Oxnard: New Short-Term Rental Rules Approved; City Mgr. & Atty. Contracts Extended; Alleged Political Attacks Made by Officials

By George Miller

At the Oxnard Council meeting of 10-6-20, the final short term rental rules were approved with some public objections and support divided; more reopenings announced; In a last minute pre-election gift, the Council extended the contracts of its only direct reports- City Mgr. Alex Nguyen and City Attorney Stephen Fischer; City officials did what are said to be legally questionable attacks on City Council candidate Aaron Starr and his measures on the ballot and Treasurer Phil Molina- multiple residents objected; Local resident farm workers organized by CAUSE continue to ask for rent control (see Items not on Agenda, below); State- mandated “Housing Element” targets for residential development (around 8500) were announced; CARES Act Coronavirus grant appropriations were approved; The city also agreed to pay half of needed Mandalay Bay seawalls renovation- city owns seawalls. See separate story on this.

Oxnard beach rentals are highly desirable. The City just placed restrictions on rentals. Oxnard Shores Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

AGENDA, VIDEO
Agenda Item F- Ceremonial Items
Noted Domestic Violence Awareness Month. An Oxnard Police Sargent accepted the proclamation.
Noted Code Enforcement Officer Appreciation week. Proclamation received by Code Compliance Supv. Roger Brooks.
Proclamation Designating the Week of October 4-10, 2020 as “Fire Prevention Week.” Assistant Fire Chief John Coliamari accepted the proclamation and lamented that the USA has the highest residential fire death rate in the developed world. There were 363,000 fires in the US in one year.
G. Public Comments on Items Not On The Agenda -only 90 seconds per speaker allowed
Doug Partello- Professionalism doesn’t prevent corruption. He called out the City Manager and Council Members for “mudslinging” and the extension of contracts for the City. Mgr. and Attorney (see article).
James Aragon- A council member said people who break the law should be punished. A woman in Munich was convicted of distributing anti-Nazi propaganda and beheaded. She said laws change but morals don’t.
Jenell Ward- Re: Homeless issue. Reached out to Jessica on Homeless commission, will work with her. What are city’s Vagabound Inn plans for transformation into homeless center. City needs all the help in can get.
Tom Kady?- Concerned over how CA council is being depicted. Mimi Robeson described Starr/Percell discussing corrupt Oxnard City Council. Disagreeing on policy/practices doesn’t mean corruption, Starr depicted misleading public safety costs.
Zulla- Community Organizer, ask for help on rent control. Families face eviction, pandemic has made it worse, cannot pay. Rents going up.
Cecilia- (translated) – Want rent control- please discuss at next meeting. Pressing issue for her and many other Oxnard families.
Adrianna- (translated) – Want rent control discussed at next meeting. Something should be done. I am a field worker- hrs were reduced. Afraid rent will go up and I won’t be able to pay and will be unable to find a place for me and children to live.
Anna- (translated) – I am Anna, a  field worker. I’m also going through the same rent situation. Not working full tie because of the pandemic. Not fair that we have to again ask to put this on the agenda. It’s time to discuss the housing crisis we are all going through. Please include on next meeting agenda.’
Teresa- (translated) – Same message as above. Rent was arrived a few moths ago. Do not like to borrow money. Thanks for presentation at last meeting. Not fair we have to continue to live in fear.
Arturo- (translated) – For a long time I suffered as a tenant, didn’t know I had rights. Now pay more rent in a better area, but rent keeps going up. Not as much work available now. Please put rent control on the ballot. Put it in the next meeting.
CAUSE guy- wants council rent control discussion. Could save many families from losing their homes.
Manuel Perez- CAUSE youth leader- Similar request- wants ASAP.
Yucinia- CAUSE youth leader- almost the same words. Live in house with 10-15 people. Noiusy from kids doing online school.
Eduardo Miranda- Retied as Oxnard Police Commander- Number of officers eliminated.  Satffing levels same as 10 tyears ago, whhile population and crime increased. Fire Dept is short-staffed. Wants Measure E 1.5% sale stax increase.
Alicia Percell- So-called “Sunshine” law says agenda should be posted 10 days early with exceptions for emergency items, parcel map appeals, ceremonial items, closed session items. Yet items are later added that don’t meet the exceptions.
Larry Barbarini- Happy Columbus day- celebrates an imperfect but celebrated man, taken back in chains for helping the natives. Measure E would be a burden, get more efficient instead. $550 MM city budget, don’t need another increase.
Alberto Santana- Wants measure E (1 1/2 cent sales tax increase), stop blaming past leadership. Youth  programs needed.  Emergency response time will slow. Need to improve emergency preparedness.
City Manager Alex Nguyen- tonight will discuss a future meeting on rent control,
H. City Manager Report
Alex Nguyen- City atty will handle first item. Fischer: Newsom signed executive order to extend eviction protection to 3-31-21. Order 20-01. Must submit COVID-related reason for inability to pay rent.
Nguyen- COVID updates. www.vcreopens.com.  Businesses must meet guidelines.
Trying to keep employees safe. Had to quarantine 12 frontline firefighters, but only one tested positive. Had to recall out of town firefighters.
County made progress vs state’s requirements for reopening- gyms, restaurants, hair salons. A percentage of your fire code capacity can reopen.
10-19 virtual community workshop on homelessness:  [email protected] register/ ????????
Got a grant to break down organic waste to electricity-  $182,000.
Census deadline now 10-31-20. my2020census.gov. 69.5% have responded.
Cleaning up homeless encampments., did a dozen in Sept.
Played  a video of recreation staff event of kids dancing in front of City hall to a song of “we would make love at the drop of a hat” plus indecipherable rap.
Accused Aaron Starr of purposely putting out false information about city public service costs. “we’re actually not that much higher…. we are about in the middle.” It demonstrates an utter lack of understanding of how police and other cities operate. Can’t compare to smaller cities. Economies of scale don’t apply.
Nguyen says he is frustrated by Phil Molina’s complaints to state about Alex using taxpayer money to promote Measure L. FPPC rejected the complaint.
Campaign sign rules on where you can place signs being violated. City has been removing violating signs. Must call office to make appointment to reclaim removed signs.
Public Speakers
Ray Blattel- $10MM in cost increases to taxpayers for public safety costs. Why do you compare to Huntington Beach with far higher per capita income.
Philip Molina- Not sure what city mgr talking about. What Molina reported is about Measure E.  City Mgr’s words are incomplete and false. Based on additional input from public, FPPC is to reconsider the complaint. Be careful about city mgr errors- not intentional. It’s just his weakness. Nguyen: Will post letter on city website
Alicia Percell- City’ Mgr’s love for proclaiming his transparency. These slides not in the agenda package. City did not comply with city compensation reporting. City only responded when forced to by public. Re: Campaign signs being violated by incumbent council. Flynn has again violated sign size and Ramirez’s are in rights of way.
Aaron Starr- Never seen a city manager inject himself into a campaign and mention candidates by name. Proposed measures so we’re not blindsided by agenda items.  Need Measure L so all power not in tyhe hands of one iundividual (City Mgr.). Re: Public safety spending by city, saw a disparity, asked why. Admitted it was wrong. So let’s look at apples to apples comparison. 3/4 is police- still a very high number compared to others. Now $90 million.
Council/Staff Comments
Lopez-  Oct 8 Filipino History month and LGBT history month
Perello- A lot of things being said by candidates. Daniel Chavez Oxnard Live video had Aaron Starr. There were questions on Measure O. Measure N requires pavement to be up to standard, but it would take all Measure O money. Funds are not adequate. Need $8-13MM just to maintain status quo.  Recall attempt was based on utility rate increase vote, but Starr only did recall for four of five people.
MacDonald- Re: Santa Paula branch line owned by VCTC. Can it be reopened to Santa Clarita. It’s in for a long range feasibility study. Received complaints about Rice Ave. condition. Construction going on at Sakioka Farms. Will be repairing holes and doing some overlay.
Ramirez-  People shouldn’t let guard down now that county will be authorizing some reopening, Virus will be around until there is an effective vaccine that people are willing to take. Prop 21 will give local control for rent control. President has just called off stimulus (??? News to us). Buy gifts locally to keep local businesses surviving. Always look at who is funding – for and against props. Read ballot descriptions/arguments. Food deliverer fees exorbitant. Need an ordinance when 39%of bill is delivery.
Madrigal- Things are opening up, please shop locally.
Flynn- Went to League of Women Voters Forum- thanks. Puts out important info. Condenses issues.  Woman VP candidate, when women couldn’t even vote 100 years ago.
J,K,L – Information Consent Agenda
Pulled for discussion
L-6 Lopez- Re: Citywide street sweeping service. Needs redesign to avoid parking to tickets. Tien of Public Works will follow up.
L-5, 7 Perello- L-5 letter of support for non-motorized vehicles bike route. What about electric ones. Answer- Yes.
L-6 MacDonald. He gets complaints about street sweepers not showing up. Third party does this.
L-5 Flynn- Happy that we’re lending to Bicycle Route 95, non-polluting transportation. Re: proposed truck route modification to get trucks off city streets.
L-3 Notice for 14 flashing pedestrian beacons.
Public Comments
Pat Brown- Thank City Mgr, who knows exactly what he’s talking about and Starr gets it wrong all the time. Direct trucks to Rice Ave, not Oxnard Blvd. Existing signs actually direct trucks to Oxnard Blvd. Need bicycle paths to Ormond Beach along Hueneme Road.
James Aragon- Re L-1 Will FEMA fund? L-6 storm drain-  How will streets like mine be affected? Gutters never actually swept due to cars parked. Is it really needed in dry weather?
Ray Blattel- Asked city to limit big trucks downtown. Why aren’t Wooley and Rice listed as preferred routes? Rice Ave. from 101 to 5th street should be taken of truck list. Need to educate local businesses.
Jim Cowell- Homeowner in Channel Islands Harbor, review  Tetra Tech repair options. Two options “floated to the top” Sheet pile (permitting and expressive canal elimination) and panel alternatives (is it best?). Plan needs to address sea level rise.
Debbie Mitchell- Thanks to Public Works for sea wall study. FEMA grant, studies appreciated.
Vote- Unanimous- 7-0.
 M-1- 2020 Annual Action Plan CARES Act for Coronavirus Response Grants and Adoption of an addendum to the Citizen Participation Plan. 
Presented by Housing Director Emilio Ramirez
Must use the CDBG funds to help address COVID-19 threats to housing impacts to homeless., food, housing, shelter.
No public speakers
Council/staff speakers
Ramirez- County had business and rental assistance program. Needed help administering. Need staff support to help people apply.  Emilio Ramirez- Housing Dept people will help. Need time to figure out how to do business assistance program. Maybe have a business trainer? Mayor Pro-tem Ramirez- Economic Development Collaborative does work with business- try them.
Perello- Re $1.4MM rental assistance program. can you help people who lost jobs? Looking at specific minorities? Special populations like veterans included? Ramirez- rental and mortgage assistance available. Not proposing assistance to ethnic minorities- just low income recipients, homeless. Veterans eligible if COVID affected and low income. Perello re: p 397. …”Low and minority concentrations.” What does it mean? Please include vets. Ramirez- no specific veterans plan,but they are included in the “global effort.” $500K business, $1 MM for residents.
Vote-Unanimous- 7-0
M-2- Zoning Text Amendment to Create Regulations for Short Term Rentals and Acceptance
of Three California Coastal Commission Modifications.
A debate has raged for years about whether short term residential rentals should be permitted and if so, under what conditions. Nguyen described it as the end of a four year odyssey.  There have been numerous meetings,studies and drafts. It also under Coastal Commission jurisdiction, He pointed out that only the three modifications are affected by tonight’s proceedings. STR’s are currently unregulated.
Staffer Paul-
In August 2019 the Planning Commission proposed STR rules. The Coastal Commission wanted some changes,
Modifications- vacation rental caps from 5% to 10% 107 parcels. a grandfather clause would expand units rented and paying occupancy taxes. There are only 15. 75 maximum for Oxnard Shores – 2.6% of the neighborhood. 18 to grandfathering CI neighborhood. Decrease spacing from 200 to 100 feet with grandfathering also.
These are existing units paying taxes on rentals and eligible for :grandfathering” …
Nguyen- If council rejects this, city would have to modify plan and resubmit to the Coastal Commission, then Planning Commission or “simply walk away from regulating)
Public Comments (about 30 speakers signed up)
Gary Trenda- The 200 day to 100 day  thing will raise prices because you are eliminating some who can rent. $2,000 inspection fee. We will lose renters. Limits beach access. Discriminating against LLC’s.
David Dubos- 8 year resident of Shores. Paid TOT (hotel occupancy) taxes, rented. 10% of total properties permitted. Being next store to another renter is fine. He’s 69, can’t work- disabled. Needs the income.
Michael Delphone- Attorney for client- submitted written comments. Concerned about grandfather law- only for owners who paid TOT tax (which he said is optional) . Concerned about 100 day maximum, making STR’s unfeasible for many owners. This has gone too far. Will eliminate renters.
Robert Murphy- Glad we’re finally getting to STR ordinance implementation. We won’t know if we’ve reached  a balance until implemented. I hope STR owners will educate, implement rules without police calls. Some do not care about residents. overload of number of guests may be a problem.
Angela Slapp- Residents appreciate 100 and 200 ft separation. Noisy, disrupting, at late hours. Make sure only those who paid TOT are granted rental rights.
Julie Pena- Glad we’ve gotten to this point after 4 years,happy to see limitations.  Totally support Coastal Commission changes.
George White- Support changes approved by Coastal Commission and Planning. Would like agent on premises. Once buyers got wind of STR on NextDoor.com, he only got one offer on his house, for $100,000 less. Renters are loud, drunken, inconsiderate. Confirm these changes… then do more.
Karen Brooks- After 4 years, a fair compromise. Please approve it. Collect long overdue occupancy taxes and neighbors finally  get a good night’s sleep.
Ira Green- We have a short term rental in a nonresidential area at Yosemite. One in our area near us. ST rentals are very lucrative. 100 days is more than enough. Please vote this in.
Ken Coopman- Supports it. Has been unchecked in a residential area. These are commercial operations. I have experienced enough discord
Eric Espino- Operate small housecleaning business. New ordinance will hurt her business- unfair.
Yana G- Short term  rental owner. Rule is arbitrary, unjust and unlawful. It’s based on paying a voluntary tax. treads on my rights as  a property owner, not done anything wrong, enforced our own strict rental rules. Claimed rule was created by rich white owners who didn’t want minorities here. Grandfather rule should be based on rental history.
Michael Houk- Like renting out, always brief renters on the rules. Deirdre Frank orchestrated ban on STR’s. Immediately voted her out, The grandfather rule requires payment of  TOT tax, which he said was voluntary. Agree that nuisance ordinances are needed. Will lose long time renters. 100 day and 200 ft rules all bad.  Re: COVID- home is safer than hotel.
Marcy Houk- Have home in Oxnard Shores. Rent it out.  Perello said TOT was not required. Now we learn that right to rent is based on non-required TOT payments. Contradictory and illegal. 100 days max is impossible. Not help city revenue goals. We are responsible, have very strict rules.
Unknown- Short term owner. Rules are hugely detrimental to owners. How can a voluntary tax be a grandfathering criterium? 100 day rule will reduce income 1/2 to 3/4. Making STR rights non-transferable hurts property value and passage to his son. Another gut punch to small business owners. I offered reasonable written alternatives.
Unknown- Says STR’s have $55MM in economic impact. Based on adherence to a voluntary tax. No STR problems in Shores, really. He named Oxnard Shores soc opponents, who he said were voted out and so did next  board. Finally dissolved the corporation.
Chistina Brooks- Property manager manages our rental properties. Understand need for regs. Adopted new County and Ventura rules. All pay taxes. Oxnard should follow these rules.
Neil Berger- Please enforce rules. This year has been like spring break. parking, trash strewn, excessive numbers of people. STR’s prohibited during COVID in May- but many out of state vehicles. People caught “relieving  themselves’ by his house.
Michael Gilmore- Submitted letter to City Clerk. Oxnard Shores owner- renter- have agent, pay taxes. Says restrictions are unconscionable. Severely and unseasonably restrict public access to the coast. permits should be issued regardless of the tax. Cap is unreasonable.
Len (translate)- Worker in the Shores. City has rules, can call police. But it also affects us as a business. reductions in  rentals affects us as a business, especially with the COVID.
Jeremy Bennett- Homeowner, maintain multiple local properties, check in guests. TOT taxes are outrageous and are sole example of what will happen. Will hurt maintenance, property managers adversely. Please handle appropriately.
Rob Zielen- Owns property in the Shores. New ordinance has restrictions, exclusion zone. Can only fit about 20 homes in Oxnard shores, rental day max of 100 days cuts revenue about 50%. See no purpose to this. Will greatly reduce rentals. Don’t see how this can be legal or constitutional. No one can initially rent until application is processed.
Peter Fleming- Oxnard resident, own 4 properties, due short term rentals, paid over $100,000 is taxes. 100 days is way too restrictive. Application processing time too long. Need effective date grace period.
Dimitri Stol- Short term rental property owner for 15 years. Come to a compromise. I have never had a violation with my home. Always paid taxes, never had complaints. Fireworks and public drunkenness were not short term renters. Need economic impact report.
Suzanne LeMott- Many good points already raised- thank you Dr Dimitri. Short tern renter for 20 years- never had any complaints. If I can’t rent my house, it will be empty and attract problems. Paid taxes. Huge loss of income to neighborhood.
Steven Shohan- Does vacation rentals. There are some problematical rentals, but should not be an excuse to end short term rentals. Neptune Square has apartments, condos, vacation rentals . No reason for minimum/maximum restrictions. Require business licenses, taxes.
Walter Haggendaum- Chair of Oxnard Shores- Thanks. Stop uncontrolled growth of STR’s. STR’s continued in violation of COVID rules.
Diane Delaney- This was generated by multiple short term rental operations. Regs should result in fair, peaceful balance 100 days was fair compromise.  Avoids de facto hotels. Don’t destroy the character of single family neighborhoods. They have run their illegal commercial operations for far too long. Grandfathering was a compromise. Separation is very important. Threats have almost torn our neighborhood apart.
Coucil/Staff
Ramirez- appreciate anxiety on both sides. Bad behavior by a few affects all. Some want no short term rentals, others want no restrictions. Our first concerns have got to be the residents. We can’t make everyone happy, We’ve got to move forward.
Basua- Question- is TOT voluntary? A: the city has collected TOT money. No vested right for the short term rentals to continue. There was no prohibition.  Property managed rentals mostly paid taxes. Basua- Are rules illegal? A: Difficult to predict what a court will do. No vested right to operate in a residential zone. Basua- Do the right thing even if no one is looking (pay the tax).
Vote- Approved unanimously- 7-0
N-1- Preparation of the 2021-2029 Housing Element and Policy Direction. 
1. Receive a report on the preparation of the 2021-2029 Housing Element (6th Cycle Housing
Element); and
2. Concur with Housing and Economic Development Committee (HEDC) direction and provide
further direction on if the City Council supports utilizing up to 1,000 ADUs and Jr. ADUs during
the next 2021-2029 Housing Element to achieve compliance with the 2,903 lower income RHNA
Kathleen Mallory presented.  These are SCAG apportionments of state housing mandates. 8528 low income units over 8 years. Oxnard may authorize 100o auxiliary dwelling units (granny flats). Committee couldn’t agree on that many.  105 applications so far.
They want to increase density and build housing in industrial zones, too. Will Esplanade Tower III become residential, former Levitz site.
Public Speakers
James Aragon- Not a fan of the state micromanaging development. But we need housing. Measure M would help. Lived in 4 generation housing. Should be market-driven.
Council/Staff Discussion
Madrigal- supports
Basua- Ok on 1000 ADU’s
Ramirez- OK with all. What is 30 units per acre. Do we have a development that dense? (River Park apts and Wagon Wheel).  Likes using industrial areas for housing.
MacDonald- OK except possible disturbance in BRP zone.
Perello- Original plan was to have industrial development in its own areas. Now churches are there and next housing? Might be conflicts. Can we count ADU’s in our housing numbers.
Lopez- Supports
Flynn- Thrilled, tickled pink, it is a model of good government. Supports.
Nguyen disagreed that it needed a vote. So no vote was taken.
N-2- Amendment to City Attorney Employment Agreement.
That the City Council adopt a resolution approving and authorizing the
Mayor to execute the Second Amendment to the employment agreement between the City and
Stephen Fischer (Agreement No. A-7880) to extend the term by two years to April 8, 2023, and
update references to the resolution establishing executive and unrepresented employee benefits.
HR Director Naveau put this together. City Atty Fischer presented the rationale for extending his own contract. Asking the Council for this. 2 year contract extension and adjustment to comp memo to adjust to one that superseded it.
Public Speakers
Ray Blattel- Term is April 9 XXX. Agenda report says no financial impact, but he;s not so sure. He thinks it has a substantial increase in exec employees, which would mean an increase in costs.
Council/Staff Discussion
Ramirez- thanks Fischer for getting us through some tough years, need stability, supports;
Perello- heard Blattel’s points, wants to hear explanation from Naveau. Fischer argued with him. Perello- it looks very awkward with you talking about your contract, I want to hear from Naveau. Fischer- Navaeau not here, he assist with preparation. Perello- Fischer took a voluntary cut. I support this item.
Flynn- Support 100%
Vote- Unanimously approved 7-0
N-3- Amendment to City Manager Employment Agreement
That the City Council adopt a resolution approving and authorizing the
Mayor to execute the First Amendment to the employment agreement between the City and
Alexander Nguyen (Agreement No. A-8087) to extend the term by three years to July 8, 2024,
update references to the resolution establishing executive and unrepresented employee benefits,
specify that annual leave shall accrue according to the schedule for Executive Employees, delete the
relocation expense provision, and change the severance payment for termination without cause from
six months salary to nine months salary.
Fischer presented this one too. City Manager performance review recently completed.  Changes are similar to Fischer’s plus, relocation expenses no longer needed, and severance changed.
Public Speakers
Doug Partello- Sound quality no good.It didn’t sound like he was in support of this, as Nguyen commented.
Ray Blattel- Doesn’t believe this is not no change in cost either. Termination clause- forbid engage in outside work.
Tom Cady- Good reason not to pass Measure M. We don’t like midnight council meetings. Gives credit to City Manager for handling what is the crisis of our generation, Contract terms well-earned. Supports.
Council/Staff Discussion
Ramirez- move the recommended action and correct typo. It’s been an incredible 2 years. 
Flynn- Nguyen has done more in two years than anyone I’ve ever worked with This govt. is better than the first day I’ve served
Perello- We’re very lucky to have this guy here. He’s brought in good people, set good example, took hit (comp cut),
Vote- Unanimously approved 7-0

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

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David Dennison
David Dennison
14 days ago

Your articles could be useful to many, except they are usually poorly written and show your trumpster biases.
It is great that you take the time to attend/view these meetings, but honest straightforward reporting would be nice.
I get it – everything else is “fake news” (it’s not) and you are just a citizen who is mad as hell and can’t take it anymore (read biased)

Last edited 14 days ago by David Dennison
bob
bob
14 days ago

exactley ! some people never are allowed a word in , so this guy is posting about our great President on a short term rental page .
Short term rentals have ruined a once quiet beach community!
We had a great homeowner assoc and the people taking money from the owners of STR ruined the community
The people on the STR money know who they are and have to live with their actions

Steve
Steve
11 days ago

I appreciate that you take the substantial amount of time necessary to summarize the Oxnard City Council meetings. We don’t always agree on the issues, but your work is appreciated.