Monday, December 16, 2013

The 53-Year Lineage of the Science-Based Critique of Fluoridation in Davis (144)

When the City Council voted on October 1, 2013 not to fluoridate Davis water, it concluded
2. 1964a
that body’s sixth public policy decision on this matter spread over a remarkable 53 years (1960-2013).

While many aspects of this implausible series of events merit description, two stand out in my mind.

One, unlike what is claimed about some other communities, the criticism of fluoridation in all six episodes--and that carried the day in five of the six--was dominantly science-based.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Street Naming and the Politics of Memory (143)

In many countries and communities around the world, the naming (and renaming) of streets for local and related people is a matter of intense debate and even conflict.

The phrase “the politics of memory” usefully captures the reason for this. Names on street signs (plazas, etc.) may or may not recall a past that one likes or wants to be honored. In some racially and ethnically divided societies, there are at least two opposing pasts seeking the honor--memory--of public place recognition. In some of these societies, the street sign names literally go back and forth depending upon which group is in power. And, in these disputes we see the usual assortment of human conflict tactics, including the claim there is, in reality, nothing about which to disagree, acts of intimidation and bullying postures, among the milder ones.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Davis Historic Names and Street Naming: Problems of Inequity & Invidiousness (142)

At its meeting on December 16th, 2013 the Davis Historic Resources Management Commission (HRMC) will, according to its press release, “discuss a proposal to update and refine a list of individuals and families who have played a significant role in Davis’s history.” A major purpose of this list is to provide names for streets in the planned Cannery subdivision.

I want in this post to suggest, first, that rather than “update and refine,” the Commission should think anew about how a “list” might be correctly established in the first place (if a list is, indeed, needed). The existing effort displays inequity and plans for its use are deficient and invidious.

Second, after describing nine measures that might lead to a legitimate list that could be used properly, I want to raise wider questions about naming Cannery streets in the first place.