2007 Year in Review–10 Biggest Vanguard Stories of 2007

As the first full year of the People’s Vanguard of Davis comes to completion, we will countdown the top 10 stories from year. This is the second year we have done this.

Last year we counted down the 10 Biggest Stories in Davis.

This year we countdown the 10 biggest stories that we followed on the People’s Vanguard of Davis.

We continue with the 9th biggest story: The School Board Elections.

One the biggest areas of concern in 2007 was the Davis Joint Unified School District. The School Board had to deal with a vast array of controversies as we will see later in this countdown. They would also deal with the firing of a superintendent, the hiring of an interim superintendent and finally the hiring of a new superintendent–all in the same year.

The field of four school board candidates turned out to be surprisingly weak and untested.

The early handicapping was:

“The four candidates are Susan Lovenburg who has been very active both on the PTA and in general as a volunteer. Richard Harris a columnist with the Davis Enterprise and former District Director with Congressman Vic Fazio. Bob Schelen, a Researcher/Consultant for Majority Services for the Democratic Party in the State Assembly, and Joseph Spector who [is] a former school psychologist.

I do not know much about Mr. Spector and I am not certain how strong a campaign he is going to run. My early handicapping of this race is that Ms. Lovenburg as the only female running has a tremendous advantage and I would say is likely to win one of the seats. That would leave the three men to vie for the second seat. Harris has already raised a lot of money for this race. Schelen needs to become the alternative to Harris with an emphasis on his support for keeping Valley Oak open and helping disadvantaged kids.”

In fact as you’ll see, despite a few bumps on the way, the early handicapping held up.

The Vanguard interviewed each of the candidates.

One of the hot-buttoned issues and one of the few issues that drew any kind of differentiation was the issue of Valley Oak. Joe Spector and Bob Schelen attempted to campaign on the Valley Oak issue, but the message did not seem to resonate with the public. Richard Harris was supportive of closing the school and concerned with the fiscal impact of a charter school. Susan Lovenburg also supported the decision to close the school but was more circumspect on the charter school.

As I mentioned previously there were a few controversies along the way. One of them was that the early endorsements were somewhat pushed through the Davis Teachers Association’s Political Action Committee.

Here’s what we reported at the time:

“The Political Action Committee had originally unanimously endorsed Susan Lovenburg and Joe Spector. The endorsement was viewed as controversial by some of the membership. An election was held at Korematsu which confirmed the original endorsements, but they had low turnout at that meeting and Rep Council made the motion to have another election, and hold it at the school sites where there would be more representation.

At this point, a vote was taken as to whether to endorse both Susan Lovenburg and Joe spector, both names were placed together, and that was rejected by the narrowest of margins–five vote separating the yes and no votes. As a result there was yet another election, but this basically confirmed the results of the second election.

The decision has been made not to endorse in the school board race, instead they have decided to focus their energy on Measure Q and contract negotiations. 98% of the membership voted to endorse Measure Q.”

The biggest controversy erupted over an incident originally reported in the Davis Enterprise that Don Winters–campaign manager for Joe Spector AND a Davis High School Teacher had allegedly used class time to stuff campaign envelopes for Joe Spector’s campaign.

“In last night’s newspaper, the Davis Enterprise ran an above-the-fold story based on a single source that suggested that Davis High School Teacher Don Winters had used classroom time in his capacity as Campaign Manager for Joe Spector to stuff envelopes for the campaign.

According to the Davis Enterprise:

B.J. Kline, a former board member, brought the alleged incident to the attention of Davis High Principal Mike Cawley, two current school board members and The Enterprise.

“This is campaigning at its worst,” Kline said. “(It) should not be allowed to happen.”

His allegation prompted plenty of discussion Thursday in Davis political circles. But when contacted by The Enterprise for comment, almost no one connected with the alleged incident, the school board campaign or the school district administration had much to say.”

At the time, sources from Davis High School denied that the incident occurred and so we ran with that story.

“Students Claim Envelope Stuffing Never Actually Happened”

“The Vanguard has spoken with students off the record who claim that the incident never happened.”

This turned out to be false.

By Thursday of the next week, Don Winters admitted to having done exactly what he was accused of and resigned from the Joe Spector Campaign.

“After nearly a week of silence on the matter, Don Winters, campaign Manager for Joe Spector’s School Board Campaign came forward last night and released a statement both admitting to using class time to stuff approximately 300 campaign envelopes for Joe Spector and resigning as campaign manager for Joe Spector’s campaign.”

A column by Bob Dunning on Tuesday was a key in changing Don Winters’ thinking.

“Winters, responding to my short e-mail that asked simply “What happened or didn’t happen?” never got around to answering the question of whether students used class time to stuff envelopes for the Spector campaign.

In his e-mail, Winters wrote: “I guess what the highly educated voter in Davis will have to decide is not so much ‘did it happen,’ but does it matter?”

It matters, Don, it matters.”

In a statement released to the Vanguard Mr. Winters resigned and accepted full responsibility:

“Effective Wednesday, October 24th, I resign as manager of Joe Spector’s Board of Education campaign. I accept full responsibility for a mistake in judgment I made last week in allowing my students in the final 10 minutes of one class at Davis High School to prepare 300 campaign flyers for mailing. I regret this action. I have met with the high school principal and have accepted appropriate disciplinary action. I apologize today to Joe Spector and to our campaign team, neither of whom had any prior knowledge of this activity. I also offer my sincere regrets to my students and to the Davis community.”

The Vanguard also had to apologize for relying on sources that turned to not have been in position to know what had happened and unfortunately for taking the word of the accused at face-value.

However, this was largely a side-show. The school board race ended up just as one would have expected to the school board race to end up.

The Vanguard’s final thoughts were captured on the morning after the election amid very low turnout.

“On an evening when the school board races were all but decided during absentee voting and the ballot measures decided shortly thereafter, the story of the day was the extremely low turnout. While the final figures are perhaps a few days away from being made official, it appears certain that turnout did not top 30 percent.

This was not a tremendous surprise given the relatively low interest that the school board election seemed to draw on this blog and throughout the community.

In the end, the results were pretty much as expected. Susan Lovenburg finished first, Richard Harris finished a comfortable, but relatively close second to Lovenburg. There was a considerable gap to the third place finish of Bob Schelen who was narrowly above Joe Spector.

In the low turnout, the establishment and relatively better known candidates won.”

Susan Lovenburg and Richard Harris were seated on the school board and on December 13, 2007, they sat in on their first school board meeting. Given some of the issues and controversies they will have to deal with, one could perhaps make the argument that in fact they did not so much as win as they drew the short straw and now will have to pay for that mistake by taking over a school district in the midst of declining enrollment and financial disarray with many of the problems from the previous regime still unresolved.

—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

44 comments

  1. “The Vanguard also had to apologize for relying on sources that turned to not have been in position to know what had happened and unfortunately for taking the word of the accused at face-value.”

    You should have a Top Ten stories where DPD reported something as true and accused others of getting the facts wrong only to later find out that DPD got his facts wrong.

    It could be called the “I’m sorry” blog.

  2. “The Vanguard also had to apologize for relying on sources that turned to not have been in position to know what had happened and unfortunately for taking the word of the accused at face-value.”

    You should have a Top Ten stories where DPD reported something as true and accused others of getting the facts wrong only to later find out that DPD got his facts wrong.

    It could be called the “I’m sorry” blog.

  3. “The Vanguard also had to apologize for relying on sources that turned to not have been in position to know what had happened and unfortunately for taking the word of the accused at face-value.”

    You should have a Top Ten stories where DPD reported something as true and accused others of getting the facts wrong only to later find out that DPD got his facts wrong.

    It could be called the “I’m sorry” blog.

  4. “The Vanguard also had to apologize for relying on sources that turned to not have been in position to know what had happened and unfortunately for taking the word of the accused at face-value.”

    You should have a Top Ten stories where DPD reported something as true and accused others of getting the facts wrong only to later find out that DPD got his facts wrong.

    It could be called the “I’m sorry” blog.

  5. DPD – I’m interested in seeing what you consider as the top three stories for 2007.

    Anonymous 9:21 AM – What a Scrooge. Go open a present… or a bag of coal.

    As a Vanguard reader “I’m sorry” that “anonymous” likes to try to take shots, but doesn’t list their real name.

    Name of blog anonymous 9:21 should start: anonymous Scrooge.

    Merry Christmas Anonymous.

  6. DPD – I’m interested in seeing what you consider as the top three stories for 2007.

    Anonymous 9:21 AM – What a Scrooge. Go open a present… or a bag of coal.

    As a Vanguard reader “I’m sorry” that “anonymous” likes to try to take shots, but doesn’t list their real name.

    Name of blog anonymous 9:21 should start: anonymous Scrooge.

    Merry Christmas Anonymous.

  7. DPD – I’m interested in seeing what you consider as the top three stories for 2007.

    Anonymous 9:21 AM – What a Scrooge. Go open a present… or a bag of coal.

    As a Vanguard reader “I’m sorry” that “anonymous” likes to try to take shots, but doesn’t list their real name.

    Name of blog anonymous 9:21 should start: anonymous Scrooge.

    Merry Christmas Anonymous.

  8. DPD – I’m interested in seeing what you consider as the top three stories for 2007.

    Anonymous 9:21 AM – What a Scrooge. Go open a present… or a bag of coal.

    As a Vanguard reader “I’m sorry” that “anonymous” likes to try to take shots, but doesn’t list their real name.

    Name of blog anonymous 9:21 should start: anonymous Scrooge.

    Merry Christmas Anonymous.

  9. I did want to mention DPD that as a Vanguard reader I appreciate the fact that you don’t hesitate to correct yourself or let readers know when you made an error.

    I have read papers and listened to the news to find that journalists at times state incorrect information, but don’t correct themselves.

    It’s nice to see someone that recognizes they’re human and will make errors occasionally and not have a problem admitting it.

  10. I did want to mention DPD that as a Vanguard reader I appreciate the fact that you don’t hesitate to correct yourself or let readers know when you made an error.

    I have read papers and listened to the news to find that journalists at times state incorrect information, but don’t correct themselves.

    It’s nice to see someone that recognizes they’re human and will make errors occasionally and not have a problem admitting it.

  11. I did want to mention DPD that as a Vanguard reader I appreciate the fact that you don’t hesitate to correct yourself or let readers know when you made an error.

    I have read papers and listened to the news to find that journalists at times state incorrect information, but don’t correct themselves.

    It’s nice to see someone that recognizes they’re human and will make errors occasionally and not have a problem admitting it.

  12. I did want to mention DPD that as a Vanguard reader I appreciate the fact that you don’t hesitate to correct yourself or let readers know when you made an error.

    I have read papers and listened to the news to find that journalists at times state incorrect information, but don’t correct themselves.

    It’s nice to see someone that recognizes they’re human and will make errors occasionally and not have a problem admitting it.

  13. “You should have a Top Ten stories where DPD reported something as true and accused others of getting the facts wrong only to later find out that DPD got his facts wrong.”

    I guess you find it no way impressive that he would not only correct himself in print but recap the correction?

  14. “You should have a Top Ten stories where DPD reported something as true and accused others of getting the facts wrong only to later find out that DPD got his facts wrong.”

    I guess you find it no way impressive that he would not only correct himself in print but recap the correction?

  15. “You should have a Top Ten stories where DPD reported something as true and accused others of getting the facts wrong only to later find out that DPD got his facts wrong.”

    I guess you find it no way impressive that he would not only correct himself in print but recap the correction?

  16. “You should have a Top Ten stories where DPD reported something as true and accused others of getting the facts wrong only to later find out that DPD got his facts wrong.”

    I guess you find it no way impressive that he would not only correct himself in print but recap the correction?

  17. I’ll add, how about the multitude of times when he got things right and others got them wrong rather than the few times when he got things wrong?

    Furthermore, how about all of the times that without the Vanguard we would have idea what is going on because the other paper isn’t reporting it?

  18. I’ll add, how about the multitude of times when he got things right and others got them wrong rather than the few times when he got things wrong?

    Furthermore, how about all of the times that without the Vanguard we would have idea what is going on because the other paper isn’t reporting it?

  19. I’ll add, how about the multitude of times when he got things right and others got them wrong rather than the few times when he got things wrong?

    Furthermore, how about all of the times that without the Vanguard we would have idea what is going on because the other paper isn’t reporting it?

  20. I’ll add, how about the multitude of times when he got things right and others got them wrong rather than the few times when he got things wrong?

    Furthermore, how about all of the times that without the Vanguard we would have idea what is going on because the other paper isn’t reporting it?

  21. “I’ll add, how about the multitude of times when he got things right and others got them wrong rather than the few times when he got things wrong?”

    Multitude of times? Let’s hear your lengthy list of stories “when he got things right and others got them wrong.”

    DPD’s stories have the same theme: He is good and people who disagree with him are bad. Regardless of the facts, that is the picture he tries to paint. That is why he got things wrong in his reporting. The real facts don’t always fit the portrait Doug wants his readers to believe. That doesn’t stop him from trying to tell a “good story.”

  22. “I’ll add, how about the multitude of times when he got things right and others got them wrong rather than the few times when he got things wrong?”

    Multitude of times? Let’s hear your lengthy list of stories “when he got things right and others got them wrong.”

    DPD’s stories have the same theme: He is good and people who disagree with him are bad. Regardless of the facts, that is the picture he tries to paint. That is why he got things wrong in his reporting. The real facts don’t always fit the portrait Doug wants his readers to believe. That doesn’t stop him from trying to tell a “good story.”

  23. “I’ll add, how about the multitude of times when he got things right and others got them wrong rather than the few times when he got things wrong?”

    Multitude of times? Let’s hear your lengthy list of stories “when he got things right and others got them wrong.”

    DPD’s stories have the same theme: He is good and people who disagree with him are bad. Regardless of the facts, that is the picture he tries to paint. That is why he got things wrong in his reporting. The real facts don’t always fit the portrait Doug wants his readers to believe. That doesn’t stop him from trying to tell a “good story.”

  24. “I’ll add, how about the multitude of times when he got things right and others got them wrong rather than the few times when he got things wrong?”

    Multitude of times? Let’s hear your lengthy list of stories “when he got things right and others got them wrong.”

    DPD’s stories have the same theme: He is good and people who disagree with him are bad. Regardless of the facts, that is the picture he tries to paint. That is why he got things wrong in his reporting. The real facts don’t always fit the portrait Doug wants his readers to believe. That doesn’t stop him from trying to tell a “good story.”

  25. I get more the impression that he’s trying to bring things to light that he finds unseemly–such as public officials attempting to do things without using proper policy. We see a good example earlier this week when the city council actually pulled an item from the agenda after it was brought to light by the Vanguard.

    And he also tries highlight underreported stories, for instance last weekend with the hate crimes.

    Those are just two examples.

  26. I get more the impression that he’s trying to bring things to light that he finds unseemly–such as public officials attempting to do things without using proper policy. We see a good example earlier this week when the city council actually pulled an item from the agenda after it was brought to light by the Vanguard.

    And he also tries highlight underreported stories, for instance last weekend with the hate crimes.

    Those are just two examples.

  27. I get more the impression that he’s trying to bring things to light that he finds unseemly–such as public officials attempting to do things without using proper policy. We see a good example earlier this week when the city council actually pulled an item from the agenda after it was brought to light by the Vanguard.

    And he also tries highlight underreported stories, for instance last weekend with the hate crimes.

    Those are just two examples.

  28. I get more the impression that he’s trying to bring things to light that he finds unseemly–such as public officials attempting to do things without using proper policy. We see a good example earlier this week when the city council actually pulled an item from the agenda after it was brought to light by the Vanguard.

    And he also tries highlight underreported stories, for instance last weekend with the hate crimes.

    Those are just two examples.

  29. Dear DPD,

    Just a note to say that all of us in the Phils anxiously get up in the morning to read the Vanguard and learn about what is important and going on in the Most Relevant City in the world. Your city policies should be the leader for small cities to follow in combatting global warming. You realize that hundreds of millions of people in our small country of islands will be under water by the end of this century? Fishing industry will be GONE, coastal rice production will be GONE? So get past feeling warm and fuzzy about your water bottle policy, get past the fixation on border control policy, get real on meaningful environmental polices, and do something good! Cheers, and keep up the good work!!

  30. Dear DPD,

    Just a note to say that all of us in the Phils anxiously get up in the morning to read the Vanguard and learn about what is important and going on in the Most Relevant City in the world. Your city policies should be the leader for small cities to follow in combatting global warming. You realize that hundreds of millions of people in our small country of islands will be under water by the end of this century? Fishing industry will be GONE, coastal rice production will be GONE? So get past feeling warm and fuzzy about your water bottle policy, get past the fixation on border control policy, get real on meaningful environmental polices, and do something good! Cheers, and keep up the good work!!

  31. Dear DPD,

    Just a note to say that all of us in the Phils anxiously get up in the morning to read the Vanguard and learn about what is important and going on in the Most Relevant City in the world. Your city policies should be the leader for small cities to follow in combatting global warming. You realize that hundreds of millions of people in our small country of islands will be under water by the end of this century? Fishing industry will be GONE, coastal rice production will be GONE? So get past feeling warm and fuzzy about your water bottle policy, get past the fixation on border control policy, get real on meaningful environmental polices, and do something good! Cheers, and keep up the good work!!

  32. Dear DPD,

    Just a note to say that all of us in the Phils anxiously get up in the morning to read the Vanguard and learn about what is important and going on in the Most Relevant City in the world. Your city policies should be the leader for small cities to follow in combatting global warming. You realize that hundreds of millions of people in our small country of islands will be under water by the end of this century? Fishing industry will be GONE, coastal rice production will be GONE? So get past feeling warm and fuzzy about your water bottle policy, get past the fixation on border control policy, get real on meaningful environmental polices, and do something good! Cheers, and keep up the good work!!

  33. “You realize that hundreds of millions of people in our small country of islands will be under water by the end of this century?”

    Hundreds of millions of people? Wow! I had no idea. The thing that makes that claim all the more incredible is that the total population of the Philippines is 91 million. How they are going to bring in “hundreds of millions” in order to drown them is a mystery!

    If hundreds of millions of Fillipinos do go under water, that would be terrible for them, but good for the rest of us. We have too many people in this world. The more people there are, the more energy is consumed and the more land we need to dedicate to producing food. Global warming may just be nature’s way of thinning the human population. It will make more land uninhabitable and make food harder to produce and more expensive.

  34. “You realize that hundreds of millions of people in our small country of islands will be under water by the end of this century?”

    Hundreds of millions of people? Wow! I had no idea. The thing that makes that claim all the more incredible is that the total population of the Philippines is 91 million. How they are going to bring in “hundreds of millions” in order to drown them is a mystery!

    If hundreds of millions of Fillipinos do go under water, that would be terrible for them, but good for the rest of us. We have too many people in this world. The more people there are, the more energy is consumed and the more land we need to dedicate to producing food. Global warming may just be nature’s way of thinning the human population. It will make more land uninhabitable and make food harder to produce and more expensive.

  35. “You realize that hundreds of millions of people in our small country of islands will be under water by the end of this century?”

    Hundreds of millions of people? Wow! I had no idea. The thing that makes that claim all the more incredible is that the total population of the Philippines is 91 million. How they are going to bring in “hundreds of millions” in order to drown them is a mystery!

    If hundreds of millions of Fillipinos do go under water, that would be terrible for them, but good for the rest of us. We have too many people in this world. The more people there are, the more energy is consumed and the more land we need to dedicate to producing food. Global warming may just be nature’s way of thinning the human population. It will make more land uninhabitable and make food harder to produce and more expensive.

  36. “You realize that hundreds of millions of people in our small country of islands will be under water by the end of this century?”

    Hundreds of millions of people? Wow! I had no idea. The thing that makes that claim all the more incredible is that the total population of the Philippines is 91 million. How they are going to bring in “hundreds of millions” in order to drown them is a mystery!

    If hundreds of millions of Fillipinos do go under water, that would be terrible for them, but good for the rest of us. We have too many people in this world. The more people there are, the more energy is consumed and the more land we need to dedicate to producing food. Global warming may just be nature’s way of thinning the human population. It will make more land uninhabitable and make food harder to produce and more expensive.

  37. Scrooge McDuck said…
    If hundreds of millions of Fillipinos do go under water, that would be terrible for them, but good for the rest of us. We have too many people in this world. The more people there are, the more energy is consumed and the more land we need to dedicate to producing food. Global warming may just be nature’s way of thinning the human population. It will make more land uninhabitable and make food harder to produce and more expensive.

    That is a very interesting, and rather heartless explanation. Mother Nature . . . arbitress of the global supply/demand curve. Very Dickensien.

  38. Scrooge McDuck said…
    If hundreds of millions of Fillipinos do go under water, that would be terrible for them, but good for the rest of us. We have too many people in this world. The more people there are, the more energy is consumed and the more land we need to dedicate to producing food. Global warming may just be nature’s way of thinning the human population. It will make more land uninhabitable and make food harder to produce and more expensive.

    That is a very interesting, and rather heartless explanation. Mother Nature . . . arbitress of the global supply/demand curve. Very Dickensien.

  39. Scrooge McDuck said…
    If hundreds of millions of Fillipinos do go under water, that would be terrible for them, but good for the rest of us. We have too many people in this world. The more people there are, the more energy is consumed and the more land we need to dedicate to producing food. Global warming may just be nature’s way of thinning the human population. It will make more land uninhabitable and make food harder to produce and more expensive.

    That is a very interesting, and rather heartless explanation. Mother Nature . . . arbitress of the global supply/demand curve. Very Dickensien.

  40. Scrooge McDuck said…
    If hundreds of millions of Fillipinos do go under water, that would be terrible for them, but good for the rest of us. We have too many people in this world. The more people there are, the more energy is consumed and the more land we need to dedicate to producing food. Global warming may just be nature’s way of thinning the human population. It will make more land uninhabitable and make food harder to produce and more expensive.

    That is a very interesting, and rather heartless explanation. Mother Nature . . . arbitress of the global supply/demand curve. Very Dickensien.

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