Sunday Commentary: What the Enterprise Endorsements Tell Us about the Coming Election

Photo by Manny Becerra on Unsplash

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – The other day I was curious about whom the Davis Enterprise had endorsed in the election coming up a week from Tuesday.

It wasn’t a huge surprise.  They endorsed Sheila Allen for District 4 County Supervisor and endorsed a Yes position on Measure N—the parcel.

Neither of those positions are surprising, as I shall explain in a moment.

What did catch my attention is the fact that since May 2022, the Davis Enterprise has had just seven editorials.  Five of those endorsing candidates.

The only two that were not candidate-related came last fall.  In September, the Enterprise called out the bomb threats in “Inviting the Lunatic Fringe,” and in October they praised the Natalie Corona memorial as “a chance for the community to come together.”

And that’s it.  I’m mildly surprised not to see one on the Carlos Dominguez murders or his competency hearing.

The dearth of editorials from the Enterprise seems to be a microcosm for their overall decline in coverage.

When I first started, the Enterprise had a number of reporters on the local beat.  And we could always count on columnist Bob Dunning to drop a bombshell or two a week.  That’s increasingly problematic for a highly educated and engaged community.

In terms of the actual editorials, the Enterprise has geared itself to be almost unerringly mainstream.

In May 2022, they endorsed Jeff Reisig for DA, who would go on to easily win a fifth term.

In October 2022, they endorsed incumbent Gloria Partida and challenger Bapu Vaitla, both of whom went on to cruise to wins—in Vaitla’s case, he bested an incumbent, Dan Carson.

They also correctly called Donna Neville in the special election.

The Enterprise kind of reflects where the community has gone in recent years.  “Weird Davis” as some used to call it, that made national news with things like the noise violation for snoring or the Toad Tunnel, is gone.  Gone too are colorful figures on the council like Julie Partansky or Sue Greenwald.

With that said, I would not necessarily put either of the two endorsed races in the bag just yet.

On the supervisor’s race, it is a three-person race.  Four years ago, when incumbent Jim Provenza ran, he was held under 50%, and Linda Deos secured 37.5 percent and David Abramson got 14 percent.

While I would still put Sheila Allen, Provenza’s deputy, as the favorite, getting over 50 percent is a tall hurdle in a three-person race.  Between NJ Mvondo and Antonio De Loera-Brust, they have a good chance to hold Allen under 50 percent.  And if they do, then it becomes interesting in the fall.

For Linda Deos it was unfortunate that the intervention of COVID—which wiped out her ground campaign and cemented Provenza’s issues—probably took the steam out of her challenge.

Meanwhile, the parcel tax figures to be interesting as well.  Since I have started doing this, no parcel tax by the school district has failed.  Some have come close, however, with 67 percent of the vote, narrowly winning.  The most recent one was actually behind when Election Day tallies were completed, but rallied with the mail-in ballots to win.

It’s not a tax increase per se, though there is an inflator for inflation.

The two biggest issues are the fact that this would make the parcel tax “permanent” with no sunset.  That’s drawn some criticism, but it’s hard to imagine that alone would cause it to fail.

What I would be most concerned about if I were the school district is the changing demographics of Davis.  Polling has shown that people over 60 still support these parcel taxes, but often at levels just below passage.  So, as Davis ages, as more people’s kids have exited the school district, the margins are going to get thinner.

There is some opposition to this measure—but I’m not sure it will have that much effect.  There is Jose Granda—who has unsuccessfully opposed all of the parcel taxes.  There is Beth Bourne, who is angry at the school district for reasons that have nothing to do with the parcel tax.  And then there was the IE sent out last week by Michael Harrington.

The school district’s finances are increasingly problematic.  The parcel tax won’t solve that problem, but it will prevent things from getting worse.

The Enterprise editorial takes on several key issues.

They note that Measure N would be permanent.

They argue: “The change makes sense. In the age of the Local Control Funding Formula, parcel taxes have become a necessary supplement for a school district with Davis’ demographics, and the only way to fund the programs we expect for our students. Parcel taxes used to be for four years; Measure H was for eight. The need to renew became a source of uncertainty in long-term planning and making it more permanent will allow the district to plan ahead, subject to the ultimate authority of the voters.”

They also address the issue of the aging population arguing, “EVEN IF YOU don’t have kids in school, Measure N is a benefit.”

As they point out: “The median home price in Yolo County is $608,000. In Solano County, it’s $545,000. Davis? $810,000. Remember what we said about the No. 1 reason to live here? It’s also the first thing real estate agents tell potential buyers.”

The school district and the community still need to figure out how to remain solvent in the long term.  I have been warning about this for some time.  We will see what happens in March.

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 Comment

  1. Walter Shwe

    Local Moms for Liberty zealot Beth Bourne and her Davis followers ultimately want to cripple Davis public schools so public education funding can go to completely unaccountable private schools that will  indoctrinate students in right wing propaganda, hate mongering and lies. In other words, the scenario they deeply desire amounts to private school welfare. The data has shown that the majority of private school vouchers go to wealthy families that are already sending their children to private schools. Just say No to the opponents of Measure N.

    School vouchers now going to more wealthy, private school students, study says

    Students who use private school vouchers in Ohio are coming from wealthier families than previous voucher recipients and are more likely to have attended a private school before getting a voucher, a new study from the Ohio Education Policy Institute suggests.

    State and local experience proves school vouchers are a failed policy that must be opposed

    Vouchers represent a redistribution of public funding to private entities that leads to fewer funds available for public goods.

    Vouchers benefit the wealthy at the expense of low-income and rural communities.

    Vouchers are rooted in racism and fund racial, ableist, anti-LGBTQ, and religious discrimination.

    Unlike public schools, private school voucher programs lack accountability and oversight.

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