Judge to Hear Measure O Challenge on Tuesday

lawsuitby Jose Granda and Thomas Randall

(Editor’s note: this was submitted as a press release, the Vanguard is printing it verbatim).

The Petition for an Alternative and Peremptory Writ of Mandate to strike the language of Measure O off the ballot gets its first hearing in court.   Two Davis residents Thomas Randall and Jose Granda who filed a case on March 17, 2014 challenging the election materials will appear on Tuesday, March 25 before the Honorable Judge Timothy Fall at 9 a.m.  They are bringing two major issues before the court and challenging three documents to appear before the voters.  The ballot question of Measure O, the arguments in favor signed by the five members of the City Council and the City Attorney Harriet Steiner Analysis of the measure.

At the center of the case there two major issues before the Court:

 (1)  Are phrases that appear in the above mentioned documents false and misleading to the voters?  Do they violate Division 9, Chapter 3 Municipal Elections (Elections Code 9200-9295?  They have put these documents for examination and determination by the court.  They contend that the phrase   “a half cent sales and use tax” as it appears on the ballot means exactly that ½ cent no matter how much what you buy costs.  It is completely different from “a half percent sales and use tax”, which is a percentage of the total price you pay.   “If they are asking the voters to pay ½ cent or one cent on the question on the ballot they better charge them ½ or 1 cent, but if they ask for that and charge them one half percent or one percent of the price, the question on the ballot is false and misleading” said Jose Granda one of the Petitioners..

Tuesday Granda and Randall will present their case on an Ex Parte hearing for an order shortening time.  This means that they want the judge to set a date quickly for the trial on their challenge to the materials of Measure O and not wait the normal 21 days or longer to be heard.  They are going to court to move this case quickly so as to not interfere with the rest of the election materials printing and distribution.   “Striking the false and misleading language from the materials of Measure O is in the public’s best interest.  Davis residents deserve to be treated with respect, honestly and clarity when they are being asked for money.  They are being treated as if they were an ATM machine to bail out the City Council every time they overspend and run the budget in the red’.   Granda continued.

(2) The second issue Randall and Granda have presented before the court is if the City of Davis may combine both, the extension of an existing tax which has not expired and has two more years of life, together with a new tax on the same ballot and the same election.   “This goes to the heart of being fair with Davis residents.  Cheating them of their right to decide on an election in 2016 if they want to extend the tax is arrogant and unethical.  The city Council deliberately is denying the voters that opportunity, piggybacking such renewal together with a new tax”   Said Granda.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Tia Will

    ““Striking the false and misleading language from the materials of Measure O is in the public’s best interest.”

    As a member of that “public” that Mr. Granda and Mr. Randall claim to know the “best interest” of, I feel that it would truly be in my best interest for them to stop what I basically see as an attack on my intelligence as well as the tax they oppose.. Their premise is that I cannot differentiate between 1/2 cent and 1/2 cent on the dollar. I have noted many times that I am mathematically challenged, but who is really being arrogant and patronizing here ?

    Please you two, be honest. Say that you don’t like taxes no matter what. If your argument has merit it may win on its own accord. You do not effectively forward your position by treating the voting public as imbeciles that you must protect. Stop wasting the time of our judges, city officials and staff, and yes…..our tax dollars and your self serving agenda.

  2. Michael Harrington

    I know it’s easy for many of you to dump on these two plaintiffs, but remember they beat the school board on a screwed up parcel tax. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with challenging elected officials as we voters and residents deem necessary and allowed by law.

    The reason the school district is so careful to detail in mandatory terms how the parcel tax will be spent is because these plaintiffs and others will oppose and shine the light on malfeasance with the money.

    1. David Greenwald

      That’s not quite how I recall. What I recall is that there was a court ruling in another district. The other district clearly violated the law by creating a vastly different assessment for commercial properties. Nevertheless, the district in an over-abundance of caution decided to pass a compromise to avoid a legal showdown.

    2. Frankly

      The problem is not the opinions of these two plaintiffs; it is their tactics.

      You might not like the following sentiment given your profession, but I think we should always strive to minimize the use of attorneys and courts to solve problems.

      It is clear that Granda and Randall are against the sales tax measure. Why not campaign against using rational arguments instead of attempting to derail it with legal twaddle?

      Attorneys are word people, and certainly there is a need to ensure no material ambiguity in the words contained in our ballot language. But please let’s be honest here. The motivation is not to help improve the language… the motivation is to strike the measure due to some contrived and de minimis technical technical detail. From my perspective, it just looks like malicious behavior.

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