Swanson Pushes Economic Development in Announcement for Reelection


Announcing her bid in the offices of Davis Roots, a non-profit start-up business accelerator which has the goal of helping start-ups in their early development, the theme of Rochelle Swanson’s reelection campaign could not be more clear.

Ms. Swanson said that the location was her first choice for a reelection “because it’s a really great icon of where Davis has been, where Davis is going.  It couldn’t be a better representation of what we can do when we really hold tight to our roots and grow as much as we can.”

About 30 to 40 supporters gathered into the Davis Roots building to listen to the announcement, many of them members of the business community.  Two of Ms. Swanson’s announced opponents were in attendance as well, School Board Member Sheila Allen (who is actually officially announcing on January 25) and Robb Davis.

In addition, her colleague on the city council, Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk, Senator Lois Wolk and Supervisor Jim Provenza were in attendance.

There are two seats up for grabs in June and four announced candidates.  Former Da Vinci High Grand Daniel Parrella is in the field.  Incumbent Mayor Joe Krovoza is forgoing a run for a second term and instead running for the State Assembly seat vacated by termed-out incumbent Mariko Yamada.

While many speeches announcing election or reelection run the gamut of issues, Rochelle Swanson focused on economic development and fiscal sustainability as critical themes for not only her reelection campaign but a potential second term.

She said, “One thing that is great and has moved forward, and why I agreed to run for a second term and seek reelection was because of the movement we have made on our budget.”

“That was really important, that was motivated me to give it a run last time,” she said.

Ms. Swanson explained that the idea of putting Davis Roots in the city-owned Hunt-Boyer Mansion emanated out of the notion that the city needed to be a better support to the university.  She described how she and Mayor Joe Krovoza wrote the proposal on his dining room table and got the unanimous support of the Davis City Council.

“That to me is pretty exciting,” she said.  “That really just demonstrated what we worked on collectively as a council – we’ve really tried to encourage people to come forward and give us your ideas.”

She touted the great of success of bringing Mori Seiki to Davis, stating, “That’s really big.  We competed against Chicago, Illinois and won.”  The key Rochelle Swanson said was the council’s willingness to waive some of the fees.

“Hopefully we will take the next step and create more space, so that more companies can come here and know that even if they’re in a growth, that they can continue to live here and take advantage of our great quality of life,” she continued.

“What’s also changed is our regional outreach,” she said.  “We went to Cap-to-Cap this year with the biggest team, it was so exciting.”  She argued that the success of Cap-to-Cap helped Davis in its local evolution.  “We really didn’t know when we were back there, this big team – all of the communities in our region, the whole Sacramento Valley is like wow, Davis is here.  They have the university, they have an incredible town.”

While she is proud of the city’s commitment to fiscal stability and the budget cuts, she argued, “there’s a lot of work to do on the other side of the coin, and that’s the revenue side.”

One things she has said we have done well in the last year is by adding revenue to the conversation when we are talking about the budget.  “There’s a lot more that we need to do,” she said.  “We’ve done some incredible things but we’re still not quite sustainable yet.”

“That is why my goal is to move into another term, to really be able to take those next steps,” Rochelle Swanson announced.  “We’ve started a lot of those important programs, it’s more than just an innovation task force, looking to put some businesses there.  It is about our outreach, it is about our message.”

She cited a business leader who said that “Davis’s resume is really evolving.”

Rochelle Swanson said that is the key, “We’re not changing.  We’re still the core DNA, we’re still Davis is Davis.”  But she said, “It’s okay that we go ahead and grow.  That doesn’t mean we grow in size necessarily, it means grow within.”

“The things that we’re looking to do is exactly like that,” she continued.  “We’re not tearing it down, we’re not changing it, we’re not supersizing it, we’re just growing what’s in the envelope of what is Davis and really keeping it strong.”

She would add that she doesn’t want her campaign to be all about the budget and economic development, but she said, “Those are really important.  At the end of the day, the best thing we can do as councilmembers is certainty.  We need to find a way to bring certainty – certainty to our budget, and certainty to revenue, and certainty to everything else.”

To view her entire speech, view the video below.

—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. WesC

    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.

  2. growth issue

    WesC, and the “temporary” always ends up being “permenently”. Hopefully she’s talking about a business park as being the dependable revenue stream. We’re going to have to weed out what she meant by that statement before the next election. David, you have your work cut out for you.

  3. Steve McMahon

    Just curious: isn’t Davis Roots a tax-exempt charitable organization that receives a subsidy from the City of Davis and operates in a city-owned building? Is it OK for them to host a campaign kick-off event? Making a facility available for a campaign event at no cost is normally considered an in-kind contribution.

    Or did the candidate reimburse them for use of the facility?

    1. David Greenwald

      Someone else asked me that question. The city rents Davis Roots that facility for $1 a year. A candidate can of course rent city space for campaign purposes. They do so all the time at the Vet’s Memorial. So the only question is whether Davis Roots would normally charge someone to host an event in their lobby. If the answer is yes, then it’s an in-kind contribution. If it’s just a public space, then there’s your answer.

      It would be like a candidate announcing in the space outside of Community Chambers, it happens all the time.

      1. Steve McMahon

        It seems to me the question is whether or not Davis Roots makes their facilities available for free for events to *all* community organizations. That’s the basis on which a charitable organization like DCTV can give cable time to candidates without it being a campaign contribution.

        Otherwise, if the candidate didn’t pay fair-market value for use of the space, it’s an in-kind campaign contribution to a candidate. Charitable organizations shouldn’t do that.

  4. Tia Will

    It seems to me that there are a few assumptions being made both by Rochelle Swanson and by some commenters.

    1) That it is inarguably good that we “grow as much as we can” – Rochelle Swanson

    2) That a business park will be a “dependable revenue stream” – GI

    3) That we will grow “internally” not “in size” – Rochelle Swanson

    4) “The things that we’re looking to do is exactly like that,” she continued. “We’re not tearing it down, we’re not changing it, we’re not supersizing it, we’re just growing what’s in the envelope of what is Davis and really keeping it strong.”

    I believe that all of these assertions are debatable.

    To some degree it sounds as though Ms. Swanson wants to have this both ways. First she is extolling the changes made by the establishment of Davis Roots and by the Cap to Cap trip, and then she states that “we’re not changing it”. Now one can certainly argue the merits and pros and cons of each proposal. However, one cannot credibly make the claim that she is not promoting substantive change.

    1. Mr. Toad

      i guess you will be supporting tax increases because we have 4 choices, grow, cut, tax or borrow. Borrowing is, of course, the worst idea but we are doing that to get the roads to stop deteriorating and we have already cut. So if you don’t want to grow than you must want to tax. What is not debatable is doing nothing.

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