Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bob Dunning: Kaneko’s years in Davis were fruitful


From page A2 | January 22, 2013 |

A MAN WHO LOVED DAVIS … as I read in Sunday’s paper the many wonderful tributes to Jerry Kaneko from friends and colleagues for his well-lived life, I realized I was one of the lucky folks in town who knew Jerry long ago as a friend and neighbor and university professor, years before he became a Davis City Councilman … Jerry, who died last Friday at the age of 88 after suffering a massive stroke in Berkeley, was a civic-minded man long before he decided to run for public office …

According to former Davis Mayor Dave Rosenberg, now a Superior Court judge, Jerry’s home “was a regular venue for Democratic Party fundraisers and events. He was, in many ways, the grandfather of Democratic politics in Davis. Jerry was vibrant, active and engaged until the very end.” … Rosenberg also noted that “whenever I saw Jerry coming, I always looked for a table or other surface so I could put down any drink or plate I was carrying. Jerry’s greeting was invariably exuberant and I didn’t want to spill anything.” … my experience exactly …

The thing I always liked about Jerry during his years on the Davis City Council, besides his always kindly demeanor, was the fact he seemed not to be agenda-driven … he didn’t have some grand plan he wished to enforce on the public, other than to make Davis a better place to live for all of us … as a result, he was always a calm and reasoned voice on the council, asking hard questions about the issues of the day and not being satisfied until he got answers … you truly couldn’t predict which way he was going to vote until all the questioning was done …

He was a man who deeply loved this town and deeply loved his family and he did his level best to put true meaning to the words “public servant.” … I don’t think there’s much more we can ask of anyone in this life … his legacy is such that even people who never met Jerry Kaneko were nevertheless greatly enriched by his tireless efforts to serve this town … we were lucky to have had him in our midst for so many fruitful years …

HONORING REVEREND KING … I was invited to a special Martin Luther King Jr. dinner by a 9-year-old named Emme who is a student in Mark Simi’s fourth-grade class at North Davis Elementary School … seems she and her classmates spent considerable time one day last week studying and learning about the legacy of the Rev. King … the meal came complete with a fancy menu that listed the pot roast entrée as “Roast-a-Parks” in honor of Rosa Parks, who “refused to give up her seat on the bus” in 1955 …

Then there were the Meredith en“Rolls,” with butter, in honor of James Meredith en”roll”ing at the University of Mississippi in 1962 … there was “Birmingham Broccoli” to remember Dr. King’s famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “Selma March Mashed Potatoes” and a choice of “M(i)LK or Sparkling Water” to wash it all down, given that “the life of Martin Luther King gave the ‘sparkle’ of hope for equality and freedom to all people in our country.” …

For dessert the sweet choice was between “I Have a Dream-sicle M(i)LKshakes” or “Brown(ies) v. Board of Education.” … indeed, a meal fit for a King …

WET AND WILD … my friend Bill at doesn’t have a dog in this long, dragged-out water debate — other than his wallet — but he is curious about something he read the other day in this very newspaper … under the byline of the very excellent Tom Sakash were the words “According to city numbers, rates would increase by 50 percent over the next five years without the surface water project on the books.” … indeed, that sounds accurate from everything I’ve heard and studied …

Notes Bill: “If I were to get a choice between a 300 percent increase with construction of the project and a 50 percent increase without the project, why would I ever vote for the project?” … apparently, according to the proponents, you need to do this so your grandchildren will have adequate water, even if none of them will ever be able to afford to live here … adds Bill: “I would gladly pay an additional 50 percent on my water bill to maintain the city’s water utility.” …

Based on the most recent poll results released by the Yes on I campaign, it appears I’m the only person in town who still drinks Davis water direct from the tap, so “bad taste” is no longer a reason for a new project … we appear to currently have an adequate water supply to meet our needs and city growth will be minimal for the foreseeable future … add to that the fact the city’s revenue projections on the new project assume we will all cut back our water use by 25 percent, and it appears we’ll be awash in water for some time …

Before we all vote, it would be good if the city — with complete neutrality — would publish rates, benefits and drawbacks of the proposed project along with rates, benefits and drawbacks of maintaining the current system … all the arguments put forth so far have been directed toward a “yes” vote on March 5 …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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