Krovoza and Swanson Make It Two for Two, Endorsed by Davis Enterprise

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rochelle-swansonEndorsement Caps of a Great Week for Swanson and a Tough Week For Vergis –

For the second time this week, Joe Krovoza and Rochelle Swanson have received a major endorsement, this time from the Davis Enterprise. 

The Enterprise has a history of supporting the pro-growth candidates and policies, indeed going back to 2002, Sue Greenwald in 2004 is the only non-pro-growth candidate to receive an endorsement.  The Enterprise supported both Covell Village and Target.  But times have changed, and the most burning issue has not been growth this year, but the budget and the Enterprise has fairly consistently been critical of the current council’s budget and spending priorities.

Notably the editorial does not mention growth at all.  It does focus very much on the personal aspects of both candidates and their background.  Their focus seems to be on the personal interactions of the council.

The Enterprise writes,

“DYSFUNCTIONAL interpersonal dynamics that have characterized the council in recent years must become a thing of the past. Our elected leaders must work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. They must listen to community members, city staff and each other – and they must lead us into a future where tough decisions are made collaboratively.

Both Krovoza and Swanson are longtime Davis residents with the best interests of this community at heart. Both are parents and have raised their families in this community. Both have wide, diverse networks of connection and support. Both bring to the council dais a skill set that will serve them well as elected leaders and decision-makers.”

They conclude, “MANY CHALLENGES face our city government. We’re confident that Krovoza and Swanson will work with their council colleagues to make the tough decisions necessary to bring our city finances into balance. They’ll forge more partnerships with UC Davis and the Davis school district. They’ll work to improve our business climate. They’ll safeguard our fragile environment. They’ll do what’s best for Davis.”

Did the Enterprise get one right?  I will leave that for the reader and voters to decide.

Our course two years ago they wrote in endorsing Souza, Saylor, and Vergis, “Davis will need council members who drive hard bargains with the city’s labor unions, make fiscally sound decisions to live within our means”

Enough said.  Hopefully the Enterprise has learned from past mistakes.

And while newspaper endorsements are what they are, for Sydney Vergis this cannot be good news on a top of what has to be a tough week.

Two years ago, she was endorsed by the Davis Enterprise along with Don Saylor and Stephen Souza.  It was somewhat of a surprise given the fact that she was a newcomer and was being endorsed over a sitting two-term incumbent.

At the beginning of the campaign, it appeared she was likely one of the top two candidates.  It is very difficult to know whether that is still the case, but this has been at least on the public front a tough week for her.

Last Saturday she announced that she would not receive or accept the endorsement from the firefighters.  That may or may not have been her choice, but two years ago, she took $4000 in direct and an additional $8000 in indirect contributions from the firefighters.  That support was worth a mailer and a door hanger in addition to whatever $4000 buys.  She will now apparently have to do without that support.

We also learned that the Sacramento Bee endorsed Krovoza and Swanson.  And in what had to be a somewhat personal blow, the Davis Democratic Club, a club that Ma. Vergis had participated in, only endorsed Joe Krovoza.  Ms. Swanson was not eligible for an endorsement as a non-registered Democrat.

Meanwhile this capped of what had to be a great week for Rochelle Swanson.  Last Friday she made a strong statement at the candidate’s forum that she would not be accepting money from people that she will have negotiate contracts for.

Ms. Swanson responded, “I have great respect for city employees who provide services for us.  I will not be accepting endorsements or bundling of donations any employee groups.”

She went on to explain why, “There’s a couple of reasons why.  I think one is the perception.  While I don’t think that any particular candidate is for sale, or has the anticipation that they’re going to be influenced, perception matters.  I think it is important that that perception be one of trust for the candidates that are up there negotiating contracts.  On the other is the potential, the potential for the entities to expect to have special considerations down the road. “

Ms. Swanson continued, “I think that it’s important because we make tough decisions up there that people know that it’s based on what’s fair and what’s best for the city of Davis.  Not whether or not someone had contributions.  It’s tough, it’s expensive to have a campaign.  I’ve actually had to turn down money from a bargaining unit, they completely respected and understood why because they wanted to know that when I was making decisions for them, should I be elected, it would be what’s fair.”

On Sunday, when Bob Dunning gave his revised odds, he put Rochelle Swanson in second place and Sydney Vergis in third place, which was a switch of positions from what he had initially predicted.  At the time, we wondered what it might be based on, but now that seems perhaps prophetic.

Mr. Dunning wrote this about Ms. Vergis, “at one point, being thought of as Don Saylor’s hand-picked successor was an asset. That’s not the case anymore. Vergis and her talented campaign committee are going to have to come up with some distinguishing issues if she’s to recapture her momentum between now and June 8.”

Later, Ms. Swanson would capture the key endorsements of the Bee and Enterprise, but maybe the biggest news is what she broke on Facebook on Thursday having capture the endorsement the same day of Sue Greenwald and Ruth Asmundson.  As they say, politics makes some strange bedfellows, but for Ms. Swanson that was the shot she might have needed.

I tend to agree with Mr. Dunning’s assessment at the moment, but I sense that the battle for second is extremely close and caution that we just do not know what the vast majority of voters who pay no attention to this stuff are going to do come election day.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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115 thoughts on “Krovoza and Swanson Make It Two for Two, Endorsed by Davis Enterprise”

  1. indigorocks

    oh god, do we really need another nazi right wing republican on our city council? please not rochelle, anybody, everybody please just say no to rochelle swanson. she’s a sarah palin lovin hypocrit.

  2. rusty49

    “oh god, do we really need another nazi right wing republican on our city council?”

    Another? What Republican is on the council now? It’s going to be refreshing to have CHANGE. That’s what it’s all about, right? CHANGE!

    Ha ha ha….get used to it, Republicans are going to dominate the Nov. elections too, they’ve had a taste of what the Democreats have in store for us and America doesn’t like it.

  3. davisite2

    Isn’t Ruth Asmundson’s daughter Sidney Vergis’ campaign manager? It looks like the Davis Establishment has concluded that she is not ready for “prime time”. If Sidney Vergis wants to sit on our Council in the future, she needs to offer her abilities to the community,perhaps through work on our citizan commissions along with public involvement in debating the important issues of the day. Bottom line…. she needs to have the patience to let the Davis voters KNOW who she is before she asks them for their confidence to represent them on the Council.

  4. Matt Rexroad

    David:

    So how come you don’t endorse on here? How can you be critical of the Enterprise for past endorsements when you won’t come out and state your case?

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  5. davisite2

    “Matt: Great question. I can’t wait to read the answer.”

    Ismael, Matt Rexroad and other Vergis supporters appear a bit “hysterical” at Vergis’ apparent political “flame-out”. IMO, David’s observation concerning the Enterprise’s past endorsements are well-recognized as fact and do not seem to be voiced here in the form of some personal criticism.

  6. Ishmael

    davisite2 wrote: “Isn’t Ruth Asmundson’s daughter Sidney Vergis’ campaign manager?”

    Your virulent anti-Vergis position is starting to look like a proxy for the conflict between Sue and Ruth that was inconveniently covered in the Vanguard. What could you possibly have to gain (and this is strictly a rhetorical question) by going down this road?

  7. Ishmael

    The Enterprise writes: “DYSFUNCTIONAL interpersonal dynamics that have characterized the council in recent years must become a thing of the past. Our elected leaders must work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. They must listen to community members, city staff and each other – and they must lead us into a future where tough decisions are made collaboratively.”

    Unfortunately, this election cycle will only get us halfway there.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    indigo: Swanson is not a right wing republican and she is nothing like Sarah Palin. Why don’t you educate yourself rather than jumping to conclusions based on one very small and incomplete piece of information.

  9. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Must be killing you avatar that no one is buying it, not even the Enterprise.[/i]

    I like Vergis better than Swanson, and I’m not “no one”. I think that Swanson wouldn’t be so bad for the most part. I even agree with her on some of the things that she suggests that she’s against, such as too many city commissions. The problem is that if the stadium is the type of thing that she’s for, then it doesn’t look good to me. The stadium has been bad for the school district, and as far as I can tell Swanson still feels victorious about the stadium.

    The district acted as if it could afford the stadium, that it just didn’t have equally important things to spend the money on. Moreover, one of the main arguments for the stadium was safety. But if that was the purpose, then the stadium has caused the problem that it was supposed to prevent. A football player was paralyzed on the field. Projects that really could improve safety (such as better traffic separation for pedestrians and bicyclists) have not even been considered.

    It would be unfair for me to be too anti-Swanson, though, because I think that she knows how to disagree with people. I don’t think that she would set out to work against the rest of the city council and the city staff, as Greenwald and Heystek have been doing. That is also a reason that I tend to like Vergis. Good relations with city staff are important when budgets are cut, and I think that Vergis (and Krovoza) are the best antidote to the war-on-city-staff politics lately.

    But again, if it is to be someone who wants to cut taxes, I’d much rather have it be an honest, friendly Republican than a combative, disingenuous “progressive”.

    [i]The Vanguard is precluded from endorsing candidates.[/i]

    By who? Because whoever it is seems doesn’t seem to care about the spirit of such a rule, only the letter of it.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    “By who? Because whoever it is seems doesn’t seem to care about the spirit of such a rule, only the letter of it. “

    Please explain that?

  11. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Swanson is not a right wing republican and she is nothing like Sarah Palin.[/i]

    I agree that she doesn’t sound right wing and I wouldn’t say that she is like Sarah Palin. But she did say on her web page that she likes McCain/Palin. There must be some basis for her thinking. Was it about tax cuts? “Real America”? She has a fairly corporate career — she is in the wireless industry.

    It is true that we are going on incomplete information, made more incomplete by the fact that I can no longer find the McCain/Palin button on her LinkedIn page. You who supposedly aren’t endorsing any candidates published Anthony Eggers’ salary at the drop of a hat, yet you seem remarkably incurious about Rochelle Swanson’s basic political philosophy.

  12. David M. Greenwald

    She has explained it to me a number of times, but since you bring up a good point, I’m scheduled to interview her tomorrow and will ask her to explain her political philosophy. From what I’ve seen at 8 candidates forums, she seems like a moderate Republican/ perhaps independent. Sarah Palin not only has a political philosophy which is knee-jerk anti-government and anti-intellectual, but she has a lack of knowledge about complex issues to go along with it. I have found Rochelle a good and quick study, knowledgeable on the issues, I don’t see her as knee jerk anti-government or anti-intellectual. I agree with her on some things, disagree with her on others.

    You brought up Eggers, I found that whole deal distasteful. If he couldn’t give his name, he shouldn’t have been in the picture. Period. Unfortunately, from the last campaign and this one, I see that a bit representative of how Vergis operates.

    I’ve been critical at times of each of the candidates, I think that’s part of voter education.

  13. David M. Greenwald

    Non-profit status precludes us from endorsing or opposing candidates for elective office. It does not preclude us from educating the voters on issues or the operations of government.

  14. davisite2

    “What could you possibly have to gain (and this is strictly a rhetorical question) by going down this road?:”

    Ismael … interesting that you pose this as a “rhetorical question”, apparently having no interest in a reply. I gain nothing from “going down this road” since I have already concluded that Vergis has not demonstrated the qualities that I require for my vote. Ruth Asmundon’s daughter being Vergis’ campaign manager(I do not know if, in fact, she still holds that position) is a piece of information that the readers can consider in weighing Ruth Asmundson’s dramatic pulling of her political coat-tails out from under Vergis.

  15. Greg Kuperberg

    On the whole I agree, she’s probably a moderate Republican. But there are two other sides to this: First, that endorsing McCain/Palin can mean any of several things, but it can only be so moderate. Second, that it really seems to be true that the “progressive” movement in Davis is increasingly Republican. To be sure, there are certain issues remaining for the movement to show its liberal credentials, but most of those issues lie outside of the city limits.

  16. Ishmael

    davisite2 wrote: “I gain nothing from “going down this road” since I have already concluded that Vergis …”

    Except a continuation of the culture of polarization. Why poison the well with this kind of low ball politics?

  17. rusty49

    If Davisite doesn’t like Vergis for city council he/she’s allowed her opinion and can voice it how he/she sees fit just as all you Vergis lovers can voice your opinions also. Quit trying to tell someone how they can express themselves.

  18. Ishmael

    rusty49: I disagree with you as well, but I’m not in your face because you’re not a troll trying to perpetuate the dysfunctional politics this city has become famous for. FWIW I’m not voting for Vergis.

  19. Rich Rifkin

    My expectation is that Vergis will win a seat on the council this time. This is the order of finish I expect:

    1. Krovoza
    2. Vergis
    3. Swanson
    4. Watts*
    5. Li*

    I am not sure why Vergis has had so much trouble winning newspaper endorsements, this time. (No one at The Enterprise asked me my opinion on the matter.) However, I would guess that her association with the firefighters from her last campaign and the reality that fiscally irresponsible labor contracts have harmed the City of Davis is hurting her with those endorsers. Yet I don’t really think they matter that much by themselves. I wish it were not the case, but I don’t think many marginal voters will hold it against her that she appeared to be a shill for the firefighters two years ago.

    Vergis has plenty of key endorsements** from almost all of the mainstream Democratic Party activists and from the developers and their associates. She is, despite lacking firefighter funds, well funded. Her name is now very well known. Her lawn signs are everywhere and very familiar. Like many winning candidates, I think she will convert her losss two years ago into a victory the second time around. (FWIW, the majority of people now on the council lost the first time they ran.)

    By contrast, Rochelle has fewer key endorsements.*** And her name is less well known than Vergis’s. And because she is running in her first campaign, I think she will lose out to Vergis by a few hundred votes.

    *I think Watts will gain some votes from student voters; and that will be enough, in all likelihood, to allow him to edge out Li, who I don’t think has a natural base in the Davis voters. Li has much better name recognition, just by virtue of having been around town much longer. But I think most people who know Jon by name are the type of voters who will use their two votes on more standard candidates, like Krovoza, Swanson and Vergis.

  20. Rich Rifkin

    ** Delaine Eastin, Former California Superintendent of Public Instruction
    Helen Thomson, Yolo County Supervisor
    Mike McGowan, Yolo County Supervisor
    Matt Rexroad, Yolo County Supervisor
    Betsy Marchand, former Yolo County Supervisor
    Cass Sylvia, Yolo County Public Guardian
    Don Saylor, Mayor Pro Tem Davis City Council
    Stephen Souza, Davis City Councilmember
    Mike Corbett, Former Davis Mayor
    Maynard Skinner , Former Davis Mayor
    Jerry Kaneko, Former City Councilmember
    Ted Puntillo, Former City Councilmember
    Barry Melton, Yolo County Public Defender (retired)
    Herb Bauer, Yolo County Health Director (retired)
    Mark Braly, Chair, Planning Commission
    Anna Choudhuri, Planning Commission
    Terry Whittier, Planning Commission
    Mike Levy, Planning Commission
    Sheryl Patterson, Former Planning Commissioner
    Jan Bridge, Former Davis School Board Member, Davis Senior Citizens Commission
    Marty West, Former Davis School Board Member
    B.J. Kline, Former Davis School Board Member
    Calvin Handy, Former UC Davis Police Chief
    Jeremy Brooks, 2009 Chair, Davis Chamber of Commerce
    Dan Fenocchio, Chair, Safety and Parking Advisory Commission
    Vanessa Robinson, Chair, Davis Social Services Commission
    Justin Kudo, Vice Chair, Human Relations Commission
    John Pamperin, Human Relations Commission
    Elisa Levy, former Human Relations Commission
    Mark Lubell, Davis Natural Resources Commission
    John Mott Smith, Vice Chair, Davis Climate Action Team
    Mark Rutheiser, Davis Climate Action Team
    Jim Cramer, Davis Climate Action Team
    Laura Westrup, Chair, Davis Tree Commission
    David Robinson, Davis Tree Commission
    George & Hilla Rooks, Davis Tree Commission
    Mike Ozonoff, Davis Tree Commission
    Steven Worker, Davis City – Student Liaison Commission
    Don Palm, Finance and Budget Commission
    Dick Dorf, Former Chair, Business and Economic Development Commission
    David Robert, Business and Economic Development Commission
    Owen Jackman, California Democratic Party, Region 3 Director
    Ryan Loney, Vice Chair, Yolo County Democratic Central Committee
    Arun Sen, President, Davis Democratic Club
    Betty Woo, Board Member, Davis Democratic Club
    Cailey McElhinney, California Young Democrats North State Regional Director
    Kingsley Melton, Chair, Yolo County Young Democrats
    Dr. Andy Frank, Father of the Plug-in Hybrid
    Kristin Stoneking, Davis 2009 Civil Rights Advocacy Award
    Jay Gerber, Davis Citizen of the Year
    Judith Moores, Davis Citizen of the Year
    Lea Rosenberg, Davis Citizen of the Year
    Judy Wydick, Davis Citizen of the Year
    Teresa Kaneko, 2009 Weir-Williamson award recipient
    Hamza El-Nakhal, former Human Relations Commissioner
    Yolo County Young Democrats
    Rental Housing Association
    Yolo County Democratic Central Committee
    Sacramento Central Labor Council AFL-CIO
    Greg Kuperberg

    ***Delaine Eastin – Former California Superintendent of Public Instruction
    Cass Sylvia – Yolo County Public Guardian
    Jim Provenza – Yolo County Supervisor
    Matt Rexroad – Yolo County Supervisor
    Ruth Asmundson – Mayor, City of Davis
    Don Saylor – Mayor Pro Tem, City of Davis
    Sue Greenwald – Councilmember, City of Davis
    Tim Taylor – President, School Board
    Gina Daleiden – Davis School Board Trustee
    Richard Harris – Davis School Board Trustee
    Sheila Allen – Davis School Board Trustee
    James Hammond – Superintendent DJUSD
    Jerry Adler – Former Mayor, City of Davis
    Bill Kopper – Former Mayor, City of Davis
    Ann Evans – Former Mayor, City of Davis
    Ted Puntillo – Former Mayor, City of Davis
    Mike Harrington – Former Council Member, City of Davis

  21. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]I am not sure why Vergis has had so much trouble winning newspaper endorsements, this time.[/i]

    There are several factors at play here. One is that both newspapers would probably view the stadium as a tangible achievement for the community, and not as a white elephant as I see it. Another is that both newspapers are studiously centrist, so a moderate Republican businesswoman would have a certain appeal. A third is that Swanson is older than Vergis, possibly in the most likely age range for a city council, and could be perceived as more measured in her thinking. (Which is a point that David harped on when he accidentally called her “Miss” Vergis. Good thing he didn’t accidentally call her “babe”. And good thing that he doesn’t endorse candidates; otherwise we might think that he’s partisan.)

    A common intersection all three is that Swanson has lived here a long time and thus has “roots” in the community. That last point is what the Bee said matters the most, and maybe it’s the key to their preference.

    I personally think that all of these are reasonable considerations, but the big difference for me in the opposite direction is the stadium. For his part, Don Saylor endorsed all three of Krovoza, Swanson, and Vergis, and that seems fair enough.

  22. neighbor

    Just a clarification. This phrase: Ms. Swanson was not eligible for an endorsement as a non-registered Democrat makes it sound like Rochelle is a Democrat that just hasn’t registered. I believe she was a registered Republican who recently switched to Independent. Correct?

  23. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”I personally think that all of these are reasonable considerations, but the big difference for me in the opposite direction is the stadium.”[/i]

    Have the two candidates you have formally endorsed, Krovoza and Vergis, indicated their views on the high school football facilities one way or the other? If not, and you are basing your opinion on that — “the big difference for me” — your dislike of Swanson over this one issue is peculiar. I should add that every individual voter has every right to decide whom to vote for or against on whatever basis he chooses. But I would guess, in this case, that both Vergis and Krovoza, favored the football facilities project. (I personally was neutral on it. I think, insofar as it consumed limited facilities funds, there may have been higher priorities for those funds.)

  24. Rich Rifkin

    I know that Swanson is more clearly associated with the football facilities by way of her work for the B&W Foundation. Nonetheless, it seems as if your anger is by the policy decision the Board of Education made. As such, if Krovoza or Vergis, your candidates, feel the same way about the Board’s decision that Swanson feels, it seems odd to hold that especially against Swanson.

  25. Sue Greenwald

    I have talked at length with Rochelle Swanson, Joe Krovoso, and Sydney Vergis. All three reached out to me and were very pleasant, friendly and respectful.

    This is the polar opposite of my personal experience with Saylor, Souza and Asmundson when I was an incumbent and they were first running for council. The latter three never reached out to me as candidates, and were quite cold and occasionally hostile during the campaign.

    It says something to me when people have a hostile attitude toward their potential colleagues out of the starting gate. (And yes, I did try hard to be open and friendly with them).

    So, I think it will be quite lovely to work with Rochelle, Joe or Sydney.

    That said, Rochelle Swanson and Joe Krovozo expressed far better grasp of the non-partisan, local issues that they will face as council members, from my perspective. I can see that they will both be very independent, which I think is healthy.

    Rochelle has demonstrated that she is a very hard worker. She is quite intelligent, and has deep roots in the community, so I think she has a good chance of winning a seat.

    She had already reached out for advice to the top University water/wastewater experts before I first talked with her.
    She is the only candidate to take the trouble come down to the chambers and sit through the entire council meetings in order to get up to speed in case she wins.

    Rochelle and I did not talk about congressional or presidential candidates; we talked about potholes, budget, and planning issues.

    Jim Provenza and I are lifelong Democrats who served on the Yolo County Democratic Central committee for years before we ran for our non-partisan offices. We are supporting Rochelle. Ruth Asmundson and Don Saylor were never active in the Democratic party when they first ran and, unlike Rochelle, Ruth Asmundson was a registered Republican. Yet the many of local Democratic establishment figures supported Asmundson and Saylor, and not Jim Provenza or myself.

    Clearly, there is a lot more than partisan politics going on here. It seems a bit hypocritical to me to focus on the partisan politics. Davis City Council positions have not, historically, launched Republicans forward to statewide political careers, to say the least.

    If Rochelle is on the council, it means that people with Democratic party affiliation will control 80% of the council seats. Since far more than 20% of Davis residents are either Republicans or independents, it seems okay by me to have one thoughtful, intelligent Independent serve on this non-partisan body.

  26. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]But I would guess, in this case, that both Vergis and Krovoza, favored the football facilities project.[/i]

    I can’t speak for them, but they struck me as neutral on the stadium. I actually got reconnected with Krovoza in the period when the stadium was approved, and his interest in the discussions that I attended was entirely about bicycles. You could argue that if the stadium helps with the bicycle situation at the high school, then he’s for the stadium. That’s a very different stance from Swanson’s and I’m completely fine with it.

    [i]I know that Swanson is more clearly associated with the football facilities by way of her work for the B&W Foundation. Nonetheless, it seems as if your anger is by the policy decision the Board of Education made.[/i]

    You’re completely right that the school board and superintendent deserves blame for spending millions of dollars on the stadium, when they could have spent some or all of that money on other facilities. But that doesn’t mean that the issue is now divorced from Swanson. On her own campaign page, she says that the stadium is the biggest “classroom” in Davis. Again, as if it’s a crowning achievement for the school district and for her. Of course the problem is, if the stadium is the biggest “classroom” in Davis, what about all of the other classrooms?

  27. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]It seems okay by me to have one thoughtful, intelligent Independent serve on this non-partisan body.[/i]

    Besides, Republicans are naturally inclined to agree with you about the union contracts. I don’t know about Rochelle Swanson in particular, but if it were Newt Gringrich (say), it would fit like a glove.

  28. Sue Greenwald

    Rich Rifkin:

    On the endorsement issue, Sydney Vergis’s list of the standard establishment names does not mean a whole lot. Many candidates in the past have lost with those endorsements, and many have won without them.

    Since both Vergis as Swanson are unknown, I think the key is that Rochelle is showing greater breadth of endorsements, crossing more local factions.

  29. Rich Rifkin

    I’m willing to wager a large Peet’s house coffee ($1.95) with the first person (going by his/her own, real name) willing to bet that Vergis does not win. I am 59.643% confident she finishes in second place or better.

  30. Greg Kuperberg

    Someone mentioned in passing that Rochelle Swanson also supports Meg Whitman in the Republican primary for governor. It would be interesting to know if it’s true. Here is a quote from Whitman regarding unions from her ad ([url]http://www.megwhitman.com/media/video/1651/[/url]): “Our next governor must be tough enough to stand up to the unions and the politicians they control.”

    So my question is, is there any difference at all between this Republican stance at the state level and the “progressive” stance at the local level? It’s all well and good to cross local factions, but it’s an easy victory when there isn’t really a line to cross.

  31. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”I’d take that bet, Rich, but I prefer Common Grounds.”[/i]

    Okay, Don. How about this: I Vergis finishes 3rd or worse, I buy you your coffee of choice at Common Grounds (up to $5). If Vergis finishes 2nd or better, you buy me a large ($1.95) house coffee at Peet’s?

    If I lose, I’ll meet you there when you like, or, if it’s more convenient for you, I’ll buy your coffee to go at Common Grounds and bring it by Redwood Barn when you want it.

    P.S. I am not endorsing Vergis (or any other candidate). I am just expecting she will finish 1st or 2nd and not 3rd or worse.

    P.P.S. I would not bet on Watts finishing 4th (as I predict above). I am really unsure about the 4th/5th finish, but guessing that Watts will get some student and ACLU votes.

  32. Don Shor

    It’s a deal. I’m only about 51% confident of Swanson’s victory, but that’s enough of a margin for me to risk the cost of a cup of coffee!

  33. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]Besides, Republicans are naturally inclined to agree with you about the union contracts. I don’t know about Rochelle Swanson in particular, but if it were Newt Gringrich (say), it would fit like a glove– Greg Kuperberg[/quote]Greg Kuperberg: Half the time you accuse me of being a “radical”, and half the time you accuse me of being a “conservative”.

    Personally, have always stayed away from using the word “Progressive” in Davis politics. I have used the words “grass roots” — which I am sure you will find equally annoying –- for the very reason that the “non-establishment” faction in Davis politics has always been a coalition of people with a broad range of opinions.

    To me, “grass-roots” means less beholden to support organized interests.

    Personally, I am liberal in some respects and conservative in others, on an issue by issue basis. For example, I believe in a stong social security and medicare system. I believe in generous health benefits and defined retirement benefits, but think the public sector retirement age should have been readjusted upwards along with social security, rather than downwards, and I think the benefits formula should not have been enhanced in the 1990’s and 2000’s and that employees should make reasonable employee contributions.

    I have been consistently more in favor of a flatter pay structure than the council majority, which is one of my more liberal views. I have been more outspoken on the anti-war issue in my private life. I tend toward supporting sit/lie ordinances — ala Gavin Newsom — to control panhandling, which is one of my more conservative views. I am favor of very slow growth, which you think is conservative but which I think is neutral on the liberal/conservative scale (having lived most of my life in built-out cities that had no growth, and still experienced wide cyclical swings in housing prices and still attracted top new talent).

    Davis has always had a non-establishment faction which has been focussed on slow growth and on progressive planning, i.e., planning which emphasises the avoidance of freeway malls in favor of a strong downtown and neighborhood shopping centers, and on bicycle and pedestrian-oriented planning.

    In recent years, the progressive planning aspects have slowly become more embraced by the establishment faction, which is a wonderful thing in my view.

  34. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Half the time you accuse me of being a “radical”, and half the time you accuse me of being a “conservative”.[/i]

    You might think of the political spectrum as a line with a liberal end and a conservative end. The joke among mathematicians is that it is actually a circle, because the infinitely liberal limit and the infinitely conservative limit are actually the same point at infinity. You could call it the limit of infinite populism or the limit of infinite radicalism, that can be reached from either the liberal or conservative direction.

    I think that that’s about right, and it actually is consistent.

    Anyway, as I was saying, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman wants to stick it to the public sector unions, and so do you. She would certainly agree that the question is who the unions have “bought and paid for”. (But to be fair, that phrase locally came from David Greenwald.)

  35. Don Shor

    “The joke among mathematicians is that it is actually a circle, because the infinitely liberal limit and the infinitely conservative limit are actually the same point at infinity.”

    Interesting. That was exactly the point made by my high school civics teacher.

    I think that nearly every local politician in Davis would be a moderate- to liberal Democrat if you apply any test of standard state or national issues. Lois Wolk, Don Saylor, and Sue Greenwald would probably vote in a similar fashion on most social, environmental, and even fiscal issues.
    It is mostly on local growth issues that they have differed over the years; hence the term “developer Democrat.”
    I do think that the fiscal crisis facing all of California’s cities and counties is changing how local politicians view budget issues. I don’t remember budget concerns ever being a factor in Davis council races in the past. I also can’t recall a race before where most of the candidates were from outside the usual coalitions. We really don’t know what we are getting this time, so we just parse their words, assess their personalities, and hope for the best.

  36. Greg Kuperberg

    Don, the difference is that we mathematicians have taken the trouble to rigorously define ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_projective_line[/url]) the geometric model, moreover with a Wikipedia page to show for it. 🙂

    [i]I don’t remember budget concerns ever being a factor in Davis council races in the past.[/i]

    As much as I think that Rich and others are way too dogmatic about these budget issues, he and I would probably agree this much: The real decisions behind the municipal budget crises have been brewing for a long time. There was very little political opposition locally or statewide when 3 at 50 was legislated 10 years ago, and that was a mistake. So I would say that now we’re spending a lot of time crying over spilt milk.

    I would likewise say that one reason that we don’t know what we’re getting this time is that it doesn’t matter as much as one might think. The city council doesn’t have all that much leverage over salaries. The pivotal decisions on compensation and bargaining rights were made at the state level. The real issue is how the city uses the staff that it has. I certainly don’t think that it’s a good use of their time to berate them all day for their fiscal sins.

  37. J.R.

    “You might think of the political spectrum as a line with a liberal end and a conservative end. The joke among mathematicians is that it is actually a circle, because the infinitely liberal limit and the infinitely conservative limit are actually the same point at infinity. You could call it the limit of infinite populism or the limit of infinite radicalism, that can be reached from either the liberal or conservative direction. “

    In other words Sue, Greg seems to be saying that you are where Nazis meet Stalinists.

  38. westof113

    I couldn’t possibly trust the analytical capabilities or thought processes of anyone who actually voted for Palin, especially considering her running-mate’s age. Case Closed! Krovoso and Vergis it is!

  39. Siegel

    WEstof: Do local issues matter to you? Because for me, if we were voting for Assembly, party would matter. But at the local level, there are other issues that are far more important.

  40. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”I have talked at length with Rochelle Swanson, Joe [b]Krovoso[/b], and Sydney Vergis.” … “Case Closed! [b]Krovoso[/b] and Vergis it is!”[/i]

    I don’t care if anyone mistakenly misspells my name. I am often mistaken for him ([url]http://www.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2008/apr/Cal Ripkenlg.jpg[/url]). However, for the record, your favorite candidate is Joe [b]Krovoza,[/b] not [i]Krovoso,[/i] though I’m sure he is used to that error.

  41. J.R.

    “I couldn’t possibly trust the analytical capabilities or thought processes of anyone who actually voted for Palin”

    I know just what you mean.
    I feel exactly the same way about Biden.

  42. davisite2

    I also do not thinks that the political Establishment endorsements will carry the day for Vergis. Davis local politics is personal. Ruth Asmundson’s strong support for Vergis was enough to have her loyal voters/lifelong Davis friends vote for Vergis to give her a 3rd place in her losing run for Council. Ruth does not support Vergis in this election and is now supporting Rochelle who also, like Ruth, is a long-time Davis resident who has raised a family here and has a level of “maturity” that is usually essential for a Council seat(Lamar being the only special case that I can recall). This is probably a big plus for Ruth’s voting base. Comparing Vergis to Swanson, one has to conclude that Vergis is the one who has more likely been courted and “seduced” by the “usual suspects” to run for Council,suggesting that she is their choice to be next in line to climb the Davis political ladder to higher office.

  43. davisite2

    Am interesting question to ponder… Can a Vergis victory be a replay of the Council election that saw Susie Boyd get the most votes and become Mayro pro tem? Susie Boyd was the only candidate in that election who was opposed to Measure J. Syndey Vergis is clearly recognized, in spite of her protestations, as opposed to the Measure J concept and its renewal in Measure R. I do not think that a replay is likely. As I remember it,(Rich Rifkin can supply the details), the candidate field in that election was larger and the final tally gave each candidate a sizable % which allowed Suzie Boyd’s anti-Measure J vote to carry the day. I do not think that this will happen this time,i.e., Li and Watts will be “left in the dust”. The 25% vote yes on P recently was also decidely smaller than the 40% that voted against creating Measure J and who most likely voted for Suzie Boyd.

  44. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Wait a minute…Don Saylor has endorsed Krovoza, Vergis, and Swanson?!?[/i]

    That’s right. I certainly don’t speak for Don Saylor. But if I were to hazard a guess from talking to the guy, he might think that there are two kinds of candidates, reasonable and unreasonable, and that he’s happy to endorse anyone who he thinks is reasonable.

    [i]Is he planning to vote for all three?[/i]

    Of course he can’t, and it’s also not the same question. But after he steps down, if the third one of these candidates took his place, then again, maybe he simply thinks that all three are reasonable.

  45. rusty49

    “I couldn’t possibly trust the analytical capabilities or thought processes of anyone who actually voted for Palin”

    “I know just what you mean.
    I feel exactly the same way about Biden.”

    J.R. you said it so right, it’s hard for these lefties to admit what a joke Biden is.

  46. Ishmael

    Sue Greenwald wrote:[quote]I have talked at length with Rochelle Swanson, Joe Krovoso, and Sydney Vergis. All three reached out to me and were very pleasant, friendly and respectful.

    This is the polar opposite of my personal experience with Saylor, Souza and Asmundson when I was an incumbent and they were first running for council. The latter three never reached out to me as candidates, and were quite cold and occasionally hostile during the campaign.

    It says something to me when people have a hostile attitude toward their potential colleagues out of the starting gate. (And yes, I did try hard to be open and friendly with them).

    So, I think it will be quite lovely to work with Rochelle, Joe or Sydney.

    That said, Rochelle Swanson and Joe Krovozo expressed far better grasp of the non-partisan, local issues that they will face as council members, from my perspective. I can see that they will both be very independent, which I think is healthy.[/quote]Let’s deconstruct these comments:

    1) Don and Steve are jerks that ignored her as well as rebuffed her attempts to be friendly when they were running for the CC.

    2) She fails to see the profound irony in her statement that it says something about a person when they “… have a hostile attitude toward their potential colleagues out of the starting gate.”

    3) She thinks Sydney, unlike Joe and Rochelle, is clueless about the issues that will be important. Codewords – better grasp.

    4) She thinks Joe and Rochelle, unlike Sydney, are not already bought and paid for. Codeword – independent.

    So much for new beginnings and the spirit of collegiality on the next CC, especially if Sydney wins or is appointed to replace Don.

    IMO, we are going to have to endure two more years of, to quote the Enterprise, “DYSFUNCTIONAL interpersonal dynamics that have characterized the council in recent years.”

  47. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty: I don’t think Biden is a joke so much as a loose cannon who doesn’t seem to be able to contain what he says. In my old days when I used to work in DC, he was well respected on both sides of the aisle.

    Ishmael: You forgot to mention the part about those three trying to deny Sue the mayorship. That’s kind of a key event that you just kind of missed.

  48. Greg Kuperberg

    I agree with Don; it would have been fairer and more polite just to let Sue speak for herself.

    It is true that the city council has been dysfunctional, but I expect it to get a lot better no matter which two of Krovoza, Swanson, and Vergis are elected. Look carefully at the confrontational scenes that were posted to YouTube. On many of these occasions, Lamar Heystek voted to keep the discussion going.

  49. rusty49

    “Rusty: I don’t think Biden is a joke so much as a loose cannon who doesn’t seem to be able to contain what he says.”

    So let me see if I’ve got this right, Biden just makes stupid statements but it’s not his fault because he can’t seem to contain himself. But when Palin makes stupid statements it’s not because she can’t contain herself, it’s because she’s stupid. Believe me, I’m no Palin supporter and I pray she doesn’t get the Republican nod but the onesidedness of you lefties is hillarious.

  50. David M. Greenwald

    You really want to get into this? Biden is an intelligent man who makes dumb statements, he knows the issue and policy as well as anyone. Palin didn’t appear to have even given many of the issues much thought before she was picked to be VP candidate. She didn’t have a grasp of basic issues or policies. And the worst part is that she didn’t appear to improve during or even after the campaign. This is not a partisan issue. There are plenty of Republicans whom I disagree with that I think are very intelligent and plenty of Democrats that I don’t like and don’t think are too bright.

  51. rusty49

    You mean like Biden leaning down and telling the nation “this is a big f’ing deal” on national TV as the president is signing the healthcare bill. That’s an intelligent man allright, he was so intelligent he didn’t realize all those microphones might actually be turned on.

  52. rusty49

    “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.” –Joe Biden, apparently unaware that FDR wasn’t president when the stock market crashed in 1929 and that only experimental TV sets were in use at that time, interview with Katie Couric, Sept. 22, 2008

  53. David M. Greenwald

    You mean you think intelligent people never say things they shouldn’t? come on. To me there is a difference between the person who says things they shouldn’t and a person who lacks the very basic understanding of policy positions that Palin showed. She was frightening. I’m no fan of Bush’s intellect, but he had much greater grasp of the issues than Palin did.

  54. rusty49

    “Stand up, Chuck, let ’em see ya.” –-Joe Biden, to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair, Columbia, Missouri, Sept. 12, 2008

  55. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty, you’re not going to convince me by showing all the dumb quotes, because doesn’t address the core issue, that he has a good grasp of policy positions, better than most in Washington.

  56. rusty49

    “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent…. I’m not joking.” –Joe Biden, in a private remark to an Indian-American man caught on C-SPAN, June, 2006

  57. rusty49

    “His mom lived in Long Island for ten years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she’s- wait- your mom’s still- your mom’s still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul.” –Joe Biden, on the mother of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, who is very much alive, Washington, D.C., March 17, 2010

  58. rusty49

    “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” –Joe Biden, referring to Barack Obama at the beginning of the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Jan. 31, 2007

  59. rusty49

    “I guess we’re done with this discussion. Moderator, please delete the off-topic posts, that was my fault.”

    Then you better delete about half of this blog.

  60. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]You forgot to mention the part about those three trying to deny Sue the mayorship.[/i]

    This was discussed as a rumor on the Davis Vanguard four years ago, but I did not find a clear explanation of what anyone actually did.

  61. Matt Williams

    Greg Kuperberg said . . .

    “Anyway, as I was saying, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman wants to stick it to the public sector unions, and so do you.
    Greg, what exactly do you mean by “stick it to the public sector unions”? If you compare the proportions of public sector jobs lost vs. private sector jobs lost since the downturn began, I think many would argue that the public sector and its unions have had a much easier ride thus far.

  62. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Greg, what exactly do you mean by “stick it to the public sector unions”?[/i]

    I mean exactly what Sue suggested in her editorial in the Davis Enterprise: That the city negotiator can or should blast through impasse and leave the unions with ultimatums, and then suppose that the unions will live with what the city offers them.

    By the way, when I looked through the archives of the Vanguard for evidence of a conspiracy to prevent Sue from become mayor, I did find two accusations that Don Saylor is anti-union. First, he was anti-union because he didn’t criticize Target. Second, he was anti-union because he didn’t favor the teachers’ union enough when he was on the school board and they came close to going on strike. But I’m sure that Saylor did not simply give the teacher’s union an ultimatum and dare them to go on strike.

  63. David M. Greenwald

    He also opposed a living wage ordinance, in fact, wouldn’t even allow it to be discussed as a staff reviewed item, Mr. heystek had to do it as a member submitted item and Mr. Saylor lambasted him.

  64. Ishmael

    “I don’t know why you felt the need to “deconstruct” Sue’s comments. They were perfectly comprehensible.”

    Don: Two reasons –

    1) IMO the comments were disingenuous – little more than a torturous backhanded swipe at Vergis. It would be just LOVELY to work with Sydney … never mind that she doesn’t have a good grasp of the issues and she’s not independent of her handlers (presumably “developer interests” and unions).

    2) I strongly object to our elected representatives wasting time publicly engaged in this sort of petty politics rather than focusing on “reaching across the aisle” to try and help craft solutions to our historically serious problems with the budget, water, etc.

  65. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”That the city negotiator can or should blast through impasse and leave the unions with ultimatums, and then suppose that the unions will live with what the city offers them.”[/i]

    I don’t know that Sue has ever put it in those terms. However, that is exactly what the Palo Alto City Council did, and, despite union threats, they all amounted to nothing. Greg has no reason to claim anything different would happen in Davis, despite his ad infinitum claims that all hell will break loose if the city council shows any loyalty to fiscal sanity.

  66. Greg Kuperberg

    David: A living wage is not in and of itself a union measure. Unions might generally favor a living wage, but the living wage ordinance had no direct connection to collective bargaining. In any case the Vanguard did not say that Saylor is against a living wage, so let’s be suspicious of his negotiations with the teachers’ union. What you said was that the teachers’ union doesn’t like the way that he negotiated their salaries, so that directly is a black mark on his record.

    Rich: At the moment, I’m not saying that sticking it to unions is good or bad or anything in between. I’m saying is that I use the phrase to mean giving ultimatums to unions. I’m also saying that Republicans often want such tactics.

  67. Rich Rifkin

    DAVISITE: [i]”As I remember it, (Rich Rifkin can supply the details), the candidate field in that election was larger and the final tally gave each candidate a sizable % which allowed Suzie Boyd’s anti-Measure J vote to carry the day.”[/i]

    The field was larger, but it was 7 running for 3 seats, which meant that a higher percentage of the candidates (42.86%) won in that race than can win this time (40.00%). Yet every one of the entrants in that March, 2000 vote got at least 2,000 votes. I am doubtful that will happen in this election. [quote] Peter Carroll 2,055 4.2%
    [b]Mike Harrington 6,953 14.4% [/b]
    Jerry Kaneko 6,082 12.5%
    [b]Sue Greenwald 6,527 13.5% [/b]
    Tansey Thomas 6,157 12.7%
    [b]Susie Boyd 9,015 18.6% [/b]
    Joe Boyd 5,590 11.5%
    Stan Forbes 5,902 12.2% [/quote] [i]”I do not think that this will happen this time,i.e., Li and Watts will be “left in the dust”. The 25% vote yes on P recently was also decidely smaller than the 40% that voted against creating Measure J and who most likely voted for Suzie Boyd.”[/i]

    The No on J vote was actually 46.3%: [quote]YES 10,386 53.6%
    NO 8,971 46.3% [/quote] But it is true that the No on J vote was very close to the Susie Boyd vote total. I don’t doubt your conclusion that a lot of Boyd voters were also No on J voters. (I think back in 2000, more UCD students were actively opposed to J than any students will be this time, because the student housing crunch is actually less bad right now.)

    Yet in this election, my guess is the No on R only gets about 25%. Those among them who are ideological voters — which I think is not the way most people in Davis vote on council races — will probably vote for Vergis, given her association with the “developer Democrats” and to some extent with “the developers.”

  68. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”At the moment, I’m not saying that sticking it to unions is good or bad or anything in between.”[/i]

    At the moment … LOL … LOL … LOL.

  69. Rich Rifkin

    By the way, I have been very consistent as to my position on the unions*: I believe the unions have no responsibility to the taxpayers. They ought to ask for an arm and a leg from the city council. They ought to ask for as much vacation time and holiday time as they can get for their members. They ought to ask for high pensions, luxurious benefits, and high salaries. If they think calling a strike is in the best interest of their members, they ought to call a strike. (I doubt it is in their members best interests; and of course is illegal in the case of police and fire.) I might not like what the fire union has done. But I don’t hold it against them or any other union.

    My beef is with the people who were hired by the taxpayers to represent their best interests and negotiate on the behalf of the taxpayers and the ordinary citizens who rely on city services. It is very clear to me that we have hired people who don’t have the best interests of the taxpayers at heart.

    Greg has claimed ad infinitum that the contracts represent market wages. LOL. LOL. LOL.

    *By unions here, I include the negotiators for all of the employee associations, as well as the actual unions.

  70. Matt Williams

    Greg Kuperberg said . . .

    I mean exactly what Sue suggested in her editorial in the Davis Enterprise: That the city negotiator can or should blast through impasse and leave the unions with ultimatums, and then suppose that the unions will live with what the city offers them.

    Isn’t that exactly what has been going on in the private sector since this downturn began? Why should the public sector be playing by a different set of rules?

  71. Greg Kuperberg

    [i](I think back in 2000, more UCD students were actively opposed to J than any students will be this time, because the student housing crunch is actually less bad right now.)[/i]

    Actually, Rich, the main question is how many students can be bothered to worry about Davis politics. I can tell you that many of my students are too busy to care. Yes, they would prefer more housing in Davis. But they figure that there are entrenched interests in the city, generally older people than they are, who either care about students or don’t care about students, and they can’t really change things. In other words, most students know how to be cynical.

    In regard to Measure J vs R, many people, both students and not, perceived that there was a real debate the first time. But now people think that the debate is over and it’s a waste of time to suppose otherwise.

    In a related trend, the most recent state survey says that the population of Davis went, and some policy expert or other conjectured an interesting new reason. Namely, between the economy and the fee hikes, students can less afford high rents, so the they are doubling and tripling up more when they rent apartments. That increases the population of Davis even when nothing gets built.

    Another trend that I suspect is taking place is that more houses in Davis are rented to students instead of occupied by their owners. On my street, there seems to be more than before. You can consider what that means for the school system if the trend is real.

  72. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Isn’t that exactly what has been going on in the private sector since this downturn began?[/i]

    Matt, most of the private sector is not unionized. But if you do look at private sector unions, no, I don’t think that most of them have been stuck with ultimatums, I think that there has usually been give and take. Private employers would prefer not to arm unions with the right to strike.

    In fact, there was an article a few months ago in the Times that at least nationally (don’t know about in California), average wages are no longer falling for people who have jobs, even though the unemployment rate is still very high.

  73. Matt Williams


    Greg Kuperberg said . . .

    “Rich: At the moment, I’m not saying that sticking it to unions is good or bad or anything in between. I’m saying is that I use the phrase to mean giving ultimatums to unions. I’m also saying that Republicans often want such tactics.”

    I call BS. You have very consciously chosen the words “sticking it to” with all their associated meaning. You could have just as easily used other less inflammatory words.

  74. Matt Williams

    Greg, why look only at private sector unions? Are you insensitive to all the non-union private sector workers who have received pink slips? Losing your job is just as traumatic regardless of union status.

    With that said, are you arguing that the percentage of private sector unionized workers who have lost their jobs is the same as the percentage of public sector unionized workers? Or alternatively, have seen their compensation packages and benefits reduced? If so, why are you arguing that?

  75. David M. Greenwald

    I guess I’m still stuck about two blocks prior to this discussion with Greg.

    First, does Greg believe that there is no looming problem aside from the current economic and budget problems with salaries and pensions?

    And second, if he does believe there is a problem, what is his solution?

  76. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Are you insensitive to all the non-union private sector workers who have received pink slips?[/i]

    Matt, neither Sue Greenwald nor I were talking about pink slips. Typically an employer can lay off workers any time without permission from its unions. The question is how to negotiate wage concessions from unions. The method that Sue Greenwald suggested in her editorial in the Enterprise is to ignore everything that the unions say and leave them with a “last, best offer”. In other words, her point is that the city can give each union an ultimatum. If you could always do this, then it would mean that it hardly matters whether the workers are unionized. If you can make unions irrelevant with ultimatums, then it makes complete sense to call it sticking it to the unions.

    [i]First, does Greg believe that there is no looming problem aside from the current economic and budget problems with salaries and pensions?[/i]

    There are problems that you certainly could call “looming”. However, there is a basic structural fact: If most cities across California are left with any remotely functional level of government, then it can only be so difficult for Davis to wade through its financial problems. That’s because public safety duties in Davis are unusually easy and property values are fairly good. It is therefore histrionic and spoiled to resort to warnings of financial catastrophe.

    Moreover, if those warnings are an excuse to issue ultimatums to unions, then they are a code for destroying basic labor rights. Now, I personally don’t care much whether unions are strong or weak, but I don’t believe that Davis can destroy labor rights all by itself.

  77. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]So I want to know what precludes you from endorsing candidates.[/i]

    Certainly if David doesn’t explain it, it comes across as just a pretense.

    In other news, I saw in the Enterprise today what they like about Rochelle Swanson. They are impressed with the stadium, which they called “beautiful”. The Enterprise didn’t think about other ways that the school district could have spent its facilities money. They are impressed when a public agency gathers a lot of money into one place and builds something beautiful. If the concern is to solve the city’s budget problems, then this is not a very promising start.

  78. Ishmael

    “I don’t know why you felt the need to “deconstruct” Sue’s comments. They were perfectly comprehensible.”

    And I don’t know why YOU felt the need to take a personal shot at me and then “disappear” my reply to you.

  79. Matt Williams

    Greg Kuperberg said . . .

    “Matt, neither Sue Greenwald nor I were talking about pink slips. Typically an employer can lay off workers any time without permission from its unions. The question is how to negotiate wage concessions from unions. The method that Sue Greenwald suggested in her editorial in the Enterprise is to ignore everything that the unions say and leave them with a “last, best offer”. In other words, her point is that the city can give each union an ultimatum. If you could always do this, then it would mean that it hardly matters whether the workers are unionized. If you can make unions irrelevant with ultimatums, then it makes complete sense to call it sticking it to the unions.”

    Greg, that is an obtuse differentiation. The bottom-line objective is to reduce the payroll budget by an amount sufficient to bring the Budget into better balance. Pain is going to be distributed to City employees regardless of whether the payroll reductions are in the form of reduced rates or reduced headcount or a combination of both. Further, union leadership will not be doing its job if it isn’t aware of both (and reduced benefits as well).

    In your quest to make your specific point you have lost perspective on the whole picture. For instance, if more union jobs can be preserved by negotiating a reate reduction and/or benefits reductions, will the union memebership as a whole be better off or worse off?

  80. Ishmael

    “I don’t know why you felt the need to “deconstruct” Sue’s comments. They were perfectly comprehensible.”

    Don: And I don’t know why YOU felt the need to take a personal shot at me and then “disappear” my responses to you. They were completely in-bounds.

    If you want to hide behind your censorship power, then please have the integrity to delete your comment as well.

  81. David M. Greenwald

    Ishmael, I removed your most recent comment, i think you can figure out why. Come on, focus on the issues. That’s all we’re asking. I don’t care which side you come down on, just keep it clean.

  82. Greg Kuperberg

    Matt, I have most certainly not lost sight of any big picture. I understand full well that the city should try to save money in its payroll through labor negotiations. I have no problem with that and it is exactly the approach of city management and the city council majority.

    What Sue Greenwald said in an editorial to the Davis Enterprise ([url]http://search.davisenterprise.com/display.php?id=63517[/url]) is that “city employee negotiations have failed us”. That was in the title of her editorial. And in the editorial itself, she explained very clearly that the city doesn’t really have to negotiate, it can actually just hand ultimatums to the unions. She said:
    [quote]We do not have binding arbitration, and current contracts do not have to be extended. If negotiations fail, a mediation process would follow impasse. If the mediation fails, we may set compensation at our last, best offer. The mediation process takes a few weeks.[/quote]
    My statement that started this branch of the discussion is that Sue Greenwald wants to stick it to the unions. I didn’t make any statement that city workers should be coddled, or that the city budget doesn’t have problems, or anything like that. What I said and meant all along is that Sue wants to throw the unions’ offers out the window if she doesn’t like them and just dictate terms. That is exactly what she argued in the Davis Enterprise, as quoted. And it’s a completely reasonable interpretation of the phrase “sticking it to the unions”.

    I am aware of Rich’s example: A city, Palo Alto, scored with an ultimatum to a union, SEIU. It true that I don’t think that it can work that way every time, but at the moment, that’s beside the point. Whether it works or doesn’t work, the philosophy is handing ultimatums to unions is as anti-union as it gets. If you could always hand ultimatums to unions, there would be no reason to organize unions. In the context of city contracts, Newt Gingrich is no more anti-union than Sue Greenwald.

  83. Ishmael

    DG: Thanks. Yours @ 9:28 am as well please (along with this request). I am keeping it clean and, whether you realize it or not, trying to support your blog.

  84. David M. Greenwald

    “There are problems that you certainly could call “looming”. However, there is a basic structural fact: If most cities across California are left with any remotely functional level of government, then it can only be so difficult for Davis to wade through its financial problems. That’s because public safety duties in Davis are unusually easy and property values are fairly good. It is therefore histrionic and spoiled to resort to warnings of financial catastrophe.”

    I think you leap your logic here. After all, Vallejo did happen. There will be likely other Vallejo’s. Davis has some advantages, but also some key disadvantages in this. We have a general fund right now of somewhere around $36 million, by my calculations we will be paying nearly a third of that to pensions and retirement health this year, and we need to increase our expenditures by about four million total in order to fully fund our health liabilities, meanwhile by 2015, our pensions will double. That doesn’t seem sustainable. We had a budget process that failed to address in a meaningful way either of those issues. Is Davis alone here? No. Does that mean other cities will collapse first? Yes. Does that mean Davis will not collapse, because other have? No.

    “Moreover, if those warnings are an excuse to issue ultimatums to unions, then they are a code for destroying basic labor rights. Now, I personally don’t care much whether unions are strong or weak, but I don’t believe that Davis can destroy labor rights all by itself.”

    I have no desire to issue ultimatums, save one, that we cannot continue to do business as we have and the next contract needs to put us on the road to fixing what is wrong with our system. How we get there should be a product of the collective bargaining process. If the unions refuse to go there however, it is they not us that are to blame. More on this perhaps tomorrow.

  85. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Does that mean other cities will collapse first? Yes.[/i]

    So many other cities would collapse first that you might as well say that California will have fallen into the ocean. Sure, Davis needs to wade through its short term and long term budget problems. Sure, there need to be labor concessions. But there has been way too much Chicken Little in this discussion. It’s embarrassing, and it also doesn’t save money.

    [i]I have no desire to issue ultimatums[/i]

    That’s nonsense. If you had no desire to issue ultimatums, you wouldn’t be against the renewal of Measure Q.

  86. David M. Greenwald

    You really didn’t address the points Greg. You talk in abstract terms, I just gave you concrete numbers, now figure out where the money is going to come from to pay our obligations.

  87. Rich Rifkin

    [b]BICYCLE NOTE:[/b] Just got home from watching 9.4 seconds of the Tour of California in Davis. I love bikes, bike races, bike riding, etc. I admire the talent and effort of the great riders. I have witnessed a few seconds of the Tour every year since it started. But as a live spectator sport, a bicycle road race is about the worst event imaginable. It’s even worse than soccer. A lot of waiting around. Nothing happens. And then the bikes in a big pack ride by. Oh, boy!

    [i]”Actually, Rich, the main question is how many students can be bothered to worry about Davis politics.”[/i]

    I think that is always the case. However, if you are contending that due to their increased financial challenges in this terrible economy, students are even less inclined to think about local politics now than they were in 2000, I think that’s a perfectly reasonable hypothesis.

    [i]”In a related trend, the most recent state survey says that the population of Davis went ______, and some policy expert or other conjectured an interesting new reason.”[/i]

    I think you accidentally left something out of this sentence.

    [i]”… students can less afford high rents, so the they are doubling and tripling up more when they rent apartments.”[/i]

    When I was a student at UCSB (1982-86), the quality of apartments in Davis was very high, while in Isla Vista it was very low. At the same time, a 2-bedroom apartment in Davis went for about $200-250/mo (or at least that is what I recall friends of mine who went to UCD around 1984 paying); while in Isla Vista a 2-bedroom went for $600-$700/mo. My last year in I.V., 6 men crowded into an unfurnished 2-bedroom 1 block from the beach. We threw 3 old mattresses on the floor of each bedroom and slept side by side. (When I was in grad school at UCSD, the university’s own apartments were very nice, but much more expensive than Santa Barbara.)

    [i]”Another trend that I suspect is taking place is that more houses in Davis are rented to students instead of occupied by their owners. On my street, there seems to be more than before.”[/i]

    I live one-half mile from campus. We have a lot of student rentals in our neighborhood. From my experience with them, the maturity, decency and sobriety of today’s UCD students makes them much better neighbors on the whole than the way my generation behaved. We were all drunken louts.

  88. Greg Kuperberg

    David: [i]You talk in abstract terms, I just gave you concrete numbers, now figure out where the money is going to come from to pay our obligations. You’re a mathematician, this ought to be your strength.[/i]

    Fine, I will give you my answer as a professional mathematician. My answer is that you have only presented a grab bag of numbers, and not an adequate description of the budget, for me to decide on my own authority whether the obligations are wonderful or terrible or anything in between. Again, as a professional mathematician, I’m not going to waste my time with half of a question. That may sound like a dodge, but it is an absolutely serious professional answer, and I hope that you understand clearly what has been said.

    Speaking also as a city resident, the budget projections are Paul Navazio’s job. If Navazio can’t be trusted to do that job, he should be replaced by someone who can be trusted. Trumping the city finance director in the arena of public opinion is a terrible idea that really could, if taken far enough, drive the city into bankruptcy.

    Rich: [i]I think you accidentally left something out of this sentence.[/i]

    Yes, thanks. I was saying that the population of Davis has gone up by a fraction, and people think that’s because students are sharing apartments more than before.

    [i]If you are contending that due to their increased financial challenges in this terrible economy, students are even less inclined to think about local politics now than they were in 2000, I think that’s a perfectly reasonable hypothesis.[/i]

    I don’t think that students have lost interest in Davis politics directly because of the economy. It’s true that university fees are their major concern. But they’re also less interested in Davis politics because it’s not very interesting, on the growth question, to talk to a brick wall. In regard to the budget question, they aren’t very bothered by a half percent sales tax — they don’t care whether lunch at Chipotle is $8.66 or $8.70. They also don’t care whether the city budget is balanced, just as the city doesn’t care whether they can find apartments in Davis.

  89. David Suder

    Rich R.: [quote]My beef is with the people who were hired by the taxpayers to represent their best interests and negotiate on the behalf of the taxpayers and the ordinary citizens who rely on city services. It is very clear to me that we have hired people who don’t have the best interests of the taxpayers at heart.
    [/quote]

    Fortunately, Rich, that is (finally) becoming clear to many people. Whether we’ll be able to do anything about it is a whole ‘nother discussion.

    @Greg K, Rich R, Avatar, Rusty49, and Davisite2: How do you guys find the time to post so extensively on this blog? I know that at least some of you have real jobs….

  90. Davis Enophile

    David Suder: “@Greg K, Rich R, Avatar, Rusty49, and Davisite2: How do you guys find the time to post so extensively on this blog? I know that at least some of you have real jobs…. “

    I feel the same way some times. I’ll read a comment and get a notion to respond, then realize there’s something like 48 more comments to read. Then I sort of get bummed, read on, and then forget what got me so excited in the first place.

  91. rusty49

    “@Greg K, Rich R, Avatar, Rusty49, and Davisite2: How do you guys find the time to post so extensively on this blog? I know that at least some of you have real jobs….”

    Mr.Suder,

    I can’t speak for the others but I’m a retired public employee living off of my $100,000/year pension and have all the time in the world to post here.

    Thank you very much for your tax dollars,
    Rust49

  92. indigorocks

    Hah Ha, you tell em Rusty. Good for you. It’s interesting that they are complaining about you not having a real job, but one day they will be living fat off the lard of the tax payers with their huge pension. Flipping hypocrits

  93. David Suder

    Rusty49 said: [quote]
    I can’t speak for the others but I’m a retired public employee living off of my $100,000/year pension and have all the time in the world to post here…Thank you very much for your tax dollars[/quote]

    Must be nice. Enjoy your retirement. You’re welcome for my tax dollars.

    indigo said:[quote]Hah Ha, you tell em Rusty. Good for you. It’s interesting that they are complaining about you not having a real job[/quote]

    Indigo, if you’re referring to my query about where some of you find the time to post so extensively, please realize that I was not “complaining” about anyone’s employment status, just wondering where some people find the time to dominate the comments section of this blog.

    [quote]but one day they will be living fat off the lard of the tax payers with their huge pension.[/quote]

    I’m not sure why you would assume that, indigo. I’m in the private sector. We don’t have pensions.

  94. indigorocks

    David,
    Are you the pot calling the kettle black? Actually that’s not a question. I’m mean obviously you have time in the private sector to post replies to our posts. You have time to post comments accusing us of not have a “real job.”
    Speak for yourself mr. hard working private sector with no time on his hands.

  95. indigorocks

    Actually I think it’s spot on Don. Here’s why. A so called “private sector” logs onto Vanguard, and is clearly against what another user posts, so he logs onto his computer, at his private sector job and attacks another user’s comments by claiming that he needs to “get a job”.
    This is really all related to government, the private sector and we are talking about an upcoming election in Davis.
    Rochelle is clearly a right wing republican that purports to be pro business and anti big government. You know, it would seem that most repubs, libertarians and teabaggers all claim to be against big government, but as history will show, they all vote for huge expansions in government, and tax cuts. Lets look at Arnold. He claimed he was going to “balance the budget”, cut taxes, cut big government and deal with illegal immigration. In fact he’s done absolutely NONE of those things.
    He’s done the opposite. He’s raised taxes for the poor and middle income, he’s cut a little here and here… poor people have been hit the hardest, but all other big government programs such as tax cuts, and tax credits have stayed the same. The rich have benefitted and the poor have suffered.
    This always seems to happen under republicans. Then when democrats come to clean things up, republicans dominate the media and discourse, and somehow get to blame EVERYTHING on the democrats.
    Look at Obama and how they’ve done everything to spin things around. They’ve sabotaged everything the President has tried to do, and then turned around and say that the spending is out of control and there should be a statute of limitations on inheriting this mess.
    Well, if the real democrats would please stand up to the republicans, get out of the way and let us fix what you ppl fucked up, then there will be a statute of limitations, but untill then, it’s gonna be a while untill every day ordinary people can recover from the republican raid on America and freedom.
    AMEN hallelujah

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