Friday, December 26, 2014

Bob Dunning: Cash-strapped cities can tax us to death


From page A2 | December 27, 2013 |

TAX THOSE CYCLISTS … thanks to Eric in North Davis I’ve been reading about a proposal in Chicago to institute a $25-per-year cycling tax … turns out there have been similar proposals this year in Georgia, Oregon, Washington and Vermont … given that virtually every city in America is cash-strapped, it’s probably not the last time we’re going to see such proposals …

Considering Davis has more bicycles than people, we could be next … it’s a proposal, obviously, that has considerable merit … after all, we build all those expensive bike lanes for our cycling friends that we should consider turning into bicycling’s version of toll roads … just install meters every few hundred yards or so as part of the ultimate pay-as-you-go plan … then again, if cyclists won’t stop for stop signs, what makes us think they’ll stop to feed the meter? … still, it may be worth a try, and if it works, we shouldn’t stop there …

How about a tennis tax to pay for all those public courts we let people use for free? … let’s license tennis players just like we license cars … every time a tennis racket gets sold in town, slap a five-dollar surcharge onto the purchase price … next, of course, we’ll need a walking tax to pay for our miles and miles of sidewalks, a dog tax to pay for the dog park and a soccer tax to pay for all those fields of green, green grass … if you want to have a loud party on Saturday night that keeps all the neighbors up past their bedtime and uses every available parking spot in the neighborhood, you’ll have to pay a decibel tax …

There are a million ways to get this thing done and heaven knows we need the cash … clearly, it’s an idea that’s ready for action …

NAME THAT STREET … Judy on the Westside says waiting until a person dies before naming a street after them will not necessarily solve all our problems … “Remember the Sutter dust-up?” she asks … “And the endless council and public comment hours devoted to it?” … ah yes, you’d have thought the fate of the free world was at stake …

I think the proposal to just pull names out of the phone book is probably the safest way to go … it’s fair, non-discriminatory and certain to provide an accurate reflection of the town’s diversity … much better than naming streets in The Cannery after varieties of tomatoes, as one proposal demands … Beefsteak Boulevard? … Early Girl Avenue? … we can do better …

PARCEL THIS … I just love UPS’ excuses for not getting a number of packages under the tree in time for Christmas … basically, we heard, it was the high volume of packages combined with some nasty weather, which is completely forgivable … I mean, who would have imagined people sending packages to other people at Christmastime? … and, as we all know, the temperature in December across this great land of ours is generally in the 80s and 90s with calm winds and little or no precipitation … so, the next time you want to send a fruitcake to grandma in North Dakota, get on a plane and deliver it yourself …

AGE DISCRIMINATION … according to the Thursday edition of this very newspaper, teen drivers will be among those affected by a new California law come Jan. 1 … “SB 194 will prohibit a person who is under 18 years of age from using an electronic device to write, send or read a text-based communication while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device … an excellent new law, to be sure … the only problem with it is the age … it should prohibit “any person under 118 years of age” from using such devices while driving …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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