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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Davis’s 2022 City Council election sees controversies, administrative errors

Important voting information, candidates’ responses to allegations made against them, descriptions of their platforms

By CHRIS PONCE — city@theaggie.org


Davis’s 2022 general municipal election day is Nov. 8. This year’s election will determine the city council representatives for Districts 1 and 4, as Council Members Gloria Partida (District 4) and Dan Carson (District 1) are up for re-election. 

This year’s election season has included some unusual obstacles so far. Recently, a section of Orchard Road was renamed Blue Ridge Road. Because of this, 110 registered voters — 101 of whom live at the Russell Park Apartments on Orchard Park Drive — were mailed incorrect vote-by-mail ballots, according to a statement by Yolo County. The press release explained that the issue had been resolved by resending the correct ballots with a letter detailing the error. 

The District 4 city council race has also featured controversy.  Incumbent and former Mayor Gloria Partida has been accused of not disclosing a criminal record, including a felony conviction, by residents. Partida said that she was expunged for these charges and that the incident was classified a misdemeanor in a guest commentary she wrote for the Davis Vanguard. 

“I did have a prior conviction from 22 years ago,” Partida wrote in The Vanguard. “That conviction was dismissed and set aside by the Yolo County Superior Court in 2005, based on my ‘continued law-abiding lifestyle, education and involvement in family and community.’  Simple fact: I do not currently have a conviction.”

She is running for re-election against Adam Morrill.

The city council candidates in District 1 are Bapu Vaitla, Kelsey Fortune and incumbent Council Member Dan Carson. Council Member Carson responded to the false accusations made against Council Member Partida, saying that there have been misleading attacks on both of them. He declined to elaborate on the attacks directed at him. 

“Actually, I’d prefer not to talk about them,” Carson said. “Because I’m not going to rehash what folks are throwing at me on social media.”

While it is unclear what accusations Carson was referring to, the Davis Vanguard has accused Carson of violating city policies. The Vanguard claims that emails reveal Carson used his official city email for campaign purposes relating to Measure H

Vaitla, who is a member of the Davis Social Services Commission, also responded to the claims made against Partida, saying that the efforts to defame her are associated with racist rhetoric. 

“It concerns me because there are also, I think, racial elements to this where we are sort of accusing a woman of color of this crime,” Vaitla said. “It just brings up associations that I think are, whether they’re intentional or not, […] unwarranted and [an] outside-of-the-lines attack on Gloria, so I’m really disappointed. I also think Gloria’s responded to this with grace [and] honesty.”

Vaitla said that two of the core issues of his campaign are climate change and the housing crisis, which he believes distinguishes him from the other candidates and are reasons he chose to run for the position.

“I don’t see vision on the part of [Carson], as far as the housing issue or the climate issue,” Vaitla said. “He’s sort of pitched in here and there with his ideas along the process on both of those issues, but in terms of coming up [and] leading the process and creating a five-, 10- [or] 20-year strategic vision for how we meet our housing needs and how we get to carbon negativity, that hasn’t happened. So I wasn’t happy with my choices in West Davis.”

Council Member Carson, who is endorsed by the Davis College Democrats, said that he decided to run for re-election to continue working on economic issues.

“I’m the only candidate [Davis College Democrats] endorsed in this race, and we have a history [of] working together on issues,” Carson said. “Particularly those regarding jobs and housing for our community. It’s one of the big emphases in my campaign […] The major reason I’m running is to help us resolve our fiscal challenges that our city has.”

Carson and the Davis College Democrats have been canvassing for his campaign, with an emphasis on getting students out to vote. 

“I think [the student vote] has the potential to be a game changer,” Carson said.

Students can register to vote on the Yolo Elections Office website or by directly visiting registertovote.ca.gov. More information about the districts or candidates on the ballot can be found on the city website. Voting Centers and Ballot Drop Boxes can be found at the Yolo Elections Office website.


Written by: Chris Ponce — city@theaggie.org