I believe that it was Will Rodgers who described a politician as one who could tell you to go to hell in such a fashion that you would enjoy the trip. I believe that a politician is one who tries to make his personal agenda, public policy. When elected mayor some of the policies I will endeavor to promote include making City of Oxnard senior staff accountable for their actions, having a larger percentage of local labor used on multi-million projects funded by local tax dollars, and having Oxnard city staff becoming pro active than reactive when addressing potential criminal activity.
I have been asked by many community members to run for Mayor of Oxnard based on the numerous issues that seem lack financial sense. It appears that some department heads are not filling budgeted positions and allowing the surplus funds to roll into their department’s budget the following year instead of returning the funds to reserves. I have also questioned the approval of appropriating over $15,000,000 to build a $8,000,000 fire station. $1,000,000 of the $7,000,000 difference is to purchase a ladder truck, another $2,000,000 is for 1 year payroll cost that is matched by a 2 year grant, but that leaves $4,000,000 that I yet to receive an explanation from any council member as to where the money is to be allocated. Other past financial issues include having a contract where the buyer of land (Casden) had a right to back out of the purchase when two years of ther purchase date, the paying of the land for Sports Park without getting an appraisal of both the land being bought and the land being exchanged (the former Colonia House), and the contract with Big League Dreams where the city was never refunded a $400,000 deposit. Better financial accountability is needed.
The city has had many multi-million dollar capital projects whose contracts lacked clauses that would encourage hiring local labor. Oxnard is expected to expend over $500,000,000 over the next 7 years to fix roads, expand the GREAT Program and fixed water treatment facilities. Due to the high cost California businesses have to pay over out of state businesses, (worker’s compensation, state income taxes and liability insurance), out of state businesses can out bid Western Ventura County businesses by 25%. Wages paid to people who do not live in the area will not be spent in the area. I suspect that the local economic loss is greater than the cost savings Oxnard receives for projects that are awarded to out of state contractors. I suggest that contracts in excess of $1,000,000 include clauses in the RFQs (Requests for Quotes) / RFPs (Request for Proposals) include language asking how much of the proposal will include local labor. The city’s policy on approving bids needs to include consideration for local labor even though prevailing wages are to be paid. The city’s policy of lease / buy backs of capital projects seem to skirt prevailing wage laws and allow local money to flow out of state. Local taxes spent on large capital projects needs to stay within the community that generated the taxes to maximize the economic benefit. Significant local labor needs to be used on large local government projects.
Oxnard is one of the safest cities for its size in the United States . Oxnard still has public safety issues. Our street patrol officers seem to be running from call to call with just enough time to catch their breaths. Oxnard is number 1 in the state for DUI arrests, but is issuing an average of 10 Special Use Permits for the sale of alcohol per year. At the Planning Commission meeting of July 17, 2014, the city’s ABC (Alcohol and Beverage Control) officer presented a staff report finding that up to 50% of the calls for service to the police department for domestic violence, gang violence, loud parties and accidents are alcohol related; many times with repeat calls of service to the same location. The report also indicated that such calls for services has dropped significantly (25%) since 2004. Alcohol abuse is a social issue whose excessive abuse leads to action by the criminal justice system. Arresting people whose actions are the result of drug and alcohol does not address the underlining issue of drug abuse. Perhaps a program could be established through the Police Department where 20 experience social workers were hired instead of police officers. These social workers would be part of a ride along team with experienced police officers who are specifically assigned to domestic violence and related drug abuse calls for service. The offender could be given a choice of being arrested or immediately “volunteer” to be transferred to a community sponsored detoxification center where the offender would receive treatment. Oxnard Social Service centers could be establish along with an outreach program to address homeless and similar issues. By being proactive instead of reactive to similar social issues the city should see a reduction of calls for service , improving the effectiveness of our hard working patrol officers.
I am a degreed accountant and a licensed and bonded tax preparer. After moving to Oxnard in July of 1982, I married my wife, Ann Marie in 1985. Our son Ernest was born a year later. In 1992 our bookkeeping service, Ann Marie and Larry Stein opened for business. I have been reviewing different aspects of City of Oxnard financial issues for over 20 years, developing working relationships with many of the department heads within the city.
Please cast your mayoral vote me, Lawrence Paul Stein