Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bob Dunning: And now you know the rest of the story


From page A2 | February 08, 2013 |

WATER INTRIGUE … for a few anxious days in early January, the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency was down to just one bidder for its massive surface water project after CMD Smith sent a letter announcing its intention to get out of Dodge … Agency general manager Dennis Diemer admitted the existence of the letter of withdrawal and confirmed that CMD Smith had a number of serious concerns, several of which remain … he did, however, convince CMD to stay on board for the time being, and wasn’t willing to speculate just how difficult things might get if CMD ultimately decides not to participate in what is supposed to be a competitive bidding process …

Yes, the water agency dodged a bullet while managing to keep the letter from public scrutiny for more than a month before an anonymous caller blew the whistle and revealed the letter’s existence … should the voting public have been made aware of CMD’s concerns as we go to the polls in this era of supposed openness and transparency? … not according to one elected city official who told me bluntly that “If the head of CMD tells me they are in, and you ask me if they have pulled out, I say ‘no.’ I do not feel it’s appropriate to share all I know. I believe Davis may well be scaring away bidders, but I doubt the press cares much about that.” …

You can shoot the messenger if you wish … and when a reporter or columnist asks if a company has pulled out of the process, the short answer is indeed “no.” … but the full and complete story is that yes, they did write a letter a few weeks back pulling out of the process, but they are now back in the fold … why that’s so difficult to admit remains a mystery …

MAD AS HELL … my friend Curt at is frustrated that “There was not a single word in last Sunday’s op-ed piece supporting Measure I about the goofy rate structure proposed to fund the surface water project.” … Curt apparently is unaware that “Goofy” is a register trademark of the Disney Corp. and as such cannot be used to describe the water rate structure for the city of Davis … adds Curt: “I recall a WAC member saying Davis needs an ‘innovative’ water rate structure. This sort of nonsense treats Davis ratepayers as laboratory rats, all for the sake of a ‘progressive-looking’ rate package this is, well, just ‘different.’ ” … amen, brother …

However, Curt is not a naysayer when it comes to water projects … “While I endorse a project to meet quality discharge standards because the city has no choice in the matter, I will vote ‘no’ on the measure because the ratepayer payback scheme is too complicated, the peak consumption baseline period is too short, and establishing a particular rate structure just because it seems ‘innovative’ is lousy enterprise and government budgeting. I would endorse a flat hundred cubic foot rate applied equitably across all ratepayers, including the city of Davis, which has apparently been off the hook for years.” …

You know, Curt, I still can’t understand why they don’t simply charge us by the gallon, just like milk and gasoline and Pabst Blue Ribbon … if water truly costs more to deliver in the summer as the city claims, then charge us more per gallon in the summer … we’ll all understand … but to charge us year-round for our summer usage and define “summer” as May 1 to Oct. 31 is, well, goofy … with apologies to Walt Disney …

BY GEORGE … the “new” George’s Corner out by Target — as opposed to the “old” George’s Corner along the railroad tracks at Second and L — now sprouts a bright blue “Yes on I” sign … the old George’s Corner, as mentioned here yesterday, has both a “yes” and a “no” sign … then again, the last time I talked with George, he told me he doesn’t pay for the water that keeps his world-famous corner always blooming …

NO FLUFF FROM FLUFFY … it’s part of American tradition that if you want to judge the mood of the electorate you head either to the barber shop or the doughnut store … thanks to Erin at, I now know that “a group of older folks at Fluffy are voting ‘no’on Measure I, but one guy says he’s voting ‘maybe’ “. … don’t know if Freddie Oakley has a way to tally that last one …

— Reach Bob Dunning at



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