Oxnard Council Sets Cannabis Business Rates, Contemplates Major Social Engineering, Postpones $5MM Golf Course Budget. Water Supply Cuts?

By George Miller

This was the last Oxnard City Council meeting before the August break. (Puff, puff): the Council explored “Social Equity” (significant social engineering/micromanagement) in cannabis permitting and approved the establishment of fees for cannabis related land use permits.A nearly $5 million dollar city golf course budget was approved by default, with no further discussion, in the consent agenda, with hopes that perennial deficit hemorrhages will finally be halted.

Source: https://www.green-flower.com/articles/592/cannabis-business-ideas

The city’s groundwater allocation will be cut by half over time from soon until 2040. There will be an August 21 6pm meeting on this at the County Govt Center in the Supervisors meeting chambers. We are pumping far more than is being replaced. Oxnard is one of the few area cities to use mostly groundwater, so it will be most heavily impacted and forced to use much more expensive water, including state supplies and recycling.

A 33.7 acre parking area is proposed in South Oxnard for the Port of Heuneme to park light vehicles for 3-5 years. 250 public comments previously received prompted the Port and City to propose an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to assure maximum compliance/transparency. Previous objections seemed to evaporate, as nearly all public speakers and council members lauded it- undertaking an EIR passed unanimously. Stakeholders are already fighting over the money and jobs which may result. and demanding various concessions to attain these.

The downtown zoning changes discussed at a previous meeting were finally approved (consent agenda). The city continues to make many decisions in the committee meetings held during the day when most residents aren’t available, then present them as near fait accomplix at council  meetings, buried in the consent agenda, which is nearly always approved without discussion.  This a relatively new development that has resulted in a de facto reduction in transparency.

Dropping Bond/Fixed Income Yields Impact the City

Treasurer Phil Molina reported that the City’s $239 million in investments is invested in legally required very conservative instruments and constitutes 97% of all city funds, a “high efficiency” ideal. Unfortunately, an increasingly inverted yield curve (short term yields are actually higher than long term) means that bond issuers are calling bonds left and right,forcing the city to reinvest in far lower yield instruments. Recent bond-calling events will reduce the city’s earnings about $321,000. We believe that this is related to the Federal Reserve now retreating to lower interest rates because of economic reasons. It will also reduce private investors’ fixed income yields. But, the good news Molina didn’t mention is that government borrowing costs, including Oxnard’s, will drop, as will private credit costs. Unfortunately, an inverted yield curve is said to be a predictor of a recession.  The Council renewed Molina’s charter to manage investments, which is separate from his regular elected official duties.

 

Mayor ProTem Ramirez presided over this meeting, since Mayor Flynn was absent.  

MEETING AGENDA, VIDEO 

 

C. CLOSED SESSION (You don’t get to see this and hardly ever learn the outcome)
1. CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – EXISTING LITIGATION (Government Code
section 54956.9 (d)(1))
(City Council)
Name of cases: Green Energy Holdings, LLC; Auto Fuels, Inc. v. City of Oxnard, et al.
Ventura County Superior Court, Case Nos. 56-2015-00470344-CU-EI-VTA; 56-2018-00512103-
CU-MC-VTA.
2. CONFERENCE WITH LABOR NEGOTIATORS (Government Code section 54957.6)
(City Council)
Agency designated representatives: Alexander Nguyen, City Manager; Steve Naveau, Human
Resources Director; and Jennie Kelly, Assistant City Attorney.
Employee organization: Service Employees International Union CTW, CLC, Local 721 (SEIU
Local 721); International Union of Operating Engineers AFL-CIO, Local No. 501 (IUOE Local
501); and Oxnard Mid-Managers’ Association (OMMA).
3. CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS (Government Code section 54956.8)
(Address corrected 7/25/19)
(City Council)
Property: 321 West Sixth Street.
Agency Negotiators: Jeffrey Lambert, Development Services Director, and Ashley Golden,
Assistant City Manager.
Negotiating Party: Juan Gonzalez, President, Teatro de las Americas.
Under negotiation: Price and terms of payment for lease of City-owned property

E- Public comments on items not on the Agenda

Luis Sanchez- Interim President of Oxnard College (OC). He is President of award winning Moorpark College. OC President and VP left in April. He thinks OC has huge potential to change improve “trajectories” of students’ lives here. Story of Oxnard College has not been told well- he intends to recognize that. He says OC is recognized as 4th best in state out of 100+. Hope to improve that.  Mayor ProTem Ramirez described it as an unburnished diamond.

Ted Mullarney- Representing neighbors on Valencia Place. Feels that 1721 Valencia is running an unlicensed car dealership. A nuisance.

Martin Jones- Re: CA Constitution Article 1 sec 2-3. Prop 59- Sunshine Prop. You (Council) have violated the law, for not making meetings available to a maximum number of people. He seemed to be referring to the new committee system which does its business in all day meetings not readily accessible to most of the working public.

Joyce Tavis- Oxnard economy needs money, jobs. Port has potential to do this. PMI/Intl Longshoremen have improved port, which was established in 1880’s.  Were 350 (250?) workers. New projects bringing in more jobs. No money for Maulhardt land. Library, museum can go private and apply for grants.

Amanda Fagan- Community planning liaison for Naval Base VC-. Upcoming large force exercise at Pt Mugu- aircraft. FA 18’s F-35, E2-D’s. Will operate 8-8 to 8-25 in daylight out of Mugu. Will be noisy but scenic. 805-989-9234 for more info

Brandon Byrnes- Pepperdine Public policy student. Interned with mayor ProTem Ramirez-  Great experience.

Pat Brown- Homeless problem in Ormond Beach is a mess, not safe there- serious situation. Upcoming Camarillo Airport air show ion August 17-18.  Lots of old WWII airplanes..

Larry Barberini- Pray for Ms Ryan. Thanks to Lambert for his diligence on Wagon Wheel joining Ventura/Vineyard development to help fund golf course. Wagon Wheel will help build levies. Took some CPA $ for Edison. You may be eligible for utility discount, for certain health conditions.

Kelly Christianson- Re: 34  acre lot for port. If this is a temporary project we need to start planning for the future to meet goal in 5 years., Can’t submit for grants without knowing goals. We need this property.

Peggy Rivera- Interim Chair for Commission on Homelessness. Aware of serious homeless situation- it takes a village. Aware of Ormond Beach situation. It takes a lot of money. Suggestions appreciated. Thanks for your support in difficult times for the city.

Joanne Oniveras- VP of LULAC Chapter 4.-supports it.

 

F- City Manager and Council reports

City Mgr Nguyen- 2 announcements:

Asst City Manager Sheri Klima- Re: Groundwater sustainability= Fox Canyon groundwater assoc must adopt a sustainability plan. We are overpumping now. This is a rampdown plan. Upcoming workshop 8-21 at VC admin building in Supv. hearing room. Need to reduce by half by 2040.

 

Asst Police Chief Jason Benites- Tuesday Aug 6 at 5-8 PM to encourage neighborhoods to get together and look out for each other, 10 locations ….

Council Comments

Lopez- Went to Redwood Neighborhood cleanup, Southwinds cleanup this Saturday

Perello- Wed 8-21 6pm Bd of Supv- water allocations meeting.

MacDonald- Sister City meeting last week- Ocatlan. Will meet w/Region 9 EPA re: Halaco (superfund site by Ormond Beach) cleanup. Mike Stoker is now its chair.

Madrigal- Little Library opened up between Colonia and West Village. Thompson park grand opening of the  new track. 100 people and food. Went to Citrus City reception and Cowboys training camp opening. Prayers for City of Gilroy (mass shooting this week)

Basua- Thanks to Public Works and Code Enforcement for District 5 work.

Ramirez- Went to Cowboys opening,- great tourist attraction. Went to some Sister City events. Salsa festival was fantastic. 7-31 S Oxnard Community center meeting on future of Ormond Beach 6 pm. Come express opinions. Went to Simi Council to support rogue Council Woman Luevanos to stand with her. Msot at the meeting, especially locals, did not share her views. No call for threats. Said nothing about her illegal actions. Dallas Cowboys donated $10,00 to Oxnard for “worthy causes.”

 

J- INFORMATION/CONSENT AGENDA (This stuff was approved with no public discussion/debate)

No items pulled for discussion- Approved unanimously 6-0, except on J-6 for Madrigal.

Public Comment

Pat Brown- #4 downtown code for Oxnard Blvd/development- Wants no gaps/street driveways. Complained about inaudible public speakers. Audience agreed.

Agenda items:

1. City Clerk Department
SUBJECT: Approval of Minutes.
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council approve the minutes of the July 16, 2019 regular
meeting as presented.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Michelle Ascencion, (805) 385-7805
2. City Clerk Department
SUBJECT: Appointment of Citizen Advisory Group (“CAG”) Members. (Amended 7/25/19)

RECOMMENDATION: That the Mayor, with the concurrence of the City Council, appoint
Councilwoman Basua’s nominee to the Planning Commission, Councilmember Madrigal’s nominee
to the Commission on Homelessness, and Mayor Flynn’s nominee to the Senior Services
Commission.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Michelle Ascencion, (805) 385-7805
3. City Treasurer Department
SUBJECT: Investment Policy and Annual Delegation of Investment Authority.

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council adopt a resolution:
1. Adopting the FY 2019-20 Investment Policy for the City of Oxnard; and
2. Delegating investment authority to the City Treasurer.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Phillip Molina, (805) 385-7808
4. Community Development Department

SUBJECT: Adoption of Ordinance No. 2963 Amending Oxnard City Code Chapter 16, Division 10
with Sections of the May 19, 2019 “Downtown Code” Document Identified as Section 16-145 to
16-158B and Adoption of Ordinance No. 2964 Approving Zone Change No. 570-02 for 5,005
Parcels Within and Adjacent to the Central Business District of the City of Oxnard.

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council:
1. Adopt Ordinance No. 2963 (by title only, further reading waived), which amends Oxnard City
Code Chapter 16, Division 10 with Sections of the May 19, 2019 “Downtown Code” document
identified as Section 16-145 to 16-158B, with the modification of limiting side yard setbacks to 0’
in dimension and expressing a preference for traditional architecture within the Downtown Core
(DT-C) and Downtown General (DT-G) Zones; and
2. Adopt Ordinance No. 2964 (by title only, further reading waived), which approves Zone Change
No. 570-02 for 5,005 parcels within and adjacent to the Central Business District of the City of
Oxnard.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Jeffrey Lambert, (805) 385-7882
5. Finance Department
SUBJECT: Appropriation for Annual Payments of Principal and Interest on Water Fund Loan to
Golf Course Fund.

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council appropriate $159,340.06 in the Golf Course
Operating Fund for each of FY 2018-19 and 2019-20 to make regular scheduled payments on the
2013 loan from the Water Fund. (Finance and Governance Committee approved 3-0)
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Kevin Riper, (805) 385-7475
6. Finance Department
SUBJECT: FY 2019-20 Appropriations for Golf Course Operating Fund Under New Operating
Model.

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council estimate $4,940,400 of revenue, and appropriate
$4,802,210 of expenditures, for the Golf Course Operating Fund (651) in FY 2019-20. (Finance and
Governance Committee approved 3-0)
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Kevin Riper, (805) 385-7475

 

K-1- Social Equity in Cannabis Permitting and Establishment of Fees for Cannabis Related
Land Use Permits.

Kathleen Malory Presented. July 2 proposal (see our meeting report) contained results if a fee study for cost of service. which included staff and Hdl’s (cannabis management services) fees. (roughly $14,800 each, plus several $ hundred more in other fees.). City Mgr to develop evaluation criteria.

Now, they want to consider social equity- considered income, arrest/conviction rates, “demographics.” She said social equity is not the same thing a a hiring preference, Want 50% local hires. Application and workshops for local residents.City already has local hiring guidelines/ Require a community benefits agreement. A yearly donation (1% of gross revenues- review for sufficiency later) for nonprofits + a one time $25,000 donation. Program for distribution of funds. How many licenses to distribute to local residents. They would later determine if this is the right number of businesses.

Public Comments

Peggy Rivera- Happy we’re finally getting to this. Want to get it right. Who is going to own the oversight? Want an oversight committee- city has never been open to oversight. Want to make sure we;re gonna be OK with this and following regulations. I do support this.

Pat Brown- I see drug dealing in Oxnard Blvd area.Don’t want cannabis retail in downtown area. Marijuana later after downtown is more developed and tourists are coming in.

Dick Hawkis-  Looks like it would supposedly be bring revenue, but regulation will be expensive. What are “locals?’ Where does “social equity” word come from? May want stores on the freeway. Looks like a good deal.

Louall Reese?- Was in hospice. Cannabis helps. Don’t allow just anyone to come in and set up shop like in Port Hueneme and Ojai. We should focus on medical side., helping community. He can’t afford application fees? Stop worrying about money- focus on how we’re going to help community?

Rodney Medina- Thanks for taking steps and adding social equity. There are so many layers of it- only a couple addressed here. Look at what happened in war on drugs. Where did arrests occur- we need a social equity analysis report. Need to know where reparations should go? Cannabis can empower people  The People most affected by war on drugs should have opportunity to be in this business, Money SHOULD be earmarked, not just in general funds. What does South Oxnard, Colonia get? Investigate social equity furter. Consult with people who know something about it (like him, he said).  Let the minority victims of The War on Drugs have a seat at the table.

Jesus Torres- represent some “industry” Have some background. Intersectionality with economic justice and race. race is always the overriding factor. There are ways to develop nuanced language to get around legal constraints for including race in regulations. Need a community task force.

Mila Delgado- From LA, Social Equity equity applicant- have 6 livcessens for culytivatioj, distribution. She is with “Color Concepts” which might be a social justice oriented firm. Thinks fees are too high. Thinks social equity candidates should be selected before others.

6 dispensaries and 5 manufacturers will be allowed in.

It appears that the Council may seek to do major social engineering linked to cannabis business development, egged on by out of town activists.

 

Council Comments

Madrigal- what does 50% local residents mean- county, city, neighborhood? A: Kathleen- local resident. Staff report p10 says Oxnard resident for 3+ years. Should include an elected official on the board. Why are social equity candidates selected later? Mallory- will take time to develop the program- takes much longer, based on other city’s experience.

Basua- What is soonest we could see a business in Oxnard. Mallory- Mfg/testing- could be permitted in 6 months, then do tenant improvement- 3-6 months. Possibly 2 businesses operating by 6-30-19. Social equity program could be developed in the next year. Basua- want oversight committee, with Council involved.

MacDonald- Trying to figure out the “social equity” thing. Did drug enforcement while in Police Dept. OK with a local preference for social equity, but don’t want to exclude other viable groups. Appreciate “expungement” thoughts. 30 year old mistakes shouldn’t be punished. Want the best quality businesses in our city, able to survive and make city prosper. Shouldn’t put so many roadblocks in the way. Opposed to “reparations,”

Perello- are fees refundable? A: no. Perello- not fair that one applicant’s money could fund another’s application.Don’t know how we can may it right with past cannabis convictions.

Mallory- p 88 3 year residency requirement for social equity considerations. Color Concepts made insightful comments. We have made sure that buildings will support requirements. Can’t compare one city’s fees with another. Looking at a $10MM state grant.

Nguyen- Need to adopt a fee resolution. Social equity needs moire work- no decision on it tonight. Cannabis is not going to save the city. We are at the forefront of this social experiment. The gold rush is ending. No the end all and be all. Major corporations are getting into this business. We will not be able to create the perfect mousetrap- can tweak it later. What can we achieve/handle? LA social equity program- equitable ownership/employment opts to reduce disparities. Low income, past vananios convictions, poor. Reduce barriers to entering industry. Programs to support business ownership and employment opptys. Provide access to consultants, loans, access to real estate, legal assistance and more. We can’t do this more.Prefer NOT to have council involved in money distribution- too political. Community reinvestment fund. Looking at LA, Oakland for examples?He is opposed to oversight committee (another CAG). We can learn from alcohol enforcement efforts. Should do a community sesion on this.

 

Vote- on approval of fees only (social equity debate is for future resolution). 6-0 unanimously approved.

 

L-1- Lead Agency Agreement Number A-8160 Between the City of Oxnard and the Oxnard
Harbor District – Port of Hueneme for the Proposed Permitting of a Temporary Outdoor Vehicle
Storage Facility.

Director Lambert- The city will be renting 33.7 acre site for car parking places for incoming imported vehicles. Many people came to support it. Will do an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The City will be the lead agency on this, if council approves. Port will pay the costs for document preparation. Next step would be a consultant report, which could take 6-9 months.Should go to Planning Commission in Spring, 2020.

Perello- Any conflict of interest with Harbor financing report? Lambert- no, just paid for by applicant )Port of Hueneme)

Public Comments

KJ Mey- Port’s Engineering Manager. This is a temporary 3-5 years application for light vehicle storage. Report will address environmental issues. VC APD exec officer concurs. Want openness in the process.

Jonathan Alvaraez- Speaking for Mexican Counsel- He’s all for improvements to increase trade. Good for US and USA/Oxnard. Wants common storage area to reduce negative impact. Port Hueneme is future of trade in this area. Turned over podium to his deputy.- re Benjamin Franklin- no nation ever ruined by tade. $1MM per minute in trade by Port.

Art Chavez- Local Real estate agency and Longshoreman- Process has grown substantially. Port at only 25% of capacity. Vehicles are low impact. Will use union labor. Taxes going up- can’t put all expenses on local homeowners. Somebody’s got to pay for it- why not Port. Port brought in 100 more permanent union members. 750 more processed as “casuals.” Port trying to be good neighbor- want to bring in more $.

Tony Skinner- Execv Secy of Tri County Building Trades Council. get this approved and put local people to work

Janet Ritza- Her and son work at the port. Labor selection now done by lottery, not family.  Approves of project- which is clean.

Jess Ramirez- Here on behalf of port as a worker.  Was migrant – came here in 1958. Became a longshoreman in 1968 when he left the army. Loved it. Project is a win-win situation

Peggy Rivera- Need to educate S. Oxnard community on what is happening. Thanks to Southwinds neighborhood for their work. This can be a win-win situation, but need to have transparent, clear negotiations. Want to negotiate best deal for South side, need a “face lift.” Need jobs in the worst way, rebuild South side, bring in jobs.

Pat Brown- First car was  a turquoise ’57 Chevy. Was sheepskin seat cover pattern maker. I love cars. Doesn’t like this location on a”natural wetlands.”

Ricardo Moheca- Safety Manager for Globus car processors- 160 employee. Supports it.

Armando Delgado- With Globus auto processors- 160 employees. Lives in area- please approve their project.

(unknown) at 1:25? Port will hire local subs and residents, deal with local businesses. Carpenters local 805- union. Help economy and beautify the area.

Lucy Cartagena- City does a lot of shady things. Should be put out for the residents. Community not privy on what is going on- not transparent. Consider jobs FIRST for South Oxnard residents if they qualify. Work more closely with the community.

Carola Gayaro Magama- Southwinds resident. Want money from parking lot invested back in local S Oxnard community. Want local jobs too.

Commissioner Jess Herrera-  Glad we’re doing full EIR- transparent and will address all environmental considerations, Port is cleanest one of more tan 360. Will help pay for vital services, jobs. 32,000 Oxnardians live in poverty + 542 homeless on streets. Oxnard Harbor can help the city turn the fiscal corner. Support Constitution- right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness (That is from the Declaration of Independence) which people don’t have now. We have lost too many opportunities/.good paying jobs in tyhe past,

Joanne Oliversas- Represent Oxnard LULAC- supports project and EIR, new jobs.

Mary Ann Rivera- Family worked at port and Navy base. Oxnard needs help. USA losing ground dealing with Chima. Job opportunities. Money can be used as scholarship grants,

Joyce Chavez- Longshoremen union. retired EDD. Veterans and farmworkers hired. Need  additional parking space- should approve project. Affects all of Oxnard.

CouncilStaff  Comments

Lopez- Make sure process is transparent, considers community

Perello- Re: Pat Brown comment-gravel can be recycled. Need these jobs. Gateway to entering the middle class.

MacDonald- This has not been done in a Vacuum as some think. Good concept. Will help port on an interim basis. Supports.

Basua- Can we allocate some new revenue to South Oxnard? Nguyen- Come sto General Fund and Council can allocate,. Discourages earmarking.,

Madrigal- Fully supports

Ramirez- Re- backroom negotiations per Cartagena- Nguyen- thsi is public. Mitigated negative declaration sent public- received 250 comments. We decided to do a full EIR. Ramirez- so we’re just approving going ahead on this report and city to be lead agency, per CEQA law. Project will only \come forward for debate.vote after this. (Kristen Decas, port CEO, is in the audience).

Vote- 6 -0 approved unanimously.

 

L-2- City of Oxnard Investment Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. 

Presented by Treasurer Phil Molina

This is an annual report.

We can’t accept cash from any cannabis business.

Short term bond rates are now higher than long term rates (inverted yield curve).

$13.3 million in general fund. Total is $23.8 mm.

$239Mm invested, 97% of money. We are very restricted in kinds of investments we can have (tend to be very conservative).

$4.3MM earned last year and $611,000 saved by paying CALPERS as a lump sum.

Perello criticized Molina for taking credit for saving the$611K. Molian says he initiated and they now work together with finance. He said he had a dispute with previous CFO on this but not with the current one,

We are legally constrained from investing Successor Agency money.

Had disproportionate amount of short term investments because needed $17MM for CALPERS.

Had early calls on $14MM plus in investments, because market yields are dropping, so bond issuers are calling them so they can get cheaper money. This is a major trend and not good for investments, but good for borrowing.

Returns dropping to 2.3%. Will result in $321,000 less earning for the city.

Council/staff comments

Perello- Re: parking citations. Utility bill penalties? Molina- they appear in the city’s general bank account, which includes utilities, general fund, etc.

 

No vote on this needed, since it is just a report submission.

 

L-3- Award Agreement for Landscape Maintenance Services at Riverpark CFD #5.

Pulled from the agenda.

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council:
1. Approve and authorize the Mayor to execute Agreement A-8171 with Garcia’s Landscaping
Maintenance Inc. to provide landscape and ballfield maintenance services to Riverpark CFD #5 in
the total amount of $2,895,680 for a three year term;
2. Approve a contingency amount of $100,000 for Agreement A-8171 for repairs associated with
the property turn over to Garcia’s Landscaping Maintenance Inc.;
3. Approve a Budget Appropriation in the amount of $14,195; and
4. Authorize the Special Districts Manager or designee to change service levels within the contract
based on the available funding in the assessment district.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione, (805) 385-8055

 

Next Council Meeting is August 3

Next Committee Meetings are on August 10

See details


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 Sets Cannabis Business Rates, Contemplates Major Social Engineering, Postpones $5MM Golf Course Budget. Water Supply Cuts?

  1. Jeff July 31, 2019 at 9:04 am

    There will not be regular City Council meetings or Council Committee meetings in August.

    Reply

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