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Davis, California

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Donna Neville announces candidacy for vacated city council seat

Neville wants to address climate change, fiscal responsibility and housing crisis 


By CHRIS PONCE — city@theaggie.org


On Jan. 26, Davis Planning Commission member Donna Neville announced her candidacy to represent Davis City Council’s District 3. As the May 2 special election is on the horizon, Neville spoke about what she wants Davis residents and voters to know about her. 

“First and foremost that I will listen to them,” Neville said. “I will listen to all voices, and I’ll make myself very available and very accessible so I can really hear from everyone and make sure I understand their concerns.”

Neville has longtime ties to UC Davis, as she graduated from law school at King Hall at UC Davis and her husband Ted Grosholz is a professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy. In her professional life, Neville has served as a lawyer, was the board president for National Alliance on Mental Illness Yolo County (NAMI) and is a member of the Davis Planning Commission. 

“I really do my homework before I make a decision,” Neville said. “So I read up on the issue. I talk to city staff if I need to. I consult with experts, and I really work hard to make decisions that are very informed and that would be in the best interest of everyone in the community. As I make the decisions, I’m always thinking about it from the perspective of ‘How does this affect everyone, especially those who might be the least able to have the time or resources to come forward?’”

Neville said that the issues that come up for local leaders can be unpredictable, like the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s important to hear from the community about what is impacting them directly. Some major issues that she has seen voiced on the campaign trail are affordable housing, city services for those experiencing homelessness and climate change.

“I know some people think there is only so much you can do on the local level, but my philosophy is always to do whatever you can at whatever level you are at,” Neville said. “We know that in Davis, we can have a real impact by changing some of our transportation patterns. I mean, that’s where 75% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from in Davis. And if we can really make our community more bike-friendly, more walker-friendly [and] use more non-fossil fuel forms of transportation, we can make a dent, and I think that’s really important.”

Neville said that, if elected, one of her priorities is to make sure the Davis Climate Action and Adaptation Plan becomes more than “just a plan that sits on a shelf.” 

“The bottom line is that we, the city, simply don’t have enough money to provide all the services and things that people want,” Neville said. “We just have a cash shortfall and need to find some good ways of bringing in more revenue to our city. And that’s one of the things that I think city council and the university can really work together more effectively on is keeping some more of this amazing talent, technical talent and other talent that the university is producing.”

While it hasn’t been long since Neville’s campaign started, Neville has already been on the campaign trail so far, since she believes it’s important to really know the community. 

“It’s all about knocking on doors and meeting people,” Neville said. “It’s grassroots; it’s out there talking to neighbors. I told people I was going to every door in the district twice, and then people working with me said, ‘That was a little ambitious.’ But you do have to get out there.”


Written by: Chris Ponce city@theaggie.org

Students can register to vote on the Yolo County Elections Office website or by visiting registertovote.ca.gov. The special election on May 2 will be determined by mail-in voting.