Entries categorized "Trustworthiness"

Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - February 2023

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February starts early at Al's Corner !  To kick off the month, here are some ground rules:  at Al's Corner, you are welcome to make (judged by some others to be) glib comments that you think are humorous in regard to articles pertaining to tragic situations !   See below:

Continue reading "Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - February 2023" »


The City's Failure to Plan for Emergencies

Fixing power pole
PG&E crew working into the night to fix a leaning power pole near Cesar Chavez Elementary

By Roberta Millstein

The recent storms have made it amply clear that the City lacks any sort of coherent plan for dealing with storms (and presumably other sorts of emergencies).  Every action taken in response to the recent storm was late, and in some cases, inadequate. 

Yet these storms were comparable to other big storms that Davis has experienced in past years.  And even if they weren’t, the storm that occurred over New Year’s Eve and into New Year’s Day ought to have been a warm up, with lessons learned for the storms Jan 4-8, all of which were well-predicted by weather forecasters. 

The City seemed to make things up as they go.  To be clear, I am not faulting rank-and-file staff, who clearly were working hard under difficult circumstances.  It has also been reported that the City did a good job finding shelter for people lacking housing.  I am grateful for these efforts.  I am faulting the City Council  and the City Manager for failure to provide leadership.  There should have been plans in place for these kind of events long ago.

Here are the areas that need to improve.  I have broken them into short-term, medium-term, and long term, in the sense that the things in the short term can and should be fixed right away.  The others will take a little longer.

Continue reading "The City's Failure to Plan for Emergencies" »


Please Pick the Side of Democracy

Democracy

By Colin Walsh

Please pick the side of Democracy.

Tonight, the City Council has the opportunity to set in motion their own private pick of the successor to Lucas Frerichs for the District 3 Council seat, or they can side with democracy and let voters decide.

I can certainly understand the temptation to save money and sidestep elections and appoint their selected candidate (likely Donna Neville). After all, the council all endorsed each other and almost always votes together. Even our newest council member Bapu Vaitla arrives as a consummate insider with strong relationships with the other council members. I mean really the Davis power clique has dominated the last elections and has every reason to believe their handpicked appointment would win in an election anyway. After all – the inside candidates dominate in fundraising, endorsements, and opportunities in all recent council elections.

The mechanism for picking might look like this - we would probably see the Council set in motion a process where they would pick the pickers. The council could appoint a committee to go through the process of interviewing and evaluating candidates and then pick exactly the same person the council would pick. After all, the council would surely pick the pickers that would pick the council’s pick of choice anyway - all while the voters of district 3 would be left picking their noses.

But maybe district 3 would vote differently than the power clique prefers. They certainly should have a chance to pick for themselves.

Some argue precedent, that the council has picked replacements candidates in the past, but things are different now with district elections. All of the current council members are elected by voters from specific districts and not by district 3 voters. District 3 voters deserve the chance to pick their own council person without interference from the candidates representing the other districts.

Even if the council chooses an election sometime in the future, but picks an interim council member, it amounts to the biggest endorsement they can give providing a very unfair advantage to their pick in the election. Better to leave the seat open until the voters of District 3 can vote democratically for the council member to fill the remaining term that Frerichs has left behind. Frankly if district 3 voters are upset about not being represented for a period of time, they should send their complaints to Frerichs who abandoned his council seat mid term for a better paying gig.

Let’s face it, the council has been voting in lockstep on just about every major issue for years now. A vacancy for a few months is not going to make a big difference in outcome. Especially considering the lockstep council would likely just pick another person to join them in lockstep.

Or maybe the council will pick democracy and district 3 can pick the next council person to represent them. One can hope.


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - January 2023

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I woke up this New Year's morning and the Davis Vanguard wouldn't load.  I thought God had smiled down upon me and Davis and our civic nightmare was over -- The Davis Vanguard was GONE!!! 

But a couple of hours later it loaded again.  Shit.

God fails again.

So I would wish you all a Happy New Year, but why?

But is there hope?  I dunno, I got some letter from an anonymous sender referencing articles in the "California Globe" from October 2021 and April 2022.  Seriously, I don't know who sent it to me, but they knew my mailing address.  The article they referenced seems to refer to:

New IRS Complaint Against Non-Profit Davis Vanguard News Service

By Katy Grimes, October 22, 2021 3:35 pm

https://californiaglobe.com/articles/new-irs-complaint-against-non-profit-davis-vanguard-news-service/

AND . . .

Attorney Says Non-Profit Davis Vanguard News Service ‘Continues to Violate’ Despite IRS Complaint

By Katy Grimes, April 22, 2022 10:33 am

https://californiaglobe.com/articles/attorney-says-non-profit-davis-vanguard-news-service-continues-to-violate-despite-irs-complaint/

Each is subtitled:  "It is unfair and illegal for the Vanguard to receive tax-free status and revenue to develop a website and then use that website to campaign for/against certain candidate".  The cover letter for the anonymous letter has just one sentence in a sea of white:  "Why Isn't Anyone Reporting on This?"

So what the hell is this? Doesn't the attorney so-named know that unless someone actually sues and wins, or the IRS takes action, there is no determination of legality?  And doesn't the sender realize that someone named Katy Grimes is, indeed, reporting on this -- so the assertion that no one is reporting on this is refuted on the next page.  But maybe they mean -- in Davis?

And then it occurred to me, the letter wasn't anonymously sent:  maybe there was no sender.  No human sender.  The letter may have been 'immaculately sent', if you will.  Yes, God Almighty Its-Self has chosen me to post this information on Al's Corner!!!  God has chosen ME to Save Davis!!!

God, I'm honored.  I will obey.

Maybe it will be a half-decent 2023 after all :-|

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Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #16 [Vaguely Mixed PC Holiday Edition]

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Marginally enjoyable holidays from Al's Corner :-|     . . .       'Tis the season to be an a-hole. 

Express your inner a-hole at Al's Corner!

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Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #15 [Thanksgiving Edition]

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Let's all gather around the Al's Corner Thanksgiving table and give thanks that Al's Corner provides a place to moan & complain about what is stupid in Davis.

Let the complaining begin!

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Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #14

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A place for YOU to make comments about stuff because why not.  Special election edition for no particular reason nor content.
Election Voting Happening People - Vote if you can rub two brain cells together!  AND  if you vote similar to me.  If not, please stay home and forget to turn in the envelope. Thank you.
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Miller Protests the Davis Vanguard -- for Sucking

ACM
Alan C. Miller’s One-Man Protest of the Davis Vanguard, for Sucking. – Photo Credit: Alan C. Miller (also available as a poster or as a t-shirt!)

An Al’s Corner Special Report. Dateline Sacramento. Alan C. Miller Reporting on Alan C. Miller.

The Davis Vanguard (DV) held an event last Thursday night in Sacramento. The event honored some people for doing stuff. Entry into the event was $100 to $5000.   Why?   Do those contributing not realize that giving money to something perpetuates its existence?

As of last Thursday morning, there were 167 $100 tickets ‘available’. But one shouldn’t draw any conclusions as people often wait until the last minute on events. As one person did. As of 6:00pm last Thursday there were 166 $100 dollar tickets available. Not sure how many $5000 tickets were still available.

The entrance had no obvious signs of the event, though some A-frames advertised a food establishment within the becolumned ex-bank. I arrived at 5:45pm and found a spot near the A-frames across from the door where I could be seen but be out of the way of anyone who showed up. I held up my 11x17 protest sign which read, “The Davis Vanguard Sucks Donkey Balls” on one side and “$100 - $5000 WHY?” on the other.

Continue reading "Miller Protests the Davis Vanguard -- for Sucking" »


Newly Released City Documents Reveal More Problems with Carson’s City Emails

Carson - emailCouncilman Carson Violated Two City Policies Using City Resources for Campaign Emails

By David L. Johnson and Colin Walsh

New documents obtained through a Public Records Act request reveal that City of Davis Councilman Dan Carson violated two City of Davis policies when he sent numerous campaign emails from his publicly-funded city email account concerning Measure H, a ballot measure to approve the DiSC development project.

New documents from the city also reveal that all emails Carson sent in 2022 regarding measure H appear to have been deleted from his city account.

Continue reading "Newly Released City Documents Reveal More Problems with Carson’s City Emails" »


Partida Statement On Old Fraud Conviction

20200707-partida-gloria-700x395Statement By Gloria Partida

There has been discussion on social media over the past week concerning whether I was truthful in answering a question that was asked by an audience member during a candidate forum sponsored by Yolo People Power on September 26, 2022. I was asked whether I had ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.

I responded by giving examples of police encounters I had had while driving. I also affirmed in my response that I had the experience of being arrested.

Have I ever been convicted of a crime? Yes. Do I currently have a conviction? No.

Answering this question in a way that doesn’t create misunderstanding, takes more than the brief response time allowed in the forum. Moreover, I have received legal advice that I am under no obligation to disclose this prior conviction, given that it was reduced to a misdemeanor and set aside.

QuoteThe events around this occurred in 1996, and resulted in charges being filed against me. The details of this incident involve my extended family and the circumstances are deeply personal and painful. The bottom line is that I followed all legally authorized processes to resolve the matter, including what was needed to obtain court orders to render the incident a misdemeanor for all purposes and obtain an expungement of my record. When I filed for a new term on the City Council and declared that I met the eligibility criteria, I did so in good faith and in accordance with the law. I have been assured by my legal counsel and the District Attorney’s office that my response was in full compliance with the law.

In response to Alan Pryor’s statements regarding my background, I do not have a criminal conviction. I did have a prior conviction from 22 years ago. That conviction was dismissed and set aside by the Yolo County Superior Court in 2005, based on my “continued law-abiding lifestyle, education and involvement in family and community.”  Simple fact: I do not currently have a conviction.

Seventeen years ago, my court case file should have been updated to correctly show a “dismissal” of the charges. I learned only recently that, due to a record-keeping error, the Court website was not properly updated to show this dismissal until I notified them several days ago that the court website contained incorrect information. Contrary to Mr. Pryor’s assertion that the court website was “scrubbed” the Court Clerk’s Office acknowledged that the website had not been properly updated.  The Court Clerk then sealed the record, as required by Senate Bill 731, which took effect on July 1 of this year. No scrubbing involved, just compliance with applicable legal requirements.

I did not have any legal obligation to disclose this when I filed my papers for candidacy.  At that point, I was asked if I had a felony conviction, and I did not have one. The prior conviction had by then been reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed. You have a right to hold me to a high standard, and my sincere hope in sharing this information with you is that you will take into account my long history of commitment to our community. I sincerely hope that all of my work in the community will allow you to put this issue into the proper context.

-----------------

link to Alan Pryor's previous article "Does Gloria Partida’s Conviction for a Felony in 2000 Disallow Her from Holding an Elected Public Office in California?"

 

link to answer Gloria's Answer at forum


Does Gloria Partida’s Conviction for a Felony in 2000 Disallow Her from Holding an Elected Public Office in California?

And did Gloria Partida sign a false statement and wrongfully fail to disclose the conviction as required by law in her Statement of Candidacy in 2022?

Attestation

By Alan Pryor

The Alleged Felony Crimes, the Conviction, and the Sentencing

Based on official court records, Gloria Partida, current at-large Davis City Councilmember who is running for reelection in the newly created District 4 (East Davis and Wildhorse), was apparently charged in 1999 with four felony counts of “Forgery, Statute 470(A)” and one felony count of “Fraud to Obtain Aid, Statute 10980(C)(2)” for offenses committed in 1995 and 1996.

The following screenshot of the initial charges filed in Yolo County Superior Court was obtained from the Court’s document retrieval system (see https://portal-cayolo.tylertech.cloud/Portal/Home/WorkspaceMode?p=0, using “Partida, Gloria Jean” to search). Note that as of the evening of 10/10/2022, the records appear to have been scrubbed from the Court’s website although they were available earlier in the day:

Filed Charges

The initial complaint against Ms. Partida was filed on 3/12/1999 and she was arraigned on all of the charges on 3/30/1999.

At the Preliminary Hearing on 2/2/2000, Ms. Partida entered a conditional plea of “guilty/Nolo” to the Fraud to Obtain Aid felony charge with the stipulation that no time in a State Prison would be imposed upon sentencing on the assigned date of 3/20/2000.

Continue reading "Does Gloria Partida’s Conviction for a Felony in 2000 Disallow Her from Holding an Elected Public Office in California?" »


Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #13

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Lucky #13: comment on stuff and burn in hell.  But wear a mask while in hell.
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Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #12

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Al's Corner is a space for YOU to comment on local issues.  What is stopping you?  Huh?
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Vaitla Suggests Return to RoundUp Use in Davis Parks.

Spray picBy Nancy Price

I was stunned to read that Bapu Vaitla, who is a candidate for Davis City Council in District 1, is considering overturning the City's phase out of glyphosate (manufactured and commonly sold as RoundUp by Monsanto) instead of improving and strengthening the City's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. (see Question #2 at  https://www.davisite.org/2022/09/part-5-candidate-responses-to-the-sierra-club-yolano-group-questionnaire-for-the-2022-davis-city-cou.html#more). None of the other candidates made this audacious proposal.

Here is some background. The City decided to phase out glyphosate in 2017; finally discontinuing its use in 2020.  The process involved three City citizen-advisory commissions: Natural Resources, Recreation and Parks, and Open Space & Habitat. It took over a year and a half and involved a widely attended public citizens forum, a city-wide citizen survey, many individual Commission meetings, and a 3-way joint Commission meeting. Despite considerable stonewalling from staff, who attempted to derail and water down THIS [the] citizen-based effort, the measure was finally unanimously approved by the City Council. What passed in 2017 wasn’t perfect, but it was well-received by citizens. (For more details, see https://www.davisite.org/2018/07/bad-process-leads-to-mediocre-decision-on-pesticide-use-in-davis-and-not-without-wasted-time-and-eff.html). 

Around the same time, the city forced out its popular and highly respected IPM specialist (see https://www.davisite.org/2018/05/martin-guerenas-statement-city-of-davis-environmental-recognition-award-2018.html). Regrettably, that position still hasn’t been filled. But given the clear desire expressed by many staff to continue using non-organic pesticides over other less toxic weed management strategies, it is hard to see the ongoing long-term failure to fill the position as an unintended accident. 

Instead of advocating for hiring an IPM Specialist, Vaitla thinks we should go back to glyphosate because, he says, — “we cannot reasonably resort to mechanical weed management.

There are several problems here. One is Vaitla offering an opinion that either ignores or is ignorant of this recent controversial history of pesticide use by the City. A second problem is his complete dismissal and disregard of the work of the public and three citizen-advisory commissions which collectively devoted many hundreds of hours of work to this effort, most of which occurred prior to Mr. Vaitla's most recent move to Davis. 

A third problem is that, although Mr. Vaitla gives lip service to the Precautionary Principle, he doesn’t follow it. Notably, just this past June, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected EPA's analysis for determining that glyphosate is likely not carcinogenic to people and ordered EPA to conduct "further analysis and explanation." The science is far from settled, and since there are valid reasons to think that glyphosate is a human carcinogen supported by respected international authorities and agencies, we should avoid using it especially since we have other methods at our disposal. 

Vaitla's position is hasty, overlooks a long City history and the latest Court rulings, and lacks respect for the citizen and commissions-led process in Davis. And, most importantly, it fails to protect our health. This attitude generally does not bode well for the sort of Councilmember he would make. 


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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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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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.



Welcome to Al's Corner - "Pouring Gasoline on the Dumpster Fire of Davis Politics" - Volume #9

image from www.sparkysonestop.comAl's Corner is a place for YOU to comment on local issues and articles/comments from other local media.  Bring a can of gasoline and a source of ignition.  [See "Pages" --> "Al's Corner - What It Is" for Rulez.]

City of Davis survey results

How are you feeling about your city?

By Roberta Millstein

Recently, the City released the results of a periodic survey it does to take the pulse of Davis's residents.  The results are online here.

The survey was conducted April 12 – 19, 2022 using a a multi-modal methodology: telephone, text- and email-to-web.  There were 500 interviews with an estimated margin of error ±4.37 percentage points.

The staff report highlights some "key takeaways":

  • more than two-thirds of residents are optimistic about the direction of the City
  • more than 75% are satisfied with City services
  • affordable housing, homelessness and public safety are the top three areas of concern for residents
  • social media platforms and communications from the City are gaining popularity as a source of local news

Those are indeed interesting takeaways, although as always with the term "affordable housing," one wonders if people intend the legal meaning, or if they are unhappy with the affordability of housing more generally, or both.

Below are two panels of the survey that I found interesting.  In the first panel, only 23% of citizens are dissatisfied with city services but 39% are dissatisfied with the City Council.  So it seems that the dissatisfaction with the City Council is over and above the dissatisfaction with the provision of city services.  As for the second panel, as a longtime subscriber to the Davis Enterprise I am glad to see that it remains our top source for news.  I hope that people support it with subscriptions because there really is no other comparable source in Davis.

I'm curious to hear people's thoughts and reflections about the survey, so please leave comments if you'd like to weigh in!

City-satisfaction-ratings

Important-source-of-local-news