Governor Brown Appoints Oscar Villegas to Fill McGowan’s Seat

Oscar-VillegasAppointment Sets Up Potential Showdown in June – The Governor’s office announced that it has named West Sacramento City Councilmember Oscar Villegas to be appointed District One Supervisor of Yolo County.

Mr. Villegas has been a field representative at the California Board of State and Community Corrections since 2008 and a West Sacramento City councilmember since 2000.

According to their release, “Villegas served in multiple positions at the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs from 1990 to 2008, including deputy director of the CARE Program, deputy director of the Governor’s Mentoring Partnership, staff services manager and associate governmental program analyst. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $59,004. Villegas is a Democrat.”

Senator Lois Wolk’s office quickly sent out a statement, “I applaud the Governor’s appointment of Oscar Villegas to serve as Yolo County Supervisor from the 1st District.  Replacing Mike McGowan is a challenge, but I can think of nobody better suited than Oscar Villegas to meet that challenge and represent the people of West Sacramento and the Clarksburg region.”

She added, “I have already worked closely with Oscar on a wide variety of issues during his time on the West Sacramento City Council.  He is a homegrown leader who cares deeply about his community and has the skills and good working relationships in the region that will enable him to come to the Board of Supervisors and immediately get to work.  I especially look forward to Oscar’s help with our efforts to protect the Delta.  This is a critical time and we need all hands on deck.”

The Vanguard caught up with Oscar Villegas who said that at this point he was unsure when he would be sworn in or what that process will look like.

“It really is an honor to be appointed by the Governor to represent Yolo County’s District 1,” Mr. Villegas said.  He paid homage to the work of his predecessor Mike McGowan who he said “has blazed a trail for quite some time.”

“I feel very fortunate but I do feel like I’m up to the challenge,” he said.  “He left me in a very good position, the partnerships that exist within District 1, but also the county included.  Something really special, we have some real opportunities here.”

“I feel I’m the perfectly suited person to transition nicely from the city council, which we’re a pretty well run local government entity and to transition to the county is a perfect fit,” Mr. Villegas added.

Oscar Villegas indicated that while there are many critical issues facing the District and the County, there isn’t one in particular that jumps out at him to tackle first.

“For me there are so many issues that are going to require a lot of attention, my preference is really to soak it all in and learn where the meat and potatoes are before I form any strong opinions about any policy matters,” he said.  “I feel like I’m pretty well up to speed on most issues.”

He concluded, “There is not one pressing issue that I think is the one thing, there are many big things that need to be addressed.”

By law, appointees to fill vacancies for office have to face election at the next regular election.  While there is some debate, the County Elections Office seems to have confirmed that Mr. Villegas will run in June for election.

Already, Norma Alcala, a former analyst of West Sacramento, who was a finalist for the nomination has indicated that she is considering running against Mr. Villegas for the Supervisor Seat.

The Northern California-Dolores Huerta Latino Democratic Club, with roots in West Sacramento, issued a statement on Thursday indicating that it “was surprised to learn that Governor Jerry Brown has appointed Oscar Villegas, a Correctional worker, to fill a vacancy on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.”

The Northern California-Dolores Huerta Latino Democratic Club, which represent several northern California counties including Sacramento and Yolo counties, had voted unanimously to endorse Norma Alcala because of her continued community activism. This endorsement came at the heels of the Yolo County Democratic Party Central Committee vetting Mr. Villegas and Ms. Alcala and voting unanimously, 23-0-1, for Ms. Alcala as the best qualified person for the job. Ms. Alcala also received the Sacramento Central Labor Council. Yet, the Governor appointed Mr. Villegas even though he did not receive a single vote of endorsement.

“Today, the Governor appointed another male, Oscar Villegas, to the already all male Yolo County Board of Supervisors,” said Eloisa Morales, Vice Chair of the Northern California-Dolores Huerta Democratic Club. “We are disappointed in the appointment, and want to remind the Governor that women live in Yolo County too. The last thing that the Yolo Board of Supervisors needed was another man. We are hopeful that Norma Alcala will enter the race for Yolo Supervisor so we can rectify this lapse in

The group noted that presently, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors has no women representing any of the districts.

“Prominent feminist, Dolores Huerta, and civil rights advocate, Cruz Reynoso, a former Supreme Court Justice from Yolo County had endorsed Ms. Alcala for the appointment. But even with this and additional support from county residents, the Governor opted to appoint Mr. Villegas,” the group added.  “A highly respected community leader and former member of the Yolo County Grand Jury, Ms. Alcala is expected to bring an army of grassroots volunteers into the June elections.”

—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. iPad Guy

    I remember at least three women who’ve served as Yolo County supervisor in recent years. But, I can’t remember which women have run since the last one moved on.

    With Mr. Villegas serving only four months before the election, I presume that competitors will be announcing soon. Being a finalist for appointment consideration is quite an accomplishment. With the endorsements Ms. Alcala received, one would think she’d toss her hat in again.

    It may be that his more than a dozen years of elected experience as a Democrat and appointed state service weighed heavily in his favor with the governor. On the surface, he seems quite qualified for the position.

    What did the Latino Democratic Club have against Mr. Villegas? It seems that aggressively and immediately protesting his appointment and dismissing him as “a Correctional worker” isn’t a very productive way to build political power.

    1. Matt Williams

      In the June 2008 election that resulted in Jim Provenza’s first term, the Republican candidate Cathy Kennedy received 15% of the votes. Jim ascended into Mariko Yamada’s seat. Since then, the closest thing we have had to a female candidate was Sue Greenwald’s etherial campaign against Don Saylor in June 2010.

      Brenda Cerarblade polled 28% of the vote against Matt Rexroad and Frank Siferman, Jr. in June 2006.

  2. Davis Progressive

    i’m a big fan of the alcala’s thy do a lot of great work and norma would be a new force and a different voice in yolo county. i saw cabaldon applauding oscar as the first latino in some time, but he’s part of the establishment and backs the gang injunction. also i heard he cut a deal on the delta tunnels to get the appointment.

    1. iPad Guy

      “…i heard he cut a deal on the delta tunnels to get the appointment.”

      Well, that would explain everything, right? From whom did you get this scandalous information?

      Why wouldn’t you think that a Latino who advances, becoming “part of the establishment” would be a good thing. Consider the dilemma of Senator Obama if many people voted against him because of your “establishment disqualification.” Some folks might call Norma Alcala part of the Democratic Party establishment.

      1. Rich Rifkin

        Are you asking if the Board of Supes has had any members of Latino heritage?

        Going off memory of Spanish surnames only, I cannot think of any. That said, it’s possible one or more Latinos were on that Board, but their last name was not Spanish; or their times in office predates my memory. I don’t have any reference books handy at the moment to fill in the gaps.

        As an aside … I assume the great demographic change of our region will result, before too long, in a Board of Supervisors for Yolo County which is 3/5ths or even 4/5ths Latino. Davis is the only populous section of the county which is not heavily Hispanic.

  3. Rich Rifkin

    FWIW, Mariko Yamada, a woman, was appointed by the Gov. Davis to fill David Rosenberg’s old supervisorial seat when he left to join the Superior Court. Mariko, alas, was horrible in that job, and just as bad in the Assembly. But being female was not her problem. Being corrupt and not caring at all about the City of Davis is.

    Yamada was preceded in the Assembly by two far better Davis women, Lois Wolk and Helen Thomson. Wolk and Thomson (4 terms) and Wolk (2 terms) combined to serve 6 consecutive terms representing what is now the Saylor seat. There were at least two other Davis women who also served on the Board of Supervisors, including Freddie Oakley and Betsy Marchand.

    If memory serves, Betsy (in the early-mid-1970s) was the first woman to have ever served on that body. I think she preceded Twyla Thompson, who also served around that same period.

  4. eagle eye

    Different perspectives:
    Some have found Mariko absolutely honest and helpful.
    Saylor, Souza, and Provenza, not so much so; they’re available to the highest bidder. Ethics not so much either.

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