Friday, March 27, 2015

‘Numbers guy’ Munn enters council race

From page A1 | March 07, 2014 |


John Munn, a candidate for Davis City Council, waters a lilac plant in the back yard of his Davis home. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

For longtime resident, frequent conservative candidate and former Davis school board member John Munn, government works best when it is transparent about its money.

“I’m a numbers guy,” Munn said.

In a field of City Council candidates who have expressed often similar opinions about fiscal restraint, Munn said he is the only candidate to possess clear, fiscally responsible credentials. He opposed the $228 million surface water project that will bring water from the Sacramento River to Davis and Woodland, so much so that he is part of a lawsuit against the water rates devised to fund Davis’ portion of the project.

“I just thought the people ought to have a clear choice for fiscal responsibility,” he said.

For him, that means taking a hard look at city spending. Especially because the city is asking voters to approve a half-cent sales tax increase in June and a potential parcel tax in November.

The city says it is bleeding more than $5 million annually in red ink out of its budget. Munn, a former taxpayers association president, says he needs to know more than that to justify new taxes.

“I want to know where the money is going before we ask for more,” he said.

The alternative is worse than just raising taxes, Munn said. Ballooning city costs, including a rise in water rates for customers, may change the character of the city and drive out the middle class.

“City services aren’t expanding, they are just becoming more expensive,” Munn said.

In his candidate statement for the voter’s pamphlet, Munn elaborates.

“City services costs in Davis are out of control,” it says. “Recent changes in water rates will increase annual costs for a typical single-family residence by more than 300 percent from about $510 to $2,100. Any shortfalls from projected revenue will cause rates to go even higher.”

He supports a new initiative that is a referendum on the city’s water rate structure.

“With Measure I (the water project), we were shown a luxury car and asked if we liked it,” he said. “With the (water rate) initiative it will be, can we afford it?”

If he is elected, and if the initiative passes, Munn pledged to offer a different view on constructing new water rates away from a model that had people pay more for less water, in his view.

“I would like to be there to move the debate past the old assumptions,” he said.

Current City Manager Steve Pinkerton has been lauded for his fiscal work with the sitting City Council, but is moving to Incline Village, Nev., to work for an improvement district. One of the first things that would be asked of the two victors in the June 3 election is to join the remainder of the council in hiring a new city manager.

“You usually look for someone you can work with, instead of someone who works independently and brings you a product,” Munn said, while stressing that the City Council shouldn’t micromanage city departments.

Talk of finding city managers reminded Munn of his time on the Davis Board of Education in 1997-2001, when he was part of the hiring process for former Superintendent David Murphy. Former Mayor Ruth Asmundson and current Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor were on the board with him.

Murphy worked with the board and proved instrumental in helping to inform the trustees’ decision-making, Munn said.

When teachers and other school employees questioned how much money the school board had,”our solution was to open the books,” he said. “We had retreats with the teachers and we would have a chance to get to know them.”

Overall, fiscal times on the board then weren’t as tight as they have been the past few years.

“I was lucky,” Munn said. “I was lucky to serve with the people I did. People thought I was going to be this crazy conservative but I wasn’t the most fiscally conservative person on the board.”

Although that person will remain a mystery, Munn said the time on the board helped shape his thinking about how government should work.

Munn, 65, has been a Davis resident since 1978. He retired in 2010 from the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Munn’s last candidacy, when he was trounced as the Republican opponent to Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, earned him fiscal bonafides in endorsements from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Napa County Taxpayers Association. He also won the endorsements of the Yolo County Farm Bureau and the Solano County Farm Bureau.

— Reach Dave Ryan at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews 




  • Recent Posts

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

  • .


    Anti-gay initiative puts AG in a bind

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    County supervisors consider options for historic courthouse

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Two found dead of apparent shooting in West Davis home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    New Paso Fino design trims lots

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Co-pilot may have hidden illness, German prosecutors say

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Senate’s Harry Reid announces he won’t seek re-election

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Woodland police warn of kidnapping phone scam

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Lawyer disputes police’s hoax claim in California kidnapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sign up for Camp Shakespeare

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Empower Yolo offers peer counselor training

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    State loosens sex offender residency restrictions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Sing along on April Fool’s Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Three nabbed in counterfeiting probe

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A6



    Can he get life back on track?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Blame Reid for impasse

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

    Practice cancer prevention each day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Turnabout is fair play

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

    Be aware and be afraid

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7



    UCD men edge Hawaii on the court

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD’s Hawkins, Harris to shoot at Final Four

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Home sweet home: Aggie women win a tennis match

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Devil boys grind out a net win at Franklin

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    DHS baseballers fall to Vintage in eight innings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    DYSA roundup: Recent youth softball games feature big hitting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Sacramento get its second straight win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Sharks get a key win over Detroit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery





    UCD Student Fashion Association presents charity fashion show

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    ‘Get Hard’ comes across as rather limp

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Smokey Brights to perform at Sophia’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    ‘Deserted Destinations’ is April exhibit at Gallery 625

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Monticello announces April live-music shows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Leonardo Tuchman’s work shows at UC Davis Craft Center Gallery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    Sacramento Youth Symphony holding open auditions

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    Preview Art Studio Tour participants’ work at The Artery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery



    Camry Hybrid takes a step forward

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3



    Celebrate Rusty Jordan’s Life

    By Creator | From Page: A4



    Comics: Friday, March 27, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B4