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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sacramento Bee Endorses Jim Provenza for Yolo County Supervisor

Two years ago, there was not much difference between the endorsements of the Davis Enterprise and the endorsements of the Sacramento Bee. In the key races that impacted Davis, both endorsed Ruth Asmundson and Mike Levy for Davis City Council and Jeff Reisig for District Attorney. So when the Davis Enterprise earlier endorsed the pro-growth slate for City Council and John Ferrera for County Supervisor, we figured it was only a matter of time before the Sacramento Bee followed suit.

In reality, while the Sacramento Bee remains on the side of those candidates on the issue of growth, to their credit, they have looked beyond the growth issue when making endorsements. Hence Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald and Sue Greenwald were able to gain the endorsement for city council and now Jim Provenza has been endorsed for County Supervisor.

The Bee writes:
"The 4th District includes a big chunk of the city of Davis, the heart of the slow-growth movement in the county. When Yolo supervisors even dared to discuss the possibility of permitting a housing development attached to a much-coveted stem cell research facility proposed on county land at the edge of Davis, activists threatened a recall campaign. It's just one indication of how careful the 4th District supervisor must be in approaching this issue.

Yolo supervisors have rightly fought to prevent development on the county's agricultural lands and steer growth into cities. All the candidates promise to protect the county's agricultural resources. All agree that some growth is needed to ensure the county does not stagnate economically.

But as important as growth issues are, Yolo's most pressing issue in the county's precarious finances. A few years ago, county employees were forced to take furloughs. With the county facing a $5.9 million projected deficit this year, employees are being asked to take voluntary leaves."
So why do they pick in the end Jim Provenza? "As a member of the Davis School Board Jim Provenza has the deeper, more expansive experience with local government."

The Bee actually likes all three candidates, but in a close decision decided to endorse Jim Provenza.

As the Vanguard wrote in response to the Enterprises endorsement:

John Ferrera is a good person, on statewide issues and national and international issues, there is probably very little if anything on which we disagree. However, as this race has gone on, it has become clear to me that he is in the other camp on local land use issues which remain the key hallmark of the County Supervisor race.

Recently, both candidates were asked about land use issues. Jim Provenza was publicly against Covell Village. John Ferrera has recently acknowledged he was for Covell Village, although according to my sources he has also stated his opposition to it.

Second, Jim Provenza strongly supports Measure J. John Ferrera took more of the Don Saylor position, the public likes it, but he was less succinct about his view.

Third, when the county threatened to develop on Davis' periphery, Jim Provenza came to the meeting in July and argued strongly against such development. He referred to the proposed developments along I-80 as the congestion corridor. John Ferrera as far as I can tell was not at that meeting and certainly did not speak at that meeting.

While both candidates promise to handle city-county relations better than they were handled in 2007, only Jim Provenza has flat out supported the pass-through agreement.

When I interview John Ferrera last fall here was his response to a question of would he support the current pass-through agreement:

"The pass-through agreement is twenty years old. It’s only received minor updates and discussions and I think that the changing relationship between the state and the counties and the state and the cities, with the growth of the university, with other things that have happened in our world that have changed over 20 years, that we really need to take a hard look and make sure that it’s doing what it need to do for the county and for the city."

While Cathy Kennedy clearly needs to gain some experience with local government, she could become a very formidable candidate down the line. She has a level of sincerity and infectious enthusiasm that serve her well and tend to win people over.

This race is likely going to November with Jim Provenza and John Ferrera squaring off. Cathy Kennedy however has impressed a number of people along the way and could become a player in deciding who wins in November.

Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee has now endorsed the three slow growth candidates in Davis with the best prospects for winning. It was "stunning" (for lack of a better word) to see the Davis Enterprise overlook the experience of people like Jim Provenza when they made their endorsement. The Sacramento Bee fortunately has not replicated that mistake.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting