Candidates for City Council discuss changes they hope to bring to Davis
The upcoming election to determine who will fill the opening spot on Davis City Council in 2018 has already sparked the campaigns of several candidates in the Davis community, including Brody Fernandez, Eric Gudz and Dan Carson. All three candidates have a variety of experiences and goals they wish to show to the city of Davis.
At age 28, Brody Fernandez is the youngest candidate running for city council and is an enrolled returning student at UC Davis. His interest in running for office sprouted from his ongoing experience within the Davis community over the past decade as both a student and an Uber and Lyft driver.
“When I started going out there and talking to the constituents, to the citizens of Davis, to my neighbors, I discovered that there are people in the city who have the same fervent passion about fixing these issues as I do,” Fernandez said. “When I moved to Davis, I recognized that there were so many similarities with my hometown and so much that I saw that was positive, but additionally I started to see things that could be fixed and could be changed for the better. And being a journalist, I wanted to stop writing and wanted to actually go out and do things.”
His campaign focuses on a variety of issues, including normalizing the housing market as well as addressing parking in the city, transit and traffic safety and the campaign of loving your neighbor, in order to increase cooperation with neighboring cities.
“I not only identify with the students and the young people, but at the same time I can identify as a 28-year-old college graduate and effectively represent that demographic as well,” Fernandez said. “I was born into a working-class family. My father was a janitor and my mother is a retired school bus driver — that’s what I’m proud of most — to be able to have tangible experiences with the middle-class constituents that work in Davis.”
Eric Gudz, a recent UC Davis graduate, is also one of the youngest candidates running for office. They served as one of the architects for cannabis policy throughout the city and are on the Unitrans advisory, due to their experience with transportation research. Gudz became intimately familiar with particular issues and struggles that younger people were facing through their experiences both on and off campus.
“One of the biggest tragedies of Davis is that the connection we once had with the university is tragically under par and needs work,” Gudz said. “I want to build and provide for the next generation that will be a part of our Davis community, especially those that are struggling to find their place within our community. Front and center with that is issues around housing, the supply and condition specifically.”
Gudz’s interests also expand to getting solutions for economic innovation through creating space- and base-level entrepreneurship, as well as increasing spaces for social services like Planned Parenthood. They also are the first openly gender non-binary candidate to ever run in a Davis election.
“We’re building a movement that’s fueled by the next generation of Davisites,” Gudz said. “The campaign slogan is ‘A Seat for Everyone,’ and that means the necessity of including everyone, even those who haven’t been traditionally included. The ability to be able to connect with all that makes Davis what it is, [which] is absolutely imperative.”
The third candidate is Dan Carson, a 30-year-old Davis resident. His campaign focuses on three vital issues: the city’s financial condition, the town’s relationship with the university and sustainability in terms of issues such as homelessness, housing and climate change. Carson worked as a fiscal and policy expert for the state legislature in a nonpartisan and independent office for 17 years.
“The heart of my campaign is to protect the quality of life we all enjoy, and to do that we need to [be] fiscally stable and we need to address some of the real challenges this community faces including the shortage of affordable student housing,” Carson said. “One of the things I’m going to do if I’m elected to council is to try to establish an effective process for how we deal with this next round of growth in student enrollment and make sure we have a process where everyone is heard and we have a real dialogue that’s created to have a healthy long-term relationship with the university.”
Carson also recognized the high spirit of volunteerism in Davis, proactively working on a lot of these issues, and said that the Council’s task is to ease the burdens of the volunteers and share those appropriately.
“It gets down to the fact that Davis is such an amazing place,” Carson said. “We’ve got all of these passionate and dedicated people here — none of this is accidental. People choose to live in Davis or attend UC Davis in part because of our shared values.”
The election will be held on June 5, 2018. Community members have up to 15 days prior to the election to register to vote.
Written By: Hadya Amin — firstname.lastname@example.org