Chapman Throws Himself in the Davis City Council Race for District Five

Davis City Hall with an old style bicycle statue out front

It is a new world in Davis with district elections, and over the next few weeks we will how interesting that new world becomes.  This week, Josh Chapman announced he would run for District 5—he will face at least Rochelle Swanson and probably some other candidates.

Chapman has been heavily involved in a lot of things over the last ten years.  He has served as owner of Armadillo Records, he has been President of the Davis Downtown Business Association, he has served on the Downtown Planning Advisory Commission, and he is the father of a fourth grader and sixth grader at Montgomery Elementary.

“I have been engaged in city politics at that level for the past ten years,” Josh Chapman told the Vanguard on Wednesday.  “I had always thought about running for city council ever since I was on the board of the Downtown Business Association.”

He said, “Now, what really got me moving in this direction, it was important that there was this natural next step for me and I think given the two crises that we’re in—look at the pandemic that we’re facing and now we have the whole national view looking at systemic injustice and issues that we’re facing as a community—I strongly feel that how the community responds to those types of events, that reflects what we as a community value and what our priorities are.”

“This council is going to be facing some real tough decisions,” Chapman explained. “Different members of our community, different vulnerable members that are part of our community—we as a council need to prioritize those to reflect the values of our community.”

He added, “I think it’s important that we have a council up there that really thinks long and hard about what to prioritize as a community.  I think that my background—my educational background—can be helpful to that conversation.”

Josh Chapman was born and raised in the sate of Maine.  Went to college in New Hampshire with a degree in business.  Following graduation, he joined AmeriCorps and lived in Washington, D.C.  In D.C. he met his wife, Athena, who is from Davis.  He stayed on after AmeriCorps, working as the education director for the Boys and Girls Club.

They moved to California eventually, with his wife getting a job in San Francisco.  He got his masters in education, focusing on equity and social justice at San Francisco State.  While he was there, he taught at a school with students who were incarcerated.

They moved back to Davis where his wife was from and after an unexpected death in the family, at which point his wife took over Armadillo Music from her family.

He has served on the board of DDBA for four years.  He became president of the DDBA and just wrapped up his time as president this past February.

He also through that spent two years on the board of the DPAC (Downtown Plan Advisory C0mmission), helping to determine the plan that will direct how the Davis downtown grows and develops.

“As a community and in this district election cycle, for me its about bringing the community together to really help form decisions based on what we value as a community,” he said.  “These decisions aren’t made in vacuums and must be made for the community as a whole.

“I think really reaching out and talking to different segments, different parts of community—whether it’s in South Davis or if I’m fortunate enough to be elected, in other parts of this town—about what we value as a community, how we’re going to move that forward, and reflect that in policy making and the decisions that we’re making,” he said.  “I think that is such a huge portion of where we’re going to be.”

He said that the budget has to reflect what we stand for as a community and what we do going forward.

He said he believes his educational background, his work with AmeriCorps, work on behalf of suicide prevention in Yolo County, and work on behalf of small businesses downtown serves those needs.

He added, “I am a proponent of denser housing and looking at how we can really make our downtown a more inclusive downtown, have it continue to be vibrant, have it continue to be the place where it’s the center of our community.”

Chapman added that we need to look at how we are creating job opportunities for people graduating from UC Davis.

The filing period is now open.  So far the city has received Form 501s (Candidate Intention Statements) from: Dillan Horton, Lucas Frerichs, Will Arnold, Larry Guenther,  Colin Walsh, and Rochelle Swanson.  And there are others as well.

The period opened on Monday, July 13, and closes on August 7.

—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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  1. Alan Miller

    Three important questions regarding this candidate for the Daverse City Council:

    • Would this candidate pass muster with the Yolo Committee for Diverse and Inclusive Elections (YCDIE) who are actively looking for candidates to run for various offices in Yolo County this November?

    • What can this candidate add to the Council in terms of racial diversity in addition to gender diversity?

    • Will this candidate more fully represent the perspectives, experiences, and needs of our diverse—and historically underrepresented—population?

    1. Ron Glick

      He has red hair. I like red hair. Red haired people have homozygous recessive genes. People with the homozygous recessive red hair condition are in decline. Of course if he wins he is likely to end up being a chameleon  like all politicians changing his colors with the political landscape. The big question is if being on the Davis City Council will turn his hair gray?

      Its a good point that he would be conflicted out on parking meters. Still that doesn’t mean he can’t tell us his opinion on the subject.

      1. Alan Miller

        He has red hair. I like red hair.

        I agree!  I hereby begin this movement to have more red-haired people in positions of power to promote diversity.  And what is red-hair if not orange, so I hereby promote that orange people should now be considered as people of color (POC)!  And what could possibly be wrong with having someone with bright orange hair as a top political leader in the US of A ?!!!!!

        Oh . . . . yeah . . . . right . . . . . . .

  2. Alan Miller

    Lord I hate these district elections.  This person will obviously have a heavy say on downtown business issues (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but will be elected only by voters only from South Davis and Olive Drive.  WTF?

  3. Rick Entrikin

    Alan, WTF?  This, TF:  The California Voting Rights Act of 2001, introduced by state senator Richard Polanco (Democrat-L.A.), endorsed by the ACLU and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and signed into law by Governor Grey Davis (Democrat), July 9, 2002.  (Hmmm, wonder if we can go back to at-large elections since our new mayor, Gloria Partida, was elected under that old system?)



  4. Bill Marshall


    Alan, please don’t tell me you copyrighted that term… it is up there with ‘answerve’… I respectfully request permission to use the new term, as well…

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