It’s been a long while since I updated on the lawsuit between myself and Councilwoman Diane Dixon (backstory, here: http://savenewport.com/2017/08/17/diane-dixon-gets-sued/). Essentially, Dixon directed the use of taxpayer resources to conduct an investigation into an activist (that’d be me) so that she could spout bad things about them from the dais whenever they spoke against one of her unpopular measures. Sadly for her, the research that she forced taxpayers to fund was wildly incorrect, and anything offensive that she managed to say from the dais was also completely incorrect– according to city staff themselves.
I immediately asked for an apology and a retraction from the city attorney. He said he would call me the next day. He did, and said that there was no way she was going to apologize, even if she was wrong– that’s completely irresponsible. I wrote to the city council and received another rejection, re-iterating that she was going to refuse to apologize for saying horribly untrue things about me. So I wrote a demand letter, was rejected, and then I filed in court.
I filed this not in Superior Court where almost all defamation, slander, and libel cases are heard– instead I filed in small claims court. This prevented the city from needing to hire any lawyers at taxpayer expense, because no lawyers are even allowed to speak on their clients behalf in small claims court. This would be simply me and Dixon, and Dixon having to defend her own words, in person. What a novel concept.
The voicemail she left proved actual malice, and instead of speaking on off-topic items during a non-agenda discussion, she clearly stated that she wanted to investigate me on the taxpayer dime so that she could lie about me during a “trolley” meeting to negate my testimony, making my case a slam-dunk in any court setting.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, Dixon didn’t want to be held accountable for her own words, and attempted to escalate the case to a higher court so that they could hit me with an Anti-SLAPP lawsuit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). These lawsuits were initially designed to protect people against getting sued for no reason– but the city is literally arguing that they should be able to defame citizens from the dais during city council meetings with no repercussions– that’s hardly the intent of the law. The Superior Court agreed, and squashed the city’s request without ever hearing anything else about it.
The city then re-filed a petition to dismiss the suit with the small claims court– on the 81st day of a 60 day window. In addition to their absurdly late filing, they had critical factual errors in their statement as well, such as proclaiming that I actually owe what Dixon proclaims, and that I admit to it– another complete fabrication.
If you’re interested in reading the City’s initial attempt to literally give councilpeople more rights than normal people, you can read it and my response, here:
To read their latest 85-page filing, click here: http://savenewport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/00220631.pdf
My 8-page response to that is here: http://savenewport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Glenn-v-City-NB-FINAL-SUBMITTED.docx
And the exhibits I have submitted along with them, here:
Exhibit A: Voicemail (https://apps.newportbeachca.gov/quest/attachments/269919_VoiceMessage.wav)
Exhibit B: Records specialist stating that money is not owed until documents are both requested and picked up (http://savenewport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Eric-Bryan-Exhibit-2.pdf)
Exhibit C: Assistant Clerk Jennifer Nelson proclaiming that Notices of Determination are actually invoices– in violation of state law on the subject (http://savenewport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Jennifer-Nelson-Exhibit-C.pdf)
Exhibit D: Publication of that email in the Daily Pilot (http://savenewport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Jennifer-Nelson-Exhibit-D.pdf)
The court date is currently set for December 18th and I expect this will be a landmark case for the rights of citizens and activists standing up to Big Government throughout the state of California. Until the last filing, I was willing to settle the case for a simple apology and retraction. Seeing the lengths that the city is going to remove this from the court docket lets me know how critical this is to play out, though.
Any money won above and beyond what my filing and copy fees are during this case will be donated to an activist group who fights for the rights of citizens in situations like this, and also split with a donation to Newport Elementary, to help with costs for equipment repair, gear, or any other supplies they may need. I’ve never been interested in the money, I just want the city to behave like civilized human beings.
I know that Dixon didn’t move here until 6 months before she filed to run for office, but I’m pretty sure that this type of behavior is frowned upon even from her previous home, Los Angeles.