Though we are disappointed at the stubbornness of the Oxnard City Council in forging ahead Tuesday night with abusive utility rate increases, we are so very proud of the residents of Oxnard.
THANK YOU for showing up by the hundreds on a rainy night to send a message to our elected officials! And thank you to those who patiently waited and then mustered the courage to speak during the hearing! It was a night many of us will remember for a long time.
After the City Council chamber filled to capacity, the Fire Marshal directed hundreds more into three different overflow rooms with live video feeds of the meeting.
After people settled in place, city officials say they counted somewhere around 420 people, but we suspect a larger number of people attended. Those observing the counting of the protest forms reported that 578 protests were filed on-site, though many of the attendees had already filed theirs in advance. Some in the crowd did their own count and estimated 1,000 people.
Some people left after filing their protest forms. Some left before they got there because they couldn’t find a place to park. Some left when they approached the building and found the crowds were so thick they could not reach the council chambers. Others left in frustration with the city officials who essentially filibustered for more than an hour rehashing the same vague presentation given to the council and to the public on prior occasions, rather than promptly proceeding to allow members of the public to speak for three minutes apiece.
After the remaining members of the public finally got a chance to have their say, the City Council voted on three ordinances for the rate increases, one for water, one for wastewater, and one for solid waste. The votes fell the same way on each of the three ordinances, with 4 in favor and 1 opposed. Council members voting in favor were: Ramirez, Flynn, Perello, and Padilla. Only Councilman MacDonald voted against them.
These rate increase ordinances have to pass on TWO hearings, and this week’s was the first. The second reading and vote will take place one week later, on Tuesday, January 26, 6:00 p.m. in the same location at Oxnard City Hall, 305 W Third St.
We are weighing the options for what the next steps should be ...