My View: A Campaign Speech Under the Guise of the Mayor’s Monthly Column

Mayor Wolk delivered the State of the City Address in January of last year
Mayor Wolk delivered the State of the City Address in January of last year

Just before Christmas the local paper released the online version of “The Mayor’s Corner,” that will be featured in tomorrow’s print edition. Unfortunately, the mayor has used his space to foster his campaign and, in so doing, does a great disservice to the community because much of what he writes is either an overly-rosy picture or a flat out prevarication. But judge for yourself.

He writes that “our budget is balanced and resilient.” He adds, “Due to improved revenues and cost-cutting efforts, our budget is balanced with a healthy 15-percent reserve. Better yet, it is a fiscally resilient one in that we are paying what we need to be for our pension and retiree health obligations and are making substantial investments in our infrastructure.”

He does acknowledge, “Yes, there are still long-term challenges. But we are doing very well.”

While I suppose he is technically accurate, that the budget is “balanced” and “resilient” are subjective terms. I would argue that the budget really is not balanced in real terms as we remain in about a $10 million deficit (per a recent council meeting) on infrastructure needs. The mayor acknowledged at the last council meeting that we need a revenue measure for infrastructure.

However, my biggest issue is the notion that our budget is “resilient.” That comes directly from the council goals, but as we saw in the budget projections from just six months ago, the city is just above the black line thanks to the passed sales tax. If we end up spending money on employee compensation not projected at this time. we go into the red. If we end up not renewing the sales tax, we go into the red, and if we end up with the economy performing less well, we go into the red.

FBC-6-15-1

The chart above shows the impact of the tax as it pushed the city’s fund balance into the positive. However, last June’s projections show that, as soon as that tax expires, the city’s fund balance heads right back into the negative.

The city goes from being in the black in 2020-21 by nearly $2 million to being in the red in 2021-22 by about $3.4 million. And while revenues continue to increase modestly throughout the period, expenditures increase as well.

Most ominous is that this chart doesn’t show what happens with employee compensation increases.

FBC-6-15-3

The chart shows what happens with a one percent COLA and projects it out past when the tax increase will drop off the tax rolls.

These charts tell the story that the mayor neglects to tell, and what we have is not resilience.

The mayor next addresses infrastructure: “Reinvesting in our infrastructure. If there’s one thing that has marked ‘Renew Davis,’ it’s been the sight of so much construction. This includes our $230 million regional water project, a $90 million wastewater treatment plant, and a $12 million, two-year effort to improve our roads. And the city is exploring ways in which to fund more, particularly parks and recreation facilities.”

The good news is we finally were able to re-pave some of the roads. The bad news is we barely scratched the surface. The worse news is, as I wrote above, we need about $10 million a year on infrastructure and none of the proposed taxes that were pushed forward come close to addressing that.

Next, the mayor writes, “Pursuing economic development. Two significant projects — the Mace Ranch Innovation Center in East Davis and the Nishi Gateway mixed-use development, located at Richards Boulevard and Olive Drive — remain on schedule for a 2016 vote. These projects would contribute substantially to job creation and revenue generation.”

This is an optimistic account of what is happening. First of all, right now the projected take from these projects is just over $2 million. Maybe that can be expanded through an additional hotel and some Community Facilities Districts, but that’s a long way away.

In the meantime, the council has pushed back on Nishi which faces access and traffic concerns, and Mace is still working its way through the process. Both projects need to pass Measure R votes – the best I can see is that both of these are a work in progress.

Fourth, I take great issue with the following: “Accomplishing the Healthy Families Initiative. After challenging the community to do more for public health with the HFI, you responded. We have eliminated soda as the default beverage in kids’ meals, banned smoking in public parks, implemented a number of safe routes to schools measures, and worked with First 5 Yolo to fund an effort — called ‘Help Me Grow’ — to universally screen children for behavioral and developmental challenges.”

You have to be kidding me, right? The Vanguard has just reported that the mayor flipped positions on the soda tax. On December 1, a number of elected and former elected officials including the mayor’s mother, Senator Lois Wolk, came to council to push for putting a soda tax on the ballot. Two days later, the mayor told the Vanguard that he’s “working on it” and “likes the idea.”

Then the beverage industry catches wind, comes to down, drops some money, and threatens to fund the mayor’s opponent in the Assembly election and, at the last meeting, he bails on it.

Mayor Wolk used his prerogative as mayor to jump ahead of his colleagues in an effort to frame the message. He said, “We’re here tonight because council is concerned about the state of our community assets.”

He said that any revenue measure needs to address infrastructure, needs to have been studied and have public input, and finally needs to be successful at the ballot.

While Mayor Wolk trumpeted his record on public health concerns, he stated, “In my mind, the soda tax does not meet those three requirements,” noting, “I think we’ve had a taste of the opposition here tonight.”

So in the face of that opposition, he tried to kill it, only to have three of his colleagues keep it alive.

So the mayor trumpets the elimination of “soda as the default beverage in kids’ meals,” which generated no opposition from the beverage industry because, while it was the right thing to do, it really didn’t accomplish anything, and he bows down to the beverage industry in the face of their opposition on the soda tax.

For those who argue that the soda tax has no effect on consumption, the millions that the beverage industry is spending to defeat these measures belies that.

In the end, the mayor does not offer a factual account of the state of affairs in Davis. Instead, he fictionalizes that account, puts on his rose-colored glasses and delivers a campaign speech.

The reality is that the city’s finances are precarious at best, they were made more precarious from the passage of the MOUs, we have huge infrastructure obligations that the council seems unlikely to address through a sufficient revenue measure, and the mayor attempted to kill the very legislation that he is trying to trumpet.

—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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78 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    Then the beverage industry catches wind, comes to down, drops some money, and threatens to fund the mayor’s opponent in the Assembly election and at the last meeting, he bails on it.

    I fully agree with you on the article.  If things are so great why do we need more taxes?  What will be interesting is when the CC starts pushing for more revenue how quickly this rosy scenario dialogue will change.

  2. Barack Palin

    Then the beverage industry catches wind, comes to down, drops some money, and threatens to fund the mayor’s opponent in the Assembly election….

    So now you’ve gone past speaking of this as being hearsay and unproved innuendo to writing about it like it’s a fact?

  3. Topcat

    I’d like to see a trimmed down version of this article published as a letter to the editor of the Enterprise.  This type of information needs to be seen by the citizens of Davis that don’t read the Vanguard.

  4. Misanthrop

    As you say “You have to be kidding me, right? Your argument is because the budget, under current assumptions, is only balanced for the next six years the Mayor shouldn’t say things are O.K but that the city is looking for ways to deal with parks and roads. Of course economic conditions six years out are impossible to predict so what you are saying is that somewhere over the horizon of visibility there are questions and therefore talking about current conditions as fiscally balanced is some sort of deception. The really sad part is that many people who read this stuff miss the game you are playing. The sky is not falling except here in Vanguard cyberspace. Your Boxer Day attack on the mayor is a total cheap shot. Merry Christmas.

    1. Jim Frame

      Your argument is because the budget, under current assumptions, is only balanced for the next six years the Mayor shouldn’t say things are O.K 

       

      The budget is only balanced because it’s a sham budget, and everyone knows it.

        1. Miwok

          Happens a lot when the org chart of the City/County looks like a Family Tree. I am pretty disgusted by the politics over this Holiday Season.

          Did the Beverage Industry promise to fund Wolk’s opponent, or to switch the money to his campaign? Kind of a difference.

        1. Matt Williams

          David, it isn’t balanced under any circumstances because it has taken an “out of sight … out of mind” approach to accounting fornecessary capital infrastructure maintenance for bike paths, streets, sidewalks, park structures, pools, tennis courts, traffic signals, our urban forest, playgrounds, irrigation systems, fire stations, and city building maintenance. 

          Jim Frame’s assessment of the budget is correct.

           

    2. Don Shor

      Your argument is because the budget, under current assumptions, is only balanced for the next six years the Mayor shouldn’t say things are O.K but that the city is looking for ways to deal with parks and roads. Of course economic conditions six years out are impossible to predict so what you are saying is that somewhere over the horizon of visibility there are questions

      There is no question. Six years out, the temporary sales tax expires and the budget is no longer balanced.

        1. Matt Williams

          Correct BP, although the amount staff told Council is needed for our roads is $10 million.  $6 million is only the currently unfunded portion of that $10 million.

  5. Frankly

    I still believe in representative democracy, but our current manifestation is severely broken.  It is broken at all levels of government.  It is broken because we have too many politicians that are primarily representing their own self interests at the expense of what is right for the people they represent.

    I like all five council members as people.  They are all very nice people.  We all seem prone to electing nice people.  Ambitious me-first politicians also like it when we elect nice people.   They like it because nice people are generally easier to manipulate in politics… because there is that constant looming threat of “you are not nice” criticism.   A “nice person” brand can be pretty easily wrecked by another nice person politician with strong political motives.

    The fiscal problems in Davis will require some serious grass-roots work at two levels.

    1. Leadership – We need true fiscal conservatives on the CC.  We need leaders that are more interested in doing the right things rather than protecting their “nice” brand or moving their political career forward.

    2. Oversight – We need measures to constrain the city from spending money we don’t have.  We need to change the structure and mission of the Budget and Finance Commission to be a true “fiscal matters oversight” body with a mission of being able to demand robust financial disclosure.  This includes a budget to hire external auditors to report on city financial matters.

    We can thank the Mayor for clearly establishing the need for this work.

    Stay tuned.

      1. Michelle Millet

        While I appreciate civility, I have little respect for leaders who hide behind it in order to maintain their “nice” image.  That being said, I have less respect for leaders who personally berate those who disagree or challenge them, if I have to choose between the two, I’ll go with nice while wishing for better options.

      2. Frankly

        Says “Be Nice”!  😉

        I agree though that there is no need to berate.  Everyone needs to respect the opinions of others while arguing vigorously for what they think and believe.  Being determined and passionate and direct does not translate into not being nice.

        We need to all go back and note how it was done before.  “I respectfully disagree”, “Sir”, “The esteemed gentleman from”… these were typically phrases used in debate.  Unfortunately we have degraded to snark, ridicule and divisiveness.  And at the national level it primarily comes from those politicians on the left of politics.

        1. Michelle Millet

          I choose “B. Nice” as a log-in name because I needed the reminder. It doesn’t come naturally to me?.

          Snark requires a certain level of intelligence, which is why it is used more successful by those on the left then on the right.

  6. Misanthrop

    I like Dan Wolk, Dan is my friend and I support him for the Assembly. I think David’s constant nitpicking is  mostly petty. I think the harping over the 3% is absurd and the accusations that its robbing from the sales tax increase is unfair and disingenuous. The sales tax increase is not the only reason the budget isn’t as bad as the Vanguard wants everyone to believe. Receipts to the city from other revenue sources have also increased and help cover the 3%. It seems that no matter what Dan Wolk does Greenwald tries to deconstruct every phrase even when there is nothing wrong with what Dan is saying but it just doesn’t work with the message Greenwald wants to project. As David dismissively points out “While I suppose he is technically accurate, that the budget is ‘balanced and resilient’ are subjective terms.” Get a grip, so your point is that the mayor of Davis is framing things in a positive light. That Dan is technically accurate is the best hit David can make. David reminds me of people who say social security is going broke in 50 years so we need to fundamentally change it today.

    1. Miwok

      Why Mr Wolk pretends to play with budget numbers so his next proposal (like the $25Mil “Sports Complex”) can be considered, so he can include that in his next campaign speech.

      It is irresponsible to place things “off budget” so they never appear in public, putting a good face on the City Budget, while hiding the ugly Truth. If this was done before he came into office, he should have had the Integrity to get it fixed, instead of perpetuating it.

      If he really wanted to run for Assembly, he should have quit being Mayor while he did it. Integrity. Just like Senators and Governors running for President, they should quit. The constituents of a state or county, or even a City, deserve to have a Mayor while he is there, instead of his time running for another office. How many part time jobs does he have? AND how much time does he spend with family, if he has small children, if you use that as criteria?

      Misanthrop, If you count him as a Friend, I would ask him these questions. Those are the questions I would ask as a constituent. I ask them as a voter. Don’t you?

  7. Don Shor

    What’s frustrating about the mayor’s column is that it seriously undercuts any rationale for development of the peripheral business parks, and undermines any argument for any new revenue sources.

    I can already hear it: the budget’s balanced, so we don’t need them. They won’t make much money for the city anyway. The housing just costs us money in the long run. Why put up with the extra traffic and congestion and pollution if our finances are in such great shape?

     

    1. Tia Will

      What’s frustrating about the mayor’s column is that it seriously undercuts any rationale for development of the peripheral business parks, and undermines any argument for any new revenue sources.

      I also do not agree with this assertion. The peripheral business parks could never have been thought of as a short term revenue source. Again, the mayor was speaking of our status today, not 5 to 10 to 20 years down the road. While I understand that some would like to see this addressed in every mayoral communication, I do not believe that he is being duplicitous in meeting this expectation.

      1. Frankly

        Thinking like this – that is always the short-term problem we need to address – leads to more and more short-term problems.  Working on long-term fiscal sustainability should be the primary focus.

  8. Tia Will

    OK, I am going to play devil’s advocate here.

    David has taken the mayor’s speech which he acknowledges is “technically accurate” and which was written in the present tense, and compared it to  projections of what may happen in the future. The idea that having a budget balanced by a temporary tax which will expire at a given point in time, is never a guarantee that another tax, or another funding source will not be needed at some point in the future. I simply do not believe that all of you, who are much more monetarily savvy than I am do not know this and manipulate your words to imply that politicians are being duplicitous by advocating for “temporary taxes” when we all know that circumstances may change requiring more resources in the future.

    Some have implied in previous posts that we would not run our own household finances nor budgets “this way” as though we all spend only what we have. But I would suggest that anyone who has ever bought a house, runs their finances and budget exactly this way. We take out thirty year loans with the assumption that we will have enough income to pay them off, and maintain our infrastructure and pay all the remainder of our bills and hopefully have enough for an emergency ( or reserve ) fund, and may be have some discretionary money left over at the end. We do not have a guarantee that this will happen. We trust that our income will maintain steady or increase in some fashion to keep up with inflation, but we do not know for a fact that this will occur. We could lose our job due to a downturn in the economy, or a personal illness, or adverse outcome of some sort. In much the same way, the city can have downturns and times of relative prosperity. Is this really so surprising, and more importantly is it necessarily indicative of irresponsible  or worse duplicitous behavior when our politicians make the same kinds of assumptions that we all make ?

    Now before someone says about politicians “They are spending other people’s money” that could equally well be said about the stay at home spouse in a single family income and ignores the fact that what we have is an agreed upon relationship as Frankly pointed out with regard to a representative democracy ( just as the family has an agreed upon relationship for who will do the wage earning). And in the case of the CC, all of the decision makers are also spending their own money as well as that “of others”.

    1. David Greenwald

      Technically accurate that the budget is balanced with the caveat that the budget doesn’t account for all costs or needs. Not accurate, in my view, that it’s resilient.

      1. Barack Palin

        Is the current budget accounting for all needs as far as retirement pay and retiree medical needs of our public workers in the future?  I would think that also should be part of the current budget.

      2. Tia Will

        David

        Not accurate, in my view, that it’s resilient.”

        I understand your point. I also believe that this is in our ( the citizens of Davis) control. We have the ability to approve future taxes ( short or long term) thus providing additional resiliency. I see this as the counterpart of a family which has had a set back and decides that the stay at home partner is going to have to work part time at least temporarily to provide some additional “resiliency.”

  9. Sam

    “The chart shows what happens with a one percent COLA and projects it out past when the tax increase will drop off the tax rolls.”

    We already know things are not going to be that good since the rising CalPERS contribution rates have not been put into the chart to account for the lowering of the rate of return to 6.5%. That alone could burn through the remaining fund balance before the sales tax expires.

     

     

        1. hpierce

          25-40% total employer, or on top of current?  Is that 25-40% increase of the current rate?  What is the City’s current rate (employer)?  Trying to figure out what the range of the TOTAL employer share will be for Davis… suspect it will vary for public safety vs. misc.

        2. Sam

          Sorry it is a 25%-40% increase in the current contribution rate the City is already making. This is in addition to the 50% increase in current contribution rates caused by a previous assumption adjustment last year.

          If the City contributes a combine rate of about 25% now in five years with the two adjustments (the last one still being phased in) it should be higher than 40%.

  10. Michelle Millet

    Every time I read one of our mayors articles the song “Everything is Awesome” pops into my head.

    Have you heard the news, everyone’s talking
    Life is good ’cause everything’s awesome
    Lost my job, it’s a new opportunity
    More free time for my awesome community

    Stepped in mud, got new brown shoes
    It’s awesome to win, and it’s awesome to lose.

    Everything is awesome
    Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
    Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream

  11. Misanthrop

    Bur wait there’s more. You attack Dan because he got hit hard by the beverage industry and backed down while at the same time you take beverage industry money and run their ads. Of course you will argue that you took the money to run the ads but that doesn’t mean you support their position. You will probably hide behind free speech to boot in defending your right to take that money. All of this misses the point that the beverage industry doesn’t care if you agree with them. They only want Dan to know how much money they will spend to defeat a soda tax and Dan himself if he continues to push for a soda tax. In that regard taking their ad money helps the beverage industry no matter what position you take on the issue. Then on top of everything you condemn Dan for not standing up to the beverage industry while taking their money. Why don’t you stand up to the soda industry yourself by not taking their money. Only then would you have any credibility in my opinion in attacking Dan for not being able to follow through on a soda tax.

    1. Michelle Millet

      David runs a business. Unlike our mayor he was not elected to represent the interests of this community, Dan Wolk was.  Instead of doing this he put his personal ambitions ahead of the interests of the people who elected him, and sadly this is not the first time. While I realize this is common in politics, it’s still disappointing to see it happen, especially in such a blatant way.

      1. Frankly

        Exactly.  And for David to refuse to run the adds for political reasons raises a lot of other problems given his business and his business’s mission.

        “Mission” is really the key here.  What is the intended mission of a Davis mayor and CC member?  With this presentation, did our Mayor comply with his intended mission?

        What is the intended mission of a community blog owner?  Did David comply with his intended mission?

        I think the answer is clearly no for the former (unless you agree that our Mayor and CC members have an intended mission to seek and attain higher office), and clearly yes for the latter.

        1. Michelle Millet

          In this instance it seems clear that Dan Wolk’s mission is to be elected to higher office, otherwise he would not have caved on an issue that was the foundation of his last and current campaign over a threat from the soda industry.

          The sad thing is that strategically this was probably a wise decision, although bringing forward the idea of soda tax while running for state assembly was not. (Seriously whose idea was that, and how could they not foresee that this would not end well?)

          It is disturbing that money wields so much power over our politicians and our politics.

  12. Misanthrop

    “David runs a business” is no excuse for his low standard of personal integrity in this matter. He talks about his own personal dietary struggles then demands a higher standard of others than he lives by in his own business dealings. If anything David is worse than Dan. Dan would like to do the right thing but politically got rolled by a huge industry. David takes money from that industry while attacking Dan for being afraid of the damage to his career that money can buy. If David wanted to be consistent he would return the beverage money otherwise his argument lacks credibility. Give the money back David and take down the ad. Tell the sugar pushers your blog won’t be used. Otherwise don’t pretend you are dismayed by the actions of the mayor.

    1. Michelle Millet

      David’s actions in this instance are transparent. Dan’s are not. Has he been honest with the community about why he backed away from supporting this tax?

      I hold those elected to represent me to a higher standard, the interests of those they were elected to represent should always come first.

      1. Misanthrop

        You hold others to a higher standard than you do an organization whose board you once served on. Hilarious. I think Dan’s actions are pretty transparent. He got rolled.

        1. Michelle Millet

          Business owners like David represent themselves and their own interests

          Polticians represent the interests  of those they represent, so yes I absolutely hold them to a higher standard.  It would seem strange not to.

          Dan has not been at all transparent or honest to the public about why he backed off from this tax. The only reason any of us know about it is because someone leaked information to David.

        2. Barack Palin

          But you have to admit Michelle, at the least it looks somewhat hypocritical to blast someone for supposedly caving to beverage industry money while at the same time running a big beverage industry ad at the top of one’s blog.

        3. Misanthrop

          This website says you are on the advisory board Michelle so if your view is that David is a business owner not responsible to anyone other than himself why bother with an advisory board at all?  Actually with people who don’t have a problem with David taking money from the soda industry while calling out Dan for being afraid of how much money the soda industry is willing to spend against Dan should he pursue taxing the soda industry, an advisory board serves no purpose at all other than to legitimize David’s absurd contradictions.

          David is not simply a business owner. He is an opinion maker too. As such he should hold himself to as high a standard as he does others.

          As for Dan not being transparent it was pretty clear to anyone who watched the meeting when the pro-diabetes lobby turned out in force to argue against a soda tax that Dan would back off from all the heat. The amazing thing wasn’t that Dan backed off, the amazing thing was that three others held together.

        4. Barack Palin

          As for Dan not being transparent it was pretty clear to anyone who watched the meeting when the pro-diabetes lobby turned out in force to argue against a soda tax 

          No, it was more like the anti-liberal social engineering lobby.

        5. Jim Frame

          I think Dan’s actions are pretty transparent. He got rolled.

          I think his actions are pretty transparent, too:  faced with a choice between principle and career advancement, and chose career advancement.

           

        6. Michelle Millet

          This website says you are on the advisory board Michelle so if your view is that David is a business owner not responsible to anyone other than himself why bother with an advisory board at all?

          I’m on the advisory board? I didn’t even know the Vanguard had an advisory board. You think someone would have clued me in.

          David is not simply a business owner. He is an opinion maker too. As such he should hold himself to as high a standard as he does others.

          I know that it bothers some people when he casts light on things that they would prefer remain in the dark,  but the Vanguard is run on David’s own preverbal blood, sweat, and tears.

          When I served on the editorial board of the Vanguard, I always expressed any concerns I may have had about decisions David made, and I was always listened to, although my advice was not alway followed. That being said, I have always felt free to express my concerns, on this blog, and while I often disagree with David I thank him for providing me the public venue to do so.

          My suggestion to anyone who wants to b*tch about the Vanguard or the business decisions David makes, go start your own blog, and put as much time and energy into it as David puts into this one. Then you can make your own decisions about whose money you want to take.

          But if you are an elected official, your job is to represent the people who elected you, not the ones who bought you off.

           

        7. hpierce

          Jim Frame… a quick review of the ‘transparent California’ and Assembly websites, appears that Wolk would be taking a “pay cut”… neither show per diem, other benefits.  not real clear how this a “career move”, but might well be an ego move, or credentials-building move.  See no reason for affirmation of your contention, yet can see no facts to rebut it.

          What, in your opinion, is a “career move”?

          [Am assuming Wolk would have to resign from his Solano Co. employment, which I believe is true @ a 98.876% confidence level.]

          1. Don Shor

            I think by almost any standard assemblyman-with-a-clear-shot-at-state-senate outranks city council member. If Dan Wolk was in it for the money, he wouldn’t even be seeking public office.

        8. Michelle Millet

          But you have to admit Michelle, at the least it looks somewhat hypocritical to blast someone for supposedly caving to beverage industry money while at the same time running a big beverage industry ad at the top of one’s blog.

          No, actually I don’t find this hypocritical. If David wants to take money from these a**holes while he blasts them, that’s his choice. If he criticized another news organization or business for doing so, that would be hypocritical, and if he ever does, I will blast him publically, on HIS own blog, and he will let me.

          1. Don Shor

            I have to say that in my case at least, the behavior of this industry group is definitely backfiring. I was ambivalent about the soda tax and have stated the fairly narrow conditions under which I would support it. But it really ticks me off when special interest groups like this come in and throw their weight around this way. And their frenzied pre-emptive attacks certainly call into question the notion that soda taxes don’t affect consumption. Evidently they think they do.

        9. Misanthrop

          Michelle, bought off is when you take someones money like David did. Scared off is more to the point of what Dan did.

          I agree David can take whatever money he wants from whoever is offering it. Its the rest of the remark I find troubling as you seem to suggest that people should not point out David’s contradictions because he works so hard writing gratuitous hit pieces attacking Dan’s gratuitous mayoral missives.

        10. Michelle Millet

          My interpretation of “bought off” is that money is used to silence someone. In this case the threat of money going to an opponent silenced Dan. David on other hand has not been silenced.

          My point is not that people shouldn’t critize David. I do it all the time. My point is that David is not accountable to me, as an elected official Dan Wolk is, and thus he is held to hire standard.

        11. Jim Frame

          What, in your opinion, is a “career move”?

          A step toward a more powerful (and, by extension, lucrative) position.

          When you add per diem to an Assembly salary you probably get close to deputy county counsel salary, but with a whole lot more autonomy.  Step up to senate and you get even more power.  And when you get termed out, the lobbyist realm is open to those who choose not to pursue higher office.  There’s a lot of money there, if you’re willing to drop all pretense of not selling out.  (I know a lobbyist who despises the ethics of his job, but feels bound to it by its golden handcuffs.)

        12. Frankly

          I agree David can take whatever money he wants from whoever is offering it. Its the rest of the remark I find troubling as you seem to suggest that people should not point out David’s contradictions because he works so hard writing gratuitous hit pieces attacking Dan’s gratuitous mayoral missives.

          Misanthrop – I think you are all twisted in a knot on this.

          The Vanguard is a private corporation.  Dan the Mayor is an elected official.  You seem to be irritated that there is animus against Dan and are seeking to diffuse it by finding a comparable villain.  But they are not comparable.  Not at all.

          Does this really need to be explained?

        13. David Greenwald

          “I think Dan’s actions are pretty transparent. He got rolled.”

          I give you credit for being honest. Although, I don’t agree it’s transparent and that’s the problem.

          1. David Greenwald

            Dunning does it all the time. But why do you think what I have reported is rumors and unsubstantiated accusation? I didn’t reveal my source. As I said, I stand by more source. Even Misanthrop admits Dan got rolled.

          2. David Greenwald

            BP: You and I have known each other for a long time on this site. I know we don’t agree on a lot of issues which is fine. But over that time, haven’t I generally made sure that the facts I report are accurate and when they aren’t accurate, haven’t I generally acknowledged it, sometimes even publicly? Also given how many people read this site, if I were wrong about this, don’t you think someone from Dan Wolk’s camp would have come on here and corrected the information? Even Misanthrop admitted that Dan got rolled.

        14. Barack Palin

          So you have an unrevealed source and an anonymous poster and we’re supposed to take it as fact?  It might very well be true but I need more than that.  This coming from a guy that’s never been a big Dan Wolk fan either.

          As I’ve stated before, what I find hard to believe is that Wolk would tell anyone that he caved on an issue because of monetary backing and his pursuit of a higher office.  That getting out alone I feel would kill any chance he had.  And why would the beverage industry leak it because it makes them look bad too?

           

          1. David Greenwald

            While your logic is sound here, you’re not considering a few factors that if I lay out, I fear will reveal my source.

        15. Matt Williams

          BP, you too are an anonymous poster, so aren’t you practicing a double standard when you comment about Misanthrop’s anonymity?

          FWIW, I concur with Misanthrop’s assessment. The interactive ads we are now seeing in both the Enterprise and the Vanguard are clear evidence of the American Beverage Association’s gameplan.

  13. Misanthrop

    Jim I guess he decided a soda tax was not the hill he wanted to die on.

    Michelle let me admit my error, you are listed on the editorial board not the advisory board. The rest of my point stands.

    1. Michelle Millet

      Michelle let me admit my error, you are listed on the editorial board not the advisory board. The rest of my point stands.

      The website needs updating. I am no longer a member of the editorial board, and haven’t been for over 6 months.

      And my point stands: “When I served on the editorial board of the Vanguard, I always expressed any concerns I may have had about decisions David made, and I was always listened to, although my advice was not alway followed. That being said, I have always felt free to express my concerns, on this blog, and while I often disagree with David I thank him for providing me the public venue to do so.”

  14. Tia Will

    Michelle

    Business owners like David represent themselves and their own interests

    Polticians represent the interests  of those they represent, so yes I absolutely hold them to a higher standard.  It would seem strange not to.”

    And with this statement, I think you have said something much more profound than you intended. My understanding of your position is that it is ok to expect that politicians ( representing those who elected them) should be held to standards of both transparency and honesty. In this, we agree.

    It would seem to me that your statement also implies that private businesses should not have to meet those standards. In other words it is ok for David to present information that promotes positions with which he disagrees, or perhaps even knows are not honest, or to put it more bluntly that he knows to be lies. Further defending this position then, is it not implied that it is ok for companies to lie about the known risks of their products ?  And if this is the case, is it ok for soda companies ( or cereal producers, or PopTart makers ….. ?) to market to children  by promoting their product as healthy while knowing it is harmful ?

    Why do we, as a society, give a pass to anyone who is building a business on deliberate lies and harm done to those who buy the deceptive advertising ? How can we defend a society which values money so highly above everything else that we allow this kind of lying and harm to come from any quarter of our society, public or private ?

    And yes, the Vanguard Editorial Board did have one rather loud dissenter on the issue of whether the Vanguard should accept the soda industry ads. I believe in the same honesty, transparency and integrity for all sides involved.

    1. Michelle Millet

      I think we are talking about different issues.

      When politicians are making decisions they have a responsibility to act in a way that is best for their constituents, not themselves personally. The same is not true for a business owners.

      Does that mean I think businesses should be allowed to lie to consumers about their products? No. But when David makes a decision he is representing himself, not me. The same is not true for Mayor Wolk. In this way I hold elected officials to a “higher” standard.

      To often I have seen our local politicians base decisions on what is best for them, (what will help them get along with colleagues, what will help them protect their public image, what will help them get re-elected) and not what will benefit the community.

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