Final Financial Disclosure in Council Race Showing Swanson, Krovoza Pulling Away as Vergis Continues to Fade

Sydney-Vergis-150Last week we reported that Sydney Vergis had fallen third in a three person money race.  The final required disclosure was filed on June 3 and trends have continued.  The June 3 filing covers all contributions and expenditures up to June 2.  Between now and the election, every time a campaign committee receives another $1000, they are required to file another Form 460 with the City Clerk’s Office within 24 hours.

In addition, the Vanguard has learned that Marty West and Ruth Asmundson have indeed closed their Independent Expenditure Committee.  No other group has filed for Independent Expenditure Committee status.  That does not preclude them from having an independent expenditure, but it does limit their expenditures to $250 or less.

The big story from this filing is that Sydney Vergis in the last period only raised $300.  From January 1 to June 3, she has raised less than $6000 at $5894.31.  And for the campaign total she is $12,508.  She had by far the least amount of money in all three periods.

Rochelle Swanson raised the most in the final reporting period, bringing in $2840.  That brings her total to $20,437 for the campaign.

Joe Krovoza remains the overall leader, he brought in $1650, which brings his year to date to $17,528.35 and his campaign total to $24,950.

Sydney Vergis received contributions from the following individuals: Gregg Cook, Vic Bucher, Vashek Cervinka, Susan Lovenburg, and Elizabeth Sherwin.

Rochelle Swanson received contributions from the following individuals: Alzada Knickerbocker, Brian Johnson, Dawn Daro, Maynard Skinner, Marcelo Campos, Noreen Mazelis, Emediac Inc, Douglas Hitchcock, Roger Gambatese, John Cron, Maxcomm Technologies, QMR Marketing, Susan Lovenburg, Patricia Penrose, David & Jenna Rodden, Charles Roe, Sandy Whitcombe, David Fisher, Andrew Dowling, Rose Cholewinski, Jean Stephani, William Alger, Joe Whitcombe, Elena Whitcome, Gayle Streng, M Streng, and Bair and Bair Associates.

Joe Krovoza received contributions from the following individuals: Allen Barnes, Addison Covert, John Ferrera, Dick Godsey, Sarah Godsey, Kim Ohlson, Suheil Totah, Bob Lawson, Lori Katsch, Paul Katsch, Petrea Marchand, Ron Cole, Lynn Levendowski, Susan Lovenburg, Charles Tyson, Kathryn Tyson, Phylinda Wallace, Jim Watson, Joy Winckel, and Thomas Welsh.


Basically this is a continuation of previous trends.  The real news here is that Sydney Vergis seems to be having trouble raising money.  She actually raised more money prior to January 1, 2010 than after.  Since the first of the year, she has been out-raised by more than a three-to-one margin by her opponents.  That is stunning.  For the campaign she has raised $8000 less than Rochelle Swanson and Ms. Swanson has only been raising money since March.

If you look at her list of contributions, she has basically the same group of supporters she did in 2008.  She has not expanded her base outside of old, establishment Davis.  She is basically getting support from the developer community and some old establishment Democrats who generally support developer Democrats.

Rochelle Swanson picked up a fair number of developer dollars herself, but she has also picked up a lot of money and endorsements from the progressive community in Davis.  She has a lot of support across the board as does Joe Krovoza who has picked up much in the way of money and support from individuals who are not typically involved in the process.

The developers seem to be, by and large banking on Ms. Vergis and Ms. Swanson to support their interests, but with Rochelle Swanson that is counterbalanced with support from people such as Sue Greenwald, Lamar Heystek, Bill Kopper, Mike Harrington, Dick Livingston, Ken Wagstaff, Pam Nieberg, Eileeen Samitz, and many others.  There is no counterbalance with Ms. Vergis.

Joe Krovoza on the other hand has stuck with his pledge not to take money at all from developers or city employees.

And that factor in and of itself may end up playing a huge role in this race.  Two years ago, the firefighters donated $3800 to Sydney Vergis (and over $4000 to both Don Saylor and Stephen Souza).  In addition they had $8000 in Independent Expenditures.  That $8000 included a mailer that was mailed to Davis voters and a door hanger that they walked door-to-door.  In other words, they gave enough so that the candidates could do their own, plus have a mail and a drop piece showing firefighter support.  That was a huge boost for a relatively unknown candidate in 2008 like Sydney Vergis.

We know in early May, Sydney Vergis issued forth the statement, “I have not solicited or received endorsement or contributions from any city employee group, including the firefighters, nor do I plan to.”

We know that at one point the firefighters sought a second candidate to endorse but apparently could not find a second candidate willing to accept their endorsements.  We have to believe that Ms. Vergis was not the one who chose not to accept money from the firefighters, but rather the firefighters for whatever reason decided that if neither Joe Krovoza or Rochelle Swanson would accept their endorsement and money from them, that they were not going endorse only one candidate.

The other possibility is that Ms. Vergis herself decided that being the only candidate to accept money from the firefighters would be a huge liability and therefore opted not to accept their money. 

We believe the first possibility is more likely as it would have been a huge mistake for the Vergis campaign to turn down those kind of resources.  She could have accepted the money and been the candidate who did so.  She would have taken heat from the Vanguard and other places, but there are still quite a few in town who simply do not know or understand the fiscal impact of the firefighters contract or recognize the problem of taking money from a group over whom you have to negotiate their contract (which will come up during the people elected this year’s term) and over other decisions impacting city finances.

Whoever made the decision, it looks like they probably doomed Sydney Vergis as she simply is not showing the support in the community and from the broad range of the community as the other two.

Nevertheless, there has to be a huge cautionary note here.  It is true that earlier this week we wrote that we predict Joe Krovoza to finish first and Rochelle Swanson to finish second, but the caveat is, that of the three candidates, Sydney Vergis was the best known going in.  And while it is true all evidence indicates she is behind and that she has failed to capitalize on that, the nuance is as follows. 

This is still a low information campaign.  The Davis Enterprise has barely covered the substantial issues of the race.  Bob Dunning yesterday quotes someone saying, “Am I missing something or are the current City Council campaigns pretty much devoid of real substantive issues?”

The problem is that yes they are missing it, because the Enterprise hardly covered the campaign and hardly covered the candidates forums.  There was a lot of focus on the substantial issues in the campaign, it just never got into the paper.

And that is the one real danger, in a low information environment where no one has raised even $25,000, Sydney Vergis had a certain number of votes in the previous election and she has name recognition, and who knows what the vast majority of people who neither read this site nor the Enterprise will end up doing.

Again, if we look at all reasonable indicators of success, we see Sydney Vergis as almost fading down the stretch, but you just never know.  We will have to wait until Tuesday to see if our predictions right now hold.

—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.

Related posts


  1. David M. Greenwald

    It’s indicator in the reverse direction, the ability to raise money or lack thereof may be an indicator of whether the message that a given candidate is conveying is resonating with voters.

  2. Sailer

    I am amazed by the totals for Vergis being only $12,508 since I have seen commercials for her air on several TV channels including CNN and TNT. Is it possible to pay for that much coverage for so little money or is there additional funding that is not being reported being spent on her behalf?

  3. Rich Rifkin

    [quote] [u]Sydney Vergis[/u] received contributions from the following individuals: Gregg Cook, Vic Bucher, Vashek Cervinka, [b]Susan Lovenburg,[/b] and Elizabeth Sherwin.

    [u]Rochelle Swanson[/u] received contributions from the following individuals: Alzada Knickerbocker, … QMR Marketing, [b]Susan Lovenburg,[/b] Patricia Penrose, David & Jenna Rodden, …

    [u]Joe Krovoza[/u] received contributions from the following individuals: Allen Barnes, … Lynn Levendowski, [b]Susan Lovenburg,[/b] Charles Tyson, Kathryn Tyson … [/quote] Two thoughts:

    1. I have heard recently that Susan Lovenburg wants to be appointed to the Saylor seat in January. If so, it looks like she wants the two new members to think favorably toward her; and

    2. I find it troubling how many developers are on that Swanson list. I don’t think accepting that money is quite as unethical as accepting money from city employee groups or from companies which directly do business with the City (such as office supply vendors, landscapers, road builders, etc.). However, the reason developers give money to members of the council is because they want those officials to vote yes on their projects. And such a vote comes with at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

  4. davisite2

    Developer money from developers to Swanson? This can be seen as an initial “teaser” for future critical developer votes which probably will not be come up for the next year or two. We will have to watch closely to see if new Council members bite and take this bait tacitly promising future support for their future political ambitions beyond our Council.

    As for the Susan Lovenburg being appointed to the Council, she is a recognized member of the Saylor/Asmundson(Whitcombe proxy camp) and a vote for her appointment needs to be considered carefully as a measure of the seductive powers of the developer interests.

  5. Siegel

    With Measure J/ R likely safely in place, I’m willing overlook developer interests if the candidate is right on fiscal issue. But Swanson will have to guard carefully against the impulse. But, when people like Eileen, Sue, Pam, Lamar, Ken Wagstaff are supporting her, it’s easier to roll the dice.

    Does anyone know or care to guess why Vergis is so flat right now?

  6. davisite2

    “Does anyone know or care to guess why Vergis is so flat right now”

    Brian…how can I resist such an invitation at speculation!

    When Vergis was “picked” to run for Council, Ruth was still running for reelection and all that Vergis was seen as having to was follow Ruth’s(who was her mentor and who promoted her candidacy both this time and in the last election)lead which almost always,NOT coincidentally. were Saylor’s positions. With Ruth not on the Council and Saylor choosing to remain, at least openly, not involved in our Council elections as he moves on the the BOS, it became evident that Vergis would be “on her own”and that she was not ready for the task of “flying solo” as the proxy for Saylor(Asmundson)/Whitecomb .

  7. hpierce

    I don’t really have “a dog in this fight.” That said, I see folks assuming “patronage” where I don’t really see it. Krovosa seems to be a “lock”… yet many of his positions are outside ‘reality’ (roundabouts in the Core).. Vergis part of a “machine”… I think not…

  8. jrberg

    hpierce – what exactly is wrong with roundabouts as reality? They’re working pretty well on Anderson and Fifth, as well as numerous locations in the UK. Please explain.

  9. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Does anyone know or care to guess why Vergis is so flat right now?”[/i]

    I don’t think Vergis is a particularly good candidate. She has not performed well in the few debates I have seen. However, I would not conclude she is “flat” right now. She might be. I just don’t know.

    I think her fundraising picture might reflect:

    1. Her age. She is still quite young and likely does not have a large Rolodex of contributors of her own yet. Most of her friends are likely under 30 and they too don’t have money or moneyed friends. After she raised as much as she could from people she knew from two years ago (minus the firefighters), she just didn’t have any more contacts to hit up later in the campaign;

    2. Her campaign manager. Maybe her pregnancy left Sydney adrift somewhat; and

    3. Her strategy. Maybe Sydney just felt like once she had raised as much money as she felt was necessary to get her message across and her name out there, she decided to focus her energy on areas other than fundraising. If she had really needed more money later in the campaign, maybe she would have raise more lately.

    I’m not sure what the gauge is which shows her campaign is flat. She probably won’t beat Krovoza. But I still think she stands a chance against Swanson for second. We will know in a few days.

  10. davisite2

    DPD says: “I think those ads are really cheap.”

    No, they are only cheap if you buy time on the weather channel or other marginal audience outlets at late or very early hours. Otherwise, they cost MONEY. Vergis invested in her video performance, “pouring” over planning papers with others standing by in attendance, in an attempt to create an image that we have all learned now cannot be sustained by reality, i.e., citizen forums and interviews. Her campaign handlers rightly concluded that their best hope was to spend their campaign money on this video.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

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