Thursday, April 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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A day in the life of Mayor Joe Krovoza

When he's not Mayor Joe Krovoza, he's working from his new office in West Village as a fundraiser for the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

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From page A1 | January 06, 2013 | Leave Comment

It’s former Mayor Ruth Asmundson’s fault, Joe Krovoza might say. At least partly.

For four years, spread over two separate terms as mayor, Asmundson hustled around Davis attending as many community events as she could. She set the bar pretty high for subsequent mayors.

Krovoza, who was elected to the City Council in 2010 and soon was promoted to mayor after Don Saylor hopped over to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, hurdles that high bar seemingly every day.

And unlike Asmundson, who was retired when she served in elective office, Krovoza has a full-time job.

To illustrate the daily race that Krovoza runs for the city — and for himself — The Enterprise followed the mayor around for one full day in early December: from his morning cereal to his day job to his duties in public service.

The following is a full account of what transpired on Dec. 7: a day in the life of Mayor Joe Krovoza.

7:30 a.m. | Home: Three female rabbits stir in their cages in the living room as the sun comes up on another chilly winter Davis morning. In the bathroom down the hall, olives are soaking in a freshly changed batch of brining solution. In the back yard, limes hang from trees, ripening for their eventual picking and smashing into homemade marmalades.

Back inside, Krovoza sits alone at the head of his kitchen table, eating a bowl of Nature’s Path Organic Heritage Flakes, floating in some milk along with a few carefully placed slices of banana.

In front of him he’s laid out the sports section of The Sacramento Bee, a regular morning read for Krovoza. And so begins another busy day for the mayor of Davis.

However, Mayor Joe rarely has the opportunity to enjoy breakfast in the comfort of his West Davis abode. Three out of five work days a week, Krovoza estimates, he schedules breakfast meetings somewhere in town to stay on top of his mayoral duties before immersing himself in work.

Today, he gets breakfast off.

7:35 a.m. | Home: Before spooning up the last of his cereal, Joe’s wife, Janet, carries over a fresh cup of Pepper Peddler coffee and some buttered toast. It’s much-needed fuel for the long day ahead.

Meanwhile, the mayor thumbs open the Facebook app on his iPhone to make sure he’s wished a “Happy Birthday” to those of his 1,200 or so Facebook friends who are celebrating the occasion that day.

7:40 a.m. | Home: The mayor tears out a page from The Enterprise containing a brief about one of the events he’ll later attend while sporting his mayoral hat.

Only briefly scanning the page, the mayor folds it up along with the event’s news release and tucks it away, promising himself that when he has time, he’ll sit down and look it over to prepare his remarks.

Before leaving the table, Janet forces Mayor Joe to finish the coffee. A small bite of buttered bread remains uneaten.

7:50 a.m. | Home: Krovoza packs up his work and mayoral materials into his backpack and fixes a Bluetooth wireless head set around his neck so he can make and take phone calls on his commute to work.

Seconds later, as if on cue, a co-worker calls and asks him where he is. His daylong work meeting begins in one hour.

7:55 a.m. | Outside home: Krovoza heads out the door, followed by wife Janet and dog Shasta and passes the lone, idle car he and his wife keep in the driveway. Instead, he clips on his helmet, lifts the head set onto his ears and mounts his bike.

Waving goodbye, the mayor pedals off to work, to West Village, where he and the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies have recently moved their offices. It’s about an eight-minute ride.  

8:03 a.m. | West Village: Krovoza arrives at West Village, jumps off his bike and locks it up in front of the building.

8:05 a.m. | West Village: Mayor Joe and his boss Dan Sperling, director of the institute, begin setting up for a board of advisers meeting where they will host a dozen representatives of some of the biggest players in the transportation industry — BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil — to discuss the progress of the institute and the overall transportation industry landscape.

Krovoza works for the institute, in addition to the university’s Energy Efficiency Center, as a fundraiser, meeting and negotiating with various public and private agencies to try to secure monetary contributions to fund the work of the institute.

8:15 a.m. | Joe’s new office: Mayor Joe, Sperling and Norma DeLiberty meet in the mayor’s new West Village office just down the hall from the board room to go over the itinerary for the daylong meeting.

The building was readied for use just days prior; the smell of fresh lacquer still hangs in the office.

8:30 a.m. | Outside West Village offices: The various board members begin to arrive for the meeting. Mayor Joe heads outside to greet them, directing them inside to find their seats around the table.

9:53 a.m. | Board room: A few speakers into the meeting, Krovoza is up in front of the room to talk about West Village, about how it’s a living laboratory for the institute to be utilized to test the various innovations it creates.

Noon | Lunch: Krovoza calls Our House to make a reservation for him and his wife for dinner tonight. No table, not even for the mayor, is available until 8:15 p.m. He’ll take it.

1:05 p.m. | West Village board room: Mayor Joe goes back to work. In the afternoon, he’ll give a presentation on the institute’s fundraising efforts.

1:15 p.m. | Outside West Village offices: Work and mayoral duties finally collide when Davis city staff show up and pull Krovoza out of his work meeting.

The night before, Krovoza and fellow Councilman Lucas Frerichs were up late drafting the city’s argument in favor of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency surface water project. They mayor forgot to sign it, apparently, and it’s due to the county by 5 p.m.

4 p.m. | West Village: When Mayor Joe and Sperling wrap up the meeting, Krovoza grabs a few board advisers and briefly walks them around the West Village neighborhood, pointing out the various innovations of the multi-colored dorms and offices that tower around them.

4:45 p.m. | West Village office: When the advisers leave, the mayor returns to his new office to take the time to go over tonight’s events as mayor.

He takes out the folded-up papers, laying them on his newly finished desk, and reads up on the Street Smarts Traffic Safety poster competition award ceremony that he’s been asked to speak at.

After reading about the event where kids were asked to illustrate posters with traffic safety tips, the mayor flips the sheet over to begin sketching out what he’ll say.

Mindful that it will be kids he’s addressing, the mayor knows he’s going to have to bring his A game to keep their interest.

So, with the help of his iPhone, the mayor compiles a list of Davis bike facts that he’ll bring to the event to play a quiz game with the kids.

5:15 p.m | Outside West Village office: Krovoza heads back out to his bike and, with the daylight fading, flips on his lights before pedaling over to the Davis Art Center, where the Street Smarts award ceremony will take place.

5:30 p.m. | Davis Art Center: It’s fully dark as Mayor Joe arrives at the Art Center and is greeted by the event’s coordinator, in addition to parents and other members of the community who recognize him.

5:40 p.m. | Davis Art Center: The mayor is asked to come up on stage to give remarks. He calls all the kids to the front of the room to take part in the game he devised a few short minutes ago. Before he starts, he sits down cross-legged so that he’s at eye level with the young ones. 

5:45 p.m. | Davis Art Center” The mayor first tells the kids the story of the first bike lane, which was invented in Davis. The story goes that the community in the 1960s was strongly calling for the City Council to adopt and implement bike lanes in Davis, but the council refused.

At the next election, the council members who voted against the bike lanes all lost their seats on the council. Mostly the parents in the seating area behind the kids laugh at the anecdote.

5:50 p.m. | Davis Art Center: Krovoza quizzes the young kids on the various facts about bikes in Davis and assists in handing out the awards for the best posters, shaking each winner’s hand on stage.

6 p.m. | Davis Art Center: After handing out the awards, the Art Center gives a T-shirt with one of the winning posters printed on it to the mayor to thank him for attending.

6:05 p.m. | Davis Art Center: The kids bring the mayor into the next room to each show them their posters. He crouches down near each one to hear about the work of art and listens intently.

6:30 p.m. | Davis Art Center: Mayor Joe spends the next half-hour or so talking with residents and a few city staff in attendance, before making his way to the door and his bike and on to the next stop.

6:56 p.m. | Former Dimple Records store, downtown: Krovoza rides his bike downtown to make an appearance at an art exhibition that a few local artists have set up in the open space where Dimple Records used to operate, on F Street. Krovoza was asked by the artists to come see their artwork.

6:57 p.m. | Art exhibition: Before he enters the show, however, Krovoza receives a work call on his Bluetooth head set. The mayor finishes the call and walks in.

7 p.m. | Art exhibition: Krovoza meets Charlie Schneider, who’s running the exhibition. The mayor gets a personal tour from Schneider, who tells him about each piece in the building.

7:30 p.m. | Art exhibition: Between art pieces, the mayor stops to talk to residents who also have come to enjoy the show. He recognizes one particular individual whom he previously met during a rally to oppose the fence that Union Pacific put up in 2011 that cut off Olive Drive from the rest of the city.

7:56 p.m. | Art exhibition: Wife Janet shows up to the exhibition to meet Mayor Joe before dinner.

8 p.m. | Art exhibition: Just before the couple heads off to dinner to finish their night, and to finish Joe’s day, the mayor checks his email on his iPhone one last time — with only 8 percent battery life remaining — before it dies completely.

It’s going to be a no-burn day tomorrow, he reads, which is valuable information considering the phone calls he occasionally receives from residents to ask whether it’s a no-burn day.

8:10 p.m | Outside the exhibition: The mayor’s cell phone dies.

8:15 p.m. | Our House: The Krovozas ride their bikes to Our House to have dinner. And though it was a long day, the mayor opts not to drink his own drink, “Mayor Joe’s Tuaca Sidecar,” which the restaurant created for him based on his favorite cocktail.

9: 30 p.m. | Home: The mayor and his wife arrive back at home, and it’s all over…

… only to do it all again the next day. No relaxing Saturday, the mayor has two short work meetings, he’ll stop at City Hall to tie up loose ends for the week, he’ll meet new interns at his house, he’ll attend a Davis Democrats holiday dinner, he’ll join Janet at a second work dinner she has for the Center for Mind and Brain and then he’ll to try to get to an art opening at Natsoulas Gallery, if it’s not too late.

Thanks, Ruth.

— Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter @TomSakash

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
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