Thursday Briefs

County Supervisor’s Race Coverage in the Davis Enterprise

Tuesday’s Enterprise article about who is lining up for District 4 Supervisor left out a key quote that was provided to Davis Enterprise Reporter Elisabeth Sherwin in response to her question, “Mariko, why, why, why, would [you] not run for Supervisor after serving only one term?”

Yamada’s response was this:

“By the time my term ends on December 31, 2008, I will have actually served District 4 for nine years—four years as District Director and five years as Supervisor. Over the past thirty years, I have had the opportunity to work in federal service and for three California counties—Los Angeles, San Diego and Yolo. I hope to take that experience and local government perspective to the State Legislature.”

Also notably absent from that article was any quote or statement by prospective candidate and current School Board Member Jim Provenza. That absence is particularly conspicuous because all four of the other prospective candidates–John Ferrera, Bob Schelen, Richard Harris, and Erik Vink–were quoted.

It is not as though this were a timely article that had to come out on Tuesday. So why did Elisabeth Sherwin not contact Mr. Provenza?

Looming Fiscal Crisis in the City

At Tuesday’s special workshop the city disclosed once again that there is a revenue shortfall. The short-term shortfall stems from a number of factor one of which is a $700,000 shortfall in revenue from parking and traffic violations. But there is a longer term revenue problem looming–one that has the city discussing new ways to tax citizens.

There is very real concern by Mayor Greenwald that we are going to end up taxing many retirees and others on fixed incomes right out of their homes in Davis.

Part of the problem that Mayor Greenwald has been very consistent in pointing out is that the city has been extremely generous with both benefits packages to employees as well as retirement benefits.

Rich Rifkin hit the nail on the head last week in his column when he pointed out that currently:

“As of now, a person needs to be with the city for only five years to obtain free medical premiums for life after he retires.”

As Rifkin cites–currently Davis is paying the medical bills for 143 retired employees and that number will skyrocket in the next 10 years or so. Moreover these expenditures are paid out at the time that a person receives the benefits–there is no money set aside, which means each year, the budget will become more and more stressed by the system.

One solution that Rifkin recommends is that we increase the amount of service from five years to twenty five years in order to receive the medical retirement benefits. That would prevent future problems, but it does not fix the current problem because those under contract currently would still operate under the old system.

To her credit, Mayor Greenwald has been warning the community and her colleagues for several years about this problem, and she continues to vote against new benefits, but she is merely one vote often against four on this issue. At some point, the citizens of Davis will have to pay for these financial indiscretions.

Sunshine Week sees Federal Government Initiative Facing Veto

Democrats this week with broad bipartisanship support in Washington passed a number of bills meant to force government agencies to be more responsive to Freedom of Information Act requests for public Documents.

In all there were four bills passed by the House–each one with 75% support or higher.

According to the Associated Press:

Aided by substantial Republican support, the Democrats approved legislation to force government agencies to be more responsive to the millions of Freedom of Information Act requests for public documents they receive every year.

The House also easily passed bills to require donors to presidential libraries to identify themselves — an issue as Bush prepares for his own library — and to reverse a 2001 Bush decision making it easier for presidents to keep their records from public scrutiny.

Finally, lawmakers approved a bill to strengthen protection for government whistle-blowers.

There is strong opposition from the White House most particularly to the Presidential records bill.

It will be interesting to see if the bipartisan support is strong enough to override the veto–the vote counts of course were sufficient, but will that Republican support hold on a veto override, that remains to be seen.

—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

56 comments

  1. Budget Problems

    Most politicians take the easy way out. Give things away now and let taxpayers fund it sometime in the future. A growing community generating higher taxes mask the problem but when growth slows down you still have to pay the piper.SAH

  2. Budget Problems

    Most politicians take the easy way out. Give things away now and let taxpayers fund it sometime in the future. A growing community generating higher taxes mask the problem but when growth slows down you still have to pay the piper.SAH

  3. Budget Problems

    Most politicians take the easy way out. Give things away now and let taxpayers fund it sometime in the future. A growing community generating higher taxes mask the problem but when growth slows down you still have to pay the piper.SAH

  4. Budget Problems

    Most politicians take the easy way out. Give things away now and let taxpayers fund it sometime in the future. A growing community generating higher taxes mask the problem but when growth slows down you still have to pay the piper.SAH

  5. City staff, to a large degree, shape the narrative of large development projects. City staff pay and benefit packages threatened by reported budget shortfall. Budget shortfalls can be addressed, IN THE SHORT TERM, by increased revenue stream from large development projects.. a challenging scenerio.

  6. City staff, to a large degree, shape the narrative of large development projects. City staff pay and benefit packages threatened by reported budget shortfall. Budget shortfalls can be addressed, IN THE SHORT TERM, by increased revenue stream from large development projects.. a challenging scenerio.

  7. City staff, to a large degree, shape the narrative of large development projects. City staff pay and benefit packages threatened by reported budget shortfall. Budget shortfalls can be addressed, IN THE SHORT TERM, by increased revenue stream from large development projects.. a challenging scenerio.

  8. City staff, to a large degree, shape the narrative of large development projects. City staff pay and benefit packages threatened by reported budget shortfall. Budget shortfalls can be addressed, IN THE SHORT TERM, by increased revenue stream from large development projects.. a challenging scenerio.

  9. I have to disagree on that analysis by the second anonymous.

    First, you cannot construct large development projects in the short term, it would take years of planning and construction.

    Second, most sources have indicated that development projects–unless they are commercial–do not add to the revenue stream. That is one reason the county staff has opposed the proposal for development on Davis’ NW quadrant.

    Finally, this is a structural problem and needs to be handled structurally by fixing the system. Unfortunately, in the intermediate there are going to be revenues problems and pressures to raise taxes or cut services.

  10. I have to disagree on that analysis by the second anonymous.

    First, you cannot construct large development projects in the short term, it would take years of planning and construction.

    Second, most sources have indicated that development projects–unless they are commercial–do not add to the revenue stream. That is one reason the county staff has opposed the proposal for development on Davis’ NW quadrant.

    Finally, this is a structural problem and needs to be handled structurally by fixing the system. Unfortunately, in the intermediate there are going to be revenues problems and pressures to raise taxes or cut services.

  11. I have to disagree on that analysis by the second anonymous.

    First, you cannot construct large development projects in the short term, it would take years of planning and construction.

    Second, most sources have indicated that development projects–unless they are commercial–do not add to the revenue stream. That is one reason the county staff has opposed the proposal for development on Davis’ NW quadrant.

    Finally, this is a structural problem and needs to be handled structurally by fixing the system. Unfortunately, in the intermediate there are going to be revenues problems and pressures to raise taxes or cut services.

  12. I have to disagree on that analysis by the second anonymous.

    First, you cannot construct large development projects in the short term, it would take years of planning and construction.

    Second, most sources have indicated that development projects–unless they are commercial–do not add to the revenue stream. That is one reason the county staff has opposed the proposal for development on Davis’ NW quadrant.

    Finally, this is a structural problem and needs to be handled structurally by fixing the system. Unfortunately, in the intermediate there are going to be revenues problems and pressures to raise taxes or cut services.

  13. AND yet, Ms. Greenwald continues to fight against big box stores that would allow Davis residents to shop in their community (instead of going to Woodland) and also generate large sales tax revenues for the city.

    Sounds like Greenwald is trying to create a self fullfilling prophesy.

  14. AND yet, Ms. Greenwald continues to fight against big box stores that would allow Davis residents to shop in their community (instead of going to Woodland) and also generate large sales tax revenues for the city.

    Sounds like Greenwald is trying to create a self fullfilling prophesy.

  15. AND yet, Ms. Greenwald continues to fight against big box stores that would allow Davis residents to shop in their community (instead of going to Woodland) and also generate large sales tax revenues for the city.

    Sounds like Greenwald is trying to create a self fullfilling prophesy.

  16. AND yet, Ms. Greenwald continues to fight against big box stores that would allow Davis residents to shop in their community (instead of going to Woodland) and also generate large sales tax revenues for the city.

    Sounds like Greenwald is trying to create a self fullfilling prophesy.

  17. Is it really that hard to invent a name as opposed to posting anonymously?

    Anyway, the public is not going to support big box stores in this town–they barely supported Target and that was on the understanding/ promise that this would not open the flood gates. So that is not a viable option.

    Mayor Greenwald is doing the right thing by calling the real problem to task–that of structural spending that will largely be out of the hands of the future boards. Unless Davis is going to suddenly become Fairfield and Vacaville, development is not the solution.

  18. Is it really that hard to invent a name as opposed to posting anonymously?

    Anyway, the public is not going to support big box stores in this town–they barely supported Target and that was on the understanding/ promise that this would not open the flood gates. So that is not a viable option.

    Mayor Greenwald is doing the right thing by calling the real problem to task–that of structural spending that will largely be out of the hands of the future boards. Unless Davis is going to suddenly become Fairfield and Vacaville, development is not the solution.

  19. Is it really that hard to invent a name as opposed to posting anonymously?

    Anyway, the public is not going to support big box stores in this town–they barely supported Target and that was on the understanding/ promise that this would not open the flood gates. So that is not a viable option.

    Mayor Greenwald is doing the right thing by calling the real problem to task–that of structural spending that will largely be out of the hands of the future boards. Unless Davis is going to suddenly become Fairfield and Vacaville, development is not the solution.

  20. Is it really that hard to invent a name as opposed to posting anonymously?

    Anyway, the public is not going to support big box stores in this town–they barely supported Target and that was on the understanding/ promise that this would not open the flood gates. So that is not a viable option.

    Mayor Greenwald is doing the right thing by calling the real problem to task–that of structural spending that will largely be out of the hands of the future boards. Unless Davis is going to suddenly become Fairfield and Vacaville, development is not the solution.

  21. “…large sales tax revenues for the city.” (???)

    Really? Large sales tax revenue? I must have missed that part. You must not be looking at the *net* sales tax revenue …you know after all those pesky city services are paid; those things you don’t think about when you’re buying your socks.

    The *net* sales tax revenue is a drop in the bucket. Bottom line, a slim majority of people screwed Mace Ranch for cheap convenience. I’ll be happy to return the favor some day. Oh look! There’s Valley Oak.

    Lynn (not so anonymously)

  22. “…large sales tax revenues for the city.” (???)

    Really? Large sales tax revenue? I must have missed that part. You must not be looking at the *net* sales tax revenue …you know after all those pesky city services are paid; those things you don’t think about when you’re buying your socks.

    The *net* sales tax revenue is a drop in the bucket. Bottom line, a slim majority of people screwed Mace Ranch for cheap convenience. I’ll be happy to return the favor some day. Oh look! There’s Valley Oak.

    Lynn (not so anonymously)

  23. “…large sales tax revenues for the city.” (???)

    Really? Large sales tax revenue? I must have missed that part. You must not be looking at the *net* sales tax revenue …you know after all those pesky city services are paid; those things you don’t think about when you’re buying your socks.

    The *net* sales tax revenue is a drop in the bucket. Bottom line, a slim majority of people screwed Mace Ranch for cheap convenience. I’ll be happy to return the favor some day. Oh look! There’s Valley Oak.

    Lynn (not so anonymously)

  24. “…large sales tax revenues for the city.” (???)

    Really? Large sales tax revenue? I must have missed that part. You must not be looking at the *net* sales tax revenue …you know after all those pesky city services are paid; those things you don’t think about when you’re buying your socks.

    The *net* sales tax revenue is a drop in the bucket. Bottom line, a slim majority of people screwed Mace Ranch for cheap convenience. I’ll be happy to return the favor some day. Oh look! There’s Valley Oak.

    Lynn (not so anonymously)

  25. Doug: My post was not an analysis
    or solution but rather what my daughter would call a “random thought” which I thought might be worth sharing. Backfilling the budget with a revenue stream from development(although ultimately leaving the city in the “red”) is a
    very seductive “solution”. I agree that the budget problem needs to be addressed as a structural one.

  26. Doug: My post was not an analysis
    or solution but rather what my daughter would call a “random thought” which I thought might be worth sharing. Backfilling the budget with a revenue stream from development(although ultimately leaving the city in the “red”) is a
    very seductive “solution”. I agree that the budget problem needs to be addressed as a structural one.

  27. Doug: My post was not an analysis
    or solution but rather what my daughter would call a “random thought” which I thought might be worth sharing. Backfilling the budget with a revenue stream from development(although ultimately leaving the city in the “red”) is a
    very seductive “solution”. I agree that the budget problem needs to be addressed as a structural one.

  28. Doug: My post was not an analysis
    or solution but rather what my daughter would call a “random thought” which I thought might be worth sharing. Backfilling the budget with a revenue stream from development(although ultimately leaving the city in the “red”) is a
    very seductive “solution”. I agree that the budget problem needs to be addressed as a structural one.

  29. Doug….Your thought was not completed in the paragraph concerning Provenza being left out of the statements and quotes. I assume you are saying that the other candidates
    did have statements and/or quotes in the article. Intolerable..

  30. Doug….Your thought was not completed in the paragraph concerning Provenza being left out of the statements and quotes. I assume you are saying that the other candidates
    did have statements and/or quotes in the article. Intolerable..

  31. Doug….Your thought was not completed in the paragraph concerning Provenza being left out of the statements and quotes. I assume you are saying that the other candidates
    did have statements and/or quotes in the article. Intolerable..

  32. Doug….Your thought was not completed in the paragraph concerning Provenza being left out of the statements and quotes. I assume you are saying that the other candidates
    did have statements and/or quotes in the article. Intolerable..

  33. “It is not as though this were a timely article that had to come out on Tuesday. So why did Elisabeth Sherwin not contact Mr. Provenza?”

    You should probably just give Elisabeth a call. She can tell you why Provenza was not quoted. (I would guess it was because he was unavailable.)

    I don’t see why his not being quoted is “intolerable,” or even a big deal. This is a non-story story: who just might become a candidate for an election 15 months from now.

  34. “It is not as though this were a timely article that had to come out on Tuesday. So why did Elisabeth Sherwin not contact Mr. Provenza?”

    You should probably just give Elisabeth a call. She can tell you why Provenza was not quoted. (I would guess it was because he was unavailable.)

    I don’t see why his not being quoted is “intolerable,” or even a big deal. This is a non-story story: who just might become a candidate for an election 15 months from now.

  35. “It is not as though this were a timely article that had to come out on Tuesday. So why did Elisabeth Sherwin not contact Mr. Provenza?”

    You should probably just give Elisabeth a call. She can tell you why Provenza was not quoted. (I would guess it was because he was unavailable.)

    I don’t see why his not being quoted is “intolerable,” or even a big deal. This is a non-story story: who just might become a candidate for an election 15 months from now.

  36. “It is not as though this were a timely article that had to come out on Tuesday. So why did Elisabeth Sherwin not contact Mr. Provenza?”

    You should probably just give Elisabeth a call. She can tell you why Provenza was not quoted. (I would guess it was because he was unavailable.)

    I don’t see why his not being quoted is “intolerable,” or even a big deal. This is a non-story story: who just might become a candidate for an election 15 months from now.

  37. “One solution that Rifkin recommends is that we increase the amount of service from five years to twenty five years in order to receive the medical retirement benefits.”

    Such a change could be phased in for current city employees, based on their ages. For those over 50, keep it the same. For those over 40, they could, for example, be required to be a city employee for at least 15 years. And for those under 40, the minimum requirement could be elevated to 25 years.

    “That would prevent future problems, but it does not fix the current problem because those under contract currently would still operate under the old system.”

    True.

    We probably should (as soon as the current contract ends) require all city employees who would like to receive the medical benefit when they retire to start paying into a PERS fund, which would then offset the future costs of their medical insurance bills. If an employee, for example, has 3 years until he retires, he would only pay a small amount into that fund. If another has 20 years until he retires, he would pay for a large percentage of this benefit. Over the long haul, those employee contributions would cover much of the crisis that is coming, if nothing is changed at all.

    By the way, since I first began writing my column three years ago, this is the fastest a piece I wrote became an agenda item for the city council.

    Oh, one more thing: I suspect that the DJUSD is going to face this GASB-45 problem in the coming years, as well. Same with Yolo County, though I don’t think the county’s benefits have been quite as generous as the city’s.

  38. “One solution that Rifkin recommends is that we increase the amount of service from five years to twenty five years in order to receive the medical retirement benefits.”

    Such a change could be phased in for current city employees, based on their ages. For those over 50, keep it the same. For those over 40, they could, for example, be required to be a city employee for at least 15 years. And for those under 40, the minimum requirement could be elevated to 25 years.

    “That would prevent future problems, but it does not fix the current problem because those under contract currently would still operate under the old system.”

    True.

    We probably should (as soon as the current contract ends) require all city employees who would like to receive the medical benefit when they retire to start paying into a PERS fund, which would then offset the future costs of their medical insurance bills. If an employee, for example, has 3 years until he retires, he would only pay a small amount into that fund. If another has 20 years until he retires, he would pay for a large percentage of this benefit. Over the long haul, those employee contributions would cover much of the crisis that is coming, if nothing is changed at all.

    By the way, since I first began writing my column three years ago, this is the fastest a piece I wrote became an agenda item for the city council.

    Oh, one more thing: I suspect that the DJUSD is going to face this GASB-45 problem in the coming years, as well. Same with Yolo County, though I don’t think the county’s benefits have been quite as generous as the city’s.

  39. “One solution that Rifkin recommends is that we increase the amount of service from five years to twenty five years in order to receive the medical retirement benefits.”

    Such a change could be phased in for current city employees, based on their ages. For those over 50, keep it the same. For those over 40, they could, for example, be required to be a city employee for at least 15 years. And for those under 40, the minimum requirement could be elevated to 25 years.

    “That would prevent future problems, but it does not fix the current problem because those under contract currently would still operate under the old system.”

    True.

    We probably should (as soon as the current contract ends) require all city employees who would like to receive the medical benefit when they retire to start paying into a PERS fund, which would then offset the future costs of their medical insurance bills. If an employee, for example, has 3 years until he retires, he would only pay a small amount into that fund. If another has 20 years until he retires, he would pay for a large percentage of this benefit. Over the long haul, those employee contributions would cover much of the crisis that is coming, if nothing is changed at all.

    By the way, since I first began writing my column three years ago, this is the fastest a piece I wrote became an agenda item for the city council.

    Oh, one more thing: I suspect that the DJUSD is going to face this GASB-45 problem in the coming years, as well. Same with Yolo County, though I don’t think the county’s benefits have been quite as generous as the city’s.

  40. “One solution that Rifkin recommends is that we increase the amount of service from five years to twenty five years in order to receive the medical retirement benefits.”

    Such a change could be phased in for current city employees, based on their ages. For those over 50, keep it the same. For those over 40, they could, for example, be required to be a city employee for at least 15 years. And for those under 40, the minimum requirement could be elevated to 25 years.

    “That would prevent future problems, but it does not fix the current problem because those under contract currently would still operate under the old system.”

    True.

    We probably should (as soon as the current contract ends) require all city employees who would like to receive the medical benefit when they retire to start paying into a PERS fund, which would then offset the future costs of their medical insurance bills. If an employee, for example, has 3 years until he retires, he would only pay a small amount into that fund. If another has 20 years until he retires, he would pay for a large percentage of this benefit. Over the long haul, those employee contributions would cover much of the crisis that is coming, if nothing is changed at all.

    By the way, since I first began writing my column three years ago, this is the fastest a piece I wrote became an agenda item for the city council.

    Oh, one more thing: I suspect that the DJUSD is going to face this GASB-45 problem in the coming years, as well. Same with Yolo County, though I don’t think the county’s benefits have been quite as generous as the city’s.