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Roberta L. Millstein
Davis, CA
I am a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Davis; my research is in the philosophy of science, the history & philosophy of biology, and environmental ethics. I serve on the Open Space & Habitat Commission for the City of Davis. The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not represent my employer’s views in any way. Nothing posted here should be considered official or sanctioned by my employer or any other organization I’m affiliated with.
Recent Activity
You're right, Eileen. The recent concern expressed over how the DA race was handled by the Enterprise should be viewed in the larger context of issues with the Enterprise since the departure of Debbie Davis.
In a recent post, I pointed out that the Endangered Species Act is under threat, and that responding to that threat requires our attention at the national, state, and local levels. As if on cue, in a recent op-ed in the Davis Enterprise Rich Rifkin dismisses potential effects on three... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2018 at The Davisite
Jim and Laurel, thanks for your comments. Agreed. I do truly hope that the Enterprise works to improve itself and not just defend its bad behavior, as Tanya Perez seems to do here.
In Sunday’s paper, Tanya Perez writes a spirited and mostly reasonable defense of the Davis Enterprise, but she doesn’t quite get it. Lamenting the loss of eagle-eyed editor Debbie Davis, AP news stories, and the like, Perez writes: The Enterprise aims to give you the information you cannot get elsewhere.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2018 at The Davisite
There are important lessons to be learned from the case of the bald eagle. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) – now under threat itself – is important, but as the bald eagle shows, we have to use all the tools available to us at the local, state, and national levels... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2018 at The Davisite
On Saturday, July 21, I had the opportunity to join five other UC Davis-affiliated women to swim the Trans Tahoe Relay. The Trans Tahoe Relay serves as a fundraiser for Keep Tahoe Blue, but we also swam to support the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) and the Center for Watershed... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2018 at The Davisite
At its November 7, 2017 meeting, the City Council voted to change its Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy, as well as ban the use of neonicotinoids (implicated in colony collapse disorder in bees) and a phase-out of glyphosate (often sold as Roundup, listed by the State of California as a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2018 at The Davisite
I was happy to see that the Mayor and the Council backed away from the proposal to shunt some of general public comment to the end of the meeting. If I understood the decision correctly, the proposal is to estimate how many general public commenters there are and to perhaps adjust speaking times in light of that, endeavoring to limit to 45 minutes if possible but going longer if there really just are a lot of speakers. That seems reasonable to me. There was also a suggestion to separate out people who are speaking on the consent calendar items from other general comment, and that makes sense to me as well, although I was not sure if the Mayor planned on doing that or not.
If you want to preserve your right to speak in general public comment at City Council meetings, come to the City Council meeting today (Tuesday, July 10) at 7:15 PM and express your concerns about the proposal to shunt some of general public comment to the very end of the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2018 at The Davisite
Todd, yes, I can see why this would be a project that the Bicycling Commission can and should weigh in on.
Bob, yes, I wondered about that second problem, too.
Will the new City Council listen to its commissions and its citizens? This morning, I learned of a new proposed Mace Ranch business park from a Facebook post from Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, a post that tagged the soon-to-be other four members of the Davis City Council (among other people). The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2018 at The Davisite
Robert, posted here:
As was probably obvious from my earlier article, I’m pretty pro-swimming. The science backs me up, with numerous documented health benefits from swimming, especially cardiovascular benefits but also muscular and psychological benefits. It’s a sport that people often take up after they have been injured from some other sport, and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2018 at The Davisite
Thanks, Marco, I will take a look.
Toggle Commented Jun 25, 2018 on Deadly predators threaten wolves at The Davisite
I want to thank Jon Li for his thoughtful response to my earlier article, an article that objected to the recent proposal to limit the time for general public comment at the beginning of Council meetings, shunting the rest of general public comment to the end of the meetings. His... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2018 at The Davisite
I'm sure that any of us who has spent any amount of time at Council meetings has found ourselves frustrated with a commenter or two, although we might disagree about which commenters those are. And therein lies the problem. Who decides which commenters go at the end and for which topics? It could become a way for those who are considered inconvenient, or whose topics are considered inconvenient, to be shunted toward the end. What looks like a "pet issue" to one person could be crucially important to another. Democracy is messy. As for adhering to the time allowed, I agree that speakers should do this.
The City Council is considering some changes to its meeting format, according to the Davis Enterprise: One suggestion was to limit general public comment at the beginning of the meeting — requiring that it end at a specific time — and continuing it for those who still wish to speak... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2018 at The Davisite
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2018 on Deadly predators threaten wolves at The Davisite
When I first came to Davis for my job interview (the one that would result in my addition to the Philosophy Department at UCD), one of my future colleagues said, with a bit of a sarcastic snort, “Too bad Paul couldn’t be here. He’s been telling all of the candidates... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2018 at The Davisite
Agreed, Nancy. No point in splitting hairs about how crucial each species is. Wolves are important and so are beavers.
Toggle Commented Jun 19, 2018 on Deadly predators threaten wolves at The Davisite
Welcome to the Davisite, Brian. Thank you for sharing your experience. Although I didn't write about it in my post, I also submitted a letter fairly early on that was not published. Your thoughts are always welcome here, so I hope you find your way back.
According to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity, this past week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it is considering a proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protection from nearly all wolves in the lower 48 states. The FWS tried to do the same... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2018 at The Davisite
Tanya, thank you for your comment and for sharing your perspective. But this is not about Mr. Oñate's state of mind or how he treats people he works with. It's how he's been treating readers and about the standards he sets as an Editor. It's there that I -- and many others I have talked with -- feel that he has fallen short. I am not looking for him to be replaced. What I wrote was, as I stated explicitly, "in the hopes of changing his ways, or if that is not possible, to encourage the paper to find a different Editor." If he refuses to change his practices, then yes, I think he should leave. But if he is as good an editor as you say, then it shouldn't be too difficult for him to engage with readers more respectfully. Debbie Davis certainly did, and I have heard that from many people who otherwise disagreed with her. Sadly, though, his most recent tweet shows that he has missed my point entirely: "The big exposé on my social media inappropriateness has dropped online, and let me tell you, folks, it is a PG-rated horror show. I won't link, only to spare your tender sensibilities, but it's out there ..." This is not about being PG. Again, this is about being respectful and even-handed. Frankly, Tanya, even though you and I haven't always agreed on everything, I'm surprised to see you defending the comments he has made, because I can't in a million years imagine you making them. I think you would know better.
Mr. Oñate has, apparently, responded to the post above by saying: "The big exposé on my social media inappropriateness has dropped online, and let me tell you, folks, it is a PG-rated horror show. I won't link, only to spare your tender sensibilities, but it's out there ..." and "If anyone who follows me on Twitter/Facebook has an issue with anything I post, I'm willing to listen. But if you're digging through my feed looking for something to complain about, not so much ..." By focusing on whether his posts were "PG," he has completely missed the point about whether his comments are appropriate for someone who is the Editor of a newspaper, someone who should be informing and building community, not playing favorites or denigrating readers or groups of readers.