Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bob Dunning: One good ‘innovation’ deserves another


From page A2 | March 01, 2013 |

IT TAKES A VILLAGE … the good folks at Village Homes, who live in one of the most interesting, innovative and acclaimed neighborhoods on the planet, have apparently looked at our proposed new water rates and concluded there just might be a better way …

This from the Village Homes newsletter, which states “The VHA Board hosted a homeowner’s meeting so that the Water Committee could present its recommendation for dealing with the increased cost of water. The Water Committee has been working for at least a year to create a proposal for drilling a well in Village Homes.” … well, well, well … how do you like them apples, Johnny Appleseed? … adds the newsletter: “The goal in drilling a well is to reduce Village Homes’ use of potable water to irrigate our green spaces and garden plots.” … we always knew these folks were innovative, but this takes the cake …

“Currently, Village Homes’ annual water costs are approximately $60,000. If Measure I passes, that amount is set to triple in the next 5 years to $180,000 if water usage remains the same.” … those folks can certainly do higher math … “That is a significant increase that our homeowner dues will not be able to support because we are limited by our CC&Rs to annual increases of no greater than 10 percent. Consequently, a solution to our rapidly increasing water bills is vital at this stage.” …

Fortunately for Village Homes, a solution may be at hand … “The reality is that because water rates are set to rise at a rapid pace and because a well will help greatly to offset the cost of water, investing in the building of our own well will be financed by those cost savings.” … and finally, the bottom line: “We can either pay the city for that water or we can finance a well with that money and have an asset that will benefit our community for years to come.” …

Folks in Village Homes have always been known for their creativity and willingness to think outside the lines, but apparently the city of Davis’ “innovative” new rate structure was a bit too much innovation even for Village Homes …

ON THE FLIP SIDE … of course, every time a neighborhood such as Village Homes drills its own well to reduce its reliance on city water, everyone else’s bill will go up … while I applaud Village Homes for a creative solution to its water concerns, when you have a $113 million fixed cost for the Surface Water Project, but now fewer water customers, the rest of us will have to pick up the difference …

Either that, or do the really smart thing and move to Village Homes …

WISHING WELLS … I have already hired the neighborhood water witcher to wave his magic wand over my backyard to determine the absolute best spot to sink a deep well … if Village Homes can tap into the aquifer, I can too …

APARTMENT FOR RENT … if you’ve been wondering why so many large apartment complexes in town have “Yes on I” signs sprouting from the front lawn, don’t blame the tenants …

As we all know, the proposed new consumption-based fixed rates will charge Davisites six times as much for summer water use as for winter water use … since many student tenants are absent during the summer months despite having signed 12-month leases, the summer water use by the average large apartment building won’t spike nearly as much as it will in single-family homes where folks generally tend to stick around during much of the summer …

CAN YOU SPELL “B-O-R-I-N-G?” … my friend Ron said it best about that goofy request that the city of Davis produce every single email that mentions the name “Bob Dunning” since the first of the year … asks Ron incredulously: “Why would anyone want to read your emails?” … amen …

IT’S GETTING UGLY OUT THERE … the back-and-forth of the Water War has gotten so nasty that I’ve taken to wearing my dad’s old World War II Army helmet when I take my daily walks around town …

A SINGULAR BEAUTY … quick, before the wind blows all the blossoms away … in a town full of beautiful trees this time of year, the pink explosion on the front lawn of a home on the north side of East Eighth and Hunt Way is a thing of true beauty … one of the best I’ve seen so far in our early spring …

— Reach Bob Dunning at



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