Aaron Starr Serves Oxnard with a Prop. 218 lawsuit + cupcakes

Moving Oxnard Forward

 

Editor’s note: At your service! Aaron Starr has Oxnard served with lawsuit and residents served with cupcakes simultaneously. He says that the City has violated statutes and multiple legal precedents making it settled law that a city may not charge utility “infrastructure fees.”

Aaron Starr of Moving Oxnard Forward informs the Council that they will be served with a Prop 218 lawsuit and the public will be served cupcakes. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

 

Moving Oxnard Forward served Oxnard with a lawsuit and cupcakes on Tuesday, 4-5-17. Cupcakes & Photo: Alicia Percell

 

Nancy Perry, a professional process server, prepares to serve complaint to Oxnard via City Clerk Michelle Ascencion. Photo: George Miller/CitizenJournal.us

 

Starr’s 4-5-17 statement at Oxnard Council meeting

My name is Aaron Starr and I serve as President of Moving Oxnard Forward.

The City of Oxnard has been charging its utility enterprises an Infrastructure Use Fee (or IUF), diverting ratepayer provided funds to the City’s general fund, instead of using the money for utility operations and maintenance.

A local government is prohibited from using fees or charges for any purpose other than that for which the fee or charge is imposed. Through this unlawful IUF, (0:30) the City has effectively skimmed over $22 million during the last three years and almost $45 million since 2007. That money could have been used for the utility repairs your staff states are so urgently required.

I have brought this matter to your attention on more than one occasion, even presenting you with a written opinion from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Still, no public hearing has been scheduled to discuss this.

It’s particularly egregious for you to be going through (1:00) a process of increasing utility rates when a significant amount of these funds is being transferred to the general fund.

So, regretfully, I see no other option than to have this matter decided in the courts.

With the advice of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, I hired the law firm of Krause, Kalfayan, Benink & Slavens, LLP. They specialize in litigation to protect ratepayers when local governments fail to follow the requirements of Proposition 218. I believe your outside law firm is familiar with them (1:30), having crossed swords on more than one occasion.

To protect the ratepayers, we have filed a lawsuit.

As a temporary measure, we seek a peremptory writ of mandate for you to cease transferring funds via the IUF to the general fund. We seek a declaratory judgment that you have been violating the law. We seek a permanent injunction enjoining you from continuing this scheme of raiding the utilities to the tune of $7 million per year. Finally, we seek an order that you restore to the utility enterprises the $22 million you have wrongfully taken during the last three years. (2:00)

Candidly, I am baffled as to why the City Council refuses to openly discuss this matter.  We do not want to resolve this with lawyers and a court room, but you leave us no other option.

As always, we are prepared to talk and be reasonable, while still defending the constitutional rights of our fellow citizens.

This week is something of an anniversary for us. It was on April 1st of last year that you served me with a lawsuit to keep Measure M off the ballot (2:30). In honor of this occasion, Alicia has brought some homemade cupcakes to serve the people in the council chambers tonight. Thank you, Alicia.

As for the City, I am serving you in a different manner tonight. Nancy Perry is a professional process server who is here to serve the City Clerk with the lawsuit we filed in Superior Court last week. (2:50)

For many years the City of Oxnard has been diverting ratepayer provided funds to the City’s general fund, instead of using the money for utility operations and maintenance.

Through this unlawful scheme, the City has effectively skimmed over $22 million during the last three years alone. That money could have been used for the utility repairs your staff states are so urgently required.

I have brought this matter to your attention on more than one occasion. Yet, no public hearing has been scheduled to discuss this.

So, to protect the ratepayers, my attorneys have filed a lawsuit. We seek a court order that you restore to the utility enterprises the $22 million you have wrongfully taken during the last three years and a permanent injunction enjoining you from continuing this $7 million per year scheme.

Nancy Perry, a professional process server is here to serve the City Clerk with the lawsuit we filed in Superior Court last week: READ Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate


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2 Responses to Aaron Starr Serves Oxnard with a Prop. 218 lawsuit + cupcakes

  1. Tom April 5, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    The city seemed to agree with Mr. Star in the document, NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING – January 19, 2016

    In it the city asked and answered the question:

    “How Would the Revenues be Used?

    Per State law, revenues generated from rate increases must only be used to fund the actual costs of water, wastewater and solid waste services – including the cost of debt to finance capital improvement projects.”

    Reply
  2. William Hicks April 5, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    We need more people with his credentials dealing with Moonbeams misuse of gas taxes.

    Reply

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