Wednesday, August 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

New legal challenge to school district’s Measure E

By
From page A1 | February 14, 2013 |

The Davis school district is fighting a second lawsuit related to last November’s local school parcel tax, Measure E. A Bay Area lawyer who has been fighting a school parcel tax measure in Alameda has filed companion lawsuits in Davis and several other communities where such measures were approved by voters.

Attorney David Brillant of Walnut Creek is representing Davis residents Jose Granda and Thomas Randall Jr., who were active opponents of Measure E last fall. The case was filed in January and is pending in Yolo Superior Court.

Randall and Davis resident Janet Zwahlen filed a separate lawsuit in November with the U.S. District Court, Eastern Division of California (in Sacramento), also challenging aspects of Measure E. A hearing in that case is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Brillant has been representing a group of commercial property owners in Alameda who contend that the Alameda Unified School District’s Measure H, a school parcel tax, exceeded the school district’s taxing authority because Measure H charged homeowners and commercial property owners at different rates.

The lawsuit contends that parcel taxes must be assessed at a uniform rate in order to comply with state law. Last December, a state appellate court ruled in favor of this challenge. But the state appellate court subsequently agreed to reconsider the ruling — a decision that some legal observers believe is a prequel to the case moving up to the California Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Brillant has linked up with Granda and Randall for the lawsuit against Davis’ Measure E. According to a report in The Alamedan, Brillant also is representing property owners in two more school districts in the East Bay — San Leandro Unified and West Contra Costa Unified — and a Southern California district (Centinela Valley Union High School District) to bring lawsuits challenging school parcel taxes approved by voters in November. In each case, the tax is being challenged on the grounds that it charges properties at two different rates.

In the case of Davis’s Measure E, owners of single-family homes are assessed at a flat fee of $204 per year per home, while apartments, duplexes and other multi-unit residential dwellings are assessed at $20 per unit per year.

At the urging of the Alameda school board, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, introduced a bill in January (AB 59) that “clarifies existing law by stating that school districts are allowed to assess parcel taxes in accordance with rational classifications among taxpayers or types of property within a district, as long as the taxes are applied uniformly within those classifications,” according to Bonta’s news release.

Bonta told The Alamedan that “I am very disappointed that the lawsuits will effectively seek to stop much-needed funding to schools — funding that the voters (in each district) approved by a two-thirds majority.”

However, Brillant told The Alamedan that Bonta’s proposed legislation includes retroactive coverage for existing parcel taxes, and warned “that is going to trigger a massive litigation. … If they want to have themselves a federal lawsuit, that’s what they need to do.”

Bonta replied to The Alamedan that anyone can file a lawsuit, and added, “The threat of a lawsuit does not necessarily bring into question the legality of a bill that has yet to be vetted properly through the legislative process. We are committed to promoting a bill that fully complies with the law and supports children and public schools throughout the state. If, in the end, someone wishes to challenge the law on legal grounds, that is their right.”

Davis school board president Sheila Allen confirmed to The Enterprise that the district has received this second lawsuit challenging the tax.

“It is unfortunate that district resources must be used to defend this attack on its parcel tax, but the district is committed to protecting the measure that was supported by the overwhelming majority of the voters who believed that supporting their local schools in this way was in the community’s best interest,” she said.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    Summer jobs aren’t always in the bag

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Arts Center gets a new look, thanks to Brooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    More details emerge in Woodland officer shootings

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Report details the face of hunger in Yolo County

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Taking on a Specktacular challenge

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Students can practice safe bike routes to junior highs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    ‘Monsters University’ to be screened in Central Park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    California regulators approve PG&E rate hike

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    America’s ‘it’ school? Look west, Harvard

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: B3

     
    School board preps for new academic year

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

    The big moveout, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sunder campaign will be at Farmers Market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Classic car show slated in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
    Davis Art Garage honored; bench dedication set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Woodland historical award winners announced

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Forum

    Can’t understand this change

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Delta-friendly water bond is a win for all of California

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Bravo! The road diet works

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

     
    Support water bond in November

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Relay for Life team says thanks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Hard hoops schedule features defending national champs at UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Crisp’s big hit helps A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie QB is back to pass … Touchdown, Tina! Tina?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sacramento scores early to snap skid

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Unplayable? Cubs, rain hand Giants a loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    UCD roundup: Aggie gymnasts are awesome at academics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Food that travels well for cooking out

    By Julie Cross | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

     
    Visit Crawfish and Catfish Festival in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Artists invited to paint at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Goldberg, Milstein to play at Village Homes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    The voice on the CD comes alive at Music Together concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Crowd funding campaign offers support for Art Theater of Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Railroad museum will host Aberbach memorial

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6