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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chair of the Senior Citizens Commission Blasts Back

Yesterday I reported that Councilmember Stephen Souza publicly browbeat the chair of the Senior Citizens Commission. Well in last night’s Davis Enterprise Elaine Roberts Musser fired back.

She strongly opposes the proposed merger of the Senior Citizens Commission with the Social Services Commission arguing that “based on my knowledge as a commissioner at the county level. Such a merger may have unintended consequences.”

Moreover she informs us that County Supervisor Mariko Yamada strongly opposes this merger and wrote a letter the members of the Davis City Council expressing that.

But the real fireworks come toward the end of the letter.

“In my opinion, if the Davis City Council doesn't think enough of its senior citizens to have a separate commission for the elderly, Davis may find itself in the unenviable position of not being represented at the county level. When matters with respect to the county come up for budgeting and projects, Davis seniors may discover themselves on the short end of the stick. Woodland and West Sacramento, who do have separate senior commissions, may garner a windfall with respect to county monies or projects, whereas Davis will be left out in the cold.”

Finally she delivers the electoral threat with the full-force of the Senior voters behind her. “I would also urge Davis seniors to keep in mind who on the City Council did not think their concerns were important enough to rate continuing the Senior Citizens Commission, the next time City Council members come up for re- election.”

I will be very interested to see how the Council responds to what I am guessing they will perceive as a threat. This is starting to bear a remarkable resemblance to the situation of the HRC, where the Chair, frustrated at the Council’s attempts to skirt the issue and undercut her finally threatened them with going to the voters. That was a huge mistake, but the Senior Citizen Commission is probably in much stronger position to press home this threat than the HRC ever was and that’s why it will be interesting to see if the Council ends up being as heavy-handed with the Senior Citizen Commission as they were with the HRC.

One thing is clear—the council in June tried to portray the situation with the HRC as unique—it was not. The difference is that the HRC was politically vulnerable enough to isolate. The Senior Citizen community is probably far too strong for those kind of tactics to work.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting…