Commentary: The Rush to Do Something, Anything

Assistant Chief Darren Pytel addresses council
Assistant Chief Darren Pytel addresses council

It has been barely 10 days since the tragic death of Peter Gonzales. We don’t even really know what happened and whether it was preventable, but already we are scrambling to do something, anything.

I get it. While we have had murders in recent years, until now they have all been in private residences and, while it was unsettling to the community a few years ago when Daniel Marsh brutally stabbed two people, in some ways the fact that it was at a residence was less unsettling than a murder occurring in the heart of downtown on G St.

I had to rearrange my schedule and my children’s schedule to get to City Hall at 7:30 to cover the meeting. But I kept wondering – why are we doing this? Is this for political show or is it something more fundamental – doing something, even if it does nothing, feels better than acknowledging that sometimes horrible things are going to happen and we really can’t stop them?

The act itself seems “largely symbolic,” as Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis said on Tuesday morning. There is buy-in by the bars, the new proposed bar is willing to adhere to whatever new regulations the city imposes. But, at the end of the day, I wonder what regulations the city could possibly impose that would make one iota of difference here.

Former Davis Mayor Bill Kopper, now an attorney representing the applicants, Blondie’s Pizza, nailed it in my opinion. He expressed condolences for the death of Peter Gonzales, but added that “it should not have any bearing on holding up Blondie’s building permit.”

I may not personally believe we need another pizza place. I certainly question whether we need another after-hours nightclub.

A part of me laughed when the marketing director for Blondie’s was put on the stand by Mayor Dan Wolk, who asked, “How late do you stay open?”

“We stay open till 1:30 in the morning.”

“That doesn’t sound very family friendly,” the mayor retorted.

And he’s right on that point. Blondie’s may be Chuck E. Cheese by day, but the issue is what happens by 1:30 in the morning when a bunch of intoxicated people are turned loose into the streets.

But here’s the thing. At the end of the day, the council made it very clear on Tuesday, they are not going to stop Blondie’s from opening. As Mayor Dan Wolk put it, before the city entitles another use, “we (will) strategize at some of these issues that we’ve been having, we need to have that conversation.”

Fine. But let us be clear. Council is not going to force bars to close at 11 pm. It is not going to stop dual purpose restaurant/nightclubs from operating in Davis.

If radical DUI checkpoints were shown to reduce other types of crime, you would see them in every major urban area.

Are there conversations to be had? Of course. Should we all submit to checkpoints and metal detectors because of one largely isolated tragedy? That’s not the community I decided to stay in and raise my kids.

We need to keep things in perspective. We can be shocked and horrified by a senseless tragedy in our midst. But let us keep in mind that Davis remains one of the safest communities in the region and, indeed, the state. What we got a taste of is unfortunately commonplace in many communities.

It is a reminder that we no longer live in a protective bubble. Bad people come to our town and do bad things. However, we should also remember that there are bad people living in our midst too. This particular incident involved someone from out of town. But many of the previous murders in recent years were by people who were living in our midst.

Daniel Marsh was a product of our local schools. Joseph Hein was a UC Davis student.

Closing off Davis isn’t going to stop these tragedies. Neither is shutting down the night scene, even if it has changed since we went to college.

It seems I have sat down with the police officials for conversations all too often this year. Yesterday one of our posters noted that, while Davis has a lower (much lower) violent crime rate compared to US averages, its property crime has gone up in the last decade even as the nation’s rate has gone down.

Back in late May and early June, Assistant Chief Darren Pytel told the Vanguard that hiring more patrol officers is unlikely to have much effect on the crime rate. Sure, people like to see a cop drive down the street twice a day, but he said there is no correlation between that and reducing crimes.

He said that it might be a once-in-a-lifetime situation where a cop is driving down the street and sees a burglary in progress. Part of the problem is that it is very difficult to see burglars in the dark from the police car.

The most likely scenario of catching one in progress is either a traffic stop where they stumble onto a burglar, or through a neighborhood watch program.

On the other hand, he believed that putting people onto the SAFE (Special Assignment and Focused Enforcement) Team, which involves identifying highly prolific criminals, determining with whom they are hanging out, and targeting arrests around those networks, helps to wipe out part of the problem. Crime goes down in Davis when highly prolific people are nabbed – but it goes back up as they are replaced by other individuals.

At the same time, having more patrol officers in the downtown might serve to deter some of violent crime. Back in May and June, the Assistant Chief noted that the department was working short-staffed due to vacancies and vacations and such. They probably have $800,000 in staffing needs.

My view is, let us not get crazy here. I would favor an approach that hires more patrol officers, since that is what the police told council they needed. I am in favor of the bars working with the police to come up with some approaches to deal better with the night scene.

But I am not in favor of radical new laws that attempt to limit the night scene. I think we forget in all of this that even when a place like KetMoRee generates 525 calls over a five and a half year period, most people are not causing problems. So why punish them? And why punish a new establishment that wants to come in and do business in our community?

More than anything else, I keep thinking of little Tatiana Talamantes. When she was tragically killed two years ago, there was hardly a word in this community about her death. She was just five years old and lived around the corner from me. I don’t recall any police-community meetings after that one.

—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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63 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    David

    I would like to share a different perspective on some of your comments as an individual whose main career goal has been the prevention of poor outcomes.

    1.”The act itself seems “largely symbolic” as Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis would say on Tuesday morning.”

    It may be that the act is “largely symbolic”. But it was our same Robb Davis who accurately pointed out during the controversy over the MRAP, that symbolism matters. Even if this action on the part of the council is symbolic, that does not mean that it does not have an impact on the community that can appreciate that this tragedy has gained the attention of our city leadership as, in my opinion, it should.While this may be an isolated incident that would be unpreventable, it may also be a warning sign, just like an elevated random blood sugar may be a sign of a single episode of excessive sugar intake, or it may be a sign of developing diabetes. It is important to pay attention, make sure that all parties affected are aware, and allow time, and perhaps some fasting to fully appreciate the real situation.

    2. “We need to keep things in perspective. We can be shocked and horrified by a senseless tragedy in our midst. But let us keep in mind that Davis remains one of the safest communities in the region and indeed the state. What we got a taste of is unfortunately commonplace in many communities.”

    Yes, we are statistically safer than many other cities. This in no way means that we should not be continuously taking steps to ensure that we do not deteriorate as the increase in crime we seem to indicate is happening.. It is interesting to me that some posters state that they want the city to actively participate in attracting certain kinds of businesses, but don’t feel that it is valid to actively discourage those types that have proven more costly or troublesome to the city. I would favor a proactive preventative approach based on examples that have worked for other communities or in other venues, such as objective means for the detection of impairment as in DUI detection.

    3. “More than anything else, I keep thinking of little Tatiana Talamantes. When she was tragically killed two years ago, the was hardly a word in this community about her death. She was just five years old and lived around the corner from me. I don’t recall any police-community meetings after that one.”

    With this statement you seem to be offering a very strong case against your own argument. It is my feeling that every murder in our community should be the cause for thorough investigation, consideration, and action to prevent further such events. It is not that we are over doing it in the current situation, but rather that we took far too little action in terms of  future prevention in the Talamantes case. I do not want a repeat of the lack of attention that case drew. I want a proactive, preventive community that will take gradual, well considered , evidence based approaches based on identified best practices to prevent violence in our community in the future whether related to mental illness as in the Talamantes case or to allegedly drunken gang related activity in this case.

     

    1. Matt Williams

      Tia: “It may be that the act is “largely symbolic”. But it was our same Robb Davis who accurately pointed out during the controversy over the MRAP, that symbolism matters.”

      However, Tia, there was no alternative in the MRAP situation. Either you chose the symbolic route of rapid removal or you chose Brett Lee’s proposal of more deliberate consideration. In the case of the Ordinance yesterday there were other alternatives that could address the situation.

      Further, nothing like the real and symbolic spectre of Military intrusion into the Davis community existed yesterday morning. To be on a par symbolically with the MRAP, the Council discussion yesterday would have had to have been about rapid removal of the entire nightclub problem from the Davis community. Robb’s point was that Deputy Chief Pytel and the good members of the Davis Police Department could provide the same level of “symbolism” through stepped up enforcement.

      Finally, the symbolic act regarding the MRAP did not have an in-process application and applicant in its path that it had to run over in the process of driving out of town. That is not the case in this situation. There is an application for 330 G Street that is very clearly going to be impacted by the Moratorium Ordinance. Bill Kopper made that crystal clear in his comments to the Council. I personally would argue that rather than placing that application into moratorium status, Davis could have achieved a significantly higher level of symbolic effect by continuing the processing of the Blondies Bar and Grill application, with the inclusion of a public meeting in which the applicant presented to the community the “services” their restaurant and nightclub would be bringing to Davis. If you go to the website of their Vacaville location, you will see what they represent those restaurant and nightclub “services” to be.

      1. Tia Will

        Matt

        Think that you interpreted my comment as a more direct analogy than I was intending. I was focusing the first aspect of my comment on the importance of symbolism, not equating the pending application with the disposition of the MRAP as you seemed to think. I apologize if I was not clear.

        1. Matt Williams

          Thank you for that clarification Tia.

          With what you have said in the clarification, I am now even more at a loss for what exactly the incremental symbolism was that was obtained by the moratorium ordinance approach vs. what Robb proposed which was the same level of community dialogue in conjunction with, and as an integral part of, the existing in-process application.   Said another way, what was the symbolism deficiency that existed in Robb’s proposed approach?

        2. Tia Will

          Matt

          Since I was not at the am CC meeting, and have not listened to the comments, it may be that I have missed the nuances of what Robb actually said and therefore cannot judge whether there was any deficiency, symbolic or not. Robb may have nailed it and I just don’t know. What I do know is that this event clearly did not slide passed our city officials unnoticed and for that, I thank all of them for their time and efforts on our behalf.

          1. Matt Williams

            I agree 100% Tia. It is very clear that the KetMoRee event did not slide past our city officials unnoticed and for that, I too thank all of them for their time and efforts on our behalf. Regardless of which course was taken, the 4 vote’s or the 1 vote’s, there was clearly going to be focused, intense action on the issue.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Great points, Tia! I see no reason why we can’t have a vibrant, alive downtown for students, citizens, alumni, and law-abiding citizens from neighboring cities.

      I see absolutely no reason that we need to provide a Welcome Mat for the gang element or violent patrons, just because our leaders are spineless. The argument that other communities have crime, and we have less crime, is meaningless.

      I would argue some common-sense measures which can be built on:

      i.    DUI Checkpoints, well publicized – to stem or stop the violent crime element from coming to town

      ii.   Decreased volume on the club music to more reasonable levels (see Allan Miller’s commentary)

      iii.   Ban Lingerie Shows – attractions like this are a beacon to troublemakers. In utopia, I’m 100% for freedom of speech. But this isn’t utopia. Lost Isle in the Delta banned banana eating contests for the chaos and trouble it spurred.

      iv.  Increased security measures as the clubs per the DPD and nightclubs can agree to

      I think there has been some excellent commentary on the Vanguard, and in some ways we may be ahead of what we heard at the early morning meeting. I say we err on the side of safety, and protecting our college town environment.

  2. Anon

    This is one of the WORST articles the Vanguard has written in a while.  It is all over the place.  On the one hand the Vanguard accuses the 4 City Council members who approved the moratorium of grandstanding, on the other hand the Vanguard conceding it is questionable whether the city needs another nightclub, then positing that conversations should happen to see if something can be done, while at the same time insisting probably nothing the city does will make a difference.  I could pick apart this entire article sentence by sentence to show the illogic and myriad outright contradictions, but it is just not worth the effort and would positively bore readers.

    IMO, the 4 City Council members did the right thing in requesting a 45 day moratorium, giving the Blondie’s applicant an opportunity to make a “hardship case” in mid-October why they should be permitted to continue with their plans to put another restaurant/bar/nightclub in Davis (which they initially tried to totally misrepresent as a “Chucky Cheese” style establishment).  Meanwhile, from the discussion at the City Council meeting, there will be serious discussions between City Council, law enforcement, ABC, and bar representatives to discuss if there are any solutions that can be implemented to make the Davis nightclub/bar scene late at night any safer.  These knowledgeable people are in a better position to understand what happened at KetMoRee, what legally can and cannot be done to improve the situation, and I am sure will look at things other communities in similar situations have done to combat violence moving into their communities because of a robust commercial night life.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Thank you! My mind was going numb from the contradictions here.

      Of coarse the former mayor is in favor of this business: a) this is his job, and b) he’s probably making $500 an hour or more to represent them! I’m not trying to take a shot at his character, but there is a direct conflict of interest.

      His job is to get this thing passed, and let the city and police department deal with the aftermath. We’re tired of the aftermath, we’ve seen it for 5 years.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Here is one example:

          “David labels DUI checkpoints as “radical”. But then he writes: “The most likely scenario of catching one [crime] in progress is either a traffic stop where they stumble onto a burglar,…”

          1. David Greenwald

            You’re conflating my opinion of DUI Checkpoints as a means to stop other types of crime as radical with a comment from the assistant chief that the way they most often catch burglaries (not downtown assaults) is through traffic stops incidental to the crime.

  3. Anon

    Tia Will: “It may be that the act is “largely symbolic”. But it was our same Robb Davis who accurately pointed out during the controversy over the MRAP, that symbolism matters.

    Touche!  Or in American slang, SPOT ON!

    Tia Will: “While this may be an isolated incident that would be unpreventable, it may also be a warning sign…

    Bingo!

    Tia Will: “Yes, we are statistically safer than many other cities. This in no way means that we should not be continuously taking steps to ensure that we do not deteriorate as the increase in crime we seem to indicate is happening...”

    I would add: How long do we want to wait, how many murders are acceptable, until we do anything?  Wait until the crime rate is as high as other crime ridden communities?  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

    Tia Will: “I would favor a proactive preventative approach based on examples that have worked for other communities or in other venues…

    Exactly.  This is not going off half-cocked or “scrambling to do something”.  This is a form of intelligent crime prevention.  Duh!

  4. TrueBlueDevil

    You know the article has a strong basis in emotion when it contradicts itself within 9 paragraphs, and the city council seems incapable of making judgement about sinister elements downtown.

    David labels DUI checkpoints as “radical”. But then he writes: “The most likely scenario of catching one [crime] in progress is either a traffic stop where they stumble onto a burglar,…”

    I. I’d offer a DUI checkpoint is 100x better than stumbling onto someone for three reasons:

    1. Officers can proactively address issues as troublemakers come into town, and as they leave. If they confiscate some guns, or stop a rape of an inebriated coed, isn’t that worth it?

    2. The PR Deterrent

    3. Publicized DUI checkpoints will prompt some gang bangers to leave their guns / knives at home. Given our current state, we are actually encouraging these outsiders to pack heat as they know we have a small force, and we lack leadership. Some will also stay away altogether. Right now we have put out the Welcome Mat!

    II. Gang Deterrence

    David then says we should use a “SAFE (Special Assignment and Focused Enforcement) Team, which involves identifying highly prolific criminals, determining with whom they are hanging out, and targeting arrests around those networks, helps to wipe out part of the problem.”

    You mean like active violent gang members who frequent our downtown nightclubs? I believe #I aids #II.

    We made adjustments for Picnic Day, we can make them here. These discussions are no “rush” … this was not an “isolated incident” … we have had this going on for five years. We had a stabbing and attempted murder on New Years Eve. We have had other stabbings downtown.

    A pause on new late-nightclubs is just that, a “pause”. We also haven’t heard from students on if they like this gang element downtown.

    1. Anon

      At DUI checkpoints, can criminal background checks be done on the spot?  Not sure what can be done with the information…

      But if DUI checkpoints are a proven deterrent for keeping violence out of towns with nightclubs, sounds like a good solution to me!

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I’m not sure. They can at minimum run the plates on the car if needed. I don’t know why our city council or the Vanguard thinks we need to provide entertainment to the Nortenos, MS13, Crips or KKK. Ridiculous!

    2. Davis Progressive

      tbd, you didn’t read this correctly in my view.

      first, david didn’t say we should use SAFE team, he said that the assistant police chief was an advocate in another context.

      second, you keep trumpeting the dui checkpoint as a crime reducer, can you site a single example were this tactic was used and used effectively?

  5. Anon

    Matt Williams: “Davis could have achieved a significantly higher level of symbolic effect by continuing the processing of the Blondies Bar and Grill application, with the inclusion of a public meeting in which the applicant presented to the community the “services” their restaurant and nightclub would be bringing to Davis. If you go to the website of their Vacaville location, you will see what they represent those restaurant and nightclub “services” to be.”

    The applicant tried to misrepresent what they were to the public and to the City Council at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, characterizing themselves as a “Chucky Cheese” like establishment.  Only when the Mayor, who had obviously done his homework, questioned the applicant more closely, did the applicant have to admit he planned to be a bar that catered to the college drinking crowd and a nightclub after 10 pm.  If you go to the Yelp website for the Vacaville location of Blondie’s, there are certainly reviews that should raise eyebrows – lots of fights, hookah bar – just what we need more of in Davis – NOT!

    1. Miwok

      It is just what the City needs, Matt. MORE people, in a smaller area, density. Davis prides itself on density and it gets it with small little places, I am not sure how many are family friendly, although I see college students in this overheated environment reacting to the stress that comes from staying in overcrowded rooms, houses and the constant pressure to increase it. The more people you pack into a place the more potential there is for altercations. The checkpoints should be people on bicycles and on foot. If they think only drivers drink then they are shortsighted, and I think better about the PD.

      But the City? More venues might be helpful, but they are all still packed into the venerable Downtown.

  6. Frankly

    This is a good article.  Succinct and objective.  Not driven by emotion and anxiety.  The sign that a journalist actually wrote it, not an activist.

    I see some of my blogging friends with a clear interest to push a policy agenda that attempts to force the downtown businesses to operate within their own moral biases/framework.  I get that and I value that opinion.  But here is the problem… their moral biases/framework is not shared with the majority of the population.  The fact is that we have a large student population and the students are members of the community while they are here, and their moral biases/framework has to be considered too.

    When we strip the hyperbole and high emotion from the points being made we are left with a initial binary argument of allowing nightclubs versus restricting or eliminating nightclubs.

    In my opinion the students want there to be enough nightclub space for them to enjoy.  Currently there is not enough nightclub space for them to enjoy.

    The secondary argument (and the only one we should be debating at this point, IMO, because the first is a non-starter due to the fact that the majority of community members want there to be a good supply of nightclubs ) is how to make the nightclubs as safe and as neighbor-friendly as possible.

    But the pause is only political at this point.  It does serve the purpose to give the impression that the city is doing something.  And there is value in that given the high emotions and high anxiety being displayed… it calms them a bit.   Unfortunately though, this was a leadership opportunity for the mayor and council to demonstrate calm and objective professional leadership and not pander to those high emotions.  And they largely failed (except for Robb Davis).

    Here is the the thing… the restaurant owners are people.  They are just as upset about the loss of that young man’s live as everyone else is.  They are also faced with additional risks to their business… risks that can cause them to have to lay off employees that they care about.  And risk that the business might fail and result in negative financial impacts to their family.  The business owners are all-in to work with the city to help make it safer and to have fewer negative impacts to the community.  The city council did not need to pause.  The city only needs to start working with these restaurants and the police to decide what can be done, and to do it.

    And here is the point that a pause is actually detrimental to the effort to work toward this goal of improvement.  It is a placebo and pressure relief at a time when we need strong motivation to help inspire participation to work on the issue.

    1. hpierce

      C’mon Frankly, call a spade a spade! A pause of 45 days, with an exemption for the permit in process is a HOLLOW JOKE!  An application for “bar” use might come up once a year or so.  I basically agree with your points, but the “demand” for night-clubs is mainly driven by advertising, encouraging students, out of area patrons, others to consider doing the “bar scene”, and encouraging them to consider Davis a “destination”.

      Except for my 21st birthday, never did the ‘bar scene’.  Too loud, too expensive (it was all I and my family could do to pay for tuition [when it was ~ $200/quarter], books, apartment, food, etc.), and not all that fun (particularly the next day).  Didn’t have a car until I graduated and actually had a job.

      That being said, I have no problems with allowing all the bars the market will allow.  Figure it might be a good way to support the Darwin effect.  Those who regularly over-imbibe, party etc., might disappear from the gene (and professional) pool, hopefully without collateral damages to the rest of us.

      I am amused with the number of articles the VG has posted on this, and the subsequent VG posts saying we’re over-reacting to an incident involving a single event.  Where the victim and the perp(s) were both from out of town.

      The incident was indeed tragic, for the victim, his family and friends, but I feel no guilt, no responsibility.  I didn’t punch that doggie.

       

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Yes, I want to restrict or eliminate weapon-packing gang members from coming to Davis. The city leaders may be restricted from labeling the criminals due to Political Correctness, not sure if you’re of that ilk.

      Have you polled the students? What percentage of the bars are students, and what percent are outsiders? I see no need to fulfill the nightlife desires of people from Vacaville, Elk Grove, or Pelican Bay.

      Frankly, do you agree with well publicized DUI checkpoints, banning lingerie shows, and noise reduction? Are you OK with Davis becoming the new Chico Party Town?

       

  7. Anon

    Frankly: “This is a good article.  Succinct and objective.”

    Shall we go through all the contradictions and silly statements in the Vanguard’s article one by one?  If you don’t know poor journalism when you see it, I’m not sure I know how to help you!

    1. Davis Progressive

      i don’t see contradictions here.  i see a weighing of issues and a posing of potential solutions before arriving at one – increase the number of officers on duty.  it’s not a panacea, but it’s also not an overreaction.

    2. Matt Williams

      Okay Anon, I’ll bite.  What are the contradictions in the article?  What are the silly statements?  My reading of the article is pretty much in line with DP’s, but I’m open to hearing another interpretation.  The most important body parts for an elected official are is/her two ears.  You have the full attention of my two ears.  I’m ready to listen.

      1. Mark West

        “The most important body parts for an elected official are is/her two ears”

        Actually, I’m more interested in how they use the space between their ears, but more to the point, don’t you have to be elected to something before you start selling yourself as a ‘an elected official?’ There’s a saying about carts and horses that probably applies here, if I could only remember how it goes…

        1. Matt Williams

          “An elected official” is a generic term Mark.

          I asked Anon a question and said I was looking forward to listening to her answer.  Not sure where the sales pitch is in that.  Care to enlighten us?  You have the full attention of my two ears.  I’m ready to listen.

           

  8. Alan Miller

    I said what I have to say.  So “the Vanguard” writes another article that ignores all the points, and Frank Lee cheers it.  I have no desire to repeat myself.  See previous days comment sections for my brilliant counter-perspective.  These guys just see the world different, and writing more and more TLDNRs only satisfies them.  I’m out . . . on today’s comments.  I will be fighting to tame the Davis’ insane night club scene with the suggestions I made yesterday, now that an opening has been made and public awareness of the scene is there . . . too bad it took a murder for people to see what has been happening.

    The owners of these night clubs are people, Frank Lee?  That’s great, that’s for sharing.  You know who else are people Frank Lee? heroin addicts, drunk drivers, the murderer, the guy who killed, and his family.

        1. Alan Miller

           none of the other murders are linked to the night scene, so i think you might want to hold your laugh.

          poorly argued councillor, it was murder/violence, not murder.

  9. Anon

    Matt Williams: “Okay Anon, I’ll bite.  What are the contradictions in the article?  What are the silly statements?  My reading of the article is pretty much in line with DP’s, but I’m open to hearing another interpretation.  The most important body parts for an elected official are is/her two ears.  You have the full attention of my two ears.  I’m ready to listen.

    Let me start with four glaring examples of poor logic and silly statements, because to go through the entire article would take forever and not be of much interest to other readers.

    1. Vanguard: “We don’t even really know what happened and whether it was preventable, but already we are scrambling to do something, anything.”    

    The Vanguard then states: “As Mayor Dan Wolk put it, before the city entitles another use, “we (will) strategize at some of these issues that we’ve been having, we need to have that conversation.”

    Then the Vanguard draws the conclusion: “Are there conversations to be had? Of course.

    What the hey? If there are conversations to be had, and the City Council is pressing the pause button to have them, how is that “scrambling to do something, anything”?

    2. Vanguard: “But, at the end of the day, I wonder what regulations the city could possibly impose that would make one iota of difference here.”

    Vanguard: “having more patrol officers in the downtown might serve to deter some of violent crime……I am in favor of the bars working with the police to come up with some approaches to deal better with the night scene.

    So apparently the Vanguard concedes there are changes that could make an iota of difference to decrease the violence in Davis.  ABC could certainly make an iota of difference depending on what they decide to do in regard to KetMoRee!

    3. Vanguard: “Former Davis Mayor Bill Kopper, now an attorney representing the applicants, Blondie’s Pizza, NAILED IT in my opinion. He expressed condolences for the death of Peter Gonzales, but added that “it should not have any bearing on holding up Blondie’s building permit.”

    Vanguard: “I certainly question whether we need another after-hours nightclub.

    This is exactly what 4 City Council members did, pressed the pause button to see if the city needs yet another trouble spot in the form of an after-hours nightclub.

    4. Vanguard: “Closing off Davis isn’t going to stop these tragedies. Neither is shutting down the night scene, even if it has changed since we went to college.”

    The Vanguard is seriously arguing that shutting down the night scene would not decrease violence/murders in Davis?  LOL

    1. Davis Progressive

      i just don’t see a problem with it: “What the hey? If there are conversations to be had, and the City Council is pressing the pause button to have them, how is that “scrambling to do something, anything”?”

      but i think the view of the vanguard (and certainly one i share) is why take this action of pausing, which is really not going to change anything?  the vanguard doesn’t seem to object to the idea of a discussion but objects to the action (not the discussion).  i see no contradiction – you may disagree, but that is a disagreement not a contradiction

      on your point two, you are conflating adding offers with “regulations” – two separate issues.

      on your point three – the vanguard questioned the need for a nightclub but did not ultimately believe the council should take the action.  again, you may disagree but this is not a contradiction

      on point four – “The Vanguard is seriously arguing that shutting down the night scene would not decrease violence/murders in Davis?  LOL”  none of the other murders are linked to the night scene, so i think you might want to hold your laugh.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        There have been at least two additional stabbings downtown in the past year or so, one on New Years Eve that also included the assailant trying to run the victim down with their car.

    2. Matt Williams

      Anon said …

      1. Vanguard: “We don’t even really know what happened and whether it was preventable, but already we are scrambling to do something, anything.”

      The Vanguard then states: “As Mayor Dan Wolk put it, before the city entitles another use, “we (will) strategize at some of these issues that we’ve been having, we need to have that conversation.”

      Then the Vanguard draws the conclusion: “Are there conversations to be had? Of course.

      What the hey? If there are conversations to be had, and the City Council is pressing the pause button to have them, how is that “scrambling to do something, anything”?

      Robb Davis from the dais made the point that the desired community dialogue could be accomplished in the same time frame regardless of whether the <u>incremental action</u> associated with the ordinance were taken or not.  What additional purpose did the ordinance serve?  How did it increase the safety and/or well being of the citizens of Davis as opposed to the course of action Robb argued for? To torture a religious metaphor, it can be argued the the ordinance was an outward and visible sign that was put forward as a sybol of the inward and spiritual grace that already existed in the community.  It can also be argued that it was an overt message to Assistant Chief Pytel and the Community Development & Sustainability Department that they can’t be trusted to accomplish the desired community dialogue in a timely manner on this issue without the forced implementation of the moratorium.

      1. Tia Will

        Matt

         It can also be argued that it was an overt message to Assistant Chief Pytel and the Community Development & Sustainability Department that they can’t be trusted to accomplish the desired community dialogue in a timely manner on this issue without the forced implementation of the moratorium.”

        There are lots of possible interpretations. Another is that it could be seen as a message to the business and other affected members of the community that the city is taking the issue seriously and will not accept what Michelle has expressed concern about namely a few meetings of all concerned business owners, police and residents and then no action. Maybe the majority was sending a signal that rather than simply having the meetings, writing up the results, and then storing them somewhere never to be seen again, that they expect actionable outcome choices. Maybe the moratorium is not a message to the police at all but rather to the downtown business community that if the involved establishments are unable to provide safe venues for people to enjoy both as daytime and nighttime establishments, then the city will take action and the moratorium may be the symbolic step that awakens the business owners to the seriousness of the city leaders intent.

    3. Matt Williams

      Anon said . . .

      2. Vanguard: “But, at the end of the day, I wonder what regulations the city could possibly impose that would make one iota of difference here.”

      Vanguard: “having more patrol officers in the downtown might serve to deter some of violent crime……I am in favor of the bars working with the police to come up with some approaches to deal better with the night scene.

      So apparently the Vanguard concedes there are changes that could make an iota of difference to decrease the violence in Davis.  ABC could certainly make an iota of difference depending on what they decide to do in regard to KetMoRee!

      When students are taught Critical Thinking methods in high school, undergraduate college and graduate school asking questions using expressions like “I wonder …” and “… might serve …” are considered to be excellent ways for getting the real issues out on the table.   The Vanguard never said that there “are NO changes that could make an iota of difference to decrease the violence in Davis.”  The Vanguard simply said it didn’t KNOW the answers, and as a result it had questions . . . and then posed some of those questions.

       

    4. Matt Williams

      Anon said . . .

      3. Vanguard: “Former Davis Mayor Bill Kopper, now an attorney representing the applicants, Blondie’s Pizza, NAILED IT in my opinion. He expressed condolences for the death of Peter Gonzales, but added that “it should not have any bearing on holding up Blondie’s building permit.”

      Vanguard: “I certainly question whether we need another after-hours nightclub.

      This is exactly what 4 City Council members did, pressed the pause button to see if the city needs yet another trouble spot in the form of an after-hours nightclub.

      What is contradictory about those two passages.  The first is a sharing of the factual information that Bill Kopper provided to the Council that indicated that the processing of an existing application under the current provisions of Davis law is separate and distinct from the recent events that were external to and separate from that existing in-process application.  Kopper further stated on the record that, “My client will enter into a contract with the City . . .” and then repeated that commitment to ensure that it was unambiguous and understood  “They have the zoning and they will comply. We will enter into a contract, you can call it what you like, a Development Agreement that they will comply with any regulations . . .” 

      That legal reality that Kopper illuminated is separate from any consideration of whether the community needs another after-hours night club.  You have drawn an equivalency between the objective legality of process and the subjective assessment of a need within the community.  The one thing that they both have in common is that they are interesting individual topics for discussion by the Vanguard readers.  I suspect few of those readers will feel it necessary to talk about them only in conjunction with one another.

       

    5. Matt Williams

      Anon said . . .

      4. Vanguard: “Closing off Davis isn’t going to stop these tragedies. Neither is shutting down the night scene, even if it has changed since we went to college.”

      The Vanguard is seriously arguing that shutting down the night scene would not decrease violence/murders in Davis?  LOL

      No, I don’t think that is what the vanguard is saying at all.  What the Vanguard has consistently said is that if the night scene is terminated in Davis, then the students who have a need for that kind of night scene will get in their cars and drive to whatever non-Davis location provides that night scene.  Then, in what is more than likely a significantly intoxicated state, they will drive home . . . sometimes successfully, and tragically sometimes not successfully.  The Vanguard’s argument has been and continues to be that the nature and location of the violence/tragedy will simply change.

       

       

  10. Anon

    DP: “but i think the view of the vanguard (and certainly one i share) is why take this action of pausing, which is really not going to change anything?”

    Now how the heck do you know that – you can read minds now?  Don’t mean to sound snarky – it really isn’t meant that way.  I don’t want to get into a tit for tat discussion on whether this was crappy journalism because I suspect it will not be productive.  I will merely repeat my opinion this article by the Vanguard was extremely sloppy wording that contradicts itself and makes silly statements.

    But let’s get down to the basic issue at hand.  My take away from the City Council discussion was a pause is necessary because the city is required to formulate some sort of legal framework of regulations for any new business establishment to abide by – or else if approved before such a framework is formulated it becomes an existing business and is not subject to these regulations for as much as one year.

    Secondly, suppose 50 people show up at the October City Council meeting on this issue, opposing this new business being allowed to turn into a nightclub after 10pm, and no one comes who is in favor of it other than the applicant?  I think there are some pretty angry people who do not view the nightclub scene very favorably, at least based on the folks I’ve talked to.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Blondie’s sounds huge. Have they publicly stated a maximum occupancy yet? If they can hold 400, and KetMo 2.0 (across the street) 200, that’s adding 600 potential patrons in the same tiny area.

      The implications are numerous. If only 10% get fully inebriated, that’s 60 additional drunk young people on our streets or drunk driving (or both).

      1. hpierce

        Less the number of patrons/drunk young people that Little Prague could serve.  And, BTW, “fully inebriated” is a squishy term.  Usually, when one is fully inebriated, they are either passed out or dead.

        And, no, am not a doctor either.

    2. Matt Williams

      Anon, what I hear you saying in your comment above is that you believe Bill Kopper was being disingenuous when he said on the record that, “My client will enter into a contract with the City . . .” and then repeated that commitment to ensure that it was unambiguous and understood  “They have the zoning and they will comply. We will enter into a contract, you can call it what you like, a Development Agreement that they will comply with any regulations . . .” 

      Am I hearing you correctly?  If I am not hearing you correctly, what is it about that kind of Development Agreement between the owners of Blondies and the City that you don’t trust?

    3. hpierce

      “a pause is necessary because the city is required to formulate some sort of legal framework of regulations for any new business establishment to abide by –”

      If the zoning permits a use by right, and if there is a permit application, deemed complete, the City’s review is generally ministerial ONLY, and the City cannot change the rules (‘ex post facto’).  If however the zoning requires a discretionary act (CUP, for example), it gets a bit murkier.  Pretty sure Kopper knows this, but isn’t pressing that issue AT THIS POINT.  Rest assured City Attorney knows this.  Seems like Kopper is offering,on behalf of the client, a “safe place to land” for all.

      And, no, am not an attorney.

      1. Anon

        To Matt Williams: Any promise made by the applicant is not necessarily legally binding if there is no legal framework – Harriet Steiner’s assessment.  Secondly, I would hardly go on trust with this particular applicant, since he clearly tried to misrepresent what type of establishment he was proposing.  Chucky Cheese my ___!

        1. Matt Williams

          Anon, Bill Kopper very explicitly referenced the applicant signing a “Development Agreement” for this project. Harriet’s assessment had to do with the normal process. Kopper’s offer on behalf of his client was beyond and above the normal process.

          Kopper tried to misrepresent what type of establishment? I didn’t see that happen. With that said, the applicant’s marketing spiel (dare I say ill advised marketing spiel) definitely qualified for your final exclamatory sentence.

        2. Anon

          To Matt: I clearly said the applicant tried to misrepresent what type of business he was proposing – didn’t mention Bill Kopper, who was very professional in his representation.  Bill Kopper should have better coached his client.

          1. Matt Williams

            I agree on the coaching Anon. Judging by the body language at the time that the applicant suddenly jumped up to add his two cents to the public comment, I suspect that Kopper was blindsided by that action. I could be wrong, but that is the way it looked to me at the time.

  11. Anon

    Matt Williams: “Anon, Bill Kopper very explicitly referenced the applicant signing a “Development Agreement” for this project. Harriet’s assessment had to do with the normal process. Kopper’s offer on behalf of his client was beyond and above the normal process.

    You can’t put a legal framework of promises within a developer agreement if you don’t know what you need to promise.  In other words, a contract cannot be formed that is too amorphous in its terms – such as a promise to do whatever the City Council directs in the future, no matter what that is.  Harriet recognized the legal pitfalls that Kopper was proposing and I am sure Bill Kopper was well aware of it.  If a contract is not formed because it is too amorphous, it is not a valid contract and therefore not legally binding. By the way, this is essentially the discussion that occurred in City Council chambers.

    1. Matt Williams

      Anon, I could be wrong, but what I heard Kopper offering on behalf of his client was that they would work with the City to develop the appropriate specifics that needed to be included in the Development Agreement. I didn’t hear them saying that the Development Agreement needed to precede the community dialogue, rather that it would organically evolve from that community dialogue. The specific discussion about the timeline for occupancy appeared to me to be an exploration of whether the community dialogue would be able to be completed prior to any anticipated occupancy. The at least two months answer appeared to give the city enough time to get the process done . . . and is actually longer than the 45 days that the ordinance imposes.

      With that said, your response sounds like you are either a lawyer, or work in the law, and given that I am neither, I will defer to wiser legal heads than mine when it comes to legal specifics.

      1. Anon

        Go back and listen more closely to the discussion.  Listen carefully to Harriet Steiner’s responses when she insists a legal framework must be in place for the applicant to agree to…

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