There are eight candidates thus far for the Davis City Council and more could soon emerge. So far we have: Mary Jo Bryan, Dan Carson, Linda Deos, Eric Gudz, Larry Guenther, Gloria Partida, Luis Rios, and Mark West.
It has been awhile since we have had a field this large. In 2004, there were eight candidates for three seats (this time there are only two seats). At that time, Sue Greenwald finished first and Don Saylor and Stephen Souza very narrowly edged out Mike Harrington (an incumbent), and Stan Forbes after a last minute surprise stirred the pot. Donna Lott finished sixth, and then Lamar Heystek finished seventh. Two years later, Lamar Heystek would be elected to the city council.
There were also eight candidates in March of 2000. Susie Boyd, Mike Harrington, and Sue Greenwald were elected in that race. Finishing fourth was Tansey Thomas, who, I note with sadness, passed away last week.
For some time I have been expecting a big field of candidates to emerge. What is a bit different this time around is that, while 2000 and 2004 (and before that 1996) were all three-seat races, this is only a two-seat race. However, neither Robb Davis nor Rochelle Swanson will seek re-election, opening up those seats.
Here is my patently unfair and early analysis. I’m not going to horse race it at this point, but I am going to make sweeping generalizations.
First of all, I like this field – I think it is very strong in a lot of ways. They are an indication that the political lines that divided this community for years are really gone. There are
candidates in this field who will support development, but there are no candidates that would be characterized as developer candidates.
There are candidates that I would call new progressives, but there is no one here that would be characterized as no growthers. There are candidates here that have a narrow focus, but there are no candidates that I would characterize as being part of the political machines that for years governed this community and none that I would consider beholden to the special interests.
Whoever gets elected I would expect to do a good job and to serve the needs of the community as they see it.
In the past I have talked about the emergence of the new progressive wing in Davis. Since last November, we have seen the rise in this new progressive movement and groups like the Yolo Progressives, the Berniecrats, Indivisible Yolo, along with the Phoenix Coalition and some of the groups that have emerged with the policing issue.
Unlike the 1970s progressive movement, this is not environmentally based, and it’s not land use based. Instead, it’s based around social justice and resistance to the Trump agenda.
The previous progressive movement was not originally associated with no-growth policies, but has become associated with them. The coup de grâce was Measure J which passed in 2000 after a period of fairly rapid growth in the 1980s and 1990s, which brought about a resurgence in progressive politics in Davis.
To unfairly pigeon-hole the candidates, I would see Gloria Partida, Linda Deos and Eric Gudz as being part of this movement, with a heavy focus on social justice which extends to issues like affordable housing and the like.
There is also a solid contingent of fiscally-conscious candidates – Dan Carson on the Finance and Budget Commission and Mark West are clearly going to push for fiscal responsibility.
While Mary Jo Bryan has a long record of community service in Davis, her candidacy along with that of Larry Guenther may start out as more narrowly focused, addressing the fallout of specific developments.
And Luis Rios is a newcomer in this group – it will be interesting to see where he fits into the picture.
I am expecting with this dynamic field there to be some very interesting discussions, as this council will once again mark a critical crossroads in the future of Davis. The issues of the Core Area Plan, homelessness, the downtown, housing – student and affordable among others, economic development, social justice including the police, and fiscal responsibility appear to be on the forefront of what figures to be a far more interesting race than the one two years ago.
—David M. Greenwald reporting
Come see the Vanguard Event – “In Search of Gideon” – which highlights some of the key work performed by the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office…