Council Vision For Davis



Last week we asked our readers to discuss their vision for the future of Davis. We turned the question to see where the current council fell on this important issue.

We got a variety of different kinds of responses.

Mayor Dan Wolk would reiterate his current vision for Davis: “Renew Davis.”

He said: “I’ve laid out my vision – ‘Renew Davis’ – in multiple venues, including the Vanguard.  The community has been very receptive to that vision and we are making significant progress on it, from furthering economic development to ensuring safe routes to schools.  It is a new day in Davis; the future is bright.  Let’s continue to work together to make this vision a reality.”

He fleshed it out in his January column as well as his State of the City Address.

Councilmember Brett Lee sent the following:

My vision for Davis is a pleasant, affordable community that maintains its small town feel. A City that maintains the basic infrastructure and prudently sets aside reserve funds for a rainy day.

I envision a community that offers a safe, wholesome environment for all of its residents (recognizing that we have a diverse community in terms of ages- seniors and kids, a diversity of ethnicities, cultures and religious views as well as sexual orientations, and a diversity in income levels).

I would like to have a community that works with businesses to develop and maintain a strong economic base; an economic base that provides jobs and tax revenue to support the many amenities we have come to expect.

I think it is important that we are a community that values science and innovation, and that we understand that we need to adapt to the 21st century – we need to acknowledge the challenges of climate change, endeavor to become more energy efficient, and we need to be wiser in our use of water.

We need a City Staff and a City Council that operates in a transparent, open and honest manner. Policy and policy implementation should be based on the greater good. Special interests should be listened to but they should not be allowed to direct or drive City Policy.

We as a City should work with the School District to help make sure we maintain our excellent public school system. This can take many forms, from having summer recreation programs that complement the school systems’ school year programs, to having the City assist in childhood health and nutrition programs.

As a University town, we should work with the University in a variety of areas. From housing to economic development, partnering with UCD will benefit both communities.

Councilmember Rochelle Swanson sent the following:

My vision for Davis has been consistent since before I ran for Council. We need to utilize our unique assets — from world class soils, an excellent university, an engaged community, and a great location — to stabilize and fortify our wonderful quality of life while at the same time helping to solve some of the greatest challenges on the global scale. Think food security and water security as a start …
It’s been exciting to see the conversation of the Sacramento Region as an economic and innovation engine grow within Davis and the region as we’ve recognized and worked to recover from the Great Recession. As the host community and home of UC Davis it is our natural role to not just be a part of regional transformation into one of the major regional economies in California, but a leader. As a community we strive, and are often successful, at being progressive and innovative on environmental sustainability. Let’s be the change we want to see in the local, regional, national and global world by leading the way in environmental and fiscal sustainability by capturing the spotlight in the regional transformation with a focus on best practices to be replicated in the region and beyond.
My vision didn’t just come about because of the innovation parks. I’ve actively engaged at the local, regional, state and national level with public and private entities to find the best fit for the next economy by bringing more jobs and resources and yet keeps our Davis DNA intact.

Councilmember Lucas Frerich:

I’m so excited and optimistic about the future of Davis. Active engagement is the hallmark of our community; over time, we’ve worked together to chart our own course, rather than settle for the conventional notions of the day…think of such innovations as the nation’s first bike lanes, curbside recycling program, energy efficiency standards – adopted by the State of CA (Title 24), innovative planning and design (Village Homes), commitment to open space and strong agricultural heritage. Davis continues to be one of the brightest gems in California’s crown.

We are now drawing upon our deep community commitment to craft a new vision and direction for Davis. We need a new city General Plan to guide us in the 21st century.  Sustainability is paramount moving forward, and must be applied across the spectrum: whether in finance/budgeting, investment in our infrastructure (water, roads, energy system, and additional community amenities), environmental planning and adaptation to climate change, as well as truly innovative economic development and a renewed commitment to community caring.

Davis has its challenges like any community – ie. how to adequately fund community needs, how much housing to build- where and for whom, etc), and even from the looming effects of climate change.  What sets us apart is that Davis possesses the ingenuity, resources and strong will for collaboration to overcome challenges put in our way.

The Davis/UC Davis community also serves as the educational hub of the Sacramento region, which allows us to be leaders on a regional scale, but as the home of UC Davis, we are positioned to help solve some of the most pressing global challenges in the 21st century.

I’ve often said that Davis is one of, if not the most, disproportionately influential communities in California due to the multitudes of residents who work for, or are engaged in, all aspects of governance and research for our great state.  Davis thought leaders, whether at the state, at UC Davis, or in our own city, are making key decisions and findings that will influence the direction of California and the world.

Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis sent us a nine minute video articulating his vision:

—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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20 thoughts on “Council Vision For Davis”

  1. Anon

    Dan Wolk: “…furthering economic development to ensuring safe routes to schools...”

    Brett Lee: “A City that maintains the basic infrastructure and prudently sets aside reserve funds for a rainy day.

    Rochelle Swanson: “…find the best fit for the next economy by bringing more jobs and resources…

    Lucas Freirichs: “What sets us apart is that Davis possesses the ingenuity, resources and strong will for collaboration to overcome challenges put in our way.

    Robb Davis: “…we participate in our region as faithful partners…

    I think we have excellent City Councilmembers, that are really interested in doing what they think is in the best interests of the city.  I may not always agree with a particular City Council member on any specific issue, but I am okay with that.  People can agree to disagree.  What I do believe is that each City Council member understands the importance of fiscal sustainability for the city, and a need for collaboration rather than conflict to make things better.  For me, in a nutshell, these are the key issues the city must grapple with moving forward.


    1. Davis Progressive

      interesting.  i’ve heard the opposite complaint about the council – no cohesiveness and several are seeking higher offices.  though i will commend you for finding a strand of commonality.  i still don’t get a good sense for what davis will actually look like under the leadeership of this council.  i thought david was on a better track last week guiding a discussion for how the innovation parks fit into an overall vision.

  2. davisite4

    A lot of politician-talk – covering all the bases so that everyone can hear what they want to hear, not acknowledging (except for Robb) the conflicts within the visions expressed.

    1. Davis Progressive

      not all of it is.  three of them have no desire to run for higher office – if any office again.  i think brett lee will run for reelection, but it’s doubtful robb davis or rochelle swanson would.

      1. Michelle Millet

        Robb better run again, otherwise I spent a lot of time  and energy climbing up a down a ladder to store his yard signs in the crawl space above my garage for nothing;-)

        1. Michelle Millet

          Yeah, well, if he is not running again, he is getting those signs down all by himself. You hear that Robb? I might even make you bring your own ladder.

        2. Michelle Millet

          Maybe we would could convert them into usable bags…..I’ll give a bunch to Frankly so he doesn’t have to go to Woodland to shop anymore;-)

        3. Frankly

          Ha!  BP, you crack me up!

          Unless he has something better to do, Mr. Davis should do another term.  If it is any help, I generally harass premature ex city council members with much more gusto.

      2. Michelle Millet

        There will be plenty of bags to go around, there are ALOT of signs up there. Do you hear me Robb? It was a lot of trips up and down that ladder. You may want to think twice about this not running again thing.

      3. hpierce

        I opine that Robb will wait at least 2.5 years before making a decision to run for a second term.  Based on his actions to date, I look forward to his continued intention to serve the Community, and, if his past performance continues, I’ll easily vote for him AGAIN.

  3. Clem Kadiddlehopper

    I know this isn’t conducive with Kingdom Building, but the Banana Republic of Davis had better start thinking about implementing a building moratorium until we come out of the drought.

    1. hpierce

      Why?  The current source of City water is not temporally connected to the current drought.  That being said, water conservation is a damn good idea, in the event the drought has a longer duration, as it WILL affect both existing and future water sources.

      Clem, perhaps you should share your concept with LA, San Diego and other areas that were formed in a semi-desert.  Otherwise, we’d have a ‘moratorium’, AND have to send more of ‘our’ water to subsidize them.


  4. Gunrocik

    According to the City’s latest annual report on housing production:

    We built a whopping 10 homes last year along with three accessory units. And four of the ten homes were affordable units! In other words, six market rate units last year.

    Secure the borders, we are being over run by all those infiltrators!

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