Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bob Dunning: Finding a way to make news palatable


From page A2 | September 17, 2013 |

JUST A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR … “Council gives itself a raise,” said the front-page headline in last Friday’s Enterprise, and why do I not remember a single council member campaigning for higher pay when any of them were running for office and seeking our votes …

Then again, I suppose “Vote for me, I’ll double my salary” is hardly a winning campaign slogan … councilmembers, who voted 4-1 to raise their salaries from $669.42 a month to $1,138 a month, claimed it really an attempt to “diversify” the council and help the little guy … and, come to think of it, a little diversification might help this council understand just how some of their decisions impact struggling families who are far below the median income level in our otherwise well-off town …

Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk, with one eye on his run for the California Assembly, wisely voted “no” so he doesn’t have to explain the unexplainable to 4th District voters guzzling their Budweisers in front of the stuffed polar bear in the backroom bar at Granzella’s …

Mayor Joe Krovoza, running for the same Assembly seat, probably dropped a percentage point or two in the polls with his hard-to-defend “yes” vote … noted Krovoza, “I think if we want younger people and we want people of lower income and we want people of diverse experiences to serve on this council, we have to value their time and it will make this community richer.” … how that will play in such 4th District outposts as Arbuckle, Dunnigan, Zamora and Rumsey is unclear, but I wasn’t sure from the mayor’s words if he was advocating a pay raise or maybe switching to district elections …

MONEY MADNESS … on my side of the tracks, an informal poll suggests the council came up with its whopping raise to help them pay their personal water bills that are set to triple in the next few years … the thought that an extra $469 a month is going to shuffle the council like a deck of cards is just plain silly, given that it takes 50 times that much to get elected in the first place …

EVEN MORE COUNCIL CAPERS … my friend Randy has had just about all he can take, citing a headline that said “Fluoride decision set for Oct. 1” with estimated costs still to be determined, but perhaps as high as $2 million … “What a week,” Randy writes … “Ban the bag and fluoridate the water. I am soon anticipating an assault on single-use toilet paper.” … don’t give them any ideas, Randy …

“Davis is so environmentally conscious that we even recycle ideas. Old, new, bad, good — they just flow through the council doors. Who gives a darn as long as we appear to care.” … you hit the nail on the head, my friend … we must appear to care, even if the legislation accomplishes nothing … remember the Toad Tunnel, which no self-respecting frog has ever entered? …

SPEAKING OF BANNING BAGS … according to one report, the Yolo County landfill spent $34,000 in 2010 picking up plastic bags, but Davis contributes only a 20 percent of what’s dumped there … given that folks in Davis — the most environmentally conscious city on the planet — don’t generally toss their plastic bags to the wind, here’s guessing that the landfill folks will continue to spend $34,000 a year chasing plastic bags, 99.9 percent of which come from areas other than Davis …

SPEAKING OF FLUORIDE … while I don’t agree with some critics who say fluoride in the water will lead to the end of mankind, it does seem that those 2 million precious dollars could be better spent on the target audience by education and outreach and hiring a few public health folks to help ensure that those who aren’t getting sufficient fluoride are able to get it … the rest of us can find our own fluoride without help from the Davis City Council …

NEW DAVIS STREET NAME … my core area correspondent, Ann Onymous, reaching beyond her assigned territory, sent me a photo of the newly named “Conrell Drive” in West Davis, apparently replacing the old and tired “Cornell Drive,” which was named for an East Coast university clearly inferior in all regards to UC Davis … “I’m afraid the Second Most Educated City in the land is about to take a huge dive in the rankings since our city geniuses can’t even spell the name of our Ivy League rival in Ithaca,” Ann reports … “Maybe the folks at public works are spending so much time counting plastic bags, they don’t have time to proof their sign work.” … either way, Ann says she expects a lawsuit and “another attempt to decertify our Vet School.” …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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