Thinking about the Thin Blue Line imagery

Bluelinebadge OfficerCoronaI had originally intended my previous post, “Processing the events surrounding the tragic killing of Officer Corona,” to be my only published thoughts on the subject. But recent discussion of the Thin Blue Line imagery on social media and in a recent Enterprise article have convinced me that more needs to be said, if only to try to help people to see what the concerns are, even if they ultimately still disagree with those concerns.

But before doing that, let me again reiterate, because it’s important, my deepest condolences for the family, friends, and colleagues of Officer Natalie Corona as well as my thanks for all the public safety professionals who risked their lives to keep everyone else safe on the tragic night that she was killed.

As is pretty widely known by now, some UCD students and others have objected to the Thin Blue Line imagery, both in the American flag and in the Davis Police Badge.  They equate the imagery not only with the Blue Lives Matter movement, which they see as deeply problematic, but also with white supremacism.  Again, this article in The Public, dated June 26, 2018, sums up the association better than I can, and also shows that this isn’t something that local activists made up.

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Fresh energy to start an exciting new year

By Tom Stallard and Don Saylor

A new year offers a clean slate — a chance to celebrate achievements, assess the challenges of the past and start the new year with fresh energy.

Our biggest achievement in 2018 was the launch of Valley Clean Energy (VCE), our local public electricity program. With years of planning and lots of community support, we officially started serving the cities of Woodland and Davis and unincorporated Yolo County last June. Over the past six months, VCE has been providing greener energy, customer choice, local control and reinvestment in the community.

VCE’s standard portfolio of electricity includes 42 percent renewable energy, compared to 33 percent provided by PG&E. This allows VCE customers to help our region and our state take a big step toward changing our fossil fuel-based economy.

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VCE customers: No interruption of service from PG&E's bankruptcy filing

VCE(From press release). Customers of Valley Clean Energy — the local green energy provider that partners with PG&E for delivery of electricity to customers in Davis, Woodland, and unincorporated Yolo County — need not fear an interruption in service following PG&E’s announcement Monday that it intends to seek bankruptcy protection.

“We’re watching these developments very closely,” said Mitch Sears, VCE’s interim general manager. “But PG&E has said it does not expect any impact to electric or natural gas service for its customers as a result of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. That is good news for our customers.”

VCE, a not-for-profit public agency, delivers cost-competitive clean electricity, product choice, price stability, and energy efficiency. The local agency’s power portfolio provides higher levels of renewable energy than PG&E does, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and providing reinvestment in the community.

For more about VCE, visit ValleyCleanEnergy.org.


Processing the events surrounding the tragic killing of Officer Corona

SacBee photo
From the SacBee

The events of the last few days have been difficult and emotional ones, with news coming at us at a fast pace as the story has unfolded, with more surely to come.   It’s hard to process, hard to know how to think about.

First and foremost, I want to express my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Officer Natalie Corona.  By all accounts, she was a kind person who was dedicated to serving her community.  Her senseless and tragic death is a reminder that even in seemingly mundane situations, a police officer is always putting their life on the line, a target for those who have a grudge against the police (if that is indeed what has happened here, as suggested by the letter from the shooter).  We all need to be grateful for those who are willing to serve on a police force.  (Full disclosure: my grandfather was a NYC street cop).

It is understandable that so much of our focus would be on the loss and sacrifice of Officer Corona.  But I want to highlight something else we’ve heard a lot less about: the officers who were working the night of her death.  They surrounded the house where the shooter lived for hours.  According to the accounts I’ve read, the shooter emerged from the house twice, at least once with a gun.  That could have gone very badly for the police. The situation was unpredictable and the lives of those police officers were under a direct threat. 

Continue reading "Processing the events surrounding the tragic killing of Officer Corona" »


Davis Parks Functionally Went Pesticide-Free in 2018

PesticideapplicationBy Alan Pryor

Following are comments I delivered to the Davis City Council at their last December meeting.

My name is Alan Pryor and I am on the City's Natural Resources Commission and their Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. But I am speaking tonight as a private citizen. I am here to speak about the City's pesticide management policies and deliver some bad news but also some very good news.

First the bad news - You may recall the current Integrated Pest Management Policy was approved by Council in November of 2017. This policy was recommended by Staff over the written objections of many citizens and 3 of the City's own Commissions who urged the Council not to rubber stamp Staff's proposal because they felt it did not go nearly far enough to reduce pesticides exposure – particularly in our Parks where the majority of exposure to children occurred.

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Vote for your delegates to the CA Democratic Party: Check out Workers & Students for AD4

Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 7.32.11 PMOn Sunday, January 13 from 10 AM-12:30 PM at Davis Veterans Memorial, you have the opportunity to vote for Assembly District 4 Delegates for the CA Democratic Party.  To vote, you just need to be a registered Democrat and live in the region pictured at the left.  (Dates and locations to vote in other regions varies; see this page for details).

Wondering what an Assembly District Delegate for the CA Democratic party does?  According to the CA Dem website we are electing:

 

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Enterprise Gives Front Page To UCD Spokesperson

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By Colin Walsh

Yesterday Sunday December 16th the Davis Enterprise printed a story on its Front page titled UCD’s “West Village expansion will start this month” by Andy Fell, “Special to the Enterprise.” The online edition omits the phrase “Special to the Enterprise.” In both cases the article ends with the note – UC Davis News.

The problem is, the Enterprise has not properly identified who Andy Fell is in this article. Yet, on page 2 of the same Enterprise there is another article titled, “Body Found Near UCD Campus” that sheds some light on Andy Fell (thankfully, he is not the body).

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SACOG Approves $2.9 Million Grant For Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging and Mobility Hubs in Yolo County

VCEThe Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) board of directors has approved a $2.9 million grant to Valley Clean Energy (VCE) that will lay the foundation for increased electric vehicle charging opportunities and multi-modal transportation hubs in Yolo County. The City of Davis, Yolo County and the City of Woodland joined forces with VCE to submit a joint application for grant funds.

"We are excited about this grant and believe it lays a strong foundation for the future growth of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in the City of Davis and throughout the region,” said Lucas Frerichs, Davis City Council member and chair of the Valley Clean Energy board of directors. “This is one of the benefits that community choice energy providers like VCE offer — to partner with local government agencies and support infrastructure development.”

Last week’s action by SACOG will result in larger numbers of publicly available, networked electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout Davis, Woodland, and Yolo County.  The charging infrastructure will include up to sixty 240-volt, level 2 chargers, along with two to five fast chargers near highway corridors such as Interstates 5, 80 and 505 and Highway 113.

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PG&E Exit Fees? OK, But Let’s Be Fair

VCEBy Lucas Frerichs and Tom Stallard

In a disappointing decision, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently voted to approve increases to the “exit fees” charged to Valley Clean Energy (VCE) customers by PG&E.  Valley Clean Energy is our official locally governed electricity provider, bringing cleaner energy at competitive rates to Davis, Woodland, and unincorporated Yolo County. It began serving 55,000 customer accounts this past June.

The decision by the CPUC to raise the exit fee affects all 19 community choice aggregation (CCA) programs in the state, including VCE.

The exit fee is called the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, and if you are a VCE customer, you will see it on your PG&E bill. This fee is charged by each of the utilities to all CCA customers to compensate for electricity generation they built or contracted for in past years. 

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The Problem with Designer Face Masks

DesignermaskBy Todd Edelman

The City of Davis and many other local government entities are distributing masks for "free". While there have been some shortages and limited availability of masks for children, a big problem is counties and cities have different recommendations about use, e.g. because of risks of carbon dioxide build up for some, that some will fit poorly, but most often that the priority should be staying indoors - i.e. that masks should only be used if one HAS to go out.

There are these designer masks available. As far as I can tell this type became very popular due to the chronic air pollution in, e.g., Beijing. People there are wearing masks every day, and want to show off and also de-medicalize the issue via its most obvious sartorial component. (3M, after all, makes workplace safety equipment, and I joked earlier that thanks to child labor laws they make no masks for small faces - by the way I recommend their slightly upgraded N95 with the valve for Co2 exhaust....).

Anyway, the problem here is that these fashion masks - just like any masks that look like proletariat undergarments - encourage people to be outside, who should not be... they are a palliative for a much bigger structural problem, of course also here in California during latest and greatest wildfire fallout disaster.


City-owned Fiber Optic Broadband? Take the DavisGIG survey!

DavisGIGHello Davisites,

DavisGIG is pleased to report the City is conducting a phone survey about city owned fiber optic broadband that is now under way. We are also conducting a web version of the survey at http://www.davisgig.org/survey.  Please see this letter below that is being sent to 20000 households and business in Davis, thanks to your support and donations.

Thanks for your time, and as we have said multiple times in the past: Brand new, publicly owned telecommunications infrastructure, is worthwhile, will last decades, and takes time to implement!

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Alternative Giving Christmas Fair

Sunday, Dec. 2nd, 9:30am to 1:00pm

Davis United Methodist Church - 1620 Anderson Road, Davis

Benefit the greater good by purchasing your holiday gifts at Davis United Methodist Church’s Alternative Giving Christmas Fair on Sunday, December 2 from 9:30am to 1pm. Come discover homemade items and handicrafts from around the world. All proceeds benefit designated non-profits such as Heifer International, the Sierra Club, Equal Exchange, Sahaya International, Limitless Horizons, Grace Garden, and United Methodist service projects in developing countries. Everyone is also welcome at attend the 8:30 and 11:00 worship services. For more information, contact the church office at davisumc@davisumc.org or (530) 756-2170

 

Posted for Helen Roland


Understanding Purple Air Data

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 4.10.29 PMA lot of people are now turning to PurpleAir.com for real-time air quality measurements.  But everyone should know that, in their default setting, they show higher PM2.5 readings than the government's sensors.  To obtain more realistic readings, use the box in the lower left hand corner of your web page to change the conversion from "none" to "LRAPA."  You can read more about the LRAPA settings here and here

Please pass along this information.  Our situation is serious and people should be appropriately cautious (stay inside if possible, use filters if possible, obtain N95 masks from the Davis Fire Department), but no purpose is served by thinking that things are worse than they actually are.

(Screen shot in this post taken at around 4:10 PM, Thursday, November 15).

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Paradise Lost - A Community Struggling to Survive

By Sadie Fulton

Climate change is turning working class Californians into sitting ducks. Sadie Fulton writes about how people are struggling to build networks of solidarity in the face of climate disaster, ruling class neglect and the far right.

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National Guard on Humboldt Road, Chico, CA. Photo: Erik Rydberg.

Thursday 8 November was a unique day for California’s climate. Record low humidity paired with record high winds practically guaranteed that there would be fires. It is uniquely hard to prepare an entire state for the elevated natural disaster risk when nobody has any idea where a spark will start a wildfire.

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We must be the fire brigade.

MondoviBy Joan Baez
"Together we can create an unstoppable force for good"

Last night, not a seat was empty in the UC Davis Mondavi Center as Joan Baez paused from singing to deliver this powerful exhortation.  Her music and her message were greeted with standing ovations. After the Show Baez gave the Davisite.org permission to share her words. 

There is no such thing as a slow burn now. Only lightning fast destruction, and the residue of floating ash. The haze is real. It is ash filled smoke, blanketing a good portion of the state of California. This is our Armageddon. And, yet now it's we who must be the fire brigade. No one will appear on the clouds of glory to deliver us.

We must be the fire brigade.

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Skewed Air Quality Logic

MaskAir quality management district forecasts an AQI of 168*: UCD cancels classes

Air quality management district forecasts an AQI of 174*: UCD holds classes

Brought to you by the same data-free logic that supported Nishi and dismissed the testimony of an internationally recognized air quality expert.

 

*AQI of 150-200: Unhealthy for all groups

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Friends of the Sustainable Living and Learning Communities

Ucd sllc

Dear Friend,

I just became a founding donor to start the Friends of the Sustainable Living and Learning Communities donor fund at UC Davis. This effort hopes to raise enough money to support two or more full fellowships a year, and continued program and infrastructure development for the part of campus including the Student Farm, The Domes, and the Tri-Co-ops. We have already raised a five-year commitment of over $80,000 - just under half of our goal – which is why I am reaching out to you to ask if you would consider joining use with a pledge of $100 or more.

Most of us have seen how much additional pressure today’s students are under. This fund-raising effort is intended to ensure that those pressures don’t mean an end to student creativity and community at UC Davis. Donations to this fund will be allocated 30% to the Sustainable Living and Learning Communities and  70% to the Green Fellowships. You may donate here.

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Paradise is burning, what are you going to do about it?

ParadiseBy Sadie Fulton

To my non-Californian friends: today here in California we had unprecedented fire-prone conditions. High winds, dry air and land. 

The town of Paradise is under full evacuation (from what is bitterly called the "Camp Fire") and much of it is burning down, and that fire started only this morning. Ventura county, hundreds of miles away from Paradise also caught fire. There were two small fires in Davis today and that's just what I know about. 

People are missing in the Camp Fire. Hundreds if not thousands of people just became homeless.

Everyone is discussing how we need to start fighting climate change NOW. But all we are doing is talking to each other, trying to help share the information about who's missing and who's taking in climate refugees, and processing our collective trauma.

What is our concrete plan? March on Sacramento? March on Washington? Total general strike until this gets addressed? What are we going to do?


Caravan of our Brothers and Sisters

Hondurans
At the entrance to the stadium with a group of young Hondureños

Yesterday I had the unique opportunity to meet up with migrant caravan that has been traveling up from Central America. 

By Nick Buxton

This is a long post but I wanted to share the experience.

Of course, if you believed the news or some political leaders I was about to go and meet up with a gang of criminals, terrorists and armed invaders. But it’s that racist rhetoric and politics of hate that made me determined to go to show my solidarity and support and my opposition to the hostility towards migrants that dominates the airwaves. So I wrote a banner in Spanish that translated roughly says “Trump is a disgrace. But from the peoples of the US we open our arms to you. We welcome you brothers and sisters #WorldwithoutWalls” I walked into the stadium holding the banner initially a little shyly, but then more confidently aloft so everyone could understand why I was there.

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