Krovoza and Swanson Bring New Energy and Passion to Council


We knew one thing going in, whoever won a seat on the council would have to hit the ground running to focus on the challenges facing the city of Davis – challenges that we pointed out yesterday that will be monumental in shaping the future of this community.

While both candidates had slightly different focuses on Tuesday night and the timing as a little different, both agreed that this would be a new council and while they see challenges ahead, seemed pleased with the results and up to the challenge.

By 9 pm, Joe Krovoza was already addressing his supporters.  If he was not claiming victory, he felt pretty comfortable.  For Rochelle Swanson the celebration waited a bit, until about 12:30 when her lead expanded to 600 votes, by then it seemed highly unlikely that the third place finisher, Sydney Vergis would catch up.  Rochelle Swanson said she felt “very happy” and “relieved.”


The Vanguard spoke to both candidates on Tuesday night or in Rochelle Swanson’s case, early this morning.  They both agreed it was a new council.

“I see it as a very very different council,” said Joe Krovoza, the Mayor-Pro Tem elect who will be sworn in on July 13, “I think this is a council that’s going to be harder to predict but probably more focused on a results and exactly what really connects with the vibe of the community.”

He continued, “I think it’s a very exciting council, I think it’s a council with very deep roots in a lot issues.  I think that Rochelle through all of her volunteerism and me through Charlotte and other ties, really connected into the schools which is very important.  I think my ties to the university are going to be very important.  I think that we’re going to have real opportunity to think about potential appointment and what kind of person we could add to the council that could really bring expertise to us.”

Rochelle Swanson likewise focused on collaboration and working together.  “We both have similar focuses on working with different spheres of influence,” she said.  “Making sure that we’re working with the city, the county, as well as UC Davis.  I think that’s going to be a change in tenor.”


“We’re also very positive, even with all of the negativity that was going on in this campaign.  His campaign both in himself and his leadership was always a beacon of positivity,” she continued,  “I think that’s the personalities we both bring.”

One thing that became very clear during the campaign, was very evident on Tuesday night.  The Swanson campaign celebrated at the Davis Grad with a large and diverse group of people who are often not seen together at the same events.  It became increasingly clear as the campaigns progressed, that the winning campaigns would likely bring together broad cross-sections of the Davis population, while others appeared stuck in old divisions and old coalitions.

“I’m also excited that the two new members of the council really come from very broad community experience,” Joe Krovoza told the Vanguard.  “I think that’s going to serve us well to create a new consensus in the city.”

“[I Took out of the process] that people have more in common that they don’t in Davis” Rochelle Swanson added.  “I think the diversity of my supporters we saw here tonight, really goes to demonstrate that with the right catalyst, that people can look past their differences and really focus on what they have in common.”

Indeed a key component of both was to avoid potential conflicts of being grouped in one group or another.  Both worked hard to maintain their independence although they each did so in their own way. 

“I think because we both have very collaborative personalities, we’ve both worked very hard not to get entrenched with one particular group or another,” Rochelle Swanson said.

It was not all fun and games on Tuesday night. Both candidates realize that there are serious challenges and they will need to address them quickly.

“Once we’re sworn in, at the retreat, I’d like to address changing to multi-year budgets and I want to address having some sort of student representation on the council from UCD,” said Rochelle Swanson sounding off on one of her campaign themes.

“I think moving forward, probably the biggest challenge is going to be making the change over and be able to make some traction as far as the budget when we start doing reviews of all of the departments.  It’s a very big piece of work to do,” she continued.

Joe Krovoza likewise was focused on the council retreat as the first opportunity to begin the path toward change.

“The first thing that I want to focus on is early on when we take over, I understand there’s going to be a retreat and I want to think very very deeply about the process issues of how we run the meetings and how we utilize the commissions and I think the first step is to think about process and community engagement and setting up a kind of a transparent government that’s very open where we stage things out appropriately,” Mr. Krovoza said.

“That’s the first thing I understand that’s probably going to be before me,” he added.  “I think that’s perfect and I look forward to being part of that.”

It is clear that with Joe Krovoza and Rochelle Swanson taking seats on the council and replacing Lamar Heystek and Ruth Asmundson will mark a change.  But what the change means we can only guess at in the coming weeks.  There will be an additional change that will bring immediate challenges and potential controversies when Don Saylor steps down.  That will leave a decision to be made about who becomes Mayor and how will the vacancy on the the city council be filled.

However, it also marks a great opportunity as both Joe Krovoza and Rochelle Swanson remained positive, have good dispositions, and have cast themselves as consensus builders.  Change will come and there will be tough choices ahead, but the personalities entering the council are likely to forge greater amounts of civility as we have to tackle very tough and vexing issues.  How that will play out, may well be the story of the next chapter of the Davis City Council.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

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

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1 Comment

  1. E Roberts Musser

    Congratulations to Joe Krovoza and Rochelle Swanson – and may the games begin!!! There will be tough challenges ahead, and both will need some time to find their way – there is always a learning curve. But I think what Davisites are looking for is REAL LEADERSHIP from the Mayor and City Council, that is in the BEST INTERESTS OF DAVIS. City staff can make suggestions, but ultimately it is the City Council’s final decision to make the right choices for Davis. (The dog should wag the tail, not the other way around.) Open gov’t will go a long way to gaining the trust of citizens in Davis, rather than the norm of hidden agendas being facilitated. I think all citizens are hopeful a new day has dawned on the City Council, but it will take tough and focused leadership to make real and substantive changes to overcome the entrenched interests that currently exist. Good luck…

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