Over the years of covering local races, the Bee endorsement can be thought of as the Sports Illustrated curse of local politics. It is a great honor to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but it comes with a downside. Likewise, the Bee has a knack for not picking the winners in local races.
As we keep that in mind, the Bee has announced it has endorsed the two presumptive frontrunners in the council race, Gloria Partida and Dan Carson – if there really are presumptive frontrunners this year – and all three measures on the ballot.
Writes the Bee in its introduction – in typical love-hate fashion for the city of Davis: “Davis is known for great schools, safe parks and ubiquitous bike paths. But it also grapples with an acute housing shortage, town-and-gown tensions, graying demographics and a desperate need for a more diverse tax base.”
They continue: “Those issues have mounted as the economy has rebounded and UC Davis has dramatically ramped up enrollment.”
For them, two candidates stand out: “Dan Carson, 62, retired chief deputy at the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, has brought deep expertise to Davis’ budget and finance commission. His steady hand and experience would be invaluable to a local economy stifled by voter-imposed restrictions on growth.”
Meanwhile, “Gloria Partida, 55, a researcher in neurobiology at UC Davis and a single mother of three grown children, is also widely respected. Having worked for years on behalf of disabled children (one of her sons has cerebral palsy), she founded the Davis Phoenix Coalition after her other son, who is gay, was violently assaulted in a 2013 hate crime. The coalition is now not only an LGBT resource center, but a hub for anti-bullying, immigration and other social justice initiatives, including police accountability – a priority that arose last year after plainclothes Davis police at UC Davis Picnic Day botched a confrontation with a crowd and the department issued a distorted press release about it.
“Partida would diversify the otherwise white and male council and be a voice for a generation of rising local progressives.”
The Bee speaks favorably of Eric Gudz and Linda Deos, but calls them both “relative newcomers.”
On Mary Jo Bryan, they write that she “has a long record of social justice advocacy and understands the needs of those living in Davis on a fixed income. Her most recent involvement, however, has been more narrowly focused on development fights.”
Meanwhile, they note the same for Larry Guenther and Ezra Beeman.
Mark West “wants a better fiscal strategy, but opposes one of the proposed parcel taxes that, for now, are needed.” About Luis Rios, they say he “has yet to establish a strong track record in civic affairs.”
The Bee supports Measures H, I, J.
“Measure H would renew a long-standing $49 parcel tax that pays for maintenance of Davis’ renowned parks and greenbelt.
“Measure I would add a $99 parcel tax to help cover the $6 million to $8 million a year Davis needs to repair and maintain its roads, sidewalks and bike paths.
“And Measure J – a scaled-down version of the Nishi Gateway project narrowly rejected in 2016 by voters – would add 2,200 beds of urgently needed student housing next to UC Davis. With vacancies so tight that some students live in their cars, the campus is adding some 5,000 undergraduates, the result of legislative mandates to increase in-state UC enrollment.”
These are the first of the major endorsements to come down, and the Bee goes somewhat safe with their picks – the question is whether this is a year to play it safe.
—David M. Greenwald reporting