Friday, July 25, 2014

Bob Dunning: Football got in the way of my water watch


From page A2 | April 16, 2013 |

MEA CULPA … my friend Michael, an ever-vigilant defender of precision in language and argument, writes to let me know that Proposition 218 is not where the five-year limitation on the setting of water rates is written into California law … unfortunately, the Above-Pictured Columnist, after consulting with this town’s so-called water “experts,” claimed the limitation does indeed come from Prop. 218 … I stand corrected and throw myself at the mercy of the court … so much for trusting the experts …

Notes Michael: “The five-year limitation is contained in Cal Govt Code Sec 53756, which was added by AB 3030, effective 1/1/2009.” … that explains everything … turns out I was watching the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 of 2009, which is the very reason I missed this change in the law … adds Michael: “It states (in part): ‘The schedule of fees or charges for a property-related service may not exceed five years.’ ” …

So there you have it … the fact of the matter remains that the city of Davis’ recent publication of water rates from May 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2018, exceeds the statutory limit by a full eight months … whether the city plans to correct this clear violation of the law remains to be seen … thanks, Mike … your check’s in the mail …

A GATE BY ANY OTHER NAME … Dan at says his two children, now grown, participated in the local GATE program and notes that “Even back then it seemed clear most of the objections to the program arose from its unfortunately elitist name.” … indeed, they may as well call it the “Gifted and Talented Elite” … adds Dan, agreeing with a previous suggestion in this space: “The recently suggested change to the slightly disparaging WONK is perfect.” … thank you … I’m sure a Pulitzer awaits me …

EVEN MORE OF DAN’S DANDIES … my friend Dan (see above) says his old high school football and track coach “felt it hurt a kid’s heart to be cut from a team.” … amen to that … one of the most painful parts of growing up for some of us … “So he, shall we say, encouraged self-selection. I vividly recall how all the little remaining patches of snow around our school buildings would be melted by puke as he ran the track team down to size each spring. Those of us in for the duration, come what may, just learned not to think about, or remember, the first two weeks at the beginning of every track season.” … I suspect that sort of tactic wouldn’t sit well with the school board these days … “So,” Dan says, “everybody is in GATE, I mean WONK, at the start of every year, until they don’t want to be.” … I think that just might solve the problem, Dan …

WORDS OF WISDOM … former school teacher and Davis City Council member Debbie Nichols Poulos hit the nail on the head when she concluded last Friday’s op-ed in this very paper with the words: “It makes no more sense for the district to engage in a lottery for participation in GATE classes than it would to choose students by lottery for special education, athletic teams, Madrigals, Jazz Choir, the orchestra, band, etc.” … well said, my friend … the California Lottery is a form of gambling … we shouldn’t be gambling with the education of our kids …

Adds Debbie, who always had the attention of her students: “Parents and the district should be assessing the needs of the ‘whole child,’ not just looking at a single test score.” … truer words were never spoken …

— Reach Bob Dunning at


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