Oxnard Council Initiates Parks Master Plan; Trying to buy Successor Agcy. Properties; LMD’s Still Festering

By George Miller

At the 5-22-18 meeting, Oxnard City Council approved creating a Parks/Recreation Master Plan; City attempting to buy several key downtown Successor Agency properties;  Passed an anti price gouging during emergencies ordinance; discussed a future resolution opposing a federal bill to permit concealed carry gun permit reciprocity; City is seeking Citizens Advisory Council applicants; 

Former Oxnard Social Security building at 425 S. B St.


Item F. Public Comments on Items Not On The Agenda

Howard Kent- VP of Viet Nam Veterans of Ventura County (below). Bringing a Viet Nam vets memorial “wall” to Oxnard.

Guillermo Cejas- President Laborers’ Local 585, supports Oxnard Downtown project.

Michael Gleason- Praises those who advocated abolition of nuclear weapons. What to do about someone who steals from us who works for the City? No luck with staff or council- who should we contact? He didn’t say what he was referring to, but it probably had something to do with Landscape maintenance districts (LM|D’s).

Jackie Tedeschi- California Cove LMD #14- Only receive once-monthly maintenance. re: Strawberry Festival- where do monies go, how much? When Lucy Jones spoke last week (Earthquake risk), she was  contacted by multiple officials. Mayor Pro-Tem Ramirez=- Festival is separate nonprofit, so questions should be referred to them

Steve Nash- Bio’s of Santa Fe shooting victims- just like everyone. Counted on elected reps to protect them. Blamed NRA, gun shows, glorified guns, those who bought into President’s agenda that everything has its price., Raffles or gun shows may produce shootings. Lack of conscience of leaders. Should not allow gun shows.

Alice Sweetland- For Sr. Citizens in Medicare. New cards will no longer have SSN on them. Now being mailed throughout this year. Make sure your mailing address are up to date.

KNess Rockstar- anti bullying event at Walmart Rose Ave parking lot, at 11-5 didn’t say date. Reggie Bush now collaborating with us on Gun Violence- cooperate with city to stop it.

Jack Villa- Activity in park behind Performing Arts Center, must be cleaned up. Didn’t specify what the activity is, but it involves vagrants. Nearby day care center, children present.

Pat Brown- Carmen Ramirez appointed as EPA advisor, knows what she’s talking about.

Larry Barbiera- Franklin Graham will be at Oxnard Beach Park Wed 7:30 PM- FREE! Re: Recall- people unhappy w/utility increase- use creative solutions. Re: gas tax- vote for rescission-have tons of gas tax money sent to general fund and bullet train. Re nuclear ban: deterrence!

Ed Castillo- Still looking for Mayor and Council to provide 3 minutes for speakers. Football analogy- saw “sleeper play”- happened at HDL contract at the meeting last week. Went from a $24,000 contract to $352K contract with no approval.

JR Ruiz- I remember good days when Oxnard was a good town with a good police dept. Dishonesty in Police Dept. There are some good officers- homeboys. Consider more local people for PD.  Have had discrimination problem. Filed $10MM claim w/City.

Woody Thomas- Thanks to God (which he ALWAYS does)- Wants to meet with Council on his complaint, which he did not elaborate on. Spoke of intolerable police behavior.

Alicia Percell- 1/16 staff requested increase in all three utilities, 23%  in solid waste mgmt.. reversed after second reading,- Only 1% pass through increases in rates made, yet there is a comfortable surplus. We spoke about audit results on software and $8MM needed for more. Ramirez accepted with no questions, but is supposed to provide oversight. Would it be cheaper to just buy a big rubber stamp? Software asked to buy is same used in Paso Robles- same as Throop’s prior employer-city used.

Aaron Starr- Released letter asking for monthly financial reports in compliance with the law- not happening,  not providing an account of receipts and disbursements. Public and you deserve regular financial statements. Handed out example of Thousand Oaks, which uses the same software as we do- so it is no excuse for not getting out reports.

Glori Lopez- Counsellor at Oxnard College works with low income/.disadvantaged students. Worked with Cafe on A/Acuna Art Gallery.


G. City Manager’s Report

Document: City Manager’s Weekly Report

Upcoming 6-5-18 budget workshop. No meeting next week (FLASH: THIS WAS CHANGED AFTER COURT RULING UPHOLDING MEASURE M). Pointed Out multiple upcoming meetings/events (see report link). Starting City Manager interviews shortly.

Budget schedule- workshop 6-5-18; 6-19-18 public hearing; 6-26-18 budget adoption; Capital improvements in fall.

Accepting CAG (Citizens Advisory Groups) applications. Contact City Manager.

Please drop off unneeded prescription medicines- at police dept.

Oxnard College free tuition -June 1 application deadline for 1st 700 students,

Council/Staff Comments

Madrigal- Attended Rose Park neighborhood- Asst City Mgr Nava spoke. Oxnard Art students gala Thu., 5-8, Neighborhood Cleanup atr Southwinds- Saturday, 6-13 W. Village Neighborhood meeting. Next Thu. is Oaks Christian graduation. Condolence on Santa Fe school shooting. Looking to us for leadership. Need to work with School District.  It’s more than guns- also mental health issue. Whatever we are dong to raise our kids is not working- we need help.

Ramirez- Intend to do my best as EPA advisor. Mission is to have clean air and water, Attended Strawberry scholarship dinner. Stop VC gun shows,. Have so many guns. Celebrate Memorial Day. Go to PACC (Performinf Arts & Convention Center) festival- PACC has come a long way, now very profitable. Reception on Friday. re: consultants- are subject matter experts. Auditors are that and say software is inadequate. Will miss McCarthy

MacDonald- Losan meeting now in OC.

Perello- Re: Memorial Day- Their lives were taken, not given. Great respect. re: Viet Nam wall deserves moment of silence. Re: Nash and Council on gun shows. I want it on the agenda. Airport authority changing hangar lease rules- takings of property. Tabled. Coming back. Possibly modeling Harbor Authority along the same lines- not good. Compliments Oxnard Police Dept. Troublemakers move out of surveillance camera range/light. Mr. Gleason (Landscape Maintenance Dist. activist), yes, there are issues. There was an audit. Closed session- he wants it made public- urges Council to do so. Need transparency. We are  considering $8Mm and more on software/technology- need to make sure we get our money’s worth. training has been lacking.

Flynn- Re: Joint meetings with nearby agencies… Whitney already working on this, wants Council subcommittee to help coordinate these meetings on mutual interests, only when necessary and productive. Madrigal agrees, Ramirez, OK except contentious issues to negotiate in public not good, want regional partnerships. Fischer recommends it be discussed on a future agenda. Perello agrees. Stop kicking can down the road. Re: Enterprise System/financial software being kicked around for 6-9 months. Heard report that current software is completely outdated and alts. were discussed. Must assure public trust we have surveyed other cities. Is T.O. system really the same software? Survey local cites software/CFO’s.

Nava- In procurement process. trying to keep confidential until recommendations made. $8-16MM discussed are NOT the right figures. Consultant was hired to advise on software. He did hear $8MM figure, We are not doing training. Flynn- numbers not in that ballpark. CFO Throop- Yes, one software used by his former city- is the number one product out there. He says T.O. requires multiple “backup” (ancillary systems) to get those reports out. T.O. is also looking for new software. Flynn- public comments imply that staff not doing its job. Throop- internal auditor ill also comment of difficulties of using antiquated systems.


Item H-1 – SUBJECT: Request of Mayor Pro Tem Ramirez: Consideration of Opposing Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (5/5/5) 
RECOMMENDATION: That City Council discuss and determine whether an item related to consideration of a resolution opposing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act should be placed on a future City Council agenda for Council discussion.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Scott Whitney Phone: (805) 385-7624

Document: H-1 Staff Report
Ramirez- issue of guns in community and nation, CCW holder would not have to comply with local laws (untrue). Many cities and counties opposing.
Madrigal- agrees
MacDonald- Not all states have same reqmts. Agrees
Whitney- Opposes HR 38. Supports agendizing oppositions,. Ac has strictest gun laws. This overrides CA gun laws. Would not have abide by CCW.
Flynn- Supports opposition. CA has among strictest standards.
Read U.S. HR38
Public Comments
Woody Thomas- A confused rambling about supporting of selling of guns. (Topic was CCW reciprocity.) He said it is promoting killing Californians and promotes gun Mafia selling guns in our community. Makes it hard for peace officers to do their jobs. Flynn did not stop him during this.
Steve Nash- At Fair Board meeting, a rep from Sheriff said have never had an adverse incident at gun show. Nash said eventually an adverse event will occur. It is insane to say that “a packing society is a polite society.” That only increases his stress levels., Can’t trust people he doesn’t know with guns. Supports agendizing.
Dan Pinedo- Thanks to Ramirez for advancing this. A local instead of national conversation.
Pat Brown- Only police should have guns. No need for hidden handguns. Rifles for hunting. Period. that’s how it was when I was growing up. Get rid of weapons then straighten out psychological problems.
JR Ruiz- Constitution says you have a right to have weapons in your home, not in streets. 2nd Amendment says in home, not go out in streets and kills people. That’s how I interpret it. Some of problem, is that kids don’t get good religion. (editors note: Court rulings and Second Amendment say otherwise).
Interestingly, no vote was taken whether to proceed with staff research.
Item K- Information Consent Agenda
The whole agenda for K is voted on as is unless items are pulled for discussion:
3, 4, K2a,c, K-7 &9 pulled for discussion
K-2a- Perello- re:  Interface Children and Family Services. How many domestic violence calls? Police Chief Whitney- 380/mo, 4800/year. Dangerous sometimes, good portion involve violence.
Perello- water meters. Who is paying for them? developers pay fees used to purchase these
K-7 Perello- City will acquire funding.
Public Comment-
Gabriel Teran-a Park Commissioner -$182K grant app. to remove dead or dying trees, via forestry grant to plant 1000 new trees. Removing dead/dying trees instead is a big concern. Grant cannot be used to do this., Have 2 year tree maintenance backlog, Seek funding.
Dan Pinedo- This is great. Need to install root barriers to protect sidewalks.
K-9- Perello- We get one half the interest rate on money. We were in technical default for seven years. So, how do we know we can follow the rules? How do we make sure work is done? Utility Mgr Thien- Because we must submit spending plan and progress before receiving reimbursement.
K-3- First Amendment to Agreement A-7950 with NBS Government Finance Group – LMD/CFD Consulting.-$500K. Required as checks and balances for LMD work to review city’s budget numbers and engineering.
Perello says tremendous service being provided by Sandra Burkhardt, but unhappy with what transpired.
Public Comment
Jackie Tedeschi- Thanks, Sandra for you help. Good to check what is done. Comes to about $26,000 for checks and balances- much less than last year. We want more disclosure, not forthcoming, Some are closed meeting issues.
Michael Gleason- Sandra doing great job. Glad she can respond to audit questions, Confident we will get action. A half a million seems like a lot of money., How did they get to that money? No detail- what will this money be spent for and who’s gonna be paying for it? NBS did audit- we weren’t asking for a confidential report. LMD’s paid for it. It is way overdue.
Ed Castillo- Michael Gleason has been our LMD guy- stood alone 2 years. We owe him, will support him. Not  a privileged report. Release it. I will put pressure on until the audit is released.
Councilman Perello wants audit released.

K-4- Eadie & Payne, LLP (Auditors), to increase the contract amount by $419,503, for a total amended not-to-exceed amount of $1,646,563 for FY17/18 CAFR/Single-Audit/Ancillary Assistance, and to extend the term of the agreement to December 31, 2020.

Perello- Accusation made that audit was delayed to affect the election (By Alicia Percell, wife of Aaron Starr, recall initiator). Not happy with audit service. Fiscal policy task force has no formal charter. Can’t support extending contract.

Ramirez- we’re in the middle of an audit, how can we switch now?  Throop- it takes a year to switch.

Perello-Why at last minute, why so many revisions? Wil vote no.


Vote: Perello- no on 3 & 4. all others 5-0

Item L-1- SUBJECT: Anti Price Gouging Ordinance (5/5/5) 
RECOMMENDATION: That City Council approve the first reading by title only and waive further reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 6 of the Oxnard City Code to impose a prohibition on unfair pricing following the declaration of a state of emergency, local emergency or state of war emergency; adding various definitions relating to the prohibition and making various clerical changes.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Stephen M. Fischer Phone: (805) 385-7483

Document: L-1 Staff Report
City Atty Fischer- Council requested looking into codifying CA penal code #396 on anti- price gouging during declared emergencies. Duration up to 30 days- 10% increase limit.
Public Comments
Woody Thomas- a lot of greedy landlords are millionaires- don’t care about you. Need to be prepared to make sure all of us are volunteers- if you get caught doing looting or anything illegal, you’re gonna get time. Rambled on about some irrelevant items. 
Council/Staff Comments
Madrigal- supports. Keep it fair, particularly during emergencies
Ramirez, Madrigal, Perello- support. Perllo:Did anyone complain? Fischer- not aware of that.
Approved unanimously- 5-0
Item L-2- SUBJECT: Award Contract for City of Oxnard Parks and Recreation Master Plan. (5/10/5) 
RECOMMENDATION: That City Council award and authorize the Mayor to execute an agreement with Colorado Design Workshop, Inc. in the amount of $323,210 for the City of Oxnard Parks and Recreation Master Plan (Agreement No. 8031-17-PW).
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione Phone: (805) 385-8055

Document: L-2 Staff Report
Document: L-2 Presentation
 Design workshop selected, responsive- balanced perspective, good community engagement. references checked out. Will use surveys, community workshops (2 rounds), focus groups, idea generation, develop master plan. Make pl,an accessible to community and lead to acti
Evaluate trade offs, investment priorities, use patterns, values and vision, capital improvement needs, costs.
City staff and advisory staff with community reps, public engagement plan.  Try to integrate stormwater management, improve quality of landscape appearance.
This is the first attempt to do this here- ever.
Public Comments
Gabriel (with parks Commission)- Supports master plan and consultant selection. Wants to push resident engagement. Roger Poirier is Chair. How to improve quality of life with this.
Gerard Kapuscik- Wayne Gtetsky said need to be where the puck is- health safety and welfare. Prop 68 based on SB 5 important to help fund stuff like this. Need multi-assets to help do this. Presented his flood protection levies and oppty for recreation synergy. Supports master plan and getting to head of line for state grants. The money is in grants. We must shape the battlefield on where those grants will be helping each other.
Roger Poirier- is on Parks Commission. Time to take care of master plan., Supports. Will deliver a statistically valid survey of OxnaRD residents.  Will get a vision of world class parks, but we don’t have world class resources.  Largest civic engagement project city has ever seen.
Steve Nash- Served with Roger and Gabe on Parks/Rec Commission. Wonderful step forward in providing Oxnard with deserved park system. Decisions should be made on community input.
Jackie Tedeschi- Supports. Poirier gave great INCO presentation on this. Also need health, safety and welfare in the parks. Need safe levies, grants.,
Council/Staff Comments
Madrigal- Fully support- quality of life component. Yes, we are not resource rich. Need to have conversations in neighborhoods. any new parks? I June and July realistic timeframe? Staffer- meetings at 2 locations in city. Would take about a year.
Ramirez wants to use some funs for “taking back our beach” at Ormond and Mandalay (site of soon to be abandoned power plants. Pay attention surveying, poor, Spanish-speaking residents. Not just play space but enjoying nature. Supports.
MacDonald- Fully supports. Do not want to take away any park space. Not enough as it is.
Perello- Supports. Hold new City Mgr. accountable. Whitney’s “red team” hustled grant money fast and successfully. Thanks to Gerard Kapuscik.
City Mgr. Whitney- Likes Perello’s suggestion to form  a “green team” to seek park grants.
Flynn- Supports. Taking College Park for development not having adequate funds. Hope master plan will a great equalizer. Parks overcrowded. Locals paying Mello Roos taxes feel cheated. Likes Prop 68- will finally have money for parks. 30% of Oxnard Measure O was supposed to be used for parks- not using 30% for parks as planned. Likes active vs passive parks concepts. Need active, but more passive, especially for aging population. Other cities have more funding, even parks and rec district.
Approved Unanimously 5-0

Items L-3- SUBJECT: Disposition of Successor Agency Owned Property – 720 South B Street. (10/15/15) 

Document: L-3 Staff Report
Document: L-3 Presentation
All this about an 820 sq ft building, ex-Mulhardt Winery-  worth $185,000? 4 bidders $25K and up. approve city to buy for $50K + assessments and repairs. Oversight Board rejected this- too low vs broker assessment of $70K. Recommend funding from Downtown improvement fund.
Public Comments
Connie Korenstein- Got involved in Heritage Square while a third grade teacher. Researched and wrote a book on Oxnard’s history. Did historical tours. Supports buying the building for the city.
Gary Blum- Involved in Heritage Square for 33 years- it is a public/private organization- planned unit development. Redevelopment elimination threatened it. Need space for programs. Only 11% of space available for that.
Daniel Chavez, Jr.- Advocated rejecting $50,000 offer. Glad oversight board rejected. Now want to take $75,000 from downtown settlement fund. How is this justified? If city has a shortfall and is cutting back, how can this be justified? Council still increased operating budget by 9%.
Ed Castillo- Complained That Flynn spoke over 11 minutes on another item that had a three minute time budget. Complained that bidding process on property was a conflict of interest.
Roger Poirier- Heard complaints on disposition of La Dolce Vita Restaurant- laudable how city showed vision on doing it. Buying this other building for the city is part of that vision and a key part of revitalizing downtown as a destination.
Woody Thomas- Sale of property wouldn’t generate much tax. Need a census of residents, security, need me to help. a lot of people are leaking info not for benefit of residents, but to line their pockets,. Very bad drug problem hear- people need help. Courts can order inspection, take the kids out of their homes. (??)
Council/Staff Comments
Madrigal- Last vote on this was 3-2.  Is building ADA -compliant? Ashley Golden- some improvements- city would be liable. Madrigal – where are we on Downtown improvement fund $5.3 MM now.
Ramirez- Is there a conflict of interest? City Atty. Fischer- no.  Ramirez- Oxnard;s history is so unique. Why people want to go to Heritage Square, Why the City should keep control. How does it improve Oxnard? This is Oxnard’s history- try to recognize it. Totally support this.
MacDonald- Going to Heritage Square events- concerts, etc., for 20 years. Benefit to residents- wall to wall people at concerts. Follow the original vision of Heritage Square. Fully support.
Perello- Had multiple bids. Heritage Square is something of value. La Dolce Vita sale included forgiving 200K+ debt. There were better offers. What about potential ADA  compliance liability? Is there bathroom, plumbing there? Not wise move to buy this building. Is it legal to bid when you know the other offers? How many weeks per year is facility really used? Very bad business deal.
Flynn- I am one of few people who remembers Oxnard downtown in its glory. So many amazing historic buildings,. Didn’t make financial sense to keep those buildings. Bulldozed. In contrast, downtown Ventura kept its historic buildings. Santa Barbara kept colonial style, even after downtown was destroyed. Heritage Square and only a few other buildings  are about the only remaining historical buildings. At one time they wanted to bulldoze F street and put up a housing project. It is a small amount to help protect Heritage Square by buying this building.
Perello- How did we get away without ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance? Fischer- uses dictate applicability of ADA, Predatory folks could bring suit against City. Need risk assessment vs intended uses. No, we should not table this (in response to Perello question if we should).
Approved (strike 4 & 5)- 3-2 with Madrigal and Perello opposing,
Item L-4- SUBJECT: Sale of Successor Agency Properties to the City of Oxnard. (10/15/15) 
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council
1. Consider if it wishes to make offers for the Successor Agency-owned parcels commonly referred to as the Social Security Building (425 South B Street.), and the Laundromat (318 W. Fifth Street) and Elizabeth Furniture Buildings (321 W. Sixth Street).
2. If the City Council determines to make offers on the Social Security Building and the Laundromat and Elizabeth Furniture Buildings, determine the specific amount of said offers.
3. If the City Council determines to make offers on the Social Security Building and the Laundromat and Elizabeth Furniture Buildings, adopt the following Resolutions:
Document: L-4 Staff Report
Document: L-4 Presentation
Per Ashely Golden, the City is potentially offering to buy these buildings with $770,000 from the downtown improvement fund. She said that these properties were extensively marketed, but only received best offers for SS building of $420,000 and $146,244 for Laundromat and Elizabeth Furniture combined. Thinks it would benefit downtown. Keep art gallery there until a developer comes.
This seems very low and speaks for the depressed value of downtown sites and the risks to developers which would have to be borne working here. 
Public Comments
Barbara Macri-Ortiz- Last item was to keep the past (Heritage Square), this one is for controlling the future. This is the right step. We’ve got to use  downtown space correctly.  Need development team to figure out how to make downtown go. Avoid “gentrification and freezing out existing residents.
Frank Thompson- Worked In affordable housing 4 years, anxious to work on Barbara’s team. It’s a relatively difficult site, narrow, must preserve alley; parking is a problem.
Ed Castillo- Again, a conflict, city saw bid first. Put bids in same time.
Woody Thomas- Substandard buildings with a lot of non-compliance. These buildings are a historical resource, need to preserve. Now have loitering, drinking, defecating, urinating, poor security in the area. Can’t blame police- they are busy.
Steve Nash- I’m a dreamer- for Oxnard. Social Security building is ground zero- the prime downtown location. Elite theater, Theater de los America, public access- studio/recording area. maybe public housing above it.
Abel Magama- Director,Oxnard Downtown Improvement District- Supported Henry Casillas proposal for mixed use district.  Need to have possession/control of property. These will be teardowns. Also concerned about south plaza properties/prices. also teardown with limited development potential.
Council Comments
Madrigal-  a dream for many. Waited until last minute. How do we know we won’t be in the same position again? Need to move ahead. I cannot support this. we are not business friendly.
Ramirez- last oppty to take control of this or others will. I support this. Need to get more people living downtown. Improvements coming.
MacDonald- Actually we did answer Chavez’s question. On July 1, there will be a CountyWide oversight board. We lose control in 40 days. Looking at the harbor dispute (County-run) (as a model), it means we could have problems.  Move ahead now to avoid that. Go back to original bidders. Believes in local control- supports.
Perello- Compliment Madrigal for his positions but differ on one thing.  This action would allow city to have more time to work things out- Supports, but has the smell of a bad fish.
Flynn- City should not be forced into accepting a bid and something goes wrong,. On July 1, County will decide. Goal is to bring back downtown. Thriving, energetic, highest architectural integrity, shops that make money. It was awesome here when he was a kid. That’s what we need to bring back to Oxnard.  This is one of our last, best opportunities to revive downtown.
Approved 4-1-  Madrigal dissenting.
Public Comment
Daniel Chavez, Jr.- We heard official say we have smooth roads and nice parks. Doesn’t agree. How does purchase benefits residents?  Thinks Cafe on A would be a worthy operator.

George Miller is Publisher of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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