Aaron Starr announces signatures all collected for Oxnard recall of 4 Council Members

By George  Miller

When the City of Oxnard raised utility rates hugely without going through what he thought was a proper process, local financial executive and activist  Aaron Starr objected. He attempted to work with the city to go through the assumptions, math, capital plans, and more, but the city cut off communications with him after awhile. He tried to block or hold it down via his participation in a rate setting committee and general opposition at meetings. He threatened a ballot initiative to rescind rate increases if they passed more increases, but pass them they did. So, he filed Measure M, campaigned and won 72% of the vote, but failed to also win a council seat, losing to Oscar Madrigal. In addition, a Superior Court judge put a stay on measure M, which will be heard in court in December.

Starr faces off with Oxnard City Council, at an earlier meeting. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

So, Litigation drags on with Measure M and also with another suit on what Starr (and some legal precedents) say are illegal “infrastructure fees, which siphon off utility revenues to the general fund, allegedly to pay for city police, fire and public works resources consumed because of the utilities.

In frustration over all the claimed injustices, Starr initiated a recall against those who initially voted for a second utility increase this year: Mayor Tim Flynn, Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez, Bert Perello and Oscar Madrigal. Starr’s team and vendors had to collect well over 40,000 signatures (68,000) to get the four recalls on the ballot, but at tonight’s council meeting, he announced that he had more than enough signatures and would present them at City Hall in the morning, 11-15-17.

If these are verified Starr predicts that a special election for the recall would be held around March of 2018. Opponents object to Starr’s reasons for it, the cost ($200,000+, paid for by the city) and even the timing, but it’s all legal and he says needed and would actually save the city money.

The text of Starr’s speech to the council follows:

Last year, 72% of the voters voted Measure M into law, rescinding the abusive sewer rate increase you imposed on us.

After that overwhelming victory we expected the City Council would faithfully execute the law we adopted and seek out low-cost solutions.

We were surprised and disappointed that you instead pursued a lawsuit to overturn Measure M in court.

We were even more disappointed to learn that the City has been unlawfully skimming millions of dollars from the utility funds into the general fund. Over the previous eleven years you have diverted $45 million that way.

Here we were being told that money was desperately needed for infrastructure and repairs. The reality was that a lot of money was being diverted.

And then four of you voted to massively raise utility rates … again.

While there are many valid reasons for recalling the Oxnard City Council, those were the last straws for us.

Since June, we have been gathering the signatures required to hold you accountable.  It takes a long time to talk to so many people, but we had a lot of help.

I am grateful to be surrounded by a supportive team of signature gatherers and volunteer advisors.

Mostly, though, I am proud of the voters of this city. They are the real heroes.  After we told them the stories of abuse and malfeasance, they stepped up in droves and signed our petitions.

All they want is a better life and for their elected officeholders to follow the law.

Pursuing a recall was not our first choice. We offered to compromise with you, but you were unwilling.

We understood this would be an historic undertaking. No one has successfully qualified for the ballot a recall of a city council majority in a city as large as Oxnard.

To qualify four recall petitions for the ballot, we need more than 48,000 signatures.  That’s a lot.

Tomorrow we will be submitting 68,000 signatures to the City Clerk. By comparison, the four of you received only 60,000 votes combined during your most recent elections. We expect the County will certify our petitions and that an election for your removal will be scheduled this Spring.

Thank you again to the people standing with me and others who helped who are not present, and especially the voters who signed our petitions. This is truly an accomplishment for which you should all be proud.


George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.

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Bruce Boyer

Why would anyone expect that the corrupt politicians would accept accountability or transparency?? They are crooks! Get a rope!

William Hicks

Could this had all been avoided IF there was more transparency?