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A cautionary tale about commenting on the Vanguard

DoxxingBy Ron Oertel

I've recently learned that the “Davis Vanguard” is not a safe place in which to comment, unless you don’t mind experiencing doxing in violation of the Vanguard’s own policies, which are further discussed below.

When I first started commenting (several years ago), “real” names were not even required.  Some suspected that more than one fake name/account was used, by some individual commenters.  I have always used my real name, and added my last name when the Vanguard changed its policy to require full names.

However, no one “signed-up” for doxing as a result of that change in commenting requirements.  Perhaps this result is predictable on a political blog in which moderation occurs “after” posting of comments – if at all.

In any case, the Vanguard is also a place to avoid if you don’t like having your comments labeled as racist by those intending to discredit others (which I’ve learned to laugh about).  You can see a recent example of the latter responded to herefrom the same commenter who is being defended by the Vanguard in regard to violating their own policies.  So, if the doxing doesn’t discourage you from challenging the Vanguard, perhaps having your comments labeled as “racist” will.

Perhaps it’s not a “coincidence” that the commenter whose name-calling and doxing attempts (also) repeatedly attacks me in regard to development issues that the Vanguard supports.  But this article isn’t primarily about having comments called “racist”, and the example above occurred after I decided to write this article.  Nor is it actually about the commenter himself – it’s about how the Vanguard administers its own policies, especially when its views are challenged.

Those with views that are different than what the Vanguard espouses have long-experienced disproportionate levels of ridicule, name-calling, continuing threats of outright banning (relayed via email), and recently-created comment limitations - which don’t apply to the Executive Editor and Founder of the Vanguard, David Greenwald.  Such comments originate primarily from those who largely support the Vanguard’s point of view (a small, resident “peanut gallery”), as well as directly from Greenwald and Vanguard Moderator, Don Shor.  The comment section consistently degrades as a result, essentially creating a “tit-for-tat” atmosphere - in which the “judge” of what’s allowed to remain rests with those whose reporting and views are being challenged in the first place.  (You can probably “guess” which comments and doxing attempts are allowed to remain, under that scenario.)

Truth be told, there aren’t a lot of slow-growth commenters left on the Vanguard, at this point.  For that matter, there aren’t a lot of commenters remaining at all, these days.  But (with a few exceptions) those who remain are largely the “pit bulls” of the commenting world.

It is not a level playing field, and never was.  However, the most recent action is something entirely different.

Let's review the Vanguard's doxing policy:

Doxing: Doxing is not permissible. Doxing is defined as: “search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent.”  This includes posting personal (information), even when publicly available.

As noted, one of the Vanguard's more-aggressive commenters (Richard McCann) recently researched and posted links to local news articles (one of which dated back several years) for the sole purpose of attempting to divulge personal information about me.  The link had no relationship whatsoever to the topic of the article, nor to any of the other comments made.

The commenter then stated that I was attempting to “hide” information (and specifically cited the personal information), which is not the case (nor is it supported by any of the comments I’ve made, at any point in time).  If one were to actually examine the comments I’ve made over the years, this would be obvious.  Then again, I don’t feel any need to specifically disclose personal information as a requirement for commenting on the Vanguard.  I recommend that no one do so either, given the commenting environment on the Vanguard.  (However, as noted – others may do so “for you”, with the Vanguard’s blessing.)

Evidence of the commenter’s intent was demonstrated by inclusion of a comment (in reference to the citation) that was the opposite of what he normally argues.  But more to the point, it was irrelevant and put forth solely to discredit, which violates the following Vanguard policies:

Off-Topic Commenting:  Comments that do not pertain to the topic of the main post will be removed by the moderator.

Personal Comments:  Discussions should be limited to the topic of conversation and not focus on the individual commenters.  Any comments that focus on personal rather than substantive and topical should be removed.

All of this was brought to the attention of both Executive Editor, Greenwald and Moderator, Shor, but the comment remained for an extended period - and they have subsequently taken to defending it (and ultimately allowed a similar version to be reposted, as well).  As a result, the “doxer” (and the Vanguard) assumed unilateral authority regarding “which” personal information regarding someone else will be researched and shared, and the original commenter’s decisions are rendered irrelevant.

Technically, one does not even need to actually participate on the Vanguard for this to occur. 

I could post the series of subsequent emails regarding the incident in question (so that you can all be a judge of the Vanguard’s response), but I am not sure if this is a good idea.  Don Shor (the Vanguard’s resident moderator) suggested more than once that I stop commenting on the Vanguard, among other things.

Mr. Shor is apparently the person who initially made the decision to both ignore my request to remove the comment, and also engaged in the series of emails referred to, above.  He has repeatedly ignored the same type of doxing attempts in the past, as well – allowing them to remain in place for extended periods.

Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Shor have subsequently come up with a justification stating that since my comments appeared in a newspaper article (without my knowledge at that time), they are "fair game" for doxing purposes.  There was no explanation regarding the reason that other public sources of information are "off limits", such as the source apparently used to dox one of the Vanguard's resident board members some time ago - which (of course) was quickly dealt with by the Vanguard. 

Again, the links to the articles that were more recently-posted contained information that was personal and intended by the commenter to discredit, which was the sole reason for the reference to it.  His accompanying comment was abundantly clear, regarding that reason.

Rather than addressing the doxing and violation of its own policies, the Vanguard has subsequently come up with a contrived distinction regarding the types of public sources that can be used for doxing.  As such, this subsequent “explanation” creates more confusion and is not based upon any objective criteria.  In such an environment as the Vanguard, this confusion will likely lead to more “tit-for-tat” attempts at doxing, in which the Vanguard itself will be the judge in regard to those whose comments they clearly don’t like.  Again, with no objective criteria to make that decision.  It is also likely that the Vanguard will end-up banning those whom they subjectively decide are “violating” policies, while also leaving the doxing comments in place.  This is essentially a form of online bullying.

This is not the first time that doxing attempts have been made (and allowed to remain posted for extended periods), by various commenters.  I can name all of the them here, easily.  But this is the first time that the Vanguard has actually defended doxing against a commenter who consistently challenges the claims made by the Vanguard.

 The principals behind the Vanguard engage in personal attacks themselves (including labeling of comments as “racist”, and outright refusal to allow responses to those attacks – regardless of content).  The latter occurred in one article in which Greenwald and another commenter labeled two other commenters’ comments as racist.  After a day or two, all of the comments were deleted.

The hostile commenting environment is directed at those who challenge the Vanguard, and is discouraging community dialog by driving away participants.  One only has to look at “who” is left on the Vanguard, to observe the dearth of participants.  Especially those whose views don’t align with the Vanguard’s in regard to slow growth goals.

The Vanguard’s focus on promoting local development, combined with a broader focus on criminal justice is a strange marriage.  The Vanguard's external funding is growing (a recent article stated that it was more than $200K/year), but their 2020 tax forms have not been posted. 

Of course, if an organization such as the Vanguard is supportive of attorneys or groups who are suing cities and police departments for large sums, support is likely to flow both ways.  And since they’re also able to recruit pre-law students inexpensively (or "for free") - which enables those students to meet scholastic requirements, you also have a very low-cost labor force, subsidized by universities themselves.  As such, the Vanguard has found a way to be successful, while alienating large portions of the community with impunity.  Perhaps that’s why they believe that their own policies are irrelevant to them, and that they can easily afford to purposefully alienate others.

The same type of dynamic applies in regard to development interests (and the development community’s support of the Vanguard), as well as the Vanguard's relationship with some of the students who work for development interests.

Of course, there’s no way that I’d support the Vanguard.  But what I don’t understand is why someone like Don Shor would continue to be part of it (both in terms of moderating the comments without concern regarding the Vanguard’s policy, but also – actually participating in the comments).

Of course, Don has also publicly, purposefully, and repeatedly acknowledged (on the Vanguard itself) that he is part of the development team for Nishi, while advocating for Nishi (link).  He is also continuing to express support for other peripheral development, including that which contains low-density sprawl. 

In any case, the Vanguard is working against the interests of Davis and its residents.  Or at least anyone interested in journalistic integrity.  As such, it is probably wise to avoid commenting on there, for anyone other than those without an extremely thick skin, who may also be willing to be doxed and attacked (repeatedly).  And/or are determined to continue challenging them, regardless.

But don’t “mistake” the Vanguard as remotely adhering to its original guiding principles, let alone its commenting policies.

If you are nevertheless determined to support or participate in the Vanguard, note that personal information is at risk of being researched and posted in a purposeful attempt to discredit, regardless of its accuracy, completeness, or relevance.  Again, as part of a blatant and naked attempt to discredit and focus attention on an individual making a comment, rather than the comment being made – in direct violation of the Vanguard’s own policies in regard to personal and off-topic comments, as well as its doxing policy.

In short, the Vanguard simply doesn’t seem to care about journalistic integrity, their own policies, or alienating large swaths of the community.  The Vanguard has found a way to be successful without being concerned about such issues.  You (as an individual commenter) are nothing more than a fly in their ointment - to be continuously swatted (or possibly banned – if you don’t leave on your own).  Greenwald’s own comments reflect that attitude.

The Vanguard has bigger goals than Davis can offer (with the exception of its continuing promotion of local development proposals).  Greenwald has proudly noted that the most-read articles are those which are focused beyond Davis.  (Again, looking forward to his posting of 2020 tax returns, so we can see where the corresponding increase in funding is coming from.)

In any case, it seems that he’s not ready to move beyond his promotion on behalf of the local development community at this point. 

UPDATE -

I told David Greenwald that I was writing this article in advance of doing so.  As such, Greenwald sent me an email today, stating that he was planning further doxing of me (using other public records), stating that it was “relevant” to my participation on the Vanguard, and suggested that I answer further personal questions.  As part of that email, Greenwald is now threatening to expand the types of public information that that he may allow to be used for doxing purposes, in contrast to his initial response.  He has since allowed a doxing comment similar to the one in question to be “re-posted”, as well.

None of this is actually documented in any of the Vanguard’s policies. 

Also - in his subscriber article today, Greenwald continues to celebrate the decline of The Enterprise, and notes that he is actually planning to increase local coverage (presumably using paid staffers).  As such, it appears that he wants to increasingly replace The Enterprise.  As a “non-profit”, it appears that much of the Vanguard’s funding is in the form of grants provided by other organizations for specific purposes.  As such, expanding local coverage could potentially lead to expenditures of funds for purposes other than their intended use.  For example, for the purpose of “taking out” another news publication (in this case a traditional “for profit” one) and replacing them. 

Regardless of what the Vanguard attempts with me (personally), perhaps the bigger concern is Greenwald’s apparent hope to replace the Enterprise.  At least the Enterprise is not operated in a manner that’s intended to bully those with different political views/goals.  Perhaps Mr. Greenwald’s plans are something that everyone should be concerned about – and not just those who experience the consequences of doxing on the Vanguard.

 

Comments

Roberta L. Millstein

For what it's worth, I was also doxxed on the Vanguard, in addition to being subject to repeated personal attacks. The commenter who doxxed me and who made personal attacks against me was anonymous at the time but still regularly comments on the Vanguard, now with his real name in accordance with the Vanguard's supposedly (but obviously not) improved commenting policies. The Vanguard made repeated promises to deal with this person but ultimately refused to ban him, even though subsequent commenters have been banned for far less.

So, a cautionary tale indeed -- potential commenters beware. The Vanguard does not have a good history with commenters who dare to challenge the blog's party line, despite its claims to be providing a platform for community discussion.

Rachel W

I stopped lurking on The Vanguard once this website was created. Never missed it and never going back. Very toxic.

Thank you, Davisite creators and contributors!

Alan C. Miller

RO, I wish you had broken this up into two articles. One on doxxing, one on other commenting issues.

I SO agree with you on the clear bias of the application of the commenting policy. And on the hypocrisy of allow those with views that align with the DV to get away with statements that those opposed could never. It's so blatantly clear.

"You (as an individual commenter) are nothing more than a fly in their ointment - to be continuously swatted"

Call me SuperFly!

"In short, the Vanguard simply doesn’t seem to care about journalistic integrity, their own policies, or alienating large swaths of the community."

Truer words have never been spoken - the DV doesn't care about those three things - and it's clear as day to so many of us - and what is so laughable is they will deny it, because they actually believe that's not true. This should scare everyone, most especially those who run the DV and have deluded themselves.

"The hostile commenting environment is directed at those who challenge the Vanguard, and is discouraging community dialog by driving away participants. One only has to look at “who” is left on the Vanguard, to observe the dearth of participants."

So so true. All you need to do is go to any archive article and look at the dynamic discussion that used to take place between multiple parties. With each new policy stated to intend to make the comments 'funnies' section more welcoming, all that happens is more people leave. Now it's like less than ten of us, and except for me and Barack Palin, everyone is incredibly dull.

"since they’re also able to recruit pre-law students inexpensively (or "for free") - which enables those students to meet scholastic requirements, you also have a very low-cost labor force, subsidized by universities themselves."

You nailed it.

HOWEVER, I don't really get what you are discussing on doxxing because it was all removed and you don't say what happened. Why not state what happened straight out, why not publish the emails? What are you defining as doxxing here? Please be specific and stop beating around the bush as to what happened.

I don't know if you know, but that guy who used to post -- drunk, I'm guessing -- who was in a band and lived outside of Davis -- he doxxed you severely and outright one day, and his comments were removed immediately and he was banned on the spot, and rightly so. I hate to defend the Vanguard, but in this case they did the right thing and defended you. To be clear, that person posted longitude/latitude coordinates that were the location of you house. They were removed, but I didn't even know what the numbers were until I plugged them into google. And damage done -- yes, I (and anyone else who caught that before removal) know where you live :-|

So I assume what you are talking about is some other form of doxxing. I wish you and RM and anyone else who was doxxed would be very specific about what information was exposed and by whom. And what was this about DG sending you an email and asking that more personal information could be disclosed? Why not publish that email? Why not be specific about what information was made public, and what additional information is being threatened to be made public?

Anyway, I'm not thrilled about the policy here on the Davisite either - that all comments have to be approved by the article author. Why? How does that foster debate? There are even less commenters here. Years ago I contacted one of the people who run this site and said how off-putting that policy was, and I got the impression they agreed and were going to change that. It never happened. Also, the layout/comment-format here is worse than the DV. The DV layout/comment-format is terrible, here it is horrific. Using friendly be neither. If anyone wants to carry the torch of informing the public if the DE goes belly up, y'all should invest in some modern software.

The thought of the Vanguard as the replacement of the Enterprise should terrify the entire United States. Can you imagine only getting news from extremely biased, activist news sources? Oh, yeah, cable news. Already happened.

Too late. Nevermind.

Colin Walsh

The Davisite policy on comments is that they are prescreened by the author if the author is one of the regular authors, or in the case of an article like this one of the facilitators. the only thing that comments are screened for is personal attacks and only a couple of comments have ever been an issue, probably because of the pre approval. Pre-approval does slow down the comment section and probably does result in less overall comments than the Vanguard. Then again, Davisite is not trying to be like mud pit of the Vanguard comment section.

Roberta L. Millstein

Alan Miller, you state, "I wish you and RM and anyone else who was doxxed would be very specific about what information was exposed and by whom."

My information was doxxed by BM, although he was not going by that name then (he was using an anonymous name, as was allowed at the time). I am certain that you know who I am talking about, but I don't put his name here because I don't need the headache and don't need to make a point about him. He was a problematic actor long before the doxxing and the VG refused to do anything about it. To my mind, that is the real issue, so I am not at this time going to name him.

As for what information he revealed, it was my salary. Ironically, some time later his own salary was revealed and he lost his shit about it. Seems as though the world looks different from one's own perspective.

And yes, the only real way to prevent the info from getting revealed at all is to moderate comments. It is slow. It is a trade off. But no one will get doxxed here.

Keith

As someone who comments on the Vanguard I have to agree with almost everything that was written in the article and the comment section. Better hope the Enterprise never goes out of business.

Ron O

Response to "SuperFly":

Appreciate the response.

The latest "doxing" attempt was already reposted (and allowed), on the Vanguard. You've seen it - and responded to it by stating that it was not o.k. in your book, if I hadn't volunteered it. It is similar to what was originally allowed. (I wrote this article over a period of several days.)

Predictably, some then attempted to focus attention on the information that was doxed, rather than the comments/issues. Along with incorrect, politically-driven allegations regarding my motivation (which I was able to immediately address). But still, why would the Vanguard encourage and enable that in the first place?

I got a kick out of the one commenter who thought that this doxing would "end" my participation. (I'm kind of laughing to myself about it, right now.) Though I am finding it taking up too much time and energy, and I'm not sure what good it actually does.

Regarding personal information, that would logically include any such information that isn't shared by someone on the blog - whether it's location of home, place of employment, city pensions someone may have, salaries, businesses they own, etc. Probably a whole host of other things, as well. That would also include whether or not they are a developer (or have connections to them). Though I would think it's generally better for those connected to development interests to share that information on their own, up front. But again, that should be their decision.

I have seen plenty of examples where the Vanguard believes it is not acceptable to research and post information such as that listed above. So, what exactly is their "criteria", if they're going to remove the decision from the commenter, himself (or herself)? Or more accurately, allow it to be researched and posted in regard to some commenters, but not others? (I'm thinking of a specific example of this in regard to their place of employment, as I write this response.)

I understand that some of this type of information is shared if someone is appointed to a city commission, such as the Housing Element Committee.

Ironically, Don Shor did not even want his name mentioned in the article I wrote above - despite his direct involvement in allowing the doxing on the Vanguard.

Of course, all of this is dependent upon the controls put in place by the Vanguard in the first place, to protect against "fake" user accounts. A couple of us suspect that this may still be occurring, but it has been denied.

I realize that in a relatively small blogging/political community, those who want to "research" others will do so, regardless. But allowing that information to be specifically researched and posted (and for no other purpose than to discredit) does not reflect well on the blog itself. It also "removes" the decision regarding what someone wants to share from the commenter, himself (or herself).

Truth be told, there's no telling who is reading that blog (beyond the small number of commenters, themselves). As such, I'd recommend that everyone refrain from sharing much personal information at all, since full names are required (and subsequent moderating of comments can be inadequate, or worse). As such, personal concerns are not necessarily limited to political arguments. Perhaps I'm a little over-cautious regarding this, but again - I don't know who is reading it (other than the commenters).

But when doxing is allowed - it no longer matters what information you choose to share. Someone else will do it "for" you.

As noted, one of the problems with doxing is that some then attribute political motivations to information that they dig up. And then, the comments inevitably become about the "commenter", more than the "comment". Ultimately leading to further doxing attempts as well - for everyone. At which point the entire conversation is focused upon whatever someone digs up, and thinks they can make an issue out of.

Ultimately, I'm primarily concerned about sprawl (everywhere, really). I'd rather spend time talking about that.

Doxing does not even tell the complete (or even accurate story) about someone (let alone their motivations). But again, the only way this even has to be "addressed" is if the blog allows it.

Regarding sharing of emails directly, I'm not sure that this is actually allowable. There was no "new" information in Greenwald's email, and a portion of it was completely incorrect.

I agree, that the article could have been broken up into two parts:
1) Doxing
2) Hostile environment. (And how that leads to a "tit-for-tat" atmosphere, including doxing. So in that sense, these are related issues.)

Regarding the Davisite, I agree with you regarding their website and have brought it up myself. I also suggested that they start up a collection (e.g., "Go-Fund-Me" type of effort) to get a better one. (Unlike the Vanguard, the Davisite has no income, no budget, etc. It's totally volunteer-driven.) It is somewhat similar to what the Vanguard apparently used to be - a "community blog/bulletin board". But since it's not a business, it also does not have regular "reporting".

Sharla Cheney

There are only a small number of people who comment on the Vanguard at this point - 5, maybe six people. I try from time to time, when a topic truly interests me. My comments are typically immediately opposed or sometimes ridiculed, but I’ve made my point and try not to take the bait and engage in a conversation with other commenters. I recommend you try this. As for the frequent flyers - I don’t understand why people feel they have to comment every day. Are they really interested in everything? I comment here from time to time too, But the moderation discourages the arguing that commenters can end up falling into. I value both sites. Many times authors post the same article on both sites or there are different views of a similar issue. I also read The Enterprise, the Daily Democrat, the Sac Bee, The SF Chronicle, The Washington Post and The NY Times.

Alan C. Miller

I just posted this in the Vanguard, and it was removed in minutes. So I thought I'd post it here on the Davisite where it could live immortal:

Alan Miller August 9, 2021 at 5:05 pm

Hmmm . . . DG only posted 11 times in this article, out of 34 posting — very close to one in three, and over double the limit for other people, and that limit was enforced for this article by the moderator. Was the ‘Tia rule’ meant to be THAT liberal? . . . especially as this was not DG’s article.

One wonders what happened to THIS:

“I also realized this weekend, as much as I enjoy sparring with the other commenters, I can’t do it anymore. Too much time, too much going on. So I will step back from doing that. Might post updates or clarifications to the story, but the everyday engagement is going to have to go.”

https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/02/cha-cha-cha-changes-the-vanguard-grows-and-now-changes/

Eleven comments in one article is stepping back? And that’s just one article, one day. Sounds like this revelation of the need to cha-cha-cha-change was nothing more than a stutter that went ka-plunk 😐 But in reality you can’t stop yourself, can you? “Fear of cha-cha-cha-change”, perhaps? If intentions were ducks, DG would quack :-\ :-/

Ron O

Quote from Alan / SuperFly:
"But in reality you can’t stop yourself, can you?"

Quote from Sharla:
"As for the frequent flyers - I don’t understand why people feel they have to comment every day."

I'm thinking this might apply to several of us who are foolish enough to continue commenting on there in the first place, regardless of how many times David responds, etc.

Several people I've spoken to (who tend to be associated with "Davisites") stopped commenting on the Vanguard a long time ago. More than one person stated that it's just too aggravating, and can even be a drain on mental health.

Of course, one of the "Davisites" has actually been permanently banned BY the Vanguard. Not for doxing, but for responses to David that were apparently deemed to be too aggressive.

One person (who is well-known in the community) even received some kind of threat at one point, which was reported to the police. However, it is unknown if that was related to commenting on the Vanguard.

Perhaps the real question is, what (exactly) does commenting accomplish? Is it influencing anyone? Or, is it pushing people away?

And, how much time/effort does it consume, to continue responding?

I've heard it said that there is no sound made by one hand clapping. One wonders if we should just let David "clap" by himself. Or, play patty-cake with the few left on there.

As soon as one makes that first comment, that's pretty much it.
(Unless you can implement Sharla's other suggestion - make your point, and then ignore the responses/doxing.)

But if the Vanguard loses "SuperFly", it would certainly be less-entertaining. Even if he's on the wrong side of Measure D. :-)


Alan C. Miller

"As for the frequent flyers - I don’t understand why people feel they have to comment every day. Are they really interested in everything?"

Nope. Just in annoying people.

Colin Walsh

For clarity, the term "Davisite" means someone who lives or lived in Davis or otherwise identifies with the Davis community.
Also, no one who helps facilitate the Davisite has been banned from commenting on the Vanguard.

Alan C. Miller

" But if the Vanguard loses "SuperFly", it would certainly be less-entertaining. Even if he's on the wrong side of Measure D. :-) "

Aw, shucks.

Odd, I've had two people stop me 'on the streets' and tell me the only reason they read the Vanguard is for my comments. So there must be many more. DG should pay ME. Well, as least as well as he 'pays' his staff :-|

Alan C. Miller

RO, I'm still curious. Did you know about the MEGA-Doxxing incident against you?

It was by JH on February 4, 2021 at 12:45 pm. It gave the exact global coordinates of your house. This isn't just someone saying what City you live it . . . literally you plug the numbers into Google and a picture of, and the location of, your house comes up.

The post was removed, but not before many of us saw it (and stopped by your house for dinner that night). JH has never posted again -- I'm sure he was banned. Now THAT is what I call mega-doxxing, and that's why I was asking what you were referring to by 'doxxing'. There are many levels.

At least DV didn't allow that . . . allow really they did because it was out there for all to see, until it wasn't.

Roberta L. Millstein

Alan, I can confirm that your comments are the most entertaining thing on there (sorry, Ron).

Keith

Alan, aka Superfly, you're one of the main reasons I read the Vanguard. I love your sarcasm and wit. Unfortunately it gets tamped down way too often by the comment police.

Keith

You know, it would be great if this site could take off and be a viable alternative to the Vanguard. I'm tired of posting comments there just to find out way too often that they have been deleted for what I often feel are uncalled for reasons. That plus the 5 comment limit which seems to be enforced somewhat randomly and seems to apply more so to some commenters than others.

Colin Walsh

One thing that would be helpful for Davisite to grow is more regular contributors and content. I think everyone who has commented on this article has a lot to offer and it would be great to see more articles from all of you. Having multiple voices and differing perspectives make for a better community blog than a site that day after day is a regurgitation of the same pro-development arguments from the same person.

Alan C. Miller

"Alan, I can confirm that your comments are the most entertaining thing on there (sorry, Ron)."

Certainly far more entertaining than the Vanguard itself. If the Vanguard were a doctor's waiting room magazine, it would be piled under a 2014 issue of 'Vanity Fair". And thank you, RM. And, again, sorry, RO.

"Alan, aka Superfly, you're one of the main reasons I read the Vanguard. I love your sarcasm and wit. Unfortunately it gets tamped down way too often by the comment police."

Back at'cha KO. One thing no one in this town is going to claim is that the editor nor the moderator of the Vanguard has a sense of humor. But, in fairness, I have some empathy because during Covid-19 a lot of people are concerned about having medical procedures done, and that may be way they haven't yet had the long sticks up their respective butts removed.

"You know, it would be great if this site could take off and be a viable alternative to the Vanguard. I'm tired of posting comments there just to find out way too often that they have been deleted . . . "

Yeah, must be nice to wield such "power" over others (i.e. fear of laughter, fear of other opinions). Ha! Ha!

Y'know what would be really fun -- if the Davisite sponsored a page that was dedicated to the re-posting of comments that were deleted from the Vanguard comments section :-) :-) :-)

Roberta L. Millstein

One thing that would be helpful for Davisite to grow is more regular contributors and content. I think everyone who has commented on this article has a lot to offer and it would be great to see more articles from all of you. Having multiple voices and differing perspectives make for a better community blog than a site that day after day is a regurgitation of the same pro-development arguments from the same person.

^What Colin said. This was always intended to be a community blog with a multitude of voices. Happy to have any of you send us short/long/medium/interpretive dance (videoed) pieces.

Ron O

Another deleted comment (below) from the Vanguard. A constant occurrence, without explanation.

Meanwhile - continuing to allow allowing unlimited, repetitive doxing attacks and insults from Richard McCann. Seems like the Vanguard isn't even trying to be fair, at this point. How is it that anyone would even consider supporting them?

This is also related to the issue that McCann attacks me about. Considering that he constantly reminds me that he's a professional economist, it's interesting that he has no response to this that I'm aware of. But given his comments, it seems that he believes housing (and possibly job) markets for a given city are islands onto themselves.

Reality suggests otherwise.

Part of my comment below is a purposeful downplaying of the housing element. I did do to isolate "actual" need vs. "bureaucratic" need. In addition, I doubt that everything contained in the document will come to fruition. (The same will be true in cities throughout California.)

So far, I've chosen to continue participating (and I haven't yet been banned). The reason being that I think it's important to identify misinformation (or more accurately, lack of complete information) regarding issues that impact communities like Davis.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ron Oertel August 10, 2021 at 4:06 pm
I would continue to note (as others have) that there’s a direct connection between Davis and Woodland, in that anyone who wants a (new) traditional single-family dwelling (in or near Davis) is probably going to buy in Spring Lake. The type with at least a 2-car garage (if not 3), some kind of yard, etc. In other words, normal families.

Even more so, with the technology park planned there (along with an additional 1,600 housing units), on top of however many have been built or planned in Spring Lake itself.

There’s a reason that the developer named it “North, North Davis”, and puts advertising signs at the corner of Covell and 102. Seems like the only folks who don’t see those signs are the development activists on here.

Here’s a link to the planned technology park (which “moved” from Davis):

https://www.cityofwoodland.org/583/Woodland-Research-Technology-Park

Spring Lake is where young families are going for local single-family housing (if they want a “new” house, at least). I don’t see why (or even how) Davis can compete with it, in regard to that particular market. The development activists never tell you why Davis needs to copy this, either.

Just a bunch of noise, regarding undefined “demand”.

If I had to guess, I’d say that perhaps 75% of the homes in Spring Lake have someone in the household with a connection to Davis. Just a guess.

Families who might end up in whatever (new) shoe-horned box (for the same price) in Davis are of a totally different breed (and a smaller family), than those who end up in Spring Lake. In other words, abnormal families.

Though there are “pre-owned” houses in Davis, which would appeal to the same demographic (and are within the same price range). And as usual, the only folks who don’t see this are the same development activists referred to above.

https://www.zillow.com/homes/davis,-ca_rb/

But I guarantee you that those actually looking to buy (rather than argue on here) look at both locations. In my opinion, “pre-owned” houses in Davis are generally preferable to new ones in Woodland. They will also hold their value better than those in Spring Lake, during the next inevitable housing crash.

The only thing that Davis has to worry about are the artificial housing requirements that the state is forcing on all cities. And even that plan is ultimately just a piece of paper.

Good luck with everything you’re going to be dealing with from cities throughout the state, HCD.

Ron O

Just wanted to post one more immediately-deleted comment. McCann's comment has been allowed to remain, since he posted it yesterday. Keep in mind that this is well-after the Vanguard claimed that comments such as McCann's would be deleted.

It is ironic that the Vanguard (in their morning newsletter) is now "pondering" what to do about their comment section, when they're the ones who created and gaslighted the environment in the first place.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ron Oertel August 11, 2021 at 7:12 am
McCann: "You’re not trying to actually join this community . . ."

Me: "Researching and posting a newspaper article about someone else does not enable one to arrive at that conclusion."

McCann: "I’m within the Davis community so I can advocate for what rules that we choose – I have standing."

Me: "Those in other communities are impacted by decisions in Davis, and vice-versa. Regardless, commenting on here does not require one to establish or disclose anything about oneself. There was a time when names weren’t even required to comment on here."

"I’ve found that information that is disclosed (by oneself, or someone else) is generally used to discredit, as you have been doing. You are not the first one to do so, nor have I been the only recipient. This has actually been occurring for quite some time."

Here's a link to McCann's comment:
https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/08/commentary-we-cant-solve-our-housing-problems-with-wishes-and-prayers/#comment-453401

Alan C. Miller

Deleted:

One thought on “Analysis: Data Transparency is a Good Start, But DA Reisig Needs a Data Analyst”

Alan Miller August 11, 2021 at 8:41 am

Analysis: Data Transparency is a Good Start, But DA Reisig Needs a Data Analyst

I hear from reading here that the blogger who runs this blog is a excellent data analyst. Perhaps Reisig could use both the blogger (data analyst) and the business model of the blog (use volunteer’free’, low cost and/or ‘intern’ labor) and ‘hire’ the blogger/data-analyst as a volunteer or intern who would gladly do data analysis for the county for free, for the people. This would be true ‘public service’, unlike all those ingrates who get paid to work for the government and call it ‘pubic service’. This is your calling. Go forth and analyze!
You can no longer edit this comment.

Alan C. Miller

RON: Can you send me a copy of the 'paid' version where the so-called Vanguard where they ponder what to do about the comments. Sounds like whatever they do, they are going to degrade it even further and become even more self-denying hypocrites who will say they are going to make it better while making it even more of a joke. Our evil plan is working!!! :-|

Send to my three letter initials -at- omsoft dotty dotty calm.

Deleted:

One thought on “Guest Commentary: Thoughts on SB 35 and Housing”

Alan Miller August 11, 2021 at 8:28 am

(Editor’s note: this comment was worth creating as a standalone article that can generate its own conversation)

And yet . . . it hasn’t 😐

Loading
Click to Edit – 4 minutes and 22 seconds

Alan C. Miller

Moderator August 10, 2021 at 2:40 pm

"Note to all participants: comments that are not directly on topic to any article will be removed immediately."

Alan Miller August 11, 2021 at 11:15 am

THE HAMMER (and sickle) COMES DOWN!

When dictators sense the coming of successful revolution, their veneer of courage with their opponents (allowing free speech) comes off, and their cowardice comes through.  They clamp down with the last vestiges of their waning power (yet more restrictions on free speech).  They have seen what happens to dictators worldwide, throughout history.  If lucky, they are banished to a small, sympathetic country across an ocean.  If unlucky, dragged through the streets and . . .

Alan C. Miller

Alan Miller August 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm

On the other end of this is the Vanguard comment section which is increasingly a headache

Take two Advil and call me in the morning

that does not add value to our site or our community.

Well that’s like . . . your opinion man.

Despite the way things look it is not much different from before.

It looks like it did before.

we have 7 paid employees at the Vanguard, 14 board members, and around 80 interns. That doesn’t include Cathy our copy editor and Don Shor the site moderator.

So the way you worded that, the last two aren’t in the category of the first seven, eh?

People frequently complain about the nature of the comments.

Yes they do, and higher quality don’t.

Some of the people complaining of course are a big part of the problem.

I resemble that remark.

Most people have for a variety of reasons decided other things are more worth their time.

Like 99% of Davis.

the comment section is just a headache – a headache I have little time or patience for at this point.

Then why don’t you get rid of it or change it? Ruining the comments section has been my goal for over a decade. Sounds like I am near succeeding.

What do we do?

Take two Advil and call me in the morning.

One option: shut it down.

Yes! I win!

Let people comment on social media or on the Davisite.

Already happenning. Yes! I win!

Another option, hide the comments for they are no longer part of the article and instead people have to click to get there and let people have at it.

Click and comment, but free reign to be a complete and total arsehole. Yes! I’m in!

A third option, tighten the rules even further.

See earlier comments regarding the fall of dictators and free speech. Also guaranteed to give you a headache.

Yesterday I asked Don to simply remove all comments that weren’t directly related to the article.

He kinda does that already. Now he has free reign. See earlier comments regarding the fall of dictators and free speech.

A fourth option I am considering is what I saw when I went on Matt Iglesias’ site.

“Of all the girls I’ve loved before . . . ”

He has the comments behind a paywall. You need to subscribe to post or read the comments.

Can I pay for the right to continue to be a vexing headache for you?

That could generate additional revenue – possibly.

Maybe you could use the spoils to pay your copy editor and your moderator.

Some people will no doubt leave and not come back.

No doubt.

Some of those people we are probably better off with them not commenting.

Anyone in particular?

On the other hand, we already have over 200 people who pay money on a monthly basis – they would instantly have access.

The instantly already do. Where are those 200 people? Are they . . . afraid . . . to . . . comment . . . due . . . to . . . the . . . ‘nature’ . . . of the comments? Heh heh.

Potentially at least, that would be more than we currently have commenting.

Enjoy you Echo Chamber, suckers!

I would get accused of trying to silence critical voices – but I get that anyway

You would be silencing critical voices.

and frankly I am less interested in silencing critics than I am stopping the nonstop comments that have little to do with the topic at hand or the nonstop petty personal crap.

Maybe you should get a moderator. Family Guy had a character named “Officer Stickbutt”. You could hire them. If they weren’t a cartoon.

Not sure what I will do – but look forward to constructive feedback on this vexing problem.

I hope you’ve found the feedback of the non-constructive helpful as well 🙂 🙂 🙂

It’s good to be vexing.

Roberta L. Millstein

Alan, small tip... if you are using italics, the tag to indicate the end of the italics should be < / i > (but without the spaces).

Keith

"Another option, hide the comments for they are no longer part of the article and instead people have to click to get there and let people have at it."

I've never understood this. First of all if someone was somehow offended by a commenter there's already an ignore commenter button and poof they're gone.

Secondly if you don't like the comment section then DON"T READ IT! No one is forcing you to. How hard is that?

In my opinion a lot of this comes down to there are a few commenters on the Vanguard who don't conform to the liberal/progressive views of the People's Republic of Davis and they can't stand it so instead of engaging they cry and want them shut down.

Ron O

Keith: I agree, but would note that some on the Vanguard (also) don't like slow-growth views.

There has been a strange "mixing" lately, in which some who claim to be progressive have latched-onto traditionally-conservative "trickle-down" economics. Not just on the Vanguard.

For example, YIMBYs seem to claim the "progressive" label as their own, despite sometimes being in conflict with affordable housing advocates (and related concerns regarding gentrification), as well as those concerned about environmental impacts.

To paraphrase an early TV show (To Tell the Truth), "will the real progressive please stand up"?

Of course, some also ignore the fact that environmental concerns and slow-growth goals are not necessarily the domain of one side of the political spectrum. For that matter, note the underlying, common basis of the words "conservative" and "conservation".


Ron O

But Keith, I don't recommend using the "ignore" feature on the Vanguard, unless you want to unexpectedly accommodate someone like "JH" for dinner - and you won't know of the "invitation" you extended to him and others, in advance.

(Reference to an earlier comment. Since I didn't use the ignore feature, I was aware of it when it occurred.)

The more-recent incident with McCann is a symptom of a continuing problem.

But even without using the "ignore" feature, are Vanguard commenters inviting other guests to dinner, as well? Lurking out there, in cyberspace? (Probably not, but using a full name in regard to political views is never "comfortable" in the Internet age. Not to mention how others - such as potential employers - might view it.)

Keith

"On the other end of this is the Vanguard comment section which is increasingly a headache that does not add value to our site or our community."

Does the Vanguard add value to the community? I think you have many that would definitely give that a big fat NO. There was a "Usefulness of Local News Sources" survey that was conducted for the City of Davis in 2019 and of the nine news sources that were rated the DavisVanguard came in dead last with a net useful score of -16. Yes a MINUS 16. In comparison the Enterprise has a net useful score of PLUS 57.

So judge for yourself.


Keith

The City of Davis Usefulness of Local News Sources survey that I referenced above can be seen here on page 28.

https://www.cityofdavis.org/home/showdocument?id=13878

Alan C. Miller

"On the other end of this is the Vanguard comment section which is increasingly a headache that does not add value to our site or our community."

> Does the Vanguard add value to the community?

DG said "our" site, "our" community, not "the" community. He's talking about HIS people. The mini-DG's. Greenwald bots.

Waldos.

And the other end of "this" above is that he's helped people get into law school, 50 of them!!!! And be they not white nor male! And he proudly states about himself, "It is a remarkable achievement." It's so remarkable, you kind of ruin it by stating how remarkable it is. Let's all give Waldo the sound of one hand clapping for his remarkable achievement. I can't wait for the high school and prison programs. I understand they will be remarkable. And will also, I'm betting, mostly ignore white males. Except allies of course. Hooray!

I'll bet the purpose here isn't more lawyers, but more progressive activists infiltrating the country's legal system.

"- the comment section is just a headache - a headache I have little time for patience for at this point."

I've been predicting this day for over a year. Doing my best to speed the coming of this day. It's like the coming of the Messiah.

Keith

"the comment section is just a headache – a headache I have little time or patience for at this point."

So then why would whole Vanguard articles often be written based on comments in the comment section? And why would David engage daily with these commenters in the comment section if it was such a headache and he had little time or patience for?

Alan C. Miller

Impossible KO! That can't be happening. To quote DG from a few months ago:

“I also realized this weekend, as much as I enjoy sparring with the other commenters, I can’t do it anymore. Too much time, too much going on. So I will step back from doing that. Might post updates or clarifications to the story, but the everyday engagement is going to have to go.” -- DG

So all that sparring and engagement and using comments as article seeds - that's not real. I believe you are hallucinating and should see a doctor.

Or maybe the Vanguard is a hallucination.

Or a bad trip, man.

Keith

“I also realized this weekend, as much as I enjoy sparring with the other commenters"

"the comment section is just a headache – a headache I have little time or patience for at this point."

So he enjoys sparring with other commenters but the comment section is a headache that he has little time or patience for?
So which is it?

Keith

I remember when the Davisite was born, if there was any mention of it on the DavisVanguard it was quickly moderated out. What were they afraid of?

Ron O

Keith: At first, the Vanguard was clearly-threatened by the Davisite. I recall a comment from David in which he compared the two to Coke vs. Pepsi. And for a long time, David and Don did not allow any reference at all to the Davisite.

However, I don't think that's the case, anymore. The Vanguard is a business (reportedly pulling in more than $200K, and growing). It is primarily/increasingly focused on criminal justice reform, and is also tapping-into those pursuing law as a career. And more importantly, it appears that its primary sources of income are related to law. Of course, UCD also has its own school of law.

https://law.ucdavis.edu/

Take a look at the "attendees" for their upcoming seminar. USF School of Law paid for 15 attendees today, alone.

https://davisvanguard.networkforgood.com/events/31971-the-vanguard-justice-award-gala-general-admission

In contrast, the Davisite is not a business, has no income, and is run by those with other jobs. I'm pretty sure that a large part of the reason that the Davisite was started was due to dissatisfaction and frustration with the Vanguard, in regard to the types of issues discussed in this article (as well as in the comments).

This comment is not intended to criticize the Vanguard - just noting the differences. And the fact that the Vanguard is increasingly-less worried about the Davisite. (You can see that from the Vanguard article that Alan quoted, as well.)

Let's wish the Vanguard well in its pursuit of criminal justice reform, and hope that it eventually drops its advocacy for development. And provides space for the Davisite to function as intended ( community bulletin board, with periodic articles regarding development or other issues of concern to the local community).

But I suspect that neither the Vanguard nor the Davisite will function as a place to debate broader (conservative/liberal) differences, as the Vanguard once did.

Ron O

I don't intend to continuously put forth articles and comments to the point where the Davisite becomes the "Anti-Vanguard". However, the Vanguard continues to put forth arguments that can only be described as misleading, at best.

Today, for example, there's an article regarding future RHNA housing requirements, in which Greenwald notes that current requirements could have been partially-met by DISC.

However, Greenwald "conveniently" leaves out the fact that RHNA requirements are largely based upon the number of jobs in a given area.

DISC would have added more "jobs" than "housing" units, had it been approved (and commercially-successful). The EIR itself noted that it would create more demand for housing than it would have provided. This is a fact, not an opinion.

As such, had DISC been approved, it would lead to a higher RHNA number in future rounds.

Of course, this has all been previously pointed out to Greenwald. His response has been something along the lines of, "the city is going to build more peripheral housing, anyway, so creating more demand (on top of what already exists) makes no difference". (Not a verbatim quote.)

This type of comment is loaded with assumptions (and completely ignores existing demand for housing - upon which RHNA requirements are supposedly based). As such, it appears that Greenwald isn't actually concerned about claimed, existing "housing shortages" (or resulting RHNA requirements), at all. Nor does he seem concerned about purposefully creating housing shortages.

It's also not difficult to see that Greenwald continuously criticizes Measure J, while claiming to support it. This "discrepancy" appears to be the primary reason that one of the most-determined commenter/critics of Measure J (on the Vanguard) continues to "press" Greenwald to essentially "come clean" (for lack of a better phrase), regarding his position. Good luck with that. Fortunately, Greenwald failed miserably regarding his recent repetitive attempts to "start a conversation" regarding how to essentially undermine Measure J.

Another misleading article/comments was put forth yesterday, in which Greenwald and Shor (once again) claimed that student housing on campus is more expensive than that in the city. As previously pointed out, this is simply incorrect, regarding new student housing. Using the examples previously discussed, the monthly rental amount is approximately equivalent. In addition, the campus housing discussed in that comparison did not require a full-year lease, unlike the new development in the city.

One grows weary of continuing to point these things out on the Vanguard itself, as it just never ends. Along with the personal attacks if one points them out.

Ron O

So today, David Greenwald noted (in his "free" morning newsletter) that he received a Covid relief grant from the state, which he will now use to overhaul the Vanguard's website.

Leaving aside for a moment how a developer-oriented publication qualifies as a tax-exempt organization in the first place, how is it that these types of Covid relief funds can be used in this manner?

Alan C. Miller

"how is it that these types of Covid relief funds can be used in this manner?"

FREE MONEY! SPREAD THE LOVE, MR. GREENCHEESE

Business getting government money is known as 'corporate welfare'. Pull up to the trough, eat piggies eat!

This is 'nonprofit welfare' :-}

Was it turned down on principle? NO! It was not.

We The People! We the taxpayers . . . PAID for this.

HOW did they get it? Did the Davisite get its share? Did the Enterprise get its share?

More money to the blog advocating for release of Sirhan Sirhan! Such a pleasant smile.

Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blogio! Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog - Oh money we'll use you to overhaul our website, so we can continue our MISSION of crushing Reisig!

Crush Crush Crush!

Hey Garamendi! The taxpayers called, and they want their corporate welfare website repair money back.

Give it to the starving children of Yolo County instead :-|

Roberta L. Millstein

Damn, silly us, we forgot to put our hand out! I am sure that blogs are areas of the greatest need.

Ron O

Well, I along with a couple of others have recently-resumed commenting on the Vanguard.

Sort of "testing the waters", as it were.

And already, they deleted one of my comments without explanation. Since it was totally deleted, I am re-creating it as best I can recall, here:

"I did not previously realize that Dan Ramos (the primary developer behind DISC) was already Tim Keller's landlord. That explains a lot (to me, at least).

Had I known about this open house in advance, I probably would have dropped-by to say hello. 🙂

I might have also pointed out the ongoing commercial vacancies (e.g., in the area around 2nd and Pena)."

https://www.davisvanguard.org/2021/08/inventopia-officially-host-the-public-in-an-open-house/

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