Commentary: Rexroad Letter Shows School District Did the Right Thing

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The school board took a lot of heat for making the decision to go to district elections.  As it turns out they made the exact right decision – as we have now seen from what has happened with the city.

The city seems willing to make the move to district elections – although we have still not seen the actual council weigh in.  But Matt Rexroad is not simply going to sit back and accept that the city does it on their own time.

“They can’t admit the election process is illegal and then do another illegal election,” he told me, arguing that they have plenty of time to go to district elections for November 2020 elections.

City officials believe there are some complications, but that is going to end up being what the fight is over.

Bob Dunning lamented the decision for the school district to accede to the possibility of a lawsuit.  He argued that he believed that the district could win a legal challenge.

Looking back at his column from just about a month ago gives us a bit more perspective now in light of the city’s legal challenge.

“Are you being disenfranchised? Indeed you are. Do the math and you’ll realize you just lost 80 percent of your voting power,” he argues.

But that’s a trickier calculation than you think.  The most interesting factor is one reason why we might be facing this in that some areas of town have numerous council and school board reps who live there, while others have none.  For instance, South Davis might be the reason that Matt Rexroad was hired in the first place – the belief that having one member of the council from South Davis will make sure that their interests are represented on the council.

Mr. Dunning writes: “In some cities, simple fairness demands district elections to make sure that traditionally underrepresented groups have a fair shot at holding office.”

He adds, “Davis is not such a city. Put simply, there is not a readily identifiable group of underrepresented people who all live in the same part of town. No matter how we draw the district lines, it will be hard to distinguish the demographics of one district from another.”

There are several problems with this argument.

First of all, as the city memo points out, “a minority group does not have to be geographically compact or concentrated to allege a violation of the CVRA.”  In other words, while Bob Dunning might be correct here, it does not matter.

Second, as our column from yesterday demonstrates, whether you can argue that district elections will remedy the problem or not, people of color are underrepresented in city government.  That is true for the council and it is also true for the school board.

Furthermore, some readers apparently got a lesson in federal discrimination law, but protected groups and protected classes are even more disadvantaged in the current system.

Third, unfortunately it does not appear that we can get demographic data at the precinct level, but we actually do believe there are areas of town where there are heavier concentrations of Latinos as well as low-income people in Davis and district elections could well help draw lines that would increase minority voting power.

Fourth, even without that advantage, the lower barrier to entry and the lower cost of running could also help disadvantaged groups gain voting power.

In short, the point that Mr. Dunning raises does not legally matter and could be wrong anyway.

Mr. Dunning adds: “Still, I defy these outsiders to point out to a court of law how district elections in Davis would even remotely benefit a currently underrepresented group. That case simply cannot be made.”

As we pointed out, legally speaking, a petitioner would not have to make that showing.  They can show that such groups are currently disadvantaged, and we frankly do not have the data to show that they wouldn’t be advantaged.

Mr. Dunning also cites Al Sokolow, who wrote, “It is hard to see much practical value in the shift from at-large to district elections for Davis School Board members.”

He adds, “That’s not to say that district voting to select local government legislators doesn’t make sense in some kinds of community situations. It does, but not in Davis.”

Mr. Sokolow noted that the impetus for district elections was a desire “to overcome the discrimination inherent when racial or ethnic minorities were heavily concentrated in particular neighborhoods, but lacked the numbers to elect candidates under an at-large arrangement. Davis lacks such geographical concentrations.”

It is probably worth repeating that Mr. Sokolow, like Mr. Dunning, is arguing a point that has no legal bearing on the issue.  But that doesn’t mean his point is correct either.  Both men are making essentially the same argue: Davis doesn’t have geographic concentrations of minorities.  But neither of them rely on data to make their point.  Neither of them consider that Valley Oak located on 8th Street had a heavy concentration of Title I students as does Montgomery.

And finally, neither of them are willing to look beyond the issue of concentration and look at the lower barrier for running in a district one-fourth or one-fifth the size of the city as opposed to the entire city.

In the end, the city has no choice, just like the school district had no choice.  The law is written in such a way that the city won’t prevail any more than the school district would have.  And if you look at the number of people of color elected in Davis compared to their numbers, you end up with the conclusion that this is probably the right thing to do anyway.

—David M. Greenwald reporting reporting


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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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81 thoughts on “Commentary: Rexroad Letter Shows School District Did the Right Thing”

  1. Tia Will

    you end up with the conclusion that this is probably the right thing to do anyway.”

    No David, “you” as in the personal “you” end up with this conclusion. I do not necessarily. Laws are intended to address some kind of injustice. Now it is a cold day in Davis in July when I tend to agree with Dunning, however, for the particular situation of Davis, I am not sure this law addresses the injustice intended. Do we have to follow the law? Absolutely. But let’s not pretend that we have hard evidence that doing so will create greater diversity on the city council. It may, it may not, but we are speculating at this point.

    1. Craig Ross

      Don’t you think remedying a system that systematically underrepreents people of color in a community that btw, is discriminatory is a problem, Tia?

      1. Tia Will

        Of course, I do. It is the remedy I question. I also consider it a bit of a moot point since we are bound by law and will just have to see how it plays out.

      2. Bill Marshall

        What is the “measure of success”, Craig?  Meant as a fair question… is it having a CC ‘reflecting’ ethnic/racial composition; having all folk, particularly protected classes, effectively represented by CC members, independent of the “identity” of the representative; or should we be measuring representatives by a quota system?

        Certainly(?) no white hetero male can represent the interests/concerns of  a POC female LBGTQ , right?  However we identify, no one can represent us effectively if they are not the same?  Interesting concept.  And truly disturbing… total dysfunction, if true…

        And the concept is highly racist/reverse sexist?

        Rest assured, the district thing is a happening thing… we’ll have to deal with the results…

  2. Don Shor

    But Matt Rexroad is not simply going to sit back and accept that the city does it on their own time.

    He wants to set the timeline. Is he going to go ahead and draw the boundaries, too?

    South Davis might be the reason that Matt Rexroad was hired in the first place – the belief that having one member of the council from South Davis will make sure that their interests are represented on the council.

    Maybe the plaintiffs should just run for the council and see how it goes, rather than trying to rig the system to their benefit first.

    In other words, while Bob Dunning might be correct here, it does not matter.

    Correct. There is not a provable problem, so the proposal doesn’t solve anything.

    unfortunately it does not appear that we can get demographic data at the precinct level, but we actually do believe there are areas of town where there are heavier concentrations of Latinos as well as low-income people in Davis and district elections

    You don’t have any data, but you believe it. Based on what, if you don’t have data? Check out http://www.city-data.com/city/Davis-California.html

    and sort for Population by Race. Let us know how you plan to draw the boundaries. Or how Matt Rexroad plans to.

    Neither of them consider that Valley Oak located on 8th Street had a heavy concentration of Title I students as does Montgomery.

    East Davis, where Valley Oak is located, presently is represented on the City Council.
     

     

    1. Matt Williams

      He wants to set the timeline. Is he going to go ahead and draw the boundaries, too?

      .
      Depending on who the plaintiff is, is it any surprise that the lawyer representing that plaintiff wants to set the timeline?

      Given California’s established and implemented laws regarding districting/redistricting, I doubt either the plaintiff or his/her lawyer have any right to (or the ability to) draw the district boundaries.  Stan Forbes is a good person to talk to about the ins and outs of California’s districting processes and requirements.  He was (possibly still is) the Chair of the California Redistricting Commission established by state law.

      Maybe the plaintiffs should just run for the council and see how it goes, rather than trying to rig the system to their benefit first.

      .
      Is that an either/or choice?

      Correct. There is not a provable problem, so the proposal doesn’t solve anything.

      .
      Does the proposal do any harm? Are we in a “no harm, no foul” situation

  3. Bill Marshall

    Well, am thinking CA needs to select its US Senators on a district basis… those are two “at-large” seats, currently… CA gets to choose how it elects their senators… so, by CVRA they need to be elected by district.

      1. Bill Marshall

        I disagree…

        The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

        The plain language does not require “at large”, nor does it prohibit “by district”.  Perhaps you read too much into the plain language?  And, remember powers/rights not explicitly claimed by the US, are reserved to the States.

        My argument is as strong as that saying the CVRA is constitutional.  It flies in the face of common constitutional law, by asserting that an entity is guilty of disenfranchising “protected classes”, unless the entity, beyond a ‘shadow of a doubt’, can prove it is not guilty … that’s bass-ackwards.

  4. Sharla Cheney

    I can’t describe fully how disturbed I feel about the total lack of discussion by the community about changing governance of our City before a threatened lawsuit.  It started way back with quick lawsuits filed over ever development and other issues.   Now this.  Moving to district representation is just another way to divide the town.  It is being forced on us by one resident who is likely fed up with traffic on Mace using a lawyer from out of town.  I don’t know how others feel, but I have grown weary of the dysfunctional political scene in Davis.  This has nothing to do with fixing a lack of minority representation on the Council.  It will solidify the impression that 4/5 of the Council will not be representing my interests at all.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Currently, Sharla, all members of the CC are charged with representing all the interests of all citizens residents, (voters, or not)… but to paraphrase Dorothy, “Toto, we’re not going to be in “Davis” any more…”

      We are moving to fiefdoms, for no documentable reason…

      Some to believe strongly that a member of a protected class, must be a member of that protected class… that’s why they look to past history/ethnicity of those elected to CC, to ‘prove’ there is a problem… a white male cannot possibly, certainly not likely, represent the interests/concerns of women, “people of color”, poor, homeless, LBGTQ, and others, unless they share the same status… that is the strong view of some loud voices.  I believe they are wrong, but they are about to prevail.

       

      1. Bill Marshall

        We have allowed too many Borg in town… “resistance is futile”… the Borg possess a ‘collective mind’, and act collectively… they want to assimilate all others into the “collective”, and do not shy away from ‘force’, nor the ‘threat of force’… it is what it is…

        1. Matt Williams

          We have allowed too many Borg in town… “resistance is futile”… the Borg possess a ‘collective mind’,

          Bill, paraphrasing the words directed at Jimmy Carter by Ronald Reagan, “There you go again, measuring peanuts.”

        2. Bill Marshall

          Let’s cut to the chase, here, Matt… I can ask these questions as a friend…

          1) Do you believe that the premise that “protected classes” have not received the representation they deserved?

          2) Do you believe the proposed District proposal will affect that? (one way or other)

          3) Is your main concern the financial ‘risk’ of defending the status quo if suit is brought? [gets to buying in to the “resistance is futile” referent I used… espoused by you, David, and Mr Rexroad][and you accused me of too much testosterone in suggesting that we respond to the bullying, absent sentient facts, in a make my day” way…

          Meant as fair questions… on my part, except for the fact that everyone who can make the call have ‘caved’, and so District elections are a ‘fait accompli’… ship has sailed, train has left station, etc.  Doesn’t mean it’s “right”…

          I do not believe protected classes have had inadequate representation.  Over years, the CC has given special heed to that constituency, in their actions, so I reject the premise as an unsubstantiated falsehood.

          Even if it was true (which I disagree with, from ‘the record’), I do not believe the district election approach will help one scintilla, and, if true, may actually exacerbate it, on a real world basis.

          As to the financial risk of defending, and possible outcomes, yeah, I’m along the lines of “make my day”… lest we cave to the next ‘demand’ when someone cries “lawsuit”.  Point of fact is no lawsuit has been filed… no arguably specific grounds (specifically relating to Davis)… a “threat”… nothing more, nothing less…

           

           

        3. Matt Williams

          Bill, those are really good principle questions.  I believe they are all germane and sincerely hope they were asked during the deliberations in the Assembly and Senate, as well as by the Governor before he signed the legislation passed by both houses of the Legislature.  Those questions were both on-point, pertinent, and timely … then.

          However, my personal belief is that the signing of the bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor changed the discussion from one of principles of possible policy to one of compliance with the implemented policy.

          Just as the WDAAC lawsuit was dismissed (temporarily?) because of timing, your questions lose their “standing” because of timing.

          So, with that as background, to address your specific questions:

          1) The provisions of the law provide pretty clear criteria for answering that question.  I do not have the specific legal training needed to make that legal determination.  However, with that said, I suspect that the legal answer is “Yes, according to the Law’s criteria they have not received the representation they deserved.

          2) My personal belief is that with 5 Council members, the chances are that while there is no downside risk, the chances of achieving meaningful improvement in representation is minimal.  Alan has proposed a ranked-order-voting solution that I believe has a better chance of achieving meaningful improvement.  I have proposed consideration of a number of Council districts/members that is greater than 5 as an alternative solution that has a better chance of achieving meaningful improvement. I don’t see any downside risk in neither Alan’s nor my alternatives.

          3) In my personal opinion “Make My Day” is by definition a testosterone-overloaded statement.  The location for the approach you are proposing was the Capitol Building in Sacramento, and the time for that approach is in the rear view mirror.  As you know, I am a big fan of proactivity, and view knee-jerk reactivity with much less warmth.  Because of the timing I really don’t have any “concern(s).”  I simply think we need to look at compliance with the law with a prudent, practical, and fiscally responsible eye.

          I knew they were fair questions, and I’ve given you “fair” answers in reply.

          Regarding resistance, this isn’t Kent State and we aren’t Phillip Berrigan … and even more importantly there is no upside to be gained by the resistance.  I’m reminded of the Shakespearean quote, “Tis mad idolatry to make the service greater than the God.”

          The time for “right” was sometime in the recent past at the Capitol Building in Sacramento.  The time for “right” on the principles can be seen in the rear view mirror.

          Regarding your “unsubstantiated falsehood” what you and I believe (at this point in time) is irrelevant.  How the facts align with the standards and procedures of the law is all that matters (in this case), and there are governmental bodies that are charged with making that determination.

          Regarding your statement, “I do not believe the district election approach will help one scintilla, and, if true, may actually exacerbate it, on a real world basis,” I have an open mind.  If you can show me some evidence that will transform your word “may” into the word “will” I’ll be really interested.  However, I suspect that “may” is a nemesis word in this case.

          Regarding your last paragraph, do you personally own a Life Insurance policy and/or a Homeowners Policy and/or an Earthquake Policy?  If you do, any/all of those policies have been purchased because of a “threat”… nothing more, nothing less …

    2. Matt Williams

      It will solidify the impression that 4/5 of the Council will not be representing my interests at all.

      Sharla, I believe that is a “glass half empty” perspective. Here is the “glass half full” perspective based on my observations of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors over the years. Issues they deal with fall into two categories, 1) county-wide and 2) focused. The dialogue and homework done by the individual Supes on 1) is unchanged. For 2) there is a division of labor. For the most part the Supes assume the Board member whose district is concerned about the focused issue will do more in-depth homework/research on the focused issue and when the discussion of the issue begins after the Staff presentation, the “concerned” Supe is the first to weigh in with the concerns/thoughts of the residents of that most-affected district. Bottom-line, all the Supes absolutely do listen, do ask questions, and for the most part defer to the guidance of the Supe of the “concerned” district.  One could argue that your interests will be represented better, not worse.

  5. Alan Miller

    while Bob Dunning might be correct here, it does not matter.

    Well, then, let’s just go with it then.

    Furthermore, some readers apparently got a lesson in federal discrimination law,

    I resemble that remark.  And I am horrified by what I “learned”.  Some ‘people of color’ are more equal than others? . . . If I learned my lesson correctly, despite Japanese internment, and the near-slave conditions of Chinese rail workers, both US inflicted, these ‘people of color’ are not ‘protected’, whatever that means.  Please further my education, oh great guroracle of federal discrimination law.

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Grasshopper… you fail to grasp the fact that the “chosen few” know far better than you, I, what is best for us (individuals and community), and since we are defective in ‘enlightenment’, will impose enlightenment upon us, regardless of consequences… can’t think of an appropriate koan…

       

      1. Matt Williams

        Grasshopper… you fail to grasp the fact that the “chosen few” know far better than you

        Bill, we don’t live in a pure democracy.  We live in a representative democracy … and we “choose” our representatives.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Thought of a recent experience… we were in Israel, visiting the Old City [portion of Jerusalem… Alan would get it, others may not] (first time)… in ~ 1948, the Brits divided it into four quarters… arbitrarily (no census, no science) … one for Jews, one for Christians, one for Muslims… forget the 4th (Armenians?)… until then, all the groups got along pretty damn well… then the push was to segregate them, “for their own good”… yeah, that worked out swimmingly… particularly after ’68… when money was poured into one sector, upgrading housing/services… not so much in the other quarters… had a bunch to do with ‘separate representation’…

      Was told this while asking for directions in the Old City, by an Israeli Jew, about 50-60, who was angry about what the Brits did, and how it had “mucked (he used a stronger verb) things up”… where over time, only the Jewish quarter got the ‘goodies’ (in the way of gov’t support) and the other 3 quarters had to fend for themselves… caused a lot of problems in Jerusalem due to “districts”… ‘those who do not learn from history…’

        1. Bill Marshall

          We’ll see… within 8-10 years after implementation…

          You may be correct… I may well be correct… but, as it is a done deal, no point in me making any further arguments…

    3. Craig Ross

      “And I am horrified by what I “learned”.  Some ‘people of color’ are more equal than others? ”

      You have it backwards my friend.  Some people have been treated far worse historically than others and remain more disadvantaged than others.  Do you want to review?

      1. Alan Miller

        Some people have been treated far worse historically

        So the reasons in the examples I gave aren’t enough to get ‘protected status?  Because internment and it’s aftermath and slave-like working conditions and the aftermath aren’t as bad as . . . ?  And, what about Armenians or Jews or others who’s people’s were targeted for extinction?  Or is “historically” only when it was perpetrated by the US?

        remain more disadvantaged

        Isn’t that more a matter of assistance on a person-by-person basis rather than what is defined by a so-called ‘group’?  Why should a person of Japanese or Chinese or Jewish ancestry — as examples — who remains disadvantaged, be discriminated against and not given ‘protected’ status just because more people in their group ‘advantaged past them’ and left them in the dust?  Are these people less worthy just because a larger percentage of their ‘group’ got de-disadvantaged?

        Yes, please review.

        my friend

        I am not your friend

  6. Eric Gelber

    First of all, as the city memo points out, “a minority group does not have to be geographically compact or concentrated to allege a violation of the CVRA.”  In other words, while Bob Dunning might be correct here, it does not matter.

    True. Geographical concentration is not required to establish a CVRA violation, but it is relevant to the establishment of an effective remedy. Without significant geographical concentrations of protected groups it’s not likely the establishment of districts will be effective in improving representation of those groups.

    Which is why I believe the discussion should focus on whether district elections would otherwise be beneficial compared to at-large elections. Running a citywide election, for example, is more time-consuming and costly. Thus, more working people of limited means—who likely have less flexibility in work schedules—may be willing and able to run for office if they need only run a district campaign.

    I’m not sure it’s accurate to say, as Dunning argues, that district elections simply means losing 80% of one’s voting power. It also means increasing your proportional voting power and influence with respect to your district representative, where a single voter’s voice would numerically carry five times the weight.

    District voting should be considered on its own merits, not based on the merits of a threatened lawsuit.

     

    1. Don Shor

      Thus, more working people of limited means—who likely have less flexibility in work schedules—may be willing and able to run for office if they need only run a district campaign.

      Which raises the question of how they would do the job if elected.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Without significant geographical concentrations of protected groups it’s not likely the establishment of districts will be effective in improving representation of those groups.

      Agreed, but need for “improving representation of those groups”, at least in Davis, are ‘facts'(?) not in evidence on any rational/demonstrable basis.  To the contrary, formation of a Human Relations Commission, Social Services Commission, Senior Citizen Commission, tend to refute that.  “Representation” does not just mean CC votes.

       It also means increasing your proportional voting power and influence with respect to your district representative, where a single voter’s voice would numerically carry five times the weight.

      Disagree… you don’t seem to figure in the fact you only get to choose once every 4 years.  Whereas now you get to vote for 2-3 every two years… check your math/statistics.

      District voting should be considered on its own merits, not based on the merits of a threatened lawsuit.

      Strongly agree, but that’s where we are, and the Matt’s and David are… one for ‘financial reasons’ (risk intolerance), one for financial[maybe philosophical as well… unclear] (gotta represent potential plaintiffs to get a pay day [$30 k]… nice work when you can get it, for a letter or two…), one of theoretical/philosophical issues which may well be set back by the outcome.

      It’s a done deal… the die is cast.  All can be done is to deal with, and possibly mitigate…

       

       

       

       

      1. Eric Gelber

         To the contrary, formation of a Human Relations Commission, Social Services Commission, Senior Citizen Commission, tend to refute that.  “Representation” does not just mean CC votes.

        Generally agree. But the issue here is about “voting rights”; so, it relates to elective offices (e.g., school boards, city councils, boards of supervisors).

      2. Eric Gelber

        Disagree… you don’t seem to figure in the fact you only get to choose once every 4 years.  Whereas now you get to vote for 2-3 every two years… check your math/statistics.

        Disagree. This is only an artifact of having staggered terms. If, e.g., all council members were all up for election at the same time, every 4 years, (like the 2-year terms of the U.S. House of Representatives), it wouldn’t impact one’s voting power one way or the other.

  7. Alan Miller

    … you don’t seem to figure in the fact you only get to choose once every 4 years.  Whereas now you get to vote for 2-3 every two years…

    Actually, a wealthy person could buy five houses in Davis and move from district to district with each election.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Point noted.. some may do that… but, separate issue… and potentially, a troubling one… gets to someone saying earlier that an individual could have a five-fold impact… compared to existing… but thought their math was wrong… maybe I was wrong…

    1. Bill Marshall

      David deflected… used past experience in another locale…

      I’ll tell you a direct fact… I don’t know, but a good question…

      The “mechanics” have not gotten discussion… only philosophy/theory… damn good question!

      Oh, and David’s “Even in Woodland…” preface was a tad condescending/dismissive… whatever…

    2. Alan Miller

      What happens if no one within a given district steps up to run for the position?

      Alan Miller will step up and serve the people of Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . poorly.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      The way it works now is that if no one files, they extend the period – usually at that point someone will see the possibility of an easy election and step up.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Realistically, this is never going to be a real problem. If someone doesn’t file, they extend the filing period and announce that no one has filed. Someone then will step up to get a free seat. If not, the council treats it like a vacancy and appoints someone when the term comes up.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Two points…

          Time will tell…

          Questions remain about the caliber of a candidate who did not file, and then gets a “freebie”…

          The pertinent point is “time will tell…” but there is some wisdom in “never say never…”

        3. Bill Marshall

          Whether there is an example or not… there may be… past or future…

          Time will tell, as it applies to Davis… which is all that matters, in the context of this piece.

  8. Alan Miller

    I read somewhere in comments (another thread?) that the ∆ was ‘fait accompli’.  Was there a decision made, or was this someone’s speculation?

  9. Alan Miller

    What of Dillon Horton?

    He declared his candidacy, but his candidacy for what?

    A general council position, that’s what.

    So, that position doesn’t exist with districts.

    What district does Dillon live in?

    What district do each of the CCMs live in?

    Of course, we don’t know the districts yet exactly, but West, South, East, North and Central are pretty much gonna be the starting point, I’d guess.

    Will Dillon have to compete against a City Councilmember in a district election?

    Or does Dillon live in his own district, free from incumbent competition?

    And do the incumbents all live in the same district . . . or at least do some of them live in the same district?

    If they do will the CCMs gerrymand the districts to make sure they are all eligible for re-election?

    Or will they have to move to stay on the CC?

    Or will Dillon move so he can run unopposed?

    Seems from his youth and his platform that Dillon is probably a renter.

    I’m guessing most of the CCMs own homes.

    So it is harder to move when you own then if you rent.

    So does that give the advantage to renters to run for Davis CC?

    And what if Dillon moves while on the Council?  Or moves four times?

    Does he have to give up his seat, or do they go by where he lived when elected?

    Or what if one of the other CCMs moves across town?

    Or what if someone moves just for the purpose of running?

    Or has a fake address at a rental property that receives their mail, so they can run in another district?

    Law of Unintended Consequences anyone?

    Happy F**cking Friday everyone!  Don’t pollute the groundwater.

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Good questions/comments… enjoy the weekend no matter how hot…

      The die is cast… done deal… the answers to your questions, Alan, are blowing in the “wind”, the answers are “blowing” in the wind… (my apologies to P,P&M…) [and yes, the “s were intentional]

      1. Alan Miller

        OK, die is cast — but why do you say that?  Was there a decision made?  I thought there was a CC meeting in a few weeks to decide this . . . no?

      2. Bill Marshall

        Alan, I say the die is cast, because it is clear to the CC that they “have” to go to district elections… expect a 5-0 vote, or maybe a 4-0-1 to move to district elections… they know that “resistance is futile”, and will come a great risk of great financial cost if resistance is attempted… they’ll forget/ignore the fact they are being bullied (which is why bullies do so well… intimidation), and will speak based on financial concerns, rather than morals, ethics, or integrity… but rest assured, they’ll “spin it” as to ‘participatory government’, ‘redressing past practices’, and/or ‘failing protected classes, in the past’, or some similar justification(s).  They’ll cite some/several ‘noble cause(s)’.  Pretty much guaranteed… again, 5-0 or 4-0-1…

        That’s why I said what I said.  Sounds cynical, but am convinced it’s being a realist.  I hate being a realist, but it is what it is… except for posturing, there will be little/no true discussion, in open session, on this matter, by the CC.

        1. Alan Miller

          I say the die is cast, because it is clear to the CC that they “have” to go to district elections…

          Oh, that ‘die is cast’, so it isn’t fo sho, except you think it is . . . (may be true) . . .

          … they’ll forget/ignore the fact they are being bullied (which is why bullies do so well… intimidation), and will speak based on financial concerns, rather than morals, ethics, or integrity…

          I seem to remember a time when the city ‘settled’ all the lawsuits brought by a small group of lawyers/opportunists who got repeated taxpayer paydays thanks to repeated city caving until the city finally had enough.  Seems if they did the ‘integrity’ thing from the start and fought the lawyers, they wouldn’t have had to reverse themselves later when they realized giving in to bully lawyers was ultimately more costly.

          … but rest assured, they’ll “spin it” as to ‘participatory government’, ‘redressing past practices’, and/or ‘failing protected classes, in the past’, or some similar justification(s).  They’ll cite some/several ‘noble cause(s)’.

          Is that really possible when you have a room full of angry residents pointing at the large, pink elephant?  Or being summer, will it just be me alone in the public comments line with my bright pink ‘F**ck Bullying Lawyers’ T-Shirt?

        2. Bill Marshall

          Alan…

          Where can I get that t-shirt?  Pink is not on my ‘color palette’, but if I could get one in blue or green… would wear it proudly…

          But, you also raise a good point… CC needs to truly ‘listen’, not just ‘hear’, when folk point out what they perceive as elephants (may or may not be ‘elephants’, be they pink, rogue, or otherwise…) but they should ‘listen’, not dismiss concerns/issues out of hand… they should think, analyze, and make honest, ethical decisions accordingly.  Some will not be satisfied with the results/outcomes (and, that may come with a political/re-election “cost”), but, … that approach will cut down on legal liability… and, show integrity.

          Here, in this instance, the CC fears litigation costs… FDR had a famous quote about ‘fear’…

          Methinks the CC will act on fear, not reasoned conviction… 5-0 or 4-0-1… but they will couch their reasons differently… spin…

        3. Bill Marshall

          “Sadistics” (never studied statistics)… I expect 1 (no one in particular) to try to ‘walk both sides of the line’ … so their vote can’t be used against them in a future election/re-election… staying ‘clean’ if you will… might well be someone who harbors thoughts of higher office in the future… an abstention is “safe”, theoretically…  not clear who may have aspirations beyond CC…

    2. Bill Marshall

      BTW, Alan, some of your questions/comments are ‘spot-on’ as to certain congress reps [moderated]… talk about ‘manipulation’… but, he keeps rollin’ along… literally… both parties probably do it, but he is a “poster child”… has more than a bit to do with me eschewing both “main” parties… Reps are now 3rd largest “party” in CA… Democrats’ %-age is eroding, as well… the NPP’s are the fastest growing “party”, by registration.

      Should be ‘fun’ in a very few years…

      1. Alan Miller

        Hmmm . . . what was [moderated]?  We’ll never know.  “Certain Congress Reps”???  I am not sure what is being referred to here . . .

        . . . and makes the whole post indiscernible.  What is the point!?!!!

        As for the Party of NO, I joined it at age 20 when I quit the Democratic Party, and haven’t looked back, as to do so would cause cringing, which is bad for the skin.

        1. Alan Miller

          BTW, Alan, some of your questions/comments are ‘spot-on’ as to certain congress reps [moderated]…

          Tom Mc . . .

          I’m still confused.  I know sometimes I post when I’m up late at night on my favorite fireball combination of meth/mushrooms & Coors, but I don’t remember talking about congressional reps nor Tommy Mc . . . glad I was spot on, though . . .

  10. Alan Miller

    f/ City Council Agenda for Tuesday:

    B. Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation: Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 54956.9: one case.

    Isn’t there supposed to be some measure of a hint of a shred of a fiber of understanding of what an item is, by its description in the agenda?  I would say this is written so obscure as to have no meaning whatsoever.

    Shame!

    I’m guessing, but does this have to do with Davis’ best friend Rexroad?

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Alan… hear you…

      But notice item A. on closed session… how obvious is that to most rez’s?  Implications?

      Not saying it’s perfect, but does comply with the GC section cited, and not unusual… CC has to report out on any action taken/proposed… the law may be an ‘ass’, but it is still the law…

      Item A, because it is existing litigation, has more clues… but one would have to do some research to find the gist of that… and, think you’ve figured out the gist of Item B.

      There is no public comment for Closed Session items… not saying ‘right or wrong’, just is…

      Ultimately, are you opposed to the concept that the CC hear/talk about, say, a threatened lawsuit by someone(s) threatening to sue the City about “need” for “District Elections”, based on ‘protected classes’ [which I don’t believe for a second is the true motivation], who might be represented by an attorney named Rexroad, without spelling all that out?  Or as to existing litigation brought about by, say a neighborhood group re:, say, Trackside?
      To what purpose?  Still would be no public comment during the closed session… now, actions, to cave or resist such litigation IS SUBJECT to public scrutiny… a foul has to be committed prior to the ref’s whistle.  I can foresee what I believe to be a foul, but cannot call out the foul until it has occurred…

      Rest assured, will be attentive to ‘any reportable actions’ taken on item B…. and A… works for both…

       

      1. Bill Marshall

        Oh… and to David’s point (10:58 post)… at least the ‘parties of interest’ are disclosed in item A, not so much in item B… again, so much for transparency… but the VG seems to have no problem with the ‘potential plaintiffs’ being anonymous as to item B (forwards someone’s agenda?)…

        1. David Greenwald

          Matt – what you say is correct, but it is possible if the city simply agrees to go to district elections that the suit may never get filed.

      2. Matt Williams

        I can’t imagine why the plaintiff would want to go public unless the lawsuit is actually filed. I certainly wouldn’t subject a client of mine (if I had one) to Davis bullying if I could avoid it.

        1. Alan Miller

          I certainly wouldn’t subject a client of mine . . . to Davis bullying . . .

          Seriously, MW?  You’re OK with lawyers/platiffs bullying Davis, and so defend that these people be anonymous so as not be bullied by the town they are bullying?

          Pardon, am I bullying you with the tone of my question?

        2. Bill Marshall

          I certainly wouldn’t subject a client of mine (if I had one) to Davis bullying if I could avoid it.

          Do you not see the irony of your words?  FOFLMAO!

          Just now saw Alan’s 4:12 post… that too…

        3. Matt Williams

          I have no problem with Alan’s tone at all.

          I also see no bullying on the part of the plaintiff. There is a valid law on the books. The plaintiff is seeking a remedy under the provisions of that law. Where is the bullying?

          The tried and true method for dealing with bullies is to hit them back, and they retreat because they ar bluffing rather than relying on the force of rule or law. Under CVRA, to date, there has been no bullying, simply cases where the force of law has been on the side of the various plaintiffs. To me, that is clear evidence that there is no bullying in these legal actions.

          Alan, help me understand your position.  If I understand you correctly what you appear to be saying is that you would forbid the letter stage of the process, and go directly to the suit stage.  That immediately makes the cost to the defendant higher, because the avbility to settle for the $35,000 flat compliance fee evaporates.

          Is that what you are saying?

      3. Alan Miller

        I was speaking to item B.  If one was concerned about Item A, at least there is a clue that someone scanning would know what it was . . . Item B, just words and numbers, signifying nothing without some research.

        Yes, I know there is no public comment on the item.  But there is general public comment.

        When I’ve looked at closed session items in the past, I’ve generally known the gist of what they are talking about.  With B, might as well write nothing if informing the public is a goal.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Please note I made same observation about A, vs. B… more clues, but still, pretty non-disclosing for the ‘average bear’ (Yogi… not the baseball one)… also, the law may be an ass, but that’s all one needs to abide by… ‘perfectly’ (?) legal… and legally, very conservative, which can be good when dealing with “potential”, anonymous litigants… whose motives are not even clear, and may well have really nothing to do at all with “protected classes”… a well-to-do person with a ‘POC’ surname is automatically a member of a “protected class”?  And claims to represent that ‘protected class’? Scary…

          No one has lost any ‘potential remedies’ as to what may transpire… therefore, the “no harm, no foul” doctrine may apply…

        2. Alan Miller

          a well-to-do person with a ‘POC’ surname is automatically a member of a “protected class”?

          What’s that about?  I thought the plaintiff was anonymous.

    2. Matt Williams

      CHAPTER 9. Meetings [54950 – 54963]
        ( Chapter 9 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1588. )

      54956.9.  

      (a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a legislative body of a local agency, based on advice of its legal counsel, from holding a closed session to confer with, or receive advice from, its legal counsel regarding pending litigation when discussion in open session concerning those matters would prejudice the position of the local agency in the litigation.

      (b) For purposes of this chapter, all expressions of the lawyer-client privilege other than those provided in this section are hereby abrogated. This section is the exclusive expression of the lawyer-client privilege for purposes of conducting closed-session meetings pursuant to this chapter.

      (c) For purposes of this section, “litigation” includes any adjudicatory proceeding, including eminent domain, before a court, administrative body exercising its adjudicatory authority, hearing officer, or arbitrator.

      (d) For purposes of this section, litigation shall be considered pending when any of the following circumstances exist:

      _ _ (2) A point has been reached where, in the opinion of the legislative body of the local agency on the advice of its legal counsel, based on existing facts and circumstances, there is a significant exposure to litigation against the local agency.

       

      1. Bill Marshall

        Yeah… but thanks for sharing with those either ignorant of it or unable to figure it out… I fall into neither category… learning is good… appreciate your efforts in improving the knowledge curve… would that more do the same.

  11. Alan Miller

    I think given the public disclosure it is obvious what it is.

    You want to rethink that?  How many Davis rez’s are involved in local politics as you?  A fraction of a percent I’d guess.  If I had a concern about a matter, I’d want to be able to glance at the agenda and see if it’s on there, regardless of whether I’d been reading a blog, a newspaper, or reading press releases.  That agenda item is just plain hidden — and a bigger question is — why in h*ll would you defend that?

    Rexroad is only acting as attorney, not plaintiff.

    Um, yeah.  And the attorney that caused the demise of our Dairy Queen was working on behalf of a client.

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