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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cabaldon wins Next Stage with 69% of Vote

Needing 60%, Christopher Cabaldon defeated Mariko Yamada by a 28-13 vote to retain the Democratic Party Nomination.

Amid rumors swirling all day that Cabaldon had received $50,000 for Wal Mart interests and allegations that he tried to buy delegates from West Sacramento, Cabaldon first defended himself and then talked about his record and goals. In the end, he received 69% nearly identical to the percentage he received at the pre-endorsement vote.

Mariko Yamada in her speech told the room, packed to the brim with observers, mainly from outside of the 8th Assembly District, "I applaud the growth of the West Sacramento Democratic Club, but I question the process."

But the fun is just beginning. The Yamada campaign plans to obtain 300 signatures. Rumors this morning apparently were false that they had already gathered those. They have between now and 11 pm to do.

Meanwhile the Cabaldon campaign was ready, with a pack of volunteers and fliers saying, "decline to sign. Today Christopher Cabaldon received over 60% of the vote! Christopher is our party's choice for the 8th Assembly District. To ensure that our democratic party vote is upheld, we need your help!."

They go on to instruct delegates from across the party to not sign the petition to overturn his endorsement and to stay on Sunday to uphold the vote.

And just think, this is the minor fracus, the heated one is between Carole Migden and Mark Leno for Migden's Senate Seat.

----Doug Paul Davis reporting

Cabaldon's Campaign Breakfast

I am now blogging from the main convention hall with Art Torres, the former State Senator and Party Chair speaking.

Earlier today I attended the campaign breakfast for Christopher Cabaldon, probably about 20 to 30 people showed up at 8:00 am bright and early.

Below are some pics from that and also a couple of other shots I have so far.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Live From San Jose... The Vanguard Follows the 8th AD and More

As I type this I am sitting in my 14th story hotel room in the San Jose Hilton. I am at the California Democratic Party's Convention. In just a few hours I will be attending Christopher Cabaldon's breakfast, that will be the first of many activities I will undertake during the course of the day. Tomorrow Former President Bill Clinton will be here and there will be much to do between now and then.

The Vanguard is fully press credentialed for this event and we will have to see what is going. So stay tuned throughout this weekend for periodic updates an breaking news.

There are basically two big catfights, so to speak at this convention. The fight between Mark Leno, a sitting Assemblyman and Carole Migden, a sitting State Senator for the Democratic nomination for that State Senate Seat is a big and bloody affair.

The other catfight is the Christopher Cabaldon and Mariko Yamada battle for our own 8th Assembly District.

Yesterday the Mariko Yamada campaign attempted to get the rules committee to through out the pre-endorsement result for Christopher Cabaldon. However, the rules committee determined that under the current rules, no rules were broken. They can revisit the rule itself come June, but not during this campaign season.

At issue were pre-endorsement delegates generated by the Cabaldon campaign. The Cabaldon campaign, as we have reported previously phone banked in order to recruit new members to the West Sacramento Democratic Club. When an individual was interested in joining the club Cabaldon's Mayoral account would pay for their membership. While this may look a bit unethical, there is nothing in the current rules to preclude it.

Moreover, today at 4:30, as a result of only 10 signatures, the endorsement has been pulled and the state party delegates who are in the 8th Assembly District get to vote again. This time, the pre-endorsement delegates from the Democratic Clubs do not vote. Cabaldon requires 60 percent of the vote in order to gain the endorsement.

So even if the Yamada campaign were correct that this is improper, it is also largely moot if Cabaldon gains the 60 percent of the vote--and they believe they will.

However, even then it is not the end of the story. If the Yamada campaign gets 300 signatures from delegates at large, then it can once again be pulled off the consent calendar and it goes to a floor vote where the entire body votes to approve Cabaldon's endorsement or block it in a simple majority vote.

The word I have at this time is that the Yamada Campaign already has those 300 signatures and thus a floor fight is a done deal.

Stay tuned to the Vanguard throughout this weekend for updates, pictures, and perhaps portions of speeches by key officials, as most of them are all here decending on the San Jose Convention Center.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rick Gore Appears in Court in Gang Injunction Challenge

On Tuesday, we learned in the local media that attorneys opposing the implementation of the second gang injunction including Mark Merin were seeking to call Senior Investigators for the Yolo County District Attorney's, Rick Gore as a material witness.

At issue is an affidavit signed by Rick Gore attesting to his support for the gang injunction.

In his letter to the District Attorney, Jeff Reisig on March 5, 2008, he argues that he no longer agrees with the current gang injunction nor does he think it is needed. However, he was compelled to sign "an affidavit in support of the injunction under penalty of perjury. I did not want to sign it as written since it was not prepared by me and I thought portions of my affidavit were untrue." He signed an affidavit of support for the second gang injunction that is currently in the process of being challenged.

He continues:
"I was called in by DDA Linden a few days later, and was told [Reisig] had ordered me to sign this injunction and I had no choice. Knowing I could be fired for not following this order, I signed it after changing some of the language."
The fact that Deputy District Attorney Linden was named in the letter forced him to disqualify himself from conducting the cross-examination of Rick Gore who was called by the defense as a hostile witness. This postponed the hearing until the afternoon when Deputy District Attorney Ann Hurd would be available.

Judge Kathleen White once again warned both sides that this was a hearing about law, she understands that there are outside politics in play on this issue, but she was only interested in Mr. Gore's testimony as far as the law went.

From our standpoint however, Mr. Gore got up and under oath and penalty of perjury he told the court yesterday that he was compelled to sign an affidavit that he did not believe. In other words, he confirmed under oath what he had said in that portion of the letter.

However, at the point in which he was directly questioned about the letter he sent off, he asked to consult his attorney and was granted a recess for him to make a call to his attorney who was not present. Upon return, he expressed a desire not to address the issue of the letter until court returns on April 8, 2008.

The attorney's for the defense and the District Attorney's office disagree over whether his expertise on the matter of the gang injunction is relevant. DDA Hurd argued that he was no longer working on the gang injunction and therefore he was not an expert on the matter. However, the defense argued that he only stopped working on the gang injunction a month prior to sending the letter and therefore he knew as much as anyone. This is a disputed issue that will be taken up on April 8, 2008.

It is interesting to note that there was a good deal of dispute between the two sides as to whether Rick Gore could even testify. It was pointed out by the defense that he was a listed witness for the people by virtue of the fact that his declaration was on file. And if they chose to pull his declaration, this could all end.

However, the District Attorney's office declined to do so. So Rick Gore was able to speak on the record.

The defense obviously sees Mr. Gore as a key material witness corroborating their claims that the gang injunction is not needed. But in terms of an overall impact on the case itself, the bigger intrigue was having Rick Gore basically confirm aspects of the letter under oath.

If we look at this objectively--when the letter came out, the District Attorney's office claimed that Rick Gore wrote his letter at the behest of Former Deputy District Attorney and Candidate for DA Pat Lenzi. Mr. Gore responded questioning why he would put his career in grave jeopardy for someone else's agenda. And we can now extend that further--why would he make claims under penalty of oath to help Pat Lenzi.

From that standpoint he testimony in court yesterday and any future testimony he offers flies in the face of that logic.

It seems to me however, that in terms of the impact on the gang injunction, this will be minimal unless at the April 8, 2008 hearing he offers very compelling evidence to suggest that the gang injunction is not needed.

Overall Rick Gore seemed to be an impressive and compelling witness. Perhaps a straight shooter to a fault. There was one exchange with Judge White right after he reported on his conversation with his attorney where the Judge was trying to clarify Mr. Gore's remarks, Mr. Gore said he did not say that, and the Judge laughed and commented on how straight he was shooting.

In terms of the overall gang injunction, while I see the approach the defense is trying to take, and from a political standpoint it may be a good approach. From a legal standpoint it would seem better to go after this case on constitutional grounds--the notion of due process of law still applies here. While it can be argued certainly that the District Attorney's office made a greater effort to notice the affected community than on the first gang injunction, it still seems rather lacking.

On this point, I think Gore's letter is actually far more compelling because it gives us insight into the motivation of Jeff Reisig to really stack the deck against those who would be impacted by the injunction and to prevent them from being able to challenge it.

The Vanguard will continue covering and following the injunction and future court appearances by Rick Gore very closely.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Thursday, March 27, 2008

May Day Protesters Head to Court Requesting Government Open Records to Them

On May 1, 2007 hundreds of students, protesters, and food service workers marched from the Memorial Union on the campus of UC Davis, down Russell Blvd and stopping at the corner of Russell and Anderson/ La Rue. At which point 24 of them broke off from the main group and sat in the middle of the street. These students, workers, organizers, and a UC Davis lecturer were all arrested.

17 of the arrested protesters took DAP (diversion) and have had had their cases dispensed. However, the charges of failure to disperse have remained against seven who are still contesting the charges.

In January, attorneys for the protesters filed what is known as Murgia papers, asking the court to open up all the records of messages and communications between the University of California at Davis, UCD Police Department, Davis Police Department, and the Yolo County District Attorney.

According to a release:
"We believe this case may be part of a larger unconstitutional effort to silence the union and its supporters in this campaign."
"Just as the 7 defendants continue to be prosecuted, Sodexho workers and their families continue to suffer from blatant inequality and discrimination in their contracted out jobs. UCD is still the only UC campus or medical center to deny food service workers direct UC employment and Union membership. The UCD administration has said that they will make an announcement in mid-April about their plan for contracted out food service workers."
Yesterday, the Vanguard sat in on a Murgia hearing. Unfortunately, the court has granted an extension to the end of April. Deputy District Attorney Rob Gorman is handling this case and was nearly a month late filing a response to the Murgia claim. Judge Steven Basha while not happy with either the late filing or the absence of Mr. Gorman agreed to allow it over requests by the defense it be disallowed.

The defense is claiming that these 24 people were being given disparate treatment based on their activities on behalf of the Sodexho workers. That similar protesters who have been arrested in Yolo County have not received the same sort of prosecution. And thus the Yolo County District Attorney's office is using this prosecution for improper political motivates to stop demonstration and action on behalf of the Sodexho Workers.

The defense, which consists of three lawyers representing different clients, with John Viola out of San Francisco representing five of them, is requesting three categories of records be opened up in this Murgia request.

First, they want to know the policy of law enforcement around crowd control and first amendment issues. Second, they want communications between the university and the prosecutors office on AFSCME and union activities--this would be akin to a public records request. Third, they want police reports that show disparate impact in this case from other cases, by looking at previous police reports where prosecutions did not occur.

Judge Basha has held over this hearing until April 30, 2008. He had shown a number of concerns with the defense claim that will need to be sorted out and address. It appears the biggest concerns are that they show that there has indeed been disparate treatment in the handling of this case over past cases. And second that the defense not make an overly broad and burdensome Murgia request.

Is the District Attorney's office in fact prosecuting this case more strongly than past incidents? That remains an open question and I agree one that the defense should be compelled to demonstrate at some point, however, as usual I tend to side with transparency and disclosure. Public records laws if they were strengthened could in fact cover most of what they are requesting here. It does not make a lot of sense that they would be denied these basic informational documents.

The Vanguard will continue to follow the legal proceedings as it has the overall case involving the Sodexho workers and their efforts at becoming full university employees.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


KDRT 101.5 from 6 PM to 7 PM

Topic: Various
Guests: Max Alper of AFSCME 3299
Former Davis Mayor Ken Wagstaff and Executive Director of Citizens Who Care

Call in: 530.792.1648

8th Assembly District Endorsement Process Continues Intrigue

One literally needs the rulebook of the Democratic Party to follow the latest machinations in the fight for the Democratic Endorsement for the 8th Assembly District. A couple of weeks ago, at the Pre-Endorsement conference, Christopher Cabaldon received over 70% of the vote and thus it appeared he was in line to receive the endorsement from the California Democratic Party. However, it was fairly clear that the Mariko Yamada campaign had means by which to block it.

All they needed was roughly 10 signatures to pull it off the Consent Calendar and put it to a 4:30 pm Saturday vote this weekend at the Democratic Convention. The Vanguard will be there this weekend covering the entire event.

The Cabaldon campaign would need to gain 60% of the vote on Saturday to get back on the Consent Calendar for Sunday. Speaking to the Cabaldon Campaign, they were fairly confident that they had the votes to do exactly that.

However, even that is not the end of story. The Yamada campaign could then gain about 300 signatures from the 3000 delegates statewide at the convention and once again force it off the Consent Calendar. If they succeed it goes for a statewide vote and the Cabaldon campaign would need 50 percent plus one of the vote to get the endorsement at that point or the Yamada Campaign could block it with a 50 percent plus one vote of their own. They could not at that point, themselves, get the endorsement, only block Christopher Cabaldon from getting it.

Make sense? Clear as mud to me...

One of the big differences is that at the convention, there are none of the delegates, only state party members can vote. Part of the controversy was that the Cabaldon campaign generated 38 delegates with expansion of the West Sacramento Democratic Club and the Davis Democratic Club apparently chose their delegates without informing the membership or their governing board of the selection process (or even that there was a selection process).

None of that will matter this weekend. However, that is not before the Yamada campaign sent out a lengthy press release and appealed to the Yolo County Democratic Central Committee on Monday night.

Mariko Yamada is quoted in the press release saying:
“I have long been a champion for authentic grassroots organizing and I have no objection to an honest victory. However, I cannot be silent about the astonishing growth in a club controlled and paid for by my opponent. These kinds of tactics mock the very values of the Democratic Party.”
According to observers at this meeting, the membership of the Central Committee unanimously dismissed the complaint calling the charges moot.

Blast Fax Controversy

In the meantime, the Vanguard received a blast fax a few weeks ago from a group called California Campaign Updates. No one exactly knows who this group is, however, they sent a scanned copy of a flier that appears from all indications to be authentic.

In it, the Yamada Campaign appears to have moved to the right on some issues.

Most notably favoring capital punishment:
"For premeditated murders involving special circumstances, Mariko supports our capital punishment laws."
Supporting a continuation of Proposition 13 and voter approved tax increases.
"Retain Prop 13's 1% assessed value standard-2/3rds vote to raise rates on residential property... Any proposed increased (sic) in sales tax, income tax, property tax or vehicle tax should be voter-approved."
And her equal rights statement interesting mentions, "race, creed, color, or gender based" discrimination but not sexual orientation.

In a blast fax, a group, not affiliated with the Cabaldon Campaign, according to Campaign Manager Robbie Abelon put out a comparison piece comparing Yamada's views on these issues to the Republican Party.

There was an additional issue mentioned that stemmed from a debate last summer, and that was the Yamada support of the 2/3 vote requirement in order to pass a state budget.

Meantime the Yamada Campaign has responded.
"You know you're in a close race when a phantom organization sends out a desperate and misleading "blast-fax" full of spin.

I find it more humorous than offensive - actually the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's didn't even give me a chance to participate in their endorsement process!"
They then proceed to "set the record straight"
* Budget reform: I'd like to see a 55% to 60% threshold with a two-year budget cycle that aligns with the legislative session.

* I don't support a simple majority budget - as I said at a forum in June 2007, simple majority works only when Democrats are in power. Let's not forget that as recently as 1994, Democrats lost control of the Assembly - if that were to happen again, Republicans could use a simple majority to enact a right-wing budget laying ruin to programs hard-fought for by Democrats.

* Prop 13 needs reform: Loopholes for commercial property need to be addressed, but protections for California's residential property must be secure for those most vulnerable-seniors and disabled adults on fixed incomes. I have and will continue to fight for their interests.
They have posted the entire blast fax on their website.

This weekend appears to be an interesting event worth following. Since the Vanguard will be credentialed as press, we'll probably take advantage of it to do a broader array of coverage on the convention. As always, it will have a bit of a local angle to it.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Vanguard Coverage of City Council Elections

When my wife, Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald, announced last fall that she was considering a run for the Davis City Council, I believed that the only fair and reasonable course of action would be to not cover the Davis City Council race on the Vanguard. Unfortunately the reality of the situation is that the Vanguard cannot afford to hire employees at this time and therefore finding good and reliable help has proven difficult.

As time has passed it has become clearer and clearer to me that the Vanguard needs to cover the Davis City Council race as an alternative voice to the Davis Enterprise. And while I might be biased and interested in the outcome of the City Council race—who isn’t? Who doesn’t have an agenda? I will simply lay mine on the line every time I discuss the council race and people can decide on their own whether what I have to say makes sense or whether it is political rhetoric.

But more than just that drives my concern. The policies set up by the Enterprise to cover this race—a highly important election that we face—are quite simply inadequate and unfair to the public who need to be able to make an informed decision come election time.

The Vanguard is planning to allow each of the candidates directly to submit one article per week to the Vanguard. This will allow the candidates to communicate directly with the public. It is the Vanguard’s hope that this will inspire community dialogue on a variety of topics. We are also working toward creating a reader-submitted questions for a candidates forum for later in the election.

Many in this community have become increasingly concerned with the tenor of the dialogue that has emerged in this city. They will point to the sometimes contentious city council meetings that at times erupt into personal and heated discord.

And yet in many ways, fueling that discord, indeed fanning it is Bob Dunning, a Davis Enterprise columnist. Bob Dunning has often made the claim that he has no politics and only desired good public people to target for ridicule. If that is true, then it is far more disturbing than if he simply had a political agenda. He fans the flames of discord, taking cheap shots when available. As one person told me, “The substance does not matter, only the neat-word fun you can make of people and get paid for it.”

Those who complain about civility in local politics ought to pay close attention to some of the current tactics employed by Bob Dunning.

The example of young candidate Sydney Vergis is a good one to illustrate the problem. It should be pointed out that Ms. Vergis is too closely affiliated with the developers for my taste, but that does not make the cheap shot, hit and run, and really uninformed rhetorical attack by Mr. Dunning any more appetizing.
Dunning writes:

“Vergis is just 25, younger than Lamar Heystek, but that hasn't stopped her from becoming a senior land use planner for Sutter County, which bumps into our esteemed county just as you hit rice country...

" Vergis said that in her job as a planner, she's working to preserve habitat in Sutter County," St. John's piece adds. "She also strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through smart planning, she said, and would like to put her talent in action for Davis."

I presume she jogs to work in Sutter County, which is more than a few kilometers north as the crow flies. Or maybe she works from home.

" Vergis said she believes the Davis City Council should support alternative transportation such as bike rentals at automated kiosks near the Amtrak station."

Hey, maybe she can ride a rented bike to Sutter County.”
The gist of Mr. Dunning’s attack is that it would seem on the surface to be a bit hypocritical to be talking about reducing carbon footprints while commuting 45 miles each way to Sutter County. But as we have often noted with Bob Dunning, he never quite checks his facts. If he had, he would have found that Sydney Vergis actually carpools to work with others and therefore her individual contribution to the carbon emissions is greatly reduced.

More importantly, what purpose does this uninformed attack play in terms of public discourse? It does not give us additional insight into Sydney Vergis’ viewpoints. It is negative. It is an unnecessary potshot.

Again, I have no particular affinity with Sydney Vergis, but I also do not believe she deserves to be hung out on a rail over this issue by Bob Dunning.

This moves me to an additional point that I noted again in the last week. Much has been made of the Anonymous postings on the Vanguard. And yet in the past week, we have “Terry at,” “K.O. at,” “a church member named Sarah,” among others launching into attacks on various candidates. These are essentially anonymous attacks posted in the Davis Enterprise. Except of course, the individual targets do not have the opportunity to immediately respond as they would in the Vanguard. And if indeed, if they took the time to write in a 350 word response in the letters to the editor, that would be published a week later, they could be attacked again in a future Dunning column, with no opportunity to respond.

Again I ask does this aid in the public discourse? Does this help in changing the tone at City Hall? Or it is just fanning the flames and creating more attacks to which people cannot respond? Is there any benefit to the Davis Enterprise printing essentially private communications to their staff in their newspaper?

The Vanguard was created in July of 2006 because first of all I thought the progressive viewpoint did not get a fair hearing in the Davis Enterprise. But secondly, because I believe we as a community deserve better overall. We deserve to be able to hear all of the candidates perspectives on various issues. We deserve to be able to make up our own mind as to who serves our interests the best. We deserve to be able to have a public dialogue without the mudslinging from disinterested commentators who simply wish to fan the flames of resentment by pummeling easy targets. And when these targets are pummeled, they deserve the ability to be able to defend themselves in a reasonable manner.

This blog may be biased, this blog may criticize, this blog may investigate, but every single person who is the subject of this blog has the right to respond as they see fit.

There is a better way to do things, and the Vanguard wishes to lead the way.

The Vanguard wholeheartedly encourages all candidates to read all the material on the blog dealing with the race and to encourage them to comment as often as they see fit. This could lead to some pretty interesting political discussion for the community.

Let the candidates speak for themselves and the public can decide what they want to believe.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

West Sacramento Community Members Rally Against Gang Injunction

Yesterday afternoon at the courtyard in front of the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland there was a rally of approximately 20 homeowners and community members from West Sacramento.

The defense was set to submit around 100 affidavits from various residents of West Sacramento that there is no need for the gang injunction. The District Attorney would counter that these affidavits have no bearing on the legal case.

The protesters were there to show their opposition to the police injunction that Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig wants to impose upon the citizens of Broderick and Bryte. Community activists had gathered over 100 declarations from those areas that was due to be presented as part of their evidence for their hearing. They were hoping the injunction will not go further and that testimony from those individuals would allowed.

One of the organizers Julian Perez of the group Citizens Empowering Citizens told the crowd and gathered media:
"Now these gentlemen that have been placed in this action so far, they have their right to due process. However, the District Attorney has named up to four hundred John and Jane Doe's. Subsequent to this action if someone is placed on the gang injunction after it is imposed, they do not get a day in court."
Phil Barrows, retired law enforcement officer responded to a question from Davis Enterprise reporter Lauren Keene on the impact of the gang injunction on the community as a whole:
"Many of the family members, guys who are associated with people identified as gang members can't have their loved ones come over to the house because there may be one or two who are identified as gang members. Consequently if they're together, they violate the gang ordinance which then puts them in jeopardy of being arrested, which in fact they can be arrested at that time."
However, Mr. Barrows argued that the gang injunction really went beyond family impact to the impact on the community and the neighborhoods.
"The other type of impact on the community is what you see on the sign, gentrification. What's happening with West Sacramento, it's not only about a gang injunction. The way we see it, it's about development."
He goes on to argue that the gang injunction and fear of gang violence is used by some to seize land and declare eminent domain.

They have been fighting this gang injunction for three years.
"The reason we are fighting [the gang injunction] is that number one, the District Attorney came out and said that there was so much crime going on in West Sacramento and that because of the injunction that they have control of the crime. Crime was going down."
However as Mr. Barrows points out, crime had been going down three years ago nationally as well as locally. So it is not clear that the gang injunction was the cause of the decrease in crime in West Sacramento.
"In 2006, with this gang injunction still in place, crime went up in West Sacramento. Their not talking about that. What we've been telling them for days now is that the injunction will not have any effect on crime one way or another. It never has in all of the injunctions through out the state."
Mr. Barrows also addressed the issue of the 400 plus John and Jane Does.
"We don't know who those people are and neither does the District Attorney. For three years now they've only been able to serve 23 individuals. So that's a far cry from 400. Because there aren't 400."
One the issues that has been raised repeatedly by those against the gang injunction is that there is no Broderick Boys gang. Phil Barrows explained that at the rally yesterday.
"As a law enforcement officer, I'm hear to tell you that there isn't a Broderick Boys gang. That's not to say that there isn't gang members in West Sacramento, Woodland. The gang they're really looking at is the Norteno Gang, and now they're using the term Norteno. But there's never been a Broderick Boys Gang. That's what we're trying to prove, that there isn't, and because there isn't, and because this injunction has no effect on crime, then we don't need to have an injunction."

While the law is indeed independent of public opinion for the most part, it would be very interesting to get a true gauge of public opinion in West Sacramento about the gang injunction. Both sides assert that they have public support for their positions.

Many who oppose the gang injunction have argued in essence that the police have used it as a tool to harass Latinos in the area regardless of gang affiliation.

On the other hand, proponents have argued that the gang injunction is a valuable tool needed by law enforcement to counter gang activity.

Personally I have always been suspicious of measures that seek to prevent the normal activities that people are allowed to engage in without the due process of law.

The first gang injunction noticed one individual and at least according to Rick Gore, it was intentional by the District Attorney as a means to impose the gang injunction without the ability of those accused of gang members to challenge it.

This was a little better, but still you have 400 John and Jane Doe's who have no change to challenge the injunction once it gets implemented. Furthermore they are using civil law to deprive individuals of liberty.

From a constitutional and a civil liberty standpoint this is simply intolerable regardless of one's position of the merits of a gang injunction in general.

We understand that gang members do very bad things in a community and we wish to punish criminal activity, but we wish to do so within the confines of due process and actual proof in a court of law that individuals have engaged in unlawful gang activities.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Monday, March 24, 2008

Who is Cathy Kennedy--the Would Be 4th District County Supervisor?

On Saturday at the Davis Farmer's Market I met Cathy Kennedy for the first time. She is a very nice lady with an infectious personality. Bit by bit, I have been able to kind of piece together who this individual is who is running for the Yolo County Board of Supervisors against both Former School Board Member Jim Provenza and State Senator Denise Ducheney Chief of Staff John Ferrera.

On her ballot statement she writes,
"As Supervisor, I’ll bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to the same old problems that continue to plague county government. I’ll tackle these challenges head-on, with a unique blend of passion and grit that only comes with real-life experience — not politics as usual."
When asked why she is running, she prides herself on not being a politician and hopes to bring fresh ideas. Although, others have told me that she admits she does not know a tremendous amount about county government, I have to say she is a pretty quick study on it based on our conversation.

She is a former teen mother who now cares for three teenage children of one of her relatives.

Cathy Kennedy officially declares herself as a Decline to State. However, as recently as a month ago according to voter history records she was a registered Republican.

She starts out with some interesting endorsements. First, Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad.

Second, she has recently received the endorsement of the Davis Police Officer's Association. This one struck me as interesting. Asking her about it, she told me she had developed a good relationship with them over the years. She felt like the police performed a good and honorable service. Still I think most people would probably say that as well, so it would be interesting to hear from the DPOA as to why they endorsed a political newcomer who is running what is likely an uphill battle against two better known and more established candidates.

Third she is endorsed by Former State Senator Jim Nielsen:
“Cathy Kennedy is one of the most visionary, articulate and enthusiastic candidates for Yolo county supervisor in memory. I am confident she will be a leader that will truly represent the citizens, the best interests of Yolo County and one who will bring certainty and stability to county government.”
A Google search of Kennedy does not show much activity although there was an interesting mention on the Davis City Council minutes where she appeared in 2003 to oppose the inclusion of a black ribbon in addition to a yellow ribbon. That is an interesting note, because an examination of her list of endorsers shows a number of people who I recognize as conservative military families including Cynthia Schulze, James and Dorothy Pearson (Dorothy is a police officer in Davis), Bob and Sylvia Glynn, James and Ramona Hechtl, of the names I know for sure.

Cathy Kennedy's full list of nominators include: Roy Lester, Shannah Starr, Deborah Folb, Alexa Eisenman, Janet Crooks, Cameron Black, Marc Wigley, Nancy Wigley, Katherine Ayers, Penny Ayers, Cynthia Schulze, James Pearson, Dorothy Pearson, Gena Finver, William Paciulla, Jennifer Herzog, Matt Soga, Bob Glynn, Sylvia Marchi-Glynn, Ron Lautzenheiser, Alexis Kennedy , Robert Davidson, Aaron Difuntorum, Robin Anderson, Iris Cochran, Janna Cannon, Jewel Grubbs, Reed Youmans, Kathy Barrientes, Abel Barrientes, Margo Jameson, Ramona Hechtl, James Hechtl, Kathryn Mandelaris, Derek Mandelaris, John Chiles, Kellie Kajanka, Jill Judd, Stephan Judd and Marilyn Needham.

On the issues, I did not get to talk to her that long but one key issue I did ask about was county imposed-peripheral growth and the pass-through agreement. Cathy Kennedy told me that she was against county imposed-residential growth on the borders of Davis. She felt it was unfair for the county to develop there because it would force the city of Davis to supply costly services. However, she was more amenable to developing business on the periphery of Davis and other cities as a means by which to supply the county which much needed revenue to pay for the vast amount of county services.

She also felt having to raise children from a substance abusing mother, she was in a better position to understand the need for these kind of services than her opponents. And to be able more effectively run county services.

The emergence of Cathy Kennedy as an individual with strong support from this segment of the population further complicates the race for the 4th Supervisorial District. As an individual who appeals to a more conservative base, she is likely to be able to take away a sizable vote in this contest. Moreover, as the only woman running with a last name of Kennedy, she probably is able to garner some more liberal votes as well.

On paper, she does not figure to stand much chance against two better known candidates, each of whom have been campaigning for almost a year. However, there is a strong probability that she will force this race into November. When she first announced that appeared the likely outcome, now I would say it is all but certain. While there are some scenarios where she could finish second in June, I still think the eventual run off would most likely be Jim Provenza against John Ferrera. However, if she can garner the vast majority of Republican votes in the 4th Supervisorial District and peel away some Democratic votes, she could finish second. I see very little chance she could go on to win. The most likely scenario is still that she plays spoiler and pushes this to November. It is a heavily Democratic District, and while you can argue it is a non-partisan race, it rarely really is.

It will be interesting to see if she becomes well-financed, because that will play a big factor in her chances for finishing second. My overall impression of her is that she is a very nice person and she will learn a lot from running in this race. She adds a different perspective and a different dynamic that will make this race more interesting.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Commentary: Growth is not the Answer to Schools Fiscal Problems

Saturday's Sacramento Bee editorial once again raises the lack of growth specter as the culprit for the problems of Davis schools.

The argument is alluring and has been repeated by some throughout the community no doubt over the last several weeks. If the problem is declining enrollment--and that is unarguably a problem--the solution must be to grow--right?

The Sacramento Bee editorial writes:
"The school spirit in Davis is inspiring, but this community – like others around the region – needs to recognize an underlying cause of its declining enrollment. Famously resistant to new development, Davis is not adding adequate housing to serve employees at the University of California, Davis, and service workers in town. As a result, these workers commute into town, and their kids go to other school districts. As Davis' population gets grayer, enrollment declines and the school district loses state funding as a result. Similar demographic trends are driving down enrollment in the San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento County, forcing bruising battles over the closure of schools.

With its affluence and civic pride, Davis may mirror the success of some Bay Area school districts in raising millions of dollars to keep classrooms intact.

But if equal energy were focused on providing adequate housing in Davis, this college town could grow (even if only slightly) and forestall some of the enrollment crises that are plaguing its counterparts."
Sounds good. I even had a few people come up to me yesterday and cite the Sacramento Bee editorial as being right on. Without naming names, here, let's just say, people are not looking at the big picture with regards to growth.

Similar arguments existed last summer when the county was talking about lack of revenue, and people were saying, hey we just need more housing. The problem with using housing as a means to produce revenue is that it doesn't produce revenue on an on-going basis. So you can make revenue off development agreements, but once those homes are built, the cost of providing services ends up being a negative force on your revenue. So communities trying to finance themselves this way end up having to continuously grow. And if you take a look around at fast growth cities and counties, they are not in the black in terms of finances.

The can be said for school districts in fast growth or at least faster growth communities.

Parents--would you rather send your kids to Fairfield, Vacaville, Dixon, or Davis schools? It is really that simple.

There was a big article on the mess that is the Dixon School District--again, Dixon is one of the faster growth communities, certainly faster growth than Davis--yet they are having severe fiscal cuts backs as well.

Woodland continues to have contentiousness to the point where their board may face recall. West Sacramento, another fast growth city, cannot even get a facilities bond passed.

You are telling me that growth is the answer to schooling and education? Where's the evidence of that.

This is an argument I would expect from Davis or regional developers, not from the Sacramento Bee.

Has declining enrollment harmed the school finances in Davis? No doubt. But it is not the only factor.

Fiscal mismanagement as we have detailed over the past month has taken its toll, robbing the district of resources and eating away at a reserve that could have been used to soften the blow of the impending crisis.

How about over-construction of the schools? If we end up closing Emerson, that will be one Junior High and one Elementary School closed not that long after the school district built two new elementary schools and one new junior high. We must ask an important question here--who told us we needed these schools to be built? Who did the demographics for the district that led to the new construction--that would be consultant Vern Weber, who now works for Total School Solutions. There have been many who have raised serious concerns about Mr. Weber's projections.

It is easy to point the finger at declining enrollment. It's an alluring and simplistic target, but it avoids tougher questions.

We should not base our land-use policies on growth in order to maintain our schools because that is a fleeting mechanism at best. Faster growth cities simply do not have better schools than Davis, nor do most cities that are larger than Davis.

And frankly it is backwards. Even if we decided to grow today, it would be five to ten years before housing was built and demographic trends reversed. So this is not a quick fix solution to begin with.

Second, we can better structure our land use policies, but to do so it cannot be large sprawl developments that build "McMansions."

The city actually has a strong and reliable source it can use to produce housing for young families--the university. Young faculty is the most likely and most immediate source of young children. We simply need to produce housing that can accommodate these young families. The university is building West Village which will accommodate some of that type of housing, but I would recommend that the city and university partner to produce the type of housing that will enable young faculty members to move to Davis. That doesn't require massive new growth or new sprawl, but rather smart planning and cooperation with the university.

However, let us not pretend that rising enrollment is a panacea. Like most solutions it is a double-edged sword. It will aid on the funding side of the ledger but that does not mean that ultimately we will benefit from rapidly rising growth. That does not mean that larger school districts are better than smaller ones or that you can find a lot of larger ones better than Davis.

The bigger issue for me is that we continue to have a responsible board that makes wise and prudent fiscal decisions. For many years we did not, but the current board for the most part has their act together and in the long run that is more important than trying to impose more growth on the Davis community.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting