Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bob Dunning: Give an inch, take back two miles

BobDunning2W

By
From page A2 | May 16, 2013 |

Do you know the way to San Jose, or at least the distance from Davis to Sacramento?

Yes, much is being made of our dear mayor’s successful effort to force Caltrans into mileage accuracy on its road signs, but one has to wonder if his admitted obsession with the distance from Davis to Sacramento figured in his recent decision to announce his candidacy for a job across the river.

In case you missed it, Joe Kro beat fellow Council member Dan Wolk to the punch with his announcement that he’s running for the 4th District seat in the California State Assembly, a seat that figures to pay about 15 times what being mayor of the Most Relevant City in America pays.

But hey, I’m all for accuracy on road signs. In fact, I’m a stickler for it. It makes me absolutely crazy, as my kids can attest, when I see the distance to three or four cities listed on the same road sign and I do the math to determine how far one city is from another, only to have the next sign indicate they’re separated by a different number of miles.

“Dad, look a grizzly bear is chasing Bigfoot up a 300-foot redwood tree.”

“Don’t bother me now, I’m still trying to figure out how Ukiah and Willits got separated by an extra two miles on that last sign.”

The headline on the mayor’s press release — which was first vetted by the Department of Justice in the interest of national security — said simply: “Caltrans Replaces I-80 Davis Sign Based on Mayor’s Inquiry.”

“Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza and his wife Janet have been puzzled for years by the Caltrans sign on eastbound I-80 near Dixon that reads ‘Davis 8 … Sacramento 20,’” the story begins.

That, of course, explains the puzzled look we frequently see on the mayor’s face that I always thought was caused by the puzzling issue of fluoridating Davis water or maybe by the exact meaning of the Fifth Street Road Diet.
Or, it could be the mayor sees “Sacramento 20, Davis 8” and figures his hometown Aggies just lost the Causeway Classic to the dreaded Hornets.

“In fact,” the press release notes, “if you drive eight miles east from that sign, you are right at the Mace Boulevard exit, having driven way past UC Davis’ Old Davis Road exit, and our downtown’s Richards Boulevard exit. Joe wondered: ‘Were people missing Davis completely as a result? Was the Caltrans handiwork intentional? If so, why? Was the sign made for a different location? Had Davis been moved at some point?’ ”

All fair questions, to be sure, but the answer to this one is simple. Caltrans chose Mace as the official Davis exit because of the pricey paint job on the Massive East Area Tank (MEAT). I mean, why let a $75,000 boondoggle go unnoticed? Especially when the cash went into the hands of out-of-town artists, given that Davis apparently doesn’t have anyone with that kind of ability.

Ever vigilant, our normally bike-riding mayor “drove the distances one night to confirm his strong suspicion.”

Hey, this man knows his down and distance better than Jim Harbaugh.

“Then he talked to a Caltrans representative at an early February Sacramento Area Council of Governments Transportation Committee meeting.” (SACOG is an acronym for “boring.”)

“After Caltrans officials did some quick calculations, they realized that the sign, which had been in place for decades, was off by 2.3 miles.”

Just imagine how different things would have been for the Donner Party had the correct distance between Davis and Sacramento been posted in the first place.

“Within a two-week period, Caltrans corrected the errant sign with the correct distance.”

Added our now-vindicated mayor: “Can you imagine how many folks drove by our fair city thinking it was ‘up ahead’ and then upon reaching the Yolo Causeway never turned back? These passers-by missed our wonderful downtown and its Central Park and U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, our bike paths, downtown art, Farmers Market, tree canopy and our easy-going political discourse.”

Most importantly, they also missed the latest issue of The Davis Enterprise.

While this is, of course, good news all around, there is one cloud inside this silver lining.

Turns out replacing the sign ate up nearly all of the 4 billion extra dollars Gov. Brown recently discovered in the state budget and promised to our public schools.

But the mileage is now accurate and Davis schoolchildren for years to come will be reading about how Mayor Krovoza saved the town from certain oblivion.

— Reach Bob Dunning at bdunning@davisenterprise.net

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