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Davis, California

Monday, July 15, 2024

Editorial: City Council election

Many of us have everything we need on campus – classes, dining commons, student housing and friends. But in the Community Chambers on Russell Boulevard, the city government is making decisions every day that affect several aspects of our lives while attending college.

The Davis City Council discusses the contract you complete when signing a lease, the variety of restaurants where you choose to eat and the number of parks, roads and greenbelts. City Council not only makes decisions that affect the resources and opportunities all Davis students have available to them, but it also guides the city’s culture.

Stores, such as Target, parking places for cars and bikes and the amount we pay for water – not to mention Picnic Day activities – are all the results of these decisions. That is why it is important for Davis residents to elect the officials who help make these decisions in ways that are best and most beneficial for the community. With students making up an overwhelming chunk of the city population, eligible voters have the ability to effect change.

That is why during the upcoming June 8 election, the two open City Council seats should belong to Joe Krovoza and Rochelle Swanson.

Krovoza, 47, is the director of external relations and development at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and Energy Efficiency Center. He is also involved with Davis Bicycles!, chair of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Commission and a former UCD law student. Swanson, 40, is a land-use attorney with her own consulting firm and married to Charlie Swanson, owner of The Graduate restaurant and bar in University Mall.

While they have their own unique attributes, we endorse Krovoza and Swanson for many of the same reasons. They have both been very involved in city affairs since the early 1990s. Both candidates have put time into establishing connections with city and campus officials, such as the university’s Director of Local Government Relations Gary Sandy, City Manager Bill Emlen and Assistant City Manager Paul Navarro, to discuss their goals. These two candidates will focus the council in a time when it needs to get back on track.

Swanson is business-oriented – a quality the current council requires in a time the city is trying to expand and improve the current business climate. Krovoza has ties with the university that are severely lacking in the present governance. The depth of his relationships with the campus is something that has not been on City Council in a very long time, except for Councilmember Lamar Heystek who, as UCD alumnus, called himself a voice for the students.

The council needs quick changes, and Krovoza has feasible ideas that can be implemented soon. He is committed to efficient and cost-effective transportation and home retrofits. He proposes the jitney: a cross between a taxi and bus to facilitate group rides to common destinations. He would like to organize a town-gown conference that puts issues on the table pertaining to campus and community relations.

Swanson, an independent contractor since she attended law school, will offer a clear-minded perspective for the city’s many business-related issues. With her rational and concise philosophies, she will focus the council on getting the task at hand completed with more action and less talking.

She is in favor of multi-year budgets and examination of each service and how it contributes to city growth. By analyzing every department and the services they provide, she is intent on optimizing the budget across the board instead of focusing on one group alone.

The other three candidates are Sydney Vergis, Daniel Watts and Jon Li.

Vergis, a graduate student in the UCD Institute of Transportation Studies and a former Sutter County senior land-use planner, has a lot of concrete experience in land-use planning, which is also true of Swanson. She is grounded in reality and has a good understanding of how to improve transit.

Li, a public policy analyst for city, county and state planning, has a sense of urgency about the city budget and wants something to be done in the next year. While he has extensive experience, he also has a good theoretical grasp on what makes organizations work efficiently.

A UCD law student, Watts is a voice for the student body. He understands that even though most of our time in Davis is temporary, past and future Aggies have the same interests. He supports ad-hoc employment opportunities instead of full time salaries.

In light of the city and campus’ existing needs, however, Swanson and Krovoza would be a fresh addition to our local governance, identifying the ongoing problems, new issues and fixing them. They will bridge gaps within City Council, the city of Davis and the university.


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