LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM AARON STARR
During our recent lawsuit –– where we prevailed against the City’s illegal Infrastructure Use Fee (IUF) –– the City of Oxnard claimed to the Ventura County Superior Court that any period shorter than eight years to return to the City’s utility enterprise funds (i.e. water, wastewater and solid waste) the $36.5 million it had illegally charged would be an unreasonable hardship, as it had competing priorities for these monies.
The City Council even submitted to the Court a formal resolution making this claim.
The Court wouldn’t give the City eight years, instead granting the City three years to repay the judgment at the rate of $12 million per year –– a lot more than the roughly $4.5 million per year that the City sought to avoid a “financial hardship.”
Several weeks after that decision, though, the City Council approved making an extra $5 million payment to the City’s utility enterprise funds beyond the amount required.
Of course we’re not complaining about a faster repayment, but the point is that the City’s claims of financial distress were obviously greatly overstated.
Now, we have a new clash between the City’s words and its deeds.
In the City’s August 27 news release concerning the ruling in the IUF lawsuit, City Manager Alexander Nguyen wrote, “As I’ve stated before, the judge’s ruling on this matter was fair and reasonable.”
Given Mr. Nguyen’s public statements of high praise for the judge, one might reasonably conclude that City Hall was happy to learn that this same judge was assigned to our new lawsuit against City Hall –– a suit seeking to stop the City’s unlawful spending of Landscape Maintenance District (LMD) assessment moneys.
However, behind the scenes the City’s private actions are very different from its public press releases.
This week the City’s outside attorney filed a motion seeking to disqualify the judge from hearing our LMD case, and it included the following sworn statement:
“[T]he judge before whom the trial of said action is pending is prejudiced against the interest of the Respondent City of Oxnard, so that I believe a fair and impartial trial of said action cannot be had before said Judge.”
So why would the City file a motion to disqualify a judge it recently proclaimed was “fair and reasonable?”
Is it perhaps because Oxnard City Hall does not want to risk receiving another “fair and reasonable” ruling from this judge?
Let us know what you think.
PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT CITIZENS JOURNAL Keep us publishing – Please DONATE
Sounds like the city could be two-faced. One side faces the general public and other is hidden behind a mask which the general public is not supposed to see. But the city leadership wants us to “trust them”. My mantra is “trust is earned”, not dished out willy-nilly.