Friday, October 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Remember Bauer through his words

RichRifkinW

By
From page B4 | May 29, 2013 |

When you live a life as long and full as Herb Bauer, inevitably your obit will omit some important contributions you made to your community.

Jeff Hudson’s front-page story on May 26 — “Herbert Bauer, the ‘conscience of Davis,’ dies at age 103” — explains why Dr. Bauer first came to Davis 58 years ago:

“… Herbert Bauer took jobs in the medical field in several parts of California, becoming Yolo County’s first full-time public health officer in 1955, with an office in the basement of the county building in Woodland, and a staff of five.”

What wasn’t mentioned, though, was that less than a year later, Herb became a weekly Davis Enterprise columnist and remained one for many years.

As best I can tell, Herb’s column, “The County’s Health,” began March 15, 1956. That, at least, is the oldest entry of his I found on microfilm. However, his first words suggest there was a previous piece:

“Last week, we talked about those who kill themselves slowly and in liquid fashion, by drowning themselves in alcohol.”

Of the hundred or so I have read, the goal in all of Dr. Bauer’s pieces, which ran with his photograph and his title, “By Herbert Bauer, M.D., Yolo County Health Officer,” was to educate his readers. He usually addressed a public health topic that was in the news and of global importance, and at some point he explained how or why that issue had local significance.

A big concern of Dr. Bauer’s for years was immunization. Keep in mind that he arrived in Yolo County in 1955, the same year Jonas Salk announced that he had an injectable polio vaccine ready for the masses.

To understand how important Salk’s research was, note that in 1952 and 1953 there were 58,000 and 35,000 new cases of polio. In 1957 there were 5,600. In 1961, the U.S. total had shrunk to 161 new cases.

Not long after Dr. Bauer came to Davis in 1955, he directed the county’s program to inoculate all 2,425 first- and second-graders for polio.

Following his cheery introduction in his March 15, 1956, column about people drinking themselves to death, Herb laid out the facts about suicide, including how many took place locally.

“In Yolo County, seven persons died from suicide last year, thereby making it the seventh-ranking cause of death in our county,” Bauer wrote.

“Nationwide, suicide is the ninth among the leading causes of death in the entire population. However, taking only persons between 55 and 69 years, suicide is the fourth or fifth cause of death!”

For what it’s worth, the Centers for Disease Control’s latest numbers show that suicide is now America’s 10th leading cause of death. Of 2,468,435 deaths in 2010, 38,364 people (1.55 percent) took their own lives.

In his March 22, 1956, column, Dr. Bauer, who had just come back from a meeting of the Northern California Public Health Association, addressed some problems that were then going on in the newly incorporated city of Fremont in Alameda County.

Bauer explained that the residents were upset that all sorts of new taxes were being imposed upon them to pay new municipal costs that they never before had as an unincorporated community. Nonetheless, Dr. Bauer thought the expense was worth it.

And he tied the situation in Fremont to one then brewing in West Sacramento:

“The large part of the population of Yolo County east of the causeway lives in unincorporated areas. Sooner or later, they will be faced with the same decision.

“At least from the standpoint of the health department, we can give them this assurance: public health services will in no way depend on their political status. If our standards are adequate, no changes would be needed in case of incorporation; and if they are not, improvements are called for here and now.”

West Sacramento incorporated 31 years later, in 1987.

Dr. Bauer’s third column celebrated the work of the then-eight-year-old World Health Organization. He praised what he called the WHO’s bold pronouncement: that “peace depends on health as a fundamental right.”

The Earth had far fewer people 57 years ago. And they had a lot less money:

“It makes all the difference in the world where you are born,” Bauer wrote. “Only one-fifth of the world’s 2 billion people live in so-called developed areas where the average yearly per capita income is $500, and the overall life expectancy is 63 years.

“But no less than two-thirds of our globe’s population live in so-called underdeveloped areas where the average yearly per capita income is only one-tenth of ours, namely the equivalent of $50, and their life expectancy is 30 years.”

Today there are more than 7 billion people on Earth. Life expectancy globally is now 69.91 years and it is 78.64 years in the United States. America’s per capita income has risen to $49,922 (2012), which, adjusting for inflation, would have been $5,914 in 1956.

Even when someone has the good fortune to live as long and prosperous a life as Herb Bauer, there is sadness in his passing. Inevitably, we all selfishly want life to go on forever.

Those who knew Herb best take comfort in fond memories. The general public can look to old copies of The Enterprise to relive many of his timeless thoughts in his columns.

— Rich Rifkin is a Davis resident; his column is published every other week. Reach him at Lxartist@yahoo.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    State superintendent makes campaign stop in Davis

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    State races test one-party rule

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

     
    Couple killed in Yolo County crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Same-party races challenge incumbents

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Indians celebrate Diwali with gala on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Rairdan dinged for late report

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

     
    Veterans will tailgate at ‘Salute to Heroes’ game

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Wolk hailed for environmental votes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yamada honored for leadership on aging issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Embroidery group meets at mall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Bones for Life classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Bet Haverim will hear Israel update

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Local artisans featured at holiday craft fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Kids walk for friends at Birch Lane

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explorit: Creep out with some spooky science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

     
    Shambhala offers Tai Chi class

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Enjoy wine, music and art at Sunday fundraiser for DHS choir

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    New-school cheating on the smartphone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    My choices on Tuesday

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Garamendi, Dodd get my votes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    High hopes for Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Public service is in her heart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A calm, thoughtful voice

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Sunder is a perfect fit

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Best predictor is past behavior

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Vote for students, with Tuck

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS plays undefeated Pacers Friday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devil girls net an easy win at Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie offense A-OK; now what about defense?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    In Davis, rugby is as American as apple pie

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
     
    Niemi’s 43 saves aren’t enough in loss to Wild

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    ‘Birdman': A dark comedy that soars

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

     
    Marcia Ball to play at The Palms

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big, capable luxury defines Yukon

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Joseph Francis Gray

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

    RE/Max Gold

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

    Kim Eichorn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

    Yolo FCU

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Juan Ramirez

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Team Traverso

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Tracy Harris

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Julie Leonard

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

    Leslie Blevins

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Robin Garland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Jamie Madison

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Diane Lardelli

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Ciana Wallace

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

    Travis Credit Union

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER16

    Malek Baroody

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Marcelo Campos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20