The People's Vanguard of Davis (link) is a political blog that was launched in July 2006. It is dedicated to exposing what it calls "the dark underbelly of the People's Republic of Davis" by writing about things that aren't completely reported in the mainstream press. It's updated daily with news, opinions, and commentary focusing on politics in Davis and environs, with occasional forays onto the state and national stages. It also features Yolo Judicial Watch, a section devoted to the activities of the judiciary in Yolo County and the surrounding areas.
The blog is written by David Greenwald (no relation to former councilmember Sue Greenwald), who uses the pen name Doug Paul Davis ("DPD") online. He remained anonymous for the first several months after the blog launched, using only his pen name. He finally identified himself as the author in a January 2007 Sacramento Bee article.
The initial focus of the blog was to comment on the activities of the Davis Police Department (the other DPD). Greenwald has written about why he's deliberately biased, saying it gives more freedom than if there were an expectation of unbiased writing. Critics find the bias excessive in that it sometimes leads to the presentation of only those facts supporting the author's viewpoint. The omission of not only the opposing viewpoint (which is fine) but also facts that don't fit the author's opinion is intellectually dishonest. Others think that whereas the point of view being presented is clear, that facts that support other points of view are presented.
On March 2, 2009, the Vanguard moved from the blogger server to its own server and a new web address, davisvanguard.org. It added new features such as the "Community Blogs" that allow select members of the public to post their own comments. They also had a radio show on KDRT 95.7 FM (archives here). Registration is required to post comments. Pseudonyms are allowed. The comments are moderated.
Greenwald states that he started the blog in July 2006 in response to the City Council disbanding the Human Relations Commission and the treatment of Halema Buzayan. He finally made the plunge in late July to create a place where people can get news not being reported in the Enterprise. It's intended for the progressive left, highlighting what's happening in Davis among the elected and unelected government. The site took off and gets thousands of weekly hits and breaks news stories ahead of the mainstream press. Some stories are indeed covered in far more detail than the mainstream press; recent examples include the budget situation and the city council election.
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Excellent, that was a good article, and I'm sure it will enlighten a few mature davisites as to what the wiki is. I've been pondering ways to get Davisites aware of the wiki, this does a great job albeit unintentionally. —StevenDaubert
Steven, I don't see it as unintentional on my part. Part of the reason I wanted to do the interview with Philip was to honor his great achievement and expose an audience to the Wiki, who have in many cases only heard of it. The big role that the Vanguard tries to play is an educational role in this community. —DavidGreenwald
2007-09-13 11:49:18 I'm unimpressed about your truancy series. I fail to find an issue that is noteworthy inside of them. If kids chose to cut class enough, the police will always get involved. Having known Pam Mari for the vast majority of my life, both personally and when she was an administrator at Holmes / DHS. Thru this knowledge of her, I can safely say she has the kids well being at heart, ahead of covering her ass or the districts.
long rant short: Whats the problem? I can tell you first hand how easy it was to walk off DHS campus as a student, at any time, despite the fact it's an open campus only at lunch. —StevenDaubert
2007-09-13 13:18:45 Start with the issue that she implemented this policy without authority from the school board and as a result the policy has been terminated. Start with the issue that no one in the community who had any sort of direct accountability to the voters had any knowledge of what was going on. Do you really fail to understand the importance of this? Even Officer Pytel acknowledged that this was a problem. Policy decisions need to be made primarily by office holders who are elected not unelected administrators. As I suggest in today's article, the community was uninformed and did not weigh in on this, as a result this has been a huge mess with mass confusion. —DavidGreenwald
2007-09-14 13:10:15 Whats so wrong with Pam Mari making calls like this? She lived in Davis for a long time, and had plenty of time not only being an administrator but teaching classes as well... Kids choose to be truant, no one forces them to cut class. Sure they are putting themselves behind in work, but at the time you don't notice the consequences of truancy. Kids need to to at least make it thru high school... Whats so atrocious about the policy in the first place? —StevenDaubert
What's wrong with Pam Mari taking the lead on this? She didn't inform the school board and they are the ones that set district policy. I'm not necessarily opposed the policy in the first place, but the process was completely messed up. —DavidGreenwald
2007-09-14 13:34:20 hehehehe, being a relatively new high school alum, it's interesting noticing how my attitude shifts. When I was going to DHS having a friend with a car that you pile into and is one of the most awesome things. Now when I go around DHS at lunch time I notice the general tomfollery, the lack of seatbelts, etc that gets people concerned.
I have quite a bit to say about the student interviews, but I don't have the time. When I started reading I thought what I would have done in each situation. I would have avoided all the tickets. —StevenDaubert
Here is what you say to the officer if he hasn't Flashed red and blue lights, or given you a direct lawful order: "Officer, this consensual encounter is over".
tada, officer has to issue a citation, Officer can't issue driving for under a year citation as the primary issue on the citation.
I knew this when I went to DHS a couple hears ago... Having to dodge the Traffic cops on the BMW's, etc.
For the female student to not say the above opens herself up legally for the citation, and thats all our friend Jeff Resig cares about, the citation will fly in court due to said students actions, and thats all the system cares about, the end.
However, If she though she was a victim of profiling, and had just realized it was foolish to admit to committing a crime to a officer, she could have gotten his badge number, and demanded to speak to a watch commander. This is a request the officer has to take seriously, and the watch commander is the one responsible for the interpretation of the law. Female student explains to watch commander that she felt it violated the law that the officer was engaging her solely to figure out if she was driving under a year, which is a violation, but it's supposed to be only a secondary check, and it isn't reason to pull a car over in the first place.
For Soren the same thing applies, I've had an officer pull up behind me while I've been parked on the street near South D Safeway, I made the mistake of trying to deal with it hesitantly, and wound up searched and the whole nine, despite the fact that I never explicitly gave permission.
Know what you can and can't do in police encounters, cause quick wits will save you tons of hassle.
Did Drew and Mohamed have a note from the teacher, and the appropriate note to be off campus? If so tell the officer to sod off via asking for a watch commander and explaining your situation. Officers are just the "foot soldiers" who "blindly" enforce policy, whenever a conflict arises they will ask the watch commander how to act, if it's okay to kick in this door cause I know there is an occupant who is ignoring me? or is this a bad stop? etc. However if they lacked the appropriate set of passes and notes, and the officer detained them and took them back to DHS, and then threw them a curve ball to see how they take it, thats to be expected. It's just another day in the life for said officer, and thats the routine. Don't expect cops to be nice to you when they suspect you of doing something.
It doesn't default to the officers to make sure the students understand when they can and can't speak. I have zero sympathy for any of the students mentioned, simply for the fact that all you have to do is sign up for the citizens police academy, happens twice a year, and DPD tells you how they work on a day to day basis. That's more than enough information to be armed with, and what makes it best is that it comes STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH.
If you make it understood your watching whats going on, and are going to "kick and scream" in all the right ways, most officers simply don't want to deal with the hassle... I'm sorry if this seems discombobulated, or fragmented, I just banged this out freewrite style >_< I'm sure it's all just one big run on sentence.
2008-02-08 18:41:48 Response to a deleted comment about why some names were just last names and others full names. When I started the blog there were no labels, that feature was added later on. The first few labels I did, I just put people's last names. Then after I wrote about Sue Greenwald, I obviously could not just call her Greenwald, so then I put everyone's label as first and last name as added. But I never went back and changed the old ones and it would take too long to do it now. So that's it is the way it is. —DavidGreenwald
It's Official: Greenwald's Vanguard of Davis is a blog now minus the People, for good or ill. And what in general, neologistically, is a blog? A bad combo of a blurb and a bog. —SolidSender
2008-11-17 13:01:07 Feher has (from what I've personally observed) had a fair and steady hand behind the the uniform of DPD, and I for one think that he has done a bit to help the much maligned public imagine of DPD. It's a shame to see off duty activities potentially jeopardize a budding career. One should consider the implications of their actions, but when your inebriated... —StevenDaubert
2008-11-18 08:48:38 Re Officer Feher's arrest in Sacramento: I'm all for giving people second chances, but what jumps out at me here is that he misrepresented himself and lied to the arresting officers. First, by trying to get away with saying he worked for YONET (that's a special task force, btw) and then for saying he worked for BNE. And he didn't come clean. It was later that Sac PD discovered that Davis PD was his employer.
Seems to me that reinstatement should be contingent upon some sort of alcohol treatment program. There are signs of addiction here.
And btw: He hasn't learned anything working as a police officer? When you are under arrest, keep your mouth shut! After giving hundreds and hundreds of Miranda warnings, he doesn't know this yet??!!
2008-11-18 10:18:40 Is it true that the Davis Enterprise didn't cover this story (Officer Feher's arrest)? If so, doesn't this seem "odd' to anyone? The Enterprise reports all sorts mundane little stories all the time. Why not this? And don't tell me it's because they weren't aware of it. Because we all know that is bogus. —CurlyGirl26
2008-11-18 17:28:11 I was led to believe that the Enterprise knew about this story before I did and declined to run it. If that is inaccurate, i apologize. —DavidGreenwald
2009-06-04 07:51:05 Major new story today: Covell Village campaign failed to report hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions during their 2005 campaign according to paperwork filed in 2008 Failure To Disclose . This may sound like old news, but Covell is launching a new campaign and these changes were not filed until April 2008, two and a half years AFTER the campaign and following FPPC complaints about underreporting of campaign expenditures—DavidGreenwald
2009-11-21 11:55:07 Really appreciating the coverage of UCD students protesting the tuition increases. Keep up the good work! —ZachStednick
2009-12-09 00:27:47 I can't help but notice the website's down as of this moment. Any reason why? —ARWENNHOLD
It's not unusual for websites to be down from time to time... It's back up now. —CovertProfessor
2010-02-14 17:45:26 It's interesting reading about the history of this "People's" blogsite; in reality, this blogsite is for "selected" people of Davis, namely, those who don't blog about David's pal and wife's political crony Bill Ritter.
Case in point, as of yesterday, I was officially "banned" from blogging on the Vanguard. Unlike many others, I blogged with my real name and real e-mail address, because I believe in being honest about my views regarding political issues in our great town. I co-managed (on a volunteer basis) the No on P campaign last fall against the proposed Wildhorse Ranch development, which we won with an astounding 75% of the vote. David's pal, Bill Ritter, was the paid campaign manager by Parlin Development, and he did as a remarkable favor by running a horrible campaign (any of you remember all those goofy Yes on P mailers, if not, they are documented on this site.)
Any ways, yesterday David posted a story on the Vanguard about the CHA (Choices for Healthy Aging) group and their efforts behind supporting a seniors-only development at the old Covell Village site. I had blogged in response to a previous blogger that this sounded a lot like a "Really Grey" campaign, similar to Bill Ritter's "Really Green" campaign for Measure P, and to watch out for all the mailers coming our way with pictures of happy healthy seniors having picnics, lawn bowling, going on hay rides, etc, and perhaps the developers should hire Ritter. I NEVER used any profanity or any derogatory terms against Bill Ritter. David edited this (and all of my subsequent blogs), and sent me an e-mail basically admonishing me of "no more personal attacks" against Bill Ritter, or I would be banned, to which I told him basically to shove it, and I still believe in the First Amendment when it comes to political opinion sites. I have now been "banned"; if I chose to use my real name and real e-mail, which so few of his bloggers do, I am not able to post comments on the Vanguard. Are there any other "banned bloggers" out there? or do I have the honor of being the first.
This is what the "People's Vanguard" is all about, it is a selective site, which appears to filter the opinions, no different than the "fair and balanced" FOX News! —GregSokolov
Thanks for posting about this, its great to have various points of view on various sites. Would you say the First Amendment applies just as well to political letters to the editor of a newspaper not being printed at the choice of the editor though? Is David in a similar position on the Vanguard? I don't expect private media like a newspaper or the Vanguard and certainly not FOX News to be fair and balanced. I don't really want them to be either, I think its reasonable to get information from multiple sources (like you posting here on the wiki) and form my own opinions. For more information about the explicit biases of the Vanguard, see Commentary: When "Fair and Balanced" is Less Accurate —NickSchmalenberger
2010-02-14 19:48:32 Hi Nick, thanks for your insightful reply and historical reference to prior Vanguard opinion about "fair and balanced" (very interesting to say the least!) My main point regarding "free speech" and the "People's Vanguard" is simply to highlight the utter hypocrisy of David Greenwald (and his lack of credibility) when it comes to peripheral growth issues. In the Wildhorse Ranch election, he was clearly on the side of more development, and now with Covell Village Senior City, he is incensed at the whole "really grey" campaign being waged by developer-backed CHA group; and why the radical divergence in his views (literally only three months post Wildhorse Ranch)? Bill Ritter. I blog about it, using my full real name and e-mail, and use no profanity, derogatory language and I get axed it. Why? Because perhaps I struck a sensitive nerve in his political body and he deems it "personal attack"; eerily similar to the way O'Reilly gets all defensive and cuts people off (watch his latest interview with Jon Stewart as a great example). David apparently has no backbone when it comes to hardcore analysis of his ever shifting views on growth issues, and has resorted to "banning" folks. Since I assume my views are safe at Davis Wiki, I will continue to bring up these issues to the Davis citizenry. —GregSokolov
I agree that David Greenwald's blog takes definite stands on particular issues — but surely you don't think that one can't be against a particular development while for another? I say this as someone who voted no on P and who isn't crazy about this new Senior City proposal, either. But they are different proposals with different pros and cons; I can see supporting one and not the other. As for his banning of you, it's hard to judge that without knowing the exact content of what you wrote. —CovertProfessor
2010-02-14 21:29:19 I strongly disagree about the public nature of the Enterprise editorial page. I think the Enterprise and most papers are biased, although the Enterprise tries to hide it more than the Winters Express for example. I think that the Express has a more interesting editorial page because of its bias. —NickSchmalenberger
2010-02-14 22:55:21 To CovertProfessor:
I blogged essentially that if Covell Village II was to be defeated (as both I and David Greenwald agree upon it should), perhaps Bill Ritter should be hired to run their campaign, and do as awful a job as he did for Yes on P. I then followed that comment with additional comment asking David to explain his differences only three months later in opposing Covell Village Senior City, in the face of his recent support for Wildhorse Ranch. THAT'S IT!!! That is what he construed as "personal attacks"; I guess when he called Bob Dunning "vile and depraved" for his humorous comments on paid college students during the Measure P, that was not "personal"; it's only when it is directed towards his political crony Bill Ritter, that it becomes personal, By the way, I have heard rumors that David and Cecilia Greenwald still owe Bill Ritter about $30,000 from her failed City Council bid in 2008; makes one wonder if David is "paying" him back by erasing all negative comments about him on his blog site...some free speech! It's all bought and paid for, like any other "news" site! —GregSokolov
2010-05-16 06:21:44 Made my first visit to the Vanguard today and read it for several hours. The vanguard is:
Extremely biased: Greenwald presents his opinions completely without acknowledgment to dissenting opinions of any kind, let alone going so far as including a quote to allow one of his targets to defend themselves. Each article is written from a position of absolute metaphysical certainty. (a prime example, 42-year-old homeless being stomped on by the DA, but his "domestic burglary" charge remains comfortably unexplained)
Extremely poor: I've seen some shoddy editing standards in my day but this is ridiculous.
Confusing and uninformative: The average article refers to other past events without explanation or crosslinking of any kind.
Interesting: Does a good job bringing issues to light for further research from less biased sources.
Sensationalist: Guilt is commutatively applied to broad swaths of individuals or organizations in public positions based on the testimony of interviewees with hazy or missing credentials but never once leveled at any person not of public standing in any way however brief or insignificant.
I appreciate GregSokolov's position that the Vanguard is similar to FOX news. The techniques used to mislead readers in the Vanguard are very similar to those used by They, our most auspicious indoctrination organization. —khabok
2010-05-17 05:06:53 I obviously haven't read this page in awhile. I don't want to get into Sokolov's post, needless to say, he presents a one-sided view of the reason he was banned. In fact, he doesn't state, and apparently doesn't know why he was banned. We've been trying to crack down on posts that lead to tit-for-tat fights, I asked him to tone it down, he responded by telling me not to contact him anymore and telling me that I was being put on spam block. At that point, I had little choice but to ban him, since he was unwilling to cooperate in our efforts to change the tone of posting.
He posts this: "I have heard rumors that David and Cecilia Greenwald still owe Bill Ritter about $30,000 from her failed City Council bid in 2008." This is just untrue. We have not paid Bill Ritter nor do we owe Bill Ritter anything. I suggest that should be taken down as unfounded gossip.
Khabok: Thanks for your post. I agree with you on the editing issues, we have tried to address them, but unfortunately it is still largely one person produce a mountain load of content. Biased? Certainly. Although your example has an explanation, the domestic burglary charge was from over 20 years ago, I'm not sure what you wanted there, the information was not readily available on it and probably not all that relevant to a case of vandalism. I agree I could probably do better on background information, cross-linking would be helpful, I'll try to do better with that. I have no idea what you're trying to say on your last point. Feel free to contact me if you have some specific suggestions. —DavidGreenwald
2010-05-18 06:19:26 ah, this sort of thing is much easier when you can address people directly.
"We've been trying to crack down on posts" — does it really matter what you choose to follow that statement with?
"I have heard rumors that David and Cecilia Greenwald still owe Bill Ritter about $30,000 from her failed City Council bid in 2008." — he says he's heard rumors to that effect. Do you have definitive information that he's heard no such rumors?
"he was unwilling to cooperate in our efforts to change the tone of posting." — If his posts have a tasteless tone let his readership speak for itself, that's how democratic information functions. Personally, I believe most people in this town are very crude and pointlessly antagonistic, but if that's the truth should we take the roll of cultural exemplars and try to hide it?
"I agree with you on the editing issues" — good. I'd love to respect the Vanguard, I was quite excited when I found it. Hey, I'll be happy to edit it for you if you like, just don't be surprised to get back a lot of notes like "explain this idea" or "what does the opposition say about this."
"I'm not sure what you wanted there" — to not have to WONDER who's place he broke into, what he took, why you won't tell me and whether you're asking me to feel sorry for some sort of really awful scumbag. I can't begin to tell you the experiences I've had with street kids (sorry, "homeless people") in this area and I'd love to know what the DA knows about him.
"I have no idea what you're trying to say on your last point" — that it's really easy to jump down the throat of an organization without talking about why they do what they do. Your treatment of the Buzayan incident, for instance. Among the long list of people who've tried to make me upset about the Buzayan family's situation, you've done the least to explain that idea to me, yet you reference that arrest offhand in other articles the way one might mention the Holocaust: as a token worst-possible-thing to end debate before it starts.
oh by the way, your article "Are Recent Shootings A Sign of Things To Come or an Aberration" from last October. First of all, thanks for actually covering all those incidents. Second, have a free anonymous tip, the problem was coke traffic but it should be over now. —khabok
2010-05-18 09:15:08 khabok:
We made a decision that the tone of the comment section was too antagonistic and it was driving away people who otherwise might participate, so we have made a concerted effort to change the tone. Some people naturally disagree with our editorial/ moderation decisions, usually we can talk it through. This was the only case to date where that has not worked.
As to the rumor, there is no doubt in my mind that he's heard it, but my understanding of wiki policies is that this is not a place to post unsubstantiated rumors. It is completely false and therefore zero basis to it. We never borrow nor paid money to the individual in question.
Finally, it was a 1989 burglary case, 21 years ago, information not readily available and not especially pertinent to the case. Why is the guy an awful scumbag, he has bipolar disorder? That's really the important information, why is the DA's office trying to use three strikes on a guy that their own psychiatrists are saying is mentally ill and was when he committed a relatively minor crime, actually two relatively minorcrimes?
I've written extensively on the Buzayan case, do a search and you can find the background information. Maybe at some point we can do backlinks, but that's not practical right now. —DavidGreenwald
2010-05-18 12:36:57 Since when are personal comments of any kind part of the operation of a typical wiki? If that opinion or belief exists, that is informational. If you assert it is untrue, that is ALSO informational. If morality in this area isn't interesting to you, how about this: deleting his post makes you look really guilty.
If you think I was implying that the mentally-ill man in question is in actual fact a scumbag, you're once again completely missing the point. Incomplete information is just one more way to be evasive and for anyone reading critically you've severely undermined your credibility because of it. Also poor for your credibility is making your point in the form of a question. This isn't jeopardy. When you ask "why is the DA's office trying to" etcetera I personally start formulating possible answers, of which there are many. Not everything about a person is a matter of public record. Care to address real possibilities in your next article?
I know you covered the background of the Buzayan case. I know where your search bar is and I like to know what I'm talking about before I start. —khabok
Actually, most wikis have plenty of personal opinion. It wasn't until Wikipedia appeared that the concept of NPOV was connected to wikis. Alas, since it's since become one of the most well known wikis, the two things are connected in people's minds. A wiki is a good community platform to have an open, public discussion about allegations and gather facts from multiple people. With tactful presentation, even very serious allegations can be presented and either laid to rest or supported by fact and witnesses. A good example is the currently evolving Con Artists entry — talk of a local scam has slowly accrued multiple sources and confirmation, including a photo. As the information is gathered, it can be re-factored into a concise and clear whole, presenting the many aspects that a multitude of people have contributed. Cooperative editing, when handled well, is an amazingly powerful and insightful method of presenting issues. —Evan 'JabberWokky' Edwards
I would concur wholeheartedly with the previous statement Daubert
Thanks to JabberWokky for pointing out the facts on this one. I love community interaction as well. So much so that I like to see all of it intact without so much as a "ur mom" deleted. khabok
2010-06-03 08:48:54 I haven't come back to these posts in a long time, too busy watching David Greenwald's hypocrisy on the whole Ruth Asmundson-Vergis political affairs; where his outrage towards Asmundson last July when she let Parlin Developers essentially "pick" an election date for Measure P ballot? Is it because his political puppeteer Bill Ritter was hired by Parlin to help influence the City Council?
Thanks Khabok for your independent analysis of the "People's Vanguard"; I wish that more people (you have not been censured by David yet) continue to do the same.
In his feeble explanation to you why I was "banned", he failed to mention a statement in his e-mail to me which prompted my reply and statement to him that I would spam all of his future replies.
He basically said "Measure P is over; you won, get over it"; to which I replied, although the election had passed, the key principles and players on the Yes on P side (i.e. Ritter) remain alive and need to be questioned in subsequent issues (i.e. how is that only five months later after Measure P, the outrage over the Covell Village redux project is suddenly all about bad development and unneccessary growth, when Wildhorse Ranch was so necessary?)
The rumors about $30 K they owe Ritter came to me from some very well informed people in local politics...whether it is a large amount of money or something else, the relationship between Ritter and the Greenwalds clearly influences his opinions and those of others who he decides to characterize as "negative" on his People's blog site. —GregSokolov
2010-06-03 12:43:46 To Khabok:
I am gald you brought up the whole Buzayan case again. Ask David Greenwald how much Mr. Buzayan (father) has donated to the Vangaurd since that case???
Also, Mr. Buzayan lives in South Davis, near the new proposed development at Willowbank. SURPRISE, SURPRISE David Greenwald was outraged at the City Council for approving the Willowbank project and wrote many blogs about it.
What, I ask, is the difference between Willowbank (a much smaller project away from major roadways or school) vs. Wildhorse Ranch (larger project which would led to increased traffic on Covell Blvd nearby the Harper Junior High)??? The answer: NO Bill Ritter hired by Willowbank developers and Buzayan lives in South Davis and not Wildhorse. —GregSokolov
2011-10-31 04:45:34 Love what you have done with the place! The web site is great. . although it has gotten so big and bloated over the last few years!
Like. . .I kinda dug it when you were writing under a pseudonym and just using blogger. It was just cool back then.
You're now like a Wal-Mart! How does that make you feel? It;s like . . .you just put up a big Wal-Mart in your precious city!
The new Vanguard is now (12-14-2013) almost entirely black and even more bloated after for some reason it went totally blank. I liked it better when it was on blogger and unpretentiously "exposing the dark underbelly of Davis" politics. —BrianKenyon