Sac Bee Gets Into the Act; Sticks Its Nose into Davis Internal Matters

saylor_webThe Sacramento Bee yesterday ran a story under the headline, “Davis Councilman Won’t Budge, May Force Costly Special Election.”  In it, the Sacramento Bee firmly sticks its nose into an internal Davis political dispute as Don Saylor who ran unopposed in a supervisor’s race this year, has said repeatedly he intends to remain in office in Davis until he takes office as a member of the County Board of Supervisors.

Writes the Bee: “A city councilman’s decision to stay in office could cost Davis taxpayers $100,000 or more – even as the city faces a $1 million budget deficit.  Don Saylor is running unopposed for Yolo County supervisor in June. But he says he won’t resign from the council until he is sworn in as supervisor in January. That could force an expensive special election for his seat in early 2011.”

But Mayor Pro Tem Don Saylor reiterated yet again that he plans to continue serving until he takes office in January.

“”I plan to continue serving until the end of my term,” said Saylor, who is on track to become mayor in July. He cited unfinished business, including the city’s fiscal problems, as a factor in his decision.”

However, buried in the story is the fact that while it is true the city would save money if Saylor resigned by July and a replacement could run for the position in the November general election, that decision would not be free of cost.  A special election would cost the city between $250,000 and $300,000 according to County Clerk Freddie Oakley.  However, a November general election would cost the city between $70,000 to $150,000.

While that is certainly less than the cost a stand alone election, according to those estimates, a November general election would cost the city enough to hire two police officers or one firefighter.

On the other hand, the cost of an appointment would be free.

The Bee article then claims that Councilmember Stephen Souza is a centrist and quotes him suggesting:

“For me, the most cost-effective and democratic means would be an appointment.  The person would be a caretaker … filling the seat until an election occurs (in 2012).”

On the other hand, Councilmember Sue Greenwald said that Mr. Saylor owes it to the voters to step aside.

“If people had put enough trust in me to elect me to office, I would feel obligated to resign so people could replace me in the most democratic fashion with the least expense.”

She added:

“I don’t like the idea of a council majority of three perpetuating themselves.”

To make matters worse, today, the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board apparently also found nothing better to do than to talk about internal Davis matters.  They too decided to call on Don Saylor to resign early and allow the voters of Davis to choose the successor rather than the city council by appointment.

They write:

“Why is it so hard?

With the city of Davis facing a $1.2 million deficit, why can’t Davis City Council member Don Saylor step down early for the good of the city, specifically to save money and to give voters a chance to elect their city leaders?”

They continue:

“Yolo County’s election officials say it will cost the city as much as $300,000 to hold a stand-alone special election to replace him.

That’s money Davis can’t afford to waste.

There’s a much cheaper alternative. If Saylor resigns in July, as the Davis Enterprise has urged him to do, his fellow council members can appoint a replacement to serve in his seat until the November general election, when his successor would be elected. The Enterprise and others have suggested that Davis council members appoint Saylor himself to the seat, a good idea, one that would clearly comport with the wishes of Davis voters who have twice elected Saylor to the council.

Rather than pursue that sensible and cost-effective option, Saylor says he’s determined to remain in his council seat until he is sworn in as a Yolo supervisor in January.”

The editorial concludes:

“Two goals ought to guide Davis officials as they consider this issue – saving money in these tough economic times and giving voters an opportunity to elect their leaders. By resigning in July and having fellow council members appoint his replacement – preferably Saylor himself – Saylor and the Davis City Council could achieve both goals.”

It is interesting to point out yet again, that the Sacramento Bee editorial also fails to note that a November Election would also be costly, and while considerably less than a special election, they fail to mention it would cost the taxpayers $70,000 to $150,000 that the city has not budgeted and would mean that the city would have to cut from future positions. 

At this point, that likely means that someone would lose their job, maybe two someones.  The city has already eliminated 35 vacant positions, additional money would have to come from a current employee or the city’s 15% reserve that the city leaders have steadfastly guarded so much so that they are eliminating additional positions to backfill $700,000 that they raided from it this year.

The bottom is that those favoring a November Election are acting like it would be free, it is not free.  What is free would be an appointment.

If only the Sacramento Bee would hammer on the city’s fiscal policies with the same zeal that they have belatedly jumped into the middle of a political dispute.

—David M. Greenwald 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.

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98 Comments

  1. Crilly

    The Sacramento Bee didn’t “stick it’s nose into Davis politics” at all. Davis is clearly within the Bee’s coverage area, and both reporting and editorializing on what goes on within Davis is clearly within their responsibility to their readers. Believe it or not, some believe the Bee to be more credible than the Enterprise! As for pointing out the difference in cost between the $100K for a general election addition compared with the $300K for a special election, the Bee article stated this clearly and unambiguously. Slow news day, David?

  2. SODA

    I agree with Crilly. See nothing wrong with Bee covering it and maybe ir will prompt Don to reconsider his position of arrogance. You may be correct in that the Bee was not completely clear about relative cost of Nov election, but I disagree with your headline.

  3. Neutral

    The editorial clearly asks for Saylor to do the ‘right thing’; and nobody said the “November Option” was going to be free.

    [David: what happened to the previous ‘Saylor’ commentary?]

  4. Mr.Toad

    Don wants to serve as mayor for a while and has a voter mandate to do so. The only reason this is an issue is because Sue thinks she will not get to pick his replacement or believes she can bully him off the council early.

    A much simpler solution than a special election is to make this a campaign issue for this council election since the winners would do the picking. Assuming that Sue and Steve would go in opposite directions the balance would hang in the votes of those who are elected in July.

    The funniest line in this story is the one from Sue where she talks about “If the people had enough trust in me to elect me to office.”
    Well, I guess the voters didn’t have that trust or maybe she didn’t have that trust in herself because she didn’t file after talking about running for months.

    This cuts both ways. Don is not guilty of forcing an expensive special election because there is an alternative to having one by having the council appoint. It is Sue who is beating this drum and it demonstrates her divisive nature. If Sue had the political skills to find a consensus replacement this could be resolved at little expense. Instead, for whatever reason, she wants to make appointing into some sort of coup denying the voters their right to choose.

    One thing is certain, Davis will survive whoever replaces Don. In fact, Davis will survive even if the council decides not to fill the seat and leaves it vacant, the cheapest choice of all.

  5. Mr.Toad

    Where was it the Bee, Enterprise or Vanguard, where Sue argued that the decisions the council will be making are of much greater value than the cost of a special election? Seems she is arguing that Don’s service on the council is worth the cost of a special election.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    This one? LINK ([url]http://www.davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3345:commentary-april-fools-day-comes-late-to-the-enterprise&catid=50:elections&Itemid=83[/url])

  7. davisite2

    I am sure that Don Saylor is well aware that his election to the County Board of Supervisors will NOT be because he is politically popular in the district that he will be representing. This issue offers him a golden opportunity to demonstrate that he is casting off the tracings that bound him to local Davis politics and now plans to truly represent the wishes of his Davis constituents at the County level. For him to demand that he be the probable “swing” vote in appointing the person to fill the vacant Davis Council seat and not permit the Davis voters to choose his replacement would be a major POLITICAL misstep… I just don’t see politician Saylor chooseing this path which would begin his County Supervisor term tainted by the perception of continuing local Davis politics as usual.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    “I am sure that Don Saylor is well aware that his election to the County Board of Supervisors will NOT be because he is politically popular in the district that he will be representing. “

    Why would you conclude that? Just because you and I do not like him politically, does not mean that others view him that way. He finished first in a six candidate field in the district in 2008. He was unopposed in an open seat bid for supervisor. Why wouldn’t he conclude that he was politically popular in the district that he’ll be representing?

  9. davisite2

    ‘….they fail to mention it would cost the taxpayers $70,000 to $150,000 that the city has not budgeted and would mean that the city would have to cut from future positions. “

    ….really quite an outrageous claim. This is a very small(in the context of the city budget) ONE-TIME cost which cannot be equated to city positions with its long-term and constantly growing additional costs(pensions, cashing in on medical benefits, etc.)

  10. Mr.Toad

    And don’t forget that he won two times for school board and was backed for Supervisor by everyone from Lois Wolk to Freddy Oakley to Matt Rexroad. Of course his most unifying attribute was that he was not Sue Greenwald. So really you have it backwards Davisite, it is your favored representative who is out of the mainstream and unpopular.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    Davisite: How is one expense explain-away-able and another somewhat higher expense is not? By your logic, we’re not talking about a huge difference in costs within the framework of the city’s budget. From my standpoint, we have a way to save the money for any election. There is a provision for it within the law. There is precedent for that mode in this jurisdiction and in other venues. And frankly it is not like our side of the political divide in Davis put a single candidate on the ballot this time. Why would someone go through a campaign for an 18 month term when they wouldn’t for a four year term?

  12. Crilly

    David–the Bee covers Davis comings and goings to the extent that they are newsworthy. For example, another article appearing in yesterday’s Bee covered free prom dresses available from Becca’s Closet in the little theater at Davis High School. In separate articles, the Bee also talked about Davis in relation to the Amgen Tour, about an upcoming Elvis Costello performance at UCD, and about a Davis inventor who’s come up with a new seal for wine bottles. Not sure why you’re trying to manufacture an issue where none exists. Seems to me it’s as appropriate for the Bee to cover Davis as it is for the [u]Davis[/u] Vanguard to cover issues related to Woodland? If not, you’ve got a lot of past blogs to quickly expunge from your site!

  13. David M. Greenwald

    I actually don’t cover issues related to Woodland, I do cover issues related to Yolo County of which Davis is a part of. My objection to the Bee is that they don’t have a writer that comes and covers Davis issues except when we embarrass ourselves, then they are all over it or unless they are telling us we need to grow more. Sorry, it’s one of my pet peeve’s. If the Bee wants to weigh in on Davis political issues, they should cover Davis political issues.

  14. roger bockrath

    What is becoming increasingly clear to me is that those of us who express ourselves on this site are a very small percentage of the Davis community. The Vanguard does a great job of keeping those of us who read the blog informed. But the reality is that most folks in Davis have never even heard of the Vanguard. Therefore, a mention of Davis’ million dollar deficit and the financial impact of Saylor’s decision on that budget, by the well read Sacramento Bee, may serve to inform a few more folks who would otherwise remain blissfully ignorant of our ticking time bomb financial situation in Davis.

    I think it would behoove those few of us who read the Vanguard to worry less about preaching to the choir and make every effort to get the rest of the voters informed. For this reason I am appreciative of those few times when the wider readership of the Bee get a little information. Wouldn’t it be great if the Bee would see fit to mention the Vanguard as one of their information sources so the locals could tune in to a more in-depth reporting/discussion of the issues that so greatly affect our lives.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    Roger: that’s certainly true. Best I can tell, we have about one-quarter of the readership of the Enterprise, but an even smaller percentage participates in terms of posting comments.

  16. Crilly

    David–so this recent headline of yours–“Furor Emerges Over Short Pedroia Sentence; Woodland Mayor’s Letter”–couldn’t be construed as sticking your nose into Woodland’s internal politics? You could try and spin this as a Yolo County issue, but that’d be a stretch since Skip Davies is definitely not the mayor of Davis! I’m not saying it’s inappropriate for you to cover Woodland issues. I just think you’re up in arms about nothing when you talk about the Bee covering Davis.

  17. davisite2

    “Why wouldn’t he conclude that he was politically popular in the district that he’ll be representing?”

    David: “Let me count the ways…”

    His district is Central Davis and East Davis which:

    1. This district overwhelming supported No on X and rejected Saylor vigorous support of his patron Whitcombe’s CV project which would have its most negative impact on E. Davis.
    2. The political “flavor” of Central and E. Davis is historically “progressive”
    3. Sue Greenwald lost to Don Salyor in this district.when they both ran for Council, by a reported ( by you actually in this blog) 300 votes. This was with Saylor having unlimited campaign funds and a campaign that was up and running for at least 6-12 months before the election. Sue Greenwald, on the other hand, had minimal campaign funds(in comparison)and acknowledged that she did NO actual personal campaigning in the district.
    4. Given the above FACTS, whatever else one believes about Don Saylor, I
    don’t think anyone believes that he is politically obtuse and not an
    ambitious politician.

  18. David M. Greenwald

    Crilly: First of all, you need to distinguish between the Vanguard and Yolo Judicial Watch which monitors the Yolo County legal system. The issue of Woodland’s Mayor sticking his nose in on behalf of a citizen going through the Yolo County legal system shows the favoritism in the legal system and is in the purview of the Judicial Watch.

    I just have a problem with the Bee ignoring Davis and then lobbying editorials from the other side of the causeway. But, that’s just me apparently. And the bulk of the article wasn’t about that btw.

  19. wdf1

    My objection to the Bee is that they don’t have a writer that comes and covers Davis issues except when we embarrass ourselves, then they are all over it or unless they are telling us we need to grow more. Sorry, it’s one of my pet peeve’s. If the Bee wants to weigh in on Davis political issues, they should cover Davis political issues.

    I believe the Sac Bee has several employees who live in Davis, so they are writing about something they are familiar with. Hudson Sangree is a Davis resident (last I heard), and he wrote the Bee piece yesterday on Saylor.

    As for covering Davis only to embarrass ourselves, I think I could produce links or citations of to up to 10 articles (maybe more) in the past 6 months that were more “slice of life” and feature/living section type material on Davis and Davisites that doesn’t have the obvious appearance of embarrassing the city.

    On the other hand, I do follow the online comments section to some of their articles on political controversies in Davis, and the comments give me the feel that the political controversies/tensions give Sacto area conservatives a reason to pillory the liberal political tendencies.

    For instance, this was the featured comment to Sangree’s article on the matter in yesterday’s Bee:

    [quote]For all you prius and subaru owners, tea drinking, tofu eating, berkinstok wearing Obama voters, Enjoy.
    — dandrewsbee[/quote]

    which is reminiscent of the well-known over-the-top anti-Howard Dean TV spot (from 2004) financed by the conservative Club for Growth:

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4-vEwD_7Hk[/url]

    [I find the ad connection of Howard Dean to body piercing mentally hard to make!]

  20. westof113

    In it, the Sacramento Bee firmly sticks its nose into an internal Davis political dispute

    To make matters worse, today, the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board apparently also found nothing better to do than to talk about internal Davis matters.

    That’s laughingly parochial. Ever hear of regional coverage? If something is deemed newsworthy by an assignment desk editor, it gets written. If it passes editorial review as well-written and accurate, and it ‘literally’ fits on the page, it gets printed. Journalism 101.

  21. davisite2

    “And frankly it is not like our side of the political divide in Davis put a single candidate on the ballot this time.”

    This is not at all surprising given that “our side of the political divide” while long on passion is quite short on bucks donated for political campaigns. Most Davisites, unless they have political ambitions to run for Assembly, are not interested in sitting on the Yolo BOS, especially now with all of the difficult budget cuts that they have to participate in. Finally, Don Saylor IS an ambitious politician and knows that if he is to successfully run for the Assembly, he will need to have a strong Davis support base that is happy with his Yolo county decisions on our behalf. I am sure that the Vanguard will be keeping a close eye on these decisions and a Saylor recall campaign is not out of the question if these decisions are strongly rejected by his district constiuents.

  22. Neutral

    David, you might want to check out ‘sacbee connect’.

    westof113: That’s laughingly parochial.

    McClatchy is one of the more parochial operations in the country, and has learned *nothing* over the past fifteen years. The Bee has had the potential, staff, networks, and capability to cover the entire region in both digital and hard copy, and has chosen not to.

    And I’m a subscriber.

  23. Mr.Toad

    Don beat Sue by 300 votes in Yolo district 2 and by how many across the city? I would call that a majority. To paraphrase Nixon there is a silent majority in Davis that is not as vocal as the anti-growth crowd. Covell and Wildhorse 2 lost in a different type of election than one where you vote for personalities. To extrapolate those votes into some sort of community consensus on elected officials is quite a stretch. Don is a hard working consensus builder who gets things done. You may not agree with him but his efforts on what he believes is in the best interest of the community is respected by a majority of the voters in Davis.

  24. wdf1

    The Bee has had the potential, staff, networks, and capability to cover the entire region in both digital and hard copy, and has chosen not to.

    Although I’m disappointed that the Bee doesn’t cover some stories that I think it should, it’s online presence is superior to what the Davis Enterprise offers, which is mostly nothing, unless you subscribe or visit their site on Mondays.

  25. Jack

    Note the subtle shift in Sue Greenwald’s rhetoric – “undemocratic” has now morphed into “the most democratic fashion.”

    There is nothing undemocratic about our duly-elected representatives appointing an interim council member under the current rules. An election is no more or less democratic than an appointment.

    And if it ultimately comes to a special election … Sue will still indict the process because of the corrupting influence of developer and union money.

  26. Crilly

    An election is no more or less democratic than an appointment.

    Wow! That’s a fascinating statement. Perhaps you also believe we should let congress appoint the president and vice president of the country? Or more locally, maybe you think we should simply elect a Mayor and allow him or her to appoint the rest of the City Council?

  27. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”A special election would cost the city between $250,000 and $300,000 according to County Clerk Freddie Oakley.”[/i]

    Those numbers are higher than I was told last week. I spoke on Friday with Tom Stanionius, who is the Chief of Staff for Yolo Elections. He told me he estimates $240,000 for a council race in Davis on the ballot by itself. He based his estimate on the cost of the Measure P election. That vote cost $220,000. He said there are some added costs with a council race, and so he said $240,000 is probably the right number.

    [i]”However, a November general election would cost the city between $70,000 to $150,000.”[/i]

    That is not true, according to the information Mr. Stanionius gave me on Friday. He estimated the city’s cost on Nov. 2 would be between $60,000 and $80,000. He said it would probably be on the lower end.

    In the Enterprise editorial, per my recommendation, they used a middle estimate of $70,000.

    So the bottom line is an election for Saylor’s seat in April of 2011 will cost Davis taxpayers $240,000. An election in November of this year would save $170,000 of that.

  28. Rich Rifkin

    Yes. Freddie got her numbers screwed up. She should have spoken with Tom, before she spoke with the media. If you know the historical numbers, Freddie’s numbers are very clearly wrong.

    For what it’s worth, Freddie was not at work last Friday, when I called the Elections Office. I would have spoken with her, too.

  29. Jack

    Crilly:

    Perhaps you believe that the only acceptable solution is for Sue to be in charge? Or perhaps you believe that she should have veto power over all candidates that don’t meet her ideological and campaign finance purity metrics.

    It’s pretty clear that the whole point of this little exercise has been to stir up discontent amongst the troops … with further polarization of the community as unfortunate, but necessary, collateral damage.

    Memo to Sue: Mission accomplished.

  30. David Suder

    [quote]The only reason this is an issue is because Sue thinks she will not get to pick his replacement or believes she can bully him off the council early.
    [/quote]
    C’mon, Mr. Toad. Sue will not “get to pick his replacement” in any event, and if Sue’s statements are enough to “bully” Mr. Saylor into anything, that would be a first.

    This is an issue because Davis voters, rightly or wrongly, elected Don Saylor to serve a second four-year term, and now Don has decided that he wants to move up the ladder and bail out mid-term. Don spins this as “keeping faith with the voters,” which I find to be a very bizarre interpretation. He’s serving only a little over half of the term he requested, and is unwilling to design his departure in a way that avoids controversy and expense to Davis (which he could easily do). How is that “keeping the faith?” It’s selfish. It’s putting his own resume-building ahead of the good of Davis. That is what has created the “issue.” (Don, if you’re reading this: sorry to be so blunt, but that’s how I see it. I really hope you’ll reconsider your plan and do the right thing.)

    [quote]An election is no more or less democratic than an appointment.
    [/quote]
    Wow. That is a positively Orewellian statement.

    But you’re kidding…..right?

  31. Rich Rifkin

    One thing to keep in mind about Don’s seat: It will likely be the deciding vote on every contentious issue for the next two years.

    It certainly has been the deciding vote for the last 2 years. If Don had left in 2008 and had been replaced by, say, Rob Roy, almost everyone of those 3-2 votes which had Saylor, Souza and Asmundson formed a majority would have gone the other way.

    Now, if someone is appointed to that seat, that person will likely have an enormous influence in deciding all questions about new housing developments, labor contracts and where budget cuts are made.

    Yet that person, with all that political power, will not have the legitimacy of a democratic vote to fall back on. He will not be able to say, “I am voting in favor of this rodent-killing, 112-story, high-rise Trump Condo Project on the PG&E property because the voters of Davis entrusted me to make such decisions.” The voters will have been left out of the process.

    Even if the person who is appointed to the office would make the exact same decisions as someone who is elected by the people, the appointed person’s power carries with it very little of the legitimacy that an election conveys.

  32. Jack

    David Suder:

    “Orewellian” (sic)? Give me a break.

    What’s Orwellian is watching Sue try to wrap herself in the mantle of democracy. If she is so %@$#*! concerned about democracy, she should have taken one for the team and opposed Saylor in the supervisor race (as opposed to carping from the sidelines after the train has left the station).

    With respect to an interim appointment, there is nothing wrong with our elected representatives executing their responsibilities under the law. If the community **truly** doesn’t support the established procedures, then the procedures will ultimately be changed. That’s how democracy works.

    As one of Sue Greenwald’s endorsers, perhaps you could help her draft a motion to amend these procedures for the next city council meeting. The motion may not succeed, but at least she will have gotten the rest of the council on record.

  33. concernedcitizen

    Appointment is the way to go. I voted for Don and expect him to remain on the council until his term starts elsewhere. IMHO, he owes it to the voters to remain on the council until then.

  34. Crilly

    David Suder was right, Jack. “Orwellian” is the perfect characterization of your statement. Remember “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery”? “Appointment is Democracy” fits in quite nicely. Appointing an interim council member may be fine and legal, may even be the most economical solution for a city in financial crisis, but to call it as democratic as an election is still quite a stretch.

    I also think it’s silly for you to say that I think “the only acceptable solution is for Sue to be in charge.” I never once even mentioned Sue’s name in any of my posts to this blog. In fact, the origin of this blog was to discuss the Bee’s interest/meddling in the Davis city council. My only contention has been that the Bee has every right to discuss issues affecting readers within its circulation area. If you want to make this a “Sue” thing, you’ll need to take it up with someone else.

  35. Jack

    Crilly: Sue started pushing the “undemocratic” charge several threads back, and followed up with calls for resignation or restitution. Sue has made it a “Sue” thing.

  36. Crilly

    Jack–Sue may have, but I didn’t. So please don’t try to characterize what I feel or think about this council situation with regard to Sue, Don or anyone else, or address your rants to me. Not interested.

  37. Jack

    [quote]An election is no more or less democratic than an appointment.

    Wow! That’s a fascinating statement. Perhaps you also believe … [/quote]Crilly: You apparently have no problem characterizing what I think or feel (see above). If you don’t want me to address my comments to you, then don’t respond to my posts.

  38. Crilly

    Come on, Jack. I’m “characterizing” you based on exactly what you are saying. Since I didn’t even mention Sue, you are “characterizing” me based on nothing. You should be able to discern the difference.

  39. Sue Greenwald

    According to the Enterprise today, “Saylor said Wednesday he owes it to the voters who elected him to the Davis City Council to stay on until he is sworn in as District 2 supervisor on Jan. 3.”

    But when Don ran for council, he never told the voters that he would run for Supervisor shortly after being elected. Don never told the voters “I am running for council, and then will immediately turn around and run for supervisor, leave mid-term and serve until the last minute, leaving you with the choice of either a $250,000 plus election or an appointed successor.”

    If he had informed the voters of these intentions and he had still been elected, he might be on firmer ground saying that he “owes it to the voters who elected him to the Davis City Council to stay on until he is sworn in as supervisor”.

    It also seems to me that David Greenwald complains about the BEE covering Davis issues only when the BEE doesn’t agree with David Greenwald. David has been pushing an appointment rather than the election.

  40. David M. Greenwald

    I exchanged emails with Freddie Oakley. She said she believes the $250,000 to $300,000 figure to be correct. Basically Tom used the number from Measure P but that number was too low, they went with short staff and cut all sorts of corners that she is not willing to do again because it was too much strain. She said her staff was destroyed by the work, it was too much.

  41. David M. Greenwald

    [quote]David has been pushing an appointment rather than the election. [/quote]

    This is an untrue statement.

    The first two articles stated that the most likely method of replacing Don Saylor on the council was appointment.

    The third article criticized the Enterprise Editorial which I don’t think is realistic, it is not enforceable, and I’m not convinced its legal.

    Today’s article criticized the Sac Bee for butting in, reported the costs for a November election, and suggested that people were erroneously acting like November election had no costs.

    I have not once stated my preference, but I have stated what I believe will happen.

  42. Mr.Toad

    And Obama didn’t tell the people of Illinois he was going to run for president so big deal. Get off the high horse Sue. The best solution is to ask the current crop of council candidates how they would address the issue. Since they will have this on their agenda. Then the voters can decide the question by electing the representatives they agree with on this and many other issues.

  43. Sue Greenwald

    David Greenwald: This is the opening paragraph to one of your articles on the appointment versus election issue:[quote]Okay I just read the Enterprise editorial on how to solve the “problem” of Don Saylor leaving the council, and my first reaction is that this must be a late April Fool’s Joke. Talk about a solution in search of a problem, this is one.[/quote]“Talk about a solution in search of a problem? Since the default position is now appointment, how are you not advocating for appointment? Why all the finessing?

  44. David M. Greenwald

    Sue: my point in the quote there was why create a complex solution when there are already solutions that are on the table, if Saylor resigns on January 3, the council will have the prerogative to decide whether to hold a special election or an appointment. So what is the problem that this solution resolves?

    Links:

    Who Becomes Mayor ([url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3329:who-becomes-mayor-next-year&catid=50:elections&Itemid=83[/url])

    April Fool’s Day Arrives Late ([url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3345:commentary-april-fools-day-comes-late-to-the-enterprise&catid=50:elections&Itemid=83[/url])

    Five Candidates For Davis City Council ([url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3315:five-candidates-for-davis-city-council&catid=50:elections&Itemid=83[/url])

  45. davisite2

    “Saylor said Wednesday he owes it to the voters who elected him to the Davis City Council to stay on until he is sworn in as District 2 supervisor on Jan. 3.”

    This above statement of Don Saylor’s does not really tell us anything about whether he would he would be willing to resign to allow a November election to go forward, then be appointed to the Council temporarily(as Mayor) which would expire on Jan 3. If this is the wish of the Council majority and Don is agreeable, I doubt that the legality of holding a November election for the upcoming Council vacancy would be legally challenged.

  46. davisite2

    Am I laboring under a misconception?? Do all voters cast a vote for a Supervisor or only those who are residents of the district that the candidate is running for??

  47. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Do all voters cast a vote for a Supervisor or only those who are residents of the district that the candidate is running for??”[/i]

    We vote by district. Just those in Saylor’s district can vote in his race. When Provenza ran 2 years ago, those of us in West Davis could not vote for him (or against him), because we don’t live in Provenza’s district.

  48. davisite2

    Thank you Rich… so all this stuff by Mr. Toad about Don Saylor’s city-wide approval rating(and David’s argument concerning Don Saylor’s Council victories) is essentially irrelevant. What IS relevant is the approval of East and Central Davis voters which,I would venture to guess, he profoundly DOES NOT HAVE. I will repeat my prediction that Don Saylor will be elected Supervisor with the largest percentage of blank or write-in votes for his Supervisor seat that Davis has witnessed .

  49. davisite2

    ….also let’s not forget(as I am absolutely certain that Mace Ranch voters have not forgotten) Don Saylor’s vigorous support of Measure K(pro-Target) along with his role in some very questionable pro-Measure K campaign literature. Davis voters have very long political memories and DO NOT easily forgive or forget.

  50. Jack

    [quote]And Obama didn’t tell the people of Illinois he was going to run for president so big deal. Get off the high horse Sue. The best solution is to ask the current crop of council candidates how they would address the issue.[/quote]Souza, Vergis, and Swanson are all on record supporting appointment. Krovoza has (as far as I know) dodged the question thus far.

    Bottom line … Krovaza is almost certainly going to be the swing vote.

    In this case, when Sue complains about the tyranny of the majority, she’s basically throwing Joe under the progressive bus.

  51. davisite2

    “Souza, Vergis, and Swanson are all on record supporting appointment. “

    I thought that Souza was quoted else ware as agreeing with Sue Greenwald that appointment was the LEAST desirable path.

  52. Rich Rifkin

    If Saylor waits until the end of the year to resign, one possible scenario is that the other four members of the council in January will not be able to find a majority in favor of appointment or a majority in favor of a special election.

    What happens at that point I don’t know.

    Here is what the state law requires: [quote] If a vacancy occurs in an elective office provided for in this chapter, the council shall, within 30 days from the commencement of the vacancy, either fill the vacancy by appointment or call a special election to fill the vacancy. The special election shall be held on the next regularly established election date not less than 114 days from the call of the special election. A person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy holds office for the unexpired term of the former incumbent.[/quote] My guess is that if we find ourselves in a situation in which 2 members of the council are adamantly in favor of appointment and the other 2 are adamantly in favor of a special election, we will have to have a coin flip to decide which direction we go: heads it’s democracy; tails its not.

    Another possible sticking point for the appointment route is finding a person who will be supported by at least 3 of the 4 members of the January council. It obviously depends on who wins in June.

    It seems unlikely (presuming that we end up with a 2-2 factional split) that the a majority of the council will want someone who is a known commodity. That is, they won’t appoint say, Lamar Heystek or Ted Puntillo, because those two, while obviously qualified, will tip the balance toward one faction or the other and the losing faction will know it. Likewise, they probably won’t pick someone who, though not well known by the public, has worked on campaigns for people on one side or the other of the Davis chasm.

    It seems, thus, more likely that the person who is appointed will be someone, well known or not, who has no recent record of taking strong stands on one side or the other of our community divide and is not known to be closely associated with any of the members of the City Council.

  53. davisite2

    Jack: While I cannot come up with the location of the Souza quote, I am confident that my memoriy of his reported statement “least desirable” is accurate. It is not unlike Souza to attempt to initially position himself on both sides of an issue and then “play it by ear”

  54. davisite2

    Are the two conflicting Souza statements a reflection of the split Souza political persona?…. one-half populist and one-half Establishment political power player.

  55. Jack

    davisite2: IMO, the nuances of his political framing are irrelevant. He has clearly indicated his choice is appointment, and this is consistent with the buzz on the grapevine.

    If I could venture a guess … perhaps what you are remembering is his argument that, while a special election would be the preferable choice, cost is his overriding concern and he feels that the negatives of the appointment route can be mitigated via attention to the transparency of the process. Whether or not this is just posturing or something he believes is anyone’s guess.

    Also, in this case, I personally don’t believe this is not something he is playing by ear.

  56. Jack

    “I personally don’t believe this is not something he is playing by ear.” Hmmmmm. Maybe I should read the text before I hit post. Please disregard one of the negatives.

  57. davisite2

    “…while a special election would be the preferable choice, cost is his overriding concern”

    You may be right that this is the context of Souza’s statement that appointment would be the “least desirable” alternative.

    Souza’s retionale here, IMO, is characteristically “fuzzy”. For approximately $70,000, we can avoid the “least desirable” appointment path and democratically elect a Councilperson to fill the vacated seat. This is not a lot of money(city-budget-wise). Souza showed little reluctance in the past to be the swing vote that launched the polling of Davis voters to find out how they liked their parks.Cost? $35.000.

  58. davisite2

    “…while a special election would be the preferable choice, cost is his overriding concern””

    …and notice that he is addressing a special election path(cost approx. $300,000) and NOT an election for a vacated but temporarily-filled Mayor Saylor’s seat that could take place in November for about 70K.

  59. Jack

    davisite2: Maybe I’m wrong, but my best guess is that they will *first* attempt to come to an agreement on an interim appointment, and *then* default to a special election if deadlocked. Under this scenario, the $300,000 cost-of-failure would be a very strong incentive to find common ground.

    This process would probably force them to select a centrist, consensus-builder with (as Rich pointed out above) no clear political alliances or controversial track record. One could argue that this sort of individual is precisely what our community needs at this point-in-time, and I can’t discount the possibility that this is precisely what Saylor has in mind.

    IMO, a consensus-builder would be the best *achievable* outcome from a progressive perspective, which is why I think Sue’s polarizing politics on this issue is potentially so destructive. If she can learn to play nice, she will have a set at the table with three colleagues highly motivated to reach a 4-0 decision. Instead, she is in the process of marginalizing herself once again.

  60. davisite2

    Jack: The narrative can also play out as follows: Sue and Joe support the concept that the BEST path is the democratic one, to allow the voters to choose Saylor’s replacement. They will publicly raise this plan and it will be up to Don Saylor since if he accepts an early resignation-temporary appointment plan, it will be difficult for Souza and Vergis to press for the appointment path. Councilman Saylor will have to decide if he wants to leave Davis politics carrying the political baggage of such an anti-democratic, anti-populist decision.

  61. Jack

    davisite2: It will take three votes to make anything happen. A 2-2 deadlock defaults to a special election.

    With regard to Saylor, I personally don’t think he cares about the anti-democratic, anti-populist rhetoric. First of all, it’s an opinion, not a statement of fact. And second, progressives have accused him for years of being a corrupt pawn of developers – so why would he care that some people also think he’s undemocratic?

    I really don’t expect him to have some sort of epiphany like … “OMG. They think I’m corrupt AND undemocratic. Well I certainly need to start listening to Sue!”

    The other factor to consider is what’s happening outside the Vanguard echo chamber. Case in point – the post by concernedcitizen probably represents a viewpoint that is widespread within our community, especially by the majority (plurality?) that voted for Saylor in 2008.[quote]Appointment is the way to go. I voted for Don and expect him to remain on the council until his term starts elsewhere. IMHO, he owes it to the voters to remain on the council until then.[/quote]

  62. David Suder

    [quote]“Souza, Vergis, and Swanson are all on record supporting appointment. ”
    [/quote]
    Maybe it is not surprising that Ms. Vergis and Ms. Swanson support filling the vacated position by appointment.

    It’s very likely that they will finish second and third in the upcoming election. They both know that an option to be considered may be to appoint the third-place finisher in the June elction, which will almost certainly be….either Sydney Vergis or Rochelle Swanson.

    If another election is held, the third-place finisher in the current election would probably run again, only to face yet-unknown challenger(s). In addition to facing another campaign, that would pose the unpleasant possibility of being defeated twice in one year (for Swanson) or being defeated three times in just over two years (for Vergis). I’m not saying that’s what would happen, just that it is something they must both be thinking about.

  63. David Suder

    [quote]This above statement of Don Saylor’s does not really tell us anything about whether he would he would be willing to resign to allow a November election to go forward, then be appointed to the Council temporarily(as Mayor) which would expire on Jan 3. If this is the wish of the Council majority and Don is agreeable, I doubt that the legality of holding a November election for the upcoming Council vacancy would be legally challenged. [/quote]
    If Don agrees to the resignation/reappointment option (as I think he should and hope he eventually will), the winner of a November election would be seated before Jan. 3, replacing him at that time. I doubt the Council has the authority to delay the seating of a new councilmember (and I would be horrified if they do have that power).

  64. David Suder

    [quote]The other factor to consider is what’s happening outside the Vanguard echo chamber.[/quote]
    You mean like the Enterprise and Bee coverage and editorial?

  65. Jack

    “Maybe it is not surprising that Ms. Vergis and Ms. Swanson support filling the vacated position by appointment.”

    Rather than impugning their motives with a presumption of nefarious intent (i.e. manipulation of the process to avoid the possibility of another election defeat), why not take their stated reasons at face value? They have both stated that their motives are to avoid the cost of another election. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable conclusion given the facts. Are you calling them both liars?

  66. Jack

    “You mean like the Enterprise and Bee coverage and editorial?”

    No. I obviously mean the electorate.

    Saylor has a broad base of support among the voters. The question is whether or not his base will erode significantly based on the efforts of Sue and her supporters to inflame and polarize our community with this issue. I don’t think it will.

    In my opinion, Saylor has concluded that another election is a waste of money and the appointment option is acceptable (I also read the newspapers, and he has been crystal clear).

    Sue and her machine, by taking the point in creating this controversy, are doing little more than underscoring the conclusion that many of us came to after she became unglued at the council meeting – i.e. Sue is not suited for a leadership position.

  67. Rich Rifkin

    [b]DS:[/b] [i]”… it is not surprising that Ms. Vergis and Ms. Swanson support filling the vacated position by appointment … (They stand to gain from it.)” [/i]

    [b]JACK:[/b] [i]”Rather than impugning their motives with a presumption of nefarious intent, why not take their stated reasons at face value?”[/i]

    It’s nice to see, Jack, that [i]you[/i] would never impugn someone’s motives with the presumption of nefarious intent.

    [b]JACK:[/b] [i]”The question is whether or not his base will erode significantly based on the efforts of Sue and her supporters to inflame and polarize our community with this issue.”[/i]

    Wait. That sounds to me like you are impugning the motives of Sue and everyone who agrees with her on this issue. Apparently you are not as pure as you want others to be.

    It has not apparently occurred to you that maybe those of us who believe the best way to choose a candidate for elective office is an election are not out to erode Mr. Saylor’s base, but rather just believe elections are an integral part of democracy.

  68. Jack

    Rich:

    Sorry. I meant Sue and her “machine” (such as it is), not Sue and her supporters. My sincere apology to anyone that is not down in the trenches with her pushing this agenda.

    But coming back to the point, do you really think Sue is being driven by her belief that elections are an integral part of democracy? Seriously? You must be plugged in enough to know what’s really going on.

    With respect to Vergis and Swanson, the notion that they have nothing to lose is incorrect. By supporting the appointment option, one of them will close the door on their political aspirations by coming in 3rd. No second chance campaign. No chance for appointment by virtue of the baggage accumulated during the current campaign (assuming your speculations about the appointment process up-thread are correct).

  69. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]I can assure you, by the way, that I stand to gain or lose nothing personally from an election.[/i]

    Really? I thought your view of it was that city pensions are bleeding you dry.

  70. davisite2

    “I really don’t expect him to have some sort of epiphany like … “OMG. They think I’m corrupt AND undemocratic. Well I certainly need to start listening to Sue!”

    No… this would not be the reason for Don Saylor to take the most democratic path in choosing his successor. He will do it because it is in his interest to support what the majority of the Davis voters, IMO, believe is the best way to choose their representative on the Council. Don Saylor has been on the wrong side of every citizen initiative with the exception of Measure K and that result was very close, in all probability, skewed by the UCD student vote; IMO, he was again on the wrong side of Measure K as far as the Davis resident voter was concerned. This is an opportunity for Councilman Saylor to be on the side of the majority of Davis voters,setting a new political tone as he assumes his role as Yolo Supervisor for his East Davis and Central Davis constituents.

  71. Rich Rifkin

    [b]JACK:[/b] [i]”(Vergis and Swanson) … have both stated that their motives are to avoid the cost of another election. … Why not take their stated reasons at face value?”[/i]

    I agree with you, Jack. I do think it is bizarre to not trust them on this. That is their view and I do take their explanation at face value.

    [b]JACK:[/b] [i] “do you really think Sue is being driven by her belief that elections are an integral part of democracy? Seriously?”[/i]

    Hmmm. You are clearly not taking Sue’s stated reasons at face value. Sounds like a paradox to me, Jack.

  72. Jack

    davisite2: I don’t disagree with your analysis – just the basic supposition. IMO, you and Saylor would probably not agree on what the majority of Davis voters want. That’s not to be dismissive of your point-of-view, but rather to acknowledge that two reasonable people can look at the same facts and come to opposite conclusions based on their unique perspectives. Saylor probably thinks that most people would conclude that $100,000 to $300,000 plus additional layoffs and/or budget cuts is not worth it, you probably disagree. He probably trusts his colleagues to do the right thing vis-a-vis the appointment option, you probably don’t. Ultimately, Saylor was elected to make these sorts of judgement calls; and I think that’s what he is doing.

  73. Jack

    “You are clearly not taking Sue’s stated reasons at face value.”

    That’s because they are false.

    “But coming back to the point, do you really think Sue is being driven by her belief that elections are an integral part of democracy? Seriously? You must be plugged in enough to know what’s really going on.”

    How about a straight answer?

  74. Jack

    Rich: And one other point. We all believe that elections are an integral part of democracy. This is about politics, not who can claim the moral high ground.

  75. Don Shor

    “do you really think Sue is being driven by her belief that elections are an integral part of democracy?”

    Yes. I also believe that Don Saylor will do what he believes is in the best interest of the city. He and I may disagree about that, but I don’t doubt his motives, or Sue’s.

  76. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”How about a straight answer?”[/i]

    I agree with Don Shor. I have no reason to question Sue’s motives. So yes, I do believe that she wants an election for that office because “elections are an integral part of democracy.”

    I also don’t think Don Saylor is staying on the council until January with the intent of harming democracy or harming our city. He is doing what he thinks is right.

    And I don’t disagree with him that he has a perfect right to stay on the council. However, I wish The Enterprise’s plan had been more attractive to him. I think, oddly, the rancor in town and more importantly the rancor on the council has caused many people — maybe Don Saylor, but maybe not — to be overly suspicious, to think that the other guy’s motives are malicious.

    If that has affected Saylor, then he might have seen The Enterprise plan and thought to himself, “It sounds like something Sue Greenwald might like. I am therefore against it,” without having given that plan much thought. Or he might have given it no thought at all, because his mind was made up — as to what he would do come July — and any suggestions otherwise, not made by a close ally of his, would be seen with the malicious motives that you, Jack, have pinned on Sue, and have carried that attack further in stating that her support for The Enterprise idea — although she never explicitly said she supported it — was thus “polarizing.”

    Your justification for that seems to be your take on the Sue-Ruth fight. I think it would be better of you to just forgive her and move on. She apologized. Sometimes it’s best to actually accept an apology, even if you tend to disagree with the person who made it.

  77. Jack

    Rich: With all due respect, I did not say that Sue’s support of the Enterprise proposal was polarizing. What I said was …

    “Furthermore, I find it unseemly for a sitting member of the City Council to use this blog as a vehicle to further polarize our community.”

    Because my post happened to come directly after Sue’s post re: the Enterprise proposal, you have assumed linkage where there is none.

    To go back over old ground, what I claimed was polarizing was Sue’s “undemocratic” charge on the Vanguard several threads back, including her calls for early resignation or remuneration to redress the situation.

    And I stick by my opinion that it is unseemly for a sitting member of the city council — elected to represent the entire community — to engage in this sort of activism on a political blog.

    IMO, Sue’s support of the Enterprise solution has more to do with getting Saylor to back down than with upholding the principles of democracy (i.e. it was tactical, but not polarizing).

    If she truly wants to frame the issue in terms of undemocratic abuse of power by the majority, then I renew my call for her to address her concerns directly to the city council in open public hearing. In fact, if she really believes her rhetoric, I would argue she has an absolute responsibility to formally bring it before the council.

  78. Mr.Toad

    So Sue thinks that elections are important but too expensive and as a result someone who votes opposite her as much as anyone should resign in the furtherance of Democracy. How convenient. Except in doing so she forgets that it would result in the result of the previous election, where Don got the most votes, being disregarded. So in order for the voters to get direct voter approved representation for 18 months Don’s constituents should go unrepresented for the next 7 months. How duplicitous. All in order to save some money. Of course its so we must take people at their word because we do not have the power to infer things from thier actions.

  79. Jim Frame

    As I recall, the plan set forth by the Enterprise and the Bee called for Don to resign in July and then be appointed to serve until the November election. He would thus end up foregoing only about two notoriously unproductive months of his term — the one we elected him to hold for 4 years — before heading off to his new job in Woodland.

  80. Jack

    David Greenwald wrote:[quote]The bottom is that those favoring a November Election are acting like it would be free, it is not free. What is free would be an appointment.[/quote]

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