No on DiSC's statement on vandalized Yes on H signs
Fact Checking Matt Williams's Affordable Housing article

Letter: 2 reasons for voting No on H: Muzzling citizens & exclusionary housing

Thompson graphic 2Dear Davis Citizens:

Two reasons for voting No on H.

Council Member Carson tried to silence six voices opposed to Measure H. The six Davis citizens incurred a $71,000 bill to defend themselves, and now Carson is suing them for his legal costs of $76,358. Those volunteer voices are potentially paying $147,000+ from their personal savings.

On the other hand Carson has incurred no personal costs because his attempt to muzzle citizen voices opposed to Measure H was financed by the DISC developer.

That has prompted me to raise my own citizen voice … Council member Carson’s developer-funded stealth tactic should not be rewarded!  That alone is reason enough to vote No on Measure H.

However, there is a second reason to vote No on H. There’s Less Affordable Housing than the norm!

I received a Measure H piece, stating,

Measure H enhances and advances more of what we love about Davis, Affordable Housing.

Simply not true. DISC is providing less affordable housing as a % than any site set for a citizen vote.

Prior to 2018 all citizen vote proposals provided at least 25-35% of the housing units as permanently affordable. DISC is applying under the “Interim Affordable Housing Ordinance” which substantially reduced the requirement to 15%.

However, the interim policy with its lowered 15% was written specifically to apply to land already in the city.  Why?  Because land costs in the City are hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre.

The DISC site does not suffer from high land costs.  It resides on agricultural land outside of the city that was purchased for likely less than $10,000 per acre.  Therefore, the affordable housing requirement should remain at 25-35%.

In November 2019 hundreds of Davis residents applauded Richard Rothstein’s talk on the “Color of Law,” which critiqued the role of government in reducing housing for people of color. Many of us want a future Davis to be more inclusive and expansive of housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

DISC does the opposite by providing considerably less housing for low income residents and racial minorities.

Please join me in voting No on H.

David J Thompson


Darell Dickey

Thanks David. I shall join you in voting NO on H.

Sharla Cheney

Colin Walsh has stated elsewhere that the roughly $70,000 in legal fees for each side are in accurate. That the No side incurred a very much lower amount along with a contingency agreement that their lawyers could go after their fees at full rate and they are requesting $92,000 at this point. It has not been disclosed how much the No campaign has actually paid in legal fees for a short hearing regarding ballot language.

Roberta L. Millstein

Sharla, you are misunderstanding what Colin wrote on the Vanguard, so let me rephrase it in different terms. The No side had two days to find a lawyer. Most of the people we contacted were unable to take us on short notice or had some other conflict. We were lucky to find someone, and someone so qualified. The lawyer agreed to take us for a minimum of $20,000 BUT ONLY with the understanding that this was much less than their actual fees would be and that they would be asking for the full amount (the lawyer expected that the No side would be successful). The reason that the number requested keeps going up is that with each challenge, more lawyer time is spent. So, when Councilmember Carson says, no, they don't deserve their lawyer fees pays, the No lawyer has to spend more time to rebut that. And when he says, I think I deserve fees, again, that is more lawyer time to rebut that. So like many legal situations, the more people argue, the more the legal fees are. How much the No side will ultimately end up paying is still unknown -- that is up to Judge Maguire and he has not made his ruling yet.

I invite you to look at the briefs that the lawyer prepared -- how detailed they are, how tightly argued, how much precedent is cited. It takes a lot of work to put together those briefs and our lawyer is charging if anything less than what most lawyers of her calibre would charge.

Sharla Cheney

So the No campaign paid $20,000 for their representation and now the lawyers are battling it out with ever increasing fees. It is hoped that the Yes campaign will pay the No campaign lawyer’s legal fees, including a reimbursement of the $20K in No campaign costs. Is that correct?

Roberta L. Millstein

That is not entirely correct. The lawyer would accept a minimum of $20,000 only on the assumption that she could recoup her real costs -- which were much higher, even without the subsequent back and forth. $20,000 was never the real amount. As for what the No campaign will actually end up owing (Carson's legal fees plus their own legal fees?) or what the Yes campaign will end up owing (the No campaign's legal fees plus their own legal fees?) is still to be determined. The judge could decide any amount between 0 and the maximum for either side.

Colin Walsh

Frankly I find this questioning about legal fees quite distasteful.
Motions for fees are decided by the judge.
The judge considers who the prevailing party is and evidence presented through declaration from the attorneys involved in the case as to what their fees are. The only thing unusual in this case is that Carson tried to make a filling for fees even though he may not have standing to do so and it seems a stretch to suggest he prevailed, but again, that is up to the judge to decide.
Al of these legal fillings are public records and they include very detailed information about both sides fees.
This attempt to suggest that something is wrong or abnormal here by someone who clear lacks any detailed information and even has wrong information seems not just ill-informed, but ill-willed.

Sharla Cheney

You know, I worked in a law office for a time and understand how lawyers bill. It is important that people understand that the person’s of interest have not paid $70,000 despite letters to the editor and public testimony stating this as fact. See Thompson’s letter above. It still boggles my mind how a hearing to address ballot language could generate $140,000 in legal fees and rising - benefiting only the lawyers involved. Colin chose to zero in on the amount of the legal fees and ignored my opinion that all the various legal cases filed over Measure J land planning votes is damaging to community.

Colin Walsh

"person's [sic] of interest"?
It is entirely inappropriate to refer to the ballot argument signers as though they are potential criminals. They are fantastic examples of Davis citizens engaging in our local democracy including Former City Commissioners, a former Mayor, 2 UC Davis professors and a candidate for Yolo County Supervisor.

Roberta L. Millstein

It is my opinion that nothing is more damaging to democracy in Davis than having a sitting Councilmember attempt to squelch the speech of his constituents, to have that lawsuit be funded by a developer at the same time that the developer still will likely have business in front of the Council, to have big pockets knowingly file such a lawsuit that would hamstring the No campaign ($20000 about what the campaign spent the last time that DISC was on the ballot, or actually a bit more), and to use Council time to promote his lawsuit when it is not an item on my agenda.

But it's not just me who thinks that Councilmember Carson's actions are damaging to democracy in Davis -- six former Davis Mayors do too:

Ron O

I was tempted to (try) to post the following on the Vanguard, but then thought better of it. (For one thing, the moderator hasn't been allowing some of my posts - for no discernable reason.)

In any case, there's a paid campaign coordinator for the "yes on DiSC" campaign interviewed on the Vanguard today. He stated the following:

"I’m a recent UC Davis graduate, and the issue of housing is just so important to me. This will be one of the biggest housing projects in Davis."

While he's certainly correct regarding this, it's interesting for two reasons. Personally, I find the second one to be even more interesting than the first:

1) DiSC is now being marketed as a housing development.

2) Supporters seem to purposefully disregard the fact that DiSC will create a housing shortage, if the commercial is actually successful. The EIR itself notes that the planned housing for the site won't be sufficient for the number of workers ultimately expected.

How is it that those who clamor for more housing are the same ones advocating for a housing shortage?

The campaign coordinator also states this:

“In 2020, I was on the executive board of Davis College Democrats, and back then it was called Measure B. We informally endorsed Measure B. I was in support as a Davis College Democrat and in support personally.

Can someone explain how the "College Democrats" are any different than traditional Republicans, regarding their support for developments?

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