Oxnard: Council Candidate Attacks City Mgr.; Council Assigns Initiative Arguments; Fine-Tunes Granny Flat Rules

By George Miller

On  7-21-20, the Oxnard City Council:

  • Assigned the opposition arguments, among themselves, against or for several ballot initiatives, some of which are in dispute for their wording;
  • Updated granny flat (Accessory Dwelling Unit – ADU) and cannabis rules, with some reluctance on the former;
  • Decided that they will appeal, if it goes against them, the upcoming Coastal Commission decision on the Local Coastal Plan change requested by Ventura County, which would enable them to build densely packed housing at Fisherman’s Wharf in Channel Islands Harbor.
  • Multiple officials requested the public to do volunteer work to fill the gap in some city services;
  • Authorized applying for about $7 million in Permanent Local Housing allocation grants for homeless shelter and low income housing;
  • Saw District 4 Council candidate Lucy Cartegena vigorously berate City Mgr. Nguyen and Councilman Perello for what she said were their repeated inappropriate attacks/comments on her.

 

Meeting AGENDA, VIDEO

Agenda Item C- Closed session on legal matters

C-1- If the  Coastal Commission overrides Oxnard’s position on the local coastal plan change requested by the County to enable it to build dense housing in Fisherman’s Wharf, undesired by the city and many residents, the Council decided it would appeal it. This decision had to be made before the fact due to timing/deadlines, we were told.

C-2-Unanimously voted to initiate action in an unnamed case and keep it confidential to protect from exposing the city’s case in away that could hurt their desired outcome.

 

E- Public comments on items not on the agenda

Pat Brown- Neighborhood wants to know what’s going on with old used car lot on East side of Oxnard Blvd. I suggested that businesses and affordable housing there. A plan is needed. Please let me know.

Walter Hagadon- Chairman of Oxnard Shores Neighborhood council- Thanks to Wastewater Div. for keeping Oxnard Shores safe and thanks to Coastal Commission for short term rental rules approval.

Lucy Cartegena- Don’t want officials commenting on her public comments. Remarked on Councilman Perello and City Manager Alex Nguyen specifically- “our employee” contesting her public comments (possible Brown Act violation). Complained about city “selling their snake oil.” Need courts to keep them honest. You guys choose not to be transparent with the community.

Lucy Cartegena speaking at a previous Oxnard City Council meeting in pre-COVID crisis times. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

She sent us the text of her speech- some differences with actual oral comments:

For over 2 months,,,, since 2-3 previous meeting, I have noted Bert Perillo and NewJuan (City Mgr. Nguyen) deliberately feel they had a need to comment on my public comments.

Although I feel honored that they have taken the time to need to tag-team on the City’s behalf THAT IS NOT THEIR JOB OR POSITION!.
I have deliberately baited newhuan’s ego and thin skin to force him the need to respond… even though you have sometimes over 10 residents commenting, he will comment on only me!…. ( laugh)…..

Mr. Mayor and council members, you need to control your employee!!…. How are you running for Supervisor and oversee our whole county when you let your City Manager run rogue???….
His job is very specific! To take the direction of the council! Council establishes policies for operations within the city, and it is the Manager’s responsibility to ensure these policies are carried out.

Tell me where you directed him to feel the NEED to personally take on constituents- taxpayers and members of the community who have the RIGHT to voice their opinions??

OUR employee, who is paid extremely well, needs to get some thick skin if he wants to continue in our City! Cuz this is BOXNARD!

Your Yousta wassa , Shoulda coulda has been, shout out from other cities coming into our city and using the time allotted to him to speak on real tangible items… instead, he chooses to vomit his LIES!!… CUZ YOU’RE A LIAR NEYwAN!! LIAR!! LIAR!! LIAR!!!…. selling your snake oil and expecting  “us”…. “WE THE PEOPLE” to not question your legality???!!… OUR CITY IS PRACTICING ILLEGALLY AND THAT’S WHY I CALL YOUR SHADY!!….. We needed the supreme court to have to force you to listen to the people!

And Bert don’t come at me telling me I need to get my facts right!… the only fact I need to get right is the fact that I don’t sit behind your scheming back door discretions!!… Because the Fact is, OUR CITY WOULD HAVE THE BUY-IN FOR ANYTHING BECAUSE WE ARE OXNARD STRONG… BUT YOU GUYS CHOOSE TO NOT BE TRANSPARENT AND COLLECTIVE WITH THE COMMUNITY!! You want to come at??…. cuz I see you all the time ?… could you consider to take the time to educate me, then??… so don’t feel all brave with a mic. up there, because your privilege shows!

2 men needing to “Put me in place” right??….
My Name is Lucy Cartagena and I’m running for City Council (District 4)!!… Bye Felicia!

 

Irene Pinkard- Didn’t understand procedure used to name the Boxing Club after former Mayor Manny Lopez. Formally made this request. History of boxing club- was  started by the Pinkards.

Greg Runyon- Much passion in the city on events outside and inside the city. Civility is important. Be careful with words. Hard to admit you are wrong when people attack. Issues of racism, mistrust, legalities. Build the world, Oxnard, where all races, faiths, genders, orientations welcome, treated with love and respect.

 

F- Report of City Manager

City Mgr. Alex Nguyen presented:

  1. City Manager-approved contracts- See page 7 in agenda packet- 26 items
  2. COVID updates. Street sweeping citation suspension continues. Street sweeping now suspended.
  3. Eviction moratorium continue until end of September 30.
  4. Suspending late utility payment penalties and shutoffs. No counter service now. Boxes outside, phone, online, even via 7-11 stores.
  5. 8/7,8,9 (Fri-Sun) neighborhood cleanup. See on Facebook. Mike Mecuriuo  Info: 702-460-8224. Perello- residents formerly swept streets in front of own houses. Would they do again, because of street sweeping suspension?

Council Comments

Lopez- Look forward to cleanup activities

Perello- Residents asking why city doesn’t cut some things (spending). City execs, City Mgr. and Perello have taken cuts, He is asking for other employees, council, to do so. Would they waive benefits increased at the start of the fiscal year? If you disagree with how things are going, work through the system, run for office. Not wanting to slash compensation for everyone who is making the city work.

MacDonald- Look forward to cleanup activities, will participate.

Ramirez- Re: Runyon comments, on lack of trust. People aren’t even trusting science. Work together for things to work. Dismayed by tremendous surge of the virus, Health care workers overwhelmed. Stop unnecessary social gatherings, wear mask, avoid exposure. Keeping city employees safe. Be careful- wearing a mask says I care about my community.

Basua- Happy birthday to her son. Parents received notice from schools that kids won’t be returning to school. How to deal with it, help kids with virtual learning? … via K-12 resources available for parents Ventura County Facebook page.

Madrigal- Tearing down old housing units in La Colonia. Now a member of Cal Lutheran advisory Council for COVID and diversity issues. Lois Capps and Amgen people are on the board.

Flynn- Need voluntarism now. Cited cleanup activities as an example. We have a fine senior volunteer program. Larger efforts will require city support, coordination. Need to hire overseer.

 

H-J- Information Consent Agenda

These items are normally approved en masse, with discussion only on exceptions.

Exception discussion items:

  • Lopez on J-4- Question for Mr. Ramirez, re: mobile restrooms and laundry rental. Is this just for residents, Could we open for others in need? Ramirez- Only for shelter residents, but the “One Stop” operation at the VC Rescue Mission is now available 
  • #5&7- Pub works Director will update on item 7. Rosemary Gaglione- $400K moved from Rice to Rose Ave paving project.
  • #5- Perello- impacts King Tides and cleaning ocean drains, requiring pumps. Appreciate city dealing with this. Lantana and Gonzales project, on C Street.   #7- Pub Works should be telling public what is going on,.
  • #7 Flynn- street repaving is an ongoing project. Arterial streets like Rose, Rice, Oxnard Blvd, get paving funding from Federal Govt – VCTC (Ventura County Transportation .Commission) is the conduit. Making a lot of progress.

Gaglione- will pave Rice (5th -Gonzales), Saviers, and more.

Public Comment

Pat Brown- Concerned with #2. Glad Sakioka Business Park is going through, but right by Rice Ave, which is in horrible condition, needs resurfacing. Funding coming? #4- concerned about temp utilities for homeless. Need full time security. #6 Natural Green landscape- get lots of  complaints about them. #7 – arterial streets- really important.

Vote unanimously approved 8-0 (Commissioner Androtti included) except J-3,  7-1

 

K-1- Housing dept Permanent Local Housing allocation grant request $6.9 MM , with no local matching required, over 5 years.

The Building Homes and Jobs act enabled this, via tax on home sales, 70% goes to local jurisdictions.  These are allocated via formula, but require an application. $1.15 in the coming years and nearly $7mm over five years. Use for admin (5%), continued operation of temp navigation center and new center. Will us more for affordable housing. Must developed a plan. Asked  council to authorize application and grants agreement and budget.

Public Comment

Pat Brown- Favors. Don’t favor cannabis due to effect on young people.

Council Comments

No requests to speak

Vote- Unanimously approved 7-0

 

K-2- Create (Ordinance) Consistency with Accessory Dwelling Units State Law; Incorporate Certain Cannabis Activities into the Zone Use Tables and Correct Typographical Errors (Chapter 16 Divisions 10 and 11); and Related to Cannabis Uses (Chapter 11).

Planning Commission approved unanimously 5-0.

Planning Manager Kathleen Mallory and Scott Covitz presented….

Scott- Redevelopment and industrial development regs have been redone. There are some errors, need to conform with state law, make internally consistent.  Second units (Accessory Dwelling Units- “ADU’s”) had special use permits. State law made them “by right” units. Multiple changes were made to the law (details in agenda packet). 2028-20.

ADU parking not required in most cases, but is recommended. There are 68 open ADU applications now, not likely to slow down.

Kathleen Mallory- Three cannabis ordinances were previously approved. Some sections referred to retail not permitted- now are. Removed unnecessary references and corrected a citation. Allow cannabis activities downtown. Changed downtown core and general districts development code in land use to conform. Also minor clerical/typo corrections.

No Public Comments Offered

Council Comments

Ramirez- Thanks to staff- very comprehensive. Pleased with ADU’s but expensive. Need this additional housing.

Perello- Concerned. Had a lot of very detailed questions on what is allowed. Were pictures local? Scott- no. State handouts. Perello- Once built, will business license be required to rent these? Ashley Golden- only if three or more units exist. Perello- Slide #8- Can ADUs’ be built in new single family developments? Scott- not on developments with specific plans. Perello- Can lot configuration be set up on new homes to make it easier to place ADU’s? Scott- yes, if it meets setback standards. How will you handle illegal garage units to be converted to compliant units- any penalties? How deal with issues of inadequate parking due to reg waiving it in most cases? This can be a BIG issue. Scott- New approach will greatly reduce cost. Perello- Brief neighborhood councils on this. Tremendous impact on neighborhopods- won’t be all good. Scott- did share with Inter-Neighborhood Council.

MacDonald- Similar concerns with Perello. Half mile rule at ADU parking not required may not be practical- people will still want/.need cars. Fare recovery is bad, may cause discontinuance of lightly used routes. Change of routes (adding or subtracting) can change applicability to a specific site.  People will buy cars irregardless.

Flynn- Thanks to staff for dealing with state law to make it applicable here. This is all a response to the housing crisis and 250,000 unit shortfall statewide. Feels the state policy is a disaster- converting single family neighborhoods to multi-family ones. It will not lower prices because the shortage is so great. Oxnard was not designed as an urban village, like Europe, which  supports smart growth. But we are not a European city, not an urban village. This will only make overcrowding worse. Cited example of a friend’s neighbor who has 28 people living on  a 6,000 sq. ft. lot next door. (But Flynn and some other council members appear to have consistently supported state legislators who vote for such things.) Property taxes aren’t keeping up with the demand for services. Tax assessments may not rise in proportion to additional services required. The law compromises properly managed density. He lauded European parking permits. Flynn asked if anyone thought they could get away from the automobile? Maybe downtown, he said.  Not leaving enough spaces for parks, recreation, open space. Really, really bad public policy, compromising quality of life. After all his complaining, he voted against it. Diudhe know it would easily pass without him?

Ramirez- Have a serious overcrowding situation, affordability, low income. Disagrees with Flynn that it is a disaster. Sees it as a way for homeowners to hold on to their property, rent out for cash. Law was passed because cities weren’t dealing with housing shortages. She looks forward to this. “Be more optimistic about it.”

Perello- What would happen if we opposed it, Asst. City Atty. Rozell? Response: This is mainly a cleanup of an existing ordinance, which would come back for a second reading on 9/1.  Will be repercussions if we don’t support state law.  Perello- Won’t fight if it’s a done deal and we will lose. Rozell- It’s the law. If we reject, we will be preempted and may lose housing funding. (So, the time to resist this was years ago., What was city’s position when it was passed?).

MacDonald- Don’t support. Vote also affects the cannabis rules (on the same agenda item vote). But, forced to support.

Vote- Approved 6-1 (Flynn dissenting)

 

I-1- Authorization for one member of the City Council to sign the ballot argument for the ballot measures

Pat Brown- Don’t Change

Lucy Cartegena- Don’t understand the hurry and why so illegally done. You can’t blame COVID for everything (delays). Not worded right. No oversight. another Measure O slush fund. take it back. Word  it right. You will gloss it up, manipulate and lie a=bout it.

George Miller- You will be building your arguments upon illegal, prejudicial ballot language- fix it. If you don’t, someone may litigate it under new ballot language challenge law. Do your duty and follow the law.

Council Comments

Perello volunteered for item #1. Measure O is not a “slush fund,” all expenditures are approved at city council meetings.

Ramirez- Disputes that Measure O is a slush fund. It saves some essential services. COVID is not the excuse. The reason is that expenses are  growing and revenue is shrinking.We would have lost a fire engine and more people. State may eliminate local sales taxes in the future if we don’t do now.

Item 1

Approved unanimously 7-0

Item #2

Madrigal- fine if we all sign.

Basua- If all agree, let’s all sign

Ramirez- People of Oxnard should learn thee catastrophic consequence of these reckless measures.

MacDonald- Other groups want to sign in support of the city. Is there a limit in number of signatures. Rozell- some could sign argument, some could sign rebuttal.

Perello- should be mix of officials, resident groups.

Lopez- Happy to sign any. Would like a mix of signatures

Flynn- Ditto.

MacDonald- just one should sign to leave flexibility for others to sign. (moved to designate Lopez).

Rozell- State law requires designating at least one person

#2 permits= Vote Unanimously approved 7-0

#3 City Treasurer initiative

Perello-  I am not standing for election. Those not standing for election or won’t be on council are less vulnerable.

Ramirez volunteered as designee

Vote- approved unanimously 7-0

Early termination of measure O initiative (actually is achieve pavement index targets or end Measure O early)

Lopez volunteered

Ramirez said it should be spread around.

Perello- make Basua designated councilmember

Vote – unanimously approved 7-0.

New requirements for running City Council meetings Initiative

MacDonald volunteered to sign

Vote unanimously approved 7-0

Meeting adjourned

 


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

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One Response to Oxnard: Council Candidate Attacks City Mgr.; Council Assigns Initiative Arguments; Fine-Tunes Granny Flat Rules

  1. VCsurfer July 22, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Awesome report. We have a real problem with this council. Luceeee is awesome and will make a good council chick.

    Reply

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