Yesterday, the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) suffered a setback in Alameda County Superior Court when Judge Frank Roesch overruled the District’s request to dismiss a lawsuit intended to invalidate a 7-year parcel tax enacted by voters on March 8th of this year under a ballot initiative called “Measure A.”
Attorneys for AUSD had argued that the measure enacted a legal tax structure, because it created a “uniform” tax structure across all properties within the same classification, namely, parcels with buildings of less than 24,997 square feet, parcels with buildings of more than 24,997 square feet, and parcels without buildings. The case hinges largely on the legislature’s intention and meaning of the word “uniform” in enacting the legislation that became California Government Code Section 50079.
David Brillant, attorney for the plaintiffs, argued that “uniform” plainly means “uniform.” He also cited the previous lawsuit against AUSD, over 2008′s Measure H parcel tax, which is still pending in the appeals court.
Mr. Brillant argued that the unresolved case in the appellate court is further evidence that the courts have not settled once and for all what the legislature meant by “uniform” when it comes to school parcel taxes. That case number is A129295 in the California 1st District Court of Appeal and on June 21st, the court granted AUSD a third extension in three months to file their initial respondent appeal brief.
Brillant told Action Alameda News, “I am very happy with this morning’s result as the demurrer was an improper manner for the court to decide this case. AUSD was attempting to have this case dismissed without having a hearing on the merits of the plaintiff’s complaint. The court refused to follow this logic and would not deny the plaintiffs an opportunity to have a full hearing on Measure A.”
School district officials had not responded to a request for comment by press time.
The Measure A lawsuit now moves to trial, set for September 13th. The case is Nelco, Inc. v. AUSD, Case #RG 11574574, in Alameda County Superior Court.