Dan Carson notes in his op-ed on Monday, “Unanimity – or close to it – is hard to achieve in politics and local government.” He writes, “I’ve been impressed by the overwhelming number of local leaders who are supporting yes on Measure A. They represent different constituencies, and they’ve advocated different things in the past, but all of them understood how important the Nishi Gateway is to solving ongoing problems in Davis.”
I have a different take on it. On the one hand, it is certainly noteworthy that not only are most current elected officials in Davis supportive of Measure A, but if you go back through our history, you only find two people who were elected officials at any point in time, at least publicly, opposing the project – that would be Michael Harrington and Sue Greenwald.
Unlike Mr. Carson, I’m not willing to ascribe nearly the amount of meaning to that. We have recent history where a 4-1 council vote on Covell Village in 2005 led to a 60-40 trouncing at the polls. Sure, all four candidates for city council are supporting Nishi, but clearly they don’t reflect the divide in the community on the issue.
As I wrote toward the beginning of the campaign, Davis has had a tendency to elect a much more pro-growth council than is reflected in the community’s willingness to support projects. Perhaps that is because there are other issues, perhaps that is because the core of the progressive movement has aged out of serving in elected office, perhaps that is a more recent phenomenon, as Measure R frees the public from worrying about growth issues when it comes time to elect council officials.
The bottom line is that, while it is interesting that almost all elected officials are supporting Measure A, I don’t know that it is reflective of the outcome.
Rich Rifkin in a Vanguard post yesterday predicts that Measure A will be trounced by similar numbers to Covell Village – 59.3 to 40.7.
I could be wrong in my read of the situation, but I just do not see a large margin of defeat, if the project is defeated at all. A person involved in the No on A campaign, tells me there are a large number of secret No votes. I’m skeptical of the claim, for a variety of reasons I won’t get into here.
Here is what I see…
During Measure P – granted, a race that ended up 75-25 in the No column, the Vanguard comments were overwhelmingly negative and vitriolically so. I just don’t see the level of negativism on the Vanguard that I did six year and a half years ago. If anything, there is a slight lean to yes side – even by people who have traditionally been No votes on development.
The areas where I would expect a huge outpouring of No sentiment – letters to the editor and op-eds – have been fairly even.
As I have said before, I see a lot of signs around town on main thoroughfares, but getting off the main roads, I just don’t see a lot of signs either way. The signs I see are fairly even.
Even with Hillary Clinton declared the winner of the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders still believes he can flip super-delegates and, therefore, I expect a big turnout of Bernie Sanders supporters from UC Davis, and I expect that a lot of those will vote yes on A.
The No on A supporters like to portray themselves as David against Goliath. I suppose, in traditional campaign measurements – particularly money and resources – that is true. But in another way, the political landscape is so heavily tilted away from development that, if anything, the odds would seem to favor the No side.
This race may come down to the ability to get out their vote. The Yes side maintains they have identified thousands of supporters. My early back of the envelope projection was that it would take about 9000 votes to win the election and the Yes side may well have identified more than three-quarters of those, perhaps up to 80 percent with 7200 identified voters. The key question is, will they come out to vote? That we will see. But if the Yes is even remotely correct here, this is at the very least a close race.
Bottom line, I don’t see a blow out for the No side this time, and perhaps I see a narrow victory for Yes. It all depends on who comes out to vote and how many of them.
—David M. Greenwald reporting