Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bob Dunning: Rates should be on the ballot, too


From page A2 | November 15, 2012 |

WATER WISE … not only did the Davis City Council get it right Wednesday, it did so unanimously … yes, we’re talking about the council’s decision to make next March’s vote binding as we all cast our ballots concerning the Davis-Woodland joint water project … anything short of that would have turned the whole thing into a meaningless charade … even City Attorney Harriet Steiner, who had previously urged the council toward an “advisory” measure, seemed satisfied with the binding ballot language the council ultimately chose …

The only problem is that the actual rates we’ll have to pay for this project will not be on the ballot … worse yet, there won’t even be a proposed rate structure on the ballot … to learn the rates, we’ll all have to rely on the completely separate Proposition 218 noticing the city plans to undertake at nearly the same time … that process was largely discredited last year and led citizens to start collecting signatures to put the water rates on the ballot … the petition drive stopped the council dead in its tracks and caused it to reconsider the entire project …

With rates not on the March ballot, those same citizens may start circulating petitions once again …

HIRE A WINNER … after I suggested yesterday that former Aggie fullback Dan Hawkins might be interested in replacing the retiring Bob Biggs as UC Davis head coach, one Aggie loyalist suggested we find “another Jim Sochor” … in other words, hand the reins to a young and talented newcomer on his way up the coaching ladder … the only problem with that approach is that Jim Sochor is one of those once-in-a-lifetime hires who doesn’t fit any mold …

Just 32 when he opened the 1970 season as head coach, Sochor had a winning season his first year and the first of 18 straight league championships his second year … he was young, brilliant and capable of coaching at any level … the “problem” with such coaches is that generally after two or three championships, they’re lured away for what they believe will be greener pastures … Sochor stayed … and kept winning …

Finding “another Jim Sochor” is nearly impossible … then again, the original model is still with us and doesn’t look or act a day over 50 … maybe someone ought to give him a call …

THE BUZZ ABOUT SMOKE … local beekeepers are up in arms about our wood burning ban, given that the best way to calm an angry Apis is to puff some wood smoke in its face … you might be able to do the same trick with a Marlboro, but those are banned in town, too …

SIBLING RIVALRY … during the wood smoke deliberations, I loved the testimony at the council from the woman who claimed the smoke got so bad in town last winter that she went to stay at her sister’s house in Auburn and her breathing problems immediately dissipated … at least I think it was her sister’s house … I have to admit, it was getting late and I was starting to nod off … but then, get this, it got so cold in Auburn that her sister lit a fire, sending our friend packing back to Davis … moved by her testimony, next week our esteemed council will consider banning wood burning in Auburn …

— Reach Bob Dunning at


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