There’s a vacancy on the Davis City Council and 10 hopefuls are vying for the spot. The current council will appoint one of the candidates to the position, starting with deliberations on Feb. 22. The chosen applicant’s first meeting will be on March 1 and they will serve until June 2012. The Aggie interviewed the candidates about their backgrounds and hopes for the city.
Linda M. Parfitt
A resident of Davis since 1981, Parfitt said with 30 years of administrative and budget experience, a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and the time and commitment, she has the skills necessary to fill the city council position.
In college, Parfitt served as a student representative of the Education Department and on the Associated Student Council.
She currently works for the California Department of Education in the Child Development Division Policy Office.
“I set long and short-term goals, develop specific objectives and make data driven decisions on a daily basis,” Parfitt said. “I listen carefully, and understand how to build consensus to discover creative solutions to complex issues.”
She also described her analytical skills, which she feels will help with her work on City Council.
“I also know how to implement successful model programs at a statewide level,” she said. “I ask difficult questions about complex issues and always come prepared to discuss issues at all meetings I attend.”
Wyatt was a student at Deganawidah/Quetzalcoatl University, also known locally as “D-Q University,” a tribal college in Yolo County.
After he left D-Q University, Wyatt studied the formulation of early American Indian law at American University in Washington, D.C. He enrolled as a full-time student at Woodland Community College, where he studied psychology and fine art. He said he is planning to return there as soon as he can afford it.
“I am a true champion of the people, of ‘the little guy,'” Wyatt said. “When I speak in public, I speak for all of those people whose voices are drowned out and never heard by society and, all too often, by our elected leaders at City Hall.”
Wyatt said he has 27 years of experience as a community activist.
“My people are American Indians, the working poor and unsheltered homeless, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and struggling college students,” he said. ” I know how the system works, on the federal, state and local levels because I have crisscrossed through these levels of governance as an activist.”
Smith, an 11-year Davis resident, is retired, but currently teaches music privately and tunes pianos. For over 27 years, he was a letter carrier, parcel post driver and acting foreman for the U.S. Postal Service in San Francisco.
Smith worked as a substitute teacher in Davis public schools from 2001 to 2006 and has been active in clubs such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Davis Musical Theater and Company and the West Sacramento Community Orchestra.
Smith studied music at Columbia University in New York and also received degrees from Lincoln University and Heald College in San Francisco.
“It’s my civic duty to run,” Smith said. “Someone has to run. I have no political experience, but I have the maturity and knowledge of parliamentary procedure to work for City Council. This procedure is something that is lacking down at City Council.”
Dan Wolk is originally from Davis and works as a public finance attorney for the County of Solano. He was formerly a deputy city attorney for Davis and is the chair of the Davis Social Services Commission.
Wolk received a degree in economics from Stanford and graduated from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Law School.
“I’m a close observer of city politics,” Wolk said. “I was flattered by folks in the community asking me to run.”
With a full time job and a family, Wolk said it was not an easy decision, but hopes to give back to the community, ensure the town he grew up in remains strong and introduce a new generation of leadership to the city.
Wolk feels the candidate pool is diverse and is not sure what to expect in the remaining time before the appointment process ends.
Williams has lived in Davis since 2000, has served on school site councils and has worked for six years for the city of Vacaville as a member of the Vacaville Planning Commission, among other organizations.
Williams attended UC Riverside for both his undergraduate and graduate studies.
He is semi-retired, working part-time as a senior technical editor for the California Energy Commission, where he is responsible for editing research reports going to the Energy Commission’s senior management, the Governor and the Legislature.
“I’ve been more focused in [K-12] school involvement during my time in Davis,” Williams said. “When I worked for the Planning Commission I was encouraged to run there. I’ve finally decided to now.”
Though Williams said he does not have long-term political aspirations, he first became interested in the position because he became concerned about City Council’s inability to work together.
“The city needs to do two things,” Williams said. “The city needs to attract new business to achieve a stable tax base and it needs to work closely with UC Davis, especially concerning the construction of West Village housing.”
Paul Boylan is an attorney who obtained his law degree from UC Davis, King Hall in 1989. He currently serves as general counsel for the Orland Unified School District and the Glenn County Office of Education.
Boylan said he feels he is well suited to fill the vacant seat on the city council, due to his extensive experience as a government law attorney.
“I know from hard experience how important it is to maintain and promote a good working relationship between policy makers, their employees and the public,” said Boylan in his application statement.
Boylan said he feels that the best reason for why he should fill the current vacancy on the city council is his disinterest in gaining any elected office or higher position.
“The reason my lack of ambition is a strength is that it will allow me a better opportunity to focus on the true aspects of the interim appointment,” continued Boylan in his application statement.
As for specific issues Boylan wants to work on while serving on the city council, he says he has none. He does not want to make any promises because he is unaware of what resources are available and what barriers may stand in his way.
“I know from experience that the function of anyone filling a position for this short a time is to listen a lot, help wherever and whenever they can,” concluded Boylan in his application statement.
Walter Bunter, Jr.
Walter Bunter, Jr. has been residing in Davis for the past 37 years. Bunter identifies himself as an Aggie, for he attended UC Davis from 1955-1959 and then went on to raise his family in Davis. As a long time Davis resident, he feels he is familiar with many of the issues Davis is currently facing.
“I am retired and can devote more time to city council duties,” said Bunter in an e-mail. “I applied to help solve the current financial difficulties facing Davis.”
Several attributes that Bunter feels he will be able to bring to the City Council are his analytical skills for evaluating budgets and contracts, as well as his familiarity with employee compensation benefits from federal employment. Aside from this, Bunter said he is a good team worker and is willing to work without pay to show is dedication to the city council.
As a city councilmember, some of the things Bunter would like to do include developing alternatives for employee compensation and retirement benefits in preparation for contract negotiations in 2012. He would also like to work on attracting more clean and green industries to Davis with the help of the Business and Economic Development Commission and the Davis Chamber of Commerce, to provide more jobs and expand the tax base.
“The greatest strength of Davis is our diverse citizenry and their knowledge base,” Bunter said.
Kari Fry was born and raised in Davis, representing three generations of Davisites. By filling the vacant seat on the city council, Fry hopes to maintain a high standard of living in the city. As a councilmember, Fry wants to focus on fiscal responsibilities, economic development and downtown Davis.
“I see myself as an ambassador for Davis. If appointed, I will make a proactive effort to get out into the community, listen and bring people together. I see myself as someone who has a lot to contribute to the business and economic development of our city in that regard as well,” said Fry.
Fry is a member of the Davis Joint Union School District and her areas of expertise are financial and business analysis, as well as health and life insurance.
“I welcome debate on the myriad of complicated issues facing our community and will respect all points of view. I have always and continue to vote on issues and people on their own merit,” said Fry in her application statement.
“There is a lot of momentum building to turn our challenges into opportunities with careful and thoughtful strategies,” Fry said. “I want to help Davis capitalize on those opportunities and continue the good work being done with the strategic goals set before the Davis City Council.”
“Like the vast majority of our Davis citizens, I would like to maintain and improve our high quality of life. I want our city to make choices today that benefit, not burden, future generations.”
Sherelene Harrison is a semi-retired, private business owner.
“As a resident of Davis for the past 20 years, I have been involved in many facets of what it is to live, work and play in this city,” said Harrison in her application for the city council. “For me, now is the time to offer my expertise to help maintain the economic vitality of Davis, its reputation as a family oriented city and visitor destination and to analyze issues with a ‘think out of the box’ approach.”
“As a small business owner in Davis, I understand the challenges employers are faced with everyday just to be successful,” said Harrison.
Aside from being a private business owner, Harrison was a member of the Davis Chamber of Commerce, where she helped develop the Visitors Bureau.
“My goal as a city councilmember is to make a positive impact and to make decisions based on realistic analysis, decisions that will sustain Davis as it is today and what it will be in the future,” Harrison said.
Kerry Daane Loux
Kerry Daane Loux is a landscape architect who has been practicing in California for over 30 years, and has been a Davis resident for 25 years. She said she has used her expertise in this field to help with various Davis community projects, including the Arroyo Park Children’s Garden, where she served as lead designer.
“I have always made volunteerism a part of my life, albeit in smaller doses, and I now feel committed to offering service at a higher level in Davis, the town I have called home for 25 years,” said Loux in her application statement.
As a city councilmember, Loux hopes to prioritize 2010-2012 goals and objectives for the city, help select a permanent city manager, work collaboratively with all available resources, address financial and budget issues and establish Davis as a leader in urban design, transportation, sustainability and green technology.
In addition, Loux said she hopes to work on programs that will benefit both the city and UC Davis.
“I feel that this is a very opportune moment for Davis, with the convergence of a collaborative and enthusiastic city council, working in concert with the community, Davis city staff and the university. I want to be a part of that synergy and momentum,” Loux said.
ANGELA SWARTZ and ANNABEL SANDHU can be reached at email@example.com.