Davis District Election Staff Report Has Major Deficiencies
VCE public workshop, studies purchase of PG&E Assets

Can We Talk?

by Larry Guenther

First, full disclosure.  I am on boards, commissions, and committees in Davis, but I am speaking on my own behalf as an individual community member.

Whether there is an issue with minority representation on the Davis City Council and, if so, whether district elections would address that issue, appear to be moot.  We are going to create districts and have district elections.

But while we’re sorting out those districts, I feel other questions with the way our city is governed should be discussed at the same time.  That discussion might include:

1) should we change the number of council members?

2) should we have district representatives and a mayor elected at large?

3) should we continue with the ‘strong-city-manager’ approach or should we change?

4) should council positions be full-time or remain part-time?

5) should Davis become a charter city?

Our City is changing and growing.  One can always choose to be the victim or the beneficiary of change.  I would like Davis to benefit from that change.  If we are going to benefit from this change, this seems like an opportunity we can not pass up.


Colin Walsh

I agree Larry. I would add term limits, especially if we consider a strong Mayor. 2 terms is enough on the council, and 2 terms as the strong mayor is definitely enough.

Nora Oldwin

I completely agree with the proposal to start a discussion about the issues that come about in connection with the change to district elections. I think we should set up formal discussions- maybe do like the pancakes and politics folks do, assign different issues to different people who then report to the group. I'm interested in being part of the discussion group and I'd take on a research assignment. Anyone else interested?

Roberta L. Millstein

This is a really important post, Larry Guenther, thank you for it. I agree that this is an opportunity to take stock and do things right. Too often I have seen staff driving the process, with their own agenda, rather than citizens or council, with bad communication all around. Figuring out how to change that, whether through a strong mayor system with term limits or some other means, is of crucial importance.

Bob Milbrodt

I agree with Roberta.
Whether the community has district elections and what that election process looks like must be decided by citizens.... not by the council, consultants, or city staff.

Nancy Price

I am late getting to this conversation and like the way it is going. I'd be interested in researching/discussing participatory budgeting based on districts as some cities in the US and elsewhere already have implemented to considerable success.

Additionally, I'd like to see if we can dispel the notion that any or all opposition to a development project is due to NIMBYism, when, in fact, many projects in a neighborhood, downtown, or on the border are, for many reasons, just simply poorly conceived and bad projects that should be improved, modified, greener, scaled back, etc., for all sorts of very good and sound reasons that may need to be better defined. I am very tired of NIMBYism used to label opponents and well-founded criticism.

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