Julie Partansky (Julia Elizabeth Alexandra Partansky, born 29 June 1947) was mayor of Davis from 1998 to 2000. She is famous for proposing several ideas now thought of as quintessentially Davis, including the Dark Sky Light Ordinance, Toad Tunnel, and planting fruit trees to feed the hungry. She was a registered member of the Green Party. Her initial election with minimal expenditures was generally credited at least in part to her highlighting the City's plan to spend what seemed like a lot of money to cut down trees lining Fifth Street (between J and L Streets) for the purpose of widening the street. This formed a temporary coalition of "tree huggers" and "cheapskates."
Julie Partansky passed away on January 9, 2009 after a brief battle with lung cancer.
Julie was a working artist and part-time handy-person before her campaign for City Council. She was an early participant in the Blue Mango Restaurant, and built a set of "coconut chandeliers"—coconut shells with patterned holes drilled to reveal colored light of bulbs inside— providing exotic light for the Restaurant in evening hours. Along with the chandeliers, other creations of hers included stained glass sculptures depicting, among other things, five-sided stars. Julie's fondness for starlight inspired her "Dark Skies" campaign involving shading street lights to cast their light down but not up into the sky, so stars became more visible in town. I remember her for participating in a small group including Davis librarians that regularly met to read aloud, primarily from children's books, and for meticulously rebuilding a 1960s British two-seat roadster from the chassis on up.
Through an amusing (?) story in the "Sacramento Bee", she is associated with "declaring potholes historic," which is a canard (as noted when you follow the pothole link). What The Davis Enterprise actually reported was that Julie suggested the City's plans to pave alleyways in downtown Davis might 'disturb or destroy historic artifacts', and thus review of these proposed City expenditures by the Historic Resources Commission might be warranted. Her suggestion might have been a tactic, but it also brought attention to a plan that (as with Fifth Street) involved spending money for something that had few supporters among the people whose houses backed along the alleys.
Partansky, along with Jean Jackman and the local Sierra Club, was also instrumental in derailing development of a dog park at a site that had been approved five years earlier. She was a vocal opponent of mosquito abatement pesticide spraying for West Nile Virus, aligning herself with a group called, "Stop West Nile Spraying Now."
Julie Partansky served on the City Council from 6/20/1992 to 4/10/2002. She also served as Mayor Pro Tem from 1996 to 1997 and was Mayor from 1998 to 2001.