Fernandez Bows Out of Race; Leaves with Important Message for City

by Brody Wayne Fernandez

My name is Brody Wayne Fernandez, and I’m a proud resident of Davis. I have worked as a research Journalist for years, and currently work part time as a rideshare driver here in Davis. Having said that, I’ve engaged in many conversations with residents and students alike around the issues facing Davis.

In early November of 2017, I officially elected to run for Davis City Council. I am writing this letter to announce to my supporters, and the residents of Davis that I will not be filing nomination papers with the city, and will be resigning from the 2018 election.

I want the citizens of Davis to know that I am unable to invest the time and resources I know they deserve in an election as important as this one. I’ve had the privilege to meet so many people in this great city, and I’m so grateful to call them my neighbors. I want to take a moment to discuss the issues that this election is centered around, and address why I initially ran for City Council. Being the youngest candidate in the race (28) and only having recently moved to Davis, my campaign was an uphill battle from the get go, however it didn’t stop me from running. The issues I will briefly discuss in this letter are representative of why I ran for this election in the first place, as I’m sure is true for the other 14 plus candidates.

The City of Davis is facing a nightmarish housing problem. The vacancy rate is dangerously low, hovering barely above 0.2 percent. Historically, this city has an issue with “exclusionary housing” in my opinion. Whether it’s the University’s “Mega Dorms,” or a proposed 75-acre Adult Living community, or a certain percent of the vacancy in Davis labeled “Sorry, female only.” It’s very clear; the City’s housing history is engulfed with excluding others.

This is becoming a serious problem and may be the most prominent issue facing the city. A single mom, moving to Davis who works at the local hospital in Davis as a Nurse, is competing with mostly
college students for a slim pick of available housing options. That’s not an appropriate living situation for either party involved. What about families moving to Davis? For either employment, or choosing to make Davis their future home indefinitely, how is it fair to all the middle class families when they are faced to compete in a market that is overwhelmingly dominated by young students?

I am currently a student myself, and I can tell you that if the readers of this article gather just one concept, let it be that not every student who comes to Davis has plans to leave the city right after they receive their degree. With no intention of giving back to the community in any way.

This sentiment of division between students and long-time residents of Davis needs to end. However, that is easier said than done as more and more residents are permanently leaving the City and renting out their condos and houses to students. This makes it very difficult for any voices in Davis to truly reach the ears of city leaders, as long-time residents in the city are dwindling.

Voters will be looking for a candidate who will provide tangible and transparent  solutions to this housing crisis. Someone who will stand up to the University’s attempt to admit more students until we can get our vacancy rate up to nominal levels and under control.

Homelessness is another issue my constituents were up in arms over. There seems to be quite the divide among voters in regards to the homelessness problem facing the city. I have told my supporters that I completely agree with Chief Pytel’s recent take on ‘Language’ in regards to the issue at a forum in City Hall recently.

City leaders must work together, and we have to have a council member that will create language around what should be tolerated and what should not. If violent or threatening behavior is common among certain individuals in the homeless community, there must be language around the goal or plan that the city mandates in respect to this issue.

In summary for other issues facing the city, I hope the city finds a candidate who will question the quality of the city’s water. I have lived in Davis for nearly two years, and am currently living in my fourth residence, however I was strongly advised at all four locations to buy a carbon filter for my drinking water. If the city truly is only drawing groundwater from aquifers during the dry, arid summer months, I can’t imagine we as Davis residents should be taking this much caution.

So let’s find a candidate that will fight for our water rights and aim to alleviate the high water prices we as citizens pay January through December, not just the dry, arid summer months. Let’s find a City leader who will fight for everyone in regards to appropriate, affordable housing. Let us find a local politician who will address the homelessness issue with authority, and hospitality in same breath.

In closing, I would just like to thank all of my supporters, my staff, and the incredible citizens of Davis for showing such resilience and vigor in these issues that have been so important to me and the entire City. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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