- If we gather enough signatures for the recall petitions, does that remove the council members from office?
- Do I have to sign all four petitions?
- How does a recall election work?
- When will the recall election take place?
- Who will run to be the replacement council members in a recall election?
- If the council members are removed, will that lower our utility rates?
- Why not just wait for the next regular election to remove the council members?
- Doesn’t the city need a rate increase to pay for some important repairs to the wastewater system?
- Can we trust this City Council to spend ratepayer money wisely?
- How much is the rate increase anyway?
- Your opponents ague that the recall election is a waste of money. What’s your response to that?
- Your opponents argue that the recall will drive the city into bankruptcy. How do you respond?
- Besides utility rate increases, are there other reasons to recall the council?
If we gather enough signatures for the recall petitions, does that remove the council members from office?
No. Getting enough signatures on the recall petitions only qualifies the question for the ballot. Then there will be an election where the public decides whether to remove or retain those council members.
You should sign a petition for each council member that you want to recall.
If you want to recall all four council members, the only way to do that is to sign all four petitions. If you want to sign for Person A, but not Person B, you can do that. Each petition identifies which council member it is for, so you can read for yourself the difference between the petitions and choose which ones you wish to sign.
In a recall election, there will be two questions on the ballot for each of the council members subject to the recall.
- The first question is essentially, “Should Person A be removed from office?” with the chance to vote either yes or no.
- The second question is essentially, “If Person A is removed, which of the following candidates should be elected as a replacement?”
The council members who are subject to the recall are ineligible to be replacement candidates in the same election.
The sooner, the better!
Once we submit the signatures the County Registrar of Voters will have up to 30 days (excluding weekends and holidays) to validate that we have a sufficient number of signatures -- though they are often quicker at this task. The City Council will then have 14 days to schedule an election to take place anywhere from 88 to 125 days later.
We don’t know yet. It could be you!
The people who qualify a recall for the ballot don’t get to pick who the potential replacement candidates are. After the recall petition has been certified, there will be an open filing period during which any eligible Oxnard resident can file and become a candidate to replace a recalled council member.
It's the first step.
We already know that the council members being recalled are committed to raising our utility rates -- they voted to do so!
Since the city council sets the rates, a new council has the power to choose a different path.
If a majority of the public votes to remove council members, it seems likely that the same majority will elect replacement council members who believe the council's rate increase plans are excessive.
When council members ignore a public mandate in such an egregious manner, the consequences ought to be sooner, rather than later. This is how you keep elected officials accountable. A successful recall will leave a huge impression on future elected leaders for years to come, as there will be no doubt as to why those elected officials were removed.
Moreover, time is of the essence. As part of the rate increases, the council has authorized the wastewater utility to begin taking on an enormous amount of debt. Once those bonds are issued, ratepayers will be stuck paying off the new debt for 30 years. We need to act before it’s too late to undo it.
Unfortunately, all the money we pay for our utility bills doesn’t STAY in the utility funds. Through an unlawful scheme they call the Infrastructure Use Fee, the city has been siphoning $7 million a year out of the utility funds (where it can only be spent on the utilities) and into the general fund (where they can spend it on almost anything).
Then the city complains that the utilities need more money to do repairs, and they raise your rates. We have filed a lawsuit to make them stop these unlawful transfers, and to require that they return $22 million they wrongfully took over the past three years. Once this money is returned, it will help with some of the needed repairs, and stopping the annual transfers will provide additional funding.
History argues that giving the city council more money to spend won't result in them using it to make promised repairs. Rates were raised in 2009 with a specific list of projects used as justification -- but even after we paid higher rates, many of the projects were not delivered. Rates were again raised in 2012, and some of the same 2009 projects were used as justification for the 2012 rate increase -- but again, many of the projects were not delivered. For the most recent rate increases, some of the projects used to justify it are the same ones that were promised in 2009 and 2012.
Recently, the Utility Ratepayers Advisory Panel (URAP) recommended that the city council conduct annual reviews of the promised utility projects to try to add some accountability to the process, but the council refused to even vote on that recommendation.
This city council doesn’t want to hold itself accountable, so we must.
A group opposed to the recall is circulating flyers accusing the recall proponents of lying about how much the rate increase is, and implying that it’s only a $2.25/month increase. What’s your response to that?
The increases are occurring in 6 stages. Because the most recently implemented stage of the series raised the “typical” bill by $2.22/month, the opposition pretends that’s all there is to it. The city’s own rate increase notices tell the full story, and you can decide for yourself who is misleading you.
The city’s rate increase notices show the “typical” bill will increase from $30.93/month (in 2016) to $54.20/month (by 2020). That’s a 75% increase, which is $279.24 per year. It’s a lot more than $2.25 per month. Of course, how much your bill increases depends on how much water you use. These numbers assume a household uses 9 Hundred Cubic Feet (HCF) per month. If you use more water than that, your bill will increase even more than the “typical” bill.
Last November, we voters overwhelmingly voted for Measure M to reject the City Council's 87% wastewater rate increase. The city council has already spent more of your money fighting Measure M in the courts than it will spend on a recall election. A public records request revealed that through June 2017, the city has already spent:
$ 73,633 trying to keep Measure M off the ballot
164,000 trying to overturn the public vote on Measure M
$237,633 (total so far and still rising)
The council is enthusiastically spending your money to fight you and overturn your vote for reasonable utility rates.
Suddenly, they object to spending money that will actually hold them accountable. We believe voters will see their argument for what it is: self-serving.
Obviously, another absurd scare tactic by our desperate opponents.
They don't even try to support the assertion. It's just a mindless campaign slogan. If it were true, wouldn't the next regular election also bankrupt the city?
And if they actually do believe that the cost of an election will drive the city into bankruptcy, that's another good reason to recall the whole bunch.
This city council's willingness to discard our vote on utility rates was the last straw.
But there are plenty of other reasons why we deserve a new city council. Even Mayor Flynn concedes in his official response to our recall notice that Oxnard is "recovering from years of malfeasance and financial neglect."
On that point ... he's right!
Moreover, we Oxnard residents have the privilege of paying outrageously high fees and taxes ... including an extra sales tax (Measure "O") for enhanced services.
Are you receiving enhanced services?
- Take a look at our crumbling roads. We have the worst roads in Ventura County.
- Witness the rising crime rates and growing gang violence. Our city council is not focused on providing adequate police protection.
- Observe the empty, decaying buildings (e.g. the Levitz building). Our city chases away businesses and the jobs they create.
So many squandered opportunities and broken promises ... from a city that doesn't really care about us.
Does this city council's performance justify them paying themselves a higher salary than any other Ventura County city -- including generous pension and health care benefits?