Oxnard Election Forums: Treasurer and City Clerk

By George Miller

Treasurer and City Clerk forums were run by the Oxnard Inter-Neighborhood Council, via a remote “Zoom” format, which was very well managed. The moderators asked 16 very good, relevant, sometimes complex questions (although sometimes redundant) and most of the answers were good. 

Rose Chaparro is running unopposed for City Clerk. She said she has similar experience with the school district and has 25 years’ experience. Since her election is a slam dunk, we’ll let you watch the video to learn a bit more about Oxnard’s next City Clerk. Incumbent Michelle Ascencion was running unopposed, dropped out and said she will go to work for the County when her term ends.

Studying the Treasurer candidates, forum, track records, it is clear that there are two strong, intelligent, motivated, experienced  candidates.

Molina, a retired CPA,  has nearly completed a term as Treasurer, has been Finance Director for several cities, including Oxnard and other positions, including LA, where he managed a $1.7 billion budget. Aragon spent 20 years with the Air Force as an Intelligence Officer, has significant auditing experience and will soon be taking his CPA exam.

The 16 questions included such things as  candidate background, qualifications, why they want the job, how they would go about it, Molina’s conflict with the City Manager, Measure L, fiduciary challenges, internal auditing, reporting, recession impact, reporting, performance measurements, dealing with corruption, 

If Measure L, which puts Finance under the Treasurer and restores duties removed by the Council, isn’t passed, the Treasurer’s job will be much simpler and the CFO and City Manager will be doing most of the Treasure’s job- per Molina, in violation of the law and without sufficient checks and balances. Molina is far more qualified and experienced, especially on items relevant to the position. He also knows where most of the bodies are buried. However, his relationship with the City Manager has been ruptured and the Council has taken the City Manager’s side. Aragon would be a fresh face without that baggage. So, that is really the essence of the choice for voters.

Both candidates strongly support Measure L and “division of labor” in oversight. It would be a game-changer if passed. Learn more about Measure L in your sample ballot or follow the links in the Citizens Journal Voter Guide coming out shortly,

Aragon, in his closing statement, complimented the City Manager’s abilities and enthusiasm, but also noted that both he and Molina offer great value and that he hopes that the City Manager opens his eyes to that.

It is interesting that only one person was willing to take on Mr. Molina for the position. That might be because the job and financial compensation have been so drastically reduced that no one is interested.

Here, watch it, below ….

Video: 10-1-20: Treasurer candidates James Aragon vs Phil Molina, incumbent

 


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

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Douglas D Partello

Both candidates gave a strong showing of their abilities, experience, and willingness to take on this job, even in the face of drastic reduction in duties, and compensation.
This seems to indicate that both men truly do care about Oxnard. The question remains as to whether the City will need to hire a consultant to manage the $220 million portfolio for investments, or they would be willing to continue alone in that role, for virtually pennies compared to what the open market would pay for this service. Persons in this role, in the private sector, can command salaries, and other compensation well over $500,000/year.
The $550 million dollar question is whether Measure L passes, and restores oversight to Oxnard’s financial dealings. We well know the history of what happened to Bell, CA some ten years ago. Hopefully, prayerfully, Oxnard will not be open to such corruption, as the door is wide open to it without the independent, duly elected watchdog on the job. The judge in that case repeated the famous quote, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”