Wednesday, January 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Plaintiffs, city may meet to settle water rates lawsuit

By
From page A1 | August 07, 2014 |

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city of Davis over its past water rates, sewer rates and related issues announced Wednesday that the two sides will meet in a settlement conference this month.

Members of Yolo Ratepayers for Affordable Public Utility Services sued the city in 2013, claiming Davis’ consumption-based water rates — which were overturned by Measure P in June — were illegal and disproportionate.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire ruled in the city’s favor in January on major aspects of the case, but significant sections of the Yolo Ratepayers’ lawsuit remain to be settled. These are principally sections pertaining to the city using water and sewer services without paying for them, plaintiffs say, according to an email from Michael Harrington, a local lawyer, former City Councilman and co-counsel for the plaintiffs.

“Members of YRAPUS look forward to fully exploring settlement options in the context of a formal confidential mediation process,” Harrington said in a statement. “We appreciate the leadership exhibited by Mayor Dan Wolk, his colleagues and City Attorney Harriet Steiner in securing the City Council’s appointment of a settlement subcommittee and establishing this early mediation process.

“The members of YRAPUS are pleased that their efforts have saved over $135 million in ratepayer costs, and hope to continue serving the public’s interests.”

Setting aside the question of who saved whom what money, Steiner said the two parties are working with JAMS, a mediation service that uses retired judges to help negotiate out-of-court resolutions of legal disputes.

“Mediation leaves the decision power totally and strictly with the parties,” a notice on the JAMS website said. “The mediator does not decide what is ‘fair’ or ‘right,’ does not assess blame nor render an opinion on the merits or chances of success if the case were litigated.

“Rather, the mediator acts as a catalyst between opposing interests, attempting to bring them together by defining issues and eliminating obstacles to communication, while moderating and guiding the process to avoid confrontation and ill will. The mediator will, however, seek concessions from each side during the mediation process.”

Steiner said the decision to seek a day of mediation late this month in Sacramento was not ordered by Maguire, but was sought by both parties.

“This is an opportunity for both sides to see if they can reach an agreement that will end the lawsuit,” she said, adding that participation is strictly voluntary for both parties. “If we don’t reach agreement, then we will continue the lawsuit.”

If that happens, trial dates for the remaining causes of action are set for November, Steiner said.

Steiner also said the impetus for the settlement conference came out of the new, largely gallon-by-gallon water rates approved by the City Council. Prop. 218 notices describing the rates should have arrived last week and this week in property owners’ mailboxes. A hearing and protest vote on the rates are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Mayor Dan Wolk said the city wants to try to resolve the lawsuit out of court, if it can.

“The city is looking forward to bringing this matter to a conclusion that benefits the city and its ratepayers,” he said in a message. “We want to attempt to resolve this matter so that we can complete the surface water project at the lowest cost to the ratepayers.”

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or call 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Shrem Art Museum is a work of art itself

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Police ID suspect in South Davis hit-and-run crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Thieves swipe Gold Rush-era nuggets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Blizzard-stricken East digs out amid second-guessing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    UC Davis doctors strike

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    CASA seeks volunteers to advocate for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Community invited to Fenocchio memorial

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Teens Take Charge program accepting applications

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    SHE to lead Center for Spiritual Living in sound healing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Take a hike with Tuleyome on Feb. 7

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    The Soup’s On for NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Kiwanis Crab, Pasta Feed benefits local charities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Registration open for PSA Day at Davis Media Access

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Brick sales will benefit Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Capay Valley Almond Festival will tempt your taste buds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    State fails to track billions in mental health funds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Rebekahs’ crab feed benefits local families

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Covered California enrollment events planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Learn pattern darning tips at guild meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Suds for a bug: Contest is over

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A7

    CSU chancellor calls for increasing graduation rates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Family feels cut off here

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    It’s the final freedom

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Move past the stereotypes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    A stunning contradiction here

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Let’s speak with accuracy

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Think again on euthanasia

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Devil snowboarders place second in short and slushy GS

    By Margo Roeckl | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Williams-less Gauchos will test Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Davis club ruggers open with nationally celebrated Jesuit on Friday

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Blue Devils take care of business

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS ski team takes second on a déjà vu day

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    Name droppers: Arboretum director wins leadership award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Lemon tree, very pretty: Our most local fruit?

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Arts

    Granger Smith to play at The Davis Graduate

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Young musicians to perform Winter Concerto Concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Art science speaker series event set for Feb. 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Red Meat, Deke Dickerson bring rockabilly honky-tonk twang to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Death notice: Betty J. Cogburn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Mary Beth Warzecka

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6