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August 2022

Learning from the anti-Semitic incident on 113 overpass

Anti-Semitic bannersBy Roberta Millstein

As most Davisites have learned by now, at least twice over the past two weekends, masked men displayed antisemitic banners from a highway overpass in Davis (see Davis Enterprise article for details).

The banners said, “Communism is Jewish” and “The Holocaust is an anti-white lie.”

Several local leaders issued responses.  These responses, although all were well-meaning, miss the mark a bit.  I want to try to explain why.

Chancellor Gary May said: “We are sickened that anyone would invest any time in such cowardly acts of hate and intimidation. They have no place here. We encourage our community to stand against antisemitism and racism.”

This isn’t false per se, but it’s incomplete.  This isn’t just an act of hate.  As I will explain further below, the banners replicate common tropes (repeatedly told stories) about Jewish people.  Without calling out those tropes, many will not understand, or fully understand, what the issues are.

Chancellor May is correct that anti-Semitism and racism are connected, but he doesn’t say how.  Again, more on this below.

Continue reading "Learning from the anti-Semitic incident on 113 overpass" »


Move the Sky Track to Community Park

image from davisite.typepad.comBy Colin Walsh

The Sky Track Saga really saddens me. It seems like every step of the process has been fraught with actions that discredit our community.

From the beginning, this equipment was a problem. Any history of an original proposal to update the playground equipment in Arroyo Park seems murky, and there doesn’t seem to have been a  specific proposal for a zipline like the Sky Track. Worse, no public notice was given to the neighbors. There was no proper approval of seating the equipment on a new playground pad and there was no study of noise impacts on the neighborhood for this equipment which was very different from what had been in the park previously.

The sound impact was terrible on neighboring houses and so, understandably, neighbors complained.

Continue reading "Move the Sky Track to Community Park" »


Seeds of Justice Speaker Series

Flyer Seeds of Justice 2022(From press release) The Episcopal Church of St. Martin is pleased to announce the second season of its Seeds of Justice speaker series, which explores the racialized history of the land on which Yolo County residents live and work. It asks: What is our responsibility as community members to the original inhabitants of this land, the ancestral homeland of the Patwin-Wintun people, and to those who have worked the land and stewarded it? What is the legacy of environmental racism, exploitation, and ecological degradation? How can we heal and repair the harm?  

BethRose Middleton (1)
Professor Beth Rose Middleton Manning

Professor Beth Rose Middleton Manning from the Department of Native American Studies, UC Davis, is our first presenter. Prof. Middleton Manning’s talk is titled:

In Relation to Water: Indigenous Leadership in Restoring and Re-Envisioning Watershed Stewardship,”

and will be held on 18 September, 4:00pm, in person and online at the Episcopal Church of St Martin, 640 Hawthorn Lane, Davis CA 95616. To attend, please register at the following website:

https://churchofstmartin.org/2022/08/03/save-the-date-seeds-of-justice-continues/

Continue reading "Seeds of Justice Speaker Series" »


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #11

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a space for YOU to comment on local issues.  Why not?
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Arriving Soon: Davis’ Bigger, Better, Costlier, Extravagant Toad Tunnels

Stamped Concrete 1
An example of stamped concrete

By David Taormino

After 6 years of wrangling with Davis City Staff, Bretton Woods is under construction. The actual election process was easy compared to finalizing the details with Davis staff. We still have half-a-dozen important and extremely costly imposed conditions that impact costs to homebuyers.

The craziest staff imposition requires customizing the new drainage tunnels to make the “World’s Fanciest Frog and Toad Tunnels”, reminiscent of the 1995 famous toad tunnel fiasco that brought national embarrassment to Davis. As bizarre of a request as it sounds, that tunnel only cost $14,000, these four cost approximately $200,000. Two Davis staffers, the Open Space Manager, and a Public Works engineer, are demanding the two bigger, better, fancier, customized 110-foot-long tunnels paralleling Covell Blvd near Risling Drive, and two more in our Bretton Woods Channel to accommodate critters. Without the details, it doesn’t sound unreasonable on its face.  

To “critter customize” these tunnels will cost each senior home buyer in Bretton Woods somewhere around $600 per home. While not a “princely sum”, it is only one of a dozen unnecessary costs heaped on Bretton Woods by city staff. What does each homebuyer get in return? Absolutely nothing, nada! What do the critters get for the extra cost? Only the staff knows, and they aren’t sharing, just demanding.

Where the critters are coming from or going; no one knows. I requested the staffers produce scientific evidence, or really any evidence, that this costly customization provides any more worthwhile conditions than normal tunnels. Does the staff have evidence that critters will need the customization compared to a standard tunnel? Just like 1995, NO!

Sadly, the unintended consequence of this forced customizing may be more 2019-like flooding of Sutter-Davis Hospital. Has the staff learned anything from the 1995 Toad Tunnel debacle or the flooding of 2019? Judge for yourself.

Continue reading "Arriving Soon: Davis’ Bigger, Better, Costlier, Extravagant Toad Tunnels " »


Adam Morrill for Council Statement

Adam 2

>>>from press release<<<

Throughout my 20 years as a public servant, I have responsibly administered taxpayer funds and delivered well thought out programs that improve service. I am not a career politician but stepping up because I know that together we can build a better Davis. 

Davis has challenges:  we need roads, bike/walk paths and sidewalks repaired, trees cared for, our downtown revitalized with a residential and commercial growth plan aligned to our needs.


With your support, I pledge to:

  • Update and follow a citizen driven general plan
  • Adopt budgets that align with our general plan and lower our carbon footprint
  • Work with local businesses to revitalize our downtown as a destination for residents and visitors, and as a resilient source for city revenues
  • Apply sound infill policies that make better use of existing space
  • Prioritize housing projects that diversify our housing stock which will expand the range of available housing types/prices/rents
  • Preserve surrounding prime farmland and encourage local farm to fork efforts
  • Assist local non-profits, faith-based organizations, and the county with homelessness and mental health programs
  • Support our police and fire personnel in keeping our city safe

I am the person to do the job, and that’s why I seek your support and your vote for Davis City Council, District 4. 

Adam logo

Adam 1



 


Tree Davis Leader To Move On

Erin(From press release) Tree Davis is gearing up for a new season of events and activities that will bring community members together to enhance the living landscapes of our urban environment. With this change of seasons, the Tree Davis team has a bittersweet announcement that after five years of planting trees and growing community Executive Director Erin Donley Marineau’s tenure is coming to a close as she moves on to a statewide role in a Western-region conservation organization.

Erin and Board President, Greg McPherson, sat down for a conversation as the organization manages this transition and seeks recommendations for a new Executive Director:

Greg: Over the past five years, Tree Davis has overseen major tree planting projects in Davis, West Sacramento and Woodland. During your tenure, Erin, over 3,000 trees were planted and thousands of volunteers were engaged in stewardship activities. You forged new partnerships with the City of Davis, Woodland Tree Foundation, UC Davis, Sutter Davis, DJUSD and numerous other organizations that have enhanced appreciation and investment in our urban forest. Looking ahead, what important work do you see for Tree Davis?

Erin: First, it has been an immense privilege to serve in this role and to work with a passionate and engaged Board, stellar staff, and active volunteer community. Our tree community and the greater communities of Davis and Yolo County are so special in their willingness to search and reach for community and environmental betterment. I want to extend my personal thanks to Tree Davis’ founders, Board members, staff, donors, community partners, and volunteers for pulling together to do incredible work over the past 5 years.

Continue reading "Tree Davis Leader To Move On" »


The Village Feast returns in-person Oct. 16

Aug. 31 deadline for discount tickets

Village Feast 2019_Ashley Muir Bruhn-58
Patrons enjoy The Village Feast in 2019. This year's event will be offered simultaneously at two locations: Mulvaney's B&L in Sacramento, and Great Bear Vineyards in Davis. (Ashley Muir Bruin/Courtesy photo)

(From press release) Annually, The Village Feast celebrates the Sacramento region’s Farm-to-Fork season, where the community gathers to enjoy and honor the bounty of local farmers. After two years as an online event, it returns to its origin as a shared, in-person community experience – this year at two regional venues.

The two simultaneous events will be from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16 at:

  • Great Bear Vineyards, 24800 County Road 101A, Davis, catered by The Buckhorn, and
  • Mulvaney's B&L, 1215 19th St., Sacramento

Presented by Davis Farm to School and the Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Sacramento, The Village Feast is a fundraiser for food and agricultural education in the greater Sacramento area. The Village Feast follows the late-summer feasts of Provence, France, in the Provençal grand aïoli tradition, uniting people and food for a long, leisurely alfresco meal that stars aïoli — a golden garlic-mayonnaise. All proceeds from The Village Feast support early and continued education around food and agriculture.

Continue reading "The Village Feast returns in-person Oct. 16" »


Explaining what shouldn’t need explaining

PileofmoneySpending one million dollars is a sign of a mis-managed campaign

By Roberta Millstein

In his most recent apologia for the Yes on Measure H campaign, David Greenwald suggests that it is inevitable that developers will spend “exorbitant amounts of money” to promote their projects. 

But nothing forced the Yes on Measure H campaign, led by “Honorary Chair” Councilmember Dan Carson, to outspend the No on Measure H campaign by more than 14-1, as Alan Pryor reported.

In 2020, the Yes campaign spent around $323,000 to promote the DISC project. Let’s consider how the developers might have reacted to that loss.  They might have talked to voters to find out what, in their eyes, would make for a project that was better for Davis and modified the project accordingly. 

Instead, they polled Davisites to find out what would “sell” to voters and rushed a virtually unchanged project to voters (just cut in half) only a year and a half later.  Apparently, voters like parks, greenbelts, environmental sustainability, and affordable housing, so those are the features that they poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into highlighting, even though these aspects were at best incidental to the project and at worse deceptive. The graphic of the stand-up paddleboarder was perhaps the most egregious example of this.

And they dumped in almost three times the amount of the previous campaign – a campaign that had itself had spent large sums of money – in order to sell the project. That includes over $200,000 on a heavy-handed free-speech-squelching developer-funded lawsuit, which, bizarrely, Greenwald says is not a campaign expenditure issue.

Continue reading "Explaining what shouldn’t need explaining" »


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #10

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a space for YOU to comment on local issues.  Maybe you read about the issue in a crappy local blog, in a newspaper, or misheard gossip at the Farmer's Market.  Your biased distortion of reality is welcome at Al's Corner for the entertainment of all.
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Yes on H Burned One Million Dollars

Yes on Measure H Committee Total Expenditures and Accrued Expenses Approach $1 Million vs Less than $69,000 for the No on Measure H Committee

by Alan Pryor

Executive Summary

A total of 19,787 votes were cast in the City of Davis Measure H ballot, according to the Yolo County Registrar of Voters, with 12,588 (63.62%) opposing the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus and 7,199 (36.38%)  supporting it.

The most recent Yes on Measure H financial disclosures made to the City for the period ending 6/30/22 showed total monetary and in-kind expenditures and accrued expenses totaled $981,038. This works out to $136.27 for every "Yes" vote cast in the election. ($981,038 / 7,199 "Yes" votes). To date, all except $8,000 of these total expenditures were contributed or will need to be contributed by the two principals of the DISC project, Ramco Enterprises and Buzz Oates LLC of Sacramento.

By contrast, the most recent No on Measure H financial disclosures made to the City for the same period ending 6/30/22 showed total expenditures equaled  $68,771. This works out to $5.46 for every "No" vote cast in the election ($68,771 / 12,588 "No" votes). All of this money was contributed by 201 individual donors or lenders to the campaign exhibiting broad community support for the No campaign as also reflected in the election outcome.

The "Yes" campaign spent approximately 14.3 times as much money than the "No" campaign on the election which is fairly consistent with past Measure J/R/D election campaigns. It is believed that Measure H is the most expensive Measure J/R/D campaign ever waged in Davis.

Continue reading "Yes on H Burned One Million Dollars" »


LUNAFEST features short films by and about women

B8B7DF6B-A065-4FEA-B5E5-E6471036D979(From press release) Soroptimist International of Davis is the local host for LUNAFEST, a lineup of eight short films by female filmmakers. The films will premiere on Sept. 25 at Davis Odd Fellows Hall, or online that weekend.

This year’s stories are told from perspectives that champion women and gender-nonconforming individuals, highlighting their aspirations, accomplishments, resilience, strength and connection. Though the films are unrated, they are most appropriate for ages 13 and up.

The in-person event will be Sunday, Sept. 25 at Davis Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St. Doors open at 3 p.m. and the screening begins at 3:30. Food and drink will be available for purchase, including alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

Continue reading "LUNAFEST features short films by and about women" »


Gloria Partida Announces Her Reelection Campaign for Davis City Council

Gloria 2022The Gloria Partida for Davis Campaign Kickoff

Sunday, Sept. 11, 12:00 at the Mace Ranch Pavilion

(From press release) Gloria Partida has officially filed to run for reelection to her Davis City Council seat in District 4. Partida made Davis history when she was elected as the first Latina city councilmember, and again when she became the first Latina mayor. She stated, “Four years ago, I ran to ‘bring out the best in Davis.’ Looking back at how we got through the COVID-19 crisis, I believe that together we made that happen! I am running again because leading our community through a global pandemic has solidified my commitment and love for this city.”

Partida is particularly proud of the city’s partnership with UC Davis on the Healthy Davis Together initiative, which provided free PCR testing for all residents of Davis and UC Davis students, faculty, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic through June of this year. This unique collaboration garnered the attention of the New York Times as a model for cities in the US. Additionally, Partida helmed the city council through the funding recommendations for the 20 million federal dollars granted to Davis from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Continue reading "Gloria Partida Announces Her Reelection Campaign for Davis City Council" »


Urban Forest Management Plan Photo Contest

Urban-forest-photo-contest(From press release) Did you know that the City of Davis is undertaking an effort to plan for the next 40 years of urban forestry in our community? This is a time for all community members to deepen their understanding and awareness of our town's urban tree canopy. Tree Davis is partnering with the City to help bring awareness to the value of the urban forest and the opportunities for engagement on the Urban Forest Management Plan creation process through a photo contest:

Tree Davis invites all amateur photographers to enter the City of Davis Urban Forest Management Plan Photo Contest! Photos will be judged by a panel of Tree Davis staff, board members, and a representative from the City of Davis. Judging will be based on originality, educational value, and relevance to the Urban Forest Management Plan, a 40-year plan that will guide the management of the City's urban forest.

Desired photo types:

  • Tree portraits
  • People with trees
  • Wildlife with trees
  • Streetscapes

1st place will receive their choice of a free shade tree or gift certificate to Redwood Barn Nursery

2nd and 3rd places will have a choice of a variety of Tree Davis swag 

Submissions for the contest will be accepted from 𝗝𝘂𝗻𝗲 𝟯𝗿𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗢𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟳𝘁𝗵. Selected entries will be published in the City of Davis' Urban Forest Management Plan, to be published in Spring/Summer 2023, and used on Tree Davis and City of Davis websites and social media. By entering this contest, you give Tree Davis and the City of Davis the right to post your photo and use it in the Urban Forest Management Plan. Photographers will be credited where applicable.

Maximum 10 entries per person.

For more information visit www.treedavis.org, (530) 758-7337, or contact info@treedavis.org


Candidate Announcements

City Council ellection

The Davisite has explicitly extended invitations to every city council candidate in the November 2022 election to send announcements press releases and other written material to us for publication on the blog. We publish these as received with no commentary or alteration.

Since Davisite started in 2018 and through several election cycles, Davisite has published all campaign announcements and other article related to Davis as received. In that time our readership has grown significantly both in daily page hits and email subscribers.

Some candidates choose to send announcements and some supporters send letters about candidates. Some candidates completely ignore the Davisite and the Davisite audience.
 
The all-volunteer staff at Davisite want to make it clear to our readers that we are not selectively blocking candidates announcements, rather certain candidates are choosing not to connect with Davisite readers.
 
And no matter who sends an announcement, Davisite will always stick by our comment rule - no personal attacks are allowed on the Davisite.
 
 

Legal Fees Owed to the Lawyers for the Six Defendants Sued by Dan Carson over Measure H Ballot Statements were Finally Paid on His Behalf by the Yes on Measure H Campaign Committee

PileofmoneyBut Numerous Questions Remain Unanswered

by Alan E Pryor

Executive Summary

 In the June 7, 2022 election, Davis voters were asked to approve the annexation of 102 acres of land off Mace Blvd into the City of Davis for the construction of a large industrial project known as the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus. The matter was on the ballot as Measure H and was resoundingly defeated by voters by almost a 2:1 margin.

Prior to the election but immediately following the submission of ballot statements to the City Clerk by the proponents and opponents of Measure H, Davis City Council member Dan Carson, as a private resident, sued the six Davis citizens who authored and signed the Argument Against Measure H alleging that their ballot statement contained numerous references that were false and misleading.

After ruling on the matter generally in favor of the defendants and making only very minor changes in the ballot statement language, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire also later ruled that Dan Carson must repay $42,209.25 in legal fees to the Counsel for the six defendants in the case. In his ruling he stated the defense by the six defendants "served a public benefit purpose...as the public in a democracy has a strong interest in political debate that is 'uninhibited, robust and wide open'." After the election, this fee award was finally paid on behalf of Council member Carson by the Yes on Measure H campaign committee.

Assuming no monetary or other consideration was given by Council member Carson to the Yes on Measure H committee, the payment of the fee award for Council member Carson, an elected public official, by the Yes on Measure H campaign is probably considered a "Gift" under California law. Any such "Gift" to an elected official in excess of $520 per calendar year is prohibited under California law and, if so determined to have occurred, is subject to administrative penalties of up to $5,000 per violation or three times the amount of the gift received.

Further, any such gift may also also subject to an Internal Revenue Service levy of income tax on the donor of the "Gift" rather than the recipient. In this case, the responsible party incurring that liability would be the Yes on Measure H committee, which potential liability has not been reported on their Form 460 financial filings with the City.

Background

On March 21, 2022, Davis City Council member Dan Carson, as a private citizen, filed a lawsuit against 6 Davis residents (including this author) who wrote and signed the Argument Against ballot statement supporting a No vote on Measure H on the recent June ballot in Davis. The lawsuit against the six individual ballot statement authors/signers (the "Real Parties of Interest") sought to suppress almost 1/3 of the language - over 80 words -  in the ballot statement, alleging the statements were "false and misleading". 

Dan Carson was a long-time supporter of the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus (DISC) project, which the Measure H ballot sought to approve and be annexed into the City. Of further interest, Council member Carson was part of the 2-person City Council subcommittee that negotiated the terms of the DISC industrial project with the developer on behalf of the City.

After he voted to put the project before the citizens on the ballot, Council member Carson also then became the "Honorary Chair" of the Yes on Measure H committee, further clouding the nature of his relationship with the Yes on Measure H committee and the managing partner of the development project, Dan Ramos of Ramco Enterprises..

On March 30, 2022 Judge Maguire ruled that only 2 minor changes needed to be made in the ballot statement - deleting the word "only" from one clause and changing the unit of measurement of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the project in another clause. The ballot statement was otherwise left unchanged and the functional intent of the language remained in place.

Shortly thereafter, Counsel for the six defendants, Strumwasser and Woocher, filed a Petition for Award of Attorney's Fees requesting reimbursement of their legal fees and expenses incurred by the firm defending the six Davis residents from the Carson lawsuit. Counsel for Mr. Carson subsequently submitted their own petition for award of attorney's fees from the six Davis defendants alleging that he, Dan Carson was, in fact, the "successful party" in the litigation and was thus entitled to reimbursement of legal fees from the six individual Davis defendants.

This was a highly unusual request because both Council member Carson and Dan Ramos had both previously publicly admitted that the Yes on Measure H committee had funded the lawsuit on behalf of Dan Carson. Payment of these legal fees to Mr. Carson's attorney's prosecuting the case, Nossaman LLP, was confirmed by the Yes on Measure H committee Form 460 financial disclosure filings with the City of Davis.

Thus, although Mr. Carson had not actually paid any legal fees himself, he still petitioned the court to order the six individual Davis defendants who successfully fended off his lawsuit, to reimburse the legal fees that were otherwise actually paid for by the developer through the Yes on Measure H committee.

After a hearing on the matter, on June 1, 2022 Judge Daniel Maguire ordered Dan Carson, as the plaintiff in the lawsuit, to pay $42,209.75 in legal fees to Counsel for the six Davis defendants. In his ruling Judge Maguire stated,

"As explained below, while both sides gained some of their objectives in this litigation, the Real Parties in Interest have achieved the greater share of success, and are awarded a net fees recovery of $42,209.75."

He further explained his ruling stating,

"Under the ‘American Rule,’ litigants in this country generally pay their own lawyers, win or lose. In contrast, under the "English Rule," the loser pays both lawyers...

There are exceptions to the American Rule, and one is the private attorney general doctrine. Its purpose is to encourage "meritorious public interest litigation vindicating important rights."...

The private attorney general doctrine accomplishes this purpose by awarding attorneys' fees to litigants who advance the public interest by successfully bringing or defending a lawsuit. (Ibid,) The aim is to incentivize legitimate public interest litigation, not to punish the losing side. (Ibid.) Without the prospect of a fee award, litigants may be unable or unwilling to undertake or defend litigation that transcends their own private interest, even when doing so would benefit "a broad swath of citizens."

"The Real Parties in Interest also satisfy this requirement, as the public in a democracy has a strong interest in political debate that is  'uninhibited, robust and wide open.'...Our society has a deep commitment to free speech, especially in political matters, and by defending their right to make their argument in their words, the Real Parties in Interest have also enforced an important right affecting the public interest."

In summary, Judge Maguire based his Award of Attorney's Fees on the finding that the six defendants, the Real Parties of Interest, were more "successful" than Mr. Carson in the outcome of the litigation and that the award "advanced the public interest" by "defending their right to make their argument in their words".

According to the most recent Form 460 financial filing by the Yes on Measure H committee, these required legal fee reimbursements were paid to their Counsel, Nossaman LLP, on June 21 for forwarding to Strumwasser and Woocher, the Counsel for the six defendants. However, Nossaman LLP did not forward any payments to Strumwasser and Woocher until July 26, telling Strumwasser and Woocher that the Yes on Measure H committee had not paid them until them.

Unanswered Questions Concerning the Payment of Mr. Carson's Legal Award Fees by the Yes on Measure H Campaign

1st Question - Is the Payment by the Yes on Measure H Campaign of the Legal Fees Owed by Mr. Carson Considered a "Gift" to an "Elected Official" Not Allowed Under State Law?

The California Political Reform Act restricts gifts, honoraria, payment of travel expenses, and loans in excess of $520 per calendar year to 1) elected officials and candidates for local elected offices, 2) most local officials, 3) judicial candidates, and 4) designated employees of local government agencies.

In determining whether the payment of the awarded legal fees by the Yes on Measure H committee on Mr. Carson's behalf is a non-allowable "Gift" to Mr. Carson, the following information is provided in the Fair Political Practices Commission publication FPPC Ed - Pro 046 10-2021, October 2021 (https://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/NS-Documents/TAD/gift-fact-sheet/LocalGiftFactSheet_Final_2021%20Version_2_Gendered%20Terms_Clean_Copy.pdf).

"What is a "Gift"?

A “gift” is any payment or other benefit that confers a personal benefit for which a public official does not provide payment or services of equal or greater value….(Section 82028.) (See Regulation 18946 for valuation guidelines.)"

The award of attorney's fees by Judge Maguire explicitly orders a payment by Petitioner, Dan Carson, to Counsel for the Real Parties (the six defendants). However according to the Form 460 reporting Yes on Measure H committee finances filed on July 28, 2022 with the City of Davis City Clerk, full payment for the obligation by Dan Carson was actually instead made by the Yes on Measure H committee. The payment was purportedly made by the committee on June 21 to Counsel for the six defendants, Strumwasser and Woocher, to the committee's Counsel, Nossaman LLP, acting as the payment agent for the Yes on Measure H committee.

Conclusion - In the absence of any recompense otherwise made by Mr. Carson to the Yes on Measure H committee, it would otherwise appear that this payment of Mr. Carson's obligation by the Yes on Measure H committee would be considered a "Gift" to him from the Yes on Measure H committee.

"Enforcement”

Failure to comply with the laws related to gifts, honoraria, loans, and travel payments may,

depending on the violation, result in criminal prosecution and substantial fines, or in

administrative or civil monetary penalties for as much as $5,000 per violation or three times the amount illegally obtained. (See Sections 83116, 89520, 89521, 91000, 91004 and 91005.5)".

Conclusion - If the payment of Mr. Carson's legal fees by the Yes on Measure H committee is construed to be a "Gift", it could result in criminal penalties in addition to imposition of administrative penalties up to $128,127.75 ($42,709.25 x 3).

Possible Exceptions - The primary exception to the restrictions and limitations on "Gifts" to elected public officials exists as follows,

"Existing Personal Relationship. Benefits received from an individual where it is clear that the gift was made because of an existing personal or business relationship unrelated to the official’s position and there is no evidence whatsoever at the time the gift is made that the official makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on the individual who would otherwise be the source of the gift. (Regulation 18942(a)(19).)"

However, this exception would seemingly not apply in this instance because Council member Carson has publicly declared on numerous occasions that he has no business or economic relationships of any kind with the Yes on Measure H committee, the developer Ramco Enterprises, or the DISC project itself.

Further, it is clear by by being part of the City Council subcommittee that negotiated the development agreement between the City of Davis and the project, that Council member Carson "makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect" on the principal developers of the project who, not coincidentally, are the principal funders of the Yes on Measure H committee. Additionally, because one of the developers of the DISC project, Ramco Enterprises, also has numerous other properties within the City in which Mr. Carson "makes or participates in the type of governmental decisions that may have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect" on those properties, this exception to the restriction of a gift is not applicable.

Conclusion -  The payment of the award of legal fees by the Yes on Measure H campaign committee is seemingly not excepted by FPPC regulations regarding restrictions on "Gifts" and otherwise could be considered a gift to Council member Carson because it "confers a personal benefit (to Council member Carson) for which a public official does not provide payment or services of equal or greater value."

We assume in this discussion that Council member Carson has not provided or agreed to provide any past or future favorable treatment of any matters before the City by the developer by virtue of the developer's many other property holdings within the City. But if any such promises or inferences were otherwise made in exchange for the payment of the Mr. Carson's legal fees, it otherwise could be construed as a "Bribe" rather than a "Gift" for which much more substantial criminal and civil penalties could result.

2nd Question - Will any such "Gift" to Dan Carson of the Payment of His Legal Fees by the Yes on Measure H Committee Impose any Additional Income Tax Liability?

According to the Internal Revenue Service,

"The gift tax is a tax on the transfer of property by one individual to another while receiving nothing, or less than full value, in return. The tax applies whether or not the donor intends the transfer to be a gift. The gift tax applies to the transfer by gift of any type of property. You make a gift if you give property (including money), or the use of or income from property, without expecting to receive something of at least equal value in return."  (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/gift-tax)

"The donor is generally responsible for paying the gift tax. Under special arrangements the donee may agree to pay the tax instead." (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/frequently-asked-questions-on-gift-taxes)

In the present circumstances, the "Gift" to Dan Carson by the Yes on Measure H committee (by virtue of their payment of legal fees owed by Mr. Carson) would presumably generate an income tax liability on the part of the Yes on Measure H committee, as the gift donor rather than by Mr. Carson as the recipient of the gift.

In their most recent financial 460 report (through June 30) filed with the City in which the payment of $42,209.25 by the Yes on Measure H committee was noted, there was NOT any corresponding accrued expense noted to reflect the additional income tax liability potentially incurred by the committee by virtue of their "Gift" to Carson.

3rd Question - Why Does a Discrepancy Exist in the Reported and Actual Date of Payment of Awarded Legal Fees to Counsel for the Six Defendants?

The $42, 209.75 fees ordered to be paid by Mr. Carson to the Counsel for the 6 defendants was supposedly paid by the Yes on Measure H committee through Carson's Counsel, Nossaman LLP, on June 21 according to the most recent 460 campaign financial statements submitted by the Yes on Measure H committee to the City on July 28 for the period ending June 30, 2022.

However, the award amount was not forwarded by Carson's Counsel to the six defendants' Counsel, Strumwasser and Woocher, until July 26, 2022 and the delays were continually attributed by Carson's Counsel to ongoing delays in receipt of the payment from the Yes on Measure H committee. Perhaps there is an honest accounting error here but these discrepancies in timing have not been explained.

________________________________________________

Alan Pryor is the Principal Officer and Treasurer of the No on Davis Innovation and Sustainable Campus Campaign Committee and one of the defending Real Parties of Interest in the lawsuit brought by Mr. Carson.


City Seeks Public Comment on Davis Climate Action and Adaptaion Plan (CAAP)

Davis CAAPCommunity Review Period Now Open for City's 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

From City of Davis Press Release:

Post Date:August 08, 2022 4:06 pm

The City of Davis announced today that the community review period for the City’s draft 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is now open to the public for an extended 60-day period that will close on October 10, 2022. 

The CAAP establishes a roadmap for carbon reduction policies that will allow the City of Davis to achieve its carbon neutrality goal by 2040, five years ahead of the State’s 2045 timeline. This accelerated goal stems from a 2019 City Council resolution declaring a climate emergency in response to current and expected future climate impacts, including increases in extreme heat, drought, tree mortality, wildfire and flooding. In addition, the CAAP complies with California legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, address climate adaptation and incorporate environmental justice enacted since 2010, including Senate Bills 379 (2015) and 1000 (2018); Executive Order B-55-18; California Air Resources Board 2017 Scoping Plan; and Office of Planning and Research General Plan Guidelines.

“We all have a responsibility to take care of our environment as stewards for future generations,” said Mayor Lucas Frerichs. “Toward this goal, the CAAP will further develop and elevate the City’s commitment, advocacy and leadership to climate action and sustainability.”

Started in January 2021, the process for the CAAP is nearing the final stages of completion with this draft document community review period, to be followed by a finalized adopted CAAP and environmental review targeted for December 2022. Community engagement continues to be an integral component of developing and implementing the CAAP actions and have included multiple community workshops, presentations to community partners, ‘pop-up’ meetings downtown, online surveys, an online community forum, a dedicated City website and monthly progress reports to City Commissions. Additionally, an external Technical Advisory Committee met eight times over the last year to provide input and expertise on the process and content of the CAAP. Through these efforts, the CAAP’s project management team was able to be responsive to local experts, community suggestions, information requests and adjust products and schedules in response to public input, all indicative of the importance of the community-based approach in developing the CAAP update. 

The CAAP describes achievable, measurable GHG emissions reduction and climate change adaptation actions that align with the City’s goals and priorities. When implemented, these actions will reduce GHG emissions by 42% below 2016 levels by 2030 and set the community on a trajectory toward its 2040 carbon neutrality goal. The CAAP actions will also prepare the community for climate change impacts, improve public safety, address environmental justice and enhance the quality of life for residents.

To submit a comment for the community review period, visit: https://cityofdavis.org/davis-CAAP-survey. To read the CAAP, visit:  https://www.cityofdavis.org/sustainability/2020-climate-action-and-adaptation-plan-caap. Contact the Sustainability Coordinator Kerry Loux at: caap@cityofdavis.org.