What's Next in Oxnard.....
National Attention on Oxnard
- Not to begin until Charges are Leveled.
The OxJo has learned from trusted sources that subpoenas will soon be
issued against most developers and contractors having business interests
A recent call from one such developer to persons locally hired was put
out today, (Thursday, 19 August). The additional admonishment to
keep the lips tight and to not offer any information may conclude many
such similar calls.
In what was a silent and seldom seen world of getting business done
on the municipal level has, at the drop of a hat, or dime, become a
headache and stress agent for anyone doing business with Oxnard, or
anyone who may have represented our City's interest or wanted to
represent our City in local public office.
What has changed overnight is the awesome fact that our method of
doing business as usual has come to a screeching halt and what was kept
from the people may soon be opened like an expired can of dog food.
What is up for examination is how Oxnard became the developer's
mushroom capitol of the world. With heat now on private firms and
companies who served and serviced Oxnard's growth - there will be some
interesting times ahead.
However, what appeared to be a seamless a pattern of behavior and
practice will soon expose itself like a dirty old man in the public
restroom. Great embarrassment may soon be on the horizon for hired
and elected City officials. Aside from golf rounds at River Ridge,
too numerous to count and limo rides to the Lakers, investigators will
discover how prime real estate may have been offered in exchange for
preferential treatment. The time-worn statement that "Oxnard never
found a developer it didn't like" will soon prove out to become an adept
Right as Oxnard was ready to add the name "Shores" to it's moniker,
and re-invent itself into that transformed golden city of light, we are
saddened to learn that the
"S' in Shores should have been a "W" all along.
While the District Attorney, in his wisdom approached the City, first
kindly with his request, and just as Larry Stein, has found out, the
offering of what should be publicly available information, free for all
to see, was instead a meager dolling out of a few top sheets and
disassociated errata. Ergo, this massive seizure of records and
documents on Friday the 13th of August.
Mystifying is the timing, just a few weeks after the candidates filed
for the open seat of Mayor, which revolves bi-annually, and two seats
which represent half of our City Council. Had the raid been
days ahead of the filing date, surely more wanna-be candidates would
have filed in expectation of a public purging from the top down in City
On the upcoming election, this may be the first time in many years
that so few candidates applied for the vacancies in top leadership.
At first the Star announced Holden was running unopposed and later
corrected the record to add the name of perennial mayoral candidate
Pointing the finger at the former Public Works Director, Mr. Ortega
made for interesting fodder in the local news. But what was probably not
made known was the fact that of all people, Mr. Ortega may have the best
scoops of delicious ice cream to offer those who wanted to visit and
taste the 39 flavors within Oxnard's Sweet Shoppe.
With the heat now soon to be applied on developers who surely may
have followed pro-forma methods of doing business in California there
will be a different approach to the investigation. Chinatown and
Two Jakes may reveal Jack Nicholson's character of
Jake Gittes was very much
a real person and what he sought to know was the common practice behind
the closed doors of government here locally and perhaps state-wide.
For whom the Bell tolls - Thanks to Bell, California, we may get some
much needed light shown into the darkened passages of power.
Former elected officials and even hopefuls will have their required
CA Form 700s examined. Tim Flynn, who is running for an open
Council seat revealed that he had been questioned, as well there may be
While living in the San Francisco Bay Area, a lady of historic
encumbrance once shared with me a ditty, she found eloquently cute.
"The miners came in '49, the whores in 51, and that is how the Golden
State begat its golden son."
Bill Winter - Editor - Oxnard Journal.
Oxnard has become the focus of
attention --- public officials are careful to speak out, but
Oxnard's Mayor offers letter of cooperation to all reviewing
News and information needs to fill the
public vacuum and appetite. Not much was available from
Friday's raid on City Hall by the DA & Federal Bureau of
Investigation. Local news outlets used the Star's photos of boxes
being hauled out and not much else came forward. In reaction,
Oxnard's Mayor, Dr. Tom Holden and the VCDA offered letters to the
public and each other in order to bring things into focus.
Oxnard Mayor Tom Holden sent the following letter to Ventura
County District Attorney Greg Totten on Monday, August 16, 2010:
Dear District Attorney Totten,
As Oxnard's mayor and someone who shares your strong commitment
to Ventura County I'm writing to pledge my full cooperation
and the city's full participation in any and all investigations you
and your office are conducting. This is the best and only way that
any city can conduct itself, and we are both enthusiastic and
duty-bound to offer any assistance that we can provide.
I know you agree that all of us who serve in public life have a
fundamental responsibility to carry out our obligations according to
the highest standards of ethical conduct and that we also have a
duty to conduct ourselves in the most open and honest ways.
Throughout my service, I have always believed that we are best
served when we do not go too long without reminding ourselves of
It is vitally important that we earn the trust of the people and
keep faith with what they expect of us. Everyone who serves the city
of Oxnard must continue to take seriously our duty to the public and
seek to do even better. We must devote the time and resources
necessary to ensure that our city sets a new and better standard for
effective government and public service.
Everyone in Oxnard's City Hall and throughout our city government
must follow a zero-tolerance policy for wrongdoing when it comes to
meeting the standards of our public employees. We will work closely
and openly with your office in any way to ensure that the entire
process reinforces our commitment to the public interest and we
stand ready to help in any way we can.
I look forward to providing any support that is needed, and you
can be assured that we will stand together and be a solid partner
throughout this process.
Dr. Thomas E. Holden
Mayor, City of Oxnard
From District Attorney Office - Press Release
In response to a significant
volume of media inquiries, District Attorney Gregory D. Totten
released the following statement regarding the official misconduct
investigation involving the City of Oxnard:
On Friday afternoon, August
13, 2010, investigators from the District Attorney's Office and
agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search
warrant at Oxnard City Hall and the City's administrative office.
This warrant was sought from the Ventura County Superior Court after
an earlier informal request for documents from the City proved
ineffective. Pursuant to the search warrant, we seized a significant
volume of documentary evidence that will take several months to
analyze. The primary focus of our investigation involves potential
misappropriation of public moneys, the handling of contracts
involving public works and other city projects, and potential
conflicts of interest.
The conduct at issue does not
involve the inflated salary and pension spiking concerns we have all
read about involving the City of Bell . Instead, it involves other
important matters of public trust. The District Attorney's Office
and the FBI are engaged in a thorough and conscientious search for
the truth and are confident that we will get to the bottom of this.
However, in the meantime, the law, prosecutor ethics, and the
integrity of our investigation all prohibit the release of further
information about this ongoing investigation including any specifics
on the evidence or identities of potential targets.
We are keenly aware that this
matter is of great importance to the public and the media. In that
regard, we welcome the letter I received today from Oxnard Mayor Tom
Holden pledging the City's full cooperation with our investigation.
If we determine public officials have engaged in misconduct, we will
take appropriate action to bring them to justice. But this
investigation must be conducted in confidence to be effective and
prevent damage to the reputations of the numerous innocent public
employees and officials who faithfully serve the residents of Oxnard
. We intend to move forward as expeditiously as possible. We are
asking that anyone with information relevant to this investigation
contact Senior Investigator Wayne Simmons at (805) 477-1654.
The public has the right to
demand the highest standard of conduct from the officials and
employees it has entrusted to conduct the City's business. When we
have completed our investigation and the law permits, we will
disclose more information about this matter. Until we have reached
that point in time, we will have no further comment concerning this
Dear friends . . .
If you live in Ventura
County, it is time to put up signs again . . . except in Thousand
Oaks, where you must wait impatiently until September 20.
If you need more signs,
return an email with your address and Sean the Sign Guy will deliver
within a week. If you have extras, you can either drop them off at
my house or return an email and Sean will pick them up.
We can deliver with or
without frames, in case you want to put a sign in your window or in
If you have any doubts
about whether a sign is legal, please email Sean the Sign Guy (TallSean12@gmail.com)
or call him at 818-388-8702. The only place you absolutely must not
put a sign is in your GARAGE.
Thanks for your help. ---
NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY
City of Oxnard 2006-2014 Housing
Element (Draft No. 2)
PUBLIC REVIEW PERIOD AND COMMENT
Comment Period: August 2 to
September 2, 2010
The Planning Commission is scheduled to
receive comments on the date listed below.
August 19, 2010, 7:00 P.M.
305 West Third Street, Council Chambers
The 2006-2014 Oxnard Housing Element
(Draft No. 2) identifies current and future housing needs of
residents within the City of Oxnard (City) and establishes housing
goals, policies, programs, and sites with enough development
potential to meet these needs for the planning period January 1,
2006 to June 30, 2014. The housing requirements of extremely-low and
low-income households and special needs populations are given
particular attention and the City seeks to conserve and rehabilitate
existing housing. In compliance with Government Code Section 65583,
potential sites are identified that would provide opportunities for
development of approximately 3,100 affordable housing units.
Draft No. 2 replaces the February 2009
Housing Element (Draft No. 1) in its entirety that was circulated
between March and May, 2009. Public comments received on Draft No. 1
were considered in the preparing Draft No. 2. Comments should be
directed only to Draft No. 2 which is available as follows:
Main Library, 251 South A
Colonia Branch Library, 1500
Camino del Sol #2
South Oxnard Branch Library,
City's Internet homepage (http://www.ci.oxnard.ca.us)
Planning Division office,
214 South C Street, only on Compact Disk, no charge
Office Depot, 2628 Saviers
Road (they will print for their applicable charge)
The Planning Commission meeting will
be televised on Channel 10. Please contact the Planning Division
office before the meeting date to verify this item will be presented
on this date. The meeting will be advertised in the Ventura County
Star newspaper. You are invited to attend the public hearing and
testify, or submit comments by:
City of Oxnard, Planning Division, 214 South C Street, Oxnard,
FAX: (805) 385-8156 (please use a cover page noting "Housing Element
If you challenge the Housing Element
in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or
someone else raised at public hearings described in this and future
notices, or in written correspondence delivered to the Planning
Commission at, or prior to, the public hearings. Staff anticipates
public comments will lead to final revisions to the Draft No. 2
2006-2014 Housing Element before returning to the Planning
Commission for a hearing for recommendation of adoption by the
Oxnard City Council. Public comments may also be presented at this
later Planning Commission adoption hearing and/or at the subsequent
City Council adoption hearing. These hearings are not scheduled at
For more information about the Draft No. 2 2006-2014 Housing
Element and the Draft 2030 General Plan, contact the Planning
Division between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through
Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on alternate Fridays (City Hall
will be closed on August 6 and 20). You may also call (805) 385-7858
or submit a letter to the Planning Commission, in care of the
Planning Division, on or before the public review closing date.
Letter to the Editor from Oxnard Resident Larry Stein, in response
to the Raid on City Hall for pertinent documents sought by the
Ventura County District Attorney and the USFBI.
It is my understanding that
due to limited resources, the FBI does not conduct a search warrant
party unless they think they can get a conviction of major
consequence. The FBI is proud of their 90% conviction rate. I do not
think the search warrant was based upon the failure to disclose
financial information of dinners and sports games. One can go online
and look at the July 17, 2007 agenda item College Park and see
questionable items i.e. $500.00 per square foot estimated
construction costs for a community center, $750 for trees, and
$300,000 per soccer field (5 fields). The report estimates that
College Park will cost over $65,000,000 to build. The estimates
provided in 2001 indicated that the total costs were to be less than
The city paid the owner of the
proposed new site of the Rainbow House over $1,000,000 for his 2 ½
acre plus 1950’s farm house because he proposed to build a 50 unit
senior center. The value of the land was based upon that value if
the proposed senior center was approved and built. The city then
paid the owner another $900,000 to convert his property to a 25 bed
facility designed for a drug rehabilitation center for women.
The real estate transaction to
purchase Sports Park raised the eye brows of several people. When
the option to buy the land from a real estate trust was within 2
weeks of expiring, an investor bought the land and resold it to the
city netting an estimated $10,000,000 profit. Some people believe
the investor had the city back date some documents so the investor
could claim a threat of eminent domain, and not have to pay taxes on
the net profit.
The Golf Course Enterprise
Fund had to refund a developer over $23,000,000. The Enterprise Fund
only had $3,000,000 cash to repay the developer. The enterprise fund
does not have the cash flow to repay the debt to the City’s Finance
Authority. Where will the funds come from the repay the
Perhaps the FBI has the
smoking gun and is looking for more smoking guns. Where there is
smoke there is fire. Several people feel that there is a lot of
smoke coming from Oxnard City Hall.
Larry Stein - Oxnard,
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