Protestors Outside City Hall Demand City Council Act on Public Safety

Dillan Horton at the protest on Tuesday

By Jordan Varney

DAVIS — A car caravan, organized by Yolo County Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), protested outside the Davis City Council meeting last night. The June 15 Council meeting, with some City Council members in the City Hall chambers, was ongoing when protesters drove first through downtown, and then through the City Hall parking lot honking their horns, blasting music, and banging pots and pans.

Cars were decorated with signs saying, “Defund the Police, Invest in the People” and “Care Not Cops.” Protestors honked their horns and handed flyers to onlookers.

Yolo DSA Co-Chair, Kazia Hart, explained why they had rallied people last night, saying that “we are here because our community, and the entire world frankly, has been asking for a reimagined public safety.” She explained that the City Council has talked about changes but “they just keep giving the police more money and we know that that doesn’t make our community safer.” She explained that “we are here to force our public representatives to represent us.”

Davis City Council is currently in the middle of the budgeting process for the next two fiscal years, with the final budget vote slated to be on June 22. In recent budget discussions during City Council meetings, public commenters called in requesting that City Council earmark funding for a Director of Public Health and an independent Public Safety Department.

Commenters also requested that City Council continue enacting the 9 recommendations from the Temporary Joint Subcommittee and utilize those recommendations instead of the ones proposed by staff.

Hart said the outcome she wanted to see from the meeting last night is for City Council to “create space in the budget at least for a person who is going to start developing an independent Public Safety Department.”

She clarified that “we understand that departments are a big project, something that isn’t done overnight or in one meeting, but funding one position, one person to start actually building that, that will show us that they’re committed to the project.”

Hart stated the commitment of DSA and the people gathered shows “we’re going to keep pressure on [City Council] until they actually make that department.”

After driving through downtown, protestors from the car caravan gathered outside the City Council chambers and chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police.”

Chair of the Police Accountability Commission, Dillan Horton, spoke at the Council Chambers. “A year ago we came to a different City Council budget meeting,” Horton explained. He said that community members left “90+ minutes of public comment” and told City Council “‘I want you to defund the police.’”

Horton elaborated that last year commenters expressed they wanted City Council to “(1) defund this system of unaccountable over-militarized policing in our community; (2) invest in sustainable solutions to public safety concerns in our community; and (3) make sure that responses to mental health crises, support to those undergoing drug or alcohol issues, outreach to our unhoused population, and yes traffic enforcement is handled by trained professionals independent of the police department.”

Horton explained this is important “so that everyone in our community feels safe, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

Horton said that City Council “had an opportunity and indeed an obligation to fulfill on that need, to do what was right by this community and set us down a path toward justice and better community safety in this city. Time and time again I am so disappointed to say to you all that they have chosen not to do that.”

Horton explained that “when you all called into that budget meeting last June they said ‘we can’t do that. That’s too complicated, and really it’s too fast. It’s not that we disagree it’s just you want us to do it too quick.’”

He explained the Temporary Joint Subcommittee to the crowd and the 9 recommendations they generated in the year between the June 2020 budget meeting and the one last night.

“Members of this City Council have said that they support those 9 recommendations,” Horton said. Councilmembers have indicated that “‘indeed we are actually working right now to fulfill them.’

“But what we saw, so horribly disappointed to tell you all, on April 6 was a bunch of […] garbage.” Horton explained that the document proposed on April 6 was “full of excuses.” He relayed that the April 6 proposal indicated implementation of the 9 recommendations was “too difficult for our community, a […] university town to accomplish.”

Someone shouted from the back that Davis needed a new City Council.

“Here we are again, 366 days later, demanding the same [stuff].” Horton said. “Asking our enlightened, educated, forward thinking government for the same [stuff].”

Horton seemingly spoke for the crowd when he said that “we have come here to deliver what I think is a simple message to this city government: Time is up!” The crowd cheered and hit their pots and pans.

After Horton spoke, a bike played music from speakers and some protestors danced while others banged rhythms on their pots and pans. One person tooted along with a vuvuzela.

Attendees wrote with chalk on the trash cans, the walls, and the ground right outside the Council Chambers. The messages read, “Liars,” “Which Side Are You On?” and “No Leadership Here, Defund Now!” On a pillar facing the City Clerk’s office, one message said “City Council has no backbone, Vote Them Out, Bye-Bye.”

Police Accountability Commissioner Morgan Poindexter elaborated on the issues with the proposed City budget raised by Horton. “This budget, even withstanding the possibility of new police hires, is clearly a continuation of the status quo. The status quo which prioritizes and upholds law enforcement over those who are vulnerable in our community,” she said.

Poindexter explained, “This is seen through the consistent increase in the police department budget despite calls from the community to do the opposite. This budget represents a tone-deaf lack of understanding for community needs. City Council must not understand what it means to reimagine public safety.”

DSA Co-Chair Dov Salkoff summed up the reasons behind the protest. He explained that there is a broad understanding that “crime is intimately linked to poverty. We could be hiring social workers, community navigators, and mental healthcare professionals to alleviate the worst poverty in Davis. Why are we spending more money on police?”

Salkoff expressed disappointment in City Council. “Mayor Partida and councilmember Frerichs marched with us last year for Black lives and an end to police brutality,” he said. “Councilmember Arnold even called for re-imaging public safety in the local newspaper. But when it comes time to act, they have shown themselves to be opponents of progress. They are not on our side.”

Jordan Varney received her masters from UC Davis in Psychology and her B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd. Varney is co-editor of the City Desk for the Vanguard at UC Davis.


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32 Comments

  1. Keith Olsen

    I hope the council doesn’t cave to this small group of Democratic Socialists of America.  They in no way represent the populace of Davis.

    The messages read, “Liars,” “Which Side Are You On?”, and “No Leadership Here, Defund Now!” On a pillar facing the City Clerk’s office, one message said “City Council has no backbone, Vote Them Out, Bye-Bye.”

    The council should be on the side of the community, not the DSA.  And speaking of backbone, the council should show backbone and stand up to this small vocal group.

    1. David Greenwald

      I have a bunch of questions for you:

      1. The council has already laid out about what they are going to do – do you think the voters support that?

      2. What is this group asking for that you think the voters would oppose?

      3. On which issues do you think the community and the DSA diverge?

      4. Which issue raised by DSA, do you oppose?

      Thanks.

      1. Ron Oertel

        In regard to questions #2 – 4, probably this:

        A year ago we came to a different budget City Council meeting,” Horton explained. He said that community members left “90+ minutes of public comment” and told City Council “‘I want you to defund the police.’”

        And this:

        and yes traffic enforcement is handled by trained professionals independent of the police department.

        And this:

        “Here we are again, 366 days later, demanding the same s–t.” Horton said. “Asking our enlightened, educated, forward thinking government for the same s–t.”

        And this:

        The messages read, “Liars,” “Which Side Are You On?”, and “No Leadership Here, Defund Now!” On a pillar facing the City Clerk’s office, one message said “City Council has no backbone, Vote Them Out, Bye-Bye.”

        And this:

        But when it comes time to act, they have shown themselves to be opponents of progress. They are not on our side.”

        And this:

        But what we saw, so horribly disappointed to tell you all, on April 6 was a bunch of f—ing garbage.”

        I’m going to have to reconsider how I view some council members myself (for a different reason) – given that these people are against them.  🙂

        (It appears that your automatic moderation is preventing this comment from posting, due to the direct quotes from the article itself. Please fix this, and allow this comment to post.)

        1. Alan Miller

          Fascinating.  One can swear in an article, but quote that same expletive in the comments and get hand slapped.  I wish y’all’d  kept the expletives intact.  I like expletives, I like reality, I like all that F-ing S!

  2. Edgar Wai

    Public services should be quest-based instead of institutionalized / monopolized.

    Quest-based means when there is a public service task, and you perform the function according to requirements, you get paid for the task. For handling emergencies, you would sign up to be on call. Time slots compensations are adjusted based on supply and demand.

    Job benefits are offered to anyone who end up doing enough as a full time employee. Bonuses for good work, for teaching or sharing resources to do the task.

    In that model, you really need a director because the director role is decentralized. People are directing themselves to fill the roles. The system needs a transparent communication platform to share tasks, and community approval/review to endorse the completed task to be eligible for reimbursements and awards.

    How it works:

    When a situation happens, you make a task post or flag you location so people can come see what is going on and make a task.

    You could start helping once you flagged. You document as needed so people can tell you aren’t cheating.

    You make a report and people endorse your help for community reimbursement.

    Periodically the system pays those who the community owes. The source of this funding is not tax, but if a city implements this the funding source could be tax as an intermediate solution.

    This solution is anti unions because it is anti monopoly. If you see something wrong you can fix it yourself and get community pay.

  3. Chris Griffith

    What are we doing repeating history again. This socialism BS is not going to fly it’s going to be our demise…
    The Nazis were socialists for example Goebbels 
    Nazism is socialism with nationalism thrown in for free. The only reason the Nazis didn’t nationalise everything was because in the 1930’s when they were having their “days of strudel”, the Nazi Party managed to bank millions of Reichsmarks from big business. Goebbels was in favour of destroying the corporates once they’d won power, but Hitler overruled him precisely because of these financial connections.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Actually, your focus on ‘socialism’ is misplaced… maybe the name of the sponsor?

      Quite mild (de minimus), compared to Jan 6, where folk ‘protested’ a decision they did not like… they were not ‘socialists’ (more like ‘anti-social’-ists)

      But, rest assured, Trump and Netanyhu will be “in charge again” by the end of August… they have told us so…

  4. Bill Marshall

    Sure glad someone wasn’t elected to be a CC member… not in my ‘district’, so my vote wouldn’t have mattered… I thought he should have been given a shot at it… a different voice… but when that voice is uttering, on an important policy matter,

    … a bunch of f—ing garbage

    … demanding the same sh-t

    am thinking that voice is not appropriate on the CC if he doesn’t get his way… reminds me of a foul-mouthed, petulant child, rather than an effective advocate/problem solver…

    I believe the method, language used, as described in the article, will actually work against their stated goals… kinda’ a “the medium is the message” thingy… I am thinking the ‘time, place and method’ chosen to try to effect a policy change, which might have some real validity, was a “self-inflicted wound” as far as actually effecting change.  I know I’m less inclined to listen and hear those voices, and support any of the changes, many of which seem(ed) logical…

    “Accountability”?  That’s a two-edged sword… words, process, actions, have meaning…

    WOW… MY COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION, LIKELY BECAUSE OF QUOTES I COPIED FROM THE ARTICLE!
    [Moderator: yes, that is why it went into moderation]

    1. Todd Edelman

      Bill M. I’ll entertain

      foul-mouthed, petulant child

      .
      As an initial response in your head. But then, perhaps you’d consider why Dillan Horton would be so angry, and that perhaps that his response of curses – no, not any form of violence directed against others and really a teeny, tiny bit of his total public output  – was reasonable, if not your choice…  and you’d gracefully and publicly support this decision to do this in the total context of his and associated groups’ very frustrated yet fully democratic activities on this issue.

    2. Keith Olsen

      I totally agree with Bill M. here.  That’s no way to put forward one’s message.  Like Bill, I feel some of the comments did more harm than help this group get what they want.  Anyway, what they want I don’t believe is what the community wants.

      1. David Greenwald

        My sense is that most of what they want is speed and a firm commitment by council to do what they have already agreed to do. Is there really a gap between what the council has proposed and what the community wants? I ask again.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Is there really a gap between what the council has proposed and what the community wants? I ask again.

          Yes.  As to the larger community… most of whom have not been engaged.

          No.  As to a segment of the community…

          Simple as that…

          To prove me wrong, let’s put it up to a JeRkeD type vote… I believe the topic is of more significance, long-term, than DISC, Nishi, and whatever they are calling the West Davis project now… nah… the Horton’s, others would not want to have the discussion at that level… too much ‘white privilege’, ‘rich privilege’, etc. to “go there”…

          Looks like the angry wheels demand the grease… more power to the angry minorities (philosophical, not racial)!

           

        2. Keith Olsen

          I don’t believe the community is behind defunding the police.

          Also a community that voted down a tax for fixing its own roads I doubt has the stomach to now “create space in the budget at least for a person who is going to start developing an independent Public Safety Department.”  I think Davisites are smart enough to know that this department will most likely grow and cost a lot more down the road at a time when Davis is stretching to find the funds to keep its streets in repair.

          Maybe I missed it in the article, but how many people were involved in this protest/rally. Somehow I doubt is was very many or there would’ve been more pics.

          Also how many were the same activists who always seem to be involved in this sort of stuff?

          1. Don Shor

            I don’t believe the community is behind defunding the police.

            I think the community would support reforming the police and developing a different kind of public safety agency.
            If I were Dillan Horton, I’d be furious about how this is being discussed here. Very patronizing, very dismissive. Telling people how to protest correctly is generally not productive or well-received. And there’s a long history of people doing just that to black Americans.
            Personally I want to make sure the council is giving this considerable thought as they implement it. I am concerned about decriminalizing some behaviors, as I’ve discussed on previous threads, but probably if I had a better understanding of how it would run on a day to day basis I’d have fewer reservations. So while I understand the frustration that was evident at the rally, my reply would be that it’s better to take the time to do it right than to deal with unintended consequences later.

        3. Ron Oertel

          If I were Dillan Horton, I’d be furious about how this is being discussed here.

          There are literal “f*cking” quotes in the article.  Is that what you’re referring to?

          Very patronizing, very dismissive.

          How so?  Specifics, please.

          Telling people how to protest correctly is generally not productive or well-received.

          Who is doing that? And honestly, who cares “how” he and this group protests, as long as they’re not breaking laws?

          And there’s a long history of people doing just that to black Americans.

          Relevance, especially when that’s not what’s occurring, here? Or, are you suggesting that because one of the protesters is black, this make some kind of difference in how this should be viewed? Some “special consideration” due to one person’s skin color, perhaps?

          How “patronizing”, if that’s what you’re suggesting.

          Personally I want to make sure the council is giving this considerable thought as they implement it.

          Implement what, exactly?  Defunding the police?  Removing traffic enforcement from police to some other undefined “professionals”?  (Again, referring to quotes from the article.)

          I am concerned about decriminalizing some behaviors, as I’ve discussed on previous threads, but probably if I had a better understanding of how it would run on a day to day basis I’d have fewer reservations. So while I understand the frustration that was evident at the rally, my reply would be that it’s better to take the time to do it right than to deal with unintended consequences later.

          Agreed, along with how extra services would be funded.

           

        4. David Greenwald

          I don’t actually have to guess how Dillan would respond, he sent me a note and posted on Facebook.

          When I used to study collective action in political science, it was a push me/ pull you factor.  Activists push the narrative and help to push reform forward by making things uncomfortable and the electeds inherently act as a brake.  I find it interesting those who want to argue that Davis – which voted about 85% against Trump, about 56 percent for a Public Defender to become a DA, is not going to look like other communities that are supporting the Defund Agenda (not the phrase) by about a 70-30 margin.  The only difference between the council and the activists is the speed and urgency of the reforms – the council has signed onto it.  There really hasn’t been a push back.  And if you want to argue that the public doesn’t know, you can bet the DPOA does and they have not opposed the changes.

        5. Ron Oertel

          When I used to study collective action in political science, it was a push me/ pull you factor.  Activists push the narrative and help to push reform forward by making things uncomfortable and the electeds inherently act as a brake.

          Not sure that they’re actually making anyone “uncomfortable”.  In fact, I suspect that they’re largely “unnoticed”, or viewed as the type of usual political activity that often occurs in college towns (for various reasons). Pretty sure that I would not be “uncomfortable” walking past them – regardless of their use of chalk or language.

          I find it interesting those who want to argue that Davis – which voted about 85% against Trump, about 56 percent for a Public Defender to become a DA, is not going to look like other communities that are supporting the Defund Agenda (not the phrase) by about a 70-30 margin.

          No idea what this is being compared to, or which other communities want to defund the police.

           The only difference between the council and the activists is the speed and urgency of the reforms – the council has signed onto it.  There really hasn’t been a push back.  And if you want to argue that the public doesn’t know, you can bet the DPOA does and they have not opposed the changes.

          If it results in defunding even one position in the police department, I suspect they’d have plenty to say.

          We have yet to see where the funding for an extra “public safety” position (let alone an entire department) would come from.

        6. Alan Miller

          Maybe I missed it in the article, but how many people were involved in this protest/rally. Somehow I doubt is was very many or there would’ve been more pics.

          If the thumbnail is to be believed, at least 14.  I blew it up and that’s how many I counted.  Although it wasn’t clear if this was the same protest described as photographed.

          honking their horns, blasting music, and banging pots and pans.

          Sounds like they are using the Alan Miller ‘be annoying for victory’ strategy.

  5. Bill Marshall

    If defunding the police means transfer mental health calls to Crisis Now, my guess is about 70 percent would support it.

    Your “guess”… is consistent with your biases… my guess is ~ 40%… a JeRkeD-type vote would resolve the difference… but that would be anathema to those “who know the answer”… and believe the ‘unwashed masses’ have not the knowledge nor wisdom to agree with them… I could well vote for it… but am less inclined after reading the article… I have an aversion to ‘bullies’… will have to credit them with using chalk, not paint… good start..

  6. Keith Olsen

    David, I answered your questions, why don’t you answer mine?
    Maybe I missed it in the article, but how many people were involved in this protest/rally? Somehow I doubt is was very many or there would’ve been more pics.
    Also how many were the same activists who always seem to be involved in this sort of stuff?

    1. David Greenwald

      Wasn’t there, so I don’t know. I think it was small because DSA was going for the element of surprise. This was strictly about disruption not about representation.

      1. Keith Olsen

         I think it was small because DSA was going for the element of surprise. This was strictly about disruption not about representation.

        Yeah, that must be it….LOL

        Maybe it was small because their views don’t represent the majority of Davisites?

        Possibly just a small political faction of Davis?

        1. Matt Williams

          Keith, it is certainly possible that their views are only held by a small proportion of Davisites, but my get tells me that that is not the case, but rather that there is a Silent Majority out there within our City Limits who fundamentally agree that policing needs to actively be reimagined, and then changed.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  If this ends up costing more money (and/or results in a reduction in public safety), something tells me that this alleged “imagination” will quickly become a figment of one.

          I don’t think that most people want a social worker to show up, when they call the police. Nor do they want social workers enforcing traffic laws.

          If anyone needs “de-escalation” training these days, it’s airline flight attendants. And one of them has a couple of missing teeth which provides evidence of that.

          That’s (also) what happens when you have people who essentially have the (subsequent) force of law behind them, but no perceived authority.

  7. Alan Miller

    I think the community would support reforming the police and developing a different kind of public safety agency.

    I believe that’s true, but when you don’t define EXACTLY what that ‘different kind of public safety agency’ would look like, you’re using the politician trick of saying vague ideas huge swaths of people would agree with, so they all fill in the blanks with what they want, so they vote for you, thinking they’ll institute YOUR vision.  Oldest mind game in the political book.  NOW, give all the specifics, and see how the numbers run.

    If I were Dillan Horton, I’d be furious about how this is being discussed here.

    You are once again playing that game of assuming what you are saying is so obvious that everyone knows what you are referring to.  I don’t know if you do this on purpose, or are just oblivious to the fact that not everyone thinks like you.  How many times do I have to say this – I don’t think like you, so please tell me what you are talking about. And no, you are NOT Dillan Horton.

    Very patronizing, very dismissive.

    What?  I’m not agreeing or disagreeing, but which comments are you referring to?  Also, what could be more patronizing than starting a sentence with “If I were . . . ” ?  Like if you said, “If I were Alan Miller I’d be furious . . . “.  And actually I’ve had people make such “on behalf of”-ism such assumptions about what I’d feel or say on here, and my response is “f— you”.  Funny, DS has suggested I not swear, but I bet he won’t tell Dillan not to swear.

    Telling people how to protest correctly is generally not productive or well-received.

    I think I do see here what you are referring to – and I don’t believe they are ‘telling people how to protest’.  I believe they are reacting to the protest and suggesting that this form of protest may do more harm than good to the very cause they seek, and may turn away potential allies.  Correct or not, that is not even close to ‘telling people how to protest’.

    And there’s a long history of people doing just that to black Americans.

    Wait a minute, that’s such a blatant Motte & Bailey you’re not even trying.  First, you’re premise wasn’t even correct as to what the person was saying about the protest.  But then you say this about people doing that to ‘black Americans’.  That itself might be true, but the protest  and those quoted were not all black people (I don’t care to guess what anyone’s race is, but I’m guessing from the thumbnail most of the persons in the picture don’t identify as black.  So), so no one was ‘doing just that’ to any particular race, but to the protestors as a whole — and as I said they weren’t even doing what you claim so the whole line of thinking is mush.

    I don’t actually have to guess how Dillan would respond, he sent me a note and posted on Facebook.

    Gee that’s great, care to tell us how Dillan responded and to what exactly?  I’m not on Facebook, and after spending five minutes trying to find the comments you refer to I decided life is better spent criticizing the Vanguard than searching the evil Facebook.

    Personally I want to make sure the council is giving this considerable thought as they implement it.

    Yup.

    I am concerned about decriminalizing some behaviors, as I’ve discussed on previous threads, but probably if I had a better understanding of how it would run on a day to day basis I’d have fewer reservations.

    Yup.

    So while I understand the frustration that was evident at the rally, my reply would be that it’s better to take the time to do it right than to deal with unintended consequences later.

    I imagine that’s how most of the community feels – since all the statisticians are going with ‘how they feel the majority feels’ today.

    I like Dillan Horton.  I sent him campaign money even though I couldn’t vote for him in Davis’ insane district system – I think he’s a very thoughtful person, peaceful – despite all the pearl-clutching over the expletives – and has integrity.  And I very much disagree with him on many issues.  But I think he’d be great on the Council.  Then again I loved Jerry Adler – because he was the alternate voice on a 4-1 split.  I just enjoy having someone, right or left, that will tell the majority how full of [stuff] they are.

    Wait a minute!!!  [stuff] ???!!!!! First you post the article with full on swear words, then you don’t even keep enough of the word to know what he actually said?  What are we here, Puritans???  Maybe if someone says something, at least let the adults know what it was by using a dash or two.  Next you’ll be complaining about those “monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane!”.

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