An understanding of Davis City Council
While Davis is a quaint college town, the city has a lot to offer in terms of local government. Students may be in their own bubble on campus, but it is important to be aware of what goes on around the city as well. Outside of dorm life, issues like housing can affect students in many ways, and students can be involved to spark different conversations and contribute their voices to the city council.
Mayor Robb Davis has been mayor for two years and will be finished with his term by this July. He noted that the city has allowed him to be involved with the community, as he collaborates with a number of colleagues to set policy.
“The city council selects the mayor, and I have been mayor for two years,” Davis said. “On the one hand, I don’t get to set policy any more than my colleagues. We set it together. I work with staff to determine meeting agendas, [and] it is my responsibility to enable the decision-making process. Beyond that, there is a lot of representing the city at a variety of events, whether it’s speaking at public meetings where people are upset or angry about something that has happened — like a hate crime or meetings with children at elementary schools — or scouts to talk about what local government means.”
Davis acknowledged that the citizens are very involved with the city.
“I think the engagement of the citizenry and local government is really admirable,” Davis said. “I think people get really engaged, and we have a thriving democracy. People volunteer their time to sit on city commissions to advise the city council. There’s a broad community participation, and I think that’s a strength.”
In addition, the city’s water, bicycling and park networks are important aspects of the community that Davis proudly emphasized.
“We have one of the best bicycling networks in the country and our water, and wastewater infrastructure is very updated,” Davis said. “We are a pretty resilient community in that sense. We have an extensive network of parks so that people in their neighborhood have chances to be active.”
Not only does Davis do a lot of representation for the city, but he also assists others in understanding the logistics of future plans.
“I do a fair bit of writing and more technical speaking to interest groups to help them understand the challenges of the city and how we’re approaching to solve them,” Davis said.
Davis included that he does his job in efforts to help the city thrive in a healthy manner.
“I think that any of us that get into this role do it because we want to help the city become a healthier place — a place where people feel safe and secure,” Davis said. “We have really outstanding services for the community, and our goal is to make sure that public safety is taken care of. That’s inspiring because we get to participate in decisions that we believe collectively will advance to goodwill for the city.”
Brett Lee, the mayor pro tempore of the City of Davis, will be the city’s official mayor this coming July.
“Essentially, I’m a mayor in waiting,” Lee said. “In July, I will become the mayor. So what happens is that the top vote is designated as pro temp for the first half of their term, and the second part of their term, they become the mayor. I will be the mayor for two years as the last years of my city council term.”
Lee wants to bridge students with the city more by providing them with more social accommodations.
“I look forward to working more closely with the university on a variety of issues,” Lee said. “I think we can make the town even more accomodating for students and provide them with more social activities — not necessarily revolving around the bar scene, as the majority of students are under the age of 21.”
Furthermore, Lee praised Davis’ environment and its welcoming community for students in particular.
“I think Davis is a fairly welcoming community,” Lee said. “From the student perspective, I think students are well received by the community. I think that the students will find that the neighbors are fairly nice, and as a community, I think there’s some nice things to do in Davis. We have some good movie theaters and restaurants that are pretty student-oriented.”
Lee also addressed the housing crisis in Davis, and he hopes to alleviate the stress of finding a place to live.
“I do hope to improve the availability of apartments for rental housing,” Lee said. “I think — in terms of what students might see — about a year ago, we passed a renters resource ordinance, and the idea is that it’s supposed to address the concerns of landlords and neighbors. In practice, this means that there will be a greater understanding of rights and responsibilities and the city will provide resources to help resolve any issues should things not go accordingly.”
City councilmember Lucas Frerichs summarized what it is like to hold a job on the council to the Davis Enterprise.
“If someone has an issue […] to go out there and be responsive to it, I think fundamentally that’s what our job is all about,” Frerichs said.
Written by: Stella Tran – firstname.lastname@example.org