Sunday Commentary: Were Public Officials Dancing on Pinkerton’s Grave?

Firefiighters and others gather at Uncle Vito's Pizza on Friday
Firefighters and others gather at Uncle Vito’s Pizza on Friday

Yesterday, the Vanguard reported that the Davis Professional Firefighters Association President Bobby Weist held a party at Uncle Vito’s in Downtown Davis to “celebrate the departure” of City Manager Steve Pinkerton. In addition to employees from PASEA (Program, Administrative and Support Employees Association), the event included a countdown at 5 pm and was attended at different times by Sheila Allen, Don Saylor, Dan Wolk and Lucas Frerichs.

The smoking gun was an email, obtained by the Vanguard that was sent by PASEA President Sara Williams (during city business hours) to members of the PASEA Google Group.

Despite the fact that the Vanguard sent a screen shot of that email to the elected officials on Friday evening, the Vanguard did not start receiving responses from the elected officials until Saturday. While the Vanguard has not heard from Don Saylor, Sheila Allen, Dan Wolk and Lucas Frerichs have now all denied any knowledge of Bobby Weist’s true intentions.

Lucas Frerichs told the Vanguard, “I was invited to Uncle Vito’s to have a beer and meet city employees – many of whom I’d not had the chance to meet previously. I was told in advance that the purpose for the gathering was ‘to get all the city labor groups together to start working together because Pinkerton is leaving.’”

Sheila Allen explained, “On 4/24 Bobby Weist sent the following text to me ‘Hey we’re having pizza tomorrow at Vito’s. You should come by.  It starts at 4pm.’  I replied ‘Sure, see you there.’”

She would add, “I had no idea the get together was related to Steve Pinkerton’s last day.”

Dan Wolk made a similar denial, but the comment itself was not on the record.

In all candidness, a lot of people wrote me, called me, and posted that they disbelieved that the four public officials had no idea the true purpose of the event. It’s certainly plausible that they got together, concocted a cover story, and made similar comments. But I think it’s best to take people at their word, without further evidence.

Leaving aside the strange explanation that city labor groups would get together and start working together after 4 pm on a Friday over beer, we will take the politicians at their word that Union President Bobby Weist, who has been caught in a number of tall tales by the Vanguard over the years, might have deceived the elected officials about the true nature of the gathering.

But to me that doesn’t get them off the hook, it simply changes the nature of the complaint.

First, any observant reader will notice that there is actually something missing here. While Lucas Frerichs, Sheila Allen, and Dan Wolk deny that they knew the true nature of the event, not one of them said boo about the true nature of the event being wrong.

None of them stated that they believed it was inappropriate for them to have attended an event which was intended to celebrate the departure of the city manager. None of them, upon learning what the countdown referred to, spoke out against it. None of them stated that, had they known, they would not have attended.

There was not one expression of outrage over being misled and about disparaging the outgoing city manager.

So yes, they all were quick to create plausible denials as to their attendance, but not one of them spoke out against attending had they known.

Was it in their opinion wrong to celebrate Steve Pinkerton’s departure? Would they have attended the event, had they known its real purpose? Did any of them apologize to Steve Pinkerton?

Second, who attended the party and who did not attend the party has meaning. The firefighters’ union has been at the center of several controversies. They were subject to a grand jury report and an independent investigation that the Vanguard and others spent five years and multiple lawsuits to get released to the public.

The firefighters protested against city hall last year. The firefighters had to have their contract imposed on them. The firefighters for years controlled city hall through bundled donations and independent expenditures, which often meant they spent upwards of $20,000 to elect candidates. It has only been in the last two election cycles that that influence has been broken.

At this party, the firefighters were selective about whom they invited. They invited Lucas Frerichs and Dan Wolk. However, they did not invite Joe Krovoza, Rochelle Swanson or Brett Lee. Each of them confirmed this fact with the Vanguard.

Moreover, while they invited Sheila Allen, the other four candidates for city council were not invited.

If this were just beer, if this were just about gathering “to get all the city labor groups together to start working together because Pinkerton is leaving,” why would they invite some elected officials but not others?

The answer is clear: because they were inviting the elected officials who were friendly to the firefighters and they did not invite those elected officials or candidates that they deemed adversarial or potentially adversarial.

Finally, we again will take the elected officials at their word that they did not know that this was a party to celebrate the departure of Steve Pinkerton. However, at the end of the day, they knew it was Bobby Weist who was inviting them to a party.

By now the elected officials knew with whom they were getting into bed and should have been prepared for the possibility that the party might not have been what it seemed or was purported to be.

I particularly take exception to the insinuation made publicly that there was misinformation in this report. I went very far to do due diligence to make sure that everything stated in yesterday’s article was not only accurate but could be backed up by evidence.

I waited until I had possession of the email before deciding to write the story. I sent a screen shot to the elected officials. I was not given information on the record at first by Lucas Frerichs, Sheila Allen or Dan Wolk.

Mr. Frerichs specifically requested his initial text be off the record, Sheila Allen did not state either way – and I always assume a comment is off the record unless told otherwise – and Dan Wolk’s comment was “for background” only.

In the initial story, I specifically stated that Sheila Allen and Lucas Frerichs denied knowledge of the purpose of the event. I wrote, “One person indicated they were invited by Bobby Weist to come meet some current and former staff. They were a bit confused by the countdown and cheer.”

That one person was Sheila Allen, but I could not say that because she never gave me permission to do so. When I sent her the text with the screen shot it was 9:30 pm on Friday; I didn’t receive a response until nearly 5 pm on Saturday. It wasn’t a priority for her.

The bottom line here is that no one likes to get caught with their hands in the cookie jar. However, in my view, while everyone expressed to the Vanguard that they did not know the purpose of the event, no one expressed regret for attending the event or spoke out against it once it became known to them.

To me that silence speaks 1000 words.

—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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62 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    “None of them stated that they believed it was inappropriate for them to have attended an event which was intended to celebrate the departure of the city manager. None of them upon learning what the countdown referred to, spoke out against it. None of them stated that had they known, they would not have attended.”

    This I find this very disheartening. I truly believe that the elected officials and candidate were not fully informed of the nature of the event. I was however, seeking some kind of assurance that they would not have approved or attended had they known. It is very disappointing to me that when specifically asked, none have chosen to express any form of disapproval of this kind of petty, mean spirited event.

    1. D.D.

      Aren’t those politicians a little peeved that they were all invited there, supposedly, under false pretense? They should demand an apology from Bobby W. for dragging them into his vendetta against Pinkerton.

      1. D.D.

        Or was he in a “drunken stupor” at 10 seconds before 5:00 p.m. and this was just a spontaneous celebration? If so, I’d forgive him. Not if it was planned ahead of time.

  2. Barack Palin

    A lot can be said about what elected officials were there, who weren’t, who was invited and who wasn’t. These same officials vote, will vote or have voted on wages and policies effecting the same people they’re partying with. Does it make it harder to make that tough vote against someone who you socialize with? In my opinion it definately comes into play, but you be your own judge come election time.

    1. Tia Will

      I know it is entirely possible for elected officials with whom I socialize to vote against my position on issues. This has happened a number of times. Individuals can retain very strong friendships while seeing specific issues very differently.

      I do not agree that who one “parties” with is likely to determine one’s vote. If that were the case, elected officials would be expected to live a socially isolated life in our little city. However, I think it is very important to make the distinction in this case between whom one parties with and the nature of the party.

      I see nothing wrong with Mr. Weist inviting any elected official of his choice for beer after work, nor do I have a problem with their accepting. I would feel the same if any individual or group were to make a similar invitation.

      The problem as I see is is solely with the childish and churlish nature of this particular celebration, the choice to participate, or to continue to participate once the true nature was known, and the failure to make a public disapproval of this type of behavior once the evidence of the true purpose was layed out in black and white.

        1. Tia Will

          Barack Palin

          No, but they do vote on things of equal importance to me.
          I think your comment and my response illustrate that not all of us value the exact same items in the exact same way.

          1. Barack Palin

            Do you think Bobby Weist is inviting officials to get togethers because he’s interested in plastic bag bans or the flouridation of our water?

          2. Tia Will

            I previously stated that I think it is necessary to separate the motives of the host from that of the attendees but I am happy to clarify.

            Bobby Weist is responsible for his own motives and actions just as is each attendee. His motives cannot be attributed to those who chose to attend and their actions should not be judged on the basis of his motivation.

            To answer your question directly. No, and I couldn’t care less.
            I don’t see it as relevant as above.

          1. South of Davis

            If so, I bet D.D. is the only guy in Davis that really “thinks so” (not that many others in defending the people at the event won’t chime in and say they “were tricked”)…

  3. Elizabeth Bowler

    One of the more important pieces you have written recently, David. Thank you for the great reporting. I hope you will write about your experience given that there were threats of violence towards you per the comments on the original thread. Extremely disturbing!

        1. D.D.

          That’s what good journalists do – they use a camera to take pictures. Look at the cover of Life magazine sometime. A picture can be worth a million words.

          1. D.D.

            I chose the word million on purpose. Some photo’s, like David’s photo of all those empty parking places, is worth more than one thousand words. Some photo’s on the cover of Life magazine are also worth more than a thousand words.

  4. D.D.

    Sidebar- Vito’s back parking lot is not lit well. I was walking through there at night and I tripped and fell & hit my head on a cement parking barrier. I was leaving Davis in a few days, so I didn’t bother suing them. They need to put lights in their back parking lot. Or maybe replace the bulbs. It’s extremely dark back there.

    1. hpierce

      So… that parking lot is shared by a number of properties, yet you link it to Vito’s. Nice. Lack of lighting may well be a violation of the City’s ‘security ordinance’, which has much more to do with being robbed, or abducted, etc. Yet you seem to feel you did all a favor by ‘not suing them’. Very gracious of you.

      What was your BAC at the time? Why would you think you have the right to be made absolutely free of any bad outcome (even if your BAC was 0.000000), for walking around in a private parking lot at night, in the dark?

      Yes, moderator, I know this is a sidebar to a sidebar, yet I am confounded that if anyone has anything untoward happen to them, anywhere, there should be someone else who can be/should held responsible. Except of course, themselves.

  5. TrueBlueDevil

    I have a friend, not in Davis, who is a fireman. he can retire at 50 or 53 and take home over $100,000 per year, plus generous benefits. I see no reason why a person like this, who may no longer be able to fight a strenuous fire, can’t be a fire inspector, trainer, or such. Or get a job at Costco or elsewhere.

    1. Tia Will

      TrueBlueDevil

      I genuinely do not know your opinion about wages and a free market economy, so I am just asking. Do you think that a firefighter should have the same opportunity as anyone else to get the best deal he can from his employer just as his employer has the right to bargain for the best deal ?

      1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

        Tia, those are not mutually exclusive thoughts.

        I would say, of course, anyone who is a firefighter or anything else should take all the money and benefits being offered. (I would quibble with your term “bargain,” because the person paying the bill is not in on the negotiations, and thus not trying to get the best deal for his side.)

        At the same time, if the taxpayers were trying to get the best deal for themselves–which, in my opinion, is to have a professional fire response and not volunteers–they might like to retrain older public safety officers, who are under 65, but perhaps not physically fit enough to work as firefighters or cops. The mutual advantage of retraining them to do other city jobs would be that those employees would be productive, would continue contributing to city services, would not be in a job they were no longer able to do, and the taxpayers would not have to fund their pensions and OPEB an extra 15 years.

        1. hpierce

          Perhaps we could re-train PS [Fire/Police] employees to be professional engineers, building inspectors, planners, recreational leaders, and/or administrative assistants. Sounds like a good plan. Let’s implement!

          1. Tia Will

            I also like this idea. In our Labor and Delivery unit doctors are on call in the hospital for 12 hour shifts. The work although not as physically strenuous as might be encountered by the firefighters or police can be arduous mentally and in terms of stamina as one may be faced with doing back to back surgeries often under emergent circumstances. Once we reach age 55, we are allowed to opt out of the call schedule. However, this is not our retirement age. Docs can still do surgery, office duty and serve in administrative roles.

            The advantage is that the well being of the individual, coworkers and the patients are maintained while still being able to utilize the skills and experience of the more mature doc. It truly is a win-win situation since the doc gets to keep contributing and the department , doctors in training and patients continue to benefit from the older docs experience without compromising anyone’s safety.

            There is one downside to this strategy from an economic point of view.
            In retraining these individuals, each job that they take in a field in which they do not have experience is one that is not available to a new grad attempting to enter the work place in an entry level position. It works well for the docs since we are already working in the field for which we trained years ago. I am not so sure it would work as well when training for an unrelated field. Also, it works with docs since, I have noted in another thread, we are held in artificially low supply through limitations at the training level, thus older doctors are still needed and, in our system, if every doctor over the age of 55 were to retire today, we would be dangerously short of doctors.

    2. D.D.

      People question state workers’ retirement plans, too. Do people understand that tier one of state workers package means I gave my employer permission to withold a sum of money from my paycheck, and they also paid into my retirement? Much of my retirement money is my own money that my employer witheld from me. Similar analogy: your tax refund is money that you asked your employer to withold from your pay- it’s your wages. Not all of tier one is my own money. But part of it is. (I’m really glad CA witheld it for me. I would not have had the discipline to put that money aside on my own.)

    1. hpierce

      Interesting concept… worth a lot of thought… as I recall, most FD calls are medical issues… yet, the second highest I believe, are highway/street car crashes, and many of them need training for “extractions” before medical assistance can be rendered. Not convinced that could be done by even trained volunteers. Structure fires are more rare, and that could conceivably be done by trained volunteers. To assure coverage 24/7, you’d need a lot of them, assuming the volunteers have to earn a living during the day.

      I truly believe that the current model, even with the ‘boundary drop’ and changing the shift sizes could be further “optimized”, and volunteers could well be a part of that, but going to all volunteer FD and professional paramedics isn’t something I’d like to jump into lightly.

      Good area for further discussion, though.

      1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

        The most impractical thing about a volunteer force–even having some volunteers acting in the place of professional firefighters–is the high level of training required by state law. What I cannot imagine is that someone would go through all of that training on a regular basis, making himself fully qualified to be a professional firefighters, and then essentially take the job for no money. And if you have people like that, I would think that you are very likely going to have (at least some) incompetents. And you really don’t want someone who sucks who shows up when you call 9-1-1 because you were just in a very serious car crash.

        What might work–though I am not sure it would save any money–would be to have a force of on-call volunteers who could be trained to assist the professional firefighters in certain types of emergencies–like a major structure fire. They might be helpful, for example, setting up equipment or rolling out hoses away from the actual fire. Or perhaps in a car accident, they could help sweep up broken glass or some such thing. Also, if there are people who want to clear weeds, which pose a possible fire hazard, they could do that kind of thing for no money. Otherwise, I think it makes a lot more sense to pay people who are highly trained to do the tasks that firefighters do.

        1. hpierce

          Weed abatement is either done by the property owner [whose responsibility it is], or done by the City’s contractor, with the costs assessed to the property owner. Are you suggesting that volunteers absolve the property owner of their responsibility, and increase the private owners’ profit margin? Very nice, and pro-business/property owner.

          1. Tia Will

            hpierce and Rifs

            I would not recommend a return to volunteer firefighting. In addition to regulations as Rich has pointed out, the duties really are more complicated. Emergency services are being asked to encompass more complex problems.

            One example. The campus with its experimental chemistry department and now the town with the possibility of trains carrying toxic an inflammable substances moving through town pose issues that may not be encountered by communities that do not have these kinds of hazards. This has led to the development of specialization much as medicine has become specialized.

            There are established levels of expertise requiring special training in hazmat management. All of the UCD firefighters currently have special training and are required to be at the “technician” level in this area with the goal that all will be trained up to the “specialist” level in the near future. Similar trainings are occurring for the Davis firefighters with 15 people having recently attended one of these trainings according to the firefighter i spoke with over the weekend.

            Its not just structure fires, car extractions and medical calls any more and our firefighters are appropriately being proactive in preparing for the new challenges they may be facing with hazardous materials transportation and possibly even at local innovation centers if and when this gets off the ground.

          2. Rich RifkinWDE 73

            HP, I was told by a then active, but now retired person in the DFD fire management that one responsibility of the DFD is “active fire prevention,” and he specifically pointed to clearing dry brush and weeds and so on. His point at the time was that this was an area where the DFD was not getting the job done–because it was impractical or unsafe to move a fire engine company out of its station for very long to do this–and he said he thought the city manager (Emlen at the time) should put in place a strategy to get this work done. The case we were discussing in specific was a house fire near Highway 113, in which dry weeds and brush (on city property) caught fire, probably from a car on the highway. The flames jumped the homeowner’s back fence, then got into his trees and before long they reached his house, destroying the second floor of a two-story.

          3. hpierce

            Hmmmm… pretty sure the weeds were in the CalTrans right of way, not City’s… but hey, “facts” should not get in the way of a ‘good story’. With rare exceptions, weed abatement has been done by contractors, not city staff.

  6. Rich RifkinWDE 73

    To David’s piece–I strongly agree with it. I think he nails the main point. To my mind, it’s not so important that Sheila or Dan or Lucas knew that this party was held in order to dance on Pinkerton’s grave so to speak. What’s crucial is to know that those throwing the party feel like they are in the camp with Sheila and Dan and Lucas. I personally believe what Sheila said: that she was duped. But still, the fact that these union employees think she is in their corner–while Robb Davis, John Munn, Dan Parrella and Rochelle Swanson are not–makes me far less likely to think that, if elected, Sheila is going to fight for the best interests of the taxpayers. It says to me that the employees think she will fight for the unions and further destroy our ability to afford vital services, like roads, parks maintenance and public safety.

  7. Tia Will

    Rich

    “makes me far less likely to think that, if elected, Sheila is going to fight for the best interests of the taxpayers”

    I am much less concerned about what Mr. Weist and the union employees think about Sheila’s potential votes than I am about what Sheila thinks. It is Sheila that is under consideration here, not the union members.

    Again, I think your statement confuses the thoughts, intentions and goals of the unions with the thoughts, intentions and goals of Sheila Allen. Just because union employees believe that Sheila will vote for them in a knee jerk fashion certainly does not mean that she will do so. We have often seen elected officials and supreme court justices for that matter not act in the manner anticipated by those who elected or appointed them.

    I think it is unnecessarily degrading to a candidate to imply that just because a support group feels that they are more likely to be favorable to their position, that the individual will not have a mind of their own and use their own best judgement in making decisions.

    1. Barack Palin

      That’s good for you Tia Will, then if you like you can vote for her. Can the rest of us also have our opinion that her optics suggest that she’ll be more inclined to side with the firefighters than the other candidates will? If we feel that runaway wages and benefits are a huge issue in this town and we have a candidate that we don’t think will stay on top of that is it okay that we vote for someone else?

  8. Tia Will

    Rich

    A separate but related question for you.

    The PAC has just endorsed Robb, Rochelle and Daniel. The analogous conclusion might be to then think that these three would then necessarily be more likely to vote in favor of the interests of this group over the interests of other groups in town whose interests may not hinge on being taxpayers but rather on ” slow growth” which to me is an even more important issue than my taxes since it also involves my environment and quality of life which I care more about than I do money.

    I do not share this concern. I believe that all three have the capability of considering each issue on its own merits and acting as fairly as possibly in the interests of all. However, this is the argument I believe that I am hearing you make against Sheila.

    Please correct me if I have this wrong.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I do not share this concern. I believe that all three have the
      > capability of considering each issue on its own merits and
      > acting as fairly as possibly in the interests of all.

      You can learn a lot about somebody by who supports them. When was the last time someone who was supported by the firefighters voted to cut firefighter pay (I can think of one out of over 100) or a judge appointed by a Republican voted to support gay marriage (again I can just think of the one guy that came out of the closet to do it).

      The average firefighter in the Bay Area that went to junior college for two years takes home more that average PhD (and CPA, and MBA) in America and if you include the present value of their pensions so do the Davis firefighters. There guys have hit the jackpot and will not be giving money to people they “think” might support them.

    2. Mark West

      Tia Will: “”slow growth” which to me is an even more important issue than my taxes since it also involves my environment and quality of life which I care more about than I do money.”

      So making Davis a more expensive place to live, and therefore harder for young families to attain, is just fine with you as long as you get to keep your little slice of nirvana. Do I have that right Tia?

      1. South of Davis

        Mark wrote:

        > So making Davis a more expensive place to live, and therefore
        > harder for young families to attain, is just fine with you as long as you

        Most in Davis (who want to replace what works with what sounds nice) that want “slow” (aka “no”) growth also want a higher minimum wage, higher sales taxes, higher income taxes, more parcel taxes, free food at school, free child care and subsidized housing to help “young families”…

      2. Tia Will

        No Mark, you absolutely do not have that right for reasons that I have posted repeatedly.
        And being snide and condescending does nothing to further your point.

        We just passed a major housing project, the Cannery. This is clearly growth. On an earlier iteration of this project I had pointed out to the representative of the developer and the city employee attending the meeting that the proposed housing prices per their estimate in the $400,00 to $600,00 range would not be affordable for the “young families” or many of the seniors that they were purporting to be providing “affordable housing” for. This was met with a virtual shrug. I am not opposed to any housing. I am not opposed to any development.

        I did oppose the Cannery since I did not believe it met our city’s stated goals in a number of ways. I did oppose the Target since I did not believe that with nine others within a 30 minute radius of our borders it was likely to bring in the estimated revenue which it would appear is accurate. I think some growth is inevitable. i think that growth such as an innovation park if it indeed leverages the strengths of the university is a good move. I think growth that does not conform to previously determined community goals, nor specifically support the strengths of the university should not be blindly accepted because it is “growth”.

    3. Rich RifkinWDE 73

      Tia, by “the PAC,” I assume you mean the Chamber of Commerce PAC?

      If so, I would say the same thing as I said with Sheila’s (implied) endorsement by the unions. They think Sheila is on their side. That concerns me.

      If you, on the other hand, believe that the agenda of the Chamber PAC is wholly adverse to the best interests of the City of Davis or at least contrary to your personal values and ideals, then that endorsement should concern you.

      On the other hand, perhaps your positions and the Chamber PAC are in agreement in some areas and discordant in others. Your policy preferences with regard to growth–“my environment and quality of life”–might be entirely out of step with the views of the Chamber PAC. But perhaps in other areas yours and theirs are similar.

      1. Tia Will

        Rich

        I agree. And I think that on some issues my views are similar to those of union members and on others they are very discordant. I guess I just feel that positions are more nuanced than some posters are willing to admit. It’s much easier to play the “good guys vs bad guys” game.

  9. D.D.

    I like politicians who will go eat a slice of pizza or drink a beer with people in Davis. I do not assume that a politician is in someone’s pocket because they eat a slice of pizza, after someone invites them to eat a slice of pizza. I had coffee with a cop. That does not mean I promote police misconduct. I prayed with an extreme born again Baptist. That does not mean I promote discrimination of gays.

    1. South of Davis

      D.D. wrote:

      > I had coffee with a cop… I prayed with an extreme born again Baptist…

      Nice to hear you are meeting a lot of people…

      As far as I know a police union has never (knowingly) given money to a candidate that is for cutting police pay and/or pensions and as far as I know of a “born again” Baptist (or any other “born again” group) has never (knowingly) given money to a pro gay marriage politician…

  10. D.D.

    When we focus on our similarities, (appreciation of a good slice, or a good dark beer) instead of our differences, we learn each other’s first names, and we listen to the other person’s reasons re: why they formed certain opinions in the first place.

  11. Davis Progressive

    i have been away, and thus have no weighed in on this disagrace.

    first, i’m appalled that the elected officials would want to hang out with bobby weist given what has been uncovered about him since the vanguard’s inception. this is a mean, nasty, vindictive person. how much attention has sheila allen paid to the firefighter issue.

    second, i’m appalled that dan, lucas, sheila would lie about their knowledge of this event.

    third, i’m appalled that dan, lucas, sheila would be more concerned with covering their backsides than calling out weist if he really deceived them.

    sheila allen is a disgrace. she’s only outraged that she got caught. her immediate response was to call it lies, but she has never said what was wrong in the initial report.

    1. Tia Will

      I would like to say that there are different versions of “the firefighter issue”.

      I adhere most closely to the version portrayed in the Vanguard. But at City Council meetings a different side has been portrayed by members of our community ( not firefighters or city union members) but residents who were genuinely grateful for the efforts of the Davis City firefighters or those who were genuinely concerned that reducing staffing and or what was seen as a merger with the university would genuinely endanger the citizens of Davis.

      This was not a view I shared. But it was a common concern. If I did not read the Vanguard or Rich Rifkin, but did talk with many members of the community, I might also have formed a different opinion of this issue.

  12. Davis Progressive

    from rifkin, written june 26, 2013

    “In the seven decades since, I know of no lower ebb for our Council than the night of Dec. 9, 2008. At that meeting a majority — Don Saylor, Ruth Asmundson and Stephen Souza — voted to bury a report by Bob Aaronson, the city’s ombudsman, which addressed problems in the Davis Fire Department.

    Not only did those three — who together had received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions plus other support from members of the Davis firefighters’ union — not want to let the taxpayers and residents of Davis see what Mr. Aaronson had found. They decided no one on the Council should be permitted to learn its contents.

    Theirs was never a vote of conscience. It was not a vote of practical or legal merit. It was not due to precedent. The vote was cast because those members of the Davis City Council had been influenced by all the money and favors Local 3494 had given them to win office.”

    link: http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/when-union-money-corrupted-the-davis-city-council/

  13. Davis Progressive

    City Releases Full Unredacted Fire Report After Four and a Half Years

    http://www.davisvanguard.org/city-releases-full-unredacted-fire-report-after-four-and-a-half-years/

    Commentary: The Cost of Speaking Out Against the Firefighters

    “Fire Policies Aimed at Fourth Fire Station Endangered the Public – It was not a complete shock when yesterday’s column on fire staffing and calls for service was met with a post by a retired firefighter that represented a veiled threat to myself and the Vanguard. After all, it was the summer of 2011 when the Vanguard learned that the firefighters were boycotting the Westlake Market due to their advertising on the Vanguard.

    In 2008 when I spoke out against the firefighters during the city council campaign, my wife, who was running for council at the time, dared to call 3% at 50 unsustainable. The union president, Bobby Weist, we would learn, responded by trying to get my wife and some others fired from their jobs.”

    http://www.davisvanguard.org/commentary-the-cost-for-speaking-out-against-the-firefighters/

  14. Davis Progressive

    Uncovered Portions Show Union President Bobby Weist Received SIGNIFICANT Preferential Treatment in Promotion to Captain

    In newly-released segments of a 2008 report, the Vanguard has learned that Bobby Weist, the long-time union president and arguably one of the most powerful public figures in city government, received preferential treatment in his 2007 promotion to fire captain.

    In April of 2007, then Chief Rose Conroy of the Davis Fire Department promoted Mr. Weist, over “at least one of the candidates [who] was demonstrably and significantly more qualified for and deserving of the promotion than [Bobby Weist] promoted by Chief Conroy.”

    Investigator and City of Davis Ombudsman Robert Aaronson wrote that, while no one questions Mr. Weist’s skills or abilities, “a significant number of firefighters, including some who were not otherwise disgruntled, believed that one particular candidate was far more deserving than Bobby Weist – the individual who finished fourth and first and in the second tier (in the assessment center the division chiefs’ interviews and the chiefs final ranking, respectively).”

    http://www.davisvanguard.org/vanguard-obtains-critical-new-portions-of-davis-fire-department-investigation-in-settlement-with-city/

  15. Davis Progressive

    Firefighters Union Targets Struggling Westlake Market in Retribution For Advertising on the Vanguard

    Westlake Market has been struggling to stay afloat in a tough economy as a small neighborhood grocery store. Those hopes have been dealt a blow, as they became victims of an unknown boycott by the Davis Firefighters union.

    The Vanguard, while making a routine public records request, stumbled upon an email dated June 28, 2011, from Eric Nelson of DANG (Davis Advocates for Neighborhood Grocers) to Mayor Joe Krovoza and Mayor Pro Tem Rochelle Swanson, alerting them that Union President Bobby Weist had instructed the firefighters “union to not shop at Westlake because Westlake had run an ad on the Vanguard website.”

    http://www.davisvanguard.org/firefighters-union-targets-struggling-westlake-market-in-retribution-for-advertising-on-the-vanguard/

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