An Open Letter to Scott Whitney, City Manager & the City Council of Oxnard



To. Scott Whitney, City Manager & City Council of Oxnard     

From: Armando Vazquez, Executive Director, The Foundation, EERD

Re: The Transfer of Ownership of Successor Agency Buildings/Properties to the City of Oxnard and the Oxnard Public Land Partnership

For the past 24 months, The Foundation, EERD has been working with the Acuna Arts Collective, the Oxnard Multicultural Health Coalition, Laborers Union Local 585, CSUCI, CSUN, SEIU, CAUSE, the local Longshoremen’s  Union,  Clinicas Del Camino Real, Montecito Bank, One Love Dance Company, Unity in Recovery, The KEYS Leadership Academy, as well as other strategic community leaders, business, education, and social service stakeholders to create a partnership with the City of Oxnard in an attempt to forge a local, diverse and congruent Oxnard Public Land Partnership plan for the disposition of the current building/property (approximately 39) assets in the Successor Agency current portfolio.

We know that you are super busy and have a million and one city related assignments on your plate. Due to the nature of the work and the extraordinary events that are currently consuming the city of Oxnard I don’t see a slowing of operational management by crisis in the near future.  If anyone can bring a steady hand, a bright mind and unwavering professional work ethic to the City Manager’s offices, it is you.

That is why I am reaching out to you on behalf of our collaborative. In the current chaos of the city of Oxnard we think that great opportunities could be missed.  One of those opportunities is to look at Successor Agency buildings/properties and think outside the box, like so many California cities have already done (Los Angeles, Hemet, Santa Ana, and San Francisco, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks and Ventura,  to mention a few) with the “transfer of ownership” clause in California law.

We have done our due diligence research on the code which allows transfer of Successor Agency Properties to a city for community service enrichment, prosperity, and safety, i.e. California Health & Safety. Code Section 34179 as added by AB X l 26.

We have shared this invaluable research and information that we gleamed with Oxnard city management, local legal, business, educational and social service stakeholders and they all concur with the Acuna Arts Collective that we should sit down and talk about the extraordinary fiduciary possibilities that a “transfer of ownership” and other potential legal “windows”, if explored and acted upon could immediately bring to the city of Oxnard. This is a once in a life time opportunity and can create an incredible out of the box kick start in the future downtown vision and development projects. We have nothing to lose at this time, and the clock is ticking very fast.

The Foundation, EERD (The Acuna Arts Collective) has made several official bids of acquisition, specifically to acquire the Social Security Building (445 South B Street, and adjacent parking lot property) over the past year. We have not received one return courtesy email or phone call, you can help us get a meeting at the start of the year.

Based on past historical inactivity and lack of success on the part of the Successor Agency, we are afraid that in the next six (6) months the Successor Agency will not be able to produce one viable RFQ proposals or actual purchase offers on the Social Security Building and adjacent properties or any other Successor Agency buildings/properties. This total lack of active success will trigger the state of California through their local proxy, the Ventura County Oversight Board, to move aggressively to take over all of the “disposition of assets” activities and actions.

The Ventura County oversight board action will render the city of Oxnard as an impotent/incompetent/inconsequential bystander as the oversight board does as it deems appropriate with our (the people of Oxnard) property and assets. This take over by the county oversight board is projected now to take pace no later than July 1, 2018. Let’s not let this happen, but we must act quickly; time is not on our side.

We have provided the city of Oxnard with more than sufficient professional research material and legal arguments that should at the very least merit a serious meeting of the principal stakeholders (city of Oxnard, downtown stakeholder, local community leaders) with responsible city administrators.

Here is what we are currently proposing to you as the (Interim) City Manager and what we have proposed previously to the Successor Agency and the City of Oxnard.  Our collaborative presents this idea with unanimous approval by a very strong and respected ad hoc committee of local CBO’s, unions, educational institutions, businesses, students, artist and stakeholder residents of Oxnard.

For the sake of clarity, brevity, and “disposal of assets” we believe that it would be in the best interest to stipulate to some agreements, so that in our very limited meeting time we do not get bogged down in the bureaucratic weeds. Below are some foundational basics that we believe that we can all agree on as California law.  To recap:

  1. In 2012 the California Legislature passed and Governor Brown signed into law California Health & Safety. Code Section 34179 AB X l 26 that officially dissolved the existing Redevelopment Agency of all municipalities/cities throughout California. Beginning in 2012 these municipalities/cities were mandated by California Health & Safety. Code Section 34179 AB X l 26 to “dispose of all assets” that the former Redevelopment Agency held in its portfolio.
  1. In Oxnard the Successor Agency was created to “dispose of all assets” mandated by California Health & Safety. Code Section 34179 AB X l 26.
  1. California Health & Safety. Code Section 34179 AB X l 26 in part states; Successor Agency to the City (of Oxnard) Redevelopment Agency Long-Range Property Management Plan Retention of Properties for Governmental Use All properties listed below are proposed to be transferred to the City pursuant to HSC Section 34181 (a) that allows properties of a former redevelopment agencyto be transferred to a public Jurisdiction (in this case, the City of Oxnard).
  1. As that section of the Law states, the successor agency is to “dispose of all assets and properties of the former redevelopment agency,  provided, however, that the oversight boardmay instead direct the successor agency to transfer ownership of those assets that were constructed and used for a governmental purpose, such as roads, school buildings, parks, police and fire stations, libraries, and local agency administrative buildings, to the appropriate public jurisdiction pursuant to any existing agreements relating to the construction or use of such an asset.”

If we can agree that these four conditions provide us the legal underpinning to pursue the transfer of ownership of the Successor Agency of one or all assets to the City of Oxnard, then we can work in partnership in supporting the details of California Health & Safety. Code Section 34179 AB X l 26 guidelines  listed above so that: The Foundation, EERD and community collaborators  may enter into a contractual agreement with the City of Oxnard to create a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional arts and cultural in the Social Security Building, located at 425-445 South B Street, Oxnard.

Below are the names of those community stakeholders that attended our latest Oxnard Public Land Trust meeting and unanimously agreed to invite you to meet with us at our next meeting schedule for Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 11 AM at the Social Security building (445 South B Street).

Dr. Debbie DeVries, Associate Director, The Foundation, EERD

Armando Vazquez, M.Ed, Executive Director, The Foundation , EERD

Jess Ramirez, Harbor Commissioner, Longshoreman local union, Activist

Danny Carrillo, SEIU 721

Anthony Mireles, Laborers Local 585

Lucas Zucker, CAUSE

Raul Lopez, CAUSE

Esteban Agua, Student Intern

Johnny Quintero, F&J Construction Co., Community Mentor

Julie Medina, One Love Dance Co.

Hector Colon, AA Activist

Josue Ruiz, Student Trustee, Ventura County Community College District Board

Jaqueline Biaggi, Artist, Mentor

Alexus Medina, Student. KEYS student

Laura Flores, MFC, Mental Health Advocate

Mark Spencer, Community Educator/Artist

Thank you, Scott and we eagerly await your response. We think this meeting is one of those seminal once in a life time opportunities for the entire community to seize the moments. It will create a wondrous, progressive and redemptive opportunity for the city to re-acquire through the legal protocol of transfer of ownership some or all of the buildings/propertied that rightfully belong to all of the residents of Oxnard.

Respectfully, Armando Vazquez

Oxnard Public Land Partnership  

Armando Vazquez

Armando Vazquez, M.Ed.  is Executive Director of  Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition


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