Out of Town Developers & Lawyers Involved
Developers have spent over $51,000 to push Measure N Sales Tax Hike – including for numerous signs promoting the tax
by Dave Scholl and Ourania Riddle
Dixon voters received in the mail a fancy double sided full color brochure reading: “Yes on Measure N – Get our Fair Share. Repair and Maintain our Roads.” Also, large “Yes on Measure N” signs are popping up throughout Dixon.
The brochure and signs claim “Dixon Property Owners and Business for Transportation Solutions -YES ON MEASURE N” are paying for the campaign. IV research confirms “Officers and Sponsors of the Yes on Measure N campaign are developers from Roseville.
This group also lists as their address the UPS Store at 1285 Stratford Ave Suite G Box 190.
The telephone number listed on their website – www.YesMeasureN.com – is a Vallejo landline. The fact that they are trying to hide their identity has aroused suspicion.
Campaign statements of the group could not be provided by the City of Dixon when the IV requested them. However, the Solano County Registrar of Voters provided their “Statement of Organization Recipient Committee form 410”, which was filed on October 2, 2018.
The Form 410 must be filed within 10 days of receiving $2,000 in contributions and it is filed with the Secretary of State. The form states they “qualified as committee on October 1, 2018 – but did not include an FPPC number on their mailed brochure.
One of the developers who support the Yes on Measure N is Clifton Taylor – President of Taylor Builders and is listed on the Form 410 as the Principal Officer of the campaign committee. He formerly led Richland Communities real estate division. Clifton Taylor was involved with the Valley Glen Subdivision when he was with Richland Communities.
Richland Communities plans, develops and delivers master-planned communities and mixed-use projects. They are in Roseville and are Members of Dixon Chamber of Commerce since 2011.
Taylor is also the firm working on development of the Southwest Quadrant of Dixon – the area along the West A Street west of Pitt School Rd – including to “George’s Orange” and to I-80. That development is for approximately 304 acres and up to 1365 units, but expected to be closer to 1180 units and about 23 acres of parks, and some commercial use at the Northwest corner of the quadrant, near the “George’s Orange” site.
The Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer of the campaign committee are listed as Ashlee Titus and Thomas Hiltachk, both attorneys with the politically well-connected Sacramento law firm of Bell, McAndrews, & Hiltachk, LLP.
Katherine Hart, listed as another Principal Officer of the campaign committee, joined Richland Communities as land use counsel. Some years ago she was on the California Water Quality Control Board (WQCB) which threatened Dixon and fined the city about a quarter million dollars over the waste water (sewer) plant. Expanding that plant was necessary for the Southwest Quadrant development.
During one of the contentious WQCB meetings, Hart admonished a Dixon resident that he had not right to criticize the board members and their staff. He promptly reminded her of the Bagley Keene Act – the equivalent of the Brown Act for state agencies, which protects the public’s comment rights in such meetings.
JEN CA 6 LLC which is listed on the 410 form as “Property Owner Investor and type of Business: Land Repositioning” are connected to Clift Taylor. JEN was reimbursed by the City $980.10 Acct # 190-132-529610-2570 for “Legal Fees Reimb/JEN CA 6 SW” (Enumeration of Claims pg 43 June 18 2018 ledger)
According to Gene Endicott, an official spokesman for the Taylor group, that payment was related to the Southwest Quadrant development, and not involved in the Measure N campaign. Endicott also confirmed Taylor has put $36,000 into the Yes on N campaign.
The City promised to build the Parkway Blvd overcrossing by 2007 with fees it extracted from developers of the Valley Glen and Parklane subdivisions. The overcrossing is still not built.
That overpass is a key infrastructure necessary for the Southwest Quadrant development. Each property develop in that area is assessed a fee for the overpass – as were properties in Valley Glen and the housing just south of Dixon High School.
All the funds collected with that fee were supposed to be set aside to build the overpass and other roads. Instead, the City has apparently raided the funds to finance other projects, including the railroad under pass along A Street. The city at the time described the use of those funds as a “loan” which would be paid back.
Endicott said the Taylor group estimates between $7 million to $8 million will be paid by them into the overpass fund once the project is fully built.
The city has failed to answer numerous requests about the money – how much was collected; how much was spent; was any of the money used on other projects; how much is left; and how is the city going to replace the money they “borrowed” from the overpass funds?
Indications are the revenue from the sales tax hike will be used partially to repay those loans. Rather than provide an increase in road funding, in effect the taxes essentially restore the funding from developers’ fees for the overpass.
The Solano County Taxpayers Association filed the Argument Against Measure N (see your Voter Information Guide received with your ballot and their article on page 4 of in this issue.
The city and proponents of Measure N did not submit a rebuttal to the Taxpayers ballot argument against the tax.