Power Corrupts the Oxnard City Council




stuff arial,sans-serif;”>By Armando Vazquez

The grab for power by previous city councils began some 109 years ago when the good old boys got together, strong armed the locals and formally created the City of Oxnard. They ran it “like a plantation.”

This local model may have ended with the recent, failed lawsuit former City manager Ed Sotelo waged against the Council he served. Those council members turned on each other, attempting to throw their fellow members under the bus when they were exposed during a corruption investigation by the DA.  That investigation did not result in any criminal conviction, but did tar and feather the lot of them as lightweights.

How did the City of Oxnard come to this debacle? The citizenry abrogated its stewardship to their elected public servants.

Holden and his boys knew they had been chosen “to lead their people” and as such they knew better that anyone else what the problems were.  It follows that they knew the quick fixes as well in Oxnard. They didn’t need any participatory democracy, except to get “re-anointed” every four years. This is the mindset of American Exceptionalism Oxnard style that follows something like this: “We have the power and the means which give us the irrefutable right to dictate the discourse and action and the power to carry it out.” And they did just that.

So here we are with a new city council drowning in red ink.  And in the process of learning to swim a new city manager is apparently kicking ass, but where is the power of the people?   Has anything changed in City Hall? Well we know the city is in the red to the tune of 10’s of millions of dollars. The city just won a $6.2 million dollar judgment on the downtown theater fiasco. What will they do with this money? What about Measure O funds?  Are they being squandered by this City Council for questionable projects? What is the City Manager doing running a Youth Safety Office that has been awarded approximately $3.7 million in CALGrip dollars since 2009?

On March 5, 2015 the City of Oxnard hosted a Community Forum that was publicized as: “You are invited to join the Community Forum Committee and the City of Oxnard at the community Forum for Enhancing Trust and Building Community Priorities.” The Forum highlighted the opportunity for the community to discuss their concerns and share insights and provide suggestions to the City Council and the administrative leadership of Oxnard. The overwhelming number one concern of the participants in the Forum was the acute lack of availability of programs and services for the youth of Oxnard. The City Council is acting true to form with the cops being anointed to address both youth programming and safety and the OPD will continue to be funded with well over half of the entire city budget funds. And apart from the usual city youth program provider ( PALS, City Corp, The Alliance, CALGrip, City Impact), that are official or unofficial subsidiaries of the Oxnard Police Department, no funds will be made available to independent CBO in the city no matter how exemplary their track record is in working with acutely troubled youth.

I was recently approached by OPD commander who shared with me that he fears a new wave of 13-17 year old youth trouble was brewing in Oxnard. The youth we were talking about have little hope, with too much time on their hands and with nothing to do, so naturally they will act out in Oxnard. This cop knows that these tough active street kids will not work with the cops or their surrogates. This commander fears trouble might erupt this summer if nothing is done. I told him round up your 20-30 toughest kids that you have recently arrested, are on probation or parole, and send them to the KEYS Leadership Academy. I promised that we would work with each and every one of those youth and their families.  We will move them from hopelessness to productive, informed and active members of their communities. This cop know what we can do this turnaround at The KEYS Leadership. The parents and community knows what we can do, and I believe the new City Council knows what we can do with troubled, highly active youth.

What I am afraid of is that the new city council members have been infected by the American Exceptionalism Flu.  They now have the power and the means which give them the irrefutable right in Oxnard to dictate the action and the power to carry it out. And nothing will change the hearts of our elected leaders in Oxnard if the citizenry of Oxnard remain AWOL.

One thing is certain–the foxes will continue their raid on the hen house until there is nothing left.


Armando Vazquez

Armando Vazquez

 Armando Vazquez is Executive Director of the KEYS Leadership Academy at Café A as well as being is a retired CEO, Executive Director, Business-Owner, teacher, community builder, group leader with demonstrated work history designing and implementing a variety of business, management, educational and vocational community support programs. Successful organizer of activities designed to promote and advance individual and community. Well-disciplined consensus builder.

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One Response to Power Corrupts the Oxnard City Council

  1. alex medina April 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    very interesting


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