Election Digest: Sheila Allen Announces on Facebook

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sheila-allenEditor’s Note: This is a new feature we will be utilizing more as the campaign season rolls closer.  It is a collection of smaller announcements and stories from the various campaigns.  We are looking for an intern to run this feature, if you are interested or know someone that is, please contact us.

Sheila Allen Announces Candidacy on Facebook

School Board Member Sheila Allen posted on Facebook last night: “Friends-I am very excited to tell you that I have decided to run for Davis City Council! After 8+ years on the Davis School Board I would like to use my experience to help create a caring and livable community. I love Davis and look forward to working with all of you.”

On Saturday, she told the Vanguard her announcement is scheduled for January 25 at Central Park.

Rochelle Swanson Clarifies Her Position on Sales TaxSwanson-2014

A reader in yesterday’s article posted: “I see in today’s enterprise Rochelle stated that she ‘wants some kind of revenue stream that is predictable and dependable for the city, criticizing the volatility of sales taxes, but not specifying the revenue stream instrument she would like to see.’ Looks like that puts Rochelle firmly in support of another temporary emergency special parcel tax.”

Last night Rochelle Swanson responded to the Vanguard: “I would be open to considering a TEMPORARY sales tax that is no longer than two years on the condition we simultaneously pursue meaningful economic strategies that include increasing high paid jobs that lead to additional secondary and tertiary jobs, manufacturing that encompasses more opportunities for point-if-sale revenue, and includes a distinct successful plan to keep the companies that already provide revenue sources we are at risk of losing now.”

Neustadt-SamSam Neustadt Runs for Yolo County Superintendent of Schools

The following is a press release from the campaign…

Assistant Superintendent Sam Neustadt Announces He Will Run For Yolo County Superintendent Of Schools

WOODLAND, Calif.-January 6, 2014-Assistant Superintendent Sam Neustadt announced he will run for Yolo County Superintendent of Schools in the June 2014 election.

“This is a historic time for California’s public schools.  I will ensure students, teachers, and districts are well supported, while guaranteeing accountability the public requires.  The County Office of Education should be focused on ‘value added’ partnerships with our districts.”

The office of the county superintendent provides fiscal and programmatic oversight for all districts within the county.  The county superintendent is also responsible for educating students at juvenile hall.  Additionally, the Yolo County Superintendent provides program for students with disabilities, students in alternative educational settings, and Head Start Preschool.  Jorge Ayala, the incumbent, is retiring after 16 years.  The June 3, 2014, election is nearing and every vote matters.

Sam Neustadt has been a resident of Yolo County for nearly 20 years.  Sam Neustadt has 28 years of experience teaching and leading California’s public schools.  He has taught every grade K-6, served 10 years as a principal and has served as an assistant superintendent for the past 14 years.  Sam is recognized throughout California and specifically in the California Legislature as an advocate for all students, and students with disabilities specifically.

For more information on Sam’s campaign, please visit www.samneustadt.com.  A campaign kick-off is planned for January 19, 2014, hosted by former State Superintendent Delaine Eastin and Susan Lovenburg, Davis JUSD Board Trustee.

Editor’s note: Jesse Ortiz, who serves on the Yolo County Board of Education, has not formally announced, but has indicated he will be running as well.

Update (6:30 am): Received this message from Jesse Ortiz’s campaign.

2014 is here and it brings an exciting new time. Today I officially announce my candidacy for Yolo County Superintendent of Schools. My 31 years in K-18 education experience along with over 30 years of Leadership and Service to Yolo County has proven my commitment and passion to our communities.

The following are Strategic Focus areas that, if elected as the next Yolo County Superintendent of Schools, I commit to as priorities by working collaboratively with educational, city and countywide leaders:

  • Preparing Children for Success: Pre-School For All
  • Third Grade Reading Ready
  • Parent to School Engagement
  • College Educational Partnerships

On Monday, February 3, will be my campaign kickoff in Woodland. Please visit jesseortiz.org for further information about my candidacy and events. I hope in the coming months, I can count on your support.

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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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46 thoughts on “Election Digest: Sheila Allen Announces on Facebook”

  1. Frankly

    Rochelle Swanson: “I would be open to considering a TEMPORARY sales tax that is no longer than two years on the condition we simultaneously pursue meaningful economic strategies that include increasing high paid jobs that lead to additional secondary and tertiary jobs, manufacturing that encompasses more opportunities for point-if-sale revenue, and includes a distinct successful plan to keep the companies that already provide revenue sources we are at risk of losing now.”

    Vote for Rochelle!

    We need a comparable statement from each of the candidates.

    1. Rich Rifkin

      “I would be open to considering a TEMPORARY sales tax that is no longer than two years on the condition …”

      What strikes me about Rochelle’s statement is how misleading it is. The implication is that those conditions will solve our city’s unsustainable finances. She entirely ignores the heart of the problem: that the labor contracts have still not been fixed, and until they are fixed, Davis will be in peril.

      The fix is quite simple: the growth in employee compensation has to be tied to the growth in revenues. The reason the city projects a $30 million* shortfall in the general fund over the next 5 years is largely because employee compensation costs are going to blow up, as medical benefits get more and more expensive, salaries rise and pension funding costs go up. (*$2 million of that will go to added water expenses.)

      I hope Rochelle and her colleagues are smart enough to understand that they have not fixed the underlying problem. They will point to the fact that as pension funding and medical costs go up dramatically, employees will pay for some of that increase. However, that is clearly not enough. The city cannot stay in business if it does not cap the growth in compensation. Instead, this city council just gave a pay raise to all of its employees. And it is now asking taxpayers in Davis who make less money to pay for that raise, and for the next raise which is written into the contracts.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “What strikes me about Rochelle’s statement is how misleading it is. The implication is that those conditions will solve our city’s unsustainable finances.”

        i don’t read it that way. the idea of temporary implies she knows it’s a bandaid.

        1. Matt Williams

          It can only be a bandaid if we actually take steps to generate incremental revenue sources. Otherwise, the bandaid will need to become a permanently implated prosthetic.

          1. Rich Rifkin

            Matt, it really doesn’t solve the matter to just increase revenue sources. What that will do, ceteris paribus, is allow for more rapid increases in compensation costs.

            Again, no one has listened to the advice in my columns for the last 10 years in this regard: employee compensation costs cannot be allowed to grow faster than revenues grow.

            If you have new and better sources of revenue, then, yes, employee comp costs can sustainably grow at a slightly higher rate due to those revenues. But you will never solve the real problem until you write labor contracts which limit the growth in comp to the growth in revenues. That is simple math. Alas, no one we have put in charge seems to be able to add and subtract.

          2. Matt Williams

            Rich, you will be getting an e-mail from me later tonight. I agree with you 100%. Compensation growth control ABSOLUTELY needs to be part of the total multi-faceted plan.

      2. Matt Williams

        Rich, I might be inclined to agree with the point you make if I believed that Rochelle saw these as mutually exclusive efforts. However, I do not think she does feel that these are mutually exclusive at all. I believe her position would be that we have to make meaningful progress on both fronts if we are going to get out of the wilderness we are currently in.

        We may not have fixed the underlying problem. We clearly need to do more, but you have to agree that the Council has made demonstrative and meaningful progress in addressing this issue, and that Rochelle has been central to that progress. If I were to be worried about any Council member or members backsliding on compensation and staffing, Rochelle would not be one I would worry about.

      3. Frankly

        “What strikes me about Rochelle’s statement is how misleading it is. The implication is that those conditions will solve our city’s unsustainable finances.”

        I don’t see this as misleading. It is just incomplete. She may very well be holding the assumption that she will continue to support work to “fix” the labor contracts. But I agree that it is important with respect to our fiscal sustainability.

        I think we should ask that question directly.

        1. iPad Guy

          Frankly, how do you show quotes in italic type? I liked this feature in the old Vanguard site. (Thought I’d asked this before, but I must have forgotten to post.)

          1. iPad Guy

            Thanks, Rich. I’ll be a real programmer.

            PS–Also, appreciate you rejoining The Vanguard responders. I always appreciate the verifiable research you add to the discussions. And, the Davis history to bring to this site.

    2. Matt Williams

      Frankly, unless our community finds incremental sources of revenue such as from the approval and construction of an Innovation Park that specifically supports the retention of UCD Technology Transfer businesses that have been spawned out of UCD’s core competencies in research, then there will be no choice other than to make permanent the incremental taxes we need to close the $14 million per year deficit we currently face.

      Both Robb Davis and Rochelle have publicly stated that we, as a community, have to proactively explore incremental revenue opportunities that are consistent with the core competencies of both UCD and the City.

      1. Frankly

        Matt, I don’t disagree.

        For years I went to the budget committee of the bank I worked for to encourage them to dedicate money to update our disaster recovery plan. Every year they said no and directed funds to more exciting projects. A sister bank had a fire and the resulting business outage motivated the budget committee to dedicate some funds to the disaster recovery plan. Then we had the floods of 86, and we had to evacuate the building for two days. That year I had my disaster recovery unit fully-funded.

        The point here is that sometimes you cannot get enough attention unless there is real and tangible pain delivered. So we have to be careful with temporary taxes to ease our pain, because it will cause many of us to stop giving attention to the root cause… and cause us to dismiss the need for economic development. Then the tax increases will become permanent.

        I agree that tax increases much be temporary, done at the same time as is economic development plans are approved… and be a condition of the economic development plans, and lastly, they must only fund the immediate need to keep the lights on.

    3. Alan Miller

      Really? A self-proclaimed fiscal conservative not pointing out that there is no such thing as a temporary tax?

      I can’t see . . . where is everybody?????

  2. J.R.

    What has Sheila Allen accomplished in her years on the school board? I don’t know a single significant accomplishment that she led. Perhaps I missed a wave of achievements? Or is she another incompetent politician of the sort that has brought so many California cities to near ruin?

    1. wdf1

      With the rest of the school board and administrative staff, she helped to draft and pass district budgets that addressed deficits for about the past 6 years. Given that the city is dealing with a similar situation, that experience might be relevant.

        1. wdf1

          And by furloughs at all levels, salary cuts at all levels, increasing class sizes, laying off staff at all levels, closing a school, spending reserves… Budgeting is not a one-dimensional process.

          It also requires the ability to meet with all parties and interests to discuss their issues and concerns.

        1. wdf1

          I’d point out that Swanson also endorsed at least one of the school parcel taxes during her time as a city council member, along with all of her colleagues:

          Davis Enterprise, 2/5/2012: Measure C supporters raise $21K, bring in endorsements

          It has been pretty typical that most or all of the sitting city council members have endorsed recent local school parcel taxes. All this really points out is that city politics brings out a slightly different set of priorities and responses than does DJUSD politics.

          It’s interesting to see certain kinds of reflexive comparisons and implications made in the comments relative to Sheila Allen’s candidacy and what DJUSD positions and policies might indicate about city council positions and policies.

          Interesting assumptions, all probably false:

          1. DTA support is like support from the firefighters: Alan Fernandes is the only recent candidate for school board to receive DTA endorsement, and he lost. DTA endorsement for him did not seem to pull teachers toward him in any substantial numbers. There were plenty of teachers who endorsed his successful rivals, Nancy Peterson and Susan Lovenburg.

          2. DJUSD balanced its budget largely by school parcel taxes: See my comment above, January 13, 11:14 a.m. School parcel taxes played a role, but not the only one. School board budget discussions have centered around restoring class sizes closer to pre-recession levels. Larger class sizes were a casualty of school budget cuts. School staffing and services are still lower than they were pre-recession. One piece of visual evidence I see it some with trash not being picked up or classrooms vacuumed as frequently. It’s still less likely to reach secretarial staff as quickly when calling school office (likelier to roll over to voice mail, get a delay in response). Valley Oak Elementary is still closed, and is not going to be re-opened in the near future. Some district employees are hoping to have salary/wages/compensation restored. These are all examples of the effects of other budget balancing strategies that took place in addition to the school parcel taxes.

          3. Past support for school parcel taxes = those same folks will propose and support a city parcel tax: The politics, funding mechanisms, and priorities are different in the city and school district. You will have to ask each candidate for his/her individual perspective.

      1. Rich Rifkin

        The scary thing is that Sheila Allen has a record of being endorsed by the very unions she was elected to negotiate against as a representative of the people. It’s also notable that all of the past city council members who put Davis in the fiscal mess we are now in have endorsed her. And it seems extremely unlikely that Ms. Allen will run her campaign on the idea that Davis needs to stop increasing its employee compensation costs (which is the heart of our city’s problem).

        That said, you never know what she will do once she is elected, if she gets there. Lamar Heystek, for example, had a much more pro-union background before he was elected, and on the Council, Lamar (along with Sue Greenwald) was far more responsible than anyone in the majority during his time there.

        As to her dealings on the school board, I would have been impressed much more favorably had Ms. Allen and her colleagues worked harder to save the jobs of all those Davis teachers who were laid off during the recession. Instead, the board just caved to the DTA, keeping the senior teachers and letting go those most junior (or not replacing those who retired).

        Yet I do understand that one person on a board cannot turn the ship around. Our city on the whole needs a huge change in its mindset when it comes to things like teacher retention, tenure and teacher evaluations. There was an excellent op-ed in The Enterprise a few days ago which gets to the heart of this.

        http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/want-to-ruin-teachers-give-ratings/

        The only flaw was the headline got the story all wrong. Otherwise, it is a smart piece.

        1. wdf1

          Rifkin: The scary thing is that Sheila Allen has a record of being endorsed by the very unions she was elected to negotiate against as a representative of the people.

          Do you have citation or evidence that she was endorsed by the DTA?

          Our city on the whole needs a huge change in its mindset when it comes to things like teacher retention, tenure and teacher evaluations.

          What is an example of teacher evaluations that fairly account for what we expect students to be taught and to learn?

          1. Frankly

            What is an example of teacher evaluations that fairly account for what we expect students to be taught and to learn?

            There are more existing working models for this than a person can count. For example, Douglas County Colorado has a model that is working well enough as a starting point.

            Since it was adopted, results show:

            A higher proportion of Douglas County teachers than their counterparts said that there was an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect in their school (79 percent), that their school leadership communicates clear expectations to students and parents (87 percent), that the faculty and leadership have a shared vision (77 percent) and that the school leadership communicates with the faculty adequately (82 percent).

            Meanwhile, the CA teachers unions reject any attempt to tie any compensation to performance.

          2. wdf1

            Frankly: I continue to read and research about Douglas County, since you were diligent enough to provide an example. But some initial impressions:

            First, you forgot to link your quote to its source — link — which was the Heritage Foundation blog site. I prefer to see a more independent analysis of the system.

            Second, I don’t think Douglas County is going to be the type of location that will ideally test a pay-for-performance type of system. It encompasses affluent suburbs of Denver. I would like to see a successful pay-for-performance system applied to a more challenging demographic population of students (higher % lower income, high % ELL, etc.). Why did you decide to pick one of the most affluent counties in the U.S. as an example? Were there not any better ones?

            “The median income for a household in the county was $82,929, and the median income for a family was $88,482 (these figures had risen to $93,819 and $102,767 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[9]). Males had a median income of $60,729 versus $38,965 for females. The per capita income for the county was $34,848. About 1.6% of families and 2.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.

            Douglas County had the highest median household income of any Colorado county or statistical equivalent in 2000. In 2008, it ranked #8 in the United States in that category – it was one of two in the top 15 not in the vicinity of New York or Washington.”

            source

            My initial impressions, but I continue to read up…

          3. Frankly

            Why did you decide to pick one of the most affluent counties in the U.S. as an example?

            Well because some of the more affluent districts are filled with voters that have the resources to fight the blocking of the well-funded teachers unions that resist any attempt to allow grading of their performance like they do to the children of their paying customers.

          4. wdf1

            So how much of an impact will this evaluation system with performance bonus have on affluent school district? Were they worried about low performance on standardized tests? High dropout rates? Are large numbers of kids coming to school without a healthy diet at home? with unresolved healthcare issues? lots of single parent households? and other poverty-related stress?

            This is not a typical lower income school district. I was trying to look for Title I schools in Douglas County. Maybe they exist and my search is incomplete. But a few typically productive search strategies yielded nothing.

            Such a school district (lower income) typically has these problems mentioned above and is also the kind of school district that struggles to keep teachers, and where seniority, longevity-step-column, are perks to keep experienced teachers in their schools. Teachers who typically have more experience in dealing with these challenging situations.

            This example you give of Douglas County represents a frustration I have in following the narrative of the status quo reform movement. It says our education system is crappy, look at our graduation rate, at our low test scores relative to other developed countries, things are awful, we need to change things. Then you look at this example of change in Douglas County and hear folks like yourself say, “look, see? it works!” But all it shows is that you successfully avoided the poverty. BFD.

            Douglas County is not a core example of an “education crisis”. That’s like your stepping into Disneyland and taking credit for how clean you made the place.

          5. wdf1

            Frankly: By the way, recently I did find an impressive piece of technology that will revolutionize education in the 21st century. It is the iPotty. But don’t take my word for it. Read the reviews:

            link

          6. Rich Rifkin

            WDF: “Do you have citation or evidence that she was endorsed by the DTA?”

            Did I say she was endorsed by the DTA? My comment refers to the endorsement of her by the California School Employees Association (CSEA) Davis Chapter 572.

            She was also endorsed at one point or another by many other types of people and groups, including:

            Davis Democratic Club
            Sacramento Central Labor Council AFL-CIO
            Yolo County Democratic Central Committee
            Rich Rifkin*

            *I’ve rarely endorsed anyone for office in Davis. When she first ran, however, I found her equally as good as the others in the race–4 were vying for 3 seats. The Enterprise endorsed everyone but her, and I didn’t think they had any reason to exclude her. (They may have had a reason, but offered none in their editorial.) So my reaction was to endorse just Sheila–I had interviewed all 4 of them–for balance. I also liked her professional background.

            Arguably, I am a hypocrite for criticizing a union endorsement of the same candidate I once endorsed. However, there is an important difference. I have no financial stake in the decisions she has to make on the school board. Unions are inherently self-interested in such endorsements.

          7. wdf1

            Rifkin: Did I say she was endorsed by the DTA? My comment refers to the endorsement of her by the California School Employees Association (CSEA) Davis Chapter 572.

            It was the only inference I could make when you said, “The scary thing is that Sheila Allen has a record of being endorsed by the very unions she was elected to negotiate against as a representative of the people.”

            Unions, plural. I was aware of CSEA’s endorsement, but I was unaware of any other union endorsement that she had oversight in contract negotiations. You also mentioned DTA in your comment.

          8. wdf1

            CSEA employees have had salary/wage cutbacks through that time as well, all agreed upon in contract negotiations and voted upon by Sheila Allen & company.

            This isn’t the template of highly compensated union firefighters refusing to give up anything and being dragged, kicking and screaming to last best final offers and department restructuring.

        2. hpierce

          Yet, Lamar insisted on the City requiring “living wages” for all companies doing business with the City.

          I do not disagree with the concept, but Lamar was either pro non-union/pro-union, except for City employees.

          1. hpierce

            I did not say Lamar was “anti” City employee. My distinction is that he was “pro”-employees, except for those who worked for the City. He was NOT particularly antagonistic to City employees.

  3. Rich Rifkin

    Jesse Ortiz: ” My 31 years in K-18 education.”

    K-18?

    Did he mean to say K-12, which is the purview of the job he is running for?

    I have two undergraduate degrees and two masters and I have no idea what the 18 is supposed to mean in K-18? Is K-18 a term people now use to imply 4 years of college and 2 years of grad school?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      No, he works at Woodland Community College (which would be K-14), and likely has worked at a four university and in a Masters Graduate Program.

  4. Mr. Toad

    I think the best predictor of a candidate’s political proclivities has been the constituency that elected them. I think Brett, Lamar and Sue all got a big vote from anti-development types and that became their guiding light. I think Joe is an exception.

  5. Davis Progressive

    the problem here is that we’re speculating because we don’t know what sheila thinks about city politics. we know what she thinks about children, public health, preschool, k-12, and other things but not city issues.

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