YOLO COUNTY NEWS
BobDunning2W

Bob Dunning

Fun time’s over, now it’s back to work

By From page A2 | October 04, 2012

MANY THANKS … yes, I’m back in the saddle again after an all-expenses-paid “staycation” at my East Davis manor, facilitated by the kind folks who so willingly and ably filled this space in my absence … the plan was for our family to spend this time in Paris and perhaps Medford, but given these lean fiscal times, the cash-strapped Davis School District reflexively pulls out truancy notices if you even think about taking the young ones out of town on a school day …

So we stayed home, played at the park after school, went on long walks in the evening, sampled the local cuisine and took in a football game or two … all the while, of course, I kept a wary eye on the Davis City Council and the Woodland City Council to be certain they didn’t meet in secret and sign a multibillion-dollar deal to bring Mississippi River water to Yolo County … it’s good to be back in the saddle, what with a pair of elections staring us in the face between now and March …

So, my heartfelt thanks to all those kind souls who volunteered to fill these pages over the last several weeks and my heartfelt thanks to the powers that be for allowing me to reclaim this space … in the days and weeks ahead, I promise to author only Pulitzer-quality stuff … as my good friend Mick Heller, formerly of the Daily Democrat and then the Washington Post, used to say when he’d file away a column: “We’ll see if this ruffles a few feathers. And if it doesn’t, we’ll try again tomorrow.” …

ABOUT THAT $30,000 PAYOFF … I note that during my absence the University of California agreed to “compensate” its pepper-sprayed UC Davis students to the tune of $30,000 each, or about a year’s tuition, plus room and board … the size of the payoff has led a number of students who were on the Quad that day — but not pepper-sprayed — to wonder why they didn’t get more involved in the protest than they did … could have saved mom and dad a whole bunch of money …

While the usual disclaimers of “it’s not about the money” made the rounds, the consensus among the handful of folks I’ve talked to is they would have been willing to take one for the team in exchange for that amount of cash … the settlement includes a formal “letter of apology” from Chancellor Linda Katehi to those who were sprayed, but given that this will be some carefully crafted effort that goes through 40 levels of bureaucratic review, I’m not sure exactly how “heartfelt” it will be …

Especially when the university, in agreeing to the million-dollar settlement, does not admit to any wrongdoing, instead contending that it “acted reasonably and in good faith to address legitimate health and safety risks associated with the presence of an unpermitted encampment.” … besides, a gun-at-the-head “apology” that comes only as the result of a legally binding agreement is no apology at all …

PETTY POLICY BENEATH UC DAVIS … while entering Aggie Stadium for last Saturday’s Aggie-Weber State game, my 11-year-old daughter, who was accompanied by her mom and dad and two younger sisters and a younger brother, had her purse thoroughly searched, apparently for contraband …

While they didn’t find drugs or alcohol or a loaded weapon, if they had found even so much as a stick of chewing gum or a Tootsie Roll, they would have confiscated it … yes, all edible items are spirited away from unsuspecting patrons, unless you happen to smuggle a Big Mac in under your hoodie and avoid a pat-down from the Blue and Gold Food Police …

The confiscated bounty lies unceremoniously on a nearby table, presumably to be thrown away, or maybe carted over to the campus Hog Barn and fed to the pigs … it’s a strange mixture of apples, oranges, bottled water, Hershey bars and potato chips lying on that table … one starving student even had his untouched Subway sandwich removed from his belongings before being granted entry … I realize this has become common practice at a number of venues, but it’s beneath the dignity of a major public university … especially when they’re charging five bucks for a large Diet Coke at the concession stand just inside the stadium …

If UC Davis hopes to attract more families to its games, it might consider letting them enjoy a home-packed picnic supper on the grassy berm that constitutes end zone seating at Aggie Stadium … the current policy is petty and embarrassing and does nothing but cause bad feelings among the very patrons UC Davis should be encouraging to attend … I mean, if someone wants to bring a sandwich into the game, for heaven’s sake, just be happy they’re there rooting for the home team …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]t

Bob Dunning

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