Guest Commentary: Yes on Measure L Campaign Violates FPPC Disclosure Laws

Alan Pryor

Campaign Failed to Report Davis Vanguard Ad Expenditures and Provided Inadequate Disclosure of other “Non-Monetary” Contributions and Expenditures

By Alan Pryor

In an article I authored and published on February 12th in both the Davisite and Davis Vanguard, I vehemently disagreed with and disputed allegations that the No on Measure L campaign committed expenditure or finance reporting violations (see Background below). I noted, to the contrary, that California election law specifically disallows campaign monies to be used for the types of litigation expenses that were otherwise alleged we omitted from disclosing .

Further, I also disclosed that about $70,000 of campaign expenditures which were made by the Yes on Measure L campaign for attorney fees were illegal under FPPC campaign finance regulations as written in the FPPC Disclosure Manuals that provide guidance and requirements for such campaign expenditures.

In the course of investigating such expenditures and in recent commentary on-line by different observers, it was noticed that there were other areas of campaign expenditures that are inconsistent with financial disclosure standards of the FPPC. In particular, the Davis Vanguard ran daily ads since the inception of the campaign until voting day and for a substantial period beforehand. The payment for these ads is not disclosed on any financial statements filed by the Yes on Measure L campaign which is a violation of FPPC regulations

Further, over $64,000 of non-monetary contributions to the Yes on Measure L campaign for salaries have been disclosed in campaign filings but the recipients of these salaries have been kept secret and it is not known if these payments were for personal gain which is prohibited by FPPC regulations or were otherwise disallowed under FPPC guidelines.

Together, the lack of disclosure of how Davis Vanguard ads were paid and the secrecy surrounding the payment of salaries supposedly associated with campaign raises serious questions as to whether or not the Yes on Measure L is compliant with campaign reporting requirements with respect to these matters.

Let me explain.

DAVIS VANGUARD AD COSTS WERE NOT DISCLOSED IN FINANCIAL FILINGS BY THE YES ON MEASURE L CAMPAIGN

Every single day during the entire length of the Measure L campaign, the Davis Vanguard ran the following side-bar ad in a premium position next to every story it ran on its website whether or not the story was even about the Measure L campaign.

If readers clicked on the ad they were redirected to the Yes on Measure L/West Davis Active Adult Community campaign website at www.westdavisactive.com as listed on the ad. That website had a variety of election related links and schedules of public meetings discussing the project and the upcoming election.

The Yes on Measure L campaign financial disclosure filings do not list any payments whatsoever to the Vanguard for these ads although they otherwise disclose numerous payments made to other publications for ads including the Davis Enterprise, the Aggie, and a variety of “get out the vote” publications sponsored by various Democratic Party factions in California.

Yes on Measure L campaign spokespersons or their surrogates have stated that the failures to disclose payments for these Vanguard ads placements were not campaign reporting violations for two reasons.

First, they claim that pre-payment to the Vanguard for the ads was made before the Yes on Measure L campaign was officially formed and thus it was not necessary to disclose these payments to the FPPC on Yes on Measure L campaign disclosure filings. However, the campaign has not stated who paid for the ads, or when they were paid, or what amount was paid.

This argument is disingenuous and false. Even if the ads were paid for by another entity before the campaign was launched, the fact that the ads ran during the campaign conferred a specific and identifiable monetary benefit to the campaign which should otherwise have been reported as “Non-Monetary Contributions” to the campaign on the specific FPPC forms provided for such disclosures. Failure to so disclose these “Non-Monetary Contributions” is a clear violation of FPPC reporting requirements.

The FPPC specifically identifies Non-Monetary Contributions of this type in their Disclosure Manuals, as follows:

General Rules for Reporting Non-monetary Contributions Received on Schedule C

Schedule C is used to report non-monetary contributions received by the committee. Non-monetary contributions are goods or services provided to the committee for which it does not pay the fair market value.

…..

Examples of Non-monetary Contributions

Facebook ads, banner ads…

Clearly, since the side-bar banner campaign ads run by the Vanguard were not paid for by the Yes on Measure L campaign themselves, they qualify as and should have been reported as non-monetary contributions by the campaign committee.

Secondly, another claim was made that these ads were only generic ads related to the West Davis Active Adult Community project itself and are not specifically related to the Yes on Measure L campaign.

This argument is also disingenuous and false because the name West Davis Active Adult Community and its widely used acronym “WDAAC” are intimately associated with every aspect of the election campaign. For instance:

  • “West Davis Active Adult Community” is the entity that provided over 99% of the cash donations to the Yes on Measure L campaign.
  • “West Davis Active Adult Community” is in the General Plan Amendment Resolution by the City Council authorizing and placing the project on the ballot.
  • “West Davis Active Adult Community” is in the Ballot language placed before voters.
  • “West Davis Active Adult Community” is in the City Attorney’s Impartial Ballot Analysis.
  • “West Davis Active Adult Community” is in the ballot Argument in Favor of Measure L.
  • “West Davis Active Adult Community” is in the ballot Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure L.
  • West Davis Active Adult Community and “WDAAC” are in the City’s Declaration of election results.
  • West Davis Active Adult Community and/or “WDAAC” are used extensively throughout the campaigns’ literature, give-aways, banners, and promotional material.

Voters clearly and unmistakably understood from the ad that it was promoting the Yes on Measure L election in addition to the project itself. For the Yes on Measure L campaign to state otherwise is simply misleading, self-serving and designed to distract observers from the apparent and obvious campaign reporting violations.

We also note that the Yes on Measure L campaign also disclosed in their financial filings to the FPPC a $3,000 payment to “Froggy’s” for food service for a Vanguard fundraising event. The event was the “Vanguard Court Watch 8th Annual Fundraiser“. That payment from the Yes on Measure L campaign earned “Yes on Measure L/West Davis Active Adult Community” the moniker of “Social Justice Champions” by the Vanguard in their promotional material for the fundraising event.

This serves as further evidence that the Yes on Measure L campaign is inextricably linked to West Davis Active Adult Community by the campaign, the Vanguard, and the public. Trying to claim that the West Davis Active Adult Community/WDAAC ads in the Vanguard were only generic is thus demonstrably false and failure to disclose the value of the ads as expenditures by or non-monetary contributions to the campaign are clear violations of FPPC reporting requirements.

To expand on this apparent disclosure violation, food expenses by campaigns are also strictly limited by FPPC regulations:

Food 

A committee may purchase a meal with a cost of $200 or less, so long as the expense is reasonably related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose. However, if the aggregate cost of the meal is more than $200, the expense must be directly related to one of these purposes.

Although this particular food expense for the Vanguard fundraiser conclusively links the Yes on Measure L campaign with the West Davis Active Adult Community, because the food expense is in excess of $200 and the Vanguard Court Watch 8th Annual Fundraiser is not directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose, it appears this $3,000 expense is also not an allowable campaign expense for the Yes on Measure L campaign under FPPC guidelines.

NON-MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE YES ON MEASURE L CAMPAIGN REPRESENTED AS SALARIES PAID FOR BY A COMPANY OWNED BY DAVID TAORMINO ARE SUSPECT

According to the Yes on Measure L campaign financial disclosures submitted to the FPPC, over $64,000 of non-monetary contributions to the campaign were made in the form of “salaries”. The identified donor was a company owned or controlled by David Taormino named “Davd-Mar Inc”.

David-Mar Inc is a California Domestic Stock Corporation formed in 1976 of which David Taormino is the principal agent for service of process. The stock ownership of the company is not known.

However, there are many unanswered questions surrounding the nature of these so-called “salaries”. The obvious question is whether these in-kind salary contributions meet standards for “salaries” and similar payments otherwise established by the FPPC.

Firstly, payment of salaries are clearly allowed as non-monetary campaign contributions under FPPC guidelines. Under the same category of allowable non-monetary contributions described above, FPPC guidelines state:

“Compensation paid by an employer to an employee who spends more than 10% of his or her compensated time in a calendar month working on campaign activities for one or more campaigns. Compensation includes gross wages paid and any benefits in lieu of wages, such as stock options or an annuity purchase. Compensation does not include standard benefits, such as the employer’s payments to a health or retirement plan.

That said, other FPPC guidance on use of campaign funds to pay salaries is very succinct and clear and posted on their website at http://www.fppc.ca.gov/learn/campaign-rules/campaign-disclosure-manuals.html. (See Manual_3_Ch_5_Use_of_Campaign_Funds.pdf

Salary and Compensation

 A candidate or officeholder, or any individual authorized to approve the committee’s expenditures, may not receive a salary or other compensation from the committee for the performance of political, legislative, or governmental activities. The committee may pay for professional services such as an accountant, however, even if the accountant has authority to sign committee checks”.

It is not known if the salaries paid by Davd-Mar Inc as non-monetary contributions to the Yes on Measure L campaign meet any of the above criteria which, if not, would be considered a disallowed campaign expenditure.

Further, if these salary payments were truly donations to the Yes on Measure L campaign then, according to IRS regulations prohibiting deductibility of campaign contributions, they are NOT deductible business expenses to the corporation making the campaign contributions. It is not know if the Davd-Mar Inc corporation intends to deduct these salaries in the normal course of their corporate income tax filings.

SUMMARY

The side-bar banner ads run by the Vanguard on behalf of the WDAAC are clearly campaign related and the Yes on Measure L campaign has thus violated FPPC reporting requirements by not disclosing this as non-monetary contributions either by the Vanguard or the original payer of the ads.

Additionally, numerous questions also exists about the nature of the non-monetary “salary” contributions by Davd-Mar Inc which should be thoroughly investigated for compliance purposes.


BACKGROUND

David Taormino is the principal promoter of the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) which was recently approved by the voters of Davis on the November 2018 ballot as Measure L. During this campaign, a federal lawsuit was filed by the well-known Sacramento civil rights attorney, Mark Merin, against David Taormino and the City of Davis. This lawsuit alleged that a preferential “Davis-Based Buyers Program” in the Development Agreement signed between the Davis City Council and David Taormino was discriminatory and exclusionary in nature.

Readers can get more information on the specifics of this lawsuit by referring to the following articles – “Planned West Davis Adult Community, if Approved, Would Perpetuate Racial Imbalance in the City of Davis”  and “Measure L discriminates Against Blacks and Latinos”.

Mr. Taormino as defendant is represented in this matter by Stephen Boutin of the Sacramento law firm Boutin Jones. After the election, Mr. Taormino and Mr. Boutin have both made ambiguous but inflammatory allegations of nefarious behavior and improper reporting of campaign expenses by the No on Measure L campaign related to this lawsuit. In particular, they have claimed that legal expenses incurred in the prosecution of the Merin lawsuit should have been paid for directly by the No on Measure L campaign and subsequently reported as a campaign expenses by the campaign.

Most recently, the Davis City Council was petitioned by Mr. Taormino and Mr. Boutin and then agreed to send a letter to the Yolo County District Attorney and California Fair Political Practices Committee (FPPC) requesting investigations of these alleged wrongdoings by the No on Measure L campaign and to determine whether any campaign expenditure or finance reporting violations have occurred.

Alan Pryor was Treasurer and Principal Officer of the No on Measure L campaign


Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$USD
Sign up for

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

62 Comments

  1. Bill Marshall

    Alan:  a modest proposal…

    Print out this article, and your previous one… add the line, “I hereby attest, under penalty of perjury, that all the above statements and allegations are true, to the best of my knowledge and belief”, sign it, and I’ll help assist you to file them as a complaint to the DA and FPPC.

    The latter is in the best position to understand the laws and regulations pertinent to campaigns, investigate, and act accordingly.

    I, and I suspect others, look forward to your affirmative response.

    1. Rik Keller

      Bill Marshall: you seem really invested in spending a lot of time lobbing a host of wild-eyed insinuations and innuendo. Here’s a suggestion: compile all of these into an article so they are gathered in one spot. Let’s see what you are willing to stand behind and publish.

      1. Matt Williams

        Rik, does your comment relate to Bill’s 7:06am comment, or to past comments?  When I read Bill’s 7:06am comment above, I don’t see any insinuations at all.  What do you believe he is insinuating?

        1. Matt Williams

          Rik, if that is the case, then instead of engaging the constructive suggestion that Bill made in his 7:06am comment today, you chose to go into ad hominem attack mode, changing the subject to one that is more to your liking.  My suggestion is that you engage the substance of his 7:06am suggestion to Alan rather than dredging up your personal feelings about Bill based on your recollection about multiple column comment threads in the last week.

  2. Matt Williams

    I second Bill’s proposal.

    One observation about the reporting of the Vanguard ads.  The Yes on Measure L argument has arguable substance under the GASB  cash accounting methodology.   However the Yes on Measure L argument does not have arguable substance under the FASB accrual accounting  methodology.

    The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is the source of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) used by state and local governments in the United States.

    The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is a private, non-profit organization standard-setting body[1] whose primary purpose is to establish and improve Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) within the United States in the public’s interest. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) designated the FASB as the organization responsible for setting accounting standards for public companies in the US. The FASB replaced the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Accounting Principles Board (APB) on July 1, 1973.

    Since neither Yes on Measure L and the WDAAC project are either state or local governments, it would appear to ber the cas that they are governed by FASB rather than GASB.

     

    1. Rik Keller

      Matt: below is a short list of some good models of responsible, ethical, transparent financial disclosure policies for nonprofit journalism enterprises. The Davis Vanguard violates all of these, and, in so doing, violates community trust.

      http://www.investigativepost.org/about-us/transparency-policy/
      Do you disclose the names of your donors?
      Yes; we do not accept anonymous donations. We believe it is essential that readers know who is providing the funds that pay for our operation.
      The Institute for Nonprofit News, the trade organization we belong to, requires its members to disclose donations of $1,000 or more. We’ve taken it a step further with this thought in mind: New York State election law requires politicians to disclose donations of $50 or more. Given that Investigative Post is in business partly to hold politicians accountable, we think it’s important that we’re as transparent as candidates when it comes to disclosing our donors. In fact, we’ve gone a step further: not one dime goes unreported.
      Do you accept anyone as a donor?
      No. We do not accept donations from political parties, special interest groups or others whose donations would raise legitimate questions about the independence and integrity of our coverage.

      https://inn.org/for-members/membership-standards/
      Public trust in journalism is essential. To build and maintain trust, journalists and their organizations must be truthful, transparent and independent in their reporting in order to best serve the public.
      All INN members share a commitment to transparency and by becoming members, agree to publish policies regarding fundraising, donations and conflict-of-interest on their websites, in an effort to maintain reader trust….
      Ensure that no more than 5 percent of its total annual budget derives from anonymous donations.
      Post an editorial independence policy…

      https://www.wisconsinwatch.org/about/funding/fundraising-policy/
      All donations, sponsorships and other forms of financial support are subject to compliance with the Policy on Financial Support, including provisions for transparency, the disclosure of donors’ identities, and the prohibition on donations from political parties, elected officials, or others whose contribution may affect public perception of WCIJ’s independence…

      https://www.thetrace.org/editorial-independence-policy/
      The Trace does not accept donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates actively seeking public office

      1. Craig Ross

        Part of the problem here is that Rik is taking a bunch of voluntary guides and models and conflating them with the mandatory reporting practices that have to be adhered to by both Measure L campaigns.  That’s creating a lot of allegations and muck and in so doing throwing up a diversion from his own possible illegalities.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Again, Rik, you seem to try to divert folk from the issue… it is Alan P and your assertions/insinuations that started this on these threads.

        I have offered to help you folk on seeing it thru, with the proper authorities.

        I voted no on L.

        I also have no positive regard for those who “bully”… if you folk have legitimate grievances, refer them to authorities who can act on those.  I’ve offered to help, if you folk are willing to commit, to what you’ve said.  Nothing more, nothing less.

        I have passed no ‘judgement’… I have suggested that there is a lack of transparency on many sides of the issue.

        Do you play poker?  I call… show us your cards.

         

        1. Rik Keller

          Bill: Go ahead and compile and publish your accusations, speculation, and innuendo. And if you have any that you think are actionable, go ahead and file then with the proper authorities. You had some doozies in there.

          I have been consistent for months in addressing the larger issue head on: the massive amount of spending by development interests on local elections combined with the collusion of this political blog that has had its pockets lined by them.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Go ahead and compile and publish your accusations, speculation, and innuendo.

          I assert there are none… burden of proof to the contrary is your, others, but not mine.  I decline to play your game.  I called, and you have re-raised/doubled down… would love to get you into a game of poker for money.

          That said, at least two posters have posted/’published’,

          their accusations, speculation, and innuendo.

          Fine… if they ‘have any that they think are actionable, they should go ahead and file then  (sic) them with the proper authorities.

      3. Matt Williams

        Rik, you have changed the subject when you provide your “list of some good models of responsible, ethical, transparent financial disclosure policies for nonprofit journalism enterprises.”

        The Yes on Measure L campaign, which Alan alleges violated FPPC rules and regulations is neither a nonprofit nor a journalism enterprise.

        The GASB/FASB difference information I posted above applies to the information Alan shared in the article.  Your continuing personal vendetta against David Greenwald and the Vanguard is at best tangential to Alan’s article, and probably off topic from the article’s content/argument.

        1. Rik Keller

          Matt: the subject of the actual article you are commenting on is possible campaign finance violations by WDAAC/Yes on L. Neither the campaign nor the Vanguard have disclosed how much money poured into the Vanguard from the campaign.

          Now, who is changing the subject?

        2. Matt Williams

          Rik, the subject of the article is indeed possible campaign finance violations by WDAAC/Yes on L.  The subject of whether the campaign disclosed how much money it spent on Vanguard advertising is relevant to compliance with FPPC reporting rules and regulations.

          The last time I checked, organizations like the Vanguard have no obligation to file any FPPC reports at all.

          You have chosen to conflate the two so that you can pursue your ongoing ad hominem attacks on David.  I realize that that is you passion, but I believe you are letting your passion get the better of you.

          I am a firm believer in dispassionate dialogue wherever possible, and I believe Alan’s article is a good example of having the dispassionate rule the passionate.  I also believe Bill Marshall’s 7:06am suggestion is a good example of having the dispassionate rule the passionate.

  3. Craig Ross

    This piece suffers from two major problems.  The first thing is that Alan is making allegations stated as though they were fact.  Second, he’s weighing in on legal issues when he’s not a lawyer.  Whether you agree or disagree with the city and the Taormino’s – the allegations came from attorneys not lay people trying to read through statutes without the benefit of understanding how they fit into case law and legal precedent.

    1. Matt Williams

      Craig, that is an interesting allegation on your part.  What specific allegations do you believe Alan is making, while stating those allegations as fact?

      I agree with your second point.  Alan is indeed not a lawyer.  If this “prosecution” were taking place in a court of law then your point would be spot on, and Courts have rules for such situations.  However, this “prosecution” is taking place in the court of public opinion rather than in a court of law.  As such, the rules of engagement are considerably different.  Therefore, your second point is moot.

      Your third point is factually suspect. Dave Taormino initially “filed” his allegation of wrongdoing in the Vanguard.  While Dave did indeed get his J.D. at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, there is no evidence that he is currently a practicing lawyer, and may not even be a member of the State Bar of California.  As such, it is questionable whether your assumption that Dave read through the statutes using the benefit of understanding how they fit into case law and legal precedent is correct.  One fact is that Dave did not file the legal allegations with either the DA or the FPPC simultaneously with his “filing” of his allegation in the court of public opinion in the Vanguard.

      1. Craig Ross

        No need to hash over the first two points, but the third point it should be pointed out that the first airing of the charges was a letter from Boutin to the city dated January 18, which pre-dates Taormino going to the press the following week.

        1. Matt Williams

          Craig, the City is not the jurisdiction of record, like the Vanguard, it falls into the category of court of public opinion.

          The DA, representing the Yolo County Courts, and/or the FPPC (California Fair Political Practices Commission) are the jurisdictions of record.  I could be wrong, but I suspect that the reason for the letter to the City was to recruit the City as a co-filer of the allegation, thereby giving the allegation substantially greater gravitas in the eyes of the DA and the FPPC. 

          Said another way, I suspect that January 18 letter was exploratory and if the City had chosen not to “take sides” and join the Taorminos in the filing of the allegation, there is a good chance that the allegation never would have been filed.

          JMO

        2. Matt Williams

          Regarding the first point you made, there is no rehashing, so I will reiterate my request.  Please tell us what specific allegations do you believe Alan is making, while stating those allegations as fact.

        3. Matt Williams

          Craig Ross said . . . “Remember the city was a party to the suit.”

          And you believe that is relevant because?

          Note: I personally think the fact that the city was a party to the suit is extremely relevant.

        4. Craig Ross

          From my perspective because the letter shares information was a former co-defendant and the council then met with the advice of their own counsel to determine next steps.

        5. Matt Williams

          I wholeheartedly agree Craig.  That is exactly what the letter shares.  It is like a husband and wife conferring with one-another prior to filing an allegation against a third party.

          The letter was simply scouting out the lay of the land . . . somewhat like Tom Brady coming up to the line of scrimmage and assessing the opposing defense and assessing that against what he knows about the play that was called in the huddle.  There can even be players that “go into motion” but, until the ball is actually snapped (the allegation “filed”) that is off-line communication, and the play has not actually started.

    2. Eric Gelber

      Craig – The Taorminos’ allegations may have come from attorneys, but I challenge you to identify any facts in the attorney letter tying the No on L campaign to funding of the lawsuit.  The letter consists of mere allegations and innuendo. The facts cited in the letter do not establish any relationship Between No on L and funding of the lawsuit. The closest they come is a vague and unsubstantiated statement that “… over the course of the Lawsuit, we acquired information that strongly suggests persons connected with the No on L campaign (“Campaign”) expended $20,000 to initiate the Lawsuit likely for the purpose of influencing the election and defeating Measure L.” There’s no further explanation of the information they say they acquired. 

      I have no dog in this fight and, frankly, believe both sides should move on. We should focus attention on opposing City approval of unlawful and ill-advised buyers’ restrictions, such as those that were the basis of the lawsuit.

      1. Matt Williams

        Eric Gelber said . . . “I have no dog in this fight and, frankly, believe both sides should move on”

        That is a perfect description of me, so I will repeat it . . . I, Matt Williams, have no dog in this fight and, frankly, believe both sides should move on.

      2. Bill Marshall

        The letter consists of mere allegations and innuendo.

        As do many of the posts by to folk in particular over the last few days…

        I agree, Eric, that both ‘sides’ should “move on”… proportionally…

      3. Alan Miller

        I believe both sides should move on . . . to tearing each other apart and depleting their resources in the fight immediately prior to doing jail time on felony charges.

  4. Rik Keller

    This should be a wake-up call about the hundreds of thousands of $ that big money development interests pour into local elections with collusion and support from this political blog masquerading as a non-profit journalism site.

    Tia Will, Treasurer Robert Canning, and other Vanguard Board members should immediately open the Vangusrd’s books to fully disclose the tens of thousands of $ that the Vanguard has received from WDAAC and related entities over the past couple of years. And they should move to institute the types of transparent, ethical financial disclosure and editorial firewall policies and procedures that are standard for nonprofit journalistic enterprises across the country.

    1. Craig Ross

      What bearing does this have on the Vanguard?  The Measure L campaign had an obligation to file properly with the FPPC, the Vanguard isn’t bound by those requirements.

      You keep calling this “big money.”  This isn’t big money.  These are local developers who don’t have deep pockets.  Big money – look at how much PG&E spent a few years ago on the SMUD campaign – $5 to $10 million – that’s big money.  This is a few hundred thousand at most.  That’s small potatoes.

      What evidence do you have of collusion?

      1. Robert Canning

        Craig,

        I don’t agree with Keller and Pryor about the Vanguard (there was no collusion!) but I do agree with them about the huge amount of money that developers in Davis use to influence voters and decision-makers. The developers of the Nishi property spent over a million dollars in two elections to get that approved by voters. It always seems that the pro-development forces have much more money to spend on fancy ads, student “volunteers”, expensive mailers, etc. When I asked Alan why the No on L campaign had not advertised in the Vanguard he plainly told me they didn’t have enough money. The slow-growth forces in Davis are always underfunded and wildly outspent by the pro-development interests. That’s why Measure R/J has had some success over the years in leveling the playing field. It’s less easy to convince a majority of 35% of Davis registered voters to approve a project than get three votes on the council. Developers, even local ones like the Trackside developers, see these investments as the price they pay to do business and make money. Anti-development interests have different values.

        1. Craig Ross

          Robert – not sure if you’re talking about campaign money or spending on the project.  I don’t think Nishi spent anywhere near a million on their two campaigns.  Maybe half a million.  In an era of big money, that’s just not.

        2. Rik Keller

          Robert: the reason that ethical and responsible nonprofit journalism sites institute the types of transparent financial disclosure and editorial policies I provided examples of elsewhere in these comments is to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

          Given David Greenwald’s own description of sitting down with the WDAAC developers to develop talking points in the campaign, we are well beyond mere appearances. That, coupled with his continuing refusal to disclose the sources and amount of funding is highly problematic. The Vanguard Board has the power and ability to change this, and I encourage you to do so.

        3. Matt Williams

          Craig Ross said . . . “I don’t think Nishi spent anywhere near a million on their two campaigns.  Maybe half a million.  In an era of big money, that’s just not.”

          Craig, how much money do you think the No on Nishi campaigns spent on their two campaigns?

          Comparing the aggregate Yes on Nishi amount to other “big money” election campaigns as you have done is a false dichotomy.  If any relative comnparison should be made, it should be to the campaign(s) within the same election.

        4. Matt Williams

          Rik Keller said . . . “Given David Greenwald’s own description of sitting down with the WDAAC developers to develop talking points in the campaign, we are well beyond mere appearances.”

          Rik, to the best of my knowledge David Greenwald offered to you and Alan and other No on Measure L supporters the opportunity to sit down with him to develop talking points in the campaign.  To the best of my knowledge you and Alan refused to take him up on that offer.  However, both you and Alan did submit articles during the campaign, and the Vanguard published them when they were submitted.

          Please correct me if I am wrong in anything I have said above.

        5. Rik Keller

          Apparently Craig Ross is on here? I blocked him months ago, so I don’t see his posts (I highly recommend that for anyone to vastly improve the signal/noise ratio on the forum).

          If only there were some website that provided campaign expenditure disclosures that would enable one to see what the opposition to Nishi spent, for example…

          And if only that same website disclosed that the expenditures for WDAAC (cross-referenced with Yolo County election data) totaled about $18 for every “yes” vote received. Information like that could certainly put things in perspective and provide an indication  of the massive influence of special interest $ locally.

        6. Alan Miller

          Apparently Craig Ross is on here? I blocked him months ago, so I don’t see his posts (I highly recommend that for anyone to vastly improve the signal/noise ratio on the forum).

          I have a recommendation too . . . I think you all see where I am going with this . . .

        7. Craig Ross

          I don’t see the point in this exercise at this point Matt.  You’re trying to play the middle ground but you’re dealing with people who in effect are covering their ears why screaming at the top of their lungs.

        8. Matt Williams

          I’m not “playing” at anything Craig.  I’m simply following the time-honored advice of Rudyard Kipling that appears below.  In the meantime I see you are still ducking the questions posed to you and communing with the crickets.  In case your memory is failing you here are the two questions once again:

          Craig, how much money do you think the No on Nishi campaigns spent on their two campaigns?

          and

          Craig, please tell us what specific allegations do you believe Alan is making, while stating those allegations as fact.

          If you can keep your head when all about you
              Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
          If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
              But make allowance for their doubting too;
          If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
              Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
          Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
              And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

          If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
              If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
          If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
              And treat those two impostors just the same;
          If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
              Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
          Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
              And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

          If you can make one heap of all your winnings
              And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
          And lose, and start again at your beginnings
              And never breathe a word about your loss;
          If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
              To serve your turn long after they are gone,
          And so hold on when there is nothing in you
              Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

          If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
              Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
          If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
              If all men count with you, but none too much;
          If you can fill the unforgiving minute
              With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
          Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
          And—which is more—you’ll be a Person, my son!

  5. Sharla Cheney

    Reguarding financial issues about the campaigns, we are not the people you have to convince.  File your complaint with the FPPC.

    There might be some blurriness between the development and the campaign, but it is easy to see the efforts to inform people about the proposed project and a campaign to get people to vote in support of it.  No where else was the information easily available and I would say that both campaigns used the information provided by the developers website.  UCD has website informing the community about ongoing development, but these aren’t a campaign.  The lawsuit appears to be based on the information provided by the Yes campaign – a tagline- and not actual action by the City for the project.   The lawsuit appears to be a campaign response to another campaign, not the project design itself. I guess we will find out if the FPPC agrees with this and forces disclosure of who recruited the plaintiff and paid the retainer.  Isn’t this really what this disagreement is all about?

     

     

    1. Rik Keller

      Sharla: the Davis-Based Buyer’s Program (AKA “Taking Care of Our Own”) is in the signed and adopted Developmenf Agreement ordinance for the project:https://cityofdavis.org/home/showdocument?id=10680

      However, the developers left it out of the project Baseline Features while using it as their central marketing effort until they had to withdraw the phrase due to community outcry. I had been pointing to this for months as a classic bait-and-switch and that is exactly what is happening.

      In an ironic twist though, it appears now that they were too clever by half in leaving the program out of the ballot/baseline features, and are now are in potentially deep trouble for tens of thousands of $ in illegal expenditures of campaign funds  on legal defense of the program not connected to the campaign.

  6. Rik Keller

    FYI: in another local blog there is now a letter posted to the City Council calling them to act on the recent allegations of illegal campaign activities by WDAAC connected to the lawsuit and the Davis Vanguard. Apparently, the Council will be taking this up in an upcoming closed session.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Yes, and The Davisite does not reveal the author(s) of said letter, but indicates it was posted by ******* ********* (sp?)… is this the “coming attraction” alluded to by Mr Pryor?

      And, we don’t know at this time if the CC has received it… if, indeed they have, I hope, and expect, that they will forward it on as they did the WDAAC request… I see no reason why not.

       

      1. Matt Williams

        Actually Bill, I believe you are wrong on both your assertions.  Prompted by your comment I went to the (other) website and read the article, which ends as follows:

        These allegations, if true, seem to me to be serious corruptions to our democratic process and a deceptive and problematic insertion of corporate money into our citizen campaigns. I hope that the Davis City Council shares my concerns and addresses this issue accordingly. If I have not identified the appropriate authorities for these complaints, I request that you address these concerns to whomever the appropriate authorities are.

        For the record, I did not volunteer for the No on L campaign or contribute monetarily to that campaign.

        Sincerely,

        Roberta Millstein
        Davis citizen

        Addendum: I received a response from Councilmember Will Arnold, who said that the matter would be taken up for action at an upcoming closed session.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Understood… just pulled one of mine. Written and posted before I saw yours, but was able to use ‘the 5 minute rule’ to delete.

      But, for clarity, is pointing out someone’s language, in a post, and the discrepancy between that and their own actions,  in a post, “personal back and forth”?

      This (and the following) question is ALL about “rules”, which I believe is “spot on” to the current topic/thread….

      Yes, No, or “it depends”?

  7. Eric Gelber

    Bill Marshall said:

    as to the DA… petition/pressure the CC and/or developer to amend the DA to remove an item that Eric, I and many others believe to be ill-advised, likely illegal as it was worded at the time, and bad public policy in any event.  They can agree to do so, as it was not a “base-line” feature”… 

    Hear, hear!

  8. Bill Marshall

    Since implementation of the anonymity policy, for example, I think the overall quality has improved.

    Guess I agree with the term highlighted, but the behavior of some non-anonymous folk, are in strong competition for being of less quality, and/or more borderline ‘trolling’, than many of the anon/semi-anon folk…

    Particularly on this thread, and other recent threads on the same topic…

    But “overall” I agree… it was a necessary policy change, and sure beats the “other blog” policy where each author has full control of moderating and/or excluding posts of those who disagree with the author… I hope that never comes to pass on this site.

  9. Ron Glick

    Do people still think Measure R works? I don’t.

    Dark money funded lawsuits in this case and lawsuits on every Measure R project have become a feature of Measure R instead of a bug.

    Now we have complaints and counter-complaints of violations of state election reporting laws. Its  as if nobody in this small town is capable of  complying with FPPC regulations. Of course the fact that Measure R planning has become more about what will pass at the ballot box instead of what is best for the community should not be lost on anyone.

    Measure R comes up for renewal next year if it isn’t heavily modified it should be defeated at the ballot box.

  10. Don Shor

    Every single day during the entire length of the Measure L campaign, the Davis Vanguard ran the following side-bar ad in a premium position

    Ad rates are to your right. Election called in June. July, August, September, October. We’ll throw in November.

    6 x $600 = $3600.

    That’s what this is all about?

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for