The Plot Thickens

Interesting developments in Oxnard's wastewater rate saga...

As you might recall, on December 8 Judge Rocky Baio granted the City of Oxnard’s request for a temporary restraining order on Measure M, our initiative that rejected the City’s 87% sewer rate increase. In effect, the judge hit the pause button on Measure M’s reduction of rates until this matter goes to trial, at which time the judge can decide who is right.

Because the judge is keeping the law from going into effect ... at least for the time being ... the city was scheduled to implement their next 10% increase effective January 1 (on top of the 35% increase already imposed on us last March).

In the meantime, there’s much happening behind the scenes.

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Oxnard Starts New Wastewater Rate Setting Process

Though the City of Oxnard still stubbornly pursues the lawsuit seeking to have Measure M declared illegal, even they have now realized the need to do something else besides just bet on winning in court.  The city council has now directed their employees to start again the process of setting new wastewater rates.  Time will tell whether they will actually listen to what the voters said.

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Judge Hits Pause Button

Measure M, our initiative which successfully rejected the City's 87% sewer rate increase, was scheduled to go into effect on December 12, 2016.  To stop that from happening, on December 7, 2016, the City of Oxnard filed for an ex parte hearing to ask the judge for a temporary restraining order on Measure M.

Judge Rocky Baio granted the City of Oxnard’s request for a temporary restraining order on Measure M.  In effect, the judge hit the pause button on the reduction of rates until the city's pending lawsuit against Measure M goes to trial, at which time the judge can decide who is right.

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City’s Attorneys Preventing a Solution for Wastewater Bonds

The message from City Hall seems to suggest that we voters are to blame for revolting against the city’s 87% sewer rate increase. In reality, the precarious financial position the City of Oxnard now finds itself in is not due to the actions of voters. Rather, it is due to a series of poor decisions by city officials acting on the bad advice of its outside attorneys.

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Victory on Measure M - Oxnard Votes Yes to Pay Less

The people of Oxnard have spoken. No, they have roared! 

Semi-official results from Tuesday's election delivered a great victory for working families and small businesses in Oxnard.

Measure M was adopted 23,446 to 9,085 – meaning that 72.1% of the voters heeded our call to "Vote YES to Pay Less."

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Eliminating Waste from Wastewater Rates

The opponents of Measure M make some pretty inflammatory comments.  They paint pictures of raw sewage running in the streets, massive fines from the EPA, a potential sewage spill into the ocean mixing with our drinking water (though our drinking water does not come from the ocean).

Scary rhetoric is nothing new in politics.  It distracts from the real discussion on the merits of Measure M.

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Our Reply to VCStar Editorial on Measure M

Earlier this year Oxnard residents rallied to help us qualify an initiative for the ballot which, if adopted, would repeal the city's excessive 87% wastewater (sewer) rate increase.  The effort was successful, and the initiative is now on the November 8 ballot as Measure M.  Remember to vote YES to pay LESS!

On October 20, the Ventura County Star editorial board published an opinion piece urging a "no" vote on Measure M.  The editorial board incorrectly called Measure M a referendum, though it is an initiative.  (A referendum would switch the meaning of the yes/no votes.)  They also mistakenly claim that Moving Oxnard Forward was created just to oppose the rate hikes.  We existed prior to the rate increases, and we were actively working on other ideas for improving our city when this issue arose.

We look forward to the VCStar publishing our response shown below:

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Ballot Argument for Measure M

Four long-time residents and pillars of our community joined Aaron Starr as co-authors and submitted their ballot argument in favor of Measure M.  This will appear in the voter guide that gets mailed to every registered voter in Oxnard.


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Partially Impartial

The City of Oxnard is playing fast and loose with the rules ... again.

California Elections Code 9280 requires the City Attorney to draft an impartial analysis of our initiative to be printed in the voter handbook. Here is what it states (we have underlined portions for emphasis):

Whenever a city measure qualifies for a place on the ballot, the governing body may direct the city elections official to transmit a copy of the measure to the city attorney, unless the organization or salaries of the office of the city attorney are affected. The city attorney shall prepare an impartial analysis of the measure showing the effect of the measure on the existing law and the operation of the measure. The analysis shall include a statement indicating whether the measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters or by the governing body of the city.

If the measure affects the organization or salaries of the office of the city attorney, the governing board may direct the city elections official to prepare the impartial analysis. The analysis shall be printed preceding the arguments for and against the measure. The analysis shall not exceed 500 words in length.

In the event the entire text of the measure is not printed on the ballot, nor in the voter information portion of the sample ballot, there shall be printed immediately below the impartial analysis, in no less than 10-point bold type, a legend substantially as follows: "The above statement is an impartial analysis of Ordinance or Measure ____. If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure, please call the elections official's office at (insert telephone number) and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you."

Today, the city made available the City Attorney's Impartial Analysis of Measure "M" and this is what it says:

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KEYT Coverage of City Council Meeting

KEYT news coverage of Tuesday's City Council Meeting. 

Oxnard City Council Votes Against Water Rate Hike For Now.

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