Despite No on DiSC's success in court, Councilmember Carson still thinks that the citizens he sued with developer money should pay legal fees
City Planning Documents have No Teeth

Councilmember Carson wants Davis citizens he sued to be responsible for his developer-paid legal fees

Upside-down-farmland(From press release) Yesterday afternoon, Davis City Councilmember Dan Carson's attorneys filed a brief in Yolo County Superior Court on his behalf, seeking $76,358 from the six named Davis citizens in his failed lawsuit. Councilmember Carson's lawsuit attempted to delete more than 25% of the ballot Argument against Measure H. That would amount to more than $12,700 for each individual named in the lawsuit: Mike Corbett, Stephen Wheeler, Darell Dickey, Juliette Beck, Roberta Millstein, and Alan Pryor, the authors and signers of the ballot argument.

"The individuals who Carson has targeted are not wealthy industrial park developers like Dan Ramos who has paid for Councilmember Carson’s attorneys thus far. “They  are community members, and community members who have integrity and are well respected," stated Pam Gunnell.  Gunnell further stated that “Understanding who these community members are is critical to understanding No On H. Michael Corbett was the developer behind Village Homes who most recently has built a small affordable housing project in South Davis. Dr. Stephen Wheeler is a professor of urban planning and design in the department of human ecology at UC Davis, and author of “Planning for Sustainability, Reimagining Sustainable Cities” and “The Sustainable Urban Development Reader.” Darell Dickey is a former Bicycle Advisory Commissioner, long-time member of the Davis Bike Club, and proponent of safe bicycling in Davis. Juliette Beck is a long -time climate change activist, mother and candidate for Yolo County Supervisor. Dr. Roberta Millstein is Professor Emeritus in the UC Davis Philosophy Department, specializing in environmental ethics and philosophy of biology; she is a former Chair of the Open Space and Habitat Commission. Alan Pryor is retired and serves as the Chair of the Sierra Club Yolano Group and is a former 12-year member of the City of Davis Natural Resources Commission. “

Councilmember Carson and Dan Ramos have both acknowledged previously that Ramos, the developer behind the DiSC project on the June ballot as Measure H, is bankrolling Carson’s attorney's fees. If Carson prevails in his request for award of attorney fees, these individuals would be legally compelled to pay Yes on H's fees. Presumably Developer Ramos would then be reimbursed for his attorney costs to sue the authors and signers of the No on H argument.

Councilmember Carson’s motion comes after defendants filed a motion to recoup their own attorney's fees last week.

"Carson’s own brief admits the defendants themselves suggested the 2 small changes in the ballot statement that were finally approved by the judge in the case but, notably, Carson never makes the claim that these minor changes significantly changed the Argument against Measure H," stated Roberta Millstein”.

"Astonishingly, Carson claims his lawsuit was 'no threat to Real Parties’ First Amendment right, nor has there ever been,' even though his lawsuit threatened to wipe out more than 25 percent of our ballot language and even though the cost of attorney's fees zeroed out No on H's bank accounts, crippling our campaign." said Alan Pryor.

Dan Carson states in his declaration filed with the motion for fees that, "As I anticipated, my efforts in this action have been met with a great deal of criticism. As a result of my role in this action, I have been subjected to numerous public attacks, including through comments made about me on social media platforms and during City Council meetings."

To which Alan Pryor replies, “Elected officials are often criticized while in office under ordinary circumstances. It is no surprise these extraordinary circumstances have brought out extraordinary criticisms, but the No on H campaign is certainly not coordinating the criticisms, or calls for Carson's resignation or removal from office.”

This morning a hearing was held about the matter and the competing claims by both sides will be consolidated and heard on May 11 by Judge Dan Maguire.


Karen L Baker

This move by Carson (and Ramos) is a blatant attempt to squash dissent in Davis. If and when more poorly conceived industrial/housing developments are presented to voters, ordinary citizens will be reluctant to come forward just to sign a simple ballot measure for fear of being sued by rapacious and wealthy business interests.

This lawsuit is the very definition of chutzpah, and I am disappointed that our Mayor and City Council has allowed a fellow Council member to continue this openly authoritarian behavior while posing as a representative of ALL the voters in Davis.

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