Message from our Chair - Stacy Miller
National Geographic Explorer, Sunset Magazine, Heal The Bay, Sparling’s Best Places to Live all are raving about Oxnard
Would you be surprised to learn that in addition to being Ventura County’s largest City, Oxnard was named one of the 20 Happiest Cities in the United States by National Geographic Explorer?
“It’s no surprise that California is home to many of the happiest places in America, including Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura. With its combination of great weather, beaches, and nearby national forests, adventure awaits around every corner” stated the article by National Geographic Explorer and best-selling author Dan Buettne.
The rankings were based on National Geographic’s study that established 15 metrics that signal happiness - the metric included eating healthy, learning something new every day, civic engagement, financial security, vacation time, and even dental checkups.
Did you also know that we have some of the highest rated beaches in the STATE?
Heal the Bay rates Oxnard’s beaches as some of the best in California. The water is tested weekly and our beaches were rated A+ every single week of the year. Oxnard is one of only 37 beaches in California to receive an A+.
In addition, Sunset Magazine rated Oxnard 7th in their rating of the Top 20 Game-Changing Places to Live. “This coastal community south of Ventura has easy access to the Santa Monica Mountains and Channel Islands. Its Latino majority infuses the bustling downtown with authentic eateries and annual festivals around strawberries, tamales, and salsa,” they stated.
Oxnard also boasts a fabulous natural resource – a national park and national marine sanctuary right off our shores and very accessible.
Many of us that live and work here believe Oxnard is our “little gem.” We enjoy excellent air quality, year-round first-rate climate, diversity, easy access to outdoor activities, a low unemployment rate and comparatively speaking, little traffic.
According to Sparling’s Best Places to Live, job growth in Oxnard has been positive. Jobs have increased by 0.36% over the past year. The average salary in Oxnard is $62,349. The median home cost in Oxnard is $429,300. The unemployment rate in Oxnard is 5.90%, with job growth of 0.36%. Future job growth over the next 10 years is predicted to be 34.81%.
With all of these “tail winds,” I believe that far and away our best assets continue to be the amazing people who live and work in Oxnard and are committed to improving this amazing place.
The Chamber looks forward to our collective efforts at increasing the success of local businesses, the economy and our quality of life here in the ‘Nard.
Until next time…
I ran the following article in the June 2014 issue of the Business Voice. After attending many meetings and gatherings where Old Glory was the focus of pomp and circumstance, I thought I would share it again. When the occasion calls for a color guard, I am amazed at the wide variety of reactions by my fellow attendees. There seem to be very few civilians who know what to do when a flag is paraded past them.
Since Flag Day is Thursday and the Fourth of July is right around the corner, I thought this to be an appropriate time to answer all of those protocol questions you may have been afraid to ask!
Displaying the Flag Outdoors
When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union (stars) should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that a church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services, or for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.
When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right. The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger. No other flag ever should be placed above it. The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.
Raising and Lowering the Flag
The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.
Displaying the Flag Indoors
When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right (as in stage-right or to the audience's left) of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.
The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.
When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.
Parading and Saluting the Flag
When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.
To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.
There is actually a Section in the US Flag Code addressing this issue, which states:
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
NOTE: This is what you are supposed to be doing when the color guard is doing their job!!
The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem
The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting. When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.
The Flag in Mourning
To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset. (I did not know this!)
The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.
What about that Gold Fringe on some flags?
The quote below concerning gold fringe on the flag is from the book So Proudly We Hail, The History of the United States Flag by William R. Furlong and Byron McCandless:
"The placing of a fringe on Our Flag is optional with the person of organization, and no Act of Congress or Executive Order either prohibits the practice, according to the Institute of Hearaldry. Fringe is used on indoor flags only, as fringe on flags on outdoor flags would deteriorate rapidly. The fringe on a Flag is considered and 'honorable enrichment only', and its official use by the US Army dates from 1895. A 1925 Attorney General's Opinion states: 'the fringe does not appear to be regarded as an integral part of the Flag, and its presence cannot be said to constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statute. An external fringe is to be distinguished from letters, words, or emblematic designs printed or superimposed upon the body of the flag itself. Under law, such additions might be open to objection as unauthorized; but the same is not necessarily true of the fringe.'"
The gold trim is generally used on ceremonial indoor flags that are used for special services and is believed to have been first used in a military setting. It apparently has no specific significance and its (gold trim) use is in compliance with applicable flag codes and laws.
Now go out there are salute the symbol of our great country!!!
Message from the Chair
As a proud California State University graduate, I am dismayed to learn that Governor Brown’s January budget proposal for the CSU system falls $171 million short of the amount requested.
Graduating nearly 100,000 diverse undergraduate students into hundreds of fields each year, the California State University system’s (CSU) 3.4 million alumni help sustain the state’s economy and ensure employers have the skills-ready graduates they need.
Without additional funds from the Legislature, CSU campuses will have to make difficult decisions to cover financial obligations -- diminishing student access, success, limiting degree attainment and depriving California’s industries of skilled professionals. This will greatly impact the CSU’s ability to provide a much-needed quality education to those who need it the most.
Time and again, we hear from our 500 chamber members regarding the need for more skilled workers and a better-educated workforce. There are jobs available, but without the right education, they will continue to go unfilled, drastically impacting our local economy and that of the state.
While it is a good thing that thousands more students are meeting minimum CSU eligibility requirements, we need to ensure that they have a seat in the CSU. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the state needs one million additional college graduates by 2030. The CSU is answering this call and is on track to graduate an additional half million students in the next decade! But without adequate funding, this simply will not happen.
As Ventura County’s largest City and with an estimated 21.8% of Oxnard’s population living in poverty, we know all to well that obtaining an education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty and providing our community members with a better quality of life.
We appreciate the support of our local State Senator Jackson and Assemblymember’s Irwin and Limon for the support of fully funding the CSU system and urgently request Governor Brown fully fund the CSU system.
Ensuring that higher education is a top legislative budget priority, will continue to aid CSU’s in educating California’s next generation of workers.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD
“Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement”
It is my honor to serve as Chair of the Board for the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce. For 110 years, the Oxnard Chamber has served as a catalyst for business growth, as the convener for leaders and influencers, and the champion for stronger communities.
Our team, in concert with our nearly 500 members, works to promote the business and economic well-being of our diverse community to benefit enterprises, big and small, through advocacy, services and education, business exposure, and promotional opportunities. Our main objectives are to: represent the interest of business with government; encourage a strong local economy; promote the community; advocate political action and provide promotional opportunities and networking for our members.
One of my favorite programs offered by the Chamber is the Oxnard Leadership program. Growing local leaders to serve on boards, committees, and potentially serve as elected officials, is one of the most important tasks we as a community have. I’m proud of the high-quality leadership series our Chamber has developed and would encourage you to consider enrolling employees in this worthwhile program.
Participants in the Oxnard Leadership program receive a comprehensive overview of the Oxnard area – its realities, opportunities and challenges. Sessions move to various locations throughout the Oxnard area and provide students with a unique opportunity to meet key business and government leaders who play integral roles in the region by way of tours, panels, and speakers. Class speakers address, not only the facts, but also perspectives, challenges, and opportunities in highly interactive sessions. (For more information, please call 805-983-6118 or email email@example.com)
I would encourage you to reach out to me with any suggestions, questions or ideas you may have that would benefit our business community. I look forward to working with each of you in the months ahead.
As we all know, the President signed the sweeping tax reform bill ushering in a broad range of changes including new rules for income tax rates and deductions, college for savings incentives, estate planning and corporate taxes. These new rules are leaving folks scratching their heads and scrambling to find out what the most sweeping tax reform package in decades means and what actions to consider.
In my last article I wrote about the importance of passing on some of the benefits to increase employees’ salaries and 401K’s so I’ll continue in this article by saying that retirement savings incentives apparently will be unaffected. To get a clear understanding, everyone should consult with tax professionals to evaluate their personal circumstances and money management but financial advisers say the new rules do not call for changes to existing retirement savings incentives, preserving the favorable tax treatment and contribution limits to 401 (k)s and other retirement savings accounts.
Below are some key takeaways from tax reform bill:
Temporary increase in federal estate tax exemption
The law will roughly double the federal estate tax exemption to $11 million per person ($22 million per couple). That limit will be indexed to inflation, but would expire and revert back to current law after 2025.
Beneficiaries will still get a step up in basis, meaning there would be no capital gains tax due on inherited assets at the time of the transfer, and the cost basis - the value used to compute tax liability - would be reset to the price at that date.
It is important to note that state level estate tax exemptions are often much lower than the federal level and are unaffected by this law. In addition, the temporary nature of the higher limit means that if you have an estate plan, you should proceed carefully before making any changes.
While a further increase in the estate tax exemption will help some families avoid this tax at the federal level, it remains important for all households to have a current estate plan that helps ensure their wishes are carried out and reduces the cost of transferring assets as part of an estate.
New corporate tax rate and pass-through tax rate
Corporate tax rates will be cut to 21% beginning in this year. That tax cut is not scheduled to expire.
Pass-through businesses, businesses structured as sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S-corporations, will be taxed at individual tax rates, but will be able to deduct 20% of income. To prevent high-income individuals from taking advantage of this deduction, it would only be available to couples filing jointly with incomes below $315,000. For income above that level, the rules are complex but it appears that certain kinds of businesses might still be eligible for a partial deduction.
The plan would let businesses fully expense new equipment right away, but the provision would eventually expire.
The bottom line
There are a few things you may want to consider in light of the new legislation, and may want to consult with a tax professional about, so you can be prepared.
• Rethink your mortgages and deductions: If you have traditionally made charitable gifts or benefited from the mortgage interest or state and local tax deduction, you want to look at how the new standard deduction will impact you. If it no longer makes sense to deduct these expenses, you may want to rethink your mortgage or giving strategy. The imposition of a cap on state and local tax deductions may also impact where some people choose to live in retirement.
• Estate tax: Even in the absence of tax reform, it makes sense to periodically review your estate plan. If the estate tax limit changes are relevant to your plan, it may make even more sense to revisit your strategy. You may want to meet with your estate planning attorney.
• Small-business income: If you own a small business, you may want to reconsider how you structure your income and the form of your enterprise. Depending on the size and particulars of your business, you may want to consider the benefits of incorporation or the restructuring of pass-through organizations. Consult with an expert in small-business taxation.
• Timing corporate expenses: With new rules in place temporarily for expensing capital equipment purchases, business owners may want to review their capital expenditure plans.
I trust the Oxnard business community will find this information useful.