A Message From Our CEO Nancy Lindholm
Over the 100+ years the Oxnard Chamber has been serving the business community, we have addressed countless challenges for our members. Many times, these are run-of-the-mill issues such as business license fees, water rates and code compliance, but sometimes major issues surface.
One that comes to mind is the 2008 Oxnard Traffic Initiative ballot measure that would have stymied economic development for decades. This particular measure would have prohibited development of more than 10,000 square feet that was located within a five-mile radius of an intersection that performed poorly at peak traffic flow times. The Chamber realized the long-term impact of such restriction, partnered with real estate and labor interests, and waged a strong campaign to successfully defeat the measure. Problem solved!
Businesses approach the Chamber all the time with challenges they are experiencing.
We are currently working with a handful of companies that are being asked to eliminate boron from their wastewater, and we understand there will also be new limits for TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) in wastewater. The new mandates are coming from the California State Water Quality Control Board. There is currently no restriction on the amount of boron that can be discharged into the ocean, but since Oxnard recycles its wastewater, new rules come into play. This is an ongoing issue we hope to have resolved soon.
The Chamber started working with a couple of craft breweries in Oxnard about six months ago. We discovered that Oxnard restricted anyone under age 21 from being in a brewery that did not have its own kitchen to serve food. We checked with other cities in Ventura County and no one else had that provision (maybe that's why Oxnard only has two breweries!). Chamber staff worked with the Community Development department of the city and found that ABC regulations do not allow cities to impose an age restriction for this alcohol license type. City staff reached out to both breweries and have administratively modified their permits and removed the condition with the age restriction. Problem solved!
Over the 15+ years I have worked for the Oxnard Chamber, we have addressed scores of problems challenging the business community. Some of them just take a bit of common sense; others require a coalition to fight. This is what we are here for and why we exist.
If you run across a problem, please don't hesitate to let us know about it. We just might be able to resolve it!
By Chair of the Board Stacy Miller
It’s no secret that cities across the country are dealing with the impacts of homelessness. In Oxnard, Ventura County’s largest city, lives the county’s largest number of homeless, estimated at about 700 individuals.
For Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen, it is a daily work effort for his staff and the Oxnard Police Department that has cost the city $3.2 million over two years.
“It is frustrating to hear people say that the city isn’t doing anything to deal with the impacts of homelessness in Oxnard,” laments Nguyen. "There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t responding to calls regarding issues surrounding homeless individuals.”
Nguyen’s frustration centers on the fact that the funding approved by California voters is slow in making its way to cities that deal with the issues every day. In fact, the state has about $2 billion in housing and homeless funding, but those funds are not being provided for the day-to-day urgent problems cities confront.
“The city does not condone vagrancy. We are spending millions on police services and code enforcement, all of which do nothing to get anyone off the street for any length of time,” he stated.
Nguyen subscribes to the “housing first” model, which, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. This approach is guided by the belief that people need necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting or attending to substance abuse and mental health issues.
But that costs money which Nguyen believes is the responsibility of the state. Right now, Nguyen and his team are working with various partners, including neighboring cities, Ventura County and private developers, to identify potential sites in Oxnard for future housing, utilizing eventual state and other funding sources.
“If communities are going to really make an impact with homelessness, then it is going to take the combined efforts of government, business, nonprofit organizations and individuals,” he said. “This is one of the big challenges of our era that will require active participation, funding and coordination on many levels."
How Businesses Can Help
For Oxnard-based businesses dealing with the day-to-day impacts of homelessness, the issue is a volatile one. Businesses have expressed frustration with public intoxication, trash and other homelessness issues that hamper their businesses. But rather than just complain, Nguyen is urging businesses to be a small part of the solution.
“Businesses can help the issue by doing a few simple things: consider cutting hedges around their businesses to prevent people from sleeping there; consider bringing on private security; and also be willing to hire one or two formerly homeless individuals,” explains Nguyen. “Having a job is a vital component of regaining life stability.”
While it is important that everyone do their part, Nguyen emphasizes that the ultimate funding source is the state, and if cities don’t receive direct funding to fight homelessness, we all will continue to experience degrading quality of life.
“The state currently provides direct funding through the biggest 13 cities. This is very frustrating for local governments. Every day we are spending money and time on everything from chasing down shopping carts and cleaning up trash, to responding to calls about public urination and vagrancy,” adds Nguyen. “There are so many other things we need to get done in Oxnard but if we don’t do a better job of housing the homeless, we won’t be able to get there."
Clearly, our city manager is frustrated with the lack of financial and other assistance to aid the homelessness crisis. Please consider contacting your elected officials and the governor’s office regarding this important issue.
Nguyen will give an update on several initiatives and issues impacting the business community at the Chamber's exclusive luncheon on September 12. Click the image below for details.
OXNARD, Calif., FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce will present an exclusive lunch with Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen on Thursday, September 12.
Among the topics he will speak about to members of the business community at the “Knowledge & Networking Lunch” are:
Mr. Nguyen was appointed City Manager in July 2018. He came to Oxnard with 20 years of California municipal experience in Oakland, Alameda and Riverside
The Knowledge & Networking Lunch will take place at the Residence Inn by Marriott/River Ridge located at 2101 W. Vineyard Avenue in Oxnard. Check-in and networking begin at 11:30 a.m. Lunch is at noon with the program to follow.
The event is open to the public and lunch is included. Tickets are $45 for non-members and $40 for Chamber members. Chamber members can purchase early registration tickets for $35 before Monday, September 9, at 5:00 p.m. Reservations may be made on OxnardChamber.org or by calling the Chamber office at (805) 983-6118.
The luncheon is sponsored by California State University Channel Islands, Clear Channel Outdoor and UCLA Health.
ABOUT THE OXNARD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce is the catalyst for business growth, the convener of leaders and influencers, and the champion for a stronger community. Founded in 1908, today the Chamber empowers 500 businesses and organizations that employ more than 30,000 people. It promotes the business and economic well-being of Oxnard’s diverse community to benefit enterprises, large and small, through advocacy, networking, education, services, business exposure and promotion. Learn more at OxnardChamber.org.
Every year, the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce’s Military Appreciation Committee hosts the Military Appreciation Dinner to honor local heroes from all branches of the military. Now in its 22nd year, the dinner provides an opportunity for the business community and leaders from the city and region to meet and connect with local servicemen and women.
The honorees are selected by their commanding officers not only for their military service, but also for their service in the local community. The 2019 honorees are:
With the theme “Honoring our local military with respect and pride,” this year’s dinner will feature keynote speaker United States Army Major General Terrence J. McKenrick. Major General McKenrick graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned as an Infantry officer. He most recently served as the Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Central at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
The Military Appreciation Dinner will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott Oxnard on Friday, September 20 from 6:00-9:00 pm.
Advance registrations are required and can be made via the Chamber's website or by calling the office at (805) 983-6118. Sponsorships are also available.
Do you know your leadership style? Oxnard Leadership Program participants found out during their most recent session, which featured presentations on the “Four Models of Leadership” and Ventura County's Workforce Development Board, and tours of Haas Automation and the Channel Islands Harbor.
The eighth session took place Friday, August 16, and Celina Zacarias, Senior Director of Community and Government Relations for California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI), helped coordinate the day.
The day began with an eye-opening presentation on “Four Models of Leadership” from Andrew Lorenzana, CSUCI Community and Government Relations Specialist. Everyone answered a series of questions to discover their Leadership Orientations:
The group then welcomed Tracy Perez, Regional Manager of United Staffing Associates, for a presentation about the Ventura County Workforce Development Board (WDB), which she chairs.
WDB is a public board of leaders from an array of fields who are appointed by the County Board of Supervisors. Their vision is for Ventura County to have a high-quality, skilled workforce to support the changing business needs of employers in today’s global, competitive environment. Learn more about the WDB.
After lunch at Cabo Seafood Grill & Cantina, a local favorite in Downtown Oxnard, the class visited Haas Automation’s 1.1 million square foot facility for a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the largest machine tool builder in North America.
They toured the showroom to learn how each of the machines work, then took a catwalk tour of one of its four warehouses to see innovation in action. With a local team of 1,200 people, Haas is one of the largest employers in Oxnard.
To end the day, the group traveled to Marine Emporium Landing where they were treated to an electric boat tour of Channel Islands Harbor. They were guided by Steve Buenger and Harbor Director Mark Sandoval, who shared the history of the harbor, an overview of current projects and proposed improvements to the area.
Every year, the Oxnard Leadership Program leads participants through 10 unique, day-long experiences to gain a better understanding and appreciation of Oxnard and the surrounding areas’ realities, opportunities and challenges. Each session includes visits to various locations and provides participants with a unique opportunity to meet key business and government leaders who play integral roles in the region.
In September, session nine will focus on local agriculture with visits to Reiter and AGQ Labs, and a presentation by Agricultural Commissioner Ed Williams.
Learn more about the Oxnard Leadership Program.