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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dunning's Mandate

As I've said a number of times on here, one of the chief reasons I decided in late July to create this blog, the People's Vanguard of Davis, was in response to Bob Dunning and the Davis Enterprise, in my view, running roughshod over the Buzayan family and their rights. For that, the Davis Enterprise will have to answer it appears in the court of law (more on this coming up on Monday).

More importantly from my perspective is that there was no clear and obvious means of response to the battery of unrelenting attacks day after day against the Buzayans, the HRC, the progressives, Heystek, and even the ACLU. Fighting Dunning through letters to the editor meant a 350 word response to his five columns a week. Even esteemed members of the ACLU and former Mayors of Davis were not immune to the well-oiled Dunning machine, with full backing from both the DA's office and the DPOA attorneys.

As Twain wrote, never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, clearly he had Dunning in mind as he wrote this.

Ironically, Dunning has been fairly quiet in the ensuing months, but on Friday, once again, he chose to fire off an attack. This time aimed at a Lamar Heystek claim that the Measure K vote was "by no means a mandate." A modest statement if there ever was one.

Dunning points out that in fact, Target doesn't need a mandate, just a one-vote victory. The implication was that Heystek was somehow a sore loser.

My interpretation of Heystek's statement is somewhat different. Dunning is correct, that Target needs no mandate, it simply needs authorization--which it received. However, as Dunning should darn well know having been a long-time resident here, Heystek's statement was a reflection of a broader importance and that goes to the heart of the issue--Target was a vote on a single-issue and not a broader mandate for growth, for big boxes, or an acceptance of varying other possible constructed outcomes that the council majority might be willing to use to further their future goals.

The city remains closely divided on the issue of growth, what kind of growth we would like to see, and our acceptance of large corporations moving into our close proximity. Also just because the voters narrowly approved Target, does not necessarily mean they oppose the living wage, a point that Dunning eludes to in a short comment. He writes:
living wage... an admirable goal this living wage, but why not provide it for everyone? does Nugget charge you less for a loaf of bread if you can prove you are employed by a small, independent, local business.
Interesting that he would used almost identical verbiage as Souza did when he argued against a living wage ordinance. Cleverly veiled as it is, it is also tranparent the point tht Dunning is ultimately making. Dunning talks the talk of a non-commital and impartial observer, but he rarely walks that walk.

Dunning is also naive if he believes that the council majority would not be claiming a huge mandate for growth if Target was approved by say a 60-40 margin instead of by a 600-plus vote margin.

Heystek was the target of Dunning during the elections, the question is, whether this will be a mere passing moment where Dunning takes a few parting shots at the young councilmember or whether this will mark a turning point where Dunning begins to focus his attention on Heystek, who he may view as the next progressive theat. It was noted to me, that in the past Dunning has taken open shots at other progressive members of the Davis City Council when they emerged as threats to his world view.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting