April 16, 2011
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The theme for Picnic Day April 16, 2011 was "REWIND," a call to return to the spirit of the first Picnic Day in 1909 in light of the threat to the future of the event. The 97th annual Picnic Day was scheduled to have 200+ events.

From the organizers beforehand: Due to problems on recent Picnic Days, attendees are asked to make the Picnic Day Pledge:

In a manner reflective of Aggie Pride, I pledge to conduct myself responsibly at Picnic Day 2011, so that other students, faculty, staff, community members and guests might enjoy the day. Through my safe and healthy decisions, I hope to preserve the event for future generations of Davis students and the community to experience.

You can "sign" the pledge at the very bottom of this page.

Questions about changes to fire code

For a city that supposedly "loves the celebration" of the event, they seem to be doing everything they can to stop it from happening at all. As of 04/05/2011, the city of Davis sent the Fire Marshall out to every establishment that serves alcohol (and only the establishments that serve alcohol, mind you) in the city of Davis and reduced the capacity by up to half. Places that have formerly had 88 person capacity (including staff) now have 60 such as Froggy's. Little Prague Bar which has had an indoor capacity (according to the Fire Marshall) but which reduced it themselves to 134 not counting the 165 person capacity on the patio, now has a 78 person capacity according to the city. Others were hit much worse.

So the message it sends, in my mind anyway, is that the city is trying to shut the event down. How do I get to this conclusion?

If the people cannot find room in the bars to drink, they will drink at homes and also much more in the streets. This potentially will lead to diminished sales in the downtown area which gives them the financial excuse to shut down (not financially viable) and the potential for increased crime in the city streets due to anger caused by lack of access to drinking establishments and people drinking more heavily in uncontrolled environs (Higher crime rate also makes Picnic Day nonviable). Either way, it appears as if the city is doing everything in it's power to ensure that there is no Picnic day next year and hurt the pockets of those who work in the industry this year as punishment for years previous.

It is absolutely ridiculous, not to mention extremely hypocritical of the city to be taking these measures at this point in time. —Wes-P

Permanent reduction, or reduction in capacity for just that one day? —JasonAller

  • they have declared it to be a permanent reduction, only at bars and eateries which serve alcohol. Even Woodstock's was hit. The problem is that it goes against the cities own occupation limits restrictions. There is talk amongst some of the bar and restaurant owners at this time of a class action discrimination suit against the city at this time. — WP
    • Do you know where the City defines their occupation limit restrictions? I just noticed that they outsourced their code handling to —JasonAller
      • Agreed that this doesn't seem like a talk page issue. Just put it on the Picnic Day 2011 page so that people can discuss it. My two cents: I don't think they are trying to shut down Picnic Day, just control it. They may be wrong about the best way to do that, however. (Or they may be right — I really don't know). —CovertProfessor

Research and Reference - here's the folks that define fire code. i don't know the exact formula that determines occupancy but i know its based on square footage, # of exits, tables, and other obstructions. A common formula is to take the square footage of a room subtracting 'private' areas such as behind the bar and divide by 36. That # is standing room only. tables and chairs lower the number further. So far as i know, alcohol sales alone doesn't affect the formula but im no fire inspector. Email the state fire marshal herself. i'd bet you'd get a response.

  • That's just it, every single bar and eatery which servers alcohol, has already been given the maximum occupancy according to these standards... Now, the city decides these establishments, without an alteration in the standard, need to reduce each of their occupancies. Woodstocks, Froggy's, The Graduate, Little Prague Bar, Little Prague Restaurant, Sophia's, all of them save for Planefield station have been hit with this.
    • I'd bet it's a tactic by the city stretching the outer limits of fire code law to put the screws to downtown businesses. Is it legal? Probably. Is it shady? Hell yes. Is it grounds for a legal challenge? It sounds like it.
      • Whether or not it's legal, they may just be putting the clamp down for Picnic Day. Any legal challenge will take some time (ex parte injuncion! omg!) and then trying to moot the issue by rolling it back after the fact. It's expensive to litigate, and probably of limited worth. I'll be interested to hear what happens with this down the line. —TomGarberson
        • Although, if it is illegal, there is a directly monetary loss due to the town's choice to interfere with the legal operation of a business on a key profitable day with no cause for safety (as you can point at the state laws that state the higher occupancy is safe). That's if it is illegal, which I have no idea. Wild guess and my poorly based assumption is that it would probably result in something like triple the loss of profit, which — after subtracting legal costs — may not make it worth pursuing. -jw

Picnic Day 2011 Tragedy

DHS and UCD graduate Scott Heinig died after a punch to the face ruptured an artery in his neck at a post-Picnic Day house party. The coroner ruled the death a homicide, but no charges were filed because Heinig had asked his friend to punch him. Read more from the Enterprise and KCRA.

Law Enforcement

Picnic Day Weekend saw a great deal of law enforcement in town. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control ("ABC") had officers on hand who issued 98 citations for open containers, minors in possession of alcohol, and similar offenses. Davis police and other agencies who were helping out for the weekend made 54 arrests and wrote 221 citations, mostly alcohol-related. UC Davis police made 10 arrests and issued 62 citations. All told, the different groups received over 1,200 calls for service and had more than 100 officers on duty. More information can be found in a May 2 Sacramento Bee article.

Experiences of Picnic Day

What disturbed me about Picnic Day were the undercover cops driving around like thugs. We were walking along third street when a tan, unsuspecting SUV turned on lights and a siren and stopped at a street corner (D or E street, I think). We thought maybe it was some idiots with illegal lights. Three guys hop out of the car, yelling at some guys on the street corner to "cut it out or you're going downtown." Looking closely, these guys were dressed in street clothes but each of them had a badge hanging from their necks on some sort of necklace. They looked like hired thugs and behaved that way too. Is this really necessary, guys? —AndrewLeonard

  • If they really were acting like thugs, they probably would have gotten some police brutality in or dragged the guy downtown instead of yelling at the group to cut it out (probably peeing or shoving each other). —hankim
  • Actually, these were a few of the ABC officers out that day. They do handle themselves a bit differently than the local PD. — Wes-P
  • The Vanguard offered some interesting thoughts on the police presence during PD. —CovertProfessor
  • They were ABC officers, it was quite funny on how they dressed because they were trying to "blend into the crowd", but if you were sober you could spot them from a block away. -ND

As with past Picnic Days, driving anywhere near campus or downtown was a snarled traffic mess that was best avoided. But even outside of that circle, the telltale red cups and people hanging out on their front lawns could be seen. All of those parties that I saw, however, were of a reasonable size and seemed under control. It was also interesting to see the aftermath of Picnic Day — overflowing garbage cans and trash everywhere. And many people stayed in Davis through at least part of Sunday, making Sunday downtown a bit more lively than usual. —CovertProfessor

Walking from my house to downtown at 11:30pm, I noticed probably 20+ smashed beer bottles on the ground and countless puddles of puke. The whole bar "scene" was so ugly....then I heard about someone I knew and liked dying (RIP Scott)...pretty lame... —JoshLawson