Dillan Horton Talks about His Candidacy


By David M. Greenwald

He was the first announced candidate, even before the decision was made to go to district elections, and he finds himself matched up against incumbent Will Arnold and challenger Colin Walsh.

“We need more leaders who are living closer to the everyday crises that people are going through,” Horton told the Vanguard in his Zoom interview which took place last week.

The early focus of Dillan Horton’s campaign was on the housing crisis.

He sees his experience with housing as filling a void, stating, “I think the lack of presence of renters or people who have experienced a serious housing crisis over the past few years is partially a reason why we haven’t seen more persistent leadership on this issue from the city council.”

Horton noted a “community dynamic” about how the city grows and changes, which he believes has made “some of the discussions about economic development complicated and not very fruitful at times.”  He said, “That’s made it difficult for people trying to start a career in Davis.”

He believes that the lack of those people having those kinds of concerns on the council has led to the lack of discussion.

He also wants to make Davis “more inclusive and accessible to everyone.”  He believes issues that have been brought forward in the defund the police movement and shifting resources to social services also speak to the need for a full time ADA Coordinator.

He spoke of “how dramatically lacking we are in some of those services.”

Horton transferred to UC Davis from El Camino College and got involved in student government with ASUCD, where he served as director of university affairs and was involved with the creation of the Office of Advocacy and Student Representation.

For a recent graduate, he has a long record of service.  He served in the district office of Congressman Garamendi in 2018.  He has served on the Davis Police Accountability Commission, where he is currently the chair.

He has called that experience “eye opening.”  He noted “how difficult it is many times with other colleagues on a board but also in collaboration with the public and in particular city staff.”  He described “rough treatment” from city staff, at first chalking it up to being a new commission and a potentially controversial one.

But talking to people serving on other commissions, he “saw a whole lot of similarity between our engagement with city government and their own.”

He said, “It highlighted some good governance functions that wouldn’t have been a priority for me had I not on a City of Davis Commission prior to the election.”

Right now one of his big priorities is working on the three-commission process involving police, Human Relations Commission, and Social Services on “coming up to the recommendations to the council” on the issue of defunding the police and what that might look like.

“Seeing that through the end is one of my big priorities,” he said.  “I’m really concerned about the ability to land this plane.

“I think we need to pay more attention to what’s going on in our disabilities community,” he said.  “We have a larger than average disabled population.”  He noted the large community senior population “with aged-in disabilities.”

He sees this bleeding into our housing crisis issues.

Dillan Horton is also concerned with the lack of focus on economic development.

“You see communities like West Sacramento, Woodland and Winters lapping us consistently on economic development,” he said.  “Where do you go if you want fine dining in Yolo County?  Not Davis—you go to Winters.”

Horton said that in April 2019, he had a round table discussion to get a handle on all of the issues he might come across on the campaign trail.  One of the people who came to his small business roundtable owns Super Owl Brewing in West Davis.

“He was just walking us through the process of where they were going to locate that business,” he said.  “He compared the process (of other cities) with Davis.”  He noted that West Sacramento had dedicated staff and had an interest in starting and maintaining small business there—that just wasn’t present here.

On the housing crisis, “We obviously need to produce more, it’s part of … all of this is a general supply problem.  We need to get more housing on the table in general.”  He called for strengthening the rental resources program.

He said, “Some of these are difficult because we take a step forward and they want us to applaud that—and I fully do.  But then we don’t fully realize these things.”  Rental resources, he said, “is a good step forward,” as Davis was one of the last university town to have one, but believes “we haven’t fully resourced it—which is frustrating.”

He added, “We need to recommit to the city’s affordable housing ordinance—to help increase the stock of affordable housing in the community.”

Despite all of the focus in the last few months on issues of people of color, Dillan Horton at least on the council candidate side turns out to be the only one of the nine total candidates to be a person of color.

He referenced his AOC poster on the wall behind him and noted that she said in 2018, “People like me are not supposed to do this.”  He said, “There are so many barriers to getting this done successfully.”  He sees lots of barriers to young people of color, Queer people, women, who are trying to run for public office.

“It’s very incredibly difficult, somewhat by design,” he said.  But he did note that, broadening the lens, there are so many people of color and women of color in Yolo County running for office this year.  “That says something about a whole lot of these things.

“People are more confident in their own ability to take the reins of leadership and advocate for themselves in their community,” he said.

—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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13 thoughts on “Dillan Horton Talks about His Candidacy”

  1. Todd Edelman

    Are they ANY elected officials or senior-level staff in Davis – or Yolo County – who rent and share this rented housing with no biological/chosen family? Going back in time, has this been different… also with candidates?

    If someone shares a class with me – “protected class” or not – it doesn’t mean that they necessarily share my primary concern in this area. However, to his credit Dillan is one of only three candidates who answered a via-Facebook query I had about Leasemageddon, the current under-reported and under-addressed Davis clusterf*ck situation with a huge number of lessees looking for contract takeovers and the very much mechanically-related temporary over-supply of rooms (and beds) in shared rental housing. On the other hand, he referred mainly to his interview with the people who started the petition on the issue. (Lucas was interviewed as well; Rochelle also responded to my FB posting.) Nothing has since been forthcoming as far from Dillan or the others.  (The over-supply is such that I will likely move from the nice house I’m in as part one of three lease-by-rooms because the distribution is totally upside-down compared to recent history. There’s not enough people looking for individual rooms; the landlord would like to lease this property with a single contract, but I can’t handle that on my own: Succinctly: There’s so much housing available that I have to move.)

    This and the greater housing situation – and post-police-ing – racism, gender and gender preferences and the other issues mentioned here – and not, um, transportation? – are about a macro-equity situation where, simply put, people with more money are insulated from everything: From rental challenges, from wildfire smoke (because they have updated windows and HVAC systems) from the sun (because their streets and properties have more trees), from bumps on the road (because they don’t have to cycle or take the bus… and, yeah, also metaphorically). Again, because someone shares a class with me doesn’t mean they’re the most on my side, but they will tend to be, and so in a way others need to work harder in this regard to show they REALLY care and will do something about it: Supply of more housing, most of which is market rate, while still largely neglecting the poor conditions in existing rental stock, is less than an imperfect fix.

    Historically, were Davis and Yolo politicians who are or were less wealthy people in shared rental housing better on these issues?

    1. Todd Edelman

      doesn’t mean they’re the most on my side

      should have been “doesn’t mean that they’re automatically the most on my side” BUT the Vanguard’s pre-mature  “You can no longer edit this comment” glitch caught me in its headlights on the Mace Curve of Our Collective Psyche, much like a wise animal, evicted via intentional neglect (and also not mentioned herein…)

    2. Ron Glick

      Housing is so expensive in Davis a City Council member is more likely to live in housing purchased either with the help of family or through inheritance than in a rental.

  2. Alan Miller

    Too bad about district elections.  Arnold will win by a landslide (incumbent, popular), and Walsh will attract the anti-most-projects crowd.  That leaves Dillan with a very small slice, barring an alien space ship landing.  Nonetheless, he has my support.   True, I don’t see eye-to-eye with him on many-to-most topic stances, but my reason for support is — I’ve talked to him a few times, and he strikes me as a man of great integrity — someone who will listen to and consider other points of view.  Not just head nodding, but actually take it in.  Just a gut feeling, but enough of one that I’ll throw a bit of digital green his way.

    1. Ron Glick

      Maybe you are correct but wouldn’t count Colin out. There are many people who are unhappy about UMall redevelopment that might go for Colin. Also Colin is working really hard prowling the neighborhood in a mask checking every house for votes. (Its a joke.) Colin has been out knocking on doors.

      I think Dillion gets hurt by  renters not coming to town because in person classes aren’t happening. He does have support from the Indivisible scene so he might do better than people think.

      There is a chance that Will and Dillion split the vote enough that Colin slips through.

      As for my vote, because I live in the district, my big two issues are parking meters and the claw.  Frivolous issues to some but important to my life style post pandemic.

  3. Bill Marshall


    I’m glad Dillan is running… but I am not a part of the District, so will have no real say in the outcome.  Am glad to see one of his age as a potential CC member.  THAT diversity, to me, is more important than any other… but he is striving to represent not only his district, but all the diverse residents of Davis (if I’m wrong, correct me).

    My take-away from this piece is that either he is somewhat shallow, or the interviewer is.  I see mention of housing, police accountability, economic development (a broad term that means different things to different people), a representative of a racial/other group (interviewer’s slant?)… not much else…

    Little of overall fiscal issues, nor an overall appreciation of the primary missions of the City, including public safety (police and fire), utilities (water/san. sewer/drainage), street maintenance, solid waste removal, etc.

    Dillan may have great thoughts/appreciation of all that.  I hope he does.  Not apparent from this profile, however.

    I wish him well.

    1. Bill Marshall

      OK… but I missed anything about the T-shirt logo from the pic in the article… not in the words (which are illegible), but maybe you are reacting to ‘colors’?  No matter… ‘he lost you’… OK…

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