Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bob Dunning: Smoke obscured the real issues


From page A2 | October 26, 2012 |

DON’T TURN YOUR BACK … in my many years of covering the comings and goings of our esteemed City Council, I’ve been able to detect some disturbing trends … for one, every time I leave this space for a few days of R&R, the council calls up its most contentious issues and tries to pass them in my absence … and even when I’m on the job, the council will run diversionary tactics to distract me from the truly important issues …

Hence we had this week’s “urgency” ordinance concerning wood smoke at the same time the council was voting on the more important issue of where we’ll be getting our drinking water for the next several centuries … unfortunately, I fell for the bait, firing off one column after another about wood smoke when I really should have been paying attention to water and Woodland and West Sacramento … it won’t happen again, even if I have to write two columns a day to keep these folks in line …

WHILE I WAS SLEEPING … as feared, our esteemed leaders took instant advantage of my recent absence from this space by bringing up contentious issues that I was unable to comment on in a timely fashion … still, under the better-late-than-never theory, I’ll comment on them now … first was what I’ll call “Son of Zipcar,” where the city finally and rightly decided to charge this for-profit East Coast corporation for the exclusive use of city parking spots … all I can say is it’s about time …

Under the old contract, the city actually paid Zipcar $8,712 because not enough Davisites rented Zipcars … and never mind that Avis and Enterprise and everyone else receives absolutely nothing from the city if they don’t rent enough cars … and, last time I checked, In-N-Out receives nothing from the city if they don’t meet their annual burger quota …

While I’m as pleased as a peach in a Winters orchard that Davis has decided to actually charge Zipcar for those parking spaces, it has never been explained why the city feels it must deal with Zipcar differently than it does with any other out-of-state corporation that seeks to make a profit off Davis citizens … put simply, let Zipcar come to town, hire employees, pay rent, advertise and do what every other business does to see if it can make a profit … why they have been put in a separate and favored category is an absolute mystery, especially since only 148 Davisites have even bothered to sign up as Zipcar “members” …

The city claims Zipcar provides a vital “service” to the town, but how vital can it be if only 148 folks out of a population of 65,148 think it’s worthwhile? … and even the 148, if they were paying attention, would know they’ll get a much better deal for essentially the same “service” at either Avis or Enterprise …

YET ANOTHER CITY PROGRAM … speaking of services, the city next plans to subsidize the Texas-based ZipBar, which plans to “service” our large student population with a wide variety of adult beverages with its unique “bottle-sharing” program …

DON’T TURN YOUR BACK, PART II … with the ink not yet dry on the Zipcar deal (see above), the city resurrected efforts to ban firewood, fireplaces, fire pits, fire dances, s’mores and walking over hot coals within the city limits … this, apparently, because a few bad actors refuse to stop burning on voluntary “no-burn” days … in other words, those who do act responsibly will now pay the price for those who don’t … now that’s a heck of a way to run a city …

SPEAKING OF BANS … it’s interesting that no one on the council is even willing to discuss the gross pollution that this town’s residential water softeners discharge into the sewer system on a regular basis … bring up that subject and our council members quickly dive under their desks as if an earthquake just hit our fair city …

— Reach Bob Dunning at



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