Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bob Dunning: Read brochure carefully; you paid for it


From page A2 | January 29, 2014 |

TAXPAYERS BEWARE … got my official four-page, full-color brochure from the Re-elect Congressman John Garamendi Committee and an impressive mailing it was … seems the congressman, who recently announced he wasn’t going to switch districts on us, can do no wrong … from sponsoring job fairs to feeding hungry children to aiding farmers, service members, seniors and fish in the Feather River, he is indeed a man for all seasons …

On the two inside pages alone I learned that my congressman is “Putting job creation first,” “Protecting service members and veterans,” “Respecting and protecting seniors,” “Ensuring Feather River levee restoration,” “Helping parents shape their children’s future,” “Making education more affordable,” “Reducing harm from unfocused budget cuts,” “Protecting our water” and “Helping our farmers.” …

Now, if that sounds to you like a whole bunch of putting and protecting and helping and respecting and ensuring and reducing, rest assured that was my impression, too … but hey, these guys have friends who are willing to fund such mailers, so more power to them … it’s how the system works … it’s their money and they can spend it however they please …

But lo and behold, upon further examination I discovered — on the back page in the smallest and least-bold print of the entire mailer — the words “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.” … now, we’ve all heard of fine print, but trust me, those words were conveyed in the finest of fine print, the same fine print that tried to convince me this truly was “Official Business.” … it may be the congressman’s business, but it’s certainly not mine …

So all this copy was produced using your money and mine, and someone had to be paid to take the seven separate photographs of John that grace this campaign mailer — I mean, Official Business — and some outfit had to be paid to print it and then there are all those mailing costs …

And yes, Congress members on both sides of the aisle regularly send out this stuff, which means they’re all using our money to promote themselves … you’d think that once in a while a true statesman might emerge and say this is wrong, but as far as I can tell, using taxpayer money to send out self-promoting mailers is about the only thing all 435 members of the House of Representatives can agree on …

IDENTITY THEFT NOT NECESSARILY BAD … my friend Neil on the Cities in Spain Streets takes issue with my habit of allowing folks to rummage through my recycle bin in search of bottles and cans to turn into cold, hard cash … “The woeful, desperate recycle-snatchers do more than just remove CRC-able items from the bin,” Neil contends … “In order to get at those, they fling every other type of recyclable item into the trash can. That’s kind of nasty, anti-ecological, non-Davisy.” …

I agree with your assessment of such behavior, Neil, although I’ve never witnessed such behavior on my tree-lined street … “It’s not just a matter of scrounging: recycle-vandalism is involved.” … fair enough … if that’s happening on your street, put a stop to it … and if you don’t want anyone messing with your bottles and cans for any reason, you’re well within your rights … me, I’ll continue to let the kind lady who politely asked permission to continue to take my bottles and cans … that’s my choice … it doesn’t have to be yours …

Adds Neil: “Of course, while going through the trash, these folks might well find something much more lucrative than a few old bottles. How about a credit card bill?” … hey, they can have my credit card bills … all of them … “Or other personal info. Me, I have a shredder and I use it, but I don’t know how common that behavior is. Identity theft is big business.” … indeed it is, but if someone wants my identity, they can have it, right along with my bottles and cans … now they’ll be the ones to get the nasty emails and letters to the editor, not to mention maxed-out credit cards and overdrawn bank statements … they can have all of it … maybe they’ll even pay for braces for the kids’ teeth …

Concludes Neil: “I don’t put my cans out till the morning, and if someone comes prowling around next to my house in the wee hours, I won’t hesitate to call the Davis PD. There’s no way to tell a simple recycling-snatcher from a home invasion robber until it’s too late.” … to each his own …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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