Guest Commentary: Conspiracy of Silence

union-sg-1By Michael Bartolic

Bribery. Blackmail. Intimidation. Extortion. Election tampering. Conspiracy to commit fraud. The ugliness of the smear aimed at Davis City Councilwoman Sue Greenwald has rightly been widely condemned as all of the above, especially by Stephen Souza, who is also running for re-election, on whose behalf this outrage ostensibly was perpetrated.

Some have treated this as a joke, a way to make mean fun of Greenwald and her supporters, as if she cued up such slander on her behalf. Others haven’t given Souza even the benefit of the doubt per his dissociation from the mailer damning Greenwald, choosing instead to believe he’d throw away a lifetime of passionate, honorable work for the community on a cheap shot chance to boost his re-election.

Yet what’s worse, in my opinion, is that despite the initial outcry, an eerie hollowness now dominates this unresolved, tawdry mess. Something is missing. Something vital. Something that should worry anyone believing in our right to free and open democracy, and clean, transparent government.

What is lacking, at least so far, is any notice being given of meaningful follow-up by authorities or charges being filed by the candidates.

The lack of more firm procedural follow-up by the candidates themselves is fairly pardonable. For apparently, as detailed by Sakash, the attempt to bribe Greenwald to cave in favor of the giant surface water plant, and failing that, “take her out” of this election was certainly followed up on.

When I spoke with Greenwald at the Farmers Market after the ad landed in our mailboxes, her stress and pain were viscerally palpable. Under such a looming threat, and with all the real perpetrators perhaps still unknown — and with none charged or punished — who can blame her for lapsing silent and not pressing charges?

Gang muggings in dark alleys are totally foreign to Souza’s nature, and when I spoke with him right after the mailer arrived he, too, was clearly wounded and hurt by the blow-back. I well understand the collateral damage, given the same unions who paid for the mailer attacking Greenwald were paraded into City Council meetings last past fall and their “testimony” cited by Souza as further reason to build the ultra-expensive JPA-DBO water project.

In that light, my advice has been that to fully clear himself, Souza ought to sue the ostensible perpetrators so they’d start naming names under oath as to who ordered the hit. But, after his initial heartfelt protest of innocence, Souza has been publicly silent about taking this matter to court, and that silence only protects the guilty.

But I empathize with both candidates’ quietude, and can’t condemn either Greenwald or Souza for not leading the charge for redress. They’re on stage in the in the harsh glare of an election, and possibly enduring further threats. However, there’s no excuse why the Yolo County Grand Jury apparently isn’t investigating this matter. Neither can we excuse the Yolo County district attorney (who was so quick to prosecute common citizens protesting a bank preying on students by usury) for failing to file an indictment against the hooligans who committed this egregious assault — an attack aimed at Greenwald, but equally an attack on the integrity of this election.

Indeed, the lack of an official effort to get to the bottom of this cesspool not only is skewing this election but leaves the community to wonder if the entirety of our water planning hasn’t been tainted by similar sordid tactics from outside players all along. Yet, for unknown reasons, our officials are silent.

And there it is: By the absence of official effort, by the lack of formal investigation and abetted by those who would laugh this off — or deny it has any wider, and ongoing, implications — a tacit conspiracy of silence now shadows this election. And, because of the reason this hit purportedly was made — to muscle a decision in favor of the original JPA-DBO water project rejected by referndum — the same darkness now shadows our community’s water planning, arguably the key issue facing our community.

No candidate should have to endure the stress and pain I saw on Greenwald’s face. And my friend Stephen Souza deserves to be fully, officially and unambiguously cleared of any complicity in this sordid affair. These are compelling reasons not to let this matter drop.

But above all, staying silent isn’t an option because, to quote Martin Luther King Jr., “One who condones evil is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it.”

So, I cannot and will not join the conspiracy of silence: Pretending this is a quirk, an aberration, sweeping it under the rug, dismissing it as a joke are the fatal means to ensure it won’t be an aberration, but rather, like bad money driving out good, only make such criminal behavior the norm.

Instead, I call — here and now — for the Yolo County Grand Jury to open a formal inquiry into the entirety of this affair, and demand that the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office prosecute each and every criminal involved in perpetrating it.

— Michael Bartolic is a Davis resident.

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57 Comments

  1. Matt Williams

    Michael Bartolic said . . .

    [i]”No candidate should have to endure the stress and pain I saw on Greenwald’s face. And my friend Stephen Souza deserves to be fully, officially and unambiguously cleared of any complicity in this sordid affair. These are compelling reasons not to let this matter drop.”[/i]

    Michael, I concur with your sentiments 100%, and a good place to start the full, official and unambiguous clearing would be for Sue Greenwald to retract her veiled accusation that Steve Souza was behind the mailer..

    If you go to [url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5340:union-attack-mailer-targets-greenwald&Itemid=83&cpage=30[/url] and then scroll down until you get to the comment with the 05/08/12 – 11:04 PM time stamp, the following words jump out of the page at you, [b][i]”Due to new information that I have received, I am no longer going to argue that there was more than one victim”[/i][/b]

    Scroll further to 05/08/12 – 11:19 PM and you read, [b][i]”I am no longer going to argue that there was more than one victim in today’s mailing. I will no longer be defending the other party”[/i][/b]

    Scroll further to 05/09/12 – 07:33 AM and you read, “Sue: I need you to either explain your comment/ accusation or I will have Don Shor pull it.”

    [b]Bottom-line, Sue never provided any support for her veiled accusation that Steve was behind the mailer.[/b]

    Jump forward to [url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5359:vanguard-guiding-principles&catid=61:open-government&Itemid=89[/url] and the 05/14/12 – 10:10 AM comment and the ones that follow it sum up where Sue’s integrity starts and stops. She is all too willing to throw Steve under the bus by hiding behind the same [i][b]”No Comment”[/b][/i] response that Bob Dunning said in his column that he is getting from Jim Burchill.

    Michael, your editorial gives Sue another opportunity to withdraw her unsupported accusation and apologize to Steve for making it. I hope you hold her to that standard of behavior. I hope we all do.

  2. Mr.Toad

    “Bribery. Blackmail. Intimidation. Extortion. Election tampering. Conspiracy to commit fraud.”

    Good lead and a fair criticism.

    “…as if she cued up such slander on her behalf. “

    What slander? Its lots of things but slander is not one of them.

    “No candidate should have to endure the stress and pain I saw on Greenwald’s face.”

    I didn’t see it although I believe you and don’t disagree. But what about sitting council members on the dais?What was it Sue said when Ruth was getting treatment after collapsing after Sue’s John Burton style outburst? I think Sue said something like “Some people aren’t cut out to serve.”

    Also, what about City Managers? No City Manager should be called “boy” in anger by one of his bosses as Sue did to Emlen as if he was just the help on a tobacco farm in the Jim Crow days of Sue’s youth in Maryland. Thankfully, she didn’t pull a William Zanzinger. I wonder did she ever apologize to Emlen?

  3. Mr.Toad

    If you have the stomach to watch the tape, something I haven’t done in a few years, according to the rules they needed four votes to cut off the argument where Sue called Ruth a “liar.” Lamar refused to vote for cloture keeping the tortuous debate alive. I wonder how much this played into his decision not to run again? i know publicly he claimed personal reasons and got married but I have always suspected that his role in that sordid affair weighed heavy on him and his decision not to stand for re-election.

  4. medwoman

    There are points made by Mr.Bartolic with which I agree and points where we disagree.
    1) Agreed that no candidate should be placed in the position that ether Grrenwald or Souza faced in the aftermath of this flier.
    2) Agree that silence is not the best way to go forward with this
    3) Agree that all election materials should be honest, fair, transparent as to who is making the statements, and I would add balanced ( I know, good luck with that one )
    Where we disagree
    1) We already are far too quick to criminalize and then incarcerate in this country ( and some would say in this county in particular)
    2) A fitting outcome would, in my opinion be that no one affiliated with this flier should get any contract or business with the city…..ever.
    Simple, effective, sends a message, and could save the taxpayers a lot in terms of court costs and potentially incarceration expenses.

  5. crillybutler

    Michael Bartolic characterizes Steven Souza as giving, …”a lifetime of passionate, honorable work for the community.”

    What an interesting comment in light of a statement by David Greenwald in another story released this morning: “What we see now is the efforts of the council majority of Asmundson, Saylor and Souza who were heavily backed by fire union money in the elections of 2004, 2006, and 2008, voting to support management’s collusion with the fire fighters union to suppress public discovery of unfavorable material – material that is damaging to the former fire chief Rose Conroy and the longtime union President Bobby Weist.”

  6. DT Businessman

    Mike, I think your focus is a bit off. The crime, or at least unethical event, is not the mailer, it’s what transpired between Greenwald and Burchill. A bribery attempt or quid pro quo on a multi-million dollar scale. It should have been reported to the authorities the moment it occurred. The fact that it wasn’t reported raises numerous questions. The mailer prompted Greenwald to disclose the Burchill meeting. Were it not for the mailer, the public wouldn’t even know about the crime. Interesting that the mailer should become the focus, and not the crime.

    -Michael Bisch

  7. David M. Greenwald

    Michael:

    You are incorrect to argue that the mailer was not unethical. The mailer itself has a lot of problems in how it was disclosed and who backed it and why.

  8. 91 Octane

    what is in this mailer is nothing new, and quite frankly probably does not have the impact on greenwald that it had when it went on youtube.

    much of this article is innuendo, with little to back it up. Whether greenwald gets re-elected or not, she clearly makes enemies because she picks fights with all sorts of people.

    also, I find this “we should be above all this negative politics nauseating.” If greenwald were a republican, we would be hearing different tunes about protecting the rich, robbing the poor, and taking away of civil rights. There is hardly a day that goes by that republicans are not targeted for being too right wing, or supporting right wing policies be it from the enterprise, the vanguard, or a combination of the two. In the vanguard, the targets of choice are sarah palin, the DA, and the entire police dept. I remember when the enterprise printed a caricature of rick perry as an ape (I’d love to see them print a similar one with obama in the interest of fairness)……… I mean how many times did George W. Bush get on the recieving end of vicious criticisms?

    you get my drift. point being, there is plenty of negative politics in Davis…. it is just directed at a particular philosphy/ideology…. so please lets not get on our collective high horses here and cry a river because one of our own is on the recieving end of such politics.

    If we want to do away with negative politics then lets do it across the board. otherwise shut up.

  9. biddlin

    “Instead, I call — here and now — for the Yolo County Grand Jury to open a formal inquiry into the entirety of this affair, and demand that the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office prosecute each and every criminal involved in perpetrating it.”
    A bold conclusion to this hyperbolic lament . Politics in America has always been a no-holds-barred affair . Participants are gauged, in part, on their durability and aplomb when confronted by such vehement accusations . Sue Greenwald, a seasoned campaigner, who has certainly demonstrated an abrasive and relentless style of rhetoric, is portrayed as the wounded victim, when in fact, this ” Bribery. Blackmail. Intimidation. Extortion. Election tampering. Conspiracy to commit fraud.” has boosted her position considerably. “Progressives” domination of Davis politics may be waning, shrugging under the weight of economic reality and eroded by “outside” influences . Sue chose to be on the council, chose to run for re-election and chose to alienate her council colleagues rather than work for amenable compromise . She has chosen to be publicly, vocally, antagonistic to city staff and workers . She has opposed projects that would create jobs and improve the infrastructure . The mailer, in direct, in-your-face language and images reminds voters of the clearly identified senders’ viewpoint . That’s campaigning . That’s American democracy .

  10. Anne

    Michael, I agree that there needs to be a formal investigation into this mailer and charges or fines need to be made or given.

    91 octane, You don’t see a problem with an attack political mailer? It doesn’t matter of you support Greenwald or Souza the point is we cannot allow elections in Davis to stoop to this level.

    I don’t agree with all points made but there needs to be an investigation. Good point Michael.

    David, I asked before if you knew what Harriet Steiner was doing and you stated you did not know. Any news yet?

  11. Matt Williams

    True, ant the point of Sue’s innuendo about Steve being behind the mailer is both the form and the content of her innuendo . . . as well as her “No Comment” when David asked her to substantiate her source for her comments.

  12. Mr.Toad

    Wow! The comments here are brutal. It seems the recalcitrant remarks in the immediate aftermath of the mailer no longer are being held in check.

    It makes me wonder what motivated the author? Did he honestly think that this needed to be said or was he trying to keep the pot stirred by recycling this story? Did he ask Sue if she wanted to keep this martyr thing going? You want to talk about miscalculation and backfire it looks like Sue loses this news cycle.

  13. biddlin

    “the point is we cannot allow elections in Davis to stoop to this level.” Do you propose to suspend the first amendment ?
    ” Michael, I agree that there needs to be a formal investigation into this mailer and charges or fines need to be made or given.”
    Charges and fines for what, specifically ?
    “it’s the form of it.”
    Please explain .
    “Harriet Steiner is not doing anything.”
    What would you have her do, in the absence of any obvious criminality ? This is the sort of droning that leads your neighbors to refer to you as ” The Peoples Republic of Davis ” and speculate on toxins in your well water .

  14. 91 Octane

    No candidate should have to endure the stress and pain I saw on Greenwald’s face. And my friend Stephen Souza deserves to be fully, officially and unambiguously cleared of any complicity in this sordid affair. These are compelling reasons not to let this matter drop.

    well then you should talk to sue about publicly apologizing to Steve Souza, if she hasn’t already since she decided he was behind the attack – and probably still thinks so.

  15. Michael Harrington

    When Gidero and friends did it to me and Stan Forbes in the 2004 CC election, many progressives bullet-voted for Sue and made her Mayor, snatching Don’s prize away. Gidero gave Souza his seat. No one complained about what Gidero did, and certainly no supporter of Souza or Sue asked for a Grand Jury investigation. In the end, it freed me up to focus my business, and on marshalling the resources for the anti-Measure X campagin, and we stopped Covell Village in the nick of time.

    “Be careful what you ask for.”

  16. psdavis

    “Mike, I think your focus is a bit off. The crime, or at least unethical event, is not the mailer, it’s what transpired between Greenwald and Burchill. A bribery attempt or quid pro quo on a multi-million dollar scale. It should have been reported to the authorities the moment it occurred. [b][i]The fact that it wasn’t reported raises numerous questions.[/b][/i]” DT Businessman

    Like whether or not it really happened?

    I think Michael Bisch has hit the nail squarely on the head. The real substance here is the Sue Greenwald – Jim Burchill interaction. This is the thread that need to be followed.

  17. psdavis

    Matt: Here are the latest posts from Sue on the topic. They are dated 05/15. Although she doesn’t apologize to Steve, she is certainly not insinuating that he was anything more than a victim like herself.[quote]I don’t have time to read this, but I can make one comment on the theme in the headline: The slick operatives behind this mailer would not have delegated a tactical decision like this to Jon Li.

    Of course they will point to a fall guy.

    IMHO, whoever decided to hurt both myself and drag in Stephen Souza was most likely supporting one of the other candidates (without their knowledge, I will assume) and had something to offer the consultant that the consultant really wanted.

    There is no other explanation for dragging in the most ardent supporter of the consultant’s client.

    IMHO, someone is trying to cover their tracks by pointing the finger at Jon Li.[/quote][quote]In other words, if Jon Li knew about the plans or if he worked for the consultant or whatever is irrelevant; it is ridiculous to assume that he was responsible for this decision of this monumental magnitude.[/quote]I have to chuckle at the way she simultaneously exonerates and insults Jon Li.

  18. psdavis

    BTW The mailer was the best thing that ever happened to the Greenwald campaign. She’s going to milk it for all the sympathy votes she can.

    That being said, I think we need to demand that she explain why she failed to report the alleged Burchill coercion to the city attorney or the DA.

  19. Mr.Toad

    JB:”91 Octane… note the sound of silence responding to your post at 7:14 AM?”

    How about the sound of one hand clapping? No one said anything because there isn’t much to say. I will point out though that the Enterprise is owned by a right wing anti-union guy. Also I have long argued that if it weren’t for social issues Sue would be considered a moderate Republican in the mold of Nelson Rockefeller so maybe the attack mailer fits the template of Octane. Still Octane how are Sue’s anti-growth positions working for you?

  20. dlemongello

    Perhaps I am just too naive. But I think you are giving the perpetrators too much credit, they are just jerks, and the stupid thing should just die. They were probably smart enough to make sure they fell just this side of doing anything illegal, pursuit is probably just another waste of resources. And although this can often be the nature of “higher” races, it would have been nice and is often the case that local elections stay above this kind of garbage.

    As for Sue being who she is, say what you like, she gets results and I like that. And I believe in fighting back when one is not being treated fairly. Give it some context.

    As for the “bribe”, I doubt it would qualify, it was in the form of potential support, not payment.

  21. Matt Williams

    dlemongello said . . .

    [i]”As for Sue being who she is, say what you like, she gets results and I like that. [b]And I believe in fighting back when one is not being treated fairly.[/b] Give it some context.”[/i]

    I don’t disagree with your point about fighting back. However, Sue chose to fight back against Steve Souza when she made her unsupported accusation. Fighting back against Jim Burchill and the labor unions makes total sense. Throwing Souza under the bus is simply political opportunism. Not apologizing for doing so is sleazy.

  22. Don Shor

    [i]”Sue never provided any support for her veiled accusation that Steve was behind the mailer.”
    [/i]
    Sue never made an accusation, veiled or otherwise, that Steve had anything to do with it.

  23. Ryan Kelly

    Mike Harrington: “When Gidero and friends did it to me and Stan Forbes in the 2004 CC election,…”

    This is not anywhere close to the same thing that happened in the 2004 election. Guidaro hired a telemarketing company to call voters and urge them to vote for Harrington, Forbes and Saylor. There was no negative element in the calls. However, the callers were too aggressive in going about it so people were called multiple times in an effort to reach and talk in person to the voter, which was a real turn off. To make matters worse, it was discovered that Mike accepted a campaign donation from Guidaro, who had a land development planned for a parcel north of the City. With Mike’s campaign falling apart, Mike responded by declaring that, if he won the election, he would immediately resign and ask for another vote. People voted for other candidates and Harrington lost.

    The only similarity is that Sue’s attempt to benefit. For me, it is the response that tells me about the candidate. I was unimpressed by Sue’s response (or lack of response) in 2004 and I am unimpressed by Sue’s response now. I don’t vote for people out of sympathy, so the mailing has not affected my vote in any way, but apparently people in Davis do allow themselves to be swayed by these things.

  24. Matt Williams

    I beg to differ Don.

    If you go to [url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5340:union-attack-mailer-targets-greenwald&Itemid=83&cpage=30[/url] and then scroll down until you get to the comment with the 05/08/12 – 11:04 PM time stamp, the following words jump out of the page at you, [b]”Due to new information that I have received, I am no longer going to argue that there was more than one victim”[/b]

    Scroll further to 05/08/12 – 11:19 PM and you read, [b]”I am no longer going to argue that there was more than one victim in today’s mailing. I will no longer be defending the other party”[/b]

    If that is not an accusation that Steve was not a victim, then what is it?

  25. JustSaying

    Michael Bartolic, apparently you didn’t get enough of the wild speculation and innuendo during the first [i]Vanguard[/i] stabs at transforming this unsavory mailer into some kind of “Bribery. Blackmail. Intimidation. Extortion. Election tampering. Conspiracy to commit fraud.”

    You misread the community’s effort to move on after fairly universal condemnation as some kind of unhealthy “conspiracy of silence.”

    In not too commendable undertakings, the [i]Vanguard[/i] and the rest of us engaged in a minute-by-minute reporting of untrue charges and inaccurate speculation about who might have been associated with this effort, smearing many innocent folks along the way.

    David promptly claimed the mailing violated the law, then revised his evaluation to “well, maybe they’re okay since they followed the rules.” Now, we’re reading that “bribery, blackmail, intimidation, extortion, election tampering and conspiracy to commit fraud” are the true unlawful acts?

    Sometimes people react under stress in ways that are telling of their true character. Sometimes their reactions are just a reflection of the human condition and don’t mean much beyond that. Whether Sue should have to live with the reputation she earned in the Ruth incident is difficult to say.

    Sue is claiming some as yet unknown charges–unknown, because David pulled down her comment and refused to repost or report on them as he’d promised he would do. While her other comments that day give the impression that her charges were against Stephen, the only thing we really know is that this was another inappropriate public reaction by Sue.

    We may never know the extent of her charges since we’ve not been able to read them and, as you point out, she’s “lapsing silent” herself with her “no comments.” We only know that David judged them as unsupportable and unworthy of appearing in the hallowed [i]Vanguard[/i] columns, even in the follow-up form we’d expected after he finished his investigation.

    Sue’s attacks on Stephen should be as much a target of your ire, Michael, as is the flyer itself. What did Stephen have to say about Sue’s innuendo trying to tie this attack to him when you talked with him?

    The longer we have to look back at this incident, the more it seems to be what it appears to be, an unsavory attack on Sue’s public (and You-Tubed), inappropriate and unstable actions that evening–legally issued by the disclosed unions.

    As much as you and David want to make this something criminal, it all comes down to “it’s not the content of the mailer, it’s the form of it,” whatever that means. Please be more specific about the “criminal behavior” you allege has happened.

    What have you concluded about the other three candidates, now that you’ve pointed out that Stephen and Sue are the uninvolved victims? Are you concluding that Lucas, Brett and Dan and/or their supports are behind the mailer or just hinting at it by absolving Stephen?[quote]“I interpreted this as a threat as well as a bribe, i.e., that if I didn’t support the project, they were going to engage in serious Karl Rove style attacks.”[/quote]By exaggerating the visit by the unions’ agent, Sue has made the mailer a much, bigger deal than it is. She’s been around a long time, and knows what lobbying is all about. By immediately playing the bribery card, Sue might have generated some initial sympathy, but such exaggeration now results in questions about why she didn’t report the supposed bribery attempt.

    As long as Sue and Stephen are council members, we’ll be dealing with this kind of drama. Maybe it’s time for them to move on so we can move on. In the meantime, let’s get back to the “conspiracy of silence,” please.

  26. psdavis

    “As long as Sue and Stephen are council members, we’ll be dealing with this kind of drama. Maybe it’s time for them to move on so we can move on.” JS

    I don’t think it’s fair to paint Steve with the drama brush. Sue is all about polarization and drama. That’s the only thing that makes her relevant (she can’t execute a policy agenda and has some really dumb ideas). Steve, on the other hand, impresses me as more of a “go along to get along” type. In fact, he would probable fit seamlessly into a back-bencher role on a Krovoza/Swanson/Wolk/Frerichs council. Almost all the drama around Steve is generated by the Vanguard and the progressives that are backing Brett. The question is, do they dial that back if Brett is on the council or does Brett’s presence just make it worse?

  27. dlemongello

    Saying someone was not an intended victim certainly does not imply you are also saying they are a perpetrator. I see nothing in Sue’s words that make the latter accusations. If we take the mailer at face value, they said who it is to support and who it is to deny. And if you look at who the senders are and what the 2 council candidates’ stances are, it makes simple sense. And of course they don’t care about the incident other than its value in the politics of turning people against Sue. I find that pretty transparent.

  28. Matt Williams

    dlemongello said . . .

    [i]”Saying someone was not an intended victim certainly does not imply you are also saying they are a perpetrator.”[/i]

    Go back and look at what Sue said. If in fact she was conveying the very passive message you are attributing to her, then why did she even take the time to “correct the record” in such a public manner?

    After you answer that question, one more springs to mind . . . Why say “due to new information” if you then turn around and refuse to share the new information you went out of your way to let everyone know existed?

  29. newshoundpm

    I find it interesting that David allowed Michael B. to post this guest commentary. My initial reaction was that Michael B is doing David’s bidding for him. He can’t get away with saying this stuff himself, but he can let Michael do it, with all of the negative blow-back hitting Michael, and not him.

    David, what are your requirements/standards for posting guest editorials? Do you have to agree with them?

    I also agree that it was awfully curious that Sue should fail to mention her encounter with Burchill previously. I suspect that there is a fair bit of embelishment in her memory of the encounter, that she claims really rattled her. Let me ask this question. If Burchill is this experienced Davis political operative that everyone seems to claim he is, how does one credibly believe that he would have such a conversation with Sue? Did he have a moment of stupidity? Think about it. Does anyone really believe that Sue would change her mind or position on ANY issue based upon such tactics as she claims were used against her? Like her or dislike her – like her positions or dislike her positions, Sue is nothing if she isn’t independent. She is also fearless and unafraid to take anyone or anything on if she believe she is right. (Just look at the YouTube video – (sorry, that was a cheap shot)) So why would someone so knowledgeable about Davis politics have such a conversation with Sue? What would be the purpose of such an exercise from Burchill’s standpoint? If you can’t think of one either, maybe that should tell us all something. I suspect that Sue has conciously or unconciously re-created her encounter with Burchill because it seemed to fit well into her storyline of being the victim. She just needed to tweak it a bit. I could be wrong, but this scenario seems more believable to me than the one that Sue recollects. I think she overplayed her hand on this one a bit.

  30. Matt Williams

    newshound, the exact same editorial was published by the Enterprise on Sunday as an OpEd. Michael’s past MO has been to post in both venues, so I think David was simply accepting a vetted article.

  31. newshoundpm

    Thanks Matt. My apoligies to David for making an incorrect assumption. What do you think about my thoughts related to the Sue/Burchill exchange? Does Sue’s description of the encounter and what was said ring true to you? I don’t always agree with you, but do believe you are consistently well thought-out and insightful in your posts on a broad range of topics.

  32. Matt Williams

    I think your sense of the Greenwald-Burchill exchange is very credible. I think you are right in saying that Sue has been prone to an occasional memory embellishment.

  33. David M. Greenwald

    “David, what are your requirements/standards for posting guest editorials? Do you have to agree with them?”

    Well, this is going to be fun, I refer you to the Vanguard Guiding Principles ([url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5359:vanguard-guiding-principles&catid=102:all-community-blogs[/url]):

    “we have and maintain an open submission policy, whereby any party is welcome to submit an editorial/op-ed in response to an article or to raise an issue in general with the public.”

    You suggest that I asked Michael to write this because I couldn’t write it myself. In fact, Michael wrote and submitted it to the Davis Enterprise who ran it on Sunday. He then sent it yesterday and I posted it today.

  34. JustSaying

    “newshound, the exact same editorial was published by the Enterprise on Sunday as an OpEd. Michael’s past MO has been to post in both venues, so I think David was simply accepting a vetted article.”

    One would think the Vanguard would have identified this as a reprint from the Enterprise in that case. It’s such a poorly thought out, incendiary piece, I’m surprised either one published it. I don’t either editor did any “vetting.”

    Since Michael B. is trying to make a case in support of Sue, he might have given her “threats and bribery” accounting a little more weight than it deserved. Something certainly set him off on a track of exaggeration and unfounded charges. Of course, it all started here in the Vanguard.

  35. David M. Greenwald

    “That being said, I think we need to demand that she explain why she failed to report the alleged Burchill coercion to the city attorney or the DA. “

    First, given the attorney-client privilege we don’t know that she didn’t.

    Second, what would be the point, it would be unprovable he-said/ she-said.

  36. David M. Greenwald

    “One would think the Vanguard would have identified this as a reprint from the Enterprise in that case.”

    It’s not a re-print. He submitted it independently without my having solicited it.

  37. JustSaying

    Did you realize it already had run as an op-ed in the Enterprise? The author had an obligation to inform each outlet to which he submitted it that he was sending to others. I assumed that it was a unique Vanguard original until Matt exposed it as a reprint or second publishing or whatever you want to label it.

    In any case, I do hope you’ll label second-hand material as such (in the interest of full disclosure) in the future. You might not have so much fun with newshoundpm, but don’t you think it’s something readers should be able to expect when you again-print something that’s already been published somewhere else? It doesn’t seem too much to ask in your Guiding Principles.

  38. psdavis

    “First, given the attorney-client privilege we don’t know that she didn’t.” DG

    Attorney-client privilege binds the attorney. It does not bind the client. Accordingly, Sue is free to tell us the truth – if she so chooses.

    Sue’s prior statements imply that she didn’t tell the appropriate legal authorities. The question is why not?

    Personally, I’m going to go with the theory (already expressed by others) that she embellished the story of the encounter for dramatic effect (i.e. she made it up). However, if Sue sticks to her story, then she needs to explain why she failed to report the incident to the city attorney or the DA.

    One would hope that the Enterprise or the Vanguard would follow up on this, but I doubt if we will see any real investigative journalism on the topic.

  39. newshoundpm

    David, yes, I’m sure you have an open submission policy. That’s like saying anyone is welcome to leave a commment in the comment box. My question is really seeking to understand what your basis is for actually posting such a commentary. Will you say yes to anything on a topic of interest to the community? Does it matter as to whether you agree with the commentary or not? Do you judge content in the same manner in which you indicate that you judge your own content? I want to know what your stated “screen” is.

    It may be semantics, or I may have misstated my original comment, but the intent of my question was not whether you asked Michael to write the commentary, but rather whether you accepted it for publication because it was a view you supported, but perhaps not a few you felt you could actually sign your name to perhaps because it did not meet journalistic standards or the Vanguard’s Guiding Principals. I guess it was all more rhetorical than anything. Don’t really expect you to say you support what printing the commentary attempted to accomplish, but were unwilling to re-vocalize the points yourself for any number of very good reasons.

  40. JustSaying

    “Just Saying has so many ideas for David that he might rather start his own news media website and do it his own way.”

    Thanks, eagle eye, but it takes more than ideas, and I’m pleased that David has what it takes to to develop and maintain a successful public interest site. David welcomes people of all stripes to deposit their ideas, he brings lots of important stuff to light and he improves the Vanguard’s professionalism and impact every year. We don’t need another one as long as he keeps it up.

  41. Adam Smith

    [i]First, given the attorney-client privilege we don’t know that she didn’t.

    Second, what would be the point, it would be unprovable he-said/ she-said. [/i]

    If these points are true, why would she be able to say them now? From this standpoint, there is no difference between today and whenever this happened. And besides, a crime happened. If she saw a bank being robbed, is she absolved from reporting it? I think this goes to Sue’s character, which is seriously in question. She chose to report (or make it up) at a time that would benefit her, not at a time that the authorities could investigate it. Is this how Sue Greenwald has the citizens of Davis best interest at heart?

  42. Adam Smith

    [i]I think it is a major stretch to say “a crime happened.” [/i]

    Well, I guess that is true, if Sue fabricated the encounter. If she told the truth, then I don’t think it is any stretch at all. Sue’s recitation indicates that a bribe was offered. She doesn’t have to accept it in order for a crime to have happened.

  43. Don Shor

    No, it is not likely that she fabricated it either. I don’t recall her saying that any specific compensation was offered in exchange for her vote or for her taking a specific position. I seriously doubt that Mr. Burchill would admit making any specific offer.

  44. Adam Smith

    Don – these are Sue’s words:

    “I interpreted this as a threat as well as a bribe, i.e., that if I didn’t support the project, they were going to engage in serious Karl Rove style attacks.”

    Sue interpreted this as a bribe, in her own words. Compensation was lack of a karl rove style attack.

    If Sue is accurately recounting the events, a crime was committed, and she didn’t report it until she found benefit for herself. If she misrepresented the event, then she has slandered Mr. Burchill. Either way, a crime was committed.

  45. JustSaying

    I agree with Don. I can see how an unproductive lobbying visit might not have generated much concern from Sue at the time. But, given the mailer weeks later, the discussion might have taken on a more ominous feel to Sue upon reflection. Although she was quick to describe her memories of “bribery and threats” to the newspaper reporter, doesn’t it seem it could have been an understandable overstatement about an encounter that never reached the level of a crime? Time to move on.

  46. Adam Smith

    JS –

    IMO, Sue has a very bad habit of misrepresenting events and facts- and perhaps she did in this event. If she did, so be it – but she doesn’t get a hall pass. Regardless, this event is just one more in a long list of similar mischaracterizations or misrepresentations. For me, these misrepresentations, together with her conduct as a council member, means that she is unworthy of return to the city council.

    If her recollection of the events happens to be accurate, then she chose not to report a fairly serious crime against the citizens of Davis. Either way, it reinforces my view of her suitability as a city council member.

  47. psdavis

    JustSaying: We can’t move on until we hear what Sue has to say.

    We also can’t move on until we know who targeted Sue and Steve – and why.

    I don’t agree with Sue on anything relate to economic development, but on this topic I think she is 100% correct:[quote]IMHO, whoever decided to hurt both myself and drag in Stephen Souza was most likely supporting one of the other candidates (without their knowledge, I will assume) and had something to offer the consultant that the consultant really wanted.

    There is no other explanation for dragging in the most ardent supporter of the consultant’s client.[/quote]

  48. JustSaying

    What can Sue possibly have to say that will satisfy you or anyone else?

    To answer your question, the unions targeted Sue and supported Stephen because they rather have us vote for Stephen than Sue, just like the oversize postcard said. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  49. psdavis

    JustSaying: What are you afraid of? “Move on” sounds a lot like “quit digging” to me.

    Regarding your unsolicitated answer to a question I did not direct to you …[quote]No one is dumb enough to put their favored candidate’s name on a hit piece. Show me one example. [b]Sue Greenwald[/b][/quote]

  50. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Second, what would be the point, it would be unprovable he-said/ she-said.[/quote]

    Exactly – there is no way of knowing that what Burchill may or may not have said to Sue is what Sue claimed it was… classic hearsay with all the attendant problems of hearsay – unreliability…

  51. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]To answer your question, the unions targeted Sue and supported Stephen because they rather have us vote for Stephen than Sue, just like the oversize postcard said. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.[/quote]

    Except that even Sue has now come around to the obvious, after the blowback she received for claiming she was the “only victim” of the vicious mailer:
    [quote]No one is dumb enough to put their favored candidate’s name on a hit piece. Show me one example. Sue Greenwald[/quote]

    Make no mistake, there were two intended victims…

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