I know many in Davis live for the city council elections–and I agree that those are extremely important. But the school board elections and parcel tax elections are of the utmost importance as well. At times on this blog, we have spent as much time discussing school board issues as we have City Council issues. To the point that there has been a running joke between the two as to which one can stay off the Vanguard. Then acting police chief Steve Pierce was going to send Interim Superintendent Richard Whitmore a fruitcake for helping to keep the police off the Vanguard and focus the attention on the school district (I’m not making that up).
My point here is that school issues at times have dominated the scene in Davis over the first year and a quarter of the Vanguard’s existence.
For those with little interest in the school board, we can skip ahead a bit. I noticed that the Final EIR has come down on the Hunt-Boyer Mansion Tank House restoration and relocation project. The city staff is going to recommend the pursuit of Alternative 3–disassembling, reassembling, and then rehabilitating the Tank House while at the same time constructing a new two-story building between the Mansion and the Varsity Theatre.
Guinness will then be called in to assess whether this new building qualifies as the thinnest building in the world. I jest, but that is not a large space between the two.
This issue will be the on the city council agenda at the end of the month. It figures to be a long and heated discussion on the historic nature of the tank house and the site versus the potential for commercial usage there.
However, tonight, the issue is on children and who is best to lead our school district for the next four years in helping to determine policy direction. Honestly, we all have our favorites perhaps. But I am far from certain that we can go wrong no matter who is elected. I have covered numerous events and all the candidates seemed committed to improving the educational prospects of Davis students. That’s not to say we agree with everything everyone is proposing, it is only to say there is not a single candidate who lacks the commitment to this school district.
Perhaps as important, we have two ballot measures that would fund a good percentage of our school’s budget (Measure Q) and help maintain the library (Measure P).
One point of interest, a lot has been made of Richard Harris and the amount of money he has raised–I’m kind of wondering exactly what he spent it on. There were no ads that we saw in Sunday’s Davis Enterprise. We got a mailer or two but certainly nothing massive. So far all the fuss about influence peddling, I just do not see it.
Valley Oak Charter will go forward with more than enough signatures to qualify it for consideration As I said last week, I think the Best Uses of Schools Task Force missed the boat here, focused too early on closing a school and not hard enough on alternatives to closing a school. Now the district will likely have to go back to the drawing board. Did the task force really serve the school district well?
Finally, a hearty farewell to Interim Superintendent Richard Whitmore. Did I agree with everything he did? No. But he was thrust into a difficult situation, his first meeting as Interim Superintendent was when they voted to close Valley Oak. He faced tough challenges in his brief time here. But he was always available to me to answer questions and he was a person who understood the importance of high tech and tried to get many others (at times unsuccessfully) to read the Vanguard as a means to better understand the community. So we will certainly miss him and wish him well on his future endeavors while at the same time looking forward to the new leadership under James Hammond.
So there is much to do and think about in the coming days, but once again today is about the children and who we believe is best to lead them into the future. Stay tuned this evening for live blogging election coverage. We’ll have roaming bands of reporters from around the town and I will be blogging live at the Yolo County Election Office.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting