Sutter revisited

The new year won’t start off so new for the Davis City Council, whose first meeting of 2006 will revisit an issue it rejected twice before.

In 2004 and 1998, the council voted 3-2 against the possibility of renaming Sutter Place, a street in the northwestern part of town named after the settler Johann Sutter. American Indians long have been upset that the public street was named after a man whom they consider a rapist and enslaver of their ancestors.

Councilman Don Saylor, who voted against it in 2004, said the main concern was how businesses would be affected, particularly Sutter Davis Hospital. “In the past, these resolutions have been a win-lose discussion,” said Saylor, noting that it is important for people to be able to find the hospital if they need to.

Mel Trujillo, an administrative-law judge who says he is a quarter Apache, talked to Saylor recently and realized that it was possible to rename just the public street and not the part the hospital sits on. “The mail would be delivered there [with] no problem with changing stationery. We didn’t want problems for the hospital,” Trujillo said.

The proposal would honor American Indian elder David Risling, who passed away in March, for his contributions to higher education for American Indians. Risling co-founded D-Q University on the rural outskirts of Davis. The council will vote January 10 on renaming the street David Risling Way.

What else is new?

Members of the U.S. Congress were shocked—shocked—last week to learn that George W. Bush authorized secret, warrant-less wiretaps and e-mail eavesdropping inside the United States as part of the war on terror. This was followed by evidence that the FBI is monitoring the activities of domestic political organizations it considers to be security threats.

But to local anti-war activists, the notion that the U.S. government is spying on its citizens is hardly a revelation.

A week ago, MSNBC released excerpts from Department of Defense documents that showed the Pentagon is keeping tabs on anti-war groups around the country. Among those were local protesters who have picketed the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) over the past year. (See “Hell no, they won’t go,” SN&R News, June 30.) The document lists the nonviolent protests at MEPS as a “credible threat.”

George Main, an organizer with the local chapter of Veterans for Peace, said he was “not surprised” his group made the list. He said the group long has been aware of “people who come to our meetings that don’t quite belong,” and he believes his home phone has been tapped for more than a year.

“They shouldn’t be doing it. But we’re not doing anything wrong or illegal. I guess the fact that they are doing it means that we’re doing something right,” said Main.

Mistress of spin moving on

The political party of old white men is losing its young, female, California-blond public face. Karen Hanretty, spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, has declined to renew her contract, which expires at the end of the year.

Hanretty, who was profiled by SN&R earlier this year (”Wolf in chic clothing,” SN&R News, March 10), is the news-spinning, dirt-digging, quote-making media maven who appears on television news shows, on radio programs and in print political stories, toeing the party line. Previously, she was campaign spokeswoman for Arnold Schwarzenegger during the 2003 recall campaign.

Hanretty said she is leaving her job now because she feels it is best for her career.

She leaves at a time of tumult among California Republicans. Earlier this month, when Schwarzenegger named a Democrat as his new chief of staff, the rift between his office, his party and an ultraconservative sect of voters called the California Republican Assembly grew wider.

Bob Mulholland, spokesman for the California Democratic Party, said Hanretty’s getting out while the getting’s good.

“She smells the smoke coming out of the second-story window, so she’s getting out before the whole house goes up,” Mulholland said. “It’s symbolic of the unraveling of the California Republican Party.”

Hanretty said she has no specific plans for 2006. However, she said she may help with the party’s state convention, which takes place in February.