Well ... This Might Tee You Off

The City Council is about to raise YOUR water costs to subsidize the River Ridge Golf Course.

For years the old guard on the city council has complained about the golf course subsidies while pointing the finger of blame at “previous administrations.”  City management is falsely telling the public that this new contract will stop the subsidies of the past (often over $1 million/year).

However, the city plans to continue the subsidies for River Ridge Golf Course, and tonight’s city council agenda includes a new operator contract for the facility with subsidies built right into the contract language.

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Oxnard Council Fooled by Bad Math -- Again

Oxnard City Hall’s inability to do basic math means that the city council put Oxnard’s taxpayers on the hook for millions more than the public was told … again.

The city council recently approved new agreements with three employee unions.  Staff reports told the public that these three contracts combined would increase costs by $5.5 million through June 2021, but corrected math shows the real cost increase is approximately $10 million.

Oxnard city council members (especially Mayor Flynn) keep blaming past administrations for signing contracts without considering the real future costs, but then he and the rest of the current council unanimously voted for these contracts in which the real costs over the next two years are almost $4.5 million higher than the public was told.

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Taking the Initiative (times 5)

Today, as part of Moving Oxnard Forward’s continuing efforts to reform Oxnard City Hall, we have filed with the Oxnard City Clerk notices of intention to circulate five separate initiatives to place on next year’s ballot. They are as follows:

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Is Oxnard Council Smarter than a 7th Grader?

Even after the Oxnard City Council likely spent well over $500,000 of your money in legal costs to overturn your vote on Measure M – and then losing in court – they chose last Tuesday to double down by appealing the judge’s ruling.

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Oxnard City Hall: Driving Blindfolded

Producing monthly financial statements is the most basic function of a Finance Department in any professional organization.  It’s really not asking for anything extraordinary…

California state law requires every general law city to produce monthly financial statements and file them with the city clerk and the city council.  These statements should inform both the public and the city council, as to the city’s current financial position and the results of its various operations. It’s an important management tool for making better decisions and keeping people accountable.

Unfortunately, the city of Oxnard does not produce monthly financial statements, and they haven’t done so for many years. 

Merely asking the city to start doing it has been ineffective, so Moving Oxnard Forward has now filed a petition for a judge to issue a writ of mandate, which would compel the city to comply with this state law.

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Council Keeps LMD Audit Results from the Public

Mayor Tim Flynn’s official candidate statement for the November 2018 election begins with a wonderful platitude:

“Several years ago, I promised the residents of Oxnard honest, competent and transparent government at City Hall. I also asked you to Believe in Oxnard.”

Is he keeping that promise? Judge for yourself!

Consider just this recent example:

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Wastewater Bond Rating Improves After Oxnard Loses Measure M Lawsuit

After the City of Oxnard lost their lawsuit against Measure M (which repealed an 87% rate increase schedule), the wastewater bonds got an improved rating from S&P.

The ruling means that the city owes millions of dollars in refunds to ratepayers.  Yet, on July 23, 2018, in the first S&P report following the court’s ruling, the ratings agency left the wastewater bonds at BBB for the underlying rating, but they changed the “outlook” from negative to positive.  The “outlook” is essentially S&P’s future trend predictor on the rating, and the city’s press release touted the shift as “great news for the residents of Oxnard”.

The ratings improvement may seem counter-intuitive for the circumstances, until you remember that the city struggles with basic math – and that they gave both the public and S&P bad data.  We demonstrated that during the Measure M trial. Now S&P has more accurate data, and they see it’s not what the city had previously portrayed.

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Measure M Victory in Court

Measure M just won a two year battle in Ventura County Superior Court!

On March 23, 2016, the Oxnard City Council personally sued Aaron Starr (President of Moving Oxnard Forward) to try to stop Measure M from rescinding the city council’s abusive 87% sewer rate increase.

Judge Rocky Baio stated in his May 23, 2018 ruling: "Oxnard has not met its burden of proof, and the Court finds Measure M to be a valid exercise of the will of the citizens of Oxnard as expressed through the initiative process."

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Trash Utility Thrives After Being Denied Rate Increase

In January of 2016, the Oxnard City Council tried to raise your trash utility rates by 23%, as part of their plan to increase rates for all three utilities.  They argued that these rate hikes were critical for financial health and public safety reasons. Of course, the City Council always believes that extracting more money from the public is the solution to addressing every problem.

The trash rate increase passed on a first reading (January 19), but failed on a second reading (January 26) only because you helped us mount a massive public protest.  Since then, trash rates have only increased by 1%.

Yet somehow, without that rate increase, the trash utility is thriving today!!  They’re now paying cash for things they were previously planning to do with bond debt.

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Post-Recall Analysis

On May 1, 2018 we came close to ending some political careers! Over 47% of the electorate voted to remove Mayor Flynn from office … not knowing which candidate might replace him. That is quite a statement!

Since the election we have had an opportunity to further study the results.

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