Candidates for Director in the 2014 Election

These members are candidates who filed Declarations of Candidacy and statements, which are included in the 2014 Voter's Pamphlet. “Write in” candidates would have statements posted in the store and on-line (but none declared candidacy). Candidates are invited to speak at our Annual Meeting.

Link to election page on the DavisWiki


8,526 shareholders were eligible to vote on June 6, 2014, and 953 ballots were counted, for a turnout of 11.18%. This is higher than last year’s very low turnout. Four candidates spent some time on the Patio talking to voters. But this is only a 2 percent recovery in turnout from last year.

Our mailing date was April 30 (the adopted calendar called for May 1), and the first Election mailings were received on May 2; most Davis addresses received their mailing then, or the next day. Ballots, Voter’s Pamphlets, and Declarations of Candidacy were available in the store throughout the election.

Karen Rich Firestein received 475 votes; Steve Reynolds, 378 votes; and L. Edward Clemens, 361 votes; each was elected to three-year terms. Ben Pearl, with 339 votes, was elected to a two-year term as Director. Sandra Flanagan Schickele received 329 votes and was elected First Alternate; Ken Bradford received 299 votes and was elected Second Alternate. Not elected were Terence Lott (284 votes), Edward Diggs (231 votes), Vincent P. Ortiz (228 votes), Ruben F. Arevalo (193 votes), and Michael (Mike) Simpson (134 votes).

Directors up for election in ’15: Jolly*, Plakias, Young, Schickele.

Directors up for election in ’16: Parro, Pearl.

Directors up for election in ’17: Clemens*, Firestein, Reynolds.

* Article VIII, Section 2 (D) Limitation on Consecutive Terms in our Bylaws will prevent election of Director Desmond Jolly in 2015, and Director Clemens in 2017.

Candidates are presented here in the order in which they filed Declarations of Candidacy. They are presented on the Ballot in an order determined by random drawing, with write ins added at the bottom, if they file.

Karen Rich Firestein elected to a three-year term with 475 votes

Michael (Mike) Simpson received 134 votes

Edward Diggs (staff) received 231 votes

Sandra Flanagan Schickele elected to a one-year term as First Alternate with 329 votes

Steve Reynolds elected to a three-year term with 377 votes

L. Edward Clemens elected to a three-year term with 360 votes

Ben Pearl elected to a two-year term with 339 votes

Terence Lott received 284 votes

Ken Bradford elected to a one-year term as Second Alternate with 298 votes

Ruben F. Arevalo received 193 votes

Vincent P. Ortiz (staff) received 228 votes

Karen Rich Firestein

When I walk into the Davis Food Cooperative, I take pride in knowing that I am an owner of such a beautiful store. I am a strong supporter of cooperatives because cooperatives are locally-owned and controlled businesses.

I have been a member since 1995 and I am now able to commit the time and hours to serve on the board. If elected, I look forward to working with other board members to govern a successful and dynamic food cooperative and finding solutions to lead the cooperative into the future.

My first memories of cooperatives began as a young child when I shopped at the local co-op grocery store with my grandmother who lived in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx. I did not understand the importance of cooperatives at the time but I learned to recognize the twin pines as a grocery store that offered all the food necessary to make a delicious meal.

When I was a young mother in Maine, I was a founding member of a child-care cooperative and was a member of a buying club that purchased bulk and organic foods. I returned to school and earned a Bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley and my Masters at UC Davis in Agricultural Economics. This was the start of my career as a cooperative specialist at USDA.

I have conducted research and written articles and reports about cooperatives. I have provided technical assistance to new and existing cooperatives. I was instrumental in forming Big Trees Organic Farms, an organic almond cooperative. One fun activity with the Davis Food Cooperative is celebrating co-op month each October by staffing the USDA booth at the Davis Farmers Market.

My board experience includes currently serving on the California Small Farm Conference Board, previously serving on Oxfam America: California Advisory Board and past co-president of Congregation Bet Haverim.

My areas of interest are long term strategies for success and raising awareness in the community of the role cooperatives play in our day to day lives and the importance of this type of ownership in keeping our local economy strong.

Michael (Mike) Simpson

(916) 368-8719

Over the past 14 years I had the great honor to serve our Co-op as the HR Director. During that time I have learned much about Co-ops and the communities that they build. I have previously worked in the public and private sectors, and found that no other organization offers opportunities to support the ideas that I believe in: People, Community, and Democracy. I would like to continue my service to our Co-op as a Board member. I would appreciate your support and your vote.

Edward Diggs

(916) 504-0547

I respectfully ask for your vote. I work at our co-op. I understand our store’s business practices and I meet many of our customers. What I love most about our institution is that you understand that we are more than a store; we are a community. As an employee of the co-op I have lots of experience with the operations of the store. I know not just the theory of how a grocery store works, but also how that theory translates to the realities of how our institution functions. My practical experience is why I believe electing me would provide a unique and vital perspective to the board.

As a member of the board I would aim to continue to bring together each aspect of our community; the customers, the employees, and the food providers. We know that this co-op exemplifies the heart of Davis. This is where we connect and build friendships. This is where we offer Davisites work experience.

I will work to develop innovative programs to further involve all of our members at the co-op. I see the benefits of some of our current efforts first hand, while working along side many amazing super workers. And I have appreciated how our super worker program has enabled my younger brother to gain work experience through volunteering at our store.

I am committed to the goal of providing Davis with healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly food. You have a right to know where your food comes from, how it is grown, and how it is processed.

I am very blessed to be part of the co-op community as a worker, a volunteer, and a shopper. I hope that you will allow me to serve on the Board of Directors. Thank you.

Sandra Flanagan Schickele

(530) 753-1601

Food is everywhere. But fresh, local, and organic food is sometimes hard to come by. When our family moved to Davis 11 years ago, I was pleased to find this gem of a store that gave me access to food with these qualities. I came to appreciate over the years that the Co-op allows me to concentrate on shopping and cooking because a team of dedicated staff and board members worry about the other details. Those people must sometimes be replenished. Managers take care of staffing, but members must take on the responsibility of ensuring that the Co-op is meeting its Ends (goals) and involving members in that process.

I shop at the Co-op regularly. My two children and myself have been Superworkers. I am currently a member of the Member Linkage Task Force. This involvement has allowed me a peek into the work of the board, and I am impressed with their dedication to the Co-op’s mission and the amount of time and energy they give to making it work. I want to do my part to keep the Co-op sound and consider it a privilege that members can participate in this way.

Before becoming a full-time parent, I worked in public relations for a number of corporate entities. Since deciding to focus my time on family and community, I have served on PTA boards at several schools and on the governing board of my local religious community, the Baha’i Faith. My work in business and on various volunteer boards has helped me recognize that how decisions are made is often more important than the actual decisions. I am pleased that the Co-op board works under a set of guidelines that ensure that every member contributes, that decisions are made collectively and that diversity of opinion is valued. The commitment to these guidelines, and to the mission statement and governance policies is the reason, in my opinion, our Co-op has not only survived but thrived. I want to keep this culture strong and help make decisions that will safeguard the long-term health of this important Davis organization.

Steve Reynolds

I am running for the Davis Food Coop Board of Directors after previously serving as a Director for two consecutive terms. I have been off the Board for a year in keeping with our bylaws, and I continue to serve on the Coop Audit Task Force. I am running to provide Board continuity during a time of transition. I have served as President and Vice President of the Board of Directors. While President, I helped guide the Coop through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions controversy. With the hiring of a new General Manager, the next few years will be full of challenges and opportunities for the Coop.

I will be immediately effective as a Board member. I am familiar with the Board’s procedures, Policy Governance and understand the history of many past Board and management decisions. I have lived in Davis for twenty years and attended law school at UC Davis for three years prior to that. (King Hall 1990.) I have practiced law in Davis for over ten years; I represent debtors and creditors in bankruptcy court. As a small business owner, I understand many of the challenges that face the Coop. I am an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis and the Davis Aquatic Masters. I am the proud parent of graduates of both Davis High School and Da Vinci High School. I also have a second grader at North Davis Elementary. All of these experiences help me to understand the various parts of the greater Davis community and how our store can serve them.

I want the Coop to build on our success and serve our community for another 42 years. I want the Coop to provide good food at a good value to members while providing good jobs for our employees. If I have an agenda, it is to work toward a member capital structure that reduces the amount of interest paid to outsiders while providing investment opportunities for members. We have a great store; I want to see it get even better. Please vote for me in the coming election.

L. Edward Clemens

(530) 758-5005

Hello fellow co-op members. I have been a member of the Davis Food Co-op for 10 years and elected to the Board of Directors as a first alternate for the past two. I have served as the Board Treasurer 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. In addition, I have been active on three Co-op Board Task Forces.

• As a member of the Treatment of Staff Task Force 2012-2014, we recommended that the Board contract with Cooperative Development Services (CDS) to conduct a staff survey and an HR audit. The staff survey was conducted in the fall of 2013 and the HR audit was undertaken in March of 2014. In response to the results of the staff survey, this TF developed a new “End” reflecting the high value the DFC community places on the role that the staff plays in creating a successful community institution. This “End” specifies having “a satisfied, motivated staff.” This TF continues to meet to define policies and criteria monitored by the Board assuring the fulfillment of this “End.” I am deeply committed to the work of this task force.

• As a member of the Education TF 2013-2014, our focus has been on researching and envisioning ways to insure that the DFC continues to be an ethical, equitable and powerful economic engine having a sustainable, positive impact on our community.

• My tenure on the Audit TF 2013-14 has centered around monitoring the financial aspects of our co-op, insuring that we implement standard accounting practices and satisfy legal obligations of those practices.

I am running for a Director’s position recognizing that, in addition to being a powerful agent of community-building, a co-operative is a business model that has a responsibility to its community to be profitable. A key factor in having a profitable food co-op is being an exemplary employer.

If elected, I will continue to work to revise the by-laws and polcies so that we can more efficiently achieve profitability with a fully engaged staff that provides our members, shoppers and community with service that is healthy in all of its aspects.

Ben Pearl

(530) 753-7135

After a year away from Davis, I’m excited to return and run again for the Food Co-op board of directors. It has clearly been a difficult year for our cooperative, and the board’s choices in the coming year will profoundly affect the future of our store. In the coming months, our board has an opportunity to take a hard look at the DFC’s direction, mission and values. We need to select and train a competent, visionary new general manager who is able to balance a triple bottom line. We need to assess our commitment toward organic, local, and GMO-free products. We need to better support and empower our staff, who have worked hard in the face of new grocery competition. Finally, I think we need to improve transparency to become a more inclusive, participatory cooperative, and to capitalize on the incredible strengths of our 10,000+ household membership. I believe that all of these goals are within the reach of our cooperative, and together I look forward to creating an even more thriving, vibrant community center at the intersection of 6th and G.

Terence Lott

My family came to Davis when I was 8 years old. After experimenting with schooling, ranching, smithing, aiding, handyman-ing and taxi-driving, in 1989 I bought and still own NEWSBEAT — a small retail store in Davis. Like many small business owners I work 7 days a week. I have faced aggressive competition from corporate stores, insufficient resources, continuous restructuring of our product mix and other challenges requiring tough choices. We’re still here because of our long-term commitment, necessary sacrifices and — especially of the support of many loyal customers.

We are friends with our staff, vendors, neighbors and many of our customers.We provide health insurance for our qualified staff (for over 20 years.) We understand the function newsstands provide to communities around the world. We work hard to provide Davis with one to be proud of. Customers from all walks of life are met with courtesy and respect. I believe that the Co-op champions these values too.

I believe that local business’ are an integral and defining part of their community. Co-op business’ are a stamp of independence and resourcefulness in the face of ever-expanding control of our economies and finances by a handful of large corporations. The Davis Food Co-op serves this community well and deserves to be a part of its future. I’ve been a member for 20 years. My participation has declined but my interest hasn’t slackened.

I’m past president of DMHA, a non-profit affordable housing provider. I sang with the Sacramento Opera chorus for 10 years — definitely a non-profit. This opportunity to sing gave me a very gratifying experience of working long and hard with a group to achieve glorious results. The many specialized skills and talents required by opera give testament to the importance of diverse stakeholders and participants. I know the importance of having a solid Board of Directors to provide cohesion to such groups. The Board needs to provide long-term planning and fiscal responsibility while addressing the interests of current and prospective members. I would contribute earnestly and attentively.

Please support my bid to join the Board.

Ken Bradford

Hello, fellow Co-op owners. I ’ve been asked to volunteer for the Co-op Board – and believe I can help. These are tough times for the Co-op and I hope my perspective can help us face the challenges together. Having been a member of the Davis Food Co-op since 1976, I cut & wrapped my share of cheeses back in the day. And I helped design the “new” CoOp store at 5th & L in 1978 – so I start with some “institutional memory.”

Of course I believe in eating healthy – not just healthy for myself, family & friends, but healthy for the community and healthy for the planet. Making fresh, local, organic foods accessible to everyone in this community will continue to require the co-operation of numerous people & institutions from educators to food banks, from stores to school gardens… and from farmers markets to our beloved Co-op.

I’ve spent most of my career as an employee, manager or owner of small, locally-owned healthy-living businesses. Some were successful, some were not – and I’ve learned from both. Success takes more than noble ideals and hard work, it requires a pragmatic understanding of every phase of small-business operations – and cooperation. I’m best known for creating a Davis business focused on sustainable local human-powered transportation - where I’ve had practical experience forging win-win partnerships with cycling clubs, advocacy groups, government agencies, vendors, ‘competitors’ and industry organizations -- including a nationwide cooperative of bike shops, where I’ve held advisory and leadership positions.

I currently serve on the boards of the Yolo Transportation Management Agency, Davis Bike Park Alliance, National Bicycle Dealers Association and GSIF Asia Foundation. I hope to bring a fresh and practical perspective to the many business challenges currently facing our Co-Op; this will require high ideals, clear focus, smart decisions and strong partnerships with groups inside and outside our community.

Ruben F. Arevalo

(530) 758-8858

I moved to Davis to attend UC Davis and 20 years later I am still here. During that time I have come to love the Co-op as more than just a market. The Co-op is also a progressive, social conscious, educational institution that is the heart of the Davis community. I am happy to have invested shares over this time to help the Co-op grow and compete against its commercial rivals.

Many of you have met me over the years because of my evolvement in environmental issues, social issues, city politics, alternative transportation, land use and transportation causes. I have offered fair and accountable leadership, a knowledge of public policy, government regulations, business practices, and management based on realistic budget projections. I am currently employed as a contractor by a green car sharing organization and by the University of California as a unionized computer specialist. In the past I have managed at a high volume medium sized big box retailer, technical & sales organizations, sold electric cars, and even briefly managed the Radioshack next to the Co-op as a temporary assignment.

It is my goal to help strengthen the Co-op by increasing membership, providing transparent governance, good labor relations, and guidance on best business practices. Together we can make sure the Co-op avoids the fate of other Co-op markets that have closed. I will work cooperatively with my fellow board members and listen to the membership to make sure we are meeting the needs of our community. Moreover, I want to offer effective oversight to help the Co-op remain an institution at the center of Davis for the next 20 years.

I ask co-op members to vote for me.

Thank You

Vincent P. Ortiz (staff)

(626) 315-8391

Over the past 10 years of visiting and now living in Davis, I have come to recognize the Davis Food Coop and the Board as being important to our core community. Things that have affected the Co-op seem to reverberate throughout the city and that has been evident in these past 6 months. I have grown to love the city of Davis and feel very interested in becoming involved with the community in a meaningful way. As a current staff member I will be able to leverage my experience with member and staff interaction in order to affect policy. It will also give me the opportunity to directly communicate with fellow Board members on policy issues that are important to my fellow community members.

I have often referred to myself as “blue-collar to the bone”. I grew up in a working-class household and from the age of 16 have seldom longed for the warm embrace of a helping hand. I was always taught that hard work is well, just that. It takes persistence and creativity for things to become easier and more interesting. I am also an artist and musician. I currently attend a part-time visual effects program through the Academy of Art University Online. Through this program and a previous A.S. program in Animation, I have come to develop an understanding of how the structure of project pipelines can have a huge effect on deadlines and quality. Using this knowledge I am trying every day to bring some semblance of structure and methodology to both my department and the store.

Throughout my life I’ve had the opportunity to work at many different companies from lumber yards to real estate offices and even other retail businesses. I am very proud to be able to work for a company that seeks to reward its employees for bringing on an attitude of working hard and smart. I love the fact the Davis Food Coop has always fostered a belief that through communication and teamwork, everyday people can do amazing things. I love my job!