Commentary: Does Davis Need to Be More Like Woodland?

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There was an interesting and thought-provoking column from John Mott-Smith this week and, while the overall subject was “the city of Woodland and what it’s doing to increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase overall community sustainability,” the issues that Mr. Mott-Smith present go well beyond this specific issue.

It gets into a leadership difference and also a community difference between Woodland and Davis.

He writes, “There is a difference in how Davis and Woodland approach issues.” In Davis, he says, “we tend to study things forever, and argue about them for even longer, before eventually taking action.” Woodland, on the other hand, “seems to cut through much of that; they see an issue or a problem, the leadership comes up with a plan, they check in with the community to make sure they’re not going off the tracks, and then they just go ahead and do what needs to be done.”

John Mott-Smith writes, “As Davisites, we can sometimes get so consumed by all that is going on in town that we forget to lift our eyes to the other communities in Yolo County.”

The implication, of course, is that there are things going on in other communities that we should be doing, but have not. We have made this point any number of times that Davis is not the progressive leader it once was, or at least appeared to be, when it was trailblazing on innovative developments like Village Homes or creating a network of bicycle lanes.

While we have gone through issues like plastic bag bans or wood burning ordinances, we weren’t the trailblazers. We weren’t even in the top 10. We were lucky if we were among the first 100 communities to do that.

John Mott-Smith uses the issue of Climate Action Plan (CAP) to illustrate. Davis did not lead the way on Climate Action. Davis has not lead the way on net zero energy developments, either.

There is of course a more central point from John Mott-Smith, and here we might want to quibble a bit more, and that is that the leadership style in Davis can be seen to be a contributing factor in this.

For him, a good example is the Woodland Climate Action Plan.

“Woodland is blessed with really outstanding leadership,” he writes. “Their prior mayor, Skip Davies, and the rest of the council saw the need for a CAP, they asked their excellent staff to get started, formed a group of citizens to bounce ideas off of, and, with the assistance of UC Davis students came up with a plan of action that included a few public meetings to take the community’s temperature on potential measures.”

He notes that, in the end, CAP was adopted on their consent calendar. He notes, “This (to my knowledge) unprecedented lack of controversy is a testament to the community as a whole, but special recognition should be given to Roberta Childers, manager of the Environmental Services Division of the Public Works Department.”

John Mott-Smith notes, “The current mayor, Tom Stallard, chairs the Woodland Sustainability Committee and is the driving force and inspiration behind implementation of the CAP. His inaugural address included ‘sustainability’ as an important component of every item on every agenda.”

“Two former key city of Davis staffers now work for Woodland — Paul Navazio as city manager, and Ken Hiatt as community development director — and their leadership and expertise give Woodland a dream team,” he writes.

John Mott-Smith lists a long list of accomplishments by Woodland on the promotion of sustainability.

For my purposes today, I’m less interested in their specifics than ours.

There is probably an upside and a downside to everything. A few years ago, we saw Woodland beeline its way to approval of the water project and watch as the Davis City Council stumbled on September 6, 2011, with a rate structure that was admittedly poorly constructed and was eventually repealed after citizens gathered petition signatures.

The Davis process was slow, and it was messy. Following the referendum in the fall of 2011, we had a year-long WAC (Water Advisory Committee) process, an election in Spring 2013 and another election in June 2014. Following the repeal of a second rate structure, council and the citizens cut a deal and a better rate structure was implemented.

Success, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. The water process was long and drawn out, but in the end, the project is going forward and most citizens seem satisfied with the deal.

John Mott-Smith notes Woodland’s tree policy. He writes, “Already known as the ‘City of Trees,’ Woodland has an ambitious goal of encouraging residents to plant 100 trees a month for the next two years, and the Woodland Tree Foundation is working to create a tree canopy in an area of town that needs one.”

At the same time, he writes, “Woodland also seems to have an understanding with the community that replaces controversy with the recognition that sometimes trees have to be cut down (for example, for construction of the solar panels at the police station) and when this happens at least an equal number of shade trees will be planted.”

On the other hand, we saw in Davis a relatively small project bogged down based on saving nine Canary Island Pine trees. Now you could argue that Woodland’s policy works as you cut trees down and replace them with new trees. The problem, of course, is that in exchanging mature trees for immature trees, you may end up losing in the process.

Another issue that we could point to involves the handling of the POU (publicly owned utility) situation in Davis. A year ago, it became a large controversy that Davis was studying a publicly owned utility. After three or four months of debate, the Davis City Council had voted 4-1 on a motion by Councilmember Brett Lee and seconded by Lucas Frerichs to rescind the previous authorization to spend up to $600,000 on a study of a publicly owned utility.

This weekend, the Vanguard reported that the council has an item on CONSENT to form an Advisory Committee on Community Choice Energy (CCE). Questions were asked as to why this item was placed on the consent agenda.

A lot of work was done on this behind the scenes. The committee formed, according to Alan Pryor, will start “the investigation and review process and establishes a Committee to explore all of the financial and legal implications.”

As Lorenzo Kristov pointed out, “The main difference in forming a POU would be to take over and operate PG&E’s distribution system (wires, transformers, fault detection, etc.). What most people don’t realize is that right now the distribution business is undergoing dramatic changes due to the proliferation of all types of ‘distributed energy resources’ (DER)…”

He noted, “The point is that Davis could not simply take over the distribution system and operate it the way it’s always been operated. Rather, we would be jumping into a business that will be in upheaval for many years to come. Much better, in my opinion, would be to wait for the industry to develop new best practices and standards for high-DER distribution systems, watch for the emergence of companies who can operate these systems for POUs, and then consider whether Davis wants to become its own POU. In the meantime, Davis can enjoy significant benefits by forming a CCE.”

My point in citing all of this is that perhaps the POU was not the best solution for Davis, perhaps it was. By studying the issue, we might avoid spending huge amounts of money on a system that would be obsolete in less than 20 years.

The Davis way is slow and deliberative, but it also reflects the community as a whole and their desire for input and discussion before making major changes. Perhaps we should have just jumped into some of these changes, perhaps not.

John Mott-Smith makes a compelling case about Woodland’s progress. He concludes, “Our neighbor to the north has quietly become a leader in energy efficiency and sustainability.”

What he doesn’t outright state is whether Davis should follow their lead or whether Davis even could follow their lead.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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74 Comments

  1. ryankelly

    We have citizens who have made involvement in local politics a sport, one that has figured out how to make money from it, and the rest of us lose.   The belief in “direct democracy” does not create innovative ideas and seems to be used mostly used to stop all change.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i think you’re allowing your dislike for one figure color your impression.  from my experience, most people’s desire for participatory democracy is sincere.  instead of focusing on one figure, what about someone like nancy price?

    2. Matt Williams

      Ryan, I agree with Davis Progressive that you are allowing your dislike for one individual to color your impression. Further, regarding that one individual, if you assess the net gains and losses for “the rest of us” from all of Mike Harrington’s machinations, the dollars and cents of the gains far outweigh the dollars and cents of the costs (losses). There clearly are individual events that are part of the totality of Mike’s actions that have a net loss, but those losses need to be put in the context of the whole.

      JMHO

      1. ryankelly

        The perception is that there is a net loss.  Most people I know have checked out of participating in City politics.  Every innovative idea seems to have opposition. Every creative effort that has to go through the local government process is stymied by the roughly the same group of political players.   I do have a particular dislike for one person who repeatedly spread lies and visciously attacked people of the community and then gained financially in the end.  But this is about looking at the whole and we are being left behind due to the obstructionist actions of a certain group.

        1. Davis Progressive

          i think there’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle black, weren’t you among the leading opponents of the food sharing idea?  i don’t see that as much different.

          i tend agree with matt, the water opposition made for a better and cheaper project.  but others just wanted to ram it through.

        2. ryankelly

          The food sharing idea is illegal and already nixed by Yolo County Environmental Health.  If you want to change Health Code rules, then you’ll have to change the laws protecting people.   Do you see the difference?

          The perception in the community is that all discussions are controlled by the same group of people who find something to oppose in every thing.  This goes back decades and not just the water project.

        3. Matt Williams

          I understand your perception about perception; however, the dollars and cents tally is pretty clear. There would never have been a WAC without the August 2011 Initiative.

  2. sisterhood

    “Does Davis Need To Be More Like Woodland?”

    Yes. Woodland High Schools allow seniors who have already turned eighteen to enroll in summer school to finish their high school degree and graduate. Davis High does not allow a senior student who has already turned eighteen to enroll in summer school to finish their high school degree and graduate.

    1. South of Davis

      sisterhood wrote:

      >  Davis High does not allow a senior student who has already turned

      > eighteen to enroll in summer school to finish their high school degree

      > and graduate.

      I’m not sure what you mean by this…

      Can you flunk a class your senior year in Woodland and take it again over the summer?  Does Davis prohibit kids over 18 for going to summer school (even the increasing number if kids who turn 18 as Juniors or in the summer of their Senior year)?

      1. sisterhood

        You can flunk one or two classes your senior year, and be eighteen years old, and Woodland high schools will allow you to take those classes over summer school and still graduate with a high school diploma vs. a GED. Davis High does not allow a senior student who has already turned eighteen to enroll in summer school, period. The student cannot finish their high school degree and graduate with a “regular” diploma vs. a GED.
        If Davis High has changed their policy in the last ten years, someone please correct me. Thank You.

        1. MrsW

          I don’t know what is true.  Two or three years ago, I was told that my child had four years from enrolling in high school (August of freshman year) to finish earning units.  There was no mention of age.

          Here’s one.  Woodland Adult School’s high school diploma is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.  Davis Adult School’s is not.  Even the military requires a diploma from an accredited institution.  I’ve always wondered what Davis Adult School graduates are getting.  Maybe they all take the equivalency exam or GED.

           

  3. Bill

    This is a challenge that extends well beyond government and into most sectors in Davis. Nimble, responsive leadership is key to organizations being successful today. Davis Downtown seems to be one of the few orgs that is able to move on things quickly and deliberately. Maybe there is something that can be learned from them.

  4. Anon

    I would note that Woodland did not acquiesce easily to the need for a surface water project, but in fact formed a water advisory committee after much citizen dismay over the increase in water rates proposed to pay for the surface water project. The water advisory committee was an idea that Davis copied.  Not everything runs as smoothly in Woodland as John Mott-Smith would have us believe.  Furthermore, because Davis took the trouble to be more deliberative, the surface water project was ultimately downsized, which saved everyone, including citizens in Woodland, a lot of money.

    Secondly, I would say Davis has been more conservative in how it allows business to grow, whereas Woodland has not.  In consequence, IMO Woodland has made some missteps, which resulted in the decline of its downtown and Woodland Mall.  It also had quite a controversy over its Community/Senior Center as well, which is too complicated to go into here.  Just suffice it to say, may Woodlanders were infuriated.

    No city or jurisdiction is perfect, and each has its own styles and shares of mistakes.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i like your comments here.  i would say you have a good point in the first, but you miss a key problem that davis faced – the reason woodland went through their wac and everything early and davis didn’t is that the davis council at that time tried to just ram the proposal through.

      good point on the second.

      what i like about the comments so far is that there’s not the impulse to bash woodland here.  whereas i suspect if this were published in woodland, we’d see a slew of anti-davis posts.

    2. justme

      The problem with the mall in woodland is not a direct cause of residents but a lousy mall owner.  He over charges tenants and is widely know as a fraudster and mean individual.  He is in Southern California and could care less about woodland.

      1. Topcat

        The problem with the mall in woodland is not a direct cause of residents but a lousy mall owner.

        It’s a real shame what has happened to County Fair Mall in Woodland.  I remember when this was a thriving retail venue.  Now it looks like a ghost town.  The action in Woodland has moved to the Gateway shopping center where I see all my Davis friends shopping at Costco,

        1. Don Shor

          Loss of business at the Woodland Mall, just like loss of business to Woodland’s downtown, was completely predictable based on the way commercial and retail development occurred there. None of this is mysterious to urban planners. The next phase of this will be the decline of shopping malls and vacancies in big box stores as retailers move to smaller-footprint sites.

        2. South of Davis

          Don’t forget that it is not just “urban planning” that has hurt malls (and downtown shopping districts).

          I have not been to a mall in years since the internet allows me (and millions of others) to buy just about everything from my home.

      2. Davis Progressive

        this is the problem – as don mentions the problem at the mall was entirely predictable once they sprawled on the east side of town.  so is it a lousy owner causing the problem or a poor set up causing bad business practices by the owner?

        1. justme

          Arden Mall has no issues…  If the mall in Woodland AKA Denios of Woodland could get reputable stores in there, I would gladly go to Woodland Mall rather than Arden, Vacaville Outlets, Solano Mall, etc…  The problem is that most of the shops in the mall belong directly to the owner who puts his own “Denios” merchandise and knock off merchandise to give the appearance of open shops… He is a shady business person to say the least…  Just about all the shops that were once there left due to over priced rent….  Walmart which went in is doing fine….  The mall was dead long before the East side of town began growing….

        2. South of Davis

          justme wrote:

          > Arden Mall has no issues…

          I wouldn’t say it has “no” issues…

          If you search for Arden Mall Gangs on Google you will get over a quarter MILLION hits including:

          “several gang members from the Mack Road area jumped an Oak Park gang member in the Arden Fair mall”

          and

          “Four men arguing at Arden Fair Mall took the fight outside into a parking lot, where one of them pulled out a gun and fired shots,”

  5. hpierce

    “The Davis way is slow and deliberative, but it also reflects the community as a whole and their desire for input and discussion before making major changes. Perhaps we should have just jumped into some of these changes, perhaps not.”  I strongly disagree with the bolded text.  Actions by the CC are generally reflective of the second (sometimes first) deviation of the bell curve of this community.  I cringe at using the term “silent majority” (reminds me too much of the Nixon/Agnew years), but the fact remains that neither the CC nor this blog (in terms of number of posts) truly reflect this community at all.  

    Those who are more closer to the center, within first deviation of the bell curve, on this blog and at CC meetings, tend to get “hit” from the folks on the ends of the bell curve.

    A “compromise” agreed to by the “second deviants” of the bell curve doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of the citizens get what they want/need.

    Suspect Mr Glick is closer to the center of the bell curve than most folks on the edges want to admit, regarding Paso Fino.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Suspect Mr Glick is closer to the center of the bell curve than most folks on the edges want to admit, regarding Paso Fino.”

      i haven’t seen a lot of people pushing the other direction on paso fino, so i’m not sure i agree.  silent majority?  not sure i agree either, we see the way people vote.

      1. hpierce

        It’s fine to disagree.  At the CC meeting, a lot of folks who had deeply held beliefs/opinions were the ones present and/or speaking. Ends of the bell curve, except, as I opined, Mr Glick.  I don’t necessarily agree that we can depend on “election results” to reflect what that the center of curve is.  Unfortunately, voter turnout favors the ends of the bell curve.  I truly wish that wasn’t so, but it is (said as a poll worker for many years).  And, of course there will be no vote on the project, except by CC.  The project, as proposed by the applicant should not be approved, in my opinion.  By the same measure, neither should the staff ‘compromise’.

        In my opinion, the project should be for a 2-4 home project, where the City can lose the liabilities of the buffer (only owned by the City because the elder Hausslers did not want the reassessment/taxes that would have occurred if they accepted the property as their own, as a privately owned buffer), maintain the existing pathway from Manzanita to Moore, and keeping the existing utilities on the west side of the property readily accessible.  But, unless the site remains vacant, or a smaller project, similar to the previously approved 4-unit project, my vision is but a pipe dream.

        Another problem, not mentioned by anyone, is all the current concepts create a new intersection @ Moore, and not sufficiently offset from the intersection to the north.  Not ideal from a safety standpoint, and requiring significant modification the the existing landscaped median.  In my opinion, any project for the site should have access to Moore opposite the existing intersection.

      2. Mark West

        The majority of the people in town don’t know where Paso Fino is, nor do they care.  They don’t no about the project, or care about the fate of the trees.  Anyone hyperventilating over the project is by definition at the extreme end of the spectrum.

  6. Frankly

    Davis needs to be more like Palo Alto, not more like Woodland.  The problem is a lack of business-minded city leadership to complement the other side.  Business-minded leadership is more apt to be creative problem-solving and entrepreneurial.  It is also likely to be more decisive.  The other side tends to be more risk-averse and gets stuck in a bit of analysis paralysis.  And our aging population also exacerbates this problem as the older we get the more change averse we become.

    1. Topcat

      The problem is a lack of business-minded city leadership to complement the other side.  Business-minded leadership is more apt to be creative problem-solving and entrepreneurial.

      Yes; we have a lot of people in Davis who have never worked in a business environment. They have spent their lives in academic or government careers and so they do not understand the pressures and problems of running a business.  Many Davisites I have talked with simply do not understand budgeting and basic economics. Many of these people are highly educated in their area of specialization, but they have no concept of how thing work in the real world.

      We saw a good example of this in the discussion of raising the minimum wage in Davis to $15 per hour.  The proponents of this effort seemed to have no concept of how this would affect employers or the low skilled people who would like to work would be adversely affected.

      1. sisterhood

        Some of us have worked in both the private sector and state government. We may not understand your struggles as a private business owner, but you may not fully understand our struggles. For example, having a customer base of 1.3 million people, and a staff of 14 people.

      2. Tia Will

        they have no concept of how thing work in the real world.”

        And, in my mind, this sentence fully captures part of the distortion of world view of those who define the “private sector” as “the real world” as though who work in public venues are somehow in some alternate ( and inferior ) reality.

        Having worked in the military, the private sector, an academic setting, and my current very large group practice, I can guarantee you that no venue is more “real” than any other. Some of the benefits and challenges are very different, but each has its pros and cons, all of which constitute part of the reality of the society that we have chosen to construct. What is truly different is perspective.

         

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > I can guarantee you that no venue is more “real” than any other.

          The public and private sector are both “real” but in the private sector it is “real” easy to get fired while in the public sector it is “real” hard to get fired:

          “Meet 44-year-old Ann Legra, a New York City first-grade teacher at PS 173 who pulls in a whopping $84,500 per year, though she royally sucks at her job. So much so that she has been rated “unsatisfactory” for six consecutive years:”

          http://downtrend.com/vsaxena/ann-legra-shes-the-worst-teacher-in-the-world-but-she-makes-84500-per-year

          “The city and teachers’ union may have agreed to shut down the usage of “rubber rooms” — reassignment centers for educators awaiting discipline hearings in 2010 — but according to a new report, the city is still shelling out to idle teachers. The Daily News reports traditional rubber rooms have been replaced with unused offices and even cramped utility closets, where although numbers have improved, on an average day roughly 200 teachers sit and collect their normal salaries. And for their time, the city is projected to shell out a staggering $22 million to teachers doing absolutely nothing this year alone.”

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/rubber-rooms-in-new-york-city-22-million_n_1969749.html

    2. Tia Will

      Business-minded leadership is more apt to be creative problem-solving and entrepreneurial.  It is also likely to be more decisive.”

      I beg to differ. I would say that very few doctors who choose to have their practice in affiliation with the Permanente Medical Group are what you would describe as “business minded” and yet we are a highly innovative group. Within the group, I am probably one of the least “business-minded” and yet within the past 5-7 years I have either initiated and or participated in  5 major innovation projects and am going to attempt another before retiring from the group. I do not receive any additional compensation, raises or bonuses for this. If a project goes particularly well I may get a certificate of appreciation and a public thank you. Others have made much greater contributions than I.

      I believe that profit motive and competition are vastly overrated as the sole drivers of change in our society. Many times change occurs simply for the satisfaction of developing a better way forward.

    1. South of Davis

      Frankly wrote:

      > Davis needs to be more like Palo Alto, not more like Woodland. 

      It would be nice for Davis homeowners (and multiple homeowners) to have an average home price of $2.2 Million like Palo Alto rather than a $279 Thousand average home price like Woodland (according to Zillow).

      Then Sisterhood wrote:

      > Re: Palo Alto, how much does a run down two or three bedroom single

      > family home, in a run down neighborhood, rent for?

      Palo Alto does not really have any “run down” neighborhoods any more, but you can still find them in “East” Palo Alto (a different city in a different county).

      Here is a nice little 1,457sf 3×2 in Palo Alto for $6,500/month

      http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/apa/4878859942.html

      1. sisterhood

        Thanks for this info. So, are the lower income rentals in East Palo Alto comparable to the lower-end rentals in Davis? Why would someone want Davis to turn into uber wealthy Palo Alto? To exclude everyone except the uber wealthy? Seriously. Where would all the minimum wage service workers live? In another less expensive communty? How would the lower income workers travel to Palo Alto or other uber wealthy communities? By bus, car, bicycle? Or would they live out back in the in-laws quarters or the maid’s room?

        1. South of Davis

          Sisterhood wrote:

          > So, are the lower income rentals in East Palo Alto comparable

          > to the lower-end rentals in Davis?

          Looking at Craig’s List is appears that price of East Palo Alto rentals are about DOUBLE on average the price of Davis rentals (despite the fact that you are more likely to get robbed tonight in EPA than Davis).

          > Why would someone want Davis to turn into uber wealthy Palo Alto?

          Let’s say you had home in Davis worth $750 thousand today.  In Palo Alto a similar homes would sell for over $2 million (retired life in a SF condo would be a lot easier with the extra $1.25 million).  Not many people think Davis home prices will get as high as Palo Alto but most of the people I know that vote against any new homes in town do it in the hope of keeping the supply of homes low and pushing the price (in most cases of the most valuable thing they own) of their home higher…

           

      2. Frankly

        The high cost of real estate in Palo Alto is simply a product of local economic strength combined with the same for the entire Bay Area region.  It is also a desireable place to live given the weather and proximity to all the activites and services available.

        We can keep the value of real estate lower by rejecting attempts to grow the local economy and keep the services lower.  Davis will still have some attraction as a desirable bedroom community, but then we start to have trouble funding parks, roads and services and that will have a reverse impact on property values.

        1. Don Shor

          The high cost of real estate in Palo Alto is simply a product of local economic strength combined with the same for the entire Bay Area region. It is also a desireable place to live given the weather and proximity to all the activites and services available.

          Coastal cities in California have much higher property values than interior cities. That is by far the biggest factor.
          I really wonder if most Davis residents want Davis to resemble Palo Alto.

        2. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > Coastal cities in California have much higher

          > property values than interior cities. 

          If you are within an hour of the coast are you now a “coastal” city?

          P.S. It will take OVER an hour to drive to the “coast” from most of Palo Alto on a summer weekend…

          1. Matt Williams

            SoD, I pulled up Google Maps and they say that the distance from Palo Alto to Half Moon Bay is 27 miles by road and 39 minutes travel time.

        3. Miwok

          Davis will still have some attraction as a desirable bedroom community, but then we start to have trouble funding parks, roads and services and that will have a reverse impact on property values.

          With all of the financially erudite people on this forum, I fail to see how buying a $150K house in a town and paying $2M for it is any better than buying the same house in Davis for $750K?

          From previous recent articles in the Vanguard, there is already a crisis for funding, and it has been stated that the Roads “budget” is no longer ON the budget.

    2. Barack Palin

      I think it’s a badge of honor for a community to be so desirable that it’s homes for sale and rent are very high priced.  That just proves that the city is doing things right and people want to live their so badly that they’re willing to pay the price.  That’s a problem a lot more communities would like to have.

      1. Topcat

        I think it’s a badge of honor for a community to be so desirable that it’s homes for sale and rent are very high priced.

        If we want to put upward pressure on the price of homes and rentals, then we should do everything we can to make it difficult or impossible to build new housing. The basic economic concept of supply and demand tells us that limiting supply will most likely result in higher prices.

      2. Miwok

         That just proves that the city is doing things right and people want to live their so badly that they’re willing to pay the price.

        Just snorted my drink through my nose! Good one, BP.

  7. Rich RifkinWDE 73

    This Greenwald piece could be copyright infringement. Greenwald, who cannot write well, just quotes virtually Mott-Smith’s entire column and never adds any sort of research or well thought out opinion of his own. It’s crap masquerading as “journalism.” Per usual. I guess Greenwald got tiring of re-writing the 500th version of his usual 3 articles, where he usually quotes himself in his past pieces, badly written though they may be.

    1. hpierce

      Nah, gotta disagree, Rich… Mott-Smith did not assert a ‘copy-right’ priviledge (sp?), and therefore,since it was published in a general circulation publication, it’s in the public domain.  Plagerism (sp?) might apply, but being a bit familiar with John in the past, don’t think he’d raise either issue.

      But, then again, I’m not a ‘lexicon artist’ [note possible misspellings].  Except for that (above), am not disputing the rest of your post.  Not necessarily agreeing with, but not disputing, as the rest was an opinion, not a factual matter.

      1. Jim Frame

        Mott-Smith did not assert a ‘copy-right’ priviledge

        An explicit declaration of copyright isn’t required — it’s a right, not a privilege.  Making explicit notice of copyright can make an enforcement claim easier to pursue, but doesn’t alter the fact that the right exists.  Whether the column was Mott’s alone or a work-for-hire can affect which entity has which rights, but it’s clear that the work isn’t in the public domain.

        I’m not an expert in copyright, but I investigated the concept a few years back in connection with a survey map I prepared that was subsequently reproduced by and incorporated into the work of an architect without my knowledge or permission.  I hadn’t been paid for the work and was looking to a way to get reimbursed for my time.  I learned that most survey maps are considered statements of fact and aren’t subject to copyright.

        P.S.  I still haven’t been paid for that job.  Anyone know if Hiten Suraj, one of the owners of the old Howard Johnson/Tennis Club Hotel/Voyager Inn/Days Inn/Kelly-Moore Paints property, has any assets in his own name?  I’d love to find a way to enforce the judgment I have against him.

        1. Davis Progressive

          as a lawyer, there is no copyright infringement here.  contrary to rifkin’s claims, he didn’t take the whole article, but only six or seven paragraphs which were quoted and properly attributed.  he then took the point that john mott-smith, expanded on it and made a counter-point.  there’s nothing improper here. i’ve seen blogs that go paragraph by paragraph on the counter-point format and i doubt very much they face copyright infringement.

        2. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          only six or seven paragraphs which were quoted and properly attributed.

          I did not say it was copyright infringement. I said it could be. Greenwald’s article is about 90% either directly quoted from Mott-Smith or a direct re-statement of what Mott-Smith wrote.

          Further, it is not just 6-7 paragraphs. It takes every single thing Mott-Smith wrote, mostly by quoting him, other times by paraphrasing. I don’t know copyright law well enough to know if that is considered fair use or not. However, on the surface it seems like it is not. Certainly, since Greenwald’s webpage is full of advertisements, he is taking Mott-Smith’s words and using them for his own commercial purposes.

          To HP: You have no idea what you are talking about. For one thing, no one has to assert anything. A piece like Mott-Smith’s has 100% copyright the second it is published. Further, it is not Mott-Smith’s copyright. It is the property of The Davis Enterprise. I doubt The Enterprise will sue Greenwald. I just could not help but notice that his ENTIRE article was taking the ideas and largely the words of someone else, published the very same day, and using them for his own commercial purposes. Even if Greenwald is not sued, what he is doing is wrong. And I am sure he did it largely because even he must be getting tired of writing the very same stories day after day after day, and his usual 7 commentators making the same f*cking comments day after day after day.

          Of course, since Greenwald [moderator: edited for language] ….thinks he has the right to go around with the other idiots on his so-called commission and attack me and falsely call me a racist and so on, he probably does not give a f#ck if he has to copy other people’s work to make his money.

          1. Don Shor

            [moderator] Please note: Insults Directed at a Commenter or Contributor. Directly calling someone a name that is or could be construed as derogatory will be removed by the moderator. When the Content Moderator removes a post for this reason, they will leave a note as to why with “[Moderator]” in front of their comment or edit.
            http://www.davisvanguard.org/about-us/comment-policy/

          2. Matt Williams

            Greenwald’s article is about 90% either directly quoted from Mott-Smith or a direct re-statement of what Mott-Smith wrote.

            Rich made the above statement of fact, reffirming what he said in his prior post. That piqued my interest, so I did a little numerical exercise by copying and pasting David’s article into Word in order to get word counts. The article has a total of 1,366 words. The the total of Mott-Smith direct excerpts and paraphrases equals 572 words. One doesn’t need to be The Pew Charitible Trust or FactCheck.org to know that 572 divided by 1,366 is a bit less than 42%, and worlds away from “about 90%.”

            Rich appears to have an axe to grind with David. Instead of nibbling around the edges of that axe, perhaps he would serve the community better by writing an article for publication here in the Vanguard and/or in The Enterprise that lays out his axe and sharpens it and polishes it for digestion by his fellow Davis citizens.

        3. Barack Palin

          Of course, since Greenwald [moderator: edited for language]… thinks he has the right to go around with the other idiots on his so-called commission and attack me and falsely call me a racist and so on

          Would you care to expound?  I have never been a fan of that, as you state, “so-called commission”.

          1. Matt Williams

            BP, I have no dog in Rich’s fight with the Human Resources Commission (HRC), but if you want to understand the fight in more depth go to the Public Comments portion of the video of the January 13, 2015 City Council Meeting (at 19:00 of the video or by clicking on the Public Comments navigation link on the left side of the screen). Rich is the first public speaker and he lays out his case. David is the second speaker.

            Rifkin’s column in The Enterprise that sparked this civil war was published on December 10, 2014 and can be accessed at http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/how-historic-names-came-to-the-cannery-2/ The response letter to the Editor of the Enterprise that Rifkin references in his public comment was published on December 28, 2014 and can be accessed at http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/letters/rifkins-statement-is-offensive/

            I happened to be sitting in the Council Chambers that night in anticipation of Item 5 – the City Council Subcommittee on Commissions and Item 9 the City-University Mixed-Use Innovation District and Item 10 the Downtown Parking Management Plan: Phase 1 Status Update. When Rich began speaking from the podium was the first I had heard of this conflict, and I was surprised that he chose to take, as what appeared to be a first step, such a confrontational starting point, threatening legal action and asking “the Council to immediately suspend every member of the HRC” and after due deliberation/investigation “every member [of the HRC] must be removed permanently from all City commissions.” David’s public comment appears to indicate that the City (in the person of Deputy City Manager Kelly Stachowicz) has conducted the deliberation/investigation that Rich Rifkin has asked for.

        4. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          I’m talking about Greenwald and his sycophants on the Human Relations Commission. They are all a bunch of welf-righteous morons who think they are above reproach. That commission wrote up a statement calling for recognition on the basis of race. I called them on that, quoting what they had said. And they then turned around and conspired to call me a racist (couching that as racially “offensive”) because I quoted them. It all makes no sense, unless, of course, you are Greenwald or one of his idiots. And I have asked them to apologize, repeatedly, and they have ignored my request. So my feeling is that the public should know what an assh@le Greenwald is. He has no sense of right and wrong when it comes to falsely accusing other people of being a racist. I know he and his wife did this over and over to cops in Davis. And now he and his fellow idiots have gone after me, and I am going to keep speaking out against this assh@le, calling him just what he is.

        5. Barack Palin

          Rich, where can I find the HRC “statement calling for recognition on the basis of race”?  I’ve checked the city website and Google and I haven’t had any luck.  Can you direct me or can you post the statement?  Thanks in advance.

        6. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          BP, send me an email (lxartist@yahoo.com) and I can send you the full story and links to the crap that Greenwald and his lackeys on the Human Relations Commission pulled on me.

        7. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          MATT: “When Rich began speaking from the podium was the first I had heard of this conflict, and I was surprised that he chose to take, as what appeared to be a first step, such a confrontational starting point, threatening legal action …”

          Matt, that was not my “first step.” I had immediately asked the HRC to apologize and retract its unwarranted and malicious attack on me … before their letter to the editor was published.

          I know (from multiple sources) that David Greenwald was the person who led the attack. He is an assh@le, so that is to be expected. Yet I first asked him directly to apologize. I got nothing but silence from him and all of his lackeys. Not one of them ever replied to my letters. Not one.

          I find it quite strange that a group which is charged with creating a better atmosphere of “human relations” in Davis sees it fit to attack a member of this community and effectively charge him with a racial offense (their words) when I did nothing to warrant any rebuke by them at all.

          Moreover, they never have acknowledged the race categorizations THEY CAME UP with. They just ignored the fact that the comment I made, which they said was a racial offense, was entirely based on the work they did. It was the HRC who categorized their own potential street-name honorees on the basis of race–they called the category “minorities” and they listed each persons qualification with his racial or ethnic group–and gender, where they had a category set aside for females only. And they then attacked me after I pointed out that race was the reason the two names picked from their list in a supposedly historical Davis neighborhood were chosen.

          A great deal of the problem was caused by Brett Lee, when he decided (after Greenwald told him to do so) to have the HRC get involved in a Davis history project, even though the HRC was unqualified and they did no research and made several mistakes and they consulted no one on the HRMC in advance of publishing their list. If Brett had instead spoken with me in advance, I would have told him to form a joint subcommittee, where we could have included input from the HRC, based on the guidelines of a historical street name theme. But Brett only listened to Greenwald, and the result was a huge mistake by the city, based on the poor work product of Greenwald and the HRC.

          I should add that when I spoke with Brett directly about this matter, face to face about a year ago, the story he told me turned out to be false. Brett told me that the HRC list he had inspired was to be for a different neighborhood and would have no part in the Davis historical themed street names. I am not sure, though, if Brett knew all along that they would be conflated, or if someone had misled him. The result, however, is that they are conflated and both ideas have been badly compromised, and the HRC is now going about attacking me and implying I am a racist, because I read their own list, and they did exactly what I said–they chose people on the basis of race, which to me is racism.

  8. sisterhood

    “This Greenwald piece could be copyright infringement.”

    IMHO, I trust David’s integrity as a journalist.

    Off topic, as a side note, I sent him, privately, the prologue to my memoir and never worried for a second that he would use all or part of it and claim my story as his own. I have decided to publish my book privately and only share it with my immediate family and close friends, because it is too painful a period in my life. And I love my privacy. (And, mostly, because I’m not a very good writer! But even if I was, I’d share any of my words with David and I would trust him.)

    Why do you throw around legal terminology like that, are you trying to intimidate a fine journalist? He has written thousands of his own words and phrases. He does not need to copy another’s!

  9. Anon

    Matt Williams: “Ryan, I agree with Davis Progressive that you are allowing your dislike for one individual to color your impression. Further, regarding that one individual, if you assess the net gains and losses for “the rest of us” from all of Mike Harrington’s machinations, the dollars and cents of the gains far outweigh the dollars and cents of the costs (losses). There clearly are individual events that are part of the totality of Mike’s actions that have a net loss, but those losses need to be put in the context of the whole.   JMHO

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion and I don’t really care to get into a side argument about this, but IMO you are totally wrong.  JMHO   LOL

     

    1. Matt Williams

      Anon, the WAC would not have existed if not for the Harrington-led signature gathering of the August 2011 Water Rate Initiative. Absent the WAC’s deliberations we would be building a much more expensive 40 MGD water treatment plant rather than the much less expensive 30 MGD water treatment plant. The WAC clearly did the heavy lifting in those deliberations, but no heavy lifting would have been done at all without the successful Initiative signature gathering effort.

        1. Matt Williams

          Fair enough Anon.  I can do that.

          With that said, do you believe the WAC would have been convened by Council if there had been no Initiative in August 2011?

    1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

      Even if you did not violate the Brown Act, you were still a total sash@le for attacking me in the way you did. It was totally unwarranted and you owe me a huge apology for your mean spirited attack.

        1. Matt Williams

          Thank you Don. I just deleted the response I made to Rich’s comments directed to me. I didn’t see this post of yours until after I had made that response.

  10. Davis Progressive

    mr. moderator: i have to think this conversation is way off topic at this point and frankly ugly.  i respectfully request you urge everyone to take their dispute off line.

  11. sisterhood

    I agree things were getting off topic. Want to throw in my two cents worth re: cussing. I have no problem whatsoever with cussing because I use it myself as an anger management tool. Yesterday I was arguing for five minutes with a company that withdrew close to one hundred dollars from my checking account six weeks after I cancelled their service. I was getting more and more angry. I could feel a shortness of breath and my “blood boiling”. Finally, I said to the call center, “Look, give me the name of your chief legal counsel because I’m going to sue the sh*&T out of you if you do not give me my refund in five days”.”  The person then agreed to refund my money to me. I hate threatening people with legal action and swearing at them. But the second I swore at her, I felt a tremendous sense of anger release, even before she agreed to the refund. Maybe we should allow cussing. It does wonders for me!  I read a new blog in my new hometown, which allows just about any comment. I hate the off topic comments, and it is disorganized. And the author won an award for the best blog in my new state! But the cussing, it doesn’t bother me one bit.

    Thanks for keeping things on topic here. Thanks for a very well organized website, too.

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