DJUSD Poll Finds Strong Support for Schools Tax, Less Support for Water

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Those who believe that the parcel tax is dead ought to at least look at the polling that was completed on November 9 by DJUSD.  Whether those numbers change after water rate hikes take effect is uncertain at this point.

However, the poll found that more than 70% of voters would either “definitely” or “probably” vote to renew “the existing parcel tax” and, moreover, that support is largely unchanged from the December 2010 poll.

72% of voters polled said they would vote to renew it when told the amount of the parcel tax, compared to 74% percent who said the same without being told the amount.

While we do not have the direct numbers of support for water, we do have a sense with the question, “On a scale of 1 to 7, where 7 is strong support for a tax and 1 is strong opposition to a tax, how likely would you be to vote for taxes for the following local programs?”

dw-poll-1

Schools fare, by far, the best of the programs voters would support.  Nearly half would give support for a schools tax a “7,” over 60% a “6” or higher, and over 70% are somewhat supportive.

Water, like roads, public safety and parks are quite a bit lower, with water having the lowest rating.  Barely 50% are somewhat supportive of taxes for water.

How that bears on the voter preferences on the water rates is unknown.  But city officials ought to be concerned that parks have support levels of under 60% when a two-thirds vote is required.  And those who believe that the voters would be willing to increase taxes to pay for public safety, let alone employee compensation in public safety, are kidding themselves.

But mainly, this was a poll on the schools, and school officials should be encouraged throughout.  Voters are most supportive of extending the parcel tax for another five years, with support dropping as the time increases, and only 57% percent in favor of a permanent parcel tax.

Support drops by a lot when talking about increasing the parcel tax.  Only 58% would support renewing it with an increase of $100 and 52% support typing the parcel tax to the Consumer Price Index.  On the other hand, reducing the parcel tax by $100 does not generate additional support.

The poll found that, while the percentage of voters not willing to vote for “any additional taxes” has grown slightly, the numbers are similar to past years.  This poll, the number was 35% for those who would not vote for additional taxes. In December 2010 it was 31%, and 31% also in June 2008.

That suggests, at least at this point, there is not a huge anti-tax backlash in Davis.  However, that could change.

The poll finds stronger support for renewal than existed for Measure A and Measure W.

In the June 2008 poll prior to Measure W, 56% of surveyed voters supported the $140 parcel tax. 35% were opposed.  Measure W would go on to pass in November 2008 with 76% of the vote.

In the December 2010 poll, 67% of surveyed voters supported the $200 parcel tax. 25% were opposed.   Measure A would narrowly pass in May 2011 with 67% of the vote.

dw-poll-2

The comparison of negatives across offices is always interesting.  Not sure what to make of the precipitous drop in the negatives in the California legislature, but their positives also dropped.

More interesting is the fact that the Board of Supervisors has seen its negatives grow by a large margin, and its positives shrink.

The Davis City Council remains the most unpopular of all public agencies, except for the legislature, though that gap has narrowed.  However, the council is more unpopular today than it was last year in March.

Finally, the school board, perhaps due to the controversies earlier this year, is viewed as much more negative, and its positive ratings fell from over 40% to under 20% while its negative ratings grew from about 15% to about 41%.

In our view, this poll really does not give us anything definitive on the water, other than to suggest that if it really came down to schools versus water, it would be no contest, schools would win hands down.

Now, I caution on that point, because campaigns and public information campaigns have the potential to change the landscape.

But headed into this, there is nothing tangible to suggest that the school parcel tax is doomed.  In fact, just the opposite, it looks to be in a strong position.

What puts it on stronger grounds is the fact that it really is a complete renewal, or likely to be.  Support falls off greatly when it becomes anything other than a renewal.

That said, the budget news is not good, and it seems likely that there will be more cuts.  However, at this point, it looks like the district will have to eat those cuts rather than risk going to the voters yet again.

—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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85 Comments

  1. hpierce

    Are the DJUSD employees in negotiations for next year? If taxpayers are asked for the same “sacrifices”, are the employees willing to maintain their minor sacrifices, and/or willing to come to the plate to increase their sacrifices?

  2. Michael Harrington

    OMG. The Davis CC is only viewed with about 10% positive? Well, it’s from the Zipcar, the failure to balance the budget, the debacle with the labor agreement and the Labor Board, the $800,000 mistake in not following the city’s bargaining ordinance, the failure to reduce the 4 man fire crews to someting we can afford, the DACHA disaster, the water plant mess, the blockers from one CC member, and now the City Attorney’s long-hidden memo that attempts to strip the Davis voters of their rights pursuant to the referendum to vote on the huge water rate hikes.

    At least we pushed the water rate hike mess back to an outright repeal on December 6, or to a citywide vote in June 2012. That should significantly assist the school parcel tax renewals on the March 2012 ballot.

  3. Michael Harrington

    You know, that CC favorable of 10% probably will encourage the calls I have heard from around the city that some members of the CC should be recalled over the water and budget mess. I’m just working on the water, but the poll is telling, when combined with the overall feeling I get from around town. I can tell you that the CC is nearly completely out of touch with the problems in town: we simply cannot afford all of the hair-brained, gold-plated projects that are pushed for political gain, such as some former and current members of the CC. The town is OUT of money. And now people are coming to me about an initiative that will fix the employee comp and benefits issues, if the CC won’t do it soon. Stay tuned. People are pissed off.

  4. Don Shor

    Michael: “[i]…including your defense of United Water and Vioela Water…[/i]”
    This was directed at me on another thread.
    Before you post again, Michael, I expect a retraction from you. I will no longer tolerate your innuendoes and lies. The statement that I “defended” those companies is a lie. Retract it.

  5. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Water, like roads, public safety and parks are quite a bit lower, with water having the lowest rating. Barely 50% are somewhat supportive of taxes for water.[/quote]

    [quote]Schools fare, by far, the best of the programs voters would support. Nearly half would give support for a schools tax a “7,” over 60% a “6” or higher, and over 70% are somewhat supportive.[/quote]

    Who took the poll, who was it administered? Secondly, it appears the school tax was never in danger with respect to the water rate increases. Certainly there is not a whit of evidence from these polls that the school parcel tax would not pass if the water rates were increased.

  6. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]OMG. The Davis CC is only viewed with about 10% positive?[/quote]

    The Davis CC is viewed with MORE THAN 50% positive or neutral, which is remarkably high considering the abysmal state of the economy and the degree of difficulty of the various issues the CC has had to deal with. And it is almost identical with the Davis School Board, who has also had to deal with an abysmal economy.

  7. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]At least we pushed the water rate hike mess back to an outright repeal on December 6, or to a citywide vote in June 2012. That should significantly assist the school parcel tax renewals on the March 2012 ballot. [/quote]

    And are you going to take full credit/blame if the surface water project turns out to be considerably more expensive bc of delays?

  8. wdf1

    ERM: [i]Who took the poll, who was it administered?[/i]

    Full details can be found in the agenda attachments for last night’s school board meeting. Go here:

    [url]http://davis.csbaagendaonline.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/davis-eAgenda.woa/wa/showMeeting[/url]

    and agenda item V.b., download the pdf file for parcel tax poll presentation. It is exactly the presentation that was given last night, and has the full details of the poll, including the demographic breakdown.

  9. rdcanning

    David – I don’t see any mention of how many people were polled (600 or 1000?), and whether they are eligible or registered or likely voters? And what was the margin of error? This may sound like silly details to some but it’s essential when reporting this kind of thing that your readers have a sense of the validity of the poll results. Already commenters are making assumptions about the poll and what it means for other issues. Here, for example is the address of a document about publishing guidelines for poll data: http://www.esomar.org/uploads/public/knowledge-and-standards/codes-and-guidelines/WAPOR-ESOMAR_Guidelines.pdf

  10. Davis Enophile

    [quote]Michael: “…including your defense of United Water and Vioela Water…”
    This was directed at me on another thread.
    Before you post again, Michael, I expect a retraction from you. I will no longer tolerate your innuendoes and lies. The statement that I “defended” those companies is a lie. Retract it.
    [/quote]

    Michael, you’ve been called out several times on this. Your silence officially moves you from troll status to weasel status.

    Congratulations.

  11. rdcanning

    wdf1: It’s not enough for a commenter to post a link to the survey (and thank you for that), but better for DG to have done it in the body of his article and to provide some of the details I outlined in my last post.

  12. wdf1

    rdcanning: [i]…how many people were polled (600 or 1000?), and whether they are eligible or registered or likely voters? And what was the margin of error?[/i]

    #polled, 400

    registered voters, specific demographic breakdown by Davis neighborhood/region explained in link above

    Marge Genovera: +/- 5.0%

  13. wdf1

    This is a more direct link to the poll presentation. Sometimes I find these link addresses don’t always work when I post them, but here goes:

    [url]https://davis.csbaagendaonline.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/davis-eAgenda.woa/files/MTMyMTU4NzQxMzc4My9kYXZpc2VBZ2VuZGEvODkxLzQ3MzYvRmlsZXM=/11-17-11_djusd_measure_poll_presentation__b___compatibility_mode_.pdf[/url]

  14. rdcanning

    The survey was a telephone survey of 400 registered voters (there were greater than 23,000 votes in the 2010 CC election – this is less than 2% of registered voters). The margin of error is +/- 5%.

  15. Michael Harrington

    To all: Don and I are discussing this, but offline. David did a series of articles when he outed UW and Veolea Water. Go look at the responses, and show me where Don ever disavowed the bidding process, disagreed with the JPA’s choice of restricting itself to a pool with at least two seriously problematic companies, etc etc. Don’s view in the time I have participated on this Blog has been 100% surface water plant, and THAT plant, and THAT process, and THAT status. I have no memory of a single time that he has ever softened that tone, disagreed with the obviously fraudulent rate structure, disagreed with UW being a finalist. Since he chose to swim with that project and its process, that includes blessing serious consideration of UW to DOB.

    I stuck my personal and professional neck out to push through that referendum, with the risk that if I failed, I would be skinned alive by the likes of Don and his surface water plant buddies on this Blog.

    Don’s team has lost so far because they have bad facts, bad law, and a bad, bad client, and he needs to grow a thicker skin if he is going to make himself a public figure.

    Show me where he disagreed with anything about that white elephant project or its process.

  16. Michael Harrington

    I will come back to the Blog this weekend. Have a brief due on the East Coast in federal court, right now.

    Don, use email and send me where you disagreed with your client (the JPA) and its blessing of UW. You chose to take a water bath with those people and companies, and you are known by the friends you keep.

  17. Don Shor

    [i]”…including your defense of United Water and Vioela Water…” [/i]
    has now morphed into
    [i]”…send me where you disagreed with your client (the JPA) and its blessing of UW.”[/i]

    I rest my case. Now back to your regular programming.

    I think the poll results demonstrate that the ongoing argument that the water project is a threat to the current parcel tax renewal is unwarranted.

  18. Frankly

    [i]I stuck my personal and professional neck out to push through that referendum, with the risk that if I failed, I would be skinned alive by the likes of Don and his surface water plant buddies on this Blog.
    [/i]

    Mike, your neck is still out and the risk of skinning still exists if we end up paying more for our water that we otherwise had to. I appreciate your single-minded determination; but you Sue and Bob may end up on the same boat without a paddle. Let’s hope not for the city’s sake.

  19. Frankly

    Let’s review…

    We are asking a population of people primarily working in the education profession, but who lack detailed understanding about the risks for delaying or killing the surface water project.

    So why is this survey news?

    Also, the school parcel tax is a renewal, and the surface water project requires a rate increase. Comparing these is apples to oranges. How do you think a net new parcel tax supporting education would fare?

  20. rdcanning

    Jeff – maybe I’m misunderstanding your post. The pollster surveyed 400 registered voters – randomly drawn from the whole population of registered voters in Davis (around 23,000) – not just “a population of people primarily working in the education profession.”

  21. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]How do you think a net new parcel tax supporting education would fare?[/quote]

    Actually the poll indicated even a $100 increase in the parcel tax would result in support for it going down to 58%, so your point is well taken…

  22. Frankly

    rdcanning: There are about 32,000 UCD students. Let’s conservatively assume half of them live in Davis. There are about 14,000 UCD employees. Let’s conservatively assume half of them live in Davis. There are about 1000 DUSD employees. Let’s assume 70% of them live in Davis. That is 25,100 people out of our population of 65,000. Now let’s consider the all the family members of these 23, 600 people who live in Davis.

    I think it is safe to conclude that at least 1/3 of the population works in, or is closely related to someone that works in, the education field. Considering this I would expect much higher bias in support of taxes for education spending that I would for other like-sized cities.

  23. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]MH: Show me where he disagreed with anything about that white elephant project or its process. [/quote]

    Because someone does not speak to an issue in this blog, it means they must support that issue? Can we assume all the issues you have not spoken to on this blog you therefore support? All the readers that have not blogged therefore support issues they failed to comment on? Is that the fatuous position you really want to take?

  24. Sue Greenwald

    It is a great relief to see that the school parcel tax has solid support.

    Don’t forget, however, that the city parcel tax renewal is also absolutely critical. We are in deficit mode even with the city parcel tax.

  25. rdcanning

    Jeff, very few UCD students are registered to vote in Davis – very few (even fewer do vote). I’m not sure you can count on them in your calculations. Also, I’m not sure your assumptions are correct about the percentages. I don’t know the true figures and I’m not sure your conclusions are sound because simple relationship or association with education doesn’t mean other influences bear on their responses. But it’s all a minor point – the sample size is only 400 which I am suspicious is too small for much generalization. I think the school board should not give it much weight – better if it was at least 600-1000 for an electorate of over 23,000.

  26. Mark West

    Following the last City Council election many commentators around town, including David, implored the new Council to stop the petty bickering and ‘scorched earth’ (my term) approach to politics and to move to a more respectful and deliberative method of leadership. Why then are we allowing this discussion and topic to be driven by one of the primary ‘win at all costs’ advocates the city has ever seen. In my opinion it is time to marginalize the screamers and get back to deliberative, respectful discussion that focus on facts, not innuendo and misinformation.

  27. Herman

    I think the tone of Don Schor’s contribution to this blog in the last two days is getting more intemperate, personal wild, and unpleasant even if others, including myself, have been intemperate at times. Bu it ill behooves the interests of the Vanguard to have a moderator who is taking such a tone and who is so clearly one sided on the water issue. I suggested that, on this issue at least, David seriously considers using another moderator.

    Yesterday Don threw out a series of questions to Michael, as if anyone who opposed the project on any grounds was certified lunatic. Let me in kind and civilly offer a series of simple questions for Don (Yes, Don you may have commented upon some [even all] of them in the past but your write so much so often at such length that I am sure many readers would appreciate a summation):

    1) In the light of this dissension, and the importance of this issue, are you against a full vote of the Davis electorate on the issue ? If so, please explain why?

    2) Do you think there are any technical/hydrological and related issues that are worthy of further study? If so which?

    3) How you can know, or assume, that it is impossible to obtain a five year variance?

    4) Do you not think it is possible that we might be able to get a better DBO from some other companies not being considered as yet? If no, explain why.

    5) Can you possibly see a set of economic circumstances from the world economy down through the national, state, and local economy, combined with significant project cost overruns, where the proposed project might not constitute a serious hardship for the people of Davis and Woodland?

    6) Do you think that the argument of Nancy Price and many other people that the city should give serious consideration to running its own water system and not sub contract it has any merit at all? If not, why not?

  28. wdf1

    JB: [i]There are about 32,000 UCD students. Let’s conservatively assume half of them live in Davis.[/i]

    Adding to rdcannings comments: If they live on campus in dorms, then I’m not sure they even vote in this election, nor do they live within Davis city limits. And given the transient nature of a college population (undergrad population overturning almost completely every 4-5 years), I’m not sure that students would be as up to date on voter registration until prior to a general election.

  29. Voter2012

    “Those who believe that the parcel tax is dead ought to at least look at the polling that was completed on November 9 by DJUSD.”

    I have. I still think the parcel tax is lost. And Harrington will personally bear the large majority of the responsibility if it goes down.

    But that’s what elections are for. I hope I’m wrong. This is one crow I’d love to eat.

  30. Ryan Kelly

    Mike Harrington: “Don, use email and send me where you disagreed with your client (the JPA) and its blessing of UW. You chose to take a water bath with those people and companies, and you are known by the friends you keep.”

    Mike, You just never stop. The JPA is not Don Schor’s “client.” Last I heard, Don ran a Nursery and Garden supply store. Lie, Lie, Lie, then challenge the target of your lies to provide proof to counter your lies. Your tactics might be acceptable in your insular world of civil litigation, but a real turn off for people in this city. It will be great to have you gone for a bit.

  31. Frankly

    rdcanning & wdf1 – RE: counting the population of education-friendly voters.

    You both make valid points. However, lacking access to statistics that might prove my point, I will easily stand on the more general premise that Davis would tend to have a higher percentage of its population working in the education profession than most other like-sized communities, and people working in the education profession are more likely to vote for taxes to fund education.

    How else do you explain that Davisites vote to tax themselves for extra education spending when the majority of other communities with a similar size and income profile have the opposite track record?

    However, with the cuts to education state-wide, it appears that many cities have to float parcel tax measures to maintain the status quo and I would expect some of these to win based on the consequences. Alameda passed their Measure A by a wide margin this year. Teacher’s union money is a powerful influencer given the typical lack of organized funding mechanisms for the opposition.

  32. Frankly

    Herman: [i]”I think the tone of Don Schor’s contribution to this blog in the last two days is getting more intemperate, personal wild, and unpleasant even if others, including myself, have been intemperate at times.”[/i]

    I like a moderator that participates in the debate because we know where he/she stands. Bias always exists. I have less respect for those that attempt to hide it or deceive even themselves that they are a picture of perfect objectivity. It does not exist.

    However, if you are comparing Don to “others” – on a scale of 1-10, ten being the most intemperate, personally wild and unpleasant – Don gets a consistent 1-2 with a periodic 4-5; while “others” consistently operate in the 9-10 range.

  33. Don Shor

    Herman’s questions 11/18/11
    Thank you for these serious questions. I appreciate the fact/analysis basis of this post. Here is my quick response to your questions.

    [i]1) In the light of this dissension, and the importance of this issue, are you against a full vote of the Davis electorate on the issue ? If so, please explain why? 

[/i]
    No, I am not against a vote of the public on the rate increases, nor ultimately on the water project. I want it to be an informed vote.

    [i]2) Do you think there are any technical/hydrological and related issues that are worthy of further study? If so which? 

[/i]
    It would be useful to have further study of the deep aquifer, particularly since so many of the alternative proposals involve going to that aquifer. But it is important to note that hydrological surveys are neither cheap nor completely definitive.

    [i]3) How you can know, or assume, that it is impossible to obtain a five year variance? 
[/i]
    I assume you’re referring to salinity. I don’t think it is impossible. Sue has suggested a 20 to 25 year delay in the water project. That requires [i]several[/i] variances. The variance requires that we be showing good faith effort toward solving the salinity issue. All of the steps toward that require expense, and then we ultimately have to do the surface water project anyway. So taken in totality, the cost of delaying is higher than the cost of proceeding now with the surface water project.
    I think the most promising possibility is pursuing a variance for the specific discharge items that would be ‘fixed’ by the wastewater upgrade (coliform, and something else I can’t remember), and delaying that project while proceeding with the surface water project. That was proposed by Matt Williams some months ago and, more recently, by Sue Greenwald. I urge the council to pursue whatever variance is needed to delay the wastewater project. I think it is pointless to pursue the salinity variance, because that is predicated on continued pumping from the intermediate aquifers and/or going very heavily to the deep aquifer.

    [i]4) Do you not think it is possible that we might be able to get a better DBO from some other companies not being considered as yet? If no, explain why. [/i]
    I have no idea.

    

[i]5) Can you possibly see a set of economic circumstances from the world economy down through the national, state, and local economy, combined with significant project cost overruns, where the proposed project might not constitute a serious hardship for the people of Davis and Woodland? 

[/i]
    I do not think that delaying the surface water project will avoid any economic hardship. Rates are going to go up regardless. The surface water project is almost certainly going to be necessary eventually. Every expert who has looked at this says we need to go to surface water. I don’t want to put words in Sue Greenwald’s mouth, but she has also acknowledged that the surface water project will be necessary eventually. So you aren’t saving that hardship. I urge the council, as I have from the start, to structure the rates in whatever manner they possibly can to minimize the impact on low-income households.

    [i]6) Do you think that the argument of Nancy Price and many other people that the city should give serious consideration to running its own water system and not sub contract it has any merit at all? If not, why not?[/i]

    Personally I think the labor cost of managing it ourselves will be higher than contracting it out.

  34. wdf1

    JB: [i]Alameda passed their Measure A by a wide margin this year.[/i]

    Please explain what you mean by “wide margin”. It passed with 68% in favor on an issue that required 67% to pass.

    [i]Teacher’s union money is a powerful influencer given the typical lack of organized funding mechanisms for the opposition.[/i]

    I can only comment on Davis elections. I’m not aware that money from the teacher’s union has been any huge factor here. CTA is more of a lobbying force at the state level.

  35. Frankly

    [i]”Please explain what you mean by “wide margin”. It passed with 68% in favor on an issue that required 67% to pass.”[/i]

    Whoops… yes, you are correct. I am so used to seeing these types of local measures fail with less than 50% of the vote, I was responding to 67% as being a “wide margin”. I forgot for a moment that a 2/3 majority vote is required.

    [i]”I’m not aware that money from the teacher’s union has been any huge factor here.”[/i]

    Less so here with so much free campaign labor; more so in other California cities lacking our high percentage of education-connected voters.

  36. Michael Harrington

    Don adopted that project hook, line and sinker, and fought any reconsideration of it. So yes, his support is imputed to United Water’s application. “You jump in it, you swim in it.”

    Let’s move on.

  37. Don Shor

    My comments on the topic, from this thread:
    http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4771:commentary-davis-needs-an-ethics-policy-for-dealing-with-business-contracts&catid=58:budgetfiscal&Itemid=79

    “I think I’ll just keep asking this question, over and over if necessary. 

You keep mentioning the problems with two of the companies. But there are three bidding. Is there something wrong with CH2M Hill? Sounds like a great company. Good to women. Ethical. Highly rated. 

Is this just another non-issue being tossed up to try and prevent the water project? David: what is wrong with CH2M Hill? Why didn’t you even mention them in this article? 
As long as their bid is within reason, go with them. Issue solved.”

    “The water agency should get the bids first and compare them. If they are within a reasonable range of each other, ethical considerations are perfectly reasonable for the joint powers agency to take into account. If they are not within a reasonable range of each other, it is always a good idea to analyze why. I don’t suggest going with the lowest bid from a tree service or landscape contractor if it is out of line with others in the industry. “

    “The joint powers agency should not adopt an ethics policy, nor should the City of Davis. They should allow the bids to go forward and compare them. Then the performance problems with one company can certainly be a consideration in the final decision.”

  38. David M. Greenwald

    “The Davis CC is viewed with MORE THAN 50% positive or neutral, which is remarkably high considering the abysmal state of the economy and the degree of difficulty of the various issues the CC has had to deal with.”

    That’s a misinterpretation of what the data are saying. You have to remember, if you have an unfavorable of 30% and you are an officeholder, you are considered vulnerable. The 40% that is neutral are largely people who probably are not paying a lot of attention to the council. So of those who offer an opinion 50% are unfavorable to only 10% favorable -that’s horrible. 5-1 ration of unfavorable to favorable is really bad.

  39. David M. Greenwald

    “I don’t see any mention of how many people were polled (600 or 1000?), and whether they are eligible or registered or likely voters? And what was the margin of error? This may sound like silly details to some but it’s essential when reporting this kind of thing that your readers have a sense of the validity of the poll results. “

    Robert: It was a tremendous oversight on my part not including that information and you are right to call me on it.

  40. Don Shor

    David: [i]”… if it really came down to schools versus water, it would be no contest, schools would win hands down.”[/i]

    It isn’t a dichotomy.
    The water rate hikes need 50% + 1 to pass or fail. If the poll is any indication, that might be close. The referendum is a straight up-or-down on the rate hikes (contrary to what some opponents of the water project may wish to suggest, it is not a vote on the project itself).
    In my opinion, Davis voters will pass the schools tax regardless of what happens with the water rates.
    The parks tax is much more of a concern, as noted by Sue.

  41. Michael Harrington

    Don: thanks for the information, but since you are so deep into this project, I am sure you know that the JPA, led by your very own Steve Souza, Chair, JPA, insisted that they have at least 3 valid bidders in the bidding pool. Therefore, since UW and Veolea Water are so clearly not appropriate, that leaves us down to one. As you know, the JPA had closed the bidding pool, or was about to, when the referendum came up. Therefore, any objective person would have yelled “stop the analysis” and re-open the bidding when they read the reports that the Blog quoted.

    But you pushed and pushed, paraphrasing: “911!” “Need to build this NOW while rates are cheap!” “Gotta build NOW so we dont get big fines!” etc etc etc.

    You and your buddy, ERM, took that approach.

    Meaning, you own all three of those bidders, including United Water, indicted for multiple felonies in Indiana for allegedly falsifying e-coli tests of potable water for residents of a city there. (Of all things, e-coli!) They did it by dumping chlorine into the water system to kill lots of e-coli, meaning I think that people (UW’s customers) were drinking that stuff.

    Don, you embraced the JPA process and fought to move it ahead without delay, and that means because Chair Souza demanded those 3 stay in the bidding pool, all 3 bidders were appropriate and in effect blessed by you, under your standards.

    BTW, the JPA knew about UW many months ago, but kept moving them along and blessing them. Chair Souza was copied on a letter about UW’s problems, months ago.

    Sorry, Chair Souza and his enabler friends around town, including on this Blog, own it.

    Let’s move on, shall we? Or come over and let’s talk about it? I’ve asked you to come by or call numerous times.

  42. David M. Greenwald

    Don: one of the things the council should consider is moving the parks tax to November, they don’t generally need all of the funding at once anyway for the parks tax.

  43. Frankly

    Does anyone want to argue that this is not the best possible outcome considering the circumstances:
    [quote]SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A California Death Row inmate who senselessly killed a 9-year-old boy in an Oceanside park restroom has committed suicide.

    Prison officials announced that 33-year-old Brandon Wilson was found hanging in his single cell Thursday morning. He was pronounced dead shortly before 7 a.m.

    Wilson was convicted of killing Matthew Cecchi of Oroville in a 1998 murder so infamous that it made national headlines.

    Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 54 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 19 committed suicide, 13 were executed in California, one was executed in Missouri and six died from other causes, including murder.

    There are 719 inmates on California’s death row, the nation’s largest.

    The Associated Press[/quote]

  44. Frankly

    I continue to support the death penalty.
    [quote]“VALLEJO, CA – Vallejo police say the man they have arrested in the slaying of Officer Jim Capoot is 37-year-old Henry Albert Smith of Fairfield.

    Capoot was shot and killed following a police pursuit of an SUV witnessed at the site of a Bank of America robbery on Springs Road.

    Capoot, 45, lived in Vacaville. He had been with the Vallejo Police Department 19 years and previously was with California Highway Patrol. He was a basketball coach for several girls’ teams and served four years with the U.S. Marines. He leaves a wife and three daughters.[/quote]

  45. Observer

    It is a shame to see this blog returning to what it had become before folks had to register. Notice how fewer people are posting,and how the posts are getting more personal and uglier? Too bad. David, I’d suggest that instead of allowing unlimited posts that people be restricted to two per day (or at least per hour): one to make an observation, opinion, etc. and one to respond to a comment about the first posting. As for Mr. Harrington, responding to him just encourages him. Think about it before you do it.

  46. Don Shor

    @ Observer: I’m done. My positions are being misrepresented, but there’s little point in trying to set the record straight. Sorry if I contributed to the unpleasant atmosphere.

  47. biddlin

    “The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one more such victory would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders; there were no others there to make recruits,…” Plutarch’s comment on King Pyrrhus’ victory at The Battle of Asculum 279 BC

  48. JustSaying

    [quote][i]”Those who believe that the parcel tax is dead ought to at least look at the polling that was completed on November 9 by DJUSD.”[/i][/quote]What’s this, revisionist history? Have you forgotten, David, that you were the one who initiated this whole concept. You started it as a prediction/threat to support your efforts to stop the water project. You were pretty much alone in insisting on the connection until Michael joined in and added it to his faulty (but humorous) rationale.

    So, will you back off of your scare tactic in the face of the survey information? Of course not: [quote]‘Whether those numbers change after water rate hikes take effect is uncertain at this point.”[/quote]

  49. Voter2012

    @medwoman (“Blindsided” thread):[quote]Michael Harrington: On a much earlier blog, I took exception to your statement that the relatively wealthier members of our community “did not care ” about the impact increased rates would have on those with an income of less than $60,000. You graciously corrected your statement and clarified your position. I would appreciate if you would take the time to do so again with regard to some discrepancies I see in some of your positions.

    First, you frequently have stated that you want any water project to be run exclusively by the city. And yet you state that you do not trust the city staff and CC. If you can not trust them in setting rates and approving a project how do you think they would be better at running it independently ?

    Second, you state repeatedly that you are representing the voters. However, I feel that I already have voted on this issue. Once when I cast my votes for members of the CC who I anticipate will do the research and represent the best interests of the city as a whole and again when I placed my 218 protest form in the recycle. I do not feel that you are representing me as a voter when you disrespect my thoughtfully cast votes. If you cannot trust the voters who have already expressed their will several times, could it be that you only trust the voters who agree with you ?

    You state frequently that you are interested in collaboration. However, in my experience, people who are interested in collaboration do not call others names, accuse them of lying, threaten and bully to get their way. And yet you have seen fit to threaten repeatedly with lawsuits and various other stalling maneuvers if you do not get your way. Hardly sound ground for collaboration.

    I came to this subject very late and with an open mind since I have not followed the Davis water situation in the past. When I first began reading about this subject, I was hopeful that there would be a thoughtful, fact based discussion of the pros and cons of both the project and the means of financing. During the past couple of months I have seen many thoughtful, informative posts from folks on both sides of this issue including Sue Greenwald, Don Shor, Elaine Musser, Matt Williams as well as others. Sadly, I have yet to see any thoughtful, fact based and constructive posts from you. This is sad because I feel that you are missing a real opportunity.

    So there is at least one voter that you have lost through your vicious, bullying approach. I doubt that I am alone. [/quote]

  50. hpierce

    David.. I’ve heard it said that your income from those who advertize on this site is dependent on the number of “hits”…. is this true? If true, is that part of the reason you appear to like to “stir the pot”?

  51. Mr.Toad

    Mike didn’t you just buy that house near the Co-op for $610,000? So isn’t it a little disingenuous to be talking about water bills being too high?
    Maybe its more about you being able to get even with everyone who banded together to get you voted out when you were up for re-election. Someone posted that this was about you running but I don’t think so. I think its about revenge. I have long wondered why they all got together for that group photo right before the election where you lost but your posts certainly have shown me a side I haven’t seen before.

    As for theparcel tax poll 400 is a large sample for a small electorate. You could probably have gotten a good picture with far fewer interviews. I asked five people before one of the last parcel taxes and got 80% yes almost exactly what the vote was. Sampling improves with size but by the time you have spoken with hundreds you have a really good idea of public opinion.

  52. David M. Greenwald

    “Notice how fewer people are posting,and how the posts are getting more personal and uglier?”

    I don’t think fewer people are posting, if anything more people are. I think if you compare this site to most others, it is extremely tame. This is a contentious issue no doubt, but read the Sac Bee a few times and then let me know what you think.

    “David.. I’ve heard it said that your income from those who advertize on this site is dependent on the number of “hits”…. is this true? If true, is that part of the reason you appear to like to “stir the pot”? “

    I don’t derive any income from this site and the ads are paid monthly at a set rate that has never gone up even as traffic on this site has.

  53. Matt Williams

    Herman said . . .

    [i]”I think the tone of Don Shor’s contribution to this blog in the last two days is getting more intemperate, personal wild, and unpleasant even if others, including myself, have been intemperate at times. Bu it ill behooves the interests of the Vanguard to have a moderator who is taking such a tone and who is so clearly one sided on the water issue. I suggested that, on this issue at least, David seriously considers using another moderator.”[/i]

    Herman, I am sorry I didn’t read this thread yesterday. Before I address your individual questions, I’d like to thank you for both the tone and the content of your post. Well done.

    [i]”Yesterday Don threw out a series of questions to Michael, as if anyone who opposed the project on any grounds was certified lunatic. Let me in kind and civilly offer a series of simple questions for Don (Yes, Don you may have commented upon some [even all] of them in the past but your write so much so often at such length that I am sure many readers would appreciate a summation):

    1) In the light of this dissension, and the importance of this issue, are you against a full vote of the Davis electorate on the issue ? If so, please explain why?”[/i]

    I can’t speak for Don, but purposely using a double negative form, “I am absolutely against the Council doing anything to deny a full vote of the Davis electorate on the Referendum.”

    [i]2) Do you think there are any technical/hydrological and related issues that are worthy of further study? If so which?[/i]

    The honest answer to that question is, “I don’t know.” The reason I say that is that I believe there is a good chance that [u]in sum total[/u] all the aspects have been thoroughly studied, but across several academic/scientific studies. To me the first step is to have someone who is both independent and highly-qualified, bring together the different studies/sources into a single source we can all reference. If that consolidation process shows specific deficits in some aspects of study, then my answer will change to “Yes.” The answer to your “If so which?” question will be “The deficit areas identified by the independent and highly-qualified consolidation effort.”

    [i]3) How you can know, or assume, that it is impossible to obtain a five year variance?[/i]

    As Sue Greenwald has clearly pointed out, you can neither know, nor assume, that it is impossible to obtain a variance (time undetermined) for salinity. To the best of my knowledge no variance for selenium is either being discussed or anticipated, so even if we get a salinity variance, we still have to deal with selenium.

    Regarding selenium, it is noteworthy that the selenium threshold for Woodland is 3.2 and for Davis is 4.4. Woodland’s permit is more recent than Davis’ so it is not unreasonable to assume that the new selenium threshold Davis will get from the SWRCB in 2012 will be at least as low as 3.2, if not lower. I have sent a Public Information Request to the SWRCB to get all the selenium thresholds for all the wastewater districts in the State with their respective permit issuance dates. Armed with that data we should be able to see a trend in the selenium thresholds the SWRCB has been promulgating.

    [i]4) Do you not think it is possible that we might be able to get a better DBO from some other companies not being considered as yet? If no, explain why.[/i]

    Yes, I do think it is possible, and believe the JPA should release to the public an information document explaining how and why they included and/or excluded potential bidders thus far.

  54. Matt Williams

    Herman said . . .

    [i]5) Can you possibly see a set of economic circumstances from the world economy down through the national, state, and local economy, combined with significant project cost overruns, where the proposed project might not constitute a serious hardship for the people of Davis and Woodland?[/i]

    No, I can not. The reason I say that is that the cost of the proposed project will be borne by the community as a whole, while the hardships you describe will exist at the individual household level. Those hardships are, and will continue to be, real. However, those hardships exist [u]right now[/u] for many Davis and Woodland residents . . . and are independent of any project. No matter what . . . we need to devise a rate structure that is fair to all residents and allows our community to flexibly address the individual households that are experiencing real hardships.

    [i]6) Do you think that the argument of Nancy Price and many other people that the city should give serious consideration to running its own water system and not sub contract it has any merit at all? If not, why not? [/i]

    For the best answer to this very important question I think you need go no farther than Mike Harrington, who has frequently stated that he wants any water project to be run exclusively by the city. And yet he also states that he does not trust the city staff and City Council. If he can not trust them in setting rates and approving a project, how does he (and you and Nancy) think they would be better at running it independently?

  55. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]ERM: “The Davis CC is viewed with MORE THAN 50% positive or neutral, which is remarkably high considering the abysmal state of the economy and the degree of difficulty of the various issues the CC has had to deal with.”

    DMG: That’s a misinterpretation of what the data are saying. You have to remember, if you have an unfavorable of 30% and you are an officeholder, you are considered vulnerable. The 40% that is neutral are largely people who probably are not paying a lot of attention to the council. So of those who offer an opinion 50% are unfavorable to only 10% favorable -that’s horrible. 5-1 ration of unfavorable to favorable is really bad.[/quote]

    You view the glass half empty, I view it half full. I think it is a misrepresentation to state 40% of the neutrals are not paying attention. How could you possibly know that?

  56. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: It’s a guess based on reading of similar studies combined with the results of this poll. In fact, i would wager that 40% would be a low number unless Davis is truly unique in its civic attentiveness.

  57. Matt Williams

    Michael Harrington said . . .

    [i]”Don adopted that project hook, line and sinker, and fought any reconsideration of it. So yes, his support is imputed to United Water’s application. “You jump in it, you swim in it.”

    Let’s move on.”[/i]
    Interesting choice of logic and words Mike. Do you apply the same logic to me?

  58. Matt Williams

    David M. Greenwald responded to Robert . . .

    [i]”I don’t see any mention of how many people were polled (600 or 1000?), and whether they are eligible or registered or likely voters? And what was the margin of error? This may sound like silly details to some but it’s essential when reporting this kind of thing that your readers have a sense of the validity of the poll results. “

    Robert: It was a tremendous oversight on my part not including that information and you are right to call me on it.[/i]

    For the record, I was called by the surveyors and responded. They did a good job, and were not geographically local (I asked), which meant to me that they injected no bias into the question asking process.

  59. Matt Williams

    Michael Harrington said . . .

    [i]”Let’s move on, shall we? [b]Or come over and let’s talk about it?[/b] I’ve asked you to come by or call numerous times.”[/i]

    Interesting that you should make that offer Mike. I’ve asked you “to talk about it” 1) here on this Blog, where you have refused to engage the issues or put forth a Plan B, 2) by calling you on the telephone where you refused to get together, and 3) by coming twice to your office where you have chosen not to see me and/or not to return the message that I left for you with my telephone number.

    I would say that there is a clear pattern in your past actions. Are you ready to meet with me now?

  60. rdcanning

    David – I went back to my survey methodology books (and a nice website that provides a sample size calculator) and found that 400 is a just fine sample size to make the generalizations the DJUSD wants to make. It’s kind of amazing how small a sample size can be to generalize to even a large population.

  61. wdf1

    JB: [i]I will easily stand on the more general premise that Davis would tend to have a higher percentage of its population working in the education profession than most other like-sized communities…. How else do you explain that Davisites vote to tax themselves for extra education spending when the majority of other communities with a similar size and income profile have the opposite track record?[/i]

    This survey that D. Greenwald highlights isn’t so different from statewide surveys that have asked what priorities Californian have for what should be preserved from budget cuts, or even raising taxes to support. Consistently K-12 education comes out as top priority. Many Californians would be willing to raise taxes for the schools.

    November 19, 2011
    Californians willing to pay higher taxes for better schools

    [url]http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-poll-schools-20111120,0,6181051.story[/url]

  62. wdf1

    Thomas Friendman, 11/20/11, How About Better Parents?

    [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-about-better-parents.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=how+about+better+parent&st=cse[/url]

  63. wdf1

    3/23/11: Darling-Hammond: U.S. vs highest-achieving nations in education

    [url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/darling-hammond-us-vs-highest-achieving-nations-in-education/2011/03/22/ABkNeaCB_blog.html?tid=sm_btn_fb[/url]

  64. rdcanning

    JB: “US Teachers are not underpaid.”

    Look at the source. What about an unbiased view? I love the caption on one of the photo’s that the comparison is to private industry. Private industry where wages have not kept up with inflation for years and whose stinginess generally has contributed to the income inequity of our society. At least these public employees earn enough – as opposed to private employers such as the largest retailer in the world and others.

  65. JustSaying

    wdf1, your [u]Washington Post [/u]link contains an interesting “best practices” technique that the [u]Vanguard[/u] should adopt: a running notation at the bottom of the original story to indicate any changes or corrections that have been made. In this case, the post shows:[quote]“Corrections: An earlier version of this post incorrectly spelled yuen, and also had the incorrect percentage of how much less teachers earn than other college graduates.”[/quote]

  66. Frankly

    rdcanning: Try looking at the facts in the article instead of looking for a way to discredit it. I could make the same case for the article wdf1 posted being biased the other way.

    The fact is that teachers are not underpaid for the job they do. If they did a much better job, I would support them being paid more.

    Also, how do you account for the fact that the US spends more per child than these other countries lauded from their high-quality education?

    # 1 Denmark: $6,713.00 per student
    # 2 Switzerland: $6,470.00 per student
    # 3 Austria: $6,065.00 per student
    # 4 United States: $6,043.00 per student
    # 5 Norway: $5,761.00 per student
    # 6 Italy: $5,653.00 per student
    # 7 Sweden: $5,579.00 per student
    # 8 Japan: $5,075.00 per student
    # 9 Israel: $4,135.00 per student
    # 10 Australia: $3,981.00 per student
    # 11 Netherlands: $3,795.00 per student
    # 12 France: $3,752.00 per student
    # 13 Germany: $3,531.00 per student
    # 14 United Kingdom: $3,329.00 per student
    # 15 Spain: $3,267.00 per student

  67. rdcanning

    Jeff – we all know your biases about education and Davis education in particular. Simply posting articles and saying it is so doesn’t really mean much. Just as my opinions about education, it’s worth, the worth of teachers (my bias – I’m liberal and used to teach), are right up front. You should simply state yours, including the fact that you think your kids got lousy treatment in Davis schools. I’ve seen your posts to this effect and I think that a little reflection on your part might be appropriate. And a general bias toward private enterprise and against publicly funded programs is also on your agenda. Your experience has been that private enterprise does a better job. And it also the case the government doesn’t always do the best job. There are some domains in which one excels. Show me the data that private enterprise is better at education – all the way to graduate education. I am glad that private enterprise produces cars and bulldozers and computers and lots of other stuff that government would be awful at. But education? Not even close – in my opinion.

  68. Frankly

    [i]”Your experience has been that private enterprise does a better job”[/i]

    That is not my experience because we don’t have enough examples due to the control and meddling of the teacher’s unions and the politicians they buy. They have a vested interest to prevent the demonstration of private success. They block vouchers or other redirection of public money to private schools.

    It is my opinion that:

    1. Public K-12 education in the US is generally lousy (I use the word “crappy” for emphasis).

    2. Public education should be completely reformed. It is a monolithic system that is entirely inadequate for today’s needs. The high drop-out rate is just one of many real indications that the system is broken and needs to be scrapped and completely reformed.

    3. That the current public education system cannot transform and change with the required sense of urgency as blocked by the unions and the politicians they buy.

    4. That a free market approach would allow us to develop new models that would exceed anything previous and this is our opportunity to take back the global economic lead in this country.

    5. We would be much better off with a public-private partnership where the government would oversee the private schools (setting some standards and doing routine audits of the school’s operations), but the actual education services are provided by private providers.

    People don’t know what they don’t have experience with. And as a teacher you would not be able to comprehend a free-market system as being much better for both teachers and students. The free market approach would energize smart people to develop and invent systems that are more efficient and more effective at delivering quality education services. The models that work the best would be copied for competitive reasons. Great teachers would be paid more because schools would compete for their talent. Good teachers would make more for the same reasons. Moderate or low performing teachers would be looking for a new career… which would benefit them as well as everyone else.

    You think we would have Whole Foods or Nugget Market if the government owned and operated all grocery stores? Education is not groceries, but I’m sure you can make the connection here regardless.

  69. wdf1

    JB: [i]due to the control and meddling of the teacher’s unions and the
    politicians they buy.[/i]

    If teacher’s unions were messing up the education system, then you
    should probably find a direct correlation between student performance
    and levels of union involvement, state by state. That doesn’t happen.
    Some strong union states — Massachussetts, New Jersey — have some of
    the highest performing students, where as some weak- or non-union
    states have poor student performance.

  70. Don Shor

    My son and I watched this special by Fareed Zakaria with considerable interest:

    [url]http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/03/fareed-zakaria-gps-sunday-primetime-special-fixing-education/[/url]

  71. wdf1

    I post this in particular because JB especially seems to like Ken Robinson. The article refers to him.

    The Global Search for Education: More on Arts

    [url]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-m-rubin/the-global-search-for-edu_19_b_1103268.html[/url]

    To bring this somewhat back to local matters, the arts and the ability for teachers to have flexibility to collaborate is one of the key features that is supported by the parcel tax renewal. I would argue, in my experience with my kids, that Davis schools have a lot of components that are suggested here.

  72. wdf1

    An in-depth article on Sacramento USD schools in this week’s Sacramento News & Review:

    [url]http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/fail/content?oid=4473392[/url]

    Discusses school reform ideas, standardized testing, and their current superintendent.

  73. wdf1

    JB: [i]Also, how do you account for the fact that the US spends more per child than these other countries lauded from their high-quality education?[/i]

    Want to know something that makes education cost a little more in the U.S.? Greater freedom of choice. In many other industrialized nations, students are tracked into a pathway before high school. That means either college prep, or vocational, or something else like music conservatory. You don’t readily get to pick and choose and explore. In European universities, there isn’t a GE track that we have in U.S. college programs. You start straight into your degree program. In the U.S., students take “breadth requirement” courses in several different fields outside of their major.

    If you wanted to impose business-style efficiency to the system, you could get rid of that freedom to try things out, but you would lose a substantial amount of creative development that takes place in U.S. education. For instance, it is very typical in U.S. universities for students to double major in different fields, such as philosophy and computer science. That kind of combination can allow for some interesting approaches to artificial intelligence studies.

    Steve Jobs famously spoke of how he took college courses just to try stuff out, and ended up taking a calligraphy class that inspired the inclusion of varied fonts in computer operating systems today. Just one example of American educational creativity that is possible.

    What is going on in California schools is that the curriculum is being streamlined to include only a narrow 4-5 subjects — no art, music, sports, shop, vocational classes, etc. The result is diminishing creativity, and ironically, we will end up like many other countries in your list. Perhaps higher performance on standardized tests, maybe some less money spent per student, but an overall loss of creativity in our society.

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