Starr to Seek Contempt of Court Finding Against Oxnard and City Attorney?

Must we go back to court?

It has been three days since a judge ordered Oxnard City Attorney Stephen Fischer to “immediately” provide the paperwork we need to start collecting petition signatures to repeal the 87% wastewater rate increase.  He has not done it yet.

That’s another weekend gone without the chance to collect signatures.  The clock ticks, and the May 20 signature-gathering deadline approaches.

Click here to see the letter our attorneys issued this afternoon to the outside attorneys handling this case for the city.  In summary, if we do not receive the mandated paperwork by close-of-business today, we’ll ask a judge to find them in contempt of court.

The letter spells out the reality that the court order was written in a way that means they still have to provide the paperwork now even if they decide during the City Council meeting on Tuesday to appeal.  Appealing the order is not a legally valid excuse for failing to comply with it.

Below is a particularly compelling excerpt from the letter, noting that the City Attorney’s lack of action undermines the entire reason he knows the judge used for the ruling:

“City Attorney Fischer’s statement (above) to the Mayor and Council is accurate in one respect -- his summary of the Court’s reasoning for its ruling: “maintaining a level playing field to allow signatures to be gathered while preserving his ability to rule on whether the initiative should be placed on the ballot if it qualifies.” This brings into sharp focus the impact of Respondent Fischer’s continued refusal to issue the title and summary – it inherently creates an uneven playing field against Mr. Starr.

The unjustified delay by Respondents to issue the title and summary is causing Mr. Starr and the voters of the City of Oxnard irreparable injury relevant to their reserved constitutional rights.”

We hope the city will do the right thing, provide the mandated paperwork, and stop the madness of abusively wasting taxpayer money to keep the voters from having a say at the ballot box.

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