Anti-SLAPP win in court

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.

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Oxnard's Planned Emergency

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.

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Should We Buy Him a Dictionary?

Unfortunately, name-calling is the level of discourse we have come to expect from Oxnard City Hall.

In last week’s issue of the Tri County Sentry, Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen called the President of Moving Oxnard Forward a “Fascist” because we use the democratic process to bring increased transparency to local government. By implication, his characterization is also aimed at the 36,549 Oxnard residents who voted for such reform.

Perhaps we should buy the city manager a dictionary.

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Pre-recorded Staff Presentations Now on Council Agendas

You helped us bring positive change to Oxnard!

The entire Oxnard City Council urged voters to oppose Measure M (the “Oxnard Open Meetings Act”).  But Oxnard voters knew better and adopted Measure M with 57% of the vote this past November.

As a result of your vote for Measure M, there’s a new feature on council meeting agendas – and we want to make sure you notice and make use of it.

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Oxnard Ordered to Repay $34 Million

Victory in court today!

The City of Oxnard had been skimming as much as $7 million per year from the City’s three utility enterprises (water, wastewater and solid waste) ... and diverting the money to the general fund for what they call an Infrastructure Use Fee (IUF).

Our contention has been that the IUF is an unlawful transfer scheme – really, a backdoor tax! – that violates the California Constitution, particularly Proposition 218.

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Three out of Four Ain't Bad

Great election news concerning three of our four citizen-sponsored measures on the November 3, 2020 ballot!

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Less Than Appealing

As you probably remember, the City of Oxnard sued to overturn Measure M, our 2016 initiative which repealed the City Council’s abusive 87% sewer rate increase. Voters adopted Measure M with 73% of the vote.

We successfully defended ourselves in court and won in Ventura County Superior Court in 2018. The City appealed to the Court of Appeal, which announced two weeks ago that they have overturned the trial court’s decision.

While nearly every court ruling leaves one side unhappy, the Court of Appeal in this case made significant errors in its decision, including some material misstatements of the evidence.  So last night we filed a Petition for Rehearing.

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Secret Salaries at Oxnard City Hall

Oxnard City Manager Alexander Nguyen claims to have greatly increased transparency at City Hall.

Really?

California’s 482 cities are required to report employee wages and benefits to the California State Controller each year.

Can you guess which four cities did not disclose that information for 2019?

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Court Orders Changes to Oxnard's Prejudicial Ballot Materials

Last week, the court decided on two lawsuits between us and Oxnard City Hall.

In the first case – the one that was more substantive – we petitioned the court over the false and misleading language the City Council adopted for the ballot titles and questions destined to appear on November’s ballot.  We had warned the council that this was a problem before they adopted the language on July 17.  They didn't listen.

Many voters do not read more than the ballot title and question when making a decision on how to vote ... so it is especially critical that the language be concise, accurate and impartial. Otherwise, the City is abusing its power by placing its thumb on the scale of democracy.

In this lawsuit, WE were the prevailing party. Here are just a few snippets of what Judge Borrell wrote in deciding this case:

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Four Down, One to Go

You may remember that last year we collected enough signatures to qualify five Oxnard initiatives for the ballot.

In response, the Oxnard City Council only followed the law on one of those five initiatives, placing our Permit Simplicity measure on the November ballot.

For three others, the Oxnard City Council refused to comply with the law and instead filed a lawsuit against us to keep those measures off the ballot.

They lost!

On Wednesday, July 15, the Ventura County Superior Court ordered the Oxnard City Council to follow the law and put three of our initiatives onto the November election ballot to let voters decide.

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