Wednesday, July 23, 2014

There’s only one explanation for this reprieve


From page A2 | October 12, 2012 |

CHANGE OF HEART … there are many theories as to what caused Superintendent of Schools Winfred Roberson to suddenly change his mind and un-cancel the Emerson school play, “A Christmas Carol,” now set for a three-day run in early December …

All we know is that Roberson went to bed Tuesday night firm in his resolve that the decision to cancel the play was the right one, then got up Wednesday morning and penned a letter to the Emerson community declaring that the show must go on … my best guess is that sometime during the night, Roberson was paid a visit by the Ghost of Winter Break Past …

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES … still undetermined about the Emerson production of “A Christmas Carol,” is whether or not Tiny Tim will be allowed to mouth the words “God bless us every one.” … the legal eagles are apparently still deep in study over that one … if Tim closes with “May the Force be with you,” you’ll know why …

TIMELINE IS TELLING … to clear up published claims and counterclaims about when the complaint was received about the selection of “A Christmas Carol,” as the Emerson school play, a look at the timeline involved is instructive … the title of the play was announced on Sept. 21 … on Sept. 24 there was an open reading for anyone interested in trying out … auditions were held on Sept. 26, 27 and 28 … the cast list was posted on Facebook at 8 p.m. Sept. 30 …

The complaint came to the drama teacher via email along about 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, three hours after the cast list was posted … to be clear, there were no complaints prior to the cast being selected … seems to me the time to raise an objection was when the title of the play was announced, not after so much hard work had been put into the play by a great number of students and faculty …

VOICE OF REASON … in all the hand-wringing at the District level about the word “Christmas,” School Board trustee Tim Taylor stepped forward to bring some common sense to the issue … wrote Taylor to Superintendent Winfred Roberson: “I DO NOT SUPPORT cancelling the performances for any of the reasons stated. If we cancel, you are committing the District to cancel any and all such events during the entire month of Ramadan once a single letter of protest is received from any individual(s) who views that holy month as equivalent to the Hanukkah holidays.” …

Wait, it gets even better … adds Taylor: “This is neither a good precedent, nor supportive of the cross-cultural educational values we so desperately need to espouse. Perhaps, most importantly, the Dickens play at issue is simply not a religious play.” … Amen, Brother Tim, Amen …

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS … the good news out of last Saturday’s heart-stopping battle with No. 2 Montana State is that UC Davis proved not only that it belongs in the expanded Big Sky Conference, but also that it can compete with the very best that Division I-AA has to offer … the bad news, of course, is that the Aggies lost to the Bobcats, 48-41 …

SPEAKING OF GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS … the further good news for UC Davis is that this week’s opponent is Idaho State, described by The Oregonian as “helpless” after getting pounded last week by Portland State … the score? … try 77-10 on for size …

Portland State ran for 437 yards and passed for another 321 while using everyone available other than the school president … helpless, hapless, pick your adjective for the banged-up Bengals, who are considering changing their school colors from black and orange to black and blue … and the bad news? … Portland State comes to Aggie Stadium the last Saturday in October …

— Reach Bob Dunning at


Discussion | 3 comments

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  • Really....October 12, 2012 - 9:08 am

    Obviously Bob it was your article and all of the subsequent comments that got this stupid decision reversed. As citizens of Davis we have to try and keep on top of this kind of stuff.

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  • Be careful about pushing back...October 12, 2012 - 4:45 pm

    I agree that as citizens we need to stay on top but that is easier said than done, especially as a parent -- they have your kid and there can be consequences if you buck the system. In fairness to the district Davis parents can have strong views. At Chavez (where my kid went) almost all holidays are under attack at some level. Columbus Day - The anti-Columbus day movement started in Davis at DQ-University (See Wikipedia) My then second grader on the way to the Columbus day parade came up with “Columbus is one of the worst men ever, the indians had food then Columbus came and took away everyone’s food”. That same year the intolerance of Davis spread to the SF. There were fist fights between Italian Americans proud of their heritage and protesters who felt that Columbus should not be celebrated. Halloween - For many years this holiday went on without a hitch then a parent arrived that felt Halloween was a kind of devil worship. The school scheduled a teacher workday for the holiday avoiding the issue and the CDC director canceled the annual Halloween party and made it clear there was to be no mention of Halloween. Whatever happened left her shaken. Thanksgiving - To be “balanced” it was pointed out that Thanksgiving is also considered a “National day of Mourning” with the usual speech about colonists killing native Americans rather unpleasant if you are a little kid whose parents made the mistake to telling you their a Mayflower descendant thinking this would be a good thing, just ugly. Christmas - A parent started the school year going to the teachers telling them they would be sued this there was any Christian religious symbol. Christmas was completely purged from the winter festival. The parent that threatened to sue about Christmas then helped by substituting in Chanukah celebrations in the gap she created. (This parent would now have a 9th grade student at Emerson). Easter - Purged for the most part by the same parent that complained about Christmas. 4th of July - School was not in session but Chavez still got its licks in. At Chavez the national anthem and pledge of allegiance are taught in Spanish and only Spanish. Lots of kids from Davis unified go through life faking the National Anthem because the Chavez principal will not allow these basic US civics lessons to be taught in English for one of the seven years of Spanish immersion. Now in junior high things are great, holidays are just holidays, no culture wars. For parents now experiencing the terror of the anti-holiday zealots think about having a parent that has left the school make the complaint for you. If you push back in your own school you will be labeled raciest, or anti-semitic or anti-christian, things get vicious fast.

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  • Erin FrenchOctober 12, 2012 - 4:14 pm

    Ghost of Winter Break Past? I was thinking exactly the same thing. Well I am glad that there are still folks in Davis who have not completely devolved into bonkers puddles of political correctness. I miss the days when citizens of other towns merely poked fun at us for being inordinately fond of toads or for painting funny "folk art" on the roads for bicycles.

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