Davis Patch asked each candidate to fill out a questionnaire to give readers information about his or her background. .
Where do you work and what is your title? I have worked for the California State Assembly since 2005. I currently serve as Legislative Director for Assemblyman Rich Gordon from Silicon Valley.
My policy areas include: natural resources, housing, water policy, land- use/CEQA, renewable energy, land conservation, recycling legislation and agriculture.
In addition, I currently volunteer in multiple capacities including the:
- City of Davis Planning Commission (2008-present) Chair, 2012
- Member, Innovation Park Task Force (2011- present)
- Yolo Basin Foundation, Board Member
- Davis Media Access, Board Member
- Acme Theatre Company, Board Member
- California Center for Cooperative Development, Board President
- Yolo County Democratic Party Central Committee Member
- Saving California Communities Steering Committee
- Tour de Cluck Steering Committee
- Read about previous service here.
When and where were you born? Grew up in upstate New York and Anchorage, Alaska, before moving to Davis in 1996.
Family: I have been married to Stacie Frerichs since 2003. We do not have children but you may have seen me walking my energetic German shorthaired pointer, Poppy and we have a backyard chicken flock.
Where did you go to school? I attended Davis High School for my senior year. In addition, I graduated with a degree in Government from Sacramento State University and obtained a certificate in land-use/ environmental planning from UC Davis.
Military Service? I have not served in the military.
How long have you lived in Davis? I moved to Davis in 1996, and have lived here ever since.
What's your favorite thing about this town? I love how dynamic and innovative Davis is as a community. We have this disproportionate positive influence on the “goings on” here in California, across the country, and around the world!
Have you run for office in the past? If so, did you win? I ran for the Davis Food Co-op Board of Directors in 1999, 2002 and 2006. I was elected each time to three-year terms. In addition, I ran for the Yolo County Democratic Central Committee and was elected to a seat in 2010.
Campaign information/contact: www.LucasForCityCouncil.org
As an adult, have you been convicted or charged with a crime other than a minor traffic violation? If so, please explain.
-- THIS CAMPAIGN --
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
My campaign for Davis City Council revolves around three guiding principles: courage, commitment, and collaboration.
Courage is the quality of mind that enables a person to face difficulty without fear- and for me; it is to act in accordance with one’s own beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
Commitment: Whether its serving on 4 city commissions over the past decade, or dedicating my time/energy volunteering with a host of local nonprofits/organizations, I have served our community for more than 12 years in numerous volunteer leadership capacities. These experiences have well prepared me for service on the Davis City Council.
Collaboration: working together to achieve a goal. This is the cornerstone of me as an individual. I have always believed in the ability of people working together to realize shared goals and to concentrate on achieving on a common good. I believe that most collaboration inherently requires leadership, and I apply this virtue to my everyday life.
Now is the time for new vision, experience, and direction for the City of Davis. We stand at the threshold of a new era in city-state financing, investment in city infrastructure, sustainable budgeting, environmental planning and community caring. I want to lead us into that era prepared and ahead of the game.
I will focus on the stewardship of Davis’ money and environment, and I will collaborate in forging increased partnerships with UC Davis, school district, non-profits and Yolo County to build a stronger community.
Davis is a extremely special place, and together, we can ensure that continues for generations to come.
I ask you to join me in a new vision for the City of Davis.
What will be your top three priorities if you get elected and why?
1. Fiscal Stability/ Fixing the Budget
My absolute top priority is ensuring that we develop a fiscally sustainable budget for the City. Much like numerous other local governments throughout California, Davis faces long-term budgetary challenges.
It is imperative for Davis to “get its fiscal house in order”, and if we don’t do that, we cannot expect to spend any significant energy on anything else- as all other issues rely upon us building a budget that we can afford.
We must examine, prioritize, and implement ways to achieve this important goal.
Examination and reworking of employee salaries/benefits is a major part of this, and statewide pension reform is looming.
Although, I'm not privy to the details of current closed-door discussions regarding employee contracts; I do have direct experience with negotiation of employee contracts, stemming from my time as President of the Davis Food Co-op Board, and I would step into those city negotiations with a real understanding of the process and the issues at hand.
We also need a comprehensive line-by-line look at the budget, to find ways in which to make the city more efficient and effective when delivering services.
There are multiple ways to help guide the city on the path to fiscal sustainability; I’m also an advocate for a community-wide conversation to prioritize what programs/services are most important to Davis residents, and coming up with innovative ways of funding them.
Make no mistake, now is the time to lead the City back to fiscal sustainability, we have no time to lose.
2. Water, Streetlights and Roads
Davis has many diverse infrastructure needs- water and otherwise, and this category represents one of the largest challenges facing Davis, and we need to get the water issue right…it is too important of an issue to get wrong.
I firmly believe that Davis and Yolo County need a diversity of options when it comes to water supply. We need to provide affordable and wisely managed water for Davis, and I believe we should pursue access to Sacramento River surface water.
As Mark Twain famously quipped, “in California, whiskey is for drinkin’, and water is for fightin’.” Well, even in Davis we’ve seen this scenario begin to play out. It is time for us to come together around this project, and make sure we get it right!
There is a long history in California of outside interests coming in, and sucking out groundwater and sending it southward for both the needs of customers in the LA Basin, and for the “big Ag” interests in the San Joaquin Valley. These interests don’t care about the well-being and future of Yolo County- they’re only interested in the water for their customers.
With that in mind, it is extremely important for us to prepare now for our collective future, and to secure a stable source of surface water for our city today; particularly as the groundwater wells Davis currently extracts water from do not produce high-quality water.
As for the proposed surface water project, I would like to see a build out model of the innovative green features that could be implemented and their associated costs and benefits, this hasn’t been done.
Also, we could do MUCH better with conservation of water. Conservation is a major part of the solution, whether in agriculture, commercial or residential sectors. Currently, we do a really poor job as a City at conservation. How many times have we seen the sprinklers at the city parks/greenbelts on during a rainstorm? I know I have on many occasions. We could also easily implement gray water systems in parks, greenbelts, and we should prioritize retrofitting the others as funding allows.
As an example of how well conservation works, Los Angeles has managed to cut its water usage by 20 percent since the 1980’s- all while seeing huge population gains. Why?
It is due to the conservation measures, which were instituted during that time.
There is no doubt that the proposed rate increases are startling for most and unaffordable for many, especially in these unprecedented economic times. I also believe the proposed rate structure can be further improved to more strongly reward conservation, and I believe the rate structure can be tweaked to assure that those who are actively conserving water do not see such large rate increases.
Roads/ Streetlights: Getting the Basics Right
We have the opportunity to get it right with our day-to-day infrastructure needs, items like fixing the potholes and broken streetlights. If we can’t get the basic needs taken care of, how can we expect to tackle the challenges that face our community?
There are streets/ bike lanes/ green belt paths all over town that have significant potholes, and need to be filled or repaved.
I’d like to see us develop a program; I’m calling it ‘Street Sweep’- that will visually display the ‘pavement condition index’, or PCI, for every street/bike path in the city. The index, based on a 0 to 100 point system, rates a street/bike path based on criteria such as number of potholes, cracking, pavement damage, obstructions, and the like. The point would be to see no street/bike path below sixty points.
More importantly, is the notion that the City of Davis government is in the business of maintaining a healthy infrastructure, but I believe that getting residents to pay attention and care about that mission also requires web sites and user-friendly interfaces such as my proposed ‘Street Sweep’ program.
It is also important to help the public visualize and understand these infrastructure needs, as its helps us to understand how it impacts our lives.
I would start by ensuring that ALL city streetlights are repaired in a timely manner. Davis is a dark town at night, and there are many streetlights out- all across the city-which make for dangerous biking and driving conditions, and it also presents a public safety issue.
We currently rely on a self-reporting mechanism for fixing streetlights, which means it is incumbent upon citizens to report to the city, which streetlights are not working, before any attention is paid to fixing them. That would be fine, if the self-reporting actually resulted in burned out streetlights being fixed, in a timely manner, or at all. There are streetlights that have been dark for over one year, with no relief in sight.
We need to develop a better mechanism for fixing streetlights, a concrete timeline for ensuring repairs happen, and I’m committed to working with Davis citizens, business owners, and city staff to make this happen.
3. Developing our Economy
Davis has a reputation for being “unfriendly” to businesses, and whether that reputation is right or wrong, the perception exists. I will ensure that the city does the right thing, and helps creates, and not impedes, economic development and the creation of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones by: helping to eliminate roadblocks/cutting red tape, encouraging new technology spinoffs/startups from UC Davis and retaining those businesses in our community.
As Chair of the Planning Commission, I have led the effort to streamline the city’s business approval processes, and have also served as a member of the City’s Innovation Park Task Force, which is planning for Davis’ economic future.
Downtown Davis is a community treasure that should be protected and further promoted. I will work to make our downtown even better, by working to create an permanent music/entertainment venue, encouraging new entrepreneurial activity, pursuing artist live/work spaces, making additional streetscape and building improvements, and enhancing pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile circulation and parking options.
About how much do you expect your campaign to spend on this election?
The campaign has currently spent approximately $10,000 and I am not sure how much will be spent overall. I am truly appreciative of how many Davis residents have contributed to the campaign; (I have intentionally not loaned myself any amount of money)- it is a true honor to have the support of hundreds of Davisites.
Anything else you'd like Davis Patch readers to know?
I would appreciate your vote on June 5 – we have a lot of work to do to make Davis an even better community!