Imagine if City Hall hosted a voter forum and invited only one side to the debate. You'd think something so corrupt could never happen …
… but we’re talking about Oxnard City Hall.
On Wednesday, February 5 the Inter-Neighborhood Council Organization (INCO) –– an organization chartered by the Oxnard City Council –– hosted in City Council chambers what was advertised on printed flyers as an “Oxnard Voters’ Forum.”
The FIRST PART of the evening’s forum was for candidates running for Ventura County Supervisor. Six candidates attended, and all of them were given equal time to speak.
Kudos to the moderator and everyone who participated!
We can offer few accolades, however, for the SECOND PART of the evening, which was for Measure B. For this portion, the rules were changed.
Opponents were NOT offered equal time to present their side of the issue.
Instead, Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen got to make an inflammatory PowerPoint presentation in support of Measure B.
On this uneven playing field, Measure B opponents were only allowed a two-minute public comment after the City Manager's presentation … and then the City Manager would always be offered the last word.
But even under these unfair rules, opponents used their two minutes to deliver powerful points.
- Alex Nguyen, thinking he was making a case in favor of Measure B, read out loud from a 2012 Ventura County District Attorney’s report. You know, the one that mentioned how some Oxnard city staff received and failed to report various gifts.
- However, a keen observer asked Alex Nguyen why Measure B only prohibits gifts to elected officials, but not to the City Manager and staff –– those who actually make most of City Hall's spending decisions. Nguyen became defensive, claiming such a prohibition was unnecessary because they are "professional staff" –– not elected officials. As if he and his staff are somehow immune to corruption.
(The City Manager is empowered to award no-bid contracts –– for as much as $200,000 each –– at his sole discretion.)
- The City Manager called out “one candidate” from a recent election for how much money he spent –– mostly his own money, by the way –– but conveniently left out that the total was spent over a span of six years on 14 different ballot measures and campaigns.
- Alex Nguyen’s feathers were clearly ruffled when we revealed that Nguyen himself had already spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for political polling, consultants and city-wide glossy mailers promoting the passage of Measure B … more than any candidate has ever spent on a single campaign in Oxnard.
City Manager Alex Nguyen aims to silence his opposition through Measure B –– imposing UNCONSTITUTIONAL constraints on the First Amendment activity of candidates and ballot measure proponents.
Yet, City Hall is not even filing campaign disclosures for its own campaign activities in support of Measure B, and is certainly not limiting themselves to a $500 cap.
President Harry Truman was prophetic when he warned:
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
Get the full story and join us in opposing the incumbent protection act known as Measure B.