Davis City Council Candidate Statements on DMA

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Each of the five candidates running for Davis City Council was invited to make a five-minute presentation in the Davis Media Access studio.

The Vanguard has transcribed each of these comments and presented them below.

Click here to see the videos of each candidate.

sheila-allen-14Sheila Allen

Hi, I am Sheila Allen and I am running for your Davis City Council.

I care about the health and well-being of our community and all of my 65,000 neighbors. I have a proven track record of positive, active, local leadership during my 9 years as an elected official on the Davis School Board and 10 years as a Yolo First Five Commissioner for our very young children and their families.

I have worked with others to preserve community-supported programs during unprecedented state budgets cuts. As with my experience on the school board, I will have a fair approach to compensation for all employee groups and believe in both shared sacrifices during difficult times and shared benefits when things improve. I will bring an approach to help bring the city budget in line with a fair and balanced approach that will include an evaluation of additional strategic cuts as needed, but also work with the community to enhance revenue particularly through economic growth.

I support strategies to enhance economic development by working with our business community and expanding the tax base through a research and innovation business park. Such a park will bring local, good paying, high tech jobs and increase revenue for city services. I also support Measure O, the ½ percent sales tax increase, as a part of this balanced approach to bringing our budget in line. All public entities, including the city council, need a transparent budget process with community participation as we implemented on the school board with our parcel tax oversight committee.

I have a vision of Davis as a friendly, healthy, safe, neighborly community. Much of this does not cost money. As the Executive Director of the new non-profit Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance, I have proven through my projects that -when government, non-profits, interested community members come together to solve problems, change can happen.
Here are some areas I am particularly interested in addressing as your city council representative:

1- We need to work together on a water plan that includes conservation methods including changing the city ordinance to allow gray (recycled) water and encourage its use especially in a new housing.

2- We need planned and phased infrastructure updates, including road and bicycle paths, that addresses the most urgent needs first and then have an on-going plan including a funding structure in place for regular maintenance.

3- I would like to work with my fellow council members and staff to investigate utilizing our police and fire as enhanced first responders in an innovative and cost conscious way to assure the timely protection of our homes and lives and decrease the cost to the citizens while improving response times and the level of care that can be provided immediately in the home.

4- As an involved public health official and through my work on the school board I am well aware of the challenges that some in our community face. In city, county and state planning there is often the perception that Davis does not have low income people or a need for services. I know this is not true and just as I did on the school board when I worked successfully to get Head Start preschool back in Davis and saved neighborhood schools, I will work with all levels of government to assure that Davis citizens receive the supports and services that they need.

5- We need strategic planning for housing across the lifespan in a mixed community (not segregated by age or financial abilities). I support universal design so that people can stay in their home as they age and smart infill projects such as the 4th and D that address the desire of seniors to live downtown. I would like to build up in downtown Davis providing retail at the street level and offices and apartments on the upper floors.

I am a public health nurse with a PhD in Nursing and Health Policy. Using this education and background as an elected official, I will take in the vital data of the city, staff and community input and make a decision. I am a hard worker, and I really care about Davis and its citizens. I hope I have your vote and your help as we work toward a healthy and caring community.

Davis-RobbRobb Davis

Hi, my name is Robb Davis and I’m a candidate for the Davis City Council. I am running for city council because I believe I have the skills and experience necessary to help our community face the significant challenges of our time. For over 25 years I have worked in international maternal and child health programs in over 30 countries around the world—in some of the poorest communities with the most intractable health problems on the planet. In each situation I worked as part of a multi-disciplinary team of people who together examined local health problems, sought solutions, and then put into place programs and approaches to solve the problems.

I am committed to collaborative problem solving, both because our challenges are complex and also because I believe we need the gifts and insights of a variety of people. I bring this same commitment and skills necessary to achieve it to problem solving in Davis and I will work hard with others to achieve our objectives.

In recent years I have had the opportunity to work in Davis on a number of grassroots community issues. I staff Davis Community Meal’s Transitional Housing shelter. This experience has given me an opportunity to understand much better the challenges of homelessness and addiction in our community.

I have also had the opportunity to work with students in safe bicycling programs and also work with City staff to develop safer streets and a comprehensive bike plan to encourage people of all skill levels to bicycle.

Finally, in the last year I have had the opportunity to work with the District Attorney’s office on the launch of the neighborhood courts program in Davis. Neighborhood courts is a restorative justice program that seeks to bring offenders together with community members and victims to name the harms that come from the offenses committed and discover ways to deal with the harms, and assure that the offense will not be recommitted. All of these efforts have taught me a great deal about our community and they, along with other experiences, will guide me in policymaking decisions.

The greatest challenge that we currently face as a city is our fiscal situation. Quite simply the rate of growth of city costs is outstripping the rate of growth of city revenue. The result is an over $5 million fiscal imbalance in 2014/15 which would grow to seven to eight million dollars per year if nothing were done. In addition, large backlogs in street and vital city infrastructure will add millions more to our annual costs. We must find ways to bring the rates of growth of costs and revenues in line.

We know what the drivers of cost growth are; many of them are related to the costs to the city of total employee compensation. There are no easy solutions and we will need to work together as a community—including all employee groups—to hold the line on cost growth even as we attempt to expand our revenue base. We can do that by more efficient use of our current space, which includes densifying our downtown–creating more housing and retail and commercial opportunities there.

We can also move to create innovation parks around our city. Such sites will enable us to provide opportunities for University-developed start-ups and attract and keep leading firms that focus on agricultural and other innovations. I am interested in examining the potential of these sites to assess not only what they can provide in terms of increased job opportunities for citizens, but also for the revenue that comes from them in the form of property and sales taxes.

But, even if we develop these options their revenue streams will not come on line for several years. In the short term, therefore, I believe we can begin to face our fiscal challenges with an increase in our sales tax, which is proposed for the June ballot. However, that is only a short-term solution, and we must bring our costs and revenue growth rates into line if we are to achieve an economically sustainable city going forward.

Even as we face these fiscal challenges, I am committed to making sure that we do not leave behind those in our community who are the most vulnerable. We must redouble our efforts to reach out to those in need of housing, mental health services and drug and alcohol counseling; and I believe through better collaboration between the non-profit sector, county services and our city, we can achieve that.

Facing our challenges will require a long-term commitment to collaborative problem solving. We are going to have to make difficult decisions, but as we do, as we face our problems and seek solutions together, I know we can draw from a deep well of human resources, social solidarity, and broad-based community expertise. As a City Council member I want to help mobilize and facilitate the contribution of all members of our community.

I would value your support. I would value the opportunity to represent you. I will stay focused on Davis’ problems. My political career begins and ends in Davis, and my commitment to you is that I will stay focused on what needs to be done here to create an economically, environmentally and socially healthy city. Thank you.

Munn-John-2014John Munn

Hello. My name is John Munn.

I am a candidate for the Davis City Council. If elected, I will work for fiscal sustainability so that we can all afford to live here.
There are five candidates running for two open seats. If you want to elect someone who will focus on balancing the city budget while keeping Davis affordable, then one of your two votes should be for me.

According to the current Council’s rate schedule, water costs will more than double for single family residences over the next five years. And we are not finished with water rate increases, because the City plans to again double revenue from water service after 2018.

The City also wants to increase charges for storm drainage, sewer service, trash pickup, and city taxes. These cost increases are not sustainable. They will hit hardest on middle class families and on fixed income residents. This will hurt our community.

Fiscal sustainability is now a popular slogan as financial challenges facing Davis become apparent. These include: employee pension and health care obligations, street repair and other maintenance needs, and ever-increasing city services costs.

This is not the time for the City to start projects that may end up costing money that we don’t have. I am opposed to downtown parking meters and to starting a City owned electric utility. And I support Measure P to get fair water rates.

In fact, I am the only candidate with a record of speaking out on these issues and of taking action against excessive tax and rate increases, so you can be sure that my concerns are real.

This is not about being against every idea, but I will oppose bad ideas.

Solving the difficult issues facing Davis will require thoughtful analysis and working together. My ability to work with others was clearly demonstrated during service on the Davis School Board from 1997 through 2001, where we overcame an inherited budget deficit along with restoring employee and public trust. I want to bring the same approach to the Davis City Council.

I also have professional experience in soil and water science and education in engineering that would add needed perspective on facilities and environmental issues facing the City Council.

I want to balance spending with available resources before we consider tax and fee increases, and ask for your support to help keep Davis affordable.

To find out more about me and my positions, please visit my campaign website or contact me by phone or email. I hope that I can earn your vote for the Davis City Council. Thank you for your attention.

Parrella-DanielDaniel Parrella

Hello everybody my name is Daniel Parrella and I am a candidate for the Davis City Council. I was born and raised on the outskirts of Davis and I attended four different DJUSD schools including Fairfield, Willett and Emerson before graduating from Leonardo da Vinci High School in 2009. I have deep roots in the community, my father is a professor at the University, my mother works as an office manager at a local veterinarian clinic, my older sister is a caretaker for adults with severe disabilities and my younger sister works as a hair stylist downtown.

I attended UC Santa Barbara as an undergraduate and while there volunteered for Congresswoman Lois Capps reelection campaign. While on the campaign I stumbled across a local program called “Solarize Santa Barbara,” a group-purchasing model to install solar panels on houses. I couldn’t wait to try it out back home and when I came back for the summer I launched “Solarize Davis.” I brought 19 Davis homeowners together to install solar and I have been selling and marketing solar panels through my own company ever since.

I am running for Davis City Council because I want to start a family here and I want Davis to be a place where young people can find jobs and afford to live. When I walk precincts and a parent opens the door I always ask what they do for a living. Invariably they say they work at the University or at FMC Schilling or Mori Seiki. I think that the argument for too long has focused on affordable housing and not enough on high paying job creation. If we can bring more jobs into our community we can prevent the decline of our 25-44 year old demographic, which in my eyes is the greatest threat facing our city, second only to our current fiscal crisis.

Speaking of our fiscal crisis, our city simply does not generate enough revenue to sustain the services that we have come to expect. If we are going to fix our roads and fund our pensions the city council needs to establish clear priorities and focus on broadening our tax base through economic development. I support the findings of the Innovation Park Task Force and look forward to implementing them while I am on the city council.

While I always supported the surface water project, the issue now focuses on the current rate structure. While I believe that CBFR is a step in the right direction, I applaud its creators for moving away from meter size and focusing on encouraging water conservation, My issue with CBFR has always been that your fixed rates are based on your usage from May-October. Specifically, a renter moves in September so his rates will have already have been set by previous occupants. As of right now there is no clear appeal procedure in place to prove that you use less water then the previous occupants. 55% of Davis are renters and we have approximately 20,000 students who live within the city of Davis who could potentially be saddled with unfair water rates. As a City Council Member I will make sure that a clear appeal procedure is in place.

I appreciate you taking the time to listen, if you have any questions for me you can visit my website at DanielforDavis.org, call me at 530-219-5998 or email me at DanielforDavis@gmail.com. I would be honored to have your vote, thank you!

Swanson-2014-headshotRochelle Swanson

Let me begin by saying, “Thank you. Thank you for the last four years of being able to serve the community.” It has truly been a pleasure and an honor to be part of a leadership team for a community that is rich in assets, diverse in its community, located in a lovely region, and in an incredible atmosphere that lets all of us be welcome.

There are a few things that I really want to point out about why I want to run again for a second term. Experience really does count, and in these times that we are in, it is even more important

First, the budget. We have made lots of progress over the last four years with the budget, and with the Council’s continual pursuit of improvements. There are a lot of challenges that are still ahead of us we still have a very big bar to get up over the mountain. We have a $5.1 million deficit this time around, and even with the half percent sales tax, we are still going to see a budget shortfall. We have had to cut employees. We have had to cut services. We have had to cut programs. But what’s been really heartening is that we still continue to have amazing parks. We still continue to have programs. We had non-profits step up and help us out, to make sure that we don’t lose all the things that make Davis Davis.

But we have more challenges ahead in the coming years. We are going to be doing renewals of our MOUs with all of our employee groups. We will be doing another assessment of all the different services and programs and departments that we have. We continue to try to move forward and figure out how to really give the most efficient, best customer service, and still remain true to fiscal sustainability, and more importantly, fiscal stability, this year, next year, and for the decades to come.

I believe that I have done a very good job the last few years of doing my part to make sure that we continue to be strong, and with that, to not just look at how do we control expenditures, but more importantly how do we bring in revenue. It’s not just about taxes. It’s not just about being able to capture what we have. We have assets in this community that are really truly amazing. We have the world-class university in agriculture … #1 this year and last year, and I expect that ranking to continue. We are in the middle of a region with very strong partners, both within our County, within this part of the State, with our country, and within the global economy. It is amazing if you look through all the different businesses and researchers that we have here in Davis and our surrounding area, that really do come from all parts of the world.

Speaking of innovation, I have spent the last couple of years on an Innovation Task Force. As many people know, we have identified five different parcels in the community in which we could actually do an Innovation Park … not a business park, like what you see traditionally around our state, but a true innovation park, specifically focused to using research that not only comes out of our university, but also other schools, capitalizing on R&D, both public and private.

I have been very lucky to spend the last couple of years investing in relationships, not just within our community and on-campus, but in the region, both in Sacramento and in the Bay Area, traveling to DC, and whenever the opportunity presents itself to do outreach when folks give me leads and tell me about people they think that I should talk to. It takes time to build these relationships, and it is an investment, and the great news is that we have people who want to invest in Davis. They are hearing about what we are working on here. We are changing our reputation. Not just being a college town, but being a true university town, like many others around our country. We need to understand how important it is for us to do our part, to not only support the university, being a neighbor to the university, but really providing an opportunity for excellence. I look forward to being able to continue to capture those relationships and build on the ones that we have.

Part of the innovation task force conversations have also been about growth, and I know there is concern out there. I have had a strong record about believing that growth stays within our borders, and that if we do have to look beyond, that were smart about it. I love the fact that we have the Open Space fund, and that we can work towards doing conservation easements. I do want to see a strong urban limit line. Does it necessarily mean the tight borders that we have now? I do think that we have to remain close. I look forward to the opportunities as we do look at innovation, that we are going to be able to do our best to protect ag land with our mitigation measures. I look forward to seeing how those things change, and being an active part of the companies are built around agriculture.

With all that said, I believe it really comes down to experience. We will be having a big change in our Council, in the next year. In two years, depending on the outcome of the Assembly race, our two most senior Council members may only have 2 and a half years on the Council. We will have a new City Manager and a new city management staff. I look forward to having the opportunity to move forward and I ask you consider one of your two votes is to hold onto the experience that we have on Council now.

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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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6 thoughts on “Davis City Council Candidate Statements on DMA”

  1. Tia Will

    From Robb Davis

    “I would value your support. I would value the opportunity to represent you. I will stay focused on Davis’ problems. My political career begins and ends in Davis, and my commitment to you is that I will stay focused on what needs to be done here to create an economically, environmentally and socially healthy city”

    I support Robb Davis for City Council.

    From personal experience, I know that Robb truly means that he would value our support not only in this election, but also in problem solving throughout his tenure on the council. As much as anyone I have ever met, Robb is a thoughtful listener who is not dismissive of the ideas being expressed even if he does not share them at the time of a conversation. There have been many times when I have witnessed Robb come back for clarification and more details after having initially disagreed with an idea. Sometimes he has come closer to the opposing position, sometimes not, but he has always formulated his opinion on the best information available without forcing the data in to his preconceived ideology. Robb is a localist. When he says that he will remain focused on the problems faced by Davis, he means it.

    Finally, Robb has demonstrated both in his public actions and his private life, his consistency in promoting all aspects of the well being of our community. What Robb appreciates fully is that while the economic issues facing our city are currently in the forefront, they are inextricably woven in with the environmental and social health of our society, often in ways that individuals with no experience in safety, health and wellness or environmental issues may not fully appreciate. Of the candidates, Robb, through his life and work experience has seen the interactions of these elements of a society in the broadest range of human experience from subsistence villages to our wealthiest cities and that this range of experience and vision will provide him with a truly unique perspective from which to work with all members of our community.

  2. SODA

    I also support Robb Davis. In addition to Tia’s eloquent summary which resonates with me also, I have been impressed with how informed Robb is on local issues. He has really taken the time to research the issues, met with the local experts whether elected or employee to hear their viewpoints and learn the facts

    Without disparaging any of the other candidtates (Sweeping with a Light Heart), I am confident from his candidate preparedness that he will be a prepared councilperson. Lastly he is not afraid to say he doesn’t know something or hasn’t taken a position, also good.

  3. Tia Will

    From Rochelle Swanson

    “Part of the innovation task force conversations have also been about growth, and I know there is concern out there. I have had a strong record about believing that growth stays within our borders, and that if we do have to look beyond, that were smart about it.”

    By itself ,this sentiment would seem entirely reasonable if not entirely internally consistent. Couple this statement with Rochelle’s proclamation at the time of her announcement of her candidacy for re election “We must grow as fast as we can” as quoted on the Vanguard, and a different picture emerges.

    I suspect from this combination of statements, both of which I am sure she meant sincerely, that Rochelle and I would not share the same vision of what it would mean to be “smart about it” when looking outside our borders.

    I suspect that Rochelle believes that the key to prosperity is growth. Perhaps it is because of my much longer life experience that I have a keener awareness that one cannot always “grow” one’s way out of financial difficulties.

    While I support the development of an innovation park, I do not support expansion beyond the current limits of our city to suit the needs of businesses who wish to locate “here” by making the “here” larger. I also do not favor expanding to meet the short term economic desires of developers or businesses whose focus is on their short term increase in revenues, while ignoring both the short and long term adverse consequences of a vision that emphasizes the economic portion of the economic, environmental, and social triad of what constitutes a healthy
    community.

  4. Don Shor

    including changing the city ordinance to allow gray (recycled) water and encourage its use especially in a new housing.

    City of Davis building code allows graywater. Here’s the link: http://cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CDD/Sustainability/GreenBuilding/21-Graywater-Systems-Information.pdf

    You do not need a permit for a graywater system on a clothes washer, or any single fixture. You do need a permit for a multiple fixture system.

    I found this by Googling “city of davis graywater building code.”

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