Oxnard utility rate legal battle heats up — Aaron Starr serves Oxnard Council with lawsuit

Round 2: Starr v. The City of Oxnard

store arial, medicine sans-serif;”>By George Miller

rx arial, sans-serif;”>Tonight, Aaron Starr had City Council and Counsel served with a lawsuit- at the Council meeting during the public comment period-  disputing what he asserts is their unconstitutional deprivation of his right to place a voter initiative up for signatures to get it on the ballot this year. The initiative would repeal the wastewater ratte increases which started going into effect this month, although disputed by about 5000 residents and an estimated 400+-500 meeting attendees.

Last week, Oxnard ignored the deadline for finalizing the wording of the initiative summary, instead suing to nullify it on the deadline day for its completion, which means it is effectively blocked from being on the ballot, unless the Court grants extraordinary relief- and quickly.


Here is the actual filing of Starr v. Oxnard
Starr v. Oxnard – Petition for Writ of Mandate BTH 04-04

The petition to the Court states that Oxnard has deprived Plaintiff, Aaron Starrr (who is also a City Council candidate and local business executive) of his state constitutional right to place  a voter initiative on the ballot.

The City Attorney claims that the initiative is “illegal,” because it would deprive the City of the revenues needed to operate the wastewater system.

Starr claims that large rate increases approved by the council over 5000 resident protests, are excessive and unnecessary. In  response to the claim that their repeal would deprive the City (actually the Wastewater Enterprise Fund) of revenues needed to provide service to residents/businesses, he responded that they could try  a more reasonable one. What would be reasonable is unclear, since there are different opinions and the City has so far refused to meet with Mr. Starr on the matter. City Manager Greg Nyhoff told us earlier today that he had not refused to meet with Starr.

Starr said he hired the law firm which has won for its clients on this issue- TWICE. He alsop said that a meeting with the judge is not scheduled until August, effectively eliminating the initiative from the ballot this year. He said he didnot sue for damages but may look into whether this ios

The City backtracked on water and solid waste removal rate hikes after the unprecedented challenge by Starr in February, but stuck to the wastewater increase, since it was the most depleted fund. This was done via a compromise motion, brokered by Mayor Tim Flynn.

Here is our last installment on the rate hike dispute, which also links to many other articles on the subject.


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

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