Oxnard City Council 4-9-13: Soccer, Homeless, Class Warfare- Oh, My!

Above: Council: Ramirez, (Mayor) Flynn, McDonald, Padilla

By George Miller, Citizens Journal

Oxnard, CA 4-10-13

Oxnard City Council http://www.ci.oxnard.ca.us/

Info: Agenda Video minutes later here: http://oxnard.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=46

Nearly 200 people packed the council chamber and much of the hallway on Tuesday night, as a (too) busy agenda of activities unfolded. Soccer advocates laid out the shortage of fields and recommendations; the city appropriated a half-million dollars to start repairing its deteriorating seawalls in Mandalay Bay; they approved controversial changes to zoning to conform to Senate Bill 2 housing requirements; the plight of youthful substance abuse offenders and attempts to help them via the “Reclaiming Futures” initiative was presented and help solicited. Several items had to be postponed- and they do these meetings every week.

The big topic of the evening was SOCCER!  It is HUGE in Oxnard, a bustling city of 200,000, which is 72% Latino. For Latinos, soccer is football, basketball and baseball all rolled into one. Recreation Director Richard Arias  ([email protected]) Informed us that there are 679 teams, 7 leagues, using only 43  fields, some of which are shared  for other sports, for all games and practice sessions. Soccer is a year-round sport for many. All fields are government owned, funded and operated, although player fees partially defray expenses. Where is the private sector on this?

At least five fields are to be built, via the Campus Park and Sports Park projects. Two speakers pressed for a completion date.  Current field availability is very tight. Many existing fields are in very poor condition from overuse and under-maintenance. Conditions are sometimes hazardous. Parents have offered their gardening skills to address this, but the city has refused, citing insurance and IABDTW (It’s always been done this way). Councilman McDonald resolved to help find a way.  In the meantime, the city and stakeholders will assign scheduling to a group of leagues.

Someone noted in aside conversation that more effort to support programs like this might result in fewer youth in Judge Covarrubias’ Juvenile court (see below)- a win/win situation.

Seawalls for “The Rich” and Class Warfare- Trouble in Paradise: About $500,000  was appropriated to begin urgent repairs on crumbling 40+ year old city-owned seawalls in Mandalay Bay. A matching amount will be funded by homeowners. The waterfront development in Channel Island Harbor was built back in the ‘70’s. An idyllic locale, all houses are on canals, between Victoria Ave and the beautiful Pacific Ocean beaches. Oxnard kept ownership of the nearly 8 miles of seawalls (and the greenbelts), now badly deteriorated, built around the 743 properties.

Usually, a homeowner’s association would have title and maintain those, but not here. Oxnard beach residents pay by far the highest taxes in town and pay additional hefty assessments, including a waterways tax. They are a cash cow for the rest of the city and a net subsidizer of other areas.  In short, they pay more than their “fair share.” But, not according to a Colonia resident, who bitterly described the proposed funding for decades of deferred maintenance as a giveaway to the rich, who don’t need it. Mayor Flynn explained some of the financial realities to the attendees, pointing out that it was the right thing to do.

Homeowners Assoc Rep. Bill Scarpino (photo, right). The Association President Bill Clark also spoke.

The first two phases of the project, involving assessments, have already been completed. The next phase involves repairs to 300+ft of the most deteriorated/damaged seawalls. This is a million dollar project, half of which the city will fund (from tax monies), half by the homeowners. Councilwoman Padilla wanted to make the appropriation conditional on the Homeowners agreeing to fund the remainder of the $43MM+ project via additional assessments. Mayor Flynn pointed out that the owners already pay higher taxes, plus additional assessments, in addition to the fact that maintenance costs are undefined and therefore negotiable.  The motion to approve the agreement carried 3-1, with Padilla the lone dissenter.

Manuel J. Covarrrubias, Presiding Judge, VC Juvenile Court, explained the “Reclaiming Futures” program, presented some shocking statistics , such as 4 out of 5 juvenile offenders in Ventura County are drug and alcohol “substance” abusers and only 10% receive treatment. He made a good case for “investment” in the kids, via their ongoing program of screening, mentoring, finding shelter, jobs and care for them before they sin again.  His commitment and dedication to the program was quite evident and it was well received by those in attendance. He showed a tear-jerking and inspiring video of their Poster Girl, MJ, who hit bottom, but turned it around with great effort and help from the program. The problem- and the reason he took time out of his busy schedule to be there- was that they are short of money and volunteers, even though there are multiple foundations/NGO’s and even federal money, involved.  Ventura County is one of only 37 U.S. communities engaged in this “reclaiming Futures” program.  To inquire, help: 805-981-5953

Senate Bill 2 zoning request item: This California legislation was passed years ago and now the chickens are coming home to roost.  There was discussion/debate about requirements to erect emergency and “transitional” housing (longer duration than you might think) and zoning changes to conform to SB2. There was debate about how to limit density of emergency-housed persons and felons in a given area (counsel thought you can’t). Council voted 3-1 to approve, with Mayor Flynn dissenting, after an unsuccessful attempt to exclude opening up felon quota..

Sue Martin introduced Stephanie Diaz as the contract planner handling this issue for the city. She in turn explained what was proposed to accommodate requirements for homeless shelter, permanent shelter, temporary shelter and family shelter and “supportive housing” (low-income, disabled housing, no stay limit.  There would also be deed-restricted farmworker-only housing. It is unclear how much is privately funded, how much is covered by revenue and how much is subsidized.  No drugs or weapons would be permitted. The latter sounds like a Second Amendment violation, which has been enabled by statutes.

Deleted were restrictions on felons, required 300 ft spacing between multiple shelters, as well as all restricted zones, which would not require any special use permits. Also exempt from CEQA requirements. Fees waived.

Public and NGO comments included SB-2 restrictions excessive (Lighthouse),- Kathy Saltis, Mark Smith, Peggy Rivera.  Martin Jones and Eileen Tracy concerned about felons. A party named Ramirez was concerned about children in shelters in industrial areas, thought to be inappropriate.  Councilman McDonald fretted about large number of prisoners being released and impact on all this. Seemingly, none of this mattered at all in the Council vote.

It appears that most of the costs would be borne by private parties/NGO’s, with various govt. loan guarantees. Not discussed was what would happen if serious social problems ensued from this social engineering, or needs changed after construction.  Bill summary is contained here: http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/sb2_memo050708.pdf .

Electric car charging stations request funding approved.

The council approved the issuance of another $2MM in bonds for the Colonial House Apartments Project at 711-747 N. Oxnard Bld. By Oxnard Pacific Association, bring the total to $11 for the 43 unit project.  It is a housing project to be revenue-funded.  Said to be no city outlays or liabilities, just requires their approval. Bonds to be issued by Wells Fargo. Mayor Flynn voted against it because of “the appalling circumstances of the acquisition of the property,” but did not elaborate, since the players all know about it.  Motion passed 3-1.

Following a 5:30 PM closed session, an excellent barbershop quartet was wrapping up its act and winning an award from the city, as this reporter arrived. Awards were given to Employee of Quarter

Claudia Valencia Chosen As Employee Of The Quarter

.. and retirees, who brought their fan clubs with them. Eloquent words, speeches and compliments were exchanged.

Steve Nash, Martin Jones and Ramon Ortiz all made separate statements about the dangers of oil industry ground pollutants, especially with the increased use of “fracking” and related mysterious chemicals used.  They want more disclosure, more regulation of these. Ortiz also warned of potential, but unknown, hazards of earthquakes in fracking zones. One or more of these men may have spoken at the Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting on the same topic.

City Council Members

Tim Flynn, Mayor

Tim Flynn was elected to serve as Mayor of Oxnard in November 2012, two years after his election as councilmember in 2010. He served on the Oxnard City Council previously from 2004-2008.
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Email[email protected]

Carmen Ramírez, Esq., Mayor Pro Tem

Carmen Ramírez, Esq. was elected to the Oxnard City Council in 2010 and is currently serving her first term in office. Ms. Ramírez was named Mayor Pro Tem in December 2012.
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Email[email protected]

Bryan A. MacDonald, Councilman

Bryan MacDonald was elected to the Oxnard City Council in 2012 and is currently serving his second term in office.
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Email[email protected]

Dorina Padilla, Councilmember

Dorina Padilla was elected to the Oxnard City Council in November, 2012 and is currently serving her first term in office.

Email[email protected]

VACANT SEAT: Councilmember

Source: George Miller, Citizens Journal

5 Responses to Oxnard City Council 4-9-13: Soccer, Homeless, Class Warfare- Oh, My!

  1. Oxnard Dental Implants June 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Do you happen to know anything more about the electric car charging stations funding request that was approved? I’d like to read some statistics on how much energy we’re saving and how many electric cars are tooling around Oxnard? And how do we compare to other communities in Ventura County in terms of progress with electric cars?
    Thanks
    BD

    Reply
    • admin June 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      No, but you could probably find out via the City Clerk. If it comes up again, I’ll ask.

      Reply
  2. Bill April 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

    George,

    You make a fine reporter….but then I share your perspective! J

    Bill

    Reply
  3. Sally April 14, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Great reporting though it sounds like a lot of Agenda 21 going on! Has any of the Board read “Behind the Green Mask”?

    Reply
  4. admin April 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Oxnard is trying to take on way more than what is appropriate for a government organization operating within a constitutional republic.

    Reply

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