Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Joe didn't win, August 2010

What follows is an email written by Jon Li. Mr. Li titled it, "What Joe didn't win, August 2010."

The New Davis City Council
Hysterical Historical Context
The first thing to understand is that it was never about Mayor Ruth.
Ruth’s time as Mayor was collateral damage.
Don Saylor and Sue Greenwald are at about 99.9998% on the dis-like scale.
The friction between Greenwald and Saylor has always been the definition of council dynamics, with Mayor Asmundson attempting to referee, and Lamar Haystek and Stephen Souza being content to share the limelight. Saylor would regularly lob some calculated bomb Sue’s way, and entirely too often it would hit a sensitive nerve somewhere in her unbalanced explosive psyche, and she would blow a fuse.

The blow up between Mayor Ruth and Greenwald on January 26th was only the latest flare-up. As Greenwald ally Mark Siegler pointed out two days later, Sue was the way she always is. Defending her right to speak, as though she had not just lost the vote. In this case, the Mayor didn’t respond to her about something she claimed she had said in closed session – the Mayor’s agreement would also have joined Sue in violating legally bound confidentiality – and the Mayor was stunned speechless. Impatiently, Sue called the Mayor “a liar” and demanded satisfaction. The Mayor fell apart.

Five years ago, as Asmundson was completing her first year as The Mayor and still on her honeymoon, she announced to her four daughters that she was so content with her life that she didn’t have anything to give up for Lent. In shocked unison, all four said, “Sue Greenwald.”

A year ago, I recommended that Mayor Ruth trade places with Mayor Pro Tem Saylor, so that he would have to campaign for Supervisor while actually managing Greenwald’s outbursts, rather than just initiating them and then watching the fun from the sidelines. I hypothesized that the Saylor-initiated outbursts would diminish because Saylor would then be responsible for dealing with the consequences. Now that he is finally Mayor, we get to see.

The over-riding issue with the Davis city council is making it work at all. Greenwald is so negative and argumentative that each council in the past decade has been noted for its antagonism and lack of accomplishment. Don Saylor has nothing to show for his time in city “service” except self-promotion. At least with now-Judge Dave Rosenberg (as a city council member, mayor and then county supervisor) you knew that he would get the credit, but it was actually for something.

The single biggest impact of Jon Li’s candidacy for city council was the Enterprise story at the end of the campaign re-stating the potential idea of recalling Greenwald. Having that over her head lowers her hubris significantly (but not completely) and gives her allies leverage to request that Greenwald tone down her histrionics.

Saylor is not going to make it easy for Greenwald to survive his six months of mayoral manipulation. He deeply resented her for his second place finish behind her in 2004, has coveted the Mayor position for a long time, and he is going to try to make the most of it, maybe trying to institute some new procedures that go down in history with his name on it. And Saylor wants to lock in city-county relations so that he can retain influence in Davis when he moves to the county board of supervisors.

For the record, over the past 14 years, sometimes Sue Greenwald has had something useful to say, but most of it is counterproductive. Andy Warhol talked about 15 minutes of fame. Sue has had the spotlight for 10 years, and has very little positive to show for it. She actually believes her responsible role in politics is to stop things: the dis-art of making things impossible. She keeps demanding that we listen to whatever she happens to want to talk about next, and there is very rarely an end to her sentences, let alone a satisfactory conclusion. The downtown would be at least as successful if she hadn’t said anything in ten years.

Clean Slate with a new Team
The internal dynamic of the new council is going to have to evolve. They do not have any established relationships – Don and Stephen have gamed each other a lot over the past six years, and no one has ever had a working relationship with Sue. New and old council members want to probe each other, exploring about specific policies, or following up on a chance phrase. While Joe and Rochelle each gained Sue’s endorsement for the election, and they have each maintained communication with her, she doesn’t actually want anything except to be paid attention to, and her motions seconded and supported. She doesn’t actually want to accomplish anything more than to be the center of attention, so Joe and Rochelle will find meeting with Sue to be a generally unproductive for achieving tangible results. Sue has certain pet themes, like the PG&E property (leaving out the $80 million replacement price tag), and most of them are things that will never happen in a million years. The second time she brings one up, you recognize the broken record…..

The state meeting rule, called the Brown Act, makes council intercommunication weird because the law prohibits majority interpersonal communication outside of properly noticed meetings. With a five member city council, that means that between meetings, two but no more can actually interact and explore ideas about a particular policy area: communicate, caucus, and strategize. Two particular members regularly talking during the week become known as Brown Buddies. On some issues, Asmundson and Saylor were Brown Buddies for six years. The Davis council tradition is to use the Brown Act as an excuse to cut off the conversation when a council member picks up the phone and it is Greenwald: Oh, I have already discussed that issue with another council member. Sorry.

Ruth was the integral glue to the social fabric of the council experience of the always contentious Saylor, Souza and Greenwald. They have battled under her maternal good will for six years, and now they have to learn to get along without her. So nothing is clearly defined as an ongoing primary interpersonal relationship – something so automatic that the other council members presume they have already talked about the new issue. This council is really starting from scratch. The short term of Saylor’s mayorship and the selection of his replacement create an artificial deadline: Saylor’s ego is so gargantuan that you know he is going to try to do something that only he can claim is important. In the very bottom of her heart, Ruth’s intention as Mayor was to be as fair as she could. Saylor does not have as big a heart as Ruth, and he has a lot higher aspirations for at least State Assembly, so his expectations about building his image in the Sacramento region and his long view may well get in the way of his immediate steps.

How the 2010 city council race played out
Rochelle Swanson
Davis is lucky Rochelle Swanson stepped forward and put in the effort to run for city council. She is the real deal. If you meet with her, she will probably be interested in what you have to say.

When I first spoke with her on the phone, I told her about Jon Walker’s Guide to the Viable System Model, and gave her the URL to find it on the Internet. When I met with her a week later, she had read the material, understood the basics of it, and during our far-ranging discussion about city issues appropriately used the VSM five times.

She inquired with others as she had me. She learned a lot about the city and is learning more all the time. Rochelle’s campaign was about inclusion. They involved as many people as they could.

Rochelle was that unique “person a campaign was looking for” who was prepared and juggled it with the rest of her crazy busy Mom life. In late January, Ruth and Sue had their flare-up, and the next evening Rochelle did such a good job of chairing a meeting of the Blue and White Foundation that it generated a spontaneous campaign. If they would have had another month, they probably could have come in first.

The real secret behind Rochelle’s campaign is its potential.

Sydney Vergis
Sydney Vergis was a candidate who peaked two years ago, on Election Day, June, 2008. Backed by then-victors Don Saylor and Stephen Souza, her credentials as a certified planner claimed “expert.” Her youth was complimented by a sorority girl formal bearing that some people perceived as grace. Especially, in the June 2008 election, Sydney looked good compared to Sue Greenwald, who she almost beat for the third seat, and Cecilia Escamillia-Greenwald, whose vote tally she surpassed.

In 2008, as election day approached, a new campaign emerged, with t-shirts and signs posted downtown: Super-S: vote Saylor, Souza and Sydney, tying Sydney to the front runners. The problem is that Sydney’s support was based on her associations, not her own campaign, and the support that she received in the June 2008 election mostly disappeared as the voters turned in their ballots.

Sydney’s biggest problem as a candidate in 2010 was that she spent the next two years assuming that if her name was on the ballot she would be elected. Don Saylor organized a meeting last August, at which they decided that Ruth would run for a third term and Sydney would be her running mate. It was assumed that Lamar was running for re-election. (Lamar instead chose to get married and delay further elected office.) Unknown to almost everyone, right after the 2008 election Sydney was riding her bike and had a nasty car accident – requiring serious shoulder surgery with a subsequent year of rehabilitation.

Maybe she passed that year recuperating with reading, but it wasn’t expanding what she knew about Davis. She re-applied to UCD King Law School, and this time she was accepted but she didn’t do it. Then she returned to UCD to graduate school, in how to measure carbon footprint. (Hardly preparation for ramping up to challenge an enthusiastic incumbent for the second seat on the city council.)

In September Sydney started rounding up endorsements. When she asked for mine, I said sure, but I had already given it to Joe and I would give it to Ruth as well, and maybe even someone who hadn’t emerged yet.

All Sydney wanted was my name, and she really didn’t care about anything else. She didn’t want to talk about Davis or her campaign. At all. She already knew everything she needed to know, and if she needed to know anything else, then someone in The Establishment (Don Saylor, Ruth, Covell Village, the city firefighter union…) would tell her what to think/say/do.

The most troubling thing about Sydney as a candidate in 2010 is that she still thought that in the Spring of 2010, her memorized answers from 2008 worked. Long after the global economic calamity of 2008, and all the federal and state budget problems, she often would use her lines memorized two years before, all too often opening with: “as I stated two years ago,….”

My advice a year ago with hyperactive Lamar still expected to run, was for Sydney to plan on walking every precinct in the city starting in January. She looked at me like it would never happen.

If Lamar had run, he would have danced precincts, and Joe and Ruth would have spent a lot more money to run more dynamic campaigns just to compete. Sydney would have been watching on the sidelines. She pretty much was anyway.

Without Lamar or Ruth in the race, Sydney made the strategic decision to do only a minimum number of things for her campaign: get endorsements, raise money, design a few special pieces for her bicycle sign campaign, a mailer, a brochure, a lawn sign, an ad for the Enterprise at the end of the campaign. The least she had to do to still get elected.

At her campaign kickoff in January, I still had no intention of running. I chatted with my very first UCD teacher and friend, Brian Horsfield (Ph.D. Ag Engineering UCD 1970) who has recently returned to retire in Davis after many years in the Seattle area working for Weyerhaeuser. He had taken an instant liking to Sydney during her previous campaign, and became her #1 volunteer. Brian asked me what he could do to best help Sydney’s campaign. I told him to schedule walking precincts three days a week with his adorable grandson who is why he moved back to Davis. He loved the idea. Sydney wouldn’t let Brian do it; too much trouble.

Sydney was never really more than a Ruth surrogate. The code for Sydney’s 2008 campaign was that the Enterprise would regularly announce that Jan Bridge was hosting Sunday pancakes with candidate Sydney, and probably at least a thousand Ruth supporters read that message as Ruth’s stamp of approval.

This time, Sydney assumed that having Ruth’s daughter’s name as her treasurer on the return address of the envelope of the fundraising solicitation letter would be enough to raise the $30,000 to finance a hot campaign. But Ruth’s political brand took a big hit with her defense of Covell Village when she ran for re-election after the defeat of Measure X, 40-60. And then Ruth’s brand dropped into the past tense with the total collapse of council decorum on January 26th.

When Rochelle entered the race, Sydney did not change her strategy at all. Fundraising was not successful. People who gave last time, or had given to Ruth in the past, were not as likely to contribute money to Sydney’s campaign. Nobody, starting with Sydney, was particularly interested in pushing Sydney’s campaign, which had just plain run out of juice. Her core group would have these fundraiser events that a few people would come to and they would pretend they were in a campaign. But her issues were to take the life out of the dismal science of economic development. She doesn’t even actually do anything at the city Business and Economic Development Commission, or she could have at least talked about what she had been advocating. Her one and only dedicated volunteer, Brian Horsfield, drove around putting up her signs.

For me, the most disappointing moment in Sydney’s campaign was when the Enterprise was interviewing the five candidates – in what apparently was her only attempt to respond to my advocating the Viable System Model, Sydney sat up in her prim, proper way, and announced that as a licensed professional financial planner, it is the judgment of the literature that re-organizations don’t work.

At least she figured out that I am advocating real time decision taking, which would mean perpetual re-organization.

But Sydney? Even the U.S. Army (remember the Army Air Corps) and the Catholic Church have re-organized. Due to drops in advertising revenue, the Enterprise has had major cutbacks leading to necessary consolidation of responsibilities among the survivors. World class sports editor Chris Saur emerged because he was still standing after one of the many earthquakes, and the boss Editor Debbie Davis would rather have husband Bruce writing enthusiastically about kids and sports, having the time of his life doing what he loves most, and leave Chris stuck with the POWER of writing the headlines, cropping the pictures, editing the captions and squeezing in the stories with the names mostly spelled right.

Shortly before the Enterprise interview with the candidates, the Davis City Manager announced a major reorganization, over half of which was based on attrition and elimination of unfilled positions. Basically, reorganization by default. I have confidence in the city management staff, especially Bill Emlen and Paul Navazio, so I am watching to see what emerges.

Sydney has a reputation for strong analytical skills. I didn’t see it at all. Never once did she deviate from script about policy issues based on new information. Sydney should become an investment banker, have maybe ten clients who appreciate her for who she is and whatever it is that she does.

Daniel Watts
Daniel Watts is mostly interested in self-promotion. He was often mis-informed, especially by his law professors who may have had tongue firmly in cheek, and he blabbed away whatever they had said. Quoting your law professors as the gospel of municipal governance may work in law school but he was a detriment to the city of Davis.

Joe Krovoza
Which brings us to Joe Krovoza, the smiling salesman.

I like Joe’s wife, Janet. We met when she started working in the UCD College of Engineering in 1992. A couple years ago, I asked her about Joe’s running for council. (I do that. I consider it my civic responsibility, my civic duty, to encourage people that make the effort to help the body politic. Reader: I am looking for people to run for city council in 2012, or to help with a campaign and eventually be somebody’s campaign manager, or lawn sign coordinator, or help table at the Farmers Market, or make some phone calls….)

When I went on a Davis Bicycles! organized ride in August, Joe rode with me and talked about his running for city council and I encouraged him. I sent him my template on how to set up a successful campaign in Davis. We met. I talked from the experience of being involved in every single Davis election since 1982. We met several times. Joe took lots of notes. (I met with Sydney, and she was already bored, coasting, and losing momentum.) I talked Joe up, and he met with key elected officials and opinion leaders.

He asked my advice on whether to have his campaign kickoff at Nugget Fields showing his longtime soccer connections, or the Farmers Market, or a bike ride, or the multi-modal train station to emphasize transportation policy options which is his day job at the university. I recommended that he meet at Farmers Market at 10:30, bike caravan to the train station at 11:00, and then give his speech. That image crystallized in his mind, and it turned out as I had suggested. I counted over 100 people attending at the beginning of his talk at the train station.

Then Joe and I met just before Thanksgiving, to evaluate and to plan. Joe told me, “You need to figure out a role for yourself in my campaign.” Joe parceled out different jobs and then he was coordinating. I had been advocating that he pick a campaign manager, but apparently he never did. He kept complete control of his operation. I had advocated that his role as a council member would be to direct staff, and to indirectly influence citizens, so he should practice by involving more people in his campaign organization and create a structure. The other thing I advocated was that he work towards an active precinct operation that comes to fruition in May.

Joe rejected the idea of having a grassroots community network. He was building a great database of names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, and that computer list became his goal.

Based on all the work I had done laying the organization for his campaign, I told him I had a role in his campaign, campaign consultant. Joe said No you are not. And he pretty much stopped talking to me about what he was going to do in his campaign (this being the Tuesday before last Thanksgiving), and I was never again involved in any of the decisions (except one special meeting he had on President’s Holiday in late February, where the focus on partnerships emerged as a good campaign theme; again, before I had any thought of running.) At that point, Joe killed whatever relationship we had. He continued to meet with me for three months, always putting me off when I asked strategic questions (as though I was working for another candidate or going to run myself). And he would taunt me to come up with a role in his campaign that he would find acceptable. Well, there was no role that he would find acceptable. When I offered to actually make his campaign something more than he conceived with active precincts, he was so paranoid that he never trusted me again. Joe: the proof of the pudding: never at any time since last August have I, in thought, word or deed, by commission or omission (according to Luther) had a second where I even hinted at opposing your candidacy. [Then.]

Joe stopped talking to me, because he refused to listen to me, because he is paranoid. I recommended that Joe be Mayoral, that he treat each of the other candidates like he could work well with them/us. He couldn’t do it. He strategically attacked Sydney as though it would help him, when she was already gone anyway; he was hostile towards me; and, at the end, his campaign couldn’t understand why Rochelle’s campaign was gaining energy and they deeply resented it, and Joe’s campaign never had any energy except Joe’s personal hyperactivity. Joe personally worked really hard in May, and he had a network of individuals with assignments, but he didn’t have an organization that did much of anything together. Joe’s campaign wasn’t about building community of Davis, it was about building the community of Joe.

The winners of this election were: the citizens of Davis because we elected two strong candidates (Joe & Rochelle), Rochelle, Daniel because he got all his publicity, and me because I explored the Viable System Model as I claimed (contrary to whatever it is that Joe thinks motivated me to run).

The losers were Sydney, and Joe because he ended up making these false claims about getting along, that now makes all his claims sound like hollow hype. The very first time I met with Joe, he spent the final 20 minutes berating me because I wouldn’t unconditionally support whatever Davis Bicycles! might propose when I was already objecting to some of their ideas. Joe has berated me three times, where there was absolutely only one side to the story, his side.

After Joe told me I wasn’t his campaign consultant, I proved to him that I was – I made my services no longer necessary. I spent the hour saying that the kickoff was perfect. The only mistake was that he over-emphasized the need to raise money. Given his socio-economic status, and his family friends, when people hear his campaign, they will whip out their checkbooks and say “Only $100?” Just before I had to leave, I said, “AND, Thursday is Thanksgiving; on Sunday, you need to organize a fundraiser letter mailing party with two dozen people and have computer labels for what turned out to be 7,000 letters, so that people could write a check to his campaign before they started their Christmas shopping”.

Joe had lots and lots of favors to call in from his years of community volunteer work around his two daughters. During the month of December he put together an awesome database of his extended Friends-of-Friends mailing/email/campaign list. I wanted to map his whole list and create a precinct organization; he was content with having a mailing list that he could glean potential contributors and volunteers. That initial effort raised $7,000. It was a preemptive strike that sewed up his coming in first. He coasted from that point on and my ideas were unnecessary to him.

Each time Joe and I crossed paths proved more difficult. He would taunt me about what I could do for his campaign. I begged to let me help with a precinct operation, but that turned out to be something he had no interest in. Finally, in February we fought about it. I wanted an energetic precinct organization to build community with him as the focal point (The Mayor in reality and not just the elected figurehead.) Joe was content that he had already won and he was set in his campaign plan. I wasn’t a part of his plan.

Joe was so self-centered that I kept advising him to be Mayoral, to see all the candidates as allies not adversaries. He never got it. In January, after I recommended to Brian Horsfield that he walk for Sydney, I was explaining what I had recommended to Joe, and Joe was outraged that I had given HIS idea for precinct walking to the other campaign, when I was the only one talking precincts in his campaign, Joe wasn’t supporting what I was recommending, AND, I was telling Joe the story because it was opposition research that his then-principal opponent still was not mounting a serious campaign because Sydney had refused to let Brian walk precincts for her.

Although I don’t know first hand because Joe hasn’t been civil enough to talk with me (talked at, a few times, but not “talked with” after November), but he apparently was shocked when I announced for the city council race. He called but he didn’t say what he was thinking, and when we had lunch the next week for the last time, his definitive statement was that we are opponents and he resented me ever since. He never seemed to understand that he had cut me off three months before, and I had nowhere else to go with my ideas about the Viable System Model. (Forget Sydney – there were a lot less exotic things that she doesn’t comprehend or care about.) My candidacy supposedly confirmed his suspicions that I had intended to run all along, even though I never once cost him a vote by saying ANYTHING about him, except that I was supporting him with my other vote, which I did. Where is the shred of evidence to confirm his paranoia (unjustified fear)? I endorsed Joe in August, and I have kept unfailing support for him ever since. I took my Vote for Joe button off my bike a week after the election.

The city of Davis is best served by the election of Joe and Rochelle, and while I feel that Rochelle is a better politician than Joe, I am hopeful that the city will move in better directions due to their efforts.

I almost never asked for people to vote for me during the campaign. At the end of the forums, when Joe gave a rousing statement of why you should vote for him, I talked about the Viable System Model.

Joe went to law school and he likes to win. He pretty much ran his campaign to win at all cost, contrary to his civility claims after the campaign. Joe attacked Sydney on several occasions, about things she was already too embarrassed about to defend. From December on, he USUALLY misunderstood what I was saying. He often didn’t appear to listen, and got distinctly wrong what I had said. What was I supposed to do? Continue to support him unconditionally, like he is the king? Sit on the sidelines? He doesn’t understand that I appeared to do that for six years when I had Ruth’s ear. I have done everything I could to treat him the positive way he claims he has been treating me. The proof is that I sent him and Rochelle each an email after the election, congratulating them and asking for a chance to meet, but he hasn’t found time in two months to respond to my email. Joe couldn’t represent me any more than Sue who only represents herself. During the first council meeting, when Sue turned to Joe for help in gaining some of the council appointments she felt were important, he only cared about his own appointments and wouldn’t help her at all, probably not the last time Sue will be disappointed in Joe.

The only person I came half way close to as a result of Joe’s campaign was Robert Canning, who was responsible for the precinct version of Joe’s campaign. I happened to see him waiting for the train the morning before the election, and in a not friendly way he asked where Rochelle’s campaign came from, so I explained what I had seen:
- Joe’s campaign was made up of people whose children had grown up with Joe’s, and Joe was re-creating the PTA/AYSO soccer list of the past 20 years, and bringing that to life for one thing: to get Joe elected June 8th.
- Rochelle’s campaign grew out of the frustration of school people who feel the city should be doing more; it started with the Blue & White Foundation, which is the parents of children who hope to be on varsity teams when they are at Davis High, and Support our Schools, which is for parents who care about 7th period and foreign languages, and music and drama, and the kinds of programs that make the Davis community a nurturing environment for many, many children. Joe wanted to communicate with those parents, Rochelle was already communicating with those parents. Those parents are the current soccer moms, Joe’s are the former soccer moms. The reason Rochelle’s campaign caught fire was that her message was on the already necessary get-the-kids-to-school-today network. Joe claimed it, past tense; with Rochelle, it was the real thing, alive today and growing with every Blue & White Foundation Alumni Association Davis HS class reunion.

Don’t let the smile fool you. Joe cares about Joe first, Davis second. I had always advised Joe to peak on Election Day, but that was based on my ideas about a growing, evolving organization that would become the backbone of a citywide network supporting his leadership. I assumed that he would build a community of support. Joe’s campaign did only enough to come in first, but if the election campaign had run even a week longer, Rochelle had momentum, and Joe was chugging along but he had no organizational capacity to kick it up to another level, let along continue to grow after the election. Joe’s campaign list diminishes in quality daily.

Joe sold the city’s voters a product. He is a scam.

Forecast for the long term
This election was historic, like 1972 (growth versus slow growth), 1990-2 (limited growth versus no growth). This is the first time since 1906 when growth is not a force for political change. Covell Village is out there off the horizon, now in the distant future. UCD’s West Village will absorb whatever growth pressure might emerge, but that won’t be for at least 5 years (two more regular council elections).

Sue Greenwald and Lamar Heystak’s elections were the final products of a movement around the word “Progressive” that has lost all meaning, and many of the active people in the established network have retired, moved or passed away. Originally, Progressive implied environmental awareness. Like the Radical Liberal party of some Latin American country, the label came to mean whatever someone wanted to associate with it. Partly they lost their issue: it is the chaos of the global economy that is playing out in the Sacramento regional housing market; realtors are working hard to move existing product; less than ten new houses are expected to be built in Davis this year.

So during the next 5 years, if growth is no longer the dividing line within city politics, where will the dynamic be?

Without population growth, both the city government and the school district face expanding responsibilities and shrinking resources. There is increasing potential that two distinct political populations emerge as the New Davis Politics: families with children in the schools versus seniors. Within the city government, both elder and children services are unique enough that there is lots of potential for expansion or reduction of services. (One third of the city residential population are college students, who are about as relevant to city politics as the over-bred squirrels.)

The main way to see these two emerging competing political institutions (for at least the next five years and then maybe a transition to something else), is: Rochelle’s campaign represents the younger families and Joe’s campaign represents the seniors and retirees.

Joe’s database peaked in December when his computer teams finished going through the PTA rosters of the children of his friends. Most of those children are now in high school or graduated. Most of the voters in those households no longer have primary daily issues with the Davis school district, especially about using scarce school resources.

Rochelle’s list is people who are active in the schools now. Their most pressing concerns have to do with getting their families and kids ready for a successful school year.

Traditionally, the school district is subservient to the city. When former school board trustee Susie Boyd was Mayor, the city imposed restrictive parking around the high school, over the school board’s formal objections. The board pointed out that the city had violated its own policies: it surveyed the neighborhood and the potential beneficiaries had overwhelmingly opposed the policy. The Mayor haughtily concluded the discussion by announcing that the school district has no choice but to live with the city’s actions.

When the city bullied the school district and put a competing funding measure on the school race ballot, both H & I were defeated. With budget challenges looming, it will be interesting to see how the battle lines for resources set up, and how well the school board and the city council are able to collaborate.

Maybe 95% of the school district is inside the city limits. The city, the school district, the county and the university can pool their ideas about their resources and responsibilities. There has to be potential for consolidation, efficiencies, discontinuations, and shared economies of scale. I think the winning candidate called it partnerships.

Candidates to fill Don Saylor’s unfinished term:
Would not be a candidate in 2012: Delaine Easton
Others: Lucas Frehrichs, Dan Wolk
Definitely not a candidate: Susan Lovenburg

Candidates for City Council in 2012
Stephen Souza
Sue Greenwald
Dan Wolk
Lucas Frehrichs
Rochelle’s ami (woman candidate

Should Krovoza see this

What follows is an email from Jon Li, who ran for City Council against Joe Krovoza and lost. Mr. Li titled this email, "Should Krovoza see this."

Yeah, Yeah, Good, Good
The Mayor nobody knows: Joe Krovoza
February, 2011

A little over a year ago, by Thanksgiving, Joe Krovoza had built such a strong campaign mailing list of potential supporters that he was the acknowledged front runner and coasted to victory in June. Krovoza's campaign platform was partnerships, especially between the city and UC Davis, finding financial answers (which Krovoza claims as a strength), and being diplomatic in the council ego chaos. Krovoza leveraged his many years work on the Putah Creek Council to reflect his investment in water and environmental issues; his many years coaching youth soccer while his girls were growing up; and, his long time commitment to bicycles and his day time job with UCD's Institute for Transportation Studies - which all added up to an attractive package as a candidate for the Davis city council.

Krovoza campaigned hard personally, but he really didn't have a campaign organization. People had individual responsibilities and assignments, but the campaign wasn't about rejuvenating Davis politics - it was about elevating Krovoza. The front runner from start to finish, he ran a risk free campaign of not taking a stand on any issue, so he cannot legitimately claim a mandate to do something he had advocated as a candidate.

Krovoza's campaign peaked on June 8th, election day. He then shifted into post-election disconnect with the voters. Krovoza acts like he has a mandate, unconditional support for whatever he happens to propose. Apparently Krovoza's leadership model is that he wins all the arguments. Actually, too often he has already made up his mind, decided what to do, and expects you to ratify his announcement and cave on your concerns (rather than that he will be able to negotiate from a better position based on your new information).

Krovoza has a tin ear, and a short attention span. Fortunately, he has built in a subconscious reflex when he has lost all patience, and stopped listening and expects you to stop talking and submit to his superior wisdom: he says, “yeah, yeah, good, good.” At that point, his subconscious is announcing to you that you had best give up talking, because he is no longer listening to what you are talking about. His mind has shifted to an entirely different topic, and as soon as you have stopped talking, he will tell you what it is. Krovoza stopped listening to me November, 2009 (see Thanksgiving above).

Krovoza brings an interesting skill set to the council discussion. He went to a premier techie high school in Southern California, and he loves to play engineer. In college, he devoted a lot of energy to maintaining a council of colleges in the greater Los Angeles area. At King Law School, he excelled in environmental law. These experiences have shaped Krovoza’s strengths: he runs a good meeting, and there is little potential for the kind of sibling fights that dominated the past decade of council discussion; he is working hard at attending Sacramento regional meetings and being the “new Davis image” in regional politics; he is an advocate for bikes to a fault, and, he has a laser focus on what he considers to be sustainability issues.

Unfortunately, the strengths define too much the weaknesses as well:
- because of his day job and regional meetings, he is invisible in the community, in ways that Don Saylor remains conspicuous because Saylor has nothing else to do;
- he is spending too much time grilling city staff on the phone in these one way conversations where Krovoza expects immediate performance improvement, as he happens to be defining it in the moment. Entirely too much of the Mayor’s attention is focused in minutia in the mechanics of what is probably someplace in the public works department. The Mayor loves to be an engineer. It is hard to imagine him listening. “This is MAYOR KROVOZA..” the phone conversation begins with a growl tone and quickly gets deeper as he is pushing his personal power. (appropriate staff response should be: “Thank you for giving me your valuable time. It would be best if you would type that up as an email to your city council colleagues, and make it a council agenda item. Now, I need to get back to work. Thank you for your call. Good-bye.”

Krovoza is going to have a tough time as mayor. He is going to want to be advocating when he should be listening and focusing on serving all the other people who are waiting to talk. He thinks that power is enhanced by bossing people around, instead of by superior listening - for insights, alternatives, analysis and even a whole new way of looking at the problem at hand.

There should be another person besides the city council members, to facilitate the meetings - council, commission, whatever. Not Elvia, but people trained by the city's mediation program, for the council a pool of maybe a half dozen who would become a trained subculture like the referees in the National Football League. The mayor should be running the policy discussion, not worrying about personality issues.

During Krovoza’s campaign, he was focused on himself, and was competitive to a fault in his relations with his opponents. Krovoza started with a cache of good will built up over the years when he decided to run, and he leveraged that to a successful campaign; but he didn't build a campaign, he used his good will and coasted. He didn't learn how to build support during his campaign, he learned how to leverage endorsements into more endorsements. He peaked on June 8th, and expects people to automatically support him from now on.

Krovoza's first imperial shot was the mandatory back-in diagonal parking, which blew up badly enough that it will be interesting to see how well he is able to massage the message when he brings it back up for council analysis after the trial test period. Did anyone else think it was worth doing? Staff acted like sheep, automatically doing as directed, but that was the end of his honeymoon.

Whether or not Krovoza knows how to build community remains to be seen. With only six months experience, Krovoza has the mayorship for the next three and a half years, if he survives. Krovoza is not nearly as cool under stress as he claims. He blows up pretty easily, soon after he realizes he is not getting his way. He is going to find he is a captive audience. People will use public comments to personally provoke him (or other city representatives) in ways that are going to infuriate him. Krovoza is going to be steaming so red that his ears look like they are going to burst. What does Krovoza do then?

Sue Greenwald has many personal demons that Don Saylor provoked too often, but we have ten years experience with Greenwald. With Saylor gone, the Davis City Council won't have that melodrama to worry about any more. Krovoza's demons are of a different nature. His aspirations for power are calculated, so it will be interesting to see what deals (remember, partnerships) Krovoza comes up with.

Krovoza suffers from not having had a full two years as only a council member, to be able to push and shove for little projects, to learn his way around the inside. Now he is supposed to be right about the big things. How he does in the spring budget process will be a learning experience for everybody. Krovoza is only in charge. He needs to bring out the best in other people, especially Interim City Manager Paul Navazio. The Mayor hasn’t figured out that he is so attached to Navazio that every time he interrupts, on the phone or in meetings, the Mayor is hurting his own and the city’s effectiveness.

Better Davis

What follows is an email I received in December, 2011. It was written by former City Council candidate Jon Li. It is an attack on Steve Pinkerton and Joe Krovoza. It was titled "Better Davis."

Test of Time 8.15: Better Davis: City Leadership?

Krovoza's Lapdog,
Steve Pinkerton flunks his probationary period
Too many stories - doesn't care to hear anybody including Department Heads
There are 4 city council votes to support Paul Navazio for City Manager

History Repeats:
In 1989, the Davis Test of Time was invented to build a case to replace the Davis Mayor, the Davis City Manager, and the UCD Chancellor; it took 3 years.

"The council just doesn't seem to understand that its win-at-all-costs strategy is ultimately a losing hand. The people have a right to make bad decisions. You simply can't say this thing is too important to trust to the voters. City Attorney Harriet Steiner's "opinion" was outcome based from the get go. Reach your conclusion first and then go backward to justify it. That's advocacy, pure and simple, but not good law. We need the Test of Time." -- Bob Dunning

In his 17 months on the city council, Mayor Krovoza has been bogged down with repeated setbacks in the water rate approval process that should have been his road to glory. Within Davis governance, his one and only attempt to actually push through an idea was his September 2010 announcement to staff to have mandated reverse diagonal parking, which blew up in his face. Since then, he has tried to force little things behind the scenes, with disappointing consequences.

Krovoza's council campaign was strategically unspecific because he could get away with it given the way he interpreted his frontrunner status: don't take any positions that might offend a potential voter. So he kept his plans to himself. While he came in first he did not carry a mandate for anything in particular beyond bicycles. And yet, he has acted as though his coming in first gives him the powerful authority to be a Strong Mayor: personally ordering city employees around and changing city policy by arbitrary decisions rather than a majority vote of the city council after publicly noticed informed discussion.

Sidebar: The legal system that Davis has is a "Weak Mayor/Strong City Manager," where the Mayor needs two more votes just like any other council member, and so has to actually cooperate with the rest of the council. The binding state law is that a majority of the council picks the Mayor. In a Strong Mayor system, the Mayor has hiring, supervision and firing authority; with the Weak Mayor, the City Manager "serves at the pleasure of a majority of the council" and has supervision and hiring authority for all other city employees. Another feature of the Weak Mayor form is that council members including the Mayor are legally limited to only communicating with one city employee: the City Manager. All communication, legally, between council members and staff is limited exclusively to the City Manager. By design.

Krovoza acts like he has the powers that Sacramento's elected Mayor Kevin Johnson is trying to gain statutorily.

Krovoza feels that as Mayor his word should be boss to all city staff, and the city manager should honor the Mayor's wishes. Krovoza has rarely actually gone through the city council process of taking his ideas to the rest of the council via email/memo for a potential majority decision. Most of Krovoza's hands-on policy style is to call up the City Manager or some other city employee - spur of the moment - and tell them to change something. Usually not opening with a question but with an order, of a decision Krovoza has already unilaterally made and expects to be implemented immediately.

But Interim City Manager Paul Navazio was unwilling to automatically accommodate Krovoza's dictates. Whenever conflict and confusion arose, Krovoza blamed Navazio. The problem really was that Krovoza wanted to name his own city manager no matter what, so he was going to find fault with whomever the Asmundson/Saylor administrations had as Interim City Manager (Kelly Stachowicz would have been a profound alternative), so it appears that Krovoza was creating a hostile environment for the Interim City Manager so that it would be that much easier to get someone he could dominate.

No one knows what will happen with the public works department, but Krovoza wants to turn it into his personal playground. Krovoza went to a technology high school and is a closet engineer.

Former Bike Pedestrian Coordinator Tara Goddard was usually at the listening end of a screaming Krovoza demanding that she ignore the facts, ignore previous decisions and ignore her best professional judgment, because Krovoza has seen a better way. Tara Goddard was probably Krovoza's number one target for removal from city staff. There is said to be a list of ten names, nine to go.

Mayor Krovoza found a soul mate in his personal city manager, Steve Pinkerton. They both love to talk. And couldn't care less to listen. They are so busy showing off how much they already know that it doesn't occur to them that 1) there might be part of the picture they haven't seen/figured out yet, or even 2) they don't have a clue what they are talking about, but that never stops them from making decisions and ordering city staff around. Both Krovoza and Pinkerton expect "collaboration" to consist of saying "Yes Sir."

It is a wonder what they do when they are together without anyone else? Both talk all the time? No, they enjoy each other too much, and listen respectfully to each other's fascinating brilliance. After all, they are in charge. They have all the time they want, and they are only accountable to each other.

Both Krovoza and Pinkerton are story tellers. The problem is that Pinkerton is so busy telling stories about previous exploits in Long Beach (have you heard about his wife's restaurant?), Stockton and Manteca, that he didn't get your name or anything about you, but now you have spent time with the new city manager, real quality time, even though you didn't get to say much of anything. Pinkerton already knows the answers anyway.

Pinkerton's claim to fame is what he has done in economic development. His experience aside, three months into the job, Pinkerton still doesn't actually know anything about the Davis economy. Every single meeting he has had with members of the Davis business community has been Pinkerton's one-way stories about his distant past, as though he was going through a job interview that he is not prepared for. The representatives of the Davis Downtown Business Association and the Davis Chamber of Commerce throw up their hands in frustration when they tell hideous war stories that Pinkerton did not have any time to understand their concerns because he was so in rapture telling them about Long Beach, Stockton and Manteca. Did you know that Pinkerton's wife opened a restaurant once?

Krovoza expects Pinkerton to complement his skills set and cover for him. Pinkerton really only knows about Davis what Krovoza has told him. Which in terms of the business community, is 3rd or 4th hand at best because Krovoza has not even made time to attend the city's business discussions. The Davis economy is Krovoza's weakest policy area, and he takes it for granted. Mayor Pro Tem Rochelle Swanson and the business community worked really hard to put together an initial meeting, to find out who the players are at the Davis table. Called "Who's On First?", 54 people showed up with something to say about their contribution to Davis economic vitality. An hour later, when everyone was done introducing themselves, Krovoza shows up, makes a speech cold without hearing what anyone else's concerns are, and then Pinkerton checks out, missing the discussion half of the event.

Wouldn't you think that if Pinkerton really cares about economic development, he would want to hear what the key people are thinking about? If it is his #1 concern, don't you think it would be the kind of event where Pinkerton would have his sleeves rolled up, and looking and acting like he is interested in engaging the Davis business community in a serious discussion about building the local economy. There has been Zero evidence that he has a clue how to do economic development for Davis.

Since Krovoza hadn't been in on the introductory foundation of the "Who's On First?" conversation, he had no idea what it was about, or why it went the way it did. The theater company wants restaurants to stay open after their shows close at 10 pm. That drove a discussion of communication between different businesses. Krovoza understood less than everyone who sat through the entire meeting. That is the only one of a half dozen city meetings on economic vitality that Krovoza attended. Krovoza is checked out on business: what he says is hot air.

Then a meeting with the new UCD Vice Chancellor for Research Harris Lewin to talk about how to collaborate between new campus innovation and the Davis business community drew 25 people, but neither Pinkerton nor Krovoza considered it important enough to attend. Lewin is the real deal, a world class cancer scientist who has had increasing administrative responsibilities and to a bunch of business people sounded like a venture capitalist. Long ago, he earned his Ph.D. at UCD, and he started by saying his major professor at UCD started a business, so he has always thought of entrepreneurial innovation as an integral part of the university mission. Lewin said more in any 5 minutes about Davis economic development than Pinkerton has said in his three months "on the job."

Of the dozen key meetings of concern to the business community during his three months, Mr. Economic Development specialist Pinkerton has attended the half of two meetings where he was the focus, and then left when other people started talking..

When either Pinkerton or Krovoza actually do meet with a business person, they are so busy talking that they don't listen. Pinkerton and Krovoza don't listen to the point that it is next to impossible to get any new versions of the situation (like maybe reality) into their thinking when they discuss particular policy conclusions that they intend to impose. And since they only know what each other has already confirmed, it is extremely difficult to get either Krovoza or Pinkerton to realize that they are operating from invalid assumptions. The problem is that they don't care to find out that they need to update their views; when asked to, they refuse to listen. That is usually referred to as "the arrogance of power."

Since Pinkerton mostly knows what Krovoza tells him, or from the standpoint of the way that Krovoza tells the story, Pinkerton only has a piecemeal view of the city, inappropriately deferring to Krovoza's views. Since Pinkerton is only accountable to Krovoza, he doesn't have to worry about the "whole city" and actually take over the reins of the government - actually take responsibility for the cumulative consequences of decisions and actions, as well as actually jump in and take charge, like he is a strong city manager and knows what he is doing. Krovoza's ego is so demanding that he has found someone who is willing to be a Weak City Manager. For Krovoza it is the way to misuse a Weak Mayor/Strong City Manager structure to fit his ego: Krovoza found somebody who is willing to be bossed around.

It looks like Pinkerton is an economic development grant hack, who really doesn't have a clue how to run a city, let alone take an economic mess in trying times, and figure out how to benefit from the University, which Pinkerton has so far been silent about.

Pinkerton hasn't engaged anyone in the business community: to actually ask questions, partly because Krovoza is confused about what he wants to do beyond "sustainability" and Pinkerton is taking his cues from Krovoza rather than the entire council. Pinkerton doesn't actually know what it takes to be a city manager. Pinkerton is a bureaucrat who specialized in getting grants for economic development when that was a useful skill. That gravy train has dried up. Economic development now means sitting down with real people with ideas who are trying to overcome tremendous challenges in this tight economy. Not for one minute has Pinkerton engaged the business community in that discussion: Pinkerton is too busy bragging that he did it before, in Long Beach, Stockton and Manteca. Pinkerton must have learned a lot about how to run a business when his wife opened that restaurant. Can't imagine what he' has learned in his time in Davis?

What about the cost of lost opportunities? How much does Sue Greenwald cost the city each meeting? Neither Krovoza nor Pinkerton has a clue what to do to have Sue Greenwald as a productive member of the discussion. The overall lack of focus and direction of the council can be blamed on Sue Greenwald's hysterics but it still seems that Krovoza only wants to be in power so he can do whatever he wants, with no particular course of action or medium term quantified objectives.

Roger Storey learned more about the Davis economy in his first 3 hours on the job of City Manager than Pinkerton has learned in his entire 3 months collecting a paycheck.

All the problems Krovoza had with Paul Navazio have now disappeared. Pinkerton doesn't say "you can't do that". Pinkerton doesn't give five reasons why it won't work, why it is so unrealistic that it never should even be discussed. Because Pinkerton doesn't care, he doesn't know what he is talking about, and he doesn't want to have to find out and then have to be responsible enough to get back to Krovoza to tell Krovoza he is wrong.

And, that Krovoza is mini-micro managing so much that he refuses to even hear what are the real issues of concern. Krovoza could tell you the hundred things Davis should do, but he can't tell you the three things he is accomplishing and why they take priority. Where Don Saylor was EGO, History, Nice Talk, no substance (imitation warm fuzzies), Krovoza is EGO, Nice Talk, Big Smile, no history, no substance, no resolution (confused imitation warm fuzzies). Krovoza learned a lot from Saylor during his six month apprenticeship as Mayor Pro Tem about how to be a bully and boss city staff around. What Krovoza did not learn was how to work a project through the city process, so he assumes that whatever he wants to do is the right way to do it. No City Hall has ever worked that way. The History of New York City, for example, could well be described as how the Mayor battles City Hall at every turn and sometimes on the straightaway. That is why any community needs a mayor, to help work through the decisions; Krovoza on the other hand just thinks his point is the final decision.

At each successive city council meeting, Krovoza has spent the least amount of time reading the agenda packet and speaking with the respective communities of interest; Krovoza is least likely to be listening during presentation because his mindset is to already have a final decision and then drive towards it - too often ignoring information counter to Krovoza's predetermination.

Someone in a position to work with all of Davis' council members over the past 25 years says that some people are ignorant because they are un-informed, but some people are ignorant because they refuse to listen, and Krovoza is the most ignorant council person in their experience. Most un-educatable. Stuck in his egotistical rigidity.

Part of the problem is that Krovoza is attempting to implement a Strong Mayor form of governance within a Weak Mayor/Strong City Manager form of government. It only increases confusion. Dave Rosenberg is the closest Davis has ever come to having a Strong Mayor who was successful, all be it with a three vote majority the first time. Rosenberg drove Jerry Adler crazy with personal initiatives that he publicly announced and then brought to the city council for ratification. The most significant was the still-born and occasionally reborn "Association of Mayors of University of California Cities." But Rosenberg only got away with it because he knew he already had majority endorsement for the idea, he just hadn't gone through the formal part, which included informing Adler and requesting his support, but expecting irrelevant opposition, so why worry about it. There was too much of that towards Adler by the Rosenberg/Evans/Corbett Gang of Three whose cavalier design of the 1987 Davis General Plan precipitated the Davis Test of Time.

The art, the MAGIC, of the Weak Mayor form of council is based on the courtship of "counting to three." It is something that happens behind Krovoza's back. He is rarely involved except in lobbying other council members for his position. Krovoza is rarely the Mayor in the sense of being in the middle - his personal position always takes priority to the point of clouding his understanding of the rest of the council.

The water rate issue is the biggest example of where Krovoza has lost the council but thinks he is in complete control. Krovoza was ambushed by Dan Wolk's alternative resolution, and Krovoza still refuses to respect the critics of the way the rate decision is happening.

What should be the crown jewel of a successful Krovoza administration, the grand water plan has become a clumsy disaster in terms of the process. Given Krovoza's history as a water lawyer, and his campaign claim to be an expert at public finance and big projects, this process should have given Krovoza the golden opportunity to shine as a leader who can carry a project to successful implementation.

At several significant steps, the petition gatherers and Dan Wolk have ambushed Krovoza. 1:30 a.m. in the marathon September 6th city council meeting Wolk brought up an exhaustive list of ways to improve the project process that completely surprised Krovoza. Not surprising, the list included a variety of ideas which had the finger prints of Wolk's parents, the former dean of the UCD law school and the state senator who is past chair of the assembly committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife and past Mayor of Davis. Krovoza made a deal in the heat of the moment, taking all the list in exchange for a 5-6 year rate increase package which was the only thing he cared about. That is part of the problem: Krovoza is impatient to get to the finish line to have something big.

On a fundamental level, what Dan Wolk, and Rochelle, get, and Krovoza doesn't have a clue about is that the water rate political controversy has gone way beyond the 218 requirements. Davis body politic, especially Enterprise columnist Bob Dunning, left that one behind long ago. No, this is about the fundamental credibility of the elected officials. At this point, the critics are specifically questioning the authority of Krovoza and Stephen Souza to make decisions on the water project Joint Powers Authority on behalf of the city of Davis. At question is their ability to be representatives.

After the more recent council meeting accepting the County Clerk's certification of the petition signatures, at midnight Pinkerton made public the city attorney's two week old "finding" that the city council could ignore the petition. Heretofore the city attorney's finding was "confidential" because of client attorney privilege because it was POLITICALLY sensitive: How many more people would have volunteered to carry petitions if they knew that the city attorney had already given the city manager the legal backing to ignore the petition? Following the email, Pinkerton and his staff presume that is the end of it: the city attorney said the council could ignore the petition and certify the rate increase; now the council can get on with the rest of the normal business of the city.

The way Pinkerton released the information about the city attorney's recommendation that the council actually ignore the petition for the vote on the water is such bad politics that Krovoza is in big political trouble. Unfortunately for Krovoza, the rookie city manager who should be in the best position to help him is the person making novice mistakes.

This is blatant arrogance of the new city manager. It is the electoral equivalent of the UCD police pepper spaying the motionless demonstrators three days later. It shows the complete disregard for the public process, the voters/taxpayers and the rule of law. When the petition leaders found out what the city manager did, they threatened to recall the 2010-14 council members, Krovoza and Swanson. [Rochelle lit up with delight at the prospect. Now that she knows what is going on more than anyone else, she has a story to tell.]

For the same reason that Pinkerton and Krovoza get along so well, Department Head meetings with the City Manager have become a worthless joke of listening to the boss tell more stories that mostly don't even have anything to do with the topic but are irrelevant anyway. If anyone else in the room ever did it twice, they would be reprimanded in the second meeting by the group and by the boss. But everybody has to indulge the boss.

With the second sentence of yet another worthless Pinkerton story, out come the cell phones to read email messages. Nobody has to pay any attention because the city manager is on automatic pilot. At least when Antonen was the city manager, the department heads had to work during their weekly meeting. Now it is productive only as personal time or side comments with other department heads that the city manager doesn't get and has no interest in. The meeting hours slowly creep by, as little or nothing of substance is even mentioned because the boss is too busy talking.

When Pinkerton walks into a room of Davis city employees, the room suddenly tenses as everyone is unsure what Pinkerton might possibly want. It is not likely to be good: Krovoza has a cut list. Getting rid of Bike Pedestrian Coordinator Tara Goddard was high on Krovoza's list. No telling who else is on it.

I supported Krovoza strongly from August to November 2009, lobbying key Davis people to support him for the June 2010 election. Then for three months, Krovoza taunted me to find a position in his imaginary campaign and he rejected each thing I proposed. Then Leo teased me to apply the Viable System Model to Krovoza's campaign, and I realized that I couldn't begin to, because Krovoza doesn't trust me at all. He is like that with a lot of people, too many people in Davis.

The good news is that since Ruth Asmundson left the council at the end of June, 2010, Rochelle Swanson has stepped into the breach as "de facto Mayor." Where Stephen Souza claims years of service (what the academics call "seat time" - the body is there but the mind is not engaged - has been used about Stephen in particular), Rochelle has been busy doing council service: actually listening to Sue Greenwald, and Stephen, as well as Krovoza, and of course Dan Wolk. Behind the scenes, it is Rochelle who has been doing her homework, listening to as many people as she can about a particular issue, working to be sure she understands all the sides, and learning what issues concern the sides, as well as what becomes the determining issues, for city staff and for her council colleagues. The behind the scenes work to settle the social friction - the art of the possible. What a society needs its Mayor to do.

Rochelle has out-thought and outworked Krovoza on every issue and every agenda item. Rochelle has out-thought staff so often they go to meetings with her for the fun of finding out what an engaged council member can add to public policy.

Krovoza is so busy in his day job at the university that he rarely has time for council business. He only shows up if he is scheduled, and then he is always rushed and usually late. Krovoza doesn't have time to have casual conversations with constituents, the glue of social intercourse, so he doesn't find out new information, and goes on what he thought before, even if others are changing, or worse, have already changed, leaving Krovoza behind. Wait. Isn't Krovoza supposed to be the "leader"?

Krovoza does power meetings on behalf of Davis, but he doesn't have time for Davis. He is respected at UCD, but there is not a single city employee who Krovoza has shown respect to besides his boy Pinkerton. He learned how to show dis-respect from Don Saylor, his mentor, and as Krovoza sees the POWER of having the office of Mayor for three and a half years, it means that he can do any-bully-thing he wants for a long time without any personal consequences except sullen city employees who don't jump at Krovoza's every whim.

Krovoza doesn't care about Davis; Krovoza only cares about Krovoza. Krovoza has a listening disability, the worst handicap a politician can have. First off, Krovoza talks non-stop (which is now called "Sue Greenwalding" someone), and just expects the listener to agree with the brilliance. When someone tries to disagree with him, Krovoza argues rather than listening to learn. Then Krovoza's brain just goes in another direction, and his subconscious actually gives the other person a courtesy: Krovoza starts saying "yeah, yeah, good, good; yeah, yeah, good, good," which is the sign to shut up and submit to Krovoza's superior ideas because you are just wasting your breath: no one is listening or cares about a word you are saying. And, Krovoza's brilliant thought is going to be so good that you are really, really going to appreciate the fact that Krovoza cut you off. Nice smile just before he cut you off.

Krovoza has turned unlistening almost into an art form; when he is being presented with information at a meeting, there is no telling where his brain is. Krovoza has had over a year, and he is a complete failure as "an elected official" because he cannot represent beyond his own personal opinion, just like Sue Greenwald. Hard to say who is worse for the city of Davis, Sue Greenwald or Joe Krovoza.

Krovoza is so arrogant that there are only about a dozen, maybe twenty Davis citizens that he listens to: the members of the school board, people he has appointed to the planning and natural resources commissions, four people in the bicycle community. Sue Greenwald has maybe a dozen people, although Mark Siegler is the only person who can tell her that she is wrong, so shut up and listen, and she actually does. Stephen Souza is so squirrelly that he will tell you whatever he thinks you want to hear. Dan Wolk is still the deer with his eyes in the headlights, will listen to everybody, as he is trying to figure out what he is really doing now that he is actually on the council and he has the opportunity and responsibility to face the voters next June. By comparison to the maybe three dozen people who actually influence those four individual council members, there are HUNDREDS of people who will say that Rochelle Swanson has asked their opinion, listened and then took their concerns into account in her thinking about the problem in particular and Davis in general so that when she is thinking about other problems in the future, Rochelle will keep those concerns in mind.

The chronic crisis in leadership that the City of Davis has is that we have been without a functioning city manager since John Meyer was so humiliated by Sue Greenwald in 2000 that he became the best administrator in the history of UCD. Sue Greenwald has ruined the lives of as many people as she can, especially city employees. The past decade has been painful, as the city manager's seat has been occupied by people with little investment in the future of the city or their decisions' consequences.

Jeannie Hippler struggled to keep the city on autopilot for two years, until I asked the Davis Enterprise reporter if Hippler was ever going to initiate the selection process for a new city manager, and Hippler used that weekly Enterprise interview to begin the recruitment process and be relieved of her duty.

Jim Antonen was a worthless Midwest escapee who was the fifth of five finalists - the first four were offered the job, found out about Sue Greenwald and turned it down. Antonen's only interest was building a 5-year CalPERS retirement fund at Top Dog wage, and he just tried to stay awake during City Council and Department Head meetings. The favorable perspective of Antonen was as the Grandfather of the city family, but Davis needs a Parent, not a Grandparent. Not just a nice person, or somebody that has great analytical skills, but someone who can seriously engage in having the city forces be discussed and worked through in public. When she was Mayor, Ruth Asmundson was so frustrated with Antonen that she went to John Meyer for advice on how to make Antonen actually do something.

I was having lunch with Bill Emlen the day that Antonen didn't keep his date for lunch that was how he symbolically resigned from the city manager's job, and the next day I had lunch with Mayor Ruth Asmundson at the restaurant next to the Davis Enterprise, and a woman walked in and the Mayor ducked her head, then glanced and asked if that is the Enterprise Editor? I said No, and the Mayor was relieved and confidentially said that she couldn't say anything but there was going to be an important headline story in today's paper and I guessed it was Antonen's departure.

As Community Development Director, Bill Emlen had been the only person in the city to stand up to the Covell Village Partners juggernaut, so I supported him in the city manager job. Emlen made drastic necessary council-mandated cuts and reprogrammings which protected his old department: Community Development keeping the most, and Public Works taking most of the General Fund hits (because of course we have to minimize the cuts to police and fire). A big part of what Emlen did was protect the city government from the bullying stomping of Don Saylor when he was Mayor. Emlen had an exit strategy from the day he started working for the City of Davis.

Paul Navazio is the first person to actually be City Manager since John Meyer, to actually pay attention to the long term consequences and plan for future decisions. In the tradition of Howard Reece (1959-83), Roger Storey (1983-87) and John Meyer (1990-2000), Paul Navazio actually cares about what he is doing and who he is doing it with.

As Finance Director/Interim City Manager, Navazio has brought the city government together with a common purpose. Those are not simply words; that is an ongoing institutional crisis that every organization must contend with, and with a city government is focused on the city manager. Paul's children are teenagers, one of whom is handicapped enough that the family is always overcoming obstacles. That is what life is: achieving what the family wants within the physical, financial, legal, social and environmental constraints of reality. Let's go to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, then Yankee Stadium, and then Fenway Park in Boston. Great, OK. Now what do we have to do to make that a success?

During the past year, Navazio has rebuilt camaraderie, esprit de corps, a sense of trust and good will that was impossible for a decade. The greatest irony about Krovoza's antics since he has become Mayor is that every time he has screamed at a city employee, every time he refused to listen, it has increased that employee's respect for Navazio.

Krovoza should resign and focus on his day job.

Kerry Loux is the perfect person to complete Krovoza's council term. Loux would have seconded many Krovoza's motions, almost as quickly as he would endorse and support Loux's more thoughtful comprehensive proposals moving policy in a sustainable direction, without any of Krovoza's ego or political ambition.

Krovoza's gigantic ego will overcome this minor setback, and he will chart a different path to greater glory.
Pinkerton isn't even as trustworthy as Katehi. Pretty close to zero.

It will be interesting to hear what Jon Li might be able to put into 3 minutes of legal public comment without swear words at Tuesday's city council meeting. Krovoza will survive that 3 minutes, but the odds are no better than 50% that he will make it to the end of the water discussion. He will get so exasperated that he resigns from the city council in complete aggravation.

Rochelle is the Mayor in fact.
Krovoza is at best a distraction.
Kerry Loux should be appointed by city council to complete Krovoza's term
Pick Stephen Souza to be Mayor Pro Tem so he doesn't run for another term
Souza is conflicted and the Davis representatives to the Woodland-Davis Water JPA should be Rochelle Swanson and Dan Wolk
Navazio should be named city manager,
Bob Clarke Public Works Director and
Navazio should be authorized to hire a Finance Director.
It is time for the adults to take responsibility for the City of Davis.


Jon Li
Institute for Public Science & Art