Commentary: Analyzing the Davis Enterprise’s Choice

Last Friday the Vanguard reported that the Davis Enterprise would be endorsing Don Saylor, Stephen Souza, and Sydney Vergis for the Davis City Council. What we did not know of course was what the Enterprise would use as their rationale for their endorsement.

The surprising aspect of reading their editorial was on the one hand how subjective the criteria was–in most ways it comes down to ideology. On the other hand, it seemed almost pro forma–bearing little resemblance to reality. There also surprisingly little detail or context provided by the editorial, it is written more like a campaign brochure than any type of informative insight.

The editorial for example, argues:

“Davis will need council members who drive hard bargains with the city’s labor unions, make fiscally sound decisions to live within our means”

Of course a large number of people based just on what we know from yesterday question both of those statements. The council majority has not driven hard bargains with the city’s labor unions, they have pretty much given them what they have asked for. Fiscally sound decisions are few and far between. We are running up a structural deficit that will require a series of tax measures in order to balance the books. No explanation is offered for these sweeping statements. No context, no details, just blanket assertions.

“stand firm against housing sprawl while allowing enough growth to bring young families back to Davis”

It is ironic that the Enterprise argues that these candidates have stood firm against housing sprawl. Don Saylor and Stephen Souza were leading advocates for Covell Village, a measure rejected by the voters by a 60-40 measure. Sydney Vergis is an avowed proponent of Covell Village.

The Enterprise then shifts to blurbs about each of the candidates. Somewhere along the way, Don Saylor has become the voice of reason and civility. His work at the California Youth Authority respected.

It is interesting that they cite forging compromises and comes to consensus with his colleagues. The first two years on the council he had a 4-1 majority, and the next two years, he had a 3-2 majority. His voting record is consistently the most pro-growth of the five on the council. When he sat on the school board, he was notorious for be the one vote in a 4-1 decision. On the council, he has always had a majority to support him. The last council was marked by at times better contentiousness of the core issues and a series of 4-1 votes.

They do not mention his record on the issues particularly his support for Covell Village. He has worked hard in the last two years to re-work his image and the Davis Enterprise endorsement reads like a self-written bio.

“Stephen Souza has been a breath of fresh air during his four years on the Davis City Council. He’s direct, honest and forthright about his positions. He doesn’t offer fancy answers or slick cliches…

Supporters describe Souza as articulate and thoughtful, dedicating to serving the needs of the community at large over special interests, humorous, patient, respectful, practical, intelligent, consistent, trustworthy and tenacious.”

Does Debbie Davis or the Enterprise editorial boards watch the city council meetings?

My favorite Stephen Souza moment was when he angrily yelled from the dais that they were the deciders.

As I said last Friday, realistically you could make a non-ideological argument to endorse the incumbents again. But adding Sydney Vergis to the mix is difficult to defend other than on partisan terms.

The Enterprise cite “her professional background as a land-use planner,” but let’s talk about that for a moment.

Sydney Vergis was hired to a senior level position with the Sutter County planning office. However, she was hired back in October 2007. Her professional background as a land-use planner? It was March 25, 2008, that’s right just over a month ago that Sydney Vergis made her first professional presentation to the Sutter County Board of Supervisors.

The most interesting aspect is that both of Don Saylor and Stephen Souza’s endorsement statements focused less on substance and more on personalistic attributes. We can agree or disagree with those attributes, but we ought to also look to the record.

As I stated above, both of these candidates supported Covell Village. The editorial mentions nothing about that.

Both Stephen Souza and Don Saylor supported Target coming to Davis. That was a hotly contested issue and it won narrowly.

Both Stephen Souza and Don Saylor support the 1% growth guideline.

Both Stephen Souza and Don Saylor have voted to implement fiscal policies like the raises to the firefighters that threaten to push our city budget to the brink. The difference between the city of Vallejo and Davis will likely be the willingness of the taxpayers to bail out the fiscal mistakes of the city council much as they will bail out the fiscal mistakes of the school district from past years.

The Davis Enterprise argues that they can make the tough choices with regards to the unions–if they are referring to the firefighters union, they have not so far. Not even close. Their toughest choice is deciding which tax to implement first.

On top of that the city is looking to simultaneously upgrade our wastewater treatment facility and develop a water supply project. Those are both eventually necessary endeavors, but doing them simultaneously will result in probably at minimum at $500 million project that will be transferred to the rate payers.

These are all very important issues–issues that this community is divided on in terms of how best to approach. The Davis Enterprise has chosen to back the pro-growth candidates who are being heavily backed by special interests that are seeking to profit at the expense of the tax payers of the city of Davis. It will be up to the voters four weeks from tomorrow as to whether or not they will support such policies.

The Vanguard will continue its in depth coverage of this city council election.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

80 Comments

  1. wdf

    Just curious. What is the history of the Davis electorate voting against the endorsement of the Enterprise in local elections?

    I know immediately that Lamar won over the Enterprise’s endorsement. Maybe Partansky, too?

  2. wdf

    Just curious. What is the history of the Davis electorate voting against the endorsement of the Enterprise in local elections?

    I know immediately that Lamar won over the Enterprise’s endorsement. Maybe Partansky, too?

  3. wdf

    Just curious. What is the history of the Davis electorate voting against the endorsement of the Enterprise in local elections?

    I know immediately that Lamar won over the Enterprise’s endorsement. Maybe Partansky, too?

  4. wdf

    Just curious. What is the history of the Davis electorate voting against the endorsement of the Enterprise in local elections?

    I know immediately that Lamar won over the Enterprise’s endorsement. Maybe Partansky, too?

  5. Anonymous

    Your analysis of Saylor, Souza, and Sydney (S3) appears in graphic form in yesterday’s sacbee (four questions on growth/land-use policy). This election is all about Measure J & Covell development, no matter how the local media portrays the issues.

  6. Anonymous

    Your analysis of Saylor, Souza, and Sydney (S3) appears in graphic form in yesterday’s sacbee (four questions on growth/land-use policy). This election is all about Measure J & Covell development, no matter how the local media portrays the issues.

  7. Anonymous

    Your analysis of Saylor, Souza, and Sydney (S3) appears in graphic form in yesterday’s sacbee (four questions on growth/land-use policy). This election is all about Measure J & Covell development, no matter how the local media portrays the issues.

  8. Anonymous

    Your analysis of Saylor, Souza, and Sydney (S3) appears in graphic form in yesterday’s sacbee (four questions on growth/land-use policy). This election is all about Measure J & Covell development, no matter how the local media portrays the issues.

  9. campaign watcher

    Did Debbie Davis really write the editorial? Or was it produced by one of the campaigns?

    I can understand her supporting these three. Did anyone really expect anything else? However, the reasons given for supporting the three are more PR than good analysis about what is good for the community.

    She could have just said that the paper supports the three because they are more like the people she socializes with and leave it at that. I find that this is often how people vote in Davis, so it wouldn’t be out of line.

  10. campaign watcher

    Did Debbie Davis really write the editorial? Or was it produced by one of the campaigns?

    I can understand her supporting these three. Did anyone really expect anything else? However, the reasons given for supporting the three are more PR than good analysis about what is good for the community.

    She could have just said that the paper supports the three because they are more like the people she socializes with and leave it at that. I find that this is often how people vote in Davis, so it wouldn’t be out of line.

  11. campaign watcher

    Did Debbie Davis really write the editorial? Or was it produced by one of the campaigns?

    I can understand her supporting these three. Did anyone really expect anything else? However, the reasons given for supporting the three are more PR than good analysis about what is good for the community.

    She could have just said that the paper supports the three because they are more like the people she socializes with and leave it at that. I find that this is often how people vote in Davis, so it wouldn’t be out of line.

  12. campaign watcher

    Did Debbie Davis really write the editorial? Or was it produced by one of the campaigns?

    I can understand her supporting these three. Did anyone really expect anything else? However, the reasons given for supporting the three are more PR than good analysis about what is good for the community.

    She could have just said that the paper supports the three because they are more like the people she socializes with and leave it at that. I find that this is often how people vote in Davis, so it wouldn’t be out of line.

  13. Anonymous

    The key to understanding the Enterprise is that their daily humor column is actually an editorial column thinly disguised as humor, and their editorials are actually humor columns, less adroitly disguised.

  14. Anonymous

    The key to understanding the Enterprise is that their daily humor column is actually an editorial column thinly disguised as humor, and their editorials are actually humor columns, less adroitly disguised.

  15. Anonymous

    The key to understanding the Enterprise is that their daily humor column is actually an editorial column thinly disguised as humor, and their editorials are actually humor columns, less adroitly disguised.

  16. Anonymous

    The key to understanding the Enterprise is that their daily humor column is actually an editorial column thinly disguised as humor, and their editorials are actually humor columns, less adroitly disguised.

  17. Davisite

    There is “method” behind the apparent profligate fiscal “madness” of Saylor, Souza, Asmundson,e.g.build the wastewater and surface water projects simulatneously and offer unsustainable wage and benefit packages to selected city employee groups that can be called upon to further their future political ambitions. The “method”?… run the city’s budget so far in the red that only a serious tax increase to the current Davis residents or massive expansion of the tax base(read large peripheral developments)will address the deficits.

  18. Davisite

    There is “method” behind the apparent profligate fiscal “madness” of Saylor, Souza, Asmundson,e.g.build the wastewater and surface water projects simulatneously and offer unsustainable wage and benefit packages to selected city employee groups that can be called upon to further their future political ambitions. The “method”?… run the city’s budget so far in the red that only a serious tax increase to the current Davis residents or massive expansion of the tax base(read large peripheral developments)will address the deficits.

  19. Davisite

    There is “method” behind the apparent profligate fiscal “madness” of Saylor, Souza, Asmundson,e.g.build the wastewater and surface water projects simulatneously and offer unsustainable wage and benefit packages to selected city employee groups that can be called upon to further their future political ambitions. The “method”?… run the city’s budget so far in the red that only a serious tax increase to the current Davis residents or massive expansion of the tax base(read large peripheral developments)will address the deficits.

  20. Davisite

    There is “method” behind the apparent profligate fiscal “madness” of Saylor, Souza, Asmundson,e.g.build the wastewater and surface water projects simulatneously and offer unsustainable wage and benefit packages to selected city employee groups that can be called upon to further their future political ambitions. The “method”?… run the city’s budget so far in the red that only a serious tax increase to the current Davis residents or massive expansion of the tax base(read large peripheral developments)will address the deficits.

  21. wdf

    Richard said…

    “no one reads the editorial pages of newspapers anymore”

    I do. And obviously DPD does. I’ve written letters to the editor before and heard a few comments from friends and neighbors who told me they read it. I don’t know what that means, but it still seems relevant from my small perspective.

  22. wdf

    Richard said…

    “no one reads the editorial pages of newspapers anymore”

    I do. And obviously DPD does. I’ve written letters to the editor before and heard a few comments from friends and neighbors who told me they read it. I don’t know what that means, but it still seems relevant from my small perspective.

  23. wdf

    Richard said…

    “no one reads the editorial pages of newspapers anymore”

    I do. And obviously DPD does. I’ve written letters to the editor before and heard a few comments from friends and neighbors who told me they read it. I don’t know what that means, but it still seems relevant from my small perspective.

  24. wdf

    Richard said…

    “no one reads the editorial pages of newspapers anymore”

    I do. And obviously DPD does. I’ve written letters to the editor before and heard a few comments from friends and neighbors who told me they read it. I don’t know what that means, but it still seems relevant from my small perspective.

  25. Anonymous

    “l am getting worried about the outcome of the election….anyone else?”

    What have you personally done to change the possible outcome?

  26. Anonymous

    “l am getting worried about the outcome of the election….anyone else?”

    What have you personally done to change the possible outcome?

  27. Anonymous

    “l am getting worried about the outcome of the election….anyone else?”

    What have you personally done to change the possible outcome?

  28. Anonymous

    “l am getting worried about the outcome of the election….anyone else?”

    What have you personally done to change the possible outcome?

  29. Anonymous

    I am very worried about the outcome of this election if Saylor, Souza or Sydney win. They want to change Davis into a type of Walnut Creek. I have seen Saylor ride his lame four wheel bike around downtown with an arrogant smirk on his face, like he knows what is coming. Saylor and Souza need to be stopped.
    They are running for city council for their egos and nothing else. They care for nothing of this town and what it has to offer.

  30. Anonymous

    I am very worried about the outcome of this election if Saylor, Souza or Sydney win. They want to change Davis into a type of Walnut Creek. I have seen Saylor ride his lame four wheel bike around downtown with an arrogant smirk on his face, like he knows what is coming. Saylor and Souza need to be stopped.
    They are running for city council for their egos and nothing else. They care for nothing of this town and what it has to offer.

  31. Anonymous

    I am very worried about the outcome of this election if Saylor, Souza or Sydney win. They want to change Davis into a type of Walnut Creek. I have seen Saylor ride his lame four wheel bike around downtown with an arrogant smirk on his face, like he knows what is coming. Saylor and Souza need to be stopped.
    They are running for city council for their egos and nothing else. They care for nothing of this town and what it has to offer.

  32. Anonymous

    I am very worried about the outcome of this election if Saylor, Souza or Sydney win. They want to change Davis into a type of Walnut Creek. I have seen Saylor ride his lame four wheel bike around downtown with an arrogant smirk on his face, like he knows what is coming. Saylor and Souza need to be stopped.
    They are running for city council for their egos and nothing else. They care for nothing of this town and what it has to offer.

  33. Diogenes

    DPD said: “The Davis Enterprise has chosen to back the pro-growth candidates who are being heavily backed by special interests that are seeking to profit at the expense of the tax payers of the city of Davis.”

    Can you please clarify and support your statement regarding special interests for Saylor, Souza and Vergis? Also, how are these special interests profiting at the “expense” of the Davis taxpayers?

  34. Diogenes

    DPD said: “The Davis Enterprise has chosen to back the pro-growth candidates who are being heavily backed by special interests that are seeking to profit at the expense of the tax payers of the city of Davis.”

    Can you please clarify and support your statement regarding special interests for Saylor, Souza and Vergis? Also, how are these special interests profiting at the “expense” of the Davis taxpayers?

  35. Diogenes

    DPD said: “The Davis Enterprise has chosen to back the pro-growth candidates who are being heavily backed by special interests that are seeking to profit at the expense of the tax payers of the city of Davis.”

    Can you please clarify and support your statement regarding special interests for Saylor, Souza and Vergis? Also, how are these special interests profiting at the “expense” of the Davis taxpayers?

  36. Diogenes

    DPD said: “The Davis Enterprise has chosen to back the pro-growth candidates who are being heavily backed by special interests that are seeking to profit at the expense of the tax payers of the city of Davis.”

    Can you please clarify and support your statement regarding special interests for Saylor, Souza and Vergis? Also, how are these special interests profiting at the “expense” of the Davis taxpayers?

  37. Don Gibson

    “They want to change Davis into a type of Walnut Creek.”-anonymous 5:31

    Anonymous, what issues do you have with Walnut Creek. It is my hometown and they have a large diversity of economic status while maintaining a strong downtown. It is not a bike friendly town but they do focus on other forms of mass transit such as BART and bus. They have a strong downtown which helps finance a great public education system while having people live in dense housing downtown. It think Walnut Creek like downtown, that would be more bike friendly, would be a great city to model.

  38. Don Gibson

    “They want to change Davis into a type of Walnut Creek.”-anonymous 5:31

    Anonymous, what issues do you have with Walnut Creek. It is my hometown and they have a large diversity of economic status while maintaining a strong downtown. It is not a bike friendly town but they do focus on other forms of mass transit such as BART and bus. They have a strong downtown which helps finance a great public education system while having people live in dense housing downtown. It think Walnut Creek like downtown, that would be more bike friendly, would be a great city to model.

  39. Don Gibson

    “They want to change Davis into a type of Walnut Creek.”-anonymous 5:31

    Anonymous, what issues do you have with Walnut Creek. It is my hometown and they have a large diversity of economic status while maintaining a strong downtown. It is not a bike friendly town but they do focus on other forms of mass transit such as BART and bus. They have a strong downtown which helps finance a great public education system while having people live in dense housing downtown. It think Walnut Creek like downtown, that would be more bike friendly, would be a great city to model.

  40. Don Gibson

    “They want to change Davis into a type of Walnut Creek.”-anonymous 5:31

    Anonymous, what issues do you have with Walnut Creek. It is my hometown and they have a large diversity of economic status while maintaining a strong downtown. It is not a bike friendly town but they do focus on other forms of mass transit such as BART and bus. They have a strong downtown which helps finance a great public education system while having people live in dense housing downtown. It think Walnut Creek like downtown, that would be more bike friendly, would be a great city to model.

  41. Anonymous

    So I’m trying to figure out what you’re saying here amidst all the sloganeering (pro-growth!) and tar and feathering. If the other three had been endorsed would that have been the anti-growth ticket? What would that have said about the future of Davis and its place in the region? How realistic and consequently how honorable would that position be?

  42. Anonymous

    So I’m trying to figure out what you’re saying here amidst all the sloganeering (pro-growth!) and tar and feathering. If the other three had been endorsed would that have been the anti-growth ticket? What would that have said about the future of Davis and its place in the region? How realistic and consequently how honorable would that position be?

  43. Anonymous

    So I’m trying to figure out what you’re saying here amidst all the sloganeering (pro-growth!) and tar and feathering. If the other three had been endorsed would that have been the anti-growth ticket? What would that have said about the future of Davis and its place in the region? How realistic and consequently how honorable would that position be?

  44. Anonymous

    So I’m trying to figure out what you’re saying here amidst all the sloganeering (pro-growth!) and tar and feathering. If the other three had been endorsed would that have been the anti-growth ticket? What would that have said about the future of Davis and its place in the region? How realistic and consequently how honorable would that position be?

  45. Anonymous

    Hey Mike,
    You may be unaware but Doug Paul Davis is married to candidate Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald. Ms. Greenwald is a union rep for seiu.
    The vanguard won’t fight unions, it will support them no matter how ridiculous their requests become.
    Fortunately the vanguard represents an extremely small group of people that will not affect much of anything in Davis.

  46. Anonymous

    Hey Mike,
    You may be unaware but Doug Paul Davis is married to candidate Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald. Ms. Greenwald is a union rep for seiu.
    The vanguard won’t fight unions, it will support them no matter how ridiculous their requests become.
    Fortunately the vanguard represents an extremely small group of people that will not affect much of anything in Davis.

  47. Anonymous

    Hey Mike,
    You may be unaware but Doug Paul Davis is married to candidate Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald. Ms. Greenwald is a union rep for seiu.
    The vanguard won’t fight unions, it will support them no matter how ridiculous their requests become.
    Fortunately the vanguard represents an extremely small group of people that will not affect much of anything in Davis.

  48. Anonymous

    Hey Mike,
    You may be unaware but Doug Paul Davis is married to candidate Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald. Ms. Greenwald is a union rep for seiu.
    The vanguard won’t fight unions, it will support them no matter how ridiculous their requests become.
    Fortunately the vanguard represents an extremely small group of people that will not affect much of anything in Davis.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for