Swanson Endorses Wolk, Gives Wolk Sweep of Davis City Council

rochelle-swansonDan Wolk’s campaign announced midday on Friday that it had earned the endorsement of Davis City Councilmember Rochelle Swanson, in his campaign to represent the 4th District in the California State Assembly.   Councilmember Swanson becomes the third member of the five-person City Council to endorse Davis’ Mayor Pro Tem, joining her colleagues Brett Lee and Lucas Frerichs, as well as nearly 100 other statewide, community, education, public safety and other leaders from all over the district supporting Dan Wolk for Assembly.

“Dan and I have worked very closely during our time together on the City Council. He has truly been a leader on key issues, including economic development, infrastructure investment, and sound municipal planning,” Councilmember Swanson said in a statement, “I believe Dan possesses a unique set of skills that will make him an effective Legislator. He has proven himself as a listener, a consensus builder, and a problem solver, who will serve us well in Sacramento.”

“But my decision to support Dan’s Assembly campaign is also based on a shared commitment to protect our region’s natural resources, particularly water,” she continued, “Dan will be a steadfast protector of the Delta and will stand up to those who wish to destroy it by piping the water to Southern California. Our region’s leaders must remain resolute in their defense of the Delta, and Dan is the ideal person for that job.”

The councilmember stated, “My hope was to have the luxury of staying neutral in the Assembly race. I have a longstanding professional and personal relationship with two of the candidates for Assembly, and I consider them both friends. But there are pressing issues at the state and regional level which will have a long-term impact on our community. Because I believe it is incumbent on a leader to make a decision and not equivocate, I have made a decision regarding the Assembly race. I have decided to endorse Dan Wolk.”

Councilmember Swanson was first elected to the Davis City Council in 2010, after running a campaign focused on fiscal sustainability, economic innovation, sound environmental stewardship, and building relationships among disparate groups.

“Since announcing his candidacy, Wolk has amassed an impressive list of endorsements from leaders in every corner of the 4th Assembly District. His list of endorsers now includes three of his City Council colleagues, the entire five-member Davis School Board, and both members of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors whose districts include Davis,” his campaign noted in a statement.

His supporters also include former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, former Assemblymember and Yolo County Supervisor Helen Thomson, Solano County Supervisors Linda Seifert and Skip Thomson, Lake County Superintendent of Schools Wally Holbrook, Solano County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck, Yolo County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jorge Ayala and Napa Vice Mayor Peter Mott.

Dan Wolk has served on the Davis City Council since 2011 and is currently Mayor Pro Tem. He is Deputy County Counsel for Solano County, handling public finance, public contracting and water issues. He is also the founder of the Legal Clinic of Yolo County, a legal services provider for low-income families.

Mr. Wolk grew up in Davis and attended Davis public schools, before attending Stanford University and receiving his law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall. He lives in Davis with his wife, Jamima, a former professional triathlete and small business owner, and their two young daughters, Avery and Layla.

Assembly District 4 consists of Napa and Lake Counties and most of Yolo County, as well as portions of Sonoma, Solano and Colusa Counties.

Dan Wolk is engaged in a four-person race for the State Assembly Seat held by Davis resident Mariko Yamada, who is termed out after three terms.  He is opposed by Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza, Napa Supervisor Bill Dodd, and Napa resident Matt Pope, who is backed by Assemblymember Yamada as well as Senator Noreen Evans.

—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. hpierce

    Two theories that are playing in my head (may come up with others, it’s early)… nobody on the CC likes Joe, except Joe… or, everybody on CC wants Dan off the Council, except Joe, who doesn’t care, as he will be leaving the CC in any event.

  2. anonymous pundit

    People are giving their endorsement to Dan out of fear or favor with his mom. They are not giving their money, their votes. To be taken seriously, Dan needs to resign from council. He needs to let voters know where he would really rather be.

  3. Abigail

    You guys are coming up with some ridiculous theories on why Joe’s city council colleagues do not support him in this race.

    Do you really think that, say, Brett Lee, cares at all what Lois Wolk thinks of him? They don’t share the same base of support and, by all accounts, Brett has no ambition for higher office. Yet he was the first out of the gate to endorse Dan.

    And do you really believe in conspiracy theories so much that you think the council is conspiring together in a Machiavellian strategy to shape the future council? Ridiculous.

    Maybe Joe just isn’t as great as all his Vanguard sycophants think he is. Maybe he treats his colleagues poorly (as are the rumors). And maybe they’re too nice to say it in public. But they still don’t support him.

    1. Tia Will


      I certainly do not believe in conspiracy theories as I believe they are often a very naive view of the more nuanced motives of people with whom one does not agree. However, I think it would be equally naive to believe that no one on the city council would attempt to either retain or to elect to the city council those who they agree with on major issues, or with whom they feel they would work best. Joe is moving off the council in any event. The current issue is whether or not Dan stays on the council or moves on. I think this potentially puts the issue in a different light for each individual.

  4. Abigail

    Also, you guys are burying the lead. Rochelle mentions the Delta as a reason she is supporting Dan. I don’t know where the candidates stand on that issue, except for Bill Dodd, who said in his interview here that he opposes the plan to build tunnels to move the water to SoCal. I assume Dan also opposes the tunnels as well, or at least I certainly hope he does. Maybe Joe supports the Delta tunnels? I would be shocked if he does, but Rochelle’s comments lead me to believe that he might.

    1. Davis Progressive

      you seem to be a shill for the wolk campaign. some have accused you of being will arnold. i think the public officials are assuming dan will win and want to be on the right side of history. based on the other article that may be premature.

  5. Davis Progressive

    btw, i now question whether i will support swanson for city council. she has been good on fiscal issues but bad on land use from my perspective and her support of dan pushes me solidly into the undecided camp.

    1. growth issue

      D.P. I fully agree AGAIN! Although I like Swanson’s stand on fiscal issues, though I felt the CC should’ve cut the firefighters more, her support of Wolk and the fact that I don’t think she’s ever seen a development that she doesn’t like moves me closer to not voting for her.

  6. rdcanning

    Regarding Krovoza’s stand on water. He has stated a number of times (most recently in Fairfield to the Solano County Dem Central Committee) that he opposes the proposed tunnel project. He is also the individual who lead the fight to restore flows in Putah Creek as chair of the Putah Creek Council in the 1990’s via an historic agreement with the Solano Water Agency. Joe understands the water needs of Davis and the region. He was instrumental in obtaining precious (and incredibly valuable) water from the Sacramento River to replace/supplement our groundwater. People also forget that the 4th district extends beyond Davis to Napa (a Delta water exporter) and Lake County, home to Clear Lake, the largest lake in California, and Indian Valley Reservoir. Joe has the best track record on water among those on the Council and was working on water issues when Dan Wolk was in junior high school.

    1. Abigail

      That’s interesting. I heard a completely different report coming from that meeting. Joe said he supports the tunnel plan “with tweaks” and he called Jerry Meral (the architect of the Delta tunnel plan) one of the top environmentalists “in our state’s history”. I also heard from a friend on the yolo democrats that Joe said he was not as opposed to the plan as some environmentalists would like because “the Delta is broken”. Until I see an unequivocal statement from Joe saying he will oppose the tunnels if elected, I’m going to believe what I’m hearing.

      1. rdcanning

        Jerry Meral is a famous person in California environmental circles. He was a pioneer kayaker of many streams in California, a founder of the Tuolumne River Trust (and longtime board member) and a founder of the Planning and Conservation League. Jerry’s history is entwined with both sides in the “water wars.” He was also responsible for several propositions that funded numerous environmental projects in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

        Joe did not say he supports tunnels. He did say the Bay-Delta plan has some merits. The Bay-Delta plan is more than just tunnels. You should write him or ask him via his Facebook page if you want a definitive answer.

        Most of us who follow water in the state understand that the Delta IS broken and doing nothing is a disaster waiting to happen. I oppose tunnels and similar plans but the issue of the Delta as a conduit for so much water needs to be found somehow. Simplistic and black/white solutions such as “Don’t take our precious Northern California water” ignore the realities of water in this state.

  7. Tia Will


    “Until I see an unequivocal statement from Joe saying he will oppose the tunnels if elected, I’m going to believe what I’m hearing.”

    I agree with rdcanning suggestion that you get your information directly from Joe Krovoza rather than relying
    on second or third hand interpretations of what was said. Although rdcanning and I differ on many issues, there are few people I know who go back further than he in terms of California water issues with which he has been involved for at least the past 35 years. When rd says that Joe Krovoza’s knowledge of California water and environmental issues is unparalleled amongst the candidates and that he will take a nuanced view of water conservation and usage, he knows of whence he speaks.

  8. Abigail

    rdcanning says:

    “The Bay-Delta plan is more than just tunnels.”

    Now we’re entering Bill Clinton land. Next you’ll be debating what the definition of “is” is. The BDCP and the Tunnels are one and the same. The tunnels are the foundation of the plan. Yes, there are additional elements, but no tunnels = no plan. No plan = no tunnels. Everyone knows this, including Joe, Jerry Meral, and the contractors who wrote the plan in order to get a 50-year permit to divert water from the Delta, and who will invest over $25 billion to construct it. They are paying for the tunnels and they plan to use them to divert as much water as they possibly can, even if they have to change environmental laws to do it.

    It is true that some environmentalists support the plan, which includes the tunnels. Joe is among them. He also acknowledged his view is different than many other environmentalists who oppose the tunnels unequivocally. Joe’s position is a fine position to take, as long as he stands by it. His supporters would do well do defend this position rather than attempt to characterize it differently. Suggesting you can somehow support the BDCP but not the tunnels is a ludicrous position held by nobody, including Jerry Meral. You would be laughed out of the room if you said that in a room of people from the Delta, or the water contractors, or anybody following the issue. There is no BDCP without the tunnels. You cannot have it both ways.

  9. Don Shor

    The BDCP and the Tunnels are one and the same. The tunnels are the foundation of the plan.

    The Bay Delta Conservation Plan involves restoration, wildlife habitat, and water supply. The ‘tunnels’ are part of the water supply, but the whole project is more than just the tunnels. There are Habitat Conservation plans and Natural Community Conservation plans already underway.
    I far prefer a candidate who will talk rationally about the water issues and the Delta. The way forward involves cooperation and compromise, and needs everyone who pays for and benefits from the river water to be participating. Previous representatives from our district who have expressed uncompromising positions have found themselves shut out of the process. Joe would be a good representative to have at the table, working to ensure that the water quality standards are upheld, that water release conditions stringently support fisheries in the Delta, and that costs are shared appropriately.

  10. Don Shor


    “Wolk, Wiggins lose big in committee shake-up
    Sen. Lois Wolk, wasn’t shy about her disdain for the water package passed last fall — or Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s role in crafting the agreement.

    The Davis Democrat emerged from last week’s reorganization of Senate committee rosters with just two of the seven committee assignments she previously held.


    Wolk, who withdrew her authorship from a bill to create a Delta Conservancy when she learned it would be amended into provisions she opposed, criticized the process for passing the package as “incredibly awful,” saying Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District “wrote (the package) in private meetings, and then it emerged in the middle of the night.”

    Wolk, miffed that a peripheral canal could be built under the plan, also slammed Steinberg’s role in the deal as “disturbing” and said he threw Northern California Democrats “under the bus.”

    When Steinberg released a list of slimmed-down committee memberships last week, Wolk retained the chairmanship of the Revenue and Taxation Committee and a spot on the Natural Resources and Water committee and picked up one assignment — a seat on the Food and Agriculture Committee.

    But she was stripped of seats on Appropriations, Budget and Fiscal Review, Health, Transportation and Housing and Local Government.”

      1. Don Shor

        I hope he would have done things differently. Evidently you want our local representative to be ineffectual with regard to Delta issues, in order to maintain the purity of their opposition. But I am not speaking for Joe or anyone else here. Are you affiliated with the Wolk campaign?

  11. Abigail

    Don, now that’s more like it. At least you are acknowledging Joe would take a different approach than Senator Wolk, Assemblywoman Yamada and Congressmen Garamendi, our current leaders on the issue who all strongly oppose the plan. Joe’s approach is to cut the best deal possible as they build the tunnels. OK. I get it. We just have an honest disagreement here. I prefer someone who will fight like hell to stop them and push less harmful alternative solutions instead.

  12. Joe Krovoza

    …finally checking in here following stuff since the early am. rdcannings representation of my position on BDCP and the tunnels from recent forums is correct. This issue isn’t one for quick sound bites. Recognizing Jerry Meral’s contributions to CA’s environmental movement certainly doesn’t constitute endorsing his every action. In recent forums I have discussed the tunnels and the BDCP. I have never expressed support for the tunnels, and have raised a number of concerns about the BDCP. I strongly support the position of our Yolo Supervisors on the BDCP. Folks can look that up. Rochelle’s statements in the Wolk Campaign’s press release that imply concern about my positions on the Delta are odd to me since I had never discussed Bay-Delta water issues with her until after the release was sent. I am quite proud of my positions and accomplishments in the areas of conjunctive use, groundwater management, in-stream flows for the environment, and water conservation and efficiency. Some might find this UC Davis Law Review article with Dr. Peter Moyle and others of interest. http://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/issues/45/3/Topic/45-3_Bork.pdf

    1. Abigail

      Joe, glad you got on. But rather than pointing to someone else’s position that you support why can’t you just clarify your position directly? Does Don Shor have it right? Would you support the BDCP as long as your conditions are met, as people say you have said in other forums? What are your conditions?

    1. Don Shor

      Simplistic sound bites about Jerry Meral demonstrate a pretty desperate strategy. Meral is highly respected in the water policy world, and has a long record of strong environmental advocacy as well as a very pragmatic approach to issues. Here he is blogging on the Delta issues: http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/news/blog/13-12-19/Part_III_Future_Delta.aspx
      Yolo County Supervisors have detailed their concerns about the delta plan. Mayor Krovoza has made it clear he agrees with those concerns.

        1. Don Shor

          They’re simplistic because they don’t provide the context of his comments, nor do they reflect his lifetime of work on water projects and issues. I have read many thoughtful interviews and analyses by Meral about water and Delta issues over the years, including the summary in the blog link that I posted. In the face of rising sea level and encroaching salinity over a hundred years — no, the tunnels won’t “save” the Delta, and in the face of those things the Delta can’t be “saved” in its current form. It would take more money than anybody cares to spend to do so. But the goals of reliable water supply, restored habitat, reliable fisheries over many decades can be achieved. Some are advocating for peripheral conveyance, including many environmentalists and fisheries experts. Others prefer a through-Delta approach that is more naturalistic. But to reduce Jerry Meral to soundbites, as you have persistently done on this thread, is simplistic to the point of being facile.

  13. Abigail

    Don, I have a lot of respect for you. But Joe is totally ducking this issue and trying to hide behind someone else’s position. What is HIS position on the tunnels? Is he opposed? Or is he willing to compromise?

      1. Abigail

        Perhaps you can clarify, then. Because I am honestly still confused about his position. If he opposes the tunnels, then why didn’t he just say that? He says he has “concerns”, but what are they? And if they are addressed, will he then support the tunnels?

        1. David Greenwald

          ” I have never expressed support for the tunnels, and have raised a number of concerns about the BDCP. I strongly support the position of our Yolo Supervisors on the BDCP.”

          Didn’t he? He said he never expressed support for the tunnels and supports the clear position of the Board of Sups. What else do you want? It seems you have an agenda here.

          1. Abigail

            He also never expresses opposition to the the tunnels or the BDCP (much less do so unequivocally).

          2. Abigail

            And I certainly do have an agenda: That our regional leaders remain unified in their opposition to the Delta tunnels.

          3. Matt Williams

            Abigail, welcome to the Vanguard. I appreciate your passion, but am curious, is there a reason that you are posting anonymously? It seems strange.

          4. Matt Williams

            Abigail, one other question for you … What is the position of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors on the Delta tunnels?

  14. iPad Guy

    Abigail’s interminable insistence that Krovoza’s position is something other than it is or that it’s somehow unclear or not unequivocal enough is pretty tiresome.

    What bothers me much more about this discussion is that–while she lists the typical “he’s a good guy” rationale–Swanson appears to be citing only one, overriding reason for her endorsement:

    “But my decision to support Dan’s Assembly campaign is also based on a shared commitment to protect our region’s natural resources, particularly water. Dan will be a steadfast protector of the Delta and will stand up to those who wish to destroy it….”

    If (as Krovoza states) he and Rochelle never have discussed the issue, where did she get the information that Joe couldn’t be trusted on the matter? (Abigail, maybe?!)

    Anyway, I’m troubled that a council member I’ve grown to respect used such an unwarranted implication as the justification for her switch from “staying neutral in the Assembly race.”

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