Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #5
An Open Letter to South Davis on Issues at Pacifico (January 2021, recycled)

Open Letter to City Council on CC Agenda Item 4: Update on Healthy Davis Together

City Councilmembers,

I note that Healthy Davis Together (HDT) is scheduled to end its public testing services at the end of this month.  I am concerned about the timing of this closure during a large surge of Covid-19.  The surge is not unexpected with masking reduction, public burnout and a highly-contagious variant.  True that far less people are dying, but why shut down testing just as there is a huge upsurge in cases and a small uptick in deaths?

Last time the HDT program was slated for shutdown, I suggested rather than shutting down the program, start charging for testing, and allow for those testing to 'sponsor' more tests by paying for tests for others in need.  I believe the community will respond generously.  Many I have have spoken to are dismayed at the end of H.D.T testing, and would welcome the continuation of the program as a pay service.  I encourage Council to push for this option.

I saw pictures of the previous (first live) City Council meeting in 'a local blog'.  Great photos of all of you.  But no one on the dais was wearing a mask.  Photos of the audience showed a spattering of maskless and masked -- using cloth, surgical, N95.  What is the mask policy?  What is the message the Council wishes to send?  Why the choice to have the first live meeting and not wear masks as we headed into a surge?

Society today -- supposedly compassionate towards marginalized peoples -- is being oddly cruel in dismissing that Covid-19 "only" kills the old and the sick.  Are 'old' and 'sick' not marginalized groups that we should care for?  Being that I will be 'old' soon (in the category where Covid-19 death is much more likely), I would prefer to live in a society that gives a crap. 

I go to one business downtown and they require full N95 masking for all clients who enter.  I go to another business wearing a mask and am taken to a closed office with a maskless woman who never even asks if I'd prefer she wore a mask.  Many people seem done with Covid-19.  Yet, I know more people who have contracted Covid-19 in the last two months than the previous two years.  My pre-Covid-19 work building was just declared a 'severe outbreak location' for the first time in the pandemic.  But apparently we are tired of Covid-19, so end the testing, end the masking?

Official health guidelines are insanely confusing.  The County lists a state website that grades types of masks by their usefulness.  N95 is 'very good', surgical is 'good', cloth is 'fair'.  This is for a deadly virus. 

Can you imagine if health officials used a similar system for prophylactics?  Latex is 'very good', lambskin is 'good', a plastic baggie is 'fair' ?  Of course for something non-fatal health officials are clear that the only way to protect one's self, and others, is to use a latex condom.  But we teach that a cloth mask is a 'fair' option.   As the concept of masks has changed from 'everyone helps everyone' to 'everyone for themselves', and all masks are widely available, it is paramount that the vulnerable public is guided to use only the most protective masks.

As well, home Covid-19 tests have proven to frequently give false negatives.  This is worse than no tests at all, as people may visit an old and/or vulnerable family member with the false security of having taken an inadequate home test.

I recently learned that although HDT is shutting down, a "test -to-treat" facility is opening in Woodland, offering a same day full round of Paxlovid if one tests positive.  I learned about this not from the City, but from the California Aggie.  Will a "test-to-treat" facility be opening in Davis soon?

I urge the Council to:  A) Wear masks at meetings while the surge continues; B) Continue Healthy Davis Together as a paid program allowing donations for the needy; C)  Give a clear message as to where we are in the pandemic that considers a balance between business needs, healthy citizens, and vulnerable citizens; D) Give clear information about testing and treatment available to Davis residents beyond June 30.


Alan C. Miller

District 3



Janet Krovoza

I, too, am dismayed that HDT is planning to shut down. Since antigen tests are so unreliable early in an infection, after a recent exposure I've been frequenting the ARC and Vets for PCR testing, which is much more sensitive. I believe the idea was that the now readily available rapid tests would replace the PCR testing -- but with the repeated surges and the rapid tests' inability to identify early infections, that appears to be wishful thinking

Nancy Price

Thank you Alan for this important A to D proposal to the Council.

My recent experience of friends exposed to and ill from COVID complements yours.

Additionally, recently I had to make a quick trip to DC and was amazed that on the plane only about 2/5ths of passengers were masked with the parentage a bit higher within Dulles airport and on the METRO.

Good luck,
Nancy Price

Roberta L. Millstein

I am fully on board with all four of your proposals, Alan. I think the general message here is that the City Council needs to show real leadership in how it responds to the pandemic, something that it has yet to do. Yes, HDT has been a great program. But isn’t it really the university's great program? What did the city do besides a little publicity and facilitating some locations for testing centers? With money for HDT drying up, it is (past) time for it to step up.

Thanks for writing this.

Alan C. Miller

I received this reply from the City:

Dear Alan,

Thank you for writing to the City Council regarding Healthy Davis Together and masking. All Councilmembers have received your email, and I am acknowledging it on their behalf.

At this time, masking in an indoor, public setting is strongly encouraged by the Yolo County Health Officer, but it is not required. Thank you for your suggestion.

Regarding Healthy Davis Together, the presentation tonight will be informative about the wind-down of the program and what options we have now.

The County and the Cities of Davis, West Sacramento and Woodland, along with DJUSD, funded the current extension of the testing program through the end of June 2022. The decision and plan to end the testing program June 30 has been in the works since last December and is now final. We understand this will be a significant change for many, however, we are fortunate that there are many options for free and low-cost COVID-19 tests in our community/county.

Healthy Davis Together will be publicizing testing options as HDT draws to a close. For example, OptumServe in Woodland offers antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests as well as treatment options for those who test positive and may be at higher risk of serious infection.

COVID-19 testing will still be done by healthcare providers and local retail pharmacies like CVS and Rite Aid, which also offer over-the-counter, at-home test kits.

A list of testing resources will be posted on the Healthy Davis Together website (www.HealthyDavisTogether.org) after HDT testing ends for easy community access.

For Yolo County testing resources: You can call (833) YOLOCOV (965-6268) or visit the COVID-19 resources page of the Yolo County website for additional testing information across the county: https://www.yolocounty.org/covid

In California, health insurance plans will reimburse you for over-the-counter testing kits you purchase at local retailers. If you are on Medicare or Medicaid, you can get COVID-19 test kits for free.

In addition, all US households are eligible to order free COVID-19 at-home tests through the US Postal Service. You can request at-home kits at www.COVID.gov/tests

Thank you so much for your engagement on this issue.

Best regards,


BARBARA ARCHER (she/her/hers)
Communications & Customer Service Manager

Alan C. Miller

I am watching the City Council meeting. Not a mask in sight.

No masks on Council, nor staff that I've seen, not on most commenters (sans Conner Gorman who sported a surgical mask), and significantly no masks on the two men presenting the update on Healthy Davis Together.

The City response above stated: "At this time, masking in an indoor, public setting is strongly encouraged by the Yolo County Health Officer, but it is not required."

So the message back from everyone in Chambers tonight to the Yolo County Heath Officer is "f*ck you" ??? I am not being crass just to be crass, I am emphasizing how stark a contrast this is between health recommendations and how everyone in Chambers is behaving. How else are we to interpret this ? The only other interpretation I can come up with is #wink, wink# the Health Officer is "wrong" and everyone: staff, council, and public, knows better.

Or . . . ? How do YOU interpret the discrepancy between the "strong recommendation", and the fact nearly everyone is ignoring it? That amid rising infection rates.

And what is this message "masking in an indoor, public setting is strongly encouraged" ? WHY is "masking" even an acceptable term to be used by any health official? Note: this is not to be specifically critical of our health officer, this is rampant - right up to the state and national messages about 'face coverings' as if they are all the same. That's like saying a Noah's bagel is equivalent to an authentic boiled water bagel :-|

To explain why this irks me so strongly, I read a study that starkly emphasized just how different the generic term 'masks' are in terms of effectiveness. It was an experiment that studied how long two people wearing the same mask-type could be in a room safely before the virus (Omicron variant) spread to the other person. The answer: cloth mask was little different than no mask; with surgical masks (both people wearing them) people were safe for about 15 minutes; while N95's protected the wearers for over 12 hours!!! So WHY does anyone, anymore just say 'masks' or 'face coverings' ???

Having said all this, I truly appreciate the Healthy Davis Together program and the six-month extension. But, I still don't understand the timing. I know several students who got Covid-19 in May and June, and from what I hear the number of infections is exploding.

So, therefore, time to end the testing, because -- few are dying? If that's the message, please, just end the charade and SAY it !!!


Personally I feel it's time to move on from requiring people to mask. Though if someone still feels they need to mask then by all means do so.

I agree with Alan about his HDT proposal:

"rather than shutting down the program, start charging for testing, and allow for those testing to 'sponsor' more tests by paying for tests for others in need"

hat's a good solution.



I'll go ahead and post this here, since the Vanguard declined to do so. I don't really have any intense interest in Covid policies OR incarceration issues, but I'm also not seeing any reason that the comment wasn't posted.

June 15, 2022 at 11:21 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

From article: “Why, you ask?” Smith continues. “I don’t trust these people [officials] at all. My health is NOT their concern.”

In reading this, I might ask if anyone else’s health is the concern of others. It’s certainly not the primary reason that so many make a political issue out of this outside of prison.

From article: "If incarcerated individuals feel they cannot trust those whose job it is to protect them, who do they trust?"

The primary purpose of prisons is to protect those who aren’t in prison, from those who are. Prisons do a horrible job of protecting inmates from each other, in the first place.

From article: "Incarcerated individuals also have little to no internet access and news outlets are a common source of information in correctional facilities. In a correspondence with the Covid In-Custody Project, Brandon Baker noted that he has access to basic news channels, including those espousing right-leaning views."

I assume that we’re to conclude that the bolded statement is the “problem”.

From article: "While people in society have internet access and the ability to do their own research, the incarcerated population doesn’t have the same liberty,” Baker notes in his letter."

And yet, some complain that the Internet is spreading misinformation.

From article: “Why should someone trust the vaccine if the people forcing the vaccine aren’t vaccinated?’” Baker rhetorically asks.

Are they, in fact, “forcing it”? And again, why is it their job to “care” about you, especially if you refuse what’s offered? (One might ask that question regarding health care that’s declined by those outside of prison, as well.)

From article: "Jermain Archer, who was incarcerated in the New York state prison system, reported similar experiences as Smith. In a video series published in May 2021 by The Marshall Project, Archer stated that incarcerated people trust each other more than staff, and consequently avoid reporting symptoms and choose to care for themselves while sick."

I’d ask who (in reality) represents the most danger to inmates, themselves. Staff, or other incarcerated people? (Pretty sure we all know the answer to that.)

From article: “I don’t have a lot of faith that people actually care about my well-being,” said James Ellis, one of the survey respondents. “Most think guys in prison are the scum of the earth, so it’s hard to feel good about people who think that low of me, and it’s hard to believe they are actually doing something for me that’s in my best interest.”

Maybe so. Then again, one might ask how much those in prison think about what’s in the best interest of those they victimized, and what led them to be incarcerated in the first place. And, have they (now) started “caring about others”, themselves? (Including, for that matter, prison staff – who are also human beings?) Or, are they just demanding that others start caring about them, despite them not caring about others themselves?

Other than caring about someone simply because they’re “human”, what reason is the author providing for others to be concerned about those in prison, who have already hurt others?

Can’t help but think of wars, where humans don’t care about other humans who haven’t even victimized someone else.

Alan C. Miller

"I'll go ahead and post this here, since the Vanguard declined to do so . . . I'm also not seeing any reason that the comment wasn't posted."

I don't see any reason based on the Davis Vanguard guidelines of commenting, but I will speculate that the reasons are:

1) The Davis Vanguard doesn't like you.
2) The Davis Vanguard doesn't like your opinion.
3) The Davis Vanguard is scared of publishing dissenting opinions because the opinions might cause . . . wait for it . . . "harm".

To explain how #3 would work: a) You say your opinion about Covid-19 and prisoners; b) The masses of the world read your opinion online on the Davis Vanguard; c) Your scary opinion becomes prison policy due to the political pressure from the masses influenced by your opinion; d) Prisoners are then "harmed".

It all makes so much sense now. No wonder your opinion was suppressed by the Davis Vanguard :-|

Ron O

Alan: Given my experiences on the Vanguard, I believe all three of those speculative "reasons" are accurate.

Then again, most of the people I know:

1) Don't like the Vanguard.
2) Don't like their opinions.
3) Don't bother posting on there at all, anymore.

Not sure why I still post on there, but even I'm losing some interest.

One thing I have noticed is that David doesn't respond directly to me on there, anymore - and hasn't for some time at this point. For that matter, I haven't even heard from "Craig".

I must admit that I take some satisfaction at the results of the latest election. Not because I don't like the Vanguard (which I don't), but because I support the opposite of much of what it supports. I am glad that the endless "debate" (much of what ends up being personal attacks) seems to be diminished.

Given the latest election results, I've concluded that the Vanguard isn't as influential as I might have initially "feared", regarding the issues at least. (Though I'm not sure what influence they've had regarding who ended up on the council, or their positions.)

Alan C. Miller

" I must admit that I take some satisfaction at the results of the latest election. Not because I don't like the Vanguard . . . "

I must admit that I take some satisfaction at the results of the latest election because I don't like the Vanguard.


"Given the latest election results, I've concluded that the Vanguard isn't as influential as I might have initially "feared", regarding the issues at least. "

Ha, given the Vanguard's (-16) net useful number from the city's Local News survey it's possible that the Vanguard might have some influence, but not in a good way.


"Mortgage rates surge to the highest point since 2008"

And what happened in 2008? >>>The Great Recession<<<

It only took Biden and the Democrats a short 1.5 years to destroy the economy.


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