Rounders change everything

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I can tell you about living across nine states — in cities from San Francisco to New York City — but not about living in Davis. Charley has warned me about doing so on multiple occasions. “Anything but Davis!” he’d tell me. Only half-jokingly he advised me to stick with Oklahoma.

I’ve asked Charley to take the week off so I can freely admit here that I used to be a Rounder. A “Rounder” is any tourist that come through Winters, including (perhaps especially) Davis. They come to town primarily via the roundabout, hence the name. I think Rounders are probably the reason the roundabout exists in the first place.

Rounders seem the reason more and more things exist in Winters these days.

Thanks to the manmade splendor of Lakes Berryessa and Solano, we have long had recreational tourism come through town. Our drinks and fare — let alone our nuts, honey and other farm-produced crops — are increasingly renowned among discerning beer nerds, wine geeks and foodies. We have recently added daily visitors to Pacific Gas & Electric’s safety academy. And, in part because of all of this, there are two hotels in construction that will together welcome 144 rooms worth of guests every night of the year.

Soon, there may be Rounders everywhere.

Look around at a popular Winters venue on a Saturday and you will probably spot some Rounders, though they’re just like you and me, and can be hard to find in some places like the grocery store. I’ve found they are easiest to spot in their natural habitat inside the roundabout going either 5 mph or 50 mph.

(Note that if the car is going 50 mph but also curbs the roundabout, they are probably from Winters. See this week’s editorial cartoon from the talented local illustrator, Dan Williams.)

In another small town in which I’ve lived, we had “fudgies” — tourists who stereotypically indulged in the area’s eponymous dessert when visiting. Here in Winters, the roundabout seems the perfect heel, a role at which it has already proven itself most adept. The term Rounders is a cute way to welcome these visitors, but also a somewhat keep them at arm’s length.

If you ask me, our city officials here often do not get enough credit for their initiative and dedication. So by all means, let’s pile it on! Did you see that back in October, the city put up a Facebook post that purported to prove a “Winters Test” that you could in fact fit two Ford F-150s side-by-side in the roundabout? You know, should you ever feel the need to break the law. Hilarious!

Another “Winters Test” might be to ask “who benefits?” To wit, can Rounders and locals fit side-by-side?

Take for example the popular but recently-cancelled “Fourth Friday” event. From a Rounder’s perspective, it’s a great night on the town. And it’s a shame that it got reworked into a quarterly rather than monthly event. But from the perspective of a local business person or the host city, it might be seen as a logistically complex time-suck that, while a fun way for people to eat downtown, actually prevented some locals from shopping there. Losing the monthly routine may in fact allow it to be bigger, better and more focused.

The distinction between Rounder and local has been useful in my conversations about this city, and it may be useful in your conversations with the city. But don’t look too deeply beyond humor for meaning.

“We come from across the bridge,” remarked one subscriber, who enjoyed the gag. Her daughter worried: “Wait, does that mean we’re ‘Bridgers?’”

The question of who benefits, however, is a good one for local officials, should they ever get confused as to who they work for. When something is proposed or changed, you can now ask them: is that change designed to enhance life for residents, Rounders or both?

Or as we say in Rotary, “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

Let’s check the paper for a quick test…

Starbucks U-Turn? Still a Not-U turn, unfortunately.

“Currently, only westbound travelers can access the drive-through,” reports our Julia Millon.

Who could have guessed Winters residents would also want to turn into the drive-in, rather than turning into a gas station and circumnavigating through pumps, anything-goes parking and construction?

Parking problem? What parking problem! (Ask about how far you’ll have to walk, what the sidewalks look like, or what the lightning conditions are and you’ll find yourself with the Fourth Friday treatment.)

General Plan expiring? You mean we’re supposed to plan for tourism?!

See, not so easy now, is it!

It’s true that I worry a bit what Rounders have to think about Winters. I worry more about what Winters has to think about Rounders. And I worry most of all that at times we’re not thinking of the distinction at all.

Help me launch this neologism and perhaps we’ll never have to ask officials to take the Winters Test. And at the very least, I’ll never again have to say I lived in Davis.

Anything but Davis!







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