Water Rates Update

Tuesday night’s city council hearing on water rate increases was quite painful to observe…and for more reasons than just their unanimous (7-0) vote to approve the rate increases.

You might imagine that Oxnard’s council members in these meetings would engage in substantive debate on whether the proposed rate increase is justified.

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

The council members mostly offered word salad and platitudes about the importance of clean drinking water.

And the City Manager played an irrelevant, fear-mongering video about some U.S. cities that had tapped into contaminated water supplies, though Oxnard is not one of them.

Of course water is important -- and nobody argued otherwise! -- but the REAL question they’re supposed to pose is: How much should residents be charged for it?

Saying that water is important is not an argument for whether there should be a 5% increase or a 5,000% increase.

The council ignored substantive points made by public speakers. Among the points made:

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Help Stop Huge Water Rate Increase

We need your help right away. If the Oxnard City Clerk doesn’t hear from you by May 2, your opinion won’t be counted.

Here’s what’s going on.

On Tuesday (May 2) the Oxnard City Council will be holding a hearing to approve a sequence of water rate increases to be implemented over the next four years.

As proposed, a typical single-family residence will pay 24.3% more for its water bill starting July 1, 2023 and a cumulative 57.7% more by July 1, 2027.

And that will be on top of any pass-through of increased wholesale costs for water charged to the City by Calleguas Municipal Water District and United Water Conservation District.

But that’s not all!

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Deliverance Meets Belligerence

With very short notice we asked you to contact members of the Oxnard City Council before its Thursday night meeting.

You responded and your actions made a difference!

Together we pressured City officials to begrudgingly propose changes at the council meeting to remove SOME of the First Amendment violations in their proposed development agreements for electronic billboards along the 101 freeway.

Defensively, the City’s chief assistant city attorney proclaimed that everything in the agreement that he wrote was 100% legal, but then proceeded to propose – and the Council then adopted – changes to the language.

The amendments were orally described during the meeting, so we have not seen the updated language in writing yet.

But PRESUMING that we correctly transcribed the described changes, the City agreed to remove its prohibition against political advertising.

Unfortunately, they only did part of the job … the following serious constitutional issues remain:

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Oxnard City Council Flunks American Civics

When Oxnard City Council members take the oath of office, they solemnly swear to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment.

They also swear to uphold the California Constitution – Article 1, Section 2 of which includes free speech protections like, “A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.”

Well, looking at Thursday night’s Oxnard City Council agenda makes us wonder whether the folks at Oxnard City Hall flunked their American civics classes.

On that April 13, 2023 agenda (starting with item J2) city staff proposes a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to stifle speech Oxnard City Hall power brokers might disapprove of.

Read the fine print in the proposed development agreement to build electronic billboards along the 101 freeway – some important details of which are not revealed in the staff report! – and you’ll find unconstitutional restrictions on the public’s right of free speech …

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Harmless Gift? or Unlawful Grift?

Speaking of Measure B’s gift prohibitions we previously predicted,

“[B]ecause Measure B ensnares thousands of ordinary citizens, it will inevitably be selectively enforced ... against the City’s political opponents.”

The selective enforcement phase has begun!

No, the city hasn’t yet charged anyone with violating these gift prohibitions…

…but they HAVE failed to enforce these rules on the Oxnard City Council members who accepted gifts in violation of the law that the Oxnard City Council itself put onto the ballot and urged voters to adopt.

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Issuing a Building Permit in One Day

Time is short. If you are a professionally licensed general contractor, architect, or engineer who wants to get permits for your Oxnard projects in a single day, you need to act now.

And if you know such people, please forward them this message so they can do it, too!

To register for a training class (being held February 22 and February 23) to become certified to get permits in Oxnard in a single day, you need to send an email to [email protected] -- by next Monday, February 20 to let them know you wish to participate in the class.

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Wardrobe Malfunction - LMD Refunds Expose Indecent Accounting

Like the infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction, Oxnard City Hall inadvertently exposed itself –- or at least its indecent accounting! –- when the court ordered it to issue refunds to its Landscape Maintenance Districts (LMDs).

As we previously mentioned, a court recently ruled that the City of Oxnard’s charges to LMDs for public outreach “violated both the statutory text and purpose [of the Landscape and Lighting Act].”

As a result, the City was ordered to stop charging LMDs for those expenditures, and to restore the amounts back to the LMDs…which means those districts will have more money to actually use for the proper purpose of tending to your landscaping!

The details of these refunds also reveal some behind-the-scenes naughty accounting. It turns out that some LMDs were made to pay for the expenses of other LMDs. That’s also not legal.

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Term Limits Victory

We never want to jump the gun when it comes to predicting an election outcome, but with almost 90% of the votes counted so far, we can confidently proclaim that Oxnard Measure C (“the Oxnard Term Limits Act”) is passing … and with a decisive 56% of the vote!

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Drunken Sailors with Credit Cards

Guess what won't be on your ballot as you vote on Tuesday ... any option for you to approve or reject the Oxnard City Council's plans to put us over HALF A BILLION dollars in bond debt.

Yes, you read that right. The City Council wants to spend your money like drunken sailors with a credit card –– and without seeking your approval.

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Oxnard City Hall Loses Turf War

We are celebrating a new court victory!

A Ventura County Superior Court judge ruled in a tentative decision that the City of Oxnard was spending money from its Landscape Maintenance Districts (LMDs) for illegal purposes ... declaring that the City’s expenditures charged to LMDs “violated both the statutory text and purpose [of the Landscape and Lighting Act].”

LMDs are funded by an extra assessment on the property tax bills of homeowners who live there, but those assessments can only be used for specific purposes under state law.

The court’s decision requires the City to stop charging LMDs for those unlawful expenditures and restore the wrongfully spent money.

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