Friday, December 26, 2014

Bob Dunning: You’re safer anywhere but there


From page A2 | April 17, 2013 |

DEFINITION OF TERMS … when I first heard about the “Safety Enhancement Zone” the city has set up to deal with Picnic Day drunkenness, debauchery and just plain bad behavior, I figured this zone would be a safe-and-sane sanctuary where families with young children could put down a blanket with a basket of food and sit back to enjoy the festivities … turns out I have it all wrong … according to Tom Sakash’s recent front-pager, “The Safety Enhancement Zone permits police officers to give tickets — worth double the fine — for five regularly broken laws on Picnic Day: minor in possession of alcohol, public urination, open container, noise and smoking.” … fair enough …

But figures don’t lie … turns out that during Picnic Day 2012, police issued 72 citations within the Safety Enhancement Zone and only 44 citations everywhere else … in other words, there’s a whole lot more lawbreaking taking place inside the safety zone than outside … seems to me it’s much safer to keep the family as far away as possible from this clearly misnamed territory …

ON BANNING BOOZE … you don’t need an advanced degree from UC Davis to realize that alcohol fueled the vast majority of those 116 citations last year, but getting downtown bars and restaurants to ban booze on Picnic Day is akin to asking See’s not to sell chocolate on Valentine’s Day … there’s just too much money involved to shut things down completely …

Unfortunately, as long as the party atmosphere remains downtown, Picnic Day will serve as a magnet for troublemakers near and far … which is why our family long ago decided to avoid downtown Davis altogether on Picnic Day and spend all of our time on campus, which tends to be almost exclusively alcohol-free and hence trouble-free … the choice is yours …

THERE’S ALWAYS A LOCAL ANGLE … I have in front of me a photo of the University of Michigan cheerleading team, composed of both men and women, that recently claimed the national championship at the 2013 National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Alliance competition … while it’s not the Final Four, it could well be named the Final Flip, given the gymnastic talents of the many competitors … and why, other than idle curiosity, is this of importance to readers of this esteemed gazette? … turns out one of the talented members of the Wolverines’ squad is none other than Carly Pinkerton, the daughter of Davis City Manager Steve Pinkerton … hail, hail, to Michigan, the champions of the west …

TANNENBAUM TOSS MARCHES ON … Erin in Central Davis sends photographic evidence of both a downed Christmas tree and a smashed-up pumpkin side by each in a residential gutter in what is a clear assault on our holiday traditions … if she next reports the Easter Bunny and a green-clad leprechaun in the same gutter, we’ll know it’s the work of a serial holiday-hater …

TRIM THIS … the headline the other day hinted about the city’s plan to “trim” something, presumably a budget, but maybe our trees … which brings me to the experience I had recently with the city-contracted West Coast Arborists, who came out to harvest the mistletoe in our city-mandated front-yard hackberry … I’ve seen kids selling baggies of this stuff for two bucks a pop in front of Nugget at Christmastime, which means we had about a $10,000 harvest on our hands from our 60-year-old tree …

Under the direction of foreman Shawn Guzik, the West Coast crew expertly cleaned up our aging beauty and no doubt extended its long life by a few more years … lead trimmer Javier Castrellos, who has been honored many times for the precision of his work, was the Picasso of pruning, the Michelangelo of mistletoe … to say the least, the city is well served by its contract with West Coast …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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