Lessons from past plagues

10plaguesBy Alan Hirsch

The news cycle dominated by Trump and the virus plague will be interrupted midweek in some Davis homes by the Jewish holiday of Passover.

This is a recitation of the story of earlier plagues that lead up to the exodus from Egyptian slavery. Wednesday and Thursday nights are the first nights of Passover.

The 3,000-year-old Passover home ritual acts will seem strangely relevant this year. The ritual name “Passover” is to literally ask the plague to pass over our homes as we shelter in place.

We are asked to wash our hands twice. To dip our food in salt water. And to get over the plagues we’re asked to take two tablets — of the 10 Commandments. And go to Mt. Sinai — the real mountain not the hospital.

Continue reading "Lessons from past plagues" »

How long does it take to get results from a Corona Virus test?

Dear Friends,

Not sure how long it takes locally, but in Santa Clara County where they have tested 11,782 patients, it takes 2.27 days on average.  

On their dashboard, they call this "Average Days Turnaround Time".

Their dashboard is available at:



John Troidl

Bright Night Debacle

This letter was sent to the Davis City Council regarding the March 24th Davis City Council approval of a solar farm. the original item can be seen here.

Subject: Please Rescind the Solar Lease Approval
Date: Tue, 7 Apr 2020 17:27:16 -0700
From: Alan Pryor 
To: City Council <CityCouncilMembers@cityofdavis.org>

To: Davis City Council
From: Alan Pryor
Date: April 6, 2020
Re: Failure of City to Perform Due Diligence on Bright Night Energy

Last Tuesday the Council approved an ill-advised no-bid, sole-sourced land lease option and contract to Bright Night Energy. There are many deficiencies in both the process and the underlying agreement accepted by the City. This communication, however, focuses on the experience and qualifications of the leasee, BrightNight Energy.

As part of the resolution authoring such a contract award, Council stated

Whereas, BrightNight is an energy company that focuses on delivering safe, reliable, high-value, low-cost renewable energy. BrightNight has developed, financed, constructed and operated more than 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy since 2009.

This information is completely false and Staff either knew this or should have known it. In fact, BrightNight is NOT a leading solar company as Staff otherwise represented to Council. They are actually a start-up company formed only a little over a year ago in January, 2019 as a Limited Liability Corporation in Delaware. It was only registered in California as a Foreign Limited Liability Corporation on February 11, 2020 which, perhaps not coincidentally, was the very same day that the Council reported out from Closed Session that they had directed staff to move forward to secure a preliminary agreement with BrightNight. BrightNight's website also only lists a residential home in El Dorado Hills as its sole US office and has no phone number listed.

Further, NONE of the projects listed on BrightNight's website (at https://brightnightenergy.com/markets-projects/) as evidence of their experience were projects in which BrightNight Energy had actually even participated as a developer or subcontractor. Nor could they have done so because BrightNight was not even in existence at the time the projects were completed!

For instance, under "Historic Project Successes" under the subheading of "One of the Largest Battery Storage Systems Providing Resource Adequacy", a massive battery storage project at Aliso Canyon in Southern California is listed. The write-up on BrightNight's website describes the system and implies it was done under the auspices of BrightNight but then only notes in a small footnote at the end of the description, "This project was developed by a BrightNight team member.". But they do not state the team member involved or the role they played in the project or which company that actually did developed the project.

Under "One of the World’s Largest Solar Power Plants", the 800 MW Mount Signal Solar Farm was discussed of which the first phase was operational in 2014. Mount Signal solar farm was developed by AES Solar and 8minute Renewables LLC not BrightNight as implied in their website. The nexus to BrightNight apparently is only listed as a footnote to this project description on the BrightNight's website stating that "This project was developed during Martin’s time as CEO and Founder of 8minutenergy Renewables, LLC". Martin Hermann is currently the CEO of BrightNight Energy.

Similarly, other solar projects touted on BrightNight's website as BrightNight projects were apparently otherwise also developed by 8minute Renewables LLC and NOT BrightNight Energy itself. There were no projects listed by BrightNight on their website that were actually developed by BrightNight Energy. In other word, it appears that BrightNight has never actually completed a single solar PV project which information Staff either erroneously or intentionally withheld from Council.

BrightNight also lists the logos of 40 large energy providers and utilities on its website under the banner heading "Our Experience Helping Major Players in the Energy Market" but does not disclose any actual services they provided to these entities or projects in which they participated. It would be useful to know exactly what goods or services, if any, were actually provided by BrightNight to any of these corporate entities or whether they are similarly claiming corporate experience where none actually exists.

These are not the makings of the experienced solar energy development company which is in direct conflict with the resolution passed by Council authorizing the execution of the land lease option agreement.

Further, one independent source, Strategic Solar Group, has one page on its website entitled "What are the Best Solar Farm Companies?" that list the following companies. Note that BrightNight is not listed:


BrightNight is clearly claiming experience and credit for projects for which they were not even involved. The deception by BrightNight in misrepresenting their corporate experience and capabilities is perhaps the most telling shortcoming of their application. The failure by Staff to report these shortcomings make it obvious that Staff has not even done the minimum requisite due diligence necessary to ascertain if BrightNight can even perform under the provisions of the solar land lease agreement.

Another discrepancy in the BrightNight due diligence performed by Staff is that under the Agenda for the February 11 Closed Session for the City Council meeting, the following parties are listed:

"Feb 11 Agenda

Closed Session pursuant to Government Code §54954.5:

Conference with Real Property Negotiators:
Property: APN 042-140-13 & APN 042-140-009
Agency Negotiators: City Manager Mike Webb; Assistant City Manager Ashley Feeney; Assistant City Manager Kelly Stachowicz; Public Works Utilities & Operations Director Stan Gryczko; City Attorney Inder Khalsa; Property Management Coordinator Tracie Reynolds
Negotiating Parties: Davis Energy Technology Center, LLC. or an Affiliate, in Either Case a Subsidiary of BrightNight, LLC (“BrightNight”)
Under Negotiation: Price and terms of payments" (Emphasis added)

However, Davis Energy Technology Center LLC is NOT listed on the California Secretary of States' website as a properly registered LLC in the State of California and execution of any agreement with such an entity by any municipality would therefore be a violation of California law and the contract itself would be null and void.

These misrepresentations by BrightNight are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the other legal and financial shortcomings Staff has obviously taken in their evaluation of this project's merits for the City compared to what should have otherwise been investigated and disclosed had proper due diligence and/or disclosure to Council been performed.

Other glaring shortcomings in Staff's analysis of the contract include 1) failure to obtain competitive bids for the land lease in violation of state law and 2) failure to investigate other solar financing opportunities (such as was done Yolo Co) which is in violation of just plain common sense.

These failures will potentially cost the City or its utility-using Customers up to tens of millions of dollars and possibly deprive Valley Clean Energy of the economical utilization of a local source of renewable energy for the use of their customers in Yolo Co.

Neither Staff nor any of the Council members have ever had any significant experience in negotiating a large solar leases of this type and their inexperience and the obvious potential harm to the City's financial returns are now apparent. All of these problems could have been avoided had Staff's and Council's hubris otherwise been tabled and the incredible specific solar and industry expertise of the City's Utility Commission and Natural Resources Commission been called upon to weigh in on the project's merits.

I just read that a number of members of the Utilities Commission and/or the Natural Resources Commission have similarly weighed in asking you to rescind the lease and reopen the process of evaluation. Given the obvious errors committed by Staff in reporting all the facts and circumstances to you, I believe this is the least you can do to try to rectify the problem.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Pryor


Request for Reconsideration of Solar Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet with BrightNight


The following letter was sent to members of the Davis City Council today.

We respectfully request that the Mayor and Council place an item on tonight’s or a future council meeting agenda to reconsider its approval of Item 9 of the March 24, 2020 Solar Lease decision. In its reconsideration we believe Council should (1) direct staff to research the fiscal, legal and business issues identified in this letter, and (2) pending the results of that research, rescind Council’s approval of the Item 9 resolution to allow the City Manager to execute the Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet (collectively, the “Agreement”) with BrightNight that will “give the solar energy company an Option to Lease up to 235 acres of city-owned land near the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant on County Road 28H for a Commercial Solar Farm and Solar Energy Testing Facility.”

Our review of the Agreement to date has uncovered serious concerns which we believe have not been fully considered by the City, and that the resolution and lease, as written, establish a legal arrangement that is harmful and disadvantageous to the City and residents in several respects. We, individually and collectively, stand ready to work with staff to facilitate their research of these issues. We are preparing a detailed document fleshing out each issue, which will be available shortly on request.

In summary, the issues are as follows:

Continue reading "Request for Reconsideration of Solar Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet with BrightNight" »

Evidence pyramid......


Dear Friends,

In science we have "stronger evidence" and "weaker evidence" as we rarely have proof.  But stronger evidence is a whole lot better than weaker evidence.  And it is more "actionable".... that is, it is something that is solid enough for us to act on.

We want our government to use the most current and robust science to make decisions.  Particularly big decisions like "sheltering in place" and closing or restricting access to parks and other amenities that have well known health promotion effects.

So, in this ongoing discussion of the corona virus/covid-19, the flu, etc, let's pay attention to the level of evidence that "experts" are using to make decisions for our society.  

And let's consider whether or not we properly fund our Federal, State, and Local public health agencies which are supposed to track illnesses (who is sick from or dying from what?) enough to actually do their jobs.



PS  Please check out the link to Evidence Pyramid.







Report from the heart of the storm..... Santa Clara County data

Dear Yolo County folks... the numbers for CV/Covid in Yolo County as so small it is hard to make statistical inferences from them.

But not so for Santa Clara County, Northern Caifornia's worst zone for the corona virus.  Here is the link to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department Corona Virus Dashboard:


Please note the large sample size from this pool of symptomatic patients who were referred by their provider for the CV test:  11607 tests.  Results:  10.55% were positive and 89.45% were negative.  The average turnaround time for the test was 2.88 days.

Please note:  Santa Clara folks tell me that those positive results are "tight".  Their testing standards are such that they avoided false positives as much as possible.

As you can imagine these results raise a lot of questions:

  1. Did you expect the percentage of "positives" to be higher?
  2. If 89% of these symptomatic patients were negative, what ailment do they actually have?
  3. What next?  What course do we take with these results.

This is National Public Health Week folks.... let's appreciate what public health people do including their unusual skills in analyzing data.  This is not a clinical skill, this is a PUBLIC HEALTH skill.

Enjoy the dashboard viewing!

John J. Troidl, MBA, PhD

(I have a PhD in public health and have also taught various courses in public health for a number of years).



Bomb Shelters and Aggie Research Campus.

Unprecedented Push for Development in Uncertain Times

City of Davis Commissions directed to focus on huge development project as top USA officials describe this week as "the hardest and saddest", "Pearl Harbor... our 9/11 moment" and "shocking to some".

Davis family discusses Aggie Research Campus DEIR prior to participation in Commission meetings.
Photo credit: https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/rare-photos-of-bomb-shelters-through-history.html/

"This is going to be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly," U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told "Fox News Sunday." "This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized. It's going to be happening all over the country."


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said bluntly on CBS's "Face the Nation" show, "This is going to be a bad week. It's going to be shocking to some." - Globalsecurity.org, April 5, 2020.


City of Davis Staff monitors virtual meeting for Zoom bombers.
Photo credit: http://sites.austincc.edu/caddis/versailles-to-pearl-harbor-2/

SO then why is the City of Davis continuing the process to review the huge, far-reaching Aggie Research Campus proposal this week? The Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety (BTSSC) and Open Space and Habitat (OSHC) Commissions - all volunteers - are being tasked to review and thoughtfully comment on hundreds of pages of documentation for meeting this week - the OSHC meeting is at 6:30pm today - while they are essentially being asked to "stay in their cellars", "evacuate the children to the countryside or England" (WWII references) and monitor the email/social media of family and loved ones to see who is dying. And then no one can attend funerals.


The City Council clearly recognizes the urgency of COVID-19 as it has declared an emergency and created protections for renters, mortgage holders and others. Its meeting tomorrow will focus on COVID-19. I am happy to continue proposing ideas and so on to the City (and County) and focus on that. (I’ve gotten some helpful responses, too, from Rental Resources and Supervisor Provenza.) It's not only difficult to focus on anything else, to be asked to do so is cruel.

Davis City Council: Please immediately postpone the process for ARC. It's an abuse of community process, and it's an abuse of Commissioners, their families and loved ones… some of whom will not be with us in one week.

  • Todd Edelman (member of BTSSC - only for identification purposes)


Davis Children (in the same family) watch President Trump watch Commission meetings.
Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/38702878033371156/

Please also see Roberta Millstein's March 17 letter to the City Council., "Need to focus on essentials for City's COVID-19 Emergency"



Davis City Council meeting April 7th needs to address how UCD can help with the COVID-19 outbreak

GunRockBy Eileen M. Samitz

This Tuesday, at 7pm the City Council meeting will include a presentation by Dr. Ron Chapman the Yolo County Public Health Officer.  The meeting will be televised and public comment will be allowed via voice-mail in and email since public attendance cannot be allowed due to COVID-19 precautions (details below).

What needs to be addressed at this meeting is the need for UCD to help with the control of the COVID-19 outbreak like UCLA is doing by planning now, ahead of a surge in the disease spread.  This needs to include utilizing campus facilities including UCD vacant dorm and student apartment spaces. Several weeks ago, Governor Newsom stated that he was communicating with UC and the State Universities to plan ahead for use of their student housing and other campus facilities to help with space needed for quarantine and hospital overspill.

Continue reading "Davis City Council meeting April 7th needs to address how UCD can help with the COVID-19 outbreak" »

Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch

Yellow Bird

A book review by Nathan Hendrix

            In 2012, truck driver Kristopher “KC” Clarke disappeared from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.  Yellow Bird:  Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch is the story of his disappearance, the reservation he disappeared from, and the woman that spent years searching for him.  Lissa Yellow Bird has led a colorful life; she has struggled with addiction, worked as a stripper, and spent time incarcerated.  

When she heard about KC’s disappearance, she decided it was up to her to find him.  This search became an obsession that damaged her relationship with her children and put her in conflict with the powers that be in the reservation.  Clarke worked as a truck driver for a company that hauled water to and waste water from drilling sites.  He had told people he was going to visit family, turned in his company credit card, and then disappeared.  He didn’t take any of his belongings and his truck wasn’t found for months. 

            Beyond the disappearance of KC Clarke, the history of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is also covered in this book, including how their original homesteads were flooded when the government dammed the river that passed through the reservation. Crane describes the poverty that was rampant in the reservation prior to the oil boom that brought in millions of dollars. The oil money meant financial security to some, but it also brought drug addiction and tragedy to others. The reservation is shown as a kind of Wild West, where reservation police have no jurisdiction over non-Indians on the reservation and local police have no jurisdiction on reservation land.

            Yellow Bird is a glimpse into a culture that not many have experienced and clearly shows the danger that lax regulations pose to people and the environment.  The history of the reservation is fascinating and the damage done by oil companies is horrifying, but the book drags when the author delves too deeply into Lissa’s family life.  I enjoyed Yellow Bird and I look forward to Ms. Murdoch’s next book.


Nathan Hendrix is an avid reader and paramedic who grew up in Davis, but now lives in Rocklin with his wife and daughter.

Davis Farmers Market remains essential

Davisfarmersmarket(From press release) During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Davis Farmers Market remains open as an essential grocery provider.

A few community members have expressed concern, but Executive Director Randii MacNear reminds patrons that “this is not Picnic in the Park.” County and state health officials are clear that Certified Farmers Markets are vital to community food security. The market ­– open from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in Central Park – is a place to grab fresh food straight from the producer.

“We are grateful for the many customers who have commented by email, phone or social media posts, thanking us for keeping the market open, and for providing a safe marketplace,” MacNear said.

The market has reorganized vendor booth setups and added spacing between sellers. There are lots of signs requesting social distancing, and extra hand-washing stations. MacNear encourages shoppers to come alone to ease crowds.

Continue reading "Davis Farmers Market remains essential" »

Davisville Round Up

Dunn Bobbing 3By Dunn Bobbing

Davis School Children Demand Schools Reopen.

Kids claim parents are terrible roommates and explain they are tired of trying to teach them how to do Common Core math.

“My dad is an idiot. I can’t imagine what they taught in school back then. He can’t do even the really basic stuff I learned like last year,” said one third grader. “He kept muttering something about ‘carrying’?  What does ‘carrying’ have to do with math?”

Continue reading "Davisville Round Up" »

Support the Yolo Food Bank

VCE(From press release) As the COVID-19 pandemic ramps up in the Yolo County region, many of us are wrestling with the hardship of confinement and with other, more tangible, constraints. That’s precisely why it’s more important than ever to be our best selves during these times.

Businesses have closed, countless workers have been laid off, and everyone has been asked to shelter in place. Many who have lost their jobs may not be able to pay rent or buy food for their families.

The Yolo Food Bank — always an important resource in our communities — steps in during these times to provide food for those in need. Food Bank representatives say the number of requests for help is on the rise and is expected to increase dramatically in the coming weeks.

Valley Clean Energy, which is focused on the health and well-being of the communities it serves, has donated $2,500 to the Yolo Food Bank in the hope that others might also contribute during this pandemic.

Continue reading "Support the Yolo Food Bank" »

Rate discounts for VCE customers through PG&E

VCE(From press release) No one expected to see days quite like this. And for some of us, it’s beginning to feel as though we’ll have a tough time keeping our heads above water as our economies and paychecks adjust to this pandemic.

That’s why Valley Clean Energy representatives want to be sure that local residents are aware of the discounted electricity programs PG&E offers to income-qualified customers, even those who are Valley Clean Energy customers.

For example, the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) discount from PG&E is open to all eligible customers of VCE. Those who qualify to enroll in the FERA program could end up paying much less to stay warm through a chilly spring and cool this summer.

Continue reading "Rate discounts for VCE customers through PG&E" »

Valley Clean Energy Offers Covid-19 Update

VCE(From press release) As Yolo County residents join others throughout California in sheltering in place, Valley Clean Energy (VCE) is working to assure that customers receive a safe, reliable electricity supply throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Electricity has truly become the lifeblood of our lives as we self-isolate in our homes,” said Don Saylor, a Yolo County supervisor who chairs the VCE board of directors. “The cleaner electricity we buy for you will remain unchanged during this time.

“We want to assure our customers that the Valley Clean Energy team is working to ensure that lights will stay on; computers, phones and data centers will be powered; food and medicine will be refrigerated; and homes and water will be heated.”

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy Offers Covid-19 Update" »

Shame and Anger in the Time of Pandemic


...thoughts from home quarantine

By Christy Corp-Minamiji

I had to take a Facebook break for a few days. My rage meter was spiking equally at the “It’s no big deal; I’m going to do all my usual shit” posts and the “PEOPLE ARE IN THE PARK!! HOW DO I REPORT THEM?!?” posts.

We all know this, but weird stuff happens when we are afraid. We dig in deep, often to the positions that most fuel our guilt, shame, and anger.

I get it. I’m a stubborn perfectionist. You ain’t seen digging in until I’m on a rant or feeling betrayed.

But, here’s the thing. Nature (aka a virus, let’s call it SARS CoV-2) really doesn’t care about our thoughts, emotions, or opinions. It doesn’t give a shit about politics or the economy. It doesn’t care about graduations or weddings. It doesn’t really even care about toilet paper. It just wants some cells to attach and replicate. Human cells.

I spent 15 years of my career thinking about diseases in populations — first in vaccine research then in livestock medicine. And the one truth about population medicine is that the comfort of individuals is irrelevant in the face of disease.

We’re well beyond individual needs and comfort now. Ask Italy. Ask Spain where an ice rink has become a morgue.

And yes, that means I’m saying all the things you’ve been hearing about social distance, isolation, flattening the curve, etc.

It also means I’m saying, hold back when you want to lash out, when you want to shame someone for doing it wrong. I get that urge. It’s an individual comfort thing. It’s the desire for control when faced with something over which we have little control.

But, as Brené Brown says, you can’t shame people into changing their behavior. Only solid info and compassion are going to get us to a place of looking beyond our own fears to the health of the population.

Things are going to happen over which you have no control. You’re going to feel guilty, angry, terrified, even hateful.

I get it. I like to think I was ahead of the crowd in social distancing and caution. My kids certainly thought so — yeah, guys, I know I’m a pain. But, here I am, officially on home quarantine with a cough and chest congestion. No fever yet. Could be allergies, could be “just a cold,” could be COVID19. There’s no way right now to know since I am privileged not to be a high risk patient.

When the cough started, I felt deeply ashamed. What had I done wrong? Was I a hypocrite? I’d been going on for days about flattening the curve, and here I am, sick. Finally, yesterday, I remembered.

The virus doesn’t care. No virus cares. The pollens don’t care either. And my lungs have absolutely no opinion on how good a person I am.

So, it’s uncomfortable, even for an introvert, not knowing when I’ll be 72 hours symptom free, not knowing when I get to go for walks again, not knowing how long until my kids can come back. But, my comfort matters way less than the population. So, I’ll sit here and sip my tea, and pour myself a cup of compassion.

Skating the Davis Ditch

Interview with Matt Wieland

By Colin Walsh Photos by Matt Wieland and Iggie Walsh

Q: How long have you been skateboarding?

Matt:  I started skateboarding seriously in 1985. Bought my first board from Pet Cetera in downtown Davis.  Pet Cetera was a pet store that sold bikes and skateboards on the side.  At that time, Davis had several places to buy skateboards and equipment.  There was The Davis Sport Shop, Mountain Sports, Pet Cetera, and Brett For Sports over on Covell.

My first board was a Sims Blaster. Our favorite spot to skate was Whaleback Park because it had a circle embankment. It was our neighborhood skatepark and still kind of is.  The skate location there hasn't been taken of by the city. The wood is falling off the roof overhang and the cement is cracked and uneven.

Every time we ask city workers to move the picnic table that’s been chained in the middle of it they tell us that we have a skatepark we should be skating at.  That's the ignorance of people who just don't know what's up.  Skateboarding is a way of life.  The skateboard itself can be seen as a tool or example of how to progress with other things in life. How do you fight your fear? Do you face it?

Continue reading "Skating the Davis Ditch" »

Response to Chancellor May's COVID-19 press release

What is UCD doing to support students with COVID-19 ?

UCD Virus
By Eileen M. Samitz

On March 27th, Chancellor May sent out a press release which is important for the Davis community to be aware of in case they have not seen it. The link to the entire article is at:


The most relevant information in this article by UCD Chancellor May is the following section:

“Before I bring you this week’s updates, I must share that we have learned that a member of our faculty has been confirmed as positive for COVID-19. They were traveling in Europe and developed symptoms March 19 after they returned. They have been at home since returning to the U.S. and have not been on campus since March 5. For privacy reasons, we cannot release personally identifying information, but the faculty member has informed their departmental colleagues of the diagnosis and is currently self-isolating at home.

Earlier this week, in Dateline, we reported that a UC Davis student had tested positive for the coronavirus after returning home from a UC Education Abroad Program in Spain. They had been studying abroad since summer last year apart from a brief visit to campus in early January. The student is currently self-isolating at home.”

Since important and time sensitive details are not included in this press release by the Chancellor, I have sent him the following letter and asked for a response to these relevant questions.

Continue reading "Response to Chancellor May's COVID-19 press release" »

Council Risks Squandering SB1 Gas Tax Monies on "Nice-to-Have" Neighborhood Street Projects

IMG_9996Meanwhile our Major Arterial Roadways Deteriorate into 3rd-World Condition

by Alan Pryor

The following email was sent to the Davis City Council prior to last Tuesday's Council tele-meeting requesting that SB1 gas tax monies be only spent on main arterial roadway repairs in Davis because budgetary shortfalls will probably eliminate other needed roadway repairs of these critical main roadways and streets in Davis. The email was in response to a posted Consent Calendar item in which Council was asked by Staff to approve sending their proposed "wish-list"of neighborhood streets to be repaired in FY 2020-21 to the state as a pre-condition to receiving $1.3 million in SB1 gas tax monies for such repairs.

The list of streets to be repaired was prepared solely by the City  's Public Works Department and not ever vetted by the Bicycle, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission (BT&SSC) nor by the Finance and Budget Commission (F&BC) nor was there any indication in Staff's Report that these streets selected were in any worse state of disrepair than other neighborhood streets or major arterial roadways in town. It was simply a wish-list put together by Staff and there was no way of knowing if there was any quantitative basis for their selections.

Further, since the list to be sent to the State was not due until May 1, there was ample time for the consideration of the list of selected streets for repair by the appropriate Commissions prior to the submission deadline.

Continue reading "Council Risks Squandering SB1 Gas Tax Monies on "Nice-to-Have" Neighborhood Street Projects" »

Support the Davis Enterprise during the COVID-19 emergency – and beyond

By Colin Walsh and Roberta Millstein

The Davis Enterprise recently published an “Our View” editorial column arguing that newspapers play an essential role during this COVID-19 emergency.  They encouraged people to write to reporters you appreciate and thank them.  We decided we should take action too.

We agree that the Davis Enterprise plays an essential role in our community now, and for many, years in the past as well (it is our community’s oldest business, founded in 1897).  But it needs our support to continue to do so in the future.  In this article, we make the case for why you should subscribe to the Davis Enterprise  if you are not already. Details are at the end of the article.

Continue reading "Support the Davis Enterprise during the COVID-19 emergency – and beyond" »

City Council Zoom-bombed

Haywood plus

Davis’s first attempt at online democracy has significant, “Kinks”

By Colin Walsh

Last night’s City Council was a hot mess. For the first time the council attempted to hold an interactive online meeting using the Zoom video conference platform, but the meeting was attended by several Zoomers intent on disrupting the meeting. Mayor Brett Lee repeatedly referred to the difficulties faced by the Council and the staff as “kinks,” which may have been more on point than he realized.


Meeting attendees included the profane “Haywood Jablomi,” “aids,” and “Test Test” to name a few of the obvious fake names trolls chose while disrupting the City Council meeting.

The New York Times reported about this rising phenomenon on March 20th, stating that as Zoom’s “user base rapidly expands, the video conference app Zoom is seeing a rise in trolling and graphic content.” The Times noted that trolls “are jumping into public Zoom calls and using the platform’s screen-sharing feature to project graphic content on unwitting conference participants, forcing hosts to shut down their events.”

In Davis last night, this feature was used to project hard-core pornography on the shared screen in the middle of the council meeting and an annotation feature was used to repeatedly scrawl racist messages, including the n-word, on the shared screen. In one case, an offensive picture of former President Obama was displayed.  There is no doubt that these words and images made many members of the community feel threatened and unwelcome.

Continue reading "City Council Zoom-bombed" »