Sunday, December 6, 2015

From New Resident Optimistic and Inviting to Pessimistic and Uninviting (247)

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The February 15, 1888 issue of the Sacramento Daily Union-Record reprints an article from the short-lived Davisville Signal extolling the virtues of Davis and the surrounding farmland and inviting people to come and “assist in building up our schools, churches and public institutions.”  “We want every class of good citizens -- those who are in earnest about making homes, and we will assure all such a hearty welcome to this hospitable portion of the Pacific coast.”*

Such articles and related statements were not uncommon in civic life and discourse for more than a hundred years of Davis history -- from its start in the late 1860s up to the early 1970s.

Indeed, only a few weeks ago I featured a leaflet published by the Davis Chamber of Commerce in 1939 aimed at much the same immigration task (post number 237, September 11, 2015).   

Reading such statements today, they seem remarkably remote and even quaint.

I would date that remoteness and quaintness to the City Council election of 1972, the year when Davis reputedly turned “progressive.” At the same time, it arguably also made a major turn to the somber, pessimistic and uninviting as regards people moving to Davis.

There were, of course, very good reasons for this turn to the left and to an uninviting posture -- the era of limits, environmental responsibility, and all the rest.

We clearly, though, continue to live on the emotional downside of that great change, that great divide in Davis history. Although Davis may no longer be especially progressive, it certainly continues to be pessimistic and uninviting about adding new residents.

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* Many thanks to Hiram Jackson for telling me about the availability of the Sacramento Daily Union-Record online on newspapers.com: