Commentary: Some things are just not funny

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I sat back last spring and watched as Bob Dunning savaged the Buzayan family. In fact, Bob Dunning did not just savage the Buzayan family, he savaged anyone who stood with the Buzayan family and anyone who stood up and defended the Buzayan family. And when he was done savaging the Buzayan family he wrote, “Time for some folks to give this case a rest.” Nevermind that he gets to write five columns a week. Nevermind he never gave it a rest when someone would say something or write something on the subject. He had the final word and he determined it was time to give this case a rest.

The thing that gets me is that as much as he can give it out with the best of them, but he cannot take it. You should see the email that he sent me after I criticized him for intentionally distorting his column on Councilmember Lamar Heystek.
It is within this context that I speak about his New Year’s Eve column where he talks about his predictions for the year 2007. I enjoy a political lampoon as much as the next guy, but it should be funny.

Are lawsuits funny? Is it funny that a 16-year-old girl was arrested by a police officer who then purportedly violated her constitutional rights?

Dunning writes, “Bay Area father-son-mother-daughter law firm of Lie, Lie, Lie and Lie files suit against city of Davis for having police cruisers capable of going faster than the cars of criminals.”

I wonder who Dunning is referring to? Bay area law firm? Lie? Could he be talking about Whitney Leigh? Clever Mr. Dunning but I see through your rouse.

Of course the subtext here is that the Bay Area Attorneys (Gonzalez and Leigh) are a bunch of liars who are filing a frivolous lawsuit.

While we are at it with lampooning lawsuits, Dunning writes:

“Best Uses of Schools task force recommends closing Valley Oak Elementary School when jury awards Republican third-grader $2.4 million after other students call her a “Gopper,” a slang term considered highly slanderous in Democratic Davis.”

I will give Dunning credit for throwing several different events into a single category, but it’s obviously hilariously funny to be making fun of a lawsuit filed by a junior high school student who was harassed because his fathers are gay. Yes, that is great fun.

I don’t want to be priggish here. But you know, perhaps certain things are not fair game to be lampooned in polite political discourse. Perhaps people’s lives deserve a little dignity—even if god forbid, we might not agree with everything that they did. The Buzayans are not public officials. The Fischers are not public officials. Perhaps the fact that they had to endure these events does not make them fair game for political satire?

Fischer Case

That provides me with a nice segue into the next topic of conversation. I watched last spring as the Davis Police Department and the District Attorney’s office worked to smear the reputation of the Buzayans. Tim Wallace and Clinton Parish are employees of the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, they are Deputy District Attorneys, they get paid their salary by the taxpayers of Yolo County. Officer Pheng Ly is an employee of the Davis Police Department, he is employed by the City of Davis and gets his salary paid by the taxpayers of the city of Davis.

These public employees accused the Buzayan family of paying off Adrien Wonhof in order to avoid criminal prosecution. They did this on publicly accessible web pages. We’ve posted the quotes in the past. You can read the exchanges here.

I find it distasteful and outrageous that public employees can publicly smear people who are suing their employers.

Well folks, I’m now hearing from reliable sources now that the Davis Joint Unified School District is doing the same to Guy Fischer, who is suing the school district because of the harassment his son has received at Harper Junior High School and for their failure to protect his son’s safety and welfare when they are acting in loco parentis.

According to my source, they are accusing Mr. Fischer of suing the school district because he is broke and needs the money.

That does not even pass the smell test to me, why would you sue for only $100,000 if you were in it for the money. Given legal costs, that’s nothing and suing is a high risk endeavor. That just makes no sense. And it is not true.

Public agencies should not be engaging in smear campaigns against litigants, I’m sorry but that is completely unseemly in my opinion.

Finally some positive news

I put in an announcement last week, but I wanted to make a personal plug and appeal for this upcoming event. Max Harrington is the son of former Davis City Councilmember Mike Harrington. Max has been working with an organization in Myanmar that helps orphans.

On Saturday January 13, 2007 from 6 pm to 8:30 at the Palm Court Hotel right on the Corner of 3rd and D in Davis, there will be a benefit for the Myanmar Children’s Foundation.

All the proceeds will go directly to benefit 185 children of Myo Oo Orphanage in Myanmar.

Folks, the suggested donation is $10/ person. I would personally like to see each and every one of you who can afford to give $50 or $100. That’s pennies to most of us, but that can help to feed and clothe one of those children for a long time.

If you would like further information please contact Rita Montes-Martin at (530) 759-8434 or email her at rita@myanmarchildrensfoundation.org

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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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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12 thoughts on “Commentary: Some things are just not funny”

  1. Richard

    Dunning could only get away with this stuff, as he has for years, in an insular, small community like Davis, and still receive even a semblence of public respect.

    Over here in Sacramento, we’d eat this guy for lunch and spit out the bones. But, of course, in any city with even the slightest degree of sophistication, he’d never find his way close to a newspaper columnist job.

    That requires a newspaper greensheet chain like McNaughton’s and an editor like Debbie Davis.

    –Richard Estes

  2. Richard

    Dunning could only get away with this stuff, as he has for years, in an insular, small community like Davis, and still receive even a semblence of public respect.

    Over here in Sacramento, we’d eat this guy for lunch and spit out the bones. But, of course, in any city with even the slightest degree of sophistication, he’d never find his way close to a newspaper columnist job.

    That requires a newspaper greensheet chain like McNaughton’s and an editor like Debbie Davis.

    –Richard Estes

  3. Richard

    Dunning could only get away with this stuff, as he has for years, in an insular, small community like Davis, and still receive even a semblence of public respect.

    Over here in Sacramento, we’d eat this guy for lunch and spit out the bones. But, of course, in any city with even the slightest degree of sophistication, he’d never find his way close to a newspaper columnist job.

    That requires a newspaper greensheet chain like McNaughton’s and an editor like Debbie Davis.

    –Richard Estes

  4. Richard

    Dunning could only get away with this stuff, as he has for years, in an insular, small community like Davis, and still receive even a semblence of public respect.

    Over here in Sacramento, we’d eat this guy for lunch and spit out the bones. But, of course, in any city with even the slightest degree of sophistication, he’d never find his way close to a newspaper columnist job.

    That requires a newspaper greensheet chain like McNaughton’s and an editor like Debbie Davis.

    –Richard Estes

  5. davisite

    As I said before, I think that Debbie Davis has “grounded” Dunning for a while.. his material is childish and boring once he is prohibited from taking inflamatory “cheap shots”. The Enterprise is shrinking and now hardly has enough paper for its only function… to start my wood stove. Debbie.. please add about 6 blank sheets to the daily or The Enterprise will cease to be of ANY value.

  6. davisite

    As I said before, I think that Debbie Davis has “grounded” Dunning for a while.. his material is childish and boring once he is prohibited from taking inflamatory “cheap shots”. The Enterprise is shrinking and now hardly has enough paper for its only function… to start my wood stove. Debbie.. please add about 6 blank sheets to the daily or The Enterprise will cease to be of ANY value.

  7. davisite

    As I said before, I think that Debbie Davis has “grounded” Dunning for a while.. his material is childish and boring once he is prohibited from taking inflamatory “cheap shots”. The Enterprise is shrinking and now hardly has enough paper for its only function… to start my wood stove. Debbie.. please add about 6 blank sheets to the daily or The Enterprise will cease to be of ANY value.

  8. davisite

    As I said before, I think that Debbie Davis has “grounded” Dunning for a while.. his material is childish and boring once he is prohibited from taking inflamatory “cheap shots”. The Enterprise is shrinking and now hardly has enough paper for its only function… to start my wood stove. Debbie.. please add about 6 blank sheets to the daily or The Enterprise will cease to be of ANY value.

  9. Anonymous

    Bob’s grumpy because his kids’ school is getting closed down. But Bob, change is good! Isn’t that what you’ve always said?

    Cannery development? Good!

    Closing schools to make room for new schools? Good!

    New football stadium? Good!

    Choice voting? Good!

    Big box retail mall on the outskirts of town? Good!

    It’s all good …right? Maybe it’s just good if it benefits you.

  10. Anonymous

    Bob’s grumpy because his kids’ school is getting closed down. But Bob, change is good! Isn’t that what you’ve always said?

    Cannery development? Good!

    Closing schools to make room for new schools? Good!

    New football stadium? Good!

    Choice voting? Good!

    Big box retail mall on the outskirts of town? Good!

    It’s all good …right? Maybe it’s just good if it benefits you.

  11. Anonymous

    Bob’s grumpy because his kids’ school is getting closed down. But Bob, change is good! Isn’t that what you’ve always said?

    Cannery development? Good!

    Closing schools to make room for new schools? Good!

    New football stadium? Good!

    Choice voting? Good!

    Big box retail mall on the outskirts of town? Good!

    It’s all good …right? Maybe it’s just good if it benefits you.

  12. Anonymous

    Bob’s grumpy because his kids’ school is getting closed down. But Bob, change is good! Isn’t that what you’ve always said?

    Cannery development? Good!

    Closing schools to make room for new schools? Good!

    New football stadium? Good!

    Choice voting? Good!

    Big box retail mall on the outskirts of town? Good!

    It’s all good …right? Maybe it’s just good if it benefits you.

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