Ballots and Burritos: Community Election Discussion

Sample-ballot-2014By Alan C. Miller (with inspiration from Danielle Fodor, Nikhil Joshi and Mistress Althaea)

Join us for the return of a fine Davis tradition, a community voter discussion group known as:

Community Election Discussion

Thursday, May 29

6 pm to 9 pm

Dos Pinos Housing Cooperative, 2550 Sycamore Lane

Community Room (in the center of the co-op, next to the pool & greenbelt)


The upcoming Davis election could spawn the uprising of the next Adolph Hitler.

That isn’t a likely outcome, but now that I have your attention, let me tell you about Ballots & Burritos, aka Pancakes & Politics, aka Eggs & Elections, aka Huevos Rancheros & Hanging Chads (Hanguevos Ranchadros?).  We never actually included huevos rancheros, but perhaps we should out of respect for our hispanic population. Not to mention our huge Thai population. Or is that just a lot of Thai restaurants?

Some history is warranted. The tradition of Pancakes & Politcs is now EIGHT years old. It has been held in houses, yurts, housing cooperatives, restaurants, in outer space and within our own minds. As co-founder Mistress Althaea recounts:

On June 3, 2006, about 20 voters gathered in East Davis to educate themselves about the June 6 elections. It started out quietly enough, with the theme of ‘Pancakes and Politics’. However, once they had dispensed with the pleasantries of powdered sugar and jam, things got ugly.   Only two of them lived to tell the sordid tale. They were found naked and incapacitated several miles away. After being revived with several non-fat, half-caf, half-decaf lattes, they shared their ordeal . . . we felt a mighty need to share with the other voters of Davis, that they might learn from our vice and our great folly.

What is important is that Ballots & Burritos has swayed Davis elections; at least those who put on this event are megalomaniacal enough to believe that it has. Evidence of this? Joe Krovoza’s daughter once showed up to a Pancakes & Politics, and Joe Krovoza is now MAYOR. Brett Lee showed for a Pancakes and Politics (at a restaurant with no pancakes) and shared his views: now he is ON the City Council. Note: no one really knew what to do when someone showed up that was on the ballot, but if there is any consistency about Eggs and Elections (certainly not the name), it is that there aren’t really any rules, and the rules we don’t have are poorly enforced.

Ballots & Burritos is based on the premise that the voter guide is crap, the political mailings are crap, the reporting on the election is crap, and everything the politicians tell us is crap (except for those of you I know personally, Rochelle, Lucas, Dan, Brett, Joe, Jerry, Sarah . . . . . . Barak . . . love you baby, you all are clean as the driven snow on a Sierra summit . . . . . don’t hurt me.) Therefore, if we each individually sit down at the kitchen table for an hour with a voter guide and everything we’ve heard and read as input, our own personal conclusions on how to vote will be . . . . . yup . . . . . crap.

Eggs & Elections solves this by bringing together many minds into a casual gathering of Davis freaks, potato heads and so-called normal people. Instead of researching every issue, each politically recovering person takes on a single issue or office, researches it briefly for pros, cons, facts, fallacy, humor & roaches, adds turmeric and bias, and presents it to the group. There is then a discussion where others can respond and add their own knowledge, bias, knock-knock jokes and experience. It is surprising how much real knowledge there is in a group of Davisites, and how much more one can learn than from real people than from a voter guide, one’s own mind and internal noise.

More than anything, Ballots and Burritos is fun. We emphasize the little issues that you’ve never heard of, so you can walk into the ballot box and know that you know something about each one, because someone in the group cared about that issue.   We look at the candidates from the little parties and maybe find something really humorous in their candidacy statement and mock it. We take a look at who is running for City Mouse Catcher and maybe someone in the room knows they breed cats and sell them to the City. We take the horror of the election process, and turn it into a social event and a meal. Not everyone can have this much fun with the election process, so why not join us?

You could stop Baby Hitler.

Speaking of which, persons from all points on the political spectrum are welcome at Ballots and Burritos (well, except future dictators). True, this Davis event has traditionally been held in such left leaning places as . . . . . . . . . . Davis . . . . . . . . . but we welcome all willing participants. This makes for a more “interesting” and informed discussion. I stress “interesting”.

Now that you know what this is about . . . you cannot help yourself: you now want to be part of this voter discussion / freak show.   If you have knowledge and want to take on a particular issue or office . . . . . first ask, first served. We ask that some folks volunteer to research some of the lesser-know issues, so perhaps you could help out and be assigned to look into one of these. Our goal is to have all informed about all, once and for all! The minor issues are the ones oft forgotten — and that’s where the groupthink from B&B kicks in. No longer will you vote on the lesser-knowns with such deep seated wisdom as, “that sounds good, but are space aliens behind this initiative?”, or “Jerry, that’s a nice name.”

As you now feel empowered to take on an issue or candidate, Contact Nik at: Sandman (underscore) artlover (at) yahoo (dot) com     and/or 530.867.3694

Make Burritos & Ballots better through VOLUNTEERISM! For example, you can

• Volunteer to present one issue or office. (contact Nik, above)

• Bring potluck items to stuff burritos, drink, or throw. (contact Danielle)

• Be a timekeeper or scribe for the meeting.  (contact Danielle)

• Help set up or break down the meeting. (contact Danielle)

• Become an illustrator and/or writer for our on-line VOTER GUIDE. (contact Al)

To help with the meeting setup or food, Danielle can be reached at daniellefodor (at) gmail (dot) com or 530.302.7143.

We hope to have an online voter guide available before election day (to assist the dwindling few who actually still vote on election day). Look for it in your email box or here on in Vanguard. That is, if we aren’t taken out by the powers-that-be, collapse from exhaustion, or are rejected by this fine online blog as “too F-ing weird”.

If you have the ability to string words together or draw stick figures and would like to help out with the voter guide, contact Al at: Acm (at) omsoft (dot) com   or     530.312.7320

People of Davis!   We’ll see you at Ballots and Burritos.

Or . . . sit at home with your own brain, a voter guide, and a pile of slick mail cards from political action committees. You could even throw “Dancing Queen” by ABBA on the turntable for additional inspiration.

Your choice.

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. Robb Davis

    As President of Dos Pinos I am shocked! Shocked, that we allow such subversive groups use our community room. I better be on hand to “monitor” the activities (can I have a burrito?)

    1. South of Davis

      Robb wrote:

      > As President of Dos Pinos I am shocked! Shocked, that we allow
      > such subversive groups use our community room.

      I’m shocked that the same people that were bent out of shape about the UCD Cinco de Mayo “sloshball” game are not protesting this event (or protesting that white people are living in a place called “Dos Pinos”)…

      1. Barack Palin

        LOL Frankly. I’m glad somone else has a sense of humor.

        Can you invision me sitting there eating a burrito in a border patrol costume while smoking an e-cig?

  2. Alan Miller

    FYI to anyone “listening”.

    All are welcome to come, including candidates, who will be treated as participating citizens, which they are. I know at least two who will be coming (not telling who) and probably more. The only thing we may ask, is that they voluntarily leave the room when we are discussing either them or their office, so other participants feel free to say what they wish.

    Please feel free to come even if you have not signed up to research a particular issue or candidate. Many others will be doing the same. We will do these issues/candidates ‘on the fly’ with the help of our old friends Internet and Wireless.

    And if you have a chance, bring something veggie to stuff a burrito.

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