In City Hall's continuing war against increased transparency and public participation, they lost another battle on Monday.
Without warning last Thursday, City Hall notified our attorney that they had requested a next-day court hearing seeking an emergency temporary restraining order to enjoin – in other words, stop – implementation of Measure M.
As a reminder, Measure M was adopted by Oxnard voters with 57% of the vote this past November.
It requires council meetings be held outside the standard workday so more of us can participate … gives the public greater opportunity to speak … and mandates that City Hall provide more information to the public in advance of the meeting.
The City has been fighting these reforms in court for more than a year now ... first in a failed effort to keep it off the ballot and now to overturn the measure.
This new development was an ex parte hearing – meaning the City was going to make their case to the judge, whether or not we could show up ... whether or not we had time to prepare!
It’s likely no accident that the City was insisting that the hearing be held the same day that our attorney’s brief was due on another aspect of the same case ...
... they knew that our attorney would be busy completing that brief – and forcing us to spend critical time at that hearing would disrupt our efforts to file a complete brief on time.
We asked the City to postpone that hearing for a couple of days – after all, the measure was adopted by voters three months ago, so this clearly was not an emergency.
The City refused!
It was only because the court declined to accommodate the City’s request on Friday – and the judge postponed the hearing to Monday – that we were able to work over the weekend to file a timely court document to oppose the City’s request.
On Monday, after carefully listening to the city’s argument and ours, the judge denied the City’s motion for a temporary restraining order ... finding no evidence of an emergency.
City Hall will need to make their arguments on a normal, non-emergency basis from their previously-filed lawsuit against us.
We won this round, and we are scheduled to be back in court early next month to continue defending this measure.
In the meantime, don’t forget that thanks to Measure M when the City posts an upcoming meeting agenda, it already contains links to the prerecorded videos of the staff presentations.
Because of your vote for Measure M, you can review these supporting files in the agenda packet and the videos in advance and on your preferred schedule without having to wait for the meeting.