Commentary: Suddenly the Council Has $300,000 to Throw Around?

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Tuesday evening took an odd turn as suddenly two of the councilmembers with the strongest record on fiscal prudence were proposing the city allocate $300,000 for a BearCat or another civilian replacement for the MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle), which they conceded would be returned by the city of Davis.

This came on the heels of the council, without further discussion, approving the new city manager contract and its nearly $30,000 raise over the previous contract.

The discussion of such an allocation outside of the context of the budget forced Interim City Manager Gene Rogers, with two weeks to go in his tenure, to actually speak up and tell the council they should pause and take into consideration the totality of their financial situation in the budget.

“One question you would want to ask the police is what are your needs, whether it’s personnel or equipment and how would you prioritize it?” he pointed out. “I think you should maybe be a little bit patient in terms of making an allocation tonight without having at least the grounding of the fiscal implications of doing that with respect to the budget.”

But even that comment was not enough to convince Councilmember Rochelle Swanson and Brett Lee on this issue.

One point of discussion that seemed lost on Tuesday was actual usage and need. In the last five years, the predecessor to the MRAP, the Peacekeeper, was used 43 times, but only 11 of those times was it used in the city of Davis. That means that, in the average year, the city of Davis used the vehicle twice.

Is that worth a $300,000 expenditure? From an efficiency standpoint it does not make much sense in these tough budget times to allocate that type of money for a piece of equipment that will be used twice a year.

Brett Lee’s comment that the city would be looking at purchasing a new fire engine at half a million was interesting. One thing is clear, the city has over-compensated city employees at the expense of infrastructure and equipment needs.

That said, the interim city manager is spot on when he talks about the need to work this consideration within the scope of the overall budget. Is the biggest need for the police more equipment or personnel? Would you rather have a BearCat or three additional police officers that could help patrol the streets?

Of course, proponents will argue that we just turned back a free vehicle. But did we? Many were quick to accept at face value from the police that the MRAP was a low maintenance and highly effective vehicle. But was it?

Robb Davis on Tuesday night put forth a lot of new information, born from his research, that no one has actually refuted.

As the mayor pro tem would argue, the MRAP “does one thing well, it protects people inside.” However, beyond that, there are a lot of questions about “the value of this vehicle.”

“One of the reasons we’re seeing them show up in our communities is because they haven’t worked very well except for one thing – as you’re going down a road, a pretty straight road, a flat road, if a bomb goes off, it will protect everybody inside. That we know. Everyone agrees with that,” the mayor pro tem explained. “Where the disagreement comes in is what happens if you have to wheel it into a tight spot.” He said up hills, on uneven terrain, even up driveways are problematic for the vehicle.

“What happens in an urban environment?” he continued. “The consensus there is that it’s not very well adapted.” He called it “a product of really a broken military system. There were five companies that made these.” He said when they “got into theater they couldn’t even find the parts to repair these because they’re specialized parts.”

The other point he made was that this is not just a truck. There are only a few manufacturers for it, it is highly specialized, but “the reality is that the experience in military situations around the world is that it’s been a complete headache.”

The mayor pro tem went so far as to say, “If I were to make a prediction today… I would say in about five years there’s going to be a lot of jurisdictions that are looking to get rid of these things. They just aren’t adapted to the situation.”

That the MRAP was not ideal was conceded by all on the council, including Brett Lee and Rochelle Swanson. All things being equal, Brett Lee said, “I would choose the civilian version because it’s clearly more appropriate.” Councilmember Lee noted that, while free, the MRAP is “a former military vehicle and not designed for civilian use.”

Some people have conceded these points, arguing that whatever use it has is better than nothing. But is it? Leaving aside the political calculations here, do we really want to rely on a vehicle that might not work well in the urban environment?

Every alternative we have, of course, has a downside. On Tuesday night, Rochelle Swanson made the argument that, when push comes to shove, there is value in owning our equipment, running our operations, because at least then we can be assured that our community values are upheld.

While I’m okay with that argument, we have had a regional approach to SWAT for 25 years, and we have had an agreement with West Sacramento to use the Peacekeeper. And, given the amount of times that we have used the vehicle in the last five years, given our current situation, owning our own equipment might be considered a “nice to have” but doesn’t seem to be a “need to have.”

If we have extra money for the police, I’d rather it go to additional personnel instead of equipment.

One of the councilmembers, in response to a possible JPA arrangement, argued that they don’t believe the community wants West Sacramento or another agency coming into a high stress situation in Davis. That’s already happening.

There were multiple agencies that were involved in the Royal Oak raid a month ago. We have arrangements with other jurisdictions for SWAT. Things like YONET and the Yolo Gang Task Force are multi-agency operations.

For the typical usage of these vehicles, a joint arrangement is going to work just fine. The one situation that probably is not covered by such an arrangement is the live shooter situation.   The question there is how far do we go to prepare for the extremely low probability event? Even under ideal situations, we have to hope for the best anyway.

The community has now spoken. The council is returning the vehicle. The next step, however, is to find some sort of armored vehicle better designed for civilian and urban use. I continue to argue that Davis should not attempt to own its own vehicle, not because it is okay for another agency to have the vehicle, but rather because we simply do not use one often enough for it to justify solo ownership.

—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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115 thoughts on “Commentary: Suddenly the Council Has $300,000 to Throw Around?”

  1. Tia Will

    One question you would want to ask the police is what are your needs, whether it’s personnel or equipment and how would you prioritize it?” he pointed out. “I think you should be maybe be a little bit patient in terms of making an allocation tonight without having at least the grounding of the fiscal implications of doing that with respect to the budget.

    For me, this was Gene Rogers shining moment in his time as interim city manager. I have , in my  mind, and in private conversation been quite critical of his extremely low profile approach. But when push came to shove, and even though it did not alter the vote, he showed his wisdom and experience in taking the long view in terms of budgetary responsibility. Many of the arguments made on both sides of the keep vs divest divide have been based only on emotion. The “keep our police safe” vs “no tanks in town” arguments, both of which lack any sound, evidence based reasoning. And then comes Mr. Rogers with his advice to take a patient, information based, reasoned and balanced view of all of the cities needs and priorities before making specific allocations. Kudos to you Mr. Rogers for your well reasoned advice. A very high note indeed on which to finish.

    1. sisterhood

      Tia, it’s been my personal experience, as a woman in state government, that “extremely low profile” folk are often the most thoughtful, analytical people in the room. They have little arrogance and a ton of compassion. They do not feel the need to monopolize the conversation. or shout. They calmly express their well thought out, well researched  opinion.  Have you ever seen Jay and Silent Bob? They are the silent Bob!

      1. South of Davis

        sisterhood wrote:

        >it’s been my personal experience, as a woman in state government,

        >that “extremely low profile” folk are often the most thoughtful,

        >analytical people in the room. 

        I have noticed the same thing, but sadly it is the charismatic great speaker (on the right or left) with crazy “shoot from the hip” ideas that most people listen to (and/or elect)…

        1. sisterhood

          SOD, Good point, but I don’t consider loud, arrogant  people to always be the best speaker. The loudest, maybe, and the most charismatic, but not the most thoughtful, intelligent, insightful, or greatest. IMHO

      2. Alan Miller

        it’s been my personal experience, as a woman in state government, that “extremely low profile” folk are often the most thoughtful, analytical people in the room.

        As opposed to those who feel they have to write vacuous articles most every week in the local paper and blogs and boast their credentials at every glowing chance.

        So yes, I agree.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Alan: You have in recent weeks made DEMANDS on my time and my board’s time and yet you make posts like this which make it very hard for me to get other people to regularly contribute their time and work to the Vanguard.  Please think about that next time before you ask me for anything.

           

        2. Alan Miller

          Alan: “You have in recent weeks made DEMANDS on my time and my board’s time and yet you make posts like this which make it very hard for me to get other people to regularly contribute their time and work to the Vanguard.  Please think about that next time before you ask me for anything.”

          I asked you to run an article, which you did, thank you, and I’ve been making lots of suggestions on how to improve the site.  Those are “demands”, with full capitalization?  I am making it hard for you to get people to contribute time/work to the Vanguard?  Seriously?  Yes, when the issue I am most passionate about was in a series of Vanguard articles right as the conversion was taking place and I lost literally hours of work, I was pretty irritated; possibly I came across harsh to someone on your staff and if so I will apologize.  I figured if I was having problems with the site, others were having the same issues.  The staff has been quite gracious and professional, and I am not aware of having pushed or stressed anyone, but if there is something I did and the other person is willing, I would be glad to hear them out.

          You seem to have a beef with me that I am not gathering from your statement.  I will be glad to listen.  Please contact me offline if you would like.  You have my contact info.

        3. sisterhood

          The interaction between Alan and David is thought provoking. I’ve occasionally wondered why certain Vanguard posters, like Palin and now Alan, don’t just start their own blog.  They seem to disagree with so much of what is written here. But this website is called the People’s Vanguard of Davis, so I guess it takes all kinds. What makes reading this blog enjoyable for me is to skip over any post by Palin. I’ve been able to get the gist of David’s articles, and also read the various opinions, without being poisoned by his/her negative rants. I still read Alan’s comments because in the body of the post, past the pessimism, is some thoughtful remarks. But as far as the Palin pessimism, I’ve seen nothing substantial or thought provoking.

          David, I appreciate the time you spend with readers who adamently disagree with you. Thank you.

        4. Barack Palin

          Sisterhood, what’s this about your 5th or 6th new ID you’ve used on here in the past few months.  So even though you don’t read my posts so you can’t possibly know what I’m writing about you still just can’t help yourself can you, you just had to attack me just like you done in the past.  It’s your usual passive aggressive style.  If I fire back you’ll go crying to everyone that you’re being picked on so I’ll just let it go.  Either way, why would I bother, since you don’t read my posts anyway.  Right?

        5. Alan Miller

          “I’ve occasionally wondered why certain Vanguard posters, like Palin and now Alan, don’t just start their own blog.”

          Speaking for myself, not “Palin” (not their real name), I don’t start a blog because I have better things to do with my time, and I really don’t give a crap about most of the issues.  I’m into transportation, water, light, long walks on the beach (#snark#) and community planning, and on occasion, “other things”, when they become interesting.

          If I cared about more things, I’d run for Council, where you have to at least pretend to care a little bit about everything.  God gifted me (and most of you) with certain interests and concerns.  I choose to focus on those things.  Also, I’d make a lousy politician, as when people cross me, except at work for obvious reasons, I tell them to go F themselves.

          “They seem to disagree with so much of what is written here.”

          I do write here, as a commenter, so I guess you are implying I disagree with myself?  That would be oddly self-destructive.

          But seriously, why would someone want to read only what they agree with?  That’s like conservatives who only listen to conservative talk radio, or liberals who only hang out with people who agree with them and reinforce their beliefs.  You can’t learn by living a life where all your input reinforces your own BS.

    2. Davis Progressive

      i think my view of rogers is not that he was being silent, he was being timid.  he didn’t want to speak up previously because there was risk as an interim.  now that his fate is sealed, he could say something.  but who cares?  it’s too late now for him to make any difference.  when he finally spoke up, there was no one listening anyway.

      1. Alan Miller

        This is where I don’t like anonymous postings.  You want to criticize someone in our City?  Fine, but do it with the courage to state your name.  Saying insulting things about people while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity is cowardice.

        1. Davis Progressive

          sorry alan, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.  i have reasons for not disclosing my name and they have to do with my job and its sensitivity.  so i either shut my mouth or i post on the vanguard where david has set up policies to allow people in sensitive and vulnerable situations to express their opinions without fear of retribution.  sorry but gene is a public figure and his actions are subject to public scrutiny.  live with it.  i’m glad that you have a job that permits you to act like a [edit] in public, i don’t.

        2. Alan Miller

          sorry alan, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          act like a [edited by moderator]

          And now you are not only insulting city employees, but private citizens as well.   Anonymously.  Amazing how people step into the trap of proving the very point I was making about them.

          I am somewhat  OK with taking jabs at elected officials, as it comes with the territory.  They truly are public figures.  Most City employees are doing a job and do not and/or cannot put themselves in the public spotlight nor respond publicly.

          I’ve seen people verbally attack the competence of government employees at Council meetings recently, and someone viciously verbally attacked a potential commission member recently.  Whatever we may think of their behavior, they did it publicly, in full view of all.

          I respect that some people feel they cannot post their name because of their job.  This then gives them a cloak.  From behind that cloak they can say things they could not otherwise say, and that sometimes helps the conversation with information.  However, they are then also given the power to say whatever they want about people with no one knowing who they are.  It’s like an insulting voice from the clouds, or a fist coming out from behind a curtain and vanishing.

          It’s not that I don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s that you disagree with me.  I have stated that I disagree with Vanguard policy on anonymous posters.  You obviously like being able to say whatever you want behind your Vanguard-sanctioned shield.  So do a lot of others here.  Enjoy; you are sanctioned.

        3. Matt Williams

          Alan, the Vanguard has worked hard since the new site came live a month ago to have a valid e-mail address on file for every registered user so that a poster who chooses for valid reasons to use an alias knows that they are not “unaccountable” in what they post. As a long time poster on this site, Davis Progressive has created a substantial history of consistent posts, with the knowledge that other posters here on the Vanguard will call him out when the content of any of his posts is out of line.

          With that said, how does the presence or absence of “courage” change the content and/or validity of the comment/criticism?

        4. Frankly

          I respect that some people feel they cannot post their name because of their job.  This then gives them a cloak.

          I used to post under my real name until my company was threatened and harmed for things I posted as a private citizen.

          But ask around and I’m sure everyone will agree that I was as big of an ass posting under my real name as I am under my fake name.

          I don’t really see much evidence that posting under a real name or fake name changes anything other than preventing people and their business and their family from being harmed because someone else doesn’t like what they write.

        5. Alan Miller

          I used to post under my real name until my company was threatened and harmed for things I posted as a private citizen.

          I get that.

          But ask around and I’m sure everyone will agree that I was as big of an ass posting under my real name as I am under my fake name.

          Well, apparently others seeing us as online asses and our agreeing with that assessment is something we have in common.  However, I find your criticism of others is about issues and/or friendly ribbing rather than personal insults.  That is where I have the beef.

          I don’t really see much evidence that posting under a real name or fake name changes anything other than preventing people and their business and their family from being harmed because someone else doesn’t like what they write.

          If someone was bullying a child on the way home from school, the child could tell someone who it was, or the child could challenge the bully to a fight, or the bully could be called out for what they are, or numerous other actions, but the bully would be known.  If a voice from the heavens was insulting the child on the way home from school everyday, the child would be powerless and probably go insane and be institutionalized.

          Not a perfect metaphor, but you get my drift.

          I’ll shut up now, lest my comments deter people from contributing their time and energy to the Vanguard.

      2. Tia Will

        DP

        there was risk as an interim”

        I am sorry that I overlooked your post yesterday. If you are still following this thread I am wondering if you would clarify. What risk would you see to Mr. Rogers in speaking his mind freely as an interim manager ?  I doubt that he believed that he was being considered for a permanent position with Davis. I doubt that he is resume building at this point in his career. It doesn’t seem to me that he had much to risk by being frank.

        And, I did smile when I read that “there was no one listening anyway” since you and I at least clearly were.

         

  2. sisterhood

    If the council really does have an extra $300.000, how about reimbursing the DACHA residents who lost their down payments (“carrying charges”) when the city took over the DACHA loans?

     

    1. Frankly

      The point was made, and then the decision was made.  So did the point influence the decision?  Has there ever been any example of a higher price tag or negative economic impact influencing a decision of the righteous media-blessed crusade?  The previous city council voted to give a way a city asset worth $50-100 million dollars for $500,000 less than we paid for it only to prevent an extremely de minimis negative impact to a local land preservation local non-profit… even though the success of that non-profit had been and still is only largely because of what the city has provide it.

      The good news is that our city leaders are in good company with leaders from all branches and levels of government.  They can give it all away and then wash away the shame with the suds of media-blessed moral righteousness, and defend their decision with claims of having analyzed the thing to death and walked the line of profound nuance.

      But the truth, as is often the case, is much simpler.  The truth is that there are two paths: business verses social.  We seem to always favor the social path… the one targeting negative human emotions in a never-ending and fruitless attempt to make the angry, sad and frustrated feel happy and satisfied.   The feel good mojo feels good… but at what cost?  And it is not just the cost of the single transaction… it is the accumulated cost that is killing us.

      At some point we will wake up and recognize that government needs to be run more like a business… there is an accounting system.  There are inflows and there are outflows.  There are essential services and there are amenities.  We can certainly strive to achieve great things in the social space, but not without the funds to pay for them.   This truth is what we are failing to accept and demand from our political leaders.

      I do not see this decision by the council to be anything other than more of the same that has got us into such a giant financial hole.   If the police need a tool with similar utility as the MRAP, the city council was absolutely wrong to return it unless they had already identified the availability of funds to replace it with something more socially acceptable.  That is simple business.

      1. Jim Frame

        The truth is that there are two paths: business verses social.

        That’s only the truth if you choose to see it that way.  Some of us see a wider array of choices that allow a mix of business and social responsibility.

        1. Frankly

          You are correct… except when they directly conflict with each other… as in this case.  And when they have directly conflicted with each other, when in recent memory did the decision take the business path?

  3. Michelle Millet

    Tuesday evening took an odd turn as suddenly two of the councilmembers with the strongest record on fiscal prudence were proposing the city allocate $300,000 for a BearCat or another civilian replacement for the MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle), which they conceded would be returned by the city of Davis.

    Were they really proposing to spend the money? Or were they trying to hit home the point that we would have to spend that much to replace a vehicle , that we already have in our possession,  that we obtained for free?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            BTW, I don’t know that they knew they were going to lose when they made the proposal.

          2. Matt Williams

            Talking to each of the five about where they stood on the $300,000 issue … and why they stood there … is an important follow-up story that needs to be researched and written.

        1. Barack Palin

          Does it really matter why they voted as they did?  I’m sure they had their reasons.  It’s done, we need to now move on as we have other pressing issues in the city.  LOL, sorry Matt, I couldn’t resist.

          1. Matt Williams

            Actually Barack, I don’t think the story is centered around “the Why” of their vote, but rather centered around how best to spend $300,000 of our General Fund budgeted dollars.

            P.S. Well played choice of phrasing …

  4. Edgar Wai

    In my understanding the current best option is to share a vehicle. Sharing a vehicle would address the majority of police concerns. The remaining concern would be timely extraction in an active shooter incident. I don’t have a count of how many people have this concern.

    For myself, I think if I get shot and I am lying dying within range of the shooter such that no one could come save me in time. I would be ok with it. I am a pretty weak person so I don’t think I can last long enough even if Davis has its own MRAP. Therefore, for me, that is not a concern that I demand someone to address. For people who had brought up the response time argument, it was not made clear to me whether they were just making the point, or that they personal is requesting such new service requirement.

    I am not aware that West Sacramento already has a MRAP. Someone please confirm. I thought only Sacramento has MRAPs.

    If West Sacramento already has a MRAP, then by allowing/confirming that Davis could use it would end the discussion for me. If they don’t, I think our MRAP should go to them. The argument that “Why Davis wants to use a MRAP but can’t tolerate letting it stationed here?”can be countered in two ways:

    1) That West Sacramento needs it more.
    2) Even if West Sac needs it just as much, intolerance in this case makes no functional damage. This is a case where there is no reason to force the MRAP to be parked in Davis when the people in Davis don’t like it, but the people in West Sac do not care.

    If West Sacramento is also against owning an MRAP, then the decision and cost to get a Lenco or Bearcat should be shared. Based on usage, if a Bearcat is $300K, with 25% usage Davis’ share would be $75K. This does not change the decision posed to both Davis and West Sac, that the extra $100K-$200K could be spent elsewhere. But since it seems someone is saying that West Sac already has an MRAP, the decision probably won’t need to go there.

  5. hpierce

    Interesting choice, David:

    If we have extra money for the police, I’d rather it go to additional personnel instead of equipment.

    OK.  a $300k one time purchase, with maybe $20k/year for operations and maintenance.  Let’s say a 10 yr service life.  Annual cost ~ 50k per year.   An additional police “person”  would cost much more for each year for 10 years.

    Unless you were thinking one “person” for maybe 2-3 years, then terminate their employment.

     

    1. Tia Will

      Unless you were thinking one “person” for maybe 2-3 years, then terminate their employment.”

      Or unless you were considering a part time employee, or ancillary staff, or other uses for $ 500,000 dollars over a 10 year period, or you were adding into your calculations the expenditure on an item that is anticipated to be sitting idle most of the time as opposed to expenditure on resources ( human or otherwise ) that might be used on a daily basis.

      I think that the value calculation may be a little more complicated than many are making it out to be.

       

      1. sisterhood

        Perhaps Davis would have more female officers if part time police work was encouraged. Perhaps America would have less stressed out cops if part time work was encouraged.

  6. DavisBurns

    There are only a few manufacturers for it, it is highly specialized, but “the reality is that the experience in military situations around the world is that it’s been a complete headache.

    The problem with parts is that there is more than one manufacturer.  A small number were made but not by the same manufacturer making parts even more problematic.

  7. Anon

    So the city turns back essentially a freebee that would have protected police officers in dangerous situations involving high-powered weapons, proposes spending $300,000 it doesn’t have for a politically correct armored vehicle, in order to replace equipment that is outmoded, outdated, inadequate, broken down and cannot do the job.  The excuses given for not accepting the freebee solution of accepting the MRAP from the Defense Dept. are 1) criminals committing crimes may be former veterans with PTSD; 2) the MRAP is not a politically correct vehicle; 3) a violent crime involving high powered weapons may never occur in Davis (despite the fact that high powered weapons were just confiscated a few weeks ago in Davis on a search warrant); 4) the MRAP may have to be repaired and there is no telling how much that may cost, even though the Defense Dept. is willing to give us replacement parts.  I’m sorry, the logic here escapes me of favoring no MRAP.

    1. Davis Progressive

      So the city turns back essentially a freebee that would have protected police officers in dangerous situations involving high-powered weapons, proposes spending $300,000 it doesn’t have for a politically correct armored vehicle, in order to replace equipment that is outmoded, outdated, inadequate, broken down and cannot do the job.

      a lot of those facts are in dispute.  the freebee issue is in doubt given the replacement/ repair cots.  the protection part is in doubt given questions about its maneuverability and usefulness in urban settings.  and of course you’re completely discounting the fact that the community revolted against it, denigrating public sentiment and legitimate concerns as “political correctness”

        1. Barack Palin

          Any vehicle needs upkeep, even new ones.  So the initial price of the vehicle was free as compared to buying a new one for $300,000.  Why do people keep ignoring that?

          1. Matt Williams

            Very good point Barack.

            With that said, since we already have access to a free one, the spending of $300,000 made no sense whatsoever. Neither did incurring the maintenance costs for two identical vehicles.

            One of the factors that hasn’t been discussed much, if at all, is that the combined Yolo County Sheriff and City of Woodland SWAT Team needs a replacement armored vehicle.

          1. Matt Williams

            Michelle: “How was it not free?”

            The maintenance costs of two armored vehicles are twice as expensive as one armored vehicle. Doubling the expenses is not free.

        2. Frankly

          The maintenance costs of two armored vehicles are twice as expensive as one armored vehicle. Doubling the expenses is not free.

          Why would they need two?  Get rid of the old crappy one that ends up working like a tin can at a shooting range.

          1. Matt Williams

            Frankly: “Why would they need two? Get rid of the old crappy one that ends up working like a tin can at a shooting range.”

            The real question is why would they need three? That is the current situation. 1) the “crappy old” outdated Peacekeeper, 2) the West Sac procured replacement, and 3) the Davis procured replacement.

      1. Matt Williams

        Barack, same question to you. Why double the armored vehicle inventory from one to two? Is there anything in the 24-year history of the existing “Peacekeeper” that supports such a doubling?

        1. Barack Palin

          Matt, that’s easy.  The one we have now is outdated and the one we could’ve got was newer and FREE.

          F R E E

          If I have a 1978 Ford truck and someone offers me a 2003 Ford truck for FREE should I turn it down because I don’t want two?  I can always get rid of the old one.

          1. Matt Williams

            Barack, you haven’t done your homework. West sac has already purchased one that is just as new and just as FREE as the MRAP we have taken delivery on. As a result the combined Davis/West Sac SWAT Team currently has three armored vehicles at its disposal 1) the outdated Peacekeeper, 2) the West Sac procured replacement, and 3) the Davis procured replacement.

            Your analogy should be, If I have a 1978 Ford truck and my wife just procured a 2003 Ford truck to replace the 1978 Ford truck, and someone offers me a 2003 Ford truck for FREE should I turn it down because I don’t want three? I can always get rid of the old one and that will leave me with the maintenance and upkeep costs of two, when I used to have the maintenance and upkeep costs of one.

        2. Barack Palin

          We’ve already been over this Matt, if Davis had it’s own FREE one, it would be 10 minutes closer and possibly save a life over waiting for the one from West Sac to show up.  If we didn’t have access to a FREE one, then I would agree with you that the next best thing is to share with a neighboring city.

          1. Matt Williams

            I understand that rationale Barack; however, simple planning by the police (as was done in the Royal Oak deployment) means that the vehicle was onsite when the event commenced. The only time that the risk you describe comes into play is if an active shooter materializes without any warning and the police are in reactive mode rather than proactive mode. To date that has never happened in Davis as best as I can tell.

            Failure to plan can create a crisis. My experience with Chief Black is that failure to plan is not one of the things he can be criticized for. My sense is that he is a significantly above average planner.

        3. Barack Palin

          Matt, there are many cities where they’ve never had an active shooter where it did eventually happen.  To say that we’ve never had an active shooter so we shouldn’t prepare and take a free vehicle just in case comes off as not planning.

          1. Matt Williams

            Barack, Chief Balck and the Davis Police Department are prepared. The joint Davis/West Sac SWAT Team is very well equipped. Wwhy do you keep choosing to ignore the fact that that joint Davis/West Sac SWAT Team has a shiny brand new armored vehicle?

      2. Tia Will

        BP

        There is no excuse for not taking a free vehicle that might have saved lives.”

        It is the “might” in your statement that is problematic. For me the more correct statement would be “that might have saved lives, or that might have costs lives in the event of an escalation of hostilities triggered by its use. ” Human behavior under stress is unpredictable. We do no thane enough experience with these types of vehicles in the civilian setting to know whether they will prove useful or harmful. I prefer that decision be based on evidence and demonstrated fact, not on our emotions regardless of whether these are fear of  or for the police. Fear is fear and not a sound basis for complicated decision making.

         

        1. DavisBurns

          I looked for a history of police being wounded or killed by a gun in Davis and couldn’t find any.  While the past may not predict the future, I don’t think we have a need for an armored vehicle.  Heroin deaths mean the outside world is coming to Davis? I don’t think so.  Look at death rates for different professions. It’s just not as dangerous as the media makes it out.  Everyone stop watching Law and Order and CSI and we can all relax and spend our money on non-safety employees, repairing roads and other actual existing needs.

    2. Matt Williams

      Anon, we already have that freebee in hand. West Sac has already seen to that. This second vehicle would have transformed 24 years of armored vehicle support to the joint Davis/West Sac SWAT Team from one vehicle to two vehicle. What rationale do you believe there is for doubling the inventory of armored vehicles? … especially given the history of only 10-11 deployments in Davis over the past 5 years (43 in total to the joint Davis/West Sac coverage area of the SWAT Team shared by Davis and West Sac.

      1. Anon

        Davis has an armored vehicle that doesn’t work.  The city could have replaced it for free, so that Davis would have an armored vehicle on site in dangerous situations within a short amount of time.  Now the city will have nothing, and will have to “borrow” another city’s MRAP that isn’t hung up on political correctness.  And my guess would be the city will continue to have nothing, because I don’t see where $300,000 is going to come from to purchase a new armored vehicle – the city does not have that kind of money to waste.

        1. Matt Williams

          Actually Anon, Davis has never had an armored vehicle of its own. The joint Davis/West Sacramento SWAT Team has an armored vehicle. Further, based on my interview with Chief Black, it works; however, it does not work reliably. It broke down during the Royal Oak deployment, but the SWAT Team was able to bring it back to life. When Chief Black arrived in Davis the Davis/West Sac armored vehicle was designated as beyond end of life. Replacing that vehicle is not the pertinent question, because during the past 12 months (I don’t know the date), West Sac took delivery of a replacement armored vehicle to replace the existing vehicle. So Davis actually does have an armored vehicle available to its joint SWAT Team for rapid deployment in dangerous situations. Davis will not have nothing. It will have the same joint SWAT team with West Sacramento that has existed for over 24 years … and that joint SWAT Team will be supported by the replacement armored vehicle procured by West Sac.

          1. Matt Williams

            David, can you clarify that with Chief Black? It was my understanding from my interview with him that the Peacekeeper and the SWAmbulance are part of the joint Davis/West Sacramento SWAT Team’s resources, and as such the two communities share both ownership and maintenance costs for those assets.

  8. Michelle Millet

    I haven’t talked to anyone, but I interpreted the proposed $300,000 as a kind of “put your money where your mouth is,”  statement. Council can talk about wanting to protect our police and wanting the ideal vehicle to do so with. But are the willing to pay the price? Clearly not at this moment. So why return, an albeit less then ideal vehicle that serves this function until they have a plan, and the funds, to replace it. I think that was the point that was trying to be made.

      1. hpierce

        yes, I agree, but the CC did the opposite… get rid of, then assess.  Fait accompli.  Perhaps Rochelle is wrong, and the assessment of needs, once the “monster” is gone, will happen, in spite of the continuing ‘crisis/issue de jour’.  Will bet Rochelle was correct.

        I did not have anything like the MRAP on ANY list for dire/important needs, and also feel no burning need to banish it.  Suspect 90% of Davis residents would fit that.  But we have to deal with the upper/lower 2nd deviants who make this a “cause celebre” on either side.  They had their day, and got their way (the one side of the second deviants).  Like the MRAP, perhaps we should move on, except that would diminish fodder and “hits” for the blog.

        1. Michelle Millet

          I did not have anything like the MRAP on ANY list for dire/important needs, and also feel no burning need to banish it.  Suspect 90% of Davis residents would fit that.

          My guess is that it is more then 90% and yet how much of council’s time was wasted on this issue? It is a shame that they get so easily derailed by vocal minorities making something out of nothing.

    1. Anon

      To DP who said “again i ask, why does davis need its own – even if it is free, which it isn’t – when we only use it twice a year”

      Why bother with fire trucks, because we hardly ever have fires? I’m being a bit facetious – but the bottom line is the police seem to think they need an armored vehicle, and I am inclined to believe Chief Black.  And the truck was free, and the defense department was willing to supply replacement parts.

      To Michelle MIllet: Spot on!

      1. DavisBurns

        Fire trucks are first responders for medical emergencies.  They always arrive before the ambulance. They are used frequently, not twice a year and not just when there is a fire. Apples and oranges.

  9. TrueBlueDevil

    I say add the new BearCat / MRAP and the $10 M resort swimming pool onto the next ballot along with the needed roadwork.

    Will the new water system (better quality) solve these problems?

    1. South of Davis

      TBD wrote:

      > I say add the new BearCat / MRAP and the $10 M resort

      > swimming pool onto the next ballot along with the needed roadwork.

      We could also have separate measures:

      Measure M “Vote to buy a MRAP for Davis”

      Measure P “Vote for a $10mm resort style ADA approved pool

      Measure R “Vote to fix the roads”

      Measure S “Vote to give everyone in Davis a 30% raise in salary  like the City Manager”

       

  10. sisterhood

    IMHO the lengthy process of teaching our children not to be violent in the first place is the approach people like Dan Wolk and others are taking. Start with the Davis infant, raise the child as a caring village would raise the child. Be healthy. be safe. learn healthy habits early in life. Parents,siblings, medicine women, teachers, clergy, neighbors, cops, firefightrs, food servers, animal caregivers, students, every Davisite: do what you can to help your village. Then, maybe in 15 years from now, we won’t be worried about how to protect the village from a mentally ill person. Because we would have given proper care to that mentally ill person every step of the way.

      1. Davis Progressive

        if that’s your big concern, an mrap is not the solution.  you need more police resources, community policing, and the like.

        instead we get cases like this one: https://www.davisvanguard.org/davis-man-faces-charges-in-qphantomq-drug-case/

        1. Michelle Millet

          Is my big concern that meth dealer with powerful weapons are living in this community among our children? Ahhhh, yes. It is one of my concerns. The world sisterhood is talking about sounds great, but it is not our reality now.  I have no problem spending the next 15 years attempting to create this utopia. In the meantime I’d like to deal with our current reality.

        2. Davis Progressive

          lol.  i posted a link in my response to you that shows a case where a yonet agent largely fabricated drug charges against a guy in davis.  i haven’t practiced law in yolo for a few years now, but in my time, those were fairly frequent occurrences, they still happen, which suggests to me that the meth guy loaded with a high power rifle may happen, but it’s not very frequent.

        3. Anon

          Did not Marco Topete live in Davis, the guy who shot and killed a police officer?  Bad criminals do reside in Davis.  Yes, raise your kids right if possible.  But 1) not everyone raises their kids right; 2) mental illness or taking drugs or any number of other factors can contribute to a person committing a heinous crime.  Davis is not immune from murders and armed robberies, and neither is any other community, which the Amish in PA found out to their detriment.  If you think Davis is “safe” and you don’t feel the need to take precautions, then you are just putting your head in the sand and ignoring reality.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I’m pretty sure Topete stayed at a relative’s home in Davis very briefly after being released from prison.

    1. Frankly

      Sounds to me you are recommending that Crosby, Stills and Nash song.  Not a bad thought.   Do you think it can be translated to Arabic and Farsi?  And what about those people that don’t live in Davis, but that come to Davis to do bad things?

  11. Antoinnette

    https://www.davisvanguard.org/davis-man-faces-charges-in-qphantomq-drug-case/

     

    In regards to spending 300,000 for a vehicle to protect our law enforcement, yes, it seems we may be able to find a cheaper solution. But FYI for those who do not know, the one they have shared with the other cities does not protect the men/women from bullets spray. They deserve something safe.

    Although, I do hope we are able to do it cheaper.

    As for this case I re-listed above, which I just read, I want to add that I know exactly who this person, “Wedo,” is and he has been a known drug dealer/criminal for many years. He lived a few blocks away from me and my children when they were teenagers. I know first hand that he was continuously dealing drugs to both adults and minors and had a phone conversation with him once because he was repeatedly stalking my daughter via a friend who gave her number to him.  He was a scary dude…no joke.

    I had heard he was being watched but we moved and never found out if they caught him?

    If the defendant was waiting on Wedo to supply him, I would believe it….even if Agent Moe  failed to record the conversations, I’d be willing to bet Ryan Bellamy had plenty of reason to make an arrest.  He’s a stand-up kinda guy…

    More than likely, they were on to the undercover cops and didn’t come thru…just a guestimation.

    YONET has my sincere gratitude and continuous prayer for their work and safety.

     

     

     

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      It’s been a few years, but I was at that hearing. What struck me was that Bellamy approached a guy who offered him marijuana, he wanted meth since a marijuana bust wouldn’t have done anything, but the guy he approached didn’t sell meth. After a week of trying to get meth, they still arrested him for attempting to sell meth to an undercover cop, but there was no evidence he had meth. It was a bs charge. Wedo might be as you say, but that’s not who Bellamy ended up arresting. That’s the problem.

  12. sisterhood

    “Yes, raise your kids right if possible.  But 1) not everyone raises their kids right; 2) mental illness or taking drugs or any number of other factors can contribute to a person committing a heinous crime.”

    Your statement uses the words “your kids”. This implies that children are not the community’s responsibility, just the responsibility of the person who is the parent or caregiver? Therein lies the problem. Every infant who lives in Davis should be watched over and raised by a town of caring adults. A village. Yes, Frankly, it does sounds like a .CS.N. song!  🙂

    But, Frankly, how has the alternative been working out for you and your little village?

    Ideas like Healthy Families, which Dan Wolk and others are proposing, take a long term approach and offer real permanent solutions, if given the time and funding. And much of the concept is free: neighbors caring about and and watching over neighbors.  A community that cares.

    1. Anon

      Not everyone is going to allow others to tell them how to raise their children, nor is every parent going to be able to parent everyone else’s children – they are lucky to have time to parent their own.  And not everyone has the same view of how to raise children.  I had a brother-in-law who insisted on giving his 4 year old son sips of beer.  When this same son reached adulthood, the young man died in a drunk driving accident at the age of 22.  My brother-in-law had very definite views of how to raise his children, and no one was going to tell him how to do it.

      1. DavisBurns

        My daughter once toddled from guest to guest getting sips of their drinks until I notice her toddle was more of a wobble and yet here she is 47 years old and still alive.  One thing has little to do with the other.

  13. sisterhood

    Hello Anon,

    Some Europeans mix a tiny bit of wine in a glass of water and allow their children to sip the wine while the adults are sipping, not guzzling, theirs. Your implication that a child who takes a few sips of alcohol will die in a DUI is not really accurate. Many children from ultra strict families get let loose at UCD and binge drink, because they were so protected they did not learn moderation. There’s no hard evidence that proves a child taking a sip of a drink will someday die in a DUI. You have one anecdote where that was the outcome, but that doesn’t mean it happens often.

    I don’t  support adults giving minors alcohol; that’s illegal.)give alcohol to a minor. That is illegal.

    IMHO, many Davisites are already doing a wonderful job of watching over others’ kids. I think I mentioned a long time ago that a wonderful Mom jumped behind a car in reverse and lifted my five year old up in the air, as I watched in horror. She saved my son from death or serious injury. (I was inside my own car with my toddler daughter and had just dropped my son off at North Davis.) Another Mom waited with my son one afternoon when his dad and I both forgot it was early release “wacky Wednesday”. Bless her! I tried to pay that kindness forward whenever I could. I’ve witnessed many caring Davisites step up when parents are overwhelmed, or just working too many hours, to pay the rent and groceries. Davisites help each other. The village is filled with marvelous, caring folks. If more citizens in Davis got on board and cared just a little more, and gave just a tiny bit of their time,  there would be less kids who may have an undetected, neglected mental illness. Less kids that grow up to be violent adults.

    1. Anon

      I’m all for encouraging everyone to watch out for everyone else’s kids (I do it myself).  But everyone has their own parenting style, and it may not agree with yours or mine.  I have watched a parent teach her kids how to steal.  Nor is every parent a good parent – for instance a parent on drugs or who is severely mentally ill is not likely to do an effective parenting job.  What is interesting is that some kids can come from the absolute worst backgrounds and turn out stellar human beings, while kids from excellent family backgrounds can turn out horrible.  Life is unpredictable, if nothing else, and no one thing is a guarantee that a child will turn out well or badly.

      1. DavisBurns

        And yet some kids raised by alcoholics or drug users make a commitment to raise their children differently.  They use their parents as an example  of how not to raise children and/or how not to behave themselves. Two kids from the same family can make entirely different choices in their lives. Mentally healthy adults can have mentally ill children. Generalizations are meaningless. My parents smoked, I never did, two of my children smoked for a few years and quit.  One of my offspring says”I’m so f**ked up, I don’t need drugs, I have to struggle to be normal why would I want to make it harder? Like that is totally insane.”

  14. sisterhood

    Hello Anon,

    If you know a Davisite parent is teaching their child to steal, that’s exactly the child who needs a positive role model, ie, you. Even one kind word of encouragement can have a huge impact on a child. I believe it was Mother Teresa who said, “Kind words may be short and  easy to speak, but their echos are endless.”

    Maybe the child with bad parents who turned out great had a great teacher, or a waiter who was kind to them, or a store clerk, etc. You never know who you are influencing.

  15. sisterhood

    There have been  a few posts about the courage or lack of courage of anonymous posters. I view it like voting. We have a right to vote anonymously in America. I like to express my opinion anonymously. It’s nice that some folks want to provide their “real” name. My friends can figure out who I am. Strangers don’t need to know. I cherish what little privacy is left  in this world.

    1. Matt Williams

      sisterhood, the Vanguard is trying to achieve a balanced middle ground approach … on the one hand respecting the feelings that many have that anonymous posters need to have a certain level of accountability in what they post, and at the same time respecting feelings like those you have expressed above.  The way we are approaching that is to require each user to have a valid e-mail address where the Vanguard can reach them should a desire for increased accountability arise.

      If  each commenter knows that despite the use of an alias, the commenter is holding themselves accountable by sharing a way for the Vanguard to contact her/him/them, then a level of mutual respect is maintained.

      We hope that achieves the desired high quality dialogue (and even collaboration) that is the vanguard’s goal.

      1. Barack Palin

        Some posters have more than one alias, which the Vanguard says is okay.  Other commenters change their alias quite often.  But this website is called the People’s Vanguard of Davis, so I guess it takes all kinds. 

        1. Matt Williams

          This is clearly an important issue to you. Other than myself and Mr. Toad and yourself, I don’t know anyone who has changed their alias. Some posters have changed from an alias to their real name, and some have changed from their real name to an alias, DougPaulDavis to David Greenwald and medwoman to Tia Will being examples of the former and Frankly being an example of the latter, but the number is very low. You can count it on one hand. What other “alias to alias” switches do you think there have been?

      2. sisterhood

        Good morning David and Matt

        If a member of law enforcement demanded to know my email address, would you hand it over to them without a subpoena? Since I occasionally criticize law enforcement and write about my own interaction with them?

        Who gets my email from you?

        Thank you .

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Probably five or six years ago, we actually got a subpoena for a user’s IP address and we ended up taking it to court and quashing the subpoena. The police would need a search warrant and we would fight it in court.

  16. Miwok

    No mention yet of the events yesterday in Sacramento and Auburn. Saw video of their MRAP/Peacekeeper type vehicle with SWAT hanging off the sides, like Keystone Cops.

    If a vehicle can avoid that, put everyone inside. then is might be better. A Sacramento Sheriff I talked to a few weeks ago told me the regular stuff they wear and carry are about 60#. SWAT adds more, and more weapons.

    This criminal shot at and hit several people, and crossed county lines, so the agencies from local to federal were involved.  Has this changed anyone’s minds?

    The news agencies, remarkably uninformed, were jumping to conclusions and opinions based on no facts. The fact they knew nothing did not stop them a bit. Showing up to an Elementary School with SWAT is not a way to engender trust.

    I appreciate the comments about this, it is very interesting. I am sure next week will bring another article about this.. Good stuff!

  17. WTF

    Now we have two dead deputies after the rampage that started in Sacramento yesterday with the defendant using an AR-15 assault weapon.  What if he went south on I-80 instead of north?   What if he ended up in Davis holed up in a house with injured civilians laying in the front yard?  No MRAP now and having to wait for some appropriate vehicle from another jurisdiction.  No vehicle in Yolo is reliable.  This is the nice little town in a bubble where a high school student climbs in an elderly couples home and butchers them, a mother drowns her five year old daughter, a transient rapes a woman on church grounds, assault weapons are seized on a high risk search warrant, young people are dying from heroin overdoses, … .  Where is this alleged research paper on the MRAP by Davis?  I suspect if is full of errors.  DPD clearly was of the opinion that the MRAP met their needs and now Davis knows better.  DPD would seem to be the professionals making the assessment of their needs.  Now Rob knows SWAT tactics better than the officers that execute said tactics.  Yesterdays events demonstrate exactly how poor a decision that our CC made.

      1. WTF

        Don,

        Your questions miss the point which is that the situation could develop where it is needed now, not when it or a similar vehicle arrives from outside of Davis.  Delay caused by waiting for an MRAP or similar vehicle from outside of Davis when treating a person with gunshot wounds can be the difference between life and death.  Why does the UC Fire Department have a new hook and ladder truck?  They have never needed it to fight a fire or save a life.   It would be more economical to get one from Sacramento if the need ever arose.  How is this different from the MRAP?  The better questions would be what are the different capabilities between an MRAP, Peacekeeper and Bearcat?  Due these differences if they exist effect the needs of DPD?  Can a Peacekeeper go somewhere that an MRAP cannot?  Same for the Bearcat.  What is the cost of maintaining the MRAP vs the DPD vehicle that it was replacing or a Bearcat?  And it was scheduled to replace an existing DPD vehicle which did not provide the level of protection that the other mentioned vehicles provide.

        Intelligent people can separate their view of the military, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or that the MRAP was procured for a military purpose from the need by law enforcement for a vehicle that provides protection to officers and civilians from high powered weapons like the AR-15 recently used to kill two peace officers.

        1. Don Shor

          So you don’t know the answers to my questions. I was just trying to determine whether the example you used had any merit. So when you use it again by saying

          the need by law enforcement for a vehicle that provides protection to officers and civilians from high powered weapons like the AR-15 recently used to kill two peace officers.

          … you still don’t know the answers to my questions. So you’re just using it to enflame the discussion.

          Intelligent people can separate their view…

          I have found intelligent people on both sides of the MRAP discussion.

  18. Antoinnette

    @WTF….I guess I must be living in a bubble then…I have always felt safe here in all of the 33 years I have lived here. But in the last couple of years, I must admit honestly, it is getting scary.

    It just goes to show you, the devil makes his way into every community, city, town and/or state, country…if you believe in one.

    Albeit, compared to surrounding areas…Davis is still pretty safe. Take for instance the amount of child molesters registered in this city. A few years ago my daughter searched the website to locate them all. She found 8 in Davis and in Woodland alone, she found over 200, some of which were horrible cases, not to minimize any type.

    As far as drugs and drug dealers, murderers, yep, we do have them here and we have realized that clearly in the past few years or more. But we still pale in comparison to our surrounding cities.

    Why are we a bit safer? have less crime? Maybe it’s because we have men and women in law enforcement who work tirelessly and dangerously to keep us safer….at least that is my opinion.

    I think we take way too much for granted….just saying.

  19. Alan Miller

    “This is the nice little town in a bubble where a high school student climbs in an elderly couples home and butchers them, a mother drowns her five year old daughter, a transient rapes a woman on church grounds, assault weapons are seized on a high risk search warrant, young people are dying from heroin overdoses.”

    Oi!  If only we had a MRAP, none of these things would have happened!

    No, seriously, I get your point, that Davis isn’t a bubble.  Except the only people who say we are living in a bubble are those who try to say others think we are living in a bubble.  I think we all know damn well there ain’t no bubble, so stop trying to bubble people.

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