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Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: In politics, you get what you pay for

By From page A2 | January 29, 2013

AND THE ANSWER IS … don’t know if folks are talking about a telephone poll or a telephone pole, but it seems some Davis citizens are upset that the “Yes on I” committee refuses to release the complete results of an extensive poll it commissioned several weeks ago … well, the short answer is that it’s their poll and they can do whatever they please with the results … they paid 15,000 real dollars to learn details of the local electorate — or at least the 300 people who were polled — and they are under no obligation to release any results at all …

That being said, there are some who are suggesting the “Yes on I” committee released only the favorable results and is covering up the less favorable … nonsense … this was one of those excruciating 15-minute polls when the phone rings always at dinnertime and they ask every question imaginable save for the respondent’s blood type … for instance, they wanted to know if Sue Greenwald was more popular than Linda Katehi … or less so … they wanted to know that of the many arguments being floated for or against the project, which ones made you more likely to vote “yes” and which ones made you more likely to vote “no” … nothing devious there and nothing very interesting to most Davisites, unless you happen to be a member on the “Yes on I” steering group …

Polls of this type are generally taken to satisfy the curiosity of those running a campaign, but they’re also taken to learn where a campaign’s resources would best be spent … smart campaigns rightly keep that information to themselves … I doubt we’ll see any more results from this poll and I doubt we’d learn much more than we already have, even if every question and answer were printed on the front page of this very newspaper …

CONTEST MAN … according to a UC Davis news release a while back, Professor Art Shapiro is once again holding his annual contest to find the first cabbage white butterfly of the new year … seems Shapiro offers a pitcher of beer to the student who “snags the Pieris rapae in Yolo, Solano or Sacramento counties.” … whether or not regular old Davisites who are not UCD students are eligible for the pitcher of beer is unclear …

Turns out that even though the good professor has been running the contest for 40 years now, “Shapiro himself usually wins his own contest.” … oddly, this would be the same Art Shapiro who recently had the winning entry in my long-running “Tannenbaum Toss” contest to determine the first Christmas tree to land in a Davis gutter … no beer, but the winner does get a pitcher of egg nog next winter …

Seems to me Shapiro just likes to enter and win contests, be they his own or someone else’s …

FORGIVE ME FATHER, FOR I HAVE SINNED … under the exceedingly clever heading “Suffering Subjunctives,” Frank in dotcom.land writes to say “If I were your English teacher, I would give you the following test: Pick one correct answer from a) or b)” … I’m always up for a grammar quiz, my friend … “a) If bicycle theft were a felony; b) If bicycle theft was a felony.” … clearly, the correct answer is a) … just as clearly, I used “b)” the other day when commenting in this space about the great number of stolen bicycles in our town …

My highly paid consultants are unanimous in advising that I should admit guilt, promise to make amends, and turn this into a one-day story instead of twisting slowly in the wind … mea culpa, Frank … it won’t happen again … not to make any excuses, but just as I was typing those very words, the pizza delivery guy was at the door, the TV news was talking about the Kings moving to Seattle and the local Fireplace Force was on my front lawn with infrared smoke detectors on a no-burn day …

No excuse, I know, but lesser men would have made even more errors under the circumstances …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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