UC Davis Statement On "Chancellor May, Leidos Corp., and “heart-wrenching political tactics” for refugees"

May72502_0UC Davis Statement On "Chancellor May, Leidos Corp., and “heart-wrenching political tactics” for refugees" Published on the Davisite.org

On behalf of Chancellor Gary S. May and UC Davis, I must address the accusations and incorrect information made by Nick Buxton in his June 20 article, “Chancellor May, Leidos Corp, and ‘heart-wrenching political tactics’ for refugees.” In addition to the inflammatory and wildly inappropriate placement of Chancellor’s May’s picture with that of children detained by ICE, Buxton made false statements related to May’s Leidos Board seat and how that position impacts his role here at UC Davis. 

For starters, Chancellor May has been transparent about his board service from the very beginning. He disclosed his board service and salary candidly with the search committee that ultimately recommended unanimously to select him as the next UC Davis Chancellor. The UC Office of the President and UC Regents were also informed about his board leadership prior to selecting him. He has discussed this topic with the campus community and during many media interviews. He continues to make himself available to anyone who wants to discuss this with him in person. 

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Problematic changes proposed for Davis City Council meeting comments

Brett_LeeThe City Council is considering some changes to its meeting format, according to the Davis Enterprise:

One suggestion was to limit general public comment at the beginning of the meeting — requiring that it end at a specific time — and continuing it for those who still wish to speak after all other agenda items have been dealt with.

The reason for the possible change?

“The idea is that as we start with a new council in July, that we find a way to make the meetings more accessible for the public and make them function more smoothly,” [Brett] Lee said.

So, meetings will be more accessible for the public if we force some members of the public to wait until the very end of the meeting to make general comments?  No. That would make meetings less accessible.

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Chancellor May, Leidos Corp., and “heart-wrenching political tactics” for refugees

May detention centerBy Nick Buxton

UC Davis Chancellor Gary May has joined the chorus of voices rightly condemning the separation of children from parents seeking asylum in the US. In a public statement on June 19, he condemned the “heart-wrenching political tactics” affecting refugees and voiced his support for DACA students. These are important statements, but they would be even more powerful if he took action to back up those values, which in this case he could easily do by stepping down from his position on the board of one of the leading corporations involved in the inhumane border regime.

According to Sacramento Bee, May earned $288,280 in cash and stock in 2015 as a member of the board of Leidos, a Virginia-based defense and technology company. Leidos is an important supplier of surveillance equipment to the Department for Homeland Security Border guards, boasting of supplying 70 programs worth $200 million in the last five years. The company has expanded significantly in recent years and its CEO has boasted to investors of how it is benefiting from Trump’s agenda.

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Davis is a DAM fine town (for swimming in particular)

Main_250hWhen I first came to Davis for my job interview (the one that would result in my addition to the Philosophy Department at UCD), one of my future colleagues said, with a bit of a sarcastic snort, “Too bad Paul couldn’t be here.  He’s been telling all of the candidates about Davis’s masters swimming group.”  My head whipped around:  “Davis has a masters swimming group??”

A good masters swimming group is hard to find.

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Fact checking can be so very, very illuminating!

By now you must have heard of the big issue of children being separated from parents at our boarder with Mexico ....... this is highly controversial and within the past 24 hours five current and former First Ladies have weighed in on this situation.... express concern and at times outrage at how this situation is being managed by the current administration.

Part of the management of the situation is a considerable amount of communication "spin".  Here is a link to an article from the Washington Post which does a great job of sorting out the spin from the truth.  

In these modern times it is important to be able to separate fact from fiction or even more critically fact from near fact or semi-fact.  And we need to be prepared to sort through these claims as we go about making decisions that affect us and/or others.  For example, "More cars means less traffic".  You might have heard that one lately.  Still makes my head shake.

Anyway, here is the link to the Post:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/06/19/the-facts-about-trumps-policy-of-separating-families-at-the-border/?utm_term=.54b235edb54f&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

I subscribe to the online version..... you might want to, too.


Deadly predators threaten wolves

Gray-Wolf-picAccording to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity, this past week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it is considering a proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protection from nearly all wolves in the lower 48 states.

The FWS tried to do the same thing back in 2013.  The proposal was (as I described in a blog post for a different blog) arbitrary, capricious, and inconsistent.  It received a huge pushback from the scientific community as well as many environmentally-minded individuals.  But then the proposal was never acted on.  I have been wondering what had happened to it – was it shelved because it was so poorly crafted, or was there some other reason?

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Happy Father's Day

photo by Iggie Walsh - https://www.instagram.com/iggiewalsh/

By Tom Owczarzak

It’s amazing how much hospitals look the same. Not on the outside – on the inside.

Early morning, body cramped from dozing in uncomfortable chairs – why the hell do they not put couches in the waiting rooms? There has to be some logic there I am missing because it makes no sense.

And, yep, back in the hospital. Another nighttime vigil for family.

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Some of my favorite quotes!


photo by Iggie Walsh - https://www.instagram.com/iggiewalsh/

By David Kupfer

"Leadership is action, not position." - Donald Megannen

"Don't agonize, organize!" - Florence Kennedy

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." - Emerson

"The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on Earth." - Sir Wilfred Grenfell

"In dreams begin responsibility." - Yeats


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On again off again on again..... assisted dying is now on again.

This is a complicated issue .... assisted dying.... and can have profound impact for individuals and their families.

The original law in California, based in part of laws from other states including Oregon, was proposed by Davis based Senator Lois Wolk.  It was passed during a special session of the legislature and a recent court decision put it on hold for that reason.  Then just this week a higher court reversed the hold and now the law is in place again.

That kind of back and forth must be torture for doctors, patients and their families trying to help their loved ones and also wanting to be operating within the boundaries of the law on this controversial issue.  (Many disability advocates have issues with this law).

Couple of interesting articles in the Chronicle today (https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/California-s-assisted-dying-law-reinstated-12999276.php) describing the law switching back on and from the Bee (when the Wolk bill was approved by the California Senate) help provide some background: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article23113641.html

Perhaps this is something to discuss in your families, among friends, on this blog page, etc....


Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for spending on education in California in the new budget!

Some folks may know that the legislature is supposed to vote on the California State Budget by June 15th or today.  Actually, they finished up yesterday a day ahead of time.  That's kind of nice because this kind of performance was not always the norm.  It seemed that not that many years ago, the Legislature was chronically late in moving on the final budget and that caused lots of problems for state funded programs.  But no more, and let's give appropriate thanks to the Governor and the Legislature for making that process work!

Speaking of work, how are the folks in the education sector going to spend all the money that they got in one time and ongoing boosts to their budgets?  You might like to know that this was a major "feature" of the budget and as Delaine Eastin was heard saying in her campaign for governor, "Budgets represent values" and so, I think the new California $200 billion budget does that with an infusion of money into education.

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Just so darn interesting......

This evening I was listening to NPR and heard the end of an interview with Delaine Eastin.  How interesting!  Such an experienced and well thought out politician.  She has promised to stay engaged and help elect more women (only 23% in the California legislature) and to hold elected officials feet to the fire regarding positions taken and promises made.  I'm glad!  

Check out her interview here:  https://www.kqed.org/news/tag/political-breakdown


"Company town"? Who wants Davis to be known as a "Company town"? Not me!!

Recently I heard someone describe Davis in print as a "company town".  This was in the context of the housing needs of local residents and/or students.  This writer also made some cheap shot about "Without UCD, we'd be Dixon or Vacaville" and I am sure the good people who live in those towns did not appreciate that slap, just like some voters in the 2016 did not like being called "deplorables".  C'mon have some manners!

But that is not my main point here.  The main point is:  Who wants to be a company town anyway? Historically company towns were situations where a large employer manipulated the employees of the company and residents of the nearby town for their own economic benefit.... essentially making the residents indentured servants.  Is that the kind of relationship we want between UCD and the town?  I think not.

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Inappropriate Behavior from the Editor of the Davis Enterprise

Onate-taking-overEveryone knows that newspapers are under severe threats to their survival and have been for some time.  The Davis Enterprise is no different.  Yet newspapers play an essential role in informing the community, fostering community dialogue, and forging community.  That makes me loathe to criticize the Enterprise.  But when the new Editor, Sebastian Oñate, engages in practices that undermine those very goals, I feel as though I must speak out.  I do so not to hurt the Enterprise further but rather in the hopes of changing his ways, or if that is not possible, to encourage the paper to find a different Editor.

The problem with Oñate’s practice is this: he has engaged in practices that demean and disparage readers.  This serves to reduce participation and harm one’s sense of community, not foster it.  An Editor should always take the high road and be seen as open and fair to all.  Unfortunately, Oñate has not done that, as the following examples illustrate. (If images are too small to read, you can click to enlarge, or just follow the links).

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19th Century Base Ball Tryout

34691769_142490549839022_4860212991045402624_nHello Davis! We have an exciting opportunity for you TOMORROW (June 9, 2018)! Come out and try your hand at something called 19th century base ball. We play America's pastime with 1864 rules. No gloves (scary)! But, it's an underhand pitch, which makes fielding easier. AND, you may catch the ball off one bounce and still get the striker out! It's a fantastic version of baseball that is perfect for a very wide range of talent. If you're a youngster or an old-timer, a guy or a gal, a seasoned veteran of the modern game or a novice, you're on a very similar level with each other. This is a game that has rules that really level the playing field.

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Graduation is a heady experience

GraduationBy Tom Owczarzak 

OK, think a few people will get this one right about this time.

I went to see my niece graduate last night. And not just graduate – give the Valedictorian Speech.

Yeah, cuz she is a serious badass.

Graduation is a heady experience. The excitement of the students, the charge in the air, the super proud families.

Summer just minutes away.

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Signs Swept Away


By Colin Walsh

Davis has a tradition that at the end of every City Election, all parties involved work together to sweep up the campaign signs from all corners of the City. It is a refreshing idea that no matter how hard fought the campaigns may be, the day after the election they all work together to clean up the town and signs are returned to the campaign from whence they came.

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Election post-mortem

YoloCountyBallotHaving taken a day off to reflect, here are some of my thoughts about the election just completed.

First and foremost, let me assure everyone that the Davisite will continue! Some have speculated that this blog was created just to promote Nishi. That was never the case and time will show that to be true. If there have been a lot of articles about Nishi, that was because many of our current authors (myself included) were very engaged in that issue. The Davisite was always intended to be a blog by and for Davisites, which means that our content will always reflect our authors.

So, now is a good time to reissue a call for authors: send us your thoughts, be they political or not, artistic or not, funny or not. You can be a regular author, or send us something from time to time, or maybe just once – long or short, it doesn't matter. (But remember that on the Internet, most people don't want to read things that are very long!). The sidebar contains our contact info and comment policy, the latter of which serves as guidelines for authors as well.

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No air pollution testing at NISHI? Gimme a break! Not testing is just a public health and public policy sin..... and totally non-scientific.

Frankly, it still boggles my mind that the Nishi developers refused to allow air quality testing at their proposed development site.  They had about all the benefits you can imagine, an ideal situation in that a famous UC Davis professor with the right equipment to do air quality monitoring offered to do the testing in a fair and systematic way (you can call it "scientific") in order to determine the unique patterns of air quality at a site that is below grade, adjacent to a very busy highway and wedged in by the railroad tracks.  BUT THE DEVELOPERS SAID "NO!!!!".

WOW!  A big "NO!!!!" to scientific testing. 

Had they asked the Yolo County Epidemiologist like I did whether or not this kind of testing was advisable from a public health perspective, here is what they would have heard (communication from Dr. Dabritz: 

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Johansson: Better choice for D.A.

By B. & D. Lindeman

As if 12 years of Reisig in the D.A.'s office isn't enough of a reason for a change in leadership. (hasn't anyone ever heard of the good idea of term limits?) But it's his latest campaign flyer that I received in the mail (4th one!) that compels me to write. Instead of promoting the supposed merits of the Reisig reign, it is mostly devoted to maligning the character of the man running against him: Dean Johansson! I'd say that kind of below-the-belt tactic maligns Reisig's character. It reminds me of the tactics of someone we all know who lives in the current White House.

Thus, if I had an overly simple rhyming campaign slogan, it might be, "Reisig is mean, so vote for Dean"! (maybe "overly aggressive" would be kinder but it doesn't rhyme). Fact: (not fake news, folks): Jeff Reisig, our Yolo County DA, brings more cases to jury trial per capita than any other DA in the state! That means that Reisig's office conducts more felony trials than counties that have a much higher population than ours. Yolo cannot be that much more crime ridden! This fact alone is a co$tly (for taxpayers) and valid reason for a change in D.A. leadership.

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