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Davis, California

Monday, May 20, 2024

New councilmember to be appointed tonight

Tonight, the Davis City Council will conduct final interviews and appoint a new city councilmember to the table.

The League of Women Voters hosted a public forum at the Community Chambers last Wednesday, showcasing the 10 applicants. The forum was requested by the Davis City Council as a way to get public input before filling the fifth council seat on Feb. 22.

Each of the candidates had two minutes to introduce themselves and state their platforms. Every candidate mentioned the budget and economy.

Afterward, Jean Canary, vice president of the Davis League of Women Voters and moderator of the forum, asked them three questions chosen from submissions by the Davis Chamber of Commerce, the Yolano Group Sierra Club, the Yolo Taxpayers Association and ASUCD. The candidates had one minute to answer each question.

The first question, which the candidates were given ahead of time, asked about updating the general plan in light of the current economy. The current Davis General Plan was written in 2001 to guide Davis’ growth and development through January 2010.

Most of the candidates agreed that the most logical approach would be to get support from the Davis community. Kerry Loux said that rather than putting it on the city staff, Davis should use more community input.

“We don’t need to be spending funds when we have human capital,” Kari Fry said.

The second question asked about a “zero-waste” goal for Davis, starting with a ban on plastic bags. All of the candidates supported this as a goal, though many brought up the necessity for Davis residents to be willing to comply in order for a ban on plastic bags to work.

“To me, it is less important that it be attainable than [that] it be a goal that is worthy of pursuing,” said candidate Paul Boylan. “Davis can be an example to other communities.”

Next, candidates were asked about Picnic Day. The preservation of Picnic Day was unanimously supported by the candidates, each of them in favor of the safety precautions planned for this year’s event, such as the safety zones and the community covenant limiting alcohol sales.

“We need activities during Picnic Day that keep the crowd focused on the importance of the university to the city, and not just the rowdy celebration,” said candidate Steve Williams. “We need to encourage more interaction between the city and the student leadership of the university.”

The last three questions asked came from community members who attended the forum. One person asked the candidates about their plan to revive fiscal stability to Davis. Canary allowed each candidate an extra 30 seconds to answer this question.

Candidate Sherlene Harrison said that Davis needs to bring in new kinds of businesses.

“Seventy percent of our revenue comes from businesses, with no growth,” Harrison said.

This includes restaurants and hotels. Because Davis is a physically small city, it will be important to reach out to businesses that don’t require immense land space.

Candidate Walter Bunter Jr. said that his primary focus with the budget would be to develop a different pension system.

Finally, each candidate was given two minutes to close and talk about any other issues on their platforms. Community members were asked to fill out a form commenting on the candidates and submit it to the City Council.

JENNIFER LISTUG can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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