Oxnard Tells Court Math is Hard

We have a development to report since our last update.

As you know, the Ventura County Superior Court ordered Oxnard City Hall to reduce your utility rates by June 16 by the amount of the Infrastructure Use Fee (“IUF”) – an embedded charge that Judge Matthew Guasco described as “illegal and unreasonable” – and to report back by July 31 that it had done so.

Predictably, the City did not reduce utility rates … and did not report back to the court ... it simply defied the court order.

But suddenly – only after we scheduled a court hearing to address their noncompliance – the City begrudgingly filed a report with the court on Tuesday.  So, what’s the City’s reported excuse to the court for not having yet reduced utility rates?

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Oxnard Defies Court Order to Lower Utility Rates

Oxnard City Hall was ordered by a judge to lower your utility rates by June 16 ... but they have refused to do it.

Last December we prevailed in a lawsuit against the City of Oxnard for unlawfully charging its City-owned utilities (i.e. water, wastewater and solid waste) an Infrastructure Use Fee (or “IUF”), siphoning tens of millions of dollars to the City’s general slush fund (and increasing your utility bills to pay for it).

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Oxnard's $100 Million "Mistake" Told in Court

Imagine what would happen if YOU provided false information to a judge.

Just because Oxnard City Hall publishes a number, don’t assume that it’s correct

… especially if they’re trying to persuade the public to accept rate increases or to vote against a ballot measure … or if they’re trying to persuade a judge in court!

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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

UPDATE:  The $34 million figure in this article was originally calculated through the information that was available when opening briefs were filed with the court.  But the city continued collecting this fee until the judge's decision was issued, and the amount collected during that time also must be returned, so the final amount will instead be $36.5 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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