State government

Parting ways

By From page A7 | April 25, 2014

A look at votes and issues that have divided Mayor Joe Krovoza and Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk:

Mace curve

On June 11, 2013, the council voted 3-2 to move forward with conservation grant funding to preserve 391 acres east of Davis as open space. Krovoza voted yes; Wolk voted no, voting with Councilwoman Rochelle Swanson to investigate the building a tech-business park there.

On Dec. 10, 2013, the council voted 5-0 to put most of the acreage into a conservation easement. That came after the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service said that if the council rejected the grant funding, the decision could negatively impact the Yolo Land Trust, the city’s frequent partner on open-space projects, in its future efforts to secure federal grants.

Says Krovoza, “I think that was a real bright-line issue about where you really are on open space and whether you want to encourage infill in the city, you have to start saying ‘no’ to this stuff that’s going to sprawl out.”

Says Wolk, “I was willing earlier in the process to look at the possibility of both preserving an equal if not greater amount of farmland that is now going to get conserved while at the same time providing for the possibility of economic development. I was always clear through the whole process that we couldn’t make any decision that would negatively impact Yolo Land Trust.”

Affordable housing

On July 9, 2013, the council voted 3-2 to allow accessory dwelling units, or granny flats, to count toward the city’s affordable housing obligations.
Other changes included allowing developers of projects to pay in-lieu fees to avoid building affordable units and creating a sliding scale under which projects with more than 200 units need pay fees only up to 50 percent of the affordable housing requirement — a move aimed at The Cannery project.

Krovoza voted “yes”: He says the council faced a tough choice with the elimination of state redevelopment funding, which had been used to support a requirement that 15 percent of a new subdivision be affordable. Without that money available, the council allowed The Cannery developers to meet half of the ordinance while building twice as many auxiliary units. City staff, he said, made a good case that the project would reach 15 percent.

Wolk voted “no”: “I think those changes are going to have a negative effect on providing affordable housing in our community. With redevelopment’s demise, I think there’s just been a sense among folks who aren’t affordable housing advocates that you’re sort of throwing up your hands and saying, ‘Well, now that there’s no redevelopment funding, so we’re going to look elsewhere and we need to change our ordinances.’ You see it not just in Davis, you see it in Sacramento, and I just don’t agree.”

The Cannery

The council voted 3-2 on Nov. 19, 2013, to clear the way for 547 units of low-, medium- and high-density housing; 15 acres of business park/commercial and office space; parks and greenbelts; a community center; and a working urban farm, among other design features.

Wolk voted “yes”: “It shows my commitment to furthering smart growth and ensuring that we here in Davis can provide housing for young families and affordable housing,” he said.

Krovoza voted “no”: “It was very clear to me that it was feasible, for probably another $2 (million) to $3 million, for us to really the nail the bike connection and really ensure bike and pedestrian safety for The Cannery residents to fully integrate them into the Davis culture,” he said.

“In the end, the developer and our council were not willing to go that extra step, so I voted ‘no.’ I think it’s a good project, but I remain extremely nervous that the people who move into The Cannery are not going to have safe passage by bike or walking into the rest of the city.”


On Oct. 1, 2013, the council voted 4-1 to reject adding fluoride to Davis drinking water.

Krovoza voted “no”: “My view is that there must be very high public support, and few to no alternatives, before we add something to everyone’s domestic drinking water. Our council and community made a commitment to assist with low-income dental care when we decided not to fluoridate our water. We are fulfilling that commitment.”

Wolk voted “yes”: “It’s public health — it’s a commitment to providing services to people who are low-income, the people who really benefit. You aim for everyone, seniors to children, but really it’s those folks who don’t who have access to the same preventative care that others do in our society.”

Fire Department staffing

On April 13, 2013, the council voted 3-2 to reduce staffing at two stations from four firefighters to three per shift, while increasing the number at the central station from four to five, saving the city an estimated $437,000 annually.

Krovoza voted “yes”: “You go from 12 to 11 (firefighters total), you reduce staffing by 8.3 percent. The rest of the city staff had suffered 23 percent staff cuts, so we had to look at everybody and something fire(-related) that was not going to harm safety. I was just the independent guy who didn’t listen to the firefighter union and, more accurately, I was fair to all employees.”

Wolk voted “no”: “With four on an engine, you get four (on the scene), but with three on an engine, you’ve got three there and they’ve got to wait for another one to come. It’s that critical waiting period. I worry about what can happen in that two-minute period. I think the Marina Circle fire (a two-alarm July 2013 blaze that damaged houses) was a little below two minutes. So, yes, it saves money, but I wasn’t willing to take that great of a risk.”

Fire Department management

On Dec. 3, 2013, the council voted 3-2 to enter into a shared services agreement with UC Davis to share a fire chief and top management, saving the city up to $230,000 annually.

Krovoza voted “yes”: “I was willing to kind of take a tough stand on the budget and, I think, preserve services — in the case of merging with UC Davis, even improving services. But it took a tough vote that upset the status quo of labor folks. I’m not anti-labor, at all; I don’t hate on labor, but I’m Davis-first.”

Wolk voted “no.” He notes that earlier in the year, the council voted unanimously to approve a dropping of boundaries between the fire departments.

“It was the management structure (under the agreement) that had me a little concerned,” he said. “I had concerns about how decisions would be made. It wasn’t that I was adamantly opposed to cooperating more with UC Davis.”

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
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