Entries categorized "Current Affairs"

Why Were Comments Ever Open? "Taking Tuesday" at Al's Corner (for Dec 2023)

SUBJECT:  "Support the Vanguard on #GivingTuesday"  [Monday's Van Guard]

I have a rule for Taking Tuesday -- if someone asks me for money, or even uses the cringe phrase "Giving Tuesday", I never give them any money ever, and furthermore attempt to take money from them.  On Monday, the Van's Guard mentioned giving Tuesday, with open comments.  Did someone not consider that closing comments would be a good idea, given past experience?  Oh, yeah, you got rid of that pesky Alan Miller guy.  Still . . .

Continue reading "Why Were Comments Ever Open? "Taking Tuesday" at Al's Corner (for Dec 2023)" »

I'm Heading Over to the Riley Gaines Shˆt Show

Go Free Speech!

Untitled 12








I love a good shit show!

I wonder how many cops in riot gear we'll have this time?   (I counted 100 at Charlie Kirk)

I wonder how many Proud Boys will show up?  (I didn't see any at Charlie Kirk)

I wonder how many protestors there will be?  (I counted 50 swelling to 100 at Charlie Kirk)

I wonder how much property damage and confrontations with the police there will be?  (I observed at Charlie Kirk protestors aligned with Cops Off Campus threw eggs at cops, taunted cops with chants against cops, blocks people from entering, insulted attendees as racists and bigots, threw objects such as water bottles at attendees leaving, and as captured on film, smashed in the glass windows on the doors to the RecHall

Across from the Mondavi Center - Protest begins in the grassy area at 5:30pm, Doors 6:15pm or earlier, Riley Show 7-9pm, After-Crap 9pm.

Go free speech!   Go non-violet protest!  Protest in any other color!

Do you also enjoy a good Shit Show?  See you there!


In Shocking Press Release, Davis College Republicans Oppose Calls of Violence Against People of Jewish Descent

I found this on the Facebook page of a group calling itself "Davis College Republicans".  This group is stating its opposition to calls of violence against people of Jewish descent and condemns posts by an assistant professor calling for attacks on 'pro-Israel' journalists and their children. 

Furthermore, this group is doubling-down on its commitment to the principles of free speech and open dialogue, but also believes that there are limits to these principles when the speech includes threats of violence and harm against any group or individual. 

Most shockingly, this group says that it remains dedicated to upholding the values of civil discourse, open debate, and respectful dialogue, and firmly believes that disagreements should be met with discussion and understanding, not with threats or intimidation.

Now that we are aware that a group exists on the UC Davis Campus with values such as these, and openly states these values, the question for all of us in Davis is:  what are 'we' going to 'do' about 'it' ?  :-|

If you don't believe me that a group with such values could exist so close to us, on our beloved UC Davis Campus, here is their press release, in their own words:


Davis College Republicans
October 23, 2023
Contact: James Murray, Communications Director
[email protected]

Davis College Republicans Oppose Calls of Violence Against People of Jewish Descent

DAVIS, CA- In the past week, Assistant Professor of American Studies Jemma Decristo posted tweets advocating for attacks against, pro-Israel Journalists, and their children. Davis College Republicans unequivocally denounce and condemn these posts.

On October 10, Decristo posted a tweet containing disturbing language expressing threats to "Zionist journalists" who "have houses with address, kids in school" and "they should fear us more," ending the post with emojis of a knife, an axe, and blood.

The Davis College Republicans wish to make it abundantly clear that we unequivocally denounce and condemn these posts. While we hold firm to the principles of free speech and open dialogue, we also believe that there are limits to these principles. Threats of violence and harm against any group or individual are entirely unacceptable and fall far outside the parameters of protected speech.

We stand in agreement with the official statement released by UC Davis, emphasizing the importance of protected speech within our community. However, it is crucial to stress that the tweets in question do not align with this protection, as they promote violence and fear. In order to maintain a respectful and intellectual discourse within our society, we must collectively reject such violent rhetoric.

Davis College Republicans remain dedicated to upholding the values of civil discourse, open debate, and respectful dialogue. We firmly believe that disagreements should be met with discussion and understanding, not with threats or intimidation.

DCR is a local College Republican organization dedicated to growing the conservative movement on the UC Davis campus and in surrounding counties. For more information visit our Facebook and Instagram pages @DavisCollege Republicans.

Al's Whatever Thing (Formerly Al's Corner) - October 2023

image from www.sparkysonestop.com

Not much going on in Davis these days . . . coming up short on starter topics . . . #sigh# . . . anyone?

Continue reading "Al's Whatever Thing (Formerly Al's Corner) - October 2023" »

Anatomy of an Article: That Wake Up Call was a Wrong Number (Al's Curiousity Corner #4)

SUBJECT: "Commentary: A Wake Up Call"  (Wednesday's Blavis Blansplard)

Only DG could get a robo-call about solar panels from a call center in India and think it was a a wake-up call.  I was rummaging through the trash behind Vanguard Headquarters on Thursday evening at 8:17 p.m. and found the recipe for the article.  As a public service I am posting it here:

Continue reading "Anatomy of an Article: That Wake Up Call was a Wrong Number (Al's Curiousity Corner #4)" »

Al's Corner - September 2023

image from www.sparkysonestop.com

This volume of Al's Corner is dedicated to the celebration of the Davis Vanguard's National Issues Open Discussion Page.  Of course, this page isn't open to me, or several other banned people.  Nor, in practice, is it a discussion.  Let's do some stats and declare a winner:

Continue reading "Al's Corner - September 2023" »

Wingnut Advocates for Nuclear Mosquito Control

Screenshot 2023-09-02 071056by David Abramson
Steve, who previously spoke to the City Council advocating that we ban all the leaves from Davis returned this past Tuesday to give public comment in support of the pesticide spraying of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito Vector District, particularly supporting the aerial spraying over our cities and encouraging them to develop even larger pesticide bombs to eliminate the mosquitos once and for all.
I am personally outraged that Steve and the Sacramento Yolo Mosquito Vector Control District believe that mosquito activity warrants dumping pesticides on our heads several times per weeks.

Vanguard Bias and Censorship Leads Another Longtime Commenter to Quit the Site

by Ron O
Well, after several years of commenting on the Vanguard it has finally come to this - I quit.
When I first started commenting, the Vanguard allowed a wide variety of comments (and viewpoints) without even requiring that commenters use their own names.  It was a lively environment with a wide variety of viewpoints, no arbitrarily-enforced comment limits, and the ability to post comments without pre-cenShorship - as others have labeled it (in reference to Don Shor).  Though it seems highly likely that David Greenwald also moderates comments, and is ultimately responsible as the operator of the site.
Ironically, the changes that the Vanguard has implemented since those earlier days have not addressed the problems that they claimed to be addressing, whether it's continued personal attacks, doxing, or (perhaps most importantly) - refusing to post comments that the simply don't like.

Continue reading "Vanguard Bias and Censorship Leads Another Longtime Commenter to Quit the Site" »

YES, Mayor Arnold needs to recuse himself again


Back in June I strongly suggested that Mayor Will Arnold recuse himself from City Council discussion/support of the I-80 Managed Lanes Project - The mayor's main gig is a key role in communications at Caltrans. 

He did recuse himself.

Tonight the City Council is voting for approval for one of two variants for re-reconstruction of Mace Blvd (see my opinion on that below). 

While it's not a Caltrans project, per se, the continued problem of operators of private motor vehicles using county roads and Mace to try to bypass traffic on I-80 is in large part due to the sad negligence of Caltrans in supporting anything but nice but expensive-to-use and proportionately symbolic commuter-regional railway service (Capitol Corridor), to focus on induced travel as a healthy strategy (the aformentioned Managed Lanes project) and to seemingly ignore any serious consideration of solutions to the awful I-80/CA-113 interchange, modifications to certain on-ramps to permit entering vehicles to get up to the prevailing speed before merging or any kind of substantial long-distance bus service to complement Capitol Corridor (and more...)

The so-called "restoration" of Mace will not solve the I-80 problem, but since Caltrans won't either, and since Caltrans won't help solve the Mace problem... the discussion and vote tonight is very, very much connected with Caltrans and so the Mayor should again recuse himself. 


Sprayingmap8292023As an hopefully not so itchy or worse aside in my favor regarding aerial and other spraying for mosquitoes (specifically to counter the threat of West Nile Virus) in relaton to highways workers at Caltrans and private travellers - and in relation to agenda item 4 also in this evening's Council meeting. missing any attachments!  - I have repeatedly called via social media - and finally, acknowledged comments from staff for Supervisor Provenza - to ensure better outreach to workers busy on the I-80 pavement rehabilitation project and to people transitting the region by its highways who are unlikely to see or hear local (social) media announcements about the spraying. Some of this is immediately adjacent to I-80 - including tonight, during the Council meeting - and CA-113.


Back to the Mace Re-re-design: It's a betrayal of the Commons and of the City's symbol and oft-repeated climate change and related goals to prioritize traffic lanes above bike lanes, and to sacrifice (median, in this case) trees instead of traffic lanes for bike lanes... the latter, in other words, is putting people on bikes - or really kids on bikes riding to elementary school  - against trees, really, the Greater Arboreal World. It's a sad, sad day... There's no "restoration" -- the four lanes of Mace are no exiled monarch, and they certainly ain't democracy - automobilist entitlement is getting its way, once again. Look around: Davis is not getting better for walking and cycling. Anyone who has encouraged this motorized farce will have to face their own conscience.

Al's Curiosity Corner #2 - Open Forum on the Library Issue

While there has been a discussion on that 'other' blog, the reason I hang here is that many comments get deleted there without explanation, especially on this issue and especially comments even modestly politically right.  However, this is a sensitive issue, and I am not going to allow outright insults directed at trans people/supporters/protestors nor at persons associated with Mom's for Liberty. 

For example, for some reason that other blog allows MFL persons to be called Nazis, and that sort of useless comment isn't going to be allowed here.  On the other hand, in the Yahoo comments on the Bee article, about 153 out of 155 comments were against the library actions, despite the article leaning towards supporting the protestors.  AND . . . many if not most of those commenting there were denying the existence of trans people, insulting trans people, and/or calling trans people various derogatory terms implying mental illness just for being trans.  I'm not putting up with any of that shit here either.  I won't outright delete a comment unless it's completely empty of anything but outright hate towards either side, and I'll always explain why a comment or part of a comment was deleted.

My views on the library matter are simple:  I'm a Jew who believes the Skokie decision was the greatest triumph for the core of what makes America great:  Free speech, baby!

What are your views?   I'd like this to focus on free speech vs. hate speech; the actions/authority of the library/library-manager, the actions of those putting on the meeting and those protesting the meeting, and various takes in the media.

(Note:  I have a life, so your comments may not be posted for many hours.  Deal with it.)

Al's Curiosity Corner: What Do Davisites Think of 'Rich Men North of Richmond' ?

I'm curious what the people of Davisitesville think of this mega-hit's message. 

My reaction, from the lyrics, is this could be a punk song sung by 'Oliver' as a raw country ballad.  Rage!  Stickin' it to the monarchy, the man, the machine.  Anger at what the government is doing to us, against the men in power.  Yet this song is being labeled a 'conservative ballad'.  True, it is catching fire in conservative circles, but I don't see that in the lyrics.  I can easily hear a Johnny Rotten or a Henry Rollins versions of this song.

There's a reference to 'minors on an island'.  That happened.  Davis liberals don't defend pedophiles (do they?). 

Continue reading "Al's Curiosity Corner: What Do Davisites Think of 'Rich Men North of Richmond' ?" »

The Appalling Spectacle Now Happening in Yolo Superior Court

By Robert Canning

Like a number of people, I watched the live video stream of the Carlos Dominguez competency “trial” in Department 10 of Yolo County Superior Court last week and will watch again when the trial reconvenes.

As a forensic and correctional psychologist for the past twenty years with experience working in and consulting to jails and prisons on mental health treatment issues, I was amazed and appalled watching the spectacle unfold in real time. The trial is to determine the competence of a young man whose severe mental illness is on display daily in open court for all to see. The law requires the jury decide first whether Mr. Dominguez suffers from a mental disorder, and then if the mental disorder interferes with his capacity (competency) to understand and reason about the charges against him, and whether he can aid in his own defense.

What is most appalling to me is that his mental illness has been allowed to worsen while in custody. If the Yolo District Attorney had not requested a jury trial then Judge McAdams would have been the sole source of the decision about Mr. Dominguez’ competence. Given his comments this week to the public defender, I believe he would have found Mr. Dominguez incompetent to proceed weeks ago. In that case Mr. Dominguez would have been able to receive treatment for his mental illness sooner, possibly in a state hospital setting. If this treatment was provided, it is possible that Mr. Dominguez could be restored to competency in a matter of months.

The law requires that detainees in jails receive adequate medical and mental health care. This has been guaranteed since 1976 when the Supreme Court decided in favor of inmates in Estelle v Gamble. Subsequent case law has reinforced the right to appropriate care and emphasized the role of correctional systems in providing that care.

Because we have a public trial with testimony from mental health and medical experts and jail staff, we can see some of the glaring inadequacies of mental health care in our county jail.

Continue reading "The Appalling Spectacle Now Happening in Yolo Superior Court" »

Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - August 2023

image from www.sparkysonestop.com

Got a thought on Davis politics, or a even a single politic?  Got a thought on the request to give a donation to the Davis Vanguard so they can fund the replacement of their crappy old website?  I have a thought -- give instead to the Davis-Ite to replace the D-ite's even older, crappier website !   Underfunded old crappy blog structures:  It's the Davis Way !

In His Own Words - Walter Shwe Exposes and Brings Down Al's Corner Hypocrisy

In what could be the most important hero-story in Davis' history, Walter Shwe saved the Davisite from Alan Miller's hypocrisy as found on Al's Corner.  Readers should congratulate Mr. Shwe for his Davis-saving efforts in the comment section below.  In his own words, combining two WS comments, one of which was written at 4:45 a.m. on July 5th, Mr. Shwe says:

" I exposed the hypocracy of Mr. Miller. He regularly slammed the Davis Vanguard for censorship, yet he did the same thing with me everytime I tried to truthfully call someone out by name. Without the the names, my comments had little value. Worse still, he swore frequently, then attempted to laugh it off. Good riddance to Al's Corner. Al's Corner turned out not to be a free speech platform.  Glad I don't have to read any more of Mr. Miller's whinny comments about the Davis Vanguard! 🤣 "

Mr. Shwe TRUTHFULLY called people out by name, but was prevented doing so by Alan Miller.  He also called out Mr. Miller's "swearing".  Most important, he pointed out that Al's Corner did not publish all his comments in whole, PROVING that Al's Corner was not a free speech platform.  He also proved that Mr. Miller was a horse.


Ageist, Racist... and not the only collective bicycle solution we need

From a presentation I did about bike share in Germany the year after my team's first place win in an international bike share design competition with more than 100 competitors.

The authorities in Greater Davis* (City of Davis and UC Davis) plan to introduce a shared micro-mobility system starting this September (the introduction of e-scooter share and re-introduction of e-bike share). It is the topic of an informational item today at the July meeting of the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) at Davis Senior Center, 530pm in the Activity Room. The planned operator is Spin. (The staff report mentions Lime, a lot -- they are the operator in Sac and West Sac and seemed to have been the operator-in-waiting here through at least the end of 2022).

There was e-bike share in Davis and UC Davis from 2018 until 2020, when Jump, its operator, cancelled it due to lack of use due to COVID-related UCD class cancellations and remote learning. Non UC-users were not considered, or at least were left in the lurch. (It's worth noting that during this time bike share use in other cities increased due to aversion to public transport...)

Following I will address the issues mentioned in my headline, and then briefly will comment on some other features of the draft agreement. There's way too much to address in one article - hopefully the Commission is able to sort through the staff report in a holistic way.  If you want to skip to my juicy accusations of ageism, racism and far from ideal use as a mobility solution, see the sections below entitled 18 and Where's the Fleet?

To step back a bit - and also to educate Commissioners because there's now been 100% turnover in the BTSSC since 2018 and only one of two key City staff members still on board since then - and turnover also at UC Davis TAPS - here's a list of issues for micro-mobility share in our region from the beginning, and also some stuff about my professional history with bike share. Some of the following is anecdotal - as indicated - not due to lack of trying, and mostly because discussions with the private entities involved in operator (and sponsorship) are private, and apparently e.g. NDA's come into play.):

2000s: The advertising and street furniture giant JCDecaux approached the authorities in Lyon, France about sponsoring a new bike share system - there were earlier ones in other European cities, but this was the first one with technology broadly similar to what we have today - in exchange for an exclusive on their main business, a mentioned. This set a template for corporate sponsorship of bike share, especially in the USA, where we have - for example - bike share in NYC sponsored by Citicorp, and in many general east-of-the-Mississippi cities by Blue Cross-Blue Shield (BCBS) associated entities.  In my view, this marriage to corporate sponsors has had some negative impacts, which I don't consider as in any reasonable trade-offs: Citicorp controls banks and real estate loans, and thus directly affects the lives of many of its users outside of their bike share monopoly; BCBS-associated companies have in a rather insidious (ironic) way have healthwashed-with-bikes their opposition to Medicare for All-type plans. This reliance on direct corporate funding is wholly unique to micro-mobility share in the USA, and locally (Capitol Corridor, Regional Transit, Unitrans and Yolobus are mostly supported by passenger fares, government subsidy... including Unitrans by the City) and a small amount by advertising on properties, and in some cases gives control to a private entity with no related regulation, no way for citizens - aside from shareholders - to have a democratic influence.

2003: While leading a study visit to Germany from Prague we were introduced to the bike share system run by the German National Railway Operator. It was early technology, e.g. a staff person told me that the put on pretense that the bikes could be found via GPS trackers, but there were actually none in place.

2009: A team consisting of myself (I was based in Berlin at the time, operating as Green Idea Factory), a Swedish mobility consultant and a Swedish industrial design firm won one of two first prizes for a detailed concept for a dockless bikeshare system in an international competition in Denmark. The concept is articulated further in a presentation I created in 2010.

2017: Sutter and Kaiser were both asked to be main sponsors of bike share in the Sacramento region. Anecdotally, Sutter objected because it wouldn't want Kaiser-branded bikes on its properties, and Kaiser objected because vice-versa. So....no sponsorship happened. Without naming these companies by name, this information came from at the time City Councilmember Frerichs and the now former head of JUMP.

2018: Before the pilot started in the region, the operator JUMP was purchased by UBER. The pilot started in Davis without input from the BTSSC, because Staff wanted to start by "bike month" in May of that year. Also around this time West Sacramento started negotiations to work with a different operator, but were talked out of it.

2019: The BTSSC was only allowed to formally review the system after a year. At the time  I was on the BTSSC and I wrote a critical report, mentioning age and weight limits and other issues.

2019: Since the beginning, throughout this year and into 2020, there was a issue about bikes being parked in a way which would encumber or threaten others. Leaving aside how this compares to what car and delivery truck drivers do, it was something that needed to be addressed. Staff was very resistant for a time  to the idea of parking bikes in the street "like a motorcycle" - and people were doing this on their own, but it was not officially-sanctioned -  but then when I came forward with a detailed proposal - at the time I was still on the BTSSC - but was then told that staff had already decided to do it. See also. Unfortunately this was never officially put into practice by the time that JUMP ended bike share operations in spring 2020. Spin operates on the campus of UCSD, and their parking instruction video is over five years old, and hardly anyone has watched it. Rules need to be intuitive.

2019: OK, possibly in 2018? The City had BTSSC members and others tested perhaps six different types of e-scooters in anticipation of their possible allowance for general use by City Council.

Early 2020: JUMP cancelled bikeshare through the region, as mentioned. The staff report doesn't mention that a  great deal of its bikes and supporting technology was simply and literally trashed.

2022: Bikeshare and scootershare started again in Sacramento and West Sacramento, operated by LIME (who purchased JUMP from UBER) with government financial sponsorship (something not happening with Davis/UC Davis.)


Is this the bike they're planning to use here? Can't tell if there's a way to secure something in the rack... if not, that's a deal breaker! https://www.spin.app/s-300



From its beginning as a pilot just in Sacramento, bike share in the region (this plan joins non-connected systems in Sacramento and West Sacramento), has had a minimum age limit of 18.  It's critical to understand that there is no state regulation preventing anyone who is able to ride a bike from using the type of e-bike - a Class 1 e-bike - that Spin will provide, and e-scooters require only any classification of driver's license (so at lowest, 16 for the latter, and perhaps state ID's do not count.)

Lower-income families have fewer mobility options, generally-speaking (e.g. fewer cars, prohibitively expense train tickets, etc.) and youth members of these households even more so. Brown and Black people are disprotionately-represented in these households. So not only is the proposed agreement between the City of Davis, UC Davis and SPIN ageist, it's also racist.



Violation of Federal Law (in the previous bike share system), Elected Official and Staff hijinks

Around the time of my 2019 critical report - linked above, and mentioned in it - I suggested that the lower-than-18 age limit - not supported by State regulation on the utilized Class I e-bike - was in violation of the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, a Federal Law that is, in a way, an age-related version of Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, as the City of Sacramento - a partner in the regional bike share system - was receiving Federal money to install bicycle parking racks as these were determined to be necessary to account for the increase of bicycles. The response from SACOG was that as the rule was that of the bike share operator and not the City of Sacramento or its government partners - they were off the look. A brazen loophole, in their view, obviously to intimidate me into not pursuing the matter! (Lucas Frerichs was aware of this or perhaps even helped direct SACOG staff on this matter.) At the time, former City of Davis senior planner Brian Abbanat - now working for Yolo Transit District - even wrote me as a BTSSC member an email - responding to my article in Davisite - telling me to not spread implications etc that the City was in violation of the law. Despite all of this - and to their great credit - the BTSSC unanimously supported my motion to recommend that the City Council ask JUMP and SACOG to consider lowering the age limit. The City Council did put this on their long range calendar but never acted on that, and dropped it once JUMP pulled service, and left it off once bike (and scooter) share discussions starting again. Some Councilmembers - perhaps Arnold and Partida - did ask about the issue during a meeting in 2022, but around the same time the City of Davis and UC Davis were already planning to go it alone on micromoblity share, though at that City Council meeting a now former representative of SACOG, Kirk Trost, said based on in his experience in developing bike over the region over the previous decade, there were essentially no operators who allowed people under 18. This is false on a national level (NYC, Philadelphia...) and in California (Los Angeles, Long Beach...) all allow people to use e-bikes from under 18.

Institutionally-speaking, not only SACOG and the City of Davis are blocking youth mobility, but also the board of DJUSD. Back in 2019 I met with Cindy Pickett when she was President - or just a member: She was willing to support a min. 16 age limit, BUT no one else on the Board was interested.  Thanks for trying, Cindy! (Also about bringing back school buses...)



My concept has for a few years been not simply that the entry level for bike share is under 18 (and for scooter share from license-accquisition) but that that it's peer-based. In other words, that one can use bike share - again, no government age restrictions apply - at the same time as their peers. My specific example would be that it start with ascending 10th graders, i.e. from the first week or so - pending administrative processing, etc - of the summer before 10th grade.

How is this better than strict temporal demarcations? For a start, 15 year-olds are likely to be friends with people both older and younger: Not everyone is the same age at the beginning of summer before 10th grade, nor during the school year, etc. So - in theory - with peer-based mobility share - a 14, 15 and 16 year-old who are good friends could all ride bike share bikes together from the start of the mentioned ascending period. A peer-based system wouldn't split friends up: Consider the extreme alternative: A group of students all under 18 who can't use bike share but CAN drive, or a mixed group, all of whom can't use bike share but CAN drive.

Wow, what a great reward, mobility milestone, etc... and perhaps before they're already (emotionally-invested) in getting a driver's license (which apparently they need to use the scooters, irony!). Right? Unfortunately: Crickets. This would be a first in the country, or perhaps anywhere.



In the end the Request for Proposals (RFP) - see pg 66 - made a very, very soft ask for below 18 age limits. Way too soft for a city and university that chronically self-congratulate in regards to equity and inclusion. Srsly, are we applying Hate-Free too narrowly?

20. How do you intend to serve users who are less than 18-years of age? The City of Davis would like to provide shared bicycles to community members 16 and up, which could include non-electric devices as part of the device mix. [...]

The answer to this (see pg 3.):

Age. All users must be 18 and over. In accordance with state and federal law, this policy protects the best financial interests of Spin’s customers and their organization since the minimum legal age of consent in most contracts (including user agreements) is 18 years or older. Staff understands the strong interest in allowing for people 16 and over to use these devices, however, all of the vendors had a minimum age of 18 years old.

  • It's not clear to which "state and federal law"(s) they refer to. Adults (who are also guardians of minors) can sign off for them on any number of things, including marriage. There's only a state law requiring a driver's license for e-scooters and being at least 16 to operate a Class 3 e-bike (again Spin bikes are Class 1)
  • Spin's "customers" (the parents and guardians) are fully capable of deciding how to protect their financial interests, and those of their children/charges.
  • It's not clear who are "all of the vendors": It's not mentioned in the staff report, i.e. there's no listing of who submitted bids or proposals aside from Spin (Operators of the systems mentioned below all allow under-16's: Philadelphia, Bicycle Transit Systems; NYC and Washington, D.C., Lyft; Long Beach, Social Bicycles (who split off from what became Jump), Los Angeles, B-Cycle.)  That Lime only allows 18 and over's is only their decision... call it a "business decision", you know, like making cluster bombs...  or we can call it's: Lawyers 1; Davis youth, 0.

Other Cities Better than Davis / UCLA 1; UCD: 0

As mentioned above, under 18's can use shared e-bikes in major cities such as Philadelphia and NYC, the nation's capital, and in California in Long Beach and Los Angeles. All require some form of parental or guardian permission and formal responsibility. In sum these systems provide tens of thousands of electric assist bicycles to minors.

What's significant about the bike share system run by Metro, the public operator in L.A. (inclusive of Hollywood, Venice, etc.)  is that it is also expanding to cities such as Culver City, is already in Santa Monica, and - significantly - the UCLA campus. (How is a university campus relevant to under 18's? Well, many so-called child prodigies and other very high achievers skip a grade or more and enter university before age 18. Some also participate in summer programs, or use various facilities during the year, such as I did at UCLA when I had an AP history class in high school near the university. Do we want 16 and 17 year-olds visiting our city for serious academic reasons to be denied shared micromobility?)


Icing on the Cake of Anti-Equity

As many - including micromobility share - operators know well, users frack with age limits. What this means is that, for example, there are technical limits to how they can prevent anyone using a smartphone with their app on it connected with a credit card. Spin seems to hint at new countermeasures in the staff report, BUT this might partly bluster, similar what the Germans did nearly 20 years ago, as mentioned above.

More important, let's see how this likely works in practice: In most cases parents/guardians know the rule but allow their child to 'cheat" for any number of reasons. It seems likely that parents who tend to do this are less risk averse in regards to some financial issue that comes up as a result. So this would indicate a further anti-equity bonus in the form of a bias  in the system for wealthier families. To be clear, I've not done research on this, but it seems like common sense.


Is the scooter Spin will be bringing here? It's worth noting that about four years ago several operators brought scooters to town for staff and commissioners to test out. That didn't happen again... https://www.spin.app/rides/spin-6


"Micromobility" - my blog engine can't decide if it needs a hyphen - is a bit of a new term, so I've perhaps conflated some things above between e-bikes and e-scooters. BUT as mentioned above, one only has to be 16 with a driver's license (from other states and countries?) to use an electric-assist scooter in California. So the ascending thing doesn't apply.  Otherwise most of  the planned to be codified ageism and racism applies! Hooray! YES, from what I have seen all operators have a min. age 18 limit for scooters.... and Davis and UC Davis are refusing to take a stand about it. #equitydeferstotheman


Where's the Fleet?

Is the planned system what we really need to get a very, very wide range of people and campus in the city on comfortable, fast enough, well-built and appropriately designed bikes?


Every year... thousands of faculty, staff and especially students appear in Davis. Some have not ridden a bike in some time, some don't know to ride... these and many more don't actually know what is a useful bike for Davis, many don't have time to research and pick one out. Useful bikes are also hard to get, though selection is getting better - I think that some Dutch academic-related people are warned about this in advance: I have two Dutch-built bikes which were never sold retail in the USA... left by former Aggies...)


The bike pictured above -  or ones like it - is a poster child for absolutely not the bike to offer to students or others in Davis:


Loud, inefficient tires, bad for cornering on pavement and in rain

No fenders

No semi-built in lights or built in lights

No way to carry cargo

No bell!


Not a big loss of money if it breaks down or is stolen (A newer model is only $300)

Nevertheless, this is a type of bike that's extremely common on campus. Many also don't fit well, even if purchased new. 

Note that aside from the one thing in the Pro column, I am not talking about the quality of the bike, likely warranty or lack of local bike shop support. This is about design. 

What the UC Davis campus (and probably many other UC and CSU campuses) really, really need is a fleet system of some sort. There are various business models, but the main criteria could be:

1) Suitability for local terrain and surface conditions: This means a relatively narrow gear range, or perhaps one relatively low gear, and therefore only 3 to 5 speeds. This means tires suited best for streets and possibly a bit of gravel, so that a student bike can fulfill at least a bit of a spontaneous recreational need. 

2) Cargo equipment suitable for carrying a large student backpack and two bags of groceries, possibly even some kind of low security (for groceries, not laptops)

3) Built in lights with power from other than batteries 

4) Low step, with three sizes to accommodate nearly all rider heights

5) Security system consisting of a tough main lock, front wheel security nuts and Dutch style frame lock for the rear. 

5a) Possibly some dedicated locking design based on typical bike share, but the bikes will still need to be parked in random places, so that only goes so far. Unfortunately these bikes probably can't be unique enough  in a way which facilitates locking-to-itself.

This system would be a complement to normal bike share (um, non-ageist, non-racist bike share!)

Though as mentioned the business model may vary, one idea would be that every student is assigned a bike by request at any time which will be of the appropriate size for the individual, and easy to identify with a color, a number and some tech-facilitated means connected with a smartphone app. This bike would be maintained by some outgrowth of the Bike Barn etc, or even farmed out to local bike shops (who would, after all, be dealing with a set design with the same parts etc. The bikes would have to be un-lockable by related staff so that can be picked up where they parked, broken down etc 

Cost? Yes, this will be expensive, though not relative to the existing costs of tuition and fees. 

The advantages cannot be over-stated:

Reliable bikes, optimized for student and related close urban lifestyles.

Predictable lighting.

A slow downsizing of chronically under-lit, poor fitting (size and use) , mechanically and pneumatically-sub-optimal crap bikes that fill every possible nook and cranny in the city and campus... wasting space, wasting time, avoiding safety, making it easy for driver-identified people to complain.... filling the city and campus bike racks with rusting junk that takes a huge amount of capacity, time and money to deal with.

WHY has this not been discussed to date in Davis?

Examples from the region and abroad. Some of the fleets are designed for a particular locale, such as a corporate campus, others are designed for an entire country, still others for long-term use:

Google campus bikes



This is a new sub-topic for a longer discussion, but it very BADLY needs to happen.

The End of Al's Corner







A huge explosion and fireball enveloped the Al's Corner tanker truck late Tuesday evening.  The explosion was heard as far away as Esparto, Knights Landing, Allendale, Zamora, Broderick, Saxon, Batavia, and the Milk Farm.

Preliminary investigation by the combined UCD and City fire departments indicate that a flea had flown into the side of the tank, causing the explosion.

When asked how a flea could have caused such an explosion, fire chief Woody Burns said simply:

"It was a very annoying flea".

Contacted at his new residence on the east side of Pole Line Road just north of 8th Street, Al was asked about Al's Corner's iconic run in the Davis shitty-blog scene.  Al responded simply:

"It's been real, and it's been fun.  But it hasn't been real fun."


Davis Pride Festival draws biggest crowd ever

The crowd cheers during the drag revue at the Davis Pride Festival on Sunday (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)

(From press release) The Davis Phoenix Coalition presented its biggest Davis Pride Festival to date, with its inclusive celebration for members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. An organizer estimated that more than 5,000 came to Central Park for Sunday’s ninth-annual event.

It was part of a community-focused, family-friendly weekend that included a skate night, fun run, music festival, drag queens, vendors and more – June 3 and 4. A handful of quiet protesters attended the drag show and took video. The crowd and drag queens started interacting with the protesters, who left before displaying the banners and posters they intended to raise.

Those in Davis will notice the rainbow crosswalks around Davis’ Central Park, which were painted on May 28. Those set the celebratory tone for Skate with Pride on Saturday night, Run for Equality on Sunday morning, and the Davis Pride Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The fair included music, a drag queen revue, educational booths, food, drink, and vendors coordinated with the assistance of Davis Craft and Vintage Market. There were even special activity zones for youths, teens and seniors.

On June 23, there’s a Ride with Pride bike party excursion, with participants meeting at Central Park at 6 p.m. and leaving about 30 minutes later. Businesses interested in hosting local pride events, to raise money for and promote Davis Pride, may learn more at https://www.davispride.org/host.

Davis Pride events are coordinated by an all-volunteer community formed by the Davis Phoenix Coalition, a nonprofit that works to foster diversity, eliminate intolerance, prevent hate-motivated violence, and support LGBTQ+ youths in Davis and surrounding communities. The coalition was founded in the aftermath of a 2013 anti-gay attack on former Davis resident “Mikey” Partida. Proceeds from Davis Pride events support the coalition’s anti-racism and anti-bullying campaigns, help LGBTQ+ youths and their families, and provide outreach with area police departments, churches and schools. To donate, go to https://davisphoenixco.org/donate.

Davis Media Access Executive Director Autumn Labbé-Renault interviews Davis Pride Director Sandré Henriquez Nelson on KDRT radio at Sunday’s festival. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Mikey Partida prepares to raise the pride flag at Davis City Hall on Sunday, June 4, before the Davis Pride Festival. Partida was the victim of an anti-gay attack in 2013 that spurred the formation of the Davis Phoenix Coalition. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Runners and walkers take position at Third and C streets in Davis on Sunday before the Run for Equality. The event was part of a series of weekend pride activities. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Claire Yribarren, left, and Olive Amendolara pose for a photo during Saturday’s Skate with Pride event in Central Park. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
The ’80s cover band Tainted Love headlined the Davis Pride Festival on Sunday in Central Park. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Skaters compete in a limbo competition at the Skate with Pride event on Saturday, June 3 in Davis’ Central Park. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)
Festivalgoers enjoy as Xavier Toscano & Friends perform Sunday at the Davis Pride Festival in Central Park. (Photo credit Wendy Weitzel)

A Tale of Two Crossings: Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'

* If Nishi can't be built, there's nothing to trade as a mitigation
* Dedicated bike-ped crossing of the Yolo Bypass was quietly cancelled after years of promises.



Tonight's City Council Agenda item on the 80 Yolo Managed Project was already covered critically and nearly exhaustively last weekend in the Davis Enterprise and yesterday here in the Davisite and in the Davis Vanguard.


A Bridge That Can't Be Built...

I arrived in town after Nishi 1.0 (retroactively supported a concept that would involve a complete redesign of the 80-Richards interchange inclusive of a parking structure and Park & Ride for regional buses which would have minimal impacts on Richards) and was against Nishi 2.0 because I don’t think that there should be housing (buildings with windows people open!) so close to the noisy and arguably otherwise-polluting interstate, but it’s not why I am suggesting that the proposed “multi-modal” mitigation is a fallacy. I agree with others that no VMT mitigations should happen with this project, and am trying to make clear that the plan of Caltrans and its erstwhile partners are also a mess from a technical point of view. (There's also the sheer ironic delight of trying to facilitate the construction of a project using these VMT credits - as it were - to make the Nishi space noisier and more polluted next to a widened interstate.)

The 80-railway corridor is a wall for people on bikes, but so is the railway on its own.  See Pole Line over 80 at lower right in the illustration above. It’s incredibly long because it has to go very high over the railway tracks, more so than to get over 80 itself (to better understand this, picture the crossings over 113 which are much lower as they only need to accommodate trucks.) First of all, this – and all the over-crossings of 80 in town – are simply not comfortable and suitable for people on normal bicycles, especially carrying children, and especially if they can make the journey by private motor vehicle or e-bike.   The over-crossings have around a 6 to 7% grade, nearly twice as high as the Dutch standard: So to make it comfortable for hundreds of people to go from Nishi to campus it would have to be nearly twice as long. Look again at the view of 80 at Pole Line: There’s no space for this unless it’s very circuitous and indirect and lands behind the Shrem Museum or just by the entrance to Solano Park from Old Davis Rd. (The red line in the top of the image is only as long as Pole Line, and it needs to be much longer.) And that’s just for cycling. Imagine walking this at least twice a day. Motor vehicles including buses can obviously do this, but that's no one's definition of "multi-modal".

I feel confident in saying that since a motor vehicle, bus, bicycle and walking connection is part of the agreement for Nishi, and as Union Pacific forbids an under-crossing, there’s no way to build Nishi unless it’s returned to the voters. There’s nothing to mitigate here as nothing can be built for mitigation.


A Cancelled Crossing...

For years a dedicated and new bicycle-pedestrian bridge across the ‘Bypass was promised in the project. In 2020 – when I was still on the Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) – the notification that it was dropped some months earlier was only indirectly mentioned in a summary for a BTSSC meeting by the primary liaison for the City of Davis at the time, Brian Abbanat (former City of Davis Senior Planner; now he’s in a similar role for Yolo County and co-presenting Tuesday evening.) A couple of years later when this was mentioned to the other co-presenter, YCTD head Autumn Bernstein, she said it was not funded: I believe that the aggregate truth – to be precise as possible – is that Caltrans dropped it, never told any of the local interested groups about it (e.g. Bike Davis, Davis Bike Club) through their liaison Abbanat and that it wasn’t part of the initial, funded proposal to the Federal Government. Our City, County and State government representatives were silent about this betrayal in our so-called "USA cycling capitol".

Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - June 2023

image from www.sparkysonestop.com

There MAY not have been a May version of Al's Corner.  People got by.  They posted May stuff in April.  We all lived.

June's Al's Corner will feature ketchup and mustard on top.  Peace.  Over & Out.

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.