Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bob Dunning: Another satisfied reader survives the experience


From page A2 | November 10, 2013 |

Although I aim to please with this daily exercise that allows me to pay the rent, I do on rare occasion inadvertently offend someone out there in the Second Most Educated City in America.

Not to worry, though, as Richard Nixon used to say right up until the day he resigned, “The mail is running 100 to 1 in my favor.”

Unfortunately, it’s that “one” that eventually stops you in your tracks, keeps you up at night and makes you wonder if you should have taken dad’s advice to never express your opinions in public.

The latest disgruntlement comes from a chap named Peter, who begins by noting “Fortunately, I had just finished eating my DFC organic granola, yogurt and banana before I read your column (on Cannery Park) or else my esophageal reflex would have kicked in had I been eating and reading at the same time, and I would have likely choked or upchucked this expensive and delicious breakfast.”

Just think, if you actually had choked to death, I could truthfully tell everyone that I write a killer column. Guess it just wasn’t my lucky day.

Adds Peter: “I count on you to be the skeptic’s voice of reason in this town, and today you let me down.”

Like I said, I aim to please, but sometimes I fail. I guess this was one of those times.

Honestly, though, it’s not in my nature to be a skeptic. I pretty much always agree with everything our brilliant elected officials come up with in this town, which is why I so regularly praise them in this space.

You don’t have me confused with that Debra gal who writes out of Winters, do you? I mean, I’d hate to get on her bad side.

“Everyone, including you,” Peter continues, “seems to assume that the Cannery will consist of affordable housing and that somehow the Cannery will be good for those who currently cannot afford to live in Davis and are relegated to live in Woodland.”

Peter, Peter, Peter. Sit down and pour yourself a nice, tall, cold one. I have the offending column in front of me and nowhere do I mention anything at all about affordable housing or people being forced to live in Woodland.

All I said was “If Cannery Park can provide housing to meet the needs of a mix of old and new residents, I think we can all learn to live with it.”

I didn’t hint at what sort of prices those old and new residents might be charged for a Cannery Park home, all of which, by the way, will come with a lifetime supply of tomato paste in the pantry.

Peter notes that he was “appalled to read that 100 riparian oak trees would be ripped out to make way for houses. These old growth, native Valley Oaks should be protected. And Davis residents should be as concerned about this as they are about bicycle access.”

On that we can agree, my friend. The majestic Valley Oak is right up there with the mighty California Redwood as a tree that should be preserved and protected wherever possible.

So, if we can’t convince Cannery Park to preserve those Valley Oaks, the least we can do is get the City Council to ban chainsaws within the Davis city limits, utilizing our toughest-in-the-nation noise ordinance if necessary.

Hitting on all cylinders now, Peter adds pointedly: “I always appreciate it when you advocate for putting significant community-changing issues up for a vote, like water fluoridation.”

“Democracy” is my middle name.

“Why should the Cannery be exempt from this standard, especially when other development proposals have had to meet it? It does not make sense to me, or seem the right thing to do, for such a big decision to be made in Davis without hearing from the voters. The engagement of the community may be a bit messy and inconvenient, but it is an extremely important part of what makes Davis Davis. If this is a good idea, why not let the voters endorse it? Why give the Cannery an exemption from democracy, a free pass?”

Amen to that. If we can vote on Wildhorse and Son of Wildhorse and Covell Village and widening our historic downtown tunnel and whether or not to allow a big box retailer to locate in town, we can certainly vote on a project as massive as Cannery Park.

As George McGovern said to Thomas Eagleton before dumping him from the ticket, “I’m behind you 110 percent,” on this voting thing, Peter.

Vote for me and I’ll be sure it gets on the ballot. Wait, I’m not running for anything.

Concludes Peter: “Thanks for hearing me out.”

Like I said, I aim to please.

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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