Most Elected Officials Avoiding the Krovoza-Wolk Fray For Now; Council Colleagues Concerned About Impact on Council


When Mayor Joe Krovoza and Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk announced late last week that they would each be seeking the open 4th Assembly District, along with Matt Pope from Napa and Anthony Farrington from Lake County, the question was how this would impact the Davis City Council and who would have the advantage.

As things develop rapidly, the smart money may be on neither candidate.  Within the city of Davis, most elected officials have decided to avoid the fray.  The Vanguard was able to talk to nearly all of the elected officials and could identify just three committed to Dan Wolk.  However, one is his mother, Senator Lois Wolk, and a second is Cass Sylvia, the Public Guardian, married to Craig Reynolds, who is Lois Wolk’s chief of staff and Dan Wolk’s likely campaign consultant.

The third committed elected official is School Board President Sheila Allen.

Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, whose seat the two are seeking and a Davis resident, told the Vanguard in a statement on Wednesday, “It was widely known that Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza was Yamada’s choice to succeed her.  With her candidate out, she’s indicated the race is ‘wide open’ and won’t be making any early endorsements.”

County Supervisor Jim Provenza, widely believed to be the front-runner for the seat, declined to run, which opened the door to a slew of other strong contenders.  Wednesday evening, he told the Vanguard, “Both Dan and Joe are clearly qualified for the position and would be excellent Assembly members. As a person who works with the Legislature every day, I can honestly say that either Joe or Dan, if elected, would immediately enter the top tier of the Legislature in terms of intelligence, know-how, common sense and a commitment to good public policy in California.”

He said, “I am not making an endorsement at this time.”

Davis’ other supervisor, Don Saylor, did not immediately respond to the Vanguard‘s request for comment, but a source close to one of the campaigns indicated that he is not making an early endorsement at this time, either.

County Clerk Freddie Oakley told the Vanguard, “As a general rule, I think it is not the best thing for the woman who counts the votes to have favorites in any race.”

She noted that she had made an exception when Mariko Yamada ran for the Assembly, as they were close personal friends.  At times, she said she felt cornered in an endorsement and has come to regret that decision.

She said, “I’m going to do my level best to stay out of this one.  Best of luck to all of the brave souls who are willing to step up.”

Each of the council colleagues have made the determination to remain above the fray – at least for right now.  They all expressed serious concerns about the impact that the political battle may have on the council’s ability to do business.

Councilmember Rochelle Swanson was elected with Joe Krovoza, but has often collaborated with Dan Wolk on critical issues such as water.  She told the Vanguard that she is staying neutral.

She believes that the council needs to focus on the community first and keep state races out of the community’s chamber.

Councilmember Lucas Frerichs added in a text, “I respect and have admiration for both of my Council colleagues. I’m likely to remain neutral (in the AD 4 race), primarily due to my concern for the continued well-being of intra-council relations.”

Brett Lee, however, did not rule out endorsing one of the two closer to the election, but he said in a text, “While they are both my council colleagues, I do not believe I will endorse one over the other right now.”

That leaves the school board.  Of the school board members, right now, only Sheila Allen has indicated that she will endorse Dan Wolk.

Susan Lovenburg indicated it was too early to make a decision and Gina Daleiden suggested similarly.

The Vanguard did not hear back from either Tim Taylor or Nancy Peterson.

There is no doubt both candidates will have a large amount of support from various former elected officials and a number of higher profile community members, but the lack of willingness of most public officials to endorse at this point is rather telling.

One of the big questions is how does the rest of the district view this.  Another source told the Vanguard that Bill Dodd from the Napa County Board of Supervisors is giving strong consideration to running.  He is a former Republican turned Democrat, and would be the fifth candidate in the increasingly crowded field.

What will all of this mean?  Stay tuned.

—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. Michael Harrington

    Both are pros, and I doubt their overlapping race is going to interfere with the CC job. If there is an issue, they will settle it quietly.

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