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

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Column: View From West Davis

This is my weekly column of thoughts and tidbits from the week that has passed. A little bit lighter and more playful than the usual serious and hard-hitting coverage.

Flying at Half-Staff

As much as I complain about City Staff doing a poor job in this community, there are some things that just make me scratch my head and blow my hair back.

Such was the case on Thursday Night at the Davis Human Relations Commission Meeting. Last month, a representative from the ACLU had requested the HRC place an item on the agenda to discuss the possibility of recommending to the city council that they pass a resolution to support SB 1019. SB 1019, as the regulars on this blog know, would enable police oversight commissions to conduct their hearings once again in public and report the results of sustained complaints to the public.

The membership of the HRC apparently agreed to the request by the ACLU and placed the item on the agenda for the June Meeting of the HRC on Thursday.

Well I go to the meeting to watch this, and the city staffer Kelly Stachowicz, acknowledges that she has not prepared a staff report for the meeting. She tells the commission some of the basics of the bill but leaves out key details.

I am only a member of the public, so I am not allowed to speak and have to listen for about 20 minutes as the commission goes back and forth with incorrect and incomplete details. Police Chief Landy Black for instance suggests that he doesn't think that Davis needs another layer of oversight.

Well, no one explains to them that this bill has no impact on Davis. All it does is restore local control on the issue, it does not impose any changes on communities that do not already have civilian oversight boards. So it would not impose another layer of oversight on Davis. All it would do, is if Davis in the future wanted a civilian review board, it would allow Davis to report the findings in public.

The ultimate decision made by the commission was that they needed more information. I cannot blame them for that. So they are bringing it back for their July 26, 2007 meeting--which is fine, but it might be moot by then at least for this legislative term as the Assembly Committee is meeting again on July 3.

There were two major problems with this meeting. First, the staffer failed to do a staff report and of course no one on the commission questioned that. Second, in the past, chairs have allowed members of the public with specific knowledge about the issue to speak more informally, but this chair did not. Commissions by design are supposed to be considerably less rigid in structure precisely for this type of scenario.

Moving Left

Two weeks ago in this space, we told you that Davis City Councilmember Don Saylor was heavily promoting the movie "SiCKO" from *Roger* Moore. Well I get word from the health care rally, that Mr. Saylor once again showed up and tried to get his picture taken with everyone holding up a health care sign--people that are not his allies and people that he has attacked in public and private. Must be election time and in Davis that means you move hard to the left to show that you are indeed a liberal.

People just need to remember his voting record while on council. I'm waiting for him to renounce his support for Target, Covell Village, 3rd and B, the lowering of the Anderson Bank Building Windows, his opposition to the HRC and civilian oversight of the police, his refusal to vote on an anti-war resolution, etc. You cannot run from your voting record.

And of course when everyone else was enthusiastically cheering for the speeches, Mr. Saylor was looking rather stoic. You can't fool us.


We were at Farmer's Market on Saturday getting the pulse of the town. The pulse of the town is outrage at the proposed development along I-80. It is outrage at the 3rd and B project. And it is outrage at the prospect of water rates tripling over the next decade.

The water issue is particularly pernicious because most people simply have no idea that their rates are going up. The water supply issue is particularly complicated because the people advising the city on the issue have a financial interest in the city constructing a bypass of Sacramento River water.

There is no such confusion on the Stem Cell Research Facility on I-80--no one we met was in favor of it. This is the classic Tskaopoulos approach, he's giving the carrot in the form of the research facility, but the real proposal is housing and commercial development on a massive scale. Other communities have seen right through the scheme, so Yolo is going to fall for it?

This would be DOA if Davis' representatives on the Board of Supervisors were doing their jobs of representing the needs and desires of Davis. Yolo County Supervisors Matt Rexroad and Duane Chamberlain are opposing this. And yet, we may have to fight this because Davis' two county supervisors Mariko Yamada and Helen Thomson favor it. Davis better look long and hard at the next Supervisor for the 4th District this coming election to insure that they will oppose development on the periphery of Davis. It is that simple.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting