CITY HALL’S LAWSUIT IS A STALLING TACTIC DESIGNED TO FRUSTRATE THE WILL OF VOTERS
It is a shame that Oxnard is wasting precious resources to hire outside attorneys to stop the people from being able to vote on the unfair rate hike. Nowhere does the City acknowledge the harm this rate hike of more than $325 per year for a typical household will cause the working families of Oxnard. Rather than let the people speak, the City Council is using expensive outside lawyers to delay the process until after the election.
Astonishingly, the City essentially argues that they need to increase rates because they have so poorly managed city resources that they are in a deep financial hole. Moreover, they argue that the very specter of having this measure on the ballot will prevent them from going further into debt, as if the City needs to go further into debt to improve its finances.
We believe this is a strategic lawsuit designed to delay the people from having a say in the finances of their government. Why? Because Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC, the city’s law firm on this lawsuit, lost on this very same issue back in 2014 in Vagim v. City of Fresno, when that city also refused to exercise its legal duty to prepare a title and summary for a local initiative.
City Hall pretends that there are only two options: huge rate increases or Armageddon. What they will not tell you is that while our initiative reverses the recently passed rate increase, it does not prohibit the City from proposing other reasonable rate increases or making reasonable infrastructure upgrades. Instead of exercising prudence, the City insists on raising rates to fund their plans to spend $675 million on yet another extravagant pet project based on a faulty study. This City has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted to manage such ventures. Voters understand this. And if the many hundreds of people who showed up at City Hall on January 19 is any indication, this city council has good reason to fear that voters will not buy their “sky is falling” scenarios.