Lopez for Oxnard Mayor HQ grand opening event report

Candidate lays out his case

By George Miller

Oxnard Mayoral candidate Miguel Lopez  staged a grand opening event on 8-17-16 at his new downtown campaign headquarters almost within spitting distance of City Hall. Over 100 people including local luminaries from past and present came to show support, or just witness/participate in the event.

LopezMiguelOpeningWindow

Outside Miguel Lopez for Mayor’s campaign headquarters, adjacent to City Hall. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

Mr. Lopez was the Oxnard Police Dept. Community Affairs Manager for several years. He was heavily involved in various community projects, which were largely synergistic with his job. We at CitizensJournal.us were regularly in touch with him regarding press releases, information requests. He recently left to return to academia, as a project manager at UCSB. The circumstances of his departure have not been fully revealed, but he and others have suggested a dissatisfaction with the powers/policies that be. A lifelong resident, except when he was attending college, Lopez has extensive local knowledge, contacts, commitment and love for his Oxnard hometown- a “homeboy” from The ‘Nard who made good.

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Miguel Lopez’s events have been the best-attended of the 2016 Oxnard election season. Campaign HQ 8-17-16 event shown here. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

Rev. Greg Runyun, a well known-minister around town, who impressively dragged himself up from a tragic fall, involved in helping  the most needy in society, a compelling speaker at various government meetings, had the honor of kicking off the formal part of the program with an invocation. He inspired the assembled and their community “to rise up above the past.” He promised that Miguel Lopez will take us into the future, that Oxnard is “better than portrayed by leadership,” that it is not just about public safety and making the community safe. He urged praying for success of all this- the community and presumably Miguel, although that wasn’t specified.

 

Mayoral Candidate Miguel Lopez’s Speech

Mr. Lopez’s speech addressed “community.” He claims that the community is in fear, but there is the opportunity “to create togetherness” ….  to bring the community together.” He said that “a threat to one is a threat to all.”  He stated that there is an opportunity to work with the bravest men and women.” He wondered aloud if things are any better than they were two years ago, four years ago, with the clear implication that they are not. He declared “that is what moved me to run” (for the office).

He said he grew up in Oxnard and except for attending college (UCSB, postgraduate  UCLA), he has been here all of his life, spending until a few months ago, the last three years with the Oxnard Police Department as its community affairs manager and was a frequent OPD face to the public. He did work briefly in Washington DC on Capitol Hill. Even while away, he always tracked what was happening back home in Oxnard.

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Oxnard Mayoral candidate Miguel Lopez speaking at campaign HQ opening event 8-17-16. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

He lamented major budget cuts, loss of security, the threat and actuality of eliminating employees. He expressed a yearning for public service for community, for country.

Lopez noted that California and Texas have the largest Latino populations, without actually stating the social and political implications of that.

He mused that his mother showed him a flyer which led to his job with the Police Department and that “everything happens for a reason.” He said after he resigned, “people were coming up to me, asking me to run for council, for Mayor.” Since he had a public contact job with extensive exposure to multiple constituencies and did community improvement work, as well as lifelong contacts, he is very well known.

From his perspective growing up in La Colonia and Rose Park, Lopez observed “20 years of decline.” He said we need to go back to when it was better. Ironically, he then stated that the leadership was looking in the rear view mirror.

He said we need to “once and for all know what our financial footing is,” referring to the long and frightening loss of control of financial records, still not completely resolved by 10 months of audits and years of multi-million dollar consultants involvement.

Lopez says he will start charting a new course together (with whom wasn’t specified).

He said that the full-fledged campaign is starting, but it looks to us like it’s already been well underway. He even unveiled a large flow chart on the wall, of major campaign organization, publicity plan, major stakeholders and influencers (in background of photo, above). Very impressive, more like a sophisticated congressional campaign than a local Mayor race. He didn’t forget to solicit supporters’/public’s help. He has had multiple fundraisers and also needs extra arms, legs, brains for the campaign.

He wrapped up by saying we have one day only if we want change, obliquely referring to November 8- Election Day.

 

Analysis

The speech was inspirational, laid out a list of grievances, but was very sparse on specifics of what he would do. But some things might be inferred from Lopez’s complaints of what is wrong. But we will have to wait to see what he has in mind.

We have to note a big contrast with a recent event we attended for incumbent Mayor Flynn. He was much more specific, addressing specific issues and approaches- different style altogether. While no one seems to be questioning his integrity or dedication, he is in the position of having to defend a record and where he was when things were going terribly wrong. On the other hand, he also has specific accomplishments to point to, while Lopez only has schooling, community and publicity work.

The other obvious elephant in the room, rarely directly addressed, is the Latino factor: the 2010 census said Oxnard is 74% Latino, 14% non-Latino Caucasian, 3% black and the rest Asian, Pacific Islanders and “other.” Is it just about “identity politics?” Or can an educated, native Oxnard-born Mexican-American better relate to the situation? Keep in mind that Flynn is also a native and of a well-known political dynasty of a half century span (John Flynn was in local and County politics). Tim Flynn has lived and worked here for many years, as a local teacher, doing community work, worked in sales, studied abroad, pronounces Spanish names/terms perfectly, relates well to almost everyone. The real issue, is who will do it better for the community? Armando Sepulveda is also running for Mayor, but we haven’t heard much from him so far. (Candidate List)

So, will a young hard charger with obvious potential but little experience be better, or someone with experience who knows where the bodies are buried?  It WILL be an interesting campaign. It’s up to the voters.

 

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Oxnard Mayoral Candidate Miguel Lopez pressing the flesh/networking at his new Campaign HQ opening event, 8-17-16. Photo: Lopez Campaign (Paul).

 

Campaign page: https://www.facebook.com/miguellopezforoxnard/

 

Original event announcement:

Miguel Lopez for Mayor Campaign Headquarters Grand Opening in Downtown Oxnard, this Wednesday

Miguel Lopez for Mayor Campaign Headquarters Grand Opening in Downtown Oxnard, this Wednesday

(Oxnard)  The Lopez for Oxnard Mayor Campaign is excited to announce the Grand Opening of our Campaign Headquarters in Downtown Oxnard, this Wednesday, August 17th, 6:00 – 8:30 P.M., at 328 W. Third Street.  “I could not be happier and more proud to have quickly grown our campaign and organization, and setting up a home for our […]

 


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

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Steven Nash
Steven Nash
4 years ago

Thanks to Mr. Lopez for the bio. I hope and trust the other candidates for elected office in Oxnard will do the same via CJ. This is precisely the purpose that CJ best provides; a forum for community issues that the local print papers just can’t offer.

Steven Nash
Steven Nash
4 years ago

I didn’t take it as an endorsement by CJ. Sorry for the confusion. My only concern is perhaps the lack of CJ providing a background resume for Mr. Lopez that would lend credence to his claim of being a candidate who is qualified to run for such an important office. In other words, what exactly has Mr. Lopez done in his young life that would demonstrate his ability to be an effective legislator? You know, participation in things like boards, committees, commissions, councils. I am not aware of any non-police “synergistic” activity on the part of Mr. Lopez. I would like to know more. What was the nature of his time in academia? In D.C.? Is he currently employed? Where? Who? What? When? Why? The fundamental and unchanging rules of journalism apply always!

Steven Nash
Steven Nash
4 years ago

Mr. Lopez appears to be an honorable person of integrity. Great. How does this qualify him to be the mayor of the largest city in Ventura County? The editors of CJ know full well the docket of incredibly complex and perplexing issues facing the City. We cannot hand over the reins of government to a neophyte who will have to learn on the fly how to run a city the size of Oxnard.

Full disclosure, I support Mayor Flynn. I also support the recruitment, educating and incremental advancement of young Oxnard residents to someday run our beautiful city.

Mr. Lopez, perhaps chairing your neighborhood council, serving on a citizen’s advisory group or even running for council first might be a more appropriate path to the mayorship. But for a first-timer? With no record of political achievement on which to be judged? That is simply a bridge too far. Your supporters would argue the point and I respect their and your opinions.

During the upcoming candidate forums/debates you will hopefully have the opportunity to express why I might be wrong in my assumptions. Good luck and the community will be watching.

Miguel Lopez
Miguel Lopez
4 years ago
Reply to  Steven Nash

Hi Steve, and I understand your reservations despite my public profile and last three years working for the city of Oxnard where I led and managed one of the busiest community affairs offices in the County.

I would encourage and welcome you to attend any of my upcoming campaign events, where I am speaking of my background, experience, and vision for Oxnard – and also meeting with residents and voters like you who have historically been frustrated by City Hall.

What qualifies me for office you ask? My past experience, present success, and undeniable un-matched ambition to serve my community and the people of Oxnard.

After leaving the City in April 2016, I returned to my previous life in higher education, and was offered an academic appointment at UC Santa Barbara where I am serving as Director of a new multi-million federally-funded center.

Aside from my education and graduate training, teaching and research at one of the best universities in the United States and the world (UCLA), I was awarded a competitive fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) whose mission is to “develop the next generation of Latino leaders.” There, I had the opportunity to work for and under a sitting U.S. President, and work across the administration as part of an inter-agency work group to help communities like Oxnard – across California, Texas, and New York. Soon after completing that assignment, I was recruited back to work with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus leading their Policy and Research portfolio with the institute on a host of domestic issues. I returned to California (2013) to complete my studies and Ph.D., and that is when I began my work as a Manager in the City of Oxnard, for which I was recognized as Employee of the Quarter (2015) and Employee of the Year in February 2016.

I not only worked directly with personal friends of yours, but with neighborhood councils across the city. I worked with every department in the city as well as a number of Commissions, and our elected officials to help Oxnard navigate some of the most challenging times in our history. My work and team’s collective efforts received praise and recognition not only from the State but also the federal government, as well as local community and faith-based groups, before I received the honor and distinction as Employee of the Year.

It is this this personal experience as a lifelong Oxnard resident, my far-reaching professional experience at the local, State and Federal level, my research and service, as well as subsequent training at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2015) with a cohort of emerging leaders from around the country – and the world – that has given me the context, contacts, networks, the confidence, and prepared me to lead my community out of this extended period of crisis – to realize what we are truly capable of when we work together!

I hope to see you at one of my upcoming campaign events, so that you can see the energy of our growing campaign and the support from residents in every corner of the city – north, south, east and west.

I appreciate your judgement of my character, it is the foundation of who I am: an honorable person of integrity. Thank you. Please email me and let’s schedule a time for that coffee, so I can answer every question you may have, and hopefully earn your vote of confidence, if not your vote at ballot box.