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December 2022

Will the (new) City Council Uphold Democracy?

DemocracyThis article was originally posted on July 17, 2022. The City Council, which will be composed of four members: Mayor Will Arnold, Vice Mayor Josh Chapman, and Councilmembers Gloria Partida and Bapu Vaitla, will decide this Tuesday (Jan 3) whether to go forward with an election or not. I stand by what I wrote below, calling for an election for District 3 with no interim appointment, and I urge Davisites to email members of the City Council before 3 PM on Tuesday at [email protected] to let them know your views.  You can also call 530-757-5693 to leave a public comment between 12-4 PM the day of the meeting – this is item #5 on the agenda – or give public comment in person (the item is estimated to be heard at 7:20 PM).

By Roberta Millstein

This City Council does not have a good track record on democracy.  It has the opportunity to do better this time.  Will it?

Newly appointed Mayor Lucas Frerichs, having served on the Council since 2012, is anticipated to step down on January 2, 2023 to become Yolo County District 2 Supervisor.  That will leave a vacancy on the Council in District 3 (note that county and city district numbering is different) until the November 2024 election.  The Council has a choice of two ways of filling the vacancy: 1) call a special election to fill the vacancy (see staff report for possible dates) or 2) appoint someone to fill the vacancy.

The first way is the democratic way.  It’s the way that allows the voters of District 3 to select a representative who they feel listens to them and understands their concerns about their district.  It’s the way that allows new voices to put themselves forward for leadership of the city, fulfilling one of the promises that district elections were supposed to bring – i.e., more localized campaigns being easier and less expensive to run.

The second way is the power-abusing way.  All the other districts will have elected their representatives, but District 3 would be appointed by councilmembers who are not even in their district.  There is nothing about this process that would ensure that the appointed representative would know about and care about issues particular to District 3.  What this process does allow for, however, is for councilmembers to appoint someone who sees things their way or who is part of the current power structure in Davis.

Note that the Council also has the option of calling for a special election (the second way), but then appointing someone to fill the vacancy until the election.  I think this option is problematic too.  The person appointed for the interim period before a special election would have the advantage of incumbency in that election. The council should refrain from any appointment at all and simply call an election to fill the seat.[1]

Continue reading "Will the (new) City Council Uphold Democracy?" »

End of Year Gag Gifts

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I tried to give the Davis Vanguard 1¢, like a tip for bad service -- in this case bad writing, bad logic and bad ideas.  But the minimum donation was $1.  Hell if I'm giving the Vanguard a whole dollar.  They will use it for something I don't believe in.

Also on the way to the Vanguard office, a box of gifts including a nose-hair trimmer, a bathroom scale, a 3-pack of cheap white underwear, a bright-red MAGA-hat, a small bottle of Pine-Sol, and a hand-crank jack-in-the-box kids toy that plays "Pop Goes the Weasel".

Happy New Year to all the people of Davis who think the Davis Vanguard is a piece of crap!

--Al's Corner

Social Service Groups Receive Biberstein Social Action Fund Grants

(From press release) Fourteen (14) nonprofit social service groups in Yolo County have received grants totaling $18,475 from a fund established by Congregation Bet Haverim, Jewish Fellowship of Davis. The Biberstein Social Action Fund was established in 2002 to honor longtime Davis residents Ernie and Hannah Biberstein for their contributions to community service and social justice.  The fund sponsors efforts to address problems related to poverty, discriminations, abuse and neglect.

The following organizations were funded:

The Bike Campaign; Celebration of Abraham; Davis United Methodist Church – Grace Gardens; HEART of Davis (formerly Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter) ; iDream – The Mac Give Back Project; Meals on Wheels Yolo County; Mercer Veterinary Clinic; Personal Care Pantry (Woodland United Methodist Church); Purple Tree Café; STEAC; St. James Conference Society of Vincent de Paul; Suicide Prevention of Yolo County; Yolo County Continuum of Care; Yolo Crisis Nursery.

“We are very happy to make these awards,” said Ernie Biberstein.  “We think they will make a meaningful difference to the organizations selected and to the Yolo County community.

The winners, who were chosen by a committee of Bet Haverim members, will be recognized at a ceremony at the Bet Haverim Religious School in Davis in February.

“With the loss of Hannah, we continue to feel that it is even more important to show our religious school students the value of supporting the needs of their community,” continued Biberstein. Hannah Biberstein passed away in April of 2011.

Biberstein Social Action Fund awards are given annually on the basis of proposals made to the synagogue committee. Contributions to the fund may be made through Congregation Bet Haverim, 1715 Anderson Road, Davis, CA 95616. Please note that the donation is for the Biberstein Social Action Fund.

Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #16 [Vaguely Mixed PC Holiday Edition]

image from www.sparkysonestop.com

Marginally enjoyable holidays from Al's Corner :-|     . . .       'Tis the season to be an a-hole. 

Express your inner a-hole at Al's Corner!

   [See "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is" for Rulez.]

Electrify Uman!

Electricity for Uman(From press release) The first of Davis' Sister Cities was Uman, Ukraine. Due to the on-going war, their electrical grid is spotty; they get, at most, electricity for half the day. It is cold in Ukraine. We have been in direct contact with the mayor of Uman and their Sister City liaison. Their most pressing need is power to heat their shelters.

The Davis Odd Fellows, Davis Ukraine Relief Committee (DURC), and the Davis Sunset Rotary are teaming up to get generators purchased and shipped to Uman early in January. This is a tall order and we need your help.

We are hosting a benefit to raise money to purchase and ship these generators on Wednesday, December 21st, from 5-8 p.m. at the Odd Fellows Lodge, located at 415 2nd St., Davis.

There will be complimentary appetizers, a silent auction, no-host bar, and a video message from the Mayor of Uman! Food and drink are being donated by caring individuals and beer has been donated by Dunloe brewery. Can't make the event? Donations can be made at any time by scanning the QR code, or clicking the "Donate" button at the URL below.


Working together, the Odd Fellows and the DURC have previously collected over $9,000 in donations from members of our community. Since everyone involved is a volunteer, over 99% of all donations received have gone directly to those in need. Initially, money we raised went to Ukraine via the international Odd Fellows organizations where money was used to relocate and rebuild a hospital and birthing center that was bombed in Lviv. Since our connection with the DURC, donations have stayed closer to home as we have helped four families get established in our extended neighborhood. A family of six, a single mother with three children, a family of four whose father stayed to fight in Ukraine, and a woman with an elderly father and a special needs daughter have all received financial assistance. During the month of December, all proceeds to the Ukraine Relief Fund will got to purchase and ship generators to our Sister City, Uman. We need to raise $10,000-$15,000 by December 31st. Will you help?

Help us keep our sisters and brothers in Uman warm for the winter!

Davis Farmers Market open on Christmas and NY eves

HolidayClosuresAfterTgivingSquare2022(From press release) The Davis Farmers Market will be open regular hours every Saturday during the holidays, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It will be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

The Saturday market is bustling this time of year, with local crafters, holiday music and carolers. Along with abundant produce, there are preserves, honey, vinegars, olive oils, nuts and nut butters, granola, baked goods, dried fruits, chocolate candies and local wine. Other items include handmade soaps and lotions, flowers (including poinsettias) and market-logo merchandise. Shoppers can enjoy coffee and hot food while they shop for the perfect items to fill personalized gift baskets.

GiftbasketIn fact, the market’s Gift Basket Central, near the Market Shed, offers free baskets and wrapping of market items on Saturdays. The service is available to anyone who purchases three or more items at the Davis Farmers Market, at 301 C St. in Central Park.

The Davis Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Wednesday hours are 3 to 6 p.m. November through March, and 3 to 7 p.m. April through October.

For more information, visit https//davisfarmersmarket.org or visit it on Facebook or Instagram.

Yolo SPCA adoption event Saturday Dec. 17th at Pet Food Express

Peppermint Mocha  a 6-month old tabby male
Peppermint Mocha is an adorable 6-month old male tabby hoping to have a home for the holidays!

(From press release) Yolo SPCA is holding a kitty adoption event Saturday, Dec. 17th at 11am -2pm at Pet Food Express in Oakshade Shopping Center at 2171  Cowell Bvd. in south Davis. There are an array of kittens and some older kitties waiting for their forever home for the holidays! To see the kitties available for  adoption with some information about than as well, please see the Yolo SPCWE website at  https://www.yolospca.org/adopt.html. If you are interested in adopting, it helps to fill in an adoption request form ahead of time on line at https://form.jotform.com/52328506444151/.

 For additional information, contact Yolo SPCA at [email protected]. To support and continue their work helping animals, Yolo SPCA welcomes and appreciates monetary donations which can be made online under “donate” at https://www.yolospca.org/.

Yolo County Needs a “Just Transition” Climate Action Plan

Wetlands at the Patwin-Wintun Tending and Gathering Garden are the keystone project for Yolo County’s plan to turn 30 former gravel pits into 900 acres of recreational lakes and habitat. The feasibility study for the Cache Creek Parkway was conducted by economic consultants now hired for Yolo County’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan


By Marlen Garcia, Anuj Vaidya, and Juliette Beck

Yolo County has a lot at stake in how we address the climate crisis. In September 2020, the Board of Supervisors passed a visionary resolution calling for a Just Transition approach to climate action and community resilience planning.  Just Transition is a critical policy framework for ensuring that historically marginalized communities are centered and empowered to actively participate in the development of climate solutions. It is deeply relevant to Yolo County, which has the deepest levels of inequality in California. 

Unfortunately, Yolo County’s recent choice of a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) consultant team that did not include a Just Transition approach in their proposal is squandering a critical opportunity to address worsening socio-economic disparities.  As members of a team that also submitted a proposal, we are intimately familiar with the process and motivated to share our concerns by a sense of moral obligation to our community and future generations.

Yolo County’s houseless, BIPOC, rural communities, outdoor workers, and youth are already being hit first and worst by climate breakdown. Summer temperatures in Woodland and West Sacramento average ten degrees hotter than in greenbelt-lined Davis; air pollution has worsened along the 1-80 corridor; eviction rates have increased by 57% since last year. Alarmingly, multinational companies are mining groundwater to feed thousands of acres of perennial orchards, while small, family farms and the wetlands at the Patwin-Wintun Tending and Gathering Garden in the heart of Yolo County have gone dry.

Continue reading "Yolo County Needs a “Just Transition” Climate Action Plan" »

Gift Basket Central returns to the Davis Farmers Market

GBC2017(From press release) After a two-year hiatus, the Davis Farmers Market’s Gift Basket Central is back, offering free baskets and wrapping of market items on Saturdays.

On Saturdays in December, shoppers can compile items for custom gift baskets, and have them wrapped for free at the market’s Gift Basket Central station. There are red, green and blue tissue options, neutral and red baskets, cellophane wrapping and various colored ribbons. The service is available to anyone who purchases three or more items at the Davis Farmers Market, at 301 C St. in Central Park.

The market will be open regular hours (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.), every Saturday, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It will be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

Looking for ideas? Besides the abundant produce, market sellers offer preserved jams and sauces, lemon curd, honey, balsamic vinegars, olive oils, dried herbs, nuts and nut butters. There are sweets like dried fruit or chocolate-covered almonds, pistachio brittle, and local wines. Other items include handmade soaps and lotions, wreaths, hats and scarves. Enjoy coffee and hot food, and peruse artisan crafts, market-logo merchandise, and surprising local ingredients for gift baskets.

There’s also “The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, Revised Edition,” which features seasonal recipes from market produce. Also at the Market Shed, there are shopping baskets, market-logo aprons, hats, totes, mugs and T-shirts. Shoppers have access to an ATM, and the Market Shed accepts credit and debit cards.

Still need inspiration? Market staffers are prepared with a list of gift basket ideas for chefs, bakers, party hosts, chocolate lovers, and youths, or with themes like breakfast or relaxation.

The rest of the year, the Davis Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Wednesday hours are 3 to 6 p.m. November through March, and 3 to 7 p.m. April through October.

For more information, visit https//davisfarmersmarket.org or visit it on Facebook or Instagram.

Letter: Support Education in Davis

Teacher2A good education is a human right. It is also a societal good, given human interdependence. These are basic moral truths, yet we don't always act like they are, as two recent happenings in Davis illustrate.

As reported in the Enterprise, DJUSD teachers, backed by many supporters, have been asking for a salary increase, given the high cost of housing and the lower salaries that Davis teachers have as compared to neighboring cities. Teaching is extremely rewarding, but it is not reasonable to expect people to dedicate their hearts and souls only to find out that they cannot make ends meet. So teachers who can leave, do leave, and K-12 education is sacrificed.

During the same time period, several groups of University of California workers have been on strike (two have now settled), including graduate student teaching assistants. Ostensibly, these workers work "half time," but that is misleading. In some (perhaps many) cases, these workers end up doing far more than 20 hours per week, given grading, assisting students during office hours and appointments, holding discussion sections, answering emails, etc. In addition, these grad student workers are expected to do their own coursework and research, making the position in reality a full-time one. (They are often not permitted to take outside work, or at least strongly discouraged from doing so). That these grad student workers cannot likewise make ends meet threatens their own education as well as the education of undergraduates.

Paying these workers more is the obvious solution, but dedicated housing on DJUSD land and UCD land, respectively, should also be in the mix, as a way to buffer against the vagaries of inflation and rising housing costs.

It is a moral imperative that we do more for our DJUSD teachers and our UCD graduate student workers.

- Roberta Millstein is an Emerit Professor in the Department of Philosophy at UC Davis