Saylor Not to Seek Assembly Seat

Saylor-swear-inThe Vanguard learned from multiple sources that on Tuesday night former Davis Mayor and County Supervisor Don Saylor has decided not to run for the Assembly District seat currently held by Mariko Yamada, who will be termed out in 2014.

Mariko Yamada, a Democrat, represents the Fourth Assembly District which includes most of Yolo County (except West Sacramento), parts of Eastern Solano County (no longer including Fairfield or Vacaville) including Dixon, Napa, Lake, and Colusa Counties and parts of Sonoma County up to Rohnert Park but not including Sonoma.

Supervisor Saylor announced he would instead run for reelection to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.  He was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2010, after serving just six months as mayor of Davis following his 2008 reelection to the Davis City Council, in which he finished first in a five-person race.

He also served two years on the Davis School Board, before running for the Davis City Council and finishing second to Sue Greenwald in 2004.

Davis has dominated the Assembly seat in recent years with Helen Thomson, Lois Wolk and now Mariko Yamada holding the seat in succession.  With the new configuration of the district, that may well continue.

Tom Hannigan from Solano County held the seat for a number of years prior to Helen Thomson’s 1996 election.

However, the new configuration pushes potential rivals in Vacaville, Fairfield and West Sacramento outside of the district.

One outside possibility is Anthony Farrington, 41, a Lake County Supervisor since 2001, and a graduate of UC Davis with a law degree from Concord Law School.

There are also three possible contenders within the city of Davis.

One of the most likely options is Jim Provenza.  Jim Provenza spent eight years on the Davis School Board before becoming a County Supervisor in 2008, representing the eastern half of the city of Davis.

Supervisor Provenza told the Vanguard recently that he had not made up his mind as of yet.  Supervisor Provenza would perhaps be the odds-on favorite if he announced.  In addition to a strong record of service on the school board and on the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Provenza has strong support among the key unions in the state and he has worked in Sacramento as a lobbyist for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

Another possibility is Mayor Joe Krovoza.  While Mayor Krovoza ran strongly as a Davis City Council candidate and, due to the early departure of Don Saylor, has already served as mayor for nearly two years, he is still in his first term in office.

In addition, his seat is up in 2014, which means that he would not have a free run – he would have to give up his council seat to it.

Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk is also an intriguing possibility.  The upside is his name recognition and strong popularity in the city of Davis, as he finished first in all the city’s precincts last year.

The downside is his age, lack of overall experience, and the fact that he would have to do as Don Saylor did in 2010, serve as Mayor for six months and then resign his seat.  When Don Saylor did that, he was heavily criticized locally for creating the need for an appointment process, which ironically enough led to the appointment of Dan Wolk to the Davis City Council in February 2011.

The advantage that Dan Wolk has, of course, is that his mother is a two-term sitting State Senator who, prior to that, served for six years in the State Assembly, eight years on the Board of Supervisors and is a two-time mayor of Davis.

But the question will be is whether this is Dan Wolk’s time, given not only his own age but the age of his children and the fact that he will have other shots at the Assembly District.

If this all seems very early, in 2008, both West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and then-Supervisor Mariko Yamada had already announced for the seat that would be vacated by Lois Wolk, as she was termed out and ran for the State Senate.

Christopher Cabaldon twice lost out, first in 2002 and then 2008, but cannot run this time, at least for this seat, since West Sacramento is no longer in the same Assembly District.

—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. JustSaying

    Hmmm, I’d say Kravoza chooses the supervisor run option. By then, he’ll surely have realized what a poor-paying, difficult and thankless job that Davis City Council proves to be.

  2. Robb Davis

    Personally, I hope that both Joe and Dan decide to stay on/run for the Davis CC. Making a decision to run for the Assembly would create a distraction for either of them and we really do need them to focus on Davis needs right now. I think they have both climbed up a steep learning curve and I would hate to see that lost. Of course Joe would have to run for CC again next year but that would keep him focused on local needs.

    I don’t really understand how such decisions are made and all the factors involved so I may be out of line to offer this opinion. I just know that these two have a pretty strong grasp on the issues that Davis needs to grapple with just now and it would be helpful to the community if they stayed focused on. They (and the other CC members) have been providing solid leadership and I would like that to continue.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    I just exchanged messages with Anthony Farrington and he has filed the paperwork and is definitely running for Assembly. I’ll try to catch up with him after the water election so we can learn more about him.

  4. Mr.Toad

    Too bad for the 4th A.D. Don would have been a great legislator. At least we will still have him as Supervisor. As much as you have been critical of Saylor he has an understanding of the details governing requires that few locals can match. In the legislature he would have been a master wonk.

  5. Mr.Toad

    There are some good local people who will probably run. The big question is what will Dan Wolk decide? I bet Dan Wolk knows where he can get a deal on some slightly used Wolk for Assembly signs. With the huge victory he garnered in his mayoral election, winning every precinct in Davis, he is the obvious local front runner.

  6. Davis Progressive

    “As much as you have been critical of Saylor he has an understanding of the details governing requires that few locals can match.”

    that’s certainly not my impression of Don Saylor. perhaps you can provide a few examples because to me, watching how the council runs now is night and day from how don saylor ran it.

  7. Mr.Toad

    I don’t underestimate Jim Provenza and I could support either Jim or Dan. All I’m saying is that Dan has the obvious front runner status should he decide to run. I don’t think anyone has ever won every precinct in the city. As for what David calls Dan’s “lack of experience” David clearly misses the mark. Dan Wolk has grown up on politics, currently works for Solano County and serves on the Davis City Council. His mastery of local politics is quite good and he is not afraid to change course as new information arises. He is doing a better job than David acknowledges. He is also a great campaigner as the election results demonstrated.

  8. Davis Progressive

    “He is also a great campaigner as the election results demonstrated. “

    Great campaign? he smiled pretty and tried not to offend anyone. given his obvious advantages, i’m not sure how you can conclude he’s a great campaigner and in fact, joe k nearly matched him without the name advantage.

  9. Mr.Toad

    If you believe that is all Dan did then you weren’t watching closely. Also don’t underestimate the power of retail politics and the skill that Dan demonstrated during the campaign at utilizing his natural abilities at shaking hands and smiling.

  10. davisite2

    Not a surprising decision. Leaving the County Supervisor’s position and going to the Assembly where he would have no direct power/influence over events in the County, with his Woodland-Davis Surface Water project still in limbo, would not be a good “career move”. “Earning his chops” for the support of Tsakopolous and other major “deep-pocket” special interests who will make a killing with this project may be a priority at this time.

  11. Michael Harrington

    If Yes on I goes down, any of the 5 Davis CC members who voted and worked for it are going to be tainted. There is now a large coalition of progressives, human relations and social services advocates, and fiscal conservatives who have worked hard, and are a great team that like to work together. It’s difficult to forgive the mistakes that were made with this water project by those in power who had the same information we had. June 2014 will be here soon.

  12. Davis Progressive

    In 2005 the council by a 4-1 vote supported Covell Village that went down 60-40. What happened to that council? Asmundson became mayor, Saylor mayor, Souza finished second in 2008 and Puntillo retired in 2006. Tainted? Apparently not.

  13. JustSaying

    [quote]“There is now a large coalition of progressives, human relations and social services advocates, and fiscal conservatives who have worked hard, and are a great team that like to work together.”[/quote]Huh? Who?

  14. Rifkin

    I don’t know if Mariko or anyone else being termed out this year has an interest in challenging the constitutionality of the latest term limit law, but it strikes me as a violation of Equal Treatment to have a term limit of just 6 years for Mariko and others elected when she was, but a term limit of 12 years for everyone else, including those first elected in 2010.

  15. Rifkin

    Assuming it is a Davis person who runs, I would think two likely candidates would be Lucas Frerichs and Jim Provenza. Both have strong resumes to win support in the Democratic Party.

    Dan Wolk would also be strong. However, I assume (no one told me this) that Dan might prefer to wait until his mother is termed out of the state senate and then he could run for that seat. Lois’s new senate district is very safe for a Democrat. And then when Garamendi retires, Dan would be well situated to serve in Congress.

    As to Joe Krovoza, he would make an excellent member of the Assembly. He has very strong ethics (unlike Yamada), and Joe has been very good for Davis as mayor. What I don’t know is if the unions (taking a cue from Bobby Weist) would work to keep Joe from winning. I also don’t know if Joe is willing to retire from his UC Davis position, should he win.

  16. Rifkin

    If it’s not a Davis person, I would imagine that the person would come from the Napa area. That area has the largest population base in District 4. I would imagine there are some strong Dems from the city or county of Napa.


  17. Rifkin

    Another interesting question to me is what happens in the new District 7. West Sac is now in that distric.

    Sadly, when Yamada won in 2008, she defeated a much better candidate, Christopher Cabaldon, in the Democratic primary (she was helped by a whisper campaign by the teachers unions which discredited Cabaldon). Cabaldon, hopefully, will now have a chance to win a seat. He’s a smart and talented guy. He’s not a hack, like Yamada.

  18. David M. Greenwald

    Rich: Of the people I have talked to Lucas is the only one who said a definite no at this time. He said he’s only 33, has been on the council seven months, and likes it.

  19. hpierce

    Just my opinion… there is no one one the current council that I would currently consider voting for any higher office. I think 2-3 are “over-reaching” as it is, but I’m very open to see how they do.

  20. Rifkin

    [i]”What were they whispering?”[/i]

    I have been told by a Davis resident, who is well connected in the state Democratic Party, and separately by another person in Davis who is tied into the local Democratic party, that the CTA was spreading the word in 2008 that ‘Cabaldon is anti-education.’

    Because I have no ties to the Democrats (or any other party), I never heard any of that message during the campaign. (I could not vote in that primary, being that I am not a Democrat and it was not an open primary.) The only union message I caught wind of in 2008 was that Cabaldon was overly friendly to big box development, which upset some union retail clerks. (Some on this blog, not union people necessarily, also did not like Cabaldon for being a “developer Democrat,” because he approved a number of real estate developments in his town.)

    However, from what I was told by my two sources in Davis, none of that was the motivatioin for the ‘whispering campaign.’ They said it regarded a charter school in West Sac, which the CTA opposed. I don’t know exactly how Cabaldon, as mayor, would have had any role in that. I never heard or read anything about that issue. As far as I know, it got no play in public in Davis. But, again, I was told that the CTA was involved in letting it be known, from the union perspective, that he was ‘anti-education.’

  21. Mr.Toad

    I believe the story is that Cabaldon was on the pay roll at Ed Voice. An anti-union outfit, funded by Eli Broad and possibly Reed Hastings, the same people who fund Michele Rhee. It was not so much a whisper campaign, although I like the image of the CTA vote whisperers, as much as it was a battle between Broad and CTA. CTA won that race but it looks like the future of education policy in this state will be a contest between the two views exemplified by these two power groups. Broad backed Romero for State Superintendent and lost but put over $100,000 in a legislative race by a guy named Calderone in 2012 who won. Then of course there is Rhee…

  22. wdf1

    Vanguard: [i]One of the most likely options is Jim Provenza.[/i]

    Provenza posted a message on facebook a few days ago saying that he’s not interested in running for Assembly.

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