Friday, December 26, 2014

Bob Dunning: Picnic Day tarnished by bad reputation


From page A2 | April 11, 2014 |

HAPPY BIRTHDAY … as that hallowed UC Davis tradition known as Picnic Day prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday, it was disheartening to see several news organizations wondering out loud how well our city is prepared to handle the drunken and disorderly conduct that has dominated this day in recent years … sadly, as far as newsworthiness of reporting goes, these news organizations made the right call … we deserve the negative coverage based on what we’ve allowed this once-proud event to become … the headline over The Bee’s Tuesday story about Picnic Day was “Davis police to be out in force for Picnic Day’s 100th anniversary.” … happy birthday, indeed … let’s make sure no one gets hurt …

Again, we earned that headline by deciding there was an “acceptable” level of violence and public drunkenness downtown on what used to be a special day … meanwhile, the tease about Picnic Day from one Sacramento TV station showed file footage of a young male adult being led away in handcuffs … I didn’t need to watch the rest of the report …

Our family made the serious mistake of walking through downtown Davis on our way home from campus several Picnic Days ago and vowed never to do it again … since then we have limited our Picnic Day activities strictly to the campus and have tremendously enjoyed our time there … we’ll do the same this year …

HELP FOR FRIENDS IN NEED … earlier this week I noted that there will be several fundraisers Tuesday to aid the family of longtime North Davis Elementary School teacher Paulene Bitners, who died Sunday after a long battle with cancer … the two I mentioned then are still in place as scheduled, but a third has been added to accommodate the large number of people who may wish to participate …

Teach Your Children, an educational supplies and games store for teachers, parents and children, will donate 20 percent of all sales that day to the Bitners family … the store, at 232 E St. in downtown, will be open from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. …

From 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Uncle Vito’s Pizza at 524 Second St., in conjunction with the Davis Little League, also will be donating 20 percent of customers’ purchases to the Bitners family … just be sure to mention that’s why you are there … because of limited seating at Uncle Vito’s, Paesanos on G Street also will be participating in the cause … those wishing to contribute directly can go online to and donate to the Paulene Bitners Family Fund …

A VALUABLE RESOURCE … no one doubts that the Yolo Crisis Nursery is a valuable resource for at-risk children in Yolo County, but now that it is slated for closure on June 30, it’s time for some creative problem-solving … Rotarians Bud and Judy Wolf have worked tirelessly over the years to support the Crisis Nursery and are now asking community members to come up with funding ideas to keep the nursery alive and well and fully functioning … brilliant ideas may be sent to Judy Wolf at

ACRONYMS GONE WILD … my friend Ralph, taking notice of our city’s nonstop campaign to take over PG&E, offers these naming possibilities for the new city agency in charge of this power grab … writes Ralph: “Davis Utility District (DUD), Davis Utility Company (DUC) and Davis Electric District (DED).” … great stuff, Ralph, but I think you forgot the Electric and Gas Assessment District (EGAD) …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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