The Oxnard Chamber Board of Directors voted to OPPOSE the effort to recall the mayor and three councilmembers. Following a recommendation from the Chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee, the Board cited the cost of a potential election as well as the proximity of a special election to the June Primary and November Gubernatorial elections set for 2018.
Aaron Starr, an unsuccessful candidate for city council in 2014 and 2016, is spearheading the recall effort based on how the council members voted on adjustments to wastewater rates. Mayor Flynn, Mayor Pro Tem Ramirez, Councilmember Perello, and Councilmember Madrigal all voted in favor of rate increases. Councilman MacDonald voted no, so he is not a target of the recall.
The Chamber Board received information that a special election would cost more than $200,000, as estimated by the County Clerk’s office. That number does not include the cost of verifying petition signatures, nor does it include the cost of the Oxnard City Attorney’s office and the Oxnard City Clerk’s office.
If the recall proponent is successful in gathering sufficient valid signatures (roughly 12,000) to trigger a special election, the city may be forced to hold one in the spring of 2018 – just a few months before the June Primary.
If there is a special election, the ballot will contain a question whether the sitting council member should be recalled. That would be followed by a list of candidates running to potentially replace the city council person and convolute the ballot further.
If there is a successful recall, the person elected to replace the ousted council member would likely have to run for a full term in the November 2018 election. Mayor Flynn, Mayor Pro Tem Ramirez and Councilmember Perello all have terms expiring in December 2018. Councilmember Madrigal’s term is not up until 2020.
The Chamber believes this to too much disruption of local government when Oxnard voters could simply express their support or opposition of current council members in the November 2018 election.
In addition to the timeline for a potential special election, the Chamber has great concern over the premise that elected officials could be recalled based on his or her vote on a single issue. It is the Chamber’s position that the recall stipulation in the elections code was included to address malfeasance and gross negligence.
The Chamber encourages Oxnard voters NOT to sign the recall petitions being circulated and support the city while it continues to move forward in a positive direction.