Fiduciary Leadership in 2018 or Oxnard’s’ Successor Agency Continued Boondoggle?

By Armando Vazquez, M.Ed., Executive Director, The Foundation, EERD

Imagine the State of California dressed as a Santa Claus, and in a magnanimous gesture of civic good will and fairness, it decides  to give  Oxnard a once in a lifetime “gift”: the full and total fiduciary disposal authority of 39 buildings/properties that the city of Oxnard Successor Agency currently has in its portfolio. And imagine further, that the city (for whatever reason) does absolutely nothing to accept this gift for over five years- it does absolutely nothing to use or dispose of these gift building/properties.  Santa would feel “dissed” and be disappointed or angry, perhaps both!  Substitute the seasonal Santa Claus analogy and ironically, you have the current state of affairs in Oxnard:  as of the end of the year 2017 there has been no “disposal of all assets” by our Successor Agency.
 In 2012 the California Legislature passed and Governor Brown signed into law California Health & Safety Code Section 34179 AB X l 26 that officially dissolved the existing Redevelopment Agency in all municipalities/cities throughout California.
 And as a result of eliminating these Redevelopment Agencies and beginning in 2012 these municipalities/cities were mandated by this same California Health & Safety Code Section 34179 AB X l 26 to “dispose of all assets” that the former Redevelopment Agency held in its portfolio.
In Oxnard, our Successor Agency was created to follow this mandate, i.e. “dispose of all assets” listed in California Health & Safety. Code Section 34179 AB X l 26.
Oxnard, as already mentioned, has five years’ later, done nothing to “dispose of the buildings/properties” i.e. follow the directive. Herein lays the current conundrum. In 2018 the State of California will not be so benevolent and patient to laggards such as Oxnard’s Successor Agency, and as the legal “owner” of these 39 Successor Agency buildings/properties, the state has repeatedly threatened to finally “foreclose and fully rescind” the Oxnard Successor Agency’s temporary right of  “disposal of assets” for this fiduciary foot-dragging.
This loss of the right for the City of Oxnard’s local control of its assets would be devastating administrative negligence over an extensive time period of more than 5 years.
The people that would be grievously harmed by this ineffectiveness and even ineptitude are of course, the taxpayers and citizens of Oxnard. If the time limit on disposal of property’s is allowed to expire, the Ventura County oversight board then would take over and be in complete and total control in the disposal of all of Oxnard’s Successor Agency buildings/properties. The City of Oxnard stands to lose millions of dollars due to their negligence and inability to act in a responsible and timely manner.
Fortunately, there is a realistic, viable, legal, and creative solution to the current fix the City of Oxnard finds itself in.  The same law which mandates the disposal of the Successor Agency property in an efficient and expeditious manner, the  California Health & Safety Code Section 34179 AB X l 26  also provides the cities/ municipalities throughout  California “transfer of ownership” clause for the disposal of assets” for the Successor Agency. This legal has been successfully utilized by many state wide successor Agencies to “transfer ownership” to the City’s (of Oxnard) Redevelopment Agency and convert the transferred property to a Long-Range Property Management Plan-Retention of Properties for Governmental Use.   The creative, fiscally prudent solution would be to follow the guideline which allows Successor Agency  properties to be transferred to the City pursuant to HSC Section 34181(a) ( which allows properties of a former redevelopment agency to be transferred to a public jurisdiction (in this case, the City of Oxnard).
As that section of the Law states, the successor agency is to “dispose of all assets and properties of the former redevelopment agency,  provided, however, that the oversight board may instead direct the successor agency to transfer ownership of those assets that were constructed and used for a governmental purpose, such as roads, school buildings, parks, police and fire stations, libraries, and local agency administrative buildings, to the appropriate public jurisdiction pursuant to any existing agreements relating to the construction or use of such an asset.”  In other words, a property such as the former Social Security Building could be transferred to the City of Oxnard for vital government community uses.
We, at the Acuna Arts Collective, have extensively researched this California Health & Safety Code Section 34179 as amended by AB X l 26. We have shared the vital governmental information that we gleamed with local legal, business, educational and social service stakeholders, and they concur with the Acuna Arts Collective that we should sit down with city officials and talk about the extraordinary fiduciary possibilities that a “transfer of ownership” and other potential legal, financial and development “windows”, if mutually explored and researched, could immediately bring to the city of Oxnard.
This conversion of a city administered property to a public benefit, community enhancement structure provides a once in a life time opportunity and can create an incredible “out of the box” kick start for the positive future downtown vision and development projects that all residents of Oxnard desperately need and want.
In the past year the Acuna Arts Collective has made several official bids of acquisition, specifically to acquire the Social Security Building (445 South B Street, and adjacent parking lot property). The Acuna Arts Collective has proposed to the City of Oxnard a partnership that would convert the Social Security Building into an educational, arts and cultural center. The Acuna Arts Collective has researched; provide documentation to the city and estimates that this partnership would generate millions of dollars in art, educational and cultural services and programs in the immediate future for all residents of Oxnard. This partnership would augment tremendously the educational, arts and cultural service that the city of Oxnard is so hard pressed to provide today. Additionally, with the execution of the “transfer of ownership” provision the city of Oxnard could still maintain the public benefit  full and Legal “transfer of ownership” of buildings/properties assessed in the  millions dollars.
To date, the Acuna Arts Collective has not had a response from the city in the past year about our acquisition offers or the possibility of invoking the “transfer of ownership” clause. We believe it is time for the community to pressure administrators and the city council members to become much more active before our city loses all control of “disposal of assets” rights to the Ventura County oversight board.
Based on past historical performance,  the Successor Agency will not become more active, and will continue to be unable to produce even one viable RFQ proposals or actual purchase offers on the Social Security Building or other Successors Agency buildings/properties. A lack of action in 2018 will have serious consequences, and the ability to act in our local interest with the people’s tax payer properties and assets will avalanche into an abyss which will trigger the Ventura County Oversight Board to move aggressively to take over all of the “disposition of asset” activities and actions.

Armando Vazquez

Armando Vazquez, M.Ed.  is Executive Director of  Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition


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One Response to Fiduciary Leadership in 2018 or Oxnard’s’ Successor Agency Continued Boondoggle?

  1. Dotty Pringle December 30, 2017 at 10:30 am

    You are a logical Visionary, Dr. Vasquez!
    You speak the truth……I hope your quest comes true, it would be a wonderful asset to our town.
    Thank you!!


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