We just had another win in court last week, with a judge granting an anti-SLAPP motion against the city of Oxnard.
In November, Oxnard voters adopted Measures M and N.
- Measure M requires that 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.
- Measure N requires the city to repair our streets to certain standards by certain dates or else reduce our sales tax rate.
Oxnard City Hall is fighting these reform measures to improve transparency and accountability to the taxpayers.
Early last year the City Council refused to fulfill their legal obligation to place our measures on the election ballot, even after 13,000 Oxnard voters signed petitions to present our initiatives to the electorate.
Instead, City Hall filed another lawsuit against Moving Oxnard Forward's president, Aaron Starr, as the proponent of the measures.
We view the City’s lawsuit as a SLAPP, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.
The reason for the City’s SLAPP is simple:
Intimidate and silence us by burdening us with the cost of a legal defense until we abandon our opposition.
Their goal is not necessarily to win. Rather, it’s to bully and saddle us with legal costs ... or simply exhaust until we will no longer assert our rights – in this case, our constitutional right to petition our government.
To fight back, we filed an anti-SLAPP motion in response to the City’s lawsuit. In July the judge ordered our measures onto the ballot but did not yet act on our anti-SLAPP motion.
Until last week!
On March 23, the court agreed that the City’s lawsuit was a SLAPP and issued a decision granting our anti-SLAPP motion.
This is a final dismissal of that year-old lawsuit which sought to keep our measures off the ballot.
But the story doesn’t end there…
Once the City saw their pre-election attempt to keep our measures off the ballot was unsuccessful and voters adopted them, Oxnard City Hall then filed a SECOND lawsuit aimed at overturning the very same measures.
This newer post-election case will still take some time to work its way through the court.
But don’t worry! We don’t give up!
We will not allow City Hall to intimidate us!
And we just filed another anti-SLAPP motion in that case.