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May 2023

Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market opens for the season

(From press release) The Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market is back for the season, celebrating its 13th year bringing farm-fresh produce and local foods to employees and visitors. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 28.

Since 2010, the Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market has brought regional foods and produce to the hospital’s main entrance, 2000 Sutter Place in West Davis. Its soft opening was May 4.

Tammy Powers, chief administrative officer for Sutter Davis Hospital, said, “We know how greater access to nutritious foods can improve one’s overall health. Having fresh and wholesome options available right here on our campus makes healthy choices even easier and more convenient for the community.”

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2023 Davis Pride events starting soon

(From press release) Here is a reminder of some upcoming 2023 Davis Pride events:

  • Saturday, June 3: The free Skate with Pride, 7 to 9 p.m. in Central Park, Fourth and C streets.

  • Sunday, June 4: The annual Run for Equality begins at 8 a.m.

  • Sunday, June 4: The ninth annual Davis Pride Festival kicks off after the run, with a community fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Central Park, and live music – including a drag revue – from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free to this family-friendly event.

  • Friday, June 23: A Ride with Pride bike party excursion meeting at Central Park at 6 p.m.

Learn more at https://www.davispride.org/

Davis Downtown launches new eGift Card

EGift Card Design 2023(From press release) Davis Downtown today launched a new eGift Card, encouraging people to shop locally.

The virtual card program allows shoppers to spend them at any participating Davis Downtown merchant or restaurant, and offers the gift-giver the peace of mind that their money is supporting local businesses.

Brett Maresca, executive director of the Davis Downtown Business Association, said the organization frequently gets requests from the city, UC Davis, sporting leagues, schools, PTAs and others for this kind of card.

“By providing this opportunity, we can keep dollars local that often end up going to Amazon or other large chains outside our community,” Maresca said.

These cards are made available through Yiftee, a company that started in 2012 to “Keep Local Dollars Local,” as its motto states. It has more than 450 community cards across the nation, generating millions of dollars for small businesses. These eGift cards work like a credit card when a customer redeems them. There’s even a platform for companies, nonprofits, schools and other entities to buy them at a discount for quantities of $1,000 or more. Email [email protected] for bulk purchase inquiries.

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Housing SB423 and SB4 California Senate

By David J. Thompson

Passage of SB 423 will make “Builders Remedy” permanent for cities not having an approved housing element. Bill neglects building housing for very low income households.

Two bills relating to housing and requirements affordable housing have been sent to the Senate Floor. Because Davis has not had its housing element approved by the State of California, our city is now open to “Builders Remedy”. SB 423 makes permanent that any housing can be built as long as it has 20% of the units for low income households. Under SB 423 most city oversight is removed.

My critique of these two bills (SB423 and SB4 Weiner) is that they do nothing (as far as I can tell) to provide housing for the most in need group of very low income households (VLI) in our city. They do however; push for units for low income households (LI) and that might be as much as the housing advocates could lobby for in these two bills.

If these low income units are the only ones built then a city will continue to not meet its VLI targets. Does that mean therefore most housing elements will be found out of compliance? And therefore, the builders remedy will be the only law of the land? I have a call into the Senate to pose this question. (This paragraph added today)

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Soroptimists award grants to two area nonprofits

UC Davis Guardian Scholar Evelyn Aguilar received lots of housewares in 2021 from Make It Happen in Yolo County. (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Soroptimist International of Davis recently awarded grants to two nonprofits, to improve the lives of women and girls in Yolo County.

The club distributed $3,000 in Community Grants between the two organizations. Make it Happen for Yolo County received $1,900, and Grace in Action received $1,100.

Make it Happen will use its Soroptimist funds to provide at least four young women in the UC Davis Guardian Scholars program with the furniture and appliances they need to furnish their apartments at the start of the school year. Guardian Scholars are students who have experienced foster care.

Grace in Action will use its Soroptimist grant money to provide stop-gap services for very low income individuals, and those without safe shelter. It will pay for motel rooms, hearty lunches, laundry vouchers, transportation passes and haircuts.

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Continued concerns regarding the Village Farms site including toxics, traffic, floodplain, unaffordable housing, unsafe bike/pedestrian access, and infrastructure costs issues

By Eileen M. Samitz and Pamela S. Nieberg

There can be no assumption that the Village Farms site is safe for development. It is surprising and disappointing to see a recent article attempting to dismiss the significant concerns that have been raised in the past and recently regarding toxics contamination from the former City landfill site and the former City sewage treatment plant which are immediately adjacent (north-east) to the Village Farms property.


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City Council is Jeopardizing their Proposed Tax Measure on the November 2024 Ballot by Withholding a Vote on New Peripheral Residential Development

By Alan Pryor

The Davis City Council recently decided at their April 4, 2023 meeting that they would explore all options for putting a new general tax measure on the November 2024 ballot while declining to place a peripheral housing project on the same ballot. The Council’s stated reasons are that they did not believe Staff had the “bandwidth” to process both ballot measures simultaneously and that they feared the controversy of placing a peripheral ballot measure on the same ballot as their preferred general tax measure ballot may harm the tax measure’s chances of success.

And at last Tuesday night's Council meeting they agreed to relegate all future peripheral Measure J/R/D housing ballot measure to special elections over at least the next few years. I believe this decision was shortsighted and made without a complete understanding of what motivates Davis voters to approve or disapprove of tax measures in Davis.

Aside from the obvious charge that the City is favoring adding new revenue to their coffers over providing needed housing in the community (after standing on their soap boxes and proclaiming the dire need for housing over and over again in the past), this decision displays a misunderstanding of the realities of Davis electoral politics and this lack of awareness may presage the failure of both the expected November 2024 general tax measure AND any new peripheral housing ballot measure on later special election ballots.

Let me explain.

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Recommendation to the Social Services Commission for Changes in Davis’ Affordable Housing Ordinance

The following was emailed as an attachment to the Social Services Commission yesterday for their meeting this evening (7 PM, Monday May 15) where they will be taking up proposed changes to Davis's Affordable Housing Ordinance.

by Roberta Millstein and Alan Pryor



The Davis Affordable Housing Ordinance (available at https://library.qcode.us/lib/davis_ca/pub/municipal_code/item/chapter_18-article_18_05?view=all) is now implemented on a temporary basis to account for changes in state law requiring economic justification if minimum affordable housing requirements for new projects exceed 15% of total housing units.  The current temporary ordinance is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2023, with proposed changes under consideration by the Social Services Commission at its May 13, 2023 meeting.

However, even with these proposed changes, the existing Affordable Housing Ordinance has provisions which we believe do not provide social justice, equity, and fairness in terms of meeting the needs of the City’s low-income population because it is biased toward the financial benefit of developers rather than maximizing the availability of affordable income housing in Davis.

We recommend the following changes to the temporary ordinance if it is renewed by the sunset date of June 30, 2023 and to a revised permanent ordinance.

  1. Eliminate ADUs as an acceptable alternative to provide on-site Affordable Housing - We recommend that Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) be completely eliminated as a way for developers to avoid constructing real Affordable Housing.

  2. Substantially increase in-lieu fees if chosen by a developer as an acceptable alternative to provide on-site Affordable Housing - We recommend that in-lieu fees be substantially increased so that it is no longer a financially preferable option for developers to pursue. 

We elaborate on each of these recommendations further below.

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Pride sentiment stronger than ever this year

Davis festival is June 4 in Central Park

Mercury Rising will return to the 2023 Davis Pride Festival, leading the popular drag queen revue. (Photo credit: Wendy Weitzel)

By Wendy Weitzel

Members of the Davis Phoenix Coalition work to eliminate hate. That’s been a heavy lift this year, as organized groups have threatened trans youths, protested drag shows and boosted white supremacy. And that was all before the community was terrorized by what police say was a serial stabber who killed two and injured one in a six-day period this spring.

So the nonprofit’s team is more determined than ever to bring a positive message to their biggest event of the year: the Davis Pride Festival. It’s all part of a weekend of activities in downtown Davis that celebrate June as International LGBTQ+ Month. After three years of COVID and the trauma of the stabbings, they want to offer positive ways for the community to come together for healing and joy – and to celebrate diversity.

Davis Pride is an all-inclusive celebration for members and supporters of the LGBTQ community. The community-focused, family-friendly weekend includes a skate night, fun run, music festival, drag queens, vendors and more – June 3 and 4. Proceeds from Davis Pride events support the coalition’s anti-racism and anti-bullying campaigns, support to LGBTQ+ youths and their families, and outreach with area police departments, churches and schools.

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Will local electeds ignore UCD and buy into Caltrans’ Science Denial on VMT & GHG?

Inconvenient truth

Open letter to Davis BTSSC (Transportation Commission)

To: Chair Jessica Jacobs and members, Davis BTSSC

From: Alan ‘the Lorax’ Hirsch

RE: Potential Endorsement of I-80 Yolo widening before Draft EIR released

BTSSC will be asked tonight (item 6b) to endorse a letter to partner with Caltrans to endorse I-80 widening by supporting a new and untested program of mitigation that could negate local cities’ greenhouse gas reduction programs (CAAP/CAP).[i]

You will be asked to sign before even seeing the draft Environment Study (DEIR) or the mitigation plans. This is not due out for 30 days.

I urge caution based on the study by Professor Susan Handy’s group at UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. (ITS)

The below bar chart from that UCD ITS study[ii] compares induced travel projections by Caltrans to the forecast by the National Center for Sustainable Transportation model. Caltrans’ lower forecasts in the EIRs were used to justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars on these five projects. The study shows Caltrans consistently understates the amount of travel & GHG to be mitigated. And in two projects Caltrans assumed no induced demand.

Induced demand has been accepted science in the transportation world for over thirty years now. The science was upheld in the 1990 California case Citizens for a Better Environment vs Deukmejian, et al. [iii]  It was an inconvenient truth Caltrans has worked three decades to get around. It was not until the beginning of 2020 after the 2013 passage of Bill SB 743[iv] that EIRs had to focus on reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).

Caltrans has been in denial of the science on traffic, which has been confirmed by hundreds of studies out of UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and the Texas Transportation Institute, among many other places worldwide.[v]

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Come check out the Whole Earth Festival this weekend

2023 WEF East Quad-Main St

By Scott Steward

The 54th Whole Earth Festival held on the UCD Quad, and sponsored by ASUCD, is a beautiful sunny event that everyone can enjoy.  This year’s theme is "Sell Out to Love" at this alcohol and smoke free event.

I recommend getting there early to enjoy the vibrant green brought on by all that rain! Bring a soft frisbee but expect to share space with spike ball, a game where young people furiously throw a malleable ball object downward into a small trampoline and then alternately palm the ball up in the air before hurling it again.

There are 130 stalls of goods for sale neatly organized around the perimeter of the Quad. The quality of the merchandise is high and higher still than I remember at the 50th. The Festival has always crept towards being more mercantile, but the education corner is poignant and the Kids Space well supplied and staffed. There are few lectures about counter culture and alternative living (that proliferated in the early years of WEF), but the legacy of that ground work is woven into the comfortably open green grass and open sky of this healthy pubic common.

There are 18 food booths and entertainment a plenty. Bring your own personal shade and something to carry water. It is up to those of us, who have seen decades of Whole Earth Festivals, to share our WEF stories. It is particularly important to make the connection from past to present to mend the pandemic multi-year gap in the continuum of this youth led event.  Find yourself starting a conversation in the shade of a tree on the west Quad.

For 54 years WEF goes on with the lightness and importance of being born of and remaining youth led. Children of all ages come celebrate mother earth.

The Proposed Village Farms Davis Development Project is NOT Threatened by Groundwater Contamination from the Former Davis Landfill Site

By Alan Pryor

Executive Summary and Conclusions

This article reports on potential groundwater contamination beneath the former Davis Landfill site north of the City of Davis on Poleline Rd. and the adjacent site proposed for the Village Farms Davis development project immediately south and southeast of the old landfill site.

During the contentious Measure X election in November, 2005 in which the proposed Covell Village project (on the same site as the current proposed development, Village Farms Davis) was rejected by voters, allegations were made that the site’s groundwater was contaminated by leaching of pollutants from the former Davis landfill site just north of the project. In particular, it was alleged that a carcinogen, vinyl chloride, was in the groundwater beneath the project site rendering the project unsuitable for development in as much as a deep well was proposed for the site to add to the City of Davis potable water supply.

In a recent City Council meeting (April 4, 2023) in which the possible timing of bringing peripheral projects before the voters were discussed, one public comment again stated that vinyl chloride was in the groundwater beneath the old Davis landfill and the proposed site for the Village Farms Davis project.

The parcel itself has so many problems. It has toxics in the north end from the land fill site. The old land fill site was not lined so there is vinyl chloride leakage from the old land fill and it’s substantial. Vinyl chloride does not go away.

These claims of vinyl chloride and other toxic compounds in the groundwater were based on data from the early 1990s though 2005 which showed some intermittent groundwater contamination (including some tests showing the presence of vinyl chloride) in shallow groundwater test wells beneath the old landfill and immediately to the south beneath the then proposed Covell Village project. These earlier monitoring well test results were reported in the EIR issued in the Covell Village EIR issued in 2005 and are further discussed below in the section entitled Summary of Well Monitoring Findings.

These reported findings were considered important at the time because, as stated above, the Covell Village project proposal included a new deep well on the project site to provide drinking water capacity for the proposed project and connecting into the City’s potable water supply network. Concerns were expressed that the shallow water contamination could worsen and impact the deep aquifer from which potable water would be drawn. Potentially compounding the problem was the discovery that the groundwater plume was migrating from the landfill toward the south and southwest in the direction of the proposed Covell Village project.

Annual testing of the monitoring wells subsequently occurred in the period since the Covell Village EIR from 2012 – 2019. These later tests showed a substantial reduction in groundwater contamination in the intervening years and the report from consulting engineers engaged by the City to evaluate the groundwater contamination showed the following results;

  1. NO Vinyl Chloride was found at all in any sampled groundwater from 2012 – 2019 nor were there ANY other VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) or metals found in any of the test well samples above the EPA's Primary Maximum Concentration Levels (MCLs) for drinking water.
  1. There were some measurements of nitrate (probably from past agricultural fertilization on the site) in the monitored wells that were in excess of Primary MCLs and some other naturally occurring minerals (selenium, manganese, and sulfate) that were intermittently in excess of Secondary MCLs but not hugely in excess of other well waters in the area.

    However, these are NOT a human health concern because the groundwater beneath the Village Farms Davis project site will NOT be pumped and used for drinking water purposes. Instead, the project will rely on City of Davis municipal drinking water supplies as delivered to the rest of the City.
  1. The plume of groundwater beneath the former landfill site and the proposed development project site was most recently determined to be moving toward the northeast away from the Village Farms Davis project site as a result in changes in groundwater extraction rates in the area. Thus, even if there was very unlikely leaching from the landfill site future in the future it would NOT migrate in the direction of the proposed development project.
  1. Based on the sampling results from 2012 - 2019 indicating no detectable amounts of vinyl chloride and no amounts of volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs) or heavy metals in excess of established EPA MCLs, it was recommended that the City discontinue annual testing and request a No Further Action letter from the Regional Water Board thus confirming the area is no longer considered a threat to groundwater contamination.

These later test monitoring results from 2012 – 2019 are also further discussed below in the section entitled Summary of Well Monitoring Findings.

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Four women earn Soroptimist cash awards

(From press release) Soroptimist International of Davis awarded $12,000 in grants this spring through its signature Live Your Dream program, which offers cash and mentorship to women seeking education and training.

Women are encouraged each year to apply for the awards if they are the primary wage earners for their families, and need financial assistance to further their education or training. Recipients often persevere through hardships or challenging circumstances.

This year, SI Davis gave a boost to four women, with cash awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. These unrestricted grants may be used to offset costs that a scholarship would not cover, such as child care, transportation or other financial obligations that hinder a woman’s ability to reach her goals. Soroptimist International of Davis members remain in contact with the recipients, offering them mentorship and support.

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Honoring Davis’s Citizen Heroes

By Roberta Millstein

As we all grieve and process the events that led to the arrest of Carlos Reales Dominguez, who has been charged with two counts of premeditated murder and one count of premeditated attempted murder, I thought it was important to highlight the role of some of our citizen heroes whose efforts, I believe, were essential to the arrest. 

Most of them also put their own lives at risk to help their fellow citizens.  They showed not only compassion but the willingness to follow through and act.  Such selflessness is deserving of our highest praise.

These are all quotes from various Davis Enterprise articles; links have been included for reference.  (While I am giving praise, I’d also like to thank the Davis Enterprise for its outstanding, thorough, and speedy coverage throughout.  Now is a good time to subscribe and support local news if you don't already).

Thursday, April 27:

Thursday’s homicide — the city’s first in more than three years — came to light at about 11:20 a.m., when a passerby called police seeking a welfare check on a man seated on a bench on the north side of the downtown park, near a large playground area.


Saturday, April 29:

a resident reported hearing “what sounded like a disturbance,” Pytel said. 

That resident, who asked not to be identified out of concern for his safety, told The Davis Enterprise in an interview he was in his bedroom when he heard a man cry out for help, followed by a commotion, shortly after 9 p.m.

He walked toward the park to investigate and saw two people on the ground along a bike path on the park’s side, thinking two cyclists had collided along the darkened path. 

“As I got closer I put my flashlight on on my phone and asked if they were OK,” he said. At that point, one of the people stood up, grabbed a white hat and a bike and started to leave westbound on the path toward the Highway 113 bike bridge. 

Confused as to why someone would leave a collision scene, “I chased him for a bit,” the man said. “I got within about 10 feet of him and he said, ‘What do you want, man? Leave me alone.’ ” He had turned his head to the side, allowing the witness to see his profile. 

The person “sounded like a kid” in his late teens or early 20s, said the man, who stopped chasing him at that point. That’s when he turned around and saw the victim, who was covered in blood.

“He was not conscious. He was having problems breathing,” said the man, who called 911 and immediately started CPR after removing the victim’s backpack, which was already partially removed.

As he delivered chest compressions, a woman who’d also heard the victim’s cries for help arrived on scene and lifted his legs to direct his blood flow toward his torso.

“ ‘Come on, buddy — you’re going to be OK,’ ” the man recalled telling the victim. 


 Monday, May 1

Isaac Chessman and Christine Berrios, an unhoused couple whose tent neighbored the victim’s, said they awoke Monday night to rustling sounds, followed by their friend, Kim, screaming for help. 

“He’s on me! Help! Get off me! The guy with the curly hair!” she yelled. Another neighbor, Larry, lunged at the suspect through his own tent and knocked him to the ground, but he was able to flee, the couple said. 

Kim remained coherent following the assault, which Berrios said left her with wounds to her hip area. 

Chessman believes he spotted the suspect earlier that night, lurking behind the trees on the east side of L street across from the homeless camp. 

He said he called out to the person while shining a flashlight on him, saying “you look like the dude that’s been stabbing people.” Chessman noted he also called police, about two hours before the stabbing, but got no response. 

“This has to happen for them to show up,” he said. 


Wednesday, May 3

a man walking through Sycamore Park spotted him sitting alone on the children’s playground. 

With shoulder-length wavy hair, and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black Adidas track pants, he bore a strong resemblance to the suspect seen fleeing the L Street stabbing scene. 

“He made eye contact with me and came toward me rather briskly,” said the witness, who asked to remain anonymous. He said he backed off at that point but “kept an eye on him” as Dominguez wandered through the park, then through the neighborhood east of it.

“He was walking around sort of aimlessly, which I though was odd,” said the witness, who continued following the person from a distance to The Marketplace shopping center, where he briefly lost sight of him. Dominguez later emerged from a store and walked back toward the park area.

The witness said he called police multiple times as he tracked Dominguez, ultimately flagging down an officer heading westbound on Villanova Drive toward the park. Dominguez began walking more briskly at that point but never tried to run. 


Celebration of Abraham ZOOM Service of Compassion and Comfort, Sunday May 7

Interfaith Prayer Compassion and Comfort

Dear Friends,

What a horrific week! But also what an outpouring of community solidarity. As Chief Pytel said at his press conference, the work of not only all the law enforcement personnel but also the community resulted in an ending to the violence. The community also really stepped up to provide shelter for the most vulnerable among us, the unhoused. Now our community must heal. To aid that process, the Celebration of Abraham will host a ZOOM Service of Compassion and Comfort on Sunday.

Attached is the information on the Sunday May 7 ZOOM Service of Compassion and Comfort. Please spread the information about our ZOOM to your email lists and friends. Our service will focus on the need for healing but also on how the community came together to meet the challenges especially those faced by the unhoused and how we need to strengthen the community going forward. We will end by offering some of the ways individuals can become involved in caring for the community.

Register for the Zoom here:  https://bit.ly/abrahamprayer

Thank you, Helen

Helen Roland Cramer

Entertainment announced for Picnic in the Park

The Davis band Cold Shot features René Martucci and Richard Urbino. (Courtesy photo)

(From press release) The dance-party band Cold Shot will be the first musical group to play when the Davis Farmers Market’s Picnic in the Park returns on May 17.

The family-fun event will be every Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m., May 17 through Sept. 13. A local band will play each night. There will be children’s entertainment, loads of food vendors, and plenty of opportunity to gather as a community. Late September through early May, Wednesdays swap back to a traditional farmers market, open 3 to 6 p.m.

Cold Shot, featuring René Martucci and Richard Urbino, brings together a dynamic selection of upbeat rock ’n’ roll, pop and dance party songs that span decades of iconic artists. Other bands on the 2023 Picnic in the Park schedule are Julie and the Jukes on May 24, Pleasant Valley Boys on May 31, Odd Man Out on June 7, The Teds on June 14, They Hey-Nows on June 21, and According to Bazooka on June 28. The Peter Franklin Band plays on July 5, The New Harmony Jazz Band is July 12, 5-Star Alcatraz plays on July 19, It’s About Time is on July 26, and Putah Creek Crawdads are Aug. 2. The Geoffrey Miller Band is Aug. 9, Penny Lane is Aug. 16, Wealth of Nations is Aug. 23, Kindred Spirits is Aug. 30, Island Crew is Sept. 6, and The Kalapana Awa Band is Sept. 13. To see the calendar and band descriptions, visit https://www.davisfarmersmarket.org/entertainment-schedule/.

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React in haste; repent at leisure

A few reflections on our recent tragedies

By Roberta Millstein

Before I say anything else, let me begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the family and friends of David Breaux and Karim Abou Najm.  Both were important contributors to the community, both with more to give.  The third stabbing victim, is, as of this writing, thankfully still alive.  Although her name has not been released yet, I venture to say that she too is an important member of our community.  I can say that with confidence because I deeply believe that we are all important community members.

With two of the three stabbing victims being unhoused, I am grateful to see that the City is working toward providing emergency shelter for those who are willing to accept it.  I hope that these efforts are successful; given that the perpetrator(s) have not been found, the unhoused members of our community are clearly more vulnerable than ever.

Beyond protecting those who most need it, what else can the City do?  Here I will admit to being tired, wrung out, and on edge, so I don’t have the energy to go on at length.  So what follows will be, I am sure, too brief.  But perhaps it will be enough to get people thinking.

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