Eight Oxnard Council/Mayor Candidates Compete in 3 Sessions

By Michael Hernandez

OXNARD—The League of Women Voters hosted a Thursday South Oxnard Election Forum at the South Oxnard Senior Center, 200 E. Bard Road, (video recorded by KADY TV.com) where eight candidates (two running for Mayor and six running for seats on the Oxnard City Council in Districts 5 and 6) shared their views as they sought support for their campaigns.

 

Event videos by KADYTV

Council candidates- Districts 5 & 6:

Mayoral Candidates:

 

The City of Oxnard was divided into six districts as a response to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) which was adopted in 2002 and is based on the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (FVRA).  Oxnard divided into six city districts in the aftermath of a demand letter that the City received to transition from an at-large election method to a by-district election method.

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The League of Women Voters is an American civic organization formed by Carrie Chapman Catt on Feb. 14, 1920 to help women take a larger role in public affairs –including the right to vote—the 19th Amendment.   The organization was formed to assist 27 million women voters to understand issues.  While being nonpartisan, the League supports progressive public policy positions, including campaign finance reform, universal health care, abortion rights, climate change action and environmental regulation, and gun violence prevention.  In 1974, the League of Women Voters was opened up to men.  The motto of the League is:  “empowering voters and defending democracy.”

Moderator for the Oxnard City Election Forum was David Maron, a member with Ventura County League of Women President Betsy Patterson serving as timer.

 

Mayor Candidates:

Tim Flynn:   

Opening Statement:  As your Mayor, I’ve been a singular voice on the quality of life in the City of Oxnard.   I have led the fight against graffiti and established one of the best anti-graffiti programs in Ventura County—which is a model for California.  I’ve supported the police department. I am a supporter of gang injunctions.  I am a supporter of higher quality of education.  I supported Measure O (20 million dollars) and fought for open space in the city and for preserving farm land.

Q: What is your plan on the Edison plant?  Edison was forced to sell the NRG plant to emerge out of bankruptcy.  The power plant was closed in March of this past year.  It has an obligation to dismantle the plant.  It is obsolete and was built a half century ago. They need to remove and work with NRG to help us remove that plant.

Q: How would you vote on wastewater increases?

  • 1st rate increase: $10/month/household.
  • 2nd rate increase: $14/month/household.

The ratepayers deserve a through explanation. The wastewater system failed six times but is on a road to financial recovery.  There will not be rate increases so we can figure out what we’re going to do?

Q: What about homeless in city?  We have a homeless crisis in the city.  This is not rocket science.  We have homeless on the streets that need to be off the streets and out of the parks. I’ve been working on a permanent shelter along with the City of Ventura. We have a temporary shelter at the National Guard.  Homeless need mental health assistance.  Most of the 1,300 homeless have mental health issues.

Q: What are plans to upgrade South Oxnard?

South Oxnard in terms of city budget receives a considerable amount of money.  College Park cost the city 18 million dollars.  The South Oxnard Center has our city’s newest library.   I am optimistic about Oxnard and it’s future.  The main problem is economic decline.

Q: Address the issue of higher paying jobs?  The last thing we need is minimum wage jobs.  I advocate from my experience living in the Bay area.   We have an education gap.  Too many young people are opting not to attend college. I am a teacher, someone who has taught 25 years.

Q: What is your position on immigration?  A billion dollar industry like agriculture is impacted by immigration.  We need to forge a consensus.  It is unfortunate that politicians and Washington have not been able to compromise on one of the most controversial issues.  I have confidence that we will put this behind and get moving on this amazing period of economic growth.

Q: What is your vision for Ormond Beach?   I support Ormond Beach being restored to its original habitat.  I have spent decades restoring Ormond Beach.  It will take a lot of money.  The last undeveloped wetlands offers this city a great and continual reason to come to Oxnard.  The tourist industry not always pays the highest wages but it is good for business in Oxnard.

Q: What is your vision for public safety in South Oxnard and gang injunctions?  I’m not apologetic for being a fiscal conservative.  We’re spending more money than any other city in Ventura County  – even more than the City of Ventura.  Gang injunctions are one tool to counter gangs.  I’m a supporter.  It needs to be revised.  These 2,500 men need a pathway to get out of gangs.

Q: Why do you believe voters should vote for you?   I don’t think there is anyone that special or that unique for pubic service.  It is a commitment to serve people.  For the first time since I have been in city council, I no longer am a public school teacher when I was full time on evenings and weekends for the city. Now I can be a full-time Mayor on a part-time salary.  You don’t stumble into public service.  It is a passion. It is an honor.  If I can impart that passion, I will.

Q: Closing Statement:  I have focused my attention as Mayor in uniting this community not dividing the community. I don’t tell you do what I say or I sue you; I don’t tell you do what I say or I will recall you.  I have the experience to lead the city.  My opponents don’t have a track record of bringing jobs.  I have a proven track record of getting things done.  My top proprieties as Mayor are 1) economic development  and 2) restoring service areas.

 

Mario Quintana:     No Show

Opening Statement (Read by Moderator): I am at a family event that I committed to before deciding to run for the office of Mayor.  Thanks for your attendance. (Ed. Note: He was at other events).

 

Aaron Starr:

Q: Opening Statement:  Imagine good streets.  Imagine working with schools where students are taught how to succeed.  Imagine attracting business.  This is all achievable.  We  deserve nothing less.  Soon after the elections, we hear promises from the Mayor.  I’m someone who will keep promises.  I get things done as a controller at a billion dollar company.  I don’t sue people.  They sue me personally.  The Mayor says I’ve sued the city three times while he has been on the city council.  You lied.

Q: What is your plan on the Edison plant?   Dirty water was anticipated. The Mayor knew about it.  His own father signed a MOU between Oxnard and Seabridge.  One of the parts of the agreement was ongoing water testing.  At other forums the Mayor said ‘we have no idea.’  Of course we knew, $250,000 can be spent litigating it.  On Tuesday, at the Oxnard city council meeting they released the money, yet folks living on the harbor have to clean up that water.

Q: How would you vote on a waste water increase?  We have $30 million of reserves built up and this does not include 9.5 million the state contributed.  The urgent repairs will cost eight million; throw in other costs and you are at 11 million?  I’m not for raising rates.  The city has given us a poison pill. The Mayor signed an agreement that can’t lower rates.  The Mayor did not tell you the truth.  Rates will go up.  There have been three rate increases. He says it did not happen.

Q: What about homeless in city?  Neither of us have a great answer.  Most homeless are due to mental illness. I would like to serve local folks that are temporarily homeless.  Now we have programs that are like a magnet attracting people nationwide to Oxnard.

Q: What are your plans to update South Oxnard?  Look at Channel Islands Blvd.  Lights are never replaced.  Filth is everywhere because the city does not come in to pick up garbage  I feel bad for people who live in this area.  This is poor management from the city.  City staff are not doing their jobs.  We have city staff sleeping on the job. We need better management.  You are paying half cent sales tax.  You need the services.

Q: How can you bring jobs to Oxnard; well paying jobs?  Mayor has been in office since 2004.  It takes years to get permits.  We are twice as big as Thousand Oaks but have fewer businesses. This is not acceptable.  I understand the mentality of business.  The Mayor is not equipped to do that.

Q: What is your position on immigration?  Immigrants made this county what it is.  My grandfather came from Russia and stayed in Israel and made a great life for himself.  We need to recognize that.  Those that want to come here to make a better life.  If you are a productive person, I want you here.  If not productive, not sure.  I have no ill feelings for someone who wants to make a better life.

Q: What is your vision for Ormond Beach?  Should be preserved.  The nature conservancy can preserve natural habits better than cities and governments.  It should be done through the nonprofit sector.  We don’t have a lot of money.  The reality is that because of anti-business; we don’t have revenue for streets and more police.  We need to take care of that before having a chance to deal with Ormond Beach.  The Mayor comes across as optimistic but he doesn’t have money to do this.

Q: What is your vision for public safety in South Oxnard and the gang injunction?  The Mayor voted for a budget that caused the layoff of 16 police officers.  The gang injunction is something like that but needs a way for due process, where if in a gang, individuals have a chance to defend themselves and a way to get off a gang injunctions–that meets constitutional rights.  I’m a believer in police rights.  We need to protect South Oxnard.  We need more business revenue to protect South Oxnard.

Q; Why you believe voters should vote for you?  Ventura has less revenue  than we do; but has more police officers.  This Mayor can’t bring in revenues.  I can bring in the revenues with higher paying jobs.  Even if the Mayor does work full-time without money, he will not do a better job.  He doesn’t have the resources or management experience.  Look around you. Are you really getting the services like Camarillo?  We have the worst streets in Ventura County and South Oxnard is the worsT.  If you want a change, then I am the person.  The Mayor can’t be as optimistic as he is.

Q: Closing Statement:  Hopefully, by now you can see who you can believe?  With me, you have someone who listens.  All of us together will be better.  I will not tell one audience one thing and another audience something different.  I bring experience and I look at the long term picture.  I give out news and do not hide bad news.  I do not blame the  past.  I see the big picture and dive into the details.  I’m not a showman or a used car salesman, like he used to be.  We are different people.   You can count that I will be the biggest champion for South Oxnard.  South Oxnard, lets build a future together.

 

City Council Campaigns:

District 5 is the most southeast district in the city and extends from Saviers Road east.  Neighborhoods:  College Estates, College Park, Cypress, Diamond Bar, Lemonwood, Mar Vista, Oxnard Pacific, Peasant Valley Estates, Terrace Estates, Tierra Vista, Via Capri.

Gabriela Basua:

Opening Statement:  I was raised in the neighborhoods of La Colonia.  I graduated from Channel Islands High School and Oxnard Community College.  I lived in College Estates for 16 years.  I have worked for the City of Port Hueneme in the housing authority office for 15 years.  I am a wife and mother of three.

Q: Parks:  We need to focus on fields and see if we have resources for other parks.

Q: Ormond Beach:  We have potential to bring in revenue.  We can show our hidden jewel and bring tourism as long as we do it by conserving wetlands.

Q: If elected:  I would sit down with the City Manger and get a better grasp on Public Works.  I will be a voice for South Oxnard as a council member and would work together so goals get done.

Q: Do you support Local Hire?  Local hire is what I do.  I’m total in favor of keeping our money local.

Q: Public Safety and Community Engagement:  Engage the young.  We are losing them to gangs and crime.  I’m looking to first responders to guide us.

 Q: My Qualifications:  I have a passion for city service.  I work with budgets every day.  I ask the tough questions and get things done.

 Q: Closing Statement:  We have a failing infrastructure, crime, homelessness and lack of affordable housing.  With district 5 so close to Ormond Beach, we have the ability to bring jobs and tax dollars.  I have the leadership skills to move the community forward.  I know the community. I have been raised in the community and am a product of the community.

 

Lawrence Stein:

Q: Opening Statement:  Never elected and never lost.  I’ve been asking questions for 20 years and I don’t get answers.  I wouldlike you to vote for me.  I’ve worked with city officials for 20 years.

Q: Public Safety: 118 million and now 136 million budget? How much has gone to public safety?  This is not a sacred cow.  I would like to see more fire and police officers.

Q: Local Hire:  I believe we should have local labor for local jobs.  Money stays in the community and recycles in the community. When payroll leaves a city, it leaves. Not everybody is in college.  We can have apprenticeship programs.

Q: City Staff Issues: City staff is quite arrogant.  They need to be more open and more transparent.  Staff  doesn’t answer questions.  How can current staff maintain relationships with another city; when they do not maintain relationships with residents?  I would try  to establish more communication with citizens.

Q: Financial Statements: I would be fired, if didn’t have budgets as an accountant.  There is instability on the fourth floor of City Hall.

Q: My Qualifications:  If elected, I would work with city staff and the city manager.  I have the ability to work with small business.  I’ve worked with small business accounting.  I’ve been involved with the city for 25 years.

 Q: Closing Statement: The city council and staff give responses to citizens. I will have a different focus.  I will get answers to questions.  City staff doesn’t ask questions.  Answers are not delivered in public.  I am a wonderful person some might thing otherwise; but attack with aggressiveness.

 

Elizabeth White:  No Show

 

District 6 Oxnard District 6 extends from S. Ventura Road  to Saviers Road and includes the following Neighborhoods:  Blackstock North, Blackstock South, Bryce Canyon South, Cal-Gisler, Plesant Valley Village, Redwood, Southwinds.

Francine Castanon:

Q: Opening Statement:  We have the best ingenuity in this city.  We have great people.  I’m sick and tired of put downs.  We want to do good for the youth.  Let’s get it done.

Q: College Estates: My daughter  and I drive by there every day.  The street narrows.  The kids can’t play there.  It is impossible to drive with traffic and roads.  There are no bathrooms.  The city doesn’t care, no matter how many 911 calls are made.

Q: Ormond Beach: Used by Oxnard City College.  It should be left alone.  As soon as touched, it is ruined.  Should be federally protected.

Q: Neighborhood Councils:  I have been a chair for five years in a neighborhood council.  It has cleaned the neighborhood.  It has helped to get city lights.

Q: Audits:  It’s like we keep a charging card and max out.  We don’t have youth services. We need to find a youth service provider.

 Q: My Qualifications:  I served in the Army and use to fuel planes in less than 30 minutes.  I will get jobs for our city.  The council has forgotten about us.  My biggest skill is to be able to work with people and get things done.

Q: Closing Statement:  I would bring financial stability to the city.  Good talent here.  Not giving them jobs.  Public safety is not here.  Seven of our eight stations are falling apart.

 

Luis Garcia Moreria:

Q; Opening Statement:  I am a banker.  I’ve led and established new departments while increasing revenue.  I’ve worked with the 12th Federal Reserve District.  I was  raised by a single mother in Los Angeles.

Q: Parks:  Review our budget and get people in there to clean them up.  We need to use all our parks for recreation and sparse it out so everybody has access.

Q: Port Hueneme:  District 6 shares a boundary.  We need to meet with Port Hueneme and find out their priorities and they find out our priorities.  So both of us can thrive.  We need to meet and discuss.

Q; Ormond Beach:  UCSB has very specific locations for educational beaches.  It is an Oxnard jewel.  We need to clean it up. Homeless live there now.  We need to preserve the wetlands.  It needs to be controlled.  It can bring more jobs to Oxnard.

Q: Neighborhood Councils:  We have an inactive neighborhood council.  I  have attended several neighborhood council meetings.  If elected to the city council, I will find someone to restart the neighborhood council.  We need better communications.

 Q: Two Top Priorities: Cleanup our neighborhoods. I grew up in South Central Los Angeles.  Gang injunctions in LA were big.  If done properly, they will clean up the streets.

Q; My Qualifications:  I have worked with two municipalities.  City funds (tax dollars) are placed with banks that do not reinvest back into the city. Tax dollars need to be reinvested back into the city.

Q; Closing Statement:  I have only been living in Oxnard three years but I want to clean up the streets, deal with contracts and have tax dollars reinvested into the city.  We need better jobs, better housing and I want to die being proud of Oxnard.  I am someone who will make a difference.

 

Carolina Gallardo-Magana:

Q: Opening Statement:  I am a 52 year old married woman with four children and three grand children.  I have worked for a nonprofit for 25 years that serves individuals with intellectual disabilities such as down syndrome.  In 2013, I established a successful Licensed Residential Care Facility for people with special needs. Prior to that, I worked picking strawberries in the fields.

Q: My Vision for Ormond Beach:  We can take our kids and see nature.

Q; Neighborhood Safety:  We have had so many shootings in the last few months.  Public Works:  We need to clean our streets.  We need more help from the city and more support from Pubic Works.  Why is South Oxnard being neglected?  South Oxnard residents don’t speak-up.  They have fear.  We need to speak up; for the city to pay attention to us.

Q: Local Hire:  Support unions as long as they do local hire.  If they work here, they will spend money.

Q: Neighborhood Council:  I work with a neighborhood council. We do clean ups.  We do food distribution on the second and fourth Saturday of the month.  We gather community donations.

 Q; My Qualifications:  I have no issues with financials.  I run my own business with the Department of Social Services.   I know how to manage well.

 Q: Closing Statement:  I care for my community.  I am someone who can identify with our people and someone who you can trust.

 

Vianey Lopez:

Q: Opening Statement:  The past 26 years I have lived in Oxnard.  I see how the city can improve.  I can see change that would benefit our community.  We have a great opportunity to have a strong city council.  I have served as district director for Assembly member Monique Limon and worked for Congresswoman Lois Capps.   I have been a school board member for the Hueneme Elementary School board since 2012.  I want to serve you.

Q; South Oxnard:  Has faced a lot of issues.  We need to work to assure that city services are distributed throughout the city.

Q: Leveraging Resources: We need to work with state and local representatives  to bring in funding.  We need to work with different levels of government.

Q: Communication:  We need to have communication.  Attend neighborhood council meetings.  We are accountable to you.  I will make myself available to you.

Q: My Qualifications:  I have been with the   Port Hueneme School District for the last six years.  I’ve worked for two elected officials in state and local levels.  I know what can be done in federal and state levels.  I’ve been involved in other organizations in the community.

 Q: Closing Statement: It is a true honor to serve you.  I have confidence in the experience I can bring and have a passion for this community to be a voice. What we need is infrastructure, improving our roads and communication. Our youth don’t need to leave; they can thrive and have a quality of life in Oxnard.

 


Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 24 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected]

Mr. Hernandez is dedicated himself to advance the 13 spheres—as a “City Upon A Hill”; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships and supporting constitutional awareness and active citizenship.

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2 Responses to Eight Oxnard Council/Mayor Candidates Compete in 3 Sessions

  1. Tom September 30, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    The mayor and city council have little influence over some of the most important obstacles to attracting high paying jobs. One is historical.
    For residents of Oxnard 25 years and older: (1) 23.1% have less than a 9th grade education, the highest of any city in the county, (2) 11.7% have a bachelor’s degree, the 3rd lowest of any city in the county, (3) 4.6% have a graduate or professional degree, the 2nd lowest of any city in the county. There are 10 cities in the county.

    Reply
  2. Tom September 30, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    The mayor and city council have little influence over some of the most important obstacles to attracting high paying jobs. One is historical.

    For residents of Oxnard 25 years and older: (1) 23.1% have less than a 9th grade education, the highest of any city in the county, (2) 11.7% have a bachelor’s degree, the 3rd lowest of any city in the county, (3) 4.6% have a graduate or professional degree, the 2nd lowest of any city in the county. There are 10 cities in the county.

    The other obstacle is a continuing one. The public schools in the city.

    All 20 schools in the Oxnard School District are Title 1 schools. Title 1 schools receive funds from the federal government for students from low income families. A Title 1 school that has not met academic standards is placed in Program Improvement. All 20 schools are in Program Improvement, 8 of them since 2003.

    A headline in the 8/16/2014 VCStar proclaimed “Three Oxnard campuses transform into magnet schools.” The three Oxnard District middle schools reopened as magnet schools after receiving a $12 million grant from the federal government for the conversion. In 2016-17, 76% of the students attending these schools were below the standard in English Language Arts and 88% below the standard in math. Now both the California Board of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics state these schools are not magnet schools.

    CITY’s Responsibility

    Is the city capable of running a high-speed broadband service? The recent survey of resident’s interest in a high-speed broadband service resulted in a security breech. Apparently, an incorrect link to the survey was provided. It opened an already completed form, exposing all the information the person provided. A statement on the last page of the survey that requested personal information assured that “This information will be considered confidential and will not be shared with any other parties.”

    Reply

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