Commentary: Public Gets Just Enough Info to Be Dangerous

Davis-City-Council-2014-16We have often argued that letters to the editor are windows into how citizens perceive public policy decisions.

Often, citizens know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to have real policy insight. Ironically, earlier this week a letter entitled “We live in the real world” shows us how much people actually don’t live in the real world.  The letter says, “One primary responsibility of City Council members is to assure the fiscal stability of the city. The City Council of Davis lacks members with real-world business experience, which also involves good common sense.”

I’m sure at least one councilmember would take exception to that depiction, but it is important to also understand four of the five members of the city council were backed by the Davis Chamber of Commerce.

The writer begins, “There is a growing list of projects and plans that are being considered by the City Council, the latest of which is to consider making Davis a copy of the Netherlands.”

I have no idea what they are referring to. Nor do I know exactly what this statement means, “How about finishing and paying for the highest-priority items before venturing onto a ‘wish list,’ which, if not monitored carefully, will be funded for study and consideration of implementation, never mind the real costs. The City Council needs to remember there is a limited amount of money and loans are to be repaid with interest.”

Again, not exactly what the writer refers to here, but for the most part and with few exceptions, there have been very few projects, much less “wish list” projects, that have been implemented in Davis within the past few years. The few that have been implemented have carried with them self-funding mechanisms – many of which involve grants.

The writer continues, “Perhaps the council smells blood — Measure O was passed, so maybe that has spurred the council to consider another tax in the form of a parcel tax.”

This is part and parcel to the misinformation put out by the local paper a few weeks ago. The council has also been upfront about the fact that Measure O was only part of the revenue figures needed to pay for basic city services. But this is a reminder that the council should be very reluctant to go outside of core needs.

“Is anyone counting the costs? And who pays? Landowners and renters whose rents include prorated rental owner costs,” the letter writer goes on to write.

Is anyone counting the costs? Absolutely. At last count the city figures it owes over $100 million in deferred maintenance costs. They have also been very clear that if there are delays in addressing the deferred maintenance, the costs for the streets repair portion go up at least 8 percent each year, and probably faster than that. Delaying maintenance further will result in permanently poor roads.

“The water project is far from complete, with final costs unknown,” this is partly true. The city has estimates as to the costs, with interest costs included at an interest rate that probably is high … cautiously high so that the final numbers do not exceed the estimates. At the same time, the city is also working hard to get low interest state revolving loans to reduce those interest costs and, as a result, the water rates down the line.

“The council and the Water Advisory Committee tried to add fluoridation, at a cost of a few hundred thousand dollars,” she writes.

The council discussed the issue of fluoridation, and they ultimately voted against it. It is not correct to state that the council tried to add fluoridation. An outside group proposed fluoridation, the council considered it, and ultimately rejected it.

“With no rate structure in place, the costly study continues. How many cities in California similar to Davis have rate structures that could be reviewed for use in Davis?” she writes. I am not sure what she means by the costly study. The city implemented a rate structure that the voters overturned and have now voted to consider a new one that is similar to structures in several other cities.

“The wastewater treatment plant has been approved. It will only cost $89.5 million!” she writes. Here is an area she really could have criticized the city on, because the city went with its own wastewater treatment plant and its specific design that may have cost tax payers $25 million in additional costs over the life of the project, but the letter writer was unaware of that, in part because of lack of coverage.

She continues, “At the behest of Davis bicyclists, Fifth Street is being reconfigured for less auto space and more bicycle space. Final cost? Why not reroute bicycles away from Fifth Street?”

This a troublesome description of the Fifth Street redesign. Granted, there is much controversy, but the impetus for the changes came as much from the Old North Davis Neighborhood as it did from bike enthusiasts. The hope of the design is that it will slow down traffic but improve traffic flow.

The Fifth Street lane configuration, that we have all used for years, is as poorly designed for automobiles as it is for bikes and pedestrians. The cost has largely been mitigated from grants and non-general fund impact fees. Although the questions posed by the letter writer in the last of those sentences is clearly rhetorical, it is worth answering.  Why not reroute bicycles away from Fifth Street? Because they cannot legally do so.

“The city, in its largesse, is considering raising the minimum wage. I hope that the City Council members remember any raise in wages raises employer costs,” they write.

That is completely inaccurate. The city council has made no effort to raise the minimum wage. A private group attempted to collect signatures to put a measure on the ballot. That group fell short. The city council has not heard the item nor proposed the item.

“With a full plate, the City Council wants to make Davis a mini-PG&E, already spending almost half million to study and willing to go to $1 million,” she writes.

This is about two months dated. The council did pursue a study of the merits and drawbacks of a Publicly Owned Utility District; however, two months ago they took the option off the table.

“Does anyone want Davis to be on the list of cities on the fiscal cliff or in bankruptcy? This is no Utopia,” she concludes.

Funny thing is that she never mentioned the city’s growing obligation for pensions and retiree health care, perhaps because much of what she got came from a certain newspaper columnist who has never covered the biggest hits to the city.

She has also failed to cover the efforts that the city has made to improve its finances through employee negotiations, cuts to huge payouts for cafeteria cash outs, shared costs for pensions and OPEB, reforms to the fire department, the city efforts at temporary taxation and now the city’s push for economic development.

The writer here has some facts, but knows just enough to be dangerous. Her letter is either the result of selective listening on her part … or a reflection of the failure of the city’s public relations and outreach ability … or selective coverage by the news media of the events of our town … or all three.  I’ll leave it to you to be the judge.

—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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86 Comments

  1. DavisVoter

    “The writer begins, “There is a growing list of projects and plans that are being considered by the City Council, the latest of which is to consider making Davis a copy of the Netherlands. I have no idea what they are referring to.”

    There was a story in the Enterprise recently about the city’s considering working with some (I believe Dutch) consultants to see what we can learn from the Netherlands about being bike-friendly. I think that’s what she was talking about.

    http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/the-road-left-unpedaled-davis-looks-abroad-for-cycling-advice/

    The story was an example of a rather … uncritical report on one of our local institutions from the Enterprise. The contrast between the small-town boosterism of the Enterprise’s news reporting and Dunning’s useless snark is always amusing. I’m sure he’ll be along in due course to bemoan the $25,000 fee and tell us how many trips to Costco to eat free samples it could buy.

      1. D.D.

        In 1998 I visited a small Dutch village where an old high school friend had moved, temporarily, to work on an I.T. project for Nike.
        I found the Netherlands to be way more bike friendly than Davis. Its flat land was perfect for cyclists of all abilities. Its bike lanes and separate pedestrian lanes were just wonderful! Davis could learn a lot from the Netherlands.

  2. DavisVoter

    “The writer begins, “There is a growing list of projects and plans that are being considered by the City Council, the latest of which is to consider making Davis a copy of the Netherlands. I have no idea what they are referring to.”

    There was a story in the Enterprise recently about the city’s considering working with some (I believe Dutch) consultants to see what we can learn from the Netherlands about being bike-friendly. I think that’s what she was talking about.

    http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/the-road-left-unpedaled-davis-looks-abroad-for-cycling-advice/

    The story was an example of a rather … uncritical report on one of our local institutions from the Enterprise. The contrast between the small-town boosterism of the Enterprise’s news reporting and Dunning’s useless snark is always amusing. I’m sure he’ll be along in due course to bemoan the $25,000 fee and tell us how many trips to Costco to eat free samples it could buy.

      1. D.D.

        In 1998 I visited a small Dutch village where an old high school friend had moved, temporarily, to work on an I.T. project for Nike.
        I found the Netherlands to be way more bike friendly than Davis. Its flat land was perfect for cyclists of all abilities. Its bike lanes and separate pedestrian lanes were just wonderful! Davis could learn a lot from the Netherlands.

  3. Mr. Toad

    Actually the writer knows a lot. You are not the only one who gets to write about the budget. Just because the letter writer talks about unfunded liabilities instead of employee compensation or rerouting bikes instead of safety issues about crossing fifth street doesn’t mean the author’s opinion isn’t valid. As for the council backing down on Fluoride or PG&E the author has the basic elements of the story.

    Even your critique of the Enterprise misses the mark. The real story of the relationship between PG&E and the Enterprise hasn’t been told. PG&E spends thousands of dollars annually running ads in the Davis Enterprise and has done so for years. Now why would a regulated monopoly do such a thing since they don’t need to compete for customers? The answer is simple, its for just this kind of situation where a city tries to break free of PG&E’s overpriced electricity. Of course the local paper is going to come out strongly against the community getting rid of one of it’s major advertisers helping shape public opinion for the benefit of both itself and PG&E. Now there is something to be critical about. You have been critical in the past when other parts of the community haven’t served the best interests of the community for personal gain yet you have failed to connect the dots with PG&E and the Enterprise. Like the mirror image of the letter writer sometimes you know just enough not to be dangerous.

    1. DavisBurns

      I agree with Mr. toad that the Enterprise was/is unduly influenced by PGE advertising dollars. For a financially strapped city, we should be pursuing a municipal utility to save money. I may be one of only a few who believe it is a mistake to table this project.

  4. Mr. Toad

    Actually the writer knows a lot. You are not the only one who gets to write about the budget. Just because the letter writer talks about unfunded liabilities instead of employee compensation or rerouting bikes instead of safety issues about crossing fifth street doesn’t mean the author’s opinion isn’t valid. As for the council backing down on Fluoride or PG&E the author has the basic elements of the story.

    Even your critique of the Enterprise misses the mark. The real story of the relationship between PG&E and the Enterprise hasn’t been told. PG&E spends thousands of dollars annually running ads in the Davis Enterprise and has done so for years. Now why would a regulated monopoly do such a thing since they don’t need to compete for customers? The answer is simple, its for just this kind of situation where a city tries to break free of PG&E’s overpriced electricity. Of course the local paper is going to come out strongly against the community getting rid of one of it’s major advertisers helping shape public opinion for the benefit of both itself and PG&E. Now there is something to be critical about. You have been critical in the past when other parts of the community haven’t served the best interests of the community for personal gain yet you have failed to connect the dots with PG&E and the Enterprise. Like the mirror image of the letter writer sometimes you know just enough not to be dangerous.

    1. DavisBurns

      I agree with Mr. toad that the Enterprise was/is unduly influenced by PGE advertising dollars. For a financially strapped city, we should be pursuing a municipal utility to save money. I may be one of only a few who believe it is a mistake to table this project.

  5. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    I do not believe that this is about who does or doesn’t have a right to write.

    In the past, David was frequently criticized for mixing fact with opinion in ways making it hard to discern which is which. I see that as a genuine concern in this case. The author of this article has made a number of assertions some of which appear to have a factual basis and others which appear to be opinion based on partial understanding.I think it is clearer and less easily criticized when authors separate what is factual from what is a reflection of their own opinion.

    The writer’s hyperbole also tends to distract from the heart of her argument. For example, ” the latest of which is to consider making Davis a copy of the Netherlands.” is a far cry from studying bicycle safety designs in one of the few locations that is further along in this regard than our city. The prevention of even one or two life flights to UCD would more than cover the $25,000 cited in the article.

    The author also seems to be confusing actions of the city council with actions of private members of the community. I feel that the comments regarding the changes on 5th street carry with them legitimate questions about the decisions of the council in this matter. However, those criticisms are diluted by her support of actions that could not be implemented ( diversion of bikes) and later by erroneously claiming that the city was promoting a minimum wage increase. With this particular combination of fact and fallacy, it becomes very difficult to sort out her legitimate points from outright error and conjecture. This is, in my opinion, the greatest danger of this particular piece and may have been David’s point.

  6. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    I do not believe that this is about who does or doesn’t have a right to write.

    In the past, David was frequently criticized for mixing fact with opinion in ways making it hard to discern which is which. I see that as a genuine concern in this case. The author of this article has made a number of assertions some of which appear to have a factual basis and others which appear to be opinion based on partial understanding.I think it is clearer and less easily criticized when authors separate what is factual from what is a reflection of their own opinion.

    The writer’s hyperbole also tends to distract from the heart of her argument. For example, ” the latest of which is to consider making Davis a copy of the Netherlands.” is a far cry from studying bicycle safety designs in one of the few locations that is further along in this regard than our city. The prevention of even one or two life flights to UCD would more than cover the $25,000 cited in the article.

    The author also seems to be confusing actions of the city council with actions of private members of the community. I feel that the comments regarding the changes on 5th street carry with them legitimate questions about the decisions of the council in this matter. However, those criticisms are diluted by her support of actions that could not be implemented ( diversion of bikes) and later by erroneously claiming that the city was promoting a minimum wage increase. With this particular combination of fact and fallacy, it becomes very difficult to sort out her legitimate points from outright error and conjecture. This is, in my opinion, the greatest danger of this particular piece and may have been David’s point.

  7. Tia Will

    David

    At the risk of being repetitive perhaps because I have engaged in selective reading, I have a question.
    You have repeatedly made the point that the CC and/or staff have not done a good job of educating or reaching out to the public. Given the fiscal constraints of the city, what specific steps would you advise that the city take to improve their education of the citizens and how much money if any would you recommend be allocated to these efforts.

    I can envision anything from employing or contracting full time PR work, to issuing public announcements in all local media spelling out each substantive issue as it arises and is discussed, to formally assigning members of the CC to be responsible for given items of public outreach just as they are now assigned to 2 x 2 s. I am sure that you are much better informed about the possibilities than am I and I would love to hear your specific suggestions.

    1. Barack Palin

      I’m totally against our city employing or contracting out any type of PR work. The city can get their word out through the Enterprise, mailers with our utility bills and other such venues.

        1. Barack Palin

          Voting or not voting for a city measure is the choice and right of its citizens. Why should it be right for any citizen have their own tax dollars used against them when they might be against a proposed city tax or measure?

          1. Tia Will

            BP

            I think your comment says much more about your attitude towards government than it says about anything that the city might or might not do.
            Why would you assume that the information provided would not be complete and balanced ? You seem to be making the assumption, demonstrably false given the public encounter between outgoing Mayor Krovoza and city staff at his last meeting when they were clearly in opposition, that the “city” is a unified being with only one point of view which it will foist on an unsuspecting public.
            The falsity of this assumption is demonstrated by every vote that is not
            5-0 as well as many of the CC conversations such as that by Council member Brett Lee and Mayor Pro Temp Davis when they were discussing the parcel tax.

        2. Mr. Toad

          A PIO is a waste of money. The school board should get out there and make their case. I would much rather that money went to a teacher, a nurse or a counselor. I hope the next school board doesn’t renew the contract.

          1. David Greenwald

            I disagree. A PIO helps to communicate with the public as to what the entity is doing. In this day and age, I believe it irresponsible not to have one. If we need another teacher, nurse or counselor, then we need to find the money to get one, to me it’s not either or.

          2. Mr. Toad

            I guess we have different ideas about education reform. My idea is to put the money into helping kids. Yours amplifies the bureaucracy. If there is an issue that needs addressing between the school district and the community then the district administration or the school board should make the case. I get periodic emails from the district superintendent and both you and the enterprise are more than happy to get copy from school board members. The issue isn’t that these people are too busy or don’t have media access its that they have not been able to effectively communicate with the community. The only reason to waste precious dollars education dollars in this way is because the current leadership of the district hasn’t done a good job of communicating with the public. The answer is for leadership is to be more effective at communicating not a larger bureaucracy.

          3. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            “The school board should get out there and make their case.”

            This idea is that the community will take the school board members at their word when they are attempting to explain their thoughts and decision making process. However, they are not professional communicators and we could all see how well their attempts at explanation went with the recent coaching controversy. I believe that it is very hard to be “a good communicator” when every word you say is said by someone to be a lie, or cover up, or arrogant, or dismissive or whatever the pejorative of the day might be.

            There is plenty of room for disagreement on policy and management issues, however, the community just demonstrated a degree of hostility and denigration that leaves me wondering why anyone would want to take on this position.

          4. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            Given that you would not favor a PIO, and that you feel the school board needs to do a better job with communication, do you feel the same about the current city council ?

            If so, what would you recommend ? Would you favor training of public officials in communication skills to enable them to communicate more effectively ? Would you favor coaching or taped practice sessions such as are now used in the medical school setting to teach students effective communication strategies ?

          5. Barack Palin

            We all know what this is about, it’s basically about the City running a campaign to try and push its agenda of higher taxes. To me that’s wrong, the city should just lay out the facts and let the public make their decision either pro or con without a PIO or any other campaign team. No public funds should go to any advocacy. If the City tries to go this route I think the citizens of Davis should call them out on this.

          6. Mr. Toad

            The school district screwed it up six ways to Sunday and deserves whatever criticism they received.

            City Council and School board positions are entry level electoral jobs in California. If you can’t be an effective communicator at that level you probably don’t have the skills needed to move up.

          7. David Greenwald

            “I guess we have different ideas about education reform. My idea is to put the money into helping kids. Yours amplifies the bureaucracy”

            That’s not really true if you look at my record. However, I see education and governance in general as a partnership between the agency and the public, and the agency needs to have effective communication with the public. Given the complexity of governance – rules, regulations, funding sources, there needs to be a professional to keep the public in the loop so that when the time comes to ask for help, they don’t have to do what they are doing now, launch of a public relations campaign to inform the public as to – in this case, the need for roads, but at other times, it is a whole host of other things.

          8. David Greenwald

            “City Council and School board positions are entry level electoral jobs in California. If you can’t be an effective communicator at that level you probably don’t have the skills needed to move up.”

            They are also non-professional positions where the officials generally have a day job. Gina Daleiden is pretty diligent about working with the press, probably the best I have seen in my eight years of doing this, but she pales in comparison with professional PIOs with her ability to communicate, get information, follow up, etc.

          9. David Greenwald

            “We all know what this is about, it’s basically about the City running a campaign to try and push its agenda of higher taxes. ”

            You can’t run a campaign from city hall anyway. I’ve been talking about this need long before there was a tax campaign on the radar.

          10. David Greenwald

            “Hiring a new city manager who is up to the task.”

            As good as Pinkerton was, he was not very good at public relations. The only one in the city who is decent at that is Rob White and that’s not or shouldn’t be his primary job.

  8. Tia Will

    David

    At the risk of being repetitive perhaps because I have engaged in selective reading, I have a question.
    You have repeatedly made the point that the CC and/or staff have not done a good job of educating or reaching out to the public. Given the fiscal constraints of the city, what specific steps would you advise that the city take to improve their education of the citizens and how much money if any would you recommend be allocated to these efforts.

    I can envision anything from employing or contracting full time PR work, to issuing public announcements in all local media spelling out each substantive issue as it arises and is discussed, to formally assigning members of the CC to be responsible for given items of public outreach just as they are now assigned to 2 x 2 s. I am sure that you are much better informed about the possibilities than am I and I would love to hear your specific suggestions.

    1. Barack Palin

      I’m totally against our city employing or contracting out any type of PR work. The city can get their word out through the Enterprise, mailers with our utility bills and other such venues.

        1. Barack Palin

          Voting or not voting for a city measure is the choice and right of its citizens. Why should it be right for any citizen have their own tax dollars used against them when they might be against a proposed city tax or measure?

          1. Tia Will

            BP

            I think your comment says much more about your attitude towards government than it says about anything that the city might or might not do.
            Why would you assume that the information provided would not be complete and balanced ? You seem to be making the assumption, demonstrably false given the public encounter between outgoing Mayor Krovoza and city staff at his last meeting when they were clearly in opposition, that the “city” is a unified being with only one point of view which it will foist on an unsuspecting public.
            The falsity of this assumption is demonstrated by every vote that is not
            5-0 as well as many of the CC conversations such as that by Council member Brett Lee and Mayor Pro Temp Davis when they were discussing the parcel tax.

        2. Mr. Toad

          A PIO is a waste of money. The school board should get out there and make their case. I would much rather that money went to a teacher, a nurse or a counselor. I hope the next school board doesn’t renew the contract.

          1. David Greenwald

            I disagree. A PIO helps to communicate with the public as to what the entity is doing. In this day and age, I believe it irresponsible not to have one. If we need another teacher, nurse or counselor, then we need to find the money to get one, to me it’s not either or.

          2. Mr. Toad

            I guess we have different ideas about education reform. My idea is to put the money into helping kids. Yours amplifies the bureaucracy. If there is an issue that needs addressing between the school district and the community then the district administration or the school board should make the case. I get periodic emails from the district superintendent and both you and the enterprise are more than happy to get copy from school board members. The issue isn’t that these people are too busy or don’t have media access its that they have not been able to effectively communicate with the community. The only reason to waste precious dollars education dollars in this way is because the current leadership of the district hasn’t done a good job of communicating with the public. The answer is for leadership is to be more effective at communicating not a larger bureaucracy.

          3. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            “The school board should get out there and make their case.”

            This idea is that the community will take the school board members at their word when they are attempting to explain their thoughts and decision making process. However, they are not professional communicators and we could all see how well their attempts at explanation went with the recent coaching controversy. I believe that it is very hard to be “a good communicator” when every word you say is said by someone to be a lie, or cover up, or arrogant, or dismissive or whatever the pejorative of the day might be.

            There is plenty of room for disagreement on policy and management issues, however, the community just demonstrated a degree of hostility and denigration that leaves me wondering why anyone would want to take on this position.

          4. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            Given that you would not favor a PIO, and that you feel the school board needs to do a better job with communication, do you feel the same about the current city council ?

            If so, what would you recommend ? Would you favor training of public officials in communication skills to enable them to communicate more effectively ? Would you favor coaching or taped practice sessions such as are now used in the medical school setting to teach students effective communication strategies ?

          5. Barack Palin

            We all know what this is about, it’s basically about the City running a campaign to try and push its agenda of higher taxes. To me that’s wrong, the city should just lay out the facts and let the public make their decision either pro or con without a PIO or any other campaign team. No public funds should go to any advocacy. If the City tries to go this route I think the citizens of Davis should call them out on this.

          6. Mr. Toad

            The school district screwed it up six ways to Sunday and deserves whatever criticism they received.

            City Council and School board positions are entry level electoral jobs in California. If you can’t be an effective communicator at that level you probably don’t have the skills needed to move up.

          7. David Greenwald

            “I guess we have different ideas about education reform. My idea is to put the money into helping kids. Yours amplifies the bureaucracy”

            That’s not really true if you look at my record. However, I see education and governance in general as a partnership between the agency and the public, and the agency needs to have effective communication with the public. Given the complexity of governance – rules, regulations, funding sources, there needs to be a professional to keep the public in the loop so that when the time comes to ask for help, they don’t have to do what they are doing now, launch of a public relations campaign to inform the public as to – in this case, the need for roads, but at other times, it is a whole host of other things.

          8. David Greenwald

            “City Council and School board positions are entry level electoral jobs in California. If you can’t be an effective communicator at that level you probably don’t have the skills needed to move up.”

            They are also non-professional positions where the officials generally have a day job. Gina Daleiden is pretty diligent about working with the press, probably the best I have seen in my eight years of doing this, but she pales in comparison with professional PIOs with her ability to communicate, get information, follow up, etc.

          9. David Greenwald

            “We all know what this is about, it’s basically about the City running a campaign to try and push its agenda of higher taxes. ”

            You can’t run a campaign from city hall anyway. I’ve been talking about this need long before there was a tax campaign on the radar.

          10. David Greenwald

            “Hiring a new city manager who is up to the task.”

            As good as Pinkerton was, he was not very good at public relations. The only one in the city who is decent at that is Rob White and that’s not or shouldn’t be his primary job.

  9. Tia Will

    BP

    “We all know what this is about, it’s basically about the City running a campaign to try and push its agenda of higher taxes.”

    Well, you may believe that, but we certainly do not all “know” that. I for one believe that the City Council has taken a multifaceted approach to our current financial problems including a very modest sales tax increase, actively pursuing proposals for one or more innovation parks and considering a parcel tax. One person’s “agenda” is another person’s needed acceptance of fiscal responsibility given our current financial status. I believe that this represents reasonable, responsible city governance. It is certainly not to line their own pockets with taxpayer money or to build their political careers as you seem to be implying.

    1. Barack Palin

      “It is certainly not to line their own pockets with taxpayer money or to build their political careers as you seem to be implying.”

      Knowing that you don’t like others putting words in your mouth or saying what you are “implying” I would ask you not to do the same thing to others. I didn’t say or “imply” that they were lining their own pockets or trying to build their political careers so I expect you to take that statement back.

    2. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Well, you may believe that, but we certainly do not all “know” that.

      We do “know” that since no group of city workers has EVER paid someone to tell voters why they need to pay less taxes and cut back on city workers (just like EVERY teachers strike in US history has been for MORE money)…

  10. Tia Will

    BP

    “We all know what this is about, it’s basically about the City running a campaign to try and push its agenda of higher taxes.”

    Well, you may believe that, but we certainly do not all “know” that. I for one believe that the City Council has taken a multifaceted approach to our current financial problems including a very modest sales tax increase, actively pursuing proposals for one or more innovation parks and considering a parcel tax. One person’s “agenda” is another person’s needed acceptance of fiscal responsibility given our current financial status. I believe that this represents reasonable, responsible city governance. It is certainly not to line their own pockets with taxpayer money or to build their political careers as you seem to be implying.

    1. Barack Palin

      “It is certainly not to line their own pockets with taxpayer money or to build their political careers as you seem to be implying.”

      Knowing that you don’t like others putting words in your mouth or saying what you are “implying” I would ask you not to do the same thing to others. I didn’t say or “imply” that they were lining their own pockets or trying to build their political careers so I expect you to take that statement back.

    2. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Well, you may believe that, but we certainly do not all “know” that.

      We do “know” that since no group of city workers has EVER paid someone to tell voters why they need to pay less taxes and cut back on city workers (just like EVERY teachers strike in US history has been for MORE money)…

  11. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    At least one of the City Council members has publicly disavowed his intent to seek higher office so your comment would not apply to him.

    On the issue of hiring a strong City Manager, I could not agree more.

    1. Mr. Toad

      Ed Lee the Mayor of San Francisco promised not to run for mayor before running for mayor. People change their minds on this stuff all the time. The old joke is how do you know the politician is lying? His lips are moving. i’m not saying anything about anyone who made any promise about running. Maybe they will maybe they won’t but just because someone says they won’t doesn’t mean much. Time will tell.

      1. Tia Will

        I agree that people can and do change their minds. My point was about whether or not having achieved election to an “entry level” political position automatically makes one a skilled communicator. From the quality of presentation of some of our previously elected officials, I would argue that this is not quarantined to be the case.
        So should we just accept substandard communication, or should we not assist our city council members in some fashion. Would we not benefit as a community by better communication ?
        If we would, then should we not be willing to help out with its provision ?

        1. Mr. Toad

          Listen, these people got elected and got numerous parcel taxes through during hard financial times with supermajority votes. They can make the case to the electorate when they need to do so. The problem is they were on the wrong side of an issue and screwed up so now they want to spend a bunch of money on a PR person instead of apologizing to the community and trying to recover their lost political capital. Instead of turning the ship around they are like Ken Kesey’s psychedelic magic bus with the “further” sign announcing its destination. Now they want to hire someone to rap like Neil Cassidy. Perhaps its simply time to get off the bus.

          1. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            To whom are you referring when you use the words “these people” ?
            If you are referring to the City Council, Robb Davis had not yet been elected to the council when any of there “numerous parcel taxes” were passed. It seems that you are using the same faulty technique as many posters who use the term “these people” to indicate all members of the city council as though it were one entity rather than a changing collection of individuals with differing points of view and skills sets.

  12. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    At least one of the City Council members has publicly disavowed his intent to seek higher office so your comment would not apply to him.

    On the issue of hiring a strong City Manager, I could not agree more.

    1. Mr. Toad

      Ed Lee the Mayor of San Francisco promised not to run for mayor before running for mayor. People change their minds on this stuff all the time. The old joke is how do you know the politician is lying? His lips are moving. i’m not saying anything about anyone who made any promise about running. Maybe they will maybe they won’t but just because someone says they won’t doesn’t mean much. Time will tell.

      1. Tia Will

        I agree that people can and do change their minds. My point was about whether or not having achieved election to an “entry level” political position automatically makes one a skilled communicator. From the quality of presentation of some of our previously elected officials, I would argue that this is not quarantined to be the case.
        So should we just accept substandard communication, or should we not assist our city council members in some fashion. Would we not benefit as a community by better communication ?
        If we would, then should we not be willing to help out with its provision ?

        1. Mr. Toad

          Listen, these people got elected and got numerous parcel taxes through during hard financial times with supermajority votes. They can make the case to the electorate when they need to do so. The problem is they were on the wrong side of an issue and screwed up so now they want to spend a bunch of money on a PR person instead of apologizing to the community and trying to recover their lost political capital. Instead of turning the ship around they are like Ken Kesey’s psychedelic magic bus with the “further” sign announcing its destination. Now they want to hire someone to rap like Neil Cassidy. Perhaps its simply time to get off the bus.

          1. Tia Will

            Mr. Toad

            To whom are you referring when you use the words “these people” ?
            If you are referring to the City Council, Robb Davis had not yet been elected to the council when any of there “numerous parcel taxes” were passed. It seems that you are using the same faulty technique as many posters who use the term “these people” to indicate all members of the city council as though it were one entity rather than a changing collection of individuals with differing points of view and skills sets.

  13. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    “The school district screwed it up six ways to Sunday and deserves whatever criticism they received.”

    That’s fine as far as it goes. But I don’t think that you can have this both ways. Both claiming that anyone who reaches these positions has the skills they need or they won’t “move up” totally ignores the fact that not all of these folks are seeking higher office and poor communication can have severe deleterious effects on the community regardless of their career plans. For me it is the community that matters, not whether or not an individual candidate is successful in their building their career.

  14. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    “The school district screwed it up six ways to Sunday and deserves whatever criticism they received.”

    That’s fine as far as it goes. But I don’t think that you can have this both ways. Both claiming that anyone who reaches these positions has the skills they need or they won’t “move up” totally ignores the fact that not all of these folks are seeking higher office and poor communication can have severe deleterious effects on the community regardless of their career plans. For me it is the community that matters, not whether or not an individual candidate is successful in their building their career.

  15. Mr. Toad

    That’s fine but four of our school board members are in their second terms. If they weren’t up to the task they shouldn’t have run for re-election. As for the district administration some of these people have been around long enough that they should be able to do the job without more on the job training or hand holding by expensive PR people.

  16. Mr. Toad

    That’s fine but four of our school board members are in their second terms. If they weren’t up to the task they shouldn’t have run for re-election. As for the district administration some of these people have been around long enough that they should be able to do the job without more on the job training or hand holding by expensive PR people.

  17. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    “If they weren’t up to the task they shouldn’t have run for re-election.”

    One’s self assessment may vary considerably from that of others. If we elect them, we should either accept what we elected, or offer our assistance to make things better rather than viciously spouting off about how incompetent or corrupt they are.

  18. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    “If they weren’t up to the task they shouldn’t have run for re-election.”

    One’s self assessment may vary considerably from that of others. If we elect them, we should either accept what we elected, or offer our assistance to make things better rather than viciously spouting off about how incompetent or corrupt they are.

  19. Mr. Toad

    I never said they were corrupt nor have I said they are incompetent . I said they should do it themselves and spend the money providing services to the school kids instead of the school district.

    1. Barack Palin

      “I never said they were corrupt nor have I said they are incompetent .”

      Tia Will is on a roll tonight. I think her mind reading hat needs some adjustment.

    2. Tia Will

      Mr. Toad

      “I never said that they were corrupt nor have I said they were incompetent.”

      And I never said that you did. However both of these words were batted around on the Vanguard and in the Enterprise. This was my comment : ” If we elect them, we should either accept what we elected, or offer our assistance to make things better rather than viciously spouting off about how incompetent or corrupt they are.”

      Nowhere have I commented that you said these things. No mind reading necessary. I took the posters and letter writers at their word. If you doubt these things were said, you can confirm by checking past Vanguard and Enterprise entries.

  20. Mr. Toad

    I never said they were corrupt nor have I said they are incompetent . I said they should do it themselves and spend the money providing services to the school kids instead of the school district.

    1. Barack Palin

      “I never said they were corrupt nor have I said they are incompetent .”

      Tia Will is on a roll tonight. I think her mind reading hat needs some adjustment.

    2. Tia Will

      Mr. Toad

      “I never said that they were corrupt nor have I said they were incompetent.”

      And I never said that you did. However both of these words were batted around on the Vanguard and in the Enterprise. This was my comment : ” If we elect them, we should either accept what we elected, or offer our assistance to make things better rather than viciously spouting off about how incompetent or corrupt they are.”

      Nowhere have I commented that you said these things. No mind reading necessary. I took the posters and letter writers at their word. If you doubt these things were said, you can confirm by checking past Vanguard and Enterprise entries.

  21. Mr. Toad

    They messed up really badly. One had to resign and one lost an election for higher office. They were roundly and deservedly criticized. But the answer is not this bunker mentality of hiring a mouthpiece. The answer is to apologize and get back to the business of running the school district. Hiring a PR person simply opens them to criticism once again and adds fuel to the fire of questions over their fiduciary choices with scarce education dollars. As far as I know the trustees and district administration never apologized to the community. Too bad for them.

  22. Mr. Toad

    They messed up really badly. One had to resign and one lost an election for higher office. They were roundly and deservedly criticized. But the answer is not this bunker mentality of hiring a mouthpiece. The answer is to apologize and get back to the business of running the school district. Hiring a PR person simply opens them to criticism once again and adds fuel to the fire of questions over their fiduciary choices with scarce education dollars. As far as I know the trustees and district administration never apologized to the community. Too bad for them.

  23. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    What would you suppose might be less likely to engender a “bunker mentality”, positive suggestions for improvement or name calling and deprecation ? Please note that I am not saying that you did this. I am pointing out that many in our community did. It simply is not helpful other than to destroy other people’s careers when perhaps a well thought out letter or email to an individual with alternative suggestions on how they might better handle a situation might help both that individual and the community as a whole.

  24. Tia Will

    Mr. Toad

    What would you suppose might be less likely to engender a “bunker mentality”, positive suggestions for improvement or name calling and deprecation ? Please note that I am not saying that you did this. I am pointing out that many in our community did. It simply is not helpful other than to destroy other people’s careers when perhaps a well thought out letter or email to an individual with alternative suggestions on how they might better handle a situation might help both that individual and the community as a whole.

  25. Mr. Toad

    I did that as it was hitting the fan but they thought it was a business as usual situation and made a whole bunch more mistakes. You can’t help those who won’t help themselves.

  26. Mr. Toad

    I did that as it was hitting the fan but they thought it was a business as usual situation and made a whole bunch more mistakes. You can’t help those who won’t help themselves.

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