Sneaky Maneuvers by Oxnard City Hall

In City Hall’s continuing war against increased transparency and public participation, they lost another battle on Monday.

Without warning last Thursday, City Hall notified our attorney that they had requested a next-day court hearing seeking an emergency temporary restraining order to enjoin – in other words, stop – implementation of Measure M.

As a reminder, Measure M was adopted by Oxnard voters with 57% of the vote this past November.

It requires council meetings be held outside the standard workday so more of us can participate gives the public greater opportunity to speak and mandates that City Hall provide more information to the public in advance of the meeting.

The City has been fighting these reforms in court for more than a year now first in a failed effort to keep it off the ballot and now to overturn the measure.

This new development was an ex parte hearing – meaning the City was going to make their case to the judge, whether or not we could show up  whether or not we had time to prepare!
It’s likely no accident that the City was insisting that the hearing be held the same day that our attorney’s brief was due on another aspect of the same case  they knew that our attorney would be busy completing that brief – and forcing us to spend critical time at that hearing would disrupt our efforts to file a complete brief on time.

We asked the City to postpone that hearing for a couple of days – after all, the measure was adopted by voters three months ago, so this clearly was not an emergency.
The City refused!

It was only because the court declined to accommodate the City’s request on Friday – and the judge postponed the hearing to Monday – that we were able to work over the weekend to file a timely court document to oppose the City’s request.

On Monday, after carefully listening to the city’s argument and ours, the judge denied the City’s motion for a temporary restraining order … finding no evidence of an emergency.
City Hall will need to make their arguments on a normal, non-emergency basis from their previously-filed lawsuit against us.

We won this round, but we are scheduled to be back in court early next month to continue defending this measure.

In the meantime, don’t forget that thanks to Measure M when the City posts an upcoming meeting agenda, it already contains links to the prerecorded videos of the staff presentations.
Because of your vote for Measure M, you can review these supporting files in the agenda packet and the videos in advance and on your preferred schedule without having to wait for the meeting.
<<Here’s the link to the agenda packet for the March 2 council meeting.>>

Use it to review at your leisure information about the City’s internal financial controls, upcoming street paving projects, applying for a $27 million EPA loan, and more on next week’s council agenda!

Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

1 2 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
5 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve

It is unfortunate that Aaron Starr (the author of this item) has misrepresented the impacts of Measure M.

In November 13, 2018 — almost two years before Measure M was adopted, the Oxnard City Council adopted the Sunshine Ordinance (Ordinance No. 2948; Oxnard City Code Sections 2-220 to 2-323.)

The Sunshine Ordinance requires that the City Council agendas (including the agenda report, PowerPoint presentations and all other supporting documents) be posted twelve (12) days in advance of regular meetings and seven (7) days in advance of special meetings.

This means that — because of the actions of the Oxnard City Council taken in 2018– members of the public can review agenda reports and PowerPoint presentations well in advance of the City Council’s consideration of the items. Aaron Starr didn’t do this and Measure M did not do this. Instead, it was the City Council that adopted cutting edge regulations for government transparency.

Alan Mckenzie

Show me the links to those agendas, PowerPoints and supporting documents where they were posted BEFORE the meetings back in 2018/2019!! I couldn’t find any so they weren’t easily found (I am in IT, I know how to search). Sure, they show up AFTER the meetings as required by law.

Huge difference now is they are out there BEFORE the meeting and, the best part is that meetings are no longer during regular business hours so those of us that work now have a chance to attend.

Steve

After the Sunshine Ordinance was adopted in November 2018 (effective date of January 1, 2019), agenda reports and PowerPoint presentations were available online and 12 days before regular City Council meetings. This was for the almost 2-year period before Measure M passed.

The public can access old agendas and agenda packets at: https://www.oxnard.org/city-meetings/ by typing in a date range and selecting the meeting in question.

As an example, here is a link to the agenda packet for the December 19, 2019 City Council meeting, which includes the agenda reports and PowerPoint presentations for specific items. See https://civicclerk.blob.core.windows.net/stream/OXNARDCA/921c3054d6.pdf?sv=2015-12-11&sr=b&sig=u%2F9TH6SKyMQTCuo98OA%2FpAWjqCVNuPQad7%2FAKEUHQPY%3D&st=2021-03-02T18%3A03%3A10Z&se=2022-03-02T18%3A08%3A10Z&sp=r.

Doug Partello

It seems our City leaders only respect the will of the people when they win a majority in their own elections, or win ballot measures they promote. The people spoke when the ridiculously high increase in wastewater rates were imposed, with then Measure M. They lost in court, then appealed and won. The citizens/ratepayers did not win. They lost in funding the fight against themselves by City Hall, and with increased rates, when the City was secretly siphoning off $7 million/year from the utility funds to fill gaps in the General Fund, with IUFs.
They fought to keep 2020 Measure M off the ballot, and even when a 57% majority voted it in, to gain better access to local government, they fight on to NOT have transparency and accountability. They love to talk about transparency and accountability, but when the voters demand it through the election process, they fight on to prevent it.
Should we then fight to remove the Measure E tax increase, passing by 56%, because we don’t like it? I sure don’t, but the people spoke.
Is it transference when they accuse Aaron Starr of being “sue happy’? They have deep pockets to fund their legal battles, using taxpayer money to thwart the will of the people who pay their salaries, and trust them to represent them. Are their barrage of lawsuits against Aaron Starr just an attempt to run him out of money to keep fighting to be a voice of the people, who have little voice?
Seems there are some on the City Council who can’t get past the Recall effort, led my Aaron Starr. Some on Council think he can’t count to four, but he sure can count to $34.5 million, that must be returned to the utility funds. If they would just listen to him, take some sound fiscal advice, and have conversations that do not include attorneys, there is common ground, and common sense that can move us toward solving our ever increasing issues of public concern. Not a single person on our City Council has a financial background, and it shows. We have deficit budget after deficit budget, with no end in sight. At some point there will come a fiscal reckoning. We are fast approaching that end of the tracks, with our leaders stoking the engine more and more with their fiscal mismanagement, and legal battles.
When the people speak, listen. Sometimes your harshest critics can be your strongest allies, if your would listen, and be willing to change bad behavior that has proven a dead end.

Dotty Pringle

Are you aware that some leads on Nextdoor campaign hard for these crooks on city council and if you post a fact on Nextdoor, you get removed. Several run on favors and we now have
exposed some. You have part time residents undermining full time residents
working for favors, to get what they want. Dark Money is running this town and we are exposing them.