Bob Dunning

Odds are this will be a late-night selection

By February 22, 2011

It has been a long time coming, but this might finally be the night. Yes, if all goes as planned and no last-second glitches emerge to rain on the parade, the Davis City Council appears poised to add a fifth member who will be expected to break all 2-2 ties.

The process has been long and arduous. Election campaigns always are. Wait. This isn’t an election. It’s a selection. I take back that “long and arduous” part. This campaign has actually been a breeze.

All that any of our 10 “candidates” had to do was fire off some sort of “vision” statement, put together a short self-serving video, attend a forum and wait for the ballots to be tallied. All four of them.

With only a couple of exceptions, I won’t be surprised no matter whom the council picks. Put simply, this has been a tough one to read, mostly because the town’s movers and shakers haven’t come out to lobby hard for any of them.

Tonight’s festivities kick off with each council member asking a single question of each candidate. That sounds simple, but given that there are four council members and 10 candidates, that’s 40 questions and 40 answers that likely will drone on until about midnight before we get to Round Two.

After the council votes on its “top four,” there will be additional questions, further pruning and finally, along about 3 a.m., we may have a fifth member of the Davis City Council.

Sounds more like “American Idol” to me, so much so that I’m advising all candidates to take a guitar or an accordion or a kazoo or whatever else they feel comfortable with.

Then again, it could turn out to be “Survivor” or “The Apprentice” or — for you real oldtimers — “The Gong Show.” And it could certainly all end up on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

Unlike most city of Davis elections, the folks in Reno and Tahoe and Las Vegas have not posted odds, apparently because this process is unlike most city of Davis elections.

That task falls to me. But please note how these odds work. The first number is the chance the candidate won’t be selected. The second number is the chance the candidate will be selected.

In other words, 3 to 2 odds means the candidate has three chances in five of not being picked and two chances in five of hitting the jackpot.

If the odds are 5 to 1, the candidate has just one chance in six of being selected. If we’re clear on the math, let’s proceed. (There will be a quiz afterward.)

OK, here we go.

DAN WOLK (5 to 2) … while there is no clear-cut favorite, name ID alone places Dandy Dan at the top of the list. The only drawback is that Dan’s an attorney and the two attorneys on the council like to think they’re the brains of the outfit. Adding a third attorney to the mix might be difficult for them, even if for only 16 months. Plus, Dan is clearly a man on the rise in this town who is a likely candidate one day soon. Do they really want to empower a potential future rival?

KARI FRY (7 to 2) … like Dan Wolk, Fry is young, focused and smarter than the Above-Pictured Columnist. Her official “statement” is one of the most well-thought-out pieces on Davis issues that I’ve ever read. If the council wants a rising star, they might pick Kari. If the council doesn’t want a rising star, she doesn’t have a chance.

STEVE WILLIAMS (4 to 1) … anyone who raises fruits and vegetables to give away to his neighbors is OK by me. Unfortunately, not much of that fruit ripens in February, so Steve didn’t have as many bargaining chips as he would have if this process was playing out in mid-July. Nevertheless, this is a strong candidate, and don’t be surprised if Steve Williams is the ultimate Survivor.

KERRY DAANE LOUX (10 to 1) … solid credentials, good ideas, but the field is crowded.

PAUL BOYLAN (10 to 1) … tough to argue with Paul’s credentials, but again, does the council want to share the limelight with a third attorney?

LINDA PARFITT (12 to 1) … solid credentials, good ideas, but the field is crowded. (See K. Loux above).

SHERELENE HARRISON (15 to 1) … nice application statement, strong videotape, but perhaps lost in the shuffle of too many candidates.

WALTER BUNTER JR. (20 to 1) … not a longshot, not a favorite. Just a fact of life that it’s difficult for a relative unknown to distinguish himself in a solid if not flashy field.

ROBERT SMITH (100 to 1) … the council doesn’t need its piano tuned.

VINCENT JEROME-WYATT (500 to 1) … the council will not pick a candidate who filled out his application form longhand. Trust me on this.

HOSNI MUBARAK (40 million to 1) … has tons of experience at telling others what to do and his hidden billions may make him graft-proof. Residency requirement could prove difficult.

— Reach Bob Dunning at  [email protected] Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Bob Dunning

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