Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bob Dunning: Campus may want to totally own Picnic Day

From page A2 | April 15, 2014 |

PICNIC PERSPECTIVE … as UC Davis continues to knock itself dead to produce a family-friendly, educational and, above all, fun experience on campus, it may be time for the university to completely sever its relationship with downtown Davis on this once-magical day … while the experience on campus was superb for just about anyone who was willing to take advantage of all this massive open house had to offer, the bad behavior downtown continued to dominate the nightly news …

True enough, it’s much more newsworthy to show youthful rowdiness and the occasional fist fight, with the police tallying up the number arrested and comparing the scorecard to previous years, but the folks at UC Davis don’t deserve this negativity they had no hand in creating …

If you spent the entire day on campus, you most likely had a splendid time without a care in the world … it’s a bit like Disneyland, in that there are so many offerings you can’t possibly experience them all in one day … downtown, of course, was a completely different scene …

The campus has it figured out … downtown doesn’t … until and unless downtown bars decide to stop the flow of booze on this one day of the year, our town will deservedly continue to get its annual black eye … it’s time for the UCD brass to declare Picnic Day a strictly campus event, reroute the parade so it never leaves campus and leave the city of Davis completely out of the mix …

SPEAKING OF THE PARADE … I had the distinct pleasure to be part of a group that built a float to enter in the Picnic Day Parade … truth be told, those who actually did the heavy lifting didn’t let me near the float, but they did allow me to occasionally deliver food and water to the several dozen dedicated volunteers who were feverishly working to meet Saturday morning’s deadline … we also had some great technical, logistical, mechanical and financial support from the likes of Vander Hamm Tire Center, Davis Waste Removal, Grocery Outlet and MAK Design + Build … couldn’t have done it without any of them …

I’d highly encourage other groups in town to do the same next year … there is a definite time commitment and some serious work involved, but seeing people of diverse backgrounds and talents come together on such a project is what community is all about … feels like an old-fashioned barn-raising in North Dakota … you have about 10 months to think about it, then it’s time to start planning your float … it’s a great experience … trust me on this …

THE PLOT THICKENS … who knew there were so many folks willing to serve on the Davis school board, which soon will have four seats up for grabs? … seems as if everyone and his neighbor is tossing a hat in the ring, with most wishing for an appointment to fill nearly six months of Nancy Peterson’s remaining term, then hoping to run for something a bit more permanent in November …

Given that there will be three four-year seats on the ballot and just one two-year seat, it’s hard to imagine that anyone will be willing to campaign for the two-year seat where only the top vote-getter will get the job … yes, candidates on the November ballot must declare whether they are seeking the two-year seat or a four-year seat … it’s as if we’re having a regularly scheduled election for the four-year seats and a special election for the two-year seat …

Reading the tea leaves a bit, it seems as if the board is leaning toward appointing someone for the six-month term (May 8 to Nov. 4) who has no interest in running for any of the four seats in November … that would seem to be a wise move …

VOICE FROM THE BLEACHER SEATS … my friend Stephen has done the math and reports that if a $15 minimum wage is adopted in Davis, those working full-time at that rate will be pulling in $2,600 a month, before taxes … or about twice what their annual water bill is likely to be a few years down the road … “That’s hardly living,” Stephen reports, noting that the cost of living in Davis is simply not on a par with neighboring cities …

“If our city truly wants a living wage, how about a minimum wage of $50/hour?” … you’re getting close, Stephen, but even then your housing options would be severely limited …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]





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