Friday, August 29, 2014

Bob Dunning: Sacramento River joins the mighty Putah


From page A2 | March 06, 2013 |

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT … surveillance photos from a NASA satellite designed specifically to keep an eye on Yolo County show that the Sacramento River dramatically and unexpectedly changed course last night just as the Measure I results were being announced in Woodland … starting in Knights Landing, the southbound river raced out of its banks and cut a new route sharply to the west, heading down Highway 113 and joining the mighty Putah just south of the Mondavi Center, taking out the new Institute for Wine and Food Science in its rage …

What this means, of course, is that the intake for Sacramento River water will now be much closer to Davis and our cost to pipe it into town will be substantially lower … preliminary estimates are that despite the project’s anticipated $113 million price tag, some Davis water rates will actually plunge, given that many local users are now close enough to the river to simply scoop water into 5-gallon buckets for their immediate household needs … clearly a win-win for everyone …

EVEN SMART CITIES DON’T VOTE … the most stunning result last night was not the actual outcome, which most observers accurately predicted, but the embarrassingly low voter turnout of just 39.4 percent of registered voters for an election that both sides claimed was perhaps the most important in city history … in other words, only four in 10 Davisites bothered to vote, and even that’s misleading because it deals only with registered voters … if all eligible voters — any resident over 18 — are included, it’s more like one in four who voted … hard to judge the “will” of the people when the vast majority of folks don’t have the will to vote …

BOOKS FOR VOTES … the public library on 14th Street should have charged for parking yesterday afternoon and evening as scores and scores of procrastinating Davisites dropped off their ballots at the last minute … then again, maybe many of these folks think there’s something sacred about voting on Election Day and don’t want to mess with tradition … the main reason I don’t vote a month early as some do is that I want to have the right to change my mind when my favorite candidate gets busted for DUI while driving down West Capitol Avenue two days before the election …

BALLOT BLARNEY … according to my Official Mail-In Ballot, I was told to “Please use a black or blue ink pen to mark your choices on the ballot.” … choices? … you mean I was allowed to vote both “Yes” and “No”? … “To vote for your choice in each contest, completely fill in the box provided to the left of your choice. To vote for a write-in candidate, completely fill in the box provided to the left of the words ‘Write-In’ and write in the name of the candidate on the line provided.” … try as I might, I could not find the box to the left of the words “Write-In’ or the line to write my “candidate’s” name … like my friend John suggested in a letter to the editor several weeks ago, I had planned to vote “Maybe,” but there was simply no place to scribble the word …

MORE BALLOT BLARNEY … “Be sure to SIGN the Ballot Return Envelope!” said the bright red words on the outside envelope of my ballot … unfortunately, it didn’t also remind voters that they must include their address as well as their signature for their vote to count … that information was on the ballot itself, but I suspect some people missed it completely and had their votes invalidated … it would be interesting to see how many votes were tossed either for a lack of signature or lack of address … if it’s a handful, no big deal … if it’s more, changes should be made …

EVEN MORE SIGNATURE MOMENTS … if you were willing to certify that you were ill or disabled and unable to deliver your ballot in person, you could sign another part of the envelope where you designate a spouse, child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, papergirl, milkman, mailman, gardener, Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Fed Ex driver or chimney sweep to do the deed for you … I’m sure some folks signed that waiver as well, thinking they were fulfilling the requirement to “sign” their ballot …

It’s an interesting regulation, since no one in the library was checking to see if the ballot you dropped in the bright pseudo-mailbox was truly your own … heck, you could have dropped half a dozen in there and no one would have cared … these are, after all, librarians, not poll workers … I especially liked the “return address” in the upper left hand corner of my sealed ballot, just in case I wanted the thing back …

MYSTERY SOLVED … yep, conspiracy theorists came out of the closet when Deep Well 30 went down during the stretch run of our contentious election, but I’ve finally found the culprit … turns out Mr. Manny Manganese of Manganese, Minn. (a real place, by the way), bought a sack of pure unadulterated manganese on the open market for $2.90 a kilo and poured it down the well all by himself, just to see how both sides of Measure I would react … he was not disappointed … seems he’s writing a Ph.D. thesis on election tomfoolery at the University of Minnesota-Mankato, which is not far from Manganese … the title of his paper: “Manganese Madness” …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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