Oxnard: Millions in SB1 gas tax fees spent; OX HS Aces Academic Decathlon; Arts Hub Plan Advances

By George Miller

At the 4-17-18 Oxnard City Council Meeting:

Road paving plan to spend SB1 gas tax money on road work was approved, will be $3.4 million+ /year.

It took an hour and a half to present and discuss the interesting downtown arts hub 5 year rough plan, some rules and approve it.

Council and regular attendees tended to be very anti-recall. We’ll soon see how representative they are of voters.

The City honored the Oxnard HS Academic Decathlon Team for winning first place in its state division in March. Oxnard Elementary School District Superintendent Cesar Morales was honored for implementation of a summer learning project. The late Civil Rights leader John R. Hatcher was honored for his work in promoting equality in Oxnard and the county- family members were present to accept this.

City Council Meeting 4-17-18 Agenda View Event

Link will follow


  Cultural and Community Service Department
Agenda item E-1- SUBJECT: Downtown Art Hub Proposal. (15/15/15)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council
1. Approve the Downtown Oxnard Arts Hub Five Year Plan; and
2. Appropriate $45,000 from the Downtown Improvement Project Settlement Funds (“DIPSF”) to the Downtown Arts Hub Murals Program (Project 18IN10) for the installation of three (3) iconic anchor murals within the Central Business District in support of the Downtown Vision Plan and the Arts Hub Five Year Plan; and
3. Appropriate $45,000 from the Public Art Fund (“PAF”) to the Downtown Arts Hub Murals Program (Project 18IN10) for the installation of three (3) iconic anchor murals within the Central Business District in support of the Downtown Vision Plan and the Arts Hub Five Year Plan; or
4. Appropriate $45,000 from the Public Art Fund (“PAF”) to the Downtown Arts Hub Murals Program (Project 18IN10) for the installation of three (3) iconic anchor murals within the Central Business District in support of the Downtown Vision Plan and the Arts Hub Five Year Plan, with a stipulation, per the Cultural Arts Commission recommendation by a vote of 3-2, that at least 80% of the $45,000 from the Public Art Fund shall support Ventura County artists and up to 20% may support Los Angeles and Santa Barbara County artists.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Ingrid Hardy Phone: 385-7993
Document: E-1 Staff Report
Agenda Item E-2- SUBJECT: Public Art Permit Process and Guidelines. (5/5/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council approve the Public Art Permit Guidelines and Process.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Ingrid Hardy Phone: 385-7993
Document: E-2 Staff Report

Per the staff report, the thesis was that the arts drive traffic and business into cities and are in fact business. A Cultural Master Plan adopted in 2009 was supposed to do much of what was discussed here. Also: “This master plan seeks to promote aesthetic, cultural and intellectual enrichment for Oxnard’s residents by creating vibrant arts opportunities for all members of the community.” Improved Quality of Life. They’re also tying it in with the Downtown Vision Plan, adopted in October. The Arts Hub supports Economic Plan Objective 2c. Capitalize on historic, cultural and natural resources. 

It would incorporate five priority areas of focus:
1. Programming and Events
2. Built Environment
3. Arts Education
4. Marketing and Communications
5. Staffing and Resources

This would be funded via a development fee and grants. The PAF fund, established via Resolution No. 14, 124 requires all new development (detailed in the resolution) to pay a public art fee of $0.20 per square foot of roofed building area prior to issuance of a building permit. There was also the idea of tapping the Measure O supplemental sales tax as well. Certain other expenses, such as the Performing Arts Center and Carnegie Museum, are in the General Fund and raise much of their own revenues. Some of the $6MM Downtown Improvement Program Settlement Funds might find their way into this program as well. The California Arts Council or the National Endowment for the Arts were also mentioned, but experienced hands say not to rely on consistent funding from these sources. It looks like they also have eyes on getting some of the hotel tax money, too.

Director of Community & Cultural Affairs Ingrid Hardy stressed that this plan document is “fluid,” long term funding will be heavily dependent upon grants, that funding may be unavailable, that they want $45,000 from the city to get started from the Arts Fund. This is half the amount budgeted to complete the “anchor” murals for downtown by 2019.

The bottom line is that after years and years of talk-talk-talk, projects look like they are about to actually get underway. Plans are being formulated, approved, people are being hired, money is being appropriated.

So far, this looks like a classic centrally-planned approach, as opposed to private planning and funding, although there are both public and private stakeholders who have weighed in. A major “angel” and/or anchor tenants could be a spark to make this really take off. It would be interesting to see if this could happen and whether the city would be wise enough to accept and work in such a team effort.  Large grants could also have a major impact on this.  Keep in mind that there other demands on the arts fund besides this downtown arts hub.

The plan does have some resemblance to what PACC Director Chelsea Reynolds described to me that she implemented in Maryland, before coming to Oxnard.

Public Speakers

Roger Poirier- It will take a while to revitalize downtown. Have fun/joy along the way- business follows joy.

Gary Blum- Agrees with Roger. Heard design review will be informal, need architect with environmental design qualifications. Arts Coordinator position needs to be full time. Need more funding. Head of Arts Hub should be in Oxnard Downtown Improvement Dist. office and have strong grant writing experience.

Shane Castroni- Art offers hope, light. He is a “community psychologist.” With Alma Rose, Descendants of Earth- preserve Native American culture. Created community incubator in Pt Hueneme, attending to community sense, critical consciousness. Livability, diversity and economic development- use local talent. Working with Abel Magama (Downtown Coordinator).

Margaret Cortay? Controversial that local artists receive preference for mural work.  This was a split decision.

(Missed name)- LA Art District scene – Spring Street- got a slow start- thriving now. 80% of $45,000 allocated to local artists “is looking out for their friends.” Want world class downtown murals, not constrained by local artist requirement- special interests. Eliminate local artist requirement.

Abel Magama- Very fluid, open development process- supports plan. He wanted full time position, but staff recommendation was for part time.  He had bigger grant-writing ambitions- need full-timer to do this. He rattled off some foundations as possible grant writing targets. Visited LA Arts District- likes its large scale approach. Look for world-class talent.

Kyle Seppolo- Active Oxnard musician for 10 years. Have no place to perform except Copper Blue (in the Collection). Want a downtown location.

Council/Staff Comments

Madrigal- Walkability is biggest issue. Must fix Oxnard Blvd. first to address that. Always a lack of money for the arts. Economic growth and other performance measurements. Plan includes Ventura/Santa Barbara Counties (80%, and LA 20%). Pie is too small and will be fought over.

Ramirez- Art, theater, music bring people here. We’ve got it all. Not want to limit to local artists. Want best candidates. Open up to everyone- make Oxnard world class. Not enough money for world class art, but will go with it for now. Need full-time arts coordinator.

MacDonald- Supports it. Love to see local artist preference, but should leave it open to the best anywhere.

Perello- Not limit to local/regional artists. Economic situation is not good. Let’s make sure we can continue the position(multiple years). Unlimited desires, wishes needs (do latter first, be realistic). Get  biggest bang for buck with money w have.

Flynn- Eliminate local preference, make locals work harder- option #3  supported . Hope this is like WPA ( a new Deal agency, founded circa 1935.

Passed unanimously 5-0 for items 1-3, not 4.


F. CEREMONIAL CALENDAR 1. SUBJECT: Presentation of a Commendation to Oxnard (Elementary) School District Superintendent Dr. Cesar Morales Honored with the 2018 Summer Matters Superhero Award by the Association of California State Administrators. This award is for all who made this happen. For expanding summer learning programs. Morale said that 5o% of schools in district will have bi-literacy education next year. President Debra Cordes, Past Board Member Al Duff were present.


2. SUBJECT: Presentation of a Commendation to Oxnard High School for Taking the Top Prize in Division 3 at the California Academic Decathlon, beating Westlake High and all other formidable opponents.Coaches: Robert Borneman, Chris Conte, James McCrory. Decathletes: Jose Vasquez, Christian Salema, Justin Terrill, Enrique Becerra, Jade Chongsathapornpong (absent), Christian Hernandez, Alejandro Ruiz, (absent), Leo Hernandez, Sebastian Krautkraemer. (Thans to Councilman Oscar madrigal for correct spellings).

The late Civil Rights leader John R. Hatcher was honored for his work in promoting equality in Oxnard and the county. Family members showed up to collect the honors for him!





Gabe Teran (Fremont South)- Re: Community Relations Commission Event- recommitting to our youth. Thanks for a fine event- thanks to community leaders organizing and participating.

Woody Thomas- Re: there fathers who fail to provide to provide child support because they are illegal aliens and are afraid to apply for welfare. Also remarked on incorrect/missing Social Security payments.

Steve Nash- Thanks to Dr, Morales, Academic Decathloners and coaches,. It is inconceivable that anyone would ever discourage immigrants and children of immigrants. Ethics advisory subcommittee should convene to address campaign expenditures, Criticized multiple Starr flyers. Questioned what would happen if utility infrastructure fees are  stopped (currently in litigation as being illegal and not based upon legitimate actual costs).

Len Schulman- Vice Chair INCO and Chair of Carriage Sq. Neighborhood. He used a  car repair analogy and firing mechanic for giving you the bad news about sewage system. Say no to “interlopers” trying to hijack city council.

Anthony Delagado- Today is make a difference day to sign up to volunteer for non-profit groups. Lucy Cartegena is running this.

Dan Pinedo- Went to Community Relations Commission forum. Youth is being lost to mischief, delinquency and crime. Don’t want this to be another dead end effort, as other efforts have been. Need council and staff to reconvene this group- set goals, strategies, gather support from people and organizations.

Mary Ann Rooney- PresidentBoard of Oxnard Harbor Commissioners, celebrating Earth Day. The harbor supports 13,00 jobs,m supports environmental stewardship= clean air., water soil, climate change, fisheries and wildlife. Lat year names greenest port in USA. Shoreside Power, (*$14MM project). Sustainability procurement program.

Kristen Decas- CEO Port Director- Port of Hueneme. Hiring full time Environmental Mgr. Getting grant funds. Developing a clean air plan in coordination with other area agencies. Have Five Star **** Green Marine certification. Reduced pollutants dramatically.

Michael Viegas- Executive Officer VC Air Pollution org. Working with Port on aforementioned projects. New legislation focuses on “disadvantaged communities.” Port cleansed of pollution and creates high paying jobs. Trying to slow down ships at sea. Recently received new funding

Pete Placentia- Promoted  Oxnard Boxing gym. Famous champion boxers Fernando Vargas, A Garcia put Oxnard on the map. Hundreds of amateur boxers at annual PAL championship in Oxnard come to visit the boxing gym. Gym needs work, money. Dissed recall election.

Pat Brown-Vote no on recall. Can’t wait until Nov. In trouble if this group (incumbents) doesn’t win.

Martin Jones- Nothing new. Got a flyer from Mr. Starr making a number of accusations- he said it was inaccurate, re: promises made by council dating back to 2009. His (Starr’s)  ticket is without any government experience. A successful recall would put back Oxnard a couple of years. Opposed to the recall.


Document: City Manager’s Weekly Report

Per Interim City Manager/Police Chief Scott Whitney- Next week’s meeting  will be mostly budget workshop and Treasurer’s report. Doing Council member and commission training on ethics on Wednesday. Doing state of city meetings all over town.  Note upcoming Performing arts Center events. About 60 showed up for Community Relations Commission event. Trying to address opioid epidemic.- encouraged people to dispose of old pharma prescriptions. Neighborhood cleanups progressing successfully- 30 tons of trash removed just in one neighborhood. Two habitat for Humanity houses will be done in September. 10 tons of hot mix used to repair streets, plus curb work. Oxnard PAL fundraiser Sat 4-21-18 at PAL facility. Planting trees at Southwind Park

City Clerk Michelle Ascencion- vote by mail ballots and information booklets sent out. Use black ink on ballots. Outreach at various events to inform, register voters. No write-ins allowed. 4-24-18 deadline to mail out absentee ballots and spoiled ballots. Or up to April 30 at City Hall,  300 W. Third St.  Ballots must be postmarked by May 1, the date of the special election.  2700 ballots received so far. Don’t forget to sign, date the ballot envelope. Electronic signature verification of mail in ballots. Mail  ballots will be counted first. Election instruction video available on line at city web site….

City of Oxnard Special Election (FAQs) – YouTube

4 days ago – Uploaded by City of Oxnard Government

2018 Special Election (May 1, 2018) Frequently Asked Questions Register to Vote by April 16: register to vote …


Council Comments

Madrigal- Condolences to Barbara Bush, who passed away today. Congratulations- Supt. Cesar Morales award.  Councilman Madrigal’s sister is on the school board. Went to Rose Park cleanup. Went to Cesar Chavez march. Community Relations Commission event- youth delinquency a complex event- needs work.

Ramirez- Very proud of young people (decathlon), went to Cesar Chavez march. Clarified last week’s pollution comments, which she fears may have unduly alarmed Port personnel. Pollution is caused by vessels in the channel- need to reduce pollution, reduce whale strikes. Then Ramirez started electioneering: Re- recall: please vote no. Re: campaign mailers- wastewater increase is a rate increase, not a tax, it’s cost of services. Dishonest to say otherwise. Flyer referred to infrastructure tax as “skimming,” which is illegal. It is the subject of a court action (which claims it is illegal.)  Another campaign flyer refers to city golf course. We must respect contract with operator, She says Starr said “desalination,” but Oxnard does not have that, but has “desalters.”  Claims MRF (Material Recycling Facility) takeover saved city $2MM. She failed to mention that she voted for a takeover rather than new bids.

MacDonald- concerned about inadequate bicycle lanes, road markings.

Bert Perello- Meeting by Watershed District on flood protection levee is coming up. Perello and MacDonald serve on Utilities Task Force. Need adequate water flow to fire hydrants.  Impressed with “Red Team” problem solving efforts. Went to hero Cesar Chavez march.  Re: recall- I’ve been called corrupt. Not one on council was corrupt in voting for wastewater rates. City problems going on for a long time. Try not to take personal. Says Starr served recall on 4 council members- left out MacDonald.  Says health, safety, welfare must be addressed by rate increases. We have had multiple facility malfunctions, incidents. Want to pay bills, stop people who might be taking advantage of the city. Did not like tone of today’s campaign flyer.  Campaign getting dirty.

Flynn- Earth Day was fun. Thanks to planners and participants. Thanks to Port for their leadership. Want to set aside a Saturday morning to address port’s and other entities on common issues. Port wants to expand- needs land. also mutual issues/interests with City of Port Hueneme.


L. Information Consent Agenda

Exceptions pulled for discussion (others are voted on by default): L-1 L-5, L-6,

L-1 Perello- re: meals provided, when is it a “700 form” issue? Address this now or put on a future agenda.  City attorney said that there is no problem with food provided by the city tgo council and staff for meetings.

L-2- Perello- re: “PEG”  fees. Thinks money is being left on the table for telecommunications cable provider fees (ratepayers arte charged and money is given to city). Must renew to be able to continue to collect fees. CFO Throop- working with public schools and college to cooperate. 1% is maximum fee that the city can levy. Must decide on how to spend. Flynn- this money must be used for capital expenditure. Want public access channel which may also include education districts. What we do with fee has nothing to do with our ability to collect the fees. Schools have much higher priorities.

L-5 Madrigal- Wants to know if there is a conflict of interest for him to vote on LA Colonia roadwork. City Atty. Fischer says no.

L-6 Flynn- Navy, Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land and City of Oxnard encroachment/easement to protect sensitive habitat and base (Ormond Beach area). Adding Ventura Land Trust to agreement.

Unanimously approved 5-0


M-1 priority based budgeting- postponed


M-2 City Clark, Fire and Police Dept fee adjusments

A cost of service fee study of reasonable estimates for services supports these many and steep proposed fee increases. Jim Throop says last fee study was in 2002- 16 years ago. This new one was 185 pages. Much revenue is being lost. Should generate abut $640,000 in additional revenues. More in process for other departments. These were identified in the operational audit a few years ago.

Council Comments

Perello- Says yes

MacDonald and Ramirez wanted to move the question

No public speakers

Passed unanimously 5-0


N-2 Senate Bill 1 Road Maintenance. ($5.4 billion state gas tax and registration tax increase)

Improve FY 20198/19 road maintenance/rehabilitation. annual resolution to select projects and budgets need to secure money from this bill. Last year $1.1 million. This year, 2.2mm for Rice Avenue and Cooper Road.

Council/Staff comments

Madrigal- thanks for work, Not enough money to do everything.

Ramirez- Concerned about the gas tax repeal initiative. (Never mind that this is replacing money taken away by the state.) She asked how much money SB1 will provide. Public works- Expect $3.4 million for FY 2018-19, $3.5MM thereafter

MacDonald- Redoing our streets is very complex. Rice Ave- being transferred to CalTrans jurisdiction as the new PCH, but first Oxnard must bring it up to CalTrans standards. Oxnard Blvd will be under Oxnard control.

Perello- What is “TMO phase I?” (Thin Maintenance Overlay) Thinks surfaces are nice and smooth. Any more pipeline work to be done for Cooper? Yes, about $850,000- included in project.

Flynn- a few years ago (approx. 12 years), a $250 million list of road/alley projects was identified. SB1 tax is great news- lets get to all the paving needed.

Approved unanimously 5-0


Last week, Mayor ProTem Ramirez declared that Oxnard does not have a “rubberstamp council.” Since then, every agenda item has been approved- unanimously.


Note these upcoming meetings

Special Meeting of the City Council, Commission on Homelessness, Community Relations Commission, Cultural Arts Commission, Downtown Design Review Committee, Finance Authority, Housing Authority, Library Board, Measure O Citizen Oversight Committee Apr 18, 2018 – 06:30 PM Agenda
City Council Meeting – DRAFT AGENDA (as of 4/17/2018) Apr 24, 2018 – 05:00 PM Agenda


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

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” A cost of service fee study of reasonable estimates for services supports these many and steep proposed fee increases.”

The average hourly pay per position is the total compensation in 2016 divided by 2080. (http://publicpay.ca.gov/).

Fire Environmental Spec I/II:
Charge per hour: $150.21
Average hourly pay for position: $48.29
Highest hourly pay for position: $66.85
Ratio of charge per hour to average hourly pay: 3.11

Fire Engineer:
Charge per hour: $85.93
Average hourly pay for position: $85.93
Highest hourly pay for position: $108.06
Ratio of charge per hour to average hourly pay: 1.00

Is the charge per hour reasonable in both cases?