Commentary: Robb Davis and Community Trust

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Davis-Robb-HSThe Davis City Council on Monday announced the hiring of Dirk Brazil as the Davis City Manager, effective November 3. The vote on that was 4-0-1 with Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis abstaining. That abstention naturally created a buzz, and ultimately led Robb Davis to issue a statement.

As he said in his statement, “The process of hiring the City Manager was undertaken in closed session.  While some in the community question this process I believe it is necessary to enable us to conserve the anonymity of candidates who request it.  It is clear to me that some of the fine candidates who applied would not have done so had the process not permitted anonymity.”

The Vanguard has pushed for greater transparency in this process and the flap over Robb Davis’ vote is clearly illustrative of that need. Other communities, even in California, have much greater openness in their hiring process. And while we can respect the belief that conserving the anonymity of the candidates may have increased the pool, in the end the process itself may have been cleaner in the open.

That being said, as Mayor Pro Tem Davis explains, “My decision to abstain should be understood as a decision to not participate in the vote.  That is the plain meaning of abstention—non-participation.” He continues, “The reasons for my decision to not participate in the vote arose in the closed session and therefore I am not at liberty to share them.”

The Mayor Pro Tem was advised by City Attorney Harriet Steiner here, and we can see in the Government Code Section 54957(b) (1) “Subject to paragraph (2), this chapter shall not be construed to prevent the legislative body of a local agency from holding closed sessions during a regular or special meeting to consider the appointment, employment, evaluation of performance, discipline, or dismissal of a public employee or to hear complaints or charges brought against the employee by another person or employee unless the employee requests a public session.”

Section 54963(a) “A person may not disclose confidential information that has been acquired by being present in a closed session authorized by Section 54956.7, 54956.8, 54956.86, 54956.87, 54956.9, 54957, 54957.6, 54957.8, or 54957.10 to a person not entitled to receive it, unless the legislative body authorizes disclosure of that confidential information. (b) For purposes of this section, ‘confidential information’ means a communication made in a closed session that is specifically related to the basis for the legislative body of a local agency to meet lawfully in closed session under this chapter.”

Let me quickly dispel the notion – Robb Davis would not divulge to me why he abstained on the vote, other than to reiterate that he had his reasons and couldn’t share that with the community. If I had to guess, it is a process-based issue rather than an issue directed at the candidate. That’s strictly a guess.

The fact that he didn’t vote no to me suggests that his vote was not about Dirk Brazil.  His comments suggest as much, “I very much look forward to working with Mr. Brazil and my colleagues on City Council in the months and years ahead to address the many challenges our city faces. Mr. Brazil will find me to be a hard worker, a frank interlocutor and a collaborative problem solver. I expect that he too will work hard, build a solid team, and position the City Council to navigate the many decisions before us. My sense from my limited interactions with Dirk is that we will work very well together.”

But there is a far bigger point here. Why is Robb Davis getting pounded on this by people who know absolutely nothing about what went on behind closed doors?

Robb Davis came from “nowhere” (which is really a put down of his life’s work) to finish first in the Davis City Council race. Part of the reason people were willing to take a chance on him is his integrity and sincerity and thoughtfulness.

Those readers who have been around know that Robb Davis was on our editorial board from its inception in the spring of 2012 until he announced his run for council in the fall of 2013. During that time, he contributed a number of thoughtful and thought-provoking articles and was a regular commenter.

To those who believe I am simply defending one of my own, Robb Davis earned that benefit of a doubt and that trust.

The question that I have to our readers is what has Robb Davis done in the three months that he has been on council to lose that trust? He was a forceful advocate on the issue of the MRAP, a strong advocate for affordable housing, and he pressed the developers to move away from an advisory vote on the innovation parks – among many other things.

I get that there is an inherent distrust for government that it is somehow not responsive, hiding something. On the other hand, in polling, the city council got fairly solid approval ratings – certainly far better than the state legislature or the abysmal ratings of government.

This leads me to the question: what is trust? The dictionary definition is “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”

I think that’s a strong definition, especially for this context. It is also important to remember what trust is not. Trust has to be a process rather than an outcome. I may not agree with a particular decision, but you can still trust the individual to weigh the information that they have and make the best decision that they can.

Trust is also not the same thing as blind faith, which can be defined as “belief without true understanding, perception or discrimination.” We are entrusting our government to do the right thing, we are not handing over blind faith to them.

There are situations where our government not only can, but should lose our trust. If we believe that decisions are being guided out of self-interest, out of political ambitions, or out of pressure by special interests who do not hold the best interests of the community at the forefront of their decision-making, then we ought to be skeptical.

From the standpoint of the Vanguard as a public watchdog it is always trust – but verify, question, press for transparency.

These are important concepts that we have to take into account when we encounter a situation where we do not have access to all of the information. Ask yourselves these questions: Do you trust Robb Davis’ judgment? Do you believe he is likely to take into account all of the information before making a decision?

Do you believe that his biggest considerations are: personal ambition, self-interest, pressure by a special interest – or the best interests of the community?

Do I personally believe that there are people in public office today who are motivated by political ambitions and act out of pressure by special interests?  Absolutely.  Do I believe Robb Davis is one of them?  Not a chance.

At the end of the day, I don’t know if I would make the same decision that Robb Davis made, but I trust that Robb Davis acted in what he saw the best interests of the community. That’s all we can ask for from our public officials.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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42 thoughts on “Commentary: Robb Davis and Community Trust”

  1. Tia Will

    Thanks to David, I had the opportunity to get to know Robb prior to his decision to run for city council. I hope that it will be ok to share a little of Robb’s decision making process with those who did not know him at the time.

    Robb did not run for the city council because of personal ambition. He was conscripted. His first reaction when the subject of him running was breached was “No way”. It was with much persistence on the part of a number of people who knew him, knew of his background, his curiosity, his intelligence, his thoroughness and ability to consider all points of view that he came around to the idea.

    Whether or not we are curious about why he made the decision he did is totally beside the point. What you can bet on is that the decision was based on legal and ethical principles and a commitment to perform his job to the best of his ability.

    1. SODA

      Hi Tia,

      I will jump in here as I was the first commenter on the post which announced that Robb had abstained. I stated that I wanted to know the reasons.

      I understand and accept the confidentiality issues of the closed session more now than when I first replied, however, I do not agree that we should not question.  Let me try to explain:

      I was also a  supporter of Robb’s views and especially “thoughtfulness” on issues,  both before and after he ran and that is precisely WHY I questioned his reasoning for abstaining. BECAUSE I trust his integrity to the degree that I do, when I hear that he has voted in the minority on an issue, I am more interested in the whys than I would be for another elected official whom I do not know or trust as much. Does that make sense?

      I am interested in your comments on this view. Am back East so may not be in wifi contact until tonight.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        It sounds to me what you are questioning is the situation that arose to precipitate the abstention rather than questioning Robb himself.

        1. South of Davis

          SODA wrote:

          > Yes….and because I value his opinions and thoughtfulness, wanted

          > to know WHY which might inform my own views…clearer?

          People don’t always say WHY they vote yes or no (since it is often a lot of reasons) but people almost always say WHY they abstained (since it is usually just one reason like I do not know enough to vote or the guy is my godson).  If someone wants to abstain without telling people WHY they abstained it seems like a better idea is to stay home sick rather than leave everyone wondering (and asking you WHY for years)…

      2. Matt Williams

        SODA, as I read your comment above, I couldn’t help but wonder whether your desire to know is purely curiosity, or whether you believe there is some way that Robb’s reasons, if sharted, will allow the community to better itself in the present and/or the future?

        1. SODA

          No Matt

          Not curiosity

          sorry I am not clear to you. On iPhone out of pocket.

          Again I trust Robb and therefore that is why I was concerned. His ?concern was important to me BECAUSE I trust him.

  2. Tia Will

    Hi SODA

    I do not agree that we should not question.”

    I completely agree that we should always feel free to question. It is actually this concept that brought me to the Vanguard in the first place.  I think that there is a difference in questioning as a prompt for the exchange of ideas and questioning in order to pressure someone to divulge information that they should not be sharing with us. Knowing you, I am aware that your motivation was the genuine desire for knowledge and not a pressure tactic.  I also am very curious about the decision making process but I hope and am sure that Robb will never share that information with me.

    The value I see in questioning as you and others have done ( and which I have done in my own head) is to examine not Robb’s decision in this matter, but whether the processes that we are currently following are the best way to serve the city, its current employees and potential employees.

    This is what I believe that David was addressing with his article on the lack of transparency of the selection process. Having been involved in hiring decisions for more than 5 years, I can clearly see the difficulties in balancing transparency with confidentiality in personnel matters. I do not have a firm position on whether this balance should lie, but I do believe that it is a very valid subject for consideration by our leaders and the community in general.

  3. Edgar Wai

    I have not been following the other articles about the hiring process.

    When I read this article alone, I see the vulnerability of the process of being not transparent. I am not a lawyer so my comment below is a question about what can and what cannot be disclosed.

    When I read this:

    Section 54963(a) “A person may not disclose confidential information that has been acquired by being present in a closed session authorized by Section 54956.7, 54956.8, 54956.86, 54956.87, 54956.9, 54957, 54957.6, 54957.8, or 54957.10 to a person not entitled to receive it, unless the legislative body authorizes disclosure of that confidential information. (b) For purposes of this section, “confidential information” means a communication made in a closed session that is specifically related to the basis for the legislative body of a local agency to meet lawfully in closed session under this chapter.”

    The keywords I see are “acquired confidential information”. What is information? Is a subject a piece of information?

    Suppose during the closed section, a speaker suggested that the hiring decision should be made based on method X, and under that method, candidate Y had the highest score and should be hired. Suppose a representative does not agree with the Method and chose not to vote. What part of his reasoning could be disclosed?

    1) If the Method itself was unknown to the representative prior to the close session, the existence of the Method could be a piece of acquired confidential information.

    2) During a hiring decision, if there was no agenda or topic created prior to the session, what topics were discussed could become acquired confidential information even if the topic and its relation to the hiring decision is well-known.

    In what situation and in what scope can a representative disclose their reason?

    Suppose the topics of the close session were disclosed prior to the meeting to be: Competence, Compensation, Process, Popularity, and Others. The representative should be allowed to disclose the topic that contains the acquired confidential information leading to their decision. If the topic list is not disclosed first, then the representative is stuck because the topic list itself is a piece of acquired confidential information.

    So, could the council post a list of topics before close session meeting, with a catch-all category “Others”, so that the representatives may disclose their topics related to their decisions?

    Then, if the representative disagree with the process, would saying, “I chose not to vote because I disagree with the process.” still be illegal? The possibility that the process could be involved in the meeting would not be confidential.

  4. Barack Palin

    First off if it was a processed based decision shouldn’t that have led to a recusal instead of an abstenstion?

    I trust Robb Davis, that’s precisely why his abstention had a great amount of concern for me. When he decides not to vote on something as important as the new CM that carries a lot of weight. David, you’ve been warning all your readers that there was an applicant that was being pushed by the firefighters and some of their sympathizers. So when we read that the new CM used to work for mayor Wolk’s mother who both seem to be somewhat in support of some of the firefighter issues naturally we’re going to sound off.  We also know through David’s reporting that Dan Wolk and Frerichs showed up at a firefighter party where a countdown took place celebrating the departure of Pinkerton.

    So David, this is on you, you sounded the alarm that the firefighters were pushing for a certain applicant and when I asked you if Mr. Brazil was that guy you responded with:

    “At this point, as the tone of my article indicates, we should focus on the task at hand and if the situation arises that needs further attention, you can be assured that the Vanguard will be watching things closely. Yes, I dodged your question.”

    You could’ve simply said ‘no’ so in my opinion your response leads one to believe that it indeed was the applicant you’ve been warning about.  Taking it a step further I don’t think it untrusting at all that people would naturally want to know why Robb Davis abstained maybe thinking that the firefighter connection had something to do with his non-vote.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Perhaps then you should be asking the four councilmembers to explain why Dirk Brazil was in their minds the best candidate (which I don’t believe is privileged information) rather than why Robb Davis abstained (which is).

      1. DavisBurns

        “Perhaps then you should be asking the four councilmembers to explain why Dirk Brazil was in their minds the best candidate (which I don’t believe is privileged information) rather than why Robb Davis abstained (which is).”

        David, why don’t YOU ask the other city council members that question and share with your readers?  Sounds like a relief from the innovation park drum beat.

         

         

  5. Michelle Millet

     I trust that Robb Davis acted in what he saw the best interests of the community. That’s all we can ask for from our public officials.

    Ditto.

  6. ryankelly

    We elected Rob to represent us and in this instance he chose to not do that.  I am going to assume that he did this for very personal reasons that he doesn’t care to disclose. Whatever it was, we will not know unless the reason is disclosed.  People can suggest that maybe he didn’t like the process and didn’t want to be part of it, which then just tarnishes the rest of the Council and the candidate that was hired and is very unfair.

    How can we trust that he doesn’t do this again?  What was the conflict and how can we know that it won’t get in the way of him carrying out his duties as a Council member?  This is the concern, I think.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “We elected Rob to represent us and in this instance he chose to not do that.”

      you can make that statement based on what fact?

      “I am going to assume that he did this for very personal reasons that he doesn’t care to disclose.”

      he just told you he couldn’t disclose it legally.  so why are you assuming anything?

      1. ryankelly

        As a council member, he votes to hire the City Manager.  This is the only employee that the Council directly hires and fires.  He chose to not participate in doing this and therefore did not represent us in the hiring of this City employee.

        I’m making a guess.  I cannot think of any non-personal reason he could have to chose to not participate other than a dissatisfaction that the process was not going as he wanted it to.   The Council could have authorized him to communicate his reason for not participating, per the law.  If the process was wrong, then I can’t imagine any legal reason for the Council to not want to talk about it.  So I want to assume that it is a personal, not a process, issue.   I don’t want to think that he would have chose not to participate over pettiness about some issue of process.   I like Robb and hope that, whatever it was, it doesn’t come up again and prevent him from participating.

        1. Davis Progressive

          i can think of a reason – he had a problem with the process by which the candidate was selected or the way in which the process was conducted but did not have an ultimate problem with who the candidate was. i have not spoken with robb myself, but that is consistent with what a few people who have spoken with him have shared with me.

          1. Matt Williams

            DP, knowing Robb as well as I do, anything that the few people who have spoken with him have shared with you is speculation on their part.

        2. Matt Williams

          As a council member, he votes to hire the City Manager. This is the only employee that the Council directly hires and fires. He chose to not participate in doing this and therefore did not represent us in the hiring of this City employee.

          He absolutely did participate. Just as the Bengals and Panthers players played for the duration of the regular game and the overtime and produced 74 collective points on Sunday. Nonetheless, afer all that effort, their “vote” on Sunday is reflected in the NFL standings as an abstention.

        3. ryankelly

          Matt, as someone who is unfamiliar with that particular game between the Bengals and the Panthers, I’m not really understanding the analogy.

          Come up with a baseball analogy and I might be able to understand it more.  Such as – the starting pitcher throws for 6 innings and the teams are tied 1-1 when he is pulled out with bases loaded and replaced with a young left-hander that throws a 98 MPH fastball that closes out the inning.  The starting pitcher is given a no-decision – didn’t win and didn’t lose  – despite his participation in the game.

          Am I on the right track?

          1. Matt Williams

            That is a reasonable analogy ryan. All the pitcher’s balls and strikes and hits and runs and wild pitches and walks and K’s are entered into the record, as is a value for Wins and a value for Losses. Those last two values just happen to be zeros.

    2. Matt Williams

      We elected Rob to represent us and in this instance he chose to not do that.

      ryan, how did Robb not represent us. Roberts Rules of Order handle Robb’s vote as a non-vote and the vote tally ad 4.0 – 0.0, but in the NFL, as we saw in the Cincinnatti vs. Carolina game on Sunday that vote could just as easily have been recorded as 4.5 – 0.5. Robb sent a very clear message to anyone who want s to pay attention that he wasn’t ready to move that vote to 5.0 – 0.0, nor was he ready to move it to 4.0 to 1.0. He has been explicit in saying that “I very much look forward to working with Mr. Brazil and my colleagues on City Council in the months and years ahead to address the many challenges our city faces. Mr. Brazil will find me to be a hard worker, a frank interlocutor and a collaborative problem solver. I expect that he too will work hard, build a solid team, and position the City Council to navigate the many decisions before us. My sense from my limited interactions with Dirk is that we will work very well together.” That is a message that has been massively reinforced by the amount of wailing and knashing of teeth that his vote has engendered.

      What was the conflict and how can we know that it won’t get in the way of him carrying out his duties as a Council member?

      I believe you are jumping to an unwarranted conclusion when you assume that there was any conflict. What makes you think that there was any conflict?

    3. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

      Ryankelly –  You stated, “We elected Rob to represent us and in this instance he chose to not do that.”

      My view:  Robb did represent us.  From what I have read he may have felt he did not have enough information and it appears that he did not believe the process was truly an open and transparent process.  These are my words not his, but this is how I interpreted his statement.

      You stated:  I am going to assume that he did this for very personal reasons that he doesn’t care to disclose. Whatever it was, we will not know unless the reason is disclosed.  People can suggest that maybe he didn’t like the process and didn’t want to be part of it, which then just tarnishes the rest of the Council and the candidate that was hired and is very unfair.

      My view:  I don’t believe a vote of abstention from one council member who may have not agreed with the process tarnishes the rest of the council and the city manager candidate that was hired.  The other four members of the council felt that Mr. Brazil was a good candidate who lives in Davis.  If their views differed from Robb’s views that’s all they were was a difference of opinion.  I think that too much is being read into Robb’s vote. There is nowhere where it states that ALL council members must, or should vote the same way at all times.

      You stated: How can we trust that he doesn’t do this again?  What was the conflict and how can we know that it won’t get in the way of him carrying out his duties as a Council member?  This is the concern, I think.

      My view:  He may decide to abstain again.  Dan, Rochelle, Lucas or Brett may also decide to abstain in the future and that is okay.  I think that we have an excellent city council that works well together even when they don’t see eye to eye on all matters. I don’t always agree with each of their votes, but I believe they are working hard to listen to all points of view before placing their votes.  In my opinion that is what defines a strong city council.  I respect the fact that they don’t always agree, but can respect the process and each other to continue working together.  They can voice their opinions and place a vote (including an abstention – which is a vote – it is a vote to abstain).

      In accordance with Rosenberg’s Rules of Order (our council operates under these rules as do commissions) a council member may abstain.  Robb is in compliance and he is doing his job. Now, let’s move on to other issues:  water, innovation park(s), streets, containerization, unfunded liabilities, another liquor store expanding in town (Do we need another one?), night sky, street lights, etc…

       

  7. Davis Progressive

    “I trust Robb Davis, that’s precisely why his abstention had a great amount of concern for me.”

    i guess that’s where i come down as well.  if there’s a problem, i want to know about it.  i personally having read the law believe that robb could explain the basis of his vote more than he has.  but i’m willing to let that go at this point.  i agree it’s a procedural issue otherwise robb would have voted no if it were just about dirk brazil.

    1. Matt Williams

      if there’s a problem, i want to know about it.

      DP, if there is a problem (and I personally don’t think the word “problem” applies), and you knew what that problem was/is how would your knowledge change how our community or you as an individual approach the challenges our community faces in the coming weeks, months, years?

  8. Tia Will

    ryankelly

    How can we trust that he doesn’t do this again?  What was the conflict and how can we know that it won’t get in the way of him carrying out his duties as a Council member?  This is the concern, I think.”

    I don’t believe that we can know that he would not do this again. Or that any other council member might not make the same decision. Or that any council member will always recuse themself appropriately and not use it as a dodge to get out of an uncomfortable situation. Or might not chose to be “ill” or “conveniently absent” at the time of a critical vote. Or might not choose to use a parliamentary technique to change a vote in the future. What I believe is that we elect them after a lengthy “vetting” process presumably choosing the people who we believe have the best skill set to fulfill the job from amongst those who have chosen to put themselves forward, and presumably those who have demonstrated personal integrity and earned our trust.

    While I think that it is completely valid to question decisions and put forward whatever objections we may have to the decision that was made or the process by which it was derived, I do not believe that we can ever be assured that any individual will meet all of the expectations that we place on our elected leaders.

  9. Barack Palin

    David wrote in various articles:

    “Firefighters’ union president Bobby Weist is working hard to get his preferred city manager – will the council let him get his way?”

    “The firefighters’ union that has lost influence and faced a rash of reforms in 2013 is resurgent and hoping, with a new mayor who is more sympathetic to their needs and the council needing to hire a new city manager – after the union chased the last city manager off to the hills, that they can regain their traction in city government in a community where the vast majority of residents are not paying attention.”

    “While both shared management and the reduction in fire staffing will be difficult to roll back, having a sympathetic ear from the mayor and potentially a new city manager is a game changer.  We should be worried about who the next city manager is going to be and whether he or she will have ties to the union president. We should be worried about what kind of access and influence the union president has had on the hiring process.”

    “When that failed, they convinced two councilmembers to attempt to fire the city manager and while that move was unsuccessful, it led ultimately to the exit of Steve Pinkerton.  Now the firefighters sense an opportunity, even though on paper it still looks like there is a 3-2 majority on council to keep the reforms in place. However, the firefighters are smart enough to know that if they can get a more sympathetic city manager hired, they can begin to break down some of the reforms that were put into place last year.”

    “Since we do not know who the city manager candidates are, it is difficult to speculate at this point, but there are clear signs that Bobby Weist and the firefighters’ union are making the city manager choice the latest battleground in their fight to reestablish their influence in City Hall, and the city manager decision by council will go far in establishing what the next few years will look like locally.”

    “Since we do not know who the city manager candidates are, it is difficult to speculate at this point, but there are clear signs that Bobby Weist and the firefighters’ union are making the city manager choice the latest battleground in their fight to reestablish their influence in City Hall, and the city manager decision by council will go far in establishing what the next few years will look like locally.”

    “Now Mr. Weist, who loudly triumphed over Steve Pinkerton in the end and is loudly bragging about influencing the current process, will have the access that he desperately craves.”

    So David, now that we have a new CM we should all just forget what you wrote and the warnings you put out?  We must now just move foward and not discuss whether or not the firefighters got their man?  It’s amazing to me how you’re trying to sweep this all under the rug.

    1. Matt Williams

      Barack, IF the firefighters got their man, it was not because of Robb Davis’ vote. Whether he voted “no” or abstained made no difference in the outcome. If you want to pursue that line of inquiry, shouldn’t you be focusing on the other four votes?

      1. Barack Palin

        Matt, tell me something I don’t know, you really like to twist things to suit your line of thinking. If anything your man Robb might have abstained for that very reason, we’ll never know will we? This isn’t about Robb Davis that you campaigned door to door for and will defend to the ends of the Earth, it’s about David sounding the alarm and writing about the process being influenced by the firefighters and now that it looks like they very well might have got their man we’re all just supposed to play nice as David backs off.

        1. Matt Williams

          BP, you were criticizing David (in thread about how Robb Davis voted) for sweeping Robb’s vote under the rug.  I was simply pointing out that given your concerns Robb’s vote was not the lynchpin of the end result that you are so agitated about.  Raising your concerns in a City manager selection thread would see to be a more appropriate venue for a continuing dialogue about your concerns.

          1. Matt Williams

            Okay. Gottcha.

            So, with that said, what information are you looking for that would increase your trust level?

        2. Barack Palin

          “BP, you were criticizing David (in thread about how Robb Davis voted) for sweeping Robb’s vote under the rug.”

          No, go back and read what I wrote again.  Now I know why Don Shor won’t debate with you.

          1. Matt Williams

            First, I never debate. I attempt to share as objective information as I can possibly find, and then I ask questions.

            Second, let’s be real about what David’s article was about, despite the open door that the broader title provided to commenters. It was about Robb Davis’ decision not to cast a Yes or a No vote and the public trust issues that that decision has engendered. Quoting David,

            But there is a far bigger point here. Why is Robb Davis getting pounded on this by people who know absolutely nothing about what went on behind closed doors?

            To those who believe I am simply defending one of my own, Robb Davis earned that benefit of a doubt and that trust.

            The question that I have to our readers is what has Robb Davis done in the three months that he has been on council to lose that trust?

            This leads me to the question: what is trust?

            At the end of the day, I don’t know if I would make the same decision that Robb Davis made, but I trust that Robb Davis acted in what he saw the best interests of the community. That’s all we can ask for from our public officials.

            All of that is about trust with respect to Robb Davis.

            You were going at a very different trust in your comments, and in fairness to you David did open the door to you when he said,

            I get that there is an inherent distrust for government that it is somehow not responsive, hiding something.

            There are situations where our government not only can, but should lose our trust.

            So forgive me if I took the major theme and majority content of David’s article and applied it to your comment about the secondary theme and minority content. My bad.

            With that said, I don’t think I am out of line if I say that no one on this Blog gives you more respect than I do, even to the point where I have had to field a few comments about “… your man, Barack Palin …” I also know that it is your nature to be snarky, and since Don and I have made no bones about our mutual antipathy, it was easy for you to go there … but you can do better.

  10. Frankly

    What is the possibility that without Robb’s vote on the CR hire the vote was split 2×2, but to prevent the image of a divided CC, the two voting no decided to vote yes?

    There is no way to know that this is the case or not; however, this CC at times has demonstrated this type of behavior… to prevent any image of divisiveness.

    I trust Robb’s integrity 100%, but I don’t like a vote being cut from such an important decision.  This might very well be one of the most important decisions this CC will make… certainly more important that a plastic bag ban and an MRAP return… and we got 100% participation on those and only 80% participation on this.  And at this point, we apparently will never know what the REAL vote was.

    1. Matt Williams

      Frankly, I disagree with you regarding 80% participation. As best as I can tell Robb as very much a participant in the discussions and deliberations leading up to the vote. He even participated in the voting process, registering his vote as an abstention, which means the official vote tally was 4-0-1. If anything, I believe that Robb, by his vote has extended his participation far beyond the participation of his four colleagues. I seriously doubt that any of the four of them are receiving a deluge of e-mails on the subject of the City Manager. Robb appears to have single-handedly across the city created a heightened awareness of and interest in the City Manager.

      When you say, “And at this point, we apparently will never know what the REAL vote was.” I can’t help but think of FDR’s words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

      1. Frankly

        Matt – Sorry , but with the word “participation” I am talking about voting participation.  And I don’t count abstaining as a vote because it does not contribute to the outcome except to skew the majority ratio.

        And if you disagree please abstain from voting this November and then explain to me how you participated.

         

         

        1. Matt Williams

          The November vote is very different for a number of reasons Frankly. The first is that the vote is secret. The second, and most important, is that because of that secrecy, the outcome of the vote is not known before the individual votes are cast. Third, by law no discussion of the issues of the vote are allowed at the polling place. The discussion of issues that is allowed at Council meetings prior to the casting of votes = participation. Heck, that extended participation is one of major reasons why Council meetings go on so long. Bottom-line, Robb did not abstain from the process. He abstained from voting. Given the way votes are cast in Council meetings, Robb knew exactly and precisely what the other four votes were before he cast his vote.

  11. Alan Miller

    Is a bunch of people, many anonymous, posting to the Vanguard on pure speculation, a flap?  And is writing about such a flap, actually a flap-jack?

    A non-issue if I ever hear one.

    For a discussion instead on ALL the real issues and offices, and real pancakes, join us for Pancakes & Politics, Sunday at Noon, for three hours of discussion of the issues.  Come at 11:00 if you like pancakes.

    https://www.davisvanguard.org/pancakes-politics-davis-community-discussion-of-the-november-ballot-for-non-mimes/

    And make the world better:  volunteer!

     

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