Dixon’s Independent Voice has filed a Notice of Intent to Appeal, and a Designation of the Record, for an Appellate Court review of his case against the City of Dixon and city officials for retaliating against exercise of First Amendment rights by rigging the bid for the city’s legal notices contract.
Solano County Superior Court Judge Michael Mattice sustained a “Demurrer” submitted by the city’s attorneys to throw out the case.
Mattice ruled the Independent Voice was NOT engaged in First Amendment activities – although it is adjudicated as a newspaper of general interest and for 22 years has reported upon and opined about politics and government policies. Mattice also ruled the IV was NOT engaged in interstate commerce, despite having subscribers from New Jersey to Texas, Florida to Alaska; and columnists and advertisers from throughout the US.
Mattice also did not follow a 1996 Supreme Court ruling that retaliation by denying a contract to a critic by a local government is unconstitutional. (To read for yourself, find it on-line by searching: Umbehr 518 U.S., 668 (1996).
The contract at issue is for less than $15,000 per year. To date the city has spent over $60,000 in fees paid to City Attorney Doug White to contest the suit.
The IV publisher, Dave Scholl, has consistently offered to negotiate a reasonable settlement, but city officials have failed to meet with him to do so.