Oxnard, CA | Politicians Will Say And Do Anything To Get Elected

Opinion by Doug Partello

A case in point can be shown with our upcoming District 2 special election, set for November 2, 2021. One of the candidates, Gabe Teran, appointed City Councilperson, is running for the one year term that completes the full term of the District 2 seat vacated by Carmen Ramirez.

During a Facebook group chat for Riverpark Homeowners and Residents, Mr. Teran stated that residents expressed theories that the City Manager could just add the fire service charges back into the Mello-Roos CFD #5 assessment levy (it was removed very recently for this fiscal year). So, this motivated him to propose a resolution at City Council meeting on Oct. 19th.

This resolution adds some steps in the process to have the service put back in the Mello-Roos assessment. He said he was acting to “take that power out of the City Manager’s hands, and assure residents of Riverpark that this was not in the plans. Therefore, the resolution being considered on Oct. 19th will do just that.” What a load of fertilizer!

Mr. Teran seems to think that if the City Council has to vote to re-institute the charge, that something valuable has been accomplished.  Does he not know how it works, or does he know and is just willing to pretend like he is doing Riverpark owners some service?

The only way that any charge is included in the CFD assessment is through an annual CFD budget.  The City Manager and his staff propose the budget, but it takes a vote of the City Council to approve it.  Requiring a vote of the City Council to add the charge back is effectively the same standard that existed already.  It adds no extra protection to require an extra resolution to be passed by the same people who have to vote for every budget anyway.

In theory, a functional City Council could amend the budget proposed by the City Manager to remove a charge they didn’t want, but we all see how things really work in Oxnard.  The City Manager brings in proposals, and the City Council unanimously rubber stamps them.  If the City Manager proposed reinstating the charge in the budget, our City Council would blindly approve it and whatever other resolutions the City Manager told them to approve.   This is probably what was meant by any references to the City Manager’s power to add it back.

I mean, it was the City Council who just months earlier blindly approved a 14.5% increase to Riverpark’s assessment just because the City Manager asked them to.  And then when residents in a large part of Mr. Teran’s district complained loudly, and he felt nervous over the special election, the City Manager reversed course and said not only did they not need the 15% increase, but they had been overcharging the residents MILLIONS for many years and the City Council dutifully did as the City Manager asked and removed the charge to help their colleague with his campaign.

So, we can clearly see what he is willing to say and do with this “nothing burger” resolution, to convince voters he is their protector from the fire service being added back into their Mello-Roos. This is pure political grandstanding right before the special election he needs to win to retain the seat he was appointed to!

That’s political theater enough, but he doesn’t stop there.  He goes on to state that this resolution makes putting fire back in much more difficult. No, it does not. It just adds a couple steps for the City Council to go through to make the same vote, in or out.  It doesn’t change anyone’s authority, and it doesn’t change the vote threshold. 

He then states, “This is in contrast to the City Manager, Special Districts, or Public Works simply considering adding it back in.” Nope, these people could propose it, but it always required City Council approval of the budget, though we concede that the council approval isn’t really a high hurdle. 

Yes, Mr. Teran, be the “savior” with this resolution to replace council approval with council approval.  Total horsepucky!

Oh, and it goes on. He states that residents can add it back in and, “that would be their prerogative.” No, it actually is not. Residents don’t get to approve their own budgets.  They are dependent on the whims of City Hall for that. The CFD formation documents, which only the city and the developer had any say in, authorize a list of charges including the fire service charge.  But the residents have no direct power to make the council include or exclude anything in a given year.  Their chances are better, though in the year their council person is elected.

So this is all misinformation, and outright lies, to put fear into the minds of voters, that only Mr. Teran can protect them from fire service being added back. A useless political ploy to get votes. The only true protection the owners and residents would have would be to qualify a ballot measure to amend the district and exclude fire service as a charge that could be paid by their assessment.

Facts matter, truth matters. I hope the voters of District 2 take this ridiculous posturing into account when they fill in the oval on their ballot for who shall represent them.


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Ray Blattel

Relative to the statement “The City Manager and his staff propose the budget, but it takes a vote of the City Council to approve it.” – isn’t it the city’s hired gun NBS the entity who actually amends and controls the formation document content after the initial generation by the city/developer? Yes, it is the city manager and staff who present to the city council for final approval (which in 99.99 percent of the time is a given), but I think NBS has a heavy hand relative to the content and any budget/assessment increases. And speaking of increases, why are the increases even necessary when there are huge surpluses in many LMD/CFD accounts? I believe there is only a requirement to have enough funds in the reserve accounts to pay for 6 months of service.