Vanguard Response to Dunning

The following is the Vanguard’s response to Bob Dunning’s Sunday Column and has been submitted to the Davis Enterprise as a letter to the editor.

In his August 2nd Sunday column, Davis Enterprise Columnist Bob Dunning refers to the People’s Vanguard of Davis. We want to take the opportunity to introduce the community to The Vanguard and correct some possible misconceptions arising from Mr. Dunning’s column.
The Vanguard is a non-profit news organization reporting primarily on Davis and Yolo County politics. We operate according to similar models like NPR and other non-profit news organizations, relying primarily on the support of private donors and commercial advertising.

In March 2009 we launched a new website funded exclusively through private donations. In promoting the website, we developed an advertising brochure, delivered door-to-door in parts of Davis during May. We also mailed a postcard that Mr. Dunning received.

In the course of creating this brochure, we asked a number of local citizens and politicians familiar with our work to offer testimonials about the Vanguard.  Mr. Provenza’s quote appeared on the front cover of the brochure and then exclusively on the modified postcard.

We are unsure why Mr. Dunning attempted to draw a connection between the Vanguard piece and the Wildhorse Ranch Project.  The Vanguard has not endorsed the project.

In September of 2007 Senses Magazine purchased advertising space for six months on the Vanguard. Senses Magazine is owned by the wife of the Wildhorse Ranch owner.  This is the same as the Davis Enterprise and other publications accepting advertising from businesses such as Tandem Properties, Covell Village Partners and the Yes on Measure X Campaign in advance of The Enterprise’s endorsement of the Covell Village project prior to the November 2005 vote.  Since that election Tandem Properties and the Covell Village owners have continued to purchase advertising space from the Davis Enterprise.

We encourage readers with interest in Davis politics and a range of fresh perspective on local governance to check out our website, http://www.davisvanguard.org. We thank Bob Dunning for giving us attention in the community and thank the Enterprise for the opportunity to respond.

Sincerely,

David Greenwald

Board Chair/ Executive Director
The People’s Vanguard of Davis

 

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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39 thoughts on “Vanguard Response to Dunning”

  1. Robert

    Good response to the child-like article written by Bob Dunning David. You have gone out of your way to explain the funding of the Vanguard which is more than anyone would expect. Bob Dunning writes for fun and entertainment. As one who reads the Enterprise and the Vanguard I say if anyone takes Bob Dunning’s articles seriously they need to have their intellect examined.

  2. another anon

    As I wrote in another letter on this site, I sometimes read a certain relocation website, and it’s amazing how frequently people asking about Davis as a place to live are met with comments that go into tirades about Bub Dunning. I would not worry about anything Bob Dunning says. He isn’t taken seriously by anyone except himself and his friends. Bob Dunning is a tiny fish in a very small pond, and is arrogant and overly impressed with himself.

  3. Matt Williams

    I will preface this remark by saying I’ve never been the object of a Dunning comment. If I had, I might feel differently. So, with that said, I find Dunning humorous. More often than not he raises a mirror before us and in his own caustic way asks us for a moment of self-reflection.

    David got in Dunning’s cross-hairs on Sunday morning, and in the period since, has shown he is more than capable of both self reflection and an abiding sense that he has made a net addition to the quality of life and the quality of discourse in Davis.

    Dunning’s column was problably more of a rite of passage than anything else.

  4. Skeptical

    Non-profit? What type? When did you register with the State of California?

    Do you pay yourself as ED?

    Is that why you’ve never paid for a business license in the City of Davis?

    … Not saying you’re raking in the dough, but I find it hard to believe that you’ve worked without pay for the last several years

  5. jeff shaw

    Hey David, I haven’t read the blog in a while but I happened upon Bob Dunning’s column and was reminded to visit the site.

    Anyway, a quick note that National Public Radio (NPR) is of course funded with public money voted on by Congress. They also receive money from private donors and about a 1/3 of their money from corporate underwriting.

  6. Brian K

    Since the Vanguard blogger shows such an affinity for cutting-and-pasting others’ copy one good turn deserves another:

    From Bob Dunning’s Davis Enterprise column of Aug. 2:

    “…it is the dream and goal of every investigative journalist to write things that are consistently pleasing to politicians and members of the establishment.

    So pleasing, in fact, that they’re willing to reward you with public praise in a fancy mailer with a 44-cent stamp that is sent out to countless numbers of your fellow citizens. Hey, that’s the very definition of journalistic heaven.

    And I might also note that the blog that seems to be the apple of the supervisor’s eye accepted advertising from the family of a developer with a project before the city and then — surprise, surprise — I shockingly read that the investigative journalist himself is actively advocating for the very same project, using such words as “meaningful progress” and “opportunity” and suggesting we should “embrace” this development with open arms. All of which is in keeping with the first rule of every investigative journalist: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    Connect the dots and follow the money. But if you do, don’t expect a glossy mailer praising your name…”

  7. To Skeptical

    Regarding the non-profit status of the Vanguard, on 7/10/09 David Greenwald wrote[quote]… this is my site[/quote][quote]… I own this site[/quote] This sounds more like a sole proprietorship or LLC to me, but maybe David will provide the relevant detail to clarify the discrepancy.

    If the Vanguard is a non-profit, then my understanding is that it has no “owner” in the typical sense of the word. The tax exempt status also comes with some disclosure requirements.

    I’ll pass along the following URL to the IRS “FAQs About the Exempt Organization Public Disclosure Requirements“ for future reference –
    http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=96430,00.html

  8. rick entrikin

    David’s response to Dunning’s Sunday column was well-written but played right into Bob’s hands. When I read Bob’s Sunday column I recognized immediately that he was “fishing.” And, when Bob “fishes,” the best response is to swim away and IGNORE the bait.

    Unfortunately, David “took the bait,” and now Bob has been empowered by David himself to divert attention from the pertinent issues (the Wildhorse Ranch project and renewal of Measure J).

    If David had simply ignored Bob’s jabs, Bob would have nothing more to write on the subject of Vanguard “journalism” or advertisers.

    Now, Bob has the “progressives” right where he wants them: feuding amongst one another (who on earth do you think tipped Bob off on Vanguard advertisers? Considering what I’ve been hearing, 80% Sue, 20% Eileen).

    HUGE mistake to “take the bait” from Dunning. He will use responses to further divide “progressives & generate even more controversial columns.

    VERY sad, but that’s why we can’t gain enough community-wide support to elect a “progressive” city council. (And, it has NOTHING to do with Bob.)

  9. No Love For Dunning

    “Now, Bob has the “progressives” right where he wants them: feuding amongst one another (who on earth do you think tipped Bob off on Vanguard advertisers? Considering what I’ve been hearing, 80% Sue, 20% Eileen).”

    Here we go again with the personal attacks. Enough already! Why assume all who write on this blog are “progressives”. Many conservatives weigh in. What is so terrible about a diversity of opinion? People will come together and be unified when it is necessary to stem the tide of bad things happening. The defeat of Covell Village is a case in point.

    “I will preface this remark by saying I’ve never been the object of a Dunning comment. If I had, I might feel differently. So, with that said, I find Dunning humorous. More often than not he raises a mirror before us and in his own caustic way asks us for a moment of self-reflection.”

    Matt, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I personally cannot agree w it. Read Dunning long enough, and you will get tired of his vicious tongue, aimed at hurling petty insults at private citizens. And sometimes the barbs can be very cruel. (I have never been the object of the business end of his tongue either.)

    But what really turned me off of Dunning was his hypocrisy. This came out, for example, when he professed to be vehemently against the city footing the bill for renovating the Varsity Theater, then changed his tune completely when he was invited to the private grand opening of the Varsity. A grand opening put on by Dave Rosenberg, master political manipulator.

    Bob Dunning is also a shill for whatever the Davis Enterprise supports. I’d like to see him poke fun at the Davis Enterprise itself, which supplies plenty of food for fodder, but that doesn’t happen. Can’t bite the hand that feeds you. If Bob Dunning has to stoop to insulting the Davis Vanguard, I would say it is because the Vanguard is hitting the Davis Enterprise right where it hurts – in the pocketbook. The Davis Enterprise is on the financial skids, and is desperate to point fingers and divert attention away from the real issues…

  10. wdf

    Bob Dunning column again in today’s (8/4/09) Enterprise starts off with this headline: “Provenza: I did not authorize mailer”

    It goes on from there.

  11. Fed up

    [quote]Now, Bob has the “progressives” right where he wants them: feuding amongst one another (who on earth do you think tipped Bob off on Vanguard advertisers? Considering what I’ve been hearing, 80% Sue, 20% Eileen). [/quote]You’re doing a great job yourself Rick.

    Calling out two hard-working, long-standing progressives by name is hardly “unifying”. But that’s the point isn’t it. You get to grandstand AND carry water for the neoprogressives at the same time. A twofer!

  12. animus

    Commentors on this blog have suggested a kind of conspiracy between D. Greenwald and Parlin & co., now stoked by insinuations from Dunning.

    I now subscribe to the conspiracy theory that this allegation is being stoked by Enterprise folks because they have nothing else to do during the slow news cycle of early August. The Enterprise can’t keep an interactive blog component going like the Vanguard can, so smearing the Vanguard’s reputation is one attempt cut into the positive buzz of the Vanguard.

  13. rick entrikin

    I’m not trying to “divide” progressives, but rather trying to identify the divisive forces that have split the progressives and work to overcome those divisive forces.

    Much has been written about Vanguard advertising & David’s “journalistic inetgrity,” but it is intuitively obvious that supporters of the “Ranch” project would not feed such fodder to Dunning.

    Therefore, I believe that opponents of the “Ranch” are supplying Dunning with information to derail the project. As far as I can tell, the most vocal opponents of the project are so-called “progressives.”

    So, names aside, how does it help the “Ranch” project, Measure J renewal, or any other “progressive” cause when progressives are feuding against one another?

    All I have ever syggested is that progressives cannot gain a council majority unless they can pull together and work in a unified manner to achieve a common goal.

    And, no, wdf, fed-up or whomever, I get no glory or satisfaction from any of this. I came her 34 years ago, fought long and hard against Mace Ranch & Wildhorse, and lost.

    I had high hopes for the future, but now see history repeating itself. The progressives have no true leader, are fighting one another over (what is actually) a small infill development, and developing even more animosity towards one another.

    If voicing that analysis makes me the “cause” of the problem, you simply can’t see the forest for the trees. I’m a messenger, pure and simple.

    If you want to attack or belittle me for writing the truth, so be it. BUT, if you think denial of my assertions of what the progressives should be focusing on (small infill developments, election of a council majority in 2010, and renewal of Measure J) then YOU are the problem.

  14. Matt Williams

    rick, your point ties in well to one I made in another thread.

    IMHO, having the WHR Measure J vote in June is a bad idea because it oveloads that election with too many imoportant decisions. As I said in that thread, it isn’t a question of whether the voters are not capable of making a decision about WHR, it is a question of whather WHR will generate sufficient relative interest (when compared to the other issues) for many of the voters to have the will to decide.

    If individual voters ration their available time to inform themselves, what issues will they tackle first? What issues will they tackle last? Like you I believe the Council election will come first, Measure J will come second, and WHR will trail those two enough that many voters won’t invest the time necessary to inform themselves.

    If we want the maximum engagement with the WHR Measure J decision, then keeping it out of the June election is IMHO the best course of action.

  15. Fed up

    [quote]I’m not trying to “divide” progressives, but rather trying to identify the divisive forces that have split the progressives and work to overcome those divisive forces.[/quote]Do you mean like Sue Greenwald, Eileen Samitz, and anyone that agrees with them?

    [quote]Much has been written about Vanguard advertising & David’s “journalistic inetgrity,” but it is intuitively obvious that supporters of the “Ranch” project would not feed such fodder to Dunning.

    Therefore, I believe that opponents of the “Ranch” are supplying Dunning with information to derail the project.[/quote]Or maybe Bob Dunning has a computer and knows how to read. His column covered no new ground.

    [quote] As far as I can tell, the most vocal opponents of the project are so-called “progressives.”[/quote]And some of the most vocal proponents are Ritter & Associates, Parlin Development, Talbot Solar, their landlord (and former progressive member of the CC), the editor of the Vanguard (acknowledged friend and advisor to the principle of R&A), a Vanguard board member (maybe you should disclose your connection), and a whole “host” of anonymous posters that we don’t even know exist.

    [quote]So, names aside, how does it help the “Ranch” project, Measure J renewal, or any other “progressive” cause when progressives are feuding against one another?

    All I have ever syggested is that progressives cannot gain a council majority unless they can pull together and work in a unified manner to achieve a common goal.[/quote]Do you mean behind the leadership of the neoprogressives? Should we appoint Bill Ritter as “The General II”? Let David Greenwald frame all the issues so that we can dutifully fall in line and march on City Hall?

    No thanks. I think I’d rather be part of the problem.

  16. Kudos to Bob Dunning

    Bob wrote the truth today; the “fast tracked” vote at 1:30am morning after the Mayor herself proclaimed that maybe more time was needed to review the project’s baseline proposals; then the City and County clerk telling citizens that ballot statements would be due in three days!!! (which only after today was extended to August 17th); if the same proponents of this project (that includes you self-righteous Rick Entrikin) who were also opponents of Covell Village, had similar unfair Measure J process in 2006, you all would have been screaming major foul back then, but since now you all directly contact with financial or political motives (i.e. associations with Bill Ritter),now suddenly this all seems fair and just, and an attempt to split the “progressives” (the ones are truly “slow growth”) SHAME ON YOU ALL!!!!

  17. Kudos to Jim Provenza

    … for disassociating himself from the Vanguard.[quote]“I regret that I trusted the Vanguard to use my name and quotation in a responsible manner.”[/quote]As Dunning stated, Jim is a straight shooter. The idea that he would cozy up to the neoprogressive gang seemed completely out of character, and it was good to see his named cleared.

  18. earoberts

    “As Dunning stated, Jim is a straight shooter. The idea that he would cozy up to the neoprogressive gang seemed completely out of character, and it was good to see his named cleared.”

    That’s what Dunning says Jim Provenza said. We need to hear from Provenza himself what Provenza said in regard to David’s use of Provenza’s quote. Not only that, Provenza perhaps OK’d it, then thought better of it after seeing Bob Dunning’s column and the political fallout it might cause.

    I told you Dunning is vicious.

  19. Matt Williams

    Told You So,

    Don’t you think that will simply escalate the mud slinging to no one’s benefit? Dunning has shown throught history that he loves to muck in the slop. There is no reason not to think he will love to muck in it again.

  20. Brian K

    The neoprogressive gang (love that phrase, so evocative of old-time, and not so old-time Chicago politicians who said/say they’re reformers, but really just on the take) supports Wildhorse Ranch because it has such a “Wow” factor going for it greenwise.
    Well, of course, for Wildhorse Ranch to be 100% Green absolutely nothing more need be done.
    Simply don’t build it!
    PS: as for Bob Dunning quoting an email from Jim Provenza in his column? I’d like to see anyone prove Provenza didn’t write the exact words appearing in Dunning’s column of Aug. 4, 2009. That’s be call for a lawsuit methinks.
    Now, if David Greenwald were an investigative reporter an interesting story for him to pursue would be finding sources who could allege that Dunning somehow pressured Provenza to write those words…:
    “I did not authorize the use of my name or the quotation in the fund-raising mailer, I learned of it for the first time when I received a copy in the mail. I regret I trusted the Vanguard to use my name and quotation in a responsible manner…” Dunning continues after this quotation in his column, “Provenza went on to say he was not aware his comments ‘would be included in a mailer containing express or implied criticism of any other publication. I was a surprised as you to see my quotation on the front of a fund-raising mailer for the Vanguard.'”

  21. Matt Williams

    Brian, there is really only one person who can provide such proof, and it would only be roiling the waters to do so. It is time for this tempest in a teapot to fade into the oblivion from whence it came.

  22. Fed up

    Brian K wrote:[quote]The neoprogressive gang (love that phrase, so evocative of old-time, and not so old-time Chicago politicians who said/say they’re reformers, but really just on the take) supports Wildhorse Ranch because it has such a “Wow” factor going for it greenwise.

    Well, of course, for Wildhorse Ranch to be 100% Green absolutely nothing more need be done.

    Simply don’t build it![/quote]LOL!

    I agree with you that this “theory” from “Told You So” (that Dunning made it all up) is absurd … and IMO nothing more than a feeble attempt at damage control (probably from a free-lancer rather than Bill).

    Make no mistake. This was a big blow to Vanguard & Associates. If there was any angle they could have played, David Greenwald would have already been on the blog posting a rebutal.

    The question that really needs to be pursued now is to determine the scope of the mailing. Specifically, was it limited to Wildhorse and old East Davis?

    What we need is a real investigative reporter from the Enterprise to figure this out.

  23. Fed up

    Matt

    You don’t understand my reasoning, so don’t try to dismiss my position out of hand. However, I’m not going to engage you on this, or any other issue, until you address your outrageously insensitive comments on the last thread. Ignoring it isn’t going to cut it …

    On 8/3/2009, Matt Williams wrote:[quote]its best Iroquois imitation whooping an hollering[/quote][quote]a virtually limitless cohort of native american tribal war whoops to emulate the process[/quote]

  24. earoberts

    “I agree with you that this “theory” from “Told You So” (that Dunning made it all up) is absurd … and IMO nothing more than a feeble attempt at damage control (probably from a free-lancer rather than Bill).
    Make no mistake. This was a big blow to Vanguard & Associates. If there was any angle they could have played, David Greenwald would have already been on the blog posting a rebutal.
    The question that really needs to be pursued now is to determine the scope of the mailing. Specifically, was it limited to Wildhorse and old East Davis?
    What we need is a real investigative reporter from the Enterprise to figure this out.”

    Now think about it.
    Scenario 1: If Jim Provenza gave his permission, but had second thoughts for political reasons?
    Scenario 2: If Jim Provenza did not give his permission for this specific mailer, but has been directly and properly quoted before as being supportive of the Davis Vanguard?

    Hmmmmmmmmmm, so how is Dunning not stirring up and slinging mud, hoping it will stick, for his own personal gain? Unfairly making Provenza look like a waffling fool trying to protect his own political reputation, and David Greenwald (the Davis Enterprise’s biggest competition) an irresponsible journalist. Typical Dunning tactic – hit and run sniping. And I would hardly call Dunning’s motives pure, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I would go so far as to suspect Debbie Davis, editor of the Davis Enterprise, put Dunning up to it for her own financial gain.

    I received the mailer in west Davis, as many others of us did, so there goes that part of your conspiracy theory. And by the way, I am opposed to WHR, FWIW.

    The Davis Enterprise doing any real investigative reporting? LOL

  25. earoberts

    “Make no mistake. This was a big blow to Vanguard & Associates. If there was any angle they could have played, David Greenwald would have already been on the blog posting a rebutal.”

    How can David Greenwald now say anything, without offending Provenza? David is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. But then that was Dunning’s malicious intent without proof, no?

  26. Matt Williams

    [quote]Fed up said . . .

    However, I’m not going to engage you on this, or any other issue, until you address your outrageously insensitive comments on the last thread. Ignoring it isn’t going to cut it …

    On 8/3/2009, Matt Williams wrote:

    its best Iroquois imitation whooping an hollering
    a virtually limitless cohort of native american tribal war whoops to emulate the process.[/quote]
    Fed Up, I guess what is culturally sensitive to one person (or group of people) is not so to others. As a collector of Native American art I have gotten to know quite a few Native American artists quite well. After your accusation I contacted approximately a dozen of them to run the comment and your response by them. So far not one of them have felt the way you do. They treasure the moments of their heratige associated with battle, and all felt that the ferocity of their war chants being referenced as the epitome of a pitched battle was a compliment rather than a slight.

    Now if I had compared their war chants to one of Robert Palmer’s anthems, that they would have found offensive.

  27. Matt Williams

    Fed up, with the above said, the fact that one group of Native Americans is not offended doesn’t mean that another group isn’t. So, with that in mind please accept this apology for any discomfort I may have caused you and/or any Native Americans.

  28. Dear David

    “We are unsure why Mr. Dunning attempted to draw a connection between the Vanguard piece and the Wildhorse Ranch Project. The Vanguard has not endorsed the project.”

    Dear David:

    I read your letter to the Davis Enterprise, in which you used the same above statement as in your post. How more intellectually dishonest can you be??? Although you have not written a formal “endorsement” piece, in which you specifically state: “The Vanguard has endorsed the Wildhorse Ranch project”; you have been writing posts in which you exalt, in every way, this project and praise the developers, and at the same time, portray neighborhood opposition as flawed…HAVE YOU WRITTEN A SINGLE POST OR BLOG IN WHICH YOU HAVE WRITTEN ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THIS PROJECT OR THE DEVELOPERS??? (including the flawed process by which it was rushed through Council to a November election, of which Dunning is exposing in his pieces). If you have written such a piece, please list date/time and I will look for it.

    So, while we all wait with baited breath for your formal “endorsement” post, please stop implying that the Vanguard is still undecided on where it stands on Wildhorse Ranch; the fact the Dunning is exposing your so-called “independence” is quite refreshing, and I for one, hope it doesn’t end for a long time!!!!

  29. Maggie S.

    Amen! You are right on. What happened at the city council meeting in the wee, wee hours was outrageous. The puppeteer developer and the three puppet council members. Whose the ONLY one informing us of this outrage? Bob Dunning. David Greenwald is so far into the developer’s pocket that he can’t see the light of day. Pretty sad for all those who followed this blog for so long, thinking D. Greenwald was defending the truth. How wrong we were.

  30. Maggie S.

    Wow. I feel so special. We made Parlin’s “love” list. #16! He must think we’re real special. But, geez, I checked the whole site and there was no mention of “green”. So, please, D. Greenwald, tell us all again, why this development is so special. I mean, other than the fact that they’re putting “green” into your pocket…What on earth has happened to all of you? Bill Ritter? Mike Harrington? Why is this okay with you? Please, everybody, open the site below and decide for yourselves.

    http://www.parlindevelopment.com/projects.htm

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