Going to the Candidates’ Debate

March 12, 2016


I was dubious. Here we have the quintessentially perfect Saturday: nothing on the calendar, a few minor at-home things to accomplish (or not) and stormy weather. Brew some coffee, poke around on the interwebs, pull out that new Jonathan Franzen book. I’ve never taken a nap in my life, but this would be the perfect day for it.

But Jim wanted to go to a city council candidates’ debate.

I didn’t need to go, he said. And that was true. He’s super involved. Prospective candidates like to meet with him for his input. He knows the issues: Mace innovation park, Nishi, water, city budget, fiber… he follows all of it.  But me.. not so much. Since leaving DCTV, I’ve been a wee bit out of the loop–mostly by design. I do get a lot of info and stories from Jim, though, so I kinda sorta know what’s going on. But for someone who used to be in the dead center of community life, know every issue, every player and was a frequent attendee at council meetings…my community detachment has been kind of weird.

So.. I didn’t need to go, but a sense of civic guilt sort of got me. Just a little. Nothing scary about stepping in again, I’d just gotten way out of the habit. So I said okay.  Jim suggested we go to an early lunch, then head over.

As we approached the Davis Community Church, where the debate was held, I said, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of these guys speak in public.”

Seriously. That is remarkable.

Walking in, it was a very familiar sight… a who’s who of current and former electeds, core activists and the usual community suspects. Hell, I even saw two former colleagues working the debate coverage. (I did not know it was sponsored by Davis Media Access.)

Anyway, it was mostly this:


Host David, incumbents Lucas and Brett, and aspiring council members Will, Paul and Matt (I couldn’t get my camera in good position, sorry).

And that was that. Two hours of Davis issues. I was totally engaged and have pretty strong opinions about each of the candidates. Instantly up to speed. Voila.

Very glad I went.


As a nice parallel universe kind of thing, lunch conversation was all about the national election. More, really, about the state of our republic. Jim and I talked about last night’s chaos in Chicago at the Trump rally-that-wasn’t and the bigger picture of a society increasingly divided along class and race lines. Shudder. I feel like I need to do a little reading on political movements and the history of fascism. It’s getting weird out there… outside the Davis bubble.

Speaking of my beloved Davis bubble, I got a nice robo-text from Brandi a little while ago about “an awesome organizing rally happening at UC Davis” for Bernie on Monday. I can’t tell you how pleasing that is. And how nice to know there won’t be an ugly man with big hands (terrific hands, the biggest, no doubt) on stage shouting down anyone with an opposing viewpoint.  Shudder.

One final note. Our young college applicant received his first rejection yesterday… from none other than UC Davis. While he had no intention of attending UCD, he is deeply disappointed to have been rejected by the home school. He actually feels somewhat insulted (hurt, more like it). I’m sure it will not be his last rejection. I’m also sure, as Jim said, there is plenty to learn in managing rejection and disappointment. But I feel pretty bad for him. I am glad that he went out this afternoon to hit golf balls with a friend who did get accepted. Good sign that he is keeping his head up.




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