Monday Morning Thoughts: Starting to Look at the Council Candidates

City Hall

At least seven candidates have now “officially” announced they are running for council and maybe more will in the coming weeks.  Most likely there will be two vacancies, as neither Rochelle Swanson or Robb Davis are intending to seek reelection.

This is going to be a heavily issue-oriented election, and we reached out to the candidates to identify what they see as the three most important issues facing the city.  That is slated to run for tomorrow.

In this space, we are going to quickly outline each of the candidates and what they focused on in their announcement piece in the local paper.

For Dan Carson it was his work on the Davis Finance and Budget Commission.  He noted that both departing councilmembers “have been champions of fiscal and economic issues that are important.”

Mary Jo Bryan noted her efforts to bring more senior living housing to Davis.  She said, “Ensuring that the city makes the right decisions on future projects is a big reason why the longtime Davis
resident has entered the 2018 race for City Council.”

Larry Guenther has been heavily involved in his neighborhood’s opposition to the Trackside proposal.  The article notes, “He’ll have more of a say in how the downtown area develops as a recent appointee to the Core Area Advisory Committee (although he would give up that seat should he be elected to the City Council).”

Gloria Partida noted that her work in Davis “particularly in the areas of equity and inclusion — made a council run a logical next step.”

Linda Deos said that she “brings to the table expertise in contract negotiations and a progressive political philosophy that she defines as being open-minded with a willingness to find creative solutions to problems.

“I care about (preserving) our greenbelts, filling potholes and growing in a responsible way,” she said.

Eric Gudz is best known “for his work as a consultant to the cannabis industry” and “his interest in cannabis grew out of a belief in sensible drug policy that has its roots in working with wounded veterans, some of whom struggled with the damaging effects of opioid use.”

Finally, we don’t know a lot about Luis Rios, who noted in his announcement article that he sees the need for change in that he sees empty store fronts everywhere.

“I hear City Council members talk about innovation centers (but) we need to figure out downtown. We need to fix this. We need to promote business here,” Rios said.  “I support small business and I will be listening to what they need.”

What does this tell us about the candidates?  Not a huge amount.  The city council is a dynamic and rapidly changing governmental body.  The coming months on the campaign trail will allow the candidates to fully articulate their vision for Davis and the issues they choose to run on.

Still, I find it interesting to see what the early issues, motivations and rationales are for running for office.

I am reminded by a comment that Robb Davis made to me a few months ago as he was once again called on to speak out during a tough moment.  He said that when he ran for office, he was focused on local issues like the budget and housing and never anticipated that he was going to have to be asked time and time again to speak out during times of tragedy and angst in the community.

It is a reminder that the position is unpredictable and that, when the voters elect a candidate, they are not necessarily electing policies, but rather a person and a potential leader.

—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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