- I support Fiscal Responsibility and Financial Transparency (to learn more click here)
- I support Growing Oxnard Businesses through Sound Economic Development (to learn more click here).
- I support Public Safety and Community-Based Policing (to learn more click here)
- I support Pension Reform (to learn more click here)
- I support Shared Governance and Inclusive Leadership
- I support Short Term Rentals (STRs) (to learn more click here)
The first budget by City Manager Greg Nyhoff came with a warning: “Oxnard is on the brink of insolvency.” Thus, the 2015 Flynn budget justified severe cuts to essential city services including:
- Public Safety,
- Parks & Recreation, and
- Departmental cuts including $4M in staff concessions that were not credited back to city funds as promised.
Evidence suggests this was a manufactured financial crisis presented to Council and the public to leverage labor negotiations with each of the city’s organized bargaining groups. The jobs they marginalized are jobs for our community and services for our neighborhoods.
Yet, two years ago under Mayor Flynn, the three highest-ranking city officials – the City Manager, and two new Assistant City Managers – earned over $1 million in pay and benefits alone while the city lost 2 Chief Finance Directors, 2 Human Resources Directors, 2 Fire Chiefs, a Housing Director, a Development Services Director, and a beloved Police Chief.
For me, this is all the costly result of failed leadership by the current administration.Our ability to see how City Hall uses the public’s purse is fundamental to good government. As your Mayor, I will bring back transparency in our spending to check corruption, bolster public confidence, greatly improve the city’s response to community needs, and enable greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility as my first steps to restoring the public’s trust.
Growing Oxnard Businesses through Sound Economic Development
It’s widely understood among effective city leaders, both elected and managers, that “Economic Development pays the bills…” A strong economic development program stimulates business growth, job growth for residents, and ultimately more revenue to the City to pay for the other programs and services that its citizens want.
Our current leaders have minimized and ignored this function, and have shown no apparent concern that Oxnard now rates as the most expensive large city in the county for businesses to operate in (according to a Kosmont-Rose Institute 2013 report) Oxnard needs to become a friendlier environment for our job-and-revenue producers. If revenue is to grow, we must court businesses as our allies. As your Mayor, I will work to support existing businesses and stimulate the growth of new businesses. And I will recognize and make efficient use of our non-profit partners like the Chamber of Commerce and EDCO.
Bottom line: Business success is Oxnard’s success.
I earned my sociology degree at U.C. Santa Barbara, was elected class president, and am completing my Ph.D. in Higher Education & Organizational Change at UCLA. For three years, I served as your Community Affairs Manager for the Oxnard Police Department, where I was named “Employee of the Year.”
With the agency, I championed public engagement programs through difficult times, and helped bring focus to Oxnard’s underserved and under-resourced neighborhoods. Together, we rebuilt and strengthened relationships between our first responders and community at large. These efforts were recognized by the State of California and modeled by the U.S. Department of Justice.
As your Mayor, I can promise that we will put aside traditional politics, and strengthen effective and proven ways to address the interwoven issues of both public safety and violence in neighborhoods.
The state has already taken steps in reducing the multi-billion dollar unfunded pension liability on the balance sheet of both state and local governments by enacting PEPRA pension reform.
As an employer under CalPERS, the City of Oxnard can continue to monitor costs related to its pension obligations and find ways to creatively pay down and manage this large liability through alternative, cost-saving payment structures and prudent employee benefit packages.
Further, Oxnard can take action against another large unfunded obligation – OPEB (retiree health), saving money by similarly prefunding these obligations and taking action to manage the currently rich employee benefits.
Short Term Rentals (STRs)
According to the Ventura County Star, “The City of Ventura has received few formal complaints (on short term rental homes) — roughly 10 in the last several years.” Of complaints listed in a recent city of Oxnard poll, most appear to be rumors and hearsay, and not actual events they experienced. So how many actual relevant complaints can be found? Only a fraction of those listed can be accepted as real complaints. Many of these concerns may be due to noise and disruptions other than STRs.
Beach rentals at the Oxnard Shores have been a way of life since development first came to the area. STR direct and indirect economic impacts are estimated to bring $50 million in tourism to Oxnard that supports 500 local area jobs.
To balance the recent surge of STRs fueled by companies such as Airbnb, VRBO, etc., I believe that the process the city of Oxnard is currently engaged, which is compliant with demands for beach access by the Coastal Commission, will also help to address budget deficits and/or cuts, and any conflicts of interest by the Planning Commission. Components such as reasonable regulation, direct owner contact, beds-to-occupancy limitations, and an occupancy tax legislated by the city of Oxnard are the right solution for our community.