On December 29, 2017 the Ventura County Registrar of Voters announced that all four of our city council recall petitions had a sufficient number of valid signatures to require a recall election.
In mid-November we filed over 68,000 signatures on four petitions to recall Mayor Tim Flynn and Councilmembers Carmen Ramirez, Bert Perello, and Oscar Madrigal from office for their votes in favor of abusive wastewater rate increases. We needed 12,043 valid signatures on each, and we had so many extra signatures that the county stopped counting before they checked them all.
Remember that in January of 2016 the council voted in favor of a schedule of rate increases that would total an 87% hike over five years. We repealed that rate increase via Measure M in November 2016. The council sued to try to overturn the public vote. Then the Oxnard City Council ignored the clear voter mandate for more reasonable utility rates, and on May 16, 2017 they adopted a 75% rate increase schedule to replace the rates we repealed.
We had told them in no uncertain terms that there would be a recall effort if they again adopted unreasonable rates. They did it anyway. Moments after their vote, we served those four council members with paperwork indicating our intent to recall them from office.
It is not easy to qualify a recall for the ballot. We had to collect signatures from 15% of the number of registered voters in the city of Oxnard. It takes a long time to meet such a high standard, but we worked hard all summer long. Sunscreen was our friend.
The council members tried to impede our petitioning efforts. They organized their friends into a group to stalk the recall petitioners. They published a phone number asking people to report where we were petitioning, so that they could send people to harass the petitioners and the people signing the petitions. They enlisted the SEIU to help with the harassment. They attacked us on social media. Some city employees tried (and failed) to prevent us from petitioning on public property in spite of our clear legal right to do so.
We’re not intimidated by such bullying tactics. Neither were the voters. The public was angry, and they signed our petitions right in front of the opposition.
On January 23, the Oxnard City Council will have to schedule their own recall election to occur some time between April 24 and May 22, 2018.
There will be two questions on the ballot for each of the four council members being recalled. The first question will be, “Should Person X be removed from office?” The second question will be, “If Person X is removed, which of the following candidates should replace them for the remainder of their term?”
If you are interested in running for Oxnard City Council in the recall election, the time to file may be short, so stay tuned for news about the date of the recall election.