Your Turn – Week’s Best Blog Comments

logoThis is a new feature that we are going to try that will attempt to emphasize some of the more thoughtful and illuminating comments made during the previous week.  Obviously, given limitations, this is not an exclusive list.  But we want to encourage thoughtful and civil, but still insightful and, at times, critical comments.  Hopefully this effort will strike the right balance we seek.

hpierce May 1 “Sunday Commentary: Gas Prices a Curse or Blessing?”:

May is “Bike Month”… perhaps the Vanguard “community” should pledge and follow through on a commitment to ride a bicycle, when possible, in lieu of a motor vehicle trip.  I have committed, thru my employer, and hope to have every trip within Davis accomplished via bicycle this month.  A “Vanguardian” group could be established, and they could compete with the other groups that have signed up.

biddlin May 1 “Sunday Commentary: Gas Prices a Curse or Blessing?”

While I am largely in agreement with David’s observations, “if we can find a way to get off oil, we solve the Middle East problems, we solve the environmental problems and in the process we solve our own fiscal problems.”seems absurdly optimistic ! I think alternative fuels and fuel cell technology offer us the most promise for cleaner, cheaper power.

I have given up hope that Americans, especially Californians will ever give up personal motor vehicles, so, unless the “overburdened taxpayers” want to subsidize rail travel the way we do commercial airlines, (There’s some real welfare !) I can’t see mass transit working here.

BTW When I began driving, 110 octane premium gasoline sold for 34 cents/gallon. Good thing too, because I drove a 1957 Buick Super that averaged around 8 mpg.

Dr. Wu May 1 “Sunday Commentary: Gas Prices a Curse or Blessing?”

Right now the main alternatives to petroleum are other fossil fuels–coal and natural gas.  Coal has gone up in price but is still plentiful and relatively inexpensive.  However coal is even worse than petroleum in terms of global warming since it creates more carbon per btu.

Natural gas is much cleaner and has less carbon per btu. Nat gas is also extremely cheap right now due to a huge increase in supply in North America from shale deposits.

We need to get ourselves off fossil fuels before we destroy the planet.  Even people who do not listen to scientists about global warming should be concerned about an energy source (petroleum) that comes from unstable areas.  Moving to Nat gas is a no brainer in the medium term but long term we need other sources of energy that do not emit greenhouse gases.

E Roberts Musser May 2 “The Fate of Picnic Day Still Looms”

That’s the problem in a nutshell.  If the businesses won’t cooperate by agreeing not to sell alcohol, and/or if people keep having huge drinking parties that get out of hand and destroy property, perhaps Picnic Day needs to take a haitus for a while… sigh… it will be a shame if it comes to a few spoiling it for all…

It will also be interesting to see how much Picnic Day costs the city, in light of our current economic downturn…

davisite2 May 2 “Commentary: Life After Bin Laden”

Ben Laden has now been transformed into a martyr and will likely spawn new attacks in his name. The killing of Osama Ben Laden at this moment has effectively driven the Libya fiasco, namely the attempt to assassinate Gadaffi and the killing of his son and grand chldren, off the front pages. As someone who gives  weight to the idea that political decisions are a significant part of a strategy of political theater to shape the “consent of the governed”,it is interesting that over the past decade, Osama Ben Laden remained at-large and  morphed  into  a valuable  piece in the US domestic political theater game.

Justin Kudo May 2 “The Fate of Picnic Day Still Looms”

I sincerely hope that this city has not become so intolerant of student behavior and the tendency of college students to party on holidays that we manage to get Picnic Day shut down.

mercy for all May 2 “Governor Cancels Plans to Expand San Quentin Saving Nearly Half a Billion”

Wonderful, canceling another multi-billion dollar death row.  Now if we can only get the good Governor to cancel the one we already have and the death penalty power/money machine that feeds it we may have a real dent in the state budget budget crisis.

Rusty49 May 2 “Commentary Life After Bin Laden”

I’m glad we have the macho men to take over because if we relied on people who think like you we wouldn’t last very long as a nation.  Would you want your son going in to that fight with tear gas, nets and stun guns?  Hooray for the Seals.

Everyone on this blog knows I’m no big Obama fan, but I stand up and clap for him and America.  If he gave the orders not to take Usama alive and to dump his body quickly at sea I’ll stand up and give him an even bigger ovation.  We didn’t need an Usama circus for the next who knows how many years if we’d taken him alive.  Great job Mr. President.

Thomas Randall May 2 “FPPC Complaint Filed Against the District on Measure A”

The FPPC Complaint included many concerns of other complainants (witnesses) as well in the complaint not just mine.

And Matt…this complaint was not intended to be a publicity stunt. There are some apparent possible illegal activities going on within the Davis School District regarding the Measure A campaign. Whether which side wins or loses the election those supportive of one side or another should not be above the law and this complaint seeks to insure that such illegal activities if they were found to occur get prosecuted. Let’s let the FPPC investigate the complaint and undertake what actions they deem necessary.

lyah May 2 “DA Defies Judge’s Order and Judge Backs Down”

I’m bothered that the DA or DDA refused to hand over evidence and refused to comply with the judges order. The DA has already been found to not have turned over exculpatory evidence in the past. This is a “Brady violation” and is serious issue. If the issue was chain of custody. Why can’t the DA’s office make a copy of the cell phone for themselves. After all they got that nice new high tech office right in their department.

Something else that I find very disturbing is DDA Jacobsen’s comment about evidence possibly being destroyed. Is she alleging that the Defense attorney or their investigator might destroy evidence? That is pretty bold. Perhaps the defense is equally worried that the prosecutor’s investigator might destroy evidence. I think the best thing is to make a copy for each party to fully analyze at their own leisure.

rdcanning May 2 “Governor Brown Shifts Parole Policies of Predecessors, But Not in Yolo”

Disclaimer for transparency’s sake: I work for the corrections department and have worked with “lifers” who go before the Board of Prison Hearings to decide, as the law says, whether they are suitable for parole.  I’ve written the psychological evaluations that include risk assessments that the Board reads.

As far as I know, the Governor reads (or at least his staff do) the same record that the Board reads.  He has all the same info. This includes the record from the original criminal proceedings, which means that there is info from the DA and from the defense.  So it’s not just some nasty DA slant on things.

There are also records from his time in prison, his personal statements about the crime, the record from previous hearings (lifers usually don’t get out the first time they go to the Board – more a half a dozen times or so), and also victim statements and from the DA if he/she attends the hearings, an attorney for the inmate, and maybe witnesses.  So the record is typically pretty big.

As DG points out, Jerry Brown is letting lifers out (letting the Board’s decisions stand) at a far higher rate than any governor in the last twenty years or so.  That’s really good (my opinion).

The governor’s opinion (which is what counts in the end because he signs the release order) about whether Fowler is remorseful is probably different from the Board’s.  I think it is hard to make these decisions – even harder for us who have not reviewed much of the record and only get typical statements from the DA that show how hard on crime he is.  These are all difficult cases, for the families, the prisoners, and for the people who have to make the decisions.  I am sure there are a lot of victims’ families out there who are equally angry about the many lifers that Brown has let be released.  I do agree with the Bee that the Governor ought not have the final say.

*Casey1060 May 3 “Another West Sacramento Gang Case”

Seems a pretty far stretch to believe that two rival gangs would purposefully work together, even when there is financial incentive involved. Different groups are separate for a reason whether it be ideological differences, geographical location, social ties, etc. The fact that gangs MIGHT benefit seems too far fetched to make this charge differ from the normal drug deal… The reliance on expert witnesses for the sole explanation of a variety of factors seems too dangerous when making decisions that affect people for the rest of their lives– especially when the case lacks specific evidence to support such claims.

DarkAges May 3 “DA Defies Judge’s Order and Judge Backs Down”

DMG is right that there was never any mention by the DA of the order being unlawful, though now that you’ve put the idea out there, who knows, they might try to argue it.

To everyone:

It is not believable that the DA is unable to access the text message data on the phone.  They can get it from the phone company and in some cases even without a subpoena.  The DA is not handing over the phone because they can sense that this case is slipping away from them quickly and they don’t know what else to do other than impede the defense.

They sided with the accuser quickly, perhaps thinking of the another rape conviction for their stats, rather than gather information impartially with a view to getting at the truth.  That shall be brought out as the case goes forward.

Musser May 4 “School Board Members Stung By Criticism, Negative Tone of Campaign”

it smells DMG. their footprint was all over the forum, the superintendent (who got in trouble for the letter) delaine eastin, sheila allen, come on. what the school district never thought to inquire about the nature of the format and how it would be presented? they were totally in the dark from start to finish? they never wondered amongst any in the group about why the NO ON P wasn’t there? and of course the district wasn’t an “official sponsor”! lol! they didn’t want it to appear as if they had a hand in it, exactly why they would not want to sponsor this. duh!!!

I circle this discussion back to a general comment I made earlier, about this investigative reporting that you do – be careful when you go digging, you may not like what you are going to find.

Ryan Kelly May 4 “Man Charged With Felony For Stealing Candy Bar”

Really????

Ryan Kelly May 4 “Measure A Passes By the Skin of Its Teeth”

I think that people will be watching carefully on how the District uses this money.  The next school bond will have to deal with the increases in monthly water and sewer bills (an increase from an average of $35 to $116 per month for water alone.)  Eventually, it will be just too much. The District really needs to start looking at how it will cut back,  become smaller, and still retain sacred programs.  Maybe some classes could become larger (lecture/discussion model) to be able to retain smaller classes in others.  We need to re-think how many AP Courses we are offering. Do we really need to provide these?

Adam Smith May 4 “Measure A Passes By the Skin of Its Teeth”

I’d like to offer a couple of thoughts:

1.  The outcome here is close because of the 2/3 majority requirement.  In a simple majority election, this would be a landslide.  The “people” of Davis clearly support issues which they believe lead to a better public education.

2.  For those of you making the point about representation without taxation, that happens every day with our state and federal income taxes.  Approximately 50% of the population does not pay income taxes, yet they are allowed to vote for our representatives which ultimately enact tax legislation.    Many of the polls  which support higher taxes for Californians include folks who never pay taxes.  Taxation has not been fair to everyone subjected to it for a long, long time, and probably never will be.

3.  Hpierce – your points about folks that have 6 kids in school not paying their “fare share” is appropriate, but again, that is true in almost any taxation discussion.

4.  Full Disclosure – I voted for Measure A because I believe that a high quality school system is critical for creating a positive future for Davis.  I am hopeful that the temporary increase might get us through until state funding improves.  But the district needs to work very hard to reduce expenses, and create a system that allows our best teachers to be fairly paid and retain their jobs, while the less qualified teachers are not as well paid and are the ones who are “pinked slipped” when we need to cut costs.

JayTee May 4 “Measure A Passes By the Skin of Its Teeth”

I think this election should be a wake-up call for the school district.  It’s pretty obvious that people expect them to be accountable for exactly what it is they’re doing with the money and a significant number of people are getting tired of the yearly “hands out for more money”. It’s quite possible another vote will not work out in their favor.

JayTee May 4 “Man Charged With Felony For Stealing Candy Bar”

I think there is something seriously wrong with a system that would even consider putting a mentally challenged person in prison for stealing a candy bar.  No wonder we keep having to build new prisons.

Rich Rifkin May 4 “Measure A Passes By the Skin of Its Teeth”

In my opinion, school parcel taxes will always pass in Davis, unless there are extraordinary circumstances at the time of the vote to deny them. The previous two passed more easily than this one, largely (or perhaps entirely) because of our distressed economy.

If the economy recovers before we again vote on renewing previous parcel taxes, the renewal votes will win with 70% or more. There is a widespread belief among Davis voters–going back more than 40 years–that if the school district asks for more money, it deserves more money. That is just the nature of politics in this town.

Perhaps the only type of local vote which is more predictable, now, is that if there is a vote on a new peripheral housing development (Measure R), the voters will turn it down. Since Measure J was approved in March of 2000, no proposal has succeeded. The haves don’t want to let in the have-nots.

Iyah May 4 “Man Charged With Felony For Stealing Candy Bar”

Thank goodness for the Judge. Unfortunately, the DA’s office has not shown good rational when deciding how or when to pursue charges. We need more Judges in Yolo to behave like this one, instead of letting the DA’s office run roughshod over people.

davehart May 4 “Measure A Passes By the Skin of Its Teeth”

Ever wonder why it’s the mostly the same group of people posting?  The Vanguard seems to have become the forum of choice for anti-tax, conservative corporate politics whenever the topic is public funding of public services.  Typical of this group is that they have never seen a public service that was worth a public dime, at least not their pubic dime.  Will reasonable, communitarian politics (which aren’t even left, just common sense) be able to hold on to a 2/3 margin that we’ve collectively decided is necessary for a decent society?  I guess time will tell.

Iyah May 5 “Another Look At Miranda and Confessions”

I think an important point to add is that most people think of these “suspects” as criminals and so they don’t care how they are treated. The truth is that if you are innocent and brought in for questioning the “suspect” is no different than you and I. Try to put yourself in the shoes of an innocent person being interrogated – realize it can easily be you or I there. I think this is the most critical and most difficult thing for us as regular law abiding citizens can do. But it is crucial that we try.

Regarding video taping – I’m for video taping the interrogation, but I think it should be required that the entire interview without edits be played for the jury. In the Moses situation the jury saw, I think you said, 45 minutes of a 9 hour interview. Yes I know it would take a lot of court time, but when you are talking about taking someone’s liberty away from them for the rest of their life – 9 hours is nothing. It is the only way to at least try to understand fully what happened.

Observer May 5 “Vanguard Analysis: Measure A Was Supported By the Overwhelming Majority of Davis Resident”

I don’t understand all the anger on either side of this issue.  It was a little school tax to tide us through a tough time.  For it, or against it, it is not a big deal.  Time to chill out and go back to finding a way to deal with the city’s deficit and the plastic bags.

Danthelawyer May 5 “E Street Plaza Parking Lot to Return to “Paid” Status”

I totally agree. It’s absolutely shameful that the downtown core is so inaccessible to bicycles. But we don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) completely eliminate parking there. If we get rid of the angled parking by replacing it with parallel spaces, we could add bike lanes and expand the sidewalks to accommodate more pedestrians and outdoor seating while losing only a few parking spaces.

If folks are really worried about parking downtown, why not build a garage in the Amtrak lot?

Fight Against Injustice May 6 “Looking To Prison Sentence Reforms To Balance California’s Budget”

I would also like to see something done so that DA’s don’t have so much latitude in making something a felony that should be a misdemeanor–like adding the two bad checks together to make it a felony.

This story and the story you wrote the other day about the DA charging a felony for stealing a candy bar, makes one wonder why are there no limits set on what the DA can charge.

In the candy bar incident, I was happy to see that the judge stepped in and reduced the charge to a misdemeanor.  I am also happy to see that people are talking about fixing the sentencing for non-violent crimes.

I just hope that the judges in Yolo County step up more like in the candy bar incident and fix the over charging issues we keep seeing.

E Roberts Musser May 6 “Councilmember Sue Greenwald responds on Courthouse Construction Issue”

The building of a huge expensive courthouse is just one more example of generally how out of touch our gov’t officials are w reality.  The economy is still in the doldrums, basic services are not being funded, people (including court personnel, sheriff’s deputies, etc.) are getting laid off w nowhere to obtain work, yet the gov’t keeps on building luxury facilities as if there were no recession.  I think the average citizen would probably consider the new courthouse as a waste of taxpayer funds if it was ever put to a vote…

davehart May 6 “Pension Supporters Fight Back with Website Attempting to Lampoon Critics and Set the Facts Straight”

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if it could be reported that in response to the pension funding crisis here in Davis, that our city administrators and council recognized we had a problem, researched all the facts and policies and have a report available that presents a clear picture for all to read?  Such a report could be useful for city voters, elected leaders and even educational for the individual to understand pension financing for themselves as individuals.

As it is, it seems like we only get a patchwork recounting of facts that bolster one point of view over another.  Pension obligations go back decades.  This crisis is recently recognized.  Not all cities are in trouble.  What happened differently, over the years, from jurisdiction to jurisdiction?

Everyone who has worked most of their adult life should be entitled (yes, entitled) to a decent and poverty-free retirement.  That is something we should demand from each other.  A basic understanding of that also includes to what extent each of us also has a responsibility to help pay for that.  Social Security taxes represent a minimal basic floor toward that end.  I would hope when “debating” this crisis, that we would all think outside the immediate box of what “the other guy” is getting and consider what a sound, fair system would look like for everyone.  Our solutions should incorporate that vision.

Dr. Wu May 6 “Pension Supporters Fight Back with Website Attempting to Lampoon Critics and Set the Facts Straight”

I think the important point to make is that while it is true that our short term debt problems are not directly related to the benefits issue it is BY FAR the biggest long term problem facing govt at all levels (if you include Social Security and Medicare).

our health care system is sick; our pension system is unsustainable

anyone who doesn’t recognize this problem (right wing, left wing, whatever)  is polluting our public discourse

medwoman May 6 “Councilmember Sue Greenwald responds on Courthouse Construction Issue”

I am in agreement with everyone who has expressed concerns about the timing of a major financial outlay on court houses at a time when other public services are being financially decimated. I think this again speaks to our current societal priorities. We seem willing as a society to fund aspects of our judicial and penal systems while neglecting social services, health, and education. I would favor a comprehensive review, at all levels of our government of our values and as Elaine has frequently said, an end to our current “silo” mentality.

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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7 Comments

  1. David M. Greenwald

    There are 30 comments here, next week I think I’ll limit it to two comments per article and a total of 20. Any other constructive suggestions?

  2. medwoman

    David

    I like this feature.
    I support limiting the comments to two per article and would like to see you choose the two that you feel best represent the opposing points of view expressed.

  3. hpierce

    [quote]Any other constructive suggestions? [/quote][quote]… we want to encourage thoughtful and civil, but still insightful and, at times, critical comments.[/quote]I believe this is definitely worth a shot. People, being somewhat egotistical, may focus more on meeting the goals of the second quote… if nothing else, to be noted… of those you mentioned, it appears, at first blush, to meet the stated criteria, even if their is dissonance with your views… good job/idea. Definitely worth the experiment, IMHO.

  4. Observer

    I like it. Please be sure to continue to offer the thoughtful pro and con sides of the issues. Also include comments from those who are not the “regulars;” it will encourage them to subscribe. Keep up the great work.

  5. Dr. Wu

    Interesting idea. My experience on this blog is that some topics generate an enormous amount of interesting and differing views (e.g., zipcar) while other topics might fall into a more pro/con format (e.g., legalizing marijuana) so I’d suggest being flexible on the limit.

  6. JayTee

    I like the idea too, and I think the people who contribute to this blog are courteous and respectful … much more so than on most other blogs.

  7. E Roberts Musser

    Too long to read through… but I like the concept. Perhaps just picking out one or two sentences (kernal) of what someone has said. Just a thought…

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