed General Fund resources within the Roads category of the Rehabilitation, Renovation and Improvements components of the City funding allocation schedule for (sales tax, ballot) Measure E and Measure B of 2006, for use within the processes of WDTCO implementation, including all municipal processes needed for amendment by WDTCO of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland and the WDTCO implementation program.
(c) On the date one year after the date WDTCO becomes legally effective, all physical modifications, implementation program activities and municipal actions required either directly or indirectly by sections (b)(2) through (b)(10) having been fully accomplished by the City of Woodland, Chapter 8.2, Specific Plan Policies, of the Downtown Specific Plan of the City of Woodland is hereby amended to add:
CIR-1.5 Traffic Control
Four-way stop signs shall exist as exclusive traffic control system at Main Street intersections with: Fourth Street, Third Street, Second Street, First Street, College Street, Elm Street, Walnut Street and Cleveland Street.
CIR-1.6 Traffic Diversion
Means and methods, as well as informational programs, shall be used by the City to provide viable options and opportunities for voluntary diversion of motor-vehicle traffic from downtown Main Street.
CIR-2.5 Temporary Roadway Closures
The City shall establish and maintain an effective plan to perform temporary closures, based upon: fair, timely, economical process of permit application and consideration, of all and portions of downtown Main Street.
CIR-3.5 Traffic Lanes
Main Street between Fourth and Cleveland Streets shall contain one traffic lane in each direction and shall not contain a center, left-turn lane.
CIR-4.5 Mid-Block Crosswalks
Mid-block crosswalks, equivalently distanced from Street intersections, shall exist upon Main Street within each block between Fourth and Cleveland Streets.
CIR-7.5 Diagonal Parking Pattern
Diagonal parking (at 45 degrees) shall exist as exclusive motor-vehicle parking pattern upon Main Street between Fourth and Cleveland Streets.
SECTION 2. If any provision of this measure or application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this measure that can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this measure are severable.