NOVEMBER SURPRISE

There has been speculation since the September Davis City Council meeting when Councilmember Stephen Souza suggested that he and Councilmember Don Saylor were in negotiations with Target on a labor agreement. So it was no surprise at all to see the announcement/non-announcement in the Thursday Evening Davis Enterprise.

Claire St. John writes:

But since Saylor and Souza’s announcement — which came in response to a living wage ordinance proposed by Councilman Lamar Heystek — letters to the editor have asked if an 11th-hour announcement about Target’s new union-friendly business practices would be made.

Souza plays the political game to a tee with his non-announcement.

“We don’t want to make a big hoopla about this,” Souza said. “We don’t want to say anything about it, and then after the election we could say something.”

As is the usual with the Davis Enterprise, there is a lot that is not said here.

The article makes it seem at first like this was the announcement of some sort of labor agreement for the Target workers. Of course, this is no such thing. We are merely talking about using union construction work. I do not want to diminish that, but frankly those were the least of the concerns that those supportive of a both a living wage ordinance and supportive in general of unionize workers had about the Target project.

Second, it suggests that Souza and Saylor were in negotiations with the Target corporation. Well, under whose authority were they acting? The City Council has never authorized such negotiations. So are we to take it that Souza and Saylor are acting on their own? This seems very concerning.

Third, Claire St. John never contacted nor interviewed the minority on the Council–either the Mayor Sue Greenwald or Lamar Heystek who introduced the living wage ordinance. St. John is not a rookie, she knows you have to contact both sides of an issue. Why doesn’t she?

Fourth, Souza is quoted as saying:

“We can always come back and discuss a living wage ordinance, but it’s about what is legal,” he said. “We can’t just focus on one employer.”

In fact, both Souza and Saylor both continue to repeat this deception. City Attorney Harriet Steiner at the September meeting told Souza that she had a similar issue in Emeryville and her law partner expected to prevail on it.

(Click here to see that video)

There are multiple serious ethical issues here with both the reporting of this issue and the practices of Souza and Saylor. We need to hold our elected official accountable for their conduct. Members of the city council should not be negotiating separate labor agreements without council authority and consent.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Elections

4 comments

  1. The Enterprise has obviously placed their city beat reporter on a very short leash since her investigative reporting revelations on the Measure X referendum blew the arguments of Souza and Saylor out of the water and seriously damaged the prospects for passage of Measure X. The editor of The Enterprise is not going to allow this to be repeated. The current Enterprise reporting on Measure K reveals little effort to substantiate the accuracy of statements by Souza or Saylor as was done so diligently in the coverage of Measure X where real efforts were made to report on the “facts” presented by both sides. Finally, the layout of the stories has been used by the Enterprise to
    support Yes on Measure K. Measure X(Covell Village referendum) was covered as a three-part series. Neither side of the issue had an obvious physical layout preference and there was ample space given for in-depth discussion. The coverage of the current Enterprise articles on Measure K is not being done in a series format but rather lengthy articles where it is often difficult to wade through the verbiage to the end. It is no coincidence that the No on K position is to be usually found here at the end of the article, presented almost as an afterthought, and buried deep within the paper with the Yes on K discussion on the front page. The current article of concern, discussed in this blog by Doug, is a good example. The cryptic statement by the Target representative that current negotiations do not focus on future Target employees is to be found as the very last sentence on the back page. Souza’s quote that Councilman Heystek’s concept of an ordinance
    requiring a minimum living wage and benefits package could not be considered because “we can’t just focus on one employer” is inaccurate on its face since the proposed ordinance would have addressed all big box retail operations that want to do business in Davis. Similar outright false statements were dutifully caught and reported on by this Enterprise reporter in covering Measure X by her own efforts and talking to the spokespeople for the other side. The Enterprise has every opportunity to express its opinion on the editorial page. Shaping the content and physical presentation of the news is an affront to its readers.

  2. The Enterprise has obviously placed their city beat reporter on a very short leash since her investigative reporting revelations on the Measure X referendum blew the arguments of Souza and Saylor out of the water and seriously damaged the prospects for passage of Measure X. The editor of The Enterprise is not going to allow this to be repeated. The current Enterprise reporting on Measure K reveals little effort to substantiate the accuracy of statements by Souza or Saylor as was done so diligently in the coverage of Measure X where real efforts were made to report on the “facts” presented by both sides. Finally, the layout of the stories has been used by the Enterprise to
    support Yes on Measure K. Measure X(Covell Village referendum) was covered as a three-part series. Neither side of the issue had an obvious physical layout preference and there was ample space given for in-depth discussion. The coverage of the current Enterprise articles on Measure K is not being done in a series format but rather lengthy articles where it is often difficult to wade through the verbiage to the end. It is no coincidence that the No on K position is to be usually found here at the end of the article, presented almost as an afterthought, and buried deep within the paper with the Yes on K discussion on the front page. The current article of concern, discussed in this blog by Doug, is a good example. The cryptic statement by the Target representative that current negotiations do not focus on future Target employees is to be found as the very last sentence on the back page. Souza’s quote that Councilman Heystek’s concept of an ordinance
    requiring a minimum living wage and benefits package could not be considered because “we can’t just focus on one employer” is inaccurate on its face since the proposed ordinance would have addressed all big box retail operations that want to do business in Davis. Similar outright false statements were dutifully caught and reported on by this Enterprise reporter in covering Measure X by her own efforts and talking to the spokespeople for the other side. The Enterprise has every opportunity to express its opinion on the editorial page. Shaping the content and physical presentation of the news is an affront to its readers.

  3. The Enterprise has obviously placed their city beat reporter on a very short leash since her investigative reporting revelations on the Measure X referendum blew the arguments of Souza and Saylor out of the water and seriously damaged the prospects for passage of Measure X. The editor of The Enterprise is not going to allow this to be repeated. The current Enterprise reporting on Measure K reveals little effort to substantiate the accuracy of statements by Souza or Saylor as was done so diligently in the coverage of Measure X where real efforts were made to report on the “facts” presented by both sides. Finally, the layout of the stories has been used by the Enterprise to
    support Yes on Measure K. Measure X(Covell Village referendum) was covered as a three-part series. Neither side of the issue had an obvious physical layout preference and there was ample space given for in-depth discussion. The coverage of the current Enterprise articles on Measure K is not being done in a series format but rather lengthy articles where it is often difficult to wade through the verbiage to the end. It is no coincidence that the No on K position is to be usually found here at the end of the article, presented almost as an afterthought, and buried deep within the paper with the Yes on K discussion on the front page. The current article of concern, discussed in this blog by Doug, is a good example. The cryptic statement by the Target representative that current negotiations do not focus on future Target employees is to be found as the very last sentence on the back page. Souza’s quote that Councilman Heystek’s concept of an ordinance
    requiring a minimum living wage and benefits package could not be considered because “we can’t just focus on one employer” is inaccurate on its face since the proposed ordinance would have addressed all big box retail operations that want to do business in Davis. Similar outright false statements were dutifully caught and reported on by this Enterprise reporter in covering Measure X by her own efforts and talking to the spokespeople for the other side. The Enterprise has every opportunity to express its opinion on the editorial page. Shaping the content and physical presentation of the news is an affront to its readers.

  4. The Enterprise has obviously placed their city beat reporter on a very short leash since her investigative reporting revelations on the Measure X referendum blew the arguments of Souza and Saylor out of the water and seriously damaged the prospects for passage of Measure X. The editor of The Enterprise is not going to allow this to be repeated. The current Enterprise reporting on Measure K reveals little effort to substantiate the accuracy of statements by Souza or Saylor as was done so diligently in the coverage of Measure X where real efforts were made to report on the “facts” presented by both sides. Finally, the layout of the stories has been used by the Enterprise to
    support Yes on Measure K. Measure X(Covell Village referendum) was covered as a three-part series. Neither side of the issue had an obvious physical layout preference and there was ample space given for in-depth discussion. The coverage of the current Enterprise articles on Measure K is not being done in a series format but rather lengthy articles where it is often difficult to wade through the verbiage to the end. It is no coincidence that the No on K position is to be usually found here at the end of the article, presented almost as an afterthought, and buried deep within the paper with the Yes on K discussion on the front page. The current article of concern, discussed in this blog by Doug, is a good example. The cryptic statement by the Target representative that current negotiations do not focus on future Target employees is to be found as the very last sentence on the back page. Souza’s quote that Councilman Heystek’s concept of an ordinance
    requiring a minimum living wage and benefits package could not be considered because “we can’t just focus on one employer” is inaccurate on its face since the proposed ordinance would have addressed all big box retail operations that want to do business in Davis. Similar outright false statements were dutifully caught and reported on by this Enterprise reporter in covering Measure X by her own efforts and talking to the spokespeople for the other side. The Enterprise has every opportunity to express its opinion on the editorial page. Shaping the content and physical presentation of the news is an affront to its readers.

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