Friday, October 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

John Munn: A bid to right the city’s fiscal ship

MunnW

John Munn, a candidate for Davis City Council, answers a question at the Davis Chamber of Commerce PAC candidates forum on April 2. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

By
From page A1 | May 01, 2014 |

If there is one Davis City Council candidate who is not like the others, it is John Munn.

The former Davis Board of Education member, city water rates opponent, Yolo County Taxpayers Association president, past Republican candidate for the California Assembly and former soil scientist with the state Department of Forestry has a straight-spoken manner that is unusual in the political class.

No frills. No overarching vision of a grander reality. No bones about it.

His campaign, he says, boils down to one thing: fiscal sustainability and affordability in a city with a $4.99 million structural deficit, including millions in underfunded roads and other infrastructure needs.

“No shell games,” Munn said in an interview. “We need to lay the budget out, track revenues, track spending and see where the holes are.”

The city’s years of attrition were the wrong way to cut costs, he said, adding that the city staff has become top-heavy with not enough jobs filled by the people who do the grunt work. Further, there is no finance director in a city he sees as sorely needing one.

“We could assign people to tasks that are higher-priority,” Munn said.

John Munn

Occupation: Retired soil and watershed scientist with California Department of Forestry

Age: 65

Education: Bachelor of science degrees in soil and water science and in engineering; master of science degree in soil science

Family: Wife Shelley of 41 years and three grown children

Noteworthy: President of the Yolo County Taxpayers Association from 2008 to 2011, former trustee of the Davis Joint Unified School District, former president of the Yolo County School Boards Association, past president of the Professional Soil Scientists Association of California

Munn is a conservative who sees himself fighting for the middle and lower classes in Davis, especially with regard to how much it costs to live here. Pressures include water rates eventually doubling or tripling from what they were last year, a sales tax hike eyed by the current City Council and a bevy of school parcel taxes residents pay every year.

“Eventually, it’s going to be more than a middle income can afford,” he said.

Key to that effort is his criticism of the Sacramento River water diversion project and his support of Measure P, which would toss out the water rates set in 2013.

“Paying for the new surface water project will increase the typical annual water bill for a typical single-family home by more than 300 percent, from about $510 to $2,100 by 2018,” Munn’s statement on his campaign website reads. “Because the full cost of the new water project facilities must be paid for even if water use declines, any shortfalls from projected revenue will cause rates to go even higher.”

Davis’ water rate architects have said they’ve calculated the math on the water rates to adjust for significant conservation, so that doesn’t happen.

Munn is controversial in his bid for council in one way: He is a party to a lawsuit against Davis’ water rates. It mostly lost in Yolo Superior Court — one other portion will go to trial in November — but if he wins a seat on the council, it could be that he would be suing the city at the same time he is expected to make decisions on the city’s behalf.

Of course, Munn would recuse himself in the face of any conflicts, but he wants to be on the council to help recommend new water rates if Measure P is approved. Munn doesn’t like the summer water use measurement in the rates that are due to go into effect in January. Instead, he is intrigued by a whole-year measurement that would determine what base rate customers would pay the following year.

One thing that separates him from some other water rate opponents is his admission that paying for a water system gallon by gallon is a losing proposition.

“You can’t get away from the fact that some charges are fixed,” he said.

Munn also disagrees with city officials that the well water is too contaminated — given current and future water regulations — to filter without significant investment. Munn sees the current drought and wonders how the city will fare with a similar drought once its water comes primarily from the Sacramento River.

“If we had to rely on the Sacramento River we’d be getting almost nothing,” he said.

Whatever generally liberal Davis voters think about his political leanings, Munn promises voters there is no secret agenda with him.

“I’m always a pretty open guy,” he said. “Just ask me and I’ll tell you.”

Plus, he says, he has the time to stop and listen because he is a retiree. He doesn’t have a high-powered job or kids at home to take to school, unlike many other sitting council members and other council candidates.

“Council is a lot of work,” he said. “I’m retired. I can do it. I have more time to focus on the business of the city.”

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Gardner guilty of murder, with special circumstances

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    State superintendent makes campaign stop in Davis

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Meet Poppenga at Saturday reception

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Lawn display causes a theological crisis

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Couple killed in Yolo County crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Same-party races challenge incumbents

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    State races test one-party rule

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

     
    Indians celebrate Diwali with gala on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Rairdan dinged for late report

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

     
    Veterans will tailgate at ‘Salute to Heroes’ game

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Wolk hailed for environmental votes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yamada honored for leadership on aging issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Embroidery group meets at mall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Bet Haverim will hear Israel update

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Local artisans featured at holiday craft fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Kids walk for friends at Birch Lane

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Creep out with some spooky science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

    Shambhala offers Tai Chi class

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Bones for Life classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Enjoy wine, music and art at Sunday fundraiser for DHS choir

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    New-school cheating on the smartphone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    My choices on Tuesday

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Garamendi, Dodd get my votes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    High hopes for Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Public service is in her heart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A calm, thoughtful voice

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Sunder is a perfect fit

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Best predictor is past behavior

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Vote for students, with Tuck

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS plays undefeated Pacers Friday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devil girls net an easy win at Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie offense A-OK; now what about defense?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    In Davis, rugby is as American as apple pie

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
     
    Niemi’s 43 saves aren’t enough in loss to Wild

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Birdman': A dark comedy that soars

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

     
    Marcia Ball to play at The Palms

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big, capable luxury defines Yukon

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Joseph Francis Gray

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

    RE/Max Gold

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

    Kim Eichorn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

    Yolo FCU

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Juan Ramirez

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Team Traverso

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Tracy Harris

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Julie Leonard

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

    Leslie Blevins

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Robin Garland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Jamie Madison

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Diane Lardelli

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Ciana Wallace

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

    Travis Credit Union

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER16

    Malek Baroody

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Marcelo Campos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20