By David M. Greenwald
A lot of people say—I don’t listen to endorsements, I vote for the person I want to, not because some group says so. But of course. That’s not why endorsements are important to follow. Endorsements are important to follow because they tell you something about the candidates and how they interact with the political landscape.
This week, in the Davis City Council race, we have had three sets of endorsements, in which eight of the nine candidates have received one. Poor Connor Gorman needs someone to endorse him.
We have three different endorsers. The Sierra Club, which seem to have endorsed primarily based on Measure B. For some reason they didn’t endorse Larry Guenther in the 3rd District.
Then we have Indivisible Yolo—which is part of the nation-wide progressive advocacy groups that came together to oppose the Trump agenda.
Finally, this weekend, the Davis Enterprise endorsed their slate of candidates.
As we reported on Friday, the Sierra Club endorsed Colin Walsh and Kelsey Fortune. The group also came out against DISC—Measure B.
On Thursday, Indivisible Yolo announced their slate of candidates. You can think of this as the progressive activist slate of candidates. For council they endorsed: Dillan Horton, Larry Guenther, and Josh Chapman.
Finally, over the weekend, the Davis Enterprise offered their endorsements. They appear to be endorsing the status quo—the two incumbents, Will Arnold and Lucas Frerichs. In the 5th, they endorsed Rochelle Swanson, who was a two-term council member and has only been out of office two years.
I am oversimplifying a bit. The Sierra Club wasn’t just about DISC, they had the *burning* issues of wood burning and fluoridated water.
Indivisible has not put out a press release—so we don’t know their criteria. But they do have a nifty flyer.
The Enterprise endorsement, I do find rather ironic. They start with: “It’s a new era in Davis politics. As if the coronavirus pandemic didn’t make things strange enough, we’re also voting for City Council by district for the first time.”
So of course they endorse the one person for a second term and two for a third term.
They argue: “One thing has not changed, however; Davis is still fortunate to have a bevy of well-qualified, well-informed and enthusiastic office-seekers looking to serve.”
On Will Arnold they argue that housing was his priority in his first term: “We addressed that head-on. We approved a number of rental (market rate and affordable) housing projects and I’m very proud of that.”
Now they say that “he has his eye on more diverse housing projects.”
The bottom line: “For his commitment to the community, for his level-headed approach to problem-solving, and for his compassion and enthusiasm, we are proud to back Will Arnold for District 2.”
In District 3, they are “impressed by the work Lucas Frerichs has put in.”
They write: “The impression one gets speaking to Frerichs is high energy and rapid-fire delivery of ideas. Like Arnold, he’s been a part of the council’s transition into a more businesslike and effective entity.”
In the South Davis seat, they argue in “South Davis, attitudes are different on the matter of district elections. Where most Davis voters (and politicians) are, at best, ambivalent about the change, those south of Interstate 80 are embracing an opportunity to emerge from what they see as decades of neglect in local politics.”
This is where Rochelle Swanson enters the picture, having served two terms and “energized by the possibility of bringing more attention to South Davis issues, she’s reapplying for her old job.”
They write: “Her time on the council was marked by recovery from a recession and turmoil over policing. Davis, all of Davis, could use her experience on those matters.”
Whether the Enterprise knew it or not, they frame this election as one between experience versus change. The Enterprise here opted for experience over change.
That is what makes this race more interesting than most. Do we need the experience to guide us through these times of COVID and economic downturn? Or is this a time for social upheaval where we require new leadership to address issues like policing and systemic racism?
Or, as I write this, we are once again enveloped in smoke for yet another week as summer has turned to fall. Perhaps the burning issue is not progressive change to address systemic racism, but change to address the concerns about climate change.
It’s also possible that you care about a variety of these issues and can choose your vote for a variety of candidates that are committed to all the above.
—David M. Greenwald reporting
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: