Entries categorized "Current Affairs"

WHO WAS MAX BENSON?

CandleAN INTERVIEW WITH HIS MOTHER, STACIA

#SHINEONMAX

 

On Sunday, November 17, 2019, people around the world lit candles in honor and remembrance of Max Benson.  The local vigil was powerful, but worldwide, the hashtag #ShineOnMax became a unifying and powerful movement to bring the world together in solidarity of valuing autistic lives.

Max was killed after being placed in an illegal prone restraint for nearly two hours at his school.  Soon, The Aspergian will cover this story in more detail, but right now the world needs to know Max outside of “the boy who was killed.”

Max was a boy who lived, a bright, vibrant, loving, curious, hilarious, creative, outgoing soul whose life had purpose and value.

I talked to Stacia Langley, Max’s mom, to get to know Max outside of the sparse, often-dehumanizing soundbytes that have punctuated the news stories about his last days.

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Freedom to Park Downtown: Questions Answered

FreeparkingFrom The Freedom to Park committee, FreedomToPark.org

While tabling for free parking at the Farmers Market, we have encountered very few advocates of “paid parking.” We find that many casual paid parking supporters, upon consideration of all facts, will reconsider or at least support putting the issue to public vote. There are some extremists who assert there should be no vehicles or vehicle parking in the downtown, not even for frail, elderly or handicapped individuals. But most people accept the existence of automobiles and realize that even electric cars must park.

This space is too brief to answer every question or assertion that we have heard, but we will address the most common.  For additional examples, we refer you to our website:  freedomtopark.org

First, the initiative prohibits the charging of a fee for the public parking that is already provided by our tax dollars. It does not change standard parking regulations; it does not change the parking time limits; it does not change the city parking permit program.  Second, the initiative requires the replacement of the 120 parking spaces that the City has already removed from the downtown.  These spaces can easily be replaced by turning parallel spaces into perpendicular or slant parking spaces, for example.

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Mace Mess: 11 Broken Promises

Mace mess2Squandered Trust

Comments given to the Davis City Council by Mimi McMahon

Trust is an important element when citizens elect officials to act on their behalf.  There is no room for special interests or personal gain.  A promise is a contract. The City has squandered the trust of Davis citizens and those affected by the Mace Mess you and your staff have created.  You have wasted millions of dollars of our hard-earned taxes. 

Broken and Unfulfilled Promises

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Irony abounds at Davis City Council meeting: Armored Rescue Vehicle and Communication

ARVIs the City really committed to better communication?

By Roberta Millstein

At its Tuesday meeting, the Davis City Council received a detailed presentation about how the City can improve its communication.  Then the Council immediately threw that information out the window and approved an Armored Rescue Vehicle (ARV).

The presentation on communications was detailed and professional.  Among its recommendations was to make use of City Commissions whose members “are very engaged and are uniquely qualified to help serve as City messengers in the community and disseminate updated information.” The report also outlined many venues through which the City can communicate better with its residents, including communicating with residents that are otherwise difficult to reach.

The Council seemed to receive this presentation positively, asking only a few questions of clarification.

Then late in the meeting – around 10:30 PM – the City began the agenda item to discuss whether the City should acquire an ARV. After a presentation from Chief Pytel, the City took public comment. It was scathing.

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Davis rejected the MRAP - should it buy an ARV instead?

ARVThe following letter was submitted to the Davis City Council by email on September 23, 2019.

Dear Davis City Councilmembers,

I am writing to express my views on Item 09 of September 24th's agenda, concerning the obtainment of an Armored Rescue Vehicle.

After the huge outcry and discussion over the MRAP, I am extremely surprised to see that this is being proposed as a recommended purchase by staff. I would have thought that staff would recognize Davisites' great interest in such issues, and would have scheduled time for discussion and getting citizen input before making a recommendation. I urge you not to make a decision at the Sept 24 meeting but to instead use it to get input and discuss, allowing for further input after the meeting.

In the absence of that discussion, my own view is that the ARV is a MRAP-lite.

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STATEMENT OF CONCERN RE: RE-PURPOSING OF THE JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITY (JDF)

JuviPEOPLE POWER of DAVIS

STATEMENT OF CONCERN RE: RE-PURPOSING OF THE JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITY (JDF)

  • We acknowledge the happy problem that the capacity of the JDF far exceeds the demand for secure detention of Yolo County juveniles, and that the county’s ongoing operational costs for the facility are high.
  • We know detained youth benefit from personal connections and support from family and community, and therefore access and proximity to these resources is fundamental to their continued well-being.­
  • The current situation places all genders of youth together, which has its risks, but also offers significant benefits, most notably:
    • proximity to family and a very engaged community; and
    • reduced exposure of our Yolo youth to influences, likely found in the Sacramento facility, of other incarcerated youth whose knowledge, experiences, and affiliations may encourage harmful impacts;
    • no contact with adult
  • The current construction to expand and renovate the Yolo County adult jail facilities requires temporary relocation of the adult booking facility, during a construction period of an estimated 18-24 months.
  • The current expansion and renovation will increase adult jail capacity to over 450 beds and improve medical and mental health services at the adult
  • During the past five years youth from under-resourced neighborhoods in Woodland, Knight’s Landing, and West Sacramento have been disproportionately represented among JDF admissions. Most impacted is the Broderick neighborhood of West Sacramento, which has suffered years under a gang injunction, lacks youth programs, and locks its school yards to the public when school is not in session;

THEREFORE, we respectfully request the board act to:

  • Ensure any agreements to place Yolo youth in the Sacramento County JDF are restricted to not more than the time required to complete the Yolo County Jail
  • Provide transportation funding to family and encourage, through economic incentives, community support for visitation at Sacramento JDF during the construction
  • Forgo additional expansion of Yolo County adult incarceration by transferring authority for use of the JDF to the Sheriff. Rather than expand jail capacity, we should seek alternatives to pre-adjudication detention, which currently accounts for a majority of the jail
  • Preserve funding for Reinvest cost savings into meaningful community engagement and youth development resources.
  • Use this time-limited construction period to engage youth, their families, and the impacted communities to work with the Chief Probation Officer to develop recommendations for youth development and alternatives to juvenile detention options in Yolo County and to guide the community engagement

Reflections on the Fourth of July in 2019

Declaration-of-IndependenceOn this day, let us not forget what the 4th of July is truly commemorating.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


Concert to Fight Human Trafficking and Child Sexual Abuse

62509530_2404302522942218_416424790476193792_nTaylor Chicks, The Duval Speck Trio, and The Yadao Trio Play Benefit Concert for Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center 

From Press Release

All are invited to attend a fun-filled, energetic benefit concert with The Taylor Chicks, The Duval Speck Trio, and The Yadao Trio at The Oddfellows Hall, 415 2nd Street in Davis on Sunday, June 23 from 4:30-8:00 pm.

This special event supports Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center ( MDIC ) in its efforts to eliminate human trafficking and child sexual abuse. Beer, wine, Fabulous Tacos by T’s Tacos and Tunes will be available for purchase. There will be a silent auction featuring artwork by Cathy Speck, which has been very popular in the Davis 2nd Friday Art About circuit.

Cameron Handley, Director of the MDIC (Yolo County’s Children’s Advocacy Center) reports, “Sex trafficking of our local youth is far more prevalent in Yolo County than most people realize. Because of our proximity to two major interstates, I-80 and I-5, our specific region in California is one of the most targeted regions by traffickers in the United States”

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Proposal Triples Size of Homeless Shelter

Pauls-place-renderingCurrent Zoning Does Not Allow for 4 Story Project

By Colin Walsh 

Paul’s Place homeless shelter was announced on the front page of the Davis Enterprise yesterday noting how the very rapid growth of the Davis homeless population has overtaxed the old H street facility. This 4-story proposal will include 28 units, 4 emergency beds, “program space to connect people with public benefits, housing and employment opportunities and health and human services, as well as the basic services needed on a daily basis by those living outdoors: food, clothing, showers, restrooms and laundry facilities.” (link)

With the increasing local homeless population there is little doubt that solutions need to be found. Paul’s place would replace the existing well-worn Davis Community Meals 12 bed shelter at 1111H St.

One hurdle the new shelter will need to overcome to be built is the size of the proposed new building. At 4 stories tall it would be the tallest commercial or residential building between 5th St. and Covell. It will be the building in a half mile radius and the current zoning does not allow for 4 a story building.

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UC Temporarily Suspends Glyphosate-based Herbicides

IMG-4152

By Nancy Price

On May 14th, 2019 Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, sent a remarkable letter to the Chancellors of all UC campuses, the Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the CEOs of all  the UC Medical centers announcing the “temporary suspension of the use of glyphosate-based herbicides.”

Napolitano cited “concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards, as well as potential legal and reputational risks associated with this category of herbicides.”

This may be a response to the mounting scientific research linking glyphosate to cancer, or it could just be that the UC system is worried about being named as a defendant in a glyphosate lawsuit like the three Monsanto/Bayer have lost over the last two years. The most recent lawsuit found Bayer responsible for damages of 2 billion dollars.

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Davis Pride Festival looks back and ahead

Davis Pride Festival
When: Sunday, May 19
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Place: Central Park, 401 C St., Davis
What: Free event with music, food, education, kids’ activities and support for the LGBTQ+ community
Related event: Run/Walk for Equality, 8 a.m.
Info: davispride.org

Image 9

ShellyEllenByJennyRihl061608
Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac react after their June 2008 marriage in Yolo County
Jenny Rihl/Davis Enterprise photo

(From Press release) Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac are two of the most prominent faces of gay pride in Yolo County. Together since 1973, their fight to legally marry was chronicled in many news reports. Finally, in 2008, they earned that right in California.

That perspective is something they’d like to share on Sunday, May 19, when the Davis Pride Festival returns for its fifth year. The multi-faceted day includes a fun run and culminates with a festival of music, food and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

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Urgent! Act today for CA 857 on Public Banking!

Your short calls can make the difference to get CA 857 through its first Assembly Committees!  This is the public banking bill that does so much good.

Please, this week, all you need to say is: Please support AB 857 the Public Banking bill that will enable California municipalities and counties — and the state as a whole — to charter their own public banks.

Many CA newspapers, the California Public Banking Alliance (https://californiapublicbankingalliance.org/)  and many of our state's local public bank advocacy groups support this bill. 

This week, your phone call can help flood the committee members’ offices to get this bill through these committee hurdles! 

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Broadband Public Comment to City Council

On April 9, 2019 The Davis City Council took public comments on a proposed new contract for City of Davis broadband infrastructure.

The City Council discussion was held in closed session after comments. The City Council did not record or broadcast the public comments. Audio has been provided to the Davisite by Bob Fung of CivEnergy, photos by Roberta Millstein. Approximately 30 people were in attendance.

 

 


UC Workers Strike on April 10: How to Show Your Solidarity

AFSCME3299
By Connor Gorman

Solidarity forever! The UC still hasn't agreed to provide basic rights and dignity to many of its workers (much less what they truly deserve) while simultaneously intimidating, threatening, and retaliating against workers for their participation in labor activities. Because of this, AFSCME 3299 (which covers service and patient care workers) filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the UC and will be striking next Wednesday (April 10) along with UPTE-CWA 9119 (which covers technical and professional employees).

There are a variety of ways that students, workers (who aren't part of AFSCME 3299 or UPTE-CWA 9119), and community members can support the strike and demand an end to the UC's blatant violation of workers' rights along with demanding that the UC provide all of its workers with a living wage while maintaining and expanding essential benefits and protections like good, affordable healthcare; a dignified retirement plan; and job security. The main way that anyone can show their support is by joining the picket line for any period of time that they're able to between 7am and 5pm on the corner of College Park and Russell Blvd., while prioritizing attendance at the 12pm rally if possible (or if you're in Sacramento there will be another picket line at the Medical Center). You can even study or grade at the picket line.

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Paid Parking Resolution

ABCCEBC4-CBA7-4001-BC8A-562EAE12AB69The Davis City Council passed a resolution on Monday 3/25/2019 with detailed instructions to staff regarding parking downtown. The Davisite received the specifics of the resolution from the City Clerk on 3/29/2019. The specifics exactly as delivered to the Davisite are as follows: 

 

 

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Petition to Restore Mace

PetitionThe below petition is being circulated at change.org. It was started within the last 2 days - after the recent neighborhood meetings. At the time of this posting it already has 270+ signatures.

The petition can be signed here: **sign**

CITY OF DAVIS TO RESTORE MACE BOULEVARD TO TWO LANES (BOTH WAYS)

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Mace Mess

MaceMess1PETITION TO CITY OF DAVIS TO RESTORE MACE BOULEVARD TO TWO LANES (BOTH WAYS)

The “Traffic Calming” project on Mace Boulevard was unnecessary, was not properly presented to the residents of South Davis (especially the current residents), was obsolete and ill-conceived when the plan was completed in 2013, and since its installation has created massive congestion, dangerous traffic issues, more safety issues for the bicyclists and pedestrians it was purported to protect, rampant road rage, and in short has seriously disrupted the lives of all Davis residents and especially South Davis residents, as demonstrated by our daily experiences. 

Despite city planners’ insistence to the contrary, the changes to Mace have resulted in a situation where emergency vehicles will be unable to access neighborhoods and evacuations will be impossible to carry out.  No matter how many lights are flashing and how loudly the sirens wail, there is no place for gridlocked traffic to go to get out of first responders’ way.  When the area is gridlocked, side streets are also blocked, so there are no alternate routes for first responders either.  In some neighborhoods, the “improvements” have created issues for ADA access to vehicles, another safety concern.

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Did the Council Listen to Citizens on Parking? Process and Outcome

G-street-and-amtrakYesterday, I wrote an article wondering whether the City Council would listen to citizen’s objections to the downtown parking proposal, drawing attention to a pattern of problematic communication between Davisites and Council.  Last night, they unanimously approved what is being billed as a “compromise” between the proposal and what Davisites wanted (which was, for the most part, no change to what we have currently). 

How did the Council do? 

This being winter grading season at the University, I’ve got grades on my mind.  I give the Council a ‘C+’ for process and a ‘C’ for outcome.

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City Council Out of Step on Parking, Roads, Housing, and the Claw: Will it Impact the 2020 Council Race?

Checking-pulseTonight, the City Council will decide whether or not to convert approximately 32% of downtown parking to metered parking spaces, 7 days a week, 10 AM-10 PM.  The opposition to the City’s proposal from citizens and business owners has been vocal and voluminous. 

Will the City Council nonetheless vote to proceed with the plan?  And if they do, will voters next spring remember and think twice about re-electing incumbents?

This is not the first indication that the Council isn’t communicating well with its citizens. 

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Failings of the Downtown Paid Parking Proposal

E-St-Graph-2By Dan Urazandi

The history of paid parking in Davis has unfolded outside my store window. From here, the center of downtown and the maelstrom of the debate on paid parking, I can see the cause of parking problems and effect of supposed solutions. I can see close to 40 spaces that have been removed over the years—the E st plaza cost 25, three more for the walkway through the lot, three given away to zipcar and uber, two to the crosswalk, at least two to bulb outs, some to bicycle parking in the street, two to the bus stops. This is just on one block. Throughout downtown nearly 100 spaces have been whittled away over the last 20+ years. I use hand count estimates since the city refuses to release hard numbers that would prove they caused the parking shortage. All these losses entailed removing a practical necessity, parking spaces that were being used many times every day, for aesthetic gains that are used far less often by far less people or serve no purpose at all. Now the city wants to tax every space because each is a valuable commodity, but they placed no value on them before wanting to monetize them.

This is the sort of firsthand evidence the Council needs to hear and heed. There are solid reasons why 90% of downtown businesses, customers and employees are opposed to the city's paid parking plan. The 70 businesses that entreated council to stop implementation represent generations of knowledge of how best to serve downtown Davis. The Chamber of Commerce, the vast majority of DDBA members and downtowndavis.org are all against the plan. Business is against metered parking because it deters people from coming and staying downtown, which is bad for business.

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