John Munn Becomes Fifth Candidate For Davis City Council


munn-johnLate on Sunday, John Munn, a former member of the Davis School Board and candidate for State Assembly, informed the Vanguard that he is running for the Davis City Council.

He told the Vanguard that he would have a more formal announcement later this week, however he wishes his candidacy to speak to ratepayer and taxpayer concerns in Davis.  He emphasized that his candidacy is not just about water, but rather a more general concern that the city is on a path to becoming unaffordable to middle class families, while at the same time lacking maintenance of basic infrastructure.

John Munn is listed as a plaintiff on the lawsuit against the city water rates, in which Yolo Ratepayers for Affordable Public Utility Services and Mr. Munn contested the constitutionality of the water rates.

Among other things, the plaintiffs argue that the Bartle Wells rates are fatally flawed because they charge different single family residence customers different fixed rates based on the size of the water meter, which they argue is a random assignment based on meter size and not based on usage.

As they argued in their brief, “It would appear that the size of the water meter installed on the single family residence properties was based on some random selection during initial water meter installation and not on a deliberate choice by the City or the rate payer based on the load intended to be placed on the system.”

In a tentative ruling in late January, Judge Dan Maguire ruled, “The water and sewer rates adopted by the City of Davis meet the proportionality standards of the California Constitution, and therefore plaintiffs’ claims are denied.”

However, following a response by the plaintiffs, Judge Maguire has ordered the city’s attorney to respond.

John Munn, who heads up the Yolo Taxpayers Association, in an article that appeared in the Vanguard, argued, “We have one, last chance to decide whether the Davis community can afford such a major increase in water rates (that would eventually take close to 40 million dollars per year out of our economy).  Petitions to qualify an initiative overturning the new water rates are now being circulated for signatures by registered voters in Davis.”

The ballot initiative has since qualified and been placed on the ballot.

Mr. Munn argued, “The true cost of this increase has been obscured in two ways.  First, the Council changed the City services billing cycle from every-other month to once a month.  While doubling postage and other administrative costs, this cut by half the number that rate-payers see as the apparent cost of water and other City services.  Second, the Council staged the new rates to increase over time, with the current water cost being similar to or, in some cases, less than the previous rates.  This will be followed by annual rate increases for five years until city water costs nearly three times more than it does now.”

In 2012, John Munn ran for State Assembly as a Republican challenging incumbent Democrat Mariko Yamada.  He would receive 37.5% of the vote.  This was his fourth run for the Assembly, having previously been a candidate in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

In 1997 he was elected to the Davis School Board where he served one term until 2000.

He is 65 years old, receiving his degrees in Soil and Water Science and Engineering from UC Davis, with a masters in Soil Science in 1974.

Mr. Munn is retired from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Sacramento, where he worked as a Soil and Watershed Scientist for 25 years.

John Munn is now the fifth known candidate for the Davis City Council.  Mayor Joe Krovoza has forgone reelection and seeks office as a State Assemblymember.  Rochelle Swanson, who was first elected in 2010, is running for reelection.

There are three other challengers: School Board Member Sheila Allen, Robb Davis, and Daniel Parrella.

Click here to see a video of John Munn for when he ran for the State Assembly in 2012, courtesy of Davis Media Access:

—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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96 thoughts on “John Munn Becomes Fifth Candidate For Davis City Council”

    1. Davis Progressive

      fiscally responsible? how is putting roadblocks to the water project that is going forward no matter what being fiscally responsible? i have heard estimates that the actions of john munn and michael harrington could cost the city $70 million in financing fees. harrington likes to brag that he saved the city $100 million, but he has almost given it all back.

        1. Davis Progressive

          yes impressive. man goes into a casino with 100 dollars, wins 1000 on his first hand. sticks 130 dollars into his pocket and proceeds to lose the rest. comes home to his wife, hey i won 30 dollars.

          1. growth issue

            If we had stayed with the status quo we’d be be out another $30 million using your figures. Not chump change by any means.

          2. Davis Progressive

            yeah but if harrington had just known when to quit, we’d be up $100 mil… that’s my point.

          3. Matt Williams

            The theatrical production isn’t over yet dp. Let’s see how it all has played out when the curtain finally comes down.

      1. hpierce

        Actually, I would be interested in what happenwed on “his watch” on the school board, rather than how he has tried to ‘present’ himself. Cn’t remember.

        1. Mr.Toad

          When he was on the school board there was a great deal of labor strife. I think the contract went to impasse if I remember correctly. The teachers ended up “working to contract” and picketing before a settlement was reached. Working to contract is when the teachers stop putting in extra time for things like being available after school for play rehearsal, grading papers, tutoring or meeting with parents. Its a really terrible think to have happen because teachers put in a lot of extra time that nobody ever notices until they stop. Teacher morale was awful in Davis when he was in charge.

          Then there was his history at Cal Department of Forestry where he signed off on the over logging of the redwoods by Pacific Lumber under Charles Hurwitz. Hurwitz cut 200 years of growth in 20 years and Munn did his job to facilitate the over logging and predictable resultant sedimentation and destruction of salmon spawning gravels in places like Freshwater, Elk River, Bear Creek, Van Duzen and the Eel River.

          1. growth issue

            So it sounds like Mr. Munn is the tough type of negotiator we need to deal with our public labor unions. Sounds like a huge positive to me.

          2. hpierce

            Or, more accurately, they give direction to negotiating staff, and ‘at the end of the day’ decide whether the said staff achieved the CC goals/direction.

          3. Mr.Toad

            It is preferable to adhere to budget reality without taking antagonistic positions as the current council has done. Putting Munn on there is asking for labor strife.

          4. Frankly

            You can’t have it both ways Toad. However, I very much want to understand his position on economic development. You should too.

            Try not to be so partisan will you?

          5. Mr.Toad

            I’m not being partisan. In fact I haven’t said a word about who I support for CC. So let me say that I think Munn would be the worst choice and that any of the other candidates would be better. I’m not publicly for anyone but I am against Munn for city council.

          6. Davis Progressive

            your reasons for opposing him are partisan…

            i want to be clear i’m not necessarily against him, i’m against him being in the race.

          7. Mr.Toad

            Actually you can. Both Brett and Rochelle voted for cuts or contract imposition without insulting the employees while expressing regret about needing to make those cuts. As Growth Issue points out the members of the council set the tone. If you want the tone to be one of conflict vote for Munn. If you want it to be one of “sorry but these are our fiscal realities” there are other candidates from which to choose.

          8. Mr.Toad

            When he was on the school board there was labor strife. His anti tax positions against the water project have caused strife in the community. His support of Jose Granda created difficulty for funding the schools. His support for the petition against the water rates more grief and another costly vote on water. If you want to put a guy like that on the CC you can expect more acrimony.

          9. Don Shor

            Seriously. Mr. Toad is creating a caricature. John is perfectly nice, and was just one vote on the school board during that difficult period. I disagree with him on most issues, and am supporting other candidates, but don’t see him as a divisive or abrasive person at all.
            John Munn is used to running against great electoral odds. I think he often sees campaigns as a way to get his message out.

          10. wdf1

            Mr. Toad: His support of Jose Granda created difficulty for funding the schools.

            Can you clarify what you’re talking about?

            As president of the Yolo County Taxpayers Association, John Munn supported Measure W in 2008. If you can find it, refer to “Taxpayers Association gives nod to Measure W parcel tax” of the September 22, 2008 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

            He and YCTA were publicly neutral on Measure A, the first school parcel tax in which Granda was openly involved. As far as I know, Munn was publicly silent on Measures C and E. As late as 2012, Munn was a member of the DJUSD School Parcel Tax Oversight Committee. I don’t know of any evidence that he supported Granda’s opposition to the school parcel taxes, or his candidacy for school board last time around.

            Like most of us, I think he operates somewhere in between caricatures of the political extremes, though likely a wee bit closer to a fiscally conservative side. But if in doubt, the best thing to do is to ask him. His candidacy suggests that he will be open to addressing any such questions.

          11. Mr.Toad

            Perhaps I am wrong and my memory is failing me but I thought the taxpayers association supported Granda’s lawsuit. if that is incorrect I apologize.

    1. SouthofDavis

      He probably will if John Munn follows his lead and becomes a “Democrat”…

      I’m not a political consultant, but If I had any advice for Munn it would be to follow Dodd’s lead and change parties.

      In 2012 he had rural ranchers, El Macero and Willowbank Republicans to get “all the way” up to 37%. Running in the “city” of Davis he will only get voted from Growth Issue, Frankly and the handful of other Republicans…

        1. Matt Williams

          In a non-partisan election like the one for Davis City Council, I’m not sure that party affiliation makes much difference.

          But to answer your question, since I first campaigned for JFK in 8th Grade in 1960 (110 students in my 8th grade class 107 Republicans and three of us Democrats) until 1984 my voting record was 100% Democrat. Reagan earned my one Republican departure. 100% Democrat or Independent since.

          With that said, my closet is all about fiscal stability and sustainability, rebuilding trust, and increasing collaboration.

          1. SouthofDavis

            Matt wrote:

            > In a non-partisan election like the one for Davis
            > City Council, I’m not sure that party affiliation
            > makes much difference.

            I’m betting that it will be a long day walking around Davis trying to find someone who answers “YES” to the question “Do you want a Republican on the Davis City Council”…

          2. Frankly

            With that said, my closet is all about fiscal stability and sustainability, rebuilding trust, and increasing collaboration.

            Mine too.

            I’m betting that it will be a long day walking around Davis trying to find someone who answers “YES” to the question “Do you want a Republican on the Davis City Council”…

            I agree.

            And then those same voters cannot understand how their city is heading toward insolvency.

            I was just thinking… I don’t think I would every hire a CPA that is a registered Democrat… unless they could prove to me that there are a old-style Democrat and not one of these newfangled spend, spend, spend, and tax, tax, tax types.

          3. hpierce

            As a ‘moderate’, who initially was a Democrat (didn’t believe in ‘youth-in-asia’.. not a place I wanted to visit, particularly with the weapon thing going on), but became non-partisan/decline to state, I agree with Matt’s last paragraph.

          4. SouthofDavis

            hpierce wrote:

            > but became non-partisan/decline to state,
            > I agree with Matt’s last paragraph.

            If we keep this going we can change the current mess we are in where the “red team” and “blue team” are both working to raise taxes so they have more money to give back to the people that support them…

    1. growth issue

      Please explain. How will his candicacy help Sheila Allen? It’s not like their was another go to Democrat candidate that will now lose votes that conservatives were going to vote for anyway.

      1. Davis Progressive

        there are now three candidates who support the hard line budget reforms: munn, swanson, and davis. there is only one candidate who will get backing by the firefighters and the pro-fire demos. the three candidates will then split the fiscal sustainable vote, watering down their strength. sheila has no one splitting her core constituency votes. she has the best name advantage of the challengers. she wins. game over. the pro fire people only needed one more candidate.

          1. Matt Williams

            Although it was before my time, it is my understanding that in the March 2000 election, Susie Boyd ended up as Mayor of Davis (with 9,015 votes) because she was the only candidate with “No on Measure J” as part of her platform. The other seven candidates split up the “Yes on Measure J” vote. They collectively had far more voters than Susie Boyd did (36,000 vs. 9,000), but six of the seven were stuck on 6,000 votes each (the last candidate only had 2,000).

        1. Frankly

          It is telling that there is only one candidate with the public employee union payola connection. Seems that they are either dying off or crawling back to their cave. I will pop a cork to that.

          1. Davis Progressive

            they only needed one. the pro-sustainability group had to keep both seats to stay in the majority.

        2. wdf1

          Davis Progressive: there is only one candidate who will get backing by the firefighters and the pro-fire demos. the three candidates will then split the fiscal sustainable vote, watering down their strength. sheila has no one splitting her core constituency votes. she has the best name advantage of the challengers. she wins. game over. the pro fire people only needed one more candidate.

          I don’t see where Allen is necessarily a favorite candidate of the firefighters. Although once I did see her shake hands with Don Saylor in public; does that count?

          And I think there are plenty of other issues and dimensions that are important to Davis voters.

          1. Don Shor

            Here is why Sheila Allen is probably the current candidate most favorable to the firefighters union. From the Vanguard interview when she announced:

            We then turned our intention to the issue of the firefighters and the fire department. The Vanguard asked Sheila Allen her position on boundary drop, fire staffing cuts, and shared management services.

            She clarified that since she is not on the council, she can only come about this from the perspective of an interested citizen.

            “Boundary drop I think is a great idea, we are basically two jurisdictions that are basically hugged right next to each other, so working as seamlessly and cooperatively as possible, it just plain makes sense,” she said.

            “The change in staffing,” she said, “from where I sit today, I have concerns about the decrease from 4 to 3 at a station for the amount of savings that it revealed. It is my understanding… that it is a safety standard that you need to have four in a location before you go into a burning building, understanding that burning buildings don’t happen every day, but if you go back to the issue of prevention and about why we have the primary role of the firefighters… but what we’re hoping for is that if there is a fire they will be able to safely and quickly prevent any further damage to property.”

            I think I would have kept it at four,” she stated. “I don’t think that the cost savings really is sufficient enough to have us not have them do their jobs.”

            She said it does not make sense to her to have three firefighters stand and wait for someone else to come.
            Shared management,” she said. “Well I have some concerns.

            “I again, back to the cooperation, I think they need to work together as carefully and as seamlessly as possible,” Ms. Allen said. “But I have concerns about giving up the city’s control and not being directly over the whole fire department.”

            “They are not a city jurisdiction,” she said. “And one of the primary core functions of the city is safety.”
            She acknowledged that the University is responsible for making sure that “the people over there are safe” but “I think that’s the city’s responsibility and I feel like we are letting them be in charge.” She acknowledged there would be an MOU and a contract, but stated, “I just have a concern that the fire department should be under the city’s jurisdiction not under the UC’s.”

            In terms of campaign financing she stated, “I will not be actively seeking out bundled or organized financing from any group, but I don’t have a problem with receiving funds from one individual.
            She stated, “My influence cannot be purchased.”

            She did say she would not have the firefighters deliver fliers or actively campaign on her behalf, but she said, that she is not decided on whether she would take their endorsement. “I don’t know, I haven’t decided,” she said when asked by the Vanguard.

          2. Davis Progressive

            and that was a 5-0 vote. so the line of demarcation is not on the lbfo, but rather on the 12 on a shift and shared services. those were 3-2 votes, those were votes she said she disagreed with.

          3. Don Shor

            Then one wonders why she “would have kept it at four…”. What would be the purpose of that? As with her comments about Nishi, the impression I get is that Sheila simply hasn’t thought through the issues very well. Which is a little disconcerting. Seems like she’s kind of winging it on the specifics.

          1. growth issue

            Matt, maybe I can get you to move to Davis and vote against her? How’s that for being hands on aggressive?

          2. Matt Williams

            G.I. do the math. One vote out of 14,000 typical voters does not have mathematical critical mass.

            With that said, I never vote against anyone, only for someone.

          3. growth issue

            Matt, if everyone had that my only “one vote” doesn’t matter thought process nobody would ever get elected. BTW, if you move to Davis you can also be part of the new exciting POU structure.

          4. Matt Williams

            G.I., you have misinterpreted my comments. My observation was that if you are going to achieve the end you espoused, you are going to have to deliver a whole lot more votes than the one vote that you proposed delivering (mine).

            Every single vote counts, but each individual vote only counts 1/14,000th of the total. What I was asking you to do was get out and take the necessary steps to deliver a thousand votes (or more) for the principles you believe in.

            For the past two Saturdays (and every future Saturday until June) I was talking to voters at the Farmer’s Market from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and from 11:30 am to 1:30 am. I don’t know if I will deliver 1,000 votes for the candidate I believe in, but I’m going to do my best to achieve that end.

            Every vote matters.

  1. Rich Rifkin

    Toad has said (over and over) that when Munn was on the school board there was labor strife. I have no memory of that. We were in a very high growth time then and revenues were flowing into the district and new young families were moving to Davis. So I doubt Toad’s assumption is true at all.

    The big issue I recall from his time on the board was our (badly misguided) school board coming out unanimously against English language immersion programs for non-native speakers. (This political point of view flew in the face of the excellent Spanish language immersion program we have at CCE for children whose first language is English.) Years later, I interviewed everyone on that Board about that ridiculously political choice against English immersion, and all of them but Don Saylor had reversed his point of view. Ruth Asmundson and John Munn told me explicitly they regretted their Yes votes on that negation of the state proposition (which fortunately passed).

    The big driver for the movement against immersion was the CTA (which Toad belongs to, of course). They could not care less that the “bilingual” program was a terrible failure and harming the prospects of Latino immigrant kids. Their only concern was more money for this small group of teachers.

    1. SouthofDavis

      Rich wrote:

      > They could not care less that the “bilingual” program was a terrible
      > failure and harming the prospects of Latino immigrant kids. Their
      > only concern was more money for this small group of teachers.

      It has been a few years since MORE than half of the ~6 million school kids in California identified as Hispanic/Latino (whites kids are under 25% and dropping as less and less whites have big families) so it is not a “small” group of teachers (if only one and four Latinos need help with English we are talking about tens of thousands of teachers).

      A sad fact is that if a teacher does a good job in 3rd grade and all her kids go in to 4th grade speaking perfect English her friend the 4th grade teacher will get a pay CUT since a teacher teaching just in English gets paid less. If we want the Hispanic/Latino kids to learn English we should pay the teachers MORE that actually teach them (the current system where the teachers at schools that don’t teach a single kid English in 5 years get paid the most is not working).

    2. Mr.Toad

      Actually I remember it vividly because I had a conversation with Munn about it at the time in the lobby of a hearing on The Headwaters Forest E.A. The hearing was at a hotel in Sacramento I think it was at the Clarion. What I have no recollection of is opposition by CTA to bilingual programs.

      1. Rich Rifkin

        Toad, what?!!! The CTA was in favor of the failed bilingual programs. The CTA opposed immersion.

        And while SOUTH’s criticism of the incentives now in place makes some sense, the fact is that tests in English show that the immersion system we now have has sped up the total academic progress of ESL students dramatically.

        In the four years after Prop 227 was in place, scores in reading and language remained about the same for students still taught in bilingual classes, while scores doubled for those English-learners taught in the one-language classes.

        A quote from Ron Unz, the author of the 1998 initiative: “If you double the test scores, that’s pretty good.”

        A few districts (like S.F.) still have a bilingual waiver. And those districts still have horrible results for their native Spanish speakers, 16 years after 227 passed.

    3. Mr.Toad

      I think you are referring to the Unz initiative prop 227. Here is a link to a Boston College Law Review article that shows why 227 was bad law.

      Here is an excerpt from the summary:

      Abstract: In 1998, Silicon Valley millionaire Ron Unz spearheaded the passage of California’s Proposition 227, designed to ban bilingual education as an instructional method. Two years later, Arizona approved similar legislation, and Unz has recently brought his campaign to Massachusetts and Colorado. This Note analyzes Proposition 227 and its “offSpring” in Arizona and argues this legislation is violative of federal statutes, politically unsound, culturally biased, and pedagogically inaccurate. In particular, the Note contends that bilingual education involving instruction in a student’s native language with the goal of either transition to English proficiency or complete bilingual fluency is an effective educational method and efforts to eliminate it are a rash, false “cure-all” to a variety of problems facing schoolchildren. Finally, the Note argues that effective challenges to legislative initiatives that seek to eliminate bilingual education must address the legal, political, cultural, and pedagogical implications of this elimination and consider the impact of this legislation within a context that considers its full impact on students, teachers, and society.

      1. Rich Rifkin

        None of that shows why 227 is bad law. It shows why that one publication opposed it ahead of time.

        Sadly for the bilingual education proponents, who have interests other than the success of the children in the programs, their predictions were wrong. The kids have done much better since 227. So that argument you pasted holds no weight.

  2. Nancy Price

    I thought the Davis City Council position was non-partisan? We’ve had other CC candidates in the past and some who won who were Republican, and we’ve had self-identified “liberals” and/or “progressives” or who identified with a group of Davis liberals/progressives and some, I presume, were Democrats or some who were clearly Democrats. I am not sure that Democrats who left us with the serious so-called un-funded liability were/are any better than any other party member. I for one am glad that Mr. Munn is concerned about fiscal responsibiliy. Every candidate will be a stiimulus to good discussion and which I hope will be based on verified data and information. Furthermore, where as candidates have records and a past, people as candidates change and grow and we need to listen to Mr. Munn as a candidate today. Why IS the question about party coming up now?

    1. Frankly

      Instead of Red versus Blue, or Democrat Versus Republican, I would like to see a council comprised of people having a balance of both public and private sector work experience.

      From BLS California has about 17 million people in the civilian labor force. 2.43 million of those are state and local government employees. So even though less than 15% of California workers are public-sector, it appears that almost all of our City Council candidates and members are public sector. And as a public sector employee, wouldn’t a city council member have a vested interest in general protection and growth of public sector employee pay and benefits? At the very least, wouldn’t a public sector employee have a more myopic set of perspectives when it came to vetting and deciding economic matters impacting public sector “business”?

      But can you find someone that would run for Davis city council that is not a public-sector employee?

      Would the retired public sector Toads come out to croak all over them?

      Or maybe these people are too busy having to work 10 hour days and weekends to pay their huge tax bill needed to fund the pay and benefits of public sector workers… that they don’t have the time or energy to run a campaign or to take a leadership position to help the city.

      In any case, I would like to see at least 3 of the 4 council members have a primary public-sector work background. We need that balance.

      1. Mr.Toad

        John Munn is a retired public employee with a California State employee pension probably vested at Calpers. Oddly Munn is also an anti-tax Jon Coupal type Republican.

      2. Michelle Millet

        Or maybe these people are too busy having to work 10 hour days and weekends to pay their huge tax bill needed to fund the pay and benefits of public sector workers… that they don’t have the time or energy to run a campaign or to take a leadership position to help the city.

        Maybe if they spent less timing complaining on blogs (or playing golf on the weekends) they would have more time for public service?

          1. Frankly

            Mr. or Ms. Frank Ly has ensured he/she can never run for office due to his/her history of insensitivity and caustic style of blogging. Although he/she hears that this might play better in a state like Texas. But his/her spouse will not let him/her move there yet, and is actually pretty happy that his/her spouse has no political aspirations.

          2. hpierce

            So you’re saying,”if nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve”? (One of my favorite quotes)

    2. Rich Rifkin

      I don’t know when party affiliation became an issue in city council races. However, for the last number of elections, the Yolo County Democratic Club has endorsed candidates for Davis City Council based on their party registration alone. They have gone so far as to endorse 3 people for 2 available seats, if all 3 were registered Democrats. I don’t recall any other local party club doing this, though it’s possible the local Green Party people formally endorsed Rob Roy, when he ran.

      Four years ago, some Democrats tried to make a big issue out of the idea that Rochelle Swanson was a Republican. (I think at the time she ran she had no party affiliation.) A rumor was spread (true or not, I do not know) that Rochelle had a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker on her car. (I think the Vanguard may have played up that story.) Regardless, Swanson won, and so the partisan tactic did not seem to matter.

      The only way I think partisan registration could be important in a City Council race is if the person running has ambition to run for partisan office after serving on the City Council. And the only reason that might be important is if the person is the sort who will cast certain votes on the City Council in order to not impair his future in his party. For example, if we elect an ambitious Republican, he might vote against a tax increase, even if one is in the best interests of the City, because such a vote would make it harder for him to advance as a Republican. In the past two years, I have been personally disappointed in many of the votes of Frerichs and Wolk, because it is perfectly clear to me they have sided with the influential unions which fund and run the Democratic Party in order that neither would impair his plans to run for higher, partisan office.

      If you ever doubt why those two voted against the 3-3-3-2 fire staffing or the merger of the fire chief position with UCD, go play the tapes of those Council meetings. Neither one could articulate anything remotely rational as to why he voted the way he did. Dan’s performance on those discussions was terribly embarrassing for him. He cannot lie with a straight face. Lucas looked less bad. But his arguments were equally lacking logic. And this did not end with their words on the dais. I had coffee with Lucas after the fire staffing vote and he could not, even one-on-one, give me a rational answer for why he voted the way he did.

  3. wdf1

    Don Shor: As with her comments about Nishi, the impression I get is that Sheila simply hasn’t thought through the issues very well.

    I think as early as this weekend, you could find her in the Farmer’s Market, or invite her to stop by your store for a chat and ask her to clarify. Her phone number is (530) 753-4551.

    With Nishi, what she’s said isn’t out of line with discussion. Sheila Allen’s comments on Nishi from her Vanguard interview:

    On Nishi, she said, “I’m not a fan of putting housing there, because I do not want to have a repeat of the housing problem we have along Olive Drive in that it’s a little island and they cannot have access to the world safely because of the railroad tracks and the highway.”

    She believes Nishi is a better location for businesses rather than housing. She sees it as potentially a smaller version of a research park.

    That is not an unreasonable criticism, given issues that the school board has faced with addressing safe routes to schools for children living in the Olive Drive neighborhood: source.

    Nishi as a research park is part of an ongoing discussion, as noted in a Vanguard piece. If access issues were addressed convincingly in the plans, I’d imagine she’d be on board with housing.

    1. Don Shor

      I’ve already found two other candidates that I think are better prepared and have clearer stands on the issues. But this is also what bothers me. “I’m not a fan of putting housing there” suggests she simply hadn’t looked into the issue, and Nishi has been on the radar locally for a couple of years now. Does Sheila have a view on the housing needs in Davis? Why would she look askance at the only high-density housing option that is likely to come before voters near-term? Her answer on that topic is much more superficial than you seem to be suggesting. And that really goes across the board for the things she discussed in that first interview. We’ve got one incumbent who has earned re-election, and another candidate who has obviously done his homework. I don’t think Sheila’s ready this time around.

    2. Rich Rifkin

      I can understand why some might not want housing at Nishi. However, in my opinion, housing there helps make the business park work better. It provides a housing option for people who will work in the new industries there or perhaps some of the new residents will be UCD employees. Those residents will have ZERO impact on traffic in Davis as they commute to their jobs. They can walk or bike to work in a minute or two.

      By contrast, if Nishi is entirely built as a business park, all of its workforce (as opposed to what likely will be some of its workforce) will drive in from elsewhere in Davis or from further afield. If they come from South Davis, that’s more of a traffic burden at Richards Blvd and First Street. If they come from North or Central Davis, that’s more car traffic on B Street.

      Another added benefit of having a residential component to Nishi is that, due to its proximity to downtown Davis, the new residents will (probably) add life to our downtown. They will be a 3 minute walk to The Varsity; a little more to Central Park; and no more than 5 minutes on foot to most restaurants and shops. I would imagine that most of them will buy groceries at World Market or The Co-op.

      An idea I told Tim Ruff some years ago is that, in order to muffle some of the noise from the trains or the freeway, he should consider a rice-straw bale sound wall. He said he thought that was an interesting idea and he would look into it. It does seem to me that the proximity to the rail line and I-80 are a drawback to residential. But that can be mitigated with planning and creativity. I would hope that no one now running for City Council (or on the Council) would hold an ideological position which precludes residential there, just because there may be some negatives. I would hope such people would try to come up with creative solutions which mitigate practical problems.

      1. Don Shor

        I would hope such people would try to come up with creative solutions which mitigate practical problems.

        And that is what is happening. The owner, city, and university are working together to make the site work. Those conversations have been going on for quite awhile, to the point that a detailed proposal has been worked up. We’ve all been aware that a project on Nishi, including housing, has been under active discussion for months and months.
        I do hope that all of the candidates are aware of the serious lack of affordable rental housing in Davis. I hope they all recognize that providing that housing will require collaboration with the university, exactly as is happening on Nishi. I really hope that the candidates won’t do anything to impede forward progress on providing needed housing and business space on the site.

  4. growth issue

    Davis Progressive, maybe the anti Sheila Allen voters can somehow come together and target two of the other candidates for our votes so we can keep her off the council. I don’t trust her because of her firefighter comments.

  5. hpierce

    David… could you ask Mr Munn if he would eschew salary (totally. or sent to a charity), medical, dental, PERS/PARS, and other benefits, if elected, and only receive reimbursement for direct expenses, previously approved by the Council, during his term, if elected? That would inform us of how fiscally conservative he really is. Just a thought.

  6. wdf1

    One school board issue that I’m sure John Munn had some involvement with, as a school board trustee (1997-2001), was the school construction bond (Measure K) that passed in May 2000. This included funds to build Korematsu, and I believe Harper and Montgomery as well. I’m sure it seemed like a sensible idea at the time, but questionable in hindsight, given the need to close Valley Oak in 2007 and the later discussions to close Emerson JH. Measure J, which limited city expansion/growth, also passed in March of 2000.

  7. Nancy Price

    Snide comments about Mr. Munn’s income/benefits are mean-spirited. How many in Davis who have worked for the state and or the University are beneficiaries of generous retirement packages with excellent dental and medical coverage.? .and there are more just waiting to retire! How many are double-dipping?

  8. Mr.Toad

    He could have taken a lump sum and bought an annuity or a mutual fund or put it all on the red with Bernie Madoff. Obviously he likely did what was in his own best interest as well he should. I don’t think anyone is attacking him for doing so and I’m certainly not. I’m simply pointing out the irony of his anti-taxpayer league positions when it comes to his personal finances.

    1. growth issue

      I commend him for being straight up with the public that even though he has a defined benefit he’s willing to talk about the downsides of such a system. It’s refreshing instead of hearing the constant drumbeat from some public employees on here who support the failed system no matter what.

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