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November 2018

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!

Continue reading "City-owned Fiber Optic Broadband? Take the DavisGIG survey!" »

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 PMOverdue edit on 8/6/2021: The general recommendation now seems to be that you select the US EPA conversion, not the LRAPA conversion.  See, e.g., this post, which also explains that the AirNow data, while perhaps more accurate than PurpleAir, can have a fairly significant delay, which (to my way of thinking) defeats the point of accuracy if conditions are changing rapidly, especially if they are changing for the worse.  You might think air quality is good when in fact it is not.

Edit on 9/30/2020, since this old post continues to get a lot of attention: I recommend that you check out this article about reconciling the official government numbers and Purple Air's.  One exciting development is a "a pilot project of what some may consider to be the Holy Grail of air quality maps: combined readings taken from PurpleAir’s low-cost sensors and those from official government monitoring devices, all in a single map."  -RM

A 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).

Continue reading "Understanding Purple Air Data" »

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.

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.

Continue reading "Paradise Lost - A Community Struggling to Survive" »

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.

Continue reading "We must be the fire brigade." »

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

Continue reading "Skewed Air Quality Logic" »

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.

Continue reading "Friends of the Sustainable Living and Learning Communities" »

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

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.

Continue reading "Caravan of our Brothers and Sisters" »

Yes on L lawn sign impropriety on Election Day

Yes-on-L-signThe sign to the left greeted me this morning as I went to vote at my polling place at the VMC.  It is, in my opinion, an example of improper electioneering.

Electioneering is not permitted within 100 feet of a polling place. Electioneering is defined by the California Election Code Section 319.5 as “the visible display or audible dissemination of information that advocates for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot within 100 feet of a polling place, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location.”

Although someone cut the "Yes" part of the sign out, it's clear that this sign is advocating for the WDAAC project and is thus prohibited.

You have to wonder about the real merits of a project when its proponents will stoop this low to promote it.

Two election-day letters in support of Murphy

This letter is to encourage voters to elect David Murphy to the Area 2 position on the Yolo County Board of Education. I have known and respected David for nearly 20 years, meeting him through school related activities our daughters participated in.

David led efforts in the past to improve Davis schools, including the creation of Da Vinci School, initiating our local Montessori magnet program, and introducing advanced placement (AP) science programs.

David Murphy’s career eventually led him to serve in a consulting capacity for school districts in the region, focusing on program improvements while maintaining fiscal prudence and seeding available outside funding to keep budgets in line with resources.

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What Are Davis Residents Saying Against Measure L?

Luxury sprawlBy Rik Keller

The Yes on Measure L/West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) campaign has been saying that opponents of the project are "against seniors" and has been making unsubstantiated claims that the No On WDAAC campaign arguments are "lies" [see: https://www.davisite.org/2018/10/uncivil-discourse-at-the-civenergy-forum.html]. In the added context of the Yes on L campaign spending about $250,000 in this election cycle compared to about $7,500 for the opposition (as of reports filed 10/20/2018), this kind of messaging from deep-pocketed special interest groups who stand to make millions from cynical voter manipulation is offensive.

The following is a sampling of some Davis citizen comments against the Measure L/WDAAC project from social media posts that demonstrate that Davis residents are seeing through the blizzard of marketing money and the false charges of the project proponents. To my knowledge, none of these are from anyone working/volunteering on the No On WDAAC campaign, nor were they solicited by the campaign. It is notable that a significant number of the comments were posted on the Yes On L campaign's own Facebook page posts/advertisements.

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Pancakes and Politics Voter Guide

PPVGNov2018_final_Page_01Every election a group of Davis residents meets to eat pancakes, discuss the upcoming election, and put out a whimsical Politics and Pancakes Voter Guide.  You can find the voter guide for this year's election on the Davis Wiki .  Check it out -- there are many interesting thoughts there -- and please vote!  In-person voting is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6.

What YES Does

ERC residents
Residents of Eleanor Roosevelt Circle regularly meet with their on site Social Services Coordinator

By David Thompson

With your YES vote for Measure L, these low income seniors will get to stay and live in Davis. Otherwise, there are few places for them to go.

Davis Low Income Seniors are People by the Numbers

How many low income seniors will get a home in Davis?

This energy flowing through my senior years comes directly from the Davis Community through the Eleanor Roosevelt Circle, thank you. Davis is a uniquely qualified community to establish new models of senior housing. Please vote yes on Proposition L to house more seniors.”

Diane C. Evans, Davis

Continue reading "What YES Does" »

Why I am not voting for Measure M

MBy long time Davis resident with strong ties to DJUSD.

I received yet another shiny flier in the mail yesterday regarding Measure M. It no doubt will pass and I take great backlash risk in stating the following: There is one measure you will NOT see on the ballot next week and that's the much discussed and debated parcel tax that would serve to increase Davis teachers' salaries.

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Disrespectful redface Halloween costume from the Yes on L/Yes on WDAAC campaign

Yesterday, Jason Taormino posted the photo at the left from their setup in downtown for the Halloween walk, showing one of their volunteers dressed as Pocahontas.  Most people have heard of “blackface”, especially since Megyn Kelly recently had her NBC show cancelled over defending blackface as being “ok so long as you were dressing, like, as a character.”  So why does the Yes on L campaign think that it’s ok to dress in redface as Pocahontas? 

People have been rightly and roundly criticized for dressing in redface before.  A student at Oklahoma university was pilloried for dressing in redface, with the recognition that a costume like that is “deeply disrespectful to the Native American community.”  Stephanie Fryberg, a Professor of Psychology and American Indian Studies at the University of Washington, as quoted in an article from Indian Country Today, asks, “Why are issues for Native people taken as less serious in the domain of bias and stereotyping and prejudice than for African Americans, why is there this difference?”

Continue reading "Disrespectful redface Halloween costume from the Yes on L/Yes on WDAAC campaign" »