Analysis: Enterprise Endorses Jim Provenza


The reaction to this will likely depend on which horse the reader is backing.  For those supporting incumbent Jim Provenza, this will be seen as further confirmation that Jim Provenza is the most experienced candidate and grasps the issues the best.

For those who are backing one of the challengers, this is further evidence that the establishment is attempting to preserve the status quo.

There will be those who will question the value of an endorsement – our response would be that you are correct to question its value, as it appears to have little.  Endorsements appear to be the reflection of the values of the endorser.  Newspaper endorsements rarely tip the scales.

Over the years, we have seen the Enterprise back obvious winners and likely losers, but we have never seen them back a candidate for which they tipped the scales on.

Nevertheless, while I don’t believe that endorsements matter in terms of outcome, they do provide us data.  Data on whom the paper is supporting and why.

In this case, the Enterprise chose to focus in on the clear strengths of Jim Provenza – experience and accomplishments.

I think it is fair to say after watching the forum last week that, while the three candidates probably do not vary a lot on the issues, they vary a tremendous amount on experience.

Those who are going to back Jim Provenza are likely going to do so on the basis of that experience and accomplishment.  Those who are not are likely looking for a new or different perspective.

That the Enterprise in the former camp is reflective of their position in the community.

After a throwaway first statement: “One of the fortunate aspects of living in a town like Davis is the sheer quality of candidates we get for local office. We doubt that there is any district in the state that has anyone as qualified as the three candidates who are running for District 4 of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.”

The Enterprise gets down to the point, saying that “we see the incumbent Jim Provenza as the clearest choice to serve the people of the district, which includes much of north, east and south Davis. Provenza’s dozen years on the board have been marked by his diligent work on behalf of his constituents and the most vulnerable residents of the county.”

They cite his experience as an attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation in Santa Barbara County, his work on behalf of domestic violence, consumer fraud and civil rights violations as well as his work on behalf other LA District Attorney’s Office as a lobbyist (which they don’t mention) in the state capital.

They go on to talk about his work as chair of First 5 Yolo, described as “an agency that improves the lives of the county’s youngest residents, from early developmental screenings to child abuse prevention efforts.”

His volunteer work with Yolo Crisis Nursery.  They note that “staff and volunteers at the Yolo Crisis Nursery credit Provenza with helping save the nursery when it was on the verge of being shuttered several years ago. “

They also cite his work with the Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance, “an agency he helped create in 2010 to coordinate services for the county’s senior citizens. “

What is interesting is they have focused on his professional career, and his work with Yolo Crisis Nursery and the Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance, rather than his official work as a county board of Supervisors.

They do mention: “He is focused on building a new Adult Day Health Center, which provides a range of services for individuals and families dealing with challenges like dementia and chronic illness.”

They also mention: “He has also been a champion of agriculture and environmental concerns, helping preserve open spaces in the rural areas of the county.”

But, given his 12 years on the board and that they are recommending his reelection, you would think they would focus a little more on his legislative accomplishments.

The editorial concludes: “For his experience, his service and the good things he still has yet to accomplish, we are proud to recommend to the voters of the District 4 to send Jim Provenza back to the Board of Supervisors for another term.”

—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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2 thoughts on “Analysis: Enterprise Endorses Jim Provenza”

  1. Ron Glick

    “But, given his 12 years on the board and that they are recommending his reelection, you would think they would focus a little more on his legislative accomplishments.”

    Like what?  You mean all that stuff in the editorial doesn’t count or wasn’t related to his seat on the BOS? That is an absurd argument.

    But let’s play your game. I have a few things not mentioned and I’m sure others can join in that are directly tied to his position on the BOS. He got an immigration attorney into the public defenders office and he got the KDVS radio tower built at the dump just to name two not mentioned.

    Most recently, last month, he supported Field and Pond’s latest EIR, something Deos’ champion on the BOS  voted against. I wonder where Deos came down on that?

    Do his tireless efforts at preserving the Delta count as official BOS work?

    One of the problems in this election is the lack of understanding of what the BOS does. Little of their work is actually about legislating. Most of what they do is about managing the acquisition and passing through of money from the State and Feds to provide services within the county. So the idea of “legislating” you raise, without example, isn’t a big part of the job of a Supervisor. A discussion of budget priorities, discretionary spending  or county policy on things like provision of services or land use might be a better way of distinguishing the performance of an incumbent. On those criteria Provenza’s record holds up well.

  2. heidykellison

    So there are no misunderstandings, Supervisor Provenza’s work on behalf of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and First 5 Yolo are directly related to his official duties. I speak from firsthand experience as the President of Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery at the time of the crisis as well as my current service as a First5Yolo Commissioner.

    Supervisor Provenza brought the YCN matter before the Board of Supervisors to obtain emergency county funding so YCN would survive. He was our liaison with the county, which was and still is critical to YCN’s survival. He worked with county staff to ensure a new nonprofit was sound from a programmatic and budgetary standpoint, which was necessary to obtain state licensing. The successful partnership in place today is directly related to Jim’s official work serving as the board liaison. This is not “volunteer” work.

    Similarly, First5Yolo is a function of Proposition 10 which was passed over 20 years ago. According to statute, each county establishes a commission to implement the initiative’s local work. Yolo County’s structure calls for the chair to be a member of the Board of Supervisors as appointed by the BOS. Jim serves that role. First5Yolo funds are allocated to maximize services for children 0-5 and this must be done with careful consideration of and in coordination with other county efforts. That’s why the commission is made up of not only public representatives, but county leaders as well. Again, Jim’s leadership is directly related to his official duties as the BOS appointee.

    I do not have firsthand experience with the Healthy Aging Alliance, but I do know constituent services are directly related to the job of a County Supervisor. For example, I recently read the Alliance produced an action plan for the evacuation of seniors and others with access difficulties during emergencies. The implementation is a governmental responsibility. This is clear, official work.

    Accuracy in these matters is important because funders (private, governmental, or other) participate with the efforts noted in the Davis Enterprise endorsement in part because of the county’s role. I was confused by the column and hope those funders and the public were not similarly confused.

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