|Councilmember, Davis City Council|
|23 Russell Blvd.|
|Davis, CA 95616|
|Lamar's Youtube Channel|
Lamar Heystek was a member of the Davis City Council, a columnist for The California Aggie, and an employee of Safeway. A graduate of UC Davis' Linguistics program, his political life has centered on voicing student concerns and preserving Davis' unique qualities. He was often seen as an ally to Sue Greenwald on council, but that is mainly because of his slow-growth stance.
Lamar is Dutch and proud of it, has a twin brother (who is on the board of education in his own respective location), a sister in the military, and a father who is at least as funny as he is.
Davis City Council Campaigns
Petition to Urge Lamar to Run for Re-Election in 2010
In October 2010, Lamar announced that he would not be running for re-election to the City Council in 2010. Some of his many fans started a petition to urge him to reconsider. The letter stated that Lamar has "demonstrated leadership, honesty and integrity on the key issues that face the city of Davis," that "[h]e has been a voice of civility, maturity, reason, and passion in the face of great obstacles, and that the "city cannot afford to now lose Lamar's experience." The petition is available here. However, on March 12, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. — 30 minutes before the filing deadline — Lamar announced that his October decision would stand and that he would not run for re-election.
2004 and 2006 Campaigns
Lamar first pursued a seat on the Davis City Council as a student in 2004. He finished seventh among eight candidates, earning 4,539 votes, or about 10 percent of the vote.
- growth management
- neighborhood preservation
- fiscal restraint
- environmental protection
- police-community trust
His campaign slogan was "It's a Brand New Day!"
On June 6, 2006, Lamar Heystek was elected to the Davis City Council, with 24.1% of the vote, in a major victory for the student vote, as he presented himself as a councilmember that would pay attention to the needs of the students, who are a significant slice of the Davis population.
Although detailed statistics are not available to determine what proportion of Heystek's supporters were students, the behavior of the election returns supports this assertion. Students typically do not vote by absentee, whereas establish residents of Davis often do. Early election returns showed Lamar clearly behind several other candidates due to the absentee votes which were already counted. As the night progressed and more votes were counted, Lamar gained on all his competitors. He garnered more Election-Day "in-person" votes than all of the other candidates, finishing with the second highest number of total votes, winning him the seat (He almost passed the incumbent Ruth Asmundson). This suggests that he gained a greater proportion of the student vote than the other candidates.
A head clerk at Safeway with a career spanning approximately eight years, Lamar decided to give up his job so he could continue to pursue local politics in 2006. However, Lamar did not make the decision recklessly, nor did he make it independently. The market had offered $20,000 to all of their long-time employees (including Lamar) to quit to make way for newer, less-paid ones. Because of the strange nature of the $20,000 offer, and because few knew that the offer was made to all long-time employees, some people thought that Safeway was trying to "silence" his columns making fun of working at the market.
The job had provided Lamar with four years' worth of fodder for his weekly column in The California Aggie, so by quitting he would be dispensing of this humor source, not to mention ridding himself of an income. In a simultaneously prudent and clever move, Lamar asked his column readers to weigh in and decide for him: quit or not quit. (Should I quit Safeway?)
A week later, Lamar announced that he would be leaving Safeway. (the people have spoken)
At his "retirement" party held at Woodstock's, Elise Kane and Rob Roy, in a joint effort, presented Lamar with a death certificate for his career (see image above left), a bouquet of tampons in a toiletpaper roll vase, and a Safeway women's restroom sign meant to be worn as a medallion. Needless to say, Lamar was thrilled.
Career with the California Aggie
"The Born Loser" Column
The Born Loser was the name of Lamar's weekly humor column in The California Aggie, from Fall 2002 - Spring 2006, spanning four years. Shortly after he started the column, column titles were stripped from most of the paper's columns, so it ran without the tagline. Nevertheless, in writing his hilarious anecdotes about sleeping in Safeway bathrooms, speaking Dutch, and peeing on an electric fence, Lamar managed to fit his tagline into the body of the column from time to time. The column ran on Tuesdays.
The Born Loser character always seemed to find the universe, both animate and inanimate, getting the better of himself. No matter what he could do, incalculably unlikely calamities befell him, including getting stuck between shelves while looking for dairy products for a cute girl. He also had the unlikely misfortune of having died several times; you can read about one of them here. Death notwithstanding, Lamar's column returned the following year.
Lamar always kept his column personality distinct from his public persona, especially as he got into Davis politics, but if you walk up to him and quote one of your favorite lines of his, he is likely to bowl over laughing.
There is a Facebook group called People Who Laugh Out Loud to Lamar Heystek Articles.
He has the unique distinction of having a major controversy named after him--Lamargate (although he was not actually involved in the scandal). As an Aggie columnist, he wasn't allowed to have an opinion about ASUCD politics, to the point that they wouldn't actually allow him to use the word "Lamargate" in his column. Once elections were over, in a later column he did get to use the word.
This section needs some more work
Lamar was a linguistics grad student at UC Davis and, as aforementioned, a columnist for the California Aggie. He ran for a position on the Davis City Council in 2004. Lamar remains active in city politics. He is currently (or was recently):
- Commissioner-designate, City of Davis Finance and Budget Commission, 2006
- Commissioner, City of Davis Open Space Commission
Commissioner, City of Davis Recreation and Park Commission, 2004-2006
- Alternative Recreation programs subcommittee, 2005-2006
- Walnut and Manor pools subcommittee, 2004
Member, International House Board of Directors, 2004-2006
- Mimi Sen Memorial Committee, 2005-2006
- Lecturer, UC Davis Department of Linguistics, 2005-2006
- Shop Steward, UFCW Local 588, Safeway #1205-15, 2001-2006
- Member, UFCW Active Ballot Club (ABC)
- Member, AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE)
- Senator, Associated Students of University of California, Davis (ASUCD), 1998-9
- Member, steering committee for “No on Measure X”
- Member, KDRT working group.
- Member, Davis Citizens for Representation — a pro-Choice Voting organization.
- Councilor, City Council, 2006-
2005-07-21 12:40:34 I vaguely remember an old Born Loser column containing a paragraph—beginning "my readership is so low I could insert a graphic sex scene in my column and nobody would notice" or something like that—that was taken directly, and without citation, from an old Dave Barry column. Of course, I don't want to make any libelous accusations based solely on my own memory of an event several years in the past, but does anyone else remember a Born Loser column fitting this description? —BarnabasTruman
2006-01-26 18:47:49 Who else goes Lamar-spotting? —CindySperry
2006-01-26 23:19:43 I talked to Lamar at Safeway and I didn't even know he had a scandal named after him or anything. His nametag said that he spoke Dutch and I thought that was cool. —KarenaAslanian
2006-02-22 17:13:23 So... will he quit Safeway? —CindySperry
2006-03-06 00:27:56 I wish Cost Plus had offered me $20,000 to quit. That would've been great. —BarnabasTruman
2006-03-10 15:34:48 I think it is inappropriate and unethical for a candidate for the City Council who is also a UC Davis employee to have a column in the California Aggie. Lamar I challenge you to quit your column in the Aggie, or else all the candidates should have columns in the Aggie. —RobinSouza
Good point. I've been wondering why Editor didn't bring this up when Lamar announced his candidacy. — ArlenAbraham
I think its fine. It's not like Lamar's column is in any way, shape, or form political. His columns are more like verbal diarrhea (not to take away from the funniness of the column) with no real point. As long as he isn't campaigning in his column or mentions anything about his running for office, there's nothing wrong with it. —VivianPham
Yeah, that's right! And Rob Roy works at Ben & Jerry's... I challenge him to quit working there because it is unethical and inappropriate for a candidate to be giving away free scoops of ice cream during a campaign. —BrentLaabs
Provided he doesn't campaign for himself in his column (and from my experience he makes fun of himself a lot in his column and doesn't campaign at all), I think its a bit unfair to ask him to quit his remaining job over this. Being the sitting mayor is surely more of an advantage — should Ruth Asmundson resign her position? Lamar is not a candidate who happens to have a column, he's a columnist who happens to be running for city council. It doesn't give him an advantage over the status quo: it IS the status quo. —KrisFricke
It doesn't matter that Lamar isn't (directly) using the column for political gain, it's not good journalistic practice to have a candidate with a column in the paper. It's basically free advertising because his name and photo are on the top of every column. Everyone knows that you have to work hard at writing press releases if you want Aggie coverage. I'm sure the other candidates would love to have a column in the aggie — I know Rob has appiled in the past. The Ben & Jerry's comment is totally irrelevant because it's not Ben & Jerry's job to provide unbiased election coverage to the City of Davis. I know that Aggie columnists in the past have resigned so that they could run for ASUCD Senate. It's a conflict of interest.
I'm not saying that lamar should resign, i'm just trying to support robin's argument and was wondering why it hasn't been discussed before.—ArlenAbraham
2006-03-10 19:27:36 I wrote a letter to the editor this Tuesday that didn't get published after reading Anna Ritter's latest column. Here it is:
It has come to my attention that, as of late, the Tuesday Aggie has quickly migrated from the hillarious raunchy sex column issue to the Anna Ritter bitching hour. If I wanted to bore myself with inane topical whining about the woes of frustrated college life, I'd read that column by the guy constantly talking about his job at Safeway. How am I supposed to flirt with girls doing the crossword at the MU when my old line "So, did you see the sex column today?" becomes "So, did you read the latest from that Safeway bozo?" —ScottRitchie
- You could change the line to "So, does this rant make me look like a bozo?" - KJM
2006-03-11 01:43:34 I would like to point out that if the Aggie chose to endorse anyone in the city council election, it would probably be a violation of the ASUCD Constitution. If this is true, it would mean that the last bill that I wrote was unconstituional — oh well. Someone should propose that as an official question to that court. —BrentLaabs
Editorials in the Aggie are the collective opinions of the editorial board. As such they are covered under free speech. So the Aggie endorsing someone doesn't constitute a violation of the IRS code that the ASUCD Constitution forbids. —MichaelNguyen
Let me paraphrase you: "Senate Resolutions are the collective opinion of the ASUCD Senate. As such they are covered under free speech." The Constitutional Amendment didn't just say "you can't break this law", it enumerated specific things in addition that ASUCD was prohibited from. The "distributing statements" clause is particularly troublesome. —BrentLaabs
Article I, Section 6 (2) In accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations, ASUCD is prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. This includes endorsing a candidate, making donations to a candidate’s campaign, engaging in fund-raising for a candidate, distributing statements for or against a particular candidate or becoming involved in any other activity that may be beneficial or detrimental to any candidate.
A senate resolution is not the collective opinions of the senators it is a representative statement from the ASUCD itself, as an organization. The Aggie opinion section is a forum for the opinions of individuals/groups of individuals, including those in the editorial board, not the ASUCD. The editorial board in no way reflects the opinions of the ASUCD. You are drawing a false parallel. It would be different for the Senators to get together and say "We, being senators, all support candidate X" then to say "We support candidate X in the name of the ASUCD". The opinions are the former rather than the latter. —MichaelNguyen
- I'm afraid I disagree with your logic here. When the Editorial Board collectively decides to endorse a candidate, is that not a representative statement from the California Aggie in the same way that a Senate resolution is a representative statement of ASUCD? The legal problem is that THE CALIFORNIA AGGIE IS, LEGALLY, A PART OF ASUCD. The fact that the California Aggie has large circulation in Davis (in fact, it's said to have the largest circulation in Yolo County) and the fact that the California Aggie's bank accounts are, in fact, ASUCD accounts mean that ASUCD is, naturally, leary of any legal trouble an Aggie endorsement of a political candidate may bring. I suppose the best I can do at this point is consult our legal counsel and our business manager. -PH
From the Aggie "Editorials represent the collecticve opinions of The California Aggie editorial board." From that statement it looks like it's the opinion of the Board not the organization. It's the *collective* opinions of the Board, not of the Aggie itself. When the Senate issues a resolution it is the not the opinion of the senate but a statement from the ASUCD itself. These are completely different situations. From the website "Views or opinions expressed in The Aggie by editors or columnists regarding legislation or candidates for politicial office or other matters are those of the editors or columnist alone. They are not those of the University of California or any department of UC. Advertisements appearing in the Aggie reflect the views of advertisers only; they are not an expression of editorial opinion by The Aggie." So it's like a bunch of editors co-authoring one opinion, not a bunch of editors deciding where the Aggie stands.
2006-03-11 18:45:09 Lamar's dad knocked on my door this afternoon and asked me to vote for his son. I was impressed. I will. —GrumpyoldGeek
2006-03-19 14:15:04 I think there's a quite a difference between a school newspaper with an independent editorial board and the body of government itself. Because ASUCD is the governing body, it makes sense that this mini "Congress" be prohibited from endorsing a candidate. A campus Slate, however, could probably endorse a candidate without running afoul of this IRS rule. I think it's official (quasi-)governmental endorsements that they're afraid of. So I don't think the parallel is tight enough to cause a problem. —JaimeRaba
2006-03-28 16:52:19 Well, looking at the media board guidelines, it looks like the Aggie can endorse. I'm going to stop worrying about this argument, because I really believe that the Aggie should be able to endorse anyone they want to. It's just a fact of the situation that ASUCD and the Aggie are in an abusive marriage, and neither seems to think about the other in its decisions. —BrentLaabs
2006-06-08 00:23:52 Does anyone else find it funny that Lamar and Stan Forbes teamed up for this election? Consider their slogans: "Preserve our quality of life." (Forbes) and "It's a Brand New Day" (Heystek). —BrentLaabs
2006-11-02 17:12:15 I voted for him, and he cusses in public in reference to Liston bringing his shotty onto DHS property —StevenDaubert
2007-08-03 10:39:02 Lamar!!! Ik ben nu op de Wiki!!!! :) —WeMo
2007-08-07 14:22:59 Lamar- what years were you an ASUCD Senator? And how many times do you lose before you won? And what was the name of the slate? —JamesSchwab
- I was an ASUCD Senator from Fall 1998 to Fall 1999. I was honored as ASUCD Senator of the Year in 1999. I had run as an independent candidate in the Winter 1998 election as one of 16 candidates — and placed 16th (I told you I was the Born Loser! These roots run deep, really deep!). In the following election, I ran as one of six candidates on the "Student Action Ticket" (not "Student Action" as is reported on the Wiki; maybe someone can make this minor change). There were eight candidates in this election — and I placed third from last (or sixth!), hanging on to the last seat by a measly 12 votes over my (now-)friend Ken Loo, an independent candidate who ran on a "two-ply platform." I enjoyed this campaign very much, but my Senate win paled in comparison to becoming Senior Class President in high school (no offense!). I was the only ASUCD senator to vote against the proposed budget in June because it included an undeserved $7-a-week pay raise for senators (bringing it to $35/week). One senator said he needed the increase to cover his electric bills, to which I said, "Why don't push carts with me at Safeway?" I actually donated each of my Senate paychecks to a different cause (one of them went to cover the expenses of attendees of the Students of Color conference, one of whom I would eventually run against in another ASUCD election). I ran for ASUCD Vice President on the Student Action Ticket with my slatemate and fellow Senate alum Jenna Ramesh. We ran against Matt Huerta and Erica Alfaro, who led the first-ever LEAD slate. There were five tickets running and we worked hard to make it to a runoff with Matt and Erica. It was a tough campaign that we eventually lost. I congratulate Matt and Erica to this day — they had a much better field team and their support was broad and deep. Ironically, I was told that I would have been broadly supported by those who had backed the eventual winners had I run for president instead! I have not affiliated myself with the Student Action Ticket since, well, I was a student (it's a lot like citing which crowd you hung out with at lunch time in high school for your ASUCD campaign, and besides, the world perspective that had informed my undergraduate politics has since changed). By the way, Jenna ran for president again on the Student Action Ticket (or another incarnation thereof — I'll have to ask her; I was studying in The Netherlands at the time). This was the first ASUCD election held via the Internet, to my knowledge. Previous elections had been held using fill-in-the bubble Scantron ballots (which reminds me of how we used to register for classes — by phone!). Jenna was briefly president-elect due to the temporary disqualification of the eventual winners (which reminds me of the similar situation involving Senator Rob Roy). This was probably more than you'd ever wanted to read! I can tell you even more about it over a beer or two. —Lamar Heystek
2008-02-20 20:20:28 I just started working at safeway. I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me some pros and cons of working there and of joining the union. Thank you! —JackkiCox
2012-06-09 12:22:38 What's Lamar up to these days? —KenjiYamada
2014-09-14 11:21:15 Where is he now? —SimonFung