Commentary: Davis Can Make Up Its Own Mind on Who Should Lead Our Community

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Someone yesterday reposted my account of what was, in my words, a most serious breach on January 26, 2010.  What happened on the dais was an ugly display by two individuals.  What happened outside the council chambers was an ugly display by one individual.

The flyer doesn’t really capture the most important moments of what happened that evening.  I am not going to recount it other than I think that was a moment that will be with me for the rest of my life.

Jasmine, my daughter, was just seven weeks old, asleep in her infant carrier, there I am as I watch the councilmember provoke City Manager Bill Emlen into coming at her, and there was a moment of realization that he might actually physically attack her and I was the only one there who could stop it.

I remember stepping up into him, Jasmine in one arm, trying to push back with my right arm, my weaker side, and suddenly realizing that Bill Emlen was a lot more solid than I had first anticipated.  So I put my entire 240-pound body squarely into him with my right shoulder and stopped him cold.

He would walk up to me later that night and claim that he would not have done anything physical to Ms. Greenwald, but later on he confessed to others that he would have had I not intervened.

For those who wonder why I have left the YouTube up, a good part of why is that it simply accurately reflects what happened on that night.  There is no defense for the conduct outside of the Council Chambers even if you want to chalk up the exchange on the dais to a multitude of factors and put blame on both sides – which I think is at least somewhat fair.

Nevertheless, those of you who believe that the flyer is accurate and therefore permissible are missing the fundamental point.

I think Bob Dunning captures some of this, as well.  He writes, “On the flip side of this sleazy piece is a stock photo of a woman on a gurney being rolled into an ambulance by a pair of burly EMTs. We’re supposed to believe it’s an actual photo of Ruth on this fateful night, but it’s not.”

He adds, “The message here is clear. Don’t vote for Sue Greenwald. She’s mean, she’s overbearing, she likes sending people to the hospital and if you need proof, there’s even a link to the YouTube segment so you can see for yourself.”

Then he notes, “But here’s the part that has the Davis political world buzzing.”

In the fine print at the bottom of the mailer are the words “Paid for by Citizens for Better Government in Davis 2012, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 447, IBEW Local 340, Operating Engineers Local Union 3 in Support of Stephen Souza and Opposition to Sue Greenwald.””

Writes Mr. Dunning, “Because Davisites tend not to like pink slime with their breakfast cereal and also don’t like outside groups like the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 447 attempting to influence local elections…”

But even Bob Dunning misses the point here.

The reason this is so low is that Ms. Greenwald’s behavior is aside from the point.  The unions are not appalled by her behavior.  If she had voted their way, they never would have sent out this flyer.

They sent out this flyer because they want to punish Sue Greenwald for not supporting them on the water supply project.

So it is an accurate attack on Sue Greenwald, it is just not sincere.

That is why even Ruth Asmundson, who has as much right as anyone to have animosity toward Councilmember Greenwald, quickly condemned the flier.

She wrote: “I read with dismay the campaign flier that used an incident involving me to attack Sue Greenwald. I was not consulted in any way before this was circulated, and I strongly feel this type of stunt should have no place in Davis politics.”

Simple and to the point.

The irony, of course, is that the ad backfired to the extent that people were wondering if Stephen Souza himself was part of the target.

Mr. Souza, by most calculations, was in political trouble prior to this flier being sent.  We believed that Sue Greenwald’s base was largely intact while Stephen Souza would be vulnerable to Lucas Frerichs.

This probably pushes him out completely, though you never know.

He told Bob Dunning, “I condemn this mailing. I condemn the ‘Citizens for Better Government’ and the ‘Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 447,’ ‘IBEW Local 340’ and the ‘Operating Engineers Local Union 3’ for sending this in ‘support’ of my campaign and I condemn it for being in ‘opposition’ to Sue’s candidacy.

“This is not welcome support. This is ugly. These are no allies of mine. We cannot tolerate or accept negative campaigning as a community. We should gather all these nasty fliers and set them on fire and say simply ‘no!’ For that glorious bonfire, I would break my carbon neutrality.”

As I wrote yesterday, for those who do not understand what all the fuss is about, this is like trying to explain why a joke is funny.  You either get the humor behind the joke or you don’t.  Explaining it logically in a proverbial way anaesthetizes the humor by drawing in the logical portions of the brain.

In this case, if you don’t have moral outrage at dirty tricks that are done dirt cheap, no amount of explaining is going to matter.

The only question left is just how illegal this flier actually is.  It appears that after the fact the purveyors inoculated themselves by FedExing the materials to all of the candidates.

The City Municipal Code 12.01.035 says, “Any committee that makes independent expenditures of two hundred fifty dollars or more in support or in opposition to any candidate shall notify the city clerk and all candidates running for the same seat within twenty-four hours by facsimile transmission, overnight delivery, or personal delivery each time this two hundred fifty dollar threshold is met. This notice shall include a copy of any mailing or advertisement produced, if applicable.”

The day the mailer was received the city received a fax and all of the candidates the next day received the piece by FedEx delivery.  Technically it probably should have been 24 hours of the expenditure, but this is probably close enough.

The more serious breaches appear to be the fact that the backers of this spent $5000 and $10,000 which grossly violates the $100 limitation.

The other interesting breach is that they fail to identify the consultants paid and who provided the services.  For instance, they spent $6200 on consulting without identifying the consultant.

The person who will ultimately be punished for this is probably treasurer Jim McGowan of Davis, who as a Davis resident ought to have known better.

The ultimate irony is that while they claim to have been opposed to Sue Greenwald, they actually helped her and hurt the person they were trying to help.

The worst part is that they have $25,000 and appear to have around $15,000 left to spend.  We can only hope they do us all a favor and do not spend it all.

—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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63 Comments

  1. biddlin

    “As I wrote yesterday, for those who do not understand what all the fuss is about, this is about like trying to explain why a joke is funny.”
    To quote a classic radio show, sometimes,” T’ain’t funny McGee.” I think most of us “Outsiders” understand that all the fuss is about “Evil Union Influence”, trying to pervert democracy in Davis. “(Seems to have more potential for scandal than the Chamber of Commerce PAC, since it’s harder to paint them as “Outsiders”) The fact that members of these unions may(If any can afford it) live and vote in Davis is irrelevant. if Sue is rude and disruptive or conflates facts or even weaves them from whole cloth, as long as she opposes any growth, her devotees will protect her . Her reaction to those who disagree with her, whether in the council meetings or on this blog, is rude and dismissive . What makes it farcically humorous is her phony outrage at this tactic in others . What makes it creepy and sad is how easily she manipulates some folks into buying it !
    Oh and be careful raking all this muck, David . You’re bound to get some on yourself .

  2. Mr.Toad

    “Mr. Souza by most calculations was in political trouble prior to this flier being sent. We believed that Sue Greenwald’s base was largely intact while Stephen Souza would be vulnerable to Lucas Frerichs.”

    Does anyone have any recent poll data from before the mailer so that we can actually judge the impact with before and after data?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more hit pieces or dirty tricks but the fact that this came out the same day that I got my absentee ballot shows how campaigns have changed because of the large number of early voters. Things happen earlier now. Historically something like this would have waited until the last days.

  3. 91 Octane

    The ultimate irony is that while they claim to have been opposed to Sue Greenwald, they actually helped her and hurt the person they were trying to help.

    that is presumptive on the vanguard’s part. It may hurt her, it may not do anything at all.

  4. hpierce

    [quote]What happened outside the council chambers was an ugly display by [b]one individual[/b].[/quote]Hmmm… so, it appears that you are saying that Emlen was the “one”, not Ms Greenwald? Not the way I remember your accounts).

  5. Dr. Wu

    [quote]“When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.”
    ― Bette Davis[/quote]

    Sue is the only woman running (though Rochelle is continuing on).

  6. Don Shor

    If the goal of the mailer was to get people talking about this episode, and personalities, and no other issues, just as the absentee ballots arrived, then it has succeeded wildly.

  7. Mr.Toad

    “that is presumptive on the vanguard’s part. It may hurt her, it may not do anything at all.”

    91 is actually correct. That is why you need poll data. Sue won the news cycle but by getting the campaign to focus on Sue’s behavior, something her opponents are too polite to do, it might hurt her in the long run. You can’t tell me that Sue wants the campaign to focus on her belligerence.

    If anything, the tie in to Steve is damaging to him without the same sympathy Sue, as the target, received. In the long run this might actually hurt them both and that is why a Sue supporter raised the issue of having someone with institutional memory remain. On election day the people might say institutional memory be damned and we could see a tide sweep away the old regime and give a rebirth to city politics. How refreshing that might be.

  8. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The more serious breaches appear to be the fact that the backers of this spent $5000 and $10,000 which grossly violates the $100 limitation.[/quote]

    Help me understand election law here. If individual union members gave $100 each, then the fact that the backers of this spent $5000 to $10,000 violates the law how? I’m not sure I am following you…

  9. Ryan Kelly

    I agree that the mailing has reminded people of how dysfunctional the Council has been in the past, with Sue seemingly at the center of it. She does have a reputation of taking over meetings and, without constraints, can talk endlessly in an attempt to convince others to adopt her views on things. This can happen in casual encounters on Davis streets, to commission meetings where her role is supposed to be non-participatory, and Council meetings. Difficulties arise when attempts are made to control, limit or stop her take over of the conversation or meeting. And she wonders why she is not appointed to 2X2’s and regional bodies. While I truly believe that her insight and understanding of complex financial matters are valuable, I think that she can still contribute as a member of the community and does not have to be a City Council member. Incumbent members of the Council should be evaluated on their record as members of the Council and not whether they promise to vote in a particular way on the issue at hand (employee compensation in the past and, in this election, it seems to be “water.”) Whether Sue and her supporters like it or not, this and other unfortunate incidents are part of her overall record. I have never voted for Sue and will not vote for her in the upcoming election. The mailing has not effected my vote in anyway.

  10. hpierce

    [quote]If individual union members gave $100 each, t[/quote]I’m concerned, ERM, that you don’t know how unions “work”. Union members are compelled to pay dues. A portion of those dues go for ‘political action’ purposes. The union hierarchy decides what to fund or not fund on the political side. These decisions are not a democratic process.
    Most unions press the employers to institute “agency shop” provisions, whereby you have to pay dues, whether you support the union, or not. On the face of it, that seems fair, as the other parts of the dues pay for representation in bargaining (and, often, paid ‘organizers who can ‘earn’ much more than those they represent).
    The ‘rub’ is that unions, in many agency shop situations, either get the ‘political funds from the workers, or the workers (if they can point to ‘bona fide’ religious/other beliefs) must have the employer deduct the same amount of money to be given to a designated charity, of the employer’s choosing. CTA (California Teachers’ Association) is one that will let represented teachers opt out of union membership, and pay what purports to be, a representation fee only. Yet, who knows what part of that might be secretly funneled to ‘political action’. Elaine, individual members of the unions involved did not make individual contributions to the funds earmarked for the horrendous ad campaign that has been launched here.
    I have never, nor will ever, belonged to a union.
    That being said, I believe it is appropriate for candidates to be evaluated, in part, by their past/present/future behavior(s). In addition to the oath to defend the constitution, etc., my preference would be to have CC members swon in to “work and play well with others”.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: the members would have to donate individually. City law doesn’t give orgs preference over individuals. everyone can donate $100. That’s why the firefighters had to bundle their money.

  12. Michael Harrington

    Ryan Kelly: I understand your issues as stated at 9:52 am. But after her 9/6 votes for fiscal sanity and careful planning on the water project, I simply have to support her this time around. We need to, or do you want a bankrupt Davis? Remember, those obviously bogus rates were approved by 4 CC members on 9/6, three of whom are lawyers, and one of whom is supposed to have experience with public utilties and water law. Only the referendum stopped the train. I know there was a successful motion on 12/6 to repeal the rates, but that motion was partially based on the author not wanting those bogus rates to be on the same ballot as his election. As a political strategist, and a litigator, I was hoping in the back of that section of my brain that they would NOT repeal those rates. It would have been the political death knell for all the incumbants besides Sue. Can you imagine the incumbants in forum after forum this spring trying to explain why they voted for obviously bogus rates that would nearly bankrupt the City?

    But —- the public comes out ahead with the WAC and time to study the mess created by years of pro-growth CC majorities, so I worked with the makers of the motion to get the job done. Dan and Rochelle are smart, and with the assistance of our then-brand new City Manager, they made the motion and got the job done on December 6.

    The one criticism I have of Sue and Brett, is both of them are still accepting of the premise that we even NEED to use Sacramento River water, and more and more the technical analysis is we do not need to use it. If anything, we need more analysis, including a cost-benefit study (like the water rate structure, a cost benefit study was never done before the 9/6 rate approval). I think on this aspect they both are naive, and the data will support my concerns.

  13. Don Shor

    MIchael: ” [i]and more and more the technical analysis is we do not need to use it.”[/i]

    Not even remotely true.

    [i] If anything, we need more analysis,[/i]

    Just watch the WAC meetings. Analysis has been done.

  14. Mr.Toad

    “The one criticism I have of Sue and Brett, is both of them are still accepting of the premise that we even NEED to use Sacramento River water, and more and more the technical analysis is we do not need to use it.”

    I stubbed my toe yesterday on the sidewalk where the sidewalk had broken and there was a 1 or 2 inch differential in elevation between the blocks. We are either sinking or rising but since we are in one of the least earthquake activity zones in the state its obvious we are sinking. When I was at Guadalajara Restaurant the other day having lunch there was a paving guy outside measuring to raise the drain in the driveway. We are sinking from over draft of groundwater.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    “more and more the technical analysis is we do not need to use it”

    Technical analysis from whom and cite your source and post or link the analysis.

  16. Ryan Kelly

    I stand by my previous statement: “Incumbent members of the Council should be evaluated on their record as members of the Council and not whether they promise to vote in a particular way on the issue at hand (employee compensation in the past and, in this election, it seems to be “water.”)”

    It is difficult to decipher Mike Harrington’s explanation above and separate fact from “what if.” It seems that, per Mike, Sue was ineffectual from “stopping the train” and his referendum drive is what saved the day. It is not Sue’s record that is garnering Mike’s support and, in fact, Mike has not been a supporter of Sue in past elections.

    What is clear is that Sue’s promised vote on the issue at hand – water, is what is driving his support for Sue this time around. This may work for Mike, but it doesn’t work for voters like myself who want to elect people who are not only intelligent and capable, but can work collaboratively for the betterment of the community.

  17. Michael Harrington

    Ryan: You got me. This is my first time endorsing Sue.

    I endorsed Rochelle last time. I know, I know: she is heavily supported by the exterior sprawl developers. All those Chamber PAC types. But this time, at least, that’s OK: she is a smart McGeorge Law graduate who survived their extremely tough night law school while she was working and raising kids, and as a conservative, she promised to be tough on forcing through a balanced budget. We are not there yet, but I feel that I have her vote on that subject. She actually was the lead CC member on the strategy setting up the 12/6 vote to repeal, and she did a great job working with Dan on it.

    This time: it’s all about the budget, and the water project mess. Sue has my strong vote.

  18. Michael Harrington

    David G: you shall see as the time arrives. As I see it now, the best the water project supporters can hope for is our transferring the permit out of the JPA, down to West Sacramento, and run a pipe from their new plant’s exit to our intake, using the right of way on the bridges along the Causeway. Then we pay by the gallon. Simple, and much cheaper than funding the big facility with Woodland.

  19. Rifkin

    Sorry to break away from this most important discussion for an aside, but … David’s lyrical prose inspired me …

    [i]”In this case, if you don’t have moral outrage at [b]dirty tricks that are done dirt cheap[/b], no amount of explaining is going to matter.”[/i]

    When I was in high school, AC/DC was just becoming popular. They had been around in Australia for many years before, and they had achieved fame in England in the late 1970s. But, if I recall correctly, it was not until their song (and the album of the same name), Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, came out in 1981 that they became one of the biggest rock bands touring the United States.

    The reason I mention the year is because it makes clear how much the world has changed in the last 31 years. AC/DC recorded Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap in 1976. It took five years back then to even get their record released in overseas markets like the U.S. Nowadays with the Internet downloads, any band in any two-bit country can release a record worldwide in an instant.

    Even though AC/DC had been popular in other countries for about 10 years, by the time they hit the charts in the United States, their lead singer, Bon Scott, had been dead for over a year and had been replaced by … a better lead singer named Brian Johnson. So when my friends and I went to see AC/DC play the Cow Palace, to hear Big Balls and the other songs off of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, they had recorded two more hit records and the songs we loved were voiced by a new front man.

  20. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Elaine: the members would have to donate individually. City law doesn’t give orgs preference over individuals. everyone can donate $100. That’s why the firefighters had to bundle their money.[/quote]

    I guess what I am asking is how do you know that this union didn’t do exactly what the firefighters did?

    [quote]I’m concerned, ERM, that you don’t know how unions “work”. Union members are compelled to pay dues. A portion of those dues go for ‘political action’ purposes. The union hierarchy decides what to fund or not fund on the political side. These decisions are not a democratic process. [/quote]

    I’m well aware of how unions work – I belonged to a teachers’ union at one time. The State Bar used to work this way w our bar dues until a lawyer filed suit against such practices. What I am trying to find out is exactly how the election law works…

  21. David M. Greenwald

    “I guess what I am asking is how do you know that this union didn’t do exactly what the firefighters did?”

    They could. And how has that worked out for the firefighters lately?

  22. Mr.Toad

    Mike Harrington on Rochelle “as a conservative, she promised to be tough on forcing through a balanced budget.”

    So much for those who say Davis is a liberal haven. I have long argued that Sue would be a Republican if the party hadn’t gone off the rails on social issues and was more in the mold of the Rockefeller Republicans. It seems Mike is sort of confirming that he likes her conservative views.

  23. Mr.Toad

    I have been thinking about the Peter Principle, the idea that people will rise to their level of incompetence. Its usually cited in school administrations and big bureaucracies but it seems there is an application at play here in Davis politics. It has been here for a while.

    When Ruth ran the second time I was at a Dem Club thing and Ruth spoke. Let me preface this by saying I like Ruth but she was not very good at public speaking. I thought she can never win, Well as the saying goes, you know the rest of the story. This town re-elected as mayor someone on the strength of her reputation not her ability to govern.

    Now we may do it again with Sue, who, clearly does not have the correct disposition to lead. After twelve long suffering years, after intimating she wanted to move up to supervisor. Sue remains stuck on the Davis City Council, where, you can come in third and be elected to serve. If policy was the only character that mattered in leadership some who have argued that she serves us well may have a point, but, even those who support her have done little more than be apologists for her behavior. It is that wildly erratic behavior, that lack of political ability to get things done that shows an incompetence that when coupled with her inability to move up demonstrates that she has risen to her level of incompetence as the Peter Principle describes. The question that remains is if the voters will use their suffrage to suffer under the weight of that incompetence for another four years.

  24. davisite4

    Dr. Wu’s quote from Bette Davis hits the nail on the head. Certain ways of behaving are seen as perfectly OK when a man does them, but unacceptable if a woman does them. Sue is a forceful advocate for what she sees as right for Davis, and she fights for the views of many. Fight on!

  25. Rifkin

    [i]”I have long argued that Sue would be a Republican if …”[/i]

    You do know that Sue’s husband, Mike Syvanen, is the Vice President of the Davis Democratic Club ([url]http://www.davisdemocraticclub.org/Home/about-us[/url])? My guess is that they agree on most political issues, including (perhaps especially) a great reduction in our military adventures and that sort of thing.

    One thing to note about our two-party system: It inherently crams together a lot of people into one party or the other who don’t agree with each other on a lot of issues. Given that the Republicans tend to be more ideologically unified around a few core issues, this intra-party divergence of views is probably even stronger among Democrats.

    The views, goals and agendas of urban and often lower-income and often non-white Democrats are quite different than the suburban, liberal, white, environmentalist Democrats. The small business, somewhat libertarian Democrats (who are strongly pro-ACLU, gay rights, legalized pot, etc) don’t necessarily have the same core concerns as the government employee union Democrats.

    *What 4 areas define most Republicans? 1) Anti-government feeling as far as taxes, regulations and that sort of thing; 2) Pro-business, particularly with regard to large companies and the “free enterprise” system; 3) Jesus, God, the Bible, the 10 Commandments, Jesus, and when in doubt, Jesus; and 4) Big Military.

  26. Michael Harrington

    Ryan: I am a business owner who faces all the issues the rest of the members of the DDBA and the Chamber face. I totally sympathize with them. However, my main money comes from out of town, even out of state, and I dont worry about what staff and the CC are going to do to screw me at the next CC meeting. My fellow business owners DO worry, and have REASON to worry, what the city is going to do next to them and their little businesses that must be profitable to pay for family expenses. I cannot even imagine having my livelihood subjected to the whims of three CC members.

    Realtors sell houses, and a bigger supply of houses is good, right? So that’s what they want. It’s up to three CC members to say OK, or not, and to submit it to the voters. I do not blame any of these businesses for asking for things from the City.

    Ryan, so yes, on fiscal things, I am to the right of Atila the Hun, especially after the drubbing we all have suffered since 2006. I hate to see the huge waste of public resources that the city has bled out the past 6-7 years.

    Going forward, I think that Rochelle may be a good vote on budget issues. Unfortunately, she just voted to give away $4 million to West Yost, a reward for their screwing up the waste treatment plant, but I just figure she is still drinking the Koolaid that West Yost has been putting back there in the little kitchen behind the dais for years. Hopefully the supply will be cut off, and the CC will stop giving away our money so easily.

  27. Michael Harrington

    Ryan: Like I have been saying, there is a lot of money sloshing around coming from the water plant consultants and vendors. The union mailer that has been in the news is only known to us due to the disclosure rules. There is a lot more, in far more subtle ways.

    For example, for years, one CC member has routinely gone on big expensive vacations with local land developers using their facilities and some transportation vehicles. Not one of the trips has been disclosed on this CC member’s disclosure form. Who treated whom? Without auditing, there is no telling. It’s something that should be investigated, but has not been. A lot of people know about it.

  28. Mr.Toad

    “Realtors sell houses, and a bigger supply of houses is good, right?”

    Not if you are a landlord like some of the most outspoken anti-development voices in town like I believe you and Sue are.

  29. Mr.Toad

    “What 4 areas define most Republicans? 1) Anti-government feeling as far as taxes, regulations and that sort of thing;”

    You mean like not wanting to pay for better water and sewer?

    “2) Pro-business, particularly with regard to large companies and the “free enterprise” system;”

    Okay you got me on one although if her husband wasn’t at the university she might sing a different tune.

    The god thing as I pointed out was the part about the Republicans going off the rails. Score me at least 50%.

  30. psdavis

    “I am not going to recount it other than I think that was a moment that will be with me for the rest of my life.” David Greenwald

    David: What a pack of lies masking as journalism! You need to get your facts straight … boy.

    Pretty incendiary language isn’t it?

    I’m not serious, of course, I’m just making a point. To reiterate, the language above is NOT meant to be taken literally.

    Let’s break this down further. Bill obviously did what he did after years of professional abuse by Sue – publicly from the dais and privately every time she cornered him to deliver some harangue about an issue they disagreed on or to mercilessly browbeat him to exert undo influence over the staff reports. So his actions were absolutely justified. They were the product of Sue’s repeated disrespect and rudeness. And to make matters worse, as City Manager, he was forced to endure the public abuse without defending himself. He couldn’t filibuster the proceedings or repeatedly interrupt debate or ignore the normal order in order to defend his honor and reputation. He just had to take it like a professional, meeting after meeting after meeting, until he finally snapped when Sue delivered the ultimate insult. In short, Sue made him do it.

    I hope by now all of you can see how specious this logic is.

    Sue is the way she is because of Sue. No one else.

  31. Mr.Toad

    “Toad: It’s sad that Demos like you cede the issue of fiscal responsibility to the Repers”

    David, although it is a non-partisan position there were others on the council who, I believe. are Dems. They voted for a smaller wastewater treatment system too. Although Sue wants to take all the credit, someone, maybe Matt Williams, explained how Emlen got the council to reconsider. Interestingly, Sue wants to claim credit for that too. Sue, because of her failed leadership and political skills tried forever to get the other members to scale down but couldn’t. This is the problem that I describe she is so polarizing she can’t get things done.

  32. David M. Greenwald

    PSDAVIS:

    “Sue is the way she is because of Sue. No one else. “

    I don’t completely buy into that.

    When I lived in San Luis Obispo, I once ran for the school board. On that school board was a teacher who ran and got elected. The first thing the board did was sue her and try to prevent her from taking office. They failed. Eventually they got the legislature to pass a law preventing a teacher from serving on the school board.

    So naturally once on the board she was a giant pain in the rear. But it was in part their own fault – they poisoned the atmosphere.

    One of the first things that happened to Sue when she was about to become Mayor in 2006, the beginning of this site, the council majority discussed openly not seating her as mayor. When they realized they could not politically do that, instead they deprived her the ability to sit on key regional committees like SACOG and LAFCO which had until then gone to the mayor.

    In short, they poisoned the atmosphere.

    And for the first four years I watched the council, the majority did their best to jam Sue. Don Saylor did it. Ruth Asmundson, who I think is a very sweet person generally was a poisonous combination with Sue.

    So in short, there are personality issues that Sue has. Some like those traits, others don’t. She has been very different on the current council because she has been treated far better.

    It takes two to tango.

  33. Mr.Toad

    “She has been very different on the current council because she has been treated far better.”

    In public but nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors.

  34. Rifkin

    [i]”You mean like Ron Paul?”[/i]

    Yes, like Ron Paul. And Ron Dellums. And Dennis Kucinich. And quite a few other liberals in Congress and around the U.S.

  35. Rifkin

    [i]1) Anti-government feeling as far as taxes, regulations and that sort of thing;[/i]

    [b]You mean like not wanting to pay for better water and sewer? [/b]

    No. Like not wanting to pay [i]too much too soon[/i] for better water and sewer.

  36. psdavis

    David: I don’t agree with the argument that the atmosphere was poisoned by Don, Steve, and Ruth in 2004.

    First, there was already four years of “history” – first with Susie and then with Susie and Ruth.

    Second, the 2004 election was tainted (just like the 2012 election is now tainted). A strong argument can be made that the independent expenditure in 2004 swung the election towards Sue and that [i] she would not have been mayor without the outside tampering.[/i] I’m guessing her colleagues felt her first place finish (787 votes in front of Don) was probably illegitimate. In hindsight, she wasn’t a very good mayor and people on regional bodies reportedly don’t want to work with her.

    In my opinion, Sue is a disruptive and polarizing figure, as well as a professional victim. Why does she deserve the presumption that “someone else started it?” Whether it’s her fault or not, she’s constantly surrounded by drama. I’m tired of it.

    On the point about the current council, things may be “better” but the feedback I get is that the situation is still FUBAR. Her colleagues have the patience of Job, but I do not see a healthy council.

  37. Rifkin

    [i]Toad: It’s sad that Demos like you cede the issue of fiscal responsibility to the Repers …[/i]

    It seems to me that the national Republicans have not really been fiscally responsible in the main for a long time. The GOP position seems to be: buy more tanks, more planes, more ships, more bullets, more bombs and so on; cut taxes in order to not pay for all those weapons and the people who man them; spend hundreds of billions of dollars on welfare for grain farmers; cut a few welfare programs for the poor which don’t add up to much money; and borrow from the central banks of China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, etc. to cover our mounting debts.

    The Democrats have not been fiscally responsible for an even longer time–though the Clinton-Gingrich stand-off did result in a Democratic administration which balanced the budget.

    Even if they are mostly not fiscal conservatives, at least most Democrats are willing to raise taxes to pay for (some of) the government programs they favor. I think the current trend in California, to raise taxes on minorities (esp. the rich and smokers), is unfair. My view is that taxes should pinch everyone (save those under the poverty level), so that we all have a skin in the game and care how the money is spent. If taxes are raised and it only affects “the rich” or the stupid addicts, then no one else has reason to keep an eye on government waste, other than those who are benefitting from it.

  38. Rifkin

    Along these lines, this is how I would structure the income tax:

    1) Have a flat federal rate–something like 33.33%;
    2) Give each adult a large exemption, around $25,000 (or the amount a typical person must spend each year on food, clothes, rent, medical and other basics);
    3) Give custodial parents for each dependent child another exemption, say $10,000 up to a maximum of $40,000; and
    4) Add to the income tax owed a head tax (exempting only the really, really poor people) of $120 per year.

    A single person with no kids who has an annual income of $124,000 would owe $33,000 in income tax + $120 in head tax. $124,000 – $25,000 = $99,000; 33.33% x $99,000 = $33,000.

    A married couple with 2 kids who make $124,000 a year would owe $18,000 + $120 in head-tax. $124,000 – $50,000 – $20,000 = $54,000; 33.33% x $54,000 = $18,000.

    A divorced union boss who does not have custody of his kids who makes $960,000 would owe + $120 in head-tax. $955,000 – $25,000 = $930,000; 33.33% x $930,000 = $310,000.

    A nurse’s aid who has custody of her niece and makes $26,000 would owe the $120 head tax and would get back $3,000 in negative income tax. $26,000 – $25,000 – $10,000 = $9,000; 33.33% x $9,000 = $3,000.

    There should be no other exemptions or credits (though I might be convinced that some could be justified in very special circumstances).

    Of all the money generated from my income tax, 75% should go to the federal government and the other 25% should be returned to the state governments based on how much was paid in by the people of each state. I would outlaw all other state income taxes.

  39. Rifkin

    [i]”Too soon you mean like in this lifetime?”[/i]

    Sue’s position is that we should pay off the sewage treatment plant cost ($95.5 million) first. I guess that means 25 years.

  40. Mr.Toad

    I’m pretty sure that is not in my lifetime although i could prove the actuaries wrong. I figure if you don’t want to do it in your lifetime that is just a nuanced way of saying you don’t really ever want to do it.

  41. Mark West

    Rich: ‘[i]Sue’s position is that we should pay off the sewage treatment plant cost ($95.5 million) first. I guess that means 25 years.[/i]’

    It is a complete fantasy for Sue (or you) to believe that we will get a 25 year delay in implementing the clean water act. Any examples where this has happened in the past? Thought not. Not going to happen.

  42. Rifkin

    [i]”It is [b]a complete fantasy[/b] for Sue (or you) to believe …”[/i]

    You are not an Aldo Nova ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3sbAa_CqRk[/url]) fan?

  43. eagle eye

    @DMG: Some of us discovered to our chagrin that Ruth seemed very sweet and helpful, but she then stabbed us in the back; she was still very sweet, or freezing cold with a sweet calm smile, when she informed us she was selling us out in order to help her unsavory friend.
    I’m glad you’ve had a more positive experience with her.
    But beware.

  44. Matt Williams

    psdavis said . . .

    [i]”In my opinion, Sue is a disruptive and polarizing figure, as well as a professional victim. Why does she deserve the presumption that “someone else started it?” Whether it’s her fault or not, she’s constantly surrounded by drama. I’m tired of it.

    On the point about the current council, things may be “better” but the feedback I get is that the situation is still FUBAR. Her colleagues have the patience of Job, but I do not see a healthy council.”[/i]

    I can’t say as I’ve gotten any direct feedback psdavis, but my observations of recent Council meetings indicate that the patience of Job is beginning to wear thin. Mayor Joe has been forced to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and attempt to get Sue to ask questions during the questions period rather than lecturing the Staff or outside experts who are sitting at the Staff table. [i]”I let you speak, please let me speak.”[/i] has cropped up a number of times of late when Sue has tried to jump in and correct what a fellow Council member has said.

    Bottom-line, the pot is on the stove and it is clear that the heat on under that pot and bubbles are beginning to form. It is only a matter of time before the pot reaches the boiling point.

  45. Matt Williams

    Rifkin said . . .

    [i]”Sue’s position is that we should pay off the sewage treatment plant cost ($95.5 million) first. I guess that means 25 years.”[/i]

    Actually Rich it looks like it is quite a bit sooner than that. Page 3-10 of the City of Davis Final Budget 2011-2012 shows the following entries for Fund 532 the Sewer Capital Replacement Reserve. 1) the June 30, 2011 Working Capital Balance was $28,005,946, 2) the addition to that balance for the 12 month period after paying all the Fund 531 M&O expenses was $6,864,991, 3) as shown in the annual numbers below, repeating that $6,864,991 annual amount means the $95.5 million will be fully paid on or before June 30, 2021 . . . less than 10 years from now.

    June 30, 2011 = 28,005,946
    June 30, 2012 = 34,869,946
    June 30, 2013 = 41,733,946
    June 30, 2014 = 48,597,946
    June 30, 2015 = 55,461,946
    June 30, 2016 = 62,325,946
    June 30, 2017 = 69,189,946
    June 30, 2018 = 76,053,946
    June 30, 2019 = 82,917,946
    June 30, 2020 = 89,781,946
    June 30, 2021 = 96,645,946

  46. psdavis

    “… my observations of recent Council meetings indicate that the patience of Job is beginning to wear thin.”

    I hear you Matt. And Joe’s only had to endure two years of this BS. One has to wonder what he would be like if he had been dealing with Sue for eight years (like Ruth).

  47. Rifkin

    [i]” the $95.5 million will be fully paid on or before June 30, 2021 . . . less than 10 years from now.”[/i]

    To quote Dana Carvey-impersonating-Johnny Carson: I did not know that!

  48. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Toad: It’s sad that Demos like you cede the issue of fiscal responsibility to the Repers[/quote]

    On local issues, I don’t think things fall conveniently into the Repub or Demo camp. More often common sense comes into play rather than ideologies…

  49. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]my observations of recent Council meetings indicate that the patience of Job is beginning to wear thin. Mayor Joe has been forced to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and attempt to get Sue to ask questions during the questions period rather than lecturing the Staff or outside experts who are sitting at the Staff table. “I let you speak, please let me speak.” has cropped up a number of times of late when Sue has tried to jump in and correct what a fellow Council member has said. [/quote]

    This has been my observation at recent CC meetings…

  50. Rifkin

    [i]”… the patience of Job is beginning to wear thin.”[/i]

    By the way … did anyone ever consider the possibility that Jōb was just incredibly stupid and for that reason God was intentionally punking him?

    [img]http://viewfrommasada.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/punkd1.jpg[/img]

  51. LinK

    I live next to 4 radio towers which are within a mile of each other and just happen to intersect at my townhouse.I was just injured 21 yrs. ago when I moved in with my 2sons and husband.I was unable to get proper medical help thru the Work.Comp.Ins.Drs.so I paid out of pocket,then my husband fell too.We both are now totally disabled,can’t breathe,have degenerative disc disease,all spine are going fast,diabetes,hypothyroidism,nerve disorders,skinand internal fungus,mold in air-conditioner,children at 30balding,husband can’t function,alzheimers,suicidal,depressed,have high voltage intersection where I sleep,and am in chronic pain from pancreas,breast disease,sleep disorders,bone osteophytes,hair clumping out,and have a black mold everywhere.HELP,I am praying since my arms are so weak I cannot use them for anything and am considered disabled by the S.S.dept.Husband is 66with emphysema and cannot breathe anymore,we were viril and alive when we moved in in 1991.This is a direct result of the towers. Now the cable has been affected, so they give me High Def for free and the box crackles and pops allthe time,while it is supposed to be recording,and you try to take a picture with a camera, you can see the radio waves, as they almost broke my camera.Our cats are going bald too.All the birds we had died and there are none around.When it tried to break two television sets, we called, and they came out with several, none worked,so they left the High-/def and it is breaking down.My phone sounds like clickity clackity as you talk,when you can talk. /so there, and theres more, but I think we are leaving soon. /thanks for listening. Pray for me. I am in a bad way,alone.Amen.

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