Vanguard Analysis: A Look At the Council Election

Election-Night-2010-8.jpg

As I was making my rounds on Tuesday night, mainly trying to cover election night news, a public official who shall remain nameless made a snarky comment to me.  He or she said that the race was basically over when the people who stand against everything flocked to Rochelle Swanson.  He or she said, that he or she could not wait to get to the Graduate to see people like Bill Kopper and Ken Wagstaff along with the more usual suspects supporting Ms. Swanson.

However one defines the “progressive” vote in Davis, it was a group without a natural candidate who could have either stayed home or picked out the best candidate or the least bad candidate.  Joe Krovoza early on seemed the natural fit for this group.  But in the last month or so, it was prominent progressives like Sue Greenwald, Bill Kopper, Ken Wagstaff, Mike Harrington, among many others that probably swung the election toward Rochelle Swanson and away from Sydney Vergis.

I mean, how often do you see Eileen Samitz and John Whitcombe listed on the same donation page?

We saw two very interesting dynamics on Tuesday night.  First, a very low percentage of voters went for a protest or second tiered candidate.  Jon Li received just 1187 votes or 6.1% and Daniel Watts was right behind him at 993 and 5.1%.  Just 11.2 percent of the votes went to the two candidates who decided not to raise or spend money.  Jon Li had run before, in 1996, and ran much stronger in a bigger field as he received 13% of 2000 votes back in 1996.

More interesting is the fact that over 5000 people, 5,164 according to one calculation, voted for just one candidate.

Those quirks aside, I think Rochelle Swanson was able to outpace Sydney Vergis by running a stronger campaign down the stretch and by appealing across the normal lines of division to a greater extent than Sydney Vergis was able to.  Look at endorsements, look at donations, and you see the Rochelle Swanson had people tied in with developer interests along side people who are notable progressives who have probably never supported a single development in their lives.

The mere suggestion that these people had no other place to go is not sufficient an explanation.  As we note, few people chose to vote for the fourth and fifth place candidates, while a large number chose to vote for exactly one candidate.

It is more than that and I think we start by looking at Measure R, the economy, and the real estate market.

In 2000, Measure J was not a foregone conclusion.  In fact, it was quite controversial.  While Susy Boyd turned out to be the only candidate who opposed Measure J, she also ended up finishing first by a landslide, coalescing the entirety of the No on J vote into her camp.

Measure J would in fact prevail at the polls, but it so by a razor thin margin of 53.6% to 46.3%.  A mere 1400 votes separated Yes from No.  In the next decade, Measure J has become institutionalized.  There have been just two Measure J votes, one was defeated by a 60-40 margin and the other by a 75-25 margin.

So when Measure J came up for renewal in the form of Measure R, the voters overwhelmingly supported it to the point where there was only very token opposition by the son of John Whitcombe.  And even then it was limited.  Joe Whitcombe canceled appearances on DCTV on Tuesday night and also at the League of Women Voters forum.  Jerry Adler, the former Mayor, was the No voice.  There was no real money spent to defeat it, despite the fact that all developers hoping for a peripheral project know that in the near future at least, peripheral development is off the table.

That leads us to the second point, while a lot of people have argued a Measure J / R requirement precludes peripheral development, it does not.  Prior to Measure J we saw the voters approve Wildhorse and Mace Ranch projects.  What has happened is that Covell Village was poorly designed and proposed with too few mitigations.   Wildhorse Ranch had its own problems, but the biggest was the real estate market collapse.

Measure P’s failure on election night in November made it clear that the voters of Davis are not interested in expanding Davis boundaries right now.  That may change in five years, or in ten years, but right now that is their will. 

In effect, growth is really off the table right now in Davis.  That was clear in the candidate’s debate for the group Choices For Healthy Aging (CHA).  CHA was the creation of the Covell Village developers who are trying to mobilize seniors by creating an astroturf group that has the appearance of a mass movement behind it, but it is really a front for the developers.  They hosted a forum trying to push their project.  Transparently they asked a series of questions trying to entice the candidates to support their project.  They failed.

With growth off the table, the biggest issue for many is the fiscal health of the city.  There has been increasing concern about the influence of interests such as the firefighters on council decisions, the large salary increase they won in 2005, the huge amounts of money and resources they have pumped into the past three elections, etc.

Firefighter backed candidates had won 8 of the last 10 seats on council until this year.  For the first time however, the firefighters did not endorse a single candidate, did not spend a single dollar, did not walk a single precinct.  Joe Krovoza set the tone early on by stating he would not accept money from any stakeholder in the process – public employees, developers, or those who did business before the city.

Rochelle Swanson may have sealed her victory in early May when on May 7 she announced she would not accept money from city employee groups, over whom any council member would have to vote on contracts and other issues of interest.

Ms. Swanson said, “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.”

That was on May 7, it is no coincidence that after that point in time, major progressives, people who have fought on land use issues for decades came out in favor of a candidate whose signs were planted on the grounds of Tandem Properties Apartments and it was the issue of the budget and the issue of firefighters.  Sue Greenwald would endorse, Lamar Heystek would follow, as would Ken Wagstaff, as would a number of influential progressives who were not elected officials.  There is little doubt that had Ms. Swanson taken firefighter money, none of them would have supported her and she would not have won.

Just as important, on May 8, Sydney Vergis told the Vanguard, “I have not solicited or received endorsement or contributions from any city employee group, including the firefighters, nor do I plan to.”

In my opinion, if that was her decision, that was the biggest mistake she made in the entire election.  Because $4000 and a mailer from the firefighters and a door hanger could have won it for her.  I suspect though that the firefighters decided they were not going to only endorse one candidate, and once Rochelle Swanson unequivocally took herself out of the running that was it.

So at least in 2010, with the economy the way it is, the budget teetering, the issue of firefighter influence at its height, the critical issue that swung the election was probably not taking firefighter money.

Where does Rochelle Swanson stand on land use issues?  My sense is that she is a moderate.  Despite the development support, she opposed both Measure X and Measure P.  Her answers to questions indicate that while she might consider peripheral growth, now is not the time.  But more importantly, peripheral growth is not in the hands of council now, so it really matters much less.  That’s what both Measure J does and what the collapse of the real estate market has done.

As I have argued many times on here, the fiscal situation in the city is approaching critical and Joe Krovoza and Rochelle Swanson will have to be ready to help create major changes in the way we do business.

—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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36 Comments

  1. davisite2

    Sydney Vergis..23.4% of the vote, No on R… 23.3% of the vote. The conclusion is quite obvious.

    This election is one of the few that I have seen in my quarter-century residence in Davis where the “progressive” voting faction in Davis did not politically “eat its own” with internal feuding and personal attacks but rather was able to come together to mutually support a candidate. This election strongly suggests that the Council Majority that has held sway for the past decade represents a minority of about 25% and does not represent the majority will of the Davis electorate. This has been confirmed in the past decade by this Council Majority’s most important decisions being decidedly rejected, by popular vote, by the voters.

  2. davisite2

    While most of the candidate campaign and post-victory rhetoric has been quite predictable, I am most heartened by Mayor-Pro-Tem-elect Krovoza’s statement that his priority will be on PROCESS, strengthening transparency and citizen/commision involvement in Council decision-making.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    “Sydney Vergis..23.4% of the vote, No on R… 23.3% of the vote. The conclusion is quite obvious. “

    The conclusion in this case is that you are comparing apples to oranges since you are comparing the percentage of a two vote field (Vergis) to the percentage of a one vote field (Measure R). In other words, Vergis got probably 35 to 40 percent of the ballots cast, while R got a bit more than half of that.

  4. wdf1

    One thing that may have been a weakness for Vergis (and for Heystek when he ran), but a strength for Swanson and Krovoza, is their perceived investment in Davis. Both Krovoza & Swanson have kids in the Davis schools. These two are the type of folks that you would see in PTA’s, site councils, AYSO, booster organizations, scouts, etc., which develops a kind of cross section of relationships in Davis that can pay off in a a local political framework. A candidate without kids would probably also succeed, but it would take a further investment of time.

  5. Mr.Toad

    Swanson was a better candidate than Vergis but she was also the anti-development choice to Vergis. The progressives went to Swanson, she did not go to the progressives. The progressives will not get everything they want from Swanson and may find themselves at times disappointed with her. Still, I find it humorous that Swanson voted for McCain, and, although it is a non-partisan seat and I don’t know her party identification, she was able to get the progressives to return to their turn of the 20th century Republican progressive era roots. I wonder if they will now try to get the street Eleanor Roosevelt Circle changed to John D. Rockefeller Jr. Drive.

    I do want to take you to task about this constant astroturf accusation. I think you believe it but I think it is incorrect and demeans the heartfelt opinions of people who have a different vision of the future of the community. Although I am not a developer, nor have I ever received one cent from them, I have a completely different view of how the community should look going forward. It could be that, like me, these people understand that there are negative consequences to the lack of development in Davis. Maybe they have kids who can’t afford to buy here and put down roots. Maybe they do want to downsize but stay in the area and think a retirement community is in order. Maybe they are getting financial support from development interests who share a mutual goal for their own purposes. By calling them Astroturf you demean their interests and suggest that they are only in it for money. I find this offensive.

    David, I know you have defended me when people wrongfully accused me of things because I have a different vision of the future of Davis. We often agree to disagree. I think you should offer the same courtesy to people like Marty West and Jan Bridge. They too have a different vision of the future of Davis and they too should be treated with respect for having that vision.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    Toad:

    Good thoughts for discussion. I don’t agree that Swanson did not go to the progressives, she reached out to the progressives, in a way that Vergis either couldn’t or wouldn’t. I agree that at times progressives will not agree with Swanson. That’s almost natural. But as I said in the article, the most important issue for me right now is the budget and I agree with her on the budget and surrounding issues far more than I disagree.

    Are we going back to 20th century roots? I think that’s overanalyzing it. The problem I see is that if you believe things like education, like social services, we can’t deal with those huge issues if we are overcommitted. I’m all for fighting for the little guy, but when we are talking about people making $150,000 I don’t view that in the same way as fighting for people barely making $30,000 or less.

    I don’t have a problem with people who have heartfelt opinions and differ in their vision of our community. The problem with CHA is that it was created by the developers with the specific idea in mind about creating a mass movement to get senior housing in Davis. I have no problem with senior housing, I think it’s an important issue. On the other hand, watching the CHA forum convinced clearly that CHA is about getting a development at Covell Village, not about senior housing and not about senior issues in a broader sense. They showed their hand.

    I don’t have a problem with Marty West and Jan Bridge, in terms of their vision of Davis. I did have a problem with some of the tactics they used in the Vergis campaign and also the circumventing of campaign finance restrictions and their sloppiness with regards to following independent expenditure laws. I may disagree with their vision, but I never once attacked them for that vision, only their tactics.

  7. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”That leads us to the second point, while a lot of people have argued a Measure J / R requirement precludes peripheral development, it does not. Prior to Measure J we saw the voters approve Wildhorse and Mace Ranch* projects. What has happened is that Covell Village was poorly designed and proposed with too few mitigations.”[/i]

    (*Note: The Mace Ranch vote was very different, due to the actions of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, which does not apply in any other subdivision in Davis.)

    Your argument that CV was rejected [i]because[/i] of its design and its mitigations implies that Wild Horse was approved because it had a superior design and better mitigations. Yet in truth, CV was a much more innovative and “sustainable” design. It had two times as much (by percentage) so-called affordable housing; it included 25% “middle-income” units; it had far more other public amenities, open space, parks, greenbelts, ag mitigation, etc; and the “green” building standards were substantially higher.

    I don’t think design standards or mitigations explain the difference in the two votes. I think the most important factors were:

    [b]1a. Pocketbook Conservativism.[/b] As Greg Kuperberg and Bob Dunning have written, many homeowners vote no on new developments because they are acting in their own selfish interests. If more houses flood the market, prices decline. If the supply is restricted, prices stay high. Covell Village was voted on just a few years after other large developments were built. When Wild Horse, Shasta, Northstar and Evergreen were completed and lots of new houses were for sale, home prices in the rest of Davis (in real dollars) declined in value. That reality inspired more pocketbook conservatives to think growth is not good. It also did not help that a huge development in Woodland, just 5-6 miles north, was approved a year before.

    [b]1b. Anti-Growth Conservativism.[/b] Ever since the early 1970s — the Bob Black era — Davis has had a strain of conservativism (which calls itself “Progressive” ironically) that ideologically opposes change and hates growth. At times this faction has been a majority, at others it has waned, but these conservatives are always a substantial voting bloc. Their intention is to “keep Davis Davis.” They HATE Vacaville and Elk Grove and towns of that ilk which have liberal growth policies. They romanticize “open space.” They love the idea that they live near farms. Some of these conservatives are old-timers who have been around as long as I have. However, most of them came to Davis in the 1980s or later. New neighborhoods in Davis are filled with well-to-do conservatives of this ilk. They moved to Davis, liked it as a “small farm town” and decided any more new housing would represent a change for the negative. As such, by the time Wild Horse and Mace Ranch were built out, Davis had filled up with a lot more people attracted to this “small townism” ethic which believes “Davis is big enough” and any bigger it will no longer be the city they like.

  8. Rich Rifkin

    [b]2. Sizism.[/b] Covell Village in area and total housing units was huge. It was roughly the size of Green Meadows + Wild Horse in area; and larger than those two subdivisions in housing units. Even though it was planned to be built out over 10 years (and likely would have taken 15 or more, due to the current housing crash), many voters who are not conservatives (of the Progressive ilk) were scared off by just how large CV was. Most people fear change. But just about everyone fears massive change. A lot of voters thought CV, due to its size, was massive change.

    [b]3. Infrastructuralism.[/b] In part, this was just a variation of NIMBYism. That is, people who live near Pole Line Road or Covell Boulevard were naturally afraid that the impact of 5,000 more people in CV would negatively affect their quality of life as cars poured onto streets near their homes. But the infrastructural impact was also a consideration of people who live in West Davis and Central Davis who drive on Covell Blvd. They didn’t like the idea of thousands of more car trips on a route which they use and (because they came to town) is already overcrowded. Moreover, there were serious doubts about CV’s impact on our urban water supply and our sewage treatment plant.

    [b]4. Firefighterism.[/b] If CV had been approved, it included plans for a fourth fire station (which would have been paid for by the developers, but then represented a big, long-term city expense). I don’t think anyone voted No on Measure X because of the expensive new fire station. But I think some may have been swayed to the No side because all of the negative long-term fiscal impacts it threatened on the City government. That is, the long-term property tax payments would not have been sufficient to cover the huge salaries, benefits and pensions of more City of Davis cops, firefighters, landscapers, thumbwrestlers, planners, engineers and the guys who stand around and chat while others repair clogged storm drains.

    [i]”Wildhorse Ranch had its own problems, but the biggest was the real estate market collapse.”[/i]

    Agreed.

  9. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]The progressives went to Swanson, she did not go to the progressives — Toad[/quote]

    Joe, Rochelle and Syndney all reached out to me early in the campaign. All called and asked to speak with me and wanted to get together. This was very important to me, and was very different from my experiences with Don Saylor, Steve Souza, Ruth Asmundson or Ted Puntillo, none of whom called or approached me when I was an incumbent and they were first running for office. With the latter group of candidates, there was absolutely no attempt made to be friendly or to find common ground. There was nothing but factional hostility from the day one.

    I was grateful to experience more personal friendship and kindness from Joe, Rochelle and Syndney.

  10. westof113

    It’ll be interesting to see if Swanson’s judgement going forward is any better than her judgement in putting Sarah Palin one heartbeat away from the most powerful job on Earth — with an old, not-so-healthy, McCain and with the ‘nuclear trigger’ that comes with the office. Talk about an insane scenario. Wow! It’ll be interesting.

  11. Dr. Wu

    “They HATE Vacaville and Elk Grove and towns of that ilk which have liberal growth policies.”

    A quick poll since this is a blog: Does anyone favor Davis becoming more like Vacaville or Elk Grove?

    Surely the vast majority of Davisites, regardless of their other political views, can agree we prefer not to be Vacaville or Elk Grove. Go ahead and call us what you like. Take your best shot– progressive, NIMBY, elitist, conservative, sizist, frefighterist, whatever, the election results speak for themselves.

    Let us hope that the dark ages of Saylor and co are over and that the new Council will be pragmatic, civil, and general represent what voters want. I don’t expect perfection.

    Let us also hope Saylor cannot do too much damage at the County level.

  12. Ishmael

    Sue Greenwald wrote:
    “Joe, Rochelle and Syndney (sic) all reached out to me early in the campaign. All called and asked to speak with me and wanted to get together. This was very important to me, and was very different from my experiences with Don Saylor, Steve Souza, Ruth Asmundson or Ted Puntillo, none of whom called or approached me when I was an incumbent and they were first running for office. With the latter group of candidates, there was absolutely no attempt made to be friendly or to find common ground. There was nothing but factional hostility from the day one.

    I was grateful to experience more personal friendship and kindness from Joe, Rochelle and Syndney (sic).”

    This statement pretty much sums up what’s wrong with the council. We have an incumbent slamming her colleagues on a public blog, while transparently pandering to the incoming members. Very sad.

    I seriously doubt if Joe and Rochelle are going to respond positively to this type of polarizing discourse.

  13. Siegel

    I don’t see anything particularly wrong with what Sue said. The big four tried to freeze out Sue from the start. They tried to change the rules to prevent her from becoming the mayor in 2006 and then backed off when they realized that the public was not behind them. I think things will change. By January, Ruth and Don will be gone, and that will create a very different dynamic.

  14. Don Shor

    Ishmael, since Brian has replied I am going to leave your post. I don’t know what motivates your animosity to Sue Greenwald. Whenever she posts here, you criticize her for doing so. You need to stop doing that. The Vanguard welcomes participation by public officials. I disagree with your characterizations of her posts, and will simply pull them in the future. If you have questions or comments about moderation decisions, you can contact me at donshor@gmail.com.

  15. Ishmael

    [edit]
    Brian, I am concerned about the need to change the tone on the council. As you know, the enterprise has editorialized on the topic and David Greenwald has done a significant amount of reporting on the issue. IMO, bad behavior by *any* of the council members needs to be called to task, regardless of past history or whether or not it is justified.

  16. Mr.Toad

    Neitherm Elk Grove nor Vacaville have a UC campus. Until they get one comparisons between Davis and those other places fail. A better comparison would be Davis and Irvine.

  17. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”A better comparison would be Davis and Irvine.”[/i]

    Regardless of what’s better or more apt, the conservatives in Davis hold up Vacaville (more often) and Elk Grove (less often) as paradigms of the kind of liberal housing politics they dislike.

    I really don’t have a problem with this conservative ethic. If a person moved to Davis because he liked Davis the way it was when he moved here, then it seems reasonable to want Davis to retain those qualities. And if he thinks building new houses is deleterious to the town model he liked, he should oppose new subdivisions.

    What I object to, however, is the phony farmland preservation argument some conservatives make as a reason to oppose peripheral growth. When Davis does not build houses at Wildhorse Ranch and Covell Village, no farmland is preserved. Instead, the residents who would have lived in those subdivisions will live in tracts in Vacaville or Woodland or West Sacramento, all built on other farmland.

    The other dubious argument against peripheral growth in Davis is that homes north of Covell are now so far from Downtown or the campus that allowing construction in those sites will create more auto trips and hence destroy Mother Earth. Most people who want to live in Davis work in Davis or are retirees. So if you constrain new housing development in Davis, you cause those people to take much longer auto trips to Davis. Yes, a minority of the new residents will work in Sacramento or Woodland or one spouse will commute to work outside of Davis. But on the whole, growth in Davis serves families where at least one adult will work here, a worker who would have to drive 8-20 miles if no homes are available here.

    I grant that there are also some conservatives who favor “infill,” as long as the infill is nowhere near their Davis home.

    All that said, as long as the economy remains as sour as it is, the entire question of growth in Davis is moot.

  18. rusty49

    Rich

    Do you think it’s possible that that both conservatives and liberals would like to keep Davis a nice place to live by limiting growth and sprawl?

  19. Rich Rifkin

    Rusty, no. The people who oppose growth by definition are conservatives*. Liberals by definition embrace change. Growth is change. I’m not saying conservatives are wrong to hold that point of view. It’s a valid point of view. They believe it is against their best interests to have growth. That’s fine. Just don’t tell me that policy preference is EVER motivated by a rational desire to preserve net farmland. Unless they are daft, they understand that “preserving” farmland here means paving over farmland 10-20 miles from here.

    *Davis conservatives, of course, are not Limbaugh conservatives. They are not interested in conserving anything but an imagined idyll of Davis. As it happens, our boreal neighbors had the ideal political name for this posture: Parti progressiste-conservateur du Canada. ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Conservative_Party_of_Canada[/url]) Alas, some years ago that party dropped the Progressive from its title.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    Rich: You’re definition of liberal and conservative is too narrow. It’s not that liberals necessarily embrace change, after all you could argue a conservative wishes to embrace change as well on issues like abortion. However, in that case, conservative positions favor traditional values while liberal positions focus on equal rights for women, empowerment for previously oppressed minorities, etc.

    One big difference is that liberal tend to support policies that utilize government power, whereas conservatives favor markets. In the case of growth, the liberal position is to restrict growth using governmental power to preserve the environment (another liberal value) whereas conservative focus on allowing the market rather than government policies to dictate growth.

  21. rusty49

    I agree with David,

    A conservative would be all for free enterprise and capitalism which would equate to letting developers develope. A liberal , for one thing, might think that more growth would be harmful to the environment.

  22. Rich Rifkin

    RICH: [i]”*Davis conservatives, of course, are not Limbaugh conservatives.”[/i]

    DAVID: [i]”One big difference is that liberal tend to support policies that utilize government power, whereas conservatives favor markets.”[/i]

    David, I think you miss the entire point of my various posts on this topic. I am not talking about the national usages of conservative and liberal. (Those usages flipped, alas, in the early 1900s.)

    I am intentionally using the traditional usages of these terms for the city of Davis. I am fully aware that the Limbaugh-type conservatives are what most people think of today when they hear the words conservative; and say a Barbara Boxer, a Tom Harkin or John Kerry fits the national political term of liberal.

    But that has nothing to do with Davis. In Davis, I am using these terms for exactly what they originally meant: Liberals embrace changes; Conservatives are wary of it or opposed.

    Davis liberals are open to new housing developments, knowing they will change the character of Davis. Conservatives oppose new housing. They don’t want Davis to change. Nothing could be clearer. I think since the ’90s, the conservative bloc in Davis has grown; and that is reflected in the embrace of Measure J/R and the no vote on X.

    FWIW, here are the appropriate dictionary ([url]http://www.thefreedictionary.com/liberal[/url]) definitions: [quote] [i]* liberal[/i] – [b]tolerant of change;[/b] not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition

    [i]* conservative[/i] – [b]resistant to change[b/] [/quote]

  23. Mark West

    Just don’t tell me that policy preference is EVER motivated by a rational desire to preserve net farmland. Unless they are daft, they understand that “preserving” farmland here means paving over farmland 10-20 miles from here.

    Rich: This is simply wrong. The area around Davis is, on the whole, class one farmland. There are a number of areas withing 20-30 miles of Davis that are simply not quality farmland. If constraining development in the Davis periphery pushes development into the hills West of Winters or Vacaville, then there is a net savings of farmland acreage. Smart development includes looking at the quality of the land being built upon.

  24. Dr. Wu

    “Most people who want to live in Davis work in Davis or are retirees.”

    That may be true in some parts of Davis but it is definitely not true in Wildhorse or Mace Ranch. New projects on the periphery, particularly those with easy access to I-80 are teaming with folks who commute to Sacramento. I just spoke to someone yesterday who had a friend who took a (very high paying job) at CALPERS in Sacramento and she told me that her friend is moving to Davis and would not even consider living in Sacramento. I have heard real estate agents refer to Davis as the “Palo Alto of the central valley.”

    So in that sense the “old Davis” has already changed. Maybe people living in other neighborhoods don’t see it as much.

  25. Dr. Wu

    I am glad Sue is reaching out to the new members and that they reached out to her. How can that be bad?

    One of the hallmarks of our old City Council (besides its complete disregard for what most voters want and its fiscal irresponsibility) was its incivility. Our old CC made me ashamed to be a Davisite and I am not interested in yet another discussion of who did what to whom.

    Lets all root for civility on the new CC. We are off to a good start.

  26. David M. Greenwald

    Ishmael: I agree with Don, tone it down on Sue. Whether you have animosity towards her or not, it appears that you do by your constant focus on her. And I agree with Dr. Wu, it’s good that she’s reaching out to the new members and I’m hopeful for a more cordial and productive new council.

  27. Dr. Wu

    A conservative wants to conserve…maybe Ag land, maybe a way of life etc.

    In the nineteenth century the term “liberal” meant something much closer to what we would call a libertarian today.

    Sometimes these terms hide as much as they reveal. For many reasons, most Davis voters do not want to see Davis turn into Elk Grove, Vacaville, Irvine, etc. No doubt people give different reasons for these views and many align themselves with different national political parties, but they agree on Prop J and R.

    AS I said above, I don’t care what you call us…and I am not sure a discussion of semantics is that productive.

  28. Ishmael

    Sue Grneenwald wrote regarding the Mayor Don Saylor and her fellow council member Steve Souza : “…absolutely no attempt made to be friendly or to find common ground. There was nothing but factional hostility from the day one.” Please note that this is the second thread on which she posted this same statement.

    David: How exactly does this language, justified or not, make you “hopeful for a more cordial and productive council?”

  29. David M. Greenwald

    Because by January, Saylor and Asmundson will not be on the council, and already Asmundson has been replaced with someone a good deal more amenable to Sue than Ruth was.

    Also, and as importantly, I suspect a much more moderate council in July, Krovoza and Swanson may not be allies with Sue, but they will be a good deal closer to her than Saylor or Ruth. That lines of division will be less sharp, there will be more focus on creating winning coalitions on a vote by vote basis, that gives everyone an incentive to be more collegial. Whereas on the previous council on the big issues you knew it would be 3-2 and you knew which 3 and which two.

  30. Ishmael

    Dr Wu: I agree with your points about incivility, fiscal irresponsibility, and finger pointing. Wouldn’t you agree, however, that singling out two colleagues for public scorn and two colleagues for public praise is more about factionalization than cordiality and promoting productive teamwork?

  31. davisite2

    “Liberals embrace changes”
    …so, Davis “Liberals” are required to embrace changing what they believe is best for their community because they, by dictionary definition, “embrace change”.

  32. Rich Rifkin

    That’s right, Davisite. If you resent change and you want to conserve things the way they now are or perhaps want to return to a time gone by, you (by definition) are a conservative. Davis has a lot of them.

    A liberal, by contrast, embraces change. He looks forward to seeing new developments and inviting in new people to his community and seeing what they have to contribute. He is not afraid of them or the changes they bring.

  33. rusty49

    Rich,

    Quit name calling these anti-growth liberals by trying to say they’re conservatives. They hate that word, you might as well call them “teabaggers”.

  34. rusty49

    You see if you’re to be labeled a liberal you have to fall in line with every liberal defined issue. You can’t be a liberal on most things then be anti-growth because that automatically makes you a conservative, at least according to Rich. Is this the pro-growth camp’s new campaign motto?

  35. davisite2

    “Is this the pro-growth camp’s new campaign motto?”

    My take on Rich Rifkin’s “riff” here is that what with the next Council looking like it may come to a boring consensus on Davis’ growth issues ,it doesn’t hurt,from an Enterprise Commentary writer’s point-of-view, to try and stir the pot of controversy a bit, a-la his mentor, Bob Dunning. This attack on Davis liberals as frightened people who are not capable of OPEN and THOUGHTFUL consideration is offered here,IMO, simply to stake out a contrary position and generate an argument.

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