Commentary: Councilmember Souza Needs to Let this Go

Souza-Krovoza-Yost-Waterforum

Earlier this week, I defended Councilmember Stephen Souza from charges of “blocking” – preventing those who wished to sign petitions from doing so.  However, in the last few days we have had reports that Mr. Souza may have been a bit too zealous in defending his cause.

There is nothing wrong with that, per se.  As we noted, he has a first amendment right to speak out as a citizen.

He takes this a step forward in the Davis Enterprise with a letter to the Editor: “I am a citizen of this community first and foremost, secondarily I am a representative of the citizens of this community and thereby have a fiduciary responsibility to save the ratepayers as much as I can in what we pay for water in our community.”

He continues, “It is my duty to speak out when I believe that the ratepayers will be harmed on a matter that I have knowledge of.”

It is at this point where I think the line between right and prudence starts becoming the issue.  Mr. Souza, as a citizen of this community and of this nation, has the right to speak his mind just as anyone else does.

But that doesn’t mean that speaking out is always the right course of action.  There has been a lot of talk this week about Mr. Souza’s conduct and a number of people remind me that he was a bit overzealous back in the Covell Village campaign, as well.  And there were incidents then where that overzealousness pushed up against the line, and even crossed the line into bullying.

But I would also point out that, while Mr. Souza is the only councilmember speaking out at this time, he was among four councilmembers who supported the water project.  However, we do not see Joe Krovoza, Rochelle Swanson or Dan Wolk getting up into people’s grills, trying to talk them out of signing a petition.

In fact, we have not heard from any of these three at all.  So, while Mr. Souza believes this is his duty, it is clear that that view is not accepted by his colleagues.

Those three seem content to let this situation play out.  They seem to trust that the facts are on their side and they do not seem to fear a referendum or the will of the people.

Mr. Souza’s letter to the Enterprise continues: “There now are paid signature gatherers at the food stores and Farmers Market misrepresenting the facts.”

The idea of paid signature gatherers has been turned into something nefarious.  And I admit, one of my qualms with the whole initiative process is that people with money can pay to get enough signatures gathered to put anything on the ballot.

On the other hand, there are practical concerns at work here.  The petitioners have just one month to collect a large number of signatures.  They must do so accurately, from people who are registered to vote.

It is not as though these people are making six figure salaries coming into Davis.  These are people who are busting their rears for what probably is not much more than minimum wage pay.

Given the constraints here, it makes sense in the compressed timeline to hire a professional firm of signature gatherers who not only can collect the signatures, but can pre-qualify the signatures to make sure that a high percentage of people are eligible.

Are we concerned about the lack of transparency in the raising and expenditure of money?  Yes.  But that is not the fault of those attempting to collect signatures.

Mr. Souza talks about misrepresenting the facts, but part of the debate in this election is over those facts.  There is no agreed-upon set of facts.  In fact, Mr. Souza’s own colleague on the city council, Sue Greenwald, disputed his set of facts that he used in the flyer.

Mr. Souza continues, “This misinformation will cause the citizens of our community to end up paying more to meet the regulatory standards we must meet by 2017.”

No it won’t.  Stephen Souza, of all people in this community, for the sake of intellectual honesty cannot use this argument.  Why?  Because he is the one that has always argued that a partial step is not tantamount to approval.  Merely putting this on the ballot is not tantamount to approving the referendum that would overturn the rate hikes.

As he himself would argue, were this matter before him on the dais, it merely gives people the right to vote on whether or not they support the council’s actions, it does not address the ultimate question.

Why is this important?  Because there is a whole campaign that would need to be run between now and Election Day, and that is the time to dispute the facts and make your case.

Make no mistake, agree or disagree with them, there is a strong and compelling argument to be made for this water project.  In the end, I may or may not agree with that argument.  But that time has not come.  The question now is whether the voters should be the ones who determine whether their water rates go up.

The next step will determine whether the water rates will go up, and that will be the appropriate time for Mr. Souza to speak up.

Mr. Souza concludes, “To not speak out would be irresponsible on my part.”

Apparently Mr. Souza thinks that he is the only one on council being responsible right now.

We find this concerning.  Mr. Souza needs to take a huge step back and allow this process to play out.

In the last few days, we have heard mounting anger directed at Mr. Souza from many in the community.  A number of them are on the fence as to what to do ultimately on the referendum, but they find the behavior of a seated member of council appalling.

One of those people is Bob Dunning, who wrote earlier this week: “I do find it unseemly for a sitting councilman to be spending so much time and energy trying to defeat a proposal that merely gives us commoners the right to vote on a massively expensive project that has the potential to dramatically affect so many of our lives … a great number of us haven’t made up our minds about the project, but just about all of us would like to have a say in the ultimate decision.”

That’s a problem for Mr. Souza, because the clearest and calmest voice in the room is questioning not the project, but rather Mr. Souza’s conduct and the simple belief that the people should decide.

Mr. Souza has made himself a polarizing figure during a time of election.  That does not bode well as he seeks to return for a third term as Councilmember, and he desperately hopes to become mayor.

What history has generally showed us is that the calmest voice is usually the one that wins that, as well.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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116 Comments

  1. medwoman

    “but just about all of us would like to have a say in the ultimate decision”
    “the simple belief that the people should decide”

    One problem with this liine of reasoning is that some of us believe that “the people” already have made their democratic choice, once when they elected 4 of the 5 current council members, and again when we either returned or recycled our protest forms. To me, the use of paid signature gatherers, without stating up front who is paying for their services and how much, looks like some relatively well off folks buying themselves another chance at their desired outcome. This is not about the signature gatherers themselves who I personally have found to be honest about their situation, friendly and making an honest attempt to present the issue in as it has been presented to them in sound bite form. It is about the people who are paying, but not willing to own that action publicly.

    While I personally prefer the strategy being employed by council members Krovoza, Swanson, Wolk and Greenwald to that of council member
    Souza, I do not think it is “unseemly” for a sitting council member to spend time voicing his concerns as he has a right to do as a private citizen any more than I think it unseemly to hire private firms to do your political work without public disclosure of that action. But as you stated David, just because one has the right and ability to do something doesn’t automatically make it wise or prudent.

  2. rusty49

    Medwoman

    “One problem with this liine of reasoning is that some of us believe that “the people” already have made their democratic choice, once when they elected 4 of the 5 current council members, and again when we either returned or recycled our protest forms.”

    Referendums are also part of democracy as astutely pointed out by David in an earlier post. He also pointed out that renters have been disenfranchised by the 218 process. Our system is one of checks and balances, so I would think you would embrace this action of democracy.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    “One problem with this liine of reasoning is that some of us believe that “the people” already have made their democratic choice, once when they elected 4 of the 5 current council members, and again when we either returned or recycled our protest forms.”

    Rusty already made the point I would have about the Prop 218 system.

    I would make the point on the elected representatives that I think few if any people realized that this was coming down and so the idea that the representative system can capture this or any one issue I think is problematic. After all, in 2005, 80% of the representatives in Davis favored Covell Village but only 40% of the public. So the representative system distorted the public’s actual views. Why? Because there is no one-to-one capture of issues from voter to representative.

  4. medwoman

    rusty49

    I fully support the right of individuals to initiate the referendum process. And as I stated above, just because one has the right and ability to take an action, does not make it either wise nor prudent, It also does not mean that the action is not driven by other than community minded concerns as I believe this one is by at least some opponents of the project. While I believe that Sue and some others are acting out of genuine
    Concern for the community, I believe that others are acting solely on their own immediate well being. This also is their right, but not in the best interest of the longterm well being of the community.

  5. hpierce

    [quote]He also pointed out that renters have been disenfranchised by the 218 process. [/quote]Perhaps… yet, many renters do not pay utility bills… many of those who own property in Davis (commercial property, for example) do not live in Davis. You “enfranchise” the former, and “dis-enfranchise” the other, if the referendum is successful. I’m beginning to think this is one of those ‘I asked dad, didn’t like the answer, so I’ll go ask mom’ situations. Those legally obligated to pay the bills, by and large, consented by not protesting, in spite of the extraordinary efforts of the city to facilitate protest. Because of the low “bar” set for the referendum process, I’m fairly sure it will go to a vote, at City expense, and I believe that most voters will be swayed more by rhetoric than facts. More’s the pity.

  6. Davis Enophile

    [quote]To me, the use of paid signature gatherers, without stating up front who is paying for their services and how much, looks like some relatively well off folks buying themselves another chance at their desired outcome.[/quote]

    I have an answer to your question of how much. I met my first signature gatherer yesterday at the Nugget. He was a young man. I asked why he was in support of a referendum. He responded that he wasn’t, that he actually didn’t know much about it, and couldn’t vote on it anyway because he actually was a resident of Rocklin and a Sierra College student making a few extra bucks. He told me he was getting paid $1 per signature. We talked for some time, and he hit all of Mike Harrington’s talking points, one after the other. The one that struck me the most was his point that the surface water project would cause Davis to grow to 165,000 people. He paused, and said that he read somewhere that it was more like 125,000. In the end, he asked “so, how about earning me a dollar and sign?” Cute.

    In the course of about 10 minutes of pleasant conversation I saw several seniors sign the petition. The man commented in jest, “see, even blocking me, I can get signatures”.

  7. Davis Enophile

    I should add that each and everyone of Michael Harrington’s talking points that this signature gatherer was repeating has been summarily torn apart on this blog. Oh, I forgot, Mike is too busy to debate facts right now, gotta get more signatures, or I mean, gotta pass out more dollar bills.

  8. Davis Enophile

    Oh, I would guess based on the number of signatures I saw, this young man’s time out in front of Nugget paid for his next community college class, so at least someone will be getting a decent education .

  9. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I have an answer to your question of how much. I met my first signature gatherer yesterday at the Nugget. He was a young man. I asked why he was in support of a referendum. He responded that he wasn’t, that he actually didn’t know much about it, and couldn’t vote on it anyway because he actually was a resident of Rocklin and a Sierra College student making a few extra bucks. He told me he was getting paid $1 per signature. We talked for some time, and he hit all of Mike Harrington’s talking points, one after the other. The one that struck me the most was his point that the surface water project would cause Davis to grow to 165,000 people. He paused, and said that he read somewhere that it was more like 125,000. In the end, he asked “so, how about earning me a dollar and sign?” Cute.

    In the course of about 10 minutes of pleasant conversation I saw several seniors sign the petition. The man commented in jest, “see, even blocking me, I can get signatures”.[/quote]

    [quote]Perhaps… yet, many renters do not pay utility bills… many of those who own property in Davis (commercial property, for example) do not live in Davis. You “enfranchise” the former, and “dis-enfranchise” the other, if the referendum is successful. I’m beginning to think this is one of those ‘I asked dad, didn’t like the answer, so I’ll go ask mom’ situations. Those legally obligated to pay the bills, by and large, consented by not protesting, in spite of the extraordinary efforts of the city to facilitate protest. [/quote]

    To those of you who keep insisting the referendum process is “democratic”, please see above comments. Also, remember Pizzagate? I have no problem with the referendum itself, as it is a right, but I do have a problem with the misinformation the referendum signature gatherers/opponents of the project are spewing out/the manner in which opponents are attempting to gather signatures…

  10. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: No offense but your comment shows you really don’t understand the difference Pizzagate and paid canvassing. In Pizzagate students were being paid to vote with Pizza. That’s hugely different from paying people to canvas. If nothing else, the first instance is illegal and the second is perfectly legal.

    “but I do have a problem with the misinformation the referendum signature gatherers/opponents of the project are spewing out/the manner in which opponents are attempting to gather signatures”

    Do you also have a problem with the misinformation that Souza is spewing trying to stop people from gathering signatures?

    What I find fund here is that there is not a commonly agreed upon set of facts. One side argues one thing, the other argues another.

  11. rusty49

    Interesting letter yesterday in the Enterprise. As many have stated on here that often when a city asks the experts for advice that the city will tend to get the answer they wanted to hear or else they might not ask that expert anymore.

    “Irony over freeway housing
    A few years ago, an article from a well-respected medical journal showed that children who grow up near freeways are more likely to suffer loss of lung function. I cited this article in opposition to the city of Davis’ plans to build low-income housing directly adjacent to Interstate 80.

    The city and the developers quickly brought in several air quality experts, including Thomas Cahill of UC Davis, to refute this and to recommend that the city proceed with the project. The implication, of course, was that we knew exactly what caused the adverse health impacts and that we could therefore mitigate them with things such as strategic landscaping. The City Council subsequently approved the project based upon this testimony.

    Imagine my surprise to read a recent article in The Enterprise lauding three studies by the very same Cahill “adding to the growing body of data suggesting that very fine and ultra fine airborne particles are clearly linked to serious human health problems.”

    Ironically, the article goes on to state that the researchers felt that their study “may offer a clue as to why children who grow up near freeways are more likely to suffer loss of lung function”! I wonder if Cahill and his colleagues would still recommend approval of the housing project right next to the freeway.

    It doesn’t take an expert to conclude that we probably shouldn’t be building housing, low-income or otherwise, directly next to a freeway because it clearly jeopardizes the long-term health of its future residents.

    Let’s all pay a little more attention to the facts and rely less on so called “expert opinion” the next time the city of Davis proposes a similar project and let’s hold our elected representatives accountable for doing the same.

    To knowingly jeopardize the future health of our city’s very own citizens is simply unconscionable!

    Kris Kordana, M.D.

    Davis”

  12. Julie

    Since those pesky facts are settled in my mind (seeing as they are published – complete with author’s names and citations/references – as Don has so consistently pointed out for us), I would rather focus on the shocking reality that some uninformed, miseducated adolescent from out-of-town is disseminating misinformation in order to earn a buck . . . Is anyone else the least bit bothered by this? I would hope so!

    [quote]In the end, he asked “so, how about earning me a dollar and sign?” Cute.[/quote]

    I find this rather disturbing. How many have taken pity on this signature gatherer, and others, only to stick the city of Davis with the bill to actually hold the election?

  13. Voter2012

    @medwoman: [quote]… some of us believe that “the people” already have made their democratic choice, once when they elected 4 of the 5 current council members, and again when we either returned or recycled our protest forms. To me, the use of paid signature gatherers, without stating up front who is paying for their services and how much, looks like some relatively well off folks buying themselves another chance at their desired outcome. This is not about the signature gatherers themselves who I personally have found to be honest about their situation, friendly and making an honest attempt to present the issue in as it has been presented to them in sound bite form. [u]It is about the people who are paying, but not willing to own that action publicly.[/u][/quote]Bingo.

    And isn’t this brand of “democracy in action” just great? Paid signature gathers lying to Davis seniors on behalf of some “progressives” on a referendum that will allow us to continue to polluting the delta!!

  14. JayTee

    Amazing also that people would actually believe that someone would sign a petition just because the signature gatherer was young, cute and need another buck. Really people??? All they’re doing is giving people who want to sign the petition a better chance to do it. People who don’t want to sign it wouldn’t sign if there were signature gathers on every corner.

  15. davisite2

    “? Paid signature gathers lying to Davis seniors..”

    Total BS.. Voter 2012! I spent some time with the young man in front of Nugget and he does not pitch any argument against the surface water project or rate hike. His sole pitch is to ask for signatures if you support a citizen referendum on the rate hike issue. He is polite and respectful to all he approaches, someone that Councilperson Souza could take a lesson from.

  16. Frankly

    [i]”Amazing how many complain about the “DEMOCRATIC” process of a referendum when it just happens to be for something they don’t believe in.”[/i]

    It is interesting that the word “democracy” is not mentioned in the Constitution. Most of the Founders distrusted pure democracy for good reason.

    A republic is different from a democracy. In a democracy, the majority can directly make or block or change the laws, while in a republic, elected representatives do this work and are held accountable at election time.

    A problem with pure democracy and political mechanisms that transfer direct policy decision and manipulation power to the people is immediacy. In the design of a republic, the laws are made by representatives in order to put a buffer between popular passions and legislation. In a more pure democracy, decisions are made in the heat of the moment. To a great extent, democracies are ruled by feelings, while in a republic, cooler and more capable decision-making heads prevail.

    John Adams wrote that “There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

    I appreciate the number of informed and concerned citizens in this city and value their participating in governance; but allowing one of them to manipulate policy decisions by buying the votes from the emotive and uninformed citizens is an example of a city committing suicide.

  17. davisite2

    “I believe that others are acting solely on their own immediate well being. This also is their right, but not in the best interest of the longterm well being of the community.”

    Medwoman…I’m sure that you would have to agree that there are proponents, pushing for the surface water project NOW that are motivated by personal self-interest as well.

  18. Julie

    [quote]I appreciate the number of informed and concerned citizens in this city and value their participating in governance; but allowing one of them to manipulate policy decisions by buying the votes from the emotive and uninformed citizens is an example of a city committing suicide.[/quote]

    Amen.

    davisite2 – Could it be that the signature gatherer (assuming it was even the same person) might not have provided you with the same reception given that you did not ask any questions of him and his view on this issue? I’m assuming that, when he asked if you had already had a chance to sign the petition, you said yes and that was more-or-less the end of your pleasant interaction.

  19. Voter2012

    “Total BS.. Voter 2012! I spent some time with the young man …”

    davisite2:

    Are you saying that Davis Enophile is lying?

    Or are you saying that that he only tells non-seniors about the conspiracy to grow the city to 165,000?

    And BTW … who is paying the young man? Do you even know?

  20. Ryan Kelly

    I find all of this just astounding. If Steve Souza hired out of town people to stand outside of grocery stores to explain why citizens should vote for a local issue, Mike Harrington and his friends (including the Vanguard) would skewer him. It is just so hypocritical. All you guys deserve each other.

  21. Voter2012

    [quote]… but allowing one of them to manipulate policy decisions by buying the votes from the emotive and uninformed citizens is an example of a city committing suicide.[/quote]Jeff Boone: Are you referring to Michael Harrington?

  22. David M. Greenwald

    “including the Vanguard”

    I would hope not. In 2004, my wife was sent to Missouri to work for John kerry. In 2008, she was bused to Nevada to work for Obama. I’d be pretty hypocritical to complain about out of town canvassers. I’m not completely discounting it in the heat of the moment, but I would hope not.

  23. Michael Harrington

    Go democracy! I love the discussion and debate in this town!

    Moving into the general campaign, I expect a much larger wad of money being thrown at us than the Covell Village Million. Money raised by Souza and his friends.

  24. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]dmg: Do you also have a problem with the misinformation that Souza is spewing trying to stop people from gathering signatures? [/quote]

    From your article:

    [quote]It is at this point where I think the line between right and prudence starts becoming the issue. Mr. Souza, as a citizen of this community and of this nation, has the right to speak his mind just as anyone else does. But that doesn’t mean that speaking out is always the right course of action. [/quote]

    [quote]Mr. Souza talks about misrepresenting the facts, but part of the debate in this election is over those facts. There is no agreed-upon set of facts. [/quote]

    So Mr. Souza has a right to speak his mind, no?

    [quote]Mr. Souza continues, “This misinformation will cause the citizens of our community to end up paying more to meet the regulatory standards we must meet by 2017.” No it won’t. Stephen Souza, of all people in this community, for the sake of intellectual honesty cannot use this argument. Why? Because he is the one that has always argued that a partial step is not tantamount to approval. Merely putting this on the ballot is not tantamount to approving the referendum that would overturn the rate hikes.[/quote]

    Your last statement is telling. Even you agreed with my assessment in a previous post that this referendum is designed to kill the surface water project. Councilmember Souza knows this perfectly well, and so chose to speak out publicly on the issue. Should only Council member Greenwald be allowed to publicly speak out on the surface water project? Is that what you are advocating? Council member Greenwald has been graciously given the opportunity to voice her opposing views in the various water forums given around town. Council member Souza has not even been present at many of these forums. Either a person has a right to speak out in public or they don’t. And if they do have that right, then I see no reason to criticize them for speaking their mind. Sounds like you are invoking a double standard here depending on the Council member and their particular viewpoint…

  25. Voter2012

    Ryan: It wasn’t so long ago that Michael and David were crying crocodile tears about the misinformation that Sue and her allies were “spewing” about the Wild Horse Ranch subdivision that the two of them were both supporting.

  26. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Elaine: No offense but your comment shows you really don’t understand the difference Pizzagate and paid canvassing. In Pizzagate students were being paid to vote with Pizza. That’s hugely different from paying people to canvas. If nothing else, the first instance is illegal and the second is perfectly legal. [/quote]

    Both are “undemocratic”, no? Especially in the instance of spewing out misinformation to convince the person to sign?

  27. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]What I find fund here is that there is not a commonly agreed upon set of facts. One side argues one thing, the other argues another.[/quote]

    One set of facts is backed up by a number of experts; the other set of facts is backed up by no one who will say anything publicly…

  28. davisite2

    “I’m assuming that, when he asked if you had already had a chance to sign the petition, you said yes and that was more-or-less the end of your pleasant interaction.”

    Julie.. You are assuming WRONG.. I spent some time talking with him about the work that he was doing, the contract parameters of his earning ability and watching him work. We discussed what he knew about the issue(very little) other than that it was a signature-gathering campaign for a citizen-initiated referendum about a water rate hike. I spent some time watching him gather signatures from passing Nugget shoppers.

  29. Voter2012

    “Moving into the general campaign, I expect a much larger wad of money being thrown at us than the Covell Village Million.”

    Speaking of conspiracy theories … is Tandem Partners (i.e. John Whitcombe) secretly backing the referendum? As the owner of an obscene fraction of the apartments in town, I can think of no other individual in Davis that will benefit financially from a 5-10 year delay in the surface water project than John.

    Measure R has frozen his Covell property for the next 10 years, so he actually benefits from a delay. Since he can’t pass the entire rate increase to his tenants in this economy, a successful referendum process will put more cash in his pocket.

    See … two can play that game.

  30. rusty49

    I’ve also talked with a few signature gatherers. I asked them if they were volunteers or being paid and in all three instances they were forthright with the information. (2 paid and 1 vol.) They were very polite, said they hadn’t been blocked and only pushed the referendum by saying your water rates are going up and one can sign the petition in order to be able to vote.

  31. Michael Harrington

    Souza Blocking Strategy: what comes to my mind, and the minds of many, is the question: why is Steve and friends trying so hard to prevent a lively 7 month campaign exchange of data, and submitting it to the voters? Is there something they are afraid of? Maybe some technical points they have used for years to advance this project, but when the voters aer focused like a laser on each of those consultant and staff driven technical points, the voters learn that there are serious overstatements, maybe even something more nefarious going on?

    I can tell you one thing for sure: we are going to go through all of it; The project is going up, or down, on the merits. This will include fiscal and timing issues.

  32. rusty49

    “rusty49: Who is paying them? Do you know?”

    Voter2012, why do you ask? Do you want to make a donation?

    I know the referendum campaign is taking donations, maybe they’re getting paid from that pool.

  33. davisite2

    Voter 2012 says….Sue and her allies were “spewing” about the Wild Horse Ranch subdivision that the two of them were both supporting.

    voter 2012…wasn’t it your employer who was spreading falsehoods about how the Wildhorse developers could build ANYTHING they wanted if that citizen-initiated referendum(strange coincidence here)was successful??

  34. Observer

    [quote]Speaking of conspiracy theories … is Tandem Partners (i.e. John Whitcombe) secretly backing the referendum? A[/quote]

    This quote illustrates my concern. At this point, I pretty much have become an “observer” in this frenzy, but for this much heat to be generated about a “now” or “later” surface water project, there has to be money, and I suspect a lot of money, involved for someone to make or lose. I hope that some of you who are in the inner circles of local politics will find out and report.

    For me, I support the project simply because I think it makes more sense to do one water project than to pay for a “deep well” project that will provide water for a few years then pay again for a surface project later. But obviously there is much going on behind the heated rhetoric that we little people don’t have access to. Do you, dear reader?

  35. davisite2

    “….one water project than to pay for a “deep well” project that will provide water for a few years then pay again for a surface project later.”

    but Observer… this is not the narrative that is in play from the city’s perspective at this time. There is a high probability that there will be drilling of more wells into the deep aquifer whether we build the surface water project now or later to SUPPLEMENT Davis’ water supply. The only argument that “holds water”(pardon the pun) is the sustainability of the deep aquifer but that is a classic “straw man” argument since it is not being argued that the deep aquifer will remain Davis sole water supply indefinitely into the future.

  36. Steve Hayes

    ERM… “One set of facts is backed up by a number of experts; the other set of facts is backed up by no one who will say anything publicly…”

    As a citizen and former scientific professional, I will briefly “say” the following publicly:

    (1) as a citizen, I object to the “Christmas Coup*” that was sprung on unsuspecting Davis citizens in December of 2010 by Project proponents; and,

    (2) as a scientific professional, I am concerned about the impact of irrigation return water from the Colusa Drain (the discharge point of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District) at Knights Landing on the quality of the Sacramento River water drawn into the Project drinking water intake structure downriver from the Drain.

    I hope this helps! Stephen P. Hayes, Ph.D (Aquatic Ecology, UCD, 1978)
    __________
    *The Davis City Council approved the Project the week before Christmas 2010 when everyone was busy, unaware, or away! Those approving the Project did not provide any explanation why the critically needed Project water right offer was available from the developer ONLY in December of 2010. Finally, December 2010 was also the last month that Councilman Saylor was available to approve the Project.
    _________

  37. Don Shor

    @ Steve: [i]I am concerned about the impact of irrigation return water from the Colusa Drain (the discharge point of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District) at Knights Landing on the quality of the Sacramento River water drawn into the Project drinking water intake structure downriver from the Drain. [/i]

    Are you saying that you believe that the Sacramento River water will be less safe, or more polluted, than the ground water from either of the current aquifers? What do you believe are the problem constituents in that water? Do you think they won’t be removed by the standard water treatment?

  38. Ryan Kelly

    The referendum supporters appear to be very similar to Tea Party Conservatives, all protest with no solutions. The Davis “Tea Party” cry conspiracy about this leading to growth, but these same folks campaigned heavily for the last housing development. It is partisan politics all over again. I think if Steve Sousa didn’t like the project, they would be happy with it. I really believe that.

    Mike Harrington – you don’t engage in debate and discussion. Pronouncements and allegations – that’s your game.

  39. Michael Harrington

    Everyone, read the letter today to the DE Editor by a gentleman from Woodland about the “true costs of the water bonds.”

    When we go through the actual cost numbers, versus what staff and the CC told us this project is going to cost, the stuff from the Yolo horse barn is going to hit the fan.

    I’m actually starting to see that my “educated but sort of WAG” of $500 million to the region is way, way, way too low.

    Apologies from those slinging mud at me will be accepted.

  40. rusty49

    “The referendum supporters appear to be very similar to Tea Party Conservatives, all protest with no solutions.”

    And here I thought we might make it through a whole day without a Tea Party reference. Thank you Ryan for stepping up.

  41. rusty49

    Letter in the Enterprise that Mr. Harrington is referring to:

    “The true cost of river water
    How much is the water pipe from the river to Woodland and Davis really going to cost? For sure, it’s not the $325 million we hear from the city government. They always forget to add the interest to the principal. I wonder why?

    Perhaps they have forgotten about the “rule of 72″ used to calculate bond debt. Just to make it understandable for all of us, let us say the interest rate is 6 percent. If we divide the 6 percent into the number 72, we get 12. This represents the number of years that will cause the principal to double.

    So in 12 years, at 6 percent, this would be $325 million in principal and $325 million in interest for a total debt of $650 million, growing to $975 million in 24 years and $1.3 billion in 30 years!

    Believe me when I point out that the only people happy about this Woodland/Davis debt are the investors who buy the bonds. It’s tax-free money from citizens of Woodland and Davis for years to come.

    Jess Powell

    Woodland”

  42. Frankly

    [i]”The referendum supporters appear to be very similar to Tea Party Conservatives, all protest with no solutions.”[/i]

    Ryan Kelly, that is very low blow to the Tea Party!

    Come on now… Tea Partiers clean up after themselves and have proposed a 9-9-9 plan.

    I think a better analogy would be those George Soros-paid Wall Street protestors.

  43. Davis Enophile

    A long time ago I used to canvass door to door for a statewide environmental organization. The job was to inform citizens of pending legislation and ask for donations. I was paid to represent this organization, and although I received minimum wage, I could earn a bonus if I brought in a good daily haul of donations. That significantly motivated me to use whatever charisma I had to pull in a donation.

    This pay per signature mode of communicating with the public is troublesome. Davisite is absolutely correct that the conversation started the way it was described. It was my interest in knowing why this man thought I should sign that led to the sales pitch. I wanted to see how far it would go. Motivated by his pay for signature arrangement, he concluded the exchange with a “help me out” pitch. I don’t blame him. After all, what did he have to lose? One signature, be it informed, misinformed, apathetic, invalid, or sweet talked equaled the same 1 dollar.

  44. Frankly

    Okay, now I am thinking that we can keep dumping our selinium in the delta…

    [b]Delta smelt numbers rise in recent survey catch[/b]

    [url]http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-water-smelt-20111013,0,7067478.story[/url]

  45. davisite2

    “One signature, be it informed, misinformed, apathetic, invalid, or sweet talked equaled the same 1 dollar.”

    Not true, they are paid for the number of valid signatures obtained.

  46. davisite2

    …spoke with a signature-gatherer today. The Davis electorate is getting the word and energized about this referendum. The signatures are beginning to flood in. Let’s get out there and gather them so that we are way over the required number and safe from the inevitable efforts to invalidate signatures.

  47. davisite2

    “voter 2012…wasn’t it your employer who was spreading falsehoods about how the Wildhorse developers could build ANYTHING they wanted if that citizen-initiated referendum(strange coincidence here)was successful??

    For those relative new-comers to Davis, this refers to the Wildhorse residential development agreement that was challenged unsucessfully 10-15 yrs ago by a citizen-initiated referendum.

  48. eastdavis

    @Steve Hayes wrote: “[i]as a scientific professional, I am concerned about the impact of irrigation return water from the Colusa Drain (the discharge point of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District) at Knights Landing on the quality of the Sacramento River water drawn into the Project drinking water intake structure downriver from the Drain[/i].”

    I looked in the EIR and EIR addendum for water quality data on the Sacramento River at the proposed point of diversion, but couldn’t find it. From a CEQA standpoint, it would have been helpful to compare Davis’ existing quality of our current supply(e.g., well water) with the Sacramento River water quality at the proposed point of diversion. The Schroeder Tchobanoglous study noted that the Sacramento River water does contain trace concentrations of agricultural chemicals which may or may not need to be removed. The latest impaired water body list for the State of California does include the Colusa Basin Drain for numerous pesitcides, E. coli, low dissolved oxygen, mercury, and unknown toxicity. See http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/tmdl/integrated2010.shtml

  49. rusty49

    “Okay, now I am thinking that we can keep dumping our selinium in the delta…

    Delta smelt numbers rise in recent survey catch”

    Jeff, come on over to the good side. I don’t like being on the opposite team of my conservative brother, as it is there aren’t too many of us in Davis. Some selenium is actually good for all creatures. Maybe the smelt are actually thriving because of Davis waste water. Wouldn’t that be something. Maybe we can hand pick an expert to do a study to prove just that then all of our water problems will be solved.

  50. eastdavis

    Re: selenium and fish in the Delta. Adverse effects of selenium to fish depends on what food web the fish are eating from. It’s the benthic foodweb in the north Delta that is impaired with selenium. Delta smelt feed in the water column and aren’t adversely affected by selenium. See: Stewart, AR, Luoma, SN, Schlekat, CE, Doblin, MA and Hieb, KA. 2004. Food Web Pathway Determines How Selenium Affects Aquatic Ecosystems: A San Francisco Bay Case Study. Environ. Sci. Technol. 38(17):4519-4526. Available at: http://wwwrcamnl.wr.usgs.gov/tracel/people/robin_stewart.html

  51. Voter2012

    davisite2: No. Neither my profession or employer have anything to do with politics. Nor was I even aware of the Wildhorse project when it was being planned and debated (and certainly don’t remember the referendum or voting on the project).

    This is the second time you have baited me with this bizarre little smear. Since you’re obviously at little slow on the uptake, I will repost my comment so you can read it slowly and think about it again.[quote]Ryan: It wasn’t so long ago that Michael and David were crying crocodile tears about the misinformation that Sue and her allies were “spewing” about the Wild Horse Ranch subdivision that the two of them were both supporting.[/quote]Spewing is David Greenwald’s word, not mine. I was making a not so subtle point about intellectual integrity and hypocrisy .. which must have gone over your head.

    I don’t know how my reference to the WHR Measure R vote triggered your flashback to a proposal 10-15 years ago, but perhaps you should try and get a grip.

  52. Davis Enophile

    Davisite

    So my friend is going to have to wait for the signatures to be validated before he can get paid? Perhaps, but all I know is what he told me, which was 1 dollar per signature.

    But the point was there was a profit motive to get people to sign. In fact, it apparently is the only way to get paid. No signatures, regardless of validity, means no pay. An alternative would be to just pay the guy minimum wage for his time tabling. But guess what, that isn’t as motivating as paying per signature.

    By the way, when you talked with him, how did he explain his compensation to you.

  53. Davis Enophile

    Jeff, heres a reason to not jump ship. New selenium standards will be set to protect shore birds. But good news on the smelt.

    “For selenium, the Terms and Conditions include reevaluating and revising selenium criteria for the protection of semi-aquatic wildlife.”

    Rich Rifkin has been teaching me to search the internet, so here’s a link to EPA’s announcement on selenium:

    [url]http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/ctr/[/url]

  54. rusty49

    “So my friend is going to have to wait for the signatures to be validated before he can get paid? Perhaps, but all I know is what he told me, which was 1 dollar per signature.

    But the point was there was a profit motive to get people to sign. In fact, it apparently is the only way to get paid. No signatures, regardless of validity, means no pay. An alternative would be to just pay the guy minimum wage for his time tabling. But guess what, that isn’t as motivating as paying per signature.

    By the way, when you talked with him, how did he explain his compensation to you.”

    I mean really, who cares? Instead of paying minimum wages the signature gatherers are paid on commission, $1 per valid signature. That’s called ‘capitalism’. If people don’t want to sign, guess what, they don’t have to. Get it!!!!!

  55. davisite2

    “….where that overzealousness pushed up against the line, and even crossed the line into bullying.”

    Let’s be frank, here, it “crossed the line” into presenting false information as fact(lying?), backed by their positions as Council members, that was clearly repudiated by the controlling State agency concerning dire consequences that would be imposed if the Covell Village development was rejected by the voters. This can be confirmed in the archives of the Davis Enterprise where the articles, by a then new and intrepid Enterprise reporter who went to the source to investigate Souza’s/Saylor’s Op-Ed claims, hopefully can still be retrieved.

  56. Don Shor

    @ eastdavis: ag property that drains into the river is subject to monitoring (which the landowners pay for), increasingly stringent standards, and, in the case of any violations, a mitigation plan is required (which the landowners pay for). The acreage fee to cover the monitoring costs was just increased something like 500% (though it is still pretty low). So farmers are already paying and addressing the pollution issues that the City of Davis would be avoiding if it sought a variance. The testing covers certain pesticides as well as a number of specific other things such as boron, selenium, etc. I don’t have my most recent info in front of me, but I can easily check what is being monitored. So the question is: what specific contaminants in the river water are you concerned about?
    This is a little tangential now. The main point is, surface water contains far fewer contaminants than ground water, and neither is a health or safety issue for people.

  57. davisite2

    “By the way, when you talked with him, how did he explain his compensation to you.”

    I didn’t ask him how much he was paid. I was only interested in learning how it was set up so that he would be as diligent as possible in collecting valid signatures. He appeared to be working 10-12 hours a day while trying to attend classes as well, not to just “earn a few bucks” as was suggested but rather necessary to meet his next apartment rent payment.

  58. Davis Enophile

    Davisite “I was only interested in learning how it was set up so that he would be as diligent as possible in collecting valid signatures.”

    And what did you learn?

  59. Davis Enophile

    Oh Rusty, a few more exclamation points, then maybe.

    Why is it, anyway, that you are so hot to have a vote now when you were adamant voters across California should not get a chance to vote on taxes?

  60. davisite2

    “And what did you learn?”

    If they are able to reach a 75% valid signature tally, then they are paid for all the signatures that they have collected. If less than 75%, they are paid only for the signatures that are found to be valid. This plan generates both the incentive to gather as many signatures as possible while also doing all that they can, which is difficult to do at the time of collection, to make sure they will be found to be valid.

  61. davisite2

    “and neither is a health or safety issue for people.”

    …so you acknowledge that the hyperbolic claims about “dirty” and unhealthy Davis groundwater compared to Sacramento river water are bogus.

  62. davisite2

    “The main point is, surface water contains far fewer contaminants than ground water…”

    It seems to me that the critical issue is what these “contaminants” are, rather than whether few or more. The “contaminants” that make Davis ground water “hard” are quite different from pesticides and other agricultural run-off.

  63. Don Shor

    @ davisite: Davis groundwater is not dirty (a rather imprecise term!) or unhealthy. I don’t know who made that claim, but it is not true. Anybody can check the constituents of Davis water, UCD water, and Sacramento water anytime they want. Davis groundwater is much higher in several things than Sacramento river water, obviously, including salts, selenium, etc.

    Your subsequent comment implies, without actually saying, that you think the reverse: that Sacramento river water may be less safe than Davis ground water. Do you believe that? Are you saying that?

  64. Rifkin

    I can confirm that Davisite2 was at the Nugget, today, looking over the shoulder of the paid signature gatherer. Davisite2 had on his customary mustard yellow tie with diagonal ketchup colored stripes. Just to prove his attendance there, I snapped this photograph of Davisite2:

    [img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-bNLU9vgsLgU/Tpj5y-Ng9wI/AAAAAAAAAg4/Vzqy0MDSMP0/s400/D2.JPG[/img]

  65. DT Businessman

    “Perhaps they have forgotten about the “rule of 72″ used to calculate bond debt.”

    The rule of 72 has nothing to do with calculating bond debt. The rule of 72 pertains to compounding interest for investment purposes. It has no bearing at all in the surface water project debate. It’s just another irrelevant distraction similar to the “blocking” nonsense.

    The whole debate boils down to whether one thinks it’s prudent to bet the wellfare of the community on receiving another variance, actually, multiple variances. Everything else is a distraction meant to confuse.

    Michael Harrington, what exactly is your interest in this matter? Are you being paid to conduct these scorched-earth tactics? Can you personally not afford the rate increases? Are you a concerned citizen taking up the cause of those less well off? It is not at all clear to me what your role is in this matter. I hear you spouting off in all sorts of media without any inkling as to your motivation. No matter how silly the statement of a project opponent, you parrot it. You’re an attorney for godssake, presumable an intelligent one. How do you reconcile your wacky behavior with your professional calling? Have you been drinking too much Davis well water?

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties)

  66. Adam Smith

    And just when you thought the credibility of his statements couldn’t be worse, mike harrington provides further proof that it’s impossible to underestimate some folks and what they will say for a little more attention:

    [i]Everyone, read the letter today to the DE Editor by a gentleman from Woodland about the “true costs of the water bonds.”

    When we go through the actual cost numbers, versus what staff and the CC told us this project is going to cost, the stuff from the Yolo horse barn is going to hit the fan.

    I’m actually starting to see that my “educated but sort of WAG” of $500 million to the region is way, way, way too low.[/i]

  67. Michael Harrington

    DT Businessman: My role is to confirm and protect the rights of Davis voters to have the final word on whether these huge rate increases are apporpriate under all the facts and circumstances now existing. Nothing more, or less, than that. Knock yourself out arguing, but that’s what I am here for.

    You know our Committee name, right? Make your checks payable to “Committee to Confirm Rights of Davis Voters.”

    We need more help for the final push. For additional information, or copies of the petition to fill out with your friends and neighbors, email me at michael@mikeharringtonlaw.com, or call at 759-8440. Pick them up or drop off at 430 D St.

    Legal deadline is 5 pm next Monday, 1024, but we are hoping for near end of this coming week. We have a lot of signatures, but need more, and still have to verify them against the County list.

  68. Rifkin

    [I]”It seems to me that the critical issue is what these “contaminants” are, rather than whether few or more. The “contaminants” that make Davis ground water “hard” are quite different from pesticides and other agricultural run-off.”[/I]

    D2, please explain what the differences are in these contaminants. I don’t understand your point. Are you being serious?

    And thanks for the email telling me you think I am funny.

    [img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-bNLU9vgsLgU/Tpj5y-Ng9wI/AAAAAAAAAg4/Vzqy0MDSMP0/s1600/D2.JPG[/img]

    [u]Great scene from Goodfellas[/u]

    Rich: What do you mean I’m funny?
    D2: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy. [laughs]
    Rich: What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
    D2: It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
    Rich: [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What’s funny about it?
    Don Shor: Richy, no, You got it all wrong.
    Rich: Oh, oh, Don Shor. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
    D2: Jus…
    Rich: What?
    D2: Just… ya know… you’re funny.
    Rich: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little [s]f*cked[/s] up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to [s]f*ckin'[/s] amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
    D2: Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?
    Rich: No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the [s]f*ck[/s] am I funny, what the [/s]f*ck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
    D2: [long pause] Get the f*ck out of here, Richy!
    Rich: [everyone laughs] Ya [s]motherf*cker![/s] I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Don Shor, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Davisite. You may fold under questioning.

  69. JustSaying

    [quote]“In the course of about 10 minutes of pleasant conversation I saw several seniors sign the petition. The man commented in jest, ‘see, even blocking me, I can get signatures’.”[/quote][b]Davis Enophile[/b], please help pin down this a little more. Was there any other mention of “blocking” during your conversation? I curious why he would have seen you as an opponent in the first place.

    Did you talk at all to any of the others who approached during your conversation? Did you stop talking with him each time he attempted to gain attention of a passerby or was approached by someone?

    How many signed while you were there? How many didn’t sign after pausing to listen? I’m interested in these details to help me understand all these charges of “blocking” being bandied about.[quote][i]”…’blocking’ – preventing those who wished to sign petitions from doing so….the opposition to the referendum campaign, led by Councilmember Stephen Souza, had been attempting to interfere with the signature gathering process – serious charges that would have constituted an election law violation and possibly more.”[/i][/quote]As David noted, he was investigating these allegations before Michael Harrington “went public” with his charges. David feels he “defended (Souza) from the (blocker) charges,” yet the best that can be said for his investigation is that it ended up at the same “he said, he said” place it began.

    To bad the [u]Vanguard[/u]* hasn’t been able to narrow down the truthfulness of an allegation Harrington has made, one that could lead to criminal charges.

    We’re told that we should keep an eye out for certified blocker video and first-hand [u]Enterprise[/u] accounts to support the serious claims. Yet, nothing but hearsay (or manufactured?) stories have sustained the coverage against Souza all week, ever since things first were kicked off in the [u]Vanguard[/u]*.

    So, now we have you observation that the paid petition pusher commented “in jest” about your “blocking” of his free-speech business operation, presumably without you soliciting such an observation. Do you feel he was bragging about his abilities, sarcastically showing off his knowledge about the “blocking” charges that have excited the locals this week or what.

    In any case, “blockers” (real, imagined or purposely made up) already have become part of the Davis water issue history. If he’s innocent, that leaves Councilman Souza in an untenable position similar to those wrongfully, but publicly, called out as child molesters .

    Even if the [u]Vanguard[/u]* pursues Harrington’s charges until it proves them false, some stench still will stick with Stephen in succeeding years (and elections). Maybe that was the purpose.

    ____________________________
    *Principled protector of the wrongfully, maliciously, unfairly and otherwise mistakenly accused.

  70. JustSaying

    [quote][i]”…I am a representative of the citizens of this community and thereby have a fiduciary responsibility to save the ratepayers as much as I can in what we pay for water in our community. He continues, ‘It is my duty to speak out when I believe that the ratepayers will be harmed on a matter that I have knowledge of.'”

    “It is at this point where I think the line between right and prudence starts becoming the issue’.”[/i][/quote]I’m struggling with a few things in this indictment of Councilor Souza. But, I can’t get past your jumping off point without some clarification about why you’re attacking her principled statement about her responsibilities–as an elected official–to her constituents.

    Oops, sorry about my error on the possessives. Right in the middle, I somehow flashed that you were quoting Councilor Greenwald. I’m sure you’ll excuse my slip since I’m positive you agree that the two have identical philosophies about their fiduciary responsibilities to save as much as they can in what we pay for water in our community and about their duty to speak out when they believe that the taxpayers will be harmed on a matter on which they’re knowledgeable.

    They also are both unafraid to keep informing us of the facts as they know them (from whatever sources they can come up with, regardless of whether they’re secret, public, real or imagined). Furthermore, both councilors fit the following:

    1. She/he “has been a bit overzealous” in fighting for and against issues involving the council back in the day, including times “where that overzealousness pushed up against the line, and even crossed the line into bullying.”
    2. She/he “has made herself/himself a polarizing figure during a time of election” by being responsible and by speaking out
    3. She/he apparently thinks that she/he “is the only one on council being responsible right now.” She/he believes continuing to speak out on the water issue “is her/his duty (while) it is clear that that view is not accepted by her/his colleagues….In fact, we have not heard from any of these three at all.”
    4. She/he, “of all people in this community, for the sake of intellectual honesty cannot use (any given) argument” if it conflicts with something they’ve said sometime before. (Because those we used to call flip-floppers, we now over-charge as intellectually dishonest S.O.B.s?)[i][quote]“To not speak out would be irresponsible on my part.”[/quote][/i]Wrong, Stephen, you’re way over the line! Wouldn’t be prudent. Let this go.

    So, David, you must appreciate my struggle. If our elected leaders [u]are right[/u] and if they [u]have the right[/u] “per se” to speak out, how do you leap so easily announce it is not the right “course of action” for one to take but okay for the other, similarly situated one?

    Why have you gone to these lengths to discredit Stephen now and advise him and us that he “needs to take a huge step back” and stop talking? Why, at the same time, do you seem to think it’s just fine for Sue engage in a continuing dialog about the referendum and the project itself. Please enlighten; I seem to have overlooked something.

  71. Davis Enophile

    JustSaying

    No,there was no other talking of blocking. He was joking, in sort of a flirtatious way. He was working up to the last bit where he just asked if I’d sign so that he’d get paid, like I had just received a service that deserved a gratuity.

    He and I were occupied the entire time, except, when he paused to take a cell phone call. He was using his talking points to ask leading questions of me. It was all straight forward. He didn’t pay anyone else any attention, but then he didn’t need to. About 4 people went straight to the table to sign without any prompting from him.

    He was aware of blocking though. I’m sure he was “warned”, and he clearly thought I’d get his joke when he said it. Simply put, both he and I thought this bit about blocking was and is BS.

  72. DT Businessman

    Mike, so now asking questions is arguing? I’ve asked the questions repeatedly, but you continue to dodge. Are you being paid to “confirm and protect the rights of Davis voters”? In an early news account you were cited as Ernie Head’s attorney in this referendum matter. Yet since then you portray yourself as a concerned citizen on steroids to the point where you’re willing to malign others characters and make so many silly statements as to seriously call your integrity into question.

    And honestly, the citizens don’t need you to “confirm and protect the rights of Davis voters”. Our rights have not been violated, we’re doing just fine. The council has made a decision that they felt was in the best interest of the community. The citizens have the right to 2nd guess the council by means of a referendum. Souza and Greenwald have the right to make their cases. So far, so good. What’s going off the rails here, Mike, are your wacky assertions and your continuous refusal to name the primary financial backers of the referendum and their notivations. If your cause is just, why the misinformation and subterfuge?

    So there is no misunderstanding, I support the Council’s decision because I think the set of pertinent facts that we have before us will remain unchanged come next June. So why dilly dally? Let’s get on with the project and focus our attention and energy on the other challenges that we have before us. That said, if the community wants to spend the next 8 months arguing over the project, so be it. And if the community come June wants to kick the can further down the road, damn the consequences, so be it. One way or the other we’ll be paying substantially higher water and sewer rates. Sticking our heads in the sand won’t make the challenge go away.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties)

  73. davisite2

    ‘please help pin down this a little more. Was there any other mention of “blocking” during your conversation? I curious…”

    Just saying.. I happen to have been there when this conversation took place. The gentlemen said that he was “very interested” in what the signature-gatherer had to say. It became apparent after several minutes that this was not the case. I had similar experiences during the Measure X campaign,i.e. a “shopper” would attempt to occupy my time(and the space in front of me)by feigning interest and wanting to hold a lengthy one-on-one dialogue. At the time, there was a cadre of UCD sorority and fraternity students who were part of the Yes on Measure X campaign(?paid or volunteer?) as Yes on Measure X “war room” operatives.. As to the incident that you are referring to in front of the Nugget, it did have that “flavor” which this professional signature-gather recognized and commented upon lightly and in jest.

  74. davisite2

    “Your subsequent comment implies, without actually saying, that you think the reverse: that Sacramento river water may be less safe than Davis ground water. Do you believe that? Are you saying that?”

    Sacramento river water contains pesticides, agricultural run-off, pharmaceuticals and other none chemical toxins. Some are not tested for at all and others have standards and “mitigation” plans that IMO, are no doubt influenced by powerful lobbying of agricultural and landowner interests.
    I do not know whether Davis Sacramento river water is less safe but I believe that there are more unknown constituents and political lobbying influencing what the acceptable levels are in Sacramento river water.

  75. DT Businessman

    rusty49, asking someone to clarify two conflicting statements makes one a detractor? Pointing out that the rule of 72 is an investment principal pertaining to compounding interest makes one a detractor? Pointing out flaws in reasoning is a neutral exercise. It makes one neither a detractor nor a proponent.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties)

  76. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]For me, I support the project simply because I think it makes more sense to do one water project than to pay for a “deep well” project that will provide water for a few years then pay again for a surface project later. But obviously there is much going on behind the heated rhetoric that we little people don’t have access to. Do you, dear reader?[/quote]

    This is why the citizen advisory committee is so important – so that citizens get a peek behind the scenes, to keep in check any impulses at cost overruns, and the like.

  77. Don Shor

    Your statements are incorrect. The mitigation plans are quite detailed and there is almost no way “powerful lobbying” can get state regulators to adjust them. I doubt that you could name a single toxin that is “not tested for.” In fact, I seriously doubt your credentials in discussing this issue at all.
    If we are going to have a fact-based debate on this issue, let’s dispose of this one right away. Sacramento river water is not less safe than Davis groundwater. Safety of water is not determined by “political lobbying.” It is science-based.

  78. Michael Harrington

    Rusty49 commented: “Mr. Harrington,

    Pay no attention to these silly detractors.

    The people, the silent majority are behind you.”

    Thanks! From being in the middle of the whirlpool on this issue, I can agree that the majority (i would not say vast, but it’s close) are behind this effort to put it on the ballot for a full airing of the facts and arguments, pro and con project.

    I understand that many people do not know how they are voting on the project itself, which is how it should be since the population has never heard any of the other options besides build THIS project with THIS JPA and with WOODLAND.

    People sense this … that they have been treated like closet mushrooms and fed barn stuff for over 10 years. So let’s have the debate!

    Cheers, and we need for assistance this weekend and next week to push it over the line. Thanks to everyone for helping.

  79. DT Businessman

    I’m not understanding this win at any cost approach. I thought we as a society moved past the “ends justify the means” approach. And then to be gleeful about it is passing strange. Skipping blithely through the wildflowers while casting aspersions, a little character assasination here, tossing a little falsehood there. See you in June! Hee hee. It’s just weird.

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties)

  80. biddlin

    From the outside, Mr Harrington, it seems way over the line already ! The cost of the election and penalties that may accrue from the delay and the economic and physical health of the community would be enough to convince me to smile and walk past the petition table ! Jeff Boone has this one right, from the jump . Sometimes you’ve gotta hitch em’ up and pay the freight !

  81. biddlin

    Souza’s grandstanding is no surprise . What has surprised me is the Vanguard’s willingness to be used as a propaganda tool by local candidates and their surrogates .

  82. DT Businessman

    biddin, I’m a political neophyte. Please be more specific. Which local candidates are you referring to and who are the surrogates?

    DT Businessman (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties)

  83. Rifkin

    DON SHOR: [i]”@ davisite: Your statements are incorrect.”[/i]

    Of course, but isn’t that a personal attack?

    DON SHOR: [I]”The mitigation plans are quite detailed and there is almost no way ‘powerful lobbying’ can get state regulators to adjust them.”[/i]

    You think D2 does not understand what ‘mitigation’ means; you are attacking his lack of intellect!

    [i]”I doubt that you could name a single toxin that is ‘not tested for.'[/i]

    Another personal attack?

    [i]”In fact, I seriously doubt your credentials in discussing this issue at all.”[/i]

    You are questioning D2’s credentials? He stayed at a Holiday Inn Express!

    [i]”If we are going to have a fact-based debate on this issue, let’s dispose of this one right away.”[/i]

    Don, fact-based? This is D2 you are demeaning with your attacks.

    [i]”Sacramento River water is not less safe than Davis groundwater.”[/i]

    D2 tells me he prefers to water ski with the greatest all-girl group of all time, the Go Go’s, in the deep aquifer.

    [img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_gNgHOYb9WV8/SFu-1KM_y_I/AAAAAAAABdE/t2kh8JXXbCQ/s400/Go-Gos.JPG[/img]

  84. davisite2

    “I doubt that you could name a single toxin that is “not tested for.”

    I thought that there was agreement that there are pharmaceuticals that get into the Sacramento river and are not tested for.

  85. davisite2

    “…there is almost no way “powerful lobbying” can get state regulators to adjust them.”

    The idea that regulators are uninfluenced by powerful special interest lobbying efforts ,either directly or by their surrogates, is refuted almost daily in the news.

  86. Don Shor

    If you have examples of water board regulators being influenced by special interests, other than during the regular public hearing process, I’d be very interested. Do you have any experience dealing with agricultural drainage issues?

  87. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]The cost of the election and penalties that may accrue from the delay and the economic and physical health of the community would be enough to convince me to smile and walk past the petition table–[b]Biddlin[/b][/quote]People who have concerns about the current surface water plan vary all over the map in terms of their perspective and knowledge as is the case with people who support the current council timeline.

    My perspective is that we should import surface water but that we would be well advised to phase it in because $300 million plus (we don’t know the final cost of the project yet and new major storm sewer requirements are probably coming) is just too large an expenditure to finance at one time.

    The “health” of the people is not jeopardized by phasing in this project. Our groundwater is safe, and river water is safe. Some people have concerns about constituents in river water, some have concerns about constituents in groundwater but they are both safe.

    I have only suggested trying to get a salinity variance from the WRCB, and to consider postponing completing the project if we receive the variance. We would not risk significant fines under this scenario.

    There are legitimate reasons to proceed with the project now and legitimate reasons to try to phase it in.

    Fear to health or fear of fines should not be a concern under my proposal.

  88. Voter2012

    Sue: What is your [u]specific[/u] Plan B if the variance is denied.

    You’ve been asked this question multiple times, and all we’ve gotten is vague statements about challenging any denial in court … as well as completely unsubstantiated assurances from you that this is a non-issue because we are going to get approval.

    Please give us timelines, legal precedents, etc. — ANY [u]specific[/u] details that might indicate that this has been thought through and is a credible option worthy of serious consideration.

    Also, please explain why your variance option cannot run in parallel with the plan approved by the council majority. Under a parallel scenario, if a variance is granted the city could hit the pause button and re-evaluate the phasing … and if it is denied then the project would proceed in an orderly fashion unless disrupted by Harrington’s rate payer revolt.

  89. Voter2012

    “Also, please explain why your variance option cannot run in parallel …”

    To clarify …

    Sue: Would you oppose proceeding with the approved plan on schedule if we were diligently seeking a variance [u]in parallel[/u]? This seems like a win-win that would put your theory to the test, keep the phasing option on the table, but avoid the risks of delay.

  90. Michael Harrington

    Voter2012: You have been badgering Sue for all kinds of procedural and strategic details. Go read David Suder’s excellent post. Lay off Sue. She has been saying for several years what David’s article documented as the way to go with a variance.

    I am not an elected official like Sue, but I consider you the opposition to direct democracy on this issue, and one of many opponents in the general election campaign. Why on earth would I ever tell you anything about where I am coming from with the campaign, until I get to where the position is clear and public?

    Stop badgering people, and contribute something positive. Like, how would you like to improve the CC plan, fiscal analysis, rate structure, etc.?

    Maybe you can tell us something personal, like how these rate hikes would directly effect your business, your family, your budgets? Create some context for your comments, and stay positive and forward looking.

    Otherwise you just sound like someone bored and ranting at a computer behind a false name.

    Cheers, Mate! Michael

  91. Voter2012

    Michael:

    I’m sure Sue can speak for herself.

    And speaking of how people sound … you sound like an egomaniac that doesn’t want to miss an opportunity to showboat. I’m Micheal Harrington – self-appointed guardian of the taxpayers. Look at me. I’m important again.

    That being said, feel free to badger me all you want … mate.

    Cheers!

  92. Michael Harrington

    Ryan: The Committee seeks to protect the rights of Davis voters to have the final say on the funding for this project. That is clear, and public. I wouldnt say I am leading the opposition; I and a number of others are leading the group that supports the majority of voters in Davis who wish to vote. Nothing complicated or nefaris with that, is there? You hear from me the most because I also work in an office and the Vanguard is often times running in the corner, so I see the posts and can respond. There are others who are working much harder at this referendum than I am, fortunately.

    Assuming the petitions are certified and the referendum qualifies for the ballot, it’s hard to say what will happen later in the campaign; I dont have a crystal ball.

  93. Ryan Kelly

    We directly elected City Council members and we were given plenty of opportunity to protest the rate increases. Why do we need “protection”?

    So, the committee’s only concern is that we directly vote on this? Does the committee includes people that like the water project? Are you going to apply this to other financial issues in the City of Davis, such as union contracts and decisions on cuts to services and programs? Can you see the City Council having any power to make these decisions for us or are we going to be demanding to vote on these issues too?

  94. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]There are legitimate reasons to proceed with the project now and legitimate reasons to try to phase it in. [/quote]

    You could have fooled me that you are suddenly taking a “neutral” position on this project or can see valid reasons to do the project now… when in fact your post prior to that said very clearly:

    [quote]My perspective is that we should import surface water but that we would be well advised to phase it in because $300 million plus (we don’t know the final cost of the project yet and new major storm sewer requirements are probably coming) is just too large an expenditure to finance at one time. [/quote]

    You cannot have it both ways…

  95. Don Shor

    @ eastdavis: I am very much aware of the public process by which the selenium contamination there is being addressed. C-Win is an advocate in that process, as are the farmers and others. The point the farmers and ranchers make is legitimate: they don’t have the wherewithal to deal with the problem on their own. The Grasslands Bypass Project is a compromise; IMO there are no easy fixes to a decades-long accumulation of selenium. A beneficial side-effect has been the collection of selenium data and the development of standards, some of which are coming into play in our discussion here.
    Davisite seems to think that there is “powerful lobbying” that is leading to regulatory outcomes, and I think the Grasslands Bypass Project demonstrates the opposite.

  96. eastdavis

    @Don Shor: The Grassland Bypass Project provides a good example of how to approach a variance to a compliance schedule for water quality standards. There needs to be an explanation as to why the standards can’t be met by the expected date along with a plan to be implemented that reduces discharge loads over the variance period and a revised date that the standards would be complied with. For Davis, a plan that integrates implementation of some form of a surface water acquisition combined with other actions to reduce salt loads in our discharges (such as graywater reuse on landscaping, incentives for rainwater capture systems and a buy back program for water softeners),and potentially reuse of WWTP effluent on forage crops could (IMO) be a sufficient plan to convince the Regional Water Board to approve a variance. Going to the Board with no plan, just arguing economic hardship is less likely to succeed.

  97. Don Shor

    That is not unreasonable.
    A couple of issues:
    1. the standards can be met by the expected date. Woodland will be meeting the standards by implementing the surface water project. So Davis would have difficulty making that argument. Tracy, on the other hand, only had reverse osmosis (as far as I know) as their method.
    2. There would have to be a detailed proposal for implementing the measures you are suggesting, and there are issues with all of them. Infrastructure changes to implement graywater in any significant way would be costly, assuming you’re referring to municipal landscaping. Water softener programs do have some measure of success. I don’t know of any rainwater capture programs that have been implemented extensively (I’d be interested).
    3. Once again, Davis ratepayers would be paying for temporary measures, and then ultimately paying for the surface water project anyway. So all of this is just another way of making things cheaper now, and more expensive later.
    4. None of this addresses subsidence and selenium. But neither of those is an imminent issue as to regulations. Subsidence won’t be regulated. Selenium is a big question mark. But both are solved by the surface water project.

  98. eastdavis

    The Schroeder and Tchobanoglous study recommended implementation of an “aggressive water conservation program”. An effective water conservation program will reduce demand and groundwater overdraft.

    Here are examples of incentive programs that other cities in CA are implementing to reduce their water demands:

    The city of Roseville offers up to $1000.00 per site to replace lawns with low water use plants in their Cash for Grass program: http://www.roseville.ca.us/eu/…ebates.asp

    The city of Santa Rosa offers rebates for graywater reuse, rainwater harvesting and removing turf: http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/dep…bates.aspx

    The city of San Francisco offers a Discounted Rain Barrel and Cistern Program http://sfwater.org/index.aspx?page=178

    The subsidence issue could be addressed by injection of some of the surface water as Alan Pryor suggested in his article last month. I am not a groundwater hydrologist, but I presume that injection could provide some relief to the groundwater overdraft and subsidence problem.

  99. Don Shor

    The overdraft is in the sub-basin that is pumped by both Davis and Woodland. If Woodland goes to the surface water, that would help a lot. If they don’t, growth in Woodland would possibly eat up much of the conservation effect in Davis. Spring Lake continues to build out. As to how fast they’re selling, I don’t know.

    In Austin TX they are paying people by the square foot to replace St. Augustine grass with lower water-using grass species. Texas is in a terrible drought, and with La Niña projected to continue another winter they are predicting another drought year at least.
    Injection of the surface water is definitely worth pursuing. Of course, that would be with the surface water. So it doesn’t really pertain to the current proposal to delay the project. But it would be a simple way to bank water for summer use in dry years and possibly prevent subsidence.
    I was unaware of the San Francisco program. I’ll have to share that with other landscape and nursery professionals.
    I get a lot of people who want to replace their lawns with lower-water landscapes and we help them figure out different options, even including small turf areas. We also have a lot of people who want to grow more of their own food, and that requires water. 10 – 20% water reduction is easy to achieve. Most people can accomplish that just by watering correctly. But anything more than that can start to reduce the value of the landscape for outdoor family use and can cut into food production. And at some point you reduce the shade value and cooling effect of the landscape, and there are actual energy tradeoffs.
    People will cooperate with reasonable conservation programs. They will conserve significantly during a severe drought. But asking people to significantly reduce their water use in a high-rainfall year is likely to be less successful. Especially when there is an abundant supply of water flowing by twenty miles away.

  100. JustSaying

    What water conservation programs does the City of Davis in place right now? Do we have well-promoted add-on rebate programs for the appliances, solar devices, etc. that the state and utility companies already subsidize (as well as stand-alone programs for improvements the other groups don’t support)?

    I keep reading about the damage our water softeners are causing our water/sewer systems? What has the City of Davis done in the past 10 or 15 years about this (outlawing the old technology in new construction, say, or providing rebates for switching out old-style softeners)?

    Do we offer water usage audits for homeowners (like the energy assessments) who want to conserve but need applied science and coaching? Have our building codes been water-upgraded to “Green Davis standards” that exceed state and national requirements and that target our own needs?

    We must have all kinds of data and plans that show where attacking at the housing development level or down to homeowners would provide the “biggest bang for the buck” in such programs. Are our “affordable housing” projects striking models of water and power conservation?

    Have the millions of urban development funds incorporated stringent water conservation requirements and state-of-the-art advances? Will our new parking lot produce the water to efficiently irrigate all the associated landscaping?

    How about the Hanlees big-bucks giveaway? What conservation measures are incorporated for retrofitting their existing properties as well as for the new construction the taxpayers are financing? Will that urban blight area look any better or save water and power thanks to the $1-million city deal?

  101. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]Most people can accomplish that just by watering correctly. But anything more than that can start to reduce the value of the landscape for outdoor family use and can cut into food production. And at some point you reduce the shade value and cooling effect of the landscape, and there are actual energy tradeoffs.—[b]Don Shor[/b][/quote]The Yolo County Water Resources Association invited a speaker a few years ago whose area of expertise was sustainability. I asked the speaker about the trade-off between the carbon sequestering properties of landscaping, the energy savings that come from shade trees, and the value of conserving water. He said that this is an important question and it has yet to be answered.

    Water conservation would be helpful if we postpone the project. I’m not sure that extremely stringent water conservation is even desirable from an environmental perspective once we have invested in the surface water infrastructure.

  102. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]Sue: What is your specific Plan B if the variance is denied–[b]Voter2012[/b][/quote]If we have really made our case for phasing in the project and exhausted our remedies and if the WRCB were then really going to fine us more than the project would cost, I would of course have to think in terms of going forward with the project according to the current schedule.

  103. JustSaying

    [quote][i]”Water conservation would be helpful if we postpone the project. I’m not sure that extremely stringent water conservation is even desirable from an environmental perspective once we have invested in the surface water infrastructure.”[/i][/quote][b]Sue[/b], I realize you’re responding to Don’s comments rather my questions, but why would water conservation be “helpful” if the project is postponed but maybe not “even desirable” after the agency has “invested in the surface water infrastructure”?

    Can you also help on my questions (above your comments) about our past record with respect to city conservation initiatives? (Tie-ins to various city building projects, homeowner audits, water softener replacements, building codes, etc.)

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