It’s about time!!
On April 20 we finally received the document, called a “title and summary”, which we needed to start the process of petitioning for an initiative to repeal an 87% increase in wastewater (sewer) rates.
It’s not a complex document. It’s less than one page long. It’s just a description of what an initiative would do if the voters adopted it. It must be provided by the City Attorney, and then we must print it on the petitions used to collect signatures.
We have been waiting for it since March 8. Oxnard City Attorney Stephen Fischer was legally obligated to provide it by March 23. He didn’t do it.
The City of Oxnard sued Moving Oxnard Forward President Aaron Starr, trying to get the City Attorney out of his obligation, claiming the initiative is "illegal", and trying to prevent us from getting our signatures collected in time to make the November ballot.
We had to sue back and get a judge to expedite the case. The judge on April 15 ordered Mr. Fischer to do his job and hand over the paperwork immediately. The city stalled as long as they thought they could legally get away with it. The city stalled until we threatened contempt of court charges.
Finally, when they could stall no longer, the city eventually complied with the judge’s order and provided us the document. The Oxnard City Council on April 19 decided to stop wasting taxpayer money in that particular case and not appeal the ruling. Their original lawsuit remains active, however, and the city seems intent on still putting taxpayers on the hook to pursue it.
What’s next? It will take a few days to get the petitions ready and printed. We hope to start gathering signatures by April 30. The city’s stalling tactics robbed us of precious time to collect the signatures by a May 20 deadline.
Stay tuned, and we hope you’ll help us collect signatures so the voters can have a say on the November ballot!!!
Media coverage of this week’s developments can be found here: