The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Guest Commentary: Dunning's Reckless History of Davis

I write to rebut Bob Dunning's latest installment in the reckless history of Davis he has inserted into his column for many years.

In the Enterprise of January 24th, his latest bizarre cause and effect assertion reads:
" . . . they tore down my old elementary school to make way for out-of-town farmers selling organic rutabaga . . ."
Well, the fact of the matter is that the building was taken down in September, 1966 because it could not meet earthquake safety standards.

And, on September 21, 1966, the Davis Enterprise reported that the building was to be replaced by an "Arden-Mayfair supermarket and a row of shops."

But, that plan was never realized. Indeed, the lot was vacant and subject to delay and dispute for 34 years!

Only in 1990 was the block dedicated as an an extension of Central Park and the home of a new farmers market.

This was the last act in an enormously complicated political struggle featuring the iconic Maynard Skinner as the major mover and a vote of the people of Davis.

Of course, Bob will say he is not serious when he declares his school was take down for rutabaga farmers. He was only making a joke.

That claim is of course the problem: How literally/seriously should we take anything that Bob Dunning says?

John Lofland

John Lofland is a professor emeritus of sociology at UC Davis and author of many works on Davis history, including Davis: Radical Changes, Deep Constants.

Correction added at 8:46 PM on Thursday

1966 taken from 1990 is 24 not 34 years, which is an error in my comment.

What is worse, I took this number from page 142 of my book, Davis. That text was subjected to a parade of copy editors and fact-checkers and none of them, including me, caught it!

I suppose this suggests how hard it is to get things right and how careful we have to be.

John Lofland