Changing of the Guard with the City Council

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The 2016-18 Davis City Council
The 2016-18 Davis City Council

On Tuesday night, the city of Davis and the city council said goodbye to Dan Wolk, whose tenure of five and a half years on the council ended.  Meanwhile, Robb Davis was sworn in as the new mayor, Will Arnold as the councilmember replacing his longtime friend on the council, and Lucas Frerichs was sworn in for a second term while Brett Lee was named mayor pro tem.

As Dan Wolk prepared to step down, it was Senator Lois Wolk who captured the moment by stating, “We’re here tonight to say thank you for a job well done Mr. Mayor.”

Robb Davis says a few words to his departing colleague Dan Wolk
Robb Davis says a few words to his departing colleague Dan Wolk

She emphasized the positive working relationship between the city of Davis and the legislative offices.  She noted his “positive outlook for the city of Davis,” stating, “you are upbeat and a champion for the city.  It’s because you believe there is an important role that government provides.

“The other thing is the ability to work with your colleagues and your ability to work with others.  We don’t talk about that enough,” she said.  “Relationships are really the key to being able to achieve your goals.  We need that even more now in society.”

She pointed out, “Your ability to work together has resulted in tremendous advances for the city.”

Rochelle Swanson reads the proclamation to Mayor Wolk
Rochelle Swanson reads the proclamation to Mayor Wolk
Senator Lois Wolk presents a proclamation to Dan Wolk with his daughters presenting their own
Senator Lois Wolk presents a proclamation to Dan Wolk with his daughters presenting their own

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Will Arnold was sworn in as a new councilmember on Tuesday by his nephew Mark.  During his comments, he said, “This is truly one of the proudest moments of my life.  Not only because I for decades wanted to serve our community in this capacity, but I believe our community will serve an important role in the course of human history.  That we may someday be a beacon of light in a darker world.

“I believe our biggest challenge as a community has yet to have been faced, but so has our finest hour,” he said.  “All of that is to say that I plan to take this job seriously and I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to do so.”

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Will Arnold delivers his first official speak as councilmember
Will Arnold delivers his first official speech as councilmember

Lucas Frerichs was sworn in by his former boss, Assemblymember Rich Gordon.  He said that, for the last four years he has been hard at work serving our community.  “We’ve continued to keep our eye on the prize,” he said.  “We continue to get this city’s fiscal house in order.  We’ve also been focused on fixing our infrastructure, and investing in Davis’ future – whether it’s a $200 million surface water project that will pay dividends for generations in this community to come, whether it’s the total upgrade of our wastewater treatment plant, something that doesn’t get a lot of attention.

Lucas Frerichs takes the oath of office from Assemblymember Rich Gordon flanked by wife, Stacie Frerichs
Lucas Frerichs takes the oath of office from Assemblymember Rich Gordon and flanked by wife, Stacie Frerichs

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“Those two pieces of our public infrastructure are going set this community up for generations to come and it’s quite remarkable that we’ve taken these on in the past four years.

“Making the decision to run for reelection to the city council is not one that I took lightly.  Serving on the Davis City Council is indeed a big job.  And it’s one that I also take quite seriously,” he said.  “I’ve found that serving this community is extremely rewarding and I’m extremely humbled to be here and to have earned the support of the citizens and the voters of Davis to serve for another four years on the Davis City Council.”

Brett Lee holds his son Jasper as Richard Livingston reads him the oath of office
Brett Lee holds his son Jasper as Richard Livingston reads him the oath of office

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Brett Lee was sworn in for his second term, his first as mayor pro tem, by long-time supporter and activist Richard Livingston.  He expressed gratitude to live in such a nice community with people who really care about the community who are trying to make it better.

He noted that it is “a well-functioning” city council where “we try to work together and sometimes that’s not easy at 11 or 12 at night.”  He said it is time-demanding, “but I can say I’m a better person for it.  I know so much more about my community and by knowing more about my community, I really appreciate it more.”

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Robb Davis was then sworn in as the next Mayor of Davis by Reverend Kristin Stoneking and David Breaux.

In addressing the public, he stated, “I’m really cognizant here that the mayor serves as the pleasure of the council.”  He said that the word “serve” is the word he wants to “see exemplified in the two years that I have before me – enabling us to help make decisions, helping us to navigate challenging times and being available to my colleagues as a sounding board and also as a friend.”

He said he was thankful to have this opportunity.  “I don’t think anyone really thinks that they’ll be here. Certainly growing up in a small town in southeastern Pennsylvania, I didn’t even think I’d ever come to California,” he said.

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He said soon after he moved here, he was riding his bike on Pole Line Road and “I was thinking to myself, is this real?”  He said, “I thought, how could I ever fall in love with such a flat place and yet I had.”

“The thing that strikes me in this is how many people are doing so many things,” he said.  “The social capital in this community is really to be envied.  I’m thankful and I hope I can help deepen that.”

He said he made some “solemn promises” and he asked the community “to make some promises to us.  I’d like you to be as engaged as you can be.  To read up on the issues.  To dig into them.  To make a commitment to go below the surface on the challenges that we face to really understand them.

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“We need you to encourage us genuinely, challenge us vigorously, disagree with us honestly, and always with a little bit of salt to preserve the whole thing, because we have many contentious issues that are hard to deal with, emotions run high, we do get angry, we do fear sometimes, and I think what we most need is your patience.

“I hope you’ll make that commitment to us,” he said.

Following the ceremony, the new council, led by Mayor Robb Davis and Mayor Pro Tem Brett Lee, got down to the business of the city.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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9 thoughts on “Changing of the Guard with the City Council”

  1. The Pugilist

    It’s amazing how much gets celebrated at these things.  I actually appreciated a lot of the speeches by the council.  They all seemed very humbled by this process which is a good thing.

  2. Michael Harrington

    David, very nice article.  I had client meetings in Sacramento last night, so could not be there.  I liked reading about the comments (DV gives us these details that no other media provides), and the photos were fabulous and gives the feel of being there.

    Let’s see if the subcommittee can get a written, enforceable  deal with the Campus as to housing students.

  3. Tia Will

    I had the good fortune to be at the ceremonial portion of the City Council meeting last night. I was struck by the sincere tone of all of the City Council members and their apparent dedication to the City and to fulfilling their duties to the best of their abilities. I respect all of them deeply for their willingness to put themselves forward to fulfill these difficulty positions.

    Two moments touched me emotionally on a personal level.

    The first was when Will Arnold made the aspirational statement that he had hope that Davis would be a beacon of light in a darker world. The second was when Rochelle Swanson, recognizing the “darker world” aspect of the news of the last couple of weeks called for a moment of silent reflection. For me, that moment was filled with intense gratitude for the city in which I have the good fortune to live.  We are free to disagree, to argue, to complain and to protest. And beneath all of that we have the bedrock of what for most of us is a safe haven in a turbulent world. It is my hope that while we will disagree frequently and vigorously, that we can also do so respectfully and honestly as called for by our new Mayor Davis in his comments. If we steadily provide our leaders with the participation called for, I do not doubt that we can serve as a model for the building of an active, participatory and collaborative community.

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