Wednesday, September 17, 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

.

News

A pot o’ gold for Rainbow City revival

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Marsh trial guilt phase enters home stretch

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
New water rates take effect in November

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Three women stuck in Putah Creek while paddleboarding

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: News about our modest college town

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
Crews battle wildfire’s explosive growth

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Weakened Odile heads toward U.S.; tourists evacuated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Storyteller will draw on music, dance

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Show off your electric vehicles on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Learn about youth leadership program on Sept. 28

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sign up now for free Community Yard Sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
AAUW hosts conversation with Gilardi

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Master Gardeners will answer questions Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sign up soon for a new year of Writing Buddies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Register to vote by Oct. 20

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Saylor meets constituents at Peet’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free introductory yoga, chanting workshop offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rotary seeks project requests

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Senior Center to host jewelry sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
.

Forum

Time to go get help

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Please vaccinate your children

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Mental-health treatment lacking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Braly’s column lightens the heart

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Bicycle bells needed for safety

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Are we going to wait until someone here dies?

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

 
Firefighters went above, beyond

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Grocery bags are biohazards

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Can’t we work collaboratively?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Formidable UCD defense melts Hornets

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils go the distance to triumph at Chico

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD women take third at elite golf event

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Aggie men stay in 10th to finish St. Mary’s Invite

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Sounders win U.S. Open Cup in overtime

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B2

 
Diamondbacks slam Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Peavy, Posey lead Giants past Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Legacy roundup: Gunners get a win over Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

AYSO roundup: Ultra Violet illuminates a victory

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Alliance roundup: Soccer success comes on the road and at home

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Features

Name Droppers: Bamforth leads international brewing institute

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Name Droppers: UC Davis announces eight new fellows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Just desserts? A sweet treat is worth the effort

By Julie Cross | From Page: A10

 
.

Arts

Apply now for Davis Community Idol

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis students prepare dishes for Empty Bowls fundraiser

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Nine Davis artists chosen to show in KVIE Art Auction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Sacred Harp singers will gather

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

 
Classic ‘Hello, Dolly!’ wows at Woodland Opera House

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics