Commentary: Davis Residents Should Demand Accountability From City Government

Humorist P.J. O’Rourke once wrote:

“The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then get elected and prove it.”

In fact, the chief problem is that people in general are complicit in the failure of government at all levels. They are willing to accept mediocrity. They fail to hold their public officials accountable and demand more from their elected leaders and their unelected civil servants.

I bring this up in part due to the response, by some, to the lack preparation and leadership from the city government during the latest emergency. And as I suggested yesterday, a low-level emergency at that.

But if we cannot properly handle a low-level emergency, how will we handle the big one?

I received a large volume of emails yesterday from residents and public officials. There were points made that I think need to be posted in public. I shall excerpt a few while protecting the identity of the guilty parties.

This one in particular gives me great pause:

“The bottom line is we all knew this was coming. Citizens made plans. Did the City? Does it have a plan? Was it executed properly? Is there a plan to review what happened and revise the plan and execution for the next emergency? This is a great opportunity to improve. I hope we don’t miss it. I’d hate to see what happens to us if there were a levee break at the Yolo bypass, or a problem with the Monticello dam. (BTW, I hear there is a map at public works that shows what happens in the event of a Monticello dam failure. Davis has approximately two-four hours between the break and various levels of inundation. I’m curious to see if there is a City plan for that event.)”

If we had two hours to get people out of the city, especially elderly and disabled, would we be able to do so?

I grew up in San Luis Obispo, as I have mentioned many times before on this blog. PG&E in all of their great wisdom decided to build a nuclear power plant on an earthquake fault. Now they claim it could withstand an earthquake, but at one point in time they also built the darn thing backwards and had to start over from scratch.

San Luis Obispo in response to public outcry developed an evacuation plan that basically put everyone on the two-lane (at the time) Highway 101 North to Atascadero. This is basically a town of 44,000 where all would be evacuating into one outlet in the event of an emergency. School children first. We actually practiced these evacuations during school.

It was a lousy plan and if it ever had to go to fruition it would have been fraught with problems, but at least they had a plan. As a result, San Luis Obispo County also has a much more sophisticated emergency response plan than we do in Yolo County.

Art Shapiro posted a great comment on the Davis Enterprise site yesterday:

“People who follow the weather or even pay close attention to the news knew this was coming and could take appropriate precautions, though some thought the Weather Service was crying wolf and didn’t. You can’t force people to exercise good judgment. But the vast majority – alas – don’t keep up, so many were caught flat-footed and didn’t have the opportunity to act prudently. This, for most of us, was merely a nasty nuisance. But it was immensely valuable in that it showcased how grossly inadequate our emergency planning actually is; it is laughable to rely on radio broadcasts when the power is out and only those with battery-operated radios can get them. Major power outages take down Web sites and kill computer-based information delivery. (Those with campus connections had Web access this time, but we cannot count on that–it was luck of the draw.) Phone lines can go down too, and many people no longer have land lines at all, but reverse-911 systems may be the most effective means of communication when there are extensive power outages. We (and others nationwide–our situation should be a trigger for such review elsewhere) need to rethink these issues; the next time may be a lot more than a nasty nuisance.”

The Mayor, Sue Greenwald, followed it up with:

“At our council meeting this Tuesday, I plan to ask that our winter storm and power outage procedures be reviewed. As Mayor, I talked with the City Manager numerous times before and during the storm about our procedures. Even before the storm hit, I asked if we had a process for assuring that citizens, and particularly the elderly, had access to warm shelter in the case of major power outages. As the extent of outages became apparent, I continued to press the City manager. When the shelter was belatedly set up, I suggested to the City Manager that we start a door-to-door outreach, looking especially for the elderly. When I received no reply, I drove over to the shelter and then to emergency headquarters. Temperatures were falling rapidly. I asked which areas were still out of electricity. Most of Central Davis bounded by Russell, Covell, 113 and F street were still without heat. I pointed out that this older area of Davis was home to a lot of senior citizens. I was told that we would not be doing a door to door outreach. I returned to the emergency shelter, and one of the Red Cross volunteers told me that Woodland was undertaking a house to house outreach. Again, I will ask the council to look into this on Tuesday night.”

Getting back to my original point. In many ways this was a dry-run for us. For most resident this was a pain rather than a serious danger. But next time we may not be so lucky.

The key question I have is whether we are willing to accept the level of governance we have, accept mediocrity, or will we demand accountability from our elected officials. Will we demand accountability from our unelected officials who apparently run this town?

—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:

City Council

88 comments

  1. A health self examination is definitely warranted. The City needs to learn from its mistakes, so that those mistakes are not repeated. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; is the phrase that comes to mind first in this situation.

    I sincerely hope that tommorrow evening when Council meets that we the citizens (or near-citizens) of Davis don’t spend much time venting anger over the past few days, and instead focus on a clear governmental and community effort to make sure we are a cohesive whole when the next crisis hits.

  2. A health self examination is definitely warranted. The City needs to learn from its mistakes, so that those mistakes are not repeated. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; is the phrase that comes to mind first in this situation.

    I sincerely hope that tommorrow evening when Council meets that we the citizens (or near-citizens) of Davis don’t spend much time venting anger over the past few days, and instead focus on a clear governmental and community effort to make sure we are a cohesive whole when the next crisis hits.

  3. A health self examination is definitely warranted. The City needs to learn from its mistakes, so that those mistakes are not repeated. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; is the phrase that comes to mind first in this situation.

    I sincerely hope that tommorrow evening when Council meets that we the citizens (or near-citizens) of Davis don’t spend much time venting anger over the past few days, and instead focus on a clear governmental and community effort to make sure we are a cohesive whole when the next crisis hits.

  4. A health self examination is definitely warranted. The City needs to learn from its mistakes, so that those mistakes are not repeated. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; is the phrase that comes to mind first in this situation.

    I sincerely hope that tommorrow evening when Council meets that we the citizens (or near-citizens) of Davis don’t spend much time venting anger over the past few days, and instead focus on a clear governmental and community effort to make sure we are a cohesive whole when the next crisis hits.

  5. BTW, I hear there is a map at public works that shows what happens in the event of a Monticello dam failure. Davis has approximately two-four hours between the break and various levels of inundation. I’m curious to see if there is a City plan for that event.

    Six months after Katrina hit New Orleans I contacted Rose Conroy and Will Marshall to getm them to make a presentation to the El Macero Homeowners Association Annual Meeting, to help those homeowners understand their flood risk. Rose, Will and I spoke at great length about levee flooding potential, as well as the FEMA model of various levels of Monticello Dam failure. One of the key omissions of your BTW is that in order to produce the maximum flooding you have described, the Dam would have to be vaporized. Any “normal” catastrophic failure of Monticello Dam would result in a huge amount of concrete debris clogging the narrow valley just below the dam, effectively making a series of new dams. The formation and reformation of those impromptu dams would substantially spread the floodwater release over a longer time period. In most cases in the FEMA model, the water once it hit the “groove” of Route 113 would divert south down 113 and bypass all of Davis east of 113.

    With that said, while “vaporization” of the Dam would require a bombing, and the likelihood of flooding in most of Davis is remote, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a Plan. What I heard from Rose and Will at that time led me to believe there was a coordinated City/County Plan in place. The events of the past few days clearly indicate that that Plan needs to be reviewed, and perhaps even rehearsed.

  6. BTW, I hear there is a map at public works that shows what happens in the event of a Monticello dam failure. Davis has approximately two-four hours between the break and various levels of inundation. I’m curious to see if there is a City plan for that event.

    Six months after Katrina hit New Orleans I contacted Rose Conroy and Will Marshall to getm them to make a presentation to the El Macero Homeowners Association Annual Meeting, to help those homeowners understand their flood risk. Rose, Will and I spoke at great length about levee flooding potential, as well as the FEMA model of various levels of Monticello Dam failure. One of the key omissions of your BTW is that in order to produce the maximum flooding you have described, the Dam would have to be vaporized. Any “normal” catastrophic failure of Monticello Dam would result in a huge amount of concrete debris clogging the narrow valley just below the dam, effectively making a series of new dams. The formation and reformation of those impromptu dams would substantially spread the floodwater release over a longer time period. In most cases in the FEMA model, the water once it hit the “groove” of Route 113 would divert south down 113 and bypass all of Davis east of 113.

    With that said, while “vaporization” of the Dam would require a bombing, and the likelihood of flooding in most of Davis is remote, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a Plan. What I heard from Rose and Will at that time led me to believe there was a coordinated City/County Plan in place. The events of the past few days clearly indicate that that Plan needs to be reviewed, and perhaps even rehearsed.

  7. BTW, I hear there is a map at public works that shows what happens in the event of a Monticello dam failure. Davis has approximately two-four hours between the break and various levels of inundation. I’m curious to see if there is a City plan for that event.

    Six months after Katrina hit New Orleans I contacted Rose Conroy and Will Marshall to getm them to make a presentation to the El Macero Homeowners Association Annual Meeting, to help those homeowners understand their flood risk. Rose, Will and I spoke at great length about levee flooding potential, as well as the FEMA model of various levels of Monticello Dam failure. One of the key omissions of your BTW is that in order to produce the maximum flooding you have described, the Dam would have to be vaporized. Any “normal” catastrophic failure of Monticello Dam would result in a huge amount of concrete debris clogging the narrow valley just below the dam, effectively making a series of new dams. The formation and reformation of those impromptu dams would substantially spread the floodwater release over a longer time period. In most cases in the FEMA model, the water once it hit the “groove” of Route 113 would divert south down 113 and bypass all of Davis east of 113.

    With that said, while “vaporization” of the Dam would require a bombing, and the likelihood of flooding in most of Davis is remote, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a Plan. What I heard from Rose and Will at that time led me to believe there was a coordinated City/County Plan in place. The events of the past few days clearly indicate that that Plan needs to be reviewed, and perhaps even rehearsed.

  8. BTW, I hear there is a map at public works that shows what happens in the event of a Monticello dam failure. Davis has approximately two-four hours between the break and various levels of inundation. I’m curious to see if there is a City plan for that event.

    Six months after Katrina hit New Orleans I contacted Rose Conroy and Will Marshall to getm them to make a presentation to the El Macero Homeowners Association Annual Meeting, to help those homeowners understand their flood risk. Rose, Will and I spoke at great length about levee flooding potential, as well as the FEMA model of various levels of Monticello Dam failure. One of the key omissions of your BTW is that in order to produce the maximum flooding you have described, the Dam would have to be vaporized. Any “normal” catastrophic failure of Monticello Dam would result in a huge amount of concrete debris clogging the narrow valley just below the dam, effectively making a series of new dams. The formation and reformation of those impromptu dams would substantially spread the floodwater release over a longer time period. In most cases in the FEMA model, the water once it hit the “groove” of Route 113 would divert south down 113 and bypass all of Davis east of 113.

    With that said, while “vaporization” of the Dam would require a bombing, and the likelihood of flooding in most of Davis is remote, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a Plan. What I heard from Rose and Will at that time led me to believe there was a coordinated City/County Plan in place. The events of the past few days clearly indicate that that Plan needs to be reviewed, and perhaps even rehearsed.

  9. Matt –

    It is at times necessary to vent and express frustration in order to get to business and discuss how things could have been handled better and should be handled better for the future.

    However, we do need a plan, and we need one asap, as opposed to some long drawn out process with hired consultants and focus groups (same as usual).

    What is equally concerning is the disrespect that the city manager showed our mayor. She is the mayor, and asked for a door to door effort where there are elderly residents. Why is he (who didn’t have another plan) directing our mayor?

    I find this troubling, since the city manager is not elected and should be held accountable by those whom we do elect.

    Ann

  10. Matt –

    It is at times necessary to vent and express frustration in order to get to business and discuss how things could have been handled better and should be handled better for the future.

    However, we do need a plan, and we need one asap, as opposed to some long drawn out process with hired consultants and focus groups (same as usual).

    What is equally concerning is the disrespect that the city manager showed our mayor. She is the mayor, and asked for a door to door effort where there are elderly residents. Why is he (who didn’t have another plan) directing our mayor?

    I find this troubling, since the city manager is not elected and should be held accountable by those whom we do elect.

    Ann

  11. Matt –

    It is at times necessary to vent and express frustration in order to get to business and discuss how things could have been handled better and should be handled better for the future.

    However, we do need a plan, and we need one asap, as opposed to some long drawn out process with hired consultants and focus groups (same as usual).

    What is equally concerning is the disrespect that the city manager showed our mayor. She is the mayor, and asked for a door to door effort where there are elderly residents. Why is he (who didn’t have another plan) directing our mayor?

    I find this troubling, since the city manager is not elected and should be held accountable by those whom we do elect.

    Ann

  12. Matt –

    It is at times necessary to vent and express frustration in order to get to business and discuss how things could have been handled better and should be handled better for the future.

    However, we do need a plan, and we need one asap, as opposed to some long drawn out process with hired consultants and focus groups (same as usual).

    What is equally concerning is the disrespect that the city manager showed our mayor. She is the mayor, and asked for a door to door effort where there are elderly residents. Why is he (who didn’t have another plan) directing our mayor?

    I find this troubling, since the city manager is not elected and should be held accountable by those whom we do elect.

    Ann

  13. Ann said…

    It is at times necessary to vent and express frustration in order to get to business and discuss how things could have been handled better and should be handled better for the future.

    However, we do need a plan, and we need one asap, as opposed to some long drawn out process with hired consultants and focus groups (same as usual).

    What is equally concerning is the disrespect that the city manager showed our mayor. She is the mayor, and asked for a door to door effort where there are elderly residents. Why is he (who didn’t have another plan) directing our mayor?

    I find this troubling, since the city manager is not elected and should be held accountable by those whom we do elect.

    Ann, regarding your bolded statement, I don’t disagree that venting does serve a very useful personal purpose. However, if we devote a huge amount of the Council’s time tomorrow night to that personal exercise, then we will have that much less time for identifying solutions so that this doesn’t happen again.

    I would much rather see Bob Emlen get up and 1) outline what the plan was, 2) identify the areas where he believes the plan failed, and 3) outline the immediate steps he plans to take to avoid repeating those failures.

    As I said in yesterday’s Blog responses, the phrase Its not nice to fool (with) Mother Nature is highly germane right now. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the next storm of this magnitude is only a matter of days away, rather than a matter of years. IMHO, the City Manager and the Council need to focus on that.

    Maybe the best way to handle the personal venting would be at a Farmers Market tent this Saturday. The City would be wise to set one up.

    Tomorrow night I hope a single spokesperson (or group of spokespersons speaking as one) for all the angry Davis residents starts the Council session by expressing his/her frustrations, turns to the assembled audience after his/her remarks and asks those who share his/her frustrations to stand and voice agreement. If that is done the Council will get a very clear message that we need solutions more than anything else.

  14. Ann said…

    It is at times necessary to vent and express frustration in order to get to business and discuss how things could have been handled better and should be handled better for the future.

    However, we do need a plan, and we need one asap, as opposed to some long drawn out process with hired consultants and focus groups (same as usual).

    What is equally concerning is the disrespect that the city manager showed our mayor. She is the mayor, and asked for a door to door effort where there are elderly residents. Why is he (who didn’t have another plan) directing our mayor?

    I find this troubling, since the city manager is not elected and should be held accountable by those whom we do elect.

    Ann, regarding your bolded statement, I don’t disagree that venting does serve a very useful personal purpose. However, if we devote a huge amount of the Council’s time tomorrow night to that personal exercise, then we will have that much less time for identifying solutions so that this doesn’t happen again.

    I would much rather see Bob Emlen get up and 1) outline what the plan was, 2) identify the areas where he believes the plan failed, and 3) outline the immediate steps he plans to take to avoid repeating those failures.

    As I said in yesterday’s Blog responses, the phrase Its not nice to fool (with) Mother Nature is highly germane right now. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the next storm of this magnitude is only a matter of days away, rather than a matter of years. IMHO, the City Manager and the Council need to focus on that.

    Maybe the best way to handle the personal venting would be at a Farmers Market tent this Saturday. The City would be wise to set one up.

    Tomorrow night I hope a single spokesperson (or group of spokespersons speaking as one) for all the angry Davis residents starts the Council session by expressing his/her frustrations, turns to the assembled audience after his/her remarks and asks those who share his/her frustrations to stand and voice agreement. If that is done the Council will get a very clear message that we need solutions more than anything else.

  15. Ann said…

    It is at times necessary to vent and express frustration in order to get to business and discuss how things could have been handled better and should be handled better for the future.

    However, we do need a plan, and we need one asap, as opposed to some long drawn out process with hired consultants and focus groups (same as usual).

    What is equally concerning is the disrespect that the city manager showed our mayor. She is the mayor, and asked for a door to door effort where there are elderly residents. Why is he (who didn’t have another plan) directing our mayor?

    I find this troubling, since the city manager is not elected and should be held accountable by those whom we do elect.

    Ann, regarding your bolded statement, I don’t disagree that venting does serve a very useful personal purpose. However, if we devote a huge amount of the Council’s time tomorrow night to that personal exercise, then we will have that much less time for identifying solutions so that this doesn’t happen again.

    I would much rather see Bob Emlen get up and 1) outline what the plan was, 2) identify the areas where he believes the plan failed, and 3) outline the immediate steps he plans to take to avoid repeating those failures.

    As I said in yesterday’s Blog responses, the phrase Its not nice to fool (with) Mother Nature is highly germane right now. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the next storm of this magnitude is only a matter of days away, rather than a matter of years. IMHO, the City Manager and the Council need to focus on that.

    Maybe the best way to handle the personal venting would be at a Farmers Market tent this Saturday. The City would be wise to set one up.

    Tomorrow night I hope a single spokesperson (or group of spokespersons speaking as one) for all the angry Davis residents starts the Council session by expressing his/her frustrations, turns to the assembled audience after his/her remarks and asks those who share his/her frustrations to stand and voice agreement. If that is done the Council will get a very clear message that we need solutions more than anything else.

  16. Ann said…

    It is at times necessary to vent and express frustration in order to get to business and discuss how things could have been handled better and should be handled better for the future.

    However, we do need a plan, and we need one asap, as opposed to some long drawn out process with hired consultants and focus groups (same as usual).

    What is equally concerning is the disrespect that the city manager showed our mayor. She is the mayor, and asked for a door to door effort where there are elderly residents. Why is he (who didn’t have another plan) directing our mayor?

    I find this troubling, since the city manager is not elected and should be held accountable by those whom we do elect.

    Ann, regarding your bolded statement, I don’t disagree that venting does serve a very useful personal purpose. However, if we devote a huge amount of the Council’s time tomorrow night to that personal exercise, then we will have that much less time for identifying solutions so that this doesn’t happen again.

    I would much rather see Bob Emlen get up and 1) outline what the plan was, 2) identify the areas where he believes the plan failed, and 3) outline the immediate steps he plans to take to avoid repeating those failures.

    As I said in yesterday’s Blog responses, the phrase Its not nice to fool (with) Mother Nature is highly germane right now. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the next storm of this magnitude is only a matter of days away, rather than a matter of years. IMHO, the City Manager and the Council need to focus on that.

    Maybe the best way to handle the personal venting would be at a Farmers Market tent this Saturday. The City would be wise to set one up.

    Tomorrow night I hope a single spokesperson (or group of spokespersons speaking as one) for all the angry Davis residents starts the Council session by expressing his/her frustrations, turns to the assembled audience after his/her remarks and asks those who share his/her frustrations to stand and voice agreement. If that is done the Council will get a very clear message that we need solutions more than anything else.

  17. Matt,

    I and I’m most certain many others are not in some category of “angry Davis residents.”

    It’s a bit insulting and rather bold of you to suggest that we give up our right to speak to our electeds during public comment if we so choose.

    If it was so important to them perhaps they should have an immediate special meeting to fix these problems. An evening meeting so all can attend would be best.

  18. Matt,

    I and I’m most certain many others are not in some category of “angry Davis residents.”

    It’s a bit insulting and rather bold of you to suggest that we give up our right to speak to our electeds during public comment if we so choose.

    If it was so important to them perhaps they should have an immediate special meeting to fix these problems. An evening meeting so all can attend would be best.

  19. Matt,

    I and I’m most certain many others are not in some category of “angry Davis residents.”

    It’s a bit insulting and rather bold of you to suggest that we give up our right to speak to our electeds during public comment if we so choose.

    If it was so important to them perhaps they should have an immediate special meeting to fix these problems. An evening meeting so all can attend would be best.

  20. Matt,

    I and I’m most certain many others are not in some category of “angry Davis residents.”

    It’s a bit insulting and rather bold of you to suggest that we give up our right to speak to our electeds during public comment if we so choose.

    If it was so important to them perhaps they should have an immediate special meeting to fix these problems. An evening meeting so all can attend would be best.

  21. Some people here need to calm the bleep down.

    Ultimately, screaming at people about who screwed up is not constructive.

    I am pleased the PG&E people have worked around the clock to restore power and have succeeded in doing so pretty well.

    I’m sure they have been working like madmen for us. My hats off to them.

  22. Some people here need to calm the bleep down.

    Ultimately, screaming at people about who screwed up is not constructive.

    I am pleased the PG&E people have worked around the clock to restore power and have succeeded in doing so pretty well.

    I’m sure they have been working like madmen for us. My hats off to them.

  23. Some people here need to calm the bleep down.

    Ultimately, screaming at people about who screwed up is not constructive.

    I am pleased the PG&E people have worked around the clock to restore power and have succeeded in doing so pretty well.

    I’m sure they have been working like madmen for us. My hats off to them.

  24. Some people here need to calm the bleep down.

    Ultimately, screaming at people about who screwed up is not constructive.

    I am pleased the PG&E people have worked around the clock to restore power and have succeeded in doing so pretty well.

    I’m sure they have been working like madmen for us. My hats off to them.

  25. Look, this may have seemed like a huge deal, and to some it was. The fact that some of us went without power for 36, 48+ hours is pretty bad. The reality is that this was a storm that had huge winds to it.

    The PGnE system is getting old, the city has limited resources and the people of Davis have to stop expecting the city to be the knights on white horses.

    Fact of the matter is, no matter what emergency planning you look at they always tell people that you should be prepared to be self sustained for 48 to 72 hours before help can get to you. It takes time.

    It takes time to get equipment in place, it takes time to get people deployed and it takes time to work through the streets to get to your house.

    The power issue is never one that can forecast. A single drop of water in the wrong place can shut power off for hours.

    The city nor the state can pre stage equipment, that cost huge amounts of money and if it was to be pre staged and nothing happened, then I am sure we would be reading how stupid the city and how wasteful it was.

    Can the city do better? Yes. Can the citizens do better? Yes. On a big scale of issues is this worth causing hate and discontent at the city council meeting? No. It is cause for discussion, but civil discussion, ask questions, one I would like to ask is how come we in Davis do not have an organized group of people that are trained disaster workers, people that could have done the door to door checks. People that could have assisted the fire department in closing the roads as needed for fallen trees so that the fire and police personnel could continue to the next emergency.

    I am also concerned that once again DPD is focusing on the council just as the race for the seats will begin heating up…

  26. Look, this may have seemed like a huge deal, and to some it was. The fact that some of us went without power for 36, 48+ hours is pretty bad. The reality is that this was a storm that had huge winds to it.

    The PGnE system is getting old, the city has limited resources and the people of Davis have to stop expecting the city to be the knights on white horses.

    Fact of the matter is, no matter what emergency planning you look at they always tell people that you should be prepared to be self sustained for 48 to 72 hours before help can get to you. It takes time.

    It takes time to get equipment in place, it takes time to get people deployed and it takes time to work through the streets to get to your house.

    The power issue is never one that can forecast. A single drop of water in the wrong place can shut power off for hours.

    The city nor the state can pre stage equipment, that cost huge amounts of money and if it was to be pre staged and nothing happened, then I am sure we would be reading how stupid the city and how wasteful it was.

    Can the city do better? Yes. Can the citizens do better? Yes. On a big scale of issues is this worth causing hate and discontent at the city council meeting? No. It is cause for discussion, but civil discussion, ask questions, one I would like to ask is how come we in Davis do not have an organized group of people that are trained disaster workers, people that could have done the door to door checks. People that could have assisted the fire department in closing the roads as needed for fallen trees so that the fire and police personnel could continue to the next emergency.

    I am also concerned that once again DPD is focusing on the council just as the race for the seats will begin heating up…

  27. Look, this may have seemed like a huge deal, and to some it was. The fact that some of us went without power for 36, 48+ hours is pretty bad. The reality is that this was a storm that had huge winds to it.

    The PGnE system is getting old, the city has limited resources and the people of Davis have to stop expecting the city to be the knights on white horses.

    Fact of the matter is, no matter what emergency planning you look at they always tell people that you should be prepared to be self sustained for 48 to 72 hours before help can get to you. It takes time.

    It takes time to get equipment in place, it takes time to get people deployed and it takes time to work through the streets to get to your house.

    The power issue is never one that can forecast. A single drop of water in the wrong place can shut power off for hours.

    The city nor the state can pre stage equipment, that cost huge amounts of money and if it was to be pre staged and nothing happened, then I am sure we would be reading how stupid the city and how wasteful it was.

    Can the city do better? Yes. Can the citizens do better? Yes. On a big scale of issues is this worth causing hate and discontent at the city council meeting? No. It is cause for discussion, but civil discussion, ask questions, one I would like to ask is how come we in Davis do not have an organized group of people that are trained disaster workers, people that could have done the door to door checks. People that could have assisted the fire department in closing the roads as needed for fallen trees so that the fire and police personnel could continue to the next emergency.

    I am also concerned that once again DPD is focusing on the council just as the race for the seats will begin heating up…

  28. Look, this may have seemed like a huge deal, and to some it was. The fact that some of us went without power for 36, 48+ hours is pretty bad. The reality is that this was a storm that had huge winds to it.

    The PGnE system is getting old, the city has limited resources and the people of Davis have to stop expecting the city to be the knights on white horses.

    Fact of the matter is, no matter what emergency planning you look at they always tell people that you should be prepared to be self sustained for 48 to 72 hours before help can get to you. It takes time.

    It takes time to get equipment in place, it takes time to get people deployed and it takes time to work through the streets to get to your house.

    The power issue is never one that can forecast. A single drop of water in the wrong place can shut power off for hours.

    The city nor the state can pre stage equipment, that cost huge amounts of money and if it was to be pre staged and nothing happened, then I am sure we would be reading how stupid the city and how wasteful it was.

    Can the city do better? Yes. Can the citizens do better? Yes. On a big scale of issues is this worth causing hate and discontent at the city council meeting? No. It is cause for discussion, but civil discussion, ask questions, one I would like to ask is how come we in Davis do not have an organized group of people that are trained disaster workers, people that could have done the door to door checks. People that could have assisted the fire department in closing the roads as needed for fallen trees so that the fire and police personnel could continue to the next emergency.

    I am also concerned that once again DPD is focusing on the council just as the race for the seats will begin heating up…

  29. Mr. Chilled – the PG&E line workers are not the problem. The City of Davis emergency personnel and public works people are not the problem. Even Bill Emlen is not a problem.

    The problem is the lack of communication during a natural disaster. PG&E managers were not out re-stringing lines and fixing down power poles. One of them could have recorded an update on how the repairs were coming along and where to call to get information about services every couple of hours.

    The problem is no information ahead of time, even far ahead of time on what to do, where to go, if to go, etc.

    The problem is that we, as a community, don’t seem to have a plan for communicating what to do when we don’t have power for an extended period of time. That’s the simplicity of it.

    To all – there is really no reason to vent at anyone. Think of this mini-natural disaster as a favor. Now we can see where and how we are unprepared and come up with a community plan, a neighborhood plan, and a household plan.